Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Cory's Sensational Indian Dinner: A Fabulous Feast

For those who love the magical flavours of indian cuisine, Madhur Jaffrey is the queen of curries and world authority on Indian food, having published over 15 cookbooks on the subject over the last 40 years. Inspired by the tremendous recipes in her cookbook 'At Home with Madhur Jaffrey', we were treated to a sensational Indian feast over the weekend by our dear friends Cory and Richard. Using her cookbook as a launchpad for the fabulous multi-course dinner, we started with Jumbo Prawns with Garlic and Chillies, which according to Jaffrey "is easily one of my favourite first courses for dinner parties, and one that I've served repeatedly over the years". Delicately spiced with ground mustard seed and chopped green chiles, the jumbo prawns are then quickly sautéed with garlic, kari leaves and grated tomato, creating a simple, sweet, and fragrant sauce. "Most of the work, and there is very little of it, can be done in advance, and the last minute stir-frying, which is the ideal way to cook this, takes only a few minutes". Succulent and juicy with exquisite flavour, Cory's prawns were a mouthwatering beginning to a memorable evening, followed by a delicate full flavoured Cold Cucumber Soup, exquisite Salmon with Bengali Mustard Sauce, Arhar Dal with tomato and onion garnished with chopped cilantro, and finishing with an outstandingly delicious Delhi-Style Bhuna Lamb served with South Indian Potato Curry and Delhi-Style Green Beans. Accompanied by delicious bottles of chilled Côtes du Rhône and full bodied Pinot Noir, Cory's Indian feast was outstanding from beginning to end. Namaste Cory!

Cory's zingy Cayenne Radishes

Tamari Almonds

Jumbo Prawns with Garlic and Chillies on frisée with fresh lime

Cold Cucumber Soup with cucumber garnish and fresh ground black pepper

Salmon with Bengali Mustard Sauce

Arhar Dal with Tomato and Onion garnished with chopped cilantro

Warm naan brushed with ghee and garnished with Maldon salt and chopped cilantro

Delhi-Style Bhuna Lamb: meltingly delicious

Chef Cory prepared a sumptuous multi-course Indian tasting menu that was absolutely sensational

Madhur Jaffrey — the doyenne of Indian cuisine

Prawns with Garlic and Green Chillies
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey

12 raw jumbo prawns, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp finely chopped fresh hot green chillies
1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive, rapeseed or peanut oil
1/2 tsp whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
15 fresh curry leaves or 10 fresh basil leaves, torn
5 tbsp grated tomato, discarding the skin

Wash the prawns well. Leave in a sieve for a while, then pat dry and put in a bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, some freshly ground black pepper, a quarter teaspoon of salt and the chillies and mix well. The prawns may be covered and refrigerated until needed.

Put the oil in a wok or frying-pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the mustard seeds, and as soon as they begin to pop, a matter of seconds, add the garlic and stir once or twice. Quickly add the prawns and curry leaves and stir a few times. Add the grated tomato and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the prawns cook gently, stirring until they just turn opaque, a matter of two or three minutes. Serve immediately on their own or over a handful of mixed greens for a delicious first course.

Cold Cucumber Soup
Serves 6-8
Recipe courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp urad dal or yellow split peas
1 tbsp whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
2 dried hot red chilies
15 fresh curry leaves, or 6 basil leaves, torn up
4 cups chicken stock
Cucumber, enough to get 3 cups after peeling and blending, plus some finely sliced cucumber for garnishing
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
2 cups plain yogurt
8 cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice, for garnishing

Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the dal, and as soon as it takes on a hint of colour, add the mustard seeds and chilies. As soon as the mustard seeds pop, throw in the curry leaves and quickly pour in the chicken stock. 
Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until the stock is reduced to 3 cups. Set aside for 3 hours or overnight, allowing the stock to chill and get infused with the seasonings. Strain. Peel and roughly dice the cucumber. Put in a blender along with 1/2 cup of the strained broth. Blend finely. Put salt and yogurt in a large bowl and whisk lightly so you have a smooth mixture. Slowly whisk in the remaining chicken stock and cucumber mixture. Taste for salt and then refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, stir the soup well as it tends to separate, and ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with the sliced cucumber and diced tomatoes over the top and serve.

