July 2, 2010

Thirty Days: Done!

Another Thirty Days Project, our sixth, ended on June 30th. To celebrate, Aya prepared a fantastic steak dinner for the co-founders of Thirty Days Project (us and Tim Gerwing). You can see the global collection of everyone's work at thirtydaysproject.com

Aya started us off with salmon cakes with a mustard, dill and lemon mayonnaise. We opened Tim's bottle of BC's See Ya Later Brut, which proved to be charmingly lemony and bright, if a bit rustic in texture. Quite refreshing and a perfect pairing for the salmon cakes.

Aya also made "shrimp toasts", which turned out to be chopped shrimp in an egg-white batter on thin slices of bread. These were then gently sunk, like the Titanic, into a deep pot of hot oil. The main difference between the shrimp toasts and the Titanic soon became evident as the toasts emerged sizzling from the oil, crispy and delicious, while the Titanic remained on the ocean floor, untasted, as it has for decades.

The fact that there are no photos of the shrimp toasts is a testament to how they were simultaneously all-consuming and all consumed.

Aya served whole-wheat spaghetti, with its wonderfully nutty flavour, as the first course. The cream sauce was loaded with blue cheese and walnuts. At this point we started on a bottle of Sandhill Small Lots Syrah (2003). Sandhill was Canadian Wine Awards' "Winery Of The Year" for 2009, and this 7 year-old Syrah from the Phantom Creek vineyard was a perfect example of why they deserve that award. All dark fruit, spice and smoke, the wine was deep, rich and an excellent match for the creamy, nutty blue cheese sauce.

Then it was steak time: soft, flavourful strip loins, seared with crispy stripes and red inside. Aya made a mushroom cream sauce and sautéed some vegetables. The wine opened up to deep, complex spiced-plum flavours and ended up with an almost cola-like finish. Just spectacular.

Dessert was a spiced angel-food cake with a hot toffee sauce, light and heavy together, each needing the other and both pairing beautifully with the Knob Creek bourbon we gently sipped.

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