Greetings once more dear reader, and welcome back to my second of four (yes, count em four!) special reviews regarding Inniskillin's 2010 Summer Series of fine vinos!

My first review, in case you missed it, discussed its very fine, tasty and frankly bloody wonderful Pinot Gris, so I thought I'd follow up with its cousin (well, cousin in the grape kinda sense y'all), the Pinot Noir!

As always for these four reviews, a little history, this time about our good friend Monsieur Noir. As with the Pinot Gris of my previous review of yore, its name is based on le French, with "Pinot" meaning "pine cone" (because the grapes are bunched in a similar looking shape), and "Noir" for "black," because of the dark purple grapes which yields this type of booze. Although a difficult grape to cultivate and turn into wine, its history can be traced back to the Middle Ages at least, and maybe even to the First Century AD (great Caesar's ghost!).

(Aside: I've often thought to myself, "What would he think, having been a great lawmaker, statesman, politician, knowing that his greatest name recognition two thousand years later would come from a salad?")

Anyway! This particular Pinot from my friends @ Inniskillin was sourced from three vineyards in its Niagara estate, and were aged separately (so says the ever knowledgeable back of the bottle) in French Oak barrels - tres bien! This, like all of the Winemaker's Series wines, is a VQA wine.

Now, for the pairing bit, which I will briefly describe here, and will go into detail later! That night my wife had ground beef on the menu, which she turned into some wonderful hamburgers on a toasted bistro bun. Mmm. The beef was mixed with rosemary and paprika, as well as mushrooms, to give it body. It was served with cheddar cheese on top and the usual condiments (mustard, relish, ketchup), and on the side, a cucumber, sweet onion tomato salad, with black pepper and balsamic vinegar dressing.


Looks good no?

Now as always, the main event! First, you'll need a corkscrew...*POP* mission accomplished. Upon pouring (unless you use a straw...), this Pinot pours a cherry plum red colour, and offers minimal glass coating (if that even matters) upon sophisticated slooshing around ye olde glass.

Smelling and detecting which notes of scent are present is always a chore, but I'll to it as always! Well, the first thing that strikes is the peppery/spiciness this wine has, as well as even a hint of chocolate. It is medium nosed (nosed?), with other scents of cherry; it is quite fragrant indeed, and doesn't hold back.

And of course, tasters time! The wine is dry on the palate, has noticeable tannins, is smoothish, but with definite depth; the wine coats the tongue. It too, like its scent, is medium bodied, and tastes of dark cherry and plum, and of course, peppery spice (lots of it...well to me anyways, I'm not huge on spicy reds...unless we're talking Charo, BAM!). The aftertaste continued much of these flavours, and there was some bitterness on the end.

Disclaimer time: as I noted in my previous Summer Series post, I am a lousy food "pairer," and after having had this wine with the food chosen (at least certain parts of it), I'd likely have changed my wine choice. But, that being said, on with our really big shooooow.

This Pinot is more robust than other perhaps milder, more fruity reds, chiefly because of its pepper punch, and I found that the paprika in the burger, and the cracked black pepper (!) on the salad didn't go very well; in short, spice overload! Had the burger been less spiced up, the depth of the beef likely would have went pretty well with those in the wine. An evening wine, at least that is my two Lincoln's, I'd have this one with a medium-well steak, or game, to tame the pepper.

Some wines are better off enjoyed with food: I'd say this one is one of them, and there's nothing wrong with that frankly. This wine has lovely aromas and inviting colour, and a lot of depth and body of taste, but have it with a hearty meal, and you'll likely be buying this one again sometime again down the road.

**3/4 out of 4

Available at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$19.95 (US$19.21).

From LCBO.com:

INNISKILLIN WINEMAKER'S SERIES THREE VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 2007, 750mL bottle

  • LCBO/Vintages #175174
  • Wine, Red Wine
  • 13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
  • Sugar Content: D
  • Made in: Ontario, Canada
  • By: Vincor International Inc.
Read Full Post >>

Print This

ROASTED RED PEPPER TOMATO TILAPIA BAKE

Fish meals are a weekly occurence at my house and I always like to think of new ways to use plain white fish like tilapia. I wanted to make the most out of the meaty texture of this fish so I came up with this meal idea. I took roasted red pepper dip that I had sitting in the fridge, added garlic, olive oil, dried basil and of course juicy slices of tomato and let it bake until ready. Serve this baby on white basmati rice or a delicious creamy risotto and you have a meal fit for any guest. Double this recipe if serving a family of four. I highly recommend this one.

