Great food and wine go together like… well… food and wine! So because I am a fan of both I thought it was a natural fit when Open Wines asked me to collaborate on a chef inspired dinner series with them. The idea was simple, find ways to pair an accessible wine with an accessible menu. Now the best part is this menu isn’t meant to be kept to my self not only do we want everyone an opportunity to pair the wines together from your home, but some of you will actually win me for a private dinner for you and four friends and of course some (and I use the term loosely) bottles of Open Wine smooth red or Reisling-Gerwurtz blend.
There are two ways for you to enter the contest… and I highly suggest both. First by clicking HERE and filling out the information. The second is a little more old school.. Visit the LCBO location at 2625 Weston rd between the hours of 4-8pm this Saturday, purchase a bottle (or a few) of Open Wines and every purchase is another opportunity to win.
So you ask… what’s on the menu
The first dish in the series is the fennel & blood orange salad with seared scallops. Every part of the fennel is utilized – the bulb is shaved super thin and lightly dressed with some rice wine vinegar and kosher salt. The stalk is also cut into very thin coins and lightly picked with lemon juice and shaved ginger. I use the fennel tips for garnish, I find them incredibly leafy without the whole dill overbearing intensity. The blood orange, also very tart, adds freshness and works very well with the fennel. This entire dish pairs very easily with the Open Wine Riesling-Gerwurtz blend. The refreshing nature of the salad and the white go hand-in-hand but the main purpose of this dish is to play of the incredible citrus tones of the wine. The charred scallop is actually meant to break up the fruitiness of the salad and wine. In either case it’s a very light dish that still pacts incredible flavour and balance just like the wine.
The second dish in the series is a modern take on the Irih classic, mushrooms on toast. This dish is meant to enhance the rich smokey flavours of the Smooth Red. First I smoke the rye bread so that it not only hardens but so that the bread has a lingering smokiness that doesn’t overpower the dish, but instead delivers subtle notes throughout. It’s topped with a combination caramelized onions cooked in red wine butter and then lightly sautéed cinnamon cap or brown shenji mushrooms. Lightly salted and topped with chives and grated parmesan cheese. Served on the side is a half boiled egg with thai chilli and lime juice and lightly pickled red onions. The Smooth Red is meant to pair with the richness of the onion and wine butter. The two should be enjoyed in tandem, take a bite of one and wash it down with the other. The smokiness on the bread is probably the the last thing you taste, just a hit of smoke on your way out the door.
The last and my favourite dish of the evening will be my carne asada. A combination of spicy and vibrant flavours from the heirloom pico and the chunky guacamole, rustic and charred textures from the blistered shisheeto peppers and the pickled jalapenos. But the star of the dish and the most important pairing element with the Smooth red is the bloody steak. Beef coullads otherwise known as sirloin caps need to be cooked perfectly medium rare or they are ruined… too raw and they are chewy, over cooked and they are dry as hell. Done proper they are so tender and melt in your mouth with a glass of wine.
So on that note, enjoy the wine, enjoy the food, good luck with the contest and#BeOpen
1 year from start to finish. From go make a cookbook to ok your cookbook is ready. What seemed like both simultaneously the longest and shortest time of our lives we can happily say that we created something that really did look, sound, feel and taste like something we’d make from scratch.
While ky and I were on the road filming season 2 of Rebel Without A kItchen, we saw a very unique opportunity to create the kind of book that just made sense for our brand. We’re not teaching classic French principles. We’re street food people so our street food cookbook had to embrace that culture.
I love food and love telling stories and this book was just that and more as Ky’s photos brought it all to life. Sure I give you a choice of making the Philly Cheesesteak tostada or the Philly roast pork sandwich… but beyond the recipes I tell you the story of each. How despite cheesesteaks being the food we most closely recognize as inherently a Philly thing, it’s actually the roast pork that is the local favourite. And the most iconic of them all has a 90 year tradition of roast pork sandwiches and has a James Beard Award too boot.
To us street food is just as much about stories as it is about food. As much about inspiration as it is about direction.
Keep calm and street food on!
We were there to film my popup at the Philly Night Market. an event which happens 4 times a year, takes place in a different part of the city, and is open to about 25,000 people.
There are way more than just cheesesteaks going down in Philly – John’s Roast pork in South Philly or Dinic’s roast pork in Reading Terminal Market – specialized in just that; roast prok sandwiches. Succulent shaved pork with provolone and peppers just dripping with the smoked pork juices that soak through each and every hoggie bun.
But I wanted to make sure the sandwich was still a true representation of Philly’s street food scene. I met with a couple local foodtruckers. The food truck laws in Philly were incredible. Posters and sandwich boards lined the street letting people know exactly when food trucks were popping up in the city. We met up with a couple trucks in Philly’s infamous Love Park. After eating at the Foo truck and sampling pretty much every single foowich they had (a hybrid of sandwich and burrito) and knowing that this night Market was going to take place in Philly’s Chinatown i opted to draw from both of those influences and mesh that with the heart of the traditional Philly cheesesteak.