My “Sin”ful Response to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

My friend Tric Fletcher, wife and partner-in-crime of Chef D, nominated me for the #IceBucketChallenge and I responded in my own “sin”ful way. I pass the torch on to my wonderful powerhouse real estate friends  Tahani Aburaneh and Gabrielle Jeans.

Here’s to helping find the cure of this awful disease! Go to and donate. Do it now! :)

#IceBucketChallenge #ALS


Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – June

Posted on: June 1st, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Each month in 2014, I am sharing a calendar page that includes a CWS recipe. Here is June’s!

Click to open up the large version of the calendar page, then right click and save or copy it for yourself. Print it off for your fridge, share it with a friend, post it at your office… etc.

I just ask, if you use it in a document, please use the entire image, so Cooking With Sin gets the credit. Thank you. It is yours to enjoy!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Calendar 2014

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Check out the story with the original recipe

Not From Your Grocery Store” Icewine Marshmallows.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Toast 2013 with a Canadian Martini!

Posted on: December 30th, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

 Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early!
My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!”
 ~ Aleister Crowley

This quote makes me smile. It reminds me of the old SNL sketch “Lowered Expectations.” If you saw it, back in the day, you can probably still hum the tune. I am hoping 2013 will be a no nonsense year. No blubbering. No boasting. No baloney. Just lots of humour with a reality check.

You may have guessed I’m not a big believer in new year’s resolutions. They are usually doomed to fail for many good reasons. On the other hand I do take time to reflect and ponder at the start of a new year. My thoughts for 2013 are on my personal blog

For Infinity Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue I wrote an article featuring King’s Court Estate Winery in the Niagara Region here in Ontario. Roland Zimmermann, the owner & vintner of King’s Court, and I came up with a great drink you will find absolutely perfect for toasting in the new year. It is a mix of three very spectacular, Canadian ingredients. Enjoy!

King’s Courtini

1 shot King’s Court Estates Vidal Icewine VQA
1 shot Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
2 shots Canadian Whisky

1. Place ingredients in a shaker of ice.
2. Shake and strain into ice-filled martini glasses garnished with something festive.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“Not From Your Grocery Store” Icewine Marshmallows

Posted on: June 9th, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"“You’re a marshmallow. Soft and sweet and when you get heated up you go all gooey and delicious.” ~ Janet Evanovich, One For The Money

For most of my life I thought marshmallows were the simple candy treat you buy in a bag at the grocery store. Simple and inexpensive, they make great rice crisp treats and I love roasting them for S’mores over campfires at our family cabin.

Camping enthusiasts know that roasting a marshmallow on a stick over the coals of an open fire is truly an art. You want a crispy, toasty brown colour on the outside and slightly melted, warm & soft on the inside, but the temperature must be not be too hot. A burnt lip or tongue will definitely spoil the fun.

I also have a soft spot on my palate for the chocolate covered, heart-shaped marshmallows on a stick you can buy at the corner store for Valentine’s Day. A few years ago, my eyes were opened to a whole new marshmallow landscape when I found out that Reid Chocolates, our local, wonderful chocolatier made their own marshmallow for their seasonal treats. Their soft, tasty chocolate-coated sweets took marshmallow to a whole new level. I was a convert!

Chef Jason Parsons, Executive Chef at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant and the creator of this recipe, claims it is a fool-proof recipe, but I was still really happy that my friend Connie Campbell tested the recipe instead of me. She is a passionate, brilliant chef. If you know me, I don’t even consider myself a proper cook. Connie did a great job and you can read about it on her blog post “Icewine Marshmallows… or should I say Marshmellow…?

I didn’t ask Connie if she would use them in S’mores, but I think a light coating of chocolate might be perfect.

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

Icewine Marshmallows - all photos on this post are courtesy of Connie Campbell

“Not From Your Grocery Store” Icewine Marshmallows

3/4 cup Icewine (Connie used red)
3 envelopes unflavoured gelatin
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla (Connie used a clear vanilla)
¼ cup icing sugar (more if needed)
Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"
  1. Line a 9-inch square pan with oiled plastic wrap.
  2. Pour Icewine in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for several minutes until reduced to approximately 4 teaspoons. It will be a thick syrup. Watch closely to prevent scorching. Let cool.
  3. In a mixer bowl, pour 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 10 minutes to let it soften.
  4. While the gelatin sits, combine remaining water, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until it reaches 240°F the “soft ball” candy stage.
  5. Stir the sugar-syrup mixture into gelatin mixture along with the salt. Beat with whisk on high speed for eight minutes.
  6. Add the reduced Icewine and vanilla. Continue beating for 2 more minutes.
  7. Transfer mixture to the lined pan. Use an oiled spatula to spread evenly.
  8. Allow to set several hours in a cool area, but non-refrigerated.
  9. When the marshmallow mixture is firm, remove from the pan. Cut into squares with a lightly oiled knife and coat each square in icing sugar.

Tip! When you cut the marshmallow be sure to pull the pieces apart or they will join back together again becoming “uncut.”

