Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Italian countryside for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the MLCC


 Last night I presented the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy's Foodie Program with the MLCC on the theme of Italian Countryside.  Kelly Burton, Product Consultant for the MLCC, provided wonderful beverage pairings and Melissa Scouten, Education Coordinator for the APC, presented on the plants and culture of different regions.
 Photos to follow soon!

 Reception Beverage:  Limoncello Lemonade
1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 cup club soda, divided
2 cups limoncello, divided
1 cup St. Germain (elderflower liquor)
Ice cubes, crushed


1. Fave con Pecorino
(serves 4)
Paired with Ruffino Orvieto Classico #31062, $11.95

2 lbs fava beans, peeled
4 ounces Pecorino Toscano, sliced into 1/2 inch/1 cm long matchstick-thick segments
1/4 cup olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 leaves radicchio, sliced very thinly

Place the fava beans and pecorino in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Toss very gently, just to combine the flavours and not to break the beans or crush the cheese.
Mound a quarter of the beans and cheese in the centre of each salad plate. Top each serving with a few slivers of radicchio.

2. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Paired with Gabbiano Chianti DOCG # 710324, $13.99

1/3 cup butter.
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Black pepper.

Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.

The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.

Enjoy!


3. Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
Eggplant Parmigiana Eggplant Parmigiana

Paired with Feudo Badala Negroamano #15086, $11.82

Ingredients
The Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices
6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole plum tomatoes
The Eggplant:
2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons whole milk
4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound provolone cheese, grated
2 handfuls fresh basil, leaves only, torn

Directions

For the tomato sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. Set aside to cool.

Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant. Arrange them in single layers on the baking sheets.

In a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (alternatively, test with a thermometer and wait until the oil registers between 380 degrees F and 400 degrees F). Use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the pan. Cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. Season lightly with salt. Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan and provolone cheeses. Top with a layer of torn basil leaves. Spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. End with the remaining mozzarella. Carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish once assembled. Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.

4. Osso Bucco
Paired with Masi Costasera Amarone #317057, $44.99
 
 1 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pieces Beef, Bison or Elk shank
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1-3 tbs butter
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lemon, zest peeled off in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
1 head garlic, cut horizontally through the middle
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bottle dry red wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth (I had homemade chicken broth on hand instead)
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed

Put the flour in a large shallow platter and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour and then tap off the excess (extra flour will burn and make the dish off-tasting).

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and hit it with a 3-count drizzle of oil. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan to melt. Sear the meat, turning carefully with tongs, until all sides are a rich brown caramel color. Drizzle with a little more oil, if needed. (Do this in batches if the shanks are big and look crowded in the pot.) Remove the browned meat to a side plate. There will be a lot of flavor left over in the bottom of the pot. You're going to use that to create your sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using the same pot, saut� the onion, celery, carrots, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley over medium heat. Cook the vegetables down until they start to get some color and develop a deep, rich aroma. Season with salt and pepper; add a little oil if needed. Nestle the meat back in the pot. Pour in the wine and let it simmer down for 20 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. Reducing is key for intense flavor. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Braise for 1 and a 1/2 hours. Then remove the cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and the meat tender and nearly falling off the bone.
Remove bay leaves.

Enjoy!


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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pea Shoot Pesto on Manitoba Arctic Char with CBC

It was my pleasure to present the following recipes yesterday on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod.

Gimli Fish carries this fantastic fish.  So delicious and healthy!

(Photo by Karen Peters.  Features Pea Shoot Pesto on Arctic Char about to be baked.)


Pea Shoot Pesto
Ingredients:
1/4 lb fresh, young pea shoots (or pea tips!)*
1 bunch chives, chopped (or spring onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted Almonds
salt
pepper

Directions:
Place the pea shoots, chives, garlic, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, pulse until a thick paste forms.

Enjoy with pasta, fish or other pesto uses.



On Arctic Char

Spoon over Arctic Char fillet and bake at 350�F for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

Enjoy!


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Moroccan Tour for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.  Jenny Steusser, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on the country and history of Morocco and Jody Twomey, Product Consultant for the MLCC, provided excellent beverage pairings. 
These recipes are from Paula Wolfert's, The Food of Morocco.  It is a wonderful cookbook and an essential part of any kitchen.
Reception Beverage:  Moroccan Cider (Moroccan beer with Pomegranate liquor)

1. Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup
Paired with La Patisserie Chard Muscat, $13.99 and Nobel House Riesling, $12.84

1 yellow onion, chopped
pinch coarse salt
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs butternut, kabocha, or calabaza squash halved, peeled and seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (about 6 cups)
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp La Kama Spice Mixture (1 tsp each of ground ginger, turmeric and white pepper, good pinch of grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and optional cubeb pepper)
1/2 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
1/2 lb crumbled chevre
1 tsp or more to taste Harissa paste (available at Halal Meats and Specialty Foods or Dino's Grocery Mart)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook onion in heavy bottomed pot or casserole dish (tajine) on medium low heat with the olive oil until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes
2. Add the squash, cover with parchment paper and/lid and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add tomato paste, spices and 4 cups of hot water and bring to a boil. Then simmer until the squash is tender, about 20+ minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Blend in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the cream and 3.4 or the cheese and the harissa at the end. Puree until velvety.
5. Bring up to heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve into warmed bowls and top each portion with a light sprinkling of the remaining cheese.

enjoy!

