Good bye winter food
This weekend, I’m in spring cleaning mode. After my maple menu which was heavy on roots, duck, ham, beans and maple of course, I’m ready to move to lighter fare, even if spring isn’t fully here yet (it’s snowing outside). Nonetheless, there is reason for optimism. The river ice broke last weekend to a loud thundering boom, causing customers to run out and witness icebergs crashing down, alongside the resto amidst the river swell. It looks like the worst is over and we might avoid major flooding after all. François has already picked a few flowers and sprouts (just to show off) despite the huge snow banks on the property. He’s convinced that spring will happen quickly, and that it will be a good one because the ground never froze completely with all the insulating snow, and the slow seep meant the earth stayed gorged with water. He is especially excited about what that promises mushroom wise. To prove his point, he showed me a handful of plants that stayed green all winter, as well as day lily bulbs that are already 6 inches long and white as endive beneath the snow.
The snow is slowly but steadily melting, but in the meantime, I will have one last go at the winter stuff. I’ve cleaned out my freezers and walk-in, removing the last of our stored roots, as well as any winter left-overs. I have 6 grey bins of sous-vide bags and various containers of soup, sauce and ice cream to unload. It’s all good stuff, but I need to move on. Solution: time to throw a party. On an off night when there is no hockey game, of course. It will be a ‘Spring Cleaning Buffet’ for staff and close friends of les Jardins Sauvages. Free food, BYOB, a campfire – a winning recipe for a good time, and a therapeutic, formal good bye to winter food for me. Friends will be happy and my fridge will be ready for the arrival of spring things. I will joyfully cook and eat cassoulet, tourtiere and the like for the last time this year, providing a symbolic shift to spring and summer cooking for me.. Ça va faire du bien.
One last winter feast, my spring cleaning menu
Mixed charcuterie: Duck rillettes, Foie gras torchon, smoked duck, veal tongue
Mixed pickles, preserves and mustards
Sausage, olives and spiced nuts
Cured fish platter: cured brochet, char gravelax, smoked cod
Smoked salmon mousse on toast
Tomato crinkleroot bruschetta
Mixed greens with house vinaigrette
Asian style vermicelli salad with asparagus and egg
Gnudi with sea spinach, parmesan and rosé sauce
Cassoulet with my homemade sausage and ham
Crepinettes of duck confit, gizzard and liver stuffing
Roasted root vegetables with gremolata sauvage
Root vegetable and wild greens gratin
Chocolate elderberry mousse cake
Pecan maple tarts
Various wild flavoured ice creams and sorbets
I had to throw a few tomatoes and greens in just to balance this meat-heavy stick- to- your- ribs menu ; I hardly want anyone to get killed in this rite of passage from winter to spring. Loosen the belt buckle, crack open the wine, and let’s go. One last winter binge and I’ll be officially ready for spring.
While in spring cleaning mode, I'll unload the last of my winter pictures too..
venison, wheatberry mushroom risotto
Looking ahead to spring:
My menu this week (April 19th) shows a lighter touch, a whiff of spring in the air. I am planning a full fledged spring festival menu for the two first weeks of May. You can also view that here; I will be announcing it this week.