Archive for December, 2009

SERVING UP A HOMEMADE FIVE-COURSE MEAL

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Chocolate Pattern

I really love cooking from scratch… everything tastes so much better when you make everything yourself. Allan’s mom and her husband were coming over from Vancouver Island to meet my parents… and Allan and I decided to create a fancy five-course meal to serve them. As if it wasn’t pressure enough just to have the two parents meet!

I think the best way to tackle this post with the sheer number of photos is to put all the prep photos first and leave the five “finished” photos for the end :) I will post the recipes later tonight in the Comments section. So, here we go!

Chocolate Chips for tempering Chocolate on Parchment Paper Chocolate Decorations

The key to cooking a multi-course meal, in my opinion, is all about the prep work. Making sure you double-check your ingredients, making sure you prep anything the night before that can be prepped… and having as much pre-portioned and pre-chopped up the day of the meal before you start cooking. You don’t really want anything sitting there getting cold… you want to serve it fresh right off the stove onto the plate as you go. I decided to prepare the chocolate creme brulée the night before.

Tempering Chocolate

The first step was making the chocolate decoration… and tempering chocolate with a candy thermometer. This is the temperature chart I followed… it’s a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly easy. You have to raise the chocolate to a high temperature, cool it with an ice bath, and heat again to a medium temperature… then your chocolate is tempered and easy to work with!

A very full pantry

My pantry was definitely overstuffed with supplies.

Simmering the apricots Candied Walnuts

The creme brulée was cooked and then cooled overnight. The next morning I woke up and simmered the apricots for several hours (for the puree) and Allan and I candied the walnuts for the first course.

Le Creuset Pot and Butternut Squash Blending the squash soup _DSC0262 Grated Nutmeg

The next step was to start preparing the soup… peeling, cutting, and weighing the butternut squash. Then sautéeing them in shallots and butter, cooking with chicken stock, and then adding spices. The soup also had to be blended, strained, blended again, and then served. Served with freshly grated nutmeg!

Weighing chicken for the food processor Combined chicken mousse and dungeness crab filling

While this was happening, we started making the chicken mousse in the food processor (note.. having an electronic scale is a life saver!). I cooked up several pounds of Pacific Wild Dungeness crab fresh from Granville Island here in Vancouver in white wine, butter and other spices… which was then added with a little bit of chicken mousse, parmesan, and chives to make the crab filling for the ravioli.

Crab Filling on the Ravioli

Allan made the fresh pasta while I cut the rounds for the ravioli and added the stuffing, and sealed the edges.

Chopped up veggies for the soup Clam Chowder being prepared

Meanwhile… getting the clam chowder ready by prepping the veggies, potatoes and leeks… and cooking the clams in white wine and fish stock.

Clams cooked in White Wine

I really loved the clams we got from Granville Island… very similar to littleneck clams but sweeter. Then I made a roux for the clam chowder and waited while it thickened up and cooked the veggies. (Note… make sure to add the clams just before serving, you don’t want them to get tough).

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut

Next was making the prosciutto-wrapped halibut.

Wrapping the halibut in prosciutto with a sage leaf Searing the Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut

We wrapped the very thinly sliced prosciutto around the halibut and sealed it in with a sage leaf for aroma and flavour. The halibut needed to be seared before being baked in the oven.

Preparing the Marshmallows from Butter Baked Goods Preparing the dessert plates Firing up the chocolate creme brulees

The last thing to worry about was the dessert of course.. in the interest of time I bought a few little sweets to go with the creme brulée. I got some marshmallows from Vancouver-based Butter Baked Goods… and rolled the vanilla marshmallows in candy cane pieces and the coffee marshmallows in a chocolate-sugar mix. I used little Christmas plates and also attached chocolate-covered marshmallows onto stainless steel skewers. The last step before serving was to torch the chocolate creme brulée.

Allan's Mom and Husband sitting with my parents

We set up my dad’s old work table in the middle of our living room and stole my mom’s linens to make a Christmas spread. It was a little hokey but hey, we made do ;) As for the parents meeting the parents… well we think it went rather well! This is a photo of Allan’s mom and husband Terry sitting at the table talking to my folks. Both sets of parents seemed to get along well and both had good things to say after. We kept them busy with the food ;)

And last but not least… the photos of the finished meal!

ALLIE AND ALLAN’S FIVE-COURSE CHRISTMAS MEAL FOR OUR PARENTS

FINISHED: Seared Qualicum Bay Scallops with Apricot Puree and Candied Walnuts

Course One: Seared Qualicum Bay Scallops with Apricot Puree and Candied Walnuts

FINISHED: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Chives, Parmesan, Nutmeg, Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Oil

Course Two: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup topped with Pumpkin Seeds, Chives, Parmesan, Freshly Grated Nutmeg, and Pumpkin Seed Oil

FINISHED: Fresh Dungeness Crab Ravioli with Mushroom Parmesan Sauce and Seared Beef Tenderloin

Course Three: Dungeness Crab-Stuffed Ravioli topped with a Maple-Candied Dungeness Crab Leg, in a Mushroom-Parmesan Sauce… served with Seared Beef Tenderloin in a Balsamic Vinegar-Shallot Marinade

FINISHED: Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut in Clam Chowder

Course Four: Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Clam Chowder

FINISHED: Chocolate Creme Brulee topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Chocolate Decoration and Mango Coulis and assorted sweets

Course Five: Chocolate Creme Brulée topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Decoration, with Raspberries in a Mango Coulis served with assorted sweets (Coffee and Vanilla Marshmallows, Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow, Peppermint Bark)

Phew!

