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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vegetarian Fare - Some ideas for easy preparation

Vegetarian Fare

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting a few vegetarian dishes at the Madison Square MLCC with Product Ambassador and host, Sheila Nash who presented some wonderful pairings as well.

1. Sautéed Tofu with Korean dipping sauces
Paired with Gekkeikan Zipang Sparkling Sake #8548 @ $6.90 and Zonin Prosecco Brut #6017 @ $13.28

4 4-ounce cakes of medium - firm tofu
3 tbs vegetable oil

Cut the tofu into rectangles or squares 3/4 inch thick. Pat dry.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When hot, place tofu in pan, careful not to overfill the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side and turn, looking for a golden colour. Cook the other side for about 3 minutes and remove from oil and place on a warmed platter with paper towels. Serve with dipping sauces

Korean dipping sauce #1

1 tablespoon kochu jiang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1 tbs white vinegar
drizzle sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 scallion, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy with fried tofu, on salads, seafood, etc.

Korean dipping sauce # 2

1/4 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
drizzle sesame oil
pinch white sugar

Mix ingredients and serve as dipping sauce for tofu and other fried foods.


2. Saag Paneer
Paired with E @ J White Zinfandel #285767 @ $8.99, Anakena Cabernet Sauvignon Rose #8938 @ $10.99 and Trivento Reserve Torrontes Mendoza #9385 @ $11.95.

1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
6+ cloves of garlic, peeled
1 fresh hot green chili, sliced roughly
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbs "curry powder" spice blend (I make my own but several excellent ones are available commercially)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
~ 4 tbs vegetable or olive oil
6-8 cups chopped mixed greens (spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, sorrel, arugula, mustard greens, etc)
1 - 2 chopped tomatoes
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbs butter (optional)
salt, to taste
paneer (homemade or available at Dino's on Notre Dame in block or frozen)
1 tsp brown sugar

Place the ginger, garlic and green chili into a small blender with a few tablespoons of water and purée until you have a smooth paste. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and add the onion. When the onion is translucent, add the spices and cook on medium heat until the spices are soft. Then add the chopped tomato and the ginger, garlic, chili paste. When they have softened, add the greens, slowly so as to let them cook down and stir all together. Add the salt. When the greens have cooked down, add the yoghurt, butter if desired and remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or a blender, mix all of the ingredients into a purée. Return to heat and add the fried or non-fried paneer. Cook slowly with a lid so as to not have the hot vegetables bubble up and burn you.

Serve with rice or naan or other flat breads.


3. Patliçan Yogürtlü
Paired with Laurus Chateauneuf De Pape Gabriel Meffre #8922 @ $51.82 and D'Alba Docetto Tenuta Carretta #8024 @ $16.50

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.

Sauté 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.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Local!!! Keema with locally raised grass-fed beef

This morning I had the great pleasure of presenting Keema, a North Indian/Pakistani dish with ground meat and peas, on the Weekend Morning Show with host Kerän Sanders. The beef was from Harbourside Farms in Pilot Mound and is featured in this weekend's Harvest Moon Agriculture Tour.

I also presented the Tuscan Squash Salad, as featured in the previous blog.

Keema (Curried ground meat with peas)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


1/2 kg ground beef or ground lamb
3 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium-sized onions chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsps coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp garam masala
Salt to taste
2 medium-sized tomatoes chopped fine
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish


Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep pan, on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute. Add the onions now. Fry till they turn a pale golden colour. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 1 minute. Add the ground meat and all the powdered spices - coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt to taste. Continue to brown the meat, stirring often to prevent burning. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stir and cook till they are soft. Add the peas and cook until just tender.

Turn off, the stove add the lime juice and stir.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot chapatis or parathas.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Savouring Local Fare with the Assiniboine Park Conservatory and the MLCC

Savouring Local Fare
Last night I had the pleasure of presenting recipes using local ingredients at the Madison Square MLCC Education Centre as part of the ongoing fundraising and education efforts for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Product Ambassador Sheila Nash, for the MLCC, paired each dish with a lovely beverage. Education Coordinator, Bonnie Tulluch, for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, presented information on the plants and produce to be used in the dishes.

