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Here's the Beef! (June 3, 2013)

Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef
Joe Beef's Côte de Boeuf
Beef Yakitori
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Mini Beef Wellingtons

Ah, Esquire magazine! For decades the better choice in men's magazines; their tag line reads "Beautiful Women, Men's Fashion, Best Music, Drink Recipes..." and after we page past all that we get to Food! Best hangover breakfast, Cincinnati Chili and of course steak. You get the picture! This is a men's magazine!

Their cookbook, Eat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need is actually (no, really!) a good read. It's not just beef recipes; inside you find information on tools you need and tips on entertaining plus chapters on breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides (yes, some vegetables!), dessert and drinks (with food).

They're all created by skill level, so you newbies can still cook and score; wonderful meals are not necessarily complicated! Best part: all the recipes are from great chefs, guys – and women – in major kitchens: Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Thomas Keller, David Chang (Momofuku NYC and Toronto), Wylie Dufresne (wd-50 NYC), Suzanne Goin (AOC Wine Bar, LA),) and Emma Hearst (Sorella, NYC), among others. These recipes are splendid, and they all work!

Gourmet Game Night isn't just about large men crashing into each other on a muddy field. Game night here includes bridge clubs, poker nights, book groups, board-game parties, dominoes... you name it. Author Cynthia Nims compiled dozens of bite-sized, mess-free recipes that won't glue up your cards, the chips or your tables (and, yes, the floor in front of your TV). Gone is the buttered popcorn and pizza. It's been replaced with Tuna Tartare on Daikon Slices, Shrimp Cakes in Shiso Leaves, Chilled Avocado Soup with Roasted Poblano Cream and much more, including delicious versions with meat! "Pass. And please pass that plate..."

Sunday Roasts says it all! Author Betty Rosbottom has pulled together a year's worth of mouthwatering roasts, from old-fashioned pot roasts to plump turkeys, lamb, pork and of course beef. We fell for the juicy rare roast beef on the cover, but there's lots more inside. As Rosbottom says, "Preparing a roast on Sunday afternoon is a wonderful use of time. Your home is filled with the tantalizing fragrance of juice, roasting meat. It's a beautiful meal for the family to gather to enjoy. And the leftovers provide irresistible sandwiches throughout the week!" The book is irrestible as well...

Joe Beef: The Art of Living calls itself a "cookbook of sorts"! The book, from the eponymous Montreal restaurant co-owned by chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, present 135 recipes showcasing Joe Beef's unconventional approach to French market cuisine. It's a love story to food, especially Montreal food, and full of personal stories: Fred's favorite train trips, Dave's ode to French Burgundy, instructions for building a backyard smoker and making absinthe, a Montreal travel guide, and beaucoup plus! We love the photos, the train stories, the memories. You will too, but this time we do beef; in the next few months you'll find the Joe Beef recipe for Foie Gras Breakfast Sandwich, Veal Liver Brisket, Box of Pullman Loaf and Filet de Cheval à Cheval.

And for something a little different... Are you a mouse or a mensch? "Some foods will improve your meal, your mood, your day, your buttered noodles. Brisket will improve your life." So says Stephanie Pierson, author of The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes. Ah, brisket... the workhorse of family meals, especially around the holidays. Brisket isn't some snobby dish you can't pronounce or afford. It's not posh; rarely has a truffle ever gone in the making of one. Brisket is completely comfortable with what it isn't, and content bathed in Heinz ketchup as it is nestled in a day-after taco. Every country, every community, every culture and every family seems to have a brisket recipe. There are millions of recipes, but essentially only three cooking techniques. You can braise a brisket, barbecue it or brine it so it becomes corned beef.

Chapter 1: Every Brisket Tells a Story: Provenance and Passion. This says it all about The Brisket Book. It's a great read, the photographs are wonderful and you'll laugh, you'll choke up, you'll realize you must, I mean must, own this book!

Fleisch Gordon
Fleisch Gordon

A tantalizing sample from page 6: At the Annual ASBEE (acronym for the name of a local synagogue) Kosher BBW Contest and Festival in Memphis, brisket is one of the main draws. Last year, more than forty teams competed and over 3,000 barbecue mavens from all over the country attended. Who cares who won the cooking competition? The LeBron Flames and the Miami Meat Team from the Margolin Hebrew Academy of Memphis won awards for both the best booth and the best name. "However, my personal blue ribbon", says author Stephanie Pierson, "goes to the team called The Rabbi and his Bris-Kit, led by Rabbi Levi Klein of Chabad Lubavich of Tennessee. It turn out that Rabbi Klein is a mohel, hence the team motto: The tip's on us." All we can add is"Oy!"

On today's menu:

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Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef

Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef

(This is the the world's most Googled braised brisket recipe!)

Author Pierson: "Is there one original recipe for brisket?"

Culinary expert and food historian Nach Waxman: "It's like looking for the original recipe for toast. No one invented a brisket except a cow!"

In Brisket, Jane Ziegelman notes that where most cuisines are moored to a place, Jewish cooking transcends geography, making brisket a cross-cultural wonder – a Jewish dish cooked in a Dutch oven with a Sicilian sauce served in North Dakota! (Jane Ziegelman is the director of the Tenement Museum's culinary center and the founder and director of Kids Cook!, a multiethnic cooking program for children.)

"I think the rule of thumb might be that a brisket can't be from the Old World if it is made with Diet Dr. Pepper in the New World," commented Ziegelman.

Nach Waxman's recipe is the go-to recipe for knowledgeable brisket lovers. Who then share it with others. Who share with – perhaps – the Obamas and other notable families. So warm and welcoming, the secret is what Nach did way before anyone else; slice the meat midway through cooking. If you serve this the day after you make it, reheat, covered for about 1 hour in a 325°F oven.

  • 1 (6 pound) first cut-beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp corn oil
  • 8 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 2–4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly dust the brisket with flour, then sprinkle with pepper to taste. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot with a lid just large enough to hold the brisket snugly. Add the brisket to the pot and brown on both sides until crusty brown areas appear on the surface here and there. 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a platter, turn up the heat a bit, then add the onions to the pot and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot Cook until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren't yet caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and place the brisket and any accumulated juices on top of the onions. Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with salt and more pepper to taste, then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook the brisket for 1½ hours.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and, using a very sharp knife, slice the meat across the grain into approximately 1/8-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. This end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. Check the seasonings, and if absolutely necessary, add 2 to 3 tsp of water to the pot.

Cover the pot and return to the oven. Lowe the heat to 325°F and cook the brisket until it is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid is not bubbling away. If it is, add a few more tsp. of water, but not more. Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it drips down between the slices.

It is ready to serve with its juices, but in fact, it's even better the second day.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Named village Beaujolais, Valpolicella Ripasso


Joe Beef's Côte de Boeuf

Joe Beef's Côte de Boeuf

A côte de boeuf is a majestic cut, say the authors of Joe Beef. It is 2½ pounds of natural, aged, carefully butchered steer goodness! They continue, "In our mind, a côte de boeuf has to be cut by hand, leaving the bone intact." In North America, the cuts are based on sawing parts; in Europe, the cuts are made by knife, every muscle separated. Oh. We didn't know... So make sure to ask your butcher to do this right! This is most definitely a read-ahead, plan-well-ahead recipe. Get started now for the feast!

  1. Temper the meat for 3½ hours prior to cooking it. That means take it out of the fridge and set it on a clean cutting board or plate.
  2. When you are ready to cook, turn on the oven to 375°F. Season the meat with the salt and some pepper. Remember, you are salting meat over 2 inches.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, thick oven-proof pan over medium heat. Add the meat and sear it on the first side for 12 minutes and on the second side for 8 minutes.
  4. Drain the fat out of the pan, add the butter and the steak spice, and then send the pan to the oven for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the meat onto a plate, and let it rest for 8 minutes for medium-rare. Serve on a hot plate with the sauce, marrowbones and fries or a salad.
  6. Double the Lipitor...

