I don’t know how it came up. I think I asked my friend Gail Norton for a new recipe for a summer dessert. I was bored with my usual repertoire.
Apricots, she said.
Make a Tatin. I’ll send you a recipe.
She did and that’s where this story starts.
Last week I made my annual summer pilgrimage to Penticton in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It’s year 15 and each year gets better and brings more joy.
We have rituals that make this place a haven for our family.
Early morning cycling with friends, time for a coffee and chat, a dip in the lake when the notion strikes or if it is really hot – a chance to float lazily down the channel that cuts through this isthmus; this city lodged like a too tight belt between two very curvy lakes.
We shop at farmers’ markets, lunch at vineyards and dine on the patio. The air is soft and caresses the skin. Lavender, roses, Ponderosa pine and the smell of fresh fruit drift to the brain’s memory bank of scents and deliver a sigh and a smile in recognition. Blue sky meets blue water with pale faced clay banks lined with grapevines sloping to their steep cliffs. Life is grand and then it gets even better.
We go to an alfresco dinner with Joy Road Catering at a retreat called God’s Mountain and life feels quite complete. I’ve written about the very talented owners Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith and you can learn more about why I’m a fan of theirs here.
Read on to see what was on the menu this year, who the winery was and what it all looked like with the few photos I thought to snap here and there as the dinner progressed. I’m sorry there aren’t more. I was enchanted by the evening.
In this week where sustainable fisheries are on my mind, it’s nice to receive inspiring news that a leader in Calgary’s restaurant scene has firmly anchored his seafood restaurant in the mostly unchartered waters of promoting sustainable fish consumption. I wrote about Catch restaurant’s new buycatch seafood market here. Many thanks to chef Kyle Groves for sharing this beautiful recipe and now we know where to get the “Jet Fresh” halibut we need to make this palate pleaser.
Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea, and Chorizo Ragout
courtesy of Chef Kyle Groves, Catch and The Oyster Bar, Calgary, Alberta
4 X 6 oz. Pieces of Wild BC Halibut Fillet
4 oz. Morel Mushrooms – washed and patted dry
8 oz. English peas – out of the shell and blanched
8 oz. Boiled ratte or fingerling potatoes – peeled and cut into ½” thick disks
6 oz. Chorizo meat – chopped into small pieces
½ oz. Fresh thyme – leaves only
4 oz. Fresh cold butter
1 oz. shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 oz. chives, minced
3 oz. Dry white wine
Salt / Pepper / Lemon juice to taste
1. In a cast iron pan sear the halibut fillets on one side until golden brown
2. Transfer to a 400*F oven and cook until the fish reaches 135*F
3. When the fish comes out of the oven, add a few thyme leaves and cook for one minute
4. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook the chorizo until the fat has rendered out of it
5. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook in the chorizo fat until softened
6. Add the Morel mushrooms and sauté until softened
7. Add the fresh thyme leaves and cook until they “pop”
8. Add a splash of dry white wine to cool the pan slightly
9. Add the cooked potato disks and the English peas
10. Bring mixture to a boil and add the cold butter cubes slowly
11. When mixture is thick, season with salt pepper and lemon juice
12. Divide onto 4 warm plates and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives
13. Top with the halibut and serve right away
This week I’ll be talking about sustainable fisheries on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon. In a related story, one of Calgary’s flashier downtown restaurants just announced an interesting new sustainable seafood program.
Catch and The Oyster Bar became the first seafood restaurant in Alberta to offer a 100% Ocean Wise™ menu last year and now they’ve added a completely Ocean Wise™ seafood market called buycatch (its a market by Catch where you buy the fish Catch carries but there’s no harmful bycatch – a term referring to birds and other species of fish inadvertently caught with unsustainable fisheries methods). The menu of offerings will change on a daily basis as their “Jet Fresh” supply arrives from the coasts of Canada. Ocean Wise™ provides consumers with the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean friendly sustainable seafood choice.
Here’s how the buycatch program will work.
I’m continuing my Springtime in Paris theme by sharing some of the stories I’ve written about the world’s most visited city.
One of the best days I’ve ever spent was a day in Paris when my sister Sue and I shopped and cooked with two Parisians – in their neighbourhood market and in their kitchen. It was glorious for me. I had to keep pinching myself that entire day to make sure it was not a dream and I had to write about it.
The article I wrote was called Succulent Paris and it was published by Bonjour Paris and editor/founder Karen Fawcett. Succulent Paris is also the name of the food touring company that delivered this fantastic life experience. We’ve stayed friends and I hope you’ll check out their wonderful tours the next time you visit Paris.
Let the story that follows wet your appetite to do so…
This week on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I’ll be talking about light and lively Mexican food that you’ll find easy to prepare for Cinco de Mayo or any time you feel like refreshing your Mexican cooking repertoire.
I learned these simple and delicious recipes while visiting Zihuatanejo (Zi-wha-ta-nyay-ho – only it sounds much more beautiful when Mexicans say it) Mexico on a recent family holiday.
I took a food tour and Mexican cooking class with chef Mario Miranda of Club Intrawest resort this year and in years past I’ve done the same tour with his predecessor the amazing Edgar Navarro (who has now moved to Whistler to run two restaurants at that bustling resort). Miranda was kind enough to share the recipes included in this post. I hope you enjoy them and the photos of my market tour with him.
Chefly Screen Shots
Wednesday, May 7 6:30 p.m.
Festival Hall in Inglewood
This event qualifies as both a very #CoolThing and a major #ArtInstallation. It promises to be quirky, upbeat and delicious and I’d say it’d be the funnest event this year for those that love food, art and film.
Here are the details and ticket link from the City Palate press release as follows: