I felt very fortunate to be part of the team that put together the dinner for this year’s event. This was the second year that my uncle Peter (who owns and operates Dooher’s Bakery, formerly my grandfather’s shop) took on the challenge of creating and preparing the menu. The meal was seven courses and most of the ingredients were sourced from local suppliers. It is amazing what you can find right in your own backyard. There are so many great food producers in Ontario it is a wonder sometimes that we look to find our food from anywhere else.
We had a charcuterie platter that included pâté made by one of the members of the kitchen team, a raw ewe milk cheese produced by a local farmer and a very flavourful wild leek sausage that came from a local butcher. We even included a dish of homemade dill pickles that were donated by one of the team member’s grandmothers.
We served a wild mushroom soup made with mushrooms provided by a local supplier and for dinner we had bison tenderloin that came from a local bison farm. And finally the cheesecake, of course, was made fresh in my uncle’s shop and I had the task of making 12 batches of the Orange Caramel sauce. My kitchen has never smelled as good as it did that night. I felt like I was surrounded by a cloud of caramelized sugar.
Overall it was two very long and tiring days prepping, cooking and plating for close to 150 attendees but it was a very rewarding experience. My uncle was a great leader and a lot of fun to be with in the kitchen. Everything turned out beautifully and best of all we raised a considerable sum that will go towards the purchase of a CT Scanner for the hospital.
We eventually decided to go without it but I wanted to pass on the recipe because it was so good and easy to make. I found this a nice change from Hummus. It seemed lighter and the garlic and thyme really worked well with the mild creaminess of the white beans. I made it once with roasted garlic and once with regular garlic and it was great both ways. The roasted garlic added a subtle sweetness while the regular garlic gave the spread a nice bite.
White Bean Spread
This is from my personal recipe box. You can use canned white beans or you can cook dried beans according to the directions on the package and go from there. If I start with dried beans I add thyme and garlic to the boiling water to up the flavour of the dip.
1 lb or 2 cans of cooked white beans
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of roasted garlic or 1-2 cloves of fresh
1/4 cup water, or as needed to reach the desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the white beans and thyme. Turn on the processor and add the olive oil through the feed shoot. Add the 1/4 cup of water slowly. Once the dip looks to be the consistency you want, stop adding the water. You may find you do not need the full 1/4 cup. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers, pita bread or cut vegetables. This spread is also very nice in a sandwich with roast vegetables.
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