Saturday, October 29, 2011

sip & Savour Ontario Wrap Up

That's it folks! After months of preparation, sip & Savour Ontario 2011 has come to an end. It's amazing how something that you can put so much time and energy into can fly by in a wink! After a week of recuperation and me time, I now owe you a little sip & Savour Ontario wrap up to fill you in on all of the excitement that took place from our Exclusive Blogger Preview Event, to the big event sip & Savour Ontario, and lastly the Ontario Wine Awards Niagara winery tour that was organized as a thank you for the Ontario Wine Awards (sip & Savour Ontario's partner) sponsors.

Prior to sip & Savour Ontario, an Exclusive Blogger Preview Event was held at Longo's stunning new Maple Leaf Square location in their beautiful Corks Beer and Wine Bar test kitchen and lounge. This preview event was set up exclusively for some of Ontario's influential food and wine bloggers to give them an opportunity to learn more about sip & Savour Ontario and learn firsthand from our talented hosts, renowned wine writer and Order of Canada recipient Tony Aspler and Longo's Chef David Ashlee, how to pair Ontario's VQA wines with local Ontario produce. The event began with a sparkling wine reception in the lounge where our bloggers got to greet and mingle with one another while sipping on Peller Estates NV Ice Cuvée Rosé, the Sparkling Wine Award gold medal-winner at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards. Guests were then ushered into the fully equipped test kitchen where Tony took over to talk a little about the history of sip & Savour Ontario and it's new partnership with Houselink Community Homes, an organization that provides a home, community, and opportunity for people living with mental illness. Houselink representative Brain Davis then took the stage to elaborate on Houselink, while Luke Bowden from Houselinke delivered a candid and moving speech about his own personal experience with mental illness and the significant role that Houselink played in helping to guide him to be in the place he is today. With mouths watering, David Ashlee eagerly began preparing the three dishes that he was pairing with our Ontario VQA wines that day, while providing the guests with helpful tips and tricks and Tony interjecting with notes on the wine. The menu and wine pairings were as follows:

First Course
Salmon Ceviche Green Tea Crepes Stuffed with Avocado Jicama and Wasabi
OWA Gold Medal Winner White Wine of the Year Château de Charmes 2008 'Old Vines' Riesling Estate Bottled

Second Course
Frenched Lambchops with Stuffed Grape Leaves in a Red Wine, Shallot Reduction
OWA Gold Medal Winner Cabernet Franc Award Kacaba 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve

Third Course
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Icewine Mascarpone Whip and Blue Cheese Shortbread Cookie
Konzelmann 2008 Vidal Special Select Late Harvest

Sure, I was expecting to taste some yummy food that day, but Chef Ashlee went above and beyond "yummy" with his absolutely delicious and expertly paired menu of unique, skillful, and local dishes. As each dish was served you could hear a chorus of satisfied "mmm's" around the room as the guests took their first bites. Coming from someone who was involved in making the Preview Event happen, I have to say that I was totally blown away by the execution and attention to detail that both Chef Ashlee and the Longo's team brought to the table that day. What a pleasant experience that was. I expect this won't be the last time we'll collaborate with them. We ended the event by sending off our guests with a bottle of Ontario VQA icewine and Ontario goat cheese provided by Longo's, and hopes that our bloggers would spread the word about sip & Savour Ontario and the importance of Houselink. For more photos of the Exclusive Blogger Preview Event click here!

Only a few weeks after our Exclusive Blogger Preview Event, the big event, sip & Savour Ontario was held at the unique space at Steam Whistle Brewery. The event featured 29 Ontario VQA award-winning wineries, with representatives each pouring numerous wines to give guests a true feel of the winery, terroir, and people behind the wine. Scattered about the space were stations set up by six of Ontario's top chefs who had created delectable local food pairings to go along with the wines being served. Click here to see the entire menu from the evening. An exciting addition to the event were two gourmet food trucks El Gastronomo Vagabundo and Cupcake Diner (the much anticipated Gorilla Cheese was sadly a mysterious no-show) to draw attention to and support Ontario's growing food truck movement. Throughout the evening guests were invited upstairs to take part in four live cooking demos presented by Maria Carino from Houselink, Chef Keith Bundock from As You Wish Catering, Chef Adam Hynam-Smith from El Gastronomo Vagabundo, and Chef David Ashlee from Longo's, with each demo paired with a specific wine being poured. With Houselink as our charitable partner, there was also a silent auction that was held throughout the event, giving guests the opportunity to bid on an array of exciting items, packages, and tours that were kindly donated to raise funds for Houselink. All in all the event was a wonderful success, drawing in a great crowd and raising awareness of Ontario's food and wine excellence and Houselink Community Homes. Click here to see more photos of the event!

