Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – February

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

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

CWS Calendar 2014-02 February

Check out the story from the original classic recipe “She’s a Trooper” Cherries Jubilee.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Flaming Cherries Jubilee

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.” H. D. Thoreau

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

This past Saturday I shared Flaming Cherries Jubilee, a simplified version of  “She’s a Trooper” Cherries Jubilee on the Cooking Stage at The Total Woman Show in Kitchener. On the Friday evening before I was practising my flambé skills – fortunately nothing was singed! – when I realized I was running low on Kirsch. I made a point of heading out early Saturday morning to buy another bottle only to learn the entire city of Cambridge was sold out!

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

I needed something with an alcohol content of 40% so it could ignite and one of the liquor store managers talked me into using marshmallow vodka. I had never bought or tasted it before, but I decided to take his word for it. I’m so glad I did!

When I arrived at the show I was so happy to find out my friend Jay Chagnon was hosting my segment. I was also relieved to have my friend Chef D of Chef D TV working nearby to help re-jig that cooking surface for me. Jay and I ended up inviting Chef D to join us on stage and we had a fantastic time. Much hilarity ensued and I just hope the audience had as much fun as we did.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

Me and Chef D on The Total Woman Stage - Photo Credit K. Stenhouse

Deciding to add the marshmallow vodka at the last minute was certainly a risk, especially with a live audience there to taste it, but it was a wonderful surprise! In fact, it was so good that two of the volunteers who were helping afterward cleaned up the pan with their bare fingers! Yup, “finger licking good!” 😆

If you saw us on stage, you know we joked about measuring the booze with a “wrist feel” where you pour until your wrist feels lighter, but for this post I’ll give you some more specific amounts. Feel free to add as much as you want. That’s all part of the fun and it’s especially timely for a Valentine’s Day dinner.

Flaming Cherries Jubilee

Serves 6
1 can cherry pie filling
2 ounces Cointreau
2 ounces marshmallow vodka
2 ounces Kirsch
vanilla ice cream

1. Pour the can of cherry pie filling into a large pan. Heat on high until bubbling.

2. Move the cherries to the side of the pan then pour the alcohol onto the scrapped side of the pan. This ensures the alcohol comes in contact with the pan directly and heats up quickly. Using a lighter with a long nozzle, ignite the alcohol.

3. Let the flames burn down then mix it into the pie filling. You can also douse the flames with the pan lid if you wish.

4. Pour the warm cherries and sauce over individual dishes of vanilla ice cream and serve.

*Tip* You will want to make this in the evening when it is dark to appreciate the glow of the flames.

I especially like this recipe because it is very simple, very showy and the cherries remain a nice red colour.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

Photo credit

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More On Kirsch and Tips for a Flambé

Posted on: June 24th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment


Kirschwasser is German for “cherry water.” It is a clear brandy made from double distillation of the fermented juice and pits of cherries.

It is believed that Kirsch originated in Germany’s Black Forest where the morello cherry, the original kirsch cherry, was grown. Today, a few different types of cherries, both sweet and sour are used to make it.

Many clear fruit liqueurs are enjoyed in German-speaking areas of Europe. There is Obstler which means “fruity” is distilled from apple and sometimes pear juice, Zwetschgenwasser which means “plum water” and Himbeergeist which means “raspberry spirit.” In French-speaking communities they are called Eau de Vie which means “water of life.”

Kirsch is not sweet like cherry liqueurs. Kirschwassers have more of a bitter taste and are to be used and served like a brandy. It is an essential ingredient in Swiss cheese fondues and was one of the original ingredients in Schwärzwalder Kirschtorte, also known as Black Forest cake, that originated about 500 years ago.

Some chocolatiers make kirsch chocolates and they are very similar to brandy chocolates. Yum!cherrycola

Here is a fun drink with Kirsch.

Cherry Cola Recipe


  • Kirsch liqueur, 2oz

  • Cola, 2oz

This Kirsch liqueur recipe serves two, so you can vary the measurement of the ingredients, depending on which flavor you want to taste more. Pour the ingredients into a Tom Collins glass, shake well and serve chilled with ice.

Tips for a Flambé

Flambé is the French word for “flaming” or “flamed.” It requires a liquor or liqueur with a high alcohol content. Brandy, rum, whisky, cognac and vodka are common. 80 proof or higher is best. Over 120 proof is too high and can be dangerous. Wine, champagne & beer do not have a high enough alcohol content to be flambéd.

The liquor can be lit before or after it is poured onto the food. In some cases, where the food is hot enough, the liquor will spontaneously burst into flames when it is added. Be sure to keep a lid handy in case it needs to be smothered. With Cherries Jubilee, you light it in a ladle. In this case, it is best to use a long stick match or a BBQ lighter, so your hand is back from the flame when it ignites.

Flambéing burns off the alcohol and the harsh flavours that can come with it to leave behind the sweetness of the sugars in the liquor. It will burn a dramatic blue flame you and your guests will enjoy.


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“She’s a Trooper” Cherries Jubilee

Posted on: June 24th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment

“I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.”

~ Pierette, great-aunt of Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

This story & recipe features the beautiful photography of Wayne Atack of

May you enjoy the story, the recipe and Wayne’s stunning photographs. More of his work is featured in the “Cooking With Sin” book.

Health, strength and endurance are essential to living a vibrant life and taking good care of herself is something Sally Vlaar values deeply. She starts every day with a good 1 hour walk and she’ll jump at any chance to get in a good run too. It has been that way for years and it takes more than most of us could handle to keep her from being active.

Sally passed the love of fitness on to her family and recently she participated in a 10km run with most of her children and grandchildren. They often run for charitable causes, but this one was just for fun!

Her strength and endurance have served her very well. A few years ago, Sally was doing home care work travelling from house to house attending to the needs of people confined to their homes. Sally was visiting one particular house on an icy winter day when she slipped and fell hard onto the concrete sidewalk. The pain in her foot seared through her body and she knew she was in big trouble when she reached for her ankle and found it snapped over on a disturbingly unnatural angle.

At the time, cell phones were not attached to everyone, like they are today. Sally knew she had to get herself to a phone. Not wanting to yell and disturb the bed-ridden person in the home, she pulled herself onto her knees, careful to protect her badly broken ankle, and crawled back to the house, up the front stairs and let herself in the door. Keeping her composure, and not wanting to alarm the homeowner, she called out and identified herself as she made her way to the phone.

At this point, even the strongest among us would have collapsed and called 911, but not Sally. Her son-in-law Darcy says, “She’s a trooper” and he is so right. Worried more about the people under her care than her own ankle, the first call she made was to her work, to let them know she couldn’t make the rest of her rounds. Then she called her husband to pick her up and take her to the hospital. She could have called 911, but she believed there were worse emergencies at that moment than her ankle and didn’t want to occupy an ambulance unnecessarily. So considerate. So beautiful.

A few months ago, she was hospitalized for several days with a serious health concern, yet even in her weakened state with all kinds of tubes and vials connected to her, she got out of the bed several times a day and walked the hospital halls dragging the pole with her.

Since that hospital stay, she has had to change her already very healthy diet drastically. Fats and alcohol are almost completely cut out now and one thing she misses is her Cherries Jubilee. She loves making it and she loves serving it.

Sally says to make sure you serve it in the evening in dim light so you can enjoy the blue flame. Once she served it to her family in the light of day, but no one could see the flame so she increased the amount of Kirsch. The flame was huge… and so hot it almost burnt her arm!

This recent health scare forced her to slow down – for a brief stint – but now Sally is back to walking an hour a day and getting in a good run when she can.

Cherries Jubilee

4 – 6 servings


1 can pitted Bing Cherries (These are dark cherries, not sour cherries, nor cherry pie filling)

¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup Kirsch or a cherry brandy
Vanilla ice cream
1 heavy sauce pan
1 large serving bowl that can handle flames
4 – 6 small serving dishes that can handle flames
1 ladle that can handle flames and has a handle that will keep your hand away from the flames.
  1. Mix a small amount of the canned cherry juice with the cornstarch. Makes sure the juice is cold and stir until the cornstarch is blended. It will make a cloudy liquid.

  2. Strain the remaining canned cherry juice into a heavy sauce pan, add the sugar and heat on medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Just before the juice & sugar mix comes to a boil, slowly stir in the cornstarch mix keeping the heat on medium-high. Once the cornstarch is mixed in, let it come to a boil. Keep stirring until the liquid thickens and is clear & shiny.

  4. Stir in the cherries and heat until everything is heated through. The cherries can be added earlier with the cornstarch, but the cherries don’t need to be cooked.

  5. Pour the mix into a nice glass or ceramic serving dish that can that can handle a bit of heat.

  6. Scoop the ice cream into individual glass or ceramic bowls that can handle some heat.

  7. Pour the kirsch into a ladle that can handle heat and light it. It is best to use a long stick match or a lighter with a long tip and light it just at the edge of the ladle. The flame with travel across quickly, so keep your hand back.

  8. Slowly pour the flaming kirsch into the cherry bowl, stirring slowly to let it continue flaming.

  9. Pour the cherry mix over the ice cream and enjoy. It’s deelish!

The key to flambéing is to shake the cherries gently so the flame continues to burn off some of the harshness of the alcohol and candies the sugars. Your family and guests will be entertained by it, too.

Sally says,

“Do enjoy. Just don’t over do.” 😉

Wayne’s beautiful family enjoyed a special night of testing and tasting Sally’s Cherries Jubilee recipe

The next post discusses More on Kirsch & Tips for a Flambe in more detail.

Looking for a quick version? Check out my “Flaming Cherries Jubilee.

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