Roasted Butternut Squash and Couscous

roasted butternut squash and couscousIt’s been wet and foggy the past two days and as such has put me in the mood for vegetables I would usually cook in the cooler months.  That said, there’s absolutely no reason why squash shouldn’t be included in a summer dish.  When I think of the winter squash family, butternut always comes out on top.  It’s sweet to begin with but when roasted nothing beats the caramelized flavor of browned edges.   Butternut squash doesn’t really need doctoring but experimenting with different seasonings such as cumin, allspice, anchovies, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, truffle oil, rosemary, sage, lemon juice, and so on will only heighten your senses making butternut squash a superstar veggie!

Serves 2 to 4

1 butternut squash, skin washed and scrubbed
1 cup couscous
1 cup water or stock
ground cumin
1/4 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup sliced basil leaves
extra-virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
mixed salad leaves

butternut squashPreheat oven to 400f (200c). Slice squash, brush with olive oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle cumin over slices. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until soft.

sliced butternut squashPlace couscous in a bowl and add boiling water or hot stock. Add a tablespoon of butter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand at least 5 minutes to allow liquid to be absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

In a bowl, lightly toss mixed salad leaves and chopped mint with olive oil, splash of white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. To plate, add some salad leaves, a couple of squash slices, a spoonful of couscous and repeat layering. Top with sliced basil leaves.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: It’s not necessary to peel the squash. If you don’t fancy the idea of slicing the squash, you can peel the skin and chop into cubes.  Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Couscous
 
Author:
Recipe type: vegetarian
Serves: 2 to 4
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash, skin washed and scrubbed
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water or stock
  • ground cumin
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  • ¼ cup sliced basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • mixed salad leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400f (200c). Slice squash, brush with olive oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle cumin over slices. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until soft.
  2. Place couscous in a bowl and add boiling water or hot stock. Add a tablespoon of butter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand at least 5 minutes to allow liquid to be absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
  3. In a bowl, lightly toss mixed salad leaves and chopped mint with olive oil, salt and pepper. To plate, add some salad leaves, then a couple of squash slices, a spoonful of couscous and repeat layering. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
  4. The Culinary Chase’s Note: It’s not necessary to peel the squash. If you don’t fancy the idea of slicing the squash, you can peel the skin and chop into cubes. Enjoy!

 

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Apple Pie Shake

apple pie shakeWeeds and wild flowers – they’re everywhere!  Some consider them a pest especially when trying to keep them out of your lawn.  Our back yard overlooks a small field and as you can imagine, full of weeds and wild flowers.  I have absolutely no patience for weeds and I think they know that.  All you have to do is look at our back lawn and grin.  I do, however, like looking out past our yard and see daisies being pushed around by the wind, thistles with their lovely purple tops, and yellow flowers from stubby plants.  There’s one plant that towers over most of the wild flowers…Queen Anne’s Lace. The flowers grow in flat clusters and resemble that of fine lace.  The flowers are so pretty I brought them in for display and used them as a backdrop for my apple pie shake.  We’ve all had a milkshake at least once in our life but I’ll bet you’ve never had an apple pie shake!  Once you’ve tasted it you’ll want to experiment with your other favorite pies.

Queen Anne's Lace
I like making pies but when there’s only two, it’s difficult to finish the pie before it starts to go off.  This recipe makes good use for any leftover pie.

Serves 4
4 scoops of frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream
1 to 2 apple pie slices (homemade or store bought)
up to 1/4 cup of milk (adjust according to desired thickness)
ground cinnamon
whipped cream, for topping (optional)

Place frozen yogurt, apple pie slices and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Slurp back or use a straw.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
   Experiment by using lemon meringue pie. Enjoy!

Apple Pie Shake
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 scoops of frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream
  • 1 to 2 apple pie slices (homemade or store bought)
  • up to ¼ cup of milk (adjust according to desired thickness)
  • ground cinnamon
  • whipped cream, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen yogurt, apple pie slices and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Slurp back or use a straw.

