Category Archives: The Back Burner

How hard can it be?!


Written by contributing writer Jacqueline Twa

I love to entertain and have enjoyed playing hostess ever since I was a child.

My Mom entertained often and always loved having a house full of people. Being the only girl in the family, I was enlisted at an early age to help. I didn’t mind, because like my Mom I loved having friends and family nearby, eating and drinking and sharing in our lives.

If 15 people walked through the door unexpectedly, my mother would have no problem throwing together a last minute meal that left everyone satisfied. She was a genius at pulling things together with no prior notice.

I helped raise three wonderful sons, and despite the fact that they are now grown with families of their own, I still find myself instinctively feeding them whenever they are around. During their teen years they always had two or three friends in tow, and like my own mother would do, I would always whip up something for them to eat.

I think it’s fair to say I don’t get fazed easily. I have experienced firsthand the awe-inspiring event that is teenage boys eating (I used to say that our boys had worn off their taste buds with pure friction judging by the amount of chow they could put down their gullets!)

Anyway, I digress.

I like to think that when friends drop over for an unexpected visit – a common occurrence around our house – I am always able to offer them a glass of wine and pull together a bite or two of something to feed the conversation.

I used to entertain quite a lot.  It was something that always felt right and easy for me. I love to cook and hate to figure out a ride home, so the natural solution always seemed to be to have people over to our place. Long, cozy dinner parties with friends lasting late into the night. Candles, good food, laughter and too much wine before sending everyone home at the end of the night.

Personally, I thought I made it look easy. I leaned on my tried and true dishes and could always seem to get it together in the end. I also happen to have a wonderful spouse who acts as my personal sous chef and co-conspirator in entertaining. I know I am the envy of my friends in this regard. He helps me in so many ways and is naturally a great host, filling glasses and gaps in the conversation – he does it all!

Plus he’s pretty easy on the eyes.

I must say however, that in the last few years it has become increasingly tricky and difficult to throw a dinner party. People have mysteriously just stopped eating most things. Gone are the days of just throwing some steaks on the grill or making a big bowl of pasta.

Now whenever I invite people to dinner, I usually receive an acceptance back accompanied by a list of the food items people can’t eat. The most common food avoidances are dairy (guilty as charged!) and gluten. Sometimes it’s both! However, I’ve entertained people with a wide variety of allergies including but not limited to nuts, tomatoes and garlic.

Then there are the celiacs and people who don’t eat red meat.

And let’s not forget the vegetarians! I have always had friends who are vegetarians, but now you have to remember the type of vegetarianism they prescribe to. There are so many different categories of vegetarians out there today – pure vegans, lacto vegetarians who will eat cheese, milk and some ice creams but not eggs, there are ovo lacto vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese, and then there are the fish eating vegetarians now referred to as a pescatarians!

Can you believe there is such a thing as pseudo vegetarianism? Flexitarians!

There is always someone in the crowd that’s on a fad diet: “I’m on Atkins”, the “I’m only eating grapefruit and popcorn this week”, and of course there are the point counters – “can you tell me how many points will be in the entrée?”

I have had friends request that everything served should be grown and processed within a 50-mile radius. Seriously? Are you really not going to eat the pasta sauce because it was made with canned tomatoes from Italy?!

And let’s not forget the folks who refuse to eat anything white (?!) and of course the meat-a-tarians (I have a brother that does not eat vegetables).

The thing is I happen to have food issues of my own. Obviously I want to be respectful of everyone’s choices, but damn! All of these differing dietary requirements make entertaining challenging in a way my mother never had to deal with in her day.

Dinner parties have become an exercise in imagination and frustration. Just when you’ve figured out what you are going to make another food no-no comes along. In fact, during a recent dinner party the only thing I could figure out to serve for dessert that took into consideration all of our friends’ dietary restrictions were Rice Crispy Squares!

So I have found that keeping things simple, using fresh local ingredients and classic preparations is the way to go when entertaining. Living on the west coast I am fortunate to have access to a plethora of fresh fish and locally grown produce. Big green salads, simple vinaigrettes, decadent desserts, and politically correct entrées that meet everyone’s dining criteria and voilà – dinner party success!

