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Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Season Now! Pickerel Cheeks and Rhubarb

(Rhubarb Cake - Photo by Karen Peters)

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting two recipes on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host Donna Carriero. Pickerel is in season and is in such abundance. It is our wonderful local and very sustainable fishery. This recipe calls for pickerel cheeks, the delicate scallops of the prairies. They are available at Gimli Fish Market, found at three Winnipeg locations, 596 Dufferin Ave., on Pembina Hwy, just South of Grant and on St. Mary's Road.

Pickerel Cheek Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 lb pickerel cheeks
2 tsp butter
1 bunch fresh tarragon (or other favourite fresh herbs)
salt and pepper, to taste
splash Mirin, to deglaze pan (can use Vermouth or for non-alcohol uses, apple or pear juice)

1 large bowl full baby salad greens (can use mixes or spinach or arugula)
Oil and vinegar vinaigrette (1 part vinegar:3 parts good oil, salt and pepper and dried herbs and/or 1 tsp Dijon mustard). Try different vinegars such as sherry, balsamic, apple cider, champagne, etc.

Sauté pickerel cheeks on both sides in melted butter with herbs over medium high heat. Deglaze and season with salt and pepper. Toss in with prepared salad and serve immediately. You can also let the pickerel cheeks cool first and then serve cold.

Rhubarb Cake

1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. butter (Margarine)
1 egg yolk,, beaten with
2 tbsp. milk (or a little more)

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Cream butter, add above ingredients and blend. Combine egg yolk and milk, add to butter mixture and mix. Press into a greased (?) 11" x 7" pan. Press about 2-3 cups rhubarb, sliced and pressed in.

3/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. flour, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (opt.) about 1/4 c. butter (or less) to make a crumb topping. Can sprinkle with almond slices (opt.) Sprinkle crumbs over fruit. Bake at 375 ºF oven for 50 minutes or until rhubarb is done. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or plain. Good cold, also. Apples and Apricots make a great fruit for this.

For rhubarb I sprinkle a bit more sugar & a bit of mixed in flour because of the tartness and juice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flavours of Asia for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory with the MLCC

(Sichuan Peanut Noodles with Tofu knots - photo by Karen)


I had the pleasure yesterday of presenting a variety of flavours from Asian countries as a fund raising event for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory with Education Coordinator Bonnie Tulloch. I chose samples from the Caucasus to Korea but also items that could easily be made in your own home kitchens. They are versatile to local ingredients yet still very authentic to their origins. For example, in the first recipe, if there is a walnut allergy, try making it with almonds. Adapt the heat of the chilies in other recipes to your tastes. Most of all, enjoy.

All of the dishes were paired with excellent beverages on behalf of MLCC's Product Ambassador, Gary Dawyduk.

To Start:
Ginger Beer Fizz
1 part Tsingtao Beer (#293787, 300 ml, $1.73)
1 part Ginger beer (“Old Tyme” or “Grace”)
mix ingredients with slices of fresh ginger, serve over ice

1. Pomegranate Walnut Paste on Endive - Caucasus

Paired with Crémant de Bourgogne Brut – Simonnet-Febvre (#7451) $19.09

½ cup pomegranate molasses
1 onion, chopped
½ cup walnuts (use almonds if walnut allergy)
¼ cup softened raisins
1 tbs pomegranate seeds
good amount olive oil (1/4 – ½ cup good olive oil)
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp paprika (smoked or plain)
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix first 9 ingredients in a blender until a smooth paste. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spoon into endive leaves for an appetizer, salad and serve cold or grilled. Used also in grilled chicken or lamb.

2. Kerala Shrimp – South India

Paired with Gazela Vinho de Mesa Rosé – Sogrape (#9394) $8.61

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 sauté 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. Bulgogi – Korean BBQ Beef

Paired with Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 – Klinker Brick (#5877) $28.80

• Bulgogi marinade for 1 lb of meat (approx 1 cup)
• 1 pound sliced beef *
1. Prepare Bulgogi marinade according to directions.
2. If beef is not sliced, slice into thin, finger-length strips (if you freeze the beef for 15 minutes, it will be easier to slice).
3. If you can, ask the butcher at the meat counter to slice for you in very thin strips. Korean and/or Asian grocery stores will often have meat for Bulgogi pre-sliced for sale.
4. Mix marinade into meat with hands or chopsticks, making sure all the meat is covered.
5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. For tougher cuts, the more hours, the better. You can also freeze the uncooked marinated beef in small amounts for later use.
6. Grill, broil, or stir fry the beef until well-done and caramelized on the outside.
7. Serve with rice, lettuce leaves, and side dishes.

(Serves 4)
*Top sirloin or tenderloin work best, but almost any steak cut will do. The best quality meat will obviously taste the best.
• 3 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 1 Tbsp honey
• 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed juice from an Asian pear
• 1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin)*
• 1 Tbsp sesame oil
• 3 green onions, finely chopped (including white part)
• 1 tsp pepper

4. Sichuan Peanut Noodles – Sichuan, China

Paired with Singha Lager Beer (#676395, 330ml) $2.33

Please note, the beer will help cool the effect of the chilies.

