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Saturday, February 26, 2011

This morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Arctic Char and toasted Nori Sheets

(Arctic Char before baking)

(Arctic Char after baking and on the plate)

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting some easy and delicious recipe ideas for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders. We have gorgeous Arctic Char produced here in Manitoba with organic feed in clean waters. The results are a beautiful fish that is so moist and buttery AND sustainable. It is exclusively available at Gimli Fish.

This recipe is so easy and adaptable for individual tastes.

Herb baked Arctic Char
1 fillet Arctic Char
1 bunch Cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch Chives, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
drizzle good olive oil
pinch each of sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF and place Arctic Char Fillet on a pan. In a bowl, mix up remaining ingredients and spread over the fillet. Bake from 10 - 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Serve immediately. Try with rice or sweet potato and salad with a vinaigrette.


The toasted Nori sheets are also exceptionally easy to prepare and are addictive as potato chips (crisps). Brush the Nori sheet with a bit of sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Place in the toaster oven and toast until it starts to brown or curl up. Remove and break or cut into pieces.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fiery Foods from around the world with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

(Ma Po Dofu - Sichuan tofu dish)

The other night I had the pleasure of presenting fiery foods from around the world for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy with the MLCC. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Conservancy, presented on the flora indicated in the recipes while Sheila Nash, MLCC Product Ambassador, provided excellent beverage pairings for each dish.

1. Penne all'arrabbiata (Italian)
Paired with Highland Park (204560) $ 59.95 (With Ginger Beer)

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 (optional)
Cooked pasta

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


2. Jamaican Jerk Chicken and marinade
Paired with Grand Reserve Mommessin (8152) $ 13.63 and Paulaner Hefe Weissbier (577296) $2.28

1 tbs Ground Allspice
1 tbs dried Thyme
1 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground Sage
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs Garlic, minced
1 tbs white sugar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Soy sauce
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup Orange Juice
Juice of one lime
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (habanero) *
3 green onions – finely chopped

*Optional (may try a variety of chilies)

Mix all ingredients together. Pour over scallops or chicken. Let marinade for at least 3 hours. Grill fish or meat.
Cooling agent: Beer, yoghurt, cucumber, ice cream

3. Shrimp with dip (Korean)
Paired with Soju Chamjinisulro (568568) $ 10.85

1 bag wild caught peeled shrimp (now available at Gimli Fish)

Blanch shrimp in boiling water until fully cooked and then cool immediately in an ice bath. Drain completely.


Sauté shrimp in a drizzle of sesame oil until pink. Season with salt and white pepper. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with the following dipping sauces:

Korean dipping sauce
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.

4. Ma po Dofu (Sichuan Tofu dish)
Paired with Firesteed Pinot Gris (7147) $ 17.95 and O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale (5445) $4.16

Firm Tofu - 200 gm
Fried tofu (minced) - about 75 gm (replace with minced beef for the original version) (Try Veggie ground round by Yves)
Chili bean paste - 1.5 tbsp
Peanut oil - 3 tbsp
Fermented black beans - 2 tsp
Whole Sichuan red chilies - 6-10, depending on your chili tolerance
Chicken stock or vegetable stock (unsalted) - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 large pinch
Light soy sauce - 1 tsp
Corn flour - 2 tsp mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
Sichuan peppercorns (Hwa Jiao) (ground) - 1/4 tsp
Spring onions (scallions) - chopped - 2 tbsp

Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes.

Heat a wok on high heat. When it's nice and hot, add the oil. Add the minced beef (or minced fried tofu or veggie ground round) and stir-fry for about a minute on high heat. The beef should be brown on the outside but still have some cooking left.

With a spatula, move the beef to one side of the wok so the oil can drain back into the middle of the wok. Turn the heat down to medium. (If you don't, you will shortly start coughing till your lungs pop out.)

Now add the chili bean paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds. The oil should turn red. Add the fermented black beans and red chilies and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. The oil should have a nice smell from all this seasoning.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock and stir it in. Then gently add the cut tofu to the liquid. Don't stir-fry this too much or the tofu could break apart. Try to hold the pan by its long handle and gently shake it back and forth.

Add the sugar and light soy sauce. Turn the heat down and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.

Depending on how thick the sauce is at this stage, stir in some of the corn flour-water mixture and turn up the heat to medium. The sauce should start to thicken. Add more of the mixture and cook till the sauce has the consistency slightly more runny than tomato ketchup. It should cling to the tofu nicely.

Stop the cooking at this stage; add the spring onions and mix.

