Baby It's Cold Outside! What's for Dinner? (February 26, 2016)
It's cold, it's snowy and we need food for the season from experts who can cope – and even thrive – with these winter conditions. We've got them here: these talented, occasionally quirky authors whose work and books range from Iceland to the Antarctic, with stops across Canada. Read on!
In the fall, Oncle Jacques went hunting, and just dropped off a haunch of venison and a wild boar piglet, and promises to return next week with a plump hare, some game birds and possibly a beaver. Oh, Lordy what do we do now? Well, if you don't have a copy, then get your hands on this brand new bible, The Complete Wild Game Cookbook. Here you'll find 165 recipes and expert advice on the preparation and cooking of game birds and animals, from goose and pheasant to moose, bison and, yes, wild boar, as well as recipes for complementary marinades, stocks and sauces. Author Jean-Paul Grappe, who resides in Quebec, has been the chef and owner of four major restaurants, and has taught for nearly 25 years and produced many award-winning cookbooks! Even if you never have to deal with game, this book is worth cruising!
True North: Canadian Cooking from Coast to Coast is a captivating look at modern Canadian cuisine – from coast to coast – with Derek Dammann, one of Canada's superstar chefs, and Chris Johns, a highly respected and much enjoyed food writer.
Thirty years ago, Canada was a culinary backwater; today, it has one of the most dynamic and creative food scenes in the world. This talented pair offer exceptional insight into today's real Canadian cuisine; they travelled coast to coast talking to the people and finding the places that give this nation its distinct flavour, and ferreting out the ingredients and ideas that inspire Chef Dammann to create such wonderful, definitely Canadian food in DNA and Maison Publique, his acclaimed restaurants in Montreal. Our favourite chapter covers foie gras, but there are others that will captivate you with glorious recipes and photographs; the geography and subjects range from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with in between: the forest, field, farm, and orchards and vineyards! True North is truly a coming-of-age saga for Canadian cuisine!
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland is a celebration not only of the cuisine, but of Iceland itself, the inspiring traditions, stories and people who make the island nation unlike any other place in the world! This book is not for amateurs or the fainthearted; many of the recipes have ingredients that most of us simply can't get and cooking methods beyond our gadget-laden kitchens. But don't let that stop you, as
Iceland is known for being one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth; indeed, travelers are lured by the striking landscapes and vibrant culture. And lately they've also discovered an utterly unique and captivating food scene, characterized by the distinctive indigenous ingredients, traditional farmers and artisanal producers, pulled together by the creative chefs and restaurants!
So move over Denmark, and Noma, you're so last year... Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason, whose Reykjavik restaurant Dill, opened in 2009, has won Iceland's "Restaurant of the Year" since then, with the help of food writer and chef Jody Eddy pulled together recipes from all over Iceland. We last described Icelandic cuisine in the gorgeous Delicious Iceland cookbook and can say that in the last 8 years, this tiny, fascinating country has leapt ahead of most others in taking local ingredients and more, and creating a unique cuisine that the world has noticed.
Now for something completely different: The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning by Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine, two Canadian women who, in 1996, led several volunteer groups to Bellinghausen, a Russian research station in Antarctica, for an environmental project organized in collaboration with the Russian Antarctic Expedition. The 54 people from five countries paid to pick up 28 years of garbage during their holiday on a continent uniquely devoted to peace and science!
Early explorers and scientists endured unimaginable conditions, surviving on penguin meat and even... oh dear... dog paw stew, but no longer. As the authors say, "Whatever adventure beckons an open mind and full stomach are necessities."
Sprinkled through the fascinating diary with photographs, you'll find the expeditions recipes for Rosemary Maple Borscht, Asparagus Pâté, Chicken Teriyaki Bouchées, and more. Clearly the result of careful and creating planning, and it's all here in this quirky, page turning book. A must have for anyone who loves food and adventure travel... and everyone else!
Homegrown is collected, written and edited by Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith, who is also a graduate of the Second City Comedy Troupe. Smith is not only riotously funny but also a prolific food writer, being the author of six best-selling cookbooks, and a popular expert guest on talk shows. Homegrown, which celebrates the Canadian Foods we grow, raise and produce, has 160 recipes, thus proving that Canada can be a key ingredient in any meal, whether you're making hearty stew from Saskatchewan, a BC blueberry pie, Nova Scotia scallops or a simple pancake breakfast made from Albertan barley flour and smothered in Quebec maple syrup! Truly down home and delicious! The 50-mile diet may just be within our reach!
On today's menu:
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White Bean and Roasted Garlic Pâté
Well, just because you're in the Antarctic doesn't mean you can't have really tasty food! Sure, you have to plan ahead and utilize non-perishable ingredients, but this dish can be served on an expedition or a cocktail party!
From The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning.
