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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Salt-Baked whole Arctic Char!

I was eager to try this out with our lovely local Arctic Char. So delicious and moist and very easy to do.

Salt-Baked Arctic Char

1 Medium whole Arctic Char*
4 - 5 cups Course Sea Salt
3 tbs ground Lemon Grass*
1 whole egg, beaten
1/4 cup water
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 400º. Fit parchment paper on to baking sheet and place whole fish on the paper. In a bowl, mix salt and lemon grass together. Add egg amd water to make a paste with the salt but not too much as to dissolve the salt. Pack the salt mixture over the fish. Bake at 400º for up to 20 minutes. The salt will start to brown slightly when done. Remove from the oven and crack open the salt dome. Brush aside the salt and place on a platter. Peel away the skin of the fish and you should have very moist, flavourful fish.

Some variations can include using other fresh herbs in the salt or smoky dry teas.

*Beautiful Arctic Char now available at Gimli Fish, located in Winnipeg at 596 Dufferin Ave., 625 Pembina Hwy and 1604 St. Mary's Rd. Call ahead and ask for a whole fish to for fresh purchase on Fridays.
** Ground Lemon Grass is available in Winnipeg in the freezer section at Dino's Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame Avenue.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Moroccan Orange Roast Lamb

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting Moroccan Orange Roast rack of Lamb on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders. Very simple to prepare with spectacular results.

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Moroccan Orange Roast Lamb

1 (2 ½ - 3lb) fresh lamb loin roast, bone in (cut through at 1 inch intervals)
½ cup marmalade (I’m using a homemade blood orange Meyer lemon marmalade but you can use your favourite or chopped oranges, pith removed)
1 tbs olive oil
1 heaping tbs Ras el Hanout (available at many fine Winnipeg shops)*
good pinch sea salt
1 tbs Dijon Mustard
shredded orange zest

To prepare roast: Place bone side down on flat surface. Pull meat flap down to be even with bone and form roast into a tight roll. Tie string around length of roast to prevent bones from spreading. Tie roast at one-inch intervals, securing the rolled shape, making sure string does not slip into cuts. Using a roasting pan with rack, place lamb on rack, bone side down. Brush with olive oil and rub with Ras el Hanout and sea salt, mustard and marmalade mixture.

Roast lamb in preheated 350ºF oven to desired degree of doneness; 31 to 35 minutes per pound or 150ºF for medium-rare, 36 to 38 minutes per pound or 160ºF for medium. During the last 30 minutes of roasting, brush with glaze several times. When the lamb is done, remove from oven, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve, topped with shredded orange zest.

Options: If you are looking to simplify even further, have loin cut into chops. Rub with Ras el Hanout and make a simple glaze/sauce with the marmalade. To grill the chops, rub with spice and then oil the chop before putting on a hot grill. Just a few minutes per side.

*Ras el Hanout is found at Dino’s Grocery Mart on Notre Dame, Halal Meats and Specialty Foods on Maryland, DeLuca’s on Portage, D.A. Niels on Berry

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easy Summer Appetizers with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Turkish Stuffed Apricots - Cevizli Kayisi Tatlisi

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following easy appetizers to a group at the Madison Square MLCC for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on the flora of each recipe presented while Carol Herntier, Product Ambassador for the MLCC, presented excellent and surprising pairings for each dish.

Reception beverage: Vex Pink Lemonade $6.06

Easy Summer Appetizers

1. Tuna Tataki on Summer Greens
Paired with See Ya Later Ranch Pino 3 VQA - B.C. $20.05 and Mission Hill Pinot Noir VQA - B.C. $16.99

1 tuna steak
½ cup ground nori sheet (try also ground green tea, black pepper, sesame seeds, etc.)
sesame oil
sea salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
Salad greens

Pat tuna steak dry and press into chosen flavouring. Wrap and chill until ready to serve. Prepare salad and plate. Heat a pan to high heat and drizzle in some sesame oil. Place tuna steak on hot pan and sear each side for up to 1 minute. Remove from heat and let rest. Slice across the bias and place over salad greens or serve on its own with a dipping sauce.