 

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Shrimp Kebabs with Cilantro Dressing

shrimp kebabs with cilantro dressingLife is strange. I can’t recall the last time I made kebabs and yet in the space of two days I made two kebab dishes. I hadn’t planned it that way; it just happened. While I was food shopping the other day, not sure what I was going to make for dinner, I found myself hankering for grilled shrimp.  It was that simple, dinner was sorted but now I needed to think of a sauce that would enhance the shrimp but not overpower it. I had just passed the aisle where the cilantro (coriander) was and felt a Thai-infused dressing would be perfect for the shrimp kebabs.

I’ve made enough Thai dressings in the past to feel confident enough to massage it to my own liking. While the Thai food principles of salty (sea salt or fish sauce), sweet (cane or palm sugar), spicy (chili peppers or peppercorns), sour (lime, lemon or tamarind), bitter (bitter melon) should be taken into consideration, not all have to be used. I initially left out the fish sauce but when I did a taste test, there was something missing.  I could have added minced chili pepper but felt that might be too strong for the delicate flesh of the shrimp.  That left only one flavor…salty.  I added a tablespoon of the fish sauce and had my aha! moment

Serves 4
16 medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
lime wedges
red onion, cut into chunks
red and yellow peppers, cut into chunks

kebab ingredientsCilantro Dressing -
1 1/2 cups loose cilantro leaves (some stems are ok)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fish sauce

To make the dressing, using a hand blender, whiz all ingredients until smooth. Lightly coat shrimp with the cilantro dressing (you don’t need all of the dressing) and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

shrimp kebab collagePreheat barbeque to medium-high.  Thread 4 shrimp onto each skewer using onion, lime wedges and pepper chunks as separators.  Grill shrimp until pink on the outside and opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side.  Squeeze the lime wedges over the shrimp.  Grilling the lime brings out a sweeter taste. Serve with a side of the cilantro dressing.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use the dressing recipe as a guide and let your taste buds do the talking. Enjoy!

Shrimp Kebabs with Cilantro Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: seafood kebab
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 16 medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • lime wedges
  • red onion, cut into chunks
  • red and yellow peppers, cut into chunks
  • Cilantro Dressing -
  • 1½ cups loose cilantro leaves (some stems are ok)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
Instructions
  1. To make the dressing, using a hand blender, whiz all ingredients until smooth. Lightly coat shrimp with the cilantro dressing (you don’t need all of the dressing) and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat barbeque to medium-high. Thread 4 shrimp onto each skewer using onion, lime wedges and pepper chunks as separators. Grill shrimp until pink on the outside and opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side. Squeeze the lime wedges over the shrimp. Grilling the lime brings out a sweeter taste. Serve with a side of the cilantro dressing.
  3. The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use the dressing recipe as a guide and let your taste buds do the talking. Enjoy!

 

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Honey Garlic Chicken Kebabs

honey garlic chicken kebabsKebab, meat on a stick, is a middle Eastern dish and the traditional meat was lamb but you can use just about any meat, chicken, fish or vegetable. Chicken kebabs are easy to make and are appealing to most.  If you don’t have a barbeque, use the broiler in your oven.

Serves 4
1 lb. chicken breast or thighs, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
chopped parsley, for garnishing

In a large bowl, whisk to combine honey, soy sauce, garlic and olive oil. Add chunks of chicken and mix so that all the marinade has coated the chicken. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and thread chicken on skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak in water 1 hour prior to use.

marinated chicken kebabsPreheat barbeque to medium heat (about 350f/180c). Place chicken skewers on a clean grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes before turning. You may have to increase the cooking time depending upon size of chicken pieces.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Similar-sized pieces of chicken means uniformed cooking and less chance some of the meat will be undercooked.  To keep the chicken from rolling around on the skewer, I used two and that kept them in place.  Serve the kebabs with couscous flavored with fresh herbs, tabbouleh, potato salad or a green salad. Enjoy!

