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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.


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