Matt Basile makes us Brunch for Dinner

January26

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I first met Matt in the spring of 2017 at a Canola Summit. We happened to be sitting next to each other but I didn’t get much time to visit with him as he was also the MC of the event. I do feel that I got to know him better when we happened upon his Netflix series “Rebel without a Kitchen”. This is what I can say about Matt. He has boundless energy, believes that food should be fun, recognizes that food is a gift of love and that in this coming year he will cook on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In all, my kinda guy. He demonstrated all of these traits in the 3 hours we got to spend with him recently as well as explain his Ellen fascination.

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When I say “we”, I mean the lovely ladies of canola, fellow canola alumni and a variety of other foodies who knew that Matt would deliver deliciously fun times. He did not disappoint. And by the way, we all got a copy of Matt’s Street Food Diaries. Matt says and I agree, sometimes the food stories in cookbooks are better than the recipes!

I was seated with 4 such foodies, Ellen (from canola, not THE Ellen), a dietician who works for Cancer Care Manitoba with Sister #3 and old friend Zen Becca. The ladies from De Luca Fine Wines were pouring three reds and I chose the Washington State Merlot. The perfect accompaniment to Brunch for Dinner!

As Matt declares: “breakfast is just a meal but brunch is a culture!” He has a brunch cookbook coming out in September 2018. Watch for it.

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First up was a Huevo Ranchero Tostada aka Vegetarian Tortillas. Two corn tortillas were topped with a sunny side up egg and a delectable combination of onions, jalapeños, black beans, two kinds of peppers and garden tomatoes. Matt indicated that if you didn’t have fresh tomatoes or desired a “loser” sauce, you could substitute a can of chopped tomatoes. I especially appreciated the cool tastes of sour cream and cilantro which topped the dish.

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Chimichurri skirt steak followed. Matt showed us how to cook and carve the steak so that is was full of flavour and perfectly tender. The steak strips were perched up a crostini and then topped with a poached egg. Matt’s Chimichurri sauce was chock full of cilantro and I loved this dish. I would never be afraid to serve it as a dinner entrée!

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Matt’s piece de resistance were his waffles and fried chicken. In fact Ellen (no not THAT Ellen) declared that she wanted to bring Matt back to Winnipeg just so that she could taste his fried chicken again! The chicken was so tender and delicious that I am going to try to duplicate it this evening. I had some thawed chicken breasts so I marinated them in pickle juice this morning (don’t knock it til you try it!) and buttermilk this afternoon. I am going to dredge and squeeze them into a flour mixture just as Matt demonstrated and I will let you know the results.

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In the mean time our dessert course was S’more French toast. A light toast smothered with Nutella and torched marshmallows. I cannot wait to serve them to the Wee Ones this summer at the lake.

PS My fried chicken was a hit (even when I ran out of canola oil)!

Kath’s quote: “You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken”. -Paula Deen

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Love never fails.

 

 

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