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

Baking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized tilapia fillets (or use any other white fish like cod)
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper dip (pre-made from the grocery store)
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp milk or cream

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Take the fish fillets and place them onto a small casserole dish. Take the roasted red pepper dip and lather it on top of each fillet, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle both the chopped onion and garlic around the baking dish, then layer the thinly sliced tomatoes over top of the fish.

2. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of dried basil around the whole baking dish, drizzle the olive oil all around, and slowly pour in about 4 tbsp of milk or cream into the bottom of the baking dish. Lightly season again with salt and peper. Place it into the oven and bake for a good 20 minutes or until the fish has cooked through and the tomato slices looked nicely roasted in colour. Serve immediately on top of basmati rice.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

DELICIOUS ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Here is a zucchini muffin recipe that I stumbled across on the world wide web that I knew I just had to try. What appealed to me was the simplicity of the recipe and the fact that it used oil instead of butter to make these delectable baked goods. After making a fresh batch I gave them a try, and honestly I have to say it took me back to my childhood. It reminded me of nice lady who used to live next door to us. She used to make my sister and I this beautiful zucchini bread almost every week. I have to say she spoiled us good! I'm going to dedicate this post to my old neighbour who put a smile on my face every time I ate her delicious treats. Give this a try it's definitely a keeper!

Adapted from www.food.com

Makes 20-24 muffins

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Baking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1-3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated (1 medium sized zucchini)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 F and line two muffin pans with paper muffin cups for easy clean up. In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs until you get a foamy consistency, then add in the oil, sugar, and grated zucchini. Stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Stir to lightly combine dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and slowly stir until just combined. At this point if you would like to use the chopped nuts go ahead and gently fold them into the batter. Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared muffin pans and place them into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for a good 30 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

I'm not a big fan of leftover food and I don't really like the idea of eating the same meal again the next day; unless of course you're talking about soups and stews. However, I had about half a meatloaf leftover from a dinner the night before, and I'm not one to throwout food so I came up with this clever idea. I decided to re-create a dish using the leftover meatloaf but not making it taste like the same meal. Layered with thin cut cooked potatoes, and thin cut tomatoes, with melted cheese on top this turned out to be such a satisfying quick dish. This may not be fancy enough to serve to guests but I would definitely make this again for myself on those nights when you just don't feel like doing much.

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Baking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cooked medium potatoes, thinly sliced (1 potato per individual baking dish)
  • leftover meatloaf, chicken or turkey preferred (1 thick slice per individual baking dish)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp vegetable seasoning mix
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • handful of fresh basil, sliced thin
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 4-6 tbsp water or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly coat the bottom of two individual casserole dishes with cooking spray. Layer about 3 thin slices of cooked potato onto each baking dish, then take a slice of leftover meatloaf and lightly crumble the meat on top, layer with 3 slices of potato again, then place the sliced tomatoes on top of each. Make sure to season each layer with a little veggie seasoning, salt and pepper.

2. Take the sliced fresh basil and either place them in between the layers or sprinkle right on top. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese over each baking dish, then pour about 3 tbsp of water or stock onto the bottom of the dish. Drizzle olive oil over each dish and place it into the oven to bake for a good 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the dish has warmed through. I recommend serving this with a nice light mixed salad on the side.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

EASY EGG SALAD SAMMIES

It's been a while since I last posted a yummy sandwich recipe so I thought today would be a perfect day since I made this for my lunch *big smile*. While growing up my mom used to make me this awesome easy egg salad sandwich each week, and I have to say it never failed to put a huge smile on my face. There is just something about this eggy gooey sandwich on a soft bun that makes me giddy with delight. My mom used to make this sandwich when she worked at a deli years ago; so believe me when I say she is quite the expert when it comes to this sandwich. Place a mound of this egg salad into the bun and place a few crisp lettuce leaves on top and just eat! If you're a big fan of egg sammies like me than I suggest making double of this for the next couple days.

