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My trip to Brazil was great in so many ways - culture, cuisine & curiosities. Traveling up Amazon Jungle, walking the streets of Rio de Janeiro with the infamous Cristo Redentor overlooking the city, seeing Iguazu Falls which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World...not to mention the Ilha Grande. I even got to see fresh pineapples growing in the Amazon! Try this recipe for grilled pineapple and you can almost hear the birds in the rainforest.
Sweet Grilled Pineapple with Rum Sauce
1 Pineapple - see pineapple plants growing along Amazon River at left
vanilla ice cream
Rum Sauce (recipe below)
Coconut, fresh toasted & unsweetened
Cut off the top and bottom of pineapple; cut off the skin and then slice pineapple into thick slices and remove cores.
Place on greased grill pan over medium high heat; grill turning once until grill marked and heated through. I prepared the pineapple early in the day and gently reheated in the oven.
Photo credit: Patricia Petty
Ingredients for Rum Sauce
¼ cup butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp rum (I used dark navy rum)
Method for Rum Sauce
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in sugar and cook, stirring until simmering, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream.
Return to heat and bring to gentle boil and cook, stirring gently until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
For each serving cut pineapple ring in half, place 1 scoop of ice cream on top. Drizzle with warm rum sauce and sprinkle with coconut. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.
Bom apetite! as they say in Brazil and savour those fruitlets as each pineapple tree can only produce on pineapple every 3 years.
Are you ready for a new name for fish stew? Moqueca do Ilha Grande. This recipe was inspired by a great dinner venue...we sat at a tiny restaurant on the beach on the island of Ilha Grande, about 2 hours south of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It truly was a memorable meal that evening and recreating it brought back incredible memories of an amazing trip.
Harbor view on Ihla Grande off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo credit: Patricia Petty
Moqueca do Ilha Grande aka Fish Stew Ilha Grande
60z. portions of firm, thick white fish (I used halibut)
Fresh shrimp (optional) are also typical for Brazil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion sliced into thin rounds
½ cup white wine (I had a bottle of Riesling open)
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and chopped
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut mild (premium brand tends to be very thick and creamy)
Fresh cilantro sprigs for cooking and extra, finely minced as a garnish
¼ cup chopped cashews
Shavings of fresh coconut (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400. Season the fish and set aside
In a deep, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce down to about half. Add the tomato sauce and cook another minute or so. Add the fresh tomato and red pepper, cook another 8 – 10 minutes or until thickened. Then stir in the coconut milk.
Place the fish in a lightly oiled Dutch oven or casserole and pour the sauce over the fish. Cover and bake for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp if using and gently spoon sauce over it.
Add the cilantro sprigs (4 – 6), cover and bake until the fish is opaque, the shrimp is tender and the sauce is bubbling, approx. 5 – 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the cashews, cilantro and garnish with the fresh coconut shavings.
Serve with simple boiled rice and a hot sauce if desired. I took fresh broccoli and shaved the flower heads and then folded it in to the hot rice.
$25.95 (LCBO Vintages 142323) 13.5% alcohol
$17.95, (Vintages 960955) 12.5% alcohol
Both wines paired beautifully with the fish stew, in fact any Alvarinho would be a good match.
I hope you enjoy making - and eating - this traditional fish stew as much as I did. The memory of that wonderful meal on the tiny island of Ihla Grande (there's an oxymoron for you) will stay with me forever.
Bem Vindo…Welcome. On a recent trip to Brazil - the largest country in South America - I spent 5 days travelling up the Amazon, visited Iguazu (a world heritage site with 250 waterfalls), Rio de Janerio, and Ilha Grande. This trip inspired me to create a dinner menu based on the foods I tasted there, so different from our Canadian fare. The cuisine of Brazil is influenced by that of Portugal who settled the country and Africa, with the slaves who were brought over.
Wild Rice in the morning mist, Amazon River. Photo credit: Patricia Petty
My Brazilian Dinner began with appetizers. First up was shrimp and mussels simply poached in a white wine ( I had a Reisling open) infused with fresh herbs (including cilantro), lemon peel, and garlic. Once the seafood was cooked I strained the liquid, reduced it down and added coconut milk before adding the seafood back in. Of course there were ham and cheese filled empadinhas, various olives and wine. We found wherever we went empadinhas (almost always filled with ham and cheese of some sort) were on the menu and olives were always brought to the table - what a nice touch.