OUR LAST 24 HOURS IN GOLDEN BC AND COPPER HORSE LODGE (PART 3)

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

This is the third and final photo post… you may want to check out Part One and Part Two of my blog post series on Kicking Horse, Golden BC, and the surrounding areas. The fabulous HD movie of the trip is of course still coming!

Golden nestled in the mountains...

We really felt like we were part of a mountain community in Golden. The town is completely nestled in the hills, and they have spectacular views just about every day. Allan and I were pretty much seething with jealousy the entire time we were there. Talk about a sight to wake up to!

Frozen Waterfalls

We spent our last day there exploring around and found several of these frozen over waterfalls…

Allan beside a frozen-ish river..

We also explored under the river and the bridge until our fingers pretty much froze off…

Yes, mountain goats just wander around..

… and noticed that there were just mountain goats and other wildlife wandering around in broad daylight…

... and deer just hang out in the yard.

… or they would just hang out in people’s yards at night. We saw this deer family hop over people’s fences, hang out on their lawns for a while, and do a little tour of the neighbourhood. It was awesome.

Copper Horse Lodge and Corks Restaurant

Our last night we stayed at Copper Horse Lodge, which right in Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, just a 2 minute walk from the gondola. Pretty sweet location! They also have a fine dining restaurant called “Corks” which we ate at a couple times. They have a Twitter account as well.

Copper Horse Lodge Lounge

The Lodge has only 10 rooms, so it really is a boutique hotel. I managed to chat with the owner for a few minutes while I was there and he mentioned that they don’t want to expand at all because they care a lot about giving personal attention to guests. Again, I felt an extreme sense of wanting to open my own B&B or hotel in a mountain resort. Argh. Why am I working in video games again? :)

Copper Horse Lodge Hot Tub

Nothing like relaxing in a hot tub after a day of snowboarding.

Copper Horse Lodge Deluxe Room

Again, I was really impressed with our choice of accommodations here in Golden! We really lucked out… everywhere we stayed was awesome, and the people were so friendly. It kind of reminded me of Whistler 10 years ago.

Copper Horse Lodge Deluxe Room Copper Horse Lodge Bathroom and Jetted Tub!

Anyway, our room was HUGE! King bed, couch area, flat screen TV, and lots of places to throw our gear everywhere. The place literally looked like a train wreck after we were done spreading out all our snowboard gear to dry. The big bathroom was a bonus too… mmmmmm jetted tub.

Me making weird arm movements

We hiked around the area to shoot some little snowboarding videos. I can’t wait to edit it all together.

Local Hero Pub

After snowboarding we headed to the Local Hero Pub. It’s obvious to me that Golden is awesome. Where else do you have JENGA in the middle of a BAR? Haha!

At the pub with our new friends

We met up with our newfound friends, Mike (our guide from Canadian Powder Adventures) and Steve (from Tourism Golden… he helped us find places to rent our backcountry gear). Many tequila and whiskey shots were had…

Caesar at Corks Restaurant Mango Shrimp Appetizer Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup Chocolate Torte

Then it was off to Corks Restaurant (part of Copper Horse Lodge) for our last dinner in town. They had some really nice drinks and appies… we ordered several cocktails, had a mango shrimp appetizer, shared a carrot ginger coconut soup, and some different types of flatbread. Oh, and I snuck a little photo of the chocolate torte we had for dessert in here.

Mmmm pizza

Yes, we eat a lot. Well, Allan does. We also had to have pizza since pizza is a must after snowboarding. I noticed a LOT of locals were coming into the restaurant and getting pizza and beer as well.

Lamb with spicy mint sauce

The mains were really the best part though. Allan ordered the lamb which had an orange glaze and a spicy mint sauce… such a nice combination.

Tilapia with Tomato Saffron Risotto

I had the tilapia with the seafood and tomato saffron risotto. I LOVE risotto and this one was especially good… saffron is my weakness. The chef, Kalon is from Australia and you can definitely tell where some of his influences are from!

Mmm Eggs Benny for Breakfast

Why are my posts always about food? *sigh* I guess we just like to eat. Well, in the morning we woke up and had amazing eggs benedict served at Corks Restaurant by the couple who manages the place. Such nice people! Relocated from Vancouver… hmmmm… argh!

Bye Golden!

So alas, we had to say goodbye to beautiful powdery Golden, BC… till next time! We will most definitely be back. :)

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This the blog of a 28 year-old Vancouver girl who loves and writes about everything “Vancouver” and West Coast. This is the blog of a girl who works in Vancouver's video game industry, it's also a surfing blog, snowboarding blog, food blog, Canucks blog, gadget blog, and photography blog. VancityAllie.com is an award-winning blog that receives over 2.7M unique visitors every year and over 4,500 followers on Twitter. VancityAllie.com has been featured in books, newspapers, magazines, and television.

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