Sunday, September 20, 2009

Murray Street Kitchen Wine & Charcuterie review

It was a rare hot humid evening last week and my sweeties birthday week. We were craving for a nice glass of wine, some delicious interesting food, and a quiet patio. We discussed several options and decided to head over to our favourite place. We shouldn't have thought twice about it. For the setting, food, and service Murray Street Bistro can't be beat.

We tucked into the Kitchen Charcuterie Plate to start along with a bottle of Malbec Fuerza, Mendoza, 2005 Argentina.

Most of the items in this starter are unique to the restaurant and prior to dining here we had never tasted many of them. For many of you my advice is keep an open mind and savor the flavors. Don't let the descriptions influence your choice. What actually arrives on the plate in front of you bears no resemblance to the picture you form in your mind when you first hear the description.

It keeps us coming back. Its a sampler of the in house specialties and cheeses and needs to be savoured with a finely paired red. Toby our server was well acquainted with the wine menu and its nuances and suggested the grape. Thanks Toby for keeping us hooked. We've been here several times and staff is always very knowledgeable about the food and the wine...above par.

Back to the food. For me and my sweetie theKitchen Charcuterie Plate (22$) is just the most perfect pairing of wine and meats. The plate arrives on a wooden cutting board, each portion occupying its place around the board :

Grilled Elks tongue-Marinated in wine vinegar and lightly grilled with the sear marks visible on the meat. Tender and moist. The acidity of the marinade complimented with the smoky infusion of the grill.

Shaved Beef Heart- Thinly shaved slices of beef heart, pure beef flavor no spices that I could detect. A pinch of salt and pepper is all it takes on these babies.

Pot of homemade Pork Rillette- WOW. We are rillette fans and ever since Marcus in Gatineau closed its deli counter we've been starving for a great rillette. This is one of the best. Homemade and as per tradition served in its glass jar. A generous portion that tastes superb on the toasted crostinis or rosemary flavored bread that accompanies the dish.

Poutine-Crispy hand-cut herb spatzle, shredded mariposa duck confit, roast duck gravy, 5th town Goat cheese curds.

Tuna-Wild BC Albacore tuna (seared rare), Art-is-in bread salad, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, torched Ferme Floralpe feta, Bryson Farms arugula, roast garlic-chokecherry dressing.

110 Murray Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tapas Style Almonds

I have tons of cookbooks and sadly rarely use them. My sister in law gave me this wonderful tapas book recently. I thought I would first try the Salted Almonds recipe. They were wonderful and were a hit with everyone. Will make these puppies over and over again!

Mix almonds in pan with oil.

While still warm sprinkle with sea salt and the paprika

1 1/2 cup of whole blanched almonds.
4 tbsp olive oil or grape seed oil
Coarse sea salt
1 tsp or more of paprika (I used hot smoked paprika)

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180C. Put the olive oil in a roasting pan and swirl it around so that it covers the bottom. Add the almonds and toss them in the pan so that they are evenly coated in the oil, then spread them out in a single layer.

Roast the almonds in the oven for 20 min or until they are light golden brown, tossing several times during the cooking. Drain the almonds on a paper towel then transfer them to a bowl.
While the almonds are still warm, sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and the paprika.

The almonds are at their best when served freshly cooked. If possible cook them on the day you place to eat them. However, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.