Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscars Night

Here’s a reprint from a few years ago as we are in Mexico this week, missing the Oscars actually, but still sharing quality time together. I will go out on a limb and say that our pick for Best Picture is “The King’s Speech”. Here’s hoping even if you don’t pick any winners, you have time to whip up some bit of decadence to enjoy your weekend. You can bet we will think of something wonderful!

And the winner is…

She says:

We talk often about how everyday in life should be enjoyed and it is important to make the most of every moment. Sometimes, this means not taking things too seriously and just having fun, but other times you need to be very serious about how you plan your event. We are that way when it comes to Oscar night. It is a big night that involves much planning and research, and the event itself is celebrated with close friends and festive food.

Oh I know – you are probably thinking we are a bit nuts. Why would we want to make a big deal about the Oscars, another award show in a whole season of them, like another silly not-so-real reality show. Well, perhaps if I give you some background, you can better understand our point of view…

I grew up in the film business. Most of what I saw over the years was for the small screen, but my Dad did work on a few films and I actually was part of a movie crew when I was 17 years old. I used to dream of seeing my father accept an Oscar when I was little. I loved the “smoke and mirrors” – the magic of how a story came together and was conveyed onto the screen. It was like plugging into someone’s imagination, when it was done right. You knew it was done right when people in the movie theatre were touched in some way by what they saw. To know I was a part of that was to be a part of changing people’s lives for the better. Stories of underdogs, or lifelong dreams, long lost love or even a spy double-crossed… any of them could draw you in and make you forget the rest of the world for a few hours, and when you left the darkened theatre you felt different than when you entered. You also knew that there were others sharing in that experience, because you were not at home alone, but in a theatre full of people. Sounds corny, doesn’t it? Well, I believed it. I still believe that a good movie is worth its weight in gold… Oscar gold. I like to know that those who succeed in making that magic are recognized.

Martin and I share another link to the world of film: we met in the movie business. We were both cooking for film crews when we first went out, and we quickly learned a common interest was seeing movies. We actually even saw a film the night we got engaged, and the first night after our wedding! So, to say that movies hold a fond spot in our hearts is certainly not a stretch.

Maybe your indulgence is something different, and if so, then my advice would be to embrace it, celebrate it. Anytime you can share your passion with others, they appreciate it. Enthusiasm and heartfelt joy have a way of rubbing off on others. Whatever you choose as your reason for celebrating, enjoy! After all, every one of us deserves a happy ending, don’t we? J

He Says:

Kristin and I like to go and see a movie in the theater every week. We both enjoy the outing and the big screen. I am not ashamed to tell everyone, I like the Oscars. It may not be the best show on TV, but it’s an annual thing for Kristin and I ever since we have been together. This weekend we will drive to Calgary to visit some friends and enjoy the Oscars with them. Just like the big movie stars in California, we will kick back and vote for our favorite movies and hope to bring back the ultimate trophy for bragging rights for another year.

I thought I would give you recipes for a few simple appies, in case you are planning to watch the show, too.

Stuffed Mushrooms:
Take a white mushroom, remove the foot with a melon baller and stuff it with a mixture of crab meat, mayonnaise, and Cajun spices. Bake until done, around 20 minutes.

Sausages on a Crouton
Grill some nice Hungarian sausages from "Illichmann’s", slice them thin and place them on a piece of fresh baguette with a spicy mayonnaise.

Lime Thai Prawns
Grate the rind of a lemon on your peeled prawns 4 hours ahead of time to marinade them. In a large enough pan start cooking your prawns. Once they are almost finished cooking, add some green curry paste, the juice of a lime and one whole bunch of cilantro.

Smoked Salmon Tarts
Buy some mini tart shells and fill them up with some cooked shredded smoked salmon. Add some fresh cream (35%) mixed with a bit of parmesan on the salmon and top the whole thing with some more parmesan cheese. Bake until done, around 12 minutes.

Whatever you do, enjoy good food and good wine in good company.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Booking a caterer for your wedding in the Kelowna area

Right now many brides are in planning mode for the BIG day… usually after a few weeks to a few months of dating and getting to know each other the fellow finally gets his act together and ask the big question. She say yes, and Congratulation we’re getting married!
Whether it is a Kelowna caterer or a chef attached to a specific venue that accommodate weddings like some wineries or golf courses or whether it is a private catering company doing business all over the Okanagan in other kind of venues. This is the 4 basic questions on what you need to give us in order to get a quote back from your caterer containing all the right information.
When is this wedding?
We need the actual date… we have other bookings and we may or may not be able to help you. Why starting to talk about food if we can’t even agree on a date…

Where is this reception?
It is extremely important to know what location you are considering. Some places may not allow for an outside caterer to come in. It may also be far away and create extra cost.

