Thursday, July 5, 2012

Caramelized Tomato and Courvoisier Canapes (Toast Topper #5 and a #CVCollective Competition Entry!)

After a long day (or week) at work, have you ever sat back in a favourite armchair, with the fireplace lit, dog at your feet, favourite book in one hand and snifter of cognac in the other? Me neither, but while that imagery is the stuff of stories (or at least long-ago life), the elegance of a well made, tawny amber glass of cognac is a living legend. Cognac itself is an elite drink: the A.O.C. name can only be given to brandy made from Colombard, Folle Blanche, Jurançon blanc, Meslier Saint-François, Montils, Sémillon, or Ugni Blanc grapes, which is then distilled twice in copper pots and aged at least two years in French oak.

Then, of course, you have the cognac of cognacs. The only one I know of (especially as a non-drinker) and definitely the most popular one on the shelf, Courvoisier has made itself known as Napoleon's choice of cognac:
The origin of our history goes back to the beginning of the 19th century with Emmanuel Courvoisier and his associate, Louis Gallois, running a wine and spirit merchant company, in the Parisian suburb of Bercy. In 1811 Napoleon visited their warehouses in Bercy and he was hosted by Louis Gallois, the Mayor, and Emmanuel Courvoisier. Legend has it that Napoleon I later took several barrels of cognac with him to St Helena, a treat much Courvoisier varieappreciated by the English officers on the ship who named it 'The Cognac of Napoleon'. 
It is this infamous, old-world producer of the spirit that is launching a competition to discover the top Courvoisier cooks in Ontario. Both culinary students and home cooks are being invited by the company to create and submit their best recipe with one of the ties. Until August 24, Ontario cooks can log on to the Courvoisier Collective website and share their creations.

The basic guidelines for the competition are as follows (official rules are at the bottom of this post and on the website):
  • Recipes must use Courvoisier
  • Recipes must be original, including ingredient list, cooking instructions and photograph
  • Recipes must be one of the following: soup, salad, hors d'oeuvres or entrees
  • Recipes must not contain more than 15 ingredients
  • Recipes must include a photo
  • Recipes must be submitted by an Ontario citizen age 19 or older

On September 7th, a panel of chefs will choose three finalists in each of the student and home cook categories to showcase their creations at a special event on October 17 in Toronto. The final winner will receive $1,000 and all entries will be eligible for the People's Choice Award (selected by online votes).
Even though I can't drink, I do cook with a good range of alcohol. Cognac, however, was not one of the ones on my repertoire until now! I devised a light, yet richly flavoured hors d'oeuvre recipe that showcased not only the cognac in "raw" and "baked" applications, but the beauty of the Summer's produce as well. Fresh herbs and tomatoes roast into a caramelly spread, lemon and green onion add a touch of brightness, ground almonds and breadcrumbs add thickness and body and a twist of Courvoisier VS roaked raisins adds a touch of sweetness and exoticism. Spread onto homemade, black pepper and sea salt crispbread, it's an elegant appetizer you can also keep all to yourself!

Note: The topping takes a day to steep, and tastes better done a few days in advance. The crisps are best done the day of serving although they will keep 1-2 days.
Caramelized Tomato and Courvoisier Canapes
Makes about 20
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Courvoisier VS cognac
3 tbsp water or more, as needed
cornstarch for rolling

