3 Easy Tips To Host a Dinner Party Like A Pro

Mushroom Toasts, Roger Mooking recipe
Mark and Star assembling their Mushroom Toasts that I adapted from Roger Mooking's vegetarian entree into an appetizer.

Tomato Bombs, Charred Lemons and Undressed Greens are the three easy tips that I took away from my afternoon with Chef Roger Mooking. Mooking was in Calgary to announce his JUNO Gala Dinner and Awards Menu and the entire menu was sampled, approved of and heartily exclaimed over by all of the foodies in attendance. I think it was unanimous that no one would be able to choose between the Bison and the Vegetarian entrees because Chef Mooking poured so much love into each dish we wanted one of each.

I will share all of the recipes with you but first, let’s talk about my three favourite easy tips, two of which I’ve already used at dinner party since discovering them.

1. Tomato Bombs – The appetizer course for the Juno Gala Dinner is salad that has a hidden surprise which is a Slow Roasted Sunset Campari Tomato, slow-roasted so that the juices remain intact and then hidden by the greens so that the juices explode when you dive into your salad. I love that you can slow-roast the tomatoes ahead of time, set them aside (even refrigerate them) and then reheat gently before serving. Any prep that you can do ahead of time allows you to be more relaxed when guests arrive and it makes you look like a pro.

2. Charred Lemons – Let’s face it, a drizzle of fresh lemon juice brings many different dishes to life but a plain lemon wedge on a plate is a little dated and normal. Chef Mooking took lemon halves, grilled them until charred and explained that the juices get sweeter with the heat and the char adds a bit of a smokey flavour. You can throw a bunch of these on the BBQ and then pile them up in a bowl for your guests to use and the visual is stunning. Again, such an easy way to look like a pro.

3. Undressed Greens – The Juno Gala and Awards Dinner is going to accomodate 1500 guests and Chef Mooking wants everything to go off as precisely and perfectly as possible so he is preplating  and placing the appetizer course on the tables. If he dressed the greens and then plated 1500 plates ahead of time, the greens would wilt. So, his dressing will be artfully smeared on the plate and then the greens and croutons placed on top. It’s beautiful, saves tossing time and keeps the greens fresh and crisp. Amazing!

Every element of this menu was thought at with a love for Alberta and Canada in mind. Chef Roger Mooking is a local boy from Edmonton and he is proud to be representing at the JUNO Gala and Awards Dinner. I asked if he would come and cook in my home and he said he would rather be invited over for a sandwich. Here’s your invite, Chef…I’ll make you a sandwich anytime in gratitude for this wonderful meal that you shared with us!

Chef Roger Mooking recipe slow-roasted tomatoes

Tomato Bombs! I could not locate the type of tomatoes that Roger Mooking used so I used Cocktail tomatoes.

Tomato Surprise

Baby Greens & Sunset Campari Bomb – Boston, Basil,

Kale, Arugula, Sidewalk Citizen Spiced Croutes,

Roasted Garlic Nuh Gana Dressing, Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Juno Awards 2016
Recipes Copyright Roger Mooking 2016

Spiced Croutes

Yield:  4 servings

Sidewalk Citizen Staple Sourdough Loaf
½ Tsp Ground Cumin
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
¼ Tsp Sweet Paprika
¼ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
1 ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350F.  Slice sourdough loaf widthwise into ½” thick slices.  Mix all ingredients together and using a pastry brush, distribute mixture on 4 slices of sourdough.  Toast bread in oven 6 minutes.  Let cool on baking tray.

Slow Roasted Sunset Campari Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss whole Sunset Campari tomatoes gently with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for 16 minutes.  Cool on baking tray until room temperature.  Store gently until service as they are meant to be blistered but intact for service.

Roasted Garlic

12 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
½ Tsp Water

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss garlic cloves with olive oil, salt, pepper and water.  Place garlic cloves on prepared baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminium foil.  Bake for 45 minutes or until cloves are tender.  Let cool on baking tray.

Nuh Gana Dressing

Yield:  6-8 servings

1 Red Sweet Pepper, roasted, peeled and deveined
8 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and puree until smooth.

Salad Mix

Yield: 2 servings

2 C Loosely Packed Baby Kale
2 C Loosely Packed Baby Arugula
½ C Torn Fresh Basil Leaves
2 C Torn Boston Bib Lettuce

Gently toss ingredients together to combine.

Charred Lemons, Roger Mooking recipe

Charred Lemons, use them on everything!

Alberta Love – Vegetarian Option

Herbed Mushroom Toast – Sidewalk Citizen Sourdough, Parmesan Crushed Fingerlings, Grilled Lemon & Chili Oil Baby Bok Choy

2016 Juno Awards
Recipes Copyright Roger Mooking 2016

 

Parmesan Fingerlings

Yield:  1 Serving

1 Tbsp Grana Padano, Grated
1 Tsp Fresh Chives, Chopped
2 Fingerling Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss fingerlings in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Let the fingerlings rest at room temperature.   Once just cool enough to handle, press the cooked fingerlings with your palm to partially crush them.  Sprinkle with parmesan and chives.

Chimichurri

Yield: 6 servings

1 C Loosely Packed Flat Leaf Parsley
½ C Roughly Chopped Green Onion
¼ C Loosely Picked Fresh Thyme
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
¼ C Loosely Packed Oregano
2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
¼ C Fresh Orange Juice
½ Ground Black Pepper
Salt To Taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Set aside.

Charred Lemons

Yield:  2 Servings

1 Lemon, Halved Crosswise

Slice lemons in half.  Place on lemon halves cut side down on hot grill.  Grill until charred.  Set aside.

Baby Bok Choy

Yield:  1 Serving

5 Halves of Baby Bok Choy
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
2 Pinches Chili Flakes
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Heat pan over high heat with oil.  Add baby bok choy.  Once it starts to change colour, add garlic and chili flakes.

Mushroom Toast

Yield:  1 serving

Sidewalk Citizen Staple Sourdough
1 Tbsp Chimichurri
1 C Drained & Rinsed Cannellini Beans
3/4 C Water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 C Chopped Cremini Mushrooms
1 C Shiitake Mushrooms, Sliced
1 C Oyster Mushrooms, Torn
1 Tbsp Freshly Picked Thyme
½ Tbsp Chopped Garlic
Salt and Pepper To Taste

Puree cannellini beans and water in food processor until smooth.  Slice sourdough loaf crosswise into 1” thick slices.  Lightly drizzle bread slice with chimichurri.  Toast bread just to warm through and create a light crunch.

Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a sauté pan and heat.  Add cremini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Once the cremini mushrooms browned and soften slightly, add shiitake mushrooms.  Saute until shiitake mushrooms soften slightly and add oyster mushrooms and sauté until oyster mushrooms begin to soften.  Add garlic and thyme.  Add 4 tbsp cannellini bean puree mixture to sauté pan and toss mixture to coat.  Spoon mixture onto warm toast.

Alberta Love

Blackened Canadian Rangeland Bison Tenderloin & Chimichurri – Parmesan Crushed Fingerlings, Grilled Lemon & Chili Oil Baby Bok Choy

Juno Awards 2016
Recipes Copyright Roger Mooking 2016

Parmesan Fingerlings

1 ½ Tbsp grated Parmesano Grana Padano
1 Tsp chopped Fresh Chives
3 Fingerling Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss fingerlings in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Let the fingerlings rest at room temperature.   Once just cool enough to handle, press the cooked fingerlings with your palm to partially crush them.  Sprinkle with parmesan and chives.

Charred Lemons

Yield:  2 Servings

1 Lemon, Halved Crosswise

Slice lemons in half.  Place on lemon halves cut side down on hot grill.  Grill until charred.  Set aside.

Blackening Spice

2 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Sweet Paprika
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Ground Thyme
1 Tbsp Mustard Powder

Combine all ingredients and mix together thoroughly.  Set aside for steak preparation.

