Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cupid's Bite - Aphrodisiac foods with the Assiniboine Park Conservatory and the MLCC

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting foods with ingredients that are considered aphrodisiacs.  Try these for Valentine's this week.  Almonds, Basil, Garlic, chocolate are a few ingredients that are on the list.  Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory,  presented the information on plants and programs at the Conservatory.  Stephanie Mills, Product Consultant for the MLCC, provided the beverage pairings.

1. Almond Tarator
Paired with Underraga T.H. Riesling - Chile  $20.02

9 oz Almonds
3 cloves garlic
sea salt
juice of one lemon
3 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tbs honey
4 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups good olive oil
3-5 oz lukewarm water
freshly ground black pepper

Pulse the almonds in a food processor.  Crush the garlic with salt and add to the almonds with lemon juice, vinegar, honey and egg yolk until smooth and creamy.  Drizzle in half of the oil, and alternate with the water.  Slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil until a thick, creamy mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Use as a dip, mezze or cover a fish fillet and bake.


2. Basic Pesto
Paired with Maso Canali Pino Grigio - Italy  $19.99

A basic Pesto recipe is so easy to adapt to many available herbs. I love Arugula Pesto as well. For Arugula, use some spinach in the mix to round out the flavour of any particularly peppery variety as well as a splash of lemon juice. For Basil Pesto, I like to use Sweet, Vietnamese, Purple, and many other varieties in the mix to make a complex flavour.

1/4 lb fresh basil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts (can use almonds)  Will use almonds
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper (cheese is salty so use very little salt)

Blend together into a paste. Freeze for later use or toss in pasta, on grilled meats, etc.

3. Pesto on Escargot
Paired with Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay - Chile  $21.84 and Seduction Pinot Noir - New Zealand  $29.66 (Both very yummy!)

Spoon pesto onto escargot.  Place in 450�F oven.  Bake for 8-12 minutes.  Serve immediately.

4. Chocolate Creams
Paired with Warre's Otima 10 yearld Tawny Port  $24.76

6-7 oz dark Callebaut Chocolate
2 cups milk
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie (stainless steel bowl over pot of boiling water) with 1 tbs. Milk. Make the quantity of milk up to 2 cups and bring high heat. Beat 6 egg yolks with sugar until the mixture turns  white. Slowly add the chocolate flavoured milk, beating it in quickly. Divide the mixture between at least 6 ramekins placed in a baking dish that will be filled with simmering water (another bain-marie). Bake at 375� F for about 25 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and leave to cool before putting them in the refrigerator to set.