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Say What? (September 3, 2015)

Well, they had to happen, and we've got them!

Ah, Kale. This year's darling, so of course we have The Book of Kale, The Easy-to-Grow Superfood with more than 80 recipes and, for those who can, extensive instructions of growing your own crop. Author Sharon Hanna, a master gardener who writes, speaks and teaches in Vancouver, says kale practically grows itself, and thrives almost everywhere! Well, OK, but what to do with this crop of nutrient-dense green miracle food once you've grown it? Easy, for Hanna has provided recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. We stopped laughing and started cooking and fell in love with such tasty recipes as savoury Kale Scones with Pumpkin and Cheese, and crunchy "more-ish" Kale chips with your pre-dinner cocktail and a host of delicious dishes in between!

The Paleo Diet (see our Big Losers recipe article) seems here to stay, and to make it easier for you, one of our favourite food writers, Judith Finlayson, has produced The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes. This delicious collection closely follows Paleo guidelines and also offers options and substitutions since people choose how to eat Paleo for a variety of reasons. Whether you are already or are considering going Paleo, or just interested in a healthier diet with less fuss, this book will tastily expand your meal horizons... you'll win with any choice.

And how many quinoa recipes do you need? How about 500? Well, why not? This superfood has more than caught on, but hey, bet you're tired of the inevitable salad and don't really know what else to do. Enter the prodigious cookbook author Camilla Saulsbury, who once again has given us a food tome – 500 Best Quinoa Recipes – that we can really use! For beyond its phenomenal nutritional profile, quinoa is a rare culinary triple-threat: it's delicious, easy to prepare and ultra-versatile. When you think about it, the light fluffy texture really works in so many dishes, from salads to soups and breakfast porridge to just about any main dish imaginable. We just didn't think that far along the food chain, and are delighted with 499 more recipes for this grain!

The Chia Cookbook? Had to happen, and Janie Hoffman made it so. Founder and CEO of Mamma Chia, and a leader in the natural foods industry, Hoffman has been featured in all the right publications, and lives with her husband on a small avocado farm just outside San Diego. Chia is a powerful little seed containing the highest omega 3 content of any vegetarian source, more protein than soybeans, more fibre than flaxseed, more calcium than milk, and more antioxidants than blueberries... whew! You get the picture. Hoffman has shared her favorite ways to incorporate chia into delicious meals, snacks, drinks and desserts, so you can eat deliciously and benefit from the superman of grains!

You love it or you won't touch it... Bologna! And yes, there's a whole cookbook devoted to what for many of us is one of the great comfort foods; my favourite combo is several slices of bologna on a really good onion roll with Hellman's mayo and a little schmear of mustard. Bliss! Admit it, you've got your fave as well, but it may be time to branch out and get a little more uh, gourmet with this old chestnut! Newfoundlander and ex-military man Kevin Phillips returned home after serving 33 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and rekindled his passion for cooking by becoming a chef! While away in the military, he never forgot the old Newfoundland recipes of his youth; here it is, folks, the first ever all-bologna cookbook, featuring... Wait For It... two hundred recipes with treats such as Bologna Caesar Wraps, Balsamic Peppercorn Bologna Steak and Bologna Stroganoff. Clearly, The Bologna Cookbook is a must have, at least for some of us! You'll hear from this one again!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (122 KB)



Bologna Pooks

Some great chefs around the world have admitted that a favourite secret ingredient is ketchup; it's the little taste that can make a difference in a sauce. Expand this thought to bologna, and realize that you can sneak this meat product into a whole lot of recipes and hey, they work really well and sometimes do make it better!

Amaze your guests at your next swank cocktail evening with Bologna Pooks, 3 convenient ingredients that make a great hot appetizer! Stop laughing, they're delicious, and go gorgeously with that martini!

From, of course, The Bologna Cookbook by Kevin Phillips.

Makes 16 servings

  • 2 cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 4 slices bologna (1/8" thick), cut into strips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Unroll a can of dough and separate into triangles. Sprinkle each triangle with cheese. Place 3-4 bologna strips at base of each triangle and roll loosely to opposite point. Cut rolls in half. Place rolls (base down) on cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot. And to go with them:

Bologna Martini

OK, who knew? Or, frankly, would have guessed! But this works, trust us, as we do enjoy a good Martini. And frankly, the gin-soaked bologna never tasted so good! Serve this up to Uncle Albert next time he's over and starts in... we guarantee this will keep him, and everyone else, happy! For a brilliant party, pour another round and pass those Pooks; in case you didn't guess, it's from The Bologna Cookbook by Kevin Phillips. Thanks Kevin!

