Dark chocolate mousse with Italian Amarena cherries and spiced vanilla whipped cream;
sticky toffee pudding;
cranberry/raisin bread pudding with spiced rum Anglaise;
Rocky Road sundaes;
caramelized apple and Calvados flambé with cinnamon ice cream
— and — well — that’s just desserts!
Now that I have your attention, I would like to point out that our winter Go Cooking lineup is out today and if you’re in the mood to indulge, you’d better not linger. (Check it out, with more information and dates of the sessions, by clicking on “Book Your Seat in Go Cooking” in our header) Our “Chef’s Table” sessions sell out very quickly and this January and February the list looks particularly enticing. Anyway, better make your choices now, before holiday frenzy takes its toll or after-Xmas apathy leaves you lying on the couch with the remote.
As is customary, we have partnered with the winter “Taste of Burlington” event to showcase some of the fabulous dining establishments just down the highway. The Taste of Burlington features prix fixe menus from many of Burlington’s finest restaurants and runs from February 16th to March 9th, this year (http://www.tasteofburlington.ca). It’s definitely one of the highlights of the upcoming chilly season and makes bearable not being able to afford a sailing vacation in the Virgin Islands. Go Cooking allows patrons an extra chance to sample these restaurants plus an opportunity to get to know the chefs. We’re thrilled to be welcoming Shirley Johnson from the Royal Botanical Gardens, Will Edsell from the Queenshead Pub, Mitch Lamb from the Stone House Restaurant and Brandon Ashby from the West Plains Bistro, back into our kitchen.
New to us this year, from Burlington, is Chef Joel Hannivan from The Purple Heather Pub who will be cooking what sounds like perfect, stick to the ribs, January, comfort food — braised lamb shanks with sweet potato gnocchi and grilled asparagus.
And an update: Chef Michael Stauffer is now at Rib Eye Jack’s Alehouse, which was formerly Walker’s Fish Market, on the corner of Walker’s Line and Harvester Road. We know Chef Michael from Celli’s Osteria, downtown on Brant Street. Celli’s specializes in quite divine, modern Italian cuisine and Chef Michael will be demonstrating how to make something called “gnudi” (pronounced “nee-ude-y”). Gnudi, apparently, are not quite gnocchi, but rather light pasta dumplings made with ricotta and served with simple sauces. (Don’t confuse them with “ignudi”, as I did — ignudi are those heroic, naked fellows that Michelangelo painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.) For more on gnudi, check out http://www.sol-kitchen.net/blog/2010/11/28/gno-difference-between-gnocchi-and-gnudi.
Of course, we are also featuring old friends from Hamilton: Chef Mark Farrugia from La Piazza Allegra will be arriving with a really innovative menu (squash ravioli with sausage and crispy cabbage); and Chef Shawn Rocchi from Ronald McDonald House will be back with sweet chili chicken, served with savoury smoked bacon and onion pavé.
And just to make your choices more difficult, Chef Carl Dahl from Oakville’s Julia’s Ristorante and Ritorno and Chef Dan Megna from Cayuga’s Twisted Lemon Flavour Junkies will be arriving from out of town. Chef Dan is presenting a unique menu made up entirely of soups. And Chef Carl will be with us twice: once for a very Italian Chef’s Table evening and once for a wine tasting ….because … (drumroll, please)
Oenephiles rejoice! Our “Sips, Tips and Tidbits” events are back and you are invited to join sommelier Peter Kline (Bacchus Sommelier Services) and Chef Carl Dahl for an evening in Argentina (Perhaps Peter will treat us to a tango lesson?). Or you could join Peter with Lori Eisenberger, owner and chocolatier from Beanermunky Chocolate in Dundas, in an evening devoted to “Wine, Beer and Chocolate.”
But why choose? These tasting nights are so much fun that you will want to come to both.
Finally, if just reading about all of this food and wine is making you feel bloated and queasy, there are three afternoons in February dedicated to gluten-free eating with a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, Kate Park, who will give you some significant suggestions for healthy and delicious, mindful cooking and eating.
**By the way, if you’re thinking “but first, I have to get all of that shopping done”, don’t forget that we do sell very classy customized confirmations.
And here’s my favorite eggnog recipe because ’tis the season.
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
7 extra large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
freshly grated nutmeg
about 1 cup milk for thinning
dark rum or brandy
1) Beat together creams, sugar and yolks until combined well.
2) Cook mixture over moderate heat, continuing to beat, until slightly thickened (170 degrees F. ) about 7 to 10 minutes and remove pan from heat.
3) Continue to beat until slightly cooled and stir in vanilla and nutmeg.
4) Chill covered for at least 8 hours or up to two days.
5) Just before serving thin with milk to desired consistency.
6) Serve either with rum or brandy on the side or add at the last minute. Makes about 7 cups.
Just be careful not to let it get too hot — and keep beating! You could add a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.