Makes about 2 cups or a good-sized ramekin
- 1 cup dried great northern or some other white bean
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 heads of garlic
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Cracked black pepper
Have the beans soaked and rinsed. Put them in a pot with the bay leaf and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beans are soft, about an hour or so – longer if the beans haven't been pre-soaked. Check on them from time to time to skim off any accumulation of foam. Drain and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, wrap the heads of garlic in foil and roast in a 400°F oven until the sides yield nicely to your touch, 15–20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat and crumble in the rosemary and salt. (Wendy Trusler says: "When I get the urge I mince a few additional cloves of garlic and add them at this stage.") When you begin to smell the rosemary, stir in the beans and cook until warm, about 3 minutes.
Set aside about a third of the beans. Squeeze the garlic into the pan and mash with the back of a fork to make a thick coarse paste. When the garlic and beans are thoroughly amalgamated and you are satisfied with the texture, stir in the lemon zest, cracked pepper and reserved beans. (You could also mash all the beans if you want a more refined texture.) Warm thoroughly serve with crostini or warm bread. Garnish with fresh herbs if you have some.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Unoaked Chardonnay, Chablis or Sancerre
Sautéed Tournedos with Wild Herb Béarnaise Sauce
We almost chose Fried Moose Ribs with Red Cabbage, Poached Pears and Candied Chestnuts, but ran out of space. Instead, from The Wild Game Cookbook, we're offering you this simple, sophisticated method for handling wild or tame fillets, and suggest that if you happen to have some foie gras, you just might want to serve it on the side!
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
- 6 Tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter
- 4 caribou filets (each 5 oz/150g) (see below)
- 1 cup (250mL) Béarnaise Sauce
- dried wild herbs, such as chicory, burdock, coltsfoot or aromatic garden herbs
- Heat vegetable oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season caribou fillets with salt and black pepper and sauté until desired doneness. Let rest on a warm rack.
- Add a pinch each of the fine chopped aromatic herbs to the Béarnaise Sauce.
- To Serve: Serve the tournedos very simply on a plate. The Béarnaise Sauce should be served on the side. (It is a very delicate sauce and heat can cause it to separate.
Variations: Instead of caribou filets, use deer, moose, bison, musk ox, wild boar, piglet, elk, beef, pork or veal.
Serving tip: Cattail hearts of fingerling potatoes go well with tournedos!
Tournedos: According to the French Dictionary of the Academy of Gastronomes, this term first appeared in 1864. "In the last century, the stalls backing onto (tournant les dos) the central alleys of the fresh fish pavilion, in the Paris Halles, were assigned fish of doubtful freshness. By analogy, the name tournedos was given to pieces of filet of been that were kept for a few days in storage. An indiscretion is said to have led to the word's appearing on a restaurant menu one day; the public, not knowing its origin, adopted it."
Another version of the word's origin is tied to a filet mignon dish with foie gras and truffles ordered by composer Rossini, which surprised the headwaiter so much he had the dish served behind the backs (dans les dos) of the other customers. This cut of meat is among the most versatile in terms of the garnishes and sauces that can accompany it.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Amarone or Zinfandel or Côtes du Rhône red
Bagna Cauda with Winter Vegetables
Chef Derek Damman in True North comments that "This is a pretty traditional dish in all aspects, mainly because it's pretty much perfect already. As simple as it is, though, when it hits the table it's a real showstopper. I offer a guideline as to the begetables you can use, but ultimately, it's up to you. The important thing is to cook each vegetable separagely to make sure it's done properly. It's also nice to cut each type of vegetable a bit differently so the finished dish has a mix of textures and shapes."
Makes enough for 6 people to be very happy!
For the dressing
- 40 anchovy fillets in oil
- 1/2 lb (225 g) unsalted butter
- 12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red chili pepper, split in half lengthwise, seeds intact
- 1 generous sprig fresh rosemary
- 1½ cups (375mL) white wine
- 4 cups (1 L) whipping cream
- Black pepper
- 2 Tbsp (30mL) finely chopped Italian parsley
For the vegetables
2 Fennel bulbs, quartered lengthwise and steamed (save the fronts for garnish if you like)
- 8 parsnips, peeled, cut into 3-inch (8 cm) lengths, and boiled with a bit of lemon
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
- 4 carrots, peeled, steamed whole, then cut into quarters
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, steamed until tender
- 1/2 endive, cut into lengths and soaked in ice water for 1 hour
- 4 beets, peeled, boiled with a splash of cider vinegar, then sliced
For the dressing:
Drain the anchovies, reserving the oil. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the anchovy oil. Add the garlic and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds without taking on any colour. Add the anchovies, chilli and rosemary sprig and stir with a wooden spoon until the anchovies have broken up and completely melted into the butter and oil. Add the wine and turn up the heat to cook off most of the alcohol. Add the cream, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, discard the rosemary and the chilli, and season with a couple of healthy turns of a pepper mill. Stir in the chopped parsley just before serving.