With the appetizers, I served an Argentine Torrontes, an Ontario Rosé and of course beer, although not the Brazilian Brahmin that we drank everywhere. Next was a Portuguese inspired Caldo Verde. I used a recipe, which is somewhat untraditional from Martha Stewart’s web site and is one created by Emeril Lagasse. See here for full details of Emeril's "new-style" Caldo Verde so-called because the kale is cut into thin strips and is cooked only until crisp-tender.
Our main course was inspired by an amazing fish stew I had at a small seaside restaurant on Ilha Grande, an island approximately 2 hours south of Rio de Janeiro and a short ferry ride away. I am not sure what the fish was although I know it came from the waters around the island that afternoon. It was fragrant with coconut and cilantro and truly wonderful. Vegetables were not commonly found in most restaurants as a side dish but I served this with the rice that accompanied it there and green beans. The white rice had the flowerettes from brocolli shaved very fine and folded in…pretty green specks!
View of the harbour, Ilha Grande, Brazil. Photo credit: Patricia Petty
Our desert was inspired by the fresh pineapple found everywhere. We actually saw pineapple growing in the Amazon jungle on a 3 hour trek one morning. Dinner was a way to relive my journey through Brazil. Funny how things come back to life when you're eating food. The recipe for Caldo Verde is listed below & the Brazillian fish stew and the grilled pineapple will follow in the recipe blogs this week.
I always believe in drinking local when travelling and oh how I tried - the restaurants carried only a few local wines, the rest on the list were mostly from Portugal, Chile, Argentina. So it saddens me to say that I didn’t find any great wines from Brazil while there I was there - but maybe I just needed to stay a bit longer! Or I'll have to go back again soon to continue my search.
Emeril's New-Style Caldo Verde
From Martha Stewart
Emeril calls this version "new-style" because the kale is cut into thin strips and is cooked only until crisp-tender, which differs from the traditional version. Serve with crusty bread.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (sweet potatoes could be used as an alternative) this is my note
7 cups chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces kale, large stems and ribs removed
8 ounces firm (smoked) chorizo or other hot smoked sausage, diced or crumbled
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot, and add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are wilted, 4 minutes.
Add the potatoes and chicken stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and add the crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, thinly slice the kale. Set aside.
When the soup is thick and the potatoes have begun to break down, add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the kale and simmer until the leaves have softened but are still slightly crunchy and the flavors have melded, 15 minutes.
At the end, stir in the cilantro, parsley, and mint, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Suggested Wine Pairing:
2010 Hewitson Miss Harry, Austrailia,Grenach, Syrah, Mouvedre Well balanced, fruit, pepper notes. Paired beautifully with the smokiness of the soup.
Cheers & Enjoy!
We often travel great distances to discover new wine regions; to taste and experience new and exciting wines. And yet 270km from Ottawa and 240km from Toronto we find Prince Edward County (PEC) on the shores of Lake Ontario. This emerging region, designated as a VQA wine region in 2007, offers a tremendous variety of wines from a new breed of wine makers who believe in collaboration and in crafting wines in both new and exciting ways but ones based on traditions from regions long experienced in wine making. I find great passion when speaking to these winemakers and owners about what it is they do. And, passion creates wonderful wines.
The soils and climate of PEC lend themselves to many of the viticulture practices and varietals of Burgundy, France. Amongst those wineries you will find Keint-He Winery & Vineyards. This winery sits just past Wellington on the Loyalist Parkway – also known as Highway 33 - as it winds its way along the windy shores of Lake Ontario.
Keint-He (pronounced Kent-hay) is the native word for one of the four Seneca villages located in PEC region. The Seneca’s were one of the five tribes of the Iroquois. Keint-He was later francocized into Quinte and used in English names such as the Bay of Quinte.
Like father, like son
Ron Rogers, a retired banker, purchased two vineyard properties in 2006. The winery has evolved from creating their first vintage in 2007 in a small shed on the property, to their current winery producing approximately 3,000 cases with an inviting tasting room & facility. As the expression goes ‘like father, like son’, Ron’s son Bryan became the winery’s General Manager. “Dad keeps us grounded,” Bryan states with a smile.
Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8,000 and 10,000 cases over the next few years. Coming this year are two 5000 liter oak fermenters. These will permit Keint-he to both ferment and age their Pinot Noir in the same vessel. Another innovation that keeps Keint-He moving forward.
In your Savvy Selections, you will find:
Voyageur Vidal VQA 2012 - the exceptional weather in 2012 creates this stunning white wine.
Voyageur Rose VQA 2011 - a serious twist on Rosé...not pink at all!
Portage Pinot Noir VQA 2011 – an elegant, well defined Pinot
OPTIONAL WINES: Try this crowd pleaser with great body and staying power Chardonnay VQA 2009 or else a very unique and high-scoring wine from The County Pineaux Sauvage VQA 2008. If you asked me to add either of these to your wine list this month … you are in for a treat!
Keint-He makes such a small amount of wine that none are at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new Keint-He favourite wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to me on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an additional delivery. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!
Cheers & Enjoy,
You have been introduced to Ron Rogers, he is the man behind Keint-He Winery and Vineyards.... now let's meet the rest of the Keint-He team - they certainly are a tight team!
Wine is way better than mating frogs!
Bryan Rogers is the General Manager and until recently the main sales force of the team. Bryan started out his early career in the sciences and in communications. When I first met him about a year ago he told me that he decided making wine was way more interesting than the mating habits of frogs. His previous "life" gives him his two mentors - Charles Darwin and David Suzuki.
In a ‘cellar conversation’ Bryan (left) told me that he loves the fact that Keint-He took shape just 8 months prior to the County getting its "Designated Viticulture Area (VQA)" status. “Call me a softy, but I feel there is some romance and excitement in starting something and not really knowing where it will lead you. PEC is a new frontier for viticulture and winemaking. There is a real sense of, "we're all in this together" amongst all the different wineries...of which there are now almost 40! Even the largest winery in PEC is a boutique producer, so we're all a part of the same fraternity”.
For Bryan, his favorite part of the season is harvest. “I like it when the grapes have all been picked and processed. It's an especially tiresome point in the season for the whole team. At that point you can look across the cellar and say quite literally, these are the fruits of our labor. And then you sleep for three days”.
From New Zealand to Niagara to The County…
Ross Wise – the winemaker – is the new kid on the block having joined the team in December 2012. He comes from Flatrock Cellars in Niagara via New Zealand where he earned a degree in oenology and then learned his craft. During his time at Felton Road in Central Otago, Ross became as he puts it “a Pinot geek and a lover of soil”. When I asked him what excites him about being in The County he explained, "when I walk between the rows, kick the soil and see the rocks, I get excited". Ross will tell you he “really likes veraison, the stage of the season when the grapes are changing color. Most of the vineyard work is done at this stage, and the berries (winespeak for grapes) are starting to develop their flavors. It is a waiting stage, with anticipation for the vintage ahead”.
Both Bryan and Ross see Prince Edward County as having the best potential to grow Pinot Noir grapes in Ontario. The reason? Bryan will initially give you a one-word answer, limestone. And, in two words, limestone and PEC’s island microclimate. From the winemaker’s perspective, Ross explains, “our Pinot Noir grapes are ripening about two weeks later than they are in Niagara – and this is a distinctive advantage. It means that the grapes are ripening in cooler temperatures and accumulating sugars slower and the flavors and aromatics are also developing slowly. This is also the reason for the great acidity in PEC Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir likes a large diurnal range of temperatures (winespeak for warm days and cool nights) and PEC delivers this during peak ripening times”.
The rest of Keint-He team is made up of Mark Gilbert and Caitlin Prior. Mark is a “County Boy” who comes from a farming family and has been with Keint-He since the beginning. Mark states, “This is the hardest farming he's ever done”. He constantly worries about the weather but then that is so much a part of what he does. He "lives" in the vineyards from spring through to harvest. Even though he is more of a beer drinker he will admit to enjoying a glass of Keint-He Chardonnay.
