Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Garden Dinner



A seafood-inspired dinner out of doors with great wine and wonderful company -- I am so grateful to have attended The Garden Dinner. I believe it's never too late to tell a story, so, as the snow falls, journey along with me back to a rainy Sunday evening in September. (All photos by Christopher Schlesak). 


The brainchild of  Ms. Katie Worobeck of Tennessy Willems, and with the help of Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, Norman Hardie Winery, Chefs Jamie Stunt and Charlotte Langley, and a cast of other Ottawa food professionals, The Garden Dinner was an evening for the senses, and my amazing table-mates had me laughing all night. 

I was flying solo that evening and I believe now that it was by design, as I ended up sitting with five very fun, very interesting dinner guests including Oz of Oz Kafe,  Jamie and Vanessa of Flowers & Vintage, a charming French wine merchant (who taught me what a brandade was) and an international man of mystery who moonlights as a DJ (complete with flask and trenchcoat). 


After we were seated at our corner of the long, communal dining table, we immediately started to enjoy the lovely wine provided by Norman Hardie, who was himself in attendance. He began by introducing the wines we would be tasting with our courses, and he very graciously assured us all that, when it comes to wine, "there are no stupid questions".  This statement, although true in my opinion, was also the impetous of many a repeated joke over the course of the evening, as our corner of the table had decided that the only question we had about the wine was: "Where's my wine?" 



We enjoyed a multi-course meal all centred around fish and seafood, which was excellent for a non-meat eating gal like myself. Each dish was delicious and unique in its own way, and rather than list them all, I will focus on my favourites. 


The bread and butter. A simple thing but so good. The bread was a seaweed and Old Bay baguette and the butter was infused with shellfish flavours, served with sea honey and piped into an empty oyster shell. 

The soup. A beautifully presented spiced fish soup, delicately garnished with yoghurt, prawn pickle, prawn salt and herbs. 


Sashimi. Ahi tuna with peach, mustard, tamari, amaranth and garden garnish. I am sucker for sashimi and this dish was perfectly balanced and heavenly to eat. 



The whole fish. Artic char presented on a gorgeous board designed specifically for the event by the lovely folks at N-Product. A delicious main in a series of delicious courses, served with a selection of  family style sides, of which the roasted broccoli was my favourite. 


The dessert. A light-as-air angel food cake with bourbon peach caramel, sea salt whip cream and edible flower garnish. 


The wines we enjoyed included Norman Hardie's 2012 Riesling, 2012 County Pinot Noir and 2012 County Chardonnay. My favourite was (and is) the Pinot. A lovely evening in a garden with newfound friends and delicious food and wine. The Garden Dinner.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Holiday Gift Idea for the Food Lover in Your Life!



With our first snowfall today, I am reminded that the holidays are almost upon us!

Leading up to the holidays, I love to decorate my apartment, watch cheesy Christmas movies, and pour over magazines and blogs to see the creative and delicious recipes people are cooking up.

I also love choosing gifts for my family and friends! Whether you've only just begun or you're almost finished with your shopping, my coffee table book is an affordable choice for any food, wine and travel lover in your life! Filled with colourful photography, it's the perfect little "snack" to flip through when you're relaxing with your family over the holidays.

Simply click the image above to be redirected to my store, and I can ship you a copy or deliver it in person if you're local!

Happy Holidays to you and yours :)

Here's what people are saying about the book: 

 "To me, After the Harvest: Eat. Drink. Connect. felt like a big hug. The kind of book that you curl up with on the couch along with your warmest blanket and favourite tea. I found the anecdotes in the book to be vivid and poetic; each one left me with a smile."
 Elaine L., Ottawa, ON 

 "It is beautiful and very professionally done. I can't wait to spend more time savoring it. Heather writes very well, and the photography is inviting."
 Sue S., Rochester, NY 

 "I loved the book and its recipes and photos! Absolutely gorgeous. The book is wonderful and is still on my coffee table. Can't wait for the next book!"
 Wendy R., Mississauga, ON 

 "After the Harvest is a beautiful piece of sweet and salty life; it awakens your sense of romance, beauty, family, taste, color, adventure, and most importantly, food you not only want to eat, but you almost want to marry it, it's so desirable! I love this beautiful book so much I bought extra copies to give as gifts! Once you get your hands on this fabulous living work of art, you'll see what I mean!"
Kathleen H., Springfield, VA

About the Book: 

After the Harvest: Eat. Drink. Connect. is a coffee table book that combines original photos, fiction, travel writing, recipes, wine pairings and entertaining tips. Self-published, this passion project was inspired by my travels, the people I've had the good fortune to eat and drink with, and my family dining experiences.

 From my heart to your coffee table, I hope you enjoy this book.

 Eat. Drink. Connect.

 Heather

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Recipe: Maple Orange Ginger Tofu Salad


Inspired by the fall season and a gluten-free, dairy-free lunch guest, I came up with this recipe for a Maple Orange Ginger Tofu Salad. A quick and easy recipe to prepare, it packs some flavour and uses healthy ingredients.

Please enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • Mixed lettuces (I used red leaf, radicchio and kale)
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Orange segments
  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
  • Green onion
  • Raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)* 
  • Hemp hearts
  • Slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Firm Tofu
  • Maple Syrup
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil 
  • Fresh ginger

*If I had more time, I might have toasted the pumpkin seeds for a bit more earthiness.

Directions: 

Finely dice an inch-sized piece of fresh ginger. Cut the tofu into cubes and place them and the ginger into a bowl. In a saucepan, add one tablespoon of coconut oil and one tablespoon of dark maple syrup. Heat the oil and syrup until they become one, like a sauce. Pour the 'sauce' over the tofu cubes and ginger, then squeeze the juice from half an orange on top. Make sure the tofu is coated with the marinade, then let it sit while you prepare the cold ingredients.

In a bowl, add mixed lettuces, chopped carrots, chopped cucumber, finely chopped green onion, orange segments and hemp hearts.

Make the dressing by combining equal parts olive oil and orange juice, and sweetening it with some dark maple syrup. Shake and taste to ensure the dressing is balanced to your liking.

In a saucepan, fry the marinated tofu cubes and bits of ginger until they are golden brown and crispy. The ginger bits will end up being like little pieces of 'ginger bacon'. Place them on a piece paper towel to remove excess oil, and then add them to the salad.

Top the salad with the pumpkin seeds and some salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salad and enjoy!

Beverage Pairings:

  • Kombucha or a Kombucha-based drink (We enjoyed the Rise Kombucha sparkling living tea with hibiscus and rosehips)
  • Cranberry and Soda with lime
  • Pinot Gris or Gewurtztraminer 
  • White Belgian beer with an orange slice