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As a celebration of the New Year, and Patrick’s departure for Singapore to start rehearsals, we created a “favourites” theme: either your own favourite, a recipe you’ve always want to try, or a much-requested favourite. No restrictions this time, but as always homemade and luscious.

Since this post is a full month late (Michael has been busy though January), some details may be vague. It was, nonetheless, a wonderful gathering of friends ringing in the New Year, enjoying good food together as Supper is always.

For this event, we were eight at table.

Starting wine included the always-civilized Proseco, and 30 Bench Red 2008

Pre-dinner goodies from Margaret:

Baby caprese salads on skewers

Potato disks with tapenade and sour cream

Mixed wild game terrine stacks with jelly

FIRST COURSE

Margaret also assembled a delectable assortment for our antipasto platter.

MAIN COURSE

A Festive Setting

Though Pam had hope she would have goose available (the pair of geese hadn’t arrived in the expect shipment), she settled for free-range Ontario turkey stuffed with organic spelt breadcrumbs, boiled Italian chestnuts, chorizo sausage, double-smoked bacon, fresh sage, chives and flat leaf parsley. And then she buttered it, under the skin, with help from Margaret.

 

Think of it as two geese with one skin - siamese geese!

 

Joanne (Michael’s mother) brought much requested, and deservedly so, scalloped potatoes, with Gruyere and Parmesan Reggiano. I ALWAYS capitalize cheese, regardless of what a word processor might suggest. Cheese is it’s own country anyway.

Patrick rounded out the vegetable component of dinner with fennel-wrapped with prosciutto, dressed with more Parmesan Reggiano, and fantastic cipillini onions cooked with balsamic vinegar.

 

A delicious, though pale, winter meal.

 

Wines served during dinner included the previously mentioned 30 Bench Red, Travigne 2008 Merlot Cabernet, and a Merlot.

DESSERT

In honour of Patrick’s departure, Kay baked her famous and wonderful apple pie. Years of experience making perfect pastry (and years of teaching others to make pastry) adds to the rich flavour. Served with vanilla ice cream, of course.

Kay's Fabulous Apple Pie

Second attempts are always fickle: you can’t find the original recipe, you decide to serve it differently, the atmospheric conditions have changed. Michael’s chocolate mousse may not have turned out exactly as he wanted, but it was still thoroughly enjoyed by all.

 

Chocolate Mousse topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips

 

After Pam’s New York experience with French macaron, she decided to try her hand at them (with Patrick’s coaching). The results were fluffy, chewy clouds filled with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate in pink and blue. We tried to convince her to stack them together, but her artistic temperament won out. All blue, all pink. All far too easy to eat.

 

Girls and Boys

A Full Table

 

As always, espresso and tea were served after dinner. And the following image indicates how a couple of us felt (depending on where you work, this may be NSFW).

 

An Equally Satisfied Floyd

 

At an upcoming supper, we hope to enjoy some liquid gold direct from the producer. Stay Tuned!

 

Margaret decided that we should have a dinner that celebrated all the good things from our gardens, the bounty of our summer labour. The idea was to use the last of anything still surviving in the garden, or anything preserved from earlier in the season.

She also decided that, by hosting it at her house, it would be a good time to put that basket of Christmas tree ornaments in the middle of the living room in the hope that a little spontaneous tree-trimming might occur. By the end of the evening, we were all full and happy, even the tree.

As usual, there was plenty to eat before the actual dinner, including

Stilton w/ assorted nuts and crackers

Mixed olives

and

Bacon Jam

for starters...

So, you might be saying to yourself, “Bacon jam!?!?!? What the…???” Well, it may sound odd, perhaps even a little off-putting, but if you like the mix of salty and sweet together, this is a real winner for the Homer Simpson in all of us. It’s perfect with cheese, olives, or on it’s own on a cracker. The link, above, is not the recipe that Margaret used, but provides a good foundation for you to improvise from.

Main Course

Margaret’s Rolled, Stuffed Pork

 

Rolled, Stuffed Pork

This pork dish was made with organic pork butt chop, pounded flat and stuffed with a mix of herbs, onion & garlic from the garden along with pork sausage and apples. It was then wrapped in bacon and baked.

Michael’s Stamppot van Boerenkool met Spek

This is a traditional Dutch dish. The translation is roughly, “Mixed pot with kale and bacon”. It is boiled, mashed potatoes with chopped kale that has been sauteed or boiled and bacon that has been fried. There are, however, many different types of Stamppot involving different mixes of leafy greens and meats. Michael saved the bacon fat and added it to the mix at the end which is also, apparently, traditional. The more classic recipe also usually contains ‘rookworst’, a sausage, which is cooked and sliced onto the top of the dish. Since Michael had used three different types of bacon, he opted to omit the sausage. The kale used in this dish was from the garden, thus conforming to the theme of the dinner.

