Friday, February 20, 2009

Dolphin Rescue, Presidential Visit and What He Got for Lunch

A heartwarming story this week about some dolphins trapped in a 'pond' formed by ice in Seal Cove, Newfoundland. There were appeals for an ice breaker, but there wasn't one available and even had there been, it could have made the situation worse. Yesterday some of the locals took a boat out there and managed to create a channel to the open water. Two dolphins escaped on their own, one had to be towed out. If you want to read the Globe and Mail Report click here there were originally five dolphins, it seems no-one is quite certain what happened to the other two. Yesterday Canadians in Ottawa went nuts with excitement to see President Obama visit Canada. Especially when he stopped at a bake shop and bought a couple of maple leaf cookies for his daughters. He was actually given them by the baker who subsequently sold every one of the rest of his cookies. I gather security cost quite a bit for the 9 hour visit. We are told it was a political success and both Obama and Harper have agreed to work together. He also met with Ignatieff, the opposition leader. On the news last night there were lots of pictures of the occasion. They also mentioned, in passing, what Mr. Obama was given for lunch. I hunted around this morning and found the following menu: Pacific Coast tuna with a Chilli and Citrus Vinaigrette, Maple and Miso Cured Nunavut Arctic Char, Lightly Pickled Vegetables and an Organic Beet Relish, Applewood Smoked Plains Bison, Winter Root Veg and Local Mushrooms. Cauliflower and rosemary purèe, Juniper and Niagara red wine jus. Dessert: Saugeen Yogurt Pot de Cème with a Lemon and Lavender Syrup, Wild Blueberry and Partridgeberry Compote, Acadian Buckwheat Honey and Sumac Tuile. Don't have any recipes unfortunately, nor do I have a clue what Partridgeberries are, Googled to fine they are the same as ligonberries, not really very familiar with those either. Sounds like a heck of a lot of food for lunch but I have no doubt I could have done justice to it. Mr. Obama was met at the airport by Canada's Governer General, Michaelle Jean and then went in a motorcade to meet Stephen Harper, our Prime Minister, on Capitol Hill which is where the parliament is. People were running after the Presidential limo (he brought his own) trying to catch a glimpse of him. There was a whole plane load of security stuff brought in to Canada the day before he arrived. Here is a recipe I have found for Arctic Char Gravlax by Chef Pierre le Page. Chef Pierre LePage lives in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He runs his own restaurant and loves to cook with Arctic Char. He says he has always preferred cold water fish as the icy waters freeze in the flavour. He shares his recipe for Arctic Char with Gravlax Sorrel Cream Sauce. Ingredients for Gravlax: 2 bunches if fresh dill with stems 1 bunch fresh thyme 1 cup course sea salt 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 4 Tbsp. black peppercorns, cracked 1 tsp. whole allspice, cracked 2 oz. Brandy 2 fresh char fillets (about 2 pounds each) skin on, pit bone out Mix together sea salt, brown and white sugar, peppercorns and allspice. Rub the mixture on all sides of the char. Put a thin layer of the mixture on the bottom of the cooking dish, lay fillets skin down in the dish and pack the remaining rub evenly around the fillets. Spread the dill and thyme on top of the fillets until the char is covered. Sprinkle a little brandy on each fillet. Tightly cover the dish and leave at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove the cover, flip over the fillets, rewrap the dish and put a weight on top (like a cookie sheet with 2 cans on top). Return to the fridge for another 24 hours. At the end of curing, unwrap the fish and scrap away the herbs and spices. The gravlax will be firm but pliable and slightly translucent. Expect to see a great deal of liquid accumulate in the dish as the fish shrinks. To slice the gravlax, use a thin, sharp knife. Hold the knife at a 10 degree angle, starting from the tail end, begin slicing the gravlax no thicker than 1/6 of an inch. The slices should be so thin that you can see through the flesh and watch the knife’s movement as you slice. Sorrel Sauce: 250 ml sour cream 1 bunch fresh sorrel 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 oz. lemon juice 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste Put sorrel, dill, garlic and lemon juice in a cuisinar or blender and puree. Add sour cream and season with salt and pepper. To serve, arrange the gravlax slices on a platter, serve with thin slices of toasted bread and sorrel sauce. Have a great day.


  1. Jo --

    Indeed, some strange dishes on the Obama menu? Don't US presidents always start off with a Canadian visit?

    I always wonder whether people do really eat at official dinners. I know that I will be too nervous to.

    I love the dolphin story. They sre such grest creatures.


  2. Oh I'm sure they eat. I don't think people in their position are nervous - in fact I get the impression Obama is a great trencherman.

    Yes, I love dolphins too.

  3. I don't know what "char" is, Jo. I expect it's some kind of cold water fish that we don't have here. Looks like a nice recipe, though.

  4. Arctic Char is the full name Satima, it is a delicious coldwater fish which is not unlike salmon and can be treated much the same way.