Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What We'll Be Drinking This NYE!

In mid-November we hosted a wine tasting in our home for a group of our friends, where we were introduced to this sparkling wine that is made in the traditional method (in other words it isn't just carbonated like many cheaper brands, but rather the carbonation is produced through patience and a time honoured tradition of fermentation), by David Calados of "Global Wine Tour". We were all amazed at this sparkling wine because it ranks with any expensive bottle of champagne, but is only $23/bottle...and best of all it is made in Niagara-On-The-Lake by Chateau des Charmes.

We ordered a case of 6 and intend to toast the arrival of 2010 with a few bottles! If you're interested in trying something new and fairly local, check this one out online. It's a VQA but you wont' find it in the LCBO ~ go to the website http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/... you won't be disappointed!
*BTW, for anyone that doesn't realize, only wines from the region of France, north of Paris may be labelled "Champagne"...since it is a premium brand name that is vigorously defended, all others MUST call themselves sparkling wine!*

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pickled Coleslaw

Yet another favourite at our party and something that I tried in the summer when I received cabbage and carrots in my CSA basket! This recipe comes from Jennifer MacKenzie's book "The Complete Book of Pickling" (AKA my canning bible!!!) Even though it is a two-day process, it really isn't taxing and well worth the effort! I got 3L jars and 1 500mL jar out of this recipe.

Pickled Coleslaw

DAY 1:
4 lbs green cabbage (approx. 1 head)
4 cups shredded carrots (approx. 8)
1/4 cup pickling or canning salt

DAY 2:
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp celery seeds
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 cups cider vinegar

TO SERVE (per 500 mL of coleslaw):
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard

DAY 1:
  • Cut cabbage lengthwise into 4 to 6 wedges. Cut out core. Cut each wedge crosswise into very thin slices. You should have about 22 cups.
  • In a large non-reactive bowl, combine cabbage, carrots and salt. Place a plate on top to weigh down vegetables. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for at least 12 hours or for up to 24 hrs.

DAY 2:

  • Prepare canner, jars and lids
  • In a colander working in batches, drain vegetables and rinse well. Drain again, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Spread out on towel-lined baking sheets to drain any remaining water.
  • In a pot combine sugar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until sugar is dissolved. Boil for 1 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep liquid hot.
  • Working with one jar at a time, pack vegetables into hot jars, leaving room for liquid and 1" headspace. Pour in hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary. Wipe rim and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight.
  • Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process 500mL jars for 15 mins and 1L jars for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours. Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.
  • When serving, open jar and drain coleslaw in a sieve. Transfer to serving dish. In a small bowl combine the sunflower oil and Dijon mustard and toss with coleslaw just prior to serving.

Meatballs with Pepper Sauce

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of this dish (I promise to take one the next time I make these!), but so many people requested this recipe be posted I decided to do it immediately so as not to upset my friends!!!

Meatballs with Pepper Sauce
1 cup milk
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 envelope of onion soup mix
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 -1 /2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped sweet red or yellow peppers
2 tbsp chopped red onions
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • In a large bowl, combine the milk, Worcestershire sauce and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1" balls.
  • Place meatballs on a rack in a shallow baking pan and broil 4-6" from the heat for 5 to 8 minutes (or until meatballs are browned).
  • In a large pot or slow cooker on high, combine sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat; add meatballs and stir gently.
  • Simmer for 1 hr or until meat is no longer pink.

Zesty Citrus & Chicken Salad

This is an extremely refreshing salad that I concocted when I found myself craving fruit and veggies for lunch today! I had some marinated feta that I made for our party on Saturday, leftover roasted chicken and a red grapefruit. These combined with baby spinach, cilantro, and a lime dressing was delicious!!!

Spinach Salad with Marinated Feta, Chicken, Graperfuit & Lime Dressing


3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 breast of roasted chicken, slivered
6 cubes of marinated feta*
1 segmented red grapefruit
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Whisk all salad ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Place spinach in a salad bowl, top with the slivered chicken, feta cubes and red grapefruit segments, and sprinkle the cilantro over top.
  • Drizzle the dressing over top and ENJOY!!!

* Marinated Feta:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp oil-packed sundried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb cubed feta cheese

Place all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and gently toss. Place the bag in the fridge for at least 1/2 hr. Take out of the fridge at least an hour prior to serving to allow the flavours to fully develop.