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Silver Linings at Silver Springs (March 20, 2003)


We've got to get away. It's been too cold too long; we've had it with winter and, we'd wager, so have you. A major break in minor time is needed, and when we can spend a weekend R&R at Silver Springs Culinary Retreat with Greg Couillard cooking, we're already out the door and on the road!

Silver Springs is only a couple of hours north of Toronto and, to our minds, a perfect spot to unwind. In these exquisite surroundings hosts Sue and Derek Tennant hold weekend culinary retreats with top chefs and match the glorious results with fine wines served in Riedel glasses. On these special weekends, expert chefs and instructors teach both hands-on and demonstration classes that might include Provençal, Tuscan, Thai, Caribbean and Regional cuisine, to name a few.

Sue can really pull in the best; she told us that "Chef Greg Couillard expresses his talents through a personal style of eclectic cooking that can be only described as sophisticated yet exotic, adventurous and without a doubt, joyous. His harmonious, creative combinations arouse a blissful delirium to the senses of taste, smell and sight." Blissful delirium? Plus peace and quiet, gorgeous scenery, great food and wine in Riedel's Vinum Extreme glasses... could anything be more perfect? Not to us...

Sue and Derek Tennant

When we visited last spring, the Silver Springs Cooking Getaways feast featured cooking instructor Debbie Diament; her talent combined with infectious enthusiasm created a brilliant evening. We started with a lovely late afternoon stroll around the small lake; the soft spring evening and clear fresh air sharpened our senses, and we were more than ready for the Riedel glass wine tasting and gourmet meal that followed. It was a memorable evening all round!

Silver Springs

A little aside here on the wine tastings: they are not like any other you've experienced. At Silver Springs, Riedel glasses are matched against the international standard tasting glasses, and frankly, to our surprise, we found there is a significant difference!

Come on, you've earned it. To our mind, Silver Springs is perfect. Find out for yourself!

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (88 KB)


Asparagus, Lemon, Lime, Coconut and Ginger Soup

We've all enjoyed Greg Couillard's signature "Jump Up" soup; Debbie Diament, who has a special touch with Asian dishes, served us her special soup, which shows off her talents just as well. Deb's is a wonderful variation on traditional Thai flavours and the asparagus and red pepper add vibrant colours as well. The ingredients are easy to find, the results sublime.

Look over your shoulder, Greg, there's a lot of talent behind you!

Serves 8

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into long pieces
  • 2 cans (398 mL each) light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Grated rind of 2 medium limes
  • Grated rind of 2 medium lemons
  • ¼ cup grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ red pepper, cut in thin strips
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

Blanch asparagus in a large skillet. Drain and rinse with cold water. Reserve.

In saucepan over medium heat, cook coconut milk, chicken stock, lime and lemon rinds, ginger and chili flakes until hot but not boiling.

Add asparagus and red pepper and cook, stirring often for 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in fish sauce and coriander and serve immediately.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A Sauvignon Blanc with good acidity – either a Sancerre (Loire), a New Zealand or South African Sauvignon or an Ontario Sauvignon.


Wolfgang's Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Smoky Tomato-Chili Salsa

Ah, Wolfgang Puck, chef to the stars, owner of celebrated restaurants, and an Emmy Award-winning TV personality. He's earned every bit of kudos; Wolfgang is the best they come. And come to Silver Springs? You never know, but we think he'd love it, and they'd suit each other perfectly.

Meanwhile, here's the master's favourite beef dish, about which he says, "The salsa's combination of cool tomato and spicy chili pepper flavours is fabulous with the roast beef. ...I give the beef extra flavour by pan-searing it before I put it in the oven. The coriander seeds I use to season the beef add a wonderful aroma, especially when you start with whole seeds and toast an crush them."

Stay tuned, you just might meet Wolfgang in person one day at Silver Springs. But meanwhile, try this...

