Magazine article Sunset

Fresh-Air Feast

Magazine article Sunset

Fresh-Air Feast

Article excerpt

From Canada and two of the best chefs you've never heard of-a sublime menu for your next backyard party

ON GOD'S MOUNTAIN ESTATE, out in a vineyard overlooking a shimmering lake, chef-caterers Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart cook and serve simple, beautiful wine dinners using ingrethents from the land around them - the lush Okanagan Valley, in British Columbia. Although they have no restaurant, their naturally elegant, intensely flavorful cooking is helping shape a new regional cuisine in a place that's never been known for great food.

Since their food isn't fussy, and because most of it can be made ahead (they have to lug it up a mountain, after all), Smith and Ewart's recipes are perfect for home cooks like us too. What follows are excerpts from one of their terrific summer menus, with suggestions for wines from the western United States as well as the hard-to-find Okanagan ones. For more information on the God's Mountain Estate wine dinners, visit joyroadcatering.com

Summer on a plate

Heirloom tomato soup

Charcoal-grilled pork shoulder with fresh herbs and roasted garlic

Haricots vets with hazelnuts and onions

Potato salas with corn and cherry tomatoes

Dark chocolate tart, cherries, and almond whipped cream

Heirloom tomato soup

SERVES 6 TO 8 I 30 MINUTES

Ewart and Smith sometimes dollop this soup with pesto.

5 lbs. ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-in. pieces

About 1 tsp. kosher salt

About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced

1. Purée tomatoes in batches in a blender, adding 1 tsp. salt, ¼ cup oil, and the vinegar to final batch.

2. Strain purée through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl or pitcher. Season to taste with salt if you like. Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of basil.

Make ahead: Up to 2 days, chilled.

PER SERVING 107 CAL., 61% (65 CAL.) FROM FAT; 2.3 G PROTEIN; 7.5 G FAT (l.l G SAT.); 10 G CARBO (3.1 G FIBER); 253 MG SODIUM; O MG CHOL.

Charcoal-grilled pork shoulder with fresh herbs and roasted garlic

SERVES 6 TO 8 I 5 TO 7 HOURS, PLUS AT LEAST 1 DAY TO BRINE

Grilling this roast over charcoal is a little complicated, but the results are worth it - the crust is crisper and the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. You can do the pork on a gas grill instead, though: Cook it at 275° with all burners turned on except the one beneath the pork; set a drip pan on the turned-off burner.

BRINE

1/3 cup sea salt

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 garlic head, cut in half

10 peppercorns, 2 dried bay leaves, 2 whole allspice berries, 4 juniper berries, and stems from 1 bunch parsley (save leaves for Garlic Herb Rub, above right)

1 bone-in pork shoulder (5 lbs.; also called butt), excess fat removed (leave a thin layer)

GARUC HERB RUB

3 garlic heads

About 1/3 cup olive oil, divided

1 bunch fresh orégano or marjoram

2 to 3 sprigs (5 in.) fresh rosemary

Leaves from 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

¼ tsp. dried culinary lavender

Sea salt and pepper

1. Brine pork: Simmer all brine ingrethents in a large stockpot with 3 cups water, stirring occasionally, until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add 9 cups cold water. Let cool. Add pork and chill, covered, at least 1 day and up to 2.

2. Begin rub while pork is brining: Preheat oven to 375°. Slice garlic heads in half crosswise and set on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with about Vk tbsp. oil and enclose in foil. Roast 40 minutes, or until cloves are buttery soft. Let cool.

3. Remove pork from refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking, drain, dry thoroughly with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature.

4. Pull orégano and rosemary leaves from stems; chop finely, along with parsley leaves. …

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