Red Wine

Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – September

Posted on: September 6th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

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

“Ci Vediamo” Spezzatino

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“Who Needs A Recipe?!” Bolognese Sauce

Posted on: May 31st, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“My recipe for life is not being afraid of myself, afraid of what I think or of my opinions.” ~ Eartha Kitt

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Patti Woods of Patti’s Classic Classy Cosmos has a wonderful relationship with her daughter Lauren. Lauren and her husband Anton live about an hour away, and the three of them like to get together as often as they can. Anton is a great guy who loves to cook and he especially loves to cook with wine. He particularly likes to make dishes without recipes and has a knack for recreating just about anything. One evening he simply felt like making a Bolognese sauce and came up with this spectacular recipe that has become a favourite of the whole family.

Lauren likes to say that when Anton is cooking with wine, she just relaxes and looks good drinking the rest of the wine. Well done Lauren! ;)

“Who Needs A Recipe?!” Bolognese Sauce

 
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried
1 Tbsp. fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Kosher salt
1 pack of fettuccini

 

  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add diced onion and crushed garlic and cook over medium-low heat until onions are golden. Add diced carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add ground beef. Cook over medium heat until ground beef is browned and no pink remains. Add the oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in the wine, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the wine to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
  4. Pour in the milk, turn up the heat again, and bring the milk to a boil. Again, lower heat and simmer until the milk is reduced by half.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and paste. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and simmer with the lid on for at least 45 minutes and up to four hours. The longer the better!
  6. The Pasta: A half hour before you plan to eat, fill up a large pot with cold water. Bring to a boil. When bubbles begin to form, add salt to the water, enough to make the water smell salty. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. While the pasta is cooking, add the basil to the sauce and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain but don’t rinse it. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  8. Serve immediately, with fresh parmesan cheese on top and garlic bread on the side.

Patti Bolognese jewelry collage

 

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2 – Beef Ragout

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ~ Dean Koontz

The 2nd  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul.

Another part of my job is cooking for seniors and I am often hired by their “kids” (people like me in the 50’s & 60’s) to ensure their parents are eating properly. A lot of seniors used to be good cooks, but over time, sometimes they are no longer able stand for long periods or they have dietary restrictions. Hiring me gives them the ability to be independent and remain in their own homes.

A woman contacted me and arranged for me to go to her parents’ home – a lovely large Tudor style home. She had said her Mum, Martha, had slight dementia and her Dad, George, was a retired doctor and didn’t cook. When I arrived this couple greeted me at the door, both beautifully dressed, lovely white hair, their cardigans in place. Martha had her full makeup on so my first impression was that they looked healthy and happy.

After I got unpacked and started to work the husband, George came into the kitchen with his newspaper in hand and asked if Martha could sit with me. I realized the poor guy never has time to himself so I said, “Of course. Martha, come sit, watch me cook and I’ll make you some tea.” I kept thinking, “Why are they in this huge house?” Well, you guessed it. They had this dog, a Puli named Sandy, who was a mass of black dreadlocks to the floor. I could not tell his ass end from his front end, but they loved him and they couldn’t give up their home while they had their dog.

After being asked the umpteenth time what my name was, Martha announced Sandy had to go out. So I took the dog and let him out the glass doors onto the patio. It was the middle of January and the patio door was stuck with snow, so I ended up outside as well trying to get the dog out. Then Martha slammed the glass door shut and locked it, with me outside!

I tried my best to convince her to let me in. I could hear her calling out, “George, there is a strange lady in white on our patio.”

“Jeez!” I thought, “Do you think he’s heard that before?” Then I had a brainwave. I picked up Sandy and smiled at her. She opened the door happily saying, “Oh! You found Sandy!”

Chef Janet Craig Cooking With Sin Beef Ragout Who Let the Dog Out?

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2

Beef Ragout

 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
2 pounds stewing beef, trimmed, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted, ground
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 540 ml can diced tomatoes, including juice
2 bay leaves
2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
 

 1.In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add beef and toss until evenly coated.

2. Set meat aside, shaking off any excess flour; reserve flour.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Brown beef in batches, turning and adding more oil, if necessary, for about four minutes per batch.

4. Transfer beef to slow cooker’s stoneware insert. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions and garlic, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Sprinkle with cumin and the flour mixture and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add beef stock, wine, tomatoes with juice, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about two minutes.

5. Add to slow cooker, stirring well. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours, until mixture is bubbly and beef is tender.

6. Stir in roasted peppers, olives and parsley. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Who Let the Dog Out? #1 – Port Sirloin & Portobello Mushroom Stew

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

The 1st  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul

As a Personal Chef I work in many peoples’ homes with a variety of family pets and as a dog owner I love their dogs. Those of us who have dogs in our lives know each one has their own personality and we can rave ad nauseam about this, much like new parents with their infant. I find that people identify with your child or your dog so you are either Buzzer’s Mum or Timmy’s Mum depending if you are in the dog park or the schoolyard. Of course we dog-crazy people can’t quite understand for a moment why some people do not like them or are terrified of them.

Often times I work in clients’ houses alone for the day and I enjoy having their dog as company, but it can also be a lot of responsibility. As a result, I have had some hilarious situations.

One day I went into my client’s kitchen and there was a young standard Schnauzer named Guinness in his crate. The moment the dog saw me, he went nuts so I phoned the client at her office and asked, “Can I let the dog out while I’m here? When I’m done I will re-crate him before I leave.” She was relieved and said the yard is fully fenced so I could also let him outside. So that sounded good.

