Valentine’s Day – A Wine and Food Match Made in Heaven

Recipe courtesy of Julie Marr of Kitchen Culinaire

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Toasted Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Wine Pairing:  Lucien Albrecht Sparkling Rose

You can roast the beets, toast the walnuts and make the vinaigrette a few hours ahead of time. Then this salad is all about a bit of last minute assembly!

Ingredients (for the salad):

  • 2 medium beets, washed well
  • 1/4 cup walnuts toasted
  • 2 handfulls of baby arugula leaves, washed and dried well
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese such as Roquefort or Stilton

Ingredients (for the vinaigrette):

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wrap the washed beets in aluminum foil. Roast until tender approximately 1 hour. The beets should easily yield when pierced with the tip of a knife. Allow to cool slightly and then remove the skins and cut into wedges or a large dice. Chill until needed.
  • For the vinaigrette whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the grape seed and walnut oils. Check and adjust seasonings.
  • In a medium bowl toss the beets with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat them. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl place the arugula leaves and add just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. You may not need all of the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide the greens onto two serving plates. Nestle the little jewels of beets around the greens and top with some of the blue cheese and toasted walnuts.
  • Serve.

Seared Beef Tenderloins with a Shallot and Red Wine Reduction, Oven Frites and Sautéed Spinach

Wine Pairing:  Domaine de Mourchon, Séguret, Côte du Rhône Village, Grande Réserve 2006

I have used a French Syrah for the sauce but any full bodied red wine would work well here. Ensure that you remove your beef tenderloins 45 minutes before cooking to allow them to come up to room temperature.

Ingredients (for the oven frites):

  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 even wedges
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients (for the beef tenderloins):

  • 2 beef tenderloins, 6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil (divided)
  • Fine grain sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled

Ingredients (for the sautéed spinach):

  • 1/2 lb fresh spinach leaves, washed well
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak for 10 minutes to help remove some of the starch. Meanwhile, coat a 18 x 12 inch heavy rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. This works almost like little ball bearing and prevents the oven frites from sticking to the baking sheet while cooking. Set the prepared sheet pan aside.
  • Drain the potatoes and spread them on a clean kitchen towel. Using a second kitchen towel dry the potatoes slices very, very well. Rinse and dry the soaking bowl and return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the potato slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown. Using a metal spatula and tongs flip the wedges and then rotate the pan before returning to the oven.  Continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the fires are golden and crisp occasionally rotating the pan and flipping any fries that are browning more quickly.
  • When the oven frites are 15 minutes or so from being done season the tenderloins well with salt and pepper. Heat a medium, heavy oven safe skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the olive oil and then sear the steaks for 3 minutes or so on each side until well browned. Transfer to the preheated oven to finish the cooking 4 to 7 minutes, depending on whether you like your steaks rare, medium rare, medium well or well done.
  • Remove the steaks from the oven, place on a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil.
  • Place the pan on the stove top over medium heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the minced shallots and saute them over medium heat until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the wine a little at a time, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced by 1/3 and then stir in the cold butter. Cover and keep warm.
  • In a medium saute pan over medium high heat  place the butter and the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Using tongs or a wooden spoon stir constantly until the spinach wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • The oven frites should now be done. Remove them the oven and transfer the fries to a large plate lined with paper towel to drain. Season with some additional salt and pepper.
  • On warmed serving plates divide the oven frites and sautéed spinach. Slice the beef tenderloin and arrange the slices on the places and drizzle with the red wine reduction. Serve at once.

Profiteroles filled with Coffee Ice Cream with a Warm Hazelnut Sauce

Wine Pairing:  Lucien Albrecht Sparkling Rose

This dessert is all about the assembly of some carefully purchased ingredients. You can, of course, make your own choux puffs but an easy option is to purchase them from a good quality bakery. You can buy unfilled profiteroles at La Baguette on Granville Island. They often have them fresh but if not they can be found in their freezer section. They cost 4.99 per dozen.

Ingredients (for 6 profiteroles):

  • 1 500 ml container of coffee ice cream
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella or Green and Blacks)
  • 1/8 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted, husked and chopped


  • Slice the profiteroles in half. Place 3 profiterole bottoms on each serving plate. Place a small scoop of coffee ice cream on each of the bottoms and place the profiterole tops on each one.
  • In a small bowl combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread an whipping cream. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or so until warm. Stir the mixture to eliminate any lumps.
  • Spoon the warmed sauce over the tops of the filled profiteroles and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve at once.

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