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

The marshmallow mush took over Connie's food processor!


Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

The Marshmallow plant

Marshmallow probably first came into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical uses as well. The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat. The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or “guimauve” for short), included an egg white meringue and was often flavored with rose water.Pâte de guimauve more closely resembles contemporary commercially available marshmallows, which no longer contain any marshmallow plant. The use of marshmallow to make a sweet dates back to ancient Egypt, where the recipe called for extracting sap from the plant and mixing it with nuts and honey.

~ Wikipedia “Marshmallow”

Gin & Tonic Sorbet

Recently, Connie sent me a picture of a recipe she and a friend found online for Gin & Tonic Sorbet. They tried it out and found it “yummy and very sweet.” I told her that at some point we need to publish “Cooking With Sin With Connie” because she is such a rich source of interesting food and recipes.

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

G & T Sorbet

  • 400ml cold water
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300ml tonic water
  • gin to taste – around 50ml
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon glucose (optional)

 Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

Here is the original recipe from Walnut Grove Cookery in France.

See Connie’s other posts here on “Cooking With Sin”

“Oops I Did It Again” Bouillabaisse

“Good Neighbour” Gluten-Free Beer Braised Beef

“2nd Half” Icewine & Tequila Martini

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments
"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"Good wine makes good blood;
Good blood causeth good humors;
Good humors cause good thoughts;
Good thoughts bring forth good works;
Good works carry a man to heaven.
Ergo: Good wine carrieth a man to heaven.
~ James Howell

On a recent trip to Niagara Falls with friends, we spontaneously stopped at two wineries on our way home. While I enjoyed tasting the beautiful wines, my eyes were opened wide about Icewine.

Icewine is a specialty of our Canadian wineries. We often drink it for dessert, but at Harbour Estates they pulled out a carafe of Icewine with hot peppers and we finished it off. The mix had been “steeping” for about a week. It was amazing. The sweet-hot took the edge off each other and blended beautifully.

At Cave Spring Cellars we had a lot of fun with Sue Andersen. She is very passionate about what she does and she enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with each person who comes in for wine tasting.

Pulling out some of the nicest bottles, Sue taught us some key ways to really enjoy wine. She let us taste wine before and then after being aerated. What a difference! Then she showed us the impact of the glass. Wine in the standard tasting glass tastes completely different in the glass designed for it. When she gave us a taste of Icewine, she told us to let it linger on our tongues and imagine it with a mushroom risotto. Yes. Icewine works wonderfully with an appetizer. The sweetness balances so nicely with savoury.

"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"

Sue Andersen has always loved wine and she became an expert on it in her retirement. After working for two decades at a paper company she celebrated her retirement with a nice trip to her birthplace, Copenhagen, Denmark. Returning home, she realized quiet, domestic life was not for her, so she took a Smart Serve course. She had always loved drinking wine and thought it would be easy to sell.

Hired at a grocery store wine boutique, she started with the tastings, but her sales really soared when she asked the store manager to let her pair some of their food specials with her wines. Customers were drawn to her booth by the food aromas and walked away happy, arms laden with wine and food products. It was a winning combination.

The next step in her training was a Wine Council test. Fearing she had been out of school too long to manage a test, Sue was certain she would not get the 85% needed to pass. In fact, she was so certain she failed she went to work and said her good-byes. She hadn’t realized her passion and knowledge were better than most, because she actually passed.

Continuing to work at the boutique she got the attention of a winery who asked her to do to tastings and tours and that lead to working at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. Recently she told me,

I am now in my 9th year of working in one of the greatest jobs I could possibly find. My past experiences have taken me to Chateau des Charmes, Jackson Triggs/Inniskillin, Reif Estate and Twenty Valley. I am currently working for Cave Spring Cellars in Jordan where I get to meet people like you and your friends on that cool Sunday afternoon.

Sue says if you live near Niagara, or any other wine region, wineries are the greatest attractions. Get out and visit just 2 or 3 at a time. You will get to taste some of the most exquisite wines that are unavailable at your local wine or liquor store. Be sure to look at the winery websites first so you know if tours or other special events are available.

Wine tastings & tours can cost up to $5 per person, but if you buy a bottle you often get your money back. It’s a great way to get a special bottle of wine for a discount.

"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"

“2nd Half” Icewine & Tequila Martini

Always a lover of tequila, Sue knew it would work well with Icewine. She makes them each individually, rather than a pitcher, so you get the swirl on your tongue of the sweetness of Icewine meeting the tequila.

1. Rim a champagne flute with melted chocolate.

2. Add 3/4 oz. of tequila

3. Add 3/4 oz. of Riesling Icewine

4. Enjoy!

"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"

"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"

Here’s to mine and here’s to thine!
Now’s the time to clink it!
Here’s a bottle of fine old wine,
And we’re all here to drink it.

"Carla Johnson" "Cooking With Sin"

If you a fan of tequila, you might like the Margarita recipe on “Working Past Midnight” French Toast.

Please join us on Facebook!

Click on this “Like” image.

Cooking With Sin