“The Post Hotel opened the year I was born. We had many ski-trip vacations in the old Pipestone Lodge (the cottages situated along the Pipestone Creek are pure Canadiana). Views of the Lake Louise ski area bring back memories of watching ‘torch skiers’ bringing in the New Year. We would also eat lunch on the lawn and watch hikers and the CNR freight train go, reinforcing how this spot fits into Canada’s history. Whenever we pass through this little area of God’s country, we always stop in for at least a meal.” – Reader Ross Chevalier, Chilliwack, B.C.
142. Wild leeks
“I’m especially fond of wild leeks, also known as ramps, which can be found in the Canadian woods during spring. What I love is the juxtaposition of their modest, unassuming appearance with their rather amazing inner qualities. So Canadian! They don’t look like much: just clumps of leaves of a particular oblong shape, pointed at the tip, broad at the waist, tapering to a narrow stalk. They are green. They are well-shaped to take in hand. Not very interesting so far. But …
Bring them to the kitchen, and the excitement begins! These greens are sweet, spicy and garlicky, with nasal tones of forest. The bulbs are more delicate on the palate but also have a certain earthy undertone. I recommend them fried briefly with butter, still firm, used in an omelette with just a tiny quantity of salt. The leaves are sharp on the tongue, even pungent, and a bit heady in aroma once chopped. Harvest great big bags in order to blend the leaves with olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan for the best pesto on earth.
Tips: Having tried various harvesting techniques, such as twisting to one side, a little rotation, pinching, I have discovered that the best thing is just to pull ramps directly out. Yes, straight out, in line with the stalk. If it does not give itself into your hand with a moderate, gentle pull, leave it there to grow in peace.” – Vincent Lam, doctor and author of The Headmaster’s Wager and Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
143. My dad’s steak with red-wine butter and portobello mushrooms
“When I think of Canada Day, I think of grilling in the backyard with my dad every year, while family and friends gather round. I still enjoy carrying on the tradition and look forward to making new memories with friends, old and new. Happy Birthday, Canada.” – Chef Lynn Crawford
DAD’S STEAK WITH RED-WINE BUTTER AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
Red Wine Butter
Makes about ½ cup
- 1 stick (½ cup) room temperature unsalted butter
- ¼ red wine
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
Instructions: Cream butter with wine and shallots until smooth, then stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Dad’s Steak Marinade
Makes about 1⅓ cups
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
Instructions: Stir all ingredients together, pour into an airtight container, refrigerate, and use within 2 weeks.
Marinated Steak and Mushrooms
- 4 New York steaks (about 6 oz. each)
- 1 recipe of Dad’s Marinade
- 4 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
- Salt and pepper
Lay steaks in a single layer in a shallow dish, spoon over half of the marinade to cover both sides, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place mushrooms in a bowl and toss with remaining marinade. Set aside.
Remove steaks from marinade, and barbecue over medium heat for 4 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness, then transfer to a plate, tent with foil, and set aside.
Remove mushrooms from marinade and barbecue on medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
Serve steak and mushrooms with a dollop of red-wine butter on top.
143. Le Cagibi café in Montreal