Makes 3-4 sammies

Ingredients:
  • 5 boiled eggs
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dill pickle, chopped finely
  • 1 generous dollop of mayonnaise
  • 4 soft kaiser buns or rolls
  • crisp lettuce leaves (2 for each sandwich)

1. Boil 5 eggs for about 20-25 minutes on medium heat, drain the water, then cover the eggs with cold water. Let the eggs sit in the cold water for about 5-7 minutes. Crack the eggs and gently peel the shells off. Place the cooked eggs into a medium sized bowl.

2. Using a fork, mash the eggs until it looks like crumbs. Add in the chopped green onion, parsley, cayenne, a pinch of salt, black pepper, dill pickle and a dollop of mayonnaise. Using a spoon, combine all of the ingredients. Note: You can add more mayo if you wish for a more goopy sandwich but I recommend just using enough to make the egg salad moist. Place a piece of saran wrap over top of the egg salad bowl and place it into the fridge for a good hour before serving. Halve a soft kaiser bun or roll and place a good generous spoonful of the egg salad into the bun, place 2 crisp lettuce leaves on top and close the sandwich. Serve the sammies and eat!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

HONEY GARLIC PORK BRAISE WITH SUMMER VEGGIE PENNE

During one of my weekly grocery shopping adventures recently I went over to the meat section to see what was priced cheap that week. I saw beautiful pork tenderloins that were specially priced and knew I had to grab a couple of those and stock them into my freezer. I just love using this cut of meat since it really takes no time to cook and it always comes out tender and juicy for me. I decided upon making my easy pork honey garlic braise; that would literally take me about half hour to make. To go along side I made this summery vegetarian pasta dish that paired beautifully with this pork. I definitely will have to make this again for the hubby and me down the road. I recommend giving this a try using chicken meat as well.

Serves 2 generously

Honey garlic pork ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized pork tenderloin, cut into chunks
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 large tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of white wine or chicken stock

Summer Veggie Penne Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups dry penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • pinch of hot chili flakes
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, cut into thirds and lengthways into thin matchsticks
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp vegetable seasoning
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (when serving)

1. Place the pork chunks into a medium sized saucepan, then season with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Add in 2 tbsp of olive oil, the minced garlic, chopped onion, the zest and juice of one lemon, and the honey. Give it a quick stir and leave it to marinade for about 10 minutes. Heat the saucepan on medium high heat and let the pork sear on all sides for about 5 minutes, then pour in the white wine and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on the pot and let it braise for good 20-25 minutes or until juicy and tender.

2. Place a large pot of boiling water on the stove, season the water generously with salt and cook the penne pasta until al dente (follow the package instructions). Start this next step once the pasta is almost finished cooking: Heat oil in a large deep skillet, add in the chopped onion and garlic, cook until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle in the chili flakes, salt and pepper.

3. Quickly add in the halved cherry tomatoes, the julienned carrots, and the sliced mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes, making sure that the carrots have not wilted too much. Add in the drained penne pasta, along with the green onion, 2 tbsp of butter, and vegetable seasoning. Toss together for about a minute or two and add in a ladle full of the pasta cooking water to create a bit of sauce. Serve warm with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Make sure not to forget about the yummy braised pork as well. Enjoy!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

CAJUN SPICED LEMONY BAKED FISH WITH MASHED SWEET POTATOES

You can't get a dinner much simpler than this! I see a lot of novice cooks out there that are so afraid to cook with fish because of it's delicate nature. The key I find to cooking fish, especially if you're a first time cook, is to find a sturdy fish like tilapia that is forgiving no matter how much it's handled. Another advice I can give to those novice cooks is to start with a recipe like this one which let's the oven do all of the work for you. The fish comes out flaky and flavourful, which is always a good thing. What makes it even better is that it even looks quite fancy once plated as well. Pair this with roasted veggies and mashed sweet potatoes to complete this easy to do meal.

Serves 2 generously

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Baking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium sized tilapia (can substitute with any white fish)
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning mix
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk (may use a bit less)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take the two fish fillets and place them onto a medium casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning mix, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and dab 2 tbsp of butter on top. Take the lemon slices and place 2 slices on top of each fish fillet, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon right over top. Place it into the oven and bake for a good 20 minutes or until fish is fully cooked.

