Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Italian Countryside with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC


 Tonight I will be presenting the following dishes for the Foodie Series for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC.  The Foodie Series is available through the City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide and the park.

Bran Adams, of the APC, will be presenting information on the vegetation indicated by these recipes and beverage pairings will be provided by Kelly Burton,  Product Consultant of the MLCC.  

I just pulled a shallot focaccia out of the oven to serve with the salad and Caponatina.

1. Tuscan Squash Salad
Paired with Villa Vulcan Catarratto, $12.73

1 lb squash (butternut, hubbard, or any small firm variety except spaghetti), peeled, seeded and cut in 5-inch slices
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs honey, warm and divided into two parts
� cup chopped walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs walnut oil
� tsp kosher or sea salt
� tsp ground black pepper
~ 6 cups mixed baby greens, lightly packed
� cup crumbled feta

Preheat oven to 400�F. Toss the squash and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly brush with half of the honey. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and brush with the remaining honey. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the squash is cooked through. Some varieties take longer to cook.

While the squash is baking, toast the walnuts lightly. Whisk together the lemon juice, walnut oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Toss the greens with the vinaigrette in a large bowl and place on serving plates. Top with 3-5 slices of squash. Sprinkle with the walnuts and feta, season and serve while the squash is still warm.

2. Caponatina di Melanzane(A very popular dish for antipasto.)
(Sicilian eggplant relish)
Paired with Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, $22.47 (YUM)

This is one of Sicily�s most popular and versatile eggplant dishes. You can eat it with bread, as part of an antipasto, or as a side dish with hot or cold meats or fish. This is the original recipe from Palermo. A caponatina is a �small� caponata.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
600g meaty eggplants
Salt
6-8 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery hearts (inner heads only), cut into little chunks
5 - 7 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup salted capers, rinsed
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 ripe but firm pears, cored, peeled and sliced
� tsp ground cinnamon
� teaspoon ground cloves
1-2 tbs white sugar
50ml white wine vinegar

Ideally you want the pale violet type of eggplant, without too many seeds. Cut the eggplants into cubes the size of a walnut. Immerse in salted water for 1 hour, then drain, squeezing the water out. Pat the eggplants cubes dry.

Heat about 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a saut� pan and fry the eggplant cubes until golden. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Adding more oil to the pan if necessary, fry the onion until soft, then fry all the other ingredients, apart from the sugar and vinegar. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the eggplant to the mixture with the sugar and wine vinegar. Taste for salt and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Caponata can be eaten warm but it is also delicious cold.

3. Karen's Beef Lasagna
Paired with Frappato DOC Vittoria, $22.47

1 pkg lasagna noodles (or make fresh pasta)
2 lbs ground beef
1 tbs olive oil
8 large oven roasted tomatoes or large can of tomatoes
1 head roasted garlic
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (or 2 tbs dried)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried chilies (optional)
1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 - 1 cup red wine
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 500 ml package ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375�F. In a large saucepot, brown ground meat in olive oil over medium high heat. Remove meat from pot and set aside. Add olive oil to pot and slowly brown onions. Then add tomatoes (with water or juice), spices, roasted garlic, brown sugar and red wine. Pur�e sauce and add dried porcini mushrooms and meat back to the sauce. Simmer until well incorporated.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, place 2 layers of noodles on the bottom of dish; layer 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the sauce; repeat layers.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting; serve.


Karen's Vegetable Lasagna

1 pkg lasagna noodles (or make fresh pasta)
4 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cups medium diced zucchini
3 red peppers, seeded and diced
1 tbs olive oil
1 large can tomatoes
1 head roasted garlic
2 large onions, diced
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (or 2 tbs dried)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried chilies (optional)
1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 - 1 cup red wine
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
1 500 ml package ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375�F. In a large saucepot, saut� onions in olive oil over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft. Add zucchini and peppers and cook until soft. Then add tomatoes (with water or juice), spices, roasted garlic, brown sugar and red wine. Simmer until well incorporated.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, place 2 layers of noodles on the bottom of dish; layer 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the sauce; repeat layers.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting; serve.

4. Drunken Figs
Paired with Blandy's Alvada 5 year old Madeira, $12.99

1 package of dried figs
red wine such as Lambrusco works great as it is a sweet wine to begin with, but merlot, shiraz, zinfandel or pinot noir would work great too!


Place dried figs in a glass bowl, cover with wine. Place in fridge. DONE

Enjoy on their own, with ice cream, pound or angel food cake, etc.


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