Wednesday, July 28, 2010

cook the books club - the school of essential ingredients

Recently, in my ever consuming perusal of food blogs, I came upon this online Cooking/Book Club called, "Cook the Books".  I loved the idea of combining two of my greatest passions, cooking and reading, and without hesitation, I declared myself in.  GWH just shook his head at me in exactly the same way that I would shake mine at him if I were crazy enough to be up at three o'clock in the morning when he went fishing.

"Cooking the Books" is hosted by Rachel of the Crispy Cook, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen and Jo of Food Junkie, not Junk Food.  The premise of the club is to read the chosen book, to cook something inspired by the book and then to write a review and post your recipe on your blog.  The current title is The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister.

I was trying to decide how to review this book without sounding too much like I was gushing.  As I was trying to put into words how the book made me feel, my mantra of the moment came to mind - write from the heart, right from the heart - and it certainly seemed to me that Erica Bauermeister has done just that in this first novel.

I love the idea that good food is intricately intertwined with our emotions, that it can be healing and that cooking for someone is an act of love.  To me, this book is reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquival, not as fanciful, perhaps, but equally as provocative and charming.

The book is set at a restaurant called Lillian's that becomes The School of Essential Ingredients every Monday night when the restaurant is closed.  The classes are taught by the restaurant's owner, Lillian.  Lillian has the uncanny ability to know just which ingredients are essential to her students although there are no recipes used in her classes.

As I read the book searching for inspiration for that perfect recipe, I changed my mind several times. Each time a new character's story was introduced to me, I decided that I had found my recipe.  There was something about each one that spoke to me; that I could relate to.

The book starts out with Lillian as a little girl.  She instinctively learns to cook to fill the void left by a physically absent father and an emotionally absent mother.  Abuelita, a woman who befriends Lillian and becomes her cooking mentor, says to her, "Sometimes, nina, our greatest gifts grow from what we are not given."  I love that line for so many different reasons.

Claire is the young mother whose life has melted into that of her husband's and her children's so that she, as a singular ingredient, is lost.  "She became the frame for the picture that was her son and daughter"  In the first cooking class, they cook crab; specifically, they kill and dismember the crab.  The author then describes the birth of Claire's first child and that first moment when she realizes that her life will never be the same again. "She kept thinking the waves would slow or break for a moment, but they didn't, one after another until there was nowhere left to go but in, to dive down and hope for air on the other side, but there was no air, no way out, just a desperate reaching and grasping until finally she felt something deep inside her - not physical, not emotional, simply her - break into pieces.  And into the arms of that cracked apart person that had been Claire, they placed a baby and a love came out of her, through the pieces, that she didn't even know was possible." Who would have thought that the description of the crab's demise could be such a beautiful metaphor for childbirth, but it was.

Crab is my favorite seafood and we have caught our own many times.  I didn't even have to read this chapter to know that I was making crab!

Carl is the solid, steady, family guy.  An insurance salesman who has been married to Helen for many years.  "Flour is like the guy in the movie who you don't realize is sexy until the very end.....Butter is so much more alluring.  But the thing is, flour is what holds a cake together."  Helen finds the temptation of "beurre" irresistible and, at forty one, has an affair.  She comes to realize that the "flour" is her essential ingredient and decides to stay in her marriage.  Carl forgives Helen because he just can't imagine a life without her.  Their fortitude is rewarded as they both choose the "white cake" as their dessert in the dinner that is their lives and to all those that watch, their satisfaction of a meal enjoyed is very evident.  "A white cake is the opposite of fireworks and fanfare - it's subtle, the difference in texture between the cake and the frosting as they cross your tongue.  It's a little harder to accomplish...but I have to say, when it works, it is sublime."

Antonia is a kitchen designer who comes from the old country where everything, including cooking and food,  is steeped in tradition and the kitchen is the heart of every home.  She finds herself working on a kitchen with a fireplace that reminds her of her grandmother's kitchen.  This brings to surface a longing for home.  "Antonia had grown up in a stone house lived in by generations of families whose feet had worn dips into its limestone steps, where the smells of cooking had seeped into the walls like a marinade." and "Over the course of the day, the heat from the fireplace would stretch across the kitchen toward the warmth of the stove until the room filled with the smells of wood smoke and meat that had simmered for hours.  Even as a little girl, Antonia knew that when the two sides of the kitchen met, it was time for dinner."  I love the pictures that these words evoke.  When the class makes Pumpkin Ravioli, with hazelnuts and shallots spiced with a little nutmeg, it is like patina on Antonia's tongue and in this dish, she finds a little taste of home and happiness.