2. Place the peeled and diced sweet potato in a pot of cold water, then boil the potatoes until tender. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Drain the water, then take a potato masher and start to mash the sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, pour 1/2 cup of milk (add more or less as needed), a pinch of nutmeg, and 3 tbsp of maple syrup. Stir and mash until you get a smooth and light consistency. Once fish is done baking serve immediately along side the mashed potatoes. I recommend serving this with roasted veggies as well. Enjoy!
Read Full Post >>

Print This

So dear reader, good for you on checking back for the first of Matt's Wine Not!'s (is that proper grammar?) reviews on Inniskillin's 2010 Summer Series wines: the 2008 Pinot Gris, which won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Intervin International Wine Awards!

This is the first of four reviews that I will be doing in the aforementioned Inniskillin Summer Series for this calendar year, and I'm starting off with one beautiful wine (and I'm not saying that because I feel the need to suck up to them...I really do like it!!).

These reviews will have a bit more depth to them, including which foods I ate with the wine, just so you have an idea of what to eat (or what not to eat!) with them. I am admittedly a lousy food "pairer" - I drink reds with fish and have no problem doing so! To me, you drink and eat what you want, pair whatever you want, because ultimately, good food and good wine is what you make of it!

First, a little background about the Pinot Gris variety of vino. Pinot Gris is a grayish-blue skinned grape, and is thought to be the mutant clone of Pinot Noir grapes - holy X-Men Batman! The "Pinot" part, for the record, comes from the French word for "pine cone," as the grapes grow in a bunch similar to appearance to its namesake. These grapes originate from France (not the ones actually used in this wine however, they're from Ontario), and have been cultivated since the Middle Ages. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

Next, I will indulge you in the fine meal with which I had the pleasure to eat this with! Having consulted with one of the foodbags at work (I call him "foodbag" for fun, he's actually a nice guy), he advised pairing a Pinot Gris with pork, so, here we go! I did!

My wonderful wife that evening had made a lovely barbeque sauce pork tortilla wrap featuring an apple coleslaw, with salsa, a sour cream/hummus spread, and other accoutrements. I'll tell you how the wine paired with the food, but first, the main event, the wine itself! After all, that's why you're here!

First, I chilled it in my wine fridge (i.e. normal refrigerator as I am not of the status to own a dedicated wine fridge - come on Lotto Max!) for 10 minutes. Got it? Good.

This VQA certified wine is screw-cap-topped (or screw-top-capped?) and upon pouring, this Pinot Gris has a yellowy straw colour, and upon sloshing the vino around ye olde glass, one can see a light glass coating, and even some bubbles popping up here and there.

Poking my nose near the glass, the Pinot Gris had a crisp scent, which was fresh, flavourful, and fruit laden; I noted it was "appley" (nothing but professionalism here!), which was not intense, but was nice.

Taste time, and this wine has a definite fresh bite! T'was bubbly! Zingy! Medium bodied and dry as well, there were notes of apple, peach, and perhaps citrus too. The aftertaste had some fresh sourness, and was a tiny bit bitter, although the flavour lingered on which was great; the apple showed through even in the aftertaste.

Expert opinion (i.e. the back of the bottle) states that this wine was aged in oak barrels (very nice!) and that the wine is:

"not only aromatic but also complex and full. The wine has aromas of peach, vanilla, honey and tropical fruit and has a long finish with a hint of spice."


See, this is why the winemakers get paid the big bucks and I get paid, well, nothing! Of course, you may taste what I taste, or what was noted on the bottle, or you may taste nothing of what we did at all!

That's the beauty of wine: who needs consensus? Make it your own.


Now! For pairing details! The fresh, crisp fruit taste of the wine went very well with the sweet/smokiness of the barbeque sauce pork, as well as the apple in the coleslaw. Where it didn't pair as nice was the lime juice bite in the slaw, as its acid clashed with the zing already present in the Pinot Gris. I'd pair this definitely with pork or a light fish like tilapia, and also chicken, and foods with some spicy kick may go well with it too (although I am an admitted spice wimp).

I'd enjoy this wine any time, afternoon or evening, although I definitely could see myself pulling this one out to a nice Spring or Summer picnic, or early evening night out on a patio to sip and enjoy.

Well what can I say that I've not already said, or typed! It is delightfully bright, fruit laden, crisp, and delicious, and has a refreshing bite that will leave you wanting more. Definitely a great buy, pick up a bottle when you can, because when Winter returns (especially in Canada!) a bottle of this may remind you of warmer days to come.

