> Verses from my Kitchen: It Takes Two

This Page

has been moved to new address

It Takes Two

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Verses from my Kitchen: It Takes Two

September 12, 2010

It Takes Two

I've long expounded on my love of Saturdays and the rituals I've come to love. Tea or coffee with my wife while scribbling down notes for dinner that night and figuring out exactly what I need to pick up to round the evening together. I'm one half of the component. Saturday night with friends or family or anybody for that matter relies on two people working together yet apart in absolute harmony.

While I'm at the market supporting our local farmers and picking up fresh herbs, potatoes, yellow tomatoes, pork and smoked bacon my wife is at home putting the house together. It's the perfect union.  Literally. I make the food, she sets the table with like colours and it creates and enhances the atmosphere. Market flowers adorn the table and market flavours sit alongside them. One doesn't work without the other. They say the atmosphere sets the mood for the meal and you always start the process with your eyes first. I'm lucky to have my eyes working for me.

Last night we had family over for dinner and it was important to say thank you for all the different memories of my childhood spent with them at their house. Staying up late one Saturday to watch hockey with my uncle, swimming with them and my cousins in the pool, enjoying childhood. Enjoying life.

Dinner is supposed to flow. One dish to the other should have a kind of unity that tells a story and creates a story. I try to follow that path and work from one dish to the next when creating a menu. If a main dish had pork you can work with flavours that complement or contrast with it. Apples, peaches and other varieties of pork like prosciutto and bacon or garlic, rosemary and mustards. The list is so long that you're never short of ideas and inspiration comes in all forms and from every direction.

Let's take it back to dinner for four last night.  We don't need an excuse to have a dinner party now that we have a house and a kitchen I can get lost in. With the changing of the season it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with family and make some hot, comforting food. That along with great wine and drinks, of course.

The menu for last night:

Prosciutto Bites with Pesto, Cracked Pepper and Bocconcini
Garlic Lemon Hummus

Two-Potato Bisque with Crème Fraiche and Chives

The Main
Rosemary Pork Tenderloin 
Ontario Fingerling Potatoes with Browned Butter and Parsley
Young Carrots with Candied Sauce

The Finish
Raspberry Lemon Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream 

The starters were created with layers of flavour and were designed to wake up the palate for the rest of the meal. I make my Hummus with tahini, cumin, chickpeas, lemon juice, a good olive oil, garlic paste and a generous amount of salt and cracked pepper. The Bocconcini Bites are really simple to make and the prep time is minimal, but the end result is fantastic. Three flavours that work off and with each other and create a flavour symphony. The prosciutto has a natural salty flavour so I matched it with a garlic pesto without any salt and bocconcini cheese which balances out the other two flavours and when slightly pan-fried creates this warm-gooey binding agent.

Prosciutto, pesto, cracked pepper and bocconcini
Bocconcini Bites
The Two-Potato Bisque was the perfect recipe for the chill growing outside and was precisely what I was looking for to satisfy my need for a fall soup with layers of intense flavour.
Two-Potato Bisque with Chives and Lime Creme Fraiche

    This soup is intensely flavoured and made through a process of:
    1. Making a base with sweet potato, potato, onion, garlic, bay leaves and a great chicken stock
    2. Adding it to a food processor to create a purée and then straining it through a sieve.
    3. Adding another layer of flavour with heavy cream, skim milk, lime juice/zest and cayenne pepper.
    4. Simmering to let the flavours mingle intimately over a low heat. 

    The key to this soup is the balance of so many different elements. The most important step of all is never allowing the cream and milk addition to boil. A low and steady heat is exactly what is needed. The soup is finished off with a lime-infused creme fraiche and a sprinkle of chives chopped on the bias.

    Each and every unique step in this process is worth the time and effort and without it the finished product wouldn't have the same results. It helps transport a simple soup to something worthy of starting your dinner story.

    Our main course with the revolved around the Rosemary Pork Tenderloin. The bacon laid across the top after the tenderloin was rubbed with rosemary, grainy mustard and garlic created a crisp exterior while allowing the pork to stay particularly juicy. I added delectable Ontario Fingerling Potatoes I found at the market that day and boiled them off before browning butter and mixing it with the chopped parsley and potatoes. The young carrots were rubbed with oil and seasoned in a pan and cut down the middle to ensure the proper tenderness in the cooking time I had. I made a candy sauce to drizzle over top with browned butter, juice from two orange halves, cumin and brown sugar. It had the consistency of syrup and added the perfect sweetness to the baked carrots. Candied Carrots.
    Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, Fingerling Potatoes and Candied Carrots.
    The finish was around the corner, a Raspberry Lemon Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Raspberries. The perfect sweet finish for the meal and just light enough that we all had enough room for it. 
    Raspberry Lemon Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Raspberries.

    I start by making the honey graham cracker crust with ground graham cracker crumbs, white sugar, melted butter and ground cinnamon and baking it off for a short time to form the shell. I beat the eggs with condensed milk until a creamy blended result. I stir in natural lemon juice and a pinch of lemon zest and pour it into the pie shell and baked for 30 minutes to let it set. In a separate saucepan I mix frozen and fresh raspberries with cornstarch until it thickens and becomes clear. I add it to the pie and chill for a few hours to let everything relax. I make a simple whipped cream with whipping cream, vanilla and sugar and pinch of vanilla bean to infuse extra vanilla flavour. I add raspberries at the end for my finish on the sweet finish. 

    Labels: , , , , ,


    Post a Comment

    Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment! I read them all and do my best to say thanks!

    Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home