1. Excellent Eggs

Paired with Stellers Jay Brut VQA #3757 $22.99

2 eggs per person - recipe for 2 people

4 eggs (farm fresh or Vita Omega 3 eggs are excellent)
1/4 cup cream (Notre Dame Dairies)
Options: fresh chopped chives, spice blends such as Ras el Hanout
pinch salt and pepper (try white pepper)
butter, for sauté pan (Notre Dame Dairies)
dollop of local caviar, for plating (Gimli Fish)
more options: truffle salt, truffle oil

In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, optional spices or herbs and salt and pepper. Heat sauté pan on medium high heat and melt butter. Pour eggs into pan. If using an electric stove, keep pan on stove but turn off heat. If using gas, turn to lowest setting. Fold the eggs until almost set and creamy texture. Place on plate and top with a spoon full of caviar. Serve immediately. Truffle oil can be added on the plate or in the pan using sparingly.


2. Cheeky Pickerel Cheeks

Paired with La Messagere Red Ale #8207 $21.01

1 lb pickerel cheeks (Gimli Fish)
2 tbs butter (Notre Dame Dairies)
1 bunch fresh sorrel (Market place or garden), cut chiffonade
salt and pepper, to taste
Vermouth or white wine, to deglaze pan

In a medium sauté pan, heat pan and melt butter. Toss in the fresh herbs such as sorrel. Sorrel is a lovely lemony perennial and is excellent in soups, stews, curries, salads, etc. Other herbs, such as rosemary, basil, dill, can be used. Sauté pickerel cheeks quickly and turn for each side. Quickly deglaze the pan with the vermouth or white wine. Serve as an amuse, on potato pancakes or as an entrée.


3. Tuscan Squash Salad

Paired with Half Pints Bulldog Amber Ale +6994 $11.83

1 lb squash (butternut, hubbard, or any small firm variety except spaghetti), peeled, seeded and cut in 5-inch slices (Market garden or own garden)
2 tsp fresh pressed canola oil (Tall Grass Prairie Bakery)
3 tbs honey, warm and divided into two parts (Farmer's Market)
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs walnut oil
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
~ 6 cups mixed baby greens, lightly packed (Neva arugula is used, found at FOOD and Food Fare)
½ cup crumbled feta (Oak Island Goat Dairy, found at DeLuca's, FOOD, and some Food Fares)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. 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.

4. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)

Paired with See Ya Later Ranch Pinot 3 VQA #986380 $19.99 and Malivoire Gamay VQA #591313 $15.93 (chef's note: perfect!)

100g butter. (Notre Dame Dairies)
Bunch of fresh sage leaves (Farmer's Market or garden)
80g grated Parmesan
Black pepper.
Penne (Nature's Pasta, available at The Forks, DeLuca's, FOOD, etc.)

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.

5. Fruit Platz

Paired with Rigby Orchards Praire Mead Cassis #8118 $20.50 (chef's note: WOW!!! This was excellent and a great deal for 750 ml.)

1 1/4 c. flour (Tall Grass Prairie Bakery)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c.butter (Notre Dame Dairies)
1 egg yolk (Vita Eggs or Farm Fresh), beaten with
2 tbsp. milk (or a little more) (Notre Dame Dairies or Oak Island Goat Dairy)

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Cream butter, add sited ingredients and blend. Combine egg yolk and milk, add to butter mixture and mix. Press into a greased 11" x 7" pa. Press 3 cp apple wedges, 3/4" thick (any fruit you like) I use about 5 apples, 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 degrees F. oven for 50 minutes or until apples are done. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or plain. Good cold, also.

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

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Back to school lunch and snack ideas

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting two lunch and snack ideas that children and young people surprisingly enjoy for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host, Agatha Moir.

Roasted Red Pepper Humous
Serves 6-8 as a dip or sandwich spread
1-2 cups cooked chick peas from dry peas soaked overnight and then cooked until soft or 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained
1-2 red peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled*
2 cloves garlic minced (I used roasted caramelized garlic to remove the bite)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in your food processor, blender or immersion blender and puree to desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavors to your individual liking.
* Try other cooked vegetables for different flavours and colours, such as roasted beets, carrots, etc. For variety try adding ½ cup fresh parsley and ½ teaspoon cumin for a more Middle Eastern flavor.
Enjoy your easy hummus recipe as a dip for crackers or vegetables or as a spread for your veggie wrap.


2 cups fresh or frozen edamame pods
salt, to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook edamame pods for 5-7 minutes, depending on fresh or frozen. Drain and toss with flake or sea salt.

Young people like to pop them in their mouths, play mouth-popping tiddly winks, etc. They are getting great protein and fibre so sometimes it is okay to play with your food. Have a bowl filled with the pods and a bowl for the shells.

Adults can enjoy them drizzled with a bit of sesame oil and flake salt or with lemon zest and juice.