When it comes to feeding our beloved vegetarians, I actually turn to one of my favourite types of cuisine; Indian. You can make a wonderful gluten-free, vegan, non-dairy chickpea dish called channa masala. My whole family loves this dish, and if done right it can feel downright gourmet.

Click here for my version of channa masala

Muffin Monday: Strawberry Shortcake Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

This week’s delightful recipe comes from Seasons & Suppers, a blog I have subsequently fallen in love with due to the beautiful photos and fantastic sounding recipes.

© 2012 CookThatBook

A simple yet delicate batter keeps the muffins light and crumbly, similar in texture to strawberry shortcake. Cold butter is cut into the flour mixture as per making pastry, with diced strawberries gently folded into the mix. If you’d like to dust the tops with icing sugar I say all the power to ya – but honestly these little gems of a muffin are perfect when kept simple.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

I love how the flavours are straightforward, the berries kept centre stage. For me these muffins are the epitome of summer out here on the west coast, and although the strawberries were fashionably late this year due to lame weather they have (finally) arrived! And I plan on making many more batches of these muffins to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrating…look who stopped by for a bite?!

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Muffin Monday: White Chocolate Chip Cherry Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

I’m assuming there must have been quite a few leftover chocolate chips over at Baker Street headquarters, because this week’s recipe once again calls for a chocolate chip muffin. While last week we tackled Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins, this week we were tasked with Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins from Taste of Home.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Originally I was planning on making a dark chocolate chip muffin with toffee bits and pecans, but then I remembered about a jar of Morello cherries sitting in my pantry and I immediately switched gears. Just imaging the tartness from the sour Morello cherries combined with the intense level of sweet from the white chocolate chips made my mouth water.

I stuck to the original recipe except when it came to the ‘goodies’. In place of the dark chocolate chips I added 1 cup of white chocolate chips, 1 cup of Morello cherries (I kept the cherries whole in order to allow the fruit to keep its shape during baking), and 1 cup of chopped toasted pecans.

© 2012 CookThatBook

I loved the flavour profile of these muffins, and would definitely make them again! Next time I would try using a chocolate-based muffin batter, to create more of a black forest cake taste. I would also cut back on the amount of white chocolate chips (1/2 cup would be plenty), as I found it really overpowered the muffin and made them slightly too sweet for my taste.

Happy Muffin Monday!

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, please click here 

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Monthly Miettes: Parisian Macarons


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

My reaction to June’s Monthly Miettes challenge was a combination of elation and fear. Buckle up ladies and gentlemen…we’re making macarons! I knew the day would eventually come when our group would have to tackle these trendy treats, but I thought creator Aimée White of Food: Je t’Aimée would hold off until later. Much later. But here we all are, mere months into this fun project and Aimée has thrown down the pastry gauntlet. Gotta say I applaud her decision!

While I enjoy consuming macarons, previous to this challenge I’ve never attempted to make them from scratch. What can I say? Renowned for being virtually impossible to get right due to their finicky temperaments, I have purposely avoided these sweet delights. The challenge is that so many things are out of your control, the affects of which can be fatal to these delicate pastries. Some of the more common causes of failure include humidity, oven temperature, and the quality of egg whites.

Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, macrons are a meringue-based pastry made from egg whites, icing sugar and ground almonds. While these confectionary treats have been around for centuries, macrons as they are known today are credited to famed pastry shop chain Ladurée.

© 2012 CookThatBook

The key to a perfect macaron is the little lip (technically called a ‘pied’ or foot) that rims each one, the tops smooth and shiny, texture chewy and meltingly light. As for fillings, traditionally macarons are sandwiched with buttercream, ganache or jam.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

A variety of macaron flavours are included in the book, but I opted to make the original Parisian variety with a simple buttercream filling. Rather than using pre-ground almond meal, the recipe calls for grinding your own almonds to ensure better control over their consistency. As for the signature pied, according to the folks at Miette the trick is to let your cookies rest at room temperature for two hours.

© 2012 CookThatBook

I gotta admit that I fully anticipated failing miserably with this recipe test. After all, it was my first attempt and I know pastry chefs who have spent years trying to conquer the macaron. So imagine my surprise when I pulled the cookies out of the oven and found them to be…well…perfect!

Check out my little beauties!

