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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Moroccan Mystery" - A cooking demo for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory held at the Madison MLCC

I presented the following recipes at the lovely demonstration kitchen at the Madison Square MLCC for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Beverage pairings were by MLCC Product Ambassador, Stephen Moran.

Pickled vegetables and olives were paired with Strawberry and Sambuca Crème
Ramazzotti Sambuca (323972) $19.72, Pink Lemoncello Rossi D’Asiago Lemoncello (9221)$24.73

Dessert of fresh dates and Baklava was paired with Samos Muscat – (44578)$13.92
Ouzo #12 & Coffee – (123133)$21.95

Opening Beverage: SnowBall Cocktail w Metaxa 7 Star Brandy (116038) $26.68

Vegetable Tagine with Bulgur Pilaf
Paired with Shandy Gaff, Morocco Ale & spiced lemonade(512576)$3.63, and Mas Neuf Blanc (8829)$15.95

2 red peppers
3-4 carrots
1 head garlic cloves
1-2 Japanese eggplants (or 1 large globe eggplant)
1-2 yams
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup olives
1/2 pickled lemon RIND ONLY*
2-3 tbs olive oil
2-3 tbs Ras el Hanout*
splash rose water*
1 tbs turmeric
salt and pepper and some water

2 cups bulgur*
1 onion
2 tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup Afghani Tut* (aka yellow berry)
good pinch Saffron in a few tablespoons milk*
3 cups Water
salt and pepper

Thinly slice eggplant and salt if necessary. Seed and chop peppers into medium sized pieces. Peel and slice carrots. Slice onions into thin slices. Peel garlic and cut into large chunks if cloves are very large or keep whole if smaller sized. Peel and cube yams. Pit dates and olives if necessary. Remove lemon flesh from the peel and chop peel finely. Discard lemon flesh. Combine vegetables, dates, olives, lemon, olive oil , Ras el Hanout, rose water, turmeric, salt and pepper and about 1/4 cup of water in a large bowl. If you have salted the eggplant, rinse in cold water and squeeze out slices. Place vegetable mixture in a casserole dish or tajine. Cover and cook on stove top over medium heat, checking and stirring occasionally.

OPTIONS: cauliflower, zucchini, cooked chick peas

For the bulgur, slice onions thinly and sauté in olive oil until just browned. Add bulgur and mix in well with onions. Add water, almonds, tut, and salt and pepper. When it comes to a boil, add the milk/saffron mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff bulgur and plate as timbales with vegetable tagine.

Lamb with Ras el Hanout and Prunes
Paired with Tenute Robino Negroamaro (8633) $15.26 and Mont Tauch Cotes du Rousillon (395)$15.50

1 leg of lamb, boned out (shortens cooking time)(Fresh Manitoba Lamb at DeLuca' at 950 Portage Ave.)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
a good pinch of saffron*
Salt, to taste
2 tbs ras el hanout*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large onion, grated
1 bunch green coriander, tied together (optional)
1 lb pitted prunes
2 cups finely sliced onion
1/2 cup honey
4 tart apples
1-2 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Trim meat of excess fat. Cut meat into chunks or leave whole. Melt butter and mix with the oil, saffron, salt, ras el hanout, cinnamon, grated onion and coriander. Dip each chunk of meat into the mixture or coat meat entirely and place in a medium heated casserole dish. Turn meat being careful not to burn the meat but allowing the aromas of the spices to be released. Add water to almost cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. If the bone is in, roast in the oven at 350º until coming off of the bone.

After the meat has cooked for 1 hour, add the sliced onion to the casserole and cook 30 minutes longer.

Add prunes and stir in 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 of the honey. Simmer, uncovered until the prunes swell and the sauce has reduced.

Quarter and core the apples. Sauté in a skillet, flesh side down with a tbs of butter until soft and glazed.

To serve, arrange the lamb on the serving dish, pour the onion-prune sauce over, decorate with the apples and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Serve at once.

* Products available at Halal Meats and Specialty Foods at 206 Maryland, Dino’s Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame and DeLuca’s Specialty Foods at 950 Portage Ave.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This morning on CBC Weekend Morning Show - Cuban Pulled Pork

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting a very simple slow cooker recipe for Cuban pulled Pork on the Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders on CBC Radio. For sources of local naturally raised pork in Manitoba, please see The tortillas are also a wonderful local product from Winkler, Manitoba by Sunny Day Products that I have found at Mercadito Latino on Henderson Hwy and at Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame.