Honey Garlic Chicken Kebabs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. chicken breast or thighs, cut into small chunks
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • chopped parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine honey, soy sauce, garlic and olive oil. Add chunks of chicken and mix so that all the marinade has coated the chicken. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and thread chicken on skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak in water 1 hour prior to use.
  2. Preheat barbeque to medium heat (about 350f/180c). Place chicken skewers on a clean grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes before turning. You may have to increase the cooking time depending upon size of chicken pieces.
  3. The Culinary Chase’s Note: Similar-sized pieces of chicken means uniformed cooking and less chance some of the meat will be undercooked. To keep the chicken from rolling around on the skewer, I used two and that kept them in place. Serve the kebabs with couscous flavored with fresh herbs, tabbouleh, potato salad or a green salad. Enjoy!

 

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Quinoa Risotto

quinoa risottoThe classic Italian risotto is prepared with arborio or carnaroli rice but this recipe throws the ‘traditional’ rice out the window and replaces it with quinoa.  I know my Italian friends will read this and shudder but…  I was a bit skeptical substituting a family-favorite for a seed.  Could this ever be as good as rice?   While its texture is different to that of rice, it does give you something to sink your teeth into.  Mushrooms and fresh thyme gently perfume the quinoa risotto making it a perfect substitute for those who are gluten intolerant.   The addition of mascarpone gives it a rich, decadent flavor.

Serves 4
inspired by Donna Hay

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup white wine
1½ cups white quinoa, well rinsed in cold water
4 cups hot chicken stock
1/3 cup grated parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful or so of mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup mascarpone

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add mushroom and thyme, salt and pepper and cook, until golden.  Set aside and keep warm.

fresh thymeCombine olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add wine and cook until slightly reduced. Add quinoa and stir. Then add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the quinoa and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the next ladle as soon as the quinoa is almost dry. Repeat this process until the quinoa is tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes).   Remove from the heat, add a tablespoon of butter and stir in the parmesan. Add mushroom mixture and mascarpone to the risotto and stir to combine.   Season to taste and serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Earthy, herbal flavors and aromas makes this dish a keeper.  If you run out of stock, use hot water.  Enjoy!

Quinoa Risotto
 
Author:
Recipe type: vegetarian, gluten-free
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1½ cups white quinoa, well rinsed in cold water
  • 4 cups hot chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful or so of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup mascarpone
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add mushroom and thyme, salt and pepper and cook, until golden. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Combine olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add wine and cook until slightly reduced. Add quinoa and stir. Then add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the quinoa and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the next ladle as soon as the quinoa is almost dry. Repeat this process until the quinoa is tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat, add a tablespoon of butter and stir in the parmesan. Add mushroom mixture and mascarpone to the risotto and stir to combine. Season to taste and serve immediately.

 

 

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Zucchini Noodles and Avocado Dressing

zucchini noodle salad with avocado dressingI love pasta and could eat tons of it and not gain an ounce when I was younger – attributed to a high metabolism and being very active.  However, this menopausal woman isn’t able to boast that statement any longer without increasing my waistline.  Sooo, I cook it when I am craving it leaving me to think of ways for a pasta substitute.  It seems that zucchini noodles are a ‘thing’ this year and with my trusty mandoline slicer, I grabbed a zucchini and proceeded to use as a pasta substitute. Zucchini noodles and avocado dressing makes a perfect dish for the summer heat as nothing needs to be cooked and it takes little time and effort.  My gluten-free friends will also enjoy this dish.  The zucchini noodles has a texture that would remind you of pasta.  The dish is one I will definitely make again, it was that good!

Serves 4 as a side

1 large zucchini
cherry tomatoes, quartered
couple handfuls of rocket (arugula)
1 ripe avocado, peeled and stone removed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
milk or water (to be used as a thinning agent)
1 garlic, minced
handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon lime juice
6 to 8 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

zucchini noodlesTo make the zucchini noodles, use a mandoline with a julienne attachment and slice into thick noodles, or if you don’t have a mandoline, cut zucchini into wide strips and julienne into thin strips. Toss into a mixing bowl and add tomatoes, rocket and olives.

zucchini noodle saladTo make the avocado dressing, place chunks of avocado in a dish with yogurt, garlic, parsley, cumin and lime juice. Use a hand blender and blend until smooth.

avocado dressing ingredientsThe dressing will be thick-ish at this point so add a bit of milk and olive oil to desired consistency.   Add a couple of spoonfuls to the salad and toss.  Add more dressing if desired.  Season with salt and pepper.