Delhi-Style Bhuna Lamb
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey

5 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
8 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
2 large cloves garlic, crushed to pulp
1 1/2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 lb boneless lamb from shoulder, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups water

Pour the oil in a wide, heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom. Let these sizzle for 10 minutes, then add the onions. Stir and fry until the onions start to turn brown at the edges. Add the garlic and ginger and stir once or twice. Now add the meat, and stir until it looses its raw colour. Add the cayenne, salt and 1 1/4 cups of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn the heat to low and cook for 60-70 minutes or until the meat is tender. Remove the lid and turn the heat to high. Stir and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the meat has a brownish (bhuna) look.  Add the garam masala and cilantro. Stir to mix and take off the heat. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki

Enormously full flavoured with an bold mixture of fragrant spices, fresh garlic and fruity olive oil blended into a thick aromatic paste, this succulent Mediterranean Grilled Chicken recipe is a celebration of complex flavours and simple healthy ingredients. Massaged all over with the spice and garlic paste, the chicken breasts are bathed in lemon juice and olive oil, then covered and chilled for a few hours to allow the marinade to work its magic, and it does. Grilled on a outdoor barbecue over medium-high heat, the chicken is cooked for about 10-15 minutes per side, until the breasts are golden brown and cooked through. Arranged on a decorative platter and garnished with fresh lemon and a side dish of tangy homemade tzatziki, this Mediterranean Chicken recipe is absolutely delicious.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken & Tzatziki
Serves 4

Homemade Tzatziki:
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and grated with skin on
1 cup plain strained Greek yogurt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed 
1/4 tsp Maldon salt

Grilled Chicken:
10 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Salt and pepper
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin on
2 lemons, juiced

Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Grate the remaining cucumber, spread it out over a large tea towel and wrap it tight, leaving it at least 30 minutes until the grated cucumber is quite dry. In the meantime, peel and finely crush the garlic, then combine with the oil in a small bowl and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes. Combine the cucumber with the garlic mixture, then stir through the yoghurt until evenly distributed along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt to taste. 

In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, spices and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Pat the chicken thighs dry and rub with the garlic-spice mixture. Place the spiced chicken in a large plate or baking tray on a bed of sliced red onions topped with lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.

When ready, heat an outdoor barbecue to medium-high, and place the chicken thighs and chopped red onions on the grill. Cover for 5-6 minutes, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5-6 minutes covered. To serve, arrange the grilled chicken on a warm platter garnished with fresh herbs, a side dish of homemade tzatziki, roasted Greek-Style baby potatoes and a and Greek Salad.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Tuscan-Style Bone-In Tomahawk Veal Chops

"Grill masters all over the world have noticed that when you grill a piece of meat and then anoint it with some kind of fat, it mixes with the meat juices and creates an instant sauce," says barbecue aficionado Steven Raichlen. "Some like to finish veal chops with a pat of butter, but in Tuscany olive oil is the fat of choice for finishing veal chops". These gorgeous chops, which we bought from Lady York in Toronto, are a bone-in rib-eye with the bone frenched to give the Tomahawk veal chop its distinctive "handle." This recipe is a celebration of herbs…two to be exact: fresh sage and rosemary, fresh from our garden and brimming with an intoxicating aroma and flavour. While rarely the main attraction, herbs have the ability to gently impart their unique flavour into foods — in this case, prime cuts of veal. Succulent and juicy, these simple fresh garden herbs transform the grilled veal chops into a work of effortless culinary artistry.

