This summer why not capitalize on the Seasonal Wild Salmon, as this season is the only time of year that you can get fresh, not frozen wild salmon! Full of flavor, when compared with farmed salmon, and jam-packed full of nutrition, this recipe will have you draping the salmon in sweet teriyaki and spending almost no time in the kitchen!
Having guests over is what I do. Family, friends, and friends of friends, but my secret to enjoying company is to keep it simple. Properly preparing my ‘mise en plus’ or having everything ready to cook, so that when guests arrive I’m ready to enjoy their company! Begin by stopping in at your favorite fresh seafood supplier. This could be a local butcher, specialty food store, grocery store, of even better your local community market. The best way to order salmon is to ask for 6-8oz individually cut, skin on, salmon fillets, centre cut. You have just given them the absolute specific instructions that are universal and will assure you get what you want! 6-8 oz is a good portion size for adults, skin on keeps the fish together while grilling; and centre cut refers to the centre of the fish so that all pieces are uniform in size. (Insiders information; in the City of Toronto and many other non-coastal cities seafood suppliers are closed on Sundays and holidays, which means the seafood supply is temporarily interrupted. The best day to get fresh fish as a result is Tuesday to Saturday. Purchase teriyaki sauce in the grocery store’s BBQ sauce isle.
Once you have the individually cut salmon fillets you can begin marinating for the day in Ziploc bags. Pour enough Teriyaki sauce to coat each fillet. When your guests arrive you can heat up the grill. There are three rules to grilling that must be followed:
-Use vegetable oil to grease the grill generously to prevent sticking.
-Only ever touch or move your fish, chicken, or steak 4 times!
Men in particular will have a problem with this rule, but constantly moving the meat will pull the product apart and will prevent you from achieving the perfect diamond grill marks. Don’t overcook the food, if your grill is properly heated a one-inch steak will take 3 to 4 minutes each side to reach medium rare. On the same note salmon should be served medium or medium well to keep it moist and full of flavour.
Using tongs remove the teriyaki marinated fish out of the Ziplocs bag and place skin side down on the hot, well oiled grill, starting at the back place them closer to make sure there’s room for all of them. Close the lid and let cook for 2 -3 minutes, then flip over carefully trying to keep the fillet in once piece! Grill for 2-3 minutes and rotate each piece 40 degrees cooking for another 1-2 minutes. By following these instructions you’ll get a medium cooked salmon fillet with perfect grill marks! Add some fresh summer vegetables, rice or potatoes! Your house will stay cool and you’ll get to enjoy your company! Laine Valin
A truly local Canadian dining experience can be discovered in Toronto’s Rosedale neighborhood. Identified simply as Earth, this discriminate restaurant is branded by its slogan ‘think global, eat local.’ Simply, by actively seeking open dialogue with local farmers and producers, the resulting superb culinary experience presented at Earth, remains undisputed. Expect five-star luxury dining
Using the ‘think global, eat local’ concept, the chef has set his staff to creating a menu that varies with the seasons, and incorporates quality seasonal fare produced within a 100-mile radius of our own region. Many chefs would find such restrictions, well just that, restricting. However, the team at Earth uses this premise as an opportunity to be creative and innovative, utilizing fresh greens grown in the summer, pumpkin and squash in the fall, and royal red beats in the dead of winter. The cooking team’s ingenuity is quite astonishing.
From experience, I can highly recommend any one of the appetizers, soups, and salads in which to begin your dining experience, but I have a soft spot for the fresh PEI shucked oysters, with a dash of horseradish, lemon, and sauces made in-house. A dozen or so cooled, smooth and raw, accompanied by a glass of Canadian sparkling wine to enhance the experience, is a perfect warm up for your palate. Seasonal soup, again made fresh in- house, range from Atlantic Lobster Bisque to fresh Butternut squash, can vary on the menu daily depending on what fresh ingredients at the morning market appeal to the chef.
Many people will ask, “What is Canadian cuisine?” My answer is always, that which is unique to our land, the fish, foul, wild game that our country was literally built on. With that in mind the menu has developed in a way everyone can enjoy.
The entrees at Earth feature fresh vegetables, potatoes, and uniquely Canadian game. The culinary team perfectly makes use of Canadian elk, venison, duck, regional fresh-fish and Atlantic seafood, in addition to locally farmed poultry and beef. The farmers in Wellington County provide Earth’s beef, particularly their incredible grilled beef tenderloin, juicy and moist, cooked to perfection without exception. Dinner at this dining establishment could not be more Canadian than savoring a rare seared duck breast or fresh Ontario rainbow trout. For desert you can’t go wrong with a ground cherry donut, served hot out of the fryer, with Earth’s handmade ice cream.
The wine list boasts an impressive selection, which again remains true to the term ‘local’. Lynne Stimpson has personally selected over 30 wines from Ontario and British Columbia, as well as a select few ‘global’ choices. By working directly with regional vineyards, Earth staff has also had a hand in creating signature wines featured only on its wine list. Ontario’s Cave Springs Winery provides an incredible Chardonnay made specifically for the restaurant.
My affection for Earth only grows with its list of signature cocktails, made with liquor flavor-infused on-site. For example, the blueberry vodka is with real Ontario blueberries and whiskeys are smoked with Canadian back bacon right on the premise. Earth is a mixologist’s dream and a bartender’s playpen, with these house-infused liquors becoming the elixir for the people behind the bar demonstrating true expression and artistry. By being creative with spirits, Earth’s signature cocktails are unique to them. I say try one of everything on the creative cocktail menu, but do it responsibly, like one or two a day over the course of this summer!
In addition to delicious food and drink, the service at Earth is amazing. It is like watching a well-choreographed dance, with every move timed perfectly, and refined wait-staff anticipating each customer’s desire and need As a tribute to Ms. Stimpson, the ‘service choreographer’ Earth offers a wonderful experience each time you pass through its doors, whether you are out for a mid-week meal, hosting an exclusive VIP event in its spacious 16-person private dining room, or sipping a cocktail on one of the restaurant’s two patios, be assured it will be a flawlessly executed event.
When thinking of France thoughts of a romantic backdrop, love scenes and happily ever after most often comes to mind. Rarely would thoughts travel to the seedy, red light Quartier Pigalle in Pairs, or the dark, unromantic pleasures enjoyed there over the past several centuries.
The seductive crown jewel of La Pigalle district is undoubtedly the Moulin Rouge, the world-famous cabaret that has offered inspiration to poets, artists, along with satisfying the secret desires of men, young and old. Opening its doors in 1889, Moulin Rouge revolutionized erotic dance in Europe with its most famed re-creation of the Cancan, a dance originally introduced in the working-class ballrooms. Moulin Rouge “The Red Windmill” became synonymous with luxury and extravagant “night life” and was a particular hit with the gentlemen elite of Pairs.
In 1890, HRH the Price of Wales, later to be King Edward VII, having crossed the English Channel entered France from England unnoticed. Upon making his way to Pairs, in secrecy and discretion he secured a private table at the famous Moulin Rouge. La Goulue, a famed dancer synonymous with the Cancan, the Moulin Rouge, the toast of Paris and the highest paid entertainer of her day, was high kicking her legs when the Prince entered the cabaret, yet she recognized him instantly and yelled out “Hey, Wales. Champagne’s on you!”
What was the dance this girl and her entourage were performing, which had the Prince so enthralled? Why, it was the Cancan, a high-energy, seductive dance, not exclusive to Moulin Rouge but made notable by its high-caliber dancers. Viewed at the time as a risqué erotic display, the cancan is a dance of high kicks and loud shrieks, revealing only what a woman chooses and upper-class men opening their wallets wide in an effort to see more.
The Pink Can-can
2 oz Grey Goose Vodka
1/2 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Pineapple juice
A grapefruit slice and pink sugar for the rim
Begin your sweet seductive dance by filling your martini shaker with ice. Combine all ingredients. Shake well until the shaker begins to frost or as I tell my bartender’s ‘break the ice’. Rim your favorite martini glass with the grapefruit slice and dip into the pink sugar. This sweet and bitter rim is an all too obvious metaphor for the bittersweet love affair between gentlemen and their courtesans. Strain the chilled cocktail into the glass and serve.
Salut, nos amis! Perhaps, la reine, Marie Antoinette, would not have lost her head, had she uttered, “Let them drink cocktails!” instead of “Let them eat cake.” However, the têtes royales DID roll and the streets were coloured with blood. Vive la Révolution and take a crack at making our version of the oft-varied martini français, or French Martini: La Vie en Rose – sweet, yet potent, like the great Édith Piaf, herself.
Black Raspberry Liqueur
Fresh Pineapple Juice
Fresh black raspberries or blackberries
Fill a shaker with ice. Add 2 parts vodka (Grey Goose, if you want to stay true to France), 1 part black raspberry liqueur (Chambord, it’s French, naturellement), and 3 parts fresh pineapple juice. Shake – VIGOUROUSLY!! (About 10-15 times, or til frost forms on the outside of the shaker.) Strain into a chilled martini glass – you should have a nice head of pineapple foamy goodness if you followed instructions to shake – VIGOUROUSLY! Garnish with fresh black raspberries or blackberries on a cocktail skewer. Grab a baguette, don a beret, and indulge in life’s rosy hue: bonne soif et santé!
La Societe Bistro
Experience the soul of Paris in the heart of Toronto as you step into La Societe, an upscale French bistro and lavish patio located on glamorous Bloor Street’s fashion strip. Surrounded by Gucci, Cartier, Escada, and Hermes, this great eatery has the ideal patio to ‘see and be seen’ this summer. With The Refined Chefs weeklong celebration of all things French, which began with Bastille Day, today we are stepping into this Parisian inspired Bistro.
Cross the threshold onto either of the perfectly appointed lower or upper patios spurs an instant sense that you have been transported to the French Riviera city of Cannes, or Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of the world’s most famous of streets for luxury shopping. The overwhelming feeling that you have flown across miles of ocean and have arrived is undeniable.
La Societe, owned by Charles Khabouth, is unrivaled in our city in terms of service and style. Perfectly located on busy Bloor Street, the patio is well suited for sitting back and watching the bustle and fast paced life of serious shoppers hurrying by. The lower Patio features a marble and brass, fully stocked bar, as well as an oyster bar. The upper patio is removed from the street, providing an intimate setting for a fabulous lunch or an award winning signature dinner.
Chef James Olberg, incredibly talented and known for is creative approach to traditional cuisine, leaves you satisfied no matter your menu selection. One of many fabulous lunch dishes is La Societe’s Tuna Nicoise Salade, a light, healthy way to indulge one’s self features seared tuna on a bed of lettuce, fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, and a hard-boiled egg. For heartier fare, I recommend staring with the signature French onion soup, followed by a selection from the famous seafood display, which holds an incredible array of fresh seafood on ice, sure to entice you to do more then just ‘look’.
Chef James’s Sunday showcases 1 1/4 pounds of Atlantic Lobster, with lemon and drawn butter, for a very reasonable $24.95, is the pinnacle of the restaurant’s selection. The traditional French menu is just that, very traditional, so to expand your food experience, give it a try. On Thursdays enjoy $1 each shucked oysters with a glass of your favorite champagne, white wine, or a signature cocktail. The patios feature a diverse cocktail menu, which indicates La Societe bartenders have incredible talents.
