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The Best of... (November 15, 2012)

Duck Foie Gras with Laurentian Honey Wine Sauce
Scallop Boudin
Spiced Roast Ham or Pork with Juniper Berries
Baked Lemon Sponge

It's such fun to write about food, and we enjoy looking back of the many columns we've done over the years! Herewith, some of our favourites from...

A Taste of Quebec: You would expect the Food Editor of The Gazette of Montreal to be an expert on Quebec cuisine, and indeed Julian Armstrong is certainly that and more. She's written a wonderful cookbook, A Taste of Quebec, and one of our favourite recipes ever is this version of foie gras! Merci, Julian!

Toronto Taste: Pairing cuisine and compassion, as they say, Toronto Taste is an annual fund raising event benefitting Second Harvest, the folks who rescue and deliver enough excess food to provide over 670,000 meals for those who are hungry in our city. For more information, go to www.torontotaste.ca

The Chef's Table is a glorious celebration of the unique gastronomic event that is Toronto Taste, with recipes from many of the great chefs who participate in this important fund-raising event. Our own Tony Aspler contributed the matching wine information for each of the fabulous recipes. Proceeds from sales of The Chef's Table will go to support the extraordinary organization, Second Harvest.

Easy Christmas: This smart little book by Sonia Stevenson is taking a lot of the stress out of holiday cooking and still providing mouth-watering recipes for the season! This is a must-have book for anyone who loves food and entertaining!

Canada's Slow Cooker Winners: Donna-Marie Pye's book is a well thumbed book in our kitchen; we return to it often for great ideas done by our favourite sous chef, the slow cooker! You'll love this dessert, and all the other recipes Donna-Marie has done!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (122 KB)

 


 

Duck Foie Gras with Laurentian Honey Wine Sauce

Duck Foie Gras with Laurentian Honey Wine Sauce

You know how much we love foie gras, and couldn't wait to try this version. It was created by Chef Anne Desjardins of the celebrated restaurant L'Eau à la Bouche in Sainte-Adèle. Chef obtains her duck foie gras from des Becs-Fins in Saint Canut and her honey products from InterMiel in Saint-Penoit. The two flavours complement each other, she believes. We agree! From A Taste of Quebec.

Originally featured in "A Taste of Quebec" (January 27, 2003).

Serves 6

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) each:
    • black peppercorns
    • pink peppercorns
    • allspice
    • cardamom
    • star anise
  • 1/4 cup honey wine or mead (60 mL)
  • 1/4 cup honey vinegar or white wine vinegar (60 mL)
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey (125 mL)
  • 10 ounces cooked, fresh duck foie gras* (300 g)
  • 3 to 4 cups baby salad greens (750 mL to 1 L)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Using a mortar and pestle or pepper grinder, crush black and pink peppercorns, allspice, cardamom and star anise. Remove ½ tsp (2 mL) of the mixed spices and reserve. In a small stainless steel saucepan, bring honey wine and vinegar to a boil. Remove from heat and add larger amount of ground spice mixture. Let stand at least 10 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve and set liquid aside. In the saucepan, bring honey to a boil over medium heat and cook until caramel coloured. Remove from heat and stir in strained honey wine mixture and remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground spices.

Arrange 2 slices (about 2 ounces/50 grams) of foie gras on each of 6 serving plates. Surround with salad greens and drizzle with spiced honey syrup. Season with pepper and serve.

*Ready-made terrine of foie gras may be substituted. One reliable brand is made by the Quebec company Élevages du Périgord. It's sold in jars holding 125 grams (4 ounces), 190 grams (6.7 ounces) and 450 grams (1 pound). Warm jar just slightly in a pan of warm water and terrine will slip out easily.

Tony's wine recommendation:
A sweet medium-bodied white wine – Sauternes, Barsac or a Select Late Harvest Vidal from Ontario.

 


 

Scallop Boudin

Scallop Boudin

On Sunday, June 9th, 2002, 70 of Ontario's top chefs dished out their fabulous fare in aid of Second Harvest, Canada's largest fresh food recovery program. From Jov Bistro came these marvelous plump little scallop sausages. Bursting with flavour and served atop a colourful arugula salad, this is a smart little meal to serve friends or visiting royalty! Chef Owen Steinberg knows his stuff – he trained under master Didier Leroy. It shows, too: there is a classical precision beneath the imaginative conception of his dishes that has already made him one of the city's brightest rising stars.

Originally featured in "Toronto Taste 2002" (May 31, 2002).

Serves 6

    Boudin
  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 feet sausage casings
    Arugula salad
  • 1 bunch arugula, trimmed
  • 1½ cup carrot strings (cut with a mandoline or food processor)
  • 1½ cup cucumber strings
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Red wine vinaigrette
Whisk together 1 Tbsp dry red wine, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Curry cream
Stir 1 tsp curry powder in small skillet on medium-high heat until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup whipping cream; cook until reduced by half or until sauce coats back of spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Chop scallops in food processor until chunky. Add egg white, whipping cream, salt and pepper and puree. Stir in chives.