Serves 4

    Tomato-Chili Salsa
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, cored
  • 2 canned chipotle (smoked jalapeño) chilis
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt, plus additional as needed
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus additional as needed
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds

  • 2½ pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed
  1. To prepare the Tomato-Chili Salsa: Over a hot grill, on a grill pan, or under the broiler, roast the tomatoes until blackened, turning them frequently as their skin blisters, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a non-reactive mixing bowl and add the chipotle chilies. Cover and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice, basil and garlic and marinate for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until chunky. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vinegar, sugar, 2 tsp of the salt and ½ tsp of the pepper. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in 1 cup of the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. Put the coriander seeds in a small dry saucepan. Over medium heat, toast the seeds, stirring them continuously, just until they are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the seeds to a small bowl to cool. The crush them with a mortar and pestle or in a spice mill. Season the beef all over with the coriander and with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. In an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil until it is almost smoking. Add the beef and sear it until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until medium rare, 130°F on a meat thermometer inserted into its thickest part, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, cover with foil, and let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Then, with a sharp knife, cut it across the gain into ¼-inch-thick slices and place the slices overlapping on heated serving plates. Serve immediately, spooning the salsa alongside the meat or passing it separately.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A bold red... given the spiciness an Amarone from Veneto, an Aussie Shiraz or a California Zinfandel (one of Rosenblum's single vineyard Zins).


Mixed Greens with Pears, Pecans, Raspberry Chipotle and Goat Cheese

Multi-talented Debbie Diament is a cooking instructor, recipe developer and menu consultant. She has an eye for not only exquisite taste combinations, but beauty as well; a perfect example is this knockout composed gem of a salad. We loved the addition of pecans, our favourites, which perfectly matched the sweet, crunchy pear and the creamy, slightly piquant goat cheese. A fabulous follow-up to Wolfgang's beef. Oh, heaven!

Serves 4

  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 113-gram package goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp Dan T's Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt

Mix together vinaigrette ingredients and toss greens lightly with vinaigrette.

Arrange pear slices in a circular or fan pattern on top of greens.

Scatter goat cheese, red onion and pecans on top.

Center a dollop of Raspberry Chipotle Sauce on top of pears.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A dessert wine with good acidity – Select Late Harvest Riesling or a Riesling Icewine from Ontario, or a Riesling Auslese or Beerenauslese from the Rheingau.


The Senator's Bourbon Chocolate Cake

Sinfully rich, decadent does not even begin to describe this dessert. We agree with Debbie Diament who told us that this was one of her favourite cakes in the world – it's sinfully good and simple to prepare! Clever gal, she managed to winkle the recipe out of Ann Hollyer of Toronto's much-loved "chop house," the Senator Restaurant, where it's the number one dessert. Oh, Sue, is there any more cake, please?

Serves 10–12

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups espresso coffee, room temperature
  • ¾ cup bourbon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • Whipped cream
  • 8 small whole strawberries, stems attached, for garnish

Cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes or until very pale and fluffy.

Beat eggs in one at a time.

Add coffees, bourbon and flour, alternately in thirds, beginning and ending with coffee.

Stir in melted chocolate and turn into a greased and floured Bundt pan.

Bake on the middle rack of a 350°F oven for 1 hour or until it springs back to the touch.

Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then invert to remove from pan.

Serve slices of the cake with whipped cream and garnish with strawberries.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Late Bottle Vintage Port, 10-Year-Old Tawny Port or Cream Sherry.


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

Silver Springs Resort, Sue Tennant, Director
R.R. # 4, Flesherton, ON N0C 1E0
T: 519-922-1126, F: 519-922-1136

We wish to thank Debbie Diament for her recipes and Dan Taylor for his food photography.
My Place for Dinner

We wish to thank Random House Canada for permission to publish material and photographs from Live, Love, Eat!: The Best of Wolfgang Puck.
© 2002 by Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.
Photograph by Matthew Klein.


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (88 KB)




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