an affair to remember
WILD MUSHROOM SUMMER ROLLS
These rolls are all about the dipping sauce and the freshness of the vegetables. You can add carrots, bean sprouts, green onions and radishes including daikon, and they all add something different to the roll. Brown rice vermicelli has more flavour than white but either works. Sambal oelek is an Asian chili paste that is spicy but rounded in flavour. You could use sriracha instead. Use a medium rice paper wrapper, about 8½ inches (21 cm) in size. Rolls can be made 4 hours ahead and kept well wrapped. Longer means they dry out slightly.
4 large king oyster mushrooms, halved lengthwise 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) fish sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) sambal oelek
2 oz (55) brown or white rice vermicelli
8 rice paper wrappers
¼ cup (60 mL) mint leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) basil leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) coriander sprigs
2 Persian or small cucumbers, cut into 4 spears each
1 cup (250 mL) radish sprouts
1 cup (250 mL) sliced tender lettuce, such as Boston or bibb
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
½ sweet red pepper, stem removed, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) minced garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) Asian chili sauce such as sambal oelek (or more to taste)
3 tbsp (45 mL) fish sauce
¼ cup (60 mL) lime juice 1 Gently score a cross-hatch pattern into cut sides of each mushroom half. Combine oil, fish sauce, ginger, vinegar and sambal oelek. Brush over the mushrooms. Preheat grill over high heat. Grill mushrooms, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool. Cut mushrooms halves into quarters, each mushroom will now be in 4. Reserve.
2 Place vermicelli noodles in a wide, heatproof dish. Cover with boiling water and soak until tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Reserve.
3 Cover a section of your countertop with plastic wrap. Working with 1 piece at a time, soak rice paper wrappers in cool water until they are just pliable, about 30 seconds, then lay on plastic wrap.
4 Arrange 2 mushroom pieces, 2 mint leaves, 2 basil leaves, 2 sprigs coriander, 2 chives, 1 cucumber spear, noodles, sprouts and lettuce along bottom third of rice paper. Lift rice paper edge nearest you around filling. Fold in sides, then continue rolling to form a tight log. Cut in half and place on platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients. If making ahead, don’t cut in half but wrap in a damp tea towel and refrigerate until needed. Cut when needed.
5 Combine water and sugar in a pot to make dipping sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
6 Place red pepper, garlic and chili sauce with ¼ cup (60 mL) of sugar syrup in a food processor or blender and purée. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Taste for seasonings, adding more syrup to thin it down if needed.
7 Serve rolls with sauce.
Makes 8 rolls WHAT TO SERVE
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has a savoury character that aligns well with vegetable dishes, and its widespread appeal makes it a good choice for entertaining. The iconic Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (VINTAGES
ESSENTIALS 304469, $35.95) was the genesis of New Zealand’s world reputation for excitingly flavourful white wines. Vibrant citrus and herbal notes echo the roll’s herbal flavours.
France’s Sancerre region is also renowned for Sauvignon Blanc—expect a little more restraint in the delivery of fruit, and an emphasis on minerality. Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Sancerre (VINTAGES ESSEN
TIALS 542548, $28.95) brims with citrus and floral notes, making it an inspired pairing for appetizers and vegetable dishes.
WITH GINGER, LIME & CRISPY LEEKS
Often a first course whets the appetite for the rest of the meal, so it does not have to be large. Serve just one huge scallop per person. The lime butter can be made a few days ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.
3 leeks, white and light green part only, about 3 cups (750 mL)
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper GINGER LIME BUTTER ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter 2 tsp (10 mL) grated ginger 2 tsp (10 mL) grated lime rind Salt and pepper
8 jumbo scallops, about 10 per lb/455 g (u 10 size)
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped parsley
1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2 Halve leeks lengthwise. Cut each piece into half-moons on a bias. Toss with 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil on a baking sheet. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and spread in an even layer. Bake, stirring a few times, until the leeks are crispy and golden brown, but not blackened, about 20 minutes. Reserve.
3 Combine butter, ginger and lime rind in a food processor or by hand. Season well with salt and pepper and leave on the counter to remain at room temperature.
4 Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the lime butter in frying pan over high heat. Add scallops and sear 3 minutes on the first side, flip scallops over and sear 2 minutes or until just opaque. Remove from pan and keep warm. Toss in half the leeks. Stir in any juices from scallops and the remaining butter. Cook, stirring until butter melts. Spoon leeks and sauce onto 8 plates. Place a large scallop on each plate. Top with remaining leeks and dust with parsley.