Fill pastry bag (fitted with plain tip) with mixture and stuff casings. Tie off ends at 5-inch intervals and separate to make six sausages. (Alternate method below.*)

Place sausages in large saucepan of cold water and bring just to light simmer. Cook very gently until solid to touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.

Toss arugula, carrot, cucumber, coriander, green onions and shallot in large bowl.

Cook sausages gently in non-stick skillet on low heat until golden and heated through.

Toss salad with vinaigrette. Divide salad among 6 plates, place boudin on top and drizzle with curry cream.

*Alternate method: Roll the scallop mixture into three sausages using plastic wrap to encase them. Tie the ends with twist ties and cook in simmering water for 20 minutes or until firm. Cool, unwrap, cut into slices and cook briefly in a little olive oil in a non-stick pan.

Tony's wine recommendation:
A whole lot of taste sensations to contend with here; go with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc: Canadian Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre (Loire).

 


 

Spiced Roast Ham or Pork with Juniper Berries

Spiced Roast Ham or Pork with Juniper Berries

We did goose last year, and turkey... well, what else? One of our favourite holiday memories is a fresh ham, artistically scored and perfectly spiced. In this charming and most useful collection of recopies for memorable holiday meals, Easy Christmas, Sonia Stevenson gives her ham an intriguing Eastern flavour with a blend of spices that lightly pickle the meat. Stevenson reminds us that ham is a generally fatless meat, and will dry out unless basted frequently. We suggest you order the top end of the leg from your butcher, and consider tunnel-boning the cut for easier carving. Enjoy!

Originally featured in "Happy Holidays!" (November 24, 2010).

Serves 6

  • 1/2 leg of pork, about 5 pounds
  • 2–3 Tbsp peanut or safflower oil
  • 1½ cups water or chicken stock
  • Sea salt
  • Spice mixture:
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp ground caraway
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • 12 juniper berries, crushed
  • An instant read thermometer

To prepare the spice mixture, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Remove the rind from the meat and rub the dry spices into all the crevices in the meat. Wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Score the fat with a cross-cross pattern on the upper side of the meat. Put in a roasting pan, baste with the oil, and sprinkle well with salt. Put the pan in the middle of a preheated oven at 450°F and add 5–6 Tbsp water. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325°F and cook for 2½ hours. Baste from time to time and add extra water as necessary to keep it moist because this will form the base of the gravy.

When an instant-read thermometer reaches 175°F, transfer the meat to a serving dish and let it rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with the measured water to make gravy, then boil to reduce and intensify the flavours. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning with salt. Carve the meat in thin slices and serve the gravy separately in a pitcher.

Cook's Notes, Chestnuts: You can buy peeled chestnuts in vacuum-sealed packages, cans or jars at specialty food store. Drain any liquid, then place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 400°F. This really improves the flavor.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Riesling Kabinett style, Viognier

 


Baked Lemon Sponge

Baked Lemon Sponge

Ron and I both voted this the most sinful dessert this side of chocolate. It's a lovely, old-fashioned steamed dessert that with the long, slow cooking separates into a cake-like topping with a creamy lemon custard sauce underneath. Your grandmother would have spent the afternoon doing this sponge for special guests; you and your new cooker, with Donna-Marie Pye's Canada's Slow Cooker Winners, can do it in minutes.

Originally featured in "Slowing Down" (March 11, 2002).

Serves 4

You'll need a 6-cup (1.5 L) bowl or soufflé dish, greased.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (250 mL)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (50 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (50 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (15 mL)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter (15 mL)
  • 1 cup milk (250 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar (15 mL)
  1. In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, butter and milk.
  2. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold gently into lemon mixture. Pour into prepared bowl and over tightly with aluminum foil. (Secure with an elastic band.) Place in slow cooker and pour in enough water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up sides of bowl.
  3. Cover and cook on High for 2–3 hours or until topping is set and light and fluffy. Sift icing sugar over sponge before serving.

Tony's wine recommendation:
a sweet white with good acidity – Ontario Icewine, German Eiswein.

 


 

We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs:

Wiley Publishers and Macmillan Canada for A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong. ©Julian Armstrong 2001.
Photographs: Duck Foie Gras with Honey Wine Sauce by Tedd Church/The Gazette.

Random House Canada for The Chef's Table, by Lucy Waverman, James Chatto and Tony Aspler.
Photograph courtesy Vince Noguchi.
Proceeds from sales of The Chef's Table will go to support the extraordinary organization, Second Harvest.

Thomas Allen and Son, Toronto, for Easy Christmas: Classic Recipes for the Perfect Christmas. Recipe and text © Sonia Stevenson. Photograph © Sandra Lane.

Baked Lemon Sponge excerpted from Canada's Slow Cooker Winners by Donna-Marie Pye. © Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca. All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

 

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (122 KB)

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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas

 

 

 

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