To wrap up all of the excitement, a private Niagara winery tour, tasting, and luncheon was held for the Ontario Wine Award sponsors as a thank you for helping to make the awards possible, and, in turn, allowing sip & Savour Ontario to be possible. The informative tour began at Niagara Teaching Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake where we were taken into one of the beautiful tutorial rooms and got to taste the OWA Sparkling Wine Award gold medal-winner Peller Estates NV Ice Cuvée Rosé, a sparkling wine that is topped up with a dosage of Ontario icewine, giving the sweet drink a distinct and unique strawberry flavour. As we were taken into the vineyard, we learned all about the teaching program and just how hands-on the students are able to get in producing the wine. It was great to hear that the winery takes advantage of the unique opportunity that Ontario has to produce icewine, by allowing their students to take part in picking and producing icewine as well. Right in the midst of the harvest, it was so cool to be right in the action watching this years Cabernet Franc grapes get picked. To warm ourselves up from the vineyard, we headed back inside to taste a selection of Niagara Teaching College wines and then proceeded to the wineries Benchmark Restaurant to enjoy a delicious and comforting meal prepared and served by the students at the college. The menu and pairings were as follows:

Hand Cut Bitter Greens Salad with Scallion-Ginger Vinaigrette, Toasted Hazelnuts, Crumbled Smoked Bacon, and Caramelized Niagara Pears
NC Semi Dry Reisling 2009
Good Earth Rose 2009

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Supreme with Sweet Potato Galette, Seasonal Vegetables, Caramelized Onions, and Red Wine Jus
NC Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Fielding Pinot Gris 2010
NC Cabernet Franc 2008
Les Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir 2008

From there, we hopped back onto the Niagara Air Bus and headed over to the stunning Tawse Estate Winery, where winemaker Paul Pender received the OWA 2011 Winemaker of the Year award for his hard work and creativity. We were taken inside to see the process in which the wine is aged in the steel vats and learned about the natural approach they take to their winemaking, utilizing the topography of the vineyard and estate to allow gravity to guide the wine within the facility. We then went down into the cellar where more wine was tasted and we were lucky enough to get to meet the man himself, Moray Tawse.

Tired, tipsy, and in need of a cozy blanket, the tour had come to an end, and proved to be a great treat and learning experience to top off this whole sip & Savour Ontario adventure! Thank you to everyone who helped to support sip & Savour Ontario! Your participation is helping to support the continued education and funding for Ontario's talented and passionate winemakers, farmers, and chefs as well as Houselink, an organization that I have come to have a great deal of respect for. This was such a wonderful learning experience for me and I can't wait to do it all again next year!

Listening To:
The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter.MP3

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Leftover Lovin': Pulled Pork Shepherds Pie

I honestly don't know how I could get through a workweek without a fridge full of leftovers. I rely on leftovers almost every day to give me the fuel I need on my quickie 15-min lunch break at work to get me through the rest of the day. Yeah, a sandwich will do in a pinch, but you can't compare a cold (and often soggy) sandwich that you have to rush around to prepare in the morning before flying out of the house to catch the bus, to warm and comforting leftovers that you simply transferred to a travel container. But what happens when leftovers extend beyond two days? This year for my 24th birthday fiesta at my house I accidentally made enough pulled pork to feed an army! My army of drunk friends just wasn't enough to tackle that immense batch of sweet, smokey, and tender pork. In fact a family dinner with my pulled-pork loving aunt, uncle, and cousins STILL wasn't enough to tackle all that pork the next night. By the third night my parents and I were all pulled porked out. We didn't want that delicious pork to go to waste, but there was no way we could bring ourselves to have pulled pork tacos for yet another night. I needed to transform the pork so that we could still enjoy it, but it could be disguised in such a way that we wouldn't even think about the fact that we were eating the same thing for the third night in a row.