This chapter had me looking for a hearty pasta dish with complicated spices where one bite transported you to an exotic old-world country where even the recipes are ancient.  Ah, Tuscany.

Tom's story is a love story; a tragic, beautiful love story.  He falls in love with and marries, Charlie, a vibrant, feisty woman who loves to cook and lives life to the fullest, in and out of the kitchen. After they have enjoyed an amazing, sensuous dinner that she has cooked for them, she says to Tom, "I've met guys who see sex like dessert - the prize you get after you eat all the vegetables that make the women happy.  I guess I see it a little differently....I think sex should be like dinner.  And this is how I like to eat."  Charlie becomes terminally ill with cancer and Tom watches as her life slowly seeps from her body.  "Promise me you'll keep cooking when I'm gone...not just eat, cook."  Fate leads him to Lillian's and it is only there, at the School of Essential Ingredients that Tom begins to learn to truly appreciate the gift that is Charlie's legacy. "They'll eat it, he said, and then it will be gone.  That's what makes it a gift, Lillian replied."

After this chapter, I was so making a sexy red sauce!

Chloe is a young girl in search of the approval that she has never received from anyone - her mother, her father, her co-workers, or her boyfriend.  Lillian gives her a job in the restaurant and allows her to attend the The School of Essential Ingredients.  It is there, as she learns to cook, that she begins to feel safe.  "On a tortilla, with a bit of crumbled white queso fresco, it was both satisfying and invigorating, full of textures and adventures, like childhood held in your hand."  This safe place allows her to gain the approval of the most important, person of all, herself. "That's a good tomato - you don't need to mix it with anything." 

Tortillas, tomatoes, cilantro, peppers... I am always up for a little Mexican food.  Would this be the inspiration for my recipe?

An older woman who struggles to hold on to her memories as they become more and more elusive, Isabelle finds kindness and patience in Lillian and in her fellow students. "Isabelle had always thought of her mind as a garden, a magical place to play as a child...Every year the garden grew larger, the paths longer and more complicated.  Meadows of memories....She had always considered that one of the luxuries of growing older would be the chance to wander through the garden that had grown when she wasn't looking.  She would sit on the bench and let her mind take every path, tend every moment she hadn't paid attention to, appreciate the juxtaposition of one memory against another.  But now that she was older and had time, she found more often than not she was lost..."  Isabelle shows up for cooking class one night only to discover that it is the wrong night.  Lillian graciously seats her in the restaurant and proceeds to serve her a wonderful meal as if it was meant just for her.  The exquisite food sparks her taste buds and her memories and we are taken on a meandering tour of the paths of Isabelle's "garden".  Tom joins her for dessert, at Lillian's prompting, and they each contemplate lost memories.  At which point Lillian says to Tom, "I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert.  I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not."

The idea that memories are brought on by familiar tastes and smells had me in search of my own memory triggers to give me inspiration for my recipe.  Cinnamon, cabbage, oregano, molasses all evoked a certain nostalgia in me.  Hmmm, what would it be?

Ian's mother gives him a gift certificate to The School of Essential Ingredients as a birthday gift.  He remarks to his sister that this is an odd gift coming from a woman who was so preoccupied by her art that she barely had time to cook for them as they were growing up. He soon discovers that she has given him this gift because she recognizes that he could be as passionate about cooking as she is about painting.  "When I paint, it brings me joy.  I wanted you to have that too."  Ian is smitten with Antonia from the moment that he sees her.  Finally he works up the courage to ask her to dinner and for dessert he decides to make her a tiramisu; a dish created in deep contrast to Ian's analytical, logical mind and in tribute to Antonia's creative energy.  "The texture was warm, creamy and soft, like lips parting beneath his own, taste utterly lacking in precision, luxurious and urgent, mysterious and comforting." 

Tiramisu, anyone?  I have made this dish before but this time I would make it better; with a deeper understanding of the complexities.

As I contemplated all the different cooking possibilities that presented themselves throughout the course of this book, I tried to really connect to what my "essential ingredients" were.  On this particular evening that I decided to cook for this review,  I was making dinner for just my husband and I.  I didn't know what it would be until the last minute.  At one point I thought that I would make something that involved a roue paste because I thought it would be symbolic of the fact that I was grateful to have both "flour" and "butter".  The following is the sauce that I made for my husband, GWH.

