Dip into a smoky cocktail, feast on the super food of the Incas and hop aboard the apple harvest train.
Ask an Oenophile
The Expert: Hailey Pasemko, chief of beverage at Cure Lounge & Patio at Whistler’s Nita Lake Lodge.
The Dish: Grilled pineapple and house-cured pork, included with the cocktail
The Pairing: Smokey Robinson proprietary cocktail, with Jack Daniels, caramelized orange, tomato, chipotle, brown sugar and smoked salt with a horseradish rim, $11
Food and cocktail pairing is similar to food and wine pairing. You want to sip on something that awakens the palate, but still complements what you’re eating.
When I start to look at the components of food and how to match those with a beverage, I usually find my inspiration in the food. The Smokey Robinson, for example, is inspired by barbecue sauce. I took all of the ingredients that are in barbecue sauce and refined them to create a cocktail. Brown sugar simple syrup is substituted for molasses. Rather than vinegar, we used lime juice. There’s a splash of tomato juice and a touch of chipotle to give this drink its deep, smoky flavour. And brûléed oranges are the char-grilled finish.
Then it became a matter of pairing this cocktail with food that would normally be barbecued. I wanted something with Hawaiian flair, so I opted for house-cured pork with slices of pineapple.
The pairing is simple, with very delicate flavours. There is no sauce or seasoning on the pork or pineapple; the robust flavours come entirely from the cocktail, but that’s all that is needed. I actually encourage guests to dip their food into the drink, as if it’s real barbecue sauce. Together, it’s an ideal combination of tangy, sweet, spicy and savoury.
Quinoa: Super Food
The ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain.” I prefer “super food.” Here’s one of my favourite quinoa recipes from one of my best-loved cookbooks, Vij’s at Home: In a medium pot, combine quinoa, water, ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, covering and cooking for about 18 to 20 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, combine ½ cup finely chopped green onions, 4 oz lentil sprouts, ½ cup finely chopped cilantro and 4 oz very finely chopped celery (approximately 2 large ribs) with a ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, mix all ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. $40, chapters.ca
Delicious Apple Butter
My favourite September harvest event has to be Apple Fest in Vernon. Every weekend in the month, Davison Orchards Country Village is host to hundreds of families eager to jump on the Johnny Popper Apple Train and pick their own apples. I love the energy, the games and, most of all, the excuse it provides to stock up on delicious apple butter. The spread has a thick, smooth consistency – hence the name – but it’s much more like a sweet apple jam that’s a tasty treat any time of day. 260ml, $5.99 (sugar-free, $6.99); 500ml, $8.99 (sugar-free, $9.99), davi sonorchards.ca