Veal chops with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil on the grill

Cooked chops resting in rosemary, sage, garlic and olive oil

Mâche salad with blueberries, olive oil, Maldon salt and white pepper

Tuscan-Style Bone-In Tomahawk Veal Chops
Serves 2
Recipe from Food & Wine

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tbsp rosemary leaves 
1/4 cup sage leaves 
2 12-ounce veal rib chops, cut 1 inch thick 
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, thickly sliced

Preheat the outdoor grill. On a platter, mix the 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, rosemary and sage. Season the veal chops with Maldon salt, black pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Grill the chops over moderately high heat, turning once, about 6 minutes per side for medium. Transfer the chops to the platter and turn to coat with the olive oil and herbs. Generously drizzle the veal with olive oil and let stand for 3 minutes, turning the chops a few times. While the veal is standing, brush the lemon slices with olive oil and grill until slightly charred and warmed through. Spoon the juices and oil over the chops and serve with the grilled lemon, roasted baby fingerling potatoes and a mâche salad.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Cherry Clafoutis: A Classic French Dessert

A classic French dessert of the Limousin region, where it's traditionally made with the local griottes, or sour morello cherries, Cherry Clafoutis is now found on menus throughout the country in season, and it's easy to see why — the combination of sharply juicy fruit and sweet, wobbly batter is a beguiling one. Interestingly, the name is said to come from the Occitan dialect word claufir, to cover or fill – which this dessert does, very satisfyingly indeed. Most chefs in France say that this creamy cake tastes best made with unpitted cherries, but Paula Wolfert thinks any bold-flavoured fruit can be used, like apricots or plums. Picking up an enormous basket of fresh black cherries this week from Niagara on the Lake, visions of homemade Cherry Clafoutis were dancing in my head. Having made clafoutis before with fresh local plums, this lovely heartwarming dessert is comfort food at it's best, whichever ripe summer fruit is calling your name.

Cherry Clafoutis
Serves 8

20 oz fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 tbsp butter, melted but not hot
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter a round 10-inch baking dish and dust with about 2 tbsp of sugar. Using a blender, combine the eggs with the remaining sugar, salt, flour, milk, vanilla and almond extract and mix until well blended. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the baking dish then distribute the pitted cherries over the batter. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a rack for few minutes while it deflates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Caramelized Onion Tart with Gorgonzola & Brie

Crispy, pillowy puff pastry with sweet balsamic caramelized onions, toped with luscious gorgonzola, brie, and fresh tarragon, my friend Chris made this gorgeous tart this past weekend to rave reviews. Baked in the oven for just 20 minutes and served with sliced prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts and a lovely mixed green salad, this outstanding tart made a spectacular addition to an absolutely delicious summer lunch in sunny Muskoka. 

Caramelized Onion Tart with Gorgonzola and Brie
Serves 8-10
Recipe courtesy of Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups of sliced onions, sliced root-to-top into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz frozen puff pastry, defrosted a couple hours in the fridge
2 oz chilled Brie cheese, rind removed and diced
2 oz Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

To caramelize the onions, heat the oil in a large deep pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown. Add the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and cook gently, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are richly caramelized. Add a little water if the onions look like they are starting to dry out, then cool before making the tart..

Roll the puff pastry into a 10-to-14-inch rectangle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick with a fork at a couple inch increments to prevent the pastry from forming big bubbles while baking.

Spread the onions over the pastry, all the way to the edges of the pastry. Dot with the cheeses and sprinkle with tarragon.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 18-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is crispy, then cool for 5 minutes. Using a pizza cutter, slice into 3" squares and serve as an appetizer or with salad and grilled chicken for a yummy summer lunch.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Pappardelle with Braised Beef and Mushroom Ragù

This hearty and delicious recipe for Braised Beef & Mushroom Ragù was inspired by my friend Angela who had been visiting from Germany many years ago, and made this dish with flavourful dried forest mushrooms she had brought from her home outside Düsseldorf. We have since my the recipe many times and has become one of our favourite recipes, especially in the cold weather. One of the surprise benefits of making this sensational ragù is freezing any leftovers as a hearty sauce for serving over pasta, anytime during the year, with absolutely delicious results.