Montreal Steak Spice

Makes 2 to 3 cups

This is an all-purpose seasoning used in many Montreal-style beef, pork and steaky fish dishes.

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 red dried chilies (such as Thai birds), minced
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • Leaves from 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds, cracked
  • 6 Tbsp cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dill seeds
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. In a bowl, stir together the onion, garlic, chilies, salt, sugar and rosemary. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 2–3 hours, or until the onions are dry. Keep an eye on the oven to make sure the onion pieces don't burn, and turn down the heat if they threaten to scorch.
  2. When the mixture is nice and dry, remove from the oven and let cool, then transfer to a food processor and pulse just two or three times to break up the clumps.
  3. Return the mixture to a bowl, add the coriander seeds, pepper, dill seeds and paprika and mix well. Transfer to a jar, cap tightly and store in the fridge for up to 1 month. Or freeze in a lock-top plastic bag for up to 6 months.

Joe Beef Sauce Vin Rouge

This is the "mother-ship" sauce, good on all matters of protein. The authors say when seasoning this sauce, or any sauce, keep in mind that it won't be consumed like a soup. So go ahead and be relatively liberal with the salt.

Makes 2 cups

  • 1/2 cup sliced French shallots
  • 1 small red beet, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 cups dry red table wine
  • 1 Tbsp cheap-ass (it's a quote!) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups good beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. In a small saucepan, mix together the shallots, beet, wine, vinegar and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce by half. Add the stock and continue to boil until reduced by half.
  2. Whisk in the butter and season generously with salt and with the pepper. Serve right away. Or let cool, transfer to a tightly capped container, and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze up to a month.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rôtie, Zinfandel


Beef Yakitori

Beef Yakitori

From Gourmet Game Night Cynthia Nims tells us that her Dad's Navy career had them living in Japan for some years, and they loved the food. One of their favourites was this yakitori from a little restaurant just outside the military base; the recipe can be made with chicken in place of beef, if you wish. Whatever your choice, you'll quickly put this recipe at the top of your party list; the tasty little skewers will disappear instantly!

Makes 12 skewers

  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce preferably reduced-sodium
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp pressed or minced garlic
  • 3/4 pound sirloin or tri-tip steak
  • 8 green onions, trimmed to 4 inches from root end
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

To make the marinade, combine the mirin, soy sauce, chicken broth, ginger and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the marinade into a shallow dish large enough to hold the meat and set aside to cool.

Cut the beef into 24 (1-inch) squares about 1/2 an inch thick. Add the beef to the cooled marinade, stir to evenly coat, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cut the trimmed green onions into thirds. Soak 12 (4 to 6 inches) bamboo skewers in water for at least 1 hour.

Preheat an outdoor grill.

Thread 2 pieces of beef and green onion, alternating, onto one end of each skewer. Grill the skewers until the meat is nicely browned and just a bit pink in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a plate or small platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Set the plate on a warming try to keep warm, if you wish.

Notes: You can double or triple the ingredients. Halve the ingredients, or serve larger portions of more skewers per person. Marinate the beef for up to 8 hours, refrigerated. It is best to skewer the meat and grill just before serving.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Sake, Amarone


Braised Beef Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs

In Esquire's Eat Like a Man, Chef John Besh of the Restaurant August in New Orleans tells us that he "grew up on the Bayou and never strayed far because New Orleans has always been and still is, a hell of a place to cook!" The cultural stew of early settlers assimilated into the Creole culture, embracing everything from language to cooking. That's why dishes like gumbo and jambalaya have so many ingredients; every culture stirred a bit into the pot!