Patrick’s Madras Curried Squash

The squash dish used fresh Buttercup squash and the last of the Swiss Chard from the garden. Everything was simmered in tomato puree canned right from the garden harvest this summer and a generous spoonful (or two)  of home-made Madras Curry paste.

Pam’s  Parsley Salad

This is a simple, but delicious way to eat this nutrition-packed green. Pam used home-grown, flat-leaf parsley and dressed it with blueberry vinegar, roasted almond oil and pine nuts.

Stuffed pork plate

 

 

Not too much wine...

For dessert

Margaret’s “Gondola” cookies

Pam’s Orange Spice cookies made with coconut flour

Kay’s Buttery Cinnamon Cake

Cookies & Espresso


Those of us who are regulars at Supper at Summerfield are of one mind. We believe that food should be fresh, should come from local suppliers whenever possible and that it should be free from additives and chemicals. It seems like a simple idea until you make a trip to your grocery store.

You’ve probably seen the words “mechanically separated chicken” on a food package. This is actually what it looks like.

Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve—bones, eyes, guts, and all. It comes out looking like this.

All fast food is made from this nightmarish creation (had any McNuggets lately?) as well as a number of products in your frozen food aisle.

There’s more: in order to make this product ‘food safe’, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes like someone pureed an entire chicken, it will be re-flavored artificially. Then, because it is the colour of bubble gum, it will be dyed with artificial color.

When any food is ‘processed’, these are the kinds of things that are being done to it. Remember, the food industry is NOT interested in your health or well-being, only in your money.

Cook something!

Tuscan Feast at Summerfield

It’s all Frances Mayes‘ fault. Well, perhaps that’s a little too harsh. Let’s say that we’ve allowed ourselves to be drawn into the tantalizing world that Frances creates in her books. Since we are all passionately devoted to her books, we decided it was time to cook an homage dinner. There was  talk of using recipes from the books, but we decided to let the Italian tenet of seasonal freshness be our guide. Though,  Pam did use Frances’ book, “Bringing Tuscany Home” .

We were 11 at table for this feast.

We started the evening with Bellini, made with fresh, Niagara peaches. (Thank you, Jack Lalanne Juicer!)

And, of course, the cheese…

Comfort Cream

Maple Smoked Comfort Cream

Blue Ermit

Niagara Gold

Monastrio

Asiago

What a friend we have in cheeses

Fresh fruit and freshly baked bread & cookies

FIRST COURSE

Jenny’s Wright’s Fresh Tomato Soup, by Margaret. Made with her own organic garden tomatoes, picked that afternoon. Served with Pesto Crostini.

SECOND COURSE

Fresh, home-made, classic potato gnocchi. Though this was Pam’s dish, it was intentionally created as a group project. (With thanks to Dan & Victoria for jumping in with both hands).

When it floats, it’s done

Pam’s first home-made gnocchi,  made with Ontario Yukon Gold potatoes, served with butter-fried sage, olive oil and roasted Ontario red peppers.

Pam, Michael, Dan, Victoria

THE MAIN COURSE

Slow roasted, free range, organic chicken with herbs, by Margaret

Slow Roasted Local Tomatoes, by Pam

Sauteed Organic Black Tuscan Kale, by Patrick. The kale was picked from the garden that morning and is served with Peaches & Cream Corn, Chick Peas and lardons of bacon.

Freshly baked bread from Ravine Deli’s wood-fired oven was also served, as well as the wines for the evening…

Jackson-Triggs 2008 Meritage

Long Flat (Australia) Shiraz 2008

Dona Baissas 2007 Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Roussillon Villages

Jacob’s Creek Semillon/Chardonnay 2009

Union 2009 White Blend

Laguz 2009 from Reif’s Jera Collection

Margaret, Patrick, Kevin, Kay, Rebecca

DESSERT

Home baked Crostata, by Michael. Basically, a giant short-bread cookie, filled with his home-made Four Berry Jam.

Delicious

Butter Cookies filled with Blackberry Cream, by Margaret. This little bite-sized things are dangerous. Before you know it, you’ve eaten five of them! These were served along with the cheeses from earlier.

Wines served with dessert were…

Sunnybrook Farm Spiced Apple Fruit Wine

Sunnybrook Farm Chocolate Embrace Fruit Wine

Zabek Estate Vineyards 2008 Vidal Icewine

(The last one was a special bottling for Kevin & Rebecca’s wedding. Sorry, not available in stores.)

A little of everything

Espresso

Nothing rounds out an evening of fine dining like a little lap-love from a sixty-pound bulldog.

Floyd

Summer Table

As it turned out, this dinner was in honour of a number of things. First, Sarah’s mother and aunt were visiting  from England and were due to fly out the following morning so it was sort of their last supper. Also, we were celebrating the birthdays of Jay and Sarah’s aunt, Christine. And we  celebrated the fact that we had never had so many mothers present at table with Sarah’s, Pam’s and Margaret’s mothers all in attendance for a total of 9 at table.