© 2012 CookThatBook

The texture was the perfect balance of crispy and chewy, the buttercream was divine, and I cannot wait to make them again and experiment with different flavours.

For more information on Monthly Miettes or if you’re interested in participating, please visit Food: Je t’Aimée

© 2012 CookThatBook

Muffin Monday: Banana Peanut Butter Chip Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Okay folks – stop what you’re doing and head into the kitchen…you need to make these muffins pronto! The original recipe hails from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, and combines the irresistible flavours of banana, espresso powder and chocolate chips. I have had this cookbook on my shelf for a while but have never tried any of the recipes, so I was excited to give this one a go.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

Deciding to give these muffins a slight twist while still sticking close to the original, I opted for peanut butter chips. Bananas and peanut butter? Yes please! I also added ¼ fresh (cooled) dark coffee to amp up the espresso powder.

© 2012 CookThatBook

These muffins are spectacular. At least that’s what my three year-old said (can you guess what the word of the day was on Sesame Street?!) The texture was rich and moist, similar to fresh baked banana bread. The coffee flavour came through nicely and the peanut butter chips were perfect in this muffin. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my regular morning muffin repertoire.

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of the recipe for this week’s Muffin Monday, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Food & Wine Magazine: June Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (fun summer eats!)

Initial Thoughts: Two grilling recipes in a row – must be summertime!

THE TEST: As soon as my June issue of Food & Wine Magazine arrived, I was immediately struck by the photo on the front cover. The photographer utilized a stark white background to make the food really pop. In fact, the only colour in the picture comes from the delicious spread of food and wine. Definitely helped to create a summer feel.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

The recipe itself – Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak – was developed by Grace Parisi, senior recipe developer for the magazine. If you haven’t had a chance to try any of Grace’s other recipes, I urge you to take some time and browse through her past recipes. Not only does she come up with some fantastic ideas, but the results are reliably delicious. Click here to view past F&W recipes by Grace Parisi.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

The Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak is one of six recipes included in a special make-ahead grilling section, an article that highlights easy marinades, brines and pastes to help elevate your summer grilling to the next level. The marinade for the steak itself is a basic vinaigrette, which the meat soaks in for a 24 hour period before being thrown on the grill. Garlic, rosemary, oregano, whole-grain mustard and olive oil along with some salt and pepper is all it takes. Quick buzz in the blender and you’re done.

© 2012 CookThatBook

THE RESULTS: This was a homerun in our household, and I must admit to breathing a huge sigh of relief at its success. With epic fails for the last two cover recipes, I was starting to develop some self-esteem issues!

© 2012 CookThatBook

We served the steak as per the directions in the recipe; sliced thinly and placed on top of crusty bread along with grilled leeks and cherry tomatoes. It was a quick and stress-free meal that tasted great and had the kids coming back for more! You could easily serve each component separately or chose different side dishes to compliment the steak, but I liked building open-faced sandwiches with the grilled veggies.

Don’t forget to head over to Food, Je t’Aimée and see what my F&W accomplice Aimée thought about this month’s recipe. Rumour on the street is that she is in lieu of a BBQ, so I’m curious to read about her results. Where there’s a will there’s a way! And be sure to check out Kendall Harris of Wine2Three’s wine pairing. In search of the ultimate BBQ wine, she opted for a delightful Malbec.

If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.

Cover Recipe:
Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak 

© 2012 CookThatBook

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

On the hunt for the perfect BBQ wine, I thought I’d take a cue from a country famous for its outdoor BBQ’s: Argentina. And Argentina’s most famous grape happens to be Malbec, which is a hearty, complementary pairing for this recipe. Malbec originally comes from France where it was one of the grapes blended into Bordeaux reds, but this grape’s success really lies in Argentina. Some say it fell in love with that country and never looked back!

I was thrilled to find this Valle Las Acequias Malbec from Mendoza, an area of Argentina famous for its Malbec vineyards. The very first smell of this intense wine is enough to make you swoon; you’ll detect notes of blackberry, ripe raspberry and even some floral notes. On the palate you’ll get more of those delicious berry flavours with hints of chocolate and espresso. Delish! And with the tannins characteristic of Malbec, it makes it the perfect wine to serve with a nice grilled steak. And as you’re sipping Argentinian Malbec, don’t forget to toast with a hearty “Salud!”

