Saturday, June 25, 2011

time flies...

time flies when you're having fun!

wow, where has the last 3 months gone? well, i suppose we've been having so much fun here we lost track of time altogether. i thought i'd recap a few of the highlights we've been up to since our last post....

in march, Massimo Capra, Jason Parsons and Michael Bonacini made a trip to Ottawa to promote their new cookbook, Three Chefs. i got a behind the scenes peek into how these three collaborated to produce a cookbook that precisely reflects a true sense of passion, fun and adventure that makes them a great threesome. the cookbook reflects a variety of creative ideas - the recipes are representative of truly down to earth cooking and highlight the best of each season. i've included one of Michael's recipes below - a great one to enjoy once peach season arrives.

Watermelon, Peach and Ginger Salad with Shrimp & Wasabi

In a bowl, combine the lime zest and juice,
ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, hydrated wasabi, and soy sauce.
Whisk together.

Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking to emulsify the dressing.
Check and adjust the seasoning.
Preheat a stovetop grill pan on medium-high heat.

Brush the peaches on both sides with oil and grill them,
cut side down, until golden brown and caramelized, 3 to 4
minutes. Turn over and grill 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer
to a plate.

Mix the shrimp with the olive oil and season with salt and

Reheat the grill pan on medium-high heat. Cook the
shrimp for 2 minutes on each side until just cooked
through, then transfer them to a bowl.

Toss half the dressing with the shrimp until the shrimp
are evenly coated, and set aside. On each plate, arrange
two watermelon wedges, several onion rings, and a grilled
peach half. Place the shrimp around the fruit. Drizzle with
the remaining dressing and sprinkle the mint over top.

Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp/15 mL rice vinegar
1 tbsp/15 mL wasabi powder (mixed
with 2 tbsp/25 mL warm water)
1 tsp/5 mL soy sauce
¼ cup/50 mL olive oil

2 peaches, halved
1 lb/500 g large shrimp, peeled
and deveined
1 tbsp/15 mL olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 2-inch/5 cm wedges of watermelon,
seeds and rind removed
1 small red onion, sliced thinly in rings
1 tbsp/15 mL finely sliced mint

This is the quintessential summer salad. Very fresh, with a hint of sweetness and a surprising but welcome wasabi bite, it’s perfect at lunch or for backyard entertaining. Just be sure the watermelon and peaches are ripe—you want to be able to taste the sunshine! —Michael

then in late march we had a special visit from alex talbot of the alex and aki >ideas in food blog and literary phenomenon. ideas in food has been toted as the essential reference book that belongs "on the shelf of every fan of contemporary cooking". inspired by atelier's marc lepine, alex ventured to ottawa one grey march day to enlighten chefs and ottawans alike with his intelligent approach on techniques and recipes.after sitting in on his demo, i realized that this book works for everyday culinary enthusiasts - and has been written in a way that gives applications on recipes for even a home cook like me! great read, great guy.

alex in action in the UE kitchen

and finally, a true highlight of early spring, a few of our staff got together and visited the martin picard's acclaimed cabane a sucre. we starved ourselves all day to make room for the spectacular 12 course meal! truly, a culinary adventure. candice was over the moon to meet martin in person - what a truly hospitable man and a hospitable place - and wow, were we in food heaven! even five ravenous adults with healthy appetites couldn't finish off every morsel of the feast that just seemed to flow non-stop from the kitchen. just give us a blanket and we could have curled up outside on the porch and awoke to do it all over again! (well, maybe after we found a way to curtail the "food hangover" that inflicted us all the next day...)

an ecstatic candice and a very jolly happy-go-lucky martin

seat with a view

my personal favourite, smoked sturgeon with creme fraiche, pickled onions and herbs on an acadian-style "pancake" (by far, the tastiest "taco" i've ever had)

the famous PDC tourtiere. believe us, this is the real deal.

and here we are in june! stay tuned... more edible adventures to come, with contributions by the urban element team and beyond.