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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dinner With Glen Campbell

Last week Dianna and I had the opportunity to have dinner with our friend Glen Campbell (yes the Country Music legend) with his daughter Debby. What an interesting day it was. First I was amazed to see 5800 people gather on a snowy January afternoon at a little Casino north of Toronto to hear Glen and Debby, but what a concert he gave and no one left disappointed. Afterward we met for dinner in a Italian restaurant in the Casino where the food was okay, but he company great. We talked about his early start, time spend with Frank Sinatra, playing for some of the biggest names in show business amongst other topics. Debby told us about her son who is now a sous chef in South Beach Miami who has had the chance to appear on the Next Great Chef television show but as of yet has not made a decision, but knowing his mother and grandfather whatever he does he'll do it well.

I'll post some of the conversations real soon, but if you get the chance take in one of his concerts, your gonna love it.

Riverbank Mill Sous Chef Alan Smith

Malibu Chicken

Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Roasted Red Pepper & Shrimp Soup

Riverbank Mill Sous Chef Alan Smith

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Sometimes a cook comes along who has the desire and the will to achieve his goals, Alan is such a cook, the youngest person I have ever promoted to sous chef, Alan not only shows alot of promise to learn but works very hard to put into practice what has learned. Come experience his cuisine which displays his ability to create flavours that are exciting while being visually appealing.

Alan is constantly looking to improve his cuisine and turly desires to see that his plates are what keeps his customerscoming back for more. Look to this blog for his recipes pictured here, coming real soon. Malibu Rum and Crab Chicken with Rum and Raisin sauce, Teriyaki Beef Skewers, Roasted Red Pepper & Shrimp Bisque and A Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Radio Show

Many people have been upset that we are no longer on the radio and are wondering where can they go to hear the same music we featured on the show. We be of good cheer, I've found a station that that plays all those great old tunes. This is more than a golden oldie station this station really is the music of your life, from all the artist who covered the Great American Songbook to those who found just the right note to get into your heart. From Dixieland jazz to swaying to the tunes of Chicago and New York, everything is here for everyone, your going to love let me know what you think on the comments.

Last Meal?

What if you knew that your last meal was the next one, what would you eat? Of course not many people have this insight, condemned prisoners do and many of them settle for the meal that had brought to them their most pleasant dining memory from hamburgers to steaks and everything in between. But what if your not a criminal at all what if in fact you’re a hero what do you want for a last meal, the answer is the same the most pleasant dining memory, take for example legendary hero Kit Carson, a man so was supposed to have killed two bears before breakfast, who has over 16 different places that bear his name, a true American hero, it is rumoured that his last words were "I wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili". Now give yourself over to some thought on these last words, who’s chili, perhaps his wife’s Josefa (Josephine). What was in the recipe that left a dying man longing for just one more bowl, we’ll never know but surely it had to be very good. Thus is the power of cuisine, wether simply fare like chili or that which may take a little for time to prepare food has the power to stay with one foe their entire life, this can only be a good thing. Dying people don’t remember a bad meal, just the one that gave the most blessed memory.
My friend Gail Riddall is reason the lesson, no she is not dying, but she is blind and it is amazing to me how she experiences her food. Whenever she would come to the restaurant she would order her meal from a menu which she could not see (I should have had it translated into braille) her husband (let’s call him Rick, for that’s his name) would read the menu item description to her giving her a mental picture of the meal. When it was presented to her she always commented "look at the presentation" allowing to visualize what the menu had entertained her with. One taste and she would define the colours upon the plate and no matter what she ordered she never once left disappointed, for in her mind and before she even arrived at the restaurant she had decided that this would be a dining experience worth remembering. We live in a world of food critics whose life work is to find fault with what they see and taste, how much better off we would be if we could be Rick and Gail’s food lovers. Here’s looking at you kid’s.

Almond Fried Shrimp
12 very large prawns
1 cup seasoned flour
pinch of salt
2 cups cold milk
4 eggs
1 ½ cups almonds
1 ½ quarts safflower oil

Peel, devein and butterfly the prawns, leaving tails intact. Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Place flour in medium bowl; add salt. Whisk in the milk and eggs in large bowl. Dredge shrimp (not tails) in seasoned flour; shake off excess. Dip shrimp (not tails) in milk mixture. Press almonds over shrimp, coating all but tails. Place shrimp on prepared sheet. Curl tails up over shrimp. Freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with foil.) Heat oil in heavy large saucepan to 350~. Loosen shrimp from paper. Fry the frozen shrimp to oil in batches and cook until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels using slotted spoon. Let drain. Divide shrimp among plates. Serve with cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and lemon wedges


1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 1/4 pounds
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup cherry preserves

Cut tenderloin crosswise into 8 medallions, about 3/4-inch thick. Season both sides of medallions generously with black pepper and set aside.Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat; sauté onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add medallions, brown on one side, about 3-4 minutesMeanwhile, in small bowl stir together brandy, broth, cherries, mustard and soy sauce. Turn medallions, add brandy mixture to skillet, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook undisturbed for 6 minutes. Uncover, stir in preserves and cook and stir until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve medallions with pan sauce.


