A fun day in the country – Chefs Cook-off at Midsummer HerbFest

The annual Midsummer Herbfest, an Ottawa Valley tradition returns for its sixteenth year. It is a fun one-day must-attend event for those interested in herbs, gardening, cooking and living a healthy lifestyle. Held on the grounds of The Herb Garden, a privately owned AGRI-tourist destination in an idyllic rural setting that provides for a unique rural ambience.

For the 8th year in a row, we are proud to be involved in the ever popular Chef Cookoff. As MC & Sommelier, I will present the dishes, offer wine & food pairing tips, as well as Ontario wines that will match perfectly with the chefs’ creations.

The popular Chef Cook-off, boasting three esteemed local chefs:
Cesare Santaguida, owner & chef at Vittoria Trattoria (located in the Byward Market as well as Riverside

Neil Mather, Executive Chef at Graffiti’s located in the Holiday Inn Kanata

Brian Vallipuram, Executive Chef at Grill 41 located in Lord Elgin Hotel

Each year, the chefs are challenged to create any recipe including the Herbfest’s themed herb – this year it is horse radish & showcase their talent by doing a cooking demo under the big top tent before 100s of people. Here is a sneak preview of the recipes. Try them before Herbfest, or join us to see the chefs in action on July 24 – see you there!  More about Midsummer Herbfest at www.herbfest.ca

Horseradish & raisin risotto | pan seared Bison tenderlion

Chef Cesare Santaguida, Vittoria Trattoria

Serves: 4 persons

Beet Risotto
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh horseradish (grated)
2 tablespoons Miso paste
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup raisins
Parmigiano Reggiano

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and half of the butter over medium heat. Cook shallots for about 3 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add Arborio rice and continue stirring for another minute. Add wine horseradish and Miso paste stir for 2 minutes, or until wine has evaporated. Pour in 1 cup of the chicken stock and let reduce. Slowly add one ladle of chicken stock and stir until evaporated. Repeat this step until the risotto is al dente (16 to 20 minutes). Use remaining chicken stock to finish the cooking process. Remove from heat and mix in the remaining butter, raisins and parmigiano cheese.

Bison Tenderloin
1 ½ to 2 pounds Bison (or beef) tenderloin
2 teaspoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan on high heat, add 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil. Once the oil is hot, place meat in pan. Sear for 3 to 4 min per side.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Plating Directions
Place about ½ cup of risotto on plate, Place 1 piece of tenderloin

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Fitzroy Beef Tenderloin with salsify & bean salad in horseradish dressing

Chef Neil Mather, Graffiti’s

2x 3oz medallion of local beef tenderloin pan seared medallions med rare to medium

1 slice white bread cubed without crust
1/2 cup cream
grated horseradish root
ground clove
salt & pepper

bring ingredients to the boil & blend

1 shaved salsify
2 oz green beans blanched & sliced
1oz sesame oil
1 pinch sesame seeds
salt & pepper to taste
grated horseradish root

toss ingredients together

Plating: Plate salad with medallions of beef & horseradish sauce. Garnish with infused chive oil & tarragon sprig

Roulade of Salmon & Scallop with Tomato Horseradish Cream Sauce

Chef Brian Vallipura, Grill 41

8 ozs salmon
2 U-10 scallops
2 plum tomatoes – diced
2 tablespoon fresh horse radish – grated
½ onion (medium size) – diced
1 spoon pickled ginger
¼ cup oil
2 tablespoons garlic
1 cup 35% cream
75 ml rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mixture of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme & parsley chopped)

Slice salmon into four thin pieces and marinate with fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary), a teaspoon of garlic and a teaspoon of oil. Place scallops in the middle of salmon and roll into two rosettes and set aside (to hold together, use bamboo skewers).

– In a small sauce pan preheat and add three teaspoon of oil. Sautee onion, garlic and diced

tomatoes and stir while cooking for approximately 5 mins.

– Add vinegar, cream, and ginger, cover and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove from

heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh horseradish.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat pan and add remaining oil. Fry bottom side of salmon rosette for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and finish in the oven at 375 for 7-8 minutes. If no oven available, cover the frying pan with a dome cover and add a teaspoon of butter, a touch of water (to prevent from drying and sticking) simmer for 7 minutes.

Plating: Pour sauce on a warm plate. Place salmon rosette in the middle and serve. ENJOY!

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