Caramelized Tomato Topping:
2 tbsp dark raisins
3 tbsp Courvoisier VS cognac
5 large plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 green onion, minced, plus some for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, raw sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the olive oil, Courvoisier VS and just enough water to form a stiff but sticky dough.
  4. Turn mixture out onto a cornstarch-dusted counter, knead briefly and form into a ball.
  5. Divide dough in half and let rest 15 minutes (uncovered).
  6. Working with one portion at a time, Place on a sheet of parchment dusted generously with cornstarch and roll until paper-thin.
  7. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. Repeat wth remaining dough and another sheet of parchment.
  8. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 15 minutes, rotating sheet after 7 minutes.
  9. Cool on the sheet.
  10. Once cool, break into "rustic", uneven pieces.
  11. Crisps can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.
  1. In a small container, combine raisins and Courvoisier VS. Cover and let steep overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  3. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  4. Roast for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with raw sugar, thyme and rosemary.
  6. Return to the oven and roast a further 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes, then scrape the entire pan contents into a blender or small food processor and add the raisins (with liquid), lemon zest, ground almonds, breadcrumbs and green onion.
  8. Puree until smooth and thick.
  9. Let cool, then scrape into a bowl and chill before serving. 
  1. Place 1-2 tsp of the Caramelized Tomato Topping on top of each crisp. Garnish with green onion.
  2. Serve within 3 hours of assembly.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 55.6
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 58.2 mg
Total Carbs: 7.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.9 g

The tasting notes of Courvoisier VS:
Colour: gold, amber light.
Aroma: fruity, slightly sweet, young oak and smell of alcohol.
Taste: a little spicy at first, but soon after soft palate with sweet, fruity and floral tones. By using new oak barrels, there is a strong woody flavor perceptible.
After-taste: short, intense, sharp and very powerful.
Origin: mainly Finnish but also Bois Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Borderies.
Age: 4-7 years old.