I've been wanting to make a really good shepherds pie for a while now, and with the meat already prepared and a bag full of potatoes on the counter I knew I had found our solution to the pulled pork leftover blues. Following my instincts, I quickly boiled some potatoes, sauteed some onion for extra flavour, pulled out the leftover fiesta salad (two birds one stone!) to add even more flavour and texture, thawed some green peas from the fridge, and pulled out some already shredded cheese. In hardly any time at all I had prepared my family's new favourite comfort food! Warm and fluffy mashed potatoes are topped with salty melted cheddar cheese, resting on a bed of sweet, smokey, and tender pulled pork, with a layer of sweet vegetables in between. What a winner! It's worth it to make a giant batch of pulled pork all over again just to be able to make this fantastic quick dish!

4 large potatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
olive oil for sauteing
2 tbsp butter + more for sauteing
1/4-1/2 cup hot milk
2-3 cups leftover pulled pork
1/2 cup leftover fiesta salad (or a mixture corn and black beans)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed (add more if not adding corn and beans)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Add potatoes to a medium pot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil. When water has boiled reduce to a gentle boil. Continue to boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 min.

2. While potatoes are boiling, add a dab off butter and a bit of olive oil to a medium pan set at medium heat. When butter and oil are hot and bubbling add the onions and saute until golden brown.

3. When potatoes are tender, drain water and let potatoes sit in the covered pot for another 5 minutes to dry them out slightly. Add the butter and hot milk and mash using a potato masher until potatoes are fluffy and smooth.

4. Grease a medium-sized glass baking dish. Spread the leftover pulled pork evenly into the bottom of the dish. Top with the sauteed onions, leftover fiesta salad, and green peas.

5. Layer the mashed potatoes evenly overtop and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Broil for about 20-25 minutes to allow pork to reheat and cheddar to melt. If topping begins to burn, cover with tin foil. Serve hot.

Listening To:
Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris - We Found Love

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post: Rose Reisman - Quinoa with Charred Corn, Bell Pepper & Spinach

Quinoa with Charred Corn, Bell Pepper & Spinach
(Serves 4)
Quinoa is a "super" food - low glycemic, with an abundance of nutrients. Containing eight essential amino acids, it's the only grain that's considered a complete protein, making this recipe a vegetarian's delight. Instead of fresh spinach you can use half a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach - cooked and squeezed dry.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Make Ahead: Prepare early in the day and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tsp crushed fresh garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp seeded minced jalapeno pepper(or 1 tsp hot chili sauce or paste)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 Tbsp water
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
2 oz. crumbled light feta cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, just until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa tender. Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.

2. Spray a small non-stick skillet with cooking oil and place over medium heat. Saute the corn for approximately 8 minutes, just until browned, stirring constantly. Set aside.

3. Spray a medium non-stick skillet with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin and jalapeno pepper and saute until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and water. Cook until the spinach wilts, approximately 2 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat. Stir in the green onion, cilantro, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and sauteed corn. Add the mixture to the quinoa and mix well.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories 379
Protein 14 g
Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Carbohydrates 53 g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 436 mg
Fibre 7.0 g

More About Quinoa:
Quinoa is a gluten free whole grain; a very versatile ingredient for salads and sides and high in protein, magnesium, iron and fibre. It is also an excellent source of folate which prevents neural tube defects in the fetus and also high in vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant. 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa has 127 calories, 2 g fibre, and 4.5 g protein. Quinoa boosts your immune system, keeps you healthy, is delicious tasting, has great texture and can be substituted for another whole grain as well as any white grain recipe.

-- By Rose Reisman - Renowned caterer, cookbook author, and entrepreneur - Art of Living Well

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rose Reisman on Ginger Rose!

I am very proud of the fact that I write, create, edit, produce, etc. all of the content on Ginger Rose, but when I received an email from Rose Reisman herself asking if I would be interested in having her write a guest post on my blog, I jumped at the chance to have someone I admire so much be apart of my site. Rose Reisman is an inspiration to me, having found so much success as a caterer, cookbook author, entrepreneur and most importantly shining a light on healthy living in an accessible (and delicious) way! This Friday I will be publishing Rose's guest post featuring my readers most buzzed about ingredient of the moment, quinoa! Rose's Quinoa with Charred Corn Bell Peppers and Spinach sounds and looks so incredibly delicious, I can hardly wait for you to check it out! Stay tuned!

Check out Rose Reisman's site Art of Living Well to learn more about her work and try her mouth-watering recipes for yourself!