2 Tablespoons Shallots -- chopped
2 Cups Mushrooms -- sliced
1 Cup Dark Rum
1 Cup Port Wine
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
2 Cups Bechamel Sauce
3 Pounds Veal Cutlet (3 - 2 Oz Pieces Per Order)
1/4 cup Olive Oil -- as needed

Saute SHALLOTS & MUSHROOMS in butter.Reduce Rum, Port & Dijon by 1/2, then combine with Mushrooms & shallots Add BECHAMEL and check consistency.Saute Veal in Olive Oil, add sauce to pan and heat, serve at once


4 Boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine marinade ingredients; season with salt and pepperAdd chicken breast. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from marinade and grill on a hot grill until cooked throughout.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Chili Vodka

Okay so New’s Years Eve dinner is now over and we get to move on into 2007, here at the restaurant, Riverbank Mill in Cambridge Ontario we served an interesting menu to our guests, some 400 plus people. One of the appetizers we created (Smoked salmon martini) consisted of a wasabi cream parfait topped with BC smoked wild salmon and laced with a chili pepper vodka. As the Ontario government runs all the liquor stores here we found we could not purchase the vodka, no worries, I made it. Simply take a bottle of good quality vodka, place within it 2 dried haberno (Scotch Bonnet) peppers and place in a dark place for 7 plus days. The result a firey hot beverage that can be used in many different ways, a few of which I give you now to lite up your new year.

Chili Vodka Chocolate Chili

1 1/2 pounds Ground beef
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
5 medium Onions -- chopped coarsely
3 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
2 large carrots chopped coarsely
8 cups Tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup Chili vodka
5 tablespoons Chili powder
3 tablespoons Cumin -- ground
3 tablespoons Oregano
3 tablespoons Cocoa powder -- unsweetened
3 tablespoons Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Garlic -- chopped fine
3 tablespoons Masa harina (fine ground cornmeal)

Cook meat about 20 minutes until they lose pink color but not browned. Place in bowl. Strain the fat and reserve 3 tbsp of it.

Heat oil in same pan and Saute vegetables until translucent. Stir meat into vegetables. Add the tomatoes, vodka, the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Blend. Bring to boil, uncovered, for an hour.

In a small skillet heat the reserved beef fat add the cornmeal cook for 2 minutes. Stir into the chili with the garlic and simmer for 10 minutes more, serve at once with chili vodka cornbread.

Chili Vodka Halibut

4 steaks, 6 - 8 oz. each
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped olives
3 tbsp Chili vodka
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper, to taste


Place halibut steaks on well-oiled grill over hot coals. Grill 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish just flakes when tested with a fork. Turn steaks once or twice during grilling. Combine remaining ingredients to make salsa; mix well. Serve with halibut.

Chili Vodka Mussels

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thin sliced hot chorizo sausage
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
12 cups tomatoes peeled, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup chili vodka
6 ounces tomato paste
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups red wine
80 mussels in shells, scrubbed, debearded

In a large kettle, sauté the sausage, onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, vodka, tomato paste, lemon, oregano, basil and black and red pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Add red wine and simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes until sauce thickens. Add mussels, cover and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 10 minutes until the mussels open, stirring occasionally. Discard any mussels that did not open. Ladle mussels and sauce into large soup bowls and serve with hot, crusty French bread.

Drunken Chicken

3 coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 coarsely chopped onion
5 cloves garlic
5 stalks coarsely chopped celery
5 coarsely chopped carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white flour
1 cup chili vodka
1 whole chicken


In a baking pan, place chopped onions with peels, garlic with peels, tomatoes, celery, carrots and water. Salt and pepper chicken; place on top of ingredients in baking pan and bake for 45 - 60 minutes in 375 F oven. After 20 minutes, baste with vodka. Baste every 1/2 hour. Melt butter in a sauce pan; add sifted flour until it makes a paste. Remove chicken from pan. Strain stock into a bowl. Discard used vegetables, re-heat stock and add to flour paste slowly until thick and creamy. Serve as a gravy over chicken.

Duck No I mean Duck

1 large duck
1 cup onions, minced
1/2 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons celery heart, minced
3 tablespoons green bell peppers, minced
1/2 cup chili vodka
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup olives, pitted, split


Split the ducks, rinse and pat dry. In a large pan, brown the duck halves in oil, skin side down and turn and brown the other side. Pour off all but 2 tbs of drippings (the duck will render some extra fat) and add the onions, garlic and bacon. Cook slowly until the bacon is brown and pour off the extra fat again. Add the carrots, celery and bell pepper. Cook for a minute or two and add the stock, vodka, mustard, tomato, bay leaf, basil and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes and add the olives. Cover and cook very slowly until the duck is very tender (time depends on size of duck). Serve with wild rice.