To welcome the glorious spring days that make life in Canada such a joy and a privilege, we present herewith an outstanding line-up of wines to tickle your palate and deliver you into the great outdoors in requisite style. Wines for barbecuing, patio-crawling, kicking off the baseball season… or just lying on the grass.
Also, we’re excited to bring you three food pairings from the brand-new cookbook FEAST: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Roadtrip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana Vanveller. Get the recipes plus your Spring Sippers playlist and a copy of this season's tasting notes below.
We're delighted to share these recipes celebrating Canadian cuisine from Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Roadtrip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Recipes and photos are shared here with permission from the publisher*—don't forget to go buy the book for even more delicious recipes and stories!
Pairs with: Creekside Estate Winery 2016 Cabernet Rosé
We asked Renée Kohlman, the Saskatoon-based chef/blogger behind Sweetsugarbean, to develop a perogy recipe for the book, and she chose to highlight sour cherries, an incredible ingredient from the Prairies. It’s a sweet recipe, but you could easily enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. In the parts of Canada where they grow, the sour cherry season typically runs for several weeks in July or August, depending on the region. Be sure to stock up when they arrive at your local farmers’ market—they’re popular, and they go fast.
Sour Cherry Compote
3 cups (750 mL) fresh or frozen sour cherries, pitted
3/4 to 1 cup (185 to 250 mL) cane sugar
3 Tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1/2 tsp (1.5 g) salt
2 to 3 cups (300 to 450 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) white sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) full-fat sour cream
1 cup (250 mL) ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter, for frying (optional)
For the compote, combine the fresh or frozen cherries, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. It will firm up as it cools. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
For the perogy dough, beat the eggs, water, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the flour 1 cup (150 g) at a time, and mix just until a firm, yet soft and workable, dough forms. The dough should be pliable enough to roll out, but not overworked.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball and allow the dough to rest under an overturned bowl for 20 minutes.
To make the farmstand cream, add the sugar to the whipping cream, and whip until soft peaks form. Fold in the sour cream and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the perogies, roll the dough out to 1/16 inch (2 mm). Cut into circles using a 3-inch (8 cm) cookie cutter or the top of a glass. Re-roll any large scraps and repeat the cutting-out process. Discard any small scraps.
Add 1 heaping tsp (5 mL) of sour cherry compote and 1 heaping tsp (5 mL) of ricotta cheese to the centre of each circle. Using your fingers, lightly brush the edges of the dough with water and fold it over. Press the edges together with your fingers, or use a fork to seal them. Repeat the process until all the dough is gone— you should end up with about 25 to 30 perogies.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating up, prepare a plate lined with a few paper towels.
Add about 10 perogies to the water at a time and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove the perogies with a slotted spoon and trans- fer to the plate with paper towels to drain. You can eat them like this, warm with farmstand cream, but they taste even better when pan-fried for a few minutes!
If pan-frying, add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Place the perogies directly into the hot butter. Fry in an even layer, about 2 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. Continue cooking this way until all the perogies are done. Serve warm with a generous dollop of farmstand cream.
Pairs with: Ravine Vineyard 2015 Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc
“You two are insane.”
This is what an Ontario cattle rancher told us after hearing about our visit to a bison ranch in Alberta. We prefer the term “adventurously ignorant.” When we visited Gus Janke’s Maple Hills Bison Farm, just south of Edmonton, he drove us right into the middle of his herd, which he raises for meat and sells to families in the area. While we were somewhat terrified, we were right to trust Gus; he sent us back on the road with limbs intact and some bison pepperoni to snack on—a good reminder that in addition to being enormous, bison are extraordinarily tasty. Many grocery stores now carry bison meat, but if you can’t get your hands on any, you can use lean ground beef as a substitute. We’ve adapted this recipe from one made up by Lindsay’s friends Suzie and Reena. It combines puff pastry with the brightness of orange zest and fresh fennel and has an easy-to-make tomato sauce for dipping.