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp beef bouillon powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bottle good red wine

Add thyme, garlic, green onion tops, Dijon mustard, beef bouillon powder and olive oil to a heavy bottomed pot.  Slowly add the bottle of wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately an hour or until sauce begins to thicken. When it has reached its desired consistency, drain the sauce in a small sieve to remove the  stems.

I served the sauce over a strip loin steak, alongside skewered baby potatoes, peppers and sweet onions.

"...time will change the taste into something smooth - the difference between polyester and velvet."

Notes: You always need to bring a little of yourself to the "sauce" so I added a little thyme from my own herb garden which gave it the distinct taste of my  individuality.  The garlic was a nod to the things that we enjoy together and the green onion tops were a compromise as this is the part of the onion that I often throw out, much to the chagrin of my husband.  Without trying them, how would you know if you like them or not?  I have discovered that I really do enjoy them.  The Dijon mustard adds a little bit of mystery (it's french, you know!) that helps the sauce to grow into something a little more complex and the bouillon adds a little salt to balance it.  The wine is a very integral part of the sauce and I chose to use a precious bottle of our wedding wine.  I was counting on the wine to bind the sauce with all the emotions - love, happiness, contentment -  that we felt on our wedding day.  Lastly, make sure that you "drain" all the unwanted, unnecessary, negative components of the sauce so that you are left with all that is good to make a deep, richly satisfying sauce.  So, I know you are wondering, did he like the sauce?  Did he appreciate all that went in to it?   Yes, the results were amazing! ...and the sauce was good too.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Lots of people ask me for recipes - my friends, my mother-in-law, my kids, my sister.  You will notice that I used the word sister in the singular form. The Potato Princess phones me for recipes and cooking advice all the time; the Twisted Sista, not so much.  She dances to the beat of a different drummer or should I say, she cooks with a different set of taste buds.  Anyone who makes a dish where lima beans are the main ingredient has to be a little off kilter, right?

So when I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago from someone looking for a recipe, I thought nothing of it.  I looked it up, emailed it to her and that was that.  Then the irony of it occurred to me. This particular person was my Cooking teacher in Grade 8!  She taught me some of my basic cooking skills.  It was in her classroom that I first learned what a roue paste was, where I made Welsh Rarebit and Scotch Eggs and now she was asking me for a recipe.

Okay, I must confess.  She did not just decide to phone me up one day, thirty ten years after high school, out of the blue, looking for a recipe because she had heard what a great cook I was.  Here's the real story: I am friends with her daughter and I had served this particular dish at a party we both attended and I suppose she told her mother about it, who then in turn phoned me for the recipe.

But I like the sound of it better when you don't fill in those details, "Yeah, my high school Cooking teacher called me up the other day looking for a recipe, and here it is."

Tortilla Cups with Mango Salsa

4 oz (125 g) Monterey Jack cheese
3 (6-in./15-cm) flour tortillas
2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil
1 mango
1/4 cup (50 ml) roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded
2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
Additional finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut cheese into twenty-four 1/2-in. (1-cm) cubes.  Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack tortillas and cut into eight wedges using pizza cutter for a total of 24 wedges. Press tortillas into cups of a small muffin pan. Place one cheese cube into each cup. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges of tortillas begin to brown and cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, for salsa, dice mango and roasted pepper. Finely chop serrano pepper, onion and cilantro. Juice lime to measure 1 tbsp (15 mL). Combine mango, peppers, onion, cilantro, juice and salt in a bowl; mix well.

Remove pan from oven to cooling rack. Cool cups in pan 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan to serving platter. Divide salsa evenly amongst cups. Sprinkle with additional finely chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: If desired, 1 medium peach or nectarine can be substituted for the mango.  As you will notice in the picture above, I used grated cheese because I had some already grated but I would recommend using the cheese cubes instead.

The sweet juiciness of the mango combines perfectly with the fresh summery taste of the cilantro while the pepper finishes it off with a little heat.  Mmm, make lots.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

nut butters - daring cooks challenge for july

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

The nut butters were fairly easy to make but it meant using a food processor.  My food processor of twenty years recently packed it in.  I had to borrow my mother's food processor for the pate challenge and my girlfriend offered to lend me hers for the nut butter challenge.  I finally ordered another food processor but only after GWH researched it inside and out because that's what he does.  Just sayin'. 

Anyways, last night as I am making my last recipe for this challenge, look what showed up.  Listen, can you hear that?  It's me making  Tim "The Toolman" Taylor sounds.