More than just wine at this winery...dinner, music & more
Caitlin is the Retail Manager and Special Events Coordinator. She comes from Foreign Affair Winery in Niagara. She is a pro at WOW-ing visitors with all that Keint-He has to offer.
Caitlin has put together an exciting list of events, which she hopes will give visitors a reason to sit and enjoy the winery this summer. There is live music at the winery most weekends throughout the summer; in early September there will be the 1st Annual BBQ; the winery will be hosting a couple of Winemaker’s Dinners throughout the season and, as always there will be Keint-He’s wines to sip, savor and enjoy on the front patio. And, along with that wine you can enjoy foods this summer prepared by the Agrarian Restaurant in Bloomfield, another venture of Patricia and Bryan Rogers. Check out the Keint-He website for dates and times.
They may be small, but they have major innovations!
Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8 and 10,000 bottles over the next few years. Coming this year is a new oak fermentation system that will allow them to both ferment and age both the Pinot Noirs in the same vessel. I have never heard of such a thing – that in itself is a reason to put Keint-He on your list of places to visit this summer.
Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
“The 2012 Vidal is a wine that pretty much made itself. Right from the day it was harvested it was so naturally balanced, and took very little winemaker effort at all. It’s nice when that happens” – Ross, Keint-He`s winemaker.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our Sommeliers found this wine full of ripe fruit flavors. Perfumed with flower blossoms of orange and a hint of vanilla, it was described as “a big fruit salad in a glass”. This wine had aromas and flavors of pear, peach and nectarines, green apple and grapefruit. The flavors of pineapple, kiwi and juicy fruit gum played on the palate. The finish was long, smooth and refreshing.
This is a refreshing wine, perfect for a warm summer evening. Simply put…DELICIOUS!
Suggested Food Pairing: Pork tenderloin with an orange glaze (recipe follows) or white fish grilled with a mango/pear salsa. At Keint-He, the team favorite is a beet and goat cheese salad. Or serve this wine with a summer pear tart with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cream – it would pair beautifully on the other end of dinner.
“Not your average Rosé wine!” Savvy Sommelier Debbie commented during the tasting panel. A serious twist on Rosé as it is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and St. Laurent grapes – all sourced from Keint-He`s Foxtail Vineyards. The individual wines were then aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, then blended and bottled in the winter of 2013.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The color reminded us of watermelon or rhubarb. The nose was a complex blend of floral notes, cinnamon heart candy, vanilla, smoke, tart red cherries, rhubarb and dried fruits. Tastes of raspberry, pink grapefruit and rhubarb appear on the palate and a slight earthiness and oak play out in the background.
Suggested Food Pairing: We suggest trying this with a watermelon and olive salad (recipe follows) or salmon served along side a warm grilled salad.
This is a blend of grapes from three of Keint-He’s vineyards – Closson, Benway and Foxtail. Each portion was aged separately in French oak for 12 months then blended together to make this fine Pinot.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful light red in color, this wine shows aromas of raspberries, cherries, vanilla, dried fruits of raisins and dates. "It reminds me of bunch of long stemmed red roses" one of our Sommeliers commented. It is warm and velvety on the palate with light tannins. A smooth mouth feel, with flavors of raspberry, cherry, rhubarb & hints of brown sugar or molasses sweetness and earthy mushroom notes hiding in the background.
Suggested Food Pairing: Like so many Pinot Noirs, this wine would pair beautifully with salmon on the grill, grilled portobello mushrooms or perhaps if you are adventuresome, a seared and pan roasted duck breast. Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton has graciously given us a recipe for his version of this dish. He likes to serve it with a rosti (or shredded potato cake) and fresh locally sourced vegetables – French green beans, peas, asparagus or cauliflower in season.
OPTIONAL WINES - We couldn’t resist suggesting these Keint-He wines!
This wine is an easy drinking crowd pleaser; priced at an excellent entry point into Keint-He’s premium wine offerings.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine is bright, straw-hued with a slight green tinge. On the nose we find creamy notes of butter, maple, fresh peach, pears and yellow plums and a mix of herbs – spearmint & thyme. Medium bodied, this wine shows some of the stone and minerality the county is known for and has good length and staying power.
Suggested Food Pairing: Pair this wine with steamed mussels and herbs; grilled shrimp or seared scallops; and/or a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables. This is a great easy drinking wine that would be perfect for sipping on the patio with a simple cheese plate…think Camembert or a young Riopelle.
A first for Prince Edward County! You may have heard the saying that wine is made in the vineyard...this is a good example. The key tool here is mould. Yes mould! Known by winemakers as Botrytis. It occurs only during damp, misty mornings and warm, dry afternoons. As the mould grows on the bunches of Pinot Noir grapes, it breaks down the thin skins & extracts the natural water in the grapes, leaving shriveled bunches. When harvested, although not appealing looking, the wine is extra concentrated with nectar. The result is a special wine known as Noble Rot.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brown sugar in color, with aromas that reminded us of Sherry or Cognac combined with the heart-warming notes of raisin butter tarts. When this delicious nectar hits your lips, tastes of marmalade, warm spices with a Cognac like alcohol burn. It is dry, has a light finish and is not too high in alcohol (12.6%).
Suggested Food Pairing: Surprisingly, this is not a sweet dessert wine. Rather a wine that can be served as an aperitif or to unwind after a meal. Do, as the French do & serve with Foie Gras, cheese & charcuterie or with cakes - gingerbread or rum cake would be fantastic!
~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
Pork Tenderloin with Burnt Orange and Sage Sauce
From LCBO Food & Drink, Summer 2009
By Marilyn Bentz-Crowley
4 centre-cut pork chops cut 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick or
2 large pork tenderloins, butterflied (this cut was used when testing)
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or canola oil
Several whole sage leaves
2 large oranges
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth or stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
4 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp (1 to 2 mL) salt
Several grindings of black pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened
To make sauce, zest oranges; set aside. Then cut away orange skin & segment orange by cutting away internal membranes. Set aside segments and juice squeezed from membranes.
Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottom medium skillet. Shaking pan occasionally, cook over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes or until sugar caramelizes. Deglaze with broth stirred with vinegar, juice from orange segments and flour. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
Then stir in chopped sage, salt, pepper and a couple pinches of zest. Using a small whisk to pick up butter, rapidly whisk into sauce. Remove from heat; keep warm while grilling pork.
Rub pork with oil; lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat barbecue to hot. Grill for 6 minutes per side for chops or until internal temperature for medium doneness is 150°F (65°C) for butterflied tenderloin.
Place the pork, slicing tenderloin if using, on warmed serving plates. Add reserved orange segments on top of pork. Nap with sauce; garnish with orange zest and sage leaves. Serve right away with grilled zucchini and seared rapini or spinach. Or serve this with the beet and goat cheese salad that Keint-He suggests. We were glad we did!
Watermelon & Black Olive Salad
From Wish Magazine
1 tablespoon garam marsala*
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
* garam marsala: An East Indian spice mixture that generally includes coriander seed, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves & cinnamon. Purchase a package of this spice mixture at an Indian grocery or health food store.
Mix together all ingredients for vinaigrette. Gently mix in vinaigrette to cover watermelon. Chill until ready to serve
TIP: this can be served as skewers of watermelon instead of a salad. Make as a salad & marinate in vinaigrette for an hour, then thread onto skewers alternating periodically with whole black olives. Either way, this dish has a WOW factor!
Merrill Inn Seared Duck Breast with Dried Blueberry Jus
Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton
This is one of the most popular dishes at the Inn’s highly acclaimed restaurant
1 Mallard or Muscovy Duck Breast, 450g
4 oz. Roasted Chicken Demi-glaze Jus
3 tablespoons dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Trim some of the fat from the duck breast, leaving about ¼” on. Trim any sinew or silver skin from the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a small frying pan, turn heat to medium high. As Chef Sullivan says, the secret is in a searing hot pan! Place breast in pan, skin side down. Fry for several minutes, until fat is slightly rendered and browning.
Place pan with breast in the oven, still skin side down and roast for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven, cast off rendered fat. Turn the breast over in the hot pan and let rest for 1 minute (skin side up). After a minute, remove the breast from the pan and let rest.
While the duck is resting add blueberries and chicken Demi-glaze to the pan. Over high heat reduce to a sauce like consistency (about ½). Not too runny or too thick.