The Courvoisier Collective Culinary Masterpiece Competition is a call for entry that involves student and at-home chefs creating new and inspirational recipes inspired-by and infused with Courvoisier cognac. Budding chefs can submit their original culinary masterpiece which meets the criteria set forth below in these rules.
1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A purchase will not increase your chance of winning. The Courvoisier Collective Culinary Masterpieces Competition is comprised of two separate category calls for submissions or original work, namely one category submission by culinary students and another separate category submission by at-home amateur chefs (collectively the "Contest"). Entrants may only enter one category. Contest sponsored by Beam Canada, Inc. ("Sponsor") on-line by completing the entry form including name and e-mail address at and following the on-screen instructions.
To enter: Beginning 12:00:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time ("EST") on July 3, 2012 and ending at 11:59:59 a.m. EST on August 24, 2012, access and follow the on-screen instructions to enter the Contest by completing the entry form and by submitting an ingredient list, cooking instructions (collectively the "Recipe") and photograph of the of the entrant's original completed recipe (collectively the "Entry). Beginning on July 3, 2012, eligible entrants can enter the Contest through The Courvoisier Collective application by accessing and follow the on-screen instructions, which includes connecting with Facebook to allow the use Courvoisier Collective application.
Only Recipes that meet the following criteria will be accepted:
- Must fall under the category of soup, salad, hors d'oeuvres, or entrée
- Must be an original recipe, ingredient list, cooking instructions and photograph of the completed Recipe only, photos of anything else may not be accepted as an eligible Entry
- Must stay under 15 ingredients and include directions to infuse with one of the following Courvoisier cognac expressions: VS, VSOP, Exclusif or XO
- Must be submitted by a resident of Ontario who is 19 years of age or older with an authorized Facebook account
Submissions after 11:59:59 a.m. EST on August 24, 2012 will not be eligible to enter the Contest. Entries must be suitable for publication and compliant with the following content requirements in the sole opinion of the judges. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entry that it determines in its sole discretion to contain any content that depicts consumption of alcoholic beverages, depicts anyone who is or appears to be under the legal age of drinking in the applicable province or territory of residence, is obscene, defamatory, dangerous, discriminatory, infringing or otherwise inappropriate or unsuitable for publication to general audiences over the age of nineteen (19), depicts children or images that primarily appeal to those under the legal purchase age, or that contains any third party trademarks (other than those of Courvoisier, should entrant choose to include Courvoisier product(s) in the Entry) or copyright protected material. All entrants must use caution and common sense in creating the Recipe, taking the photograph and submitting the Entry.
Entries must be submitted by, and in the name of, one individual person who is participating in the Contest. Entries will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of registration. The "authorized account holder" is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. The computer clock of Sponsor's webmaster is the official timekeeping device of the Contest. All Entries must be transmitted, completed, and received between 11:59:59 a.m. ET on August 24, 2012.
Entry Errors/Tampering: Sponsor is not responsible for: (i) electronic or digital transmissions or any entries that are lost, late, stolen, incomplete, illegible, damaged, garbled, destroyed, postage-due or misdirected; (ii) any problems or technical malfunctions, errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, delays in operation or transmission, communication failures, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries; (iii) failed or unavailable hardware, network, software or telephone transmissions, damage to entrants' or any person's computer and/or its contents, or causes beyond Sponsor's reasonable control that jeopardize the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest; (iv) any entries submitted in a manner that is not expressly allowed under these rules; (v) incorrect or inaccurate entry information whether caused by entrants or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest, (vi) any typographical or other error in the printing or advertising of the offer, administration or execution of the Contest, or in the announcement of prizes/prize winners/finalists; or (vii) malfunctions or interference resulting from illicit, malicious or injurious code (including but not limited to viruses, worms and denial of service attacks). Sponsor reserves the right, without liability to cancel, modify or terminate the Contest for any reason, including but not limited to any accident, printing, administrative, or other error of any kind, transmission failure, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsor that corrupt or affect the security, administration, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Contest, or if the Contest is compromised or becomes technically corrupted in any way, electronically or otherwise, and Sponsor reserves the right, but shall not be obligated, to select the winners from among all non-suspect entries received in each category as of the date and time of such termination, cancellation or modification. Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify and prosecute any individual who tampers with or attempts to tamper with the entry or voting process or who votes using any automatic or programmed entry duplication method.
2. Limit one (1) Entry per person, e-mail address. If more than one entry is received per person or e-mail address by any means including, but not limited to, establishing multiple e-mail accounts, all such entries submitted will be disqualified.
3. Valid entries received by the dates and times set forth in Rule 1 will be eligible to be judged by a committee of qualified judges between August 24, 2012 and September 7, 2012 for the Contest (See Rule 1, above, for content requirements and see Rule 4, below, for judging details). Proof of mailing, e-mailing or registering does not constitute proof of delivery or receipt by Sponsor.