It is a beautiful thing and I can't wait to use it but timing is everything!
Where were you when I needed you?!

There were four recipes provided to us and we had the option of choosing from these and/or choosing one of our own using a nut butter in a savory dish.  I made three out of the four recipes as well as a few of my own creations. 

These were the recipes that were provided:

This recipe was quite good.  Curry, need I say more?

This recipe was okay but if I made it again I would add something to kick it up a notch.

This is one that I didn't make but it looked interesting.

Of all the recipes provided, the Asian Noodle Salad was by far the most memorable.  This sauce was like music on your tongue and when the song was over the notes lingered deliciously.  This is a tune that I will play over and over again.  Mmmm happy place.

Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing

Cashew Butter
1 cup cashews

 Cashew Dressing
1/2 inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (120 ml) cashew butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar
 I used only 1 tbsp of sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) vinegar
3 tbsp (45 ml) sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (75 ml) water
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
I used about a tablespoon of Hot Chili Sauce (Rooster Sauce)

Noodle Salad
1/2 lb (225 g) linguine or rice noodles
I used rice noodles
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 lb (225 g) small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
I used leftover pork tenderloin cut into small strips
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) slice green onions
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
I used 1/2 cup (120 ml) cilantro
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped cashews (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)
I also added mango, carrots and blanched green beans and I julienned all the vegetables. 

  1. Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth.
  2. Prepare cashew dressing:  Combine ginger garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender.  Process blend until smooth.  Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic.  The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream.  Adjust consistency - thinner or thicker - to your liking by adding more water or cashew butter.  Taste and add your favourite hot sauce if desired.  (If the cashew butter was unsalted you may want to add salt to taste) Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) dressing.  Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare noodles according the package instructions in salted water.  Rinse and drain noodles.  Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add shrimp to the pan and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque throughout.  Alternatively, cook shrimp in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes or until done.
  5. Slice basil into thin ribbons.  Combine noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl.  Add about 1/2 cup (120 ml) cashew dressing, toss gently to coat.  Add more cashew dressing as desired, using as much or as little as you'd like.  Scatter shrimp on top.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over salad or serve with lime wedges.  Sprinkle with chopped cashews, if desired.

Throughout the month, I had leftover nut butters hanging out in the fridge so anything that I was making was fair game to be nuttered.  I would be like, "Hmm I wonder what this would taste like if I just added some Almond Butter".  The following are the dishes that I chose to enhance with Nut Butters and I think they turned out quite well.

 Lettuce Wraps 

with Peanut Sauce

Cedar-Planked Sockeye Salmon
glazed with Teriyaki Almond Butter and...

...served with Fruit Salsa

I recently had this wonderful, decadent Cashew Soup at a Dinner Club and it was the inspiration for this recipe. I had leftover Maple Salmon that was destined to become chowder so I decided to make the Salmon Chowder and add Cashew Butter.  Good call.  It was quite delicious.  I would suggest serving it in small portions, though; perhaps as a starter to a meal, as it is very rich. 

Salmon Chowder with Cashew Butter

1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups baby potatoes, halved or quartered
3/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 cups homo milk
2 cups salmon, cooked and broken into chunks
3/4 cup cashew butter

Saute onions, garlic and celery in a little oil or butter until tender.  Add carrots, potatoes, white wine and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add milk, salmon and cashew butter.  Heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If the chowder is too thick, add some more milk until you get the desired consistency.

I thoroughly enjoyed this nutty challege.  It was fun to create these dishes and fun to eat them, of course, but it was also great to see what the other Daring Cooks came up with.  There is amazing skill and creativity out there.  Check out some of the others here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

i never promised you a herb garden yeah, actually you did.  GWH said he would build me a boxed herb garden.  He just didn't say when.  But because I wanted my herbs right here and right now, I decided to do it myself, in a simpler form.  Does it sound like I am complaining?  Absolutely not!   GWH & Co. just built this big, beautiful deck for which I am forever grateful.  But one end of this big deck was screaming out for parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  I obliged by planting a very nice assortment of culinary enhancements that will eventually make it to my pot - parsley, sage, rosemary, basil, chives, dill, oregano and this wonderful smelling curry plant.  I have visions of Meryl Streep in It's Complicated, basket in hand, serene smile on face, happily picking fresh produce to be used for that evening's dinner.  Ah, happy place.  Phffft... settle down.  It's just a few herbs in pots not a full on garden.  Oh, well a girl can dream.  My little herb garden on my big, beautiful deck will suffice until GWH builds my real herb garden.  Cause, yeah, actually, you did promise me a herb garden.

