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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.

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