Serves 8 WHAT TO SERVE
Riesling, with styles from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, is the most versatile of white varieties when it comes to matching a diverse menu. In this dish the perfumed character of Tawse Quarry Road Organic Riesling
VQA (VINTAGES ESSENTIALS 198853, $24.95) lets it stand up to the ginger and lime notes in the dish. A touch of sweetness counters the heat of ginger, and enhances the natural sweetness of the scallops.
Riesling lovers now have a wealth of choice with the LCBO’s online Destination Collection portfolio (see page 24). From Germany’s Mosel region, the Von Hövel Oberemmeler QbA Feinherb 2016 (LCBO 585629, $31.10) offers superb balance and delicacy.
SLOW-ROASTED FILLET OF BEEF WITH MISO MARROW SAUCE
This is a perfect make-ahead main because you can slow-roast the fillet about eight hours earlier in the day. Remove the beef from the oven when the temperature reads about 120°F (50°C). Let it cool. When you are ready to serve, bake on high heat to sear the outside and warm the inside. This method of roasting results in an evenly coloured and very juicy roast. Omit marrow bones if you cannot get them but the fat that they leave in the pan is great for roasting potatoes another time. To reduce miso marrow sauce properly you really need homemade or butcher-bought stock. If all you have is store-bought do not reduce as much and thicken with a little paste made from 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch and water.
1 beef fillet, 3 to 4 lbs (1.36 to 1.81 kg) 1½ tsp (7 mL) kosher salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp (30 mL) wasabi powder
4 bay leaves
2 cups (500 mL) sliced onion
8 small marrow bones
MISO MARROW SAUCE
2 cups (500 mL) unsalted beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade or butcher-supplied
1 tbsp (15 mL) white miso
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter, in small pieces
1 Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).
2 Rub the fillet with salt and let sit uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This helps to flavour it. Combine vegetable oil with garlic and wasabi. If it is too dry, add a bit more oil. Paint it over the fillet about 2 hours before cooking.
3 Place 4 bay leaves in the roasting pan. Scatter over onions and place the fillet overtop. Arrange the marrow bones around the fillet. Measuring at the thickest part of the roast, measure height and slow roast for 30 minutes per inch (2.5 cm) for medium-rare. If you want it rarer then roast 25 minutes to the inch.
4 Remove roasting pan from oven and let fillet rest uncovered at room temperature while you heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). You can reserve the fillet and bones at this point and roast it again up to 8 hours later. Refrigerate if reserving for more than 2 hours. Bring back to room temperature before roasting. 5 If reserving, drain any juice from roast into a jug and reserve. Skim fat from juices and save for another use.
6 Before serving, return roasting pan to oven and roast until fillet is browned and heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on a carving board for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. Reserve marrow bones and onion on a platter covered loosely with foil.
7 Add stock to roasting pan, scraping up any bits from the base. Whisk in the miso, balsamic, soy and reserved juices (if roast was reserved). Bring to a boil and cook until stock is reduced enough to coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your roasting pan. Stir in butter. Keep warm.
8 Slice beef into thick or thin slices, whatever you prefer. Add a marrow bone with a little onion to each plate along with some beef and sauce.
Serves 8 WHAT TO SERVE
This dish provides an opportunity to explore the timeless wine pairing of Bordeaux and roast beef. Lean cuts do best with wines that have softer tannins, so a wine from Bordeaux’s right bank would be a good choice. In the Chateau Pipeau (VINTAGES ESSENTIALS 302018, $40.95), Merlot dominates the blend, resulting in a wine that is supple, fruity and spicy.
From Niagara, the iconic Trius Red VQA (VINTAGES
ESSENTIALS 303800, $24.95) has Cabernet Franc in the lead, giving this Bordeaux-inspired blend a uniquely savoury character.
ASIAN SWEET POTATO GRATIN
Asian sweet potatoes are white inside and reddish purple on the outside. They are sweeter than regular sweet potatoes but especially delicious. They tend to brown quickly, so drop them into acidulated water as you slice them. This dish works well with regular sweet potatoes or a floury white potato, if you prefer. For a less rich dish use milk instead of whipping cream. Togarashi is a Japanese spice mixture. You don’t want the potatoes spicy hot, just with an edge of heat to balance the sweetness. If togarashi is unavailable, use chili flakes.
