Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Posts Tagged ‘Catering Kawartha`s’

Gastronomically yours,

April 22nd, 2012

Indigenous trumps local food

Without question our unstable weather patterns from winter have carried over into spring and this is challenging for those who like to harvest their own food. It has been hard resisting the temptation to plant my vegetable garden as the weather has often felt like summer on many days since February. Although the risk of frost continues until May 24th weekend it is hard to believe that the first long weekend of summer is still almost five weeks away.

 Switching our attention from the garden to the forest might help feed our instinctive hunter-gatherer needs by allowing us to harvest the many foods that are available in nature such as ramps, morels, fiddle heads, elm seeds, nettles and dandelions to name a few of the many .

 These wild and free foods are ahead of schedule and ready to harvest throughout the region. I don’t know of any other way to eat more locally than by eating indigenously.

 I strongly encourage you to know how to correctly identify any foods that you are harvesting from the wild. Always inspect the foods you harvest and discard any diseased or insect infested pieces.

For long term preservation of your forest foraging bounty you can dry the morels, pickle the ramps and blanch/freeze down the extra fiddleheads; there is never a shortage of dandelions so only harvest what you need.

If you are not comfortable with the thought of harvesting these foods on your own then I recommend heading down to the Peterborough Farmers Market on Saturday and forage around the many vendors who are selling these wild ingredients safely in a tame manner.

Where the Wild Things Are Chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 tbsp. canola oil
½ cup morel mushrooms cleaned, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1-2 ramps cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme

¼ cup fiddleheads

¼ cup chopped dandelion greens
1 cup light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dredging
Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pre-heat a large sized Dutch oven over med-high heat. Dredge the chicken in flour and shake off excess. Add the canola oil to the Dutch oven and add the chicken to the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan. Allow chicken to lightly brown on each side. Now add the morels and ramps to the pot and continue cooking for few minutes. Stir in the wine, chicken stock and herbs. Secure the lid on your Dutch oven and place it on a lower rack in the oven. Cook or braise chicken mixture for 90 minutes. While waiting for the chicken to cook prepare a few cups of egg noodles.

Once cooked remove chicken from the Dutch oven, and place the thighs over the egg noodles. Skim off any fat from the braising liquid with a large spoon. Stir in the fiddleheads, dandelion greens and the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the braising liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

April 7th, 2012

Rampage!!

The wild leek known as “ramps” is a wild onion native to North America. This  member of the Lily family is one of the very first plants to push its head out of the ground after the snow melts. They usually appear in late April and can be harvested throughout the month of May.

The wild leek can be recognized by its broad, smooth, light green leaves that grow to about  eight inches in height. The leaves are often tinted with burgundy or purple highlights.  First time ramp hunters need not worry so much about their botanical identification skills for when one pulls up  the strongly rooted  Scallion like bulbs from the ground your nose will confirm your find;  by tearing the plants stem and taking a sniff.  If it the strongly distinctive scent of an onion sears your nostrils then you have hit pay dirt.

Later in the season  ramps develop a yellow flower which only develops after the leaves have dried up and fallen away from the plant. Although they are still edible at this time the bulbs become rather swollen and tough with a woody texture.

 Ramps are adaptable to almost any food style and can also be sautéed or used in soups and stir fries. Substitute them in any recipe that calls for onions or garlic. I enjoy eating freshly harvested ramps raw; however their scent seems to linger for a couple of days on your breath.

 Ramps have made the USDA endangered species list as spieces of concern resulting from its commercial exploitation. Ontario does not have any laws in place to protect ramps but I do recommend that you only harvest ramps when they are abundant, and even then only collect scattered patches or individual plants.

The ramp season isn’t very long but you can preserve harvested ramps by freezing or pickling them.

Ramps grow in moist sandy soil often near streams. I usually stumble upon them when foraging for Morel Mushrooms. Try hunting for both this weekend  and cook them in a quiche with this weeks recipe.

 

Wild Leek and Morel Quiche

9-inch pie pastry
Two tblsp canola oil
Five ounces ramps, washed and coarsely diced
Four ounces fresh morels, split and cleaned
Two ounces bacon, diced
One tsp tarragon
5 large eggs
One quarter cup 35-per-cent cream
One quarter cup milk
Two ounces Monteray Jack
Two  ounce Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a medium sized sautee pan heat the oil over medium heat. add the bacon and  morels, season with the salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it becomes fragrant and the mushrooms release some moisture. Add the ramps and tarragon.  Continue cooking until leeks are limp and tender. Remove from heat and check seasoning. Spread evenly on pastry shell and sprinkle with grated cheeses. Beat eggs and mix in cream and milk. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake on the middle rack of oven until mixture sets. Around 20-25 minutes.

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

March 23rd, 2012

Something to Birch About

 

This winter or more specifically a lack of it has made for easier heating bills and a lot less shoveling but I can’t help but wonder what will happen to this year’s maple sap harvest. For those of you who weren’t aware Ontario maple syrup producers started harvesting this year’s crop three weeks ago.

 Making birch syrup is similar to making maple syrup but you need to be aware of some critical differences in the saps to be able to have a successful harvest. Birch sap harvesting begins right after the maple harvest ends as it requires warmer weather than the maple sap to flow. The birch sugaring season is shorter than maple and only lasts for about two weeks.

 Birch sap contains less than half the sugar found in maple sap. This translates to approximately 100 liters of birch sap being required to produce 1 liter of birch syrup opposed to the 40 liters of maple sap required to produce 1 liter of maple syrup. Also the sugars present in birch sap are fructose and glucose instead of sucrose found in maple sap. Fructose and glucose burn very easily which necessitates birch sap being processed below its boiling point so that its sugars do not burn. Comparatively birch sap is far more expensive to produce as it requires almost 4 times the amount of energy to render it into syrup. This explains why birch syrup costs $275.00 a gallon.

 Birch syrup is easier to digest than maple syrup and has significantly higher amounts of nutrients than maple syrup which is why it has been considered somewhat of an elixir or tonic throughout many cultures living in the extreme northerly regions of the northern hemisphere.

 If are thinking about harvesting birch sap for sugaring you will also need to consider that birch sap is notably more acidic than maple sap. For this reason you should only use plastic or stainless steel equipment to process birch syrup as aluminum and galvanized steel can be dissolved by the sap giving the finished syrup a metallic taste. Also look for Paper birch trees as they have the highest concentration of sugar than other species of birch trees.

  Before setting out in the woods or off to a specialty food store to get some birch syrup you need to be aware that even though birch syrup is used just like maple syrup to coat meats, vegetable and stacks of flapjacks; it’s taste is quite different as it’s sugars give it a roasted caramel flavor with somewhat spicy tones to it. Locally you can find birch trees almost anywhere to tap to make your own birch syrup and try it in the following recipe. Remember that 1 cup birch syrup reads: 100 cups birch sap,

 

 

Birch Syrup Pie

 

1 cup Birch Syrup

1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 egg yolks, beaten lightly
2 tbsp. butter
1 8 inch pie shell- made and baked ahead of time

Method:

Gently heat the birch syrup over a low flame in a medium sized, stainless steel sauce pot. Separately whisk together the corn-starch and water until smooth, then whisk the cornstarch slurry into the syrup. Next whisk the egg yolks into the syrup. Continue stirring the syrup mixture while cooking it over low heat until it has thickened and the corn-starch is cooked out.

Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Pour the syrup mixture into the pre-cooked pie shell and allow it to cool down to room temperature. Serve warm with ice cream.