Before serving, warm duck breast in the oven. Slice thinly against the grain, which runs length-wise down the breast. Fan out on plate, pour sauce over and serve.
This method is per duck breast so multipy by the number of guests you are serving.
Serve with local in-season vegetables for this simple but memorable dish.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!
This combines the best of 3 things: a light cake, fresh fruit & BBQ. Be sure to watch the angel food cake very carefully while it is on the BBQ. Take your eyes away for a second & it could burn…especially when it is coated with maple syrup!
Grilled Angel Food Cake with Fresh Fruit Salsa
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries - diced
2 golden delicious apples peeled - dice finely
2 kiwi – peeled & diced finely
1 cup raspberries – fresh or frozen
1 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white sugar (or omit & add more brown sugar)
2 Tbsp raspberry jam (or Farm Boy Fig Jam is also good)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
Mix in a bowl & chill until serving.
This is a great fruit mixture to top a bowl of yogurt, pound cake, ice cream…you name it!
How to Grill the Angel Food Cake
- Heat BBQ on medium high.
- With an already prepared Angel Food Cake, cut cake 6 or 8 slices, brush very liberally with real maple syrup.
- Place on a hot BBQ until toasted – the sugar starts to caramelize and you get attractive grill marks (done when it looks like a campfire marshmallow -- not the ones that catch fire!).
- Serve on a plate topped with a spoonful of fruit salsa and whipping cream (Tip: infused the whipping cream with lavender sugar or a splash of Tia Maria liqueur).
- Garnish with a sprig of mint or slice of orange
- Be ready for oohs and ahhhs!
What bottle of wine to uncork?
With the fresh fruit and light cake, you have many wine pairing options! Try a bottle of red icewine (made with Cabernet Franc grapes), Sparkling Shiraz or take a dry approach by serving a glass of sparkling white like Moscato d’Asti made in Italy.
Voila! Your BBQ'd dessert is ready to eat.
One of our Savvy Selections wine of the month subscribers invited me to dinner & served this dessert. It is OMG delicious! And while he fessed up that he doesn’t usually make desserts, this recipe is no sweat at all. His tip - be watchful that the pie pastry doesn’t brown too quickly.
Quick Apple Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
3 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp white sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon (or so) of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot jam, melted
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold pastry on parchment paper (do not skip this step!)
- Using the tines of fork, pierce 1/2-inch border around edge of pastry, then pierce center all over
- Arrange apples atop pastry in 4 rows, overlapping apple slices and leaving border clear.
- Brush apples with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 30 minutes.
- Brush melted jam over apples. Put the tart back into the oven until golden, about 8 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What bottle of wine to uncork?
When you pair a dessert with a wine, the rule of thumb is to select a wine that is sweeter than the dessert. Nothing goes better with an apple dessert than Ontario ice wine. Chill a glass of icewine made with Vidal or Riesling or even Gewürztraminer and you have a heavenly match. See our list of suggested Ice wines
These are my favorite spiced nuts and I’ve been asked for the recipe more times than I can count! I honestly think the secret ingredient is the rosemary—there is lots of it and it is sharp yet fragrant.
Ingredients (this recipe makes 5 cups)
5 cups mixed raw nuts (I like almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a rimmed cookie sheet. Toast in the oven until they become light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- In the large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the warm toasted nuts with the spiced butter.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
What bottle of wine to uncork?
Quite simply a bottle of port of course. Whether you prefer a Ruby, Tawny, Late Bottle Vintage or Single Quinta port, there are so many to choose from that you can spend all fall & winter learning about the world of port.
Be Savvy! A quick guide of Ports
The history of Port is closely linked to Portugal’s trading relationship with England. Port was introduced to the rest of the world by the British, as they searched for an alternative to French wines during the unrest of the late 17th century.
Most of the Port Houses are based inVila Nova de Gaiain, Oporto. The vineyards are carved into the mountainside north of Oporto along the River Duoro that meanders across the north of Portugal before it heads to meet the Atlantic Ocean in the city of Oporto.
The winemaking process results in many different styles including:
Made with white grapes, white port can range from off-dry to sweet.
These Ports have retained their deep red colour.