Listening To:
Noel Gallagher - If I Had A Gun

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

sip & Savour Ontario 2011 Menu

Chef Adam Hynam-Smith from El Gastronomo Vagabundo who will be hosting one of four Live Culinary Demonstrations

As you know now from my Save the Date blast about sip & Savour Ontario coming up THIS Wednesday October 19th, I am right in the midst of all the action helping to organize this exciting event. Being up close and personal with such a great event certainly has its advantages, and of course for me food is always at the top! Advantage numero uno: Obtaining the menu for the food pairings for sip & Savour Ontario allows for me to day dream and salivate about all the delicious dishes that I will be able to feast on in less than a week! Lucky for you, I'm generous and willing to share this just released menu with you all so you can get as excited for this event as I am! If you haven't ordered your tickets yet...ummm we can't be friends! So what the heck are you waiting for?! Get your tickets to the hottest local wine and food event that Ontario has to offer!

Chef Tim Dunnill
Heirloom Tomato Tart Tatin with Braised Ontario Beef Cheeks
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Chef Anne Yarymowich
Lamb and Rosemary Meatballs on Potato Parsnip Puree
Wine Pairing: Syrah

Chef Anthony Rose
Smoked Pastrami Salmon with Cranberry Bean Toast and Hot Mustard Pickles
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay

Chef Kevin McKenna
Wine Pairing: Riesling

Chef Andre Walker
Smoked King Cole Duck Breast, Ontario Black Plum Chutney, Crostini
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Chef David Ashlee
Spicy Pulled Pork with Braised Red Cabbage and Double Smoked Bacon
Wine Pairing: Pinot Gris

Chef Adam Hynam-Smith
Rendang Curry, Chicken Thigh, Thai Basil, Kaffir Lime, and Coriander
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

An Assortment of Sandwich Samples
Wine Pairing: Riesling

Variety of Mini Cupcakes
Wine Pairing: Sparkling

Listening To:
Modest Mouse - Float On

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Gluten Free Sponge Cake

This year has been an absolute whirlwind for my family, taking us to both soaring highs and epic lows. Yeah, it's been tough, and it's easy to get caught up in the negative, but it's important to look at the situation from every perspective in order to see the good. One of the most significant stresses that has forced a dark cloud over my family is the health of my grandfather, or who I call my Zhada. My Zhada has always been one of the strongest members of my family, never one to get too caught up in his emotions, always one to set our values straight making sure our focus remains on education and setting goals for ourselves, and, being a former pharmacist, making sure that physical activity and health play a significant role in his day-to-day life. So it was shocking to see and hear just how quickly his physical and mental health could take such a decline in such a short period of time. I could hardly believe the stories my dad would tell me about how his behavior had changed so dramatically. It sounded as though he had become a completely different person, and it scared me. I watched as my dad devoted almost all of his time to Zhada and my grandmother, my Baba, trying to make sure they were as healthy and well taken care of as possible. There were numerous times when my dad would sit me down and tell me that this was it, and I better start getting ready to say my goodbyes, just to hear only a few days later that he was back on track and things were looking good. It felt like a game of tug-of-war with my family on the one side, tugging to have him pull through, and his illness on the other, trying with all its might to take him down.
It's exhausting flip flopping your emotions like that, but experiencing that taught me just how much I've taken him, and my other three grandparents for granted. These are some of the most important figures I will ever meet in my life, the people who love me for who I am, and I know would go to the other end of the world and back for me. It's hard to imagine that someone who plays such a large role in your life could leave it so quickly, especially when you have been fortunate enough to have all of your grandparents still living. Going through this experience has made me reevaluate the issues that I can stress myself over everyday, and look at what's really important in my life. Yes, it's not an easy thing to see someone you love come to the end of their life, but it will do nothing for anyone to dwell on the negative and fear the future. I can only look at how lucky I am to have these four unbelievable individuals in my life, and take advantage of every moment that I can still share with them.