By entering, entrants acknowledge compliance with these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and agree to waive all rights and remedies at law or in equity for any claim they may have relating to this promotion. By entering, entrant represents and warrants that his or her Entry and Recipe is his or her original creation, that neither the Entry itself, the Recipe or the act of preparing the Entry infringes or infringed on the property or other rights of any third party, and that the Entry is suitable for publication (i.e., is not obscene or indecent and complies with the content requirements in Rule 1 in the sole opinion of the judges). Modifying, enhancing or altering a third party's pre-existing work does not qualify as an entrant's original creation.
Entrants grant Sponsor the non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable, and unlimited rights to use, reproduce, copy, publish, display, distribute, perform, translate, adapt, edit, modify, retouch, alter and otherwise exploit the Recipes or photos and to incorporate them in other works in any and all markets and media, whether now known or hereafter developed, throughout the universe in perpetuity. Should the Sponsor use an Entrant's Recipe, proper accreditation will be given in the form of the Entrant's name as provided with their Entry. Entrants warrant that they have the exclusive right to grant such rights to Sponsor, and that the Sponsor's reproduction, publishing, displaying, editing, modifying, retouching, altering and/or other use of the Submissions will not infringe on any rights of third parties, including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, privacy, personal, proprietary, or publicity rights, anywhere in the world. Entrants agree that Sponsor shall have no obligation to copy, publish, display, or otherwise exploit the Recipes or photos.
All eligible entries will also be posted on the site and may be announced by news release.
4. Judging and Voting:
Round one:
Public Voting. Submissions will be open to voting on between approximately July 3, 2012 and August 24, 2012. Eligible members of the public may vote for their favorite entry no more than once per day, subject to the terms of use of the website. Voters must be at least 19 years of age or older at the time of voting, and no more than one vote is allowed per user per day. Votes that do not comply with the Official Rules or these requirements, or that result from fraud or collusion, may be disqualified in Sponsor's sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to void all votes made through any robotic, automatic, mechanical, programmed or similar entry duplication method and to disqualify any individual using such a method. If an entrant is found to have engaged in such fraud, collusion or prohibited activity, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, he or she will be disqualified and will not be eligible to win a prize in this Contest.
Judging. Starting on August 25, 2012, recipe submissions will be reviewed by a committee of qualified judges selected by the Sponsor. Judges will select recipes that best exemplify a revolutionary approach to cooking with Courvoisier and based on the following criteria: Creativity (25%), Technique (25%) & Originality (25%). Judges scores are final and will not be revealed. Decisions of the judges are final and binding in all matters relating to Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to decrease the number of selected entrants if a sufficient number of qualifying entries is not received.
Determination of Winner. Six (6) Finalists (three (3) from the at-home amateur category and three (3) from the student-chef category will be selected on or around September 7, 2012. The following weights will be assigned to the final score for each recipe; Judging Score - seventy five percent (75%) Public Vote Totals - twenty five percent (25%). On the basis thereof, the Sponsor will determine the selected Finalists.
A "People's Choice" winner will also be selected and announced on, based on the entrant with the most public votes. The People's Choice winner will not receive any prize and is not guaranteed to be selected as a Finalist. Finalists will be chosen based on the criteria and scoring stated above in the Determination of Winner section of Rule 4.
Odds of winning depend on the caliber of each entry and on the number of votes received as noted above and the number of entries. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements of these Official Rules.
Round two:
Judging. Finalists, as defined in these Rules, will attend the Courvoisier Collective event on October 17, 2012 in Toronto to prepare their recipe submissions with the Judges and professional chefs. Recipes will be served to Judges and attendees of the Courvoisier Collective event on October 17, 2012. Judges will select recipes that best exemplify a revolutionary approach to cooking with Courvoisier and based on the following criteria: Creativity (25%), Technique (25%) & Originality (25%). Judges scores are final and will not be revealed. Decisions of the judges are final and binding in all matters relating to Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to decrease the number of selected entrants if a sufficient number of qualifying entries is not received. All food, preparation materials for the Courvoisier Collective event on October 17, 2012, will be provided by the Sponsor.
5. Prizes:
Finalists: Six (6) Finalists, determined by Rule 4 above, will be awarded: A Visa gift card valued at five hundred dollars ($500.00) for Finalist to use toward a trip to Toronto, including accommodations (if necessary) to attend the Courvoisier Collective event on October 17, 2012. Finalists will have the opportunity to work with a team of elite chefs to recreate their recipe and have it served at the Courvoisier Collective event. Finalist Prize requires entrant to attend the event on October 17, 2012 in Toronto.
Grand Prize: Two (2) of the Finalists (one (1) from the Student Finalists and one (1) from the amateur Finalists, described above) will be awarded one thousand dollars ($1,000). The winners will be selected at the event based on criteria listed in Rule 4 Round two Judging. The Prizes consist only of items specified herein. Dollar amounts are expressed in Canadian currency. Prizes are non-transferable, and no prize substitutions or cash redemptions are allowed except by Sponsor in its sole discretion, or as otherwise provided herein. The Prizes will be awarded according to these rules, no later than October 20, 2012 providing all recipients have claimed the prize by submitting a Declaration of Release form, issued by the Sponsor. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes is $10,000.