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full-time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

 

Interview – Anna Olson


Interview conducted & written by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

 


Photo courtesy of Whitecap Books

Anna Olson is considered by many to be Canada’s celebrity chef darling. Born in Atlanta (GA), Anna grew up in Toronto and returned to her home country after studying to become a pastry chef at the renowned culinary programme at Johnson & Wales University in Vail (CO). She has since become one of Canada’s most respected pastry chefs and host of several television shows on Food Network Canada. Back to Baking is Anna’s seventh cookbook.

When Anna stopped by Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store, I got a chance to sit down with her to chat about her latest cookbook and sample some treats from the book’s recipes! 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

Muffin Monday: Coffee Hazelnut Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Thank you to Kate from Food Babbles, who came up with the best name for the muffin madness I concocted last week (Tropical Chai Oatmeal Muffins). A much better name indeed!

© 2012 CookThatBook

Coming up with a name for this week’s muffin was much easier: coffee and hazelnuts. Doesn’t get much simpler (or tastier!) than this folks. The original recipe comes once again from Women’s Weekly, and is a cinch to prepare. The batter uses a variety of flours, including self-rising, all-purpose and hazelnut meal. (If you can’t find hazelnut meal/flour in the store, simply grind your own to a fine texture in a food processor).

© 2012 CookThatBook

After going online and reading the majority of complaints with this recipe was the lack of coffee flavour, I decided to ramp things up by using 1 ½ Tbsp of espresso powder rather than instant coffee. I also added ¼ cup of cooled dark coffee into the batter. No way the coffee flavour would be getting lost in these muffins!

© 2012 CookThatBook

Brown sugar, eggs and buttermilk are also added to the batter along with the flours and 2 Tbsp of Nutella (possibly my favourite thing on earth). Once the muffins are cooled, the recipe calls for a hazelnut frosting as a topper.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Check it out – these muffins rose like a hot damn!

© 2012 CookThatBook

I loved the depth of the coffee flavour, although I found the taste of hazelnut got lost. Next time I would double the amount of Nutella, or possibly include a dollop in the middle to become deliciously melty. As for the hazelnut frosting, I decided to skip this part. In our household muffins have become a regular part of our lives, but my husband is always complaining that we should call our challenge Cupcake Mondays due to the sweet decadence of some of the muffins. Of course whenever he complains his mouth is usually full!

Knowing that the hazelnut frosting would be playing right into his argument, I served these muffins bare. At least until we discovered how good they tasted cut in half and smeared with Nutella!

© 2012 CookThatBook

What do you think? Should muffins be served with or sans frosting? Where do you draw the line between muffin and cupcake?

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of the original recipe for this week’s Muffin Monday, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Monthly Miettes: Buttermilk Panna Cotta


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

After making the labour intensive (but oh so satisfying!) Tomboy Cake and challenging (but to die for good!) Lime Meringue Tarts, I was glad that Aimée White of Food: Je t’Aimée assigned a simple Panna Cotta for this month. The recipe itself contains a mere five ingredients (plus the garnish of your choice) and comes together quickly and easily. Honestly, the hardest part is letting it sit overnight before you dive in and enjoy! I have to admit to continuously peaking in the fridge throughout the day to see if they had already set, but it did indeed take overnight for them to become firm.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Panna Cotta is a classic Italian dessert, basically an eggless custard which translated means “cooked cream”. It literally takes five minutes to make, and the light, fresh texture and taste makes it the perfect dessert to serve in the summer. As far as entertaining goes, I have a feeling this might become my new favourite! You can make it ahead up to three days, storing in the refrigerator well covered and garnished just before serving.

© 2012 CookThatBook

For this recipe test I used 1 tsp of Vanilla Paste, an easy way of incorporating the intense flavour from a bean but in liquid format. Topped with fresh strawberries, the tang from the buttermilk made beautiful music together with the heavy cream and left your palate feeling refreshed. It truly is an effortless dessert. My only qualm was that the texture turned out much too runny for my liking (think gelatin soup). So I whipped up another batch but this time added more gelatin. The consistency was better, but still too runny. The trick with panna cotta is adding the correct amount of gelatin: too much and it turns out elastic, too little and it’s runny. However after two tries I decided not to experiment further with increasing gelatin until I hit the sweet spot. I expect a recipe to do the work for me.