After a year of ups and downs and almost goodbyes, I can't tell you how special it was to get to celebrate my Zhada's 93rd birthday on September 12th. Now living in the beautiful Sunnybrook Veterans Ward, my grandfather is happier and more fulfilled than he has felt in years, getting to meet new friends, learn new skills (the centre offers an incredibly wide range of activities such as pottery and photography classes), have medical support on hand if needed, and have piece of mind knowing that each day he has the ability to experience something new and exciting!
We would have given Zhada anything he could have asked for for his big 93rd birthday, but his only request was to have a gluten free sponge cake as his birthday cake. My Baba used to always make a delicious light and fluffy sponge cake, speckled with her own personal touch, chocolate shavings. It was what we would look forward to enjoying for every Jewish holiday, but after Zhada was diagnosed with being Celiac, we no longer saw our favourite sponge cake. I knew it was up to me to try and replicate Baba's sponge cake in gluten free form for Zhada. With very little experience baking gluten free I found a very simple recipe that I thought would do the trick, adding my own little touches to attempt to mimic the flavours from my Baba's. The sponge cake turned out to be a huge hit! Zhada had the biggest smile on his face and devoured 3 pieces of cake himself, in a matter of minutes, and taking very few bites! Watching him eat that cake was better than any compliment on my baking! You could tell from a mile away that the man was loving it! I did enjoy the cake but I would change some things for next time. Because I wanted to replicate my Baba's sponge cake as much as possible I left it as just a cake and dusted it with some cocoa powder for visual appeal. When I make this cake again, I will nix the cocoa powder and instead make a chocolate mousse to layer inside the cake. This would add moisture to the slightly dry cake as well as a contrast in texture. I hope that next year I can serve Zhada the perfected layered gluten free sponge cake at his 94th birthday celebration! Even though I don't express it nearly enough, I love you so much Zhada and I hope you never question that!

Recipe adapted from
3/4 cup corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, separated
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sift corn flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

2. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

3. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.

4. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture forms a figure 8.

5. Fold in the dry ingredients and chocolate shavings.

6. Pour into two 8" square pans and bake at 350º for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.

7. When cakes have cooled top one with chocolate mousse and layer the other on top. If desired, dust with cocoa powder.

Listening To:
Coldplay - Strawberry Swing

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Mexican Birthday Fiesta

Me (Danielle Rose), making my birthday wish
Birthdays were the worst days. I always used to agree with Biggie on that statement, that is until this year. When I was younger I used to love celebrating my birthday, coming up with a fun theme, bringing all my friends together, eating my favourite foods, and, of course, unwrapping all of my birthday presents. But as I got older and birthdays turned into just getting smashed at a club with whichever friends you could drag out with you (which always felt like pulling teeth!) I fell out of love with birthdays. It always felt like too much trouble to try and plan something myself and get everyone together in one place...and let's be honest, clubs are THE WORST. I would always end up stressing about it till the very last minute, ultimately being left with no plans at all, and merely sharing a drink and perhaps some mediocre food with whoever would show up. Each year my birthday felt less and less like a celebration and more of a reminder of what I felt I lacked in my life and just how quickly time flies. This year, with a new positive attitude, I wanted to prove myself and Biggie wrong and make my birthday fantastic! With Mexican being one of my favourite cuisines, and a beautiful house begging to have a party in it, I decided to hose a Mexican Birthday Fiesta at home!
All I have ever really wanted for my birthday is to be surrounded by good food and drinks, good friends, and most of all, feel loved. Simple requests, I know, but I haven't been able to experience a birthday like that since I was 16 years old (I'll always remember how loved and accepted you made me feel that night when you surprised me for karaoke and Tiffany's Robyn, Leigh, Sari, Haley, and Robby!). My Mexican Fiesta at home proved to be exactly what I needed to make my dream birthday a reality. With almost all of my favourite people in attendance, a delicious Mexican feast (if I do say so myself), lots of alcohol, and a killer playlist prepared by moi, I couldn't have asked for a better birthday! I felt so loved having all of these incredible people that I think the world of showing up to celebrate with me! Despite one hell of a hangover and a few regrets (yeah, I blacked out after blowing out my birthday candles), I woke up the next day with a smile on my face, feeling exhilarated about what my 24th year will bring! Thank you so much to all of my beautiful friends for making me feel so special and always being there for me! I couldn't ask for a better bunch of hooligans to call my friends! I can't end this post without also thanking my amazing parents for not only helping with the preparation of the party and cleaning up everything (seriously that was incredible!), but for also being so cool (I'm gonna regret saying that) with my friends and getting the tequila flowing! I love you!

Birthday Menu
No party of mine is complete without delicious food! For my Mexican Birthday Fiesta I wanted to make sure I had enough food for all my guests to enjoy all night long, so I used both my own homemade dishes and purchased dishes and sides to complete my menu so that I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen all day stressing. The highlight of the Mexican feast was of course my Pulled Pork Tacos with Salsa Verde and Corn and Black Bean Salad. I doubled up my usual pulled pork recipe to make sure I had enough to go around (boy did I ever!), and just tossed in a few extra ingredients to add a little more heat than usual. I set up a topping bar next to the pulled pork to allow my guests to top their tacos with their favourites such as freshly squeezed lime, onions, a selection of salsas, and fresh cilantro. Although I had initially thought of serving my Corn and Black Bean Salad as a side, I loved seeing my friends use the salad to top their tacos with! The salad turned out to be my favourite topping out of them all, adding texture, acidity, and a bit of sweetness to the already mouthwatering taco.

