Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

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

Join us on Facebook!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“I Love NY” Sangria

Posted on: February 10th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Monica and her dad are very close and they have an annual tradition; they make wine together at a local wine makers. It is a special father-daughter venture and each year they choose a new red grape juice to work with. They have made Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet-Sauvignon and several others.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

While she teaches grade 5 students by day, on the holidays Monica might be your tour guide on a bus trip to Montreal or New York. She has been to New York enough times that she has several favourite places. It was at a little Italian restaurant in NYC where she fell in love with their sangria and she set out to make her own version at home in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Monica loves to entertain and invite people to her home. When it comes to party hostesses, she is one of the best. She is especially known for her delicious sangria. She has worked hard to find the right mix and at her last party I got a chance to have a few sips of it myself. I just loved it!

I find that sangrias can sometimes have a bit of a dry edge, but Monica’s is a smooth as silk. Her key ingredient cherry brandy. It works wonderfully.

“I Love NY” Sangria

1 750 ml bottle of Monica’s red wine
1/2 cup cherry brandy or cherry whiskey
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup peach schnapps
1/2 cup lemonade
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup Sprite
Frozen berries

1. Mix the liquid ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl. Monica pours her sangria into large plastic pop bottles which are nice to pour from and make it easy to store.

2. Monica keeps a bowl of frozen berries nearby to spoon into each cup as it is served.

Note: You want to look for cherry brandy specifically, not Kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry brandy that is made with the whole cherry, including the pit. It works really well in my Flaming Cherries Jubilee, but is too bitter for Sangria.


“SANGRITA” Frozen Sangria &

“TAKIN’ THE PISS” Crisper Sangria

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Family Favourite” Banana Flambé

Posted on: June 2nd, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

A few weeks ago, I stayed late at the dentist office. Most people want to get out as quickly as possible, but Michele, the administrative assistant and I got to talking and we didn’t want to stop.

For many years, Michele has been a warm, friendly voice on the answering machine reminding us about our appointments and her warm smile has always welcomed us like family at each appointment. Over the years I enjoyed hearing about the adventures of her 3 children as they have grown and are now off to college and Michele has watched our daughter grow up from a toddler playing with the train set in the waiting room, to the independent teenager she is now.

At my last appointment, we started talking about food. Michele’s real passion in life is creating and serving exquisite food. She comes by it naturally. Her great aunt was June Jacques, the matriarch to the Jacques family who owned the very popular Knotty Pine restaurants here in Cambridge and Waterloo, Ontario.

The Knotty Pine restaurants were famous for their Buttered Almond Cake. People came from all over the province to enjoy a slice. You can find recipes online that claim to be the original, but Michele reassures me that the original Buttered Almond Cake recipe, along with all their recipes, remains under lock and key. The family has never released any of their recipes to the public.

As Michele and I chatted that evening, she told me about her favourite recipes and all the foodies in her family. We were having so much fun that her husband who arrived to pick her up had no choice but to join us. We came up with great ideas for more restaurants and more cook books. It was great fun!

This is an old family favourite enjoyed at our family cottage for forty-some odd years. I watched my mom make it for friends while entertaining and I in turn made it for friends when I grew up. Everyone simply loves it!  ~ Michele

Family Favourite Banana Flambé

6 or 7 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  1. In a large sauté pan melt butter over med heat.
  2. Add sliced bananas, orange juice, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Quickly toss over medium to high heat until butter and sugar thickens (about 2-3 min).
  3. Turn burner to high, drizzle Grand Marnier over bananas and ignite with flame! A lighter with a long handle is the safest option to ignite it with.
  4. Quickly toss over high heat. The flame will go out within 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from stove and immediately serve over vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Tip: Michele uses amber rum when she doesn’t have Grand Marnier available.

Simply Delicious!

Excerpt from Wikipedia article on Flambe


Simply lighting food on fire is not flambéing in and of itself. Igniting a sauce with alcohol in the pan changes the chemistry of the food. Because alcohol boils at 78 °C (172 °F), water boils at 100 °C (212 °F) and sugar caramelizes at 170 °C (338 °F), ignition of all these ingredients combined results in a complex chemical reaction, especially as the surface of the burning alcohol exceeds 240 °C (500 °F).

Because of their high alcohol content, some recipes recommend flambéing with liquors such as Everclear or 151. However, these spirits are highly flammable and are considered much too dangerous by professional cooks. Wines and beers have too little alcohol and will not flambé. Rum, cognac, or other flavorful liqueurs that are about 40% alcohol (80 USA proof) are considered ideal. Cinnamon, which is ground from tree bark, is sometimes added not only for flavor, but for show as the powder ignites when added.

