Last night, we had Blee over for a Canada Day celebratory dinner and to welcome her back from the wilds of Dreadmunston (aka Edmonton), where she’s been working this past month (poor lass).
On the menu was:
- O Canada martinis;
- Peking duck terrine;
- Alberta beef tenderloin with Ontario sweet pea risotto; and,
- Rhubarb and cranberry crisp with marmalade cream.
Oh, and in a nod to our American friends we also – on the spur of the moment – made homemade Liberty pretzels to serve with the martinis. Hey, if you drink enough martinis, anything will go with them as an appetizer! I’ll post the wonderful adventure of making homemade pretzels from scratch later as I’m strapped for time and must dash to London for a couple days.
The martinis also took effect to the point that I forgot to check my email and hence neglected the email from Cousin Richard to join us. Me bad! … with apologies Cousin Richard!
O Canada Martinis
These are simply a mix of 1 oz of Tanqueray Number 10 Gin, a half-ounce of Triple Sec, the juice of 1/8 of a lime and 2 ounces of cranberry juice, shaken not stirred, and then served with Ontario blueberries.
Peking Duck Terrine
They say the real test of a good chef is his ability to pull off a terrine. This was my and G’s second attempt at a terrine (the first being a beet terrine a couple years ago) and it’s clear we still have some training to do. Case in point: we actually prepared the terrine, and, as I was putting it in the fridge, G shouted “we forgot the duck skin!”.
Grrr, yes, after carefully skinning the duck, ridding the skin of fat and laying it out, we forgot to line the mold with the skin after putting the onion wrapper pancake in. So, take two.
To make matters worse, after completing the terrine (Sunday afternoon) and refrigerating it, it was on Monday morning while shopping at a Dominions in Agincourt, that G announced “we forgot the hoisin!”. Which, of course, we had! Grrrr. The hoisin was supposed to go between the pancake and the duck skin to help adhere the skin to the wrapper.
Ok, so sure the whole thing eventually worked out wonderfully but still, grrrr.
2) G heads to T&T to get a bbq-ed duck; 3) reduce 1 cup of duck consomme down to 2 tablespoons (you will mix this into the duck just before pureeing
4) one bbq-ed duck; 5) remove head and wings
6) carefully skin the duck (ideally in one piece … this does take practice); 7) remove any excess fat and leave to dry a wee bit
8) meanwhile, heat 2 cups of rendered duck fat; 9) remove all useable meat from the duck
10) add meet to the fat and 11) add in star anise, cinnamon, garlic and Szechwan peppercorns and bring to a boil
12) bake in a hot oven for 50 minutes, reserve a half cup of the fat to incorporate into the meat when you get to the puree stage; 13) blend the neat with a paddle to break it up
Putting it all together
22) carefully line the mould with the wrapper and duck skin; 23) add in layer of onion, duck meat, chestnuts and more duck meat, tamping down the whole time (we used an expresso tamper)
Voila, the final product, served with an accompaniment of diced Asian pear dressed in a little sesame seed oil (and the blessed hoisin!)
Sweet Pea Risotto
Blee took charge of this fabulous accompaniment. The secret to this recipe lies in pureeing the peas, basil, mint, spinach, oregano and thyme before adding it into the rice.
27) shell the peas; 28) prepare mint, spinach, basil, thyme and oregano
29) pan fry the greens for about 2 minutes; 30) add to cuisinart and blend to a rough paste
31) the paste ready to be added into the risotto
32) layout risotto ingredients (rice, parmesan, celery, the paste, vermouth, onion and more mint); 33) warm your chicken broth and prepare to cook the risotto
34) saute the onion and celery; 35) add the rice and vermouth
36) gradually and slowly add broth till rice is cooked through, then add in the paste; 37) stir and finish with more cheese and you’re ready to serve
We served all this with two wines: a 2004 Cremant de Bourgongne brut from Dufouleur pere & Fils (France) and an outstanding British Columbia wine, 2005 Inkameep (NkiMIP) Syrah.
Rhubarb and Cranberry Crisp with Marmalade Cream
With our food share we received some fresh Ontario rhubarb. Rhubarb is a funny fruit with – I feel – limited uses (I’ve made pies and a spicy rhubarb jelly with it). This time out I found a recipe for a crisp and seeing that I had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer, a crisp it was going to be. The addition of the marmalade cream (which is so damn good) makes this easy dessert simple and tasty.
40) mix brown sugar, rolled oats, hazelnuts and graham cracker crumbs with 3tbsp of butter and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla; 41) add rhubarb, cranberries and brown sugar to pot and cook on medium until cranberries pop
42) once cooked, add in a tbsp of grated orange peel; 43) add to a pan and top with crumble top and bake at 350° for 30 minutes
Oh yeah, and Happy Canada Day!