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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traveling the Spice Trade Route - Smoked Paprika with the MLCC

I had the pleasure of presenting the following recipes for a cooking demonstration at the Madison Square MLCC with Product Ambassador, Carol Herntier. The following recipes are timely now for entertaining as well as some comfort foods.

1. Pomegranate Walnut Paste on Endive - Caucasus
Paired with: Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto - Italy$ 14.94 and Smirnoff Pomogranate Martini $ 17.99

½ cup pomegranate molasses
1 onion, chopped
½ cup walnuts (use almonds if walnut allergy)
¼ cup softened raisins
1 tbs pomegranate seeds
good amount olive oil (1/4 – ½ cup good olive oil)
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp paprika (smoked or plain)
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix first 9 ingredients in a blender until a smooth paste. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spoon into endive leaves for an appetizer, salad and serve cold or grilled. Used also in grilled chicken or lamb.

2. Beef Stroganoff
Paired with: Coppola Diamond Selection Malbec - USA $ 24.50 and Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec - Argentina $ 19.95

1 1/3 lb beef, cut into strips against the grain
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs flour
salt and pepper
1 green pepper, chopped
1-2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup white wine
1 cup cream (I used sour cream)

Toss sliced beef with seasoned flour and set aside. Sauté onions in butter and olive oil until transluscent and add the beef. Brown beef and add mushrooms. Add green pepper and spices. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Add white wine and season to taste. Flour must simmer for at least one minute to remove floury taste.

Serve over egg noodles.


3. Spanikopita Triangles
Paired with: Cedarcreek Pinot Gris - $ 18.99 and Maso Canali Pinot Grigio - Italy $19.99

1 pkg filo dough
2 pkgs frozen spinach
1 white onions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c mushroom sliced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
3 1/2 tbspsolive oil
1 1/2 c feta cheese crumbled
1 egg
pepper to taste
1/3 c butter
Thaw pastry in package. In advance, prepare filling. Sauté onion and garlic
until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté. Add thawed spinach and
spices. Cook on medium-high heat until some of the water has cooked off.
Add grated feta. Mix in one beaten egg. Remove from heat and cool.
To prepare pastries: Heat oven to 350F. Dampen tea towel. Cut rolled
pastry into four equal parts and lay out on cutting board. Cover with
dampened towel. Melt butter and set aside with pastry brush. Fill pastries in
desired shapes (triangles, pockets, in muffin or cupcake tins, etc). Brush
pastries with melted butter before filo turns papery. Bake until golden, about
15 minutes.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooking Demos! This week with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC - Stunning Holiday Feasts!

Stunning Holiday Feasts
Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following dishes at the Madison Square MLCC on behalf of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. We had excellent pairings by Kirsten Sculthorp, Product Consultant for the MLCC and featured plants and herbs were discussed by Assiniboine Park Conservancy Education Coordinator, Bonnie Tulloch.

The reception cocktail was a Black Russian made with limited edition Kaluha Mocha Peppermint (#12582) at $13/99. We also served excellent Pesto Escargot, available at Gimli Fish which was paired with Oyster Bay Sauvigon Blanc Brut (#(12291) beautifully.

1. Caramelized Shallot Tarts
Paired with Dow's Fine Ruby Port (#723874) $15.92

port or wine
rosemary or thyme
drizzle olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take the skins and ends off of the shallots and place them in a shallow baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and bake at 350ºF oven for up to one hour or until the shallots are soft. Enjoy in a number of options or as a garnish to meats and vegetables or, combine with Okanagan Cherry reduction in tarts:

Dried Okanagan Cherry reduction
1 cup tart dried Okanagan cherries *
1 cup port
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbs butter
1 cup dry red wine or port
Soak cherries in port over night or for several hours.
In a sauce pan, heat soaked cherries and add wine or port and rosemary. Bring to a boil and add butter. Remove from heat and purée. Use on tarts or as a drizzle for meats or poultry.

2. Sautéed Squash with Pear
Paired with Santa Margherita Pino Grigio (#2125)$16.63

1 small squash or pumpkin (size of a small cabbage)- NOT Spaghetti Squash
1 ripe pear
1 tbs. butter
drizzle olive oil
freshly grated nutmeg
1 oz Frangelico
salt and pepper

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Save seeds on paper towel to dry for planting in Spring. I used a small version of the bumpy salmon coloured squash in the top photo.