How many guests at this reception?
Well, catering a wedding for 30 people is way different than a wedding for 250 people. Certain menus and/or locations will not be conducive to larger events.

What do you have in mind for food or what is your budgeted goal?
This is the big question for you… but necessary to allow us to send you the right menu at the right cost.

Without this very important information, we are in the dark trying to find the right pair of socks to match our pants.

It is very simple to find the rigth caterer in Kelowna. Just contact the ones that you think can offer you the kind of food that you are looking for... just like you would chose a restaurant. You don't go to a Chinese restaurant and ask for Mexican food.
Example; if you want a buffet style menu of hearty authentic barbecue food supported by local businesses and producers I am the right chef. If you want a 4 courses plated dinner for 400 people I am not the right chef for this, other caterers in Kelowna can do that for you. I only do plated dinners for smaller groups.  

Book Early

Monday, February 21, 2011

Catering in Kelowna for a 91 years old Grandma

I love my job!
Every day I cook I get to see a new bunch of people and every day I get to have an impact on someone's family. Last week I got to prepare a meal for one of my friend's grandmother who was taken out of her senior home for the night and celebrating a late 91st birthday. Awesome night to get to chat to this women who has lived twice as long as me and had so many fun stories to share with me. I truly enjoyed myself - I love what I do! 

This is the note I got from the grand daughter after the dinner:
Just wanted to send an email to Thank You again for the wonderful meal last night. You made Grandma very happy and gave her something to talk about for weeks! Your generosity of your time and expertise will not be forgotten.

Again Thanks You Thank You Thanks You!!! 

Thanks Again....and see you soon!
John & Heather

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gold Medal Plate Event

Wow, what a fun weekend.
Friday people's choice award great food, great music, and great companies.

Saturday night, although there was 600 people and it was a huge success for the organizers, 300 to 400 in that set up would have been just fine for me, it was very crowded to eat great food standing around. All dishes were awesome, and really nice to see all the chefs running around and me just standing around eating. Martin Juneau from Montreal won the top chef spot in the country. Not with fancy, not with much hoop-la, but simple well executed dishes on both Friday and Saturday nights. For me what really did it was the bang-on wine pairing he did with his food, absolutely incredible match both nights but especially last night with his pork belly dish. In Montreal  most citizens are hockey fans, and personally I don't care much for that sport, but I was sure a proud Montreal fan last night when for the second year in a row a chef from my neck of the woods won top chef. It proved to me that it is not necessary to try to reinvent the wheel but just execute an amazing dish to get the win.

congrats again to Martin Juneau for winning the Gold Medal Plate top chef award.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

True Blue

We completed an important project this week. The kitchen at Rabbit Hollow has been transformed, and now looks more like the farmhouse kitchen it really is. In fact, it looks a lot like Julia’s kitchen (see if you can tell which photo is our kitchen and which is hers). I for one am convinced this will serve as a fantastic inspiration. The only thing missing is the motivational words we want to stencil on the wall… you know, “butter”, “cream” and of course, “chocolate”!
In case you are not sure who the heck this Julia is, well, she is none other than the indubitable Julia Childs. She was the one who said, “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.”  She also said, “Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” I have heartily agreed with her philosophy for years, perhaps in part because I was transfixed by a stay in France when I was younger, discovering the art of enjoying food and wine. (Julia also said “In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”)
Some people might think we’re a bit odd, having an old house with rickety front steps and a few cracks in the walls, and yet here we are painting the kitchen, and turquoise, too! We didn’t get new cupboards, we didn’t replace the linoleum, but it feels like we have revived an old spirit. I am not saying we eschew new things, just that we have a fondness for old classics.
Martin likes the practical side of Julia, I think. This quote reminds me of him…“Be a fearless cook! Try out new ideas and new recipes, but always buy the freshest and finest ingredients, whatever they may be. Furnish your kitchen with the most solid and workmanlike equipment you can find. Keep your knives ever sharp and -- toujours bon appetit! “

I won’t take on every Julia Childs recipe, but I think I might adopt a few more of Julia’s tendencies. After all, the woman lived to be 92 years old. Perhaps the philosophy of “All things in moderation – even moderation” is the way to go. Cooking with wine, and putting in the food, didn’t seem to hurt her. Most importantly of all, a combination of confidence, sense of humour and appreciation seems to be the best recipe for a long and happy life. Oh, and finding your perfect Valentine. “Cooking is like love: it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
But I have that part covered already.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

chocolate sponge

I am putting two sponge cakes in the oven right now.

8 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2/3 flour
  1. Using a Kitchen Aid, beat the eggs at full speed until really foamy
  2. Reduce speed and add sugar and return to full speed... the mixture will deflate and go right back up after a few minutes
  3. Reduce speed and add flour slowly
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Place in a buttered and floured pan.
  6. Bake at 375F for about 42 minutes or until done