Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Seasonal eats: Chef Charles Part’s recipe for summer fruits in lemon verbena and mint tea

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Photo courtesy of Les Fougères

It’s the season for luscious Ontario fruits like peaches, plums, blueberries, nectarines and strawberries, to name a few. Here’s a simple dessert to celebrate them from Charles Part, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Les Fougères in Chelsea, Québec. “Steeping Earl Grey tea with herbs from the garden and a little sugar produces a glorious light syrup that doesn’t interfere with the natural taste of the fruits,” he says. “At most, we sometimes add a spoonful of lemon sorbet.”

If you don’t grow any of the fruits or herbs the recipe calls for, look for them at farmers markets or at the Byward Fruit Market.

About Charles Part

Born and educated in England, Charles Part worked in restaurants in London and Paris before opening The General Trading Company Café in London in 1979 to rave reviews. He came to this country two years later, married Canadian Jennifer Warren and with his new wife, opened and operated the well-reviewed Loons Restaurant in Toronto before relocating to Chelsea, Québec.

Since its launch in 1993, Restaurant Les Fougères has garnered national and international acclaim, including the prestigious gold award in the Grand Prix du Tourisme Québécois in 2004. In the past decade, the restaurant has expanded to include a gourmet store that features Charles’ line of homemade, additive-free take-home foods (his products are also sold through retailers in the Outaouais, Montréal and Laurentian regions).  Les Fougères is also a member of Savour Ottawa and committed to local food and producers.

In 2008 Charles and Jennifer co-wrote A Year at Les Fougères, a collection of recipes and photographs that was awarded gold in the Culinary Culture category of the Cuisine Canada Cookbook Awards. In addition, it won a Gourmand World Cookbook award, an Independent Publisher’s silver medal and a Cordon d’Or.

Finally, Charles is a veteran of Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates competitions, winning gold in 2008 and bronze in 2011.

Summer fruits in a lemon verbena and mint tea

Prep time: 20 min (+ 2 hours to cool syrup)

4-6 servings

½ cup sugar

4 cups water

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 orange, juiced and zested

1 vanilla bean, split

1 ½ tbsp loose Earl Grey tea

6 fresh lemon verbena leaves, thinly sliced or 1 tsp fresh lemongrass, minced

12 mint leaves, thinly sliced

selection of summer berries and stone fruits

Bring sugar and water to a boil over high heat.

Place remaining ingredients, except fruit, in a large bowl and pour hot syrup over them. Let seep until cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

Dice fruit. Leave small berries whole. Place ½ cup of fruit in a shallow soup bowl and ladle 1 cup of tea over the berries. Garnish with a spring of mint or lemon verbena.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy summer fruit?



Seasonal eats: Roasted butternut squash salad

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Locally grown butternut squash is a tasty, nutritious and versatile vegetable that makes it easier to eat seasonally over the winter. Its  smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavour pair well with many meat, poultry and grain dishes. In addition, it’s rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, fibre and folate. Butternut squash is abundant in the fall and lasts up to two to three months stored in a cool, dark basement or cupboard.

It’s also simple to prepare. Choose a squash that’s firm and heavy. Peel it, scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into cubes. Then toss the cubes in oil for oven-roasting, purée them for soup, or boil and mash them to use in casseroles, muffins or breads. 

Here’s a recipe for roasted squash salad developed by Anna March, resident chef at The Urban Element, a culinary studio on Wellington Street that supports local producers and seasonal eating.

A graduate of Algonquin College’s chef training   program, Anna has honed her culinary style at acclaimed restaurants across Canada, including Ottawa’s Beckta and Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Vancouver’s Fuel. She was also chef at Mariposa, the Plantagenet duck and goose farm that serves Sunday lunches of regionally sourced, country-style fare. Anna says she hopes her enthusiasm for food and cooking inspires others to use fresh local ingredients and make cooking a fun, exciting part of every day.

 Roasted squash salad with granola and maple vinaigrette

Chef Anna March

2 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup canola oil

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch sage

3 cloves garlic, smashed

salt and pepper to taste

3 granny smith apples cut into cubes at the last minute

1 shallot, minced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese curls or chips (use a peeler)

1 recipe of honey roasted granola (see recipe below)

1 recipe of maple mustard vinaigrette (see below)

1. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with oil, salt and pepper, herbs and garlic. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender but not falling apart. To ensure even cooking, remove the squash halfway through and toss.

2. Prepare remaining ingredients, including the granola and vinaigrette.

 3. Drizzle maple vinaigrette over the baked squash and combine with the other ingredients.

Serve the salad as a main course or side dish.

Honey roasted granola

Tip: Toss the granola a few times during baking to make sure it’s evenly crisp.

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 cup honey

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 cup almonds (if desired)

1. Heat the honey, cayenne and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Pour honey mixture over the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Check the seasonings and adjust as necessary.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread the granola on top and bake at 350°F until golden brown and crispy.

4. When the granola cools, break it into small pieces.

Maple mustard vinaigrette

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Tip: Vinaigrettes work best with a three-to-one ratio of oil to vinegar. Plug any oils or vinegars into this equation for a well-balanced vinaigrette. Here, you can always adjust the acidity with a little sweetness from the maple syrup.

2/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 1/2 cups grape seed oil

2 tbsp grainy mustard

3 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk the mustard, maple syrup and vinegar together in a bowl.

2. Whisk in the oil In a steady stream until well blended. Season to taste.

What are your favourite recipes for winter squash?