Cuban Pulled Pork

½ cup lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup grapefruit juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
One 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast (I used a pork butt cut)
1 cup sliced onion

• In a small bowl combine the lime juice, water, grapefruit juice, garlic, oregano, salt, cumin, pepper, and bay leaves.
• Trim the fat from the meat. If necessary, cut the roast so that it will fit easily in the slow cooker. Pierce the meat in several places; then place it in a large plastic resealable bag or a large glass bowl.
• Pour the marinade over the meat. Chill in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
• Place the sliced onion in a 3 ½- to 5-quart slow cooker. Top with the meat and the marinade mixture.
• Cover the crock pot and cook on the low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on the high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
• Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cool slightly.
• Skim the fat from the juices in the slow cooker and remove the bay leaves.
• Use 2 forks to gently separate the meat into shreds; then transfer the shredded meat to a serving platter.
• With a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the juices; then transfer the onions to same serving platter.
• Wrap the meat and onions in the tortillas and serve with small bowls of the hot juices and Pico de Gallo. If desired, add lettuce and guacamole.

I found this recipe to have wonderful flavours but I also added hot smoked paprika after shredding the meat with forks. I later added the sauce from canned chipotle peppers.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turkish Delights - Last night with the MLCC and the Assiniboine Park Conservatory

Last night I had the pleasure to present some Turkish recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory at the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission at Madison Square. Gary Dawyduk, a MLCC/Liquor Marts Product Ambassador from the MLCC provided excellent pairings with each course. Enjoy!

The evening started with a welcome drink of Ouzo 12 Liqueur (Greece, #123133)$21.95
It was served with tonic water and I provided a small piece of wonderful local goat feta from Oak Island Goat Dairy.

The cheese is available at DeLuca's on Portage Ave. When the water is added to the Ouzo or Raki, it becomes a milky colour, referred to as Lion's Milk.

Paired with Pinot Grigio n/v – Barefoot Cellars (California, #4206) $9.99
1-2 cups plain yoghurt, drained
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed
pinch black pepper
2 tsp good olive oil

Drain cucumber and mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill. Enjoy with flat bread, as a salad or a topping.

Making your own yoghurt

4 litres milk (at least 2%)
2-4 tbs plain yoghurt (NO GELATIN!)

Pour the milk into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Let the milk cool to 100º to 110ºF. It should feel slightly warm to the touch. In a non-metallic bowl, whisk up the starter yoghurt and slowly add by the ladle-full, the warmed milk. Pour in the milk after a few ladle-fulls. Mix well and cover bowl with plastic wrap, cover in towels or blankets and keep in a warm place for 8 hours or until set. Refrigerate and you can use this for your next starter.

2. Stuffed Grape Leaves with Ground meat (Etli Yaprak Sarması)

Paired with Nemea 2007 – Boutari (Greece, #281956) $12.99

Sarma refers to a dish that can be prepared with grape, cabbage, or chard leaves. The term sarma derives from Turkish verb "sarmak," which means to wrap or to roll. It can be prepared with rice and spices (vegetarian) or with rice and ground meat. Both are delicious. Sometimes sarma is called dolma, too, yet on the western part of Turkey, rolled leaves are always called sarma.

makes 50-60 stuffed grape leaves
1/2 lb ground meat
1/3 cup white rice
2 medium size onions, grated or chopped finely in a processor
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup dill
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil or 1,5 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
juice of 1/2 lemon