Pappardelle with Braised Mushroom & Beef Ragù
Serves 4

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thick coins
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
5 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 cup flour
1 lb stewing beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cipollini onions, blanched and peeled
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved or left whole
1 cup sour cream, not low fat
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf italian parsley, chopped for garnish
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large cooking pot over medium heat, melt butter and oil. Add bacon pieces and cook, stirring often until bacon starts to brown. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, worcestershire sauce, herbs and spices, and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Pat the beef cubes dry with a paper towel, then dredge in flour until cubes are evenly coated. Increase the heat under the cooking pot to medium-high and cook beef, adding a few pieces at a time, letting pieces brown before adding new ones. When all the beef cubes have browned, add wine to pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring and scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, partially cover pot, and let simmer for 1 hour. Stir in the cipollini onions, and continue to cook on low heat, partially covered for another hour. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. After the hour, remove the pot lid and add the mushrooms; simmer for 30 minutes. Beef should be very tender. 

Remove the ragù from the heat, take out the bay leaves and woody remains of the fresh thyme, stir in the sour cream and parsley, then return the pot to the heat and gently rewarm, not allowing it to boil. 

Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the package directions, then drain and return it to the pot. Add the beef ragù and toss well to combine. Serve with additional chopped parley for garnish and a bowl of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Auberge du Pommier: Summerlicious Sunday Lunch

One of North York’s best fine dining restaurants, Auberge du Pommier exudes a quiet confidence, reflecting their commitment to culinary excellence and inspired service. The cuisine is traditional French, with innovative North American influences, and their seasonal menus are elegant and genuine celebrations of fine food. Constructed around the rustic vestiges of two 1860’s woodcutters’ cottages, Auberge du Pommier combines country charm with contemporary sophistication and style. Featuring wood burning fireplaces in winter and lush, floral terraces in summer, it is a welcoming, refined retreat from the city. The original jewel in the Oliver & Bonacini crown and a North Toronto icon, Auberge du Pommier has been serving guests since 1987. Each summer, Auberge du Pommier participates in Summerlicious, offering a $33 lunch and $53 dinner prix fixe from July 5 to 21. Arriving for a luscious Sunday Lunch with my family, we enjoyed a gorgeous summer day overlooking the outdoor terrace and served a sensational selection of new chef Tim Schulte's delicious Summerlicious menu.

The beautiful verdant cottage-style exterior of Auberge du Pommier

The sunny outdoor terrace with fountain and duck statuary 

The Summerlicious menu

Warm house baked rolls with fresh churned butter

2017 Côtes de Provence, Le Parados

Anise-cured salmon topped with citrus crème fraîche, fried leeks and frisée

Cucumber gazpacho with coldwater shrimp, dill yoghurt and drops of olive oil

Red wine marinated chicken supreme with courgette, mushrooms, pearl onion and rosemary polenta with red wine jus

Flat iron steak with charred broccolini, crispy shallots, pommes purée and sauce au poivre

Tuna Niçoise with albacore tuna, black olive tapenade, new potatoes, anchovies, green beans 
and cherry tomatoes

Wild Blueberry Clafoutis with lemon Chantilly and almond crisp

Crème Prise: panna cotta with hazelnut brittle crumb and Grand Marnier sauce with shortbread

Tarte au Chocolat with graham cracker crust, cocoa nib tuile, malt crumble 
and crème fraîche ice cream

Mushroom Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions 
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chopped leaves from 1 sprig thyme
6 cups diced assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster and king oyster
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups water
1 bay leaf

Optional garnishes:
Truffle oil
Chopped chives
Trimmed enoki mushrooms
Plain yogurt

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, 6 minutes, to soften, reducing heat if onions start to brown. Add the mushrooms in 4 batches, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and stirring constantly. This allows each batch to cook down slowly. Add water and bay leaf, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Discard the bay leaf. For a coarse soup, purée using a hand-held immersion blender. For creamy soup, purée in a blender. Return to pot over medium heat. Taste, adjusting salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight to let flavours develop. If desired, top each serving with a drizzle of truffle oil, sprinkling of chives, several enokis and a dollop of yogurt.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Linguine with White Clam & Anchovy Sauce