Chimichurri

1 C Loosely Packed Flat Leaf Parsley

½ C Roughly Chopped Green Onion

¼ C Loosely Picked Fresh Thyme

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic

¼ C Loosely Packed Oregano

2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice

¼ C Fresh Orange Juice

½ Ground Black Pepper

Salt To Taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree till slightly chunky.

Baby Bok Choy

Yield:  1 Serving

5 x Halves of Baby Bok Choy
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
2 Pinches Chili Flakes
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Heat pan over high heat with oil.  Add baby bok choy.  Once it starts to change colour, add garlic and chili flakes.

Steak

Yield:  1 Serving

6 oz Bison Tenderloin
Salt
Blackening Spice

Score tenderloin ¼” deep in crosshatch pattern.   If using skirt steak, do not score. Sprinkle with salt and add generous amount of blackening spice to both sides and rub into meat.  Pan sear over high heat or grill over high heat.  Sear or grill until the spice rub blackens and sticks to steak, flip and repeat.  Cook until medium rare.  Clean pan or grill between batches.

Cracked Caramel & Brownies

Cup O’ Coffee & Brownies – Chocolate Brownie Chunks,

Phil & Sebastian Espresso Mousse, Sautéed Banana, Cracked Caramel 

Juno Awards 2016 Recipes Copyright Roger Mooking 2016

 

Flourless Brownie (Gluten Free)

6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
¾ C Granulated Sugar
8 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate, Chopped
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
¼ Tsp Table Salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Over a bain-marie, melt the butter.  Add sugar and whisk.  Add chopped chocolate.  Whisk for two minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.  Sift together cocoa powder and cornstarch.  Add salt and mix.  Transfer to prepared brownie pan.  Bake for 23 minutes.  Cool in pan to room temperature.  Cut into 1×1” cubes

Bananas

1/2 C chopped Banana
3 Tbsp Water
2 Tsp Granulated Sugar
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Combine all in a pan and saute until softened, allow to cool fully.

Cracked Caramel
Vegetable oil to grease pans
2 ½ C Granulated Sugar
2/3 C light Corn Syrup
6 Tbsp Water
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Baking Soda

Line a high sided pan with with oil and parchment paper so that the parchment paper is 2” above the height of the top of the vessel.  Set aside.

In a high sided pot and using a candy thermometer, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla.  Bring to 300 degrees F making sure to use a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and add baking soda and whisk until soda puffs and is incorporated, be very carfeful.

Immediately transfer to greased lined dish and cool completely, do not touch hot sugar or tray.  Once fully cool, break into pieces and set aside for garnish.

Phil & Sebastian Espresso Loose Mousse
4 large Egg Yolks
1/4 C Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Fine salt
2 1/2 C cold heavy Cream
2 Tbsp finely ground Phil and Sebastian Honduras Coffee beans
1 Tbsp Icing Sugar

In a medium sized bowl whisk together yolks, sugar and salt until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

In a saucepot, combine 1C of heavy cream and ground espresso, scold the cream and allow the coffee to steep for a two minutes.  Strain through a fine chinoise or a cheese cloth making sure to squeeze out all the moisture.

Slowly and in 3 equal batches, transfer the hot cream into the yolk mixture while whisking.  Once evenly combined, place bowl over a double boiler and cook to anglaise stage.  Transfer to a clean vessel and cover with plastic touching the surface.  Allow to cool fully then transfer to fridge to cool.

Beat 1 C of heavy cream to soft peaks.  Fold heavy cream into chilled anglaise mixture.  Chill.

Beat remaining 1/2 C of heavy cream with icing sugar to soft peaks for garnish.

Plating, Starting From The Bottom:

1 tsp bananas

2 tsp espresso mousse

3 brownies

1 tbsp whipped cream

1 tsp bananas

2 tsp espresso mousse

1 brownie

1 tbsp whipped cream

5 crack rocks

Pinch of raw ground espresso

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