Railtown Cafe's pastry chef Alex Abley shares delicious dishes for you to make at home

Railtown Cafe's pastry chef Alex Abley shares delicious dishes for you to make at home

Chilled Summer Pea Chowder

“A light summer dish layered with sweet pea puree, shellfish gelée, chowder garnish and potato cream, topped with caviar and a crisp rye crouton.”

Spring Pea Purée INGREDIENTS

  •  2 cups freshly-shucked English peas
  • 1 spring onion (white only), julienned
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic lightly in butter until soft.
  2. Add the peas and chopped tarragon, fill with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until peas are soft but still green.
  3. Add cream, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add lemon to taste.
  4. Using a hand-blender, mix until smooth.
  5. Divide the thick, bright green purée into 8 glass verrines (small thick-glass containers) and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Shellfish Gelée

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 live Dungeness crab
  • 3 oz live littleneck clams
  • 3 oz live mussels
  •  3 oz side striped shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • Parsley chiffonade
  • Chive tips
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 Tbsp double-shucked peas
  • 1/4 fennel and fennel frond
  • 2 sheets gelatin (bloomed in ice water)

Instructions

  1. Cook the crab in simmering water for 10 minutes and ice down to chill.
  2. Poach the shrimp in court-bouillon until tender (about 90 seconds).
  3. Simmer the clams and mussels in butter, white wine, shallots and garlic until the shells open up. Chill down and reserve the cooking juices.
  4. Separate the meat from the shells.
  5. Clean the crab meat out of the shell and make a stock with the crab carcass.
  6. Strain the stock and mix with the clam and mussel broth, heat and add the bloomed gelatin sheets to 400ml of stock. Strain and chill.
  7. Brunoise the carrot, celery and fennel. Blanch in salted water till soft.
  8. Add the parsley chiffonade and chive tips, mix together with the shellfish meat, the brunoise vegetables, the double-shucked peas and the warm gelée.
  9. Divide the gelée over top of the pea purée inside your the glass verrines.
  10. Refrigerate.

Potato Vichyssoise 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled, diced and boiled until soft
  • 1 spring onion julienne
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp whipped cream
  • Salt and lemon juice to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat off the spring onion in butter until soft.
  2. Add cooked potato and cream, reduce by half.
  3. Purée quickly in the blender until smooth. Allow to cool and fold in 1 Tbsp whipped cream.
  4. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

To Finish

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tin Northern Divine Caviar
  • Chive tips for garnish

Instructions

  1. Take the verrines out of the fridge, top with a thin layer of the potato vichyssoise, a spoon of caviar and garnish with a chive tip.
  2. You should see 3 perfect layers of spring pea purée, shellfish gelée and potato vichyssoise.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Yield: 8 appetizer portions

Tomato Basil Quinoa Muffins
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers 

Tomato Basil Quinoa Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1¾ cup quinoa
  • 3 cups raw spinach, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped and cooked low and slow until caramelized
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 sprigs basil, chiffonade
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  •  5 eggs

Instructions

  1. Bring 3½ cups water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and cook on low heat for 12 minutes. Turn heat off, and allow quinoa to steam while covered for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. Toss cooled quinoa with garlic powder, chili flakes, salt and rice flour.
  3. Whisk eggs and combine with quinoa mixture.
  4. Add spinach, caramelized onions, tomatoes, cheese and basil.
  5. Portion the mixture into a greased muffin tin or half-sphere silpat mold as we do at Railtown.
  6.  Bake at 325°F for 35 minutes.
  7.  Enjoy!

Yield: 12 muffins

Maker’s Mark Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Sauce
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers 

Maker’s Mark Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, and sautéed on low heat until sweet
  • 1/2 tbsp chili flakes
  • 6¼ cups ketchup
  • 2 cups Bull’s-Eye BBQ sauce
  •  2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, seeded and charred
  • 1/4 of a pineapple, sliced and charred
  • 45 mL Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Instructions

  1. Simmer everything for 1.5 hours.
  2. Blend, adjust seasoning, and then stir in Maker’s Mark to finish.
Texas-style Smoked Beef Brisket
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers 

Texas-style Smoked Beef Brisket

EQUIPMENT

  • Lump charcoal
  • Apple wood
  • Smoker/BBQ

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 10-12 pound AAA beef brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch thickness
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

DRY RUB

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 15 g garlic   
  • 15 g onion
  • 10 g mustard
  • 10 g chili
  • 5 g cayenne
  • 10 g paprika
  • 13 g pepper
  • 5 g cumin
  • 5 g coriander
  • 5 g bay
  • 4 g thyme
  • 5 g rosemary

Instructions

  1. The day before cooking, rinse the brisket, pat dry and rub with Dijon mustard.
  2. Generously season the brisket with the dry rub mixture on all sides. Using your hands, rub the mixture into the meat.
  3. Refrigerate overnight (12 hours).
  4. The next day, light the lump charcoal in the smoker. Heat to 225°F.
  5. Place your brisket inside the smoker (make sure there is no direct heat).
  6. Insert a water pan under the brisket to catch all the juicy drippings. Set your vents to keep a constant temperature of 215°F-225°F.
  7. The thickest part of the meat should register 200°F (about 12 hours cooking time).
  8.  Wrap in tin foil and let rest for 45 minutes. Enjoy.