Pulled Pork Tacos
(if serving pork for a party, double the recipe)
3 1/2 pound pork shoulder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup beef broth (may substitute with other type of broth or just splash in a little cider vinegar to loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pot)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 chipotle peppers + 2 tbsp adobo sauce (purchase chipotles in adobo sauce in a can)
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup your favourite barbeque sauce
1 can of Coca Cola

1. Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides and transfer to slow cooker.

2. In the heavy-bottomed pot cook the onions, garlic, and chili powder until onions have softened. Pour in the beef broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape off all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.

3. Add the brown sugar,Worcestershire sauce, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili sauce, barbeque sauce, and Coca Cola to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until pork is tender. Remove pork and transfer to a large baking dish and shred using two forks. While shredding pork, increase heat to high. Add shredded pork back into the slow cooker, reduce heat back to low, and cook for another hour. Serve with corn tortillas and your favourite toppings!

Salsa Verde
1 lb tomatillos (about 12-15), husks removed, washed, and cut in half
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2-3 jalapeno peppers, stems removed
olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
juice from 1/2 of a lime

1. Place tomatillos, onions, and peppers in a baking dish. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.

2. Bake in a 350º oven for 15-20 minutes. The tomatillos should be nice and soft at this point. Set aside to cool.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tomatillos, onions, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Process to form a smooth textured puree as necessary for the desired consistency.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl. The salsa can be kept for 1 week in the refrigerator in an airtight container or jar.

Corn and Black Bean Salad
3 fresh cobs of corn, husks and silks removed
1/2 can black beans, strained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
4-5 large basil leaves, chopped into small pieces
the juice of 1 1/2 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Using a serrated knife (I found that easier) cut the corn kernels off of the cob trying to cut as close to the cob as possible. Place in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Stir in the black beans, red pepper, red onion, and basil.

3. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Drizzle over corn mixture and stir to combine. Let chill in fridge until ready to serve. May make day ahead.

Listening To:
Pink Floyd-Speak to Me-Breathe

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I feel thankful for so much, way too much to list in fact! But I would like to take the opportunity to thank all my readers for sticking by me, expressing your interest in my work, all your incredible words of encouragement, and sharing my blog with your own friends and family! Without you, I don't know where I'd be! So a great big thank you to you! You all deserve multiple helpings of pecan pie this weekend!

Still working out your Thanksgiving menu? Here are a few Thanksgiving recipes of my own that would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table!

Listening To:
The Beatles - Rain

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SAVE THE DATE: sip & Savour Ontario

I know my posts have been few and far between lately, and I am very happy to say that that is absolutely not from hopping off the productivity train, but actually from hopping on it! For the past few months I have been helping to work on Toronto's ultimate local wine and food experience, sip & Savour Ontario, an event dedicated to Ontario VQA wines and regional cuisine in support of Houselink. This is an event that I have had the pleasure of helping out with for several years now, and my love for this event has only grown over the years! If you have never been to sip & Savour Ontario before, you've been missing out on one of the most exciting, informative, and social food and wine events that Toronto has to offer. If you have been to sip & Savour Ontario before, you'll want to be grabbing tickets again as this year as we're switching things up with a new date (right in the midst of Harvest season), venue, and were even amping up the excitement by bringing in three gourmet food trucks! The event is fast approaching so pick up your tickets now before it sells out!

sip & Savour Ontario
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
7:30-10:00 PM

Steam Whistle Brewing, The Roundhouse

Ontario Wine Award medal-winning VQA wines from more than 30 Ontario wineries will be joining forces with top Toronto area chefs who will be creating samples of regionally prepared cuisine to tantalize your taste buds.

Get up close and personal during our live culinary demonstrations featuring a selection of Toronto's elite chefs. An experience you won't want to miss!

Our event will give you a taste of Ontario's home-grown excellence and inspire you to help fund the continued enjoyment of Ontario's finest foods and VQA wines for years to come!

Proceeds to benefit Houselink, which provides housing solutions for people living with mental health challenges and at risk of being homeless. Visit for more information about their cause.

Listening To:
The Sheepdogs - I Don't Know .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine