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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cooking Demos! This week with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, the MLCC and the Caboto Italian Cultural Centre

Last night I had the pleasure of demonstrating Salsa recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC. Pairings were by MLCC Product Consultant Jason. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on all of the different herbs and vegetables used in last night's presentation.

At the bottom of this entry, are the recipes from Monday night's cooking demonstration at the Caboto Italian Cultural Centre with the theme of Mediterranean Cooking. I presented items from Provence, Turkey and Morocco.

Wild Strawberry Cocktail (Fragoli Strawberry Liqueur topped with Spanish Cava

1. Late Summer Salsa Mexicana (served with toasted tortillas)

Paired with The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand
Makes about 2 cups

1 small white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
1 red mirasol or jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped
1 pound late summer tomatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh herbs, lemon verbana, chives, cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), or any combination of herbs you may like
Juice of 1 lime

Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold tap water, shake off the excess and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the mirasol chile, tomatoes, herbs and lime. Stir well, taste and season with salt, usually about 3/4 teaspoon. This salsa is best if eaten within an hour or two, but it will keep for a number of hours in the refrigerator.

2. Chipotle Peanut Salsa for Grilled Vegetables (served with grilled veggies)

Paired with Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo - Italy and Rouge Chipotle Ale - USA

Makes about 2 cups
1 pound (6 to 8 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/3 to 1/2 ounce (3 to 5) dried red chipotle chiles (aka moritas), stemmed
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
About 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1. Toast and roast. Roast the tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet about 4 inches below a very hot broiler until soft and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes per side. Cool, then scrape into a blender jar.

Meanwhile, heat a small (6-inch) ungreased skillet over medium, toast the chipotle, stirring until very aromatic, about a minute. Scoop into a small bowl, cover with hot tap water and soak for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure even rehydration.

Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. Spread the onion and garlic on another baking sheet, slide into the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the onions are golden—they’ll look a little wilted with a touch of char on some of the edges. The garlic should feel soft and be browned in spots. Cool.

2. Finish the salsa. Drain the chiles and scrape them into the blender jar along with the tomatillos, peanuts, worcestershire or soy sauce and 3/4 cup water. Pick out the garlic from the onions and add it to the blender. (If all this is too much for your blender, blend in 2 batches.) Blend until nearly smooth. Roughly chop the onion, add it to the blender and pulse a few times until you’ve got as chunky (or smooth) a salsa as you like. Stir in enough additional water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon, and the optional sugar. Serve with your favorite grilled vegetables.

3. Roasted Corn Black Bean Salsa (served with salad)

Paired with Jean Michel Sorbe Reuilly Rose - France

Remember to choose the freshest juiciest corn on the cob and roast.

4 roasting ears corn, freshest available
Juice from 2 limes
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 cup dehydrated cooked black beans or 1 cup cooked whole beans
1 to 2 Jalapeños, finely chopped
4 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbs Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Roast the corn on the grill in the husk after soaking for 1 hour.

Let cool slightly, then peel back the husk and silks.

Using a large, heavy knife, slice down the cobs to remove the kernels.

Place the corn kernels in a bowl with the tomatoes, red onions, Jalapeños, Black Beans and cilantro. Note: The Jalapeños maybe omitted if you want a mild corn salsa. Add the chiles to taste.

Whisk together the olive oil and remaining lime juice.

Season to taste and pour over the salsa.

Toss well to mix.

4. Green Herb Salsa (served with omlettes)

Paired with Chateau des Charmes Brut - Canada

* 1/4c blanched almonds, toasted
* 1 small garlic clove
* 1c fresh parsley leaves
* 1/2c fresh cilantro leaves
* 1/2c fresh basil leaves
* 2/3c extra -virgin olive oil
* 1/8 tsp red-pepper flakes
* coarse salt and ground black pepper
* 2tsp white-wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

How to make it

* Using chef's knife(or food processor)finely chop almonds, garlic and herbs. Stir (or blend) in oil and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
* To store, refrigerate up to 1 day. Stir in vinegar just before serving.
* Great variations: Feel free to include any type of soft green herb, such a s oregano, chives, mint. You can also substitute pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts for the almonds.

Mediterranean Fare

1. Fresh Goat Cheeses with Olive Oil and Herbs – French Provence Recipe
Appetizers of Chevre, tapenade, herbs and olive oil served with baguettes as an appetizer.

Black olive Tapenade

1 cup black olives, pitted
½ cup softened sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ (+) cup Olive oil
Pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients to a paste in a processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. Use on crackers, baguettes, stuffed in meats, etc.


2. Imam Baldi – Turkish Recipe

4 baby globe eggplants or Japanese (peel off 3 slices of outer skin length-wise around the eggplant)
olive oil (for frying and flavour)
Rich tomato sauce (recipe follows)
cilantro (optional)

Grill the eggplants over a hot grill with three strips of peel cut off of each eggplant and drizzled with olive oil. Turn and keep cooking until the eggplant is soft. Remove from heat and split open the eggplants with a sharp knife and let them rest. Spoon the rich tomato sauce into each eggplant.

Rich Tomato Sauce

1 tin crushed tomatoes (organic fire roasted is nicest)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup red wine (optional, try orange juice for a fresh Summer flavour)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar (to reduce acid of tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 350°F. On the stove top, preheat olive oil in sauté pan. Carefully brown egplants on all sides. This takes some time. One option is to prepare the eggplant on a BBQ by drizzling olive oil over the eggplants prior to grilling. Remove eggplants from pan and place in a baking dish. Let eggplants rest. Split open the eggplants and spoon in the rich tomato sauce into each eggplant. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and drizzle with good olive oil. Bake for up to 30 minutes. Imam Baldi can be enjoyed hot, cold or room temperature. Serve with bread.


3. Moroccan Lamb Stew – Moroccan Recipe *

1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly sauté onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat.

* Meat may be beef, elk or bison, depending on availability

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