Serves 12-16 people

Jalapeño Jack Cornbread
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers 

Jalapeño Jack Cornbread

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 kg creamed corn
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 ¾ cups butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ cups minced jalapeño
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 3 cups jalepeño jack cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 4 ½ tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2.  Melt and cool butter to room temperature.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together.
  4.  Add in the buttermilk, melted butter and creamed corn and whisk just until combined.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients, cheese and jalapeños, and mix until just combined (lumps are okay)!
  6. Pour batter into a parchment-lined baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Let cool completely in pan, wrap and refrigerate. Portion and reheat as needed.
  9. Wrap in tin foil and let rest for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Yield: 15 servings

Lynchburg Lemonade
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers

Lynchburg Lemonade

"Named after Lynchburg Tennessee, home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery, this is our take on the classic drink, made with our housemade lemonade."

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 part Jack Daniel’s
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 5 parts lemonade

LEMONADE 

  • 100 mL water
  • 19 mL fresh lemon juice
  • 15 mL simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

METHOD

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Serve on ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Yield: 1 serving (adjust based on desired serving size)

Apple-wood Smoked Pork Shoulder
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers

Apple-wood Smoked Pork Shoulder

EQUIPMENT

  • Lump charcoal
  • Apple wood
  • Smoker/BBQ

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 6- to 7-pound bone in Fraser Valley pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

DRY RUB

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 15 g garlic
  • 15 g onion
  • 10 g mustard
  • 10 g chili
  • 5 g cayenne pepper
  • 10 g paprika
  • 10 g cumin
  • 10 g coriander
  • 10 g pepper
  • 5 g bay leaf
  • 4 g sage

Instructions

  1. The day before cooking rinse the pork shoulder, pat dry and rub with Dijon mustard.
  2. Generously season the brisket with the dry rub mixture on all sides and using your hands rub the mixture into the meat.
  3. Refrigerate overnight (12 hours).
  4. Next day, light the lump charcoal in the smoker. Heat to 225°F.
  5. Place your shoulder in (make sure there is no direct heat).
  6. Insert a water pan under the shoulder to catch all the juicy drippings.
  7. Set your vents to keep a constant temperate of 215°F-225°F. The thickest part of the meat should register 195°F (10-12 hours cooking time).
  8. Wrap in tin foil and let rest for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Serves 12-15 people

The Kale Salad

The Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb baby kale
  • 2 cups roasted yams
  • 1/2 cup cooked ancient grains
  • 2 shaved honeycrisp apples
  • 1/2 cup shaved fennel
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seed dressing
  • 1/4 cup crispy squash chips*
  • Fresh goat’s cheese
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

Crispy Squash Chips Instructions

  1. Heat oil to 325°C.
  2. Peel squash and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out any seeds in the base of the squash. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the squash. 
  3. Lightly toss the sliced squash in cornstarch.
  4. Fry until golden brown and crispy (about 5 minutes).
  5. Season with salt, and let dry on paper towel.

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dressing INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 25 mL apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  •  3 cups vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients except vegetable oil until smooth.
  2. Slowly add oil while the blender is running to incorporate into the dressing.
  3. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, and more apple cider vinegar if desired.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Mix baby kale with shaved fennel and apples in your desired serving dish.
  2. Sprinkle with ancient grains, yams and crispy squash chips.
  3. Garnish with crumbled goat’s cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. Top with toasted pumpkin seed dressing.
Dried Apricot, Chestnut & Brioche Bread Stuffing
Credit: Jelter Tanja Photographers

Dried Apricot, Chestnut & Brioche Bread Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 loaves brioche bread, diced into cubes
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  •  4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 small handful of dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • Reserved turkey fat/drippings
  • 3 cups turkey stock
  • 4 whole eggs whisked together
  • Juice of one orange
  • Salt, cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp old bay seasoning spice

Instructions

  1. In an oven preheated to 350°F, toast the brioche cubes into golden brown croutons with garlic oil and salt. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, sage and seasonings together in the reserved turkey dripping and butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the croutons, chestnuts, pine nuts, sautéed vegetables, orange juice, turkey stock and eggs. Season with salt and pepper, mix and place into a casserole dish.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350°F.
  5. Serve with juicy turkey and gravy.
Chicken Pot Pie
Credit: Erin Sousa 

Chicken Pot Pie

INGREDIENTS

Part 1

  • 1 (3.5lbs) roasting chicken
  • 2 cup carrots, rough chop
  • 1½ cups celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups, yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 L water to cover
Part 2

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose four
Part 3

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 1/3 cup celery, small dice
  • 1 1/3 cup carrot, small dice
  • 1 1/3 cup peas
  • All reserved chicken meat, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Part 4

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

  1. Place all the part 1 ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. You may need to add more water so that the ingredients are just covered.
  2. Simmer for 3 hours. Strain, reserve stock. Strip meat off the chicken and reserve.
  3.  In a medium pot, melt the first measure of butter, add the flour and stir into a paste. Add 2L of the chicken stock and whisk until lightly thickened.
  4. In a separate larger pot, melt the second measure of butter. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Slowly cook until tender.
  5. Add diced chicken meat, peas and thyme. Add thickened stock. Season to taste.
  6. Divide the mixture into 8 individual 12-oz cocottes or baking vessels. Brush rim of each dish with egg yolk.
  7. Cut puff pastry so that it fits over each dish. Place on top of each dish while crimping along the edge. Brush puff pastry with remaining egg yolk.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes or until puff pastry is full cooked and a dark golden brown.

Yield: 8 portions