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Canada Day 1999 marks the 133rd anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Like our American neighbors who celebrate July 4th, Canadians all over the country will be celebrating with parades, picnics and backyard barbecues.
As a whole, Canadians aren't known for their "out front" patriotism. In fact, the word most people use is "apologetic". Not so on Canada Day! It may be the only exception to that perception, but we sure love to do it up proud! Here's a chance for all Canadians to celebrate the melting pot that is Canada. You'll find them at the cottage, on their boats, and in their backyards. You'll even find them on Parliament Hill celebrating with the Governor General and the Prime Minister. Each Premier in his provincial capital will sponsor a festival but none will match the pageantry of Ottawa -- the federal capital -- where dignitaries rub shoulders with the citizenry and vie for goodies from all our national ethnicities. Canadian flags festoon everything from front lawns, to car antennae, to clothing and rosy cheeks. Federal Minister for Culture and Heritage Sheila Copps was on the hot seat a while back for offering Canadians free flags for just phoning or writing in. Naysayers the bunch of them. Nothing wrong with promoting patriotism. Nothing wrong with encouraging people to fly their colors.
On to the grill! When you look up tapas in a Spanish dictionary you get "snack". To say that that's what we mean when we say "Tapas" however, is an understatement. In this sense Tapas is more like a smorgasbord of flavors and textures. Little bits of this and that to thrill the palate and satisfy the craving for flavor and fun.
It's a good idea to have a rotation of "chefs" at the grill. You'll have people clamoring for their turn. The bbq is the center of the entertainment and, since most of the action takes place there, no one wants to be left out!
Once the guests start arriving, fire up the grill and you're ready to begin. Throughout the evening -- or afternoon -- keep an assortment of food coming off the fire and your guests will just pick it up as they go. I think this is where "grazing" first got it's start.
The first thing that's necessary is appropriate drinks. Have on hand a good assortment of soft drinks, beer and bottled water. Chilled white wine is a welcome addition as well as some type of punch. Make up a large pitcher of Sangria or experiment with one of Purple Haze. In honor of the occasion, be festive with a Crimson Maple, a salute to our flag.
Next in line is the food. Because Tapas is synonymous with variety, it's a good idea to plan on several different dishes. You could choose a couple that are not grill items if you like. And don't forget the marinated olives that are a mainstay of Spanish Tapas spreads. I've included my favorite recipe. Finish it all off with strawberries and ice cream, the blend of red and white making the Canada Day celebration complete.
Over medium heat in a small skillet, sauté the garlic until just starting to get golden. Strain through a sieve, setting the garlic aside for use later.
Allow the oil to cool and pour over the shrimp adding the ancho chili powder and tossing lightly to coat well. Let stand 30 minutes, then thread onto skewers for grilling. Place over hot coals and cook until just pink, this should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat, take the shrimp off the skewers, toss with the garlic slices and serve with pieces of crusty bread.