***1/4 out of 4

Available at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$19.95 (US$18.86).

From LCBO.com:

INNISKILLIN WINEMAKER'S SERIES BARREL AGED PINOT GRIS 2008, 750 mL bottle

  • LCBO/Vintages #177766
  • Wine, White Wine
  • 12.0% Alcohol/Vol.
  • Sugar Content: D
  • Made in: Ontario, Canada
  • By: Vincor International Inc.
Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! INNISKILLIN SUMMER SERIES 2010

Not often do I say that something is a "distinct pleasure," dear reader. Sure it's a distinct pleasure to sleep-in on weekends, orrrr say, a distinct pleasure to watch a new episode of one of my favourite TV shows (could be Pawn Stars for example).

But, this, this, is a distinct pleasure.

I have the honour and yes, distinct pleasure, as I noted in a recent post, to review Inniskillin's 2010 Summer Series of wines.



Inniskillin, for those foreign readers who may not have heard of it, is one of Canada's award-winning premier wineries, located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario (also in British Columbia), Canada (yes, it's warm enough to grow wine grapes here...we've actually been in the 30 Celsius region recently, BLECH!).

Inniskillin was founded in 1974 by two individuals, Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, and managed to obtain a winery license in the Niagara Region, the first since 1929; quite the accomplishment! Since then, Inniskillin has gone on to produce a variety of wine erm, varieties, and is arguably best known for its Ice Wine, which was chosen to be served at this past year's Nobel Prize dinner.

So! You might be asking yourself, "Geez Matt, how'd a goof like you get such a break to write for such a great winery?" First, thanks for the "goof" remark (albeit true), but it comes from the wine and cheese event my wife and I attended in the Winter of late 2009, which also was hosted by Inniskillin. We got in touch, and they were kind enough to invite me to pen a few pieces about their Summer Series! Here we are!

So! (again), what exactly comprises the wines in the Summer Series?

Excellent question! Let me enlighten thee.

Comprising of four wines (three Whites, one Red), they are as follows, all coming from their "Winemaker's Series":
  • Pinot Gris, 2008 - Barrel Aged;
  • Pinot Noir, 2007 - Three Vineyards;
  • Chardonnay, 2008 - Three Vineyards;
  • Riesling, 2008 - Two Vineyards.

The four stars.

All four wines, as with every wine produced by Inniskillin, is VQA - Vintner's Quality Alliance - certified. This is a mark of quality and excellence, and states that wines that bear this label, are comprised of 100% Ontario grown (or BC grown for BC wines) grapes. No bath tub wine here baby!!

Over the next few weeks I will be offering my own proverbial two cents on each of these wines, in the style (if you're a reader) you're accustomed to: laid back, casual, not stuffy, enjoyable (allegedly and hopefully!), and definitely, DEFINITELY, non-expert and very subject to second opinion, well, opinions, with my own thoughts, tastes, and views tossed in for fun!

(NOTE: Your level of fun may vary from piece to piece, or subject to the amount of alcohol consumed prior to or during readings of Matt's Wine Not!)

Stay tuned! ...or be sure to click back!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MULTI BEAN TUNA SUMMER SALAD

In the hot summer I love making all types of different salads for lunch or dinner. It's such a refreshing way to enjoy a meal and the best part is you don't have to slave away in front of a hot stove. I came up with this salad not long ago and really loved the flavour combinations I came up with. Although bean and tuna salads are not a new thing I always like to create my own flare to an already existing idea. The best part about this dish is that it only got better the next day! As they say it's nutritious and delicious! Give this a try this summer.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (540 ml) mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 cans of tuna, chunky style
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • few dashes of tabasco
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, add in the beans, celery, bell pepper, carrot, onion, and tomato. Lightly toss using your clean fingers, then add in the chunky style tuna and lightly break it up using a fork. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and tabasco, then pour it onto the salad. Add in the chopped fresh dill and toss the salad lightly. Taste the bean salad and see if needs more seasoning or olive oil. Note: sometimes the tuna will dry out the salad so you may need to add a bit more olive oil. Place the salad into the fridge for a good 30 minutes before serving or you can leave overnight if you wish. Enjoy!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