The element, which sets La Societe apart from several dozen other French-inspired restaurants in Toronto, is its ambiance. The dining room and lounge, with polished brass rails, dark woods, marble, and incredibly detailed mosaic floor, is a decorative style direct from Paris. These rooms are true masterpieces, inviting you to relax, enjoy and of course indulge in the rich menu. If you are looking to stride into Paris for an afternoon lunch, post-work cocktail, or to celebrate a special occasion with a delectable dinner, La Societe has the stage set to welcome you.
Bastille Day Soiree
I have learned to savor both the simple pleasures and big experiences of life, by sharing with close friends and family my favorite things. Laughs shared. Memories relived and plenty of toasts made over some bubbly are among those appreciated the most, along with any reason to celebrate.
Thus, on July 14, in honour of Bastille Day, France’s national day commemorating the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress-prison in Paris during the French Revolution, I hosted a small afternoon soiree. Perhaps this style of party had more in common with Marie Antoinette’s tastes then the revolutionists, but nonetheless what better way to bring friends together in true Parisian style.
To prepare for the celebration I chilled a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, knowing it would be perfect to mark the occasion. The house of Veuve Clicquot has always been a developing Champagne house it was founded in 1772 only 17 years before the start of the revolution. During the Napoleonic Wars, Madam Clicquot extended great effort to establish her wine in royal courts all over Europe and today boasts the Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II, identifying it as a personal favorite. The brand’s signature bright yellow label, set on a dark green bottle is a recognizable trademark for those who savor champagne.
Once chilled the champagne was served in flutes, stemware designed specifically for carbonated drinks. This style of goblet features a tall, narrow bowel which prevents the bubbles from escaping, while the long stem prevents the wine from warming in your hand. When poured the champagne appears as a light, pale yellow liquid bubbling up in the glass. Your nose will immediately pick up on a crisp bouquet full of fresh green apple and yeast. Once the champagne hits your tongue the bubbles burst into action, delivering a delightful, very dry flavour with hints of apple, pear, and freshly baked bread. Because of it dry or ‘brut’ nature, this champagne pairs well with smoked salmon, caviar, and sweets!
I matched this Veuve Cliquot with classic French pastries from Toronto’s Nadege Patisserie, a hidden gem in our city and one of the finest patissiries in Canada, combining four generations of pastry chef experience. Chef Nadege Nourian, born in Leon, France, into a family of dedicated confectioners, bakers, pastry chefs, and chocolatiers. Following in her family’s footsteps, she is taking traditional techniques to modern heights. After a lifetime in Europe learning, creating and working with some of the top chefs in the world, she has brought her talents and passion to Toronto. I have no doubt that Nadege will grow and prosper, bringing its sweet culture to Torontonians.
Macaron, a delicacy brought to France by Queen Catherine de’Medici of Italy in the 16th century, was later perfected by French bakers. This delicacy, referred to as a gerbet, is comprised of jam, ganache, or butter cream, sandwiched between two wafers made of egg whites, sugar, and almond paste (essentially baked meringue). It was first created at the world famous Patisserie Laduree in Paris, personally my favorite confectioner in the world, which is a must visit when next in Paris. These decadent and delicate treats, which are prepared in a variety of flavors marked by distinct colors, literally melt in your mouth. From the traditional chocolate, vanilla and pistachio, to more adventurous flavours, such as salty caramel, rose, coconut, or camembert cheese, all are sure to please. With playful colours and assorted flavours there is no better way to charm your guests.
At my soiree we toasted the passionate thinking and actions of the revolutionists of centuries ago, while enjoying the gastronomic legacy of France. The afternoon was a wonderful success with my guests happy to discover that any reason to celebrate the finer attributes of life is reason enough. While many of our modern day dining practices, utensils and foods can be attributed to the French culture, I am just happy to salute their passion and love of finer things. Vive La Revolution, Vive La France!
Join The Refined Chef all week starting Monday for our Viva La France, Viva La Revolution celebration! in honour of Bastille Day, France’s national day commemorating the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress-prison in Paris during the French Revolution. We’ll be explore some of the many culinary gifts France has given us.