6. Selected entrants may be required to provide positive government issued identification specified by Sponsor to claim the Prize. The Selected Entrant will be required to sign and return a Declaration and Release Form and may be required to sign additional documents without additional compensation (where permitted by law) in a timely fashion in order to claim the Prize, or the Prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner, time permitting, based on the criteria described above.
7. Rights: By submitting an entry you warrant that it is your wholly original creation, including all underlying elements, and does not infringe any copyright, trademark, publicity, privacy or other intellectual property or proprietary right of any third party, including any union or guild. Entrants further warrant that they have obtained a written assignment of all rights, title and interest in and to the Entry, including intellectual property rights, to him or herself from all contributors to the Entry, if any, and a written irrevocable waiver of moral rights from all contributors to the Entry; other than in respect of the contributions from the contributors to the Entry who have provided a written assignment and waiver, no third party materials are used in the Entry, whether or not licensed. Entrant agrees that it will provide proof of any assignment, waiver, permission, consent and release described in these rules upon request.
By participating, entrants hereby agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, Facebook, Provincial Liquor Boards/Branches, independent judges, their affiliates, subsidiaries, each of their respective directors, officers, shareholders, employees, agents, and advertising and promotional agencies (collectively the "Releasees") from and against any and all liability for claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages of any kind, (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to, or loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light) which may occur in connection with use of the website (including but not limited to damage to entrants' or others' computer equipment resulting from participation), their preparation for or participation in the Contest or preparation or posting of any entry, or from their acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize or participation in any prize-related activity they may be awarded.
Selected entrants agree to indemnify and hold the Releasees harmless from and against any claims, suits, losses, damages and expenses, including reasonable legal fees and costs (including attorney's fees and costs), which arise in connection with any allegation that their entry violates the intellectual property rights of any third party, or in connection with any allegation based on rights of privacy or publicity, defamation or portrayal in a false light.
Additional important details regarding the rights of entrants and persons appearing in the Contest entries are contained in the website Terms and Privacy Policy, to which entrants will be required to indicate their agreement before entering. Online entrants must review the website Terms and Privacy Policy before entering.
8. This Contest is open to legal residents of Ontario, Canada who are at least 19 years of age or older at the time of entry, except employees, directors, officers and agents of the Sponsor, its parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, Provincial Liquor Boards/Branches, liquor licensees, the Sponsor's advertising and promotion agencies, independent judges and members of the immediate families (defined for these purposes as including parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents, and each of their respective spouses) or households (whether related or not) of any of the above. Except where prohibited, this Contest shall only be construed and evaluated according to applicable Canadian Federal, Provincial, and/or Municipal laws and regulations, and submission of an entry constitutes acceptance of the laws of Canada. Sponsor reserves the right to take such action as it deems necessary to enforce these Official Rules and ensure the fair operation of this Contest, including, without limitation, barring entrants who do not comply with these Official Rules. This Contest is void outside of Canada and where prohibited by law.
9. PERSONAL INFORMATION: By entering the Contest or accepting a prize, entrants consent to the collection, use, storage and distribution of their personal information, including without limitation their name, address, telephone number and age by Sponsor in reference to all matters related to this Contest or in any publicity carried out by them without compensation and agree to abide by the Contest Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final. Such information is stored for only so long as required to complete the purpose for which it was collected. An entrant's personal information shall not be provided to any third party by Sponsor without the entrant's consent except for the purposes of executing and administering this Contest and the prizes.
10. The Provincial Liquor Boards/Branches/Agencies/Retailers are not connected with this Contest in any manner whatsoever, and are not liable in any way whatsoever in regard to any matter that relates to this Contest.
11. For the name of the Prize winner, send a self-addressed stamped business-size envelope after January 1, 2013 and no later than February 1, 2013 to: The Courvoisier Collective, Beam Canada, Inc., 67 Mowat Avenue, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E3 or visit between the above-referenced dates. Canadian residents must include Canadian postage.
13. Sponsor: Beam Canada, Inc., 67 Mowat Avenue, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E3
14. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Entrant is providing information to Beam Canada, Inc. and not to Facebook. The information entrant provides will only be used for verification of eligibility to participate in the promotion. Please direct any questions or comments regarding this promotion to Beam Canada, Inc.
Legal Notice. Privacy Policy. Please see the Courvoisier legal notice and privacy policy for more information.
Courvoisier® Cognac, 40% alc./vol. Courvoisier Import Company, Deerfield, IL USA Courvoisier is a trademark of Courvoisier S.A.S. ©2012 Courvoisier S.A.S.

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