This is exactly the kind of food that I grew up with. I remember fondly my Grandmother wrapping beef, Korean hot pepper paste, and rice in a neatly folded lettuce cup and handing it over to me to eat. She knew that my little hands wouldn't be able to put the lettuce cups together so she always did it for me. To this day whenever I make this style of food I'm always reminded of the big family dinners we all had when I was little. With my little girl growing inside of me I'll be sure to introduce her someday to the wonderful world of Korean cuisine starting with these lettuce wraps.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb steak (1 inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean Gochuchang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup baby carrots, sliced in half
  • cooked warm white rice (2 medium bowls full)
  • 1 head of leafy lettuce, washed thoroughly

Sour Cabbage:

  • half a head of savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thirds lengthways, then cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • white vinegar (start with 1/4 cup then taste before adding more)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Take the steak and place it into a big ziploc bag. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame seed oil, grated garlic, ginger, pepper, brown sugar, and Korean gochuchang. Pour the marinade into the ziploc bag with the steak and let it marinade for a good hour before cooking.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high, then place the steak onto the skillet and make sure to pour the rest of the marinade as well. Sear both sides of the steak, then add about 1/4 cup of water, the sliced onion and baby carrots. Place a lid onto the skillet and drop the heat back to a low for a gentle simmer. Cook for a good 45-50 minutes or until fork tender. Depending on what type of steak you buy it may be a shorter or longer cooking time.

3. Meantime, cook the rice in the rice cooker or on the stovetop and wash the lettuce leaves thoroughly in cold water. In a large salad bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage, cucumber, red cabbage, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in about 1/4 cup of white vinegar and the vegetable oil. Toss to combine then taste. The coleslaw should be a bit tangy and sour in flavour, almost like it's being pickled. Add a bit more vinegar if not tangy enough. Place it into the fridge until you're ready to serve.

4. Once the steak is done, let it rest for a minute then start to cut the meat into strips small enough to fit into the lettuce wraps. Serve the rice, coleslaw, lettuce and steak separately on a plate. If you like things more spicy like me then place a spoonful of the Korean gochuchang on the plate so you can smear a bit onto the rice in the lettuce wraps. Assemble each lettuce wrap and eat!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S BEER WE GO! TRAFALGAR CHERRY ALE

Welcome once again dear reader to another enthralling edition of Beer We Go! although I must start off however with some news about wine!

I have been fortunate, and am flattered beyond belief, to have been invited by the wonderful people at Inniskillin (http://www.inniskillin.com), one of the most renowned of Canadian vineyards, to review the four wines of their Summer Series! This will include reviews on three whites and a red, and I cannot wait to dive into this! So, stay tuned, and visit back as I review over the coming weeks some of the best wines Canada has to offer!

Right now though, I must review another product of the True North Strong and Free: Cherry Ale!

Brewed in Southern Ontario, and as you may have guessed by not only the suggestive picture and name, this one is indeed, brewed with cherries - who would've thunk it? I picked this one up at my local LCBO in order to continue my Summeresque booze fest as of late, thinking it'd be a tasty treat to enjoy!

Well, think again.

This has been something I've noticed with fruit ales, or most fruit beers. They may look like its namesake (this one does have a reddish hue to it), and it may smell like its namesake, but that's where the similarities end. This beer reminds me of a pomegranate beer (the first beer I ever reviewed on Beer We Go!), as indeed, it smelt fruity, but was a taste disaster.

Brace thyself.

Coming with a nice gold foil on top and a cap you must use an opener to remove, Cherry Ale is very effervescent (bubbly!) and pours a nice rich gold hue, with as noted, some red overtones.

The nose is nice and sweet, inviting, and does smell of fruit like raspberry and yes, cherry too! Very nice! (And, for the record, it is the look and smell which gave this beer ALL its marks.)

Taste time...sigh. It was dry, and frankly, watery, and flat. There was hardly any sweetness, or cherry taste, or any taste at all. There were notes of hoppiness and slight fruit, but nothing to write home about at all.

The aftertaste was hoppy too, a little bitter, watery, and had minerality like Perrier water.

Very disappointing. As with all beers I've had less than stellar views of, maybe it was just this one bottle, but if not, Cherry Ale was the pits.

Unfortunately this ranks as only one of two that I've ever failed on Beer We Go!. But as I say with everything I less than love: just because I don't love it, doesn't mean you won't (love it).

*3/4 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$4.50 (US$4.23).

From LCBO.com:

TRAFALGAR CHERRY ALE, 650 mL bottle
LCBO #175018
Beer, Ale, Craft Brewery
4.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: 2
Made in: Ontario, Canada
By: Trafalgar Ales and Meads Ltd.
Read Full Post >>

Print This

NANCY'S HOMEMADE MAPLE GRANOLA

Here is a recipe that is really long overdue on my blog here on Food Tastes Yummy. This granola recipe is something I came up with several years ago while I was trying to figure out a healthy but delicious snack for my dad at work. My dad was eating far too many chips for his own good so I really wanted to help him see that healthy food can be just as yummy too (if not better). I'm now making this maple granola for my husband who takes it to work as a snack too. He absolutely loves it! It goes great on top of yogurt and strawberries too. Make double of this and pack it for your whole family.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Baking time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (can substitute dried cherries)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add in the rolled oats, chopped walnuts and almonds. Lightly mix to combine.

2. In a saucepan, whisk in water, brown sugar, pure maple syrup, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and olive oil. Gently simmer the mixture together on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occassionally. Take the maple mixture off the heat and let it cool almost completely.

3. Pour the cooled maple mixture over top of the rolled oats, and using a spatula carefully mix both together, until all of the oats and nuts are coated with the maple mixture. Pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet, and place it in the oven to bake for a good 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Halfway through baking make sure to take it out of the oven, and using a spoon lightly toss the oats around to ensure even cooking. You will know when the granola is done when it's a nice golden brown. Once it's out of the oven mix in the 3/4 cup of dried cranberries, then let the granola cool completely. Place the granola into an airtight container and enjoy.

Cook's notes: You can substitute the nuts for whatever you like. I also like to use cashews and pecans sometimes. If you don't like dried cranberries try dried cherries or blueberries.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

For this particular recipe I was inspired by a chimichurri recipe that I often use to marinade my steaks in. I knew the acidity of the red wine vinegar would really help to tenderize my steaks. Then I opened my cupboard with all of my spices in it and saw paprika, and just knew what I was going to do. I took every day grocery quick fry steaks and let it sit in my marinade for a good 30 minutes, then I went ahead and cooked them. The steaks were so flavourful that I really didn't need to make a sauce to pour over them. It's just amazing what you can do in the kitchen if you put your mind to it. I highly recommend experimenting in your kitchen, you just never know what you can come up with. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Baking time for potatoes: 45 minutes-1 hour

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp paprika (use the sweet variety if you like)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4-6 dashes of tabasco
  • 1 tsp Asian black bean garlic sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 quick fry steaks (score the meat with a knife)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup water

Parmesan potato Ingredients:

  • 2 medium baking potatoes, washed thoroughly
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take the potatoes and prick them using a fork, then wrap them each with foil. Place them into the bottom rack of the oven, and bake it for 45 minutes to one hour. When you're ready to serve these with the steaks, take the potatoes out of the foil, cut them in half and using a fork carefully mash in the inside of the potato. Sprinkle a bit of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a tbsp or two of butter and sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

2. Take a medium sized bowl, add in the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, sugar, red wine vinegar, grated garlic, tabasco, the black bean garlic sauce, and the chopped rosemary. Using a whisk combine all of the marinade together. Take your quick fry steaks and carefully using a paring knife score the meat both ways. Add in the steaks into the marinade and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large cast iron pan or heat up a grill pan, on medium high heat, once it comes up to temperature add in the steaks. Cook the steaks about 3-4 minutes per side for a nice medium, but if you like it cooked more leave it on for another couple minutes. In the last minute of cooking add in the sliced onions with a 1/4 cup of water. Once the water evaporates the steaks are ready to eat. Serve immediately along side the Parmesan potatoes and buttered peas.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S BEER WE GO! GREENE KING INDIA PALE ALE BEER

As you may have noticed (if you've been a good and faithful reader!), I have been canoodling in Summer type drinkies to try and capture the spirit of the season!

This one is somewhat of an offside trip however, although, being an India Pale Ale - and with India being notoriously hot very often - one could say I'm still right in line with doing warm weather related beverages!

I like that line of reasoning, so let's go for it! And so, I bring you this award winning (Silver Award in 2006 from The British Bottlers' Institute) British India Pale Ale, with a Green King (how appropriate) sitting proudly on the label. Don't ask me which Monarch it is...*stares at label*...yeah forget it. It is, however, the official beer of England Rugby (good job!) and the brewer has been in business, I believe, since 1799 (during the reign of King George III, who definitely was not green, but did later become, quite insane).

