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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lamb, Morel Mushrooms and Eggplant

(Photos by Karen)
We enjoyed some wonderful Manitoba Lamb. This dinner used rack of lamb but chops are also possible. If using New Zealand lamb, cooking time is reduced as the parts are smaller.

Thank you Ivan for the wonderful Tunisian wine recommendation, Chateau Defleur Carignan-Syrah, 2005. It is a perfect match.

I frenched or prepped the rack of lamb by cutting between each rib and trimming the fat. Then I put the lamb in a ziplock bag with 2 tablespoons of Ras el Hanout, sealed and rubbed the meat with the spice blend. I let it marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Drizzle olive oil over rack of lamb. Sear or grill rack of lamb over high heat on all sides and then roast in a 400ºF oven for 12 - 18 minutes, depending on the size of the rack of lamb. Let rest after roasting for 5-10 minutes.

Morels and Cocktail Tomatoes

2 cups fresh Morel Mushrooms
2 pints Cocktail Tomatoes
1 head roasted garlic
1/4 cup Vermouth
3 tbs butter
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
pinch of sea salt

Sauté morels and tomatoes in butter over medium heat. When tomatoes start to split, add cloves from roasted garlic and season with the nutmeg, pepper and salt. When cooked through, add Vermouth and reduce over heat. Enjoy!

Imam Baldi

Using Japanese Eggplant, I peeled three strips off of each eggplant, placed on a baking dish and drizzled olive oil over the eggplant.

Next, grill eggplant until the berry is soft and cooked through.

Split open the eggplants and spoon the rich tomato sauce into each eggplant.
4 Japanese eggplant (peel off 3 slices of outer skin length-wise around the eggplant)
olive oil (for frying and flavour)
Rich tomato sauce (recipe follows)
cilantro (optional)

Rich Tomato Sauce

1 tin crushed tomatoes (organic fire roasted is nicest)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar (to reduce acid of tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 350°F. On the stove top, preheat olive oil in sauté pan. Carefully brown egplants on all sides. This takes some time. One option is to prepare the eggplant on a BBQ by drizzling olive oil over the eggplants prior to grilling. Remove eggplants from pan and place in a baking dish. Let eggplants rest. Split open the eggplants and spoon in the rich tomato sauce into each eggplant. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and drizzle with good olive oil. Bake for up to 30 minutes. Imam Baldi can be enjoyed hot, cold or room temperature. Serve with bread.


Blood Orange Reduction
2-3 shallots, minced
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chopped blood oranges or marmalade (I used blood orange marmalade)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbs butter
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté shallots in olive oil until translucent over medium heat. Add the blood orange marmalade and incorporate. Stir in the white wine, thyme and butter and salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat to low. Spoon over grilled meats.

Dinner is served!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fiddleheads - their own posting this time around

Fiddlehead Ferns with Brown Butter and Pancetta

One of the special treats of spring are fiddlehead ferns, which grow wild along mossy stream banks. They are simply the immature leaf fronds of ostrich fern plants that have not yet opened. Fern leaves are poisonous once they open and can only be enjoyed in this early stage, when they taste like a cross between artichokes and asparagus.

After a fiddlehead is removed from the stalk, the cut end starts to turn brown. Be sure to trim back the stem (about 1/4 inch) to the healthy green section before cooking.

Kosher salt
3 pounds fiddle head ferns, trimmed and washed
1/4 lb chopped pancetta
6 tablespoons brown butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly nutmeg

1. In a large pot bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Fill a medium bowl halfway with ice water. Drop the fiddleheads into the pot and cook for 1 minute. Drain the fiddleheads in a colander, then submerge in the ice water until completely cool. Let the fiddleheads drain well in a colander and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to dry.
2. Slowly brown butter in a large skillet. Bring up to higher temperature and cook chopped pancetta.
3.Heat for a minute or two until they are warm, then divide the fiddleheads among the plates. Serve at once as a side dish or on Chinese soup spoons as an appetizer.


Fiddleheads are available at DeLuca's on Portage.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sunday's Event

Escargot, Ahi Tuna, Oysters and Calimari all available at Gimli Fish on Dufferin in Winnipeg.

Sunday's Menu
Surf, Turf and more of the Earth

Ahi Tuna Udon Spoons
Oysters Rockefeller
Calimari with Chipotle Aioli
Escargot with Pesto Butter

Porcini Mushroom Consommé

Light on the Earth
Avocado, Grape Tomatoes, Balsamic Reduction

Turf and More Earth
Bison tenderloin with Ras el Hanout and Blood Orange Reduction
Roasted Yams
Turkish Eggplant with Yoghurt

Heavenly Delights
Pavlova with Meyers Lemon curd

Within Earth's Orbit
Assorted Cheeses with Montreal Baguettes and Fresh Dates