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Full of fresh simple flavours of the sea, nothing beats a seductive bowl of Linguine alle Vongole Bianco. The classic combination of clams and pasta is traditionally a Neapolitan dish but is also popular throughout Italy, where this fragrant dish can be prepared two ways: rosso, with tomatoes and basil, or bianco, without. In this easy recipe, the linguine is cooked until just al dente — in salty water, of course — then tossed with the sautéed garlic and anchovies, clams, broth, and a handful of fresh herbs until the linguine absorbs the sauce. Add a flurry of chopped parsley at the very end to add a little colour, and serve with a cold glass of white wine for a traditional Neapolitan dish that is simple, delicious, and just about perfect.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce
Serves 4

1 lb linguini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 fillets flat anchovies, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
15-oz can whole baby clams, with their juice
Malson salt, to taste
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and set aside. The linguini will continue to cook in sauce, later. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then add anchovies, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes, and cook until the anchovies unit dissolved. Stir in the wine, then add the clams and their juice, mixing well to combine the flavours. Add the pasta to the sauce, and toss well to combine with a pat of butter. Once warmed through, remove from heat and season with Maldon salt, fresh chopped parsley, and serve with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Grilled Rosemary, Mint & Garlic Rack of Lamb

Fresh and fragrant with bright robust flavours, this lovely marinade of fresh garlic, rosemary, mint and olive oil must be one of the perfect partners with grilled lamb chops. Carving a rack of lamb into individual or double chops, then allowing the meat to marinate for a while before grilling, lets the flavours develop to produce a tender, juicy and robust summertime feast. Set on the grill for only 3-4 minutes per side for single chops, and 6-8 minutes for double, the lamb is pink and juicy perfection. Served on a platter garnished with fresh garden herbs, sliced lemon and a bowl of homemade tzatziki, these plump lamb chops are positively easy and delicious on a hot summer evening.

Marinated lamb chops cooking on the grill

Grilled Rosemary, Mint & Garlic Rack of Lamb
Serves 2

1 1/2-pound Ontario rack of lamb, trimmed and sliced into double chops
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Maldon salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tbsp minced fresh mint

In a food processor, blitz all of the ingredients for the marinade to form a thick paste, then pour into a baking dish large enough to fit all the chops in a single layer. Turn each of the chops in the marinade until well coated, and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.  

Preheat the outdoor grill on high. Place the lamb on the grill fat side down first to sear the meat, about 5 minutes, then turn the lamb over and continue to roast on each side an additional 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 120° for medium rare. To serve, arrange the lamb on a platter with a garnish of fresh herbs and a bowl of homemade tzatziki. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Treadwell: Delicious Farm-to-Table Cuisine in Niagara

An absolute gem of the Niagara farm-to-table fine dining culinary scene, every local gourmand knows and loves Treadwell Cuisine. Stephen Treadwell is one of Ontario’s food stars. Together with his owner-partner son/sommelier James Treadwell, they have won rave reviews from The Toronto Star, Toronto Life, enRoute, Wine Spectator, the list goes on, and with good reason. The elegant menu evolves with the harvest and ingredients are sourced from local farmers from Cumbrae Farms in Smithville, to ‘Mr. Storosko’ who grows raspberries and wild garlic in his backyard. Formerly the head chef at Queen's Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Auberge du Pommier in Toronto, Treadwell brought the European concept of 'farm-to-table' dining to Southern Ontario more than a decade ago, sourcing regional suppliers within an easy transportation distance to the restaurant. The father and son team are vocal and passionate about emphasizing the best artisan producers of Southwestern Ontario, and their restaurant is a showcase of local farmers, producers and vintners. It's simple, perfect food, and allows the ingredients to speak for themselves. 

Whether it’s locally grown and organic 'Harvest 365' Heirloom Tomatoes with 'Monforte' water buffalo fresco focaccia croutons, 'Marc's' Wild Mushrooms, 'Pingue’s' 24 month aged prosciutto or 'Cumbrae Farms' Pork Tenderloin with pork belly, crispy pancetta, creamy polenta, pink peppercorns and charred radicchio, the food has provenance, is perfectly prepared, beautifully presented, and absolutely delicious. “When you have control over the creative aspects of a restaurant, you have control over the source of your ingredients,” said Treadwell. “Even cooking in this region for as long as I have, I have been wonderfully surprised by all the incredible ingredients we have found for the menu.” Combined with Sommelier James Treadwell's spot on wine recommendations and a staff that is friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine is undoubtedly the finest place to dine in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but with the Shaw Festival venues a short walk away, reservations are essential.