A few weeks before this dinner, Pam and I had been talking about how any food can be made better with the addition of bacon, and so we schemed an entire dinner devoted to pork.

PRE-DINNER

-Niagara Gold and Cape Vesey cheeses from Upper Canada Cheese Company

-Babybel cheese

-Black olives

-Oscar’s special recipe green olives from Savoia

-Classic, home-made Pate Maison [Patrick]

-Home-made crab apple jelly [Michael]

(There was also a Wild Boar Pate which arrived after the photo below was taken)

Pam was very pleased with her new basket, making it the centre of pre-dinner activity.

Nibbles

Starter wines

Wines offered before dinner:

-Reif Estate Pinot Grigio and Gamay Rose

Also offered during the meal were:

-Caroline Cellars Meritage

-Reif Estate Sowhilo Rose from their Jera Collection


-XOXO Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin

-Pam’s home-made honey/vanilla iced tea

Fresh Ontario peaches, grilled

THE MENU

-Pork belly confit w/ grilled peach & Ontario maple syrup [Patrick]

-Brined pork tenderloin, marinated in soy sauce & maple syrup [pam]

-BLT salad [Sarah]

-Potato salad [Kay]

-Mediterranean Feta salad [Jay]

-Ontario sweet corn w/ garlic & Swiss chard [Margaret]

-Zesty garlic bread [Jay]

Peach 'n' pork belly

The main event

Perfect Porkfest Plate

Toasting

And for dessert…

-Triple-layer peach cake with blackberry cream filling [Margaret]

Happy Birthday!

Margaret's Masterpiece

Cake geology

Pam has been waiting for the stars to align so that we could have an outdoor, summer supper at Summerfield, and it finally came to pass. We had talked of doing an old fashioned rib night and though schedules and the whims of country life threatened to cancel this dinner right up until the day before, we made it happen.

I arrived early to help with preparations, but had to meet the new arrivals first.

Pam's new chickens

We’re looking forward to those fresh eggs again, Pam

We were TEN at table for this supper, one of our larger events. The guests included four of Sarah’s visiting students from the theatre program at The University of Utah. John, Gabby, Andy and Julia proved to be charming and entertaining dinner company.

full table

TOPICS OF CONVERSATION INCLUDED:

One of our guests being a direct descendant of Brigham Young

Growing one’s own food

Travelling the world

Fruits of Niagara

and getting Pam’s hay put up for the winter.

Though the dogs were not invited, the cats joined us for a short time.

Bitch, please, you're in my shot.

ON THE MENU

Three kinds of ribs:

1) Pork back ribs and side ribs, honey brined and marinated in Kozlick’s Balsamic Fig Mustard. (Pam)

2) Pork back ribs, beer brined and finished with Sticky Fingers Sweet Carolina BBQ Sauce. (Patrick)

3) Pork back ribs brined along with black pepper Thai sauce and marinated in President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Dipping Sauce. Served with banana salsa. (Sarah)


John models Sarah's ribs

Heirloom Tomato and Roasted Pepper Salad (Patrick)

Roasted pepper/tomato salad

Whole Wheat Baked Macaroni & Cheese (Pam)

Grilled Asparagus (The Utah Kids)

Guacamole & Chips (The Utah Kids)

Potato Salad (Kay)

Green Salad

Fresh Baked Foccacia, Olive Bread

Olives, Pam’s Pickled Asparagus, Hot Peppers Stuffed with Feta

full plate

OFFERED WITH:

Home-made pink lemonade

Ridgepoint Wines Raggazi 2008

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2009

J.P. Chenet Cinsault-Grenache Rose 2006

Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Jackson Triggs Proprietors’ Reserve Meritage (pronounced like heritage) 2007 (GOLD winner Cuvee 2010)

chatty table

FOR DESSERT, CHOICE  / COMBINATION OF:

Fresh, home-made blueberry pie (Kay)

Cannoli (the size of your hand) (Jay)

Chocolate Cookies (Pam)

Pie, ice cream, cannoli, cookie

The sun fades with dessert

Time to do dishes

An impromptu barbeque for no reason at all, other than the fact that Pam wanted to cook up those 2-inch-thick pork chops from Lococo’s.

Pam shows off her jam

...by making jam the table centrepiece

Six at table

PRE-DINNER

Lemonade mixed with choice of: Pernod, Disaronno Amaretto, or Limoncello.

Lemonade

MAIN COURSE

Herb marinated, barbequed pork chops, served with choice of local red pepper jelly or herb mustard (Pam)

pork chops

Sauteed local mini-zucchini with blossoms (Margaret)

Zucchini with blossoms

Fresh greens salad with broccoli florets

Served with:

Ravine Meritage 2008

Plate

…and for desert…

Tarte aux cerises

Classic Tarte aux cerises w/ creme patisserie (Margaret)

(made with fresh Niagara cherries, picked and pitted that same morning)

Served with choice of ice cream

and

Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine 2007

Doggie-wear

Margaret models the latest in doggie-wear….a clutchdog.

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