“There’s nothing to do here!”
It’s pretty common refrain heard often at the end of summer…singing the ‘I’m so bored blues’.
Hold the phone… I’m not talking about my kids…I keep hearing this from adult locals. Yes, fellow Nanaimo-ites. ‘Tis crazy talk as far as I’m concerned. I realize I’m a ‘newbie’ here in Nanaimo, but there is so much to see and do, I can’t keep up!
I’m finally sharing about an event I had the enormous pleasure of attending way back in June, but I wanted to share so you could see what fun stuff is happening right in our back yard aaaannnnnd so you can check out the schedule for upcoming, equally fabulous events!
Jodie Robertshaw has got a knack for creating foodie events that both satiate your tummy and inspire your own creative cuisine. Chef Ryan Zuvich visited the Lucky’s Liquor store demo kitchen and treated us to a clean and deceptively simple menu that had our mouths watering. Chatting and demonstrating as he went…calling in assistance from fellow Chef George Kulai, from Smokin’ George’s. Some delicious good times and a possible future in stand-up for the duo !
Just when it couldn’t get any better…TAH-DAH! Wine parings, yes…that’s right. Great food. Great wine. Nothing frou-frou, just lots of deliciousness. Mark Wachtin from Storied Wines and Spirits has a passion for representing smaller, family run wineries that operate responsibly & sustainably. He shared with us several fantastic BC grown wines, three from the Okanagan and one from the Comox Valley. A 2012 Chardonnay by Nagging Doubt was served with Chef Ryan’s Arctic Char with fennel and olive. Turtlerock Farms is the creator of the delightfully fresh Spare Parts Merlot, that was served with an endive, Roquefort and walnut salad. This wine was exclusively designed for only two restaurants; Little Jumbo in Victoria and, fortunately, Hilltop Bistro, here in Nanaimo.
Unsworth, a Cowichan Valley winery presented the Allegro. A crisp, light bodied white blend that paired wonderfully with the smoked halibut brandade (a fancy French name for fish blended with potato and olive oil) on sourdough…mmmm, can’t we just have life moment reruns? Was so very good! Ryan shared a recipe (below) for a pea agnilotti, that looks so easy, you won’t believe how delicious it is. With that course we were offered a refreshing Reisling from Syncromesh, also from the Okanagan Valley.
Despite the finicky French foodie words and all of the different wine varietals listed, it was a casual, welcoming night out, where we all learned a lot about using great local ingredients to make simple food just a bit special, while washing it down with locally grown BC grapes…what could be better?
Chef Ryan’s Pea Agnilotti
- 1 whole egg
- 100 g flour
- 1 cup English peas
- ¼ cup stock
- 1 tbsp. minced shallot
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2-3 springs of mint, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
- Step 1 Combine egg & flour in food processor until the texture of cornmeal.
- Step 2 Turn out onto counter and knead until smooth and elastic.
- Step 3 Wrap tightly in plastic or vacuum pack & refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Step 4 Foam butter in a saute pan over medium heat
- Step 5 Saute shallots until lightly golden
- Step 6 Add stock & reduce by half
- Step 7 Add peas and mint then remove from heat
- Step 8 Transfer saute to a blender and add remaining ingredients
- Step 9 Puree until smooth and season to taste
- Step 10 Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate until cold before use.
- Step 11 Once you are ready to make the agnilotti, put about half the pasta through a pasta roller twice. Form into a long noodle about an inch and a half wide.
- Step 12 Trim off any unsightly edges if you are a type A personality…hee hee, if not, leave ’em.
- Step 13 Pipe the pea mixture down one edge of the pasta and slightly wet the edge with water.
- Step 14 As Chef Ryan is showing above , fold the top over the pea mixture, press to close along the edge, then gently separate into small pockets.
- Step 15 Cut each agnilotti into separate pieces.
- Step 16 Toss gently into salted boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 5-8 minutes.
- Step 17 Ryan served tossed with sliced carrots in a light butter sauce. He made it look easy and it was very tasty!
“I drink wine because I don’t like to keep things bottled up. ” ~ Author Unknown