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (80 mL) white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh fennel, finely diced
2 tsp (10 mL) orange zest
14 ounces (400 g) ground bison or lean ground beef
3 ounces (85 g) ground pork
1/4 cup (60 mL) dried bread crumbs
1 tsp (5 mL) dried chili flakes
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (60 mL) milk
2 sheets pre-made puff pastry, thawed (but kept cold in the refrigerator until needed)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
One 28-ounce (796 mL) can whole or diced toma- toes, with juice
1 tsp (5 mL) honey
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) orange zest
To make the sausage mixture, add the olive oil to a large pan and set over low heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onions have turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped fennel and cook another 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the zest. Cook a few more minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the bison, pork, bread crumbs, chili flakes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the cooled fennel mixture and gently combine with your hands. At this point, you may want to fry up a small patty of the meat mixture and taste it so you can be sure it’s seasoned as you like. Divide the mixture into four equal parts.
In a small bowl, use a whisk or fork to beat the egg and milk together, then set aside. This egg wash will be used to seal and cover the sausage rolls.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper.
Unfurl the puff pastry on a clean board or countertop. If you have two square-shaped sheets of pastry, cut each piece in half to create four long rectangular pieces. If you have two round sheets, cut each in half and reshape the ends to create rectangles.
With the first quarter of the bison mixture, use your hands to make a sausage-like shape the same length as the longest side of your pastry rectangle. Lay it along one long side of the pastry, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from one edge. Using your fingers or a brush, apply the egg wash along the opposite edge of the pastry— this will work to seal the roll together. Starting with the side closest to the sausage mixture, gently roll the pastry over the meat and keep rolling until it meets the egg-washed edge. Adjust the roll so the seam is at the bottom. Repeat with the remaining three sheets of pastry.
Transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the egg wash, then score the tops with a sharp knife, making shallow cuts about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Sprinkle the tops with nigella and/ or sesame seeds.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the meat is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 160°F/71°C).
While the rolls are baking, make the sauce. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over low to medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the toma- toes and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a fork. Once it has reduced to a nice thick sauce, add the honey, salt, and orange zest, then simmer a few more minutes. Taste the sauce to make sure the balance of salty and sweet is to your liking. This can be put in the blender if you prefer it smooth, but we love the chunky, more rustic version. Slice the sausage rolls into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces and serve warm with the dipping sauce.
Pairs with: Tawse 2013 Pinot Noir
What could be more Canadian than eating a tree? As we made our way across the country, spruce and fir tips kept popping up and flaunting their culinary uses. Foraging for them is easy... unless you’re us. On our first attempt, we went too late in the season to a forest with no spruce trees, got caught in a rain-storm, and came home soaking wet with nothing but empty buckets. Though it may take one or two springtime hikes to get the timing right, you want to get the new, bright green buds at the ends of the branches. You can store any excess tips in the freezer for several months. An extra piece of advice: if you just missed the season, head to a higher elevation where the spring’s new growth is slightly later.
We’d like to say thanks to our friend Joel, who happily endured the rainy first foraging trek with us, then later picked the fir tips we used for this recipe. Spruce or fir tips will work for this pesto—whatever your forest happens to provide!
1 cup (250 mL) loosely packed fresh (or frozen and thawed) spruce or fir tips, or 2 cups (500 mL) chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup (125 mL) Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, grated then measured
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
4 to 6 wild salmon or Arctic char fillets, about 1/2 pound (227 g) each, skin on, scaled and deboned
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Plain yogurt, 6% or higher
Put the spruce or fir tips, cheese, salt, olive oil, walnuts, lemon juice, and garlic into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if desired. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.
Preheat the barbeque to medium-high (450°F to 500°F/230°C to 260°C). Brush both sides of each piece of salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Let the fish rest a few minutes.
When the barbeque is ready, place the pieces of fish skin side down on the barbeque and close the lid. Let cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is crispy and the edges of the fish are opaque. Carefully turn each piece over, close the lid, and let cook another 2 to 3 minutes. The fish will be opaque and flake easily when done.
Serve the salmon with several spoonfuls of the pesto over each piece, also adding a dollop of yogurt if desired. Serve with a green salad and/or spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, peas, or even fiddleheads if you’re in the mood for more foraging!
*All recipes above are excerpted from Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Roadtrip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Copyright © 2017 Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.