Tempting Tequila Tasting Wheels

Posted on: January 9th, 2016 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.” ~ George Carlin

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

This Canadian girl is dreaming of long, warm days in Mexico. Palm trees, fresh guacamole, colourful pottery and shops with rows and rows of distinctive types of tequila. Hay muchos, muchos tipos de tequila! With a sweeping range of flavours and five distinct styles: Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo and the newest type Extra Añejo.

It can take time to acquire a palate and these wheels tell us why. Tequila flavours range from aromas like corrosion, sulphuric acid & petroleum to the far more delectable caramel, almondfresh & citrus. You could say there is a tequila out there for everyone.

The next time you have your salt shaker handy, your lemon wedges lined up and your reposado ready, use these wheels to better appreciate your agave.


Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin


Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson author Cooking With sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Cooking With Sin Goes Lite – Salsa Fuego con Tequila

Posted on: July 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” ― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Let me share another recipe from my healthier-but-still-sinful regimen.

It may not make a difference, but I think pairing your “sin” with the cultural roots of the recipe makes sense. So, I thought I’d try making a salsa flambéd with tequila. It was delicious. Plus, we just got back from a holiday in Dominican Republic and I’m enjoying my freshened up Español. In case you don’t know, “Salsa Fuego con Tequila” means Fire Salsa with Tequila.

With the carbs and sugars reduced in my diet, I have found myself turning up both the flavours and the heat. A few snappy jalapeños sure help make a meal more interesting and every salsa needs a good shot of fresh cilantro.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

Lite Salsa Fuego con Tequila

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 small tomatoes (I used brownish Kumatos)
6 green onions
12 cloves garlic, skin on
4 jalapeno peppers
1 sweet pepper, cut into large pieces
2 ounces 100% agave tequila
1 large, fresh avocado, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers in a large non-stick pan (with a tight-fitting lid on stand-by) and drizzle with olive oil. Gently cook/fry the vegetables for approximately 5 minutes to soften.

2. Splash the tequila over the vegetables and light. Flambé the entire pan, turning each vegetable until the skins blister. This may just take a couple of minutes then douse the flames by covering the pan with the lid.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

3. Slide off the skins of the garlic cloves. They will come off really easily now.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

4. Loosely chop up all the vegetables right in the pan. The garlic and other firmer vegetables will need to be cut on a cutting board and returned to the pan. Stir in the avocado and cilantro. Transfer to a bowl and let the salsa cool.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

4. For a flavour boost, I saved some fresh cilantro to stir in just before serving it.

5. I suggest serving the salsa by generously spooning it over shredded grilled chicken breast – to which I also added some tequila for liquid. This creates a balanced low-carb meal of protein and vegetables. And if you have family or friends joining you, they can wrap it all up with shredded cheese in tortillas.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

 Buen Apetito!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Happy Canada Day!” Red & White Nachos

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

“How is it that everyone on this train has so much alcohol?”
“We always head to Canada at the beginning of the season,” she says taking her seat again. “Their laws are much more civilized. Cheers.” ― Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Today is Canada Day! July 1st marks the 147th birthday of my country and we celebrate loud & proud! While we remain a relatively young country, we are a deeply patriotic nation. Don’t let the politeness fool you! Polite “waters run deep.” We need to behave ourselves to endure long cold winters, but we sure know how to bust out when the sun warms things up.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

My daughter, a “few” years ago, on Canada Day.

In light of our cold winter climate, my daughter pointed out today that we are really lucky our national birthday is in the summer. She’s smart! (For those readers who think we live in igloos and have snow year-round, you would be well-informed to know I am sitting outside in my red t-shirt and white shorts. The temperature has cooled down to 27°C or 81°F.) Today is a day of fireworks, parades, music and lots of revelry. Mostly, it involves lots of eating and, of course, drinking.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin paper plate plates napkin napkins

To celebrate this great day, I made Red & White Nachos for my family and they were awesome. Usually I just cheat and warm the nachos in the microwave, but this time I decided to do it right and warmed them in the oven. Not only were the nacho chips red and white, but so was the meat. I topped it with white chicken meat and red pepperellos. Of course, I made sure the mound had cheese layered throughout. Mmm… it was Canadian goodness. :)

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin


“Happy Canada Day!” Red & White Nachos

Red & white nacho chipsCarla Johnson author Cooking With Sin
Canola oil
Garlic cloves, minced
Chicken breast meat, cooked & chopped
Pepperellos or pepperettes, chopped into thin slices
Green onions, chopped
Tequila or whisky
Monterey Jack cheese with  Jalapeño, shredded
Marble cheddar cheese, shredded
Red & green  jalapeños, sliced (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a large pan, sauté garlic in the oil along with a sprinkle of tequila (or a Canadian whisky). Add the meat and white part of the green onions to stir to warm them up. Sprinkle a spoon of salsa followed by a few handfuls of cheese and warm until the cheese melts.

3. Spread the bottom of a pan (I used my round pizza pan) with a layer of nacho chips and top with the warmed meat and a few more handfuls of shredded cheese. Top with another layer of nacho chips, meat and more shredded cheese.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Ready for the oven

4. Heat the beautiful mound in the oven for 10 minutes (approx.) then top with the green part of the onions and jalapeños. Serve with more red & white – salsa & sour cream!

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Yup! All done!

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Oh Canada!

Did you know our Canadian flag is only 49 years old? In 1965 it was inaugurated after spending a year with politicians debating the many submissions that came in from across the country. See Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s design that started the debate along with several others, some of which were …ahem… unique.  “Awesome Canadian Flag Designs that Got Cut.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

8 Can Taco Soup con Tequila

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

“I have been instrumental in banning bottled water on the set. It hasn’t gone that well with the crew… so I replaced it with tequila.” ~ Hugh Laurie, star of “House”

This 8 Can Taco Soup recipe was a wonderful discovery. After watching it buzz around Facebook, I decided it was begging for some “sin.” It has my favourite beans – black beans – along with delicious enchilada sauce and I love how flavourful it tastes. So, in keeping with its Mexican roots, I gave it a good shot of tequila.

Cooking with Sin 8 Can Taco Soup

Cooking With Sin 8 Can Taco Soup original recipe

Image & Recipe credit “Doing It Like Martha

Carla’s *Sin*ful Twist

While I mostly followed the instructions of the original recipe, I first chopped up a rotisserie chicken breast and sautéed it in the bottom of the soup pot with a bit of oil and a few shots of tequila. It softened the chicken, added a a flavourful zip and helped to quickly shred the meat.

Then I added the rest of the ingredients set the temp on high. In about 15 minutes it was all heated and ready to serve.

A sprinkling of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a bowl of tortilla chips and yum!

Cooking with Sin 8 Can Taco Soup serving

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“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.

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Cooking With Sin