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Toronto Taste 2002 (May 31, 2002)

At last, great weather in Toronto, and even better, great food and an even better cause. Toronto Taste 2002 is coming soon, and you'll want to be there for several sparkling reasons…read on.

On Sunday, June 9th, 70 of Ontario's top chefs will be dishing out their fabulous fare in aid of Second Harvest, Canada's largest fresh food recovery program. Who could possibly resist sampling fabulous wine and food from the best kitchens in town? Hey, you might not get a table this summer at North 44, Susur or Hemisphere's, and Eigensinn Farm is booked until Christmas, but at Toronto Taste 2002, not only will Mark McEwan, Susur Lee, Patrick Lin and Michael Stadtlander be cooking, they'll serve you with a smile in person.

It's a great event to enjoy for those who are grateful for any meal. Every day, Second Harvest's refrigerated trucks pick up donated food from grocery stores, hotels, caterers, and food distributors, and deliver the food within 6 hours to 3,000 needy people every day, from homeless people to women and their children escaping violence to runaway teenagers to seniors who simply can't make ends meet.

That's reason enough right there to support this cause, for Toronto Taste 2002 will provide one-third of Second Harvest's annual budget. The great news is that not only do you get a fabulous few hours of sheer pleasure, you'll be helping to put otherwise lost food in front of those who need it most.

In addition, there will be the Great Escapes raffle, live entertainment, an exclusive raffle for a Williams-Sonoma Shopping Spree, and a fabulous Silent Auction featuring many terrific products and services.

Toronto Taste will be held at the beautiful Heritage Court at Exhibition Place, and it's always a sell-out crowd. Tickets are $175 per person, and you know what one meal with foie gras usually costs! Book immediately and don't miss out; call 416-408-2594 for tickets.

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (102 KB)

Rack of Lamb with Pecan Honey Mustard Crust and Green Onion Mint Pesto

Oh, Mark, you've done it again... may I please have another little chop? From North 44 and Chef Mark McEwan comes this fabulous combination that will dazzle you and your guests. McEwan's high-resolution focus and standards have created one of North America's top restaurants; the service is perfect, the food glorious. This lamb dish is typical – McEwan told us, "I don't like food that is overspun; if I serve lamb, I want it to taste of lamb." And we can tell you he has succeeded handsomely.

Serves 4

2 racks of lamb, about 1¼ lb. each
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbsp chopped toasted pecan
1 cup fresh sourdough breadcrumbs, toasted
1 Tbsp melted butter

Green onion mint pesto
6 green onions, trimmed
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp fine chopped jalapeño pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle lamb with 1 Tbsp oil and rub with thyme.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes. Place skillet in oven and roast lamb for 10 minute.

Stir together honey, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl.

Combine pecans and breadcrumbs in separate bowl.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

The classic match for lamb is red Bordeaux, but the crusting suggests a New World Merlot or Cab with a touch of sweetness in the fruit. Try a BC Merlot or Ontario Cabernet Franc.

Spread lamb with honey mixture, then coat with breadcrumb mixture, letting excess fall into skillet. Drizzle with melted butter. Return to oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until desired doneness. Let rest, covered for about 5 minutes.

Puree green onions, mint, vinegar, pine nuts, sugar, lemon rind, jalapeño and salt in food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Slice lamb between bones. Serve with pesto.

Scallop Boudin

From Jov Bistro come 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.

Serves 6

1 lb. scallops
1 egg white
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ 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
¼ cup red wine vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Red wine vinaigrette
Whisk together 1 Tbsp dry red wine, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, ¼ tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ 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.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

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

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.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

This is Tony Aspler's favourite dessert in the world, and it surely is one of ours. Created by Robert Martella and his wife Lucia Ruggiero-Martella, owners of wonderful, much-loved Grano, this white chocolate truffle mixture studded with raspberries and encased in a pastry shell will leave you quivering with pleasure. Surly a second small slice wouldn't be tooooo sinful?

Serves 10 to 12

2 cups all-purpose flour (500 mL)
¾ cup butter, cubed (175 mL)
1 Tbs. granulated sugar (15 mL)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs. water (15 mL)

1 lb. good quality white chocolate, chopped (500 g)
5 Tbs. butter (70 mL)
2/3 cup whipping cream (150 mL)
2 cups fresh raspberries (500 mL)

Place flour, ¾ cup (175 mL) butter and sugar in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add egg and water. Pulse again until ball of dough forms.

Roll out dough and place in an 11-inch (28 cm) flan pan. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cover dough with sheet of foil and weight with dried beans or pastry weights. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. Remove foil and beans and bake for 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

A rich white wine with sweetness and acidity is the right choice for this amazing dessert. Try Canadian Riesling Icewine, Recioto di Soave (Veneto) or Pedro Ximenez Sherry.

Melt chocolate and 5 Tbs. (70 mL) butter in double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Stir in cream; remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Arrange raspberries over bottom of pastry shell and cover with chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

The Chef's Table, by Lucy Waverman, James Chatto and Tony Aspler was published by Random House Canada.
Photograph courtesy Vince Noguchi.

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 importnat 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.

For information on Taste Toronto 2002, visit

Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (102 KB)




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