2. Eggplant Salad, Rabat Style
Paired with Jacob's Creek Cool Harvest Pinot Gris, $13.59

1 eggplant
1 clove garlic, peeled and slivered
2 tbs chopped parsley
2 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs olive oil (or less)
1-2 tbs lemon juice
pinch salt

Stud the eggplant with garlic slivers, using a pairing knife to cut slits into the eggplant. Bake at 400�F until very soft. Remove from oven to cool when darkened and "collapsed".

When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the flesh of the eggplant into a sieve. Discard liquid and skin of eggplant.

Mash or push the eggplant and garlic through a food mill (avoid a blender as it won't give you the desired effect).

Add the chopped herbs and spices and mix well. Fry in the olive oil over moderate heat, turning often until all of the liquid has evaporated and the eggplant has been reduced to a thick black jam, about 15 - 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Serve warm or slightly cooled.

Try with grape tomatoes and good toasted pita bread.

Enjoy!

3. Chicken Tajine with prunes and almonds
Paired with Innis & Gunn Rum Cask, $3.60

1 chicken � (3 1/2 lbs)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup prunes
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup whole blanched almonds
vegetable oil for frying

Rub all the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and cumin. Let stand for one hour.

Soak prunes if very dry.

Place onions in a wide shallow casserole with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup water, cover and steam for 15 minutes.

Brown the almonds in 4-5 tbs oil in a large skillet and drain on paper towels. Brown the chicken evenly on all sides in the oil and transfer to the steamed onions. Cover with parchment paper and cook in tajine on the lowest heat for about 1 1/4 hours.

Discard the parchment paper. Add the prunes and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat. Serve with almonds sprinkled on top.

4. Moroccan Lamb Stew
Paired with House of Mandela Cab Sauv, $12.15

1 lb lamb leg, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly saut� onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat. Meat should melt in your mouth when done.

Serve with flat breads, rice, couscous or bulgur.

Enjoy!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tantalizingly Tasty Tapas for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy


Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following Tapas recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy with the MLCC.  Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the APC, discussed the plants featured from the region and Scott Strizic, Product Consultant for the MLCC, prepared a wonderful welcome beverage and pairings for each dish.
Welcome Beverage:  Agua de Valencia, made with Cava
200ml Orange Juice
50ml gin
50ml Vodca
700 ml Cava
pinch sugar

In a pitcher, add bottle of semi-dry Cava (or Champagne if you do not have Cava).  Add a shot and a half of both vodka and gin.  Add sugar to taste.  Chill and enjoy!


1. Saut�ed garlic mushrooms
Paired with Flor de Vetus (Spain), $16.26

1 lb white mushrooms
5 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped
crusty bread

Trim off stems of mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds- 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and saut� over high heat, stirring until the mushrooms have absorbed the oil in the skillet

Reduce the heat to low. When the juices have come out of the mushrooms, increase the heat again and saut� for 4-5 minutes until the juices have almost evaporated. Add lemon juice and season. Stir in parsley and cook for an additional minute.

Serve hot or warm with crusty bread.

2. Spanish Smoked Paprika Shrimp
Paired with Mas Amor - Rose, $16.26

1 lb peeled, wild caught shrimp
1 tbs butter
Drizzle olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
Pinch sea salt

Heat butter and oil in saut� pan. Add shrimp and toss well. Add garlic and then paprika. Serve with bread when shrimp is firm and pink. 

3. Calamares with no-fail A�oli
Paired with Martin Codax - Albarino, $21.60

1 lb prepared squid (calamari rings, etc)
all-purpose flour for coating
corn, peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
salt
lemon wedges, to garnish
a�oli, to serve

Dry squid and dust with flour. Do not season as the salt will toughen the calamares. Heat oil to 350 � 375�. Carefully add the rings in batches and deep fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Enjoy with a�oli.

A�oli
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tbs canola oil

Put the egg yolk, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor and blend well together. Slowly add the olive oil with the blade turning. When it starts to thicken, add more oil and blend until it is thick and smooth.

4. Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip
Paired with Fortius Grand Reserva 2001, $27.12 (YUM!)