Now when I am cooking I usually make about 20 entrees with sides that are labelled and frozen so I’m really busy and every burner is on plus the oven, microwave, etc. I often bring my lunch as well.

So that day I was working away and noticed that Guinness was very quiet. Searching the house, I caught him on the living room rug gnawing away on my lunch steak! I freaked! Not only had he eaten my lunch, but it looked like someone had been murdered on the rug! Quickly I put Guinness back in his crate, turned off all the burners, found the soda and vinegar and got on my hands & knees to scrub the rug and try to make it presentable.

Finally I was able to get back to my real job in the kitchen. I was under pressure and behind in my schedule, but I had to listen to the incessant whining, crying of poor Guinness. Wouldn’t you think, with a belly full of rib eye, he would be sleepy? So, later while cubing meat for shish kebobs to grill on the barbeque I caved and let him outside to run around the yard.

Well, you guessed it. A little while later, I returned to the backyard to find NO dog! I frantically called him and there he was smiling like only a big goofy puppy can from the neighbour’s back yard. Was he able to jump the fence?

So I had to run back into the kitchen, again, turn off the stove, then turn off the barbeque, lock the door and leave the house. As I ran around the block to get to the neighbour’s yard I seaw the tail end of Guinness going over the hedge & fence back into his own yard. NOOO!

I am usually in and out of a client’s house in 4 to 5 hours and leaving before they return home from work, but that day my car was pulling out of the driveway as they were pulling in and she said, “I bet you got playing with that dog!”

“Yeah, you got it!” ;)

Cooking With Sin Chef Janet Craig Port Sirloin Portobello Mushroom Stew

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” #1

Port Sirloin and Portobello Stew

Serves 4-6

3 cups hot beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary (or 1 tbsp each of fresh)
1/2 cup red wine
1.2 lb sirloin roast, cubed
salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup veg oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red potatoes, skin on, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup port wine
2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)
 

1. Heat broth; add bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, red wine. Simmer 20-30 min.

2. Season beef, dredge in flour, brown, and remove. Add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic & butter. Sauté until onions are caramelized.

3. Return beef, add port, hot broth, s & p. Bring to boil, simmer 45-60 min.(this is nice in Crockpot or baked in heavy casserole) Near the end, thicken with tomato paste.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

 

“Reif Estate Winery” Braised Beef Bolognese

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

For the past three years I have been involved in “Best Bites: Taste of the Region” fundraiser here in Cambridge, Ontario. As the beverage contact on the organizing committee for the event I contact and invite the wineries, breweries & distilleries to the event. As you can imagine, I have the best job! This recipe is the first in a series of posts I am featuring as a “Thank You” to the beverage participants who have been such an important part of helping make Best Bites such a resounding success each year.
 

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

Reif Estate Winery is a family business in the Niagara Region here in Ontario. It was founded in 1977 by Ewald Reif and is now owned by his nephew Klaus Reif. Winemaking runs deeply in the Reif family. It goes back approximately 500 years to the Rhine Valley of Germany where their ancestors began growing grapes. Klaus brought winemaker Robert DiDomenico on board in 1990.

Roberto’s winemaking philosophy of ‘letting nature make wine’ married perfectly with Klaus’s belief that “…today we are growing wine in the vineyard.” – from Reif’s website (Reif  rhymes with “life”)

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

Reif Estate Winery

Braised Beef Bolognese

 

Ingredients for Beef

1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium beef shanks
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
1½ cups red wine
2 medium carrots, peeled
4 cups chicken stock
400g can San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig fresh oregano
salt and pepper

Ingredients for Bolognese

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
200g (½ can) San Marzano tomatoes (hand crushed)
½ cup Reif red wine
Fresh oregano and/or basil

METHOD

Pre-heat oven at 225 ° F. Heat oil in a large eathernware pot. Season the beef shanks with salt and pepper. Cook shanks over a high heat until browned all over. Add garlic, onion and wine. Bring to boil, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add carrots, stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and oregano. Bring to a simmer and place in the oven and cook covered for 1.5 hours or until the meat is very tender and falls from the bone. Cool slightly.

For Bolognese heat oil in a large frying pan, add onion and sauté until translucent. Add the 1/2 can of tomatoes and the red wine and reduce by half. For assembly ladle in some of the braising liquid and meat from the shanks into the sauce. Bring to a simmer for a 2 minutes or until thickened slightly. Cook your favourite pasta and drizzle with olive oil and toss with oregano and basil. Spoon the Bolognese over the pasta and serve with grated parmesan.

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Robin Howe Wine Country Catering

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

This bolognese pairs very nicely with Reif’s Cabernet Merlot.

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

Tasting Notes: A medium-bodied wine loaded with black cherry and raspberry flavours. Leather and earthy spice notes create a perfect balance in this well structure wine. A clean, fruit forward finish rounds out this exceptional medium-bodied red.

Food Pairing: Grilled meats and vegetables, or Italian style pastas. Veal shanks, firm-fleshed fish in rich tomato sauce and hearty lasagnas.

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Reif Estate Winery

VQA . Niagara Peninsula . VQA
Available on-line www.reifwinery.com or

on-site at
15608 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Note: All Reif Estate Winery & food photos credit of Reif Estate Winery

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin