The Great Canadian Wine Match

Posted on: May 4th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

This week was the launch of the premiere The Great Canadian Wine Match. The fun slogan is “Red, White and Truth North Food.”

Please join in and vote. It is wine pairing in 6 different categories: chicken, beef, pizza. cheese, seafood, dessert. Click on each image below for each different category. I have nominated a wine in each of the categories.

If you tweet, use the hashtag #GCWM. Thanks!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Chicken Wine
Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Beef Wine
Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Pizza Wine
Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Cheese Wine
Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Seafood Wine
Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin
Best Dessert Wine

Thanks for your votes!

Note – There is a bit of confusion. The image for the Riverview is the same as the Ravine wine. That’s an oops I am trying to correct.

Bring on 2012 with Bubbles!

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends.” ~ Tom Waits

A New Year celebration naturally calls for sparkling wine, so let me help you find some great deals.

Natalie MacLean of specializes in finding the best wines for the best prices here in Ontario. This year for New Years, three of her recommendations are:

A James Bond Favourite!

Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve, A.C., Champagne $53.95

An “Affair to Remember” Pink Champagne

Freixenet Cava Cordon Rosado $12.65

My Favourite!

Santa Margherita Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut $17.95

You can see Natalie MacLean’s Top 10 Bubblies for 2012 here.

Did you know? While Dom Perrignon did not invent champagne, he did create the cork and wire design that holds the cork in place.

New Years’ Bubbles on a Budget

Posted on: December 29th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments


Heading out to buy some bubbles to bring in the new year? Don’t be tempted by Dom Perignon. Save yourself a lot of $$ and check this out first!

The lastest test by “The Wine Trials” found that in a blind taste test, there were several sparkling wines under $15 a bottle that beat $50+ bottles. Here is their list.


You can see all their test results on their site:


Natalie MacLean is the Canadian author of “Red White and Drunk All Over.” She regularly tastes and compares wines and shares her tips on her site “Nat Decants”

For this season’s New Year’s celebrations, she says,  “There are some terrific bubblies that will add sparkle to your holidays without taking a shine to your wallet.” She recommends the following bubblies…

#1 Santa Margherita Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut (Italy). She says it is surprisingly rich and toasty, yet packed with luscious peach and pear notes.

#2 Freixenet Cordon Rosado (Spain) – She says it has lovely aromas of fresh raspberries and strawberries.


But in the latest edition of “The Wine Trials” most wine drinkers reported again that they preferred a $12 bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut from Washington State to the $150 Dom Perignon.

“At a minimum it seems clear that many Americans might be wasting at least $138, at least where taste is concerned,” he said.

Looking for more suggestions? You can read the full article in The Gazette at 

Something I just learned…

Different sizes of champagne bottles have different names and several of them are people from the old testament in the Bible. Who knew??


The Wine Wheel Goes Round & Round

Posted on: July 26th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, HE was a genius.” ~ Sid Caesar

“There are many spokes on the wheel of life. First, we’re here to explore new possibilities.” ~ Ray Charles

Tonight I spent some time looking for the wine tasting wheel. Little did I know but there are a whole lotta wheels out there. Wine, beer, cognac, cheese, chocolate, coffee, peppermint, cigar and….. body odour!!! Love it!

Here are some wine wheels. They are really helpful developing a palatte and identifying what you taste and experience. Enjoy!

1. The Wine Aroma Wheel

The wine aroma wheel is in my book and the owner has asked that it not be posted here. So…. buy the book!!

2. A Simpler Wine Aroma Wheel

3. Wine Mouthfeel Wheel

4. Wine Tasting Note Chart

5.  Table of Wine Composition

The Wine Spectator School is now

Well, I couldn’t find the tasting chart in the site, but it looks like a great site with a thorough amount of wine information.

I hope you “Like” Cooking With Sin on Facebook

Follow me, Carla Johnson, on Twitter @Carla_Johnson

“Goddess Supper II” Chicken au Champagne

Posted on: March 28th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

Athena“I always love being in the company of women. It’s all about good conversation and great wine.” ~ Naomi Watts

“God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.” ~ Gloria Steinem

Sometimes we call ourselves “The Goddesses.” Other times we’re “The Divas.” Either way, it’s clear what we think of of ourselves. We are women who met 10 years ago at work. We are all teachers or principals and while we have all moved on to different schools, we continue to get together a few times a year.

Whatever we have gone through individually, The Goddesses have been there to support. We are all passionate about living life vibrantly with integrity. We all love travel and adventure. We are intellectuals and insist on delving into issues rigorously, especially when it comes to education, and most important of all we laugh loud and we laugh long.

We have seen each other through the inevitable ups and downs of life. Some of us are married, some of us are divorced, some of us are single. We raised a glass of bubbly when when one of us got married, we poured lots of red wine when one of us faced a break-up and we championed the virtues of being single when one of us struggled with the idea. We anguished together when one of us faced daunting parenting challenges and we were consoling when one of us faced a hysterectomy that came too early in life.

Among The Goddesses, I have been the most prodigal, so I invited everyone to my house for a “Sin Supper” and the jokes ensued. “Can we get tipsy on pork tenderloin?” “I’m bringing a dish called ‘Potted Cheese’ with Riesling, not pot.” “We may need to make it a sleep-over.”

The dinner was pot-luck and we had an absolutely wonderful time tasting each other’s dishes and ranting about the need for more Arts in education. There was Pat’s Potted Cheese, Laurie’s Chicken au Champagne and Trish’s Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Mushrooms & Shallot Sauce. Gillian brought Pasta Amatriciana and a bottle of Passion-Fruit Jamaican rum. I made George’s Sherry Potatoes and Melissa made Sex In The Pan (What a great idea!) for dessert.

Here are all the recipes from our “Goddess Supper” one course at a time. Enjoy!

Entree #1


Laurie Douglas made Chicken Au Champagne. Laurie works with primary students, and recently won a prestigious teaching award. She brings such a thoughtful and caring spirit to her classroom, that you may miss the fact that she is actually very organized and direct. I am easily distracted and rarely look at the time, so Laurie kept me focused on getting food on the table in for our dinner. Thank you Laurie!


Chicken Au Champagne


4 organic, free range, chicken breasts
salt & freshly ground pepper
Chervil, tarragon or thyme (These herbs are optional and can be substituted according to taste.)
1 shallot quartered
1 cup Champagne (with a sweetness of “1”)
4 cups cooked brown rice


1 cup mushrooms, chopped
a touch of olive oil
a few drops of lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
1 tablespoon butter

Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts were recommended, but Laurie used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for our meal.

  1. Place chicken breasts in a roasting pan, skin side down, and season them with the salt, pepper and herbs. Pour ½ cup of the champagne over the breasts. Make a slit in each breast and insert a piece of shallot.

  2. Place the pan under the broiler for 3 minutes until the skin is nicely browned. Turn and broil the other side for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove the chicken from the broiler and baste in the pan juices, adding the remaining ½ cup of Champagne.

  4. Adjust the oven temperature to 475°F and bake the chicken for 30 minutes, basting once or twice.

  5. Place each breast on a bed of rice.

  6. Garnish:

  • Sauté chopped mushrooms in a touch of olive oil.
  • Add the lemon juice & sage seasoning to taste.
  • Stir in the butter until it melts.
  • Pour over the chicken & rice and serve.

I added George’s Sherry Potatoes to the plate.

In case you were worried, the remaining Champagne did not go to waste – unless you mean my waist… tee hee!


Check out the next post for the next entree of our dinner; Trish’s Pork Tenderloin and Brandied Mushroom Shallot Sauce.