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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!

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