grape leaves
-If you have fresh grape leaves, boil water in a pot. Cook grape leaves ~1 minute in boiling water. Take out and let cool.
-If you are using jarred grape leaves, soak them in cold water for an hour; they tend to be salty.
-Put ground meat, rice, onion, black pepper, salt, parsley, dill, and 1,5 tbsp olive oil in a bowl.
-Dissolve 1 tbsp tomato paste with 3 tbsp hot water and pour this into the bowl.
-Mix all the ingredients.
-Save the broken, faulty leaves. Use them to cover the bottom of a pot with grape leaves to prevent them from burning.
-Take one leaf. Place it on a smooth surface the vein side up/shiny side down. Place a spoonful of stuffing at the bottom center of the leaf close to the stem. Fold in two sides first and then the bottom. Then roll it neatly like a cigar. Keep rolling until all the leaves are gone. If you still have stuffing, you can use it to stuff small bell peppers.
-Stack stuffed grape leaves in the pot tightly layer by layer.
-Add 1,5 tbsp olive oil or butter, juice of half lemon and water to barely cover the sarmas.
-Place a flat-ish plate on top of stuffed grape leaves so that they won't move around. Cover and cook on low for 35-45 minutes.
-Serve with crusty bread and yogurt.

Vegetarian version
• 3 C. rice, soaked in boiling water and salt for 1hr.
• 1/2 C. olive oil
• Juice of one large lemon
• 1 bunch green onions, chopped
• 1 bunch parsley, minced
• 1 large, firm tomato, chopped
• 1 tsp. dried mint (optional)
• Salt and pepper to taste
Thoroughly rinse rice and drain well.
Mix the rice and all the above ingredients in a bowl.
If you are using fresh grape leaves blanch in boiling water for a minute.
Stuff and cook.
You could use torn grape leaves or slices of tomato to line the bottom of the pan so that the bottom layer of stuffed grape leaves won't scorch.

3. Kofta

Paired with Zinfandel 2007 – Rosenblum (California, #6670) $19.02

1 lb ground meat (lamb, elk or bison)
1 fennel or Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tbs Baharat (or combination of mint, cumin, chilies, pepper, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs or Panko
1 egg

Mix all ingredients well together and form into small oblong shapes. Broil or grill for a few minutes on each side until done. Enjoy with pita, yoghurt tahini sauce or other dips.

It is often broiled in a large pan with hot peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic.

4. Turkish Green Beans (Zeytinyağlı Taze Fasulye)

Paired with Cappellaccio Aglianico Riserva 2004 – Rivera (Italy, #9250) $16.91

1 pound of fresh green beans or
1 pack of frozen green beans (either French style or Italian cut)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
2 big fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, grated, or blended or 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup hot water

1/8 tsp ground cumin
pepper/ crushed pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste

-If you're using fresh green beans clean and trim them to 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
-Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chopped onions and garlic until lightly brown.
-If you want to use tomato paste add it at this point and stir for a min.
-Add the beans and stir them until they slightly change color (app. 6-8 mins).
-Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins and then add sugar (cumin and pepper), water, and salt. -Cover the pan and cook with low heat until the beans are soft (30 mins with frozen beans - 45 mins with fresh ones).
I cook it for far less time as I don’t like very soft beans.

This is traditionally served cold, but it's good when it's warm too.

5. Turkish Pumpkin Dessert (Kabak Tatlısı)

Paired with Guinness Draught (Ireland, #643650, 330 ml) $2.36 and Vinsanto 2004 – Badia di Morrena (Italy, #7997) $28.98

Pumpkin dessert is a very easy-to-make popular and traditional recipe.

pumpkin or butternut squash
4-5 cloves
crushed walnuts

The ratio of pumpkin to sugar is 1 to 1/2. I used 3 cups of squash and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Peel the pumpkin, cut it into big chunks, and put in a pot. Put sugar on and let it sit over night. It will release water, so you don't need to add water when you're cooking it. The next day, add 4-5 cloves in to the pot and cook on medium until the pumpkin is soft, approximately 30 minutes. Let it cool and garnish with walnuts or grated coconut.

For an Irish touch, serve with Guinness.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Chocolate Fondue on CBC Weekend Morning

This morning on CBC Weekend Morning I had the pleasure of presenting a Dark Chocolate Fondue. Next week is Valentine's Day and this is a simple but wonderful dessert.

Valentine's Day marks the beginning of the Fair Trade Challenge. For more information, check out

Dark Chocolate Fondue

2 cups heavy cream
up to one pound chopped dark chocolate (can reduce entire recipe)
splash of rum, cognac or favourite liqueur (optional)

Heat cream in a ceramic fondue dish until ready to boil. Turn off heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until shiny. Add splash of liqueur. Enjoy with baguettes, fruit or chill and use as a ganache for brownies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Italian Countryside - Rabbit! for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy!

