Category Archives: food

A Good Bottle

A recent communique from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction states that “no amount of alcohol” consumption is healthy and rather is linked to cancer. However, having taken the time to find and read their report, I have to say that their research is limited and the results conflicting, so my opinion is that this warning is a bit over the top.

A good bottle of Okanagan red.

There is no doubt that alcohol can and does cause many, many problems, but I find this announcement, based as it is on small sample sizes, is sort of temperance-sounding and reminds me of the announcements years ago about barbecued food (among lots of other things) causing cancer.

Almost anything, if taken too far, can be a health risk. I like a good glass of wine, pairing it with meals and adding it to my cooking. Rightly or wrongly, my very French father (my parents had wine with dinner almost every evening) insisted that we children have a tiny glass (shot glass size) of wine with dinner; I was raised with wine (especially red) as a natural and delicious accompaniment to food.

As a result, I was never much interested in the teenage drunks that many of my friends indulged in; I found that whole idea silly and boring. So I think my father had the right idea. Alcohol wasn’t a mystery and it never became a problem.

An Okanagan vineyard.

I’m not going to change my consumption. I live in wine country and love finding great bottles for our cellar. Planning good food and picking the right complimentary wine to go with it is fun and adds to my enjoyment of the meal.

What do you think?

When the Weather Outside Is Frightful …

… there’s lots of stuff inside that’s delightful!

Hot chocolate, maybe with some liqueur?
Warm croissants?
Some Okanagan Sangiovese, rich and luscious?

Whatever makes you feel cosy and comforted, now is the time to indulge! Here’s Michael Bublé singing that famous song: https://youtu.be/Mk6ZzzWWJ1A

Happy Tuesday.

Winery Visit

We recently did a visit to a nearby winery on the Black Sage bench between Oliver and Osoyoos, British Columbia. This particular area is known for red wine production.

A view of the grape fields from the winery’s deck.

The wine grapes are now reaching their most luscious and will soon be harvested in stages, depending on the processing for the various wines they will become.

Merlot grapes.

Some grapes will remain in the fields until the first frost. Among them are grapes that will be allowed to develop a certain type of “rot” and will be harvested to produce various kinds of dessert wines.

Pinot noir grapes.

The Okanagan also produces ice wine. This means that the grapes freeze on the vine at temperatures between -1C to -8 C ( 30F – 18F). The frozen grapes are harvested at night and processed quickly so that they don’t defrost to spoil the concentration of sugar in the juice. Ice wine is a type of dessert wine, but is much more concentrated. It’s commonly served with cheese in order to get that lovely sweet/salty flavour combination.

Lots of grapes!

The Okanagan is starting to come into its own as a wine-producing region and is branching out into lesser known varietals that are being handled well. If, like me, you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a nice dessert wine after dinner, a visit to some of the Okanagan’s many wineries might be if interest to you. If not, the scenery, beaches and walking and hiking trails are great!

To your good health. 🍷

Saturday Market

Penticton has a thriving farmers’ market that operates in the downtown every Saturday from mid-April until the end of October.

One of the flower stalls.

M and I try do our weekly fruit and vegetable shopping there.

The market has an average of 8000 shoppers every Saturday.

We go early to avoid the crowds and we bring along our list and the shopping bags. Since all the produce is seasonal, we have to be ready to make adjustments.

Part of today’s haul!

Today we found beefsteak tomatoes, white peaches (on the lower left in the photo – the best peaches ever!), patty pan squash (in the bags), and honeycrisp apples. We also found mushrooms, basil, yellow beans, plums, and of course, sunflowers!

Autumn is the season of deliciousness!

Mushroom Pasta Recipe

This recipe is in metric, but I’ve done some imperial conversions that I hope work out. It’s really easy and you can play around with the amounts (more mushrooms!) to your taste. If you would like, you can also add chicken. I don’t always have mascarpone on hand so it’s sometimes left out, and if you’re watching calories, that will help, but the result will be less creamy. I compensate by adding a bit more of the pasta cooking water to make a light sauce. Also, if you’re watching your salt intake, you will need to leave it out of the pasta cooking water.

Ingredients:

– 450 grams (2 cups) pasta, whatever kind you like. I like spaghettini best.

– 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

-2 chopped shallots

– 1 clove minced garlic

-450 g (2 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms, any kind you like or a mixture. In a pinch I’ve used dried ones, but you will need to increase slightly the amount of stock and wine.

-120 ml (half a cup) white wine (the same kind you’re going to have with the pasta)

-120 ml (half a cup) vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock)

-200 ml (1 cup) mascarpone

-Parmesan

-parsley

– a few red pepper flakes if you would like a little heat

Directions:

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta; cook for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil and the shallots and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use a pan large enough to avoid crowding the mushrooms (this step is really important so that they don’t become soggy). Add the red pepper flakes (optional). Cook for about 6-7 mins. Turn the heat up and add the wine; cook until it has completely evaporated and the pan is de-glazed. Then add the stock until it reduces to a sauce-like consistency.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until it becomes creamy. Drain the pasta, reserving about 200 ml (1 cup) of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired. Toss well to coat the pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped parsley and lots of parmesan. Serve immediately and enjoy with a glass of wine.

Kayak2016 and Vanessence, I hope this recipe turns out well for you. Cheers!

Italian, Please

Although my cultural background is very strongly French-Canadian, I love to cook and eat Italian. A big favourite is mushroom pasta.

I find it incredibly comforting and delicious, and together with a glass of wine, one of my most treasured meals.

At some point in the future, (no more Covid!) I hope to spend some time in an Italian cooking school really digging in, in more ways than one!

Happy Monday.