Serves 4

  • 4 lbs. beef short ribs
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Zinfandel
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Leaves from 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz. dried mushrooms, preferably porcini
  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper; be rather generous. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Zinfandel, sugar, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and a pinch of salt.
  2. Pour the canola oil into a heavy pot or Dutch oven (at least 5 quarts), and place over high heat. When the oil is hot, working in small batches, brown the meat. Turn each piece to brown on all sides before removing from the pot. (A sturdy pot that conducts heat well has a lot to do with the success of this dish. Get yourself a cast-iron pot. It'll outlast you.) When all the beef is browned and removed from the pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery, allowing the onion to cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Return the beef to the pot along with the wine mixutre. Allow the wine mixture to come to a boil before reducing heat, skimming fat from the surface. After simmering for several minutes, add the mushrooms. Cover and simmer over very low heat until meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. Once the beef has cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm. Turn up the heat and reduce the pot liquid until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the ribs to four shallow bowls, spooning the liquid over the top.

Tip: Ribs cut flanken style (across the bone) are easier to deal with than those cut English style (parallel to the bone), but are slightly more fatty.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Zinfandel, Crozes-Hermitage


Mini Beef Wellingtons

Mini Beef Wellingtons

Oh, is there any better beef dish? The original is an elaborate preparation in which a tenderloin is topped with foie gras and mushrooms duxelles, then encased in puff pastry and baked. The catch is to make certain that the meat and the pastry cook to the correct doneness at exactly the same time. Betty Ramsbottom's Sunday Roasts has a faster and, dare we say, foolproof version using individual tenderloin steaks instead of a whole roast, and replaces the foie gras with caramelized shallots, grated Gruyère, and a generous dollop of whole-grain Dijon mustard. The petite steaks with their new adornments are wrapped in squares of purchased puff pastry and, best of all, can be ready several hours ahead! This one is a winner!

Serves 4

  • 1/2 lb shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3½ Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 1-inch thick beef tenderloin steaks, 4½ oz each
  • About 5 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese
  • Flour for rolling out the pastry
  • 1 sheet puff pastry from a 17.3 oz package, defrosted
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Canola or olive oil for the baking sheet/tray
  • Fleur de sel
  1. Cut the halved shallots crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Melt the butter and 1½ Tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are nicely browned, translucent, and tender for 12 minutes or longer.
  2. Salt and pepper the steaks on one side. Heat a heavy, medium frying pan for 3 to 4 minutes over high heat, until the pan is very hot. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil and when hot, sear the steaks for just 1 minute per side. Remove the steaks to a dinner plate and let cool for 5 minutes. Top each steak with a generous tsp of mustard, one-quarter of the shallots, and 1 Tbsp of the cheese.
  3. On a floured work surface, roll the puff pastry into a 12-inch square and cut it into 4 squares. Brush a 1/2-inch border around each square with the beaten egg, and refrigerate the remaining beaten egg.
  4. Place a pastry square (brushed side down) over a steak; carefully lift up the meat and press the pastry around its sides, then seal tightly on the bottom. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and repeat with remaining steaks. Refrigerate the Mini Wellingtons for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 425°F.
  6. Brush the top and sides (but not the bottoms) of the pastry enclosing each steak with some of the reserved beaten egg and sprinkle the tops with a pinch of fleur de sel.
  7. Roast the Mini Wellingtons until the pastry is golden brown and a thermometer inserted through the pastry into the center of the meat registers 135° to 140°F/57° to 60°C for medium-rare, for 15 to 18 minutes.
  8. Transfer the Mini Wellingtons to a rack and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Red Burgundy, New Zealand or Oregon Pinot Noir


We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs:

Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, for Gourmet Game Night by Cynthia Nims. © 2010 Cynthia Nims. Photographs © 2010 Sheri Giblin.


Joe Beef (The Art of Living According to…) by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson. Text © 2011 Frédéric Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson. Photographs © Jennifer May.


Chronicle Books, San Francisco, and Raincoast Publishing, Vancouver, for Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom. Text © 2011 Betty Rosbottom. Photographs © 2011 Susie Cushner.


Raincoast Publishing, Vancouver, and Chronicle Books, San Francisco, for Esquire Eat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need.© 2011 Hearst Communications, Inc.


Andrews McMeel Publishing and Simon and Schuster USA and Canada, Riverside NJ, for The Brisket Book by Stephanie Pierson. © 2011 Stephanie Pierson.


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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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