What an evening! A few months ago, I was asked if I would donate a dinner for 4 to the Riverwood Conservancy Silent Auction Event to be held in April 2013. I agreed, the environment has always been a cause near and dear to my heart. I spent 3 years promoting TD Canada Trust’s Friends of the Environment Foundation when it was just starting to get its wings.

The dinner for 4 package was won by none other than Liz Primeau and her husband Chris Zelkovich. Liz is the founding editor of Canadian Gardening magazine as well as host of Canadian Gardening TV on Life/HGTV. Liz has also written three books and numerous articles on gardening and travel and, even finds time to be a regular speaker at garden shows and clubs. Chris retired a year ago after 30 years with the Toronto Star as Editor and Writer.

To say Liz has a beautiful garden is like saying Lynn Crawford is a good Chef – Lynn’s a great Chef. Liz has an unbelievably beautiful garden! From the time you pull up to the driveway, you just know, this is a work of art and more importantly a labor of love. The Prickly Pear cactus at the front, with its lovely red blooms, the sculpted trees, the vibrant colours, the potted plants, the secret seating places – all combined to create an oasis in the city. Then there is the back yard. Oh my goodness. It was like walking into a dream. Sculpted pines, a pond, the colours on the ground cover, the roses – I really wouldn’t have expected anything less from her, but it truly was a sight to behold. Please check out her site and read her blog – www.lizprimeau.com. She wrote about the dinner and took some pictures of my Risotto.

Liz chose the menu with great care. We must have had a few discussions before deciding on the Thai themed hors d’ oeuvres – Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut dipping sauce, and Pork and Shrimp Meatballs with Ajad (cucumber salad). The appetizer was a Caramelized Onion Tart on Puff Pastry served with Arugula dressed simply in Unfiltered Olive Oil, salt and pepper. For the main, we had two Food Inspires signature dishes – Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin and Snap Pea, Bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano Risotto, served with Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles. Dessert was Mango Cream with Fresh Berries.

So here’s a hint of what you can do with the extra dipping sauce and Ajad. The spicy peanut dipping sauce can be served with pasta, barbequed pork, shrimp or used as a dip for blanched vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or snap peas. The Ajad can be left as is or chopped further to a salsa like consistency and eaten with Rice and any flavored curry, on top of poached fish, with hard boiled eggs – okay, you get the idea. The point is if you like two flavors and you have them handy, try it; you might have just invented a new dish – just don’t forget to share it with me. I’ll give you credit!

Pictures of the food and the beautiful garden follow (I was so in awe of it, I only took a couple, the rest are Liz’s). Don’t forget to check out her blog at http://www.lizprimeau.com/category/in-the-kitchen/recipes/  and Liz’s review of that evening at http://www.foodinspires.com/2013/07/03/liz-writes/