Mist hanging over the treetops this morning, as I gaze out my apartment window — and even though it’s still too hot to put away the sandals, I feel it in my bones that fall is edging nearer. I do count myself lucky to live in Hamilton where there are four seasons, even though I would prefer it if the winter one were a couple of months shorter. But I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a place with the same weather all year round — sitting on a Muskoka chair, swatting mosquitoes, in December. It is a matter of perspective, however; I remember a Thai friend, saying to me (as I wiped the sweat off my brow in a Bangkok market at the end of November), “Oh, winter has begun. I really felt it this morning when I got out of the shower.”
Anyway, autumn (or pork and apple season, as we, the “Munching Class”, tend to think of it) will soon be upon us and our Go Cooking co-ordinator, Karen Aquino, has chosen to highlight the season in our fall lineup with the bounty of “Harvest Splendour.” If you haven’t booked a seat yet, you’d better hurry up, because I notice that the sessions are filling up fast.
We are thrilled to have some old favorites coming back again. Tried and true chefs such as Mark Farrugia from La Piazza Allegra, Carl Dahl from Julia’s and Ritorno in Oakville and Sous Chef Ryan Liberte from Romano’s, will be working their magic with choices that range from osso buco using braised pork shanks instead of the usual veal, pork chops with a savory anisette apple sauce served with glazed root vegetables and beer-braised short ribs with grilled sweet potato mash. Liaison College will be sending us Chef Dan Notley who will be serving a honey-glazed pork roast. If you haven’t met Chef Dan, you can get an idea of what a fun evening this is going to be by checking out this video on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPCxydPk-IE
Chef Ken Lefebour, who previously wowed us with his menus at his catering company Chef and Wife Gourmet to Go, has rebranded his company to become Nellie James Gourmet to Go. According to information on the website <http://www.nelliejames.com>
the new name is a tribute to a beloved family member:
“Nellie James is my maternal grandmother, born in India to an Irish father and Anglo-Indian mother … She was kind, smart and an exceptional cook whom I had the privilege of spending time with in India…”
Lefebour’s upcoming sessions will be highlighting some very intriguing dishes. In the first session there will be a chance to try Wagyu beef. The Wagyu is a type of Japanese cattle and the meat itself is usually called Kobe beef. It is known for its extreme marbling, high quality and tenderness — but it is also a healthier choice because a higher percentage of the fat is unsaturated. To get an idea of the preciousness of this meat, there was a great controversy a while ago when the Obama’s served it at a reception and the press found out that it was selling for $59 a pound at that time in the U. S. In Lefebour’s second session, the meat will be from closer to home but of correspondingly high quality: guests will be able to enjoy pork tenderloin fresh from Jepson’s Meats. Jepson’s is a very well-known purveyor of quality local meat since the 1920’s — this is the third generation of butchers selling the meat from the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. http://www.jepsonsfreshmeats.com
And we are so excited to have Rapscallion Rogue Eatery on our list of “Harvest Splendours.” Chef Matt Kershaw is an advocate of the “whole beast” philosophy of meat eating. This is a responsible policy first promulgated by a British chef, Fergus Henderson, who believes that using the whole animal is a more respectful way of cooking and a more cost-effective and gentle approach to meat eating. The philosophy was brought to North America by chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali.
All I can say, is that I visited the Young Street location last week and the food was beyond exceptional. The restaurant has a “small plates” style of menu where you are encouraged to try and to share several different dishes — like eating in a Chinese or Indian restaurant. I can’t wait to go back and try the charcuterie platter.
Anyway — the portal to our fall Go Cooking sessions is always Burlington’s magnificent Rib Fest http://www.canadaslargestribfest.com -on all Labour Day weekend at Spencer Smith Park. You can eat, drink, listen to music, check out the new pier — and this is always SO.MUCH.FUN!!! But make it easier on yourself. Park at Mapleview Mall and take the shuttle downtown.And here is my own “old favorite” recipe for ribs — in case you just can’t make it in to Burlington.
3 – 4 pound meaty back ribs
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup hot ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
2 or 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups water
Salt the ribs, cut into sections and place in shallow roasting pan, meaty side up. Roast at 450 f for about 30 minutes. Drain excess fat. Top each piece of ribs with some slices of unpeeled lemon and onion.
Make basting sauce: Combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour about half over ribs.
Lower oven temperature to 350 f. Bake til done — about 1 more hour or more, basting ribs every 15 minutes with the remainder of the sauce. (If the sauce gets too thick, add more water.) Makes 4 hearty servings.
You can vary the amounts of Tabasco and hot ketchup depending upon how much heat you prefer. This is not at all a sweet barbecue sauce — so if you prefer something sticky or with maple syrup or honey, you may not like it. It’s an old recipe and I can’t remember where it originated.