I had the pleasure last night of presenting foods on the theme of Italian Countryside as part of the events through the Assiniboine Park Conservatory held at the MLCC.

Enjoy these items as part of everyday celebrations.

The reception beverage was an Italian Iced Tea made with Cinzano.

1. Vegetable Antipasto Platter

The wine pairing was Mezzomondo Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay $10.05

Hot Pickled eggplant
Pickled mushrooms
Marinated artichokes
Roasted Red peppers
Raw vegetables (Radicchio, arugula, etc.)

2. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)

A lovely wine pairing was Casa Alle Vacche Vernaccia Di San Gimignano $13.99

100g butter.
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
80g 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.

3. Penne l’Arrabiata
Wine paired was A-Mano Primitivo (Puglia) $16.73

1 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 cup good black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 cups tomato puree
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs hot pepper flakes
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs dried basil
½ - 1 cup red wine
Salt, to taste
½ tbs brown sugar
½ cup chevre
Cooked pasta

Sauté onion until translucent. Add olives and cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomato, garlic and chillies. Add red wine to desired thickness of sauce. Stir in salt and brown sugar. Mix with pasta and drop in bits of chevré.


4. Rabbit with Squash

Local and naturally raised rabbits can be purchased in the Winnipeg area from Geri at 485 2278 or 482 8508.
Rabbit is also available from local natural sources from DeLuca's on Portage Ave. in Winnipeg.
How to cut a Rabbit?

This sweet and savory dish was paired with Damilano Dolcetto D’Alba $26.99

This is an old recipe -- the combination of sweet and savoury is relatively rare in modern Italian cooking -- but will be very nice in the winter months, especially if it is cold out. Although the recipe calls for rabbit, but you could use -- if you had to -- chicken.
Prep Time: 0 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
• 1 rabbit skinned and chopped into pieces
• 3/4 pound (350 g) squash pulp (a squash along the lines of zucca gialla, or butternut squash)
• 1/2 cup almonds
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1 quart (1 liter) dry red wine
• A sprig of rosemary
• 2 bay leaves, crumbled
• A sprig of sage
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
• 2 cloves
• A bunch of parsley
• 3/4 cup (180 ml) dry white wine
• 2/3 cup (120 g) unsalted butter
• A pinch each sugar and powdered cinnamon
• Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and pat the rabbit pieces dry and return them to the bowl. Pour the red wine over the rabbit, and add the bay leaves, the garlic, the sage, the rosemary, the cloves, a few peppercorns, and a few leaves of parsley. Cover the bowl and let it stand in the refrigerator over night.

The next day, when you're ready to cook the rabbit, which will be much more tender thanks to the marinade, plump the raisins in the white wine for 20 minutes, and drain them well. Coarsely chop the almonds, and put them in a bowl with a pinch each of sugar and cinnamon, a goodly dash of pepper, and the drained raisins.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or earthenware pot, and brown the rabbit, turning the pieces so they color on all sides. Meanwhile, filter the marinade. Once the meat has browned, sprinkle it with a ladle of marinade. Cook until about half the liquid has evaporated, then stir in the almond mixture, cover, and simmer for an hour.

Dice the squash, stir the pieces into the rabbit, and continue cooking for 20 minutes more. This dish is very good over polenta.

5. Sicilian Cannoli

The dessert was paired with Beviamo Moscati D’Asti $19.62 and Frangelico $23.67

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
3/4 cup Marsala wine
egg white
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

1 15oz container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
confectioners sugar for dusting

1. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and Marsala wine. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until well mixed.

2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

3. Roll out the dough until very thin. Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut dough into 4-inch rounds, and roll again until very thin.

4. Roll each piece tightly around a cannoli tube. Seal with egg white.

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep 3.5 quart pot to 350 degrees.

6. Place the dough forms in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain. Cool and gently twist tube to remove shell from form.

7. In a large mixing bowl whip sugar, vanilla and ricotta together until smooth, then stir in the chocolate chips.

8. Spoon filling into a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe the ricotta cream into the pastry shells, dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

Options: Lemon filling, mocha filling, etc.