Roasted Chicken and Garlic Scape Gnocchi

Little potato pillows from heaven… that is what our son calls Gnocchi.

With plenty of fresh produce making the rounds at farmers markets,  we happend upon a creative and exceptional dish to make use of the beautiful pea shoots and garlic scapes we were given.

This is one plate of gnocchi that is sure to please the most discerning palate!

Now it is important to note that this dish contains an item known to be a notorious ‘wine pairing killer’ – Asparagus.  There are very few wines that work well with Asparagus, however it is a perfect match for Roero Arneis – a grape native to Northern Italy.  The best of the best, and most historically significant Arneis is produced by Vietti.

For your perfect pairing, and to taste a glass of history, we recommend Vietti Roero Arneis.

Continue reading “Roasted Chicken and Garlic Scape Gnocchi”

Garlic Crusted Salmon with Watermelon Relish

On a hot summer day few things beat fresh watermelon, seafood, and a glass of Riesling on the patio!  Before the summer sun fades, I recommend picking up a bottle of Synchromesh, Tantalus or 8th Generation Riesling  and giving this recipe a try!

Quick enough for a weeknight meal, and extremely healthy – you will have just elevated your weeknight dining game to a 10!

Ingredients:
4 skinless salmon fillets
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked pepper
2 tbs paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
1 tsp lemon or lime zest
1 tbsp olive oil
For Skillet:
2tbs Butter
Preparation:
Whisk garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, lemon/lime juice, zest and olive oil together in a small bowl. Rub salmon fillets evenly with the garlic oil mixture and let marinate for 35 minutes. While marinating, begin preparation of relish.
Tomato- Watermelon Relish
Ingredients:
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced fresh watermelon
1 avocado diced
1/2 Cup corn kernels
1.5 tsp lemon or lime zest
2 tbs lemon/lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch fresh pepper
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Preparation: Mix all ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the salmon

 

Cook the Salmon:

Heat a skillet on the stove on med/high heat.  Melt butter and transfer salmon fillets to skillet.  Cook each side until brown crust forms, flipping once in between.  Remove when browned but fillet is still moist and flaky inside. *Timing will vary based on the thickness of your fillet.

*Tip: to test salmon for “doneness” – insert a cold knife briefly into the thickest part of the fillet – remove quickly and feel the knife – if it is still cool to the touch, the salmon needs more time.  You will likely be able to take a quick peak as well to see if the colour of your fish has changed – but do not do this too often!

Top Salmon with 1/2 cup of Relish (or more!) and enjoy with a side of rice!

Cheers!

–  Kathryn

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Simple Brown Buttered Carrots

Some times the simplest recipes are the best, especially when made with garden fresh ingredients!

Our garden is offering up plenty of goodies this time of year!  One of our favourites are the ‘little finger’ carrots!

This year I made the mistake of planting them too close together… and as a result my son dug up what he named “Mommy Carrot, Daddy Carrot, and Octo-Carrot”… c’est la vie!


If you have carrots you are harvesting from your own garden that are tender, I find you do not even need to peel them before cooking – they are so delicious, and pretty looking just with the tops trimmed off and sliced lengthwise!

Browned butter adds a rich and nutty flavour to the sweet carrots, and is always a crowd pleaser!

Continue reading “Simple Brown Buttered Carrots”

Are you properly storing your wines with skrewcaps?

Over the course of the last few decades, skrewcaps have been embraced by many wine producers.  While they may not have the romantic appeal of a traditional cork… The reasoning for this is sound.  Natural cork is expensive, and in short supply.  A faulty cork can also RUIN a great bottle.

Skrew caps offer freedom from cork taint – a pesky bacterial growth found in natural cork that can reak havoc on your wine.  Cork taint is the reason why the Somm or server pours the host a small sample of wine to try first before serving the rest of the table when you order a bottle of wine.  This gesture is simply to make sure the wine has not been spoiled.  

NOTE: This is not your chance to reject a wine based on personal preference, or begin writing your tasting notes.  Why does the server leave the cork on the table for you?  Hint: it is not because it is a souvenir. It is a gift for you to inspect via a sniff for off odours – like the smell of rotting cardboard, or wet dog.

Because this bacterial pest can ruin epic bottles, quality-conscious producers, initially in Australia and New Zealand, began using skrewcap closures.

Sadly early skrewcaps (and current cheap skrewcaps) were not necessarily better than corks.  A natural cork closure allows wine to breathe, with slow oxygen maturation.  It is why bottles should be laid on their side in order to keep the cork from drying out, and allow slow, prolonged oxygen permiation into the wine via the porous cork.

So what does this mean for our friend the skrewcap?  Well, in cheap wines that are made to be consumed within a year… There is no need to lay them on their side.  Even in a higher end maturation worthy wine, a single year on it’s side will make little difference to maturation.

However, in higher end wines, manufacturers have tried to mimic the porous nature of a cork closure.  Specially engineered caps, like certain versions of the Stelvin closure, allow controlled oxygen maturation via a permiable seal in the wine.  These are cellar worthy bottles, best stored on their side to reap the benefits for years to come.

However, at the end of the day, when in doubt… If you don’t plan on drinking it soon… No matter what closure you have… lay it on it’s side.  You will never go wrong.
Cheers!

Marcel Lapierre 2015 Morgon

When it comes to juicy red wines, it is hard to beat a great Gamay Noir during the heat of the summer.

Cru Beaujolais, Beer Can Chicken (actually wine can – because that is how we roll around here…) and the patio are good friends.  This offering is a personal favourite from Marcel Lapierre – seductive cherry, cranberry, raspberry, violets and bramble.

True to Baujolais form this wine offers up plenty of carbonic masceration flavours of candied banana and bubble gum.

Unlike your basic Beaujolais however – this Cru Morgon offers up some solid tertiary notes sure to please the discerning palate.  A solid hit of barnyard, mushroom and spent hay on the nose linger past the fruit in this wine’s long finish. 

 Juicy and substantial, as Morgon should be, from this biodynamic producer. 
Best served lightly chilled and enjoyed with fantastic company!

Vietti 2014 Perbacco Nebbiolo

Vietti’s Perbacco Nebbiolo is always a crowd pleaser. If it were possible to describe a bottle of Barolo as “feminine” this would be the bottle you would use.   Because of that it has always been a favourite go to wine for us to use to showcase the depth of Barolo to new wine enthusiasts, or to celebrate the beautiful flavours of Piemonte with a little instant gratification, and only an hour or two of decanting!

Perbacco is made from blending wines of 11 of Vietti’s 15 Cru Single Vineyard Barolo Sites.  In the winemaking process owner/winemaker Luca Currado carefully crafts his Continue reading “Vietti 2014 Perbacco Nebbiolo”

Vietti – 2012 Barolo Lazzarito Wine Review

This brief note does not do this wine justice…  I will dive more into the rich history of this vineyard in my upcoming Barolo blog.

An incredible wine that needs more time to soften, however the notes are incredibly intense with dried roses, violets, thyme, rosemary, sandalwood, oolong tea, dark wet slate, dried cherries, dried cranberries… I could spend hours picking it a part. It is stunning. High acid, high tannin, medium body, with a long finish of bold but refined flavours that layer beautifully upon eachother.

Do not rush with this wine… No matter when you drink it.

 I will be putting away two for when my kids get married – lol they are 6 and 4…  A wine that could be drunk now, but you are doing yourself a disservice in doing so, as this has all of the signs of stunning things to come!  

If you do crack it open early… Be sure to serve with a high fat, high protien dish such as braised beef ravioli in a mushroom cream sauce.  If you can be patient… A truffle risotto 15-20 years from now will be a pure heavenly experience.

Currently Retails for Approx $270 CAD at Bin905 Wine and Spirits

“So I want to learn how to taste wine… What do I need?”

So you want to learn how to taste wine? First of all, congratulations on an excellent choice of a fabulous hobby! I may be a little biased, but clearly wine tasting is an exercise that I enjoy more than… pretty much anything! What was once a hobby, turned into an obsession, and after formal training, became my career.

But I digress…

Many people feel that they are incapable of picking out flavours in wine. When you read the back label of a bottle that lists notes of peach, lychee, and lemongrass… then take a sniff and a swig and fall short on getting well… any of that… it  can be easy to feel discouraged and assume that something is wrong with you and your palate.

I am here to comfort you… because this is often not the case.

Continue reading ““So I want to learn how to taste wine… What do I need?””

Wine Review: Presqu’ile Santa Maria Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir Lover? Or feel that Pinot Noir is too light? I have a find for you!
Fabulous ripe style Pinot Noir for those that normally feel Pinot is too hollow!  
Medium plus nose of red cherry, thyme, smoke, cedar, unripe black plum, leather, and hint of earthy mushroom (brought out by the lamb loin pairing we had at Teatro during our latest tasting dinner) – this is on the menu by the glass at $24 or bottle at $120 or can be found through retailers in Alberta by searching Liquor Connect
For a Pinot Noir, this is intense on the palate. Dry, but with ripe fruit, medium fine tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, and a lovely lingering finish with flavours of cherries, moss, thyme, smoke, cedar, and black plum. Would be great with bbq, and was easily intense enough to stand up to our lamb loin stuffed with pine nuts and herbs!

Cheers!