Every once in a great while life hands you a chance to live a dream, if you’re brave enough to take it. Three years ago, when Liz Rowe walked into my life and said, “I heard you’re the person I should talk to about opening an Italian restaurant”, I had just started to find my groove as a retired entrepreneur.
All my adult life, I had dreamed of owning a little Italian trattoria. It would have been my next step after I sold Sister’s Italian Food had I not gone into politics. By the time my public service was done, I no longer had a fire in my belly for the long grueling hours of owning a restaurant. Ralph and I had bought our farm and were knee deep into the farmhouse renovation. I was perfectly contented and yet when Liz asked, I agreed.
I have had the time of my life. It was everything I’d thought it would be: creative, collaborative, frustrating, grueling, exhilarating and deeply deeply gratifying. I found strength of character in myself that I didn’t know existed. My gratitude, for the faith that Liz and Gord put in me, kept me focused on excellence. I wanted their restaurant to be a success. It is.
This past Saturday, I resigned.
Liz said she always knew it was never a matter of “if” but rather “when”. It’s time. There are things that I’ve been putting off. We’d made each other’s dream come true. She has her restaurant and I helped her.
In her lovely generous way, she said to me, “I can’t wait to see what you do next.”
I thought to myself, how blessed am I.
Orange Curd Granola Parfait
- orange curd
- plain thick Greek yogurt
- candied orange peel
Orange Curd adapted from Martha Stewart
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 2 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
- Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Place over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula until the mixture is thick – 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat.
- Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, whisking until smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate until chilled and very firm, at least 2 hours.
Homemade Granola – with permission from The Culinary Chase
Makes 6 cups
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (preferably organic)
1 cup coconut chips
1/2 cup sprouted raw unsalted sunflower seeds (unsalted if sprouted not available)
1/2 cup sprouted raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup pecan halves, broken (can use almonds)
1/2 cup naturally dried cranberries (or other favourite dried fruit)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350f (180c).
- In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecan halves and salt.
- In a small bowl mix honey, maple syrup and olive oil with the cinnamon.
- Pour this over the oat mixture and stir until all ingredients are well coated.
- Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven 20 minutes.
- Halfway through cooking stir, and bake for the remaining time.
- Keep an eye on it as you don’t want the oats to brown too much.
- Remove from oven, add dried cranberries and stir.
- Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.
If you don’t want to make the candied garnish, use a little freshly grated orange zest!
Candied Orange Peel
makes 2 1/2 lb
12 oranges, washed
6 cups sugar
6 cups water
2 drops each red and yellow food color [optional]
a candy thermometer
- Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, remove peel from oranges with as little pith as possible
- Cut peel lengthwise into 1/3 inch wide strips.
- Place peel in a deep heavy pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Drain in colander.
- Repeat blanching 2 more times.
- Cover peel once more with cold water and simmer until skin is tender – 30 minutes – drain in colander.
- Return pot to stove and add 6 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Add food color and boil syrup without stirring until it reaches 220*F on the candy thermometer – about 30 minutes.
- Add drained peel and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until translucent.
- Remove from heat and let peel stand in syrup 24 hours, at room temperature.
- Place large metal cooling rack on newspaper, waxed paper or parchment paper to catch drips
- Lift peel from syrup with tongs and spread out on rack.
- Leave for 24 hours or until syrup has crystallised.
- Spread 1 cup sugar on a plate
- Top with a handful of peel then toss in the sugar until it’s well coated. Add more sugar if necessary.
- Leave to dry 1 hour
- The peel will keep for 3 months in a well sealed container layered between pieces of wax paper or in glass jars with tightly fitted lids.
To assemble the parfaits:
- Place orange curd in the bottom of clear serving dishes – small mason jars would be adorable!
- Top with ¼ cup homemade granola
- Finish with a big dollop of plain thick Greek yoghurt.
- Garnish with candied orange peel.
one year ago: doughboys
two years ago: white bean mash
Thanks for reading.