2-3 tbs chunky peanut butter
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2-3 tbs vinegar
2-3 tbs good soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup good Chinese hot sauce (to taste)
1 heaping tbs brown sugar
drizzle sesame oil
Cooked Chinese noodles or spaghetti
Options: chopped or grated cucumber for serving cold, cooked tofu for hot or cold, chopped scallions or chives, snap peas, etc.

Mix the first 8 ingredients into a smooth paste. Mix with cooked pasta or noodles and serve immediately or chill.

5. Burfi – India

Paired with Vin Doux Muscat – Samos (#44578) $13.62

2 cup Whole Milk
2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
2 tbs dried Milk Powder
3 tbs powdered Sugar (Cheeni)
3 tbs Ghee
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
1 sheets Edible Silver Foil (Varq)

• Heat the milk a little and add lemon juice in the milk to curdle it.
• Hang the curdled milk in a muslin cloth for 3 hours.
• This results in the solidification of milk into cheese.
• Add milk powder and sugar to the cheese and kneed the mixture well.
• Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and add the cheese mixture.
• Stir-Fry over very low flame until the ghee separates.
• Take off the mixture from the heat, add cardamom powder to it, and allow to cool slightly.
• Blend properly by again kneading it.
• Pat the kneaded mixture into a flat cake and allow it to cool completely.
• Cut into squares and decorate with silver foil.

To Finish:
6) Red Lotus cocktail
1 ½ parts Lychee Liqueur (Soho, #6340, $23.99)
1 ½ parts Vodka (SKYY, #410415, $22.99)
1 part Cranberry juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well; strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with lychee or cherry

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moroccan Beef Stew

I was looking around in recipes for an idea to use some lovely stewing beef and I decided to adapt a Moroccan lamb recipe but with fewer steps. A very nice result indeed.

1 lb stewing beef
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 sauté 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.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Asparagus

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting this very easy method of preparing halibut on CBC Weekend morning with Kerän Sanders.

There is no fussing about. Halibut is in season now and available at Gimli Fish on Dufferin or Pembina Hwy. Asparagus and fiddleheads are in season now as well. Photo coming later today.

*How do I know when my fish is done cooking? When the fish looks gelatinous or opaque, it is still uncooked. When it is solid white it is cooked. Do not overcook.

Olive Oil poached Halibut with Grilled Asparagus or Fiddleheads

2 skinned filets of halibut (1/4 pound/125 g each)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
Zest of one orange (try grapefruit or lemon as well)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
2 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, cut in half
Freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel, for garnish

Heat the oven to 250°F/120°C. Lay the fish filets in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour over enough oil to cover. Add the orange zest, fennel, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Bake until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the fish from the oil. Garnish with fleur de sel. Serve with Grilled Asparagus or Fiddleheads and a little of the cooking oil drizzled over.

To grill Asparagus, trim ends and drizzle with olive oil. Place over a hot grill and turn a minute or so on each side. Remove from heat and zest orange or lemon on top, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of fleur de sel.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Non-Dairy - a taste test

Recently, when it became possible that my newborn might be lactose intolerant, Fresh Option Organic Delivery, aka FOOD, gave me three non-dairy products to sample. These were soy and brown rice products. My first trial was Silk, a descriptive name for a smooth and very enjoyable beverage. It was, like having a nice milkshake and I had the whole container throughout the day. Definitely a winner but as a treat and likely not a main beverage. The second place for flavour and texture was the So Nice product. A cold glass of it tasted like milk. Having it in my breakfast granola brought out the more soy taste that didn't come out drinking it straight. Also, having it warmed in the evening with some honey was pleasant.

My last trial was Ryza. For me, it didn't have a lot to do with substituting for dairy. Thinking of dairy, this is not enjoyable. You have to remove the concept of dairy and take Ryza as a product unto itself. If you think of anything dairy, you will likely not enjoy this product. However, if you consider it a beverage or cooking medium, it is enjoyable. It won't be my first choice but there are some excellent choices available. Call FOOD at 774-1479 or check out their website

Saturday, May 01, 2010

In Season Now! Morels and Fiddleheads on Weekend Morning with Kerän Sanders

I had the pleasure of presenting local fiddleheads and morel mushrooms on CBC Weekend morning with Kerän Sanders.

Morel Mushroom Port Pan Sauce

1/2 onion, small dice or 2-3 finely chopped shallots
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1 cup morels, whole or sliced
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup port, approximate amount
salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté onion until translucent in butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add rosemary and morel mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in mustard and then add port, salt and pepper. You can add a bit more butter at the end. Spoon over grilled meats that are resting after grilling. Enjoy.

*For a white sauce option for fish or chicken, add cream to the recipe and use white wine instead of port. Grated nutmeg is also a nice flavour for the sauce.

*Adding butter at the end of the recipe can thicken the sauce nicely.

Fiddleheads in Brown Butter with Pancetta

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 from BC are available at DeLuca's on Portage and local Manitoba fiddleheads are available through Fresh Option Organic Delivery.