Ruby - Young, refreshing port matured in large casks 2-3 years, ready for immediate enjoyment.
Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) – This is made in a specific year (vintage), aged in casks 4-6 years before being bottled. LBVs can be enjoyed soon after purchasing & will keep several weeks after opening.
Single Quinta Port – ‘Quinta’ is Portuguese for an estate or vineyard, and is roughly equivalent to in wine terms, a French ‘Château’. A Quinta may (or may not) have an elaborate house on the property. ASingleQuintaPort is from grapes grown in the best vineyard. This style matures earlier thanVintagePort.
Vintage Port - Only produced in exceptional years, & declared a Vintage year by the Port Wine Institute. This wine spends 2-3 years in barrels, then ages in the bottles for 20+ years.
By increasing the wine’s contact with air and wood over time, Tawny matures more rapidly than Ruby & transforms into a delicate orange hued colour & smoother flavour.
Aged Tawny - blends of various harvests, the average age is indicated on the label as “10 year old Tawny” or “20 year old Tawny”.
Colheita – the Portuguese word for ‘harvest’ or ‘vintage’. This port is made from a single vintage (specific year) & is aged in barrels for a minimum of 7 years.
This is the last week in our ABCD blogs where A is for Australian wines, B is for BBQ recipes, C is for Chilean wines and D…well it is for Desserts of all kinds. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, we have a treat to serve after every meal.
For starters…Chocolate. Honestly, who doesn’t like chocolate? Here is a favorite (and easy dessert) from Savvy Sommelier Patti who always gets rave reviews when she makes this dessert.
Bittersweet Chocolate Terrine
From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Patti Petty
14oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa
5 tbsp. strong espresso coffee
2 tbsp. brandy
6 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream chilled
- One loaf pan, 8½” x 4½” x 3”, greased and lined with baking parchment
- Heat oven to 325 degrees
- Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl with the cocoa and coffee. Set over a pan of barely simmering water and melt gently, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the brandy and let cool.
- Meanwhile put the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and very thick.
- In another bowl, whip the cream until it holds a soft peak.
- Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs. When combined, fold the whipped cream in.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, then stand the pan in a bain-marie.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 325 for about 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the center of the mixture comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, let cool in the bain-marie for about 45 minutes, then lift the pan out of the bain-marie and leave until completely cold.
- Chill overnight then turn out. Serve dusted with confectioner’ sugar or alternately prepare a bittersweet chocolate ganache and smooth over entire surface.
- Store, well wrapped in refrigerator.
What bottle of wine to uncork?
As the food & wine pairing tip says on the business card of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm – “A rich, dark chocolate cake & a big, bold red wine - a heavenly match.” Serve a California Zinfandel or velvety Chilean Carmenere or a jammy Cabernet Franc from British Columbia or Ontario. If you rather a sweet wine with chocolate, then a tawny port or a Hungarian specality - Tokai - would definitely fit the bill.
Does the menu come first or selecting the wine? I am often asked this question. Hard to say as there is no real rule. My interest in wine stems from my love to cook, so more often than not, for me, the food comes first. In my blog postings, you can count on me to share my favorite recipes and provide suggestions of wine pairings. At any time, feel free to send me an email with a recipe that you would like a wine suggestion.
Let's get started!
When the Savvy team got together to chose the wine selection for a wine tasting to feature Natalie MacLean & her new book, Red, White & Drunk All Over, I took one sip of the Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia ($18 at LCBO) and I knew that I had the perfect beef recipe to pair with this big bold wine. Enjoy!
Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2-3 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
1 tbsp butter
4 oz. crumbled Stilton cheese
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup Maderia wine
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup green onions
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet melt ¼ cup butter until sizzling; stir in pepper and garlic. Place tenderloin in skillet. Cook over medium high heat until browned on all sides (7 – 9 minutes). Remove from pan; reserve pan juices and browned particles in skillet. Line a 13 x 9” baking pan with foil; place tenderloin in pan. Bake 35 – 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 F (medium). Remove from oven and let rest, tented for 5 – 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in same skillet with reserved pan juices and browned particles until sizzling; stir in blue cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted (4 – 5 minutes). Stir in beef broth and wine; add mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Serve over carved tenderloin.