4 Women Holding Bananas. Really!

If you liked this recipe…  Mother-Daughter Butterscotch Bananas is a similar recipe. Bananas & ice cream seem to bring families together.

“Mother-Daughter” Butterscotch Bananas

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by Carla Johnson No Comments

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~ Author Unknown

Joanne Papple Flanagan started making rum butterscotch bananas about ten years ago. She was hesitant to use it with the children as she didn’t know about the alcohol, but now they are all older her daughter Morgan has started to request it. She just loves it. It is easy to make, so now that Morgan makes it herself, they have it fairly often.

Joanne and her family

Recently Morgan requested it for her birthday supper. She is lactose intolerant so it goes well with lactose free ice-cream. Joanne’s other daughter must eat gluten free so butterscotch bananas was a really good choice.

Joanne and I met through a mutual friend and the first thing she asked me was if I knew just how much alcohol remained when you cooked with it. It is a range and there is a burn-off guide in the book to help you gauge. I’m a mom too and a lot of people ask the same question. I have learned it takes a lot longer to actually burn off the alcohol than we think, but a lot less remains than we think.

For example, with this recipe, if you let the rum simmer for 15 minutes, 40% of the alcohol remains. Rum starts of at 40% alc. and after15 minutes of cooking is down to 16% alc. If you look at the dish as a whole, the rum is probably only 5% of an entire serving, so the actual alcohol content, at 16%, is a minuscule amount.

A little math helps. Most rum is 40% alc. You boil it down to 16%. Once served, the rum is approx 5% of each dish. 16% of that 5% equals less than 1%, so the alcohol content of an entire serving of butterscotch bananas is less than 1%. (I hope that’s not too confusing!) To compare, cough syrup ranges between 5-14% alc.

Go ahead, enjoy butterscotch bananas guilt-free with your kids. If you want to have a little more fun and take a wee bit more off, you could flambé it with them too.

Morgan and their dog Honey at the beach


Mother-Daughter Butterscotch Bananas

Serves 4

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup dark rum
1/4 cup butter
2 large ripe, firm bananas

1. In 1 1/2-qt. casserole stir together brown sugar and rum. Add butter. Cover. Microwave at High 4 to 5 Minutes, stirring after 2 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.

2. Cut bananas lengthwise, then crosswise so there are 8 pieces. Add to syrup, stirring to coat each piece.

3. Microwave at High 1 to 2 Minutes, until hot. Serve over ice cream.

Options: chopped pecans or 1/4 tsp cinnamon

This summer, Joanne’s town of Goderich Ontario was hit by a horrible tornado. Many homes and other buildings were completely destroyed, This tree was right in front of Joanne’s place and fell onto the road. They were lucky it didn’t fall on the house! Goderich is a truly beautiful part of the world and the loss of homes, historic buildings and old trees has devastated everyone. With an estimated damage of $185 million, The people of Goderich will be rebuilding for a long time and would truly appreciate your support. Please go to

Here is Goderich before, during and after the storm.

Bread Pudding & Hard Caramel Sauce

Posted on: December 5th, 2011 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few days ago, my friend Rhonda, who shared her Red Wine Jelly recipe a couple posts back, posed a question to her friends on Facebook. She asked for opinions on what dessert to serve a special guest that night. The responses were great.

Based on what Rhonda had in the kitchen, it was narrowed down to bread pudding, but everyone agreed it needed a better name. One friend said she called it “Warm Apple Dessert.” Someone else suggested “Not Enough Apples for Pie.” Rhonda kinda liked “Facebook Friends Dessert”

Call it what you want, but it is really simple, it is really delicious and Rhonda’s guests loved it!

Rhonda and her dog Ginger

Rhonda’s Bread Pudding with ‘Hard’ Caramel Sauce


4-6 slices of dry bread torn into pieces
2-4 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cups milk, scalded
2 eggs
cinnamon, to taste
walnuts and coconut, optional


1. Preheat over to 350°F. Butter a baking dish liberally.

2. Mix together the bread and apples in the baking dish and cover it with the milk. Let it soak.

3. Beat together the eggs and cinnamon and pour over the bread mixture.

4. Sprinkle walnuts and coconut on top if you wish.

5. Bake at 350°F for 45 mins.

6. Prepare the caramel sauce while the bread pudding is in the oven.

7. Serve with Hard Caramel Sauce, recipe below.

Hard Caramel Sauce

1 cup store-bought caramel sauce
1/4 cup rum – white, dark or spiced all work well

1. Warm up the caramel sauce in a small pot

2. Gently stir in the rum until it is blended.

3. Serve over the bread pudding.


Plant arrangement on Rhonda's deck

Looking for another bread recipe? You might like “Working Past Midnight” French Toast.

Speaking of Facebook, join us! Here is the link to the “Like” page.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson Facebook page