Fresh Tomatoes with Basil and Feta

2 - 3 Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 bunch Fresh Basil, shredded
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil

Arrange sliced tomatoes on a plate in a decorative fashion.  Sprinkle feta on tomatoes and then the basil over top.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil.  Simple, beautiful and delicious!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

oh my canada

I was born on the far east coast of Canada in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and I grew up on the far west coast of Canada in Squamish, British Columbia.  I know that there is a lot of land and culture in between these two coasts but all the emotions and pride that these two points on the map evoke in me are My Canada.

My Canada is an island in the Atlantic Ocean where the steel blue sea crashes against the unforgiving coastline to create a proud, stoic, beautiful scene that is reflective of the hardy people that live there - people who speak with a musical lilt in their voice and who will always set one more place at the table.


My Canada is majestic mountains and tall, ancient trees where the Pacific Ocean meets the sky to provide breathtaking, soul soothing seascapes; where the people may have "West Coast Webs" but truly appreciate the rain for the way it makes everything so green and lush and where every opportunity is taken to enjoy the amazing outdoors that they have been blessed with.


My Canada is salmon, oysters, crab, lobsters and prawns.  Salt beef, mustard pickles, cod cakes and bottled moose.  Maple syrup, back bacon, cabbage rolls and baking powder biscuits.  Blueberries, peaches, sweet corn and baby potatoes. Baked beans, scalloped potatoes, roast beef and yorkshire puddings.  Butter chicken, sushi, souvlaki and dim sum. Gouda, cheddar, bleu cheese and feta.  Mmm... My Canada is delicious!

So, moy son stay where you're to and I'll come where you're at and we'll have a scuff and scoff to celebrate My Canada and yours.  What is your Canada?

Happy Canada Day, from coast to coast. 

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze
    1-1/2 lb (680 g) salmon fillet
    1/4 cup (50 mL) maple syrup
    2 tbsp (25 mL) grainy Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

Soak an untreated cedar plank in water for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours; place salmon on top.

In small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper; brush half over salmon.

Place plank on grill over medium-high heat; close lid and cook, brushing once with remaining maple mixture, until fish flakes easily when tested, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to serving platter.

Crab and Lobster Cakes with Red and White Sauce
    7 oz (198 mL ) frozen crabmeat, thawed
    1 lobster tail, approx. 2 oz (60 g)
    2 tbsp (25 mL) sour cream
    1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
    1-1/4 cups (300 mL) fresh bread crumbs
    2 tbsp (25 mL) finely diced  red onions
    1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper sauce
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
    1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil
      Roasted Pepper Coulis:
    1 sweet red pepper
    1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    1/2 cup (125 mL) tomato juice
    1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine
    2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh basil
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
    Dill Cream:
    1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
    3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
    1 tsp (5 mL) butter
    1 tsp (5 mL) all-purpose flour
    2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh  dill
    1 pinch each  salt and pepper
Place crab in sieve. Remove lobster from shell; dice and add to crab. Press out liquid and remove any visible cartilage or shell.
In large bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream and lemon juice until smooth. Stir in crumbs, onion, dill, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauces, salt and pepper. Mix in crab and lobster. With damp hands, form by 1/4 cupfuls (50 mL) into 8 cakes, each scant 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. (Make-ahead: Arrange on waxed paper-lined rimmed baking sheet; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.)
Lightly brush large nonstick skillet with oil; place over medium heat. Fry cakes, in batches if necessary and brushing lightly with oil if needed, until golden and crisp on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Roasted Pepper Coulis: Meanwhile, grill or broil red pepper until blackened all over, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Peel, halve and seed; chop and set aside.
In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until golden, 5 minutes. Add tomato juice, wine, roasted pepper, basil, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 3 minutes. Put in blender or food processor. (Make-ahead: Let cool; refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Dill Cream: In saucepan, boil wine until reduced to 1/4 cup (50 mL), about 3 minutes. Pour in cream; boil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mash butter with flour until smooth; whisk into pan. Simmer, whisking, until smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in dill, salt and pepper. (Make-ahead: Cover surface immediately with plastic wrap; let cool and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Reheat over low heat, stirring.)

Reheat coulis; pool generous 2 tbsp (25 mL) each of the coulis and dill cream separately onto each warmed plate. Top with 2 crab-and-lobster cakes.

 Recipes from Canadian Living Online
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