Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Weekend of Reminiscing our Taste 5 Experience

OH MY GOD, my husband is the best cook on the planet! Inspired by our sensational evening at the NAC's Le Café, and armed with the recipes, my husband decided to share our food experience with friends. The only change however, rather than have 5 outstanding dishes, all the emphasis and care went into one. On Friday, that one was the salmon with wasabi crack, and Saturday the braised beef short ribs.

A pretty pink hunk of salmon was served, so moist and cooked to utter perfection. As was with the original dish, a dusting of crushed wasabi peas added a visual punch to the fish. I couldn't believe what a success this replication was (well, actually, I could), even right down to the fried lotus chip and deep green bok choy (the mushrooms were added after I took the shot). The best thing about the meal was that because it was our only plate, the larger portion of each ingredient didn't disappear as quickly. I was especially excited about the velvety cauliflower and black sesame purée, and the leftovers I have for lunch tomorrow!

And of course, what's an amazing dinner without delicious wine to go with it. An Oyster Bay Chardonnay, donated by my food and wine-loving friend Zoya, and Rosehall Run Riesling, from my lovely friend Gina, completed the meal. I'm no wine expert, especially when it comes to white wine, but that Riesling was made specifically for this fish.

To make the cauliflower purée, combine 1 tbs of bl ack sesame seeds, 3 cups of cauliflower, cut and cleaned, 5 cups of 2% milk, 3 tbs butter, salt and pepper in a large pot. Cover with plastic wrap and simmer slowly for about an hour. Strain cauliflower and reserve liquid in a separate bowl. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and purée until it becomes a smooth paste. Adjust the texture with the liquid until desired consistency is reached.

On Saturday night, I couldn't help but be ravenous after having smelled the lingering aromas of the mirepoix, followed by the slow cooking of the meat in the kitchen all afternoon. This has got to be one of the absolute best dishes my husband has ever made. The most tender and juicy short ribs ever – not one of our guests could hold their jaw up off the table they were so enthralled by this succulent dish. Every moist morsel of meat we tore off with our fork was to die for. The jus it bathed in just begged to be introduced to the garlic purple sweet potato mash that shared the plate. And a fresh green arugula salad sprinkled with leftover wasabi pea dust and rock salt. The food, coupled with great friends and eating outside was my definition of heaven.

The wine we had with this dish was the perfect match – recommended by my wine-expert-colleague Jean-Marc. It's absolutely amazing, Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz.

For the beef ribs, start by flouring them and then sear them off in a hot pan with a touch of oil. Colour 1 cup of mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery, bay leafs and whole peppercorn) and add a spoonful of tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Next, deglaze with red wine, add 1.5 litres of beef stock, 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup malt vinegar, 3 tbs soya sauce, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp garlic, 1 stem of lemon grass (bruised), 2 pieces of shallots and braise for 4 hours at 350 (could have even gone longer). Serve with a lime cheek.

Wow, what a great weekend. My mouth still waters as I think about it all. This is the life!


Shari said...

We're all very jealous now!! Amazing.

Paola said...

Good job on the salmon dish and oh, that short rib... It was my favourite part of the meal. Your hubby's version looks absolutely perfect!