5 Asian white sweet potatoes, scrubbed, about 3 lbs (1.36 kg)
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream
1 tsp (5 mL) shichimi togarashi, or more to taste 1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). 2 Thinly slice sweet potatoes with a mandoline or the slicer blade of the food processor. Add to a bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to prevent browning. Butter a gratin dish large enough to hold the potatoes. Reserve any remaining butter. Place a layer of sweet potatoes, overlapping, on base. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining potatoes, seasoning each layer.
3 Combine coconut milk, cream and togarashi. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over sweet potatoes. The liquid should come about threequarters of the way up. Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet to catch any drips.
4 Bake until bubbling around edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and carefully press down potatoes with a spatula to submerge in coconut milk. Dot with any remaining butter. Bake until potatoes are tender and gold on top and most of the liquid is absorbed, another 25 to 35 minutes.
Serves 8 GREEN ON GREENS
With its crunchy peas and pretty greens, this dish is the perfect accompaniment to the beef and gratin. The secret is to cut most of the stalk off the pea shoots and toss the green tops in with the other peas. Save a few tops for a fresh garnish.
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) grated ginger
8 oz (225 g) snow peas, trimmed
8 oz (225 g) sugar snap peas, trimmed 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
3 cups (750 mL) pea shoots, stalks trimmed Salt and freshly ground pepper
A handful of pea shoot tops
1 Heat vegetable oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Combine soy sauce and ginger, set aside. Add snow peas and sugar snap peas to pan and stir-fry until crisptender, about 2 minutes.
2 Sprinkle in soy mixture and stir in butter. Cook until butter melts. Stir in pea shoots and toss together until pea greens barely wilt. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with pea shoot tops and serve.
WITH CRÈME FRAÎCHE
You can buy crème fraîche or make it. Making it is easy if you remember to start three days before you need it, as it should mellow in the fridge for a couple of days. It keeps for a long time and is always useful to have. The caviar can range from orange-coloured salmon roe to the less expensive whitefish roe or you can blow the budget and go with the wonderful Acadian sturgeon caviar from New Brunswick. Alternatively, swap out the caviar for flakes of smoked trout or salmon and garnish with onion, chives or capers. The tarts keep for a week refrigerated. 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped red onion ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
3 tbsp (45 mL) cold sour cream
1 cup (250 mL) crème fraîche
1 oz (30 g) caviar or more if you wish 2 grated hard-boiled egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped chives
1 Stir together flour, onion and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in the sour cream and combine to make a pastry. Alternatively place ingredients in a food processor and add sour cream once the pastry forms a coarse crumble.
2 Divide pastry into 20 even pieces; in a smallmuffin pan place each piece into a muffin cup. With your fingers, press dough into base and up sides of each muffin cup. Chill 30 minutes.
3 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake pastry until golden around edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.
4 Just before serving, fill with crème fraîche, top with caviar, a little grated egg yolk and a sprinkle of chives.
Makes about 20 little tarts WHAT TO SERVE
Set the mood for a special dinner by serving Champagne with hors d’oeuvre. The dry and refined Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne (VINTAGES ESSENTIALS
268771, $74.95) is a superb pairing, and the premium price reflects Champagne’s prestige.
From other regions of France, the bottle-fermented bubbly known as crémant offers great value. Chateau de Montgueret Crémant de Loire Brut (LCBO 217760, $20.00) has racy acidity and lemony notes that precisely cut the richness of crème fraîche.
Ontario’s rising reputation for fabulous fizz is driven by our cool climate, creating wines with verve and complexity. Made exclusively from Chardonnay, the Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling VQA
(VINTAGES ESSENTIALS 213983, $29.95) has a notable balance that makes it ideal for appetizers.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & FENNEL SOUP WITH SPINACH
By using vegetable stock, this soup is both glutenand dairy-free. You can buy pickled red onions or make a quick pickle yourself. You can also omit it, but the tang balances the soup beautifully. The curry paste lifts the soup from good to extraordinary.