Empty the dish into a hot bowl. Scatter with the powdered Sichuan peppercorns and serve.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Mushroom Soufflé

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting mushroom soufflé on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders. I chose this dish to demystify the soufflé. Broken down into steps, it is a simple dish to prepare with wonderful results. Soufflés are not fussy, in fact, I made the remainder at home, took them out too soon and put them back in the oven only to have the soufflés rise even more.

This is the basic soufflé recipe that can be adapted to other flavours. Try blended butternut squash or crab or cheese among many other options.

I used porcini and morel mushrooms in today's soufflé but you can try white mushrooms, crimini, or other favourites.

Mushroom Soufflé

Preheat oven to 425º F

Part 1:
Make a Béchamel Sauce by combining the following with a small whisk over a double boiler or Bain Marie;

3 tbs. Butter
1/2 cup flour
Add a scant cup cold milk (3/4 cup)
and continue to whisk over the steam heat until thickened.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Part 2:

Sauté 1 chopped onion,
1 cup chopped mushrooms,
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts and deglazed with wine

Blend mushroom mixture to a smooth paste and set aside

Part 3:

Add mushroom mixture to bechamel and whisk in. Then add 4 – 5 egg yolks from large eggs.
Fold in 4-5 egg whites, whisked to stiff peaks.

Use a buttered and floured soufflé mold or 6 smaller ramekins. Pour in the mixture and bake in the oven at 400ºF for 30 minutes (less time if using ramekins) without opening the door during cooking, until well-risen and a deep golden-brown on top.

Serve immediately. Enjoy with a light salad with a vinaigrette. Try with a chocolate fondue for dessert.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Moroccan specialties tonight with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Tonight I will be presenting the following recipes with Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator from the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and Jamie Jette, Product Ambassador from the MLCC for beverage pairings.

1. Beet Salad I and II
Paired with Selbach Dry Riesling (#10617) $14.94

1 lb Beets
1 tb Sugar
1 Lemon; juice of
1 tb Olive oil
1 lg Pinch of cinnamon
1 tb Chopped parsley
Salt; to taste

Wash beets well, being careful not to break their skins. Cut off the
tops, leaving a stalk of about 1 1/2". Boil in a 3 quart saucepan
until tender, covered. Allow the water to cool, then slip off the
skins, trim off the tops, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the beets. Let marinate
for 1 hour before serving.

Beet Salad II: Prepare as described above, but add 1 tsp. orange
flower water, 1/8 tsp. cumin, a pinch of paprika, and a little water
to the sauce.

2. Eggplant Salad, Rabat Style
Paired with Gouguenheim Merlot (#8942) $11.82 and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale (#496711) $ 2.68

1 eggplant
1 clove garlic, peeled and slivered
2 tbs chopped parsley
2 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs olive oil (or less)
1-2 tbs lemon juice
pinch salt

Stud the eggplant with garlic slivers, using a pairing knife to cut slits into the eggplant. Bake at 400ºF until very soft. Remove from oven to cool when darkened and "collapsed".

When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the flesh of the eggplant into a sieve. Discard liquid.

Mash or push the eggplant and garlic through a food mill (avoid a blender as it won't give you the desired effect).

Add the chopped herbs and spices and mix well. Fry in the olive oil over moderate heat, turning often until all of the liquid has evaporated and the eggplant has been reduced to a thick black jam, about 15 - 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Serve warm or slightly cooled.

Try with grape tomatoes and good toasted pita bread.


3. Vegetable Tagine
Paired with Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc (#40501) $11.49 and Tamaya Carmenere (#6717)$17.99

(Use a variety of root vegetables on hand. Tonight I used carrots and parsnips with eggplant and red pepper)

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

4. Grilled Pomegranate Chicken (serves 4 as an entrée or 8+ as an appetizer)
Paired with Inniskillin Okanagan Chenin Blanc (#987907) $15.99 and Blackthorn Cider (#619551) $ 4.32

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup Pomegranate Molasses (Available locally at Halal Meats and Specialty Foods on Maryland, Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame)
1/2 pickled lemon, PEEL only, chopped
2-3 tbs Ras el Hanout
splash rose water
pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil

In a bowl, combine last 6 ingredients. Split chicken by cutting through breast bone and flatten open. Rub spice/pomegranate mixture over chicken on all sides. Chill for a few hours.

Heat up BBQ to high heat. Place chicken on hot grill and sear on both sides for a few minutes. Reduce heat or place on cooler side of BBQ and cook chicken slower, basting until meat is ready to fall off of the bone. Let rest and serve with flat breads, rice and grilled vegetables.