3 lb potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt

Roasted Garlic Dip

2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1 tbs olive oil
5 tbs sour cream
4 tbs mayonnaise
hot smoked paprika, to taste
salt

Roast the garlic for 25 minutes at 350�F until caramelized. Let cool enough to handle. Squeeze out and mash. Mix in a bowl with the sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with salt and paprika. Chill.

For the potatoes, cut each potato half into 3 wedges and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and salt and toss well. Transfer to a roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 1- 1/14 hours, or until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with roasted garlic dip.

Enjoy!
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Around the World in 4 Dishes with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following dishes for the Assinboine Park Conservancy Foodie Night with the MLLL (formerly MLCC) under the theme, Around the world in Four Dishes.  APC Education Coordinator, Bonnie Tulloch presented on the plants from the different regions represented and MLLL Product Consultant, Kelly Burton prepared the beverage pairings.

The Lamb Tajine is an adaptation from Paula Wolfert's, The Food of Morocco.

We started with a lovely Summer Sangria:
1 bottle Red Wine
200ml pomegranate Brandy (Wonderful variety from Ontario under the label Persian)
200ml Brandy
orange and lemon slices, lime juice, strawberries
1/2 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water warmed on the stove until the sugar dissolves)
cinnamon
1 can Ginger Ale
 Chill and serve 

1. Guacamole and Grilled Pineapple salsa  with corn tortillas
Simple Guacamole
Paired with Gazella Vinho Verde, #3416, $9.99

1-2 ripe Avocados
Lime or lemon juice
Salt
Options:
Chilies
Garlic
Green onions
Chopped Tomatoes

Cut Avocado in half and with a heavy knife, cut into the seed and remove from fruit. Scoop out avocado from peel into a bowl and mash with lime or lemon juice, a few pinches of salt. Add any or all of the options and serve with tortillas.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

1 pineapple, cored then grilled, then chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, roasted whole over grill then chopped
1 ear corn, roasted or 1 cup pan fried
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chipotle peppers
1/2 cup chopped or pureed tomatoes
salt, to taste
2 tbs brown sugar
2-4 tbs vinegar
drizzle olive oil
3 tbs fresh chopped mint

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate and enjoy with tortillas or in your favourite dish.  Try with fish tacos.  Excellent local corn tortillas are available at Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame.

2. Kerala Shrimp
Paired with Patisserie Chardonnay/Muscat, #15997, $13.99
 
1/4 kg small shrimp
1 tsp ground chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tbs cooking oil (grapeseed oil or canola so as to not add flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
a few curry leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika or chili powder (depending on how spicy you like the food)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Clean and marinate shrimp in chilies, turmeric and vinegar at least 1/2 hour before cooking.

Heat oil in pan and saut� onion until golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside. Fry the shrimp in the same oil until crispy. Then add the fried onion, curry leaves and optional paprika or chili powder on low heat. Add the coconut oil for good Keralan flavour. Test for salt and serve with rice, roti or chappati, etc.

3. Patli�an yog�rtl� (Turkish eggplant dish)
Paired with Sibling Rivalry White VQA, #126144, $13.95
1 lg eggplant sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Slice and salt eggplant and let sit in a bowl of cold water. If eggplant is very young, skip the step of salt and water. Rinse and squeeze out water from slices.

Mince garlic and stir into yoghurt with salt.

Saut� eggplant slices on medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and let sit for a moment on a paper towel. Place on platter and top with yoghurt mixture. Sprinkle rubbed oregano and paprika over yoghurt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with baguette slices or water crackers.

4. Lamb Tajine
Paired with Sister's Run Cows Corner, #15966, $16.99 (surprisingly wonderful white pepper notes!)
 
1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large
tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly saut� onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat. Meat should melt in your mouth when done.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Banana Blossom Thoren

Bonus recipe for tomorrow's guests at Madison Square MLCC for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.

If you have stomach problems, Banana Blossom (flower) Thoren is an Ayurvedic cure.


1 Banana blossom

2-3 Small onions

3 cloves Garlic

1 Green chili

1 Dried red chili

� cup Coconut

� tsp Turmeric powder

� tsp Cumin powder

Curry leaves

Coconut oil

Mustard seed

Salt



Slice the small onions.

Grind together, coconut, green chilly, garlic, 1-2 curry leaves, turmeric powder, cumin powder.

Remove the outer hard leaves of banana flower until you see the lighted colored part.

Wash it well, and chop it , and mix it well with little coconut oil keep aside.

Slice the small onions and garlic.



Steps

Heat oil in a pan.

Add mustard seed, add onion once the it is spluttered.

Add dried chilly and curry leaves.

Add chopped banana flower, salt and saut� well

Add very little water and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Group it together and pour the grounded paste on top.

Before mixing the ground paste, close it with a lid and and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Mix it well after and keep in low flame for few minutes.


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