...and you thought this was just some mindless blob of a blog!

The makers of this IPA seek to emulate those that were sent to the British Raj in the 19th century, and hence if you're a Canadian such as I who is used to the taste of say, Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, prepare yourself for a very different taste experience; they are nothing alike.

On to the booze!

First, get out your bottle opener, you'll need it!

Second, get a glass, or just gawk at it in the bottle, and you'll see it has a lovely brownish-orange, bronze hue.

The scent of the beer is deep and hoppy, and fresh, beery, grainy, full, and not wimpish in any respect. This one is a powerhouse of tastes and aromas.

Medium bodied, this IPA is dry, hoppy, oaky, caramely, and woodsy. There is a definite overtone of bitterness, which comes through loud and clear in the aftertaste.

I expected this ale to be quite dry, which it is: most dark beers/ales usually are. As I'm not a great fan of dry, overly hoppy or malty beers, this one wasn't my ultimate favourite. However, for what it is, it wasn't damn bad; it's just not my favourite style!

God Save the Greene King! (And England Rugby, and after that World Cup, English Football!!)

**1/2 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$3.50 (US$3.31).

From LCBO.com:

GREENE KING IPA, 500 mL bottle
LCBO #65789
Beer, Ale
5.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: 3
Made in: England, United Kingdom
By: Greene King (Morland Plc.)
Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! CHATEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION SYRAH ROSE 2009 FRENCH WINE

Once more, dear reader, I am pleased to bring to you yet another rose style wine, this time from the land of sharply dressed Presidents and beautiful First Ladies (no, not America): France!

I have attempted in these cornball pieces as of late to bring a taste of Summer into your lives by featuring Summery libations of every kind (thus far featuring only a few wines and a beer). But! Thankfully, the Summer is young (for now), and there's more to come! Right now though, this one steps up to the plate.

And for me, unfortunately, strikes out.

Disclaimer however: just because I didn't find it particularly mind blowing, doesn't mean you won't find it as such; so go ahead and buy it, even if I don't love it, you very well may!

I chilled this one, for the record, for about 20 minutes or so in ye olde fridge...roses, like whites, I tend to find yummier when cold, but this one could have been in the Antarctic frankly, and I still may not have liked it!

But first, a little background knowledge from the back of the bottle. Situated in Southeast France (many a miles south of Paris), the vineyard lands used by Val Joanis have been used for more than 2000 years! Holy Caesar's ghost Batman!

Okay, that's all I got. (Although I'd deduce that since it says "Syrah" on the front, this one is a blend that uses Syrah a.ka. Shiraz grapes. Okay, that's it.)

Fakey corked, it does feature a lovely peachy pink colour, and does coat the glass slightly when poured and slooshed around gleefully.

The nose, like its colour, is peachy, sweet, with a little zinginess; a very fresh, clean nose indeed. (Didn't that sound odd?)

The first thing one notices upon tasting is its dryness. And boy IT IS DRY. DRY DRY DRY. I found it to be a little sour, bitter, with only a tiny bit of zing and a slight minerality. I noted some tastes of dry fruits, peach, apricot, and some other red/white features which roses typically have.

Val Joanis' aftertaste featured more dryness, sourness, bitterness, the latter of which was quite noticeable in the aftertaste. The a-taste reminded me of Perrier water, so says my notes!

Sounds tempting huh? But in all seriousness, again, who knows, you may love it. I just don't happen to be a fan of dry wines, and this one, although featuring fruity notes, just didn't come through for me. Definitely pair this one with some richer foods, so that the dryness can balance out the food. On its own though...meh. Have some water standing by!

**1/4 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$14.95 (US$14.13).

From LCBO.com:

CHATEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION SYRAH ROSE 2009, 750 mL bottle
LCBO/Vintages #707281
Wine, Rose Wine
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: D
Made in: Provence, France
By: Chancel Family, Prop.-Recolt.
Read Full Post >>

Print This

Send us a comment or question

Copyright © 2009 - Food Tastes Yummy - is proudly powered by Blogger
Smashing Magazine - Design Disease - Blog and Web - Dilectio Blogger Template