1 medium head cauliflower, about 2 lbs (905 g) 1 large fennel bulb, about 1 lb (455 g)
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) chopped onions
1 tsp (5 mL) Thai green curry paste 8 cups (2 L) vegetable or chicken stock 1 tsp (5 mL) crushed fennel seeds 4 cups (1 L) packed baby spinach
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
½ cup (125 mL) pickled red onion 8 fennel fronds
1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2 Cut cauliflower into florets. Trim stalks off fennel bulb. Cut in half, lengthwise, then cut ½-inch-wide (1-cm) wedges lengthwise through root. Arrange cauliflower on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange fennel on another baking sheet and toss with remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and tender, rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Chop fennel and combine with caulilower. Reserve.
3 For soup, heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in curry paste and cook 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, fennel, stock and fennel seeds. Bring to boil, reduce heat to mediumlow and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and lemon zest. Cook just until spinach wilts, about 1 to 3 minutes. This keeps the colour, giving the soup a beautiful green hue.
4 Purée with an immersion blender or a regular blender. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Reheat when needed and garnish with pickled red onions and fennel fronds.
Serves 8 WHAT TO SERVE
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are one and the same in terms of grape variety. Whether Gris or Grigio, this variety has broad appeal, making it an easy choice when entertaining a large group. Vegetable dishes are complemented by the citrus and herbal character in the
Cave Spring Pinot Gris VQA (LCBO 522979, $16.95). Torrontes is an aromatic white that has become a specialty in Argentina. With forward peach and citrus flavours, it is an ideal pairing for Asian-inspired dishes and spicy curries. Like Pinot Grigio, it is a crowd pleaser— don’t let the fruity aromas mislead, the Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes (VINTAGES ESSENTIALS 1834, $14.95)
is bone-dry and very food-friendly!
This chutney is an excellent addition to a cheese board or accompaniment to cold meats. Remove kumquat seeds and place in a metal tea egg or cheesecloth. They help to thicken the chutney and are edible although sometimes bitter. If the sauce thickens too much, then add in some water to thin it out. Refrigerate for up to a month. I usually make double quantities to give some away.
1½ cups (375 mL) water
1½ cups (375 mL) sugar
½ cup (125 mL) apple cider vinegar 3 cups (750 mL) kumquats, cut in half lengthwise, about 1 lb (455 g)
2 star anise or 6 cardamom pods
1 Place water, sugar, vinegar and kumquat seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 2 minutes then stir in kumquats and star anise or cardamom. Reduce heat to medium and simmer chutney until kumquats are transparent and liquid is thick and glossy and coats a spoon, about 25 to 35 minutes. It will continue to thicken after it cools. Remove seeds and discard.
2 Transfer to a dish and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until needed.
Makes 2 cups (500 mL) WHAT TO SERVE
Sweet wines round out a dinner menu, and make an outstanding pairing with a selection of fine cheeses. The contrast between sweet and salty is magical, providing your guests with an experience of one of Ontario’s signature wine styles. Marmalade and apricot notes in the Reif Vidal Icewine VQA (VINTAGES ESSENTIALS
544791, 200 mL, $24.95) pick up on the lively flavours of the chutney.
For those who prefer a drier option, Pelee Island
Lighthouse Semi-Sweet Riesling VQA (LCBO 470526, $13.45) is less sweet, with a delicate citrus bouquet and a long and slightly sweet finish.
LEMON MERINGUE TART
This has the components of a lemon meringue pie but torn apart to make a visually stunning dessert. When we were developing this recipe, the meringues had been in the oven for 10 minutes when suddenly the power turned off. We left the meringues in the cooling oven for 1½ hours or until the oven cooled completely. Not only were they perfect, they were even better after being left in a cool place for a few days. This can be made with a hand-held mixer, but that makes the beating time longer.
4 egg whites
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) white vinegar 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
Lemon Cream (recipe follows)
Ginger Shortbread Cookies (recipe follows) Mint (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C).
2 In a stand mixer on medium-high, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add in sugar, beating well the whole time. Keep beating until mixture is thick and glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in vinegar and cornstarch until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds more. Mixture should be thick enough that you can turn the bowl upside down.
3 Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop or 2 large spoons, scoop ovals of meringue onto the baking sheet. You should have 11 or 12.
4 Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Turn oven off and leave for 1½ hours. Do not open oven. Meringues should be set and peel easily from parchment paper. Remove from oven and set aside in a cool place until needed.
5 To assemble, on a dessert plate, place 1 meringue, a dollop of Lemon Cream plus scattered broken Ginger Shortbread Cookies. Garnish with mint, if desired.
Makes 11 or 12 meringues, serves 8