An Easter Feast with The Wine Sisters!

Posted by: samy April 9, 2012 No Comments

It’s no secret we love eating and drinking.  On our list of hobbies, it probably ranks as Number One.  So when long weekends and any excuse for celebration comes around, we’re there with bells on.

Over the last few years our fetes have taken place at Courtney’s house; she has a spacious kitchen which is perfect for entertaining.  As Erin & Courtney prep the night’s dinner, friends and family sit around the kitchen’s large island, drinking wine and munching on cheese and charcuterie.

This weekend was no different: our parents came over, as did our friend Nene, and with kids running underfoot hyped up on way too much Easter chocolate, we created a dinner fit for Kings.

As we went about creating that dinner, we laid out steak tartar, the recipe some of you will remember from an earlier post, and a beautifully sweet and tangy pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Stratford’s Monforte Dairy, called Black Sheep. (Available all around Toronto, including: St. Lawrence Market, Wychwood Barns & Soauren Farmers Market ).

Monforte Dairy's Black Sheep cheese

We brought it out of the fridge a few hours before eating, which was perfect: as you can see the cheese starts to ooze and soften, but is still kept intact by its balsam ash covering which almost worked like a bowl to keep the cheese from.   Paired with Mission Hill’s 2006 “Perpetua,” an elegant Chardonnay with notes of lemon curd, mango and lightly toasted notes from the restrained use of French oak, it was a dynamite pairing.

With everything done, a very relaxed Courtney polishes wine glasses for the dinner table

We were able to join in the festivities, because as we’ve mentioned before, it’s all about the organization.  Starting a week or two before the Big Event, we figure out the menu, and who is going to do what.  Usually, Courtney will take care of the “star” of the show (usually, that’s the protein) and dessert, and Erin will prep all the sides at her house and bring over as close to finished as possible, so as not to overwhelm Courtney’s kitchen with too many dishes.

The Green Mile: freshly blanched peas draining on kitchen towel
A little planning goes a long way: shallots caramelizing the morning of the Big Feast

This year, we opted for an Epicurious recipe of roast beef tenderloin with caramelized shallot mashed potatoes and wild mushroom sauce and a side salad of sugar snap peas and radish with mint in a lemon vinaigrette.  We paired an elegant, rich and smokey 2007 Pinot Noir from Five Rows winery in Niagara, which was delicious alongside the tender meat and sweet mashed potatoes.

Wines of the Day. There were no remains.

While the tenderloin was seared and roasted a la minute, the veal jus was done days in advance, and Erin had completed the salad and dressing (stored separately, of course), caramelized the shallots and sauteed the mushrooms all in the morning, so there was little to do.  Once the roast went in the oven, the potatoes were boiled and the sauce finished.  Easy peasy, and no crying, stressed out hosts.

Easter dinner - finished and stress-free.

In the words of our Patron Saint, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, no one is going to enjoy the party more if you bake everything from scratch and slave for days over the meal.  What people will remember the most, is the fabulous (or awful) time they had.  You can either be the host with the most, joining the crowd, or holed up alone in the kitchen, stressed and sweating over the dinner.  It’s up to you as the host to decide which lasting memory you’d like to leave.

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