Chef Stephen Treadwell

The lovely outdoor patio at Treadwell

Kew Vineyards Organic Sparkling Riesling

A lovely sparkling wine from this Beamsville Bench winery

Housemade Potato Gnocchi with “Marc’s” Spring Mushrooms Roasted Sunchokes 
and Crumbled Blue Cheese

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad with Whipped “Monforte” Chèvre Citrus Poached Ontario Rhubarb, Toasted Hazelnuts and Rhubarb Vinaigrette

2018 Organized Crime Rosé, a small boutique winery located on the renowned 
Beamsville Bench of the Niagara Peninsula

2017 Etna Rosso by Tornatore, founded in 1865 and is still run by the third generation 
of the same family in Sicily 

Roasted “VG Meats” Beef Striploin with Local Asparagus with Spring Mushrooms and Fresh Cut Frites with Rosemary Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar Mayonnaise

Pan Roasted Halibut with Spring Peas
“Cumbrae Farms” Smoked Bacon, Poached Egg, Lemon & Thyme Butter

Treadwell's Red Pepper Soup
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy of chef Stephen Treadwell 

1/2 cup lime sorbet
2 tbsp chopped mint or basil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 cups vegetable stock
6 red peppers charred, skinned and seeded
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A few sprigs of thyme
4 cheese straws
Chili oil for garnish

For his colourful, summery soup Treadwell makes a rich sorbet with fromage frais and a lot of lime to top it. I found it easier to buy a lime sorbet and mix in a couple of tablespoons of chopped basil or mint. The soup is hot, the sorbet cold and the touch of chili oil brings it all together. Stir chopped herbs into lime sorbet. Keep frozen.

Heat butter and oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add vegetable stock, red peppers and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. Stir in milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle one cup liquid into a bowl and reserve. Remove thyme sprigs from soup. Blend soup, adding reserved cooking liquid as need to get the desired consistency. Pass mixture through a strainer and re-season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup hot with a last minute addition of lime sorbet and a few drops of chili oil. Add a cheese straw across the top.

Pan-Seared Whitefish with Lobster Kabocha Squash
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Stephen Treadwell

1/2 vanilla bean pod
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small Kabocha or Hubbard squash, peeled and cleaned
4 oz cooked, diced lobster meat
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tempura Garnish:
Canola oil for frying
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup  ice water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Four 5 oz whitefish filets
1/4 cup truffle or all-purpose flour for dusting fish
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp capers
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 cups packed baby spinach
4 sprigs of chervil

Split open vanilla bean and use the point of a knife to scrape out seeds, reserving the pod. Mix seeds with butter and set aside. Cut 4 thin slices of squash to use as garnish and reserve to make squash tempura. Cut remaining squash into 1-inch pieces. Place cubed squash in salted water with vanilla bean pod and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Drain water and discard vanilla bean pod. Return squash to pot and cook over low heat for 1 minute, shaking pot to dry squash. Mash squash to a smooth consistency. Mix in lobster meat and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat 1-inch canola oil in a small wok or deep skillet over high heat to make squash tempura. Combine 1/4 cup flour and ice water to make a thin batter. Season with salt and pepper. Add reserved slices of squash to batter to coat. When oil is hot add squash slices and cook until just golden, about 30 seconds per side.

Season fish with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sear whitefish, skin down, until skin is crisp, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn fish over and cook for another minute or until fish is medium rare. Cook fish in batches adding more oil to pan as needed. Remove fish from pan and keep warm.

Return pan to heat. Add reserved vanilla butter and cook until butter is browned and smells nutty, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and capers. Pour into a small bowl and stir in parsley.

Return pan to heat. Add spinach and cook for 30 seconds or until wilted. Divide spinach between 4 plates. Place a piece of whitefish on top and spoon over lemon vanilla butter. Top with a spoonful of lobster squash and garnish with a piece of crispy squash and a sprig of chervil.