Cut seeded squash into four pieces to make peeling easier. Peel and slice into wedges. Heat a sauté pan to medium heat. Melt butter with a drizzle of olive oil. Place squash slices in pan and slowly cook for ~20 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown on both sides. Add chopped pear, salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium high after pear has softened and add the Frangelico. Allow the liquid to cook down a bit.

Can be prepared in advance and warmed up. A nice side dish for a wide range of holiday feasting.


3. Mushroom Pâté
(serves 6)
Paired with Peppoli Chianti Classico ($4674) $21.88

1 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 cups sliced mushrooms (crimini, button, shitake, morel, porcini, chanterelle, etc)
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried thyme

1 cup panko bread crumbs or whole wheat bread crumbs
½ cup walnuts, chopped (use pecans if allergies)
¼ cup tahini (available at Halal Meats and Specialty Foods on Maryland)
2 tbs tamari or good soy sauce
1 cake soft tofu, blanched and crumbled
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne (to taste)

Sauté the green onions and celery in the olive oil until the whites are translucent. Add the mushrooms, basil and thyme and continue to cook on low heat until the mushrooms have softened.

Combine the sautéed vegetables with the remaining ingredients and blend in a food processor.

Oil a medium loaf pan and line it with waxed paper, allowing several inches of waxed paper to hang over the sides. Oil the wax paper and spoon in the pâté. Fold the overhanging paper across the top and bake for about 1 ½ hours at 300ºF. The pâté us done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. HINT!!! Bake in a deep loaf pan and turn oven off after one hour but leave pate in the oven.

When the pâté is cool, fold back the wax paper, invert pan onto a plate and carefully peel away the paper.

Serve with greens, breads and crackers.


4. Dark Chocolate Fondue
Paired with excellent local Rigby Orchards Dry Raspberry (#533703) $20.00.

2 cups heavy cream
up to one pound chopped dark chocolate (can reduce entire recipe)
splash of rum, cognac or favourite liqueur (optional)

Heat cream in a ceramic fondue dish until ready to boil. Turn off heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until shiny. Add splash of liqueur. Enjoy with baguettes, fruit or chill and use as a ganache for brownies. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Saturday on the Weekend Morning Show - Phyllo Wrapped Steelhead Trout with savory Saskatoon Sauce

Running back to Saskatoon
This morning I had the pleasure of presenting the following on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host, Ismaila Alfa. It is very simple to prepare this elegant dish. Gorgeous large saskatoons are available at Gimli Fish, as well as this buttery fish.


1. Phyllo Wrapped Steelhead Trout with savory Saskatoon sauce

1 fillet Steelhead Trout (naturally raised in Lucky Lake, Sask., available at Gimli Fish)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (white button, crimini, shitake, chanterelles, etc.)
3 tbs butter (1 for sautéing mushrooms, and 2ish melted for buttering phyllo pastry
1 tbs olive oil
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 shallots, minced
Dijon mustard, to lightly cover the fillet
3-4 sheets Phyllo

Cut filet into serving sized pieces and set aside in the refrigerator. Thaw phyllo and prepare mushrooms as follows:

On medium-high heat, sauté shallots until translucent and add the mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Deglaze with white wine or Mirin (optional). Set aside and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. For the phyllo dish: Lightly coat the fish piece with Dijon Mustard and place on phyllo sheet, cut to fold and cover only. Top with sautéed mushrooms. Fold pastry over fish and mushrooms and brush with melted butter. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, until brown and depending on the thickness of the fish.

Saskatoon Sauce

1 cup Saskatoons (frozen, wild, available from Gimli Fish)
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 tbs Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup red wine or port

Heat pat to medium high heat and add butter and olive oil. Add Saskatoons and cook until soft. Add mustard, seasonings and red wine. Cook until shiny. Serve over Phllow Wrapped Steelhead Trout.


Saturday, November 05, 2011

This Saturday on the Weekend Morning Show - Classic Tuscan Sage Butter Pasta

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting these classic flavours of Tuscany in a lovely pasta dish on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Kerän Sanders. Excellent comfort food and so simple to prepare.

Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)

1/3 cup butter.
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup 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.