  • 2 oz. gin (keep in freezer for best results!)
  • Whisper of vermouth
  • 1/2 cup bologna
  • 1 cherry tomato
  • Twist of lemon rind

Pour chilled gin and vermouth into a martini glass. Stir gently. Garnish with bologna, cherry tomato and twist of lemon rind.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Chianti or Vapolicella



Linguine al Limone with Grilled Chia-Chicken Meatballs

This recipe won the toss-up as we couldn't decide between the meatballs and Grilled Halibut with Chia Pesto. The chia gel replaces eggs in this recipe, helping keep the meatballs light and fluffy which go beautifully with the melt in the mouth creamy-lemony sauce. The author suggests using spinach linguine, which pairs nicely with the flavours in this dish and looks beautiful! Another meatball, please? From Janie Hoffman's The Chia Cookbook.

Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup white chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup purified water
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup rolled (old fashioned) oats
  • 1/3 cup coarsely grated or minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces whole grain linguini
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced or chopped fresh basil (optional)

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the chia seeds and water and let stand for about 20 minutes. (Makes 3/4 cup extra-thick chia gel.)

Prepare an indoor or outdoor grill, or preheat the oven to 475°F.

In a large bowl, use your hands to evenly combine the chia gel, ground chicken, oats, onion, 1/4 cup of the cheese, 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, the parsley, oregano, garlic, 1 tsp of the salt, 1/2 tsp of the black pepper and the red pepper flakes. When evenly combined, firmly form mixture into 20 meatballs (about 3 Tbsp each).

Grill over medium heat until well done and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes, rotating only as needed. Alternatively, line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet and rest until well done, about 20 minutes. Insert 4 (10-inch) skewers into cooked meatballs, 5 meatballs each. If necessary, keep warm in 175°F oven while preparing linguine.

Cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.

Bring the half and half, the remaining Tbsp of oil and reserved pasta water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan. Add the drained pasta and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and toss to combine. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of cheese, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and toss to combine.

Transfer the linguine to four large pasta bowls. Top each with a skewer of chicken meatballs, sprinkle with basil and lemon zest and serve.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Soave, Chablis, or unoaked Chardonnay



Turkey Burgers with Microgreens

Oh, these plump, juicy burgers are bursting with goodness and flavour; smaller versions make great sliders to go with drinks. Best of all, it's one more delicious way to use up that sink full of kale that is staring at you right now! From The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna.

Makes 4

1 pound ground turkey

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped kale leaves
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
  • Kale microgreens for garnish*
  • Oil for frying
  • 4 buns and "the fixings"

If you're pressed for time, chop the greens (the ones in the burgers, not the microgreens) in your food processor, add the egg, salt and black pepper, give it a blast, then add the turkey and breadcrumbs and process briefly. Voilà!

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except microgreens, oil and buns with your hands to incorporate well. Do not overmix, lest your burgers become tough.

Shape into four patties; fry in oil about 4–5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. If it's barbecue season, brush the burgers with a little oil before grilling, as they don't have much (if any) fat.

Garnish with microgreens and "the fixings" –whatever those are for you.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Chilled Beaujolais or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc



Greek Quinoa with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Mint

Oh yum! Olives, feta, tomatoes and mint... the classic flavours of Greece, in a very easy, elegant presentation. This combo also nestles into a pita for a delicious, handheld meal with style. From 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla Salisbury.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup black, white or red quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups ready-to-use reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 8 oz medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pitted brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp drained capers
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in quinoa, olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until shrimp are pink, firm and opaque. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with mint and cheese.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Assyrtiko, Chablis, unoaked Chardonnay



Short Ribs with Orange Gremolata

This will get him out of the Man Cave, for these delicious Italian-inspired ribs are classy enough for the most discriminating guest yet homey enough for a yummy family dinner! Best of all, your slow cooker will do the work and have it waiting when you get home. From The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes, by Judith Finlayson.

Need: a large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker

  • 4 to 5 pounds beef short ribs (see tip below)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 whole sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or 2 Tbsp reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
    Orange Gremolata
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely copped
  1. Position broiler rack 6 inches from heat source. Broil ribs on both sides, turning once, until well browned, about 10 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Separate ribs if in strips and place in slow cooker stoneware.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, peppercorns, sea salt and thyme and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in stock.
  3. Pour sauce over ribs and stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until ribs are tender and falling off the bone.
  4. Orange Gremolata: Combine parsley, garlic and orange zest in a small bowl just before serving and pass at the table.

TIP: If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 3½ quart) slow cooker.

Also: browning the ribs under the broiler before cooking renders much of the fat.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Amarone, Zinfandel, Cotes du Rhône



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

For The Chia Cookbook by Janie Hoffman: Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, and Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York. © 2014 Janie Hoffman. Photographs © 2014 Eric Wolfinger.

For The Bologna Cookbook by Kevin Phillips: Flanker Press Ltd. St. John's, NL, Canada. © 2014 Kevin Phillips.

For The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson: Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, Canada. Text © 2013 Judith Finlayson. Photographs © 2013 Robert Rose Inc.

For The 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury: Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, Canada. © 2012 Camilla V. Saulsbury. Photographs © 2012 Robert Rose, Inc.

For The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna: Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, BC, Canada. © 2012 Sharon Hanna. Photography © Christina Symons.


Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (122 KB)

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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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