Recipes From One of Penticton’s Best Long Table Dinners
Blow your dinner guests away with these Okanagan-inspired dishes.
Every Sunday from May to October, a room full of strangers gather for dinner at a table perched atop a mountain in Penticton. Joy Road Catering’s long table dinners at God’s Mountain Estate are legendary in the Okanagan for their locally sourced farm-to-table feasts—so much so, that they’ve developed a bit of a cult following.
At a dinner last September, a man across the table from me admitted that it was his third time travelling from Edmonton for one of their Sunday night soirees. “I think it really resonates with a lot of people,” says Joy Road Catering’s chef and owner Dana Ewart. “It reminds people that food is precious and we should honour it more.”
Ewart estimates about 90 percent of her ingredients are sourced from the Okanagan. A fact further reinforced when the woman sitting to my left told me that the squash blossom I was eating she picked herself from a farm she works at in Kelowna.
“You get to showcase all of these other vendors, and farmers, and people who work as hard as you do and who feel as passionate about what they’re doing and producing,” adds Ewart. “At God’s Mountain we get to show off all of those little things.”
Joy Road Catering’s Sunday night long table dinners usually sell-out for the season within a month or two of going on sale– and it’s not hard to see why. God’s Mountain Estate is a small boutique hotel that offers diners panoramic views of Skaha Lake and a sense of peace that only comes from the quiet you get when you’re surrounded by nothing but trees and grapevines.
If you’ve been lucky enough to snag a ticket and you’re itching to taste the beet apple soup again, or if you’re wondering what all of the hype is about, Ewart has shared with us three of her recipes for some of our favourite dishes, so that we can attempt to bring some of the joy of her dinners into our own homes.
1) Beet and Apple Soup
Beets and apples may not seem like the most logical pairing, but this soup recipe is the perfect marriage of sweet and tart.
1 onion (¼ inch dice)
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp butter
1½ cup organic apple juice
2 lb chioggia, or candy cane beets, or purple beets (peeled and cut in to ½ inch dice)
1 L light chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves
2 juniper berries (lightly crushed)
Salt (to taste)
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or to taste)
1) Wash up the beets well, and trim off the tops and tails. Peel and cut the beets into 1/2 inch dice. Melt the butter over medium heat and sweat the diced onion until translucent and tender. Add the beets, juniper, bay leaf, and continue to sweat.
2) Pour over the stock and apple juice and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until the beets are tender to eat (approximately 10-15 minutes) Then puree in a strong blender until smooth. Add salt and acid to taste and strain if necessary. Pour this in to a large bowl and chill in the fridge stirring it up every now and then. It will thicken slightly as it cools.
3) If a thicker soup appeals- peel, core & cut 4 apples to sauté with the beets instead of apple juice.
4) For garnish- horseradish crème fraiche, chives and dill are lovely. Beet chips if you are feeling very fancy. Smoked salmon is also lovely as a rillet or diced.
Yield: Serves 8
2) Fried Ricotta Filled Squash Blossoms
These crispy squash blossoms are the perfect appetizers. One bite in and your mouth will be exploding with flavour thanks to the ricotta filling.
8 squash blossoms (clean and stamen removed)
120g fresh ricotta
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt (to taste)
1 tsp fennel frond (chopped)
Neutral oil for frying
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup sparkling water
1 egg yolk
1) Mix together the ricotta, lemon zest and fennel frond.
2) Clean the blossoms and pipe in the filling until the blossom is half filled. Twist the top petals like the wrapping on a candy. Set aside.
3) Heat the oil to 350F.
4) Mix together the cornstarch, flour, and salt in a small bowl, making a well in the centre. Add the egg yolk and sparkling water to the well. Stir gently to combine – the batter should be smooth and lump-free. Add more water if necessary after testing a blossom (see below) – the batter should be a touch thinner than a crepe batter.
5) To test the consistency on a blossom, the batter should adhere to the blossom and gently run off, still coating the blossom generously, but not be super thick.
6) After dipping the blossom, gently drop it into the oil as a test. Fry until lightly golden (30 seconds approximately) season lightly with salt and cool slightly on a rack. Serve immediately after all are fried. Do not overcrowd the oil or the temperature will drop radically and yield soggy, sad results.
Yield: 8 blossoms
3) Green Goddess Sauce
This fresh sauce pairs beautifully with oven roasted chicken or salmon.
2-4 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup mayonnaise or homemade aioli
½ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup tarragon leaves
3 tbsp chives
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp sorrel (if available)
1) Soak anchovy fillets in water.
2) Measure out mayonnaise and sour cream into a bowl.
3) Juice the lemons and remove the bones from the anchovies and chop them finely.
4) Chop the garlic.
5) Chop the chives and roughly chop the tarragon and parsley.
6) In a blender, blend the herbs with the lemon juice, garlic and anchovies. Add some of the sour cream or mayo to help the herbs blend.
7) Do not allow the mixture to get too warm or the herbs will turn greyish (we want it bright green!). Blend until homogenous.
8) Add the blended mixture to the remaining mayonnaise or sour cream. Season to taste.
Yield: 500 ml