For the vegetables:
Arrange the vegetable in separate piles on a platter. You can pour over the warm dressing or pour it into a warmed jug and pass it around at the table.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Soave, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Skyr, Fennel Sorbet, and Roasted Barley
In North, Gunnar Gíslason's desserts are described as rarely heavy; this recipe showcasing local barley is the perfect example of his use of vegetables in desserts, a practice that prevents the jarring contrast that sometimes occurs when moving from a savory course to a sugary dessert. The barley is nutty and crunchy, adding a nice counterpoint to the bright flavor and smooth texture of the sorbet and tanginess of the skyr. P.S.: carrot or cucumber can be substituted for the fennel.
Serves 6 to 8
Prep time about 1 hour, plus 4 hours to freeze the sorbet
2 cups (480mL) freshly squeezed fennel juice
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
- 2 Tbsp liquid glucose
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 4 tsp cider vinegar
2/3 cup (150mL) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (30g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 sheets gelatin, soaked in cold water to cover until softened, then squeezed to remove excess water
- 1²/3 cup (475 g) skyr
1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil
- Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (100 g) pearl barley
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2½ to 3½ cups (600 mL to 840 mL water)
- 1 cup (240 mL) rapeseed oil
- dried apricots, for garnish
- prunes, for garnish
To make the sorbet, prepare an ice bath. Combine one-fourth of the fennel juice, the sugar, the glucose and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vinegar and the remaining fennel juice and mix well. Remove from the heat, nest the pan in the ice bath, and let stand until chilled, stirring occasionally. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Scoop into an airtight container, place in the freezer and freeze for about 4 hours, until frozen solid.
To make the frothy skyr, combine the cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Whisk in the skyr until creamy and smooth. Transfer to a siphon and charge the siphon with 2 nitrous oxide (NO2) charges according to the manufacturer's
instructions. Shake the siphon vigorously and refrigerate until chilled. (DON'T PANIC... See notes below.)
To make the fennel salad, in a bowl toss together the fennel and oil until the fennel glistens. Season with salt and refrigerate until chilled.
To make the roasted barley, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a saucepan, combine the barley, sugar, salt and 2½ cups (600 mL) of the water, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, until all of the water has evaporated. The barley should be almost fully tender. If it is not, add a little more water and continue cooking. When the barley is ready, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet, spread in an even layer and let cool to room temperature.
In a heavy pot, heat oil to 350°F (180°C). Add the barley a handful at a time and fry, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, for 10 to 15 seconds, until golden brown. Don't worry if the barley clumps together. Once it has cooled, it will be easy to break the clumps apart. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the barley to paper towels to drain. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature until ready to use. The barley will deep at room temperature for up to 1 week.
To serve, spoon the sorbet and fennel salad into a bowl and dispense the frothy skyr on top. Garnish with the roasted barley and dried fruits.
- Cut the fennel just before juicing and place in acidulated water to prevent browning.
- Pearl barley is barley that has been processed to remove the hull and bran, resulting in small, ivory spheres.
- If you do not have a siphon, just before serving, froth the skyr mixture with an immersion blender or whisk it vigorously. It will not be as light and airy as with the siphone method, but it will be just as tasty.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Off-dry Riesling or German Riesling Kabinett
Cranberry Maple Butter Tarts
For those who are not familiar with the butter tart, let me quote Wikipedia: it's "a type of small pastry tart highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada's quintessential desserts. The tart consists of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top." That's the basic, and you'll find additional ingredients depending on the location. Can you imagine a more fun trip than sampling butter tarts across Canada? Neither can we! This one is such a winner, better get testing now. From Homegrown.
Makes 12 tarts
- 1½ (375 mL) cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) light cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) iodized salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 omega-3 egg
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Pulse together flour, butter and cream cheese in a food processor until mixture is well blended and starts to form a ball. Shape into ball with hands, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled.
- When the pastry is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness. Cut into 12 rounds with a 4-inch (10 cm) cutter. Place rounds into a 12-muffin-cup pan and gently press into each muffin cup to line. Evenly divide the cranberries and place in the muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, add brown sugar and salt and beat in until smooth. Add egg and lightly beat until mixture is well blended and smooth.
- Gently stir in maple syrup and vanilla until well incorporated.
- Fill pastry cups three-quarters full with filling mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan before transferring tarts to a wire cooling rack.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Cream sherry; tawny port
We wish to thank the following for permission to publish recipes and photographs:
Robert Rose for The Complete Wild Game Cookbook by Jean-Paul Grappe. Text © Jean-Paul Grappe. Recipe photographs © Pierre Beauchemin.
Whitecap Books for Homegrown by Mairlyn Smith. © the Ontario Home Economics Association.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, for True North, by Derek Dammann and Chris Johns. Food photography by Farah Khan. © 2015 Derek Dammann and Chris Johns.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, for The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning, by Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine. © 2015 Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine.
Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York, for North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland, by Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Jody Eddy. © 2014 Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Jody Eddy. Photographs © 2014 Evan Sung.
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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.