2. Fiddleheads in Brown Butter with Pancetta
Paired with Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir VQA - Ontario $26.99 and Unibroue Ephémere Apple White Ale - Quebec $5.40

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.

3. Soba Spoons
Paired with Jost Beavercreek Gerensheim - Nova Scotia $13.75

1 -3 bundles Buckwheat Soba Noodles (try green tea or other varieties)
2 tsp good Dijon Mustard
1 tsp grainy mustard
1-2 tsp good soy sauce
1 inch grated fresh ginger
2-3 tbs white vinegar
1/2 tsp white sugar
2 green onions, finely chopped
drizzle sesame oil

Cook Soba noodles in unsalted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain in cold water immediately. Drain completely. Drizzle with sesame oil to prevent sticking and set aside to chill.

In a larger bowl, mix grated ginger, vinegar, mustards, soy sauce, sugar, finely chopped green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil. When ready to serve, gently mix noodles with sauce. With a fork, twirl a bite-sized amount of dressed noodles and place on a Chinese soup spoon. Place spoons on a platter and serve.

4. Stuffed apricots
Paired with Palatine Hills Estate Vidal Select Late Harvest VQA - Ontario $20.16

20 dried apricots
scant ½ cup sugar
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
400g (1lb) mascarpone

Halved walnuts
Mint leaves
Ground pistachios

Cut into the apricots and place in a bowl of warm water with the sugar; soak for 15 minutes. Then transfer the apricots with the soaking water in a pot and cook for about 10 minutes.

To make the cream, mix the confectioner’s sugar and mascarpone in a bowl until smooth.

Spoon the cream into a forcing bag and fill the drained apricots. Arrange on a serving dish. Garnish with walnuts, mint and/or pistachio.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Turkish specialties offered at D.A. Niels and a fine Kerala breakfast treat.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of offering some Turkish specialties at D.A. Niels. I made Kofta and Patliçan Yogürtlü. I made the Kofta with local organic ground beef and left out the sausage but added wild fennel pollen (you can use ground fennel seed). If you are using ground elk or bison, I would recommend the use of a sausage for added moisture and fat content.

I made these items often on the boat in Turkey where I worked as a chef/sailor/German-speaking tour guide. Looking out at the snow in April, it is easy to think about the gorgeous blue waters of the Aegean.

Later in the day, I enjoyed teaching a group of people some recipes and techniques of cooking foods from Kerala. The egg recipe is an easy and spicy breakfast to enjoy with flaky parathas.

1. Kofta

1 lb ground meat (lamb, elk or bison)
1 fennel or Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tbs Baharat
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.

Yoghurt tahini sauce

1/2 cup good plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, minced
3 heaping tbs tahini
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together. The tahini will cause the sauce to thicken quickly. Use on grilled Pide or Naan or as a crudité dip.


2. Patliçan Yogürtlü

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.


Duck Egg Curry (an excellent way to start the day)
If you can't find Duck eggs, large chicken eggs are also fine.

3 hard boiled duck’s eggs, shelled and with one or two slashes on each
to taste – salt and vinegar
3 tbs oil
1 ½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup sliced onion
1 tbs oil

Fry the onion in oil and lift it.

Fry the eggs in the same oil and lift them. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cayenne and pepper. Add a spoonful of oil and return the skillet to the heat. Add salt, vinegar and eggs. Stir for a minute and cook until the gravy is thick.

Lift the eggs. Put the fried onion in the skillet. Mix well and remove from heat. Arrange the onions around the eggs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting these dishes, back by popular demand it would seem, on behalf of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy with the MLCC. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on a variety of plants found in the Tuscan regional cuisine and MLCC Product Ambassador, Sheila Nash, provided excellent pairings for each course.

