Wine Recap – January 2019

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The first Wine Recap of January is here!

January is always a month of sickness and overtime so suffice to say, this month didn’t have a whole lot of drinking. It was really just for tasting lightly and you’ll see from the choices we made as something more light and sweet.

Let’s check it out!

Des Glaces Recolte Hivernale 2014

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Producer: Cidrerie du Minot
Location: Hemingford, Quebec
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Taste Tag: Fruity & Light

Welcome my big investment during the Salon des Metiers d’Art of Montreal which is this winter harvest (aka recolte hivernale) edition. Winter Harvest ice ciders are usually reserved and limited so they always cost more and because of it, they also have stored a few more years and its gives it a richer taste. Cidrerie du Minot has a wonderfully rich Recolte Hivernale one. Its a beautiful balance of its flavor and has this maple syrup sort of finish that I absolutely love a lot.

Mille Bois Ambre

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Producer: Mille Bois
Location: Compton, Quebec
Alcohol Content: 14%
Taste Tag: Bold & Rich

Mille Bois is an alcohol company that focuses on making maple syrup alcoholized drinks. We’ve looked a few other ones which were alright but nothing amazing. This is the last one from our trip and its the Ambre which is the darker variety. This one is exactly as they promised: bold and rich. For those of you who know maple syrup, its already fairly sweet and rich so with that said, especially with the fermented maple syrup, this one is a type of drink that you drink one glass only and put it away because its very sweet. It tastes delicious and just like a dessert but doesn’t stop the fact that its for slow consumption and enjoyment and usually not in huge portions either.

Cryo De Glace Recolte  2017

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Producer: Cidrerie Cryo
Location: Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec
Alcohol Content: 10.7%

Cryo’s ice cider also has a few varieties. This one was the one I liked the most out of the choices I tried at the Salon des Metiers d’arts. Its one that is less sweet but still fairly rich. However, this one is a little more peculiar. My husband and I had varying likes on this one. I thought the not so sