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 GOURMET RECIPES

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Let the Games Begin! (January 19, 2006)

Wow, the Winter Olympics, lots of football and, hey, always hockey! Collect the crowd and turn on the TVs – the games are on! Don't you be stuck in the kitchen while the gang roars from the den. Get it all done easily and best... ahead of time.

Pam Anderson has all the solutions for a winning party with her new book, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. The book gives you great ideas for food for everything from small informal evenings to the boisterous winter games weekends. You'll have fun and be part of the party too, and how nice when your guests lean over at the table, or the fans shout "Hey, thanks; really super food!" Now that's a gold medal in entertaining!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (96 KB)


 

Year-Round Classic Gazpacho

Pam Anderson gives us this fresh, tasty version from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. So what if it's the dead of winter... you can serve this classic using canned diced tomatoes. Another advantage of using the canned variety: they are unaffected by refrigeration, unlike fresh tomatoes, whose taste is dulled and texture compromised by cold. Aha... get out the shooters... and score!

Perfect with a spoon or crispy tortilla chips!

Serves 6 as a first course, 3–4 as a main course

  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, preferably Hunt's "petite diced"
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small yellow bell paper, cored, seeded and cut into small dice (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 small onion, cut into small dice (about ½ cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Shrimp, cooked and peeled (optional)

Combine ½ cup tomatoes, ½ cup water, and olive oil in a food processor or blender and process until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To chill soup quickly, transfer to a 13×9-inch or other shallow pan.

If you wish, add a shrimp to each serving!

Tony's wine recommendation:
Dry Rosé or chilled Fino or Manzanilla Sherry.


 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Carnitas

What follows Gazpacho? Cruising through Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, we couldn't get past the pork recipes until we tried them. Everyone coming at noon? This is the dish for a hungry crowd. Serve with lots of tangy slaw on the side.

We start with Oven-Barbecued Pork... then we have a couple of ways to serve it!

Oven-Barbecued Pork

Serves 12 to 20

Anderson discovered that you don't have to spend all day at a charcoal grill coddling a pork shoulder to fall-off-the-bone tenderness; simply pat the pork shoulder with a dry rub, shove it into the oven and let it slow-roast for 10 to 12 hours overnight. The next morning, the pork emerges tender and mahogany-coloured. Once the meat cools, pull it into bit-size shreds and moisten it with the pan drippings. From there into buns or tortillas, and let the party begin!

Forget the caterer, this dish really does cook itself!

  • 3 Tbsp packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp salt plus more for sprinkling
  • 1½ Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder butt roast or fresh picnic shoulder (8–9 pounds)
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250°F. Mix brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pat roast dry and place on a rack set over a foil-lined shallow baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle top and sides of roast with salt, brush with half the mustard, and sprinkle with half the spice rub. Carefully turn roast over. Sprinkle with a little salt, brush with remaining mustard and sprinkle with remaining spice rub.

Roast until a meat thermometer registers 170°F, 9 to 11 hours, depending on size. Transfer pork to a platter and let cool enough to handle, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, if making sandwiches or if pork needs a little more moisture, pour off any fat and scrape pan drippings into a small saucepan, add 1 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Cut roast into 1-to-2-inch chunks and shred meat into a large bowl. Add enough pan drippings to moisten pork and stir to combine.

Shortcuts? You bet. Roast two smaller pork shoulder roasts rather than one big one. You'll save a couple of hours of roasting and cooling time.

Another idea: Buy a good spice rub instead of making your own.

How far ahead? Roast and shred the pork up to 3 days ahead; refrigerate. Reheat in a roasting pan set over two burners over low heat, adding a little water if necessary.

Leftovers? Can be packaged in freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Alsace Pinot Gris or Rheingau Riesling Kabinett or Ontario dry Riesling
 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Serves 18 to 20

  • Oven-Barbecued Pork (see above)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce of your choice, plus (optional) extra for serving
  • 18–20 large sandwich buns

Heat pulled pork and barbecue sauce in a large covered pot over low heat, stirring frequently. Serve with buns and extra barbecue sauce, if desired.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Beaujolais-Villages, Ontario Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhône red
 

¡Carnitas!

Fun, tasty and a fresh turn on barbecued pork on a bun. Goes with any beverage, too; make sure you've got lots of ingredients on hand!

Serves 12

  • Oven-Barbecued Pork (see above)
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • Slaw with salsa verde dressing (follows)
  • Scant 3 cups guacamole
  • 1 container (24 oz.) sour cream

20 to 30 minutes before serving, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F.

Slowly heat pulled pork in a roasting pan set over two burners over low heat, stirring frequently, adding a little water if necessary.

Meanwhile, lay a damp paper towel on a 24×18-inch piece of heavy-duty foil. Set 2 stacks of 4 corn tortillas each side by side on towel. Cover with another damp paper towel. Seal foil completely. Make 2 more foil packets. Bake until steamy, about 5 minutes.

Pull tortillas for oven as needed, and let guests fill them with pork, slaw, guacamole and sour cream as they like!
Ole!

Tony's wine recommendation:
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling

 
Slaw with Salsa Verde Dressing

A perfect combo with the Carnitas; goes great on the side as well. Use your favourite slaw mix for this recipe.

Makes about 1 cup

  • 6 Tbsp jarred salsa verde
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Whisk salsa, lime juice, and vinegar together in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup or small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Use as dressing for your favourite slaw mix.


 

Saucer-Size Oatmeal Cookies with Instant Strawberry Ice Cream

Everything is winding down... get out the coffee urn and serve up these jock-sized cookies. Anderson says, "I like my oatmeal cookies crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle." So do we, and we loved her addition of cranberries and chocolate chips to make these about the best cookies in a long time.

Saucer-Size Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 18 large cookies

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks

Adjust oven racks to highest and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and oatmeal in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix butter, oil and sugars in a large bowl. Stir egg mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, then stir in cranberries and chocolate.

Using a 1½ ounce (3 Tbsp) spring-action ice cream scoop, scoop 6 dough balls on each of the cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes, switching positions of sheets and turning them around after 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
 

Instant Strawberry Ice Cream

"Why," you might ask, "would I make instant homemade ice cream when I can buy good strawberry ice cream?" Taste this, and you'll understand why! The ratio of fruit to cream is extraordinarily generous, and although the texture is not as smooth as that of commercial ice cream, the berry flavour is amazingly fresh! And best... it only takes 5 minutes or less to prepare the ice cream and an hour for it to harden... and there's always an hour or more before dessert after guests have arrived! And no cream freezer needed!

Makes 1 quart: serves 8

  • 1 container (24 ounces) frozen sweetened strawberries, chopped into large (frozen) chunks
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • Whole or sliced fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

Place frozen berries in a blender. Whisk sugar into cream. With blender running, slowly add cream-sugar mixture, stopping to stir 3 or 4 times, until ice cream is smooth with small bits of strawberries.

Transfer to a shallow metal pan and freeze to a scoopable texture, about 1 hour. Garnish with fresh strawberries if desired.

Serve with a smile!


We wish to thank Thomas Allen and Son Limited, Toronto and Houghton Mifflin Company for permission to publish material and photographs from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over by Pam Anderson. © 2005 by Pam Anderson. Photographs © 2005 by Rita Mass.

 

Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (96 KB)

 

 

 

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