© 2012 CookThatBook

I’m definitely going to be making Panna Cotta again, but not this recipe. Perhaps next time I’ll add some white chocolate into the mix and top with stewed fresh cherries. Deb over at East of Eden Cooking is daydreaming about infusing the cream with mint and topping with fresh raspberries and shaved chocolate. The possibilities are endless…

© 2012 CookThatBook

Do you have a favourite summer dessert? What flavours are you most excited to incorporate into your baking now that summer is fast approaching?

For more information on Monthly Miettes or if you’re interested in participating, please visit Food: Je t’Aimée 


Food & Wine Magazine: May Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 (what the?!)

INITIAL THOUGHTS: A tasty looking continuation of last month’s Asian flavours, perfect for the commencement of grill season.

THE TEST: Mr. Spock and I were both excited to try Food & Wine Magazine’s May cover recipe, as we’ve both been bit by the BBQ bug. What can I say? The sun finally decided to make a lasting appearance in Vancouver, and we wanted to capitalize.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Preparing the chicken was easy. The first step is to let the meat marinate in a blended mixture of cilantro, fish sauce and pepper for 20 minutes. The chicken is then grilled and finished in the oven, and served with a dipping sauce that consists of tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, Thai chile, sugar, water, vegetable oil and cilantro.

© 2012 CookThatBook

On paper everything looked good and I thought we were all set for success, but one whiff of the fish sauce and a storm cloud of doubt gathered in our kitchen. Yikes. This is supposed to taste good?!


© 2012 CookThatBook

THE RESULTS: Disastrous. That is the only way I can describe the results of this recipe test. We ended up marinating the chicken outside on the patio as the smell was making us nauseous. I kid you not! Crossing our fingers that the smell would improve somehow after grilling, we forged ahead but unfortunately the chicken was just plain inedible. I’m sorry, but the taste of rotting fish is just not appetizing to my palate.

What on earth went wrong?

I’m wondering if my results were unfavourable due to the type of fish sauce I used? Does anyone know if there is a particular brand of fish sauce that is preferable to others? I ended up using a traditional Thai fish sauce. Was that where I went wrong? I’m hoping for some advice, as I’d really like to know what I could have done to garner better tasting results.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Ironically enough, the kids LOVED the chicken. Seriously?! Wow. Hubby and I are still in shock they actually ate this dish. Go figure.

Okay, enough of me whining. Let’s head over to Food, Je t’Aimée and see what Aimée thought about this month’s recipe (the girl is in the middle of moving chaos and still found time to make this month’s cover…go Aimée go!) And don’t forget to read Kendall Harris of Wine2Three’s wine pairing. To compliment the spice in this dish, she opted for a delightfully economic and great tasting Zin.

If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.

Cover Recipe:
Thai Chicken with Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Sauce 

© 2012 CookThatBook

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Whenever I taste a Zinfandel wine my initial response is; “I need to drink more Zinfandel!” Such was the case with the memorably named Zinfatuation, which is a perfect pairing with this month’s Food & Wine Magazine’s cover recipe.

Zinfandel was one of the first grapes planted in California by Italian immigrants in the mid 1800’s, and today the oldest vines in California are Zinfandel vines. Zin represents only 10 percent of the grapes grown in California, yet you often hear it referred to as California’s classic grape variety. In fact, there was recently a push to make it California’s “official” grape but as you can imagine, big growers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay had that motion overturned!

You may have heard of White Zinfandel, which is a semi-sweet rose wine made from red Zinfandel grapes. It’s usually inexpensive and a huge seller for mega-producers like Sutter Home. Interestingly enough, White Zinfandel outsells red Zinfandel wine by 6 to 1!

Zin (the red wine Zin) is often described as being the perfect BBQ wine, pairing beautifully with smoky grilled food. When I think Zin I think “big fruit” – rich, ripe fruit flavours of raspberry and blackberry with hints of black pepper. Delicious! That’s definitely the case with Zinfatuation, a wine with a gorgeous nose, lots of fruit and a lovely, lingering finish. A wine reminiscent of California sunshine, best consumed al fresco with flavorful grilled food. Enjoy!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!