Escargot

Escargot is quintessentially French, isn’t it! You say snail’s in reference to anything else, and the most common retort is “ew”. But escargot is a delicacy! The snail itself is mostly a vehicle for a delicious garlicky butter sauce.
I found many recipes for escargot and it felt like all of them were lacking in garlic, but I went with the flow, afraid to over-season. In the end, I wish I added more garlic, so I am doubling the amount of garlic in my recipe for your use.

Duck and Apricot Terrine

For me, this meal was an opportunity to indulge in some of my favorite things! I am turning 30 after-all…so Escargot was a must for this meal, and so was beef wellington! I couldn’t quite afford to serve foie gras to 16 guests, so I decided to create a terrine  paired with a delicious shallot jam. The terrine’s single most important ingredient is the chicken livers, which my friend Anwar (who runs International Grocery and Halal Meats Inc. on 33rd and Greenmount – go there it is amazing!) has been saving for me for a few weeks! The livers mixed with pork, chicken, and duck, create an amazingly complex flavor. The mustard and cornichon juice give it a bit of an extra kick!

Olive Crisps with Green Olive Tapenade and Riclettes de Sardines

For our first course, the aperitif, I made a traditional Parisian cocktail, the 1789, created to celebrate the revolution! I wanted to create some nibbles while we sipped our cocktails, so I made these delicious Olive Crisps and served them with a Green Olive and Almond Tapenade with some Anchovy for extra flavor and some creamy, and delicious Riclettes de Sardines.

Marscapone Custard Tart

Some recipes are planned, others are the result of accidents…and this was a beautiful accident. I was preparing for my book launch and kneading bread as my egg whites for my tiramisu were whipping up. I got them to that beautiful firm peak, and proceeded to mix my mascarpone egg yolk mixture in…and I figured, I would just let my KitchenAid mix them together on the lowest setting. Wrong! I always say fold egg whites in by hand, and I didn’t follow my own advice! As the two mixed, the egg whites fell and turned into a delicious but liquidy mess that would never work for tiramisu.

Tiramisu

Everyone loves Tiramisu! I have never met anyone who doesn’t. Adults love the sophisticated mixture of cream and coffee. Kids love their first opportunity to consume some booze. What can go wrong? Tiramisu is not hard to make, you don’t even need to bake. However, I strongly discourage using white sponge cake or pre-made “Tiramisu filling” that is sold in grocery stores. That is not Tiramisu, that is closer to a trifle. The one thing you should be careful with is blending the egg yolks into the mascarpone mixture. I let my KitchenAid do it as I was kneading some baguette dough the other night, and my egg whites turned back to liquid! However, I found a way to bake that into an incredibly delicious “mascarpone cheesecake”! Stay tuned for the brand new recipe soon!

Sweet Potato Batatada

This dessert has the best name! Batatada! It is so much fun to say, and it is a delicious and moist cake that can be made almost a week in advance. It keeps so well! The sweet potato and coconut give the cake a lot of nuance and moisture, and 12 egg whites lighten the cake and prevent it from feeling dense light you might expect from a vegetable based cake (this is no carrot cake….no offence to carrot cakes, which I also love!) It can  be presented as is, but I wanted to elevate my Batatada with a red berry sauce. Simply take some  fresh berries and cook for 10 minutes with a  bit of lemon and as much sugar as you like.

Sardèle in Saòr Crostini

Gonzo and I argued about this dish a bit when I first introduced it during the Venetian dinner. Sweet and vinegary, “they won’t go for it”, he said. I was almost convinced to take out the raisins, but I am glad I kept them. Sardines are amazing! I don’t know why everyone here is so afraid of sardines and anchovies. Dusted with flour and fried, they turn decadent, especially when paired with the vinegar flavor of the marinated onions and the sweetness of the raisins. Make this dish several days in advance, it gets better with time. And don’t be afraid if you have too much liquid, the sardines soak up a lot.

Hummus

This simple chickpea spread is such a crowd pleaser, folks ask me for leftovers every time it is served (there are rarely leftovers, so I keep doubling the recipe)! Don’t be afraid to double the batch and save some for later, it can last for around 2 weeks in a sealed tub. The recipe as it stands makes enough for two dip bowls or a large dish.