avocado dressingThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  The avocado sauce is so darn delicious!  If you have any leftover, use it as a dip, or tossed into pasta.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles and Avocado Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large zucchini
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • couple handfuls of rocket (arugula)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and stone removed
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • milk or water (to be used as a thinning agent)
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 to 8 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. To make the zucchini noodles, use a mandoline with a julienne attachment and slice into thick noodles, or if you don’t have a mandoline, cut zucchini into wide strips and julienne into thin strips. Toss into a mixing bowl and add tomatoes, rocket and olives.
  2. To make the avocado dressing, place chunks of avocado in a dish with yogurt, garlic, parsley, cumin and lime juice. Use a hand blender and blend until smooth.
  3. The dressing will be thick-ish at this point so add a bit of water and olive oil to desired consistency. Add a couple of spoonfuls to the salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

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How To Cook Fresh Peas

how to cook fresh peasI love recreating a food memory.  I grew up in the country where my parents had enough land to grow their own vegetables along with 2 pigs and 6 hens.  We didn’t have a farm per se, it was more of a hobby farm.  Looking back it was an interesting learning experience for me but at the time, a vegetable garden (a large one at that!) and a few farm animals meant outside chores increased and that ate into my summer time fun.  When my siblings and I got older, we would help mom prepare the vegetables and shelling peas was one I did not mind doing.  I was at the Alderney Farmers’ Market on Saturday and spotted a bag of peas.  Seeing them I instantly recalled a dish my mom would make when the first round of vegetables were ready to eat – hodge podge – that’s what she called it.   Basically it’s fresh veggies such as peas, string beans, new potatoes and carrots.  Some cooks will make it more like a stew but the way my mom made it was very simple…once the veggies were cooked either boiled or steamed, drain, combined in a pot and add butter and milk (place over low heat until butter has melted and milk is warmed).  To prepare the fresh peas you need to shell them.  To shell, all you need to do is pull the stringy bit at the top and pull down.  Pry open the pod at the seam using your thumbs and run your finger down to clear out the peas.  The next step, how to cook fresh peas, is simple.

shelled peas

Add peas to a small pot and barely cover with water.

peasBring to a slow boil and cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Do not add salt to the water as this will toughen the peas.  Drain and return peas to the pot but don’t turn on the heat.  Add a knob of butter, sea salt and pepper and stir until butter melts.  Garnish, if you like, with freshly chopped mint.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  When picking your own peas, choose pods that are medium in size as the large ones can produce tougher peas and generally not a pleasant taste.  When shelling peas, taste one, it should be tender and sweet.  Try puréeing the cooked peas with garlic, pine nuts, touch of lemon juice, S&P, and spread this on a toasted slice of bread.  Enjoy!

Pry open the pod at the seam using your thumbsRead more : http://www.ehow.com/how_2090032_shell-peas.html
Pry open the pod at the seam using your thumbsRead more : http://www.ehow.com/how_2090032_shell-peas.html
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Kale and Orange Salad

kale & orange saladKale may not be a favorite for everyone, but this recipe might just change the way you view kale. The orange segments soften any bitter taste you may experience and look how gorgeous the red onion looks once its bathed in lime juice!  Kale and orange salad with quinoa is a winning combo, full of nutrients and let’s not forget taste!

kale-collage

Kale and Orange Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • bunch of kale, washed and chopped (thick spine removed)
  • garlic, minced
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in juice of 1 lime (15 minutes)
  • 1 cup cooked white quinoa
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or other favorite nut)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (or roasted walnut oil)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place kale in a large bowl.
  2. Add garlic, orange segments, quinoa, pine nuts, and red onion slices.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil and any juice from the orange.
  4. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.

 The Culinary Chase’s Note:  When segmenting the orange, do so over a bowl to catch the juices and use the juice as part of the dressing for the salad.  Allowing the onion to sit in the lime juice not only softens it and gives it a lovely pink color, it also reduces any strong onion flavor.  Enjoy!

