Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feast with Friends

On Sunday night, I had the ultimate indulgence with my ultimately indulgent friends. There's nothing like good food, good wine and amazing people to share it with. I met my friend Joanne about three years ago. In one of out Tourism classes, she was doing a presentation on wine tourism, while mine was on culinary tourism. I immediately decided that we would be friends, and now, that friendship is indispensable.

Another friend of ours had a bottle of the now SOLD OUT Benjamin Bridge Nova 7, Nova Scotia's first and only sparkling wine, and was looking for an opportunity to crack it. The fact that this bottle even existed in his cellar made for an opportunity to celebrate, and so we did. Now, normally, when J and I get together for food, the day passes in a storm of phone calls where we "bounce culinary ideas off one another" as our friend so perfectly put it. We discuss the general menu, what our recent cravings are, and what wines to pair with what foods... you know, the usual. This Sunday was no different, and it made for an amazing smorgasbord (I LOVE THAT WORD) of flavour.

The spread...

I picked up a few essentials at the market on Sunday. J and her man live for That Dutchman's Dragon's Breath Blue, so clearly that was a must. I don't know what the appeal here is really, cause this is one strong, pungent and stinky cheese, but we're all drawn to it's incredible flavor.

I also felt the need to consume vast amounts of butter, so I picked up a loaf of fresh, springy, sweet and, well, buttery french brioche from La Boulangerie Vendienne.

As much as J desired the stinky, yet delicious blue, I was craving some sweet, creamy goat's cheese, which she mixed with cream cheese, and rolled in..wait for it...pistachios, and pink peppercorns. The former, enhancing the rich cheese's natural sweetness, while the later contrasted it with a touch of heat.

As soon as I learned of J's intention to include pistachios to the meal, I had the urge to incorporate sweet, buttery apricots to the mix. Admittedly, this recipe would best be served with fresh apricots, but since they aren't in season, I bit my tongue, went with dried and hoped for the best.

Apricot spread/salsa/jam/ whatever you want to call it:

1 cup of dried apricots
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp. crushed coriander
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper


Soak the apricots in the boiling water until soft, then roughly chop. Add the honey, coriander and pepper and mix.

The end result was pretty spectacular, especially when layered over pistachio studded goat cheese, which itself was smeared atop of slightly toasted, warm, buttery brioche.

Another phenomenal bite included the spicy pink peppercorn
goat cheese balanced by the luscious jewel-like raspberries

Baked Brie with Kahlua, Brown Sugar and Pecans

I'm not quite sure what measurements J used here, but I'm pretty sure that it was a game of chance. She cut the top off of the Brie before baking it though - That top is too annoying to deal with when you're trying to get to the ooey gooey underneath.

An amazing bite!

The Wines!

Fewer than 200 cases of Benjamin Bridge's 2007 Nova 7 were released in July 2008 and were sold out in weeks. This is a beauty; fresh and fruity. My friend Gabe managed to hold on to this one for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So Kristen, now I'm J's man I don't even warrant a name drop? I thought we were homeboy's well the truth is out. On a different note the pic's are amazing and your writing style was very engaging, I could hear your voice through out the piece. All in all I am thoroughly impressed.