Reception beverage: Americano Cocktail (Campari, Red Vermouth and Soda)
1. Crostini Toscani
Paired with 61 Franciacora (10649) $27.24
(serves 4)

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 lb chicken livers, membranes removed
1 tsp small capers, drained but not rinsed
4 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 8 - 10 slices, lightly toasted
1 tbs minced flat-leaf parsley

Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan wide enough to hold the livers in a single layer over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly coloured, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken livers and brown them on all sides, cooking until medium-rare, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring to prevent scorching, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced but not dry, 2 - 3 minutes.

Pour the contents of the skillet into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Reserve the juice to add some of it to the livers if they are to dry.

Turn the contents out onto a cutting board and chop roughly until they are well incorporated and the mixture is spreadable. If it appears too dry, spoon some reserved cooking liquid over it and chop again. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.

Spread some chopped liver on each slice of toast. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over each one. Serve at room temperature.

2. Fave con Pecorino
Pared with Vernaccia DOCG Rocce Delle Macie (867184) $14.09 and Vion Nobile Di Monte Veccia Cantina (7936) $25.53
(serves 4)

2 lbs fava beans, peeled
4 ounces Pecorino Toscano, sliced into 1/2 inch/1 cm long matchstick-thick segments
1/4 cup olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 leaves radicchio, sliced very thinly

Place the fava beans and pecorino in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Toss very gently, just to combine the flavours and not to break the beans or crush the cheese.
Mound a quarter of the beans and cheese in the centre of each salad plate. Top each serving with a few slivers of radicchio.

3. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Paired with Poggio al Tufo Vermentino Tommasi (730841) $17.14 and Nipozzano Chianti Fescobaldi (107276) $19.87

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.

4. Zabaione (Zabaglione)
Paired with Vin Santo Badia di Morrona (7997) $21.99

6 eggs.
200g sugar.
100ml dry Vin Santo (or sherry).
Finger biscuits.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form stiff peak. In another, larger bowl beat the yolks and sugar together until frothy, creamy and pale yellow. Add the egg whites to the yolks and blend thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and even; add the Vin Santo. Serve in dessert goblets with the biscuits.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fresh Local Fish with the MLCC

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of presenting some recipes at the MLCC for the excellent local fish that we have in Manitoba. MLCC Product Ambassador Stephen Moran presented wonderful pairings for each course which I will add to this entry later today.

The fish and caviar are all available at Gimli Fish. As an addition to the evening, I also sampled Smoked Manitoba Goldeye for the guests of the MLCC event.

Classic Caviar Station

Golden Caviar
Toast triangles or crostini
Chopped hard boiled egg
Thinly sliced red onion
Sour cream

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.

Pea Shoot Pesto on Arctic Char
1/4 lb fresh, young pea shoots
1 bunch chives, chopped (or spring onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts (or almonds)

Place the pea shoots, chives, garlic, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, pulse until a thick paste forms.

Spoon over Arctic Char fillet and bake at 350ºF for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

This Morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Quinoa Salad

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting an easy to prepare salad with Quinoa (pronounced Keen - wah) for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders.

Easy Quinoa Salad
Photo later today.

Serves 6

3 cups cooked Quinoa (cook ahead in a 2:1 water: Quinoa ratio)
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tbs olive oil
1 rounded tsp ground cumin (toasted makes it quite nice as well but could be an optional ingredient, depending on tastes)
1 cup cooked black beans (or your favourite such as pinto, black eyed beans, etc.)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted (you can use pine nuts but they are very pricey right now)
¼ - ½ cup chopped green or black olives (Deluca’s has some lovely olives, just avoid the watery canned olives)I left these whole as some people don't enjoy olives.
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, aka coriander

While quinoa is cooking, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and sugar into a vinaigrette in a small bowl.

Combine quinoa and all remaining ingredients, except fresh herbs, into a medium-sized bowl.

Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss to combine.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavours to combine. Add fresh herbs just prior to serving. May be served at room temperature.


Options: try with Ras el Hanout, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, your favourite veggies. Also try cooking the quinoa with a Smen boullion. It gives it a buttery Moroccan flavour. Available at Halal Meats and Specialty Foods on Maryland.