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Duck Ragu

duck raguThe origin of ragù sauce can be traced back to Bologna, Italy.  Duck ragu is a Venetian dish where the focus is more on the meat and herbs rather than the tomatoes.  This slow-cooked sauce can also be made with beef, pork, veal, lamb or boar.  I enjoy this sort of dish as it’s perfect for entertaining; the meat sauce can be made ahead of time and gently reheated while the pasta is cooking thus leaving more time with my friends and family.

Serves 4 to 6
adapted from BBC Good Food

splash of olive oil
4 duck legs (alternatively use duck breast, skin removed)
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 cup chicken stock
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons milk
500g tagliatelle (you can also use large rigatoni, penne or gnocchi)
Parmesan
handful of parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large pan. Season duck legs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides for about 10 minutes.  Remove to a plate and set aside. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat and discard or save for another use. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant then stir in cinnamon. Return the duck to the pan, add wine, tomatoes, stock, herbs, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring once in a while.

duck ragu sauceRemove duck legs from the sauce and place on a plate. Shred meat and discard the bones and fat.  Add meat back to the sauce with the milk and simmer, uncovered, for a further 10-15 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, and reserve a cup of the pasta water. Add pasta to the ragù. Stir to coat the pasta in the sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if it looks dry. Serve with parsley and grated Parmesan.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  If you can’t find fresh duck legs or breast, look in the frozen meat section of your grocery store.  I found mine, frozen, at Chater Meat Market.  Enjoy!

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Le Dîner en Blanc – Halifax

photo from HITC Lifestyle

photo from HITC Lifestyle

Friendship, elegance and gallantry are a few of the words to describe the worldwide epicurean phenomenon that is about to take over Halifax’s public space for the first time this summer on August 23.  Le Dîner en Blanc – Halifax is a 4-hour très chic picnic for 1,000 people.  Le Dîner en Blanc, launched in Paris by Françoise Pasquier in 1988, now attracts more than 15,000 people each year.  Diners meet at a predetermined departure point where some are bussed and some will walk to a secret location.  This outdoor space is kept secret until half an hour before the dinner takes place.  The Halifax event is being hosted by Michelle Brisson (owner of Piknik Events) and Dylan Moggery (creative director at Extreme Group).

photo from The Town Dish

photo from The Town Dish

Throughout the evening guests will be treated to entertainment from performers, musicians, a dj, and light show all to help accentuate the dining experience.  An elegant setting calls for all to arrive dressed in white…everything must be in white (tablecloths, plates, flowers, balloons).  This magical event spans 4 continents and over 40 countries.  Halifax is the latest Canadian city to join in on this posh picnic.  Other Canadian cities include:  Calgary, Edmundston, Montreal, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Okanagan Valley, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler.

photo from 513eats.com

photo from 513eats.com

Over the course of the evening, diners eat and celebrate amid live music and dancing.  To help set the mood, local favorite Swingology will play as dinner starts.  If you’re not keen on bringing your own gourmet dinner basket or you just want to treat yourself, Le Dîner en Blanc – Halifax has partnered with Chef David Smart, Chef Frédéric Tandy and chocolatier Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet to provide gourmet picnic baskets that are specially crafted for the event.   Each basket has enough food for 2 and there are 4 from which to choose.  And where would this très chic picnic be without wine?  Bishop’s Cellar will be offering a selection of wines and champagne that is purchased before the event.

Basket #1L’Ami De La Mer
gazpacho, fish terrine, potato salad, chocolate torte, white chocolate truffle

photo by James Ingram

photo by James Ingram

Basket #2Le Classique
vichyssoise, charcuterie plate, chicken ballontine, lentil salad, crème caramel, white chocolate truffle

photo by James Ingram

photo by James Ingram

Basket #3Le Big Deal
fois gras & chutney, pickled chanterelle, lamb, ratatouille, cheese plate, panna cotta with berry coulis, white chocolate truffle

photo by James Ingram

photo by James Ingram

Basket #4Le Jardinier
gazpacho, mushroom & Brie pâté en croûte, salad, chocolate torte, white chocolate truffle

photo by James Ingram

photo by James Ingram

The Culinary Chase’s Note:   I, along with 10 others, had the pleasure of sampling from each basket.  It will be a difficult task for me to choose only one!  This is going to be the white party of the year!

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