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On Sunday, March 4th all eyes will be on Hollywood for the 90th Annual Academy Awards. If you want to kick back with a glass of wine and delicious food, you’re in luck.
Camille Moore returned with food and wine pairings perfect for any Oscar viewing party.
The first thing you want to think about, according to Camille, is the type of party you’re hosting. For the Oscars, you might want something a little more elevated and sophisticated. Get to know the flavour profiles of each wine, and choose foods that have similar or complementary flavours.
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Cherry Venison Canapes

Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Pinot Noir
I really love adding a hint of sweetness to savoury dishes, especially when it comes to game-y meats like venison (and lamb, for that matter). They have an earthiness to them, which I think is complemented beautifully with sweet spices and ingredients. For this dish I’ve created a spice rub for the venison to enhance its natural flavour, with spices like allspice, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon (for that note of sweetness). Use what you need for the amount of meat you’re cooking and save the rest for another use. When cooking with venison striploin, keep in mind that it’s a very lean meat and likes to be cooked like a beef tenderloin – high heat and fast is the way to go, with butter in the pan for richness. Serve these canapes warm or at room temperature and swap the store-bought crispy toast rounds for baguette crostini if you prefer. I love to use cherry preserves with venison, but blackberry, black currant, and blueberry also work well.
My first taste of this creation was love at first bite! You’re going to love this one…
Makes about 15-20 canapes

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 turns freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp allspice, ground
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 x 180 g venison striploin (approx. weight)
  • ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh, finely chopped
  • 15-20 pieces crispy toast rounds, store-bought
  • cherry preserves (your favourite kind), as needed to garnish
  • chives, to garnish, if desired

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Pat venison dry with paper towels. Season both sides well with the spice rub – I like to use just over ½ teaspoon of the rub for a 180-gram steak.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the oil, followed by the butter. Swirl the pan and once the butter is foaming add the venison. Cook 2 minutes per side flipping only once for rare, 2 ½ minutes per side for medium. Note: be sure to flip only once to allow a sexy crust to form. Transfer cooked venison to a cutting board, sprinkle with the dried oregano, and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing paper thin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise and chives. Set aside.
  4. To assemble canapes, spread some of the chive mayonnaise onto each toast and top with a slice of venison. Dress with a dot of cherry preserves, garnish with fresh chives, and serve on a platter.
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Vanilla Poached Shrimp Salad

Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay
Sometimes it can be tricky to get that perfect level of doneness when it comes to cooking shrimp. That’s why poaching is a great technique to keep in your back pocket – it allows you to infuse tons of flavour, without compromising the tenderness of the seafood. And we’re all familiar with flavours like garlic, lemon, curry, and tomatoes that go well with shrimp, but I bet you’d never thought of using vanilla… It makes perfect sense to me though because shrimp have a natural sweetness to them which is complimented beautifully by the flavour of real vanilla beans. Vanilla is, after all, a spice. No, the vanilla doesn’t add sugary-ness to the shrimp, but rather nice notes of authentic vanilla bean flavour which is as delicious as it is unexpected.
My vanilla poached shrimp salad is an elegant dish for a light lunch, or served in beautiful, individual glass dishes for a cocktail party. It has a great balance of flavours and textures thanks to the addition of fresh mango, avocado and radish.
Makes 8 appetizer-sized servings

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 5 cups water
  • ½ Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved, divided
  • 1 orange, halved, divided
  • 400 g shrimp, raw, peeled (size: 31-40 per pound)
  • 1 avocado, diced small and dressed in juice from remaining lemon half
  • 1 mango (ripe, but firm enough to hold the dice), diced small
  • ½ cup radish, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, preferably flaked, to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, finely shredded, for serving
  • ¼ cup toasted almond slivers, to garnish (optional)

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. To a medium-sized stock pot add water, kosher salt, vanilla bean, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and shallot. Squeeze half of each the lemon and the orange into the liquid, then add them to the pot as well. Bring to a boil (over high heat), reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Add whole, thawed shrimp to the liquid, cover pot, and remove from heat. After about 3 minutes shrimp will be pink and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a dish or tray to cool completely. Discard poaching liquid.
  3. Chop cooled shrimp into large dice and add to a large bowl with prepared avocado, mango, radish, olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently toss to incorporate. Check seasoning and add juice from avocado bowl and remaining orange half, if desired. Place a bed of finely shredded romaine onto a platter or add to the base of individual serving glasses. Spoon shrimp salad over top and serve. (Can be refrigerated an hour or two before serving). Garnish with toasted almond slivers, if using.
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Mini Chocolate Fudge Cakes with Blackberry Cream

Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Meritage
Chocolate is a sure-fire way to satisfy almost any sweet tooth, especially when said chocolate is in the form of dense, fudge-y cakes like it is here. It’s another back-pocket recipe of mine – something I want you to keep handy for all self-indulging and entertaining purposes because it’ll come in handy. The blackberry cream topping here is magical, but if a caramel drizzle or strawberry coulis floats your boat have at it. You can’t go wrong with fudge-y chocolatey goodness, and that’s a fact.
A note on separating the eggs, for this and any recipe that requires this: the most important part of this step is making sure that absolutely no yolk gets into the whites. This is because egg whites will not whip if any fat is present, and even the most experienced bakers can easily make this mistake. So, what you’ll need to do is get 2 small bowls, and one larger bowl for whipping the whites. First, wipe one of the smaller bowls and the large bowl with a vinegar-dampened paper towel (either white or apple cider) to clean any residual oil. Second, whack the eggs one at a time onto the work surface to break shells. Third, using either your clean fingers or the cracked eggshells to pass the yolk back and forth, carefully strain the egg whites into the small vinegar-wiped bowl, and place the yolks in the second smaller bowl. If the egg white is free from yolk (which you’d only have to look for if the yolk had broken in step 3) place it into the largest bowl. Repeat until all eggs have been separated.
Makes approximately 18 cakes

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces (225g)
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering muffin tin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 eggs, large, separated
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 x 170 g pkg blackberries, fresh
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream

WHAT YOU DO:

Chocolate Fudge Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter muffin tin for easy removal.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat gently melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring often with a rubber spatula. Once melted, turn off heat and stir in sugar.
  3. Working in the same saucepan, add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Stir until incorporated.
  4. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1 scoop of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold with the rubber spatula until combined. Add remaining egg whites and fold to combine. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin about ¾ full. Bake 12 minutes in centre oven rack. Cool in pan 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Blackberry Cream
  1. In a small bowl use a fork to mash together the blackberries and sugar until jammy. Set aside.
  2. To a large bowl add the whipping cream and beat with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks. Add half of the mashed blackberries and fold into the cream with a rubber spatula, then add the rest and fold to incorporate.
To serve:
  1. Place the cooled fudge cakes onto a serving platter and top each with a dollop of blackberry cream. Serve immediately. Alternatively, the cakes can be made a day or two in advance and held, covered, in the refrigerator – they’re even more dense and fudge-y this way. Make the blackberry cream just before serving.
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Charcuterie Board

Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut
Your charcuterie board should have mostly meats with the addition of a great creamy cheese, like Chaource. You want rich ingredients that would benefit from having a cold, crisp sparkling wine as a complimentary palate cleanser.
Try these:
  • Foie gras pate
  • Chaource cheese (a wicked cross between brie and chevre in my opinion, incredible)
  • Duck rillettes
  • Charcuterie meats like prosciutto, bresaola, Italian salamis, etc.
  • Garnishes: cornichons, membrillo, honeycomb, assorted pickled vegetables, crackers, olives, figs, grapes, nuts, grainy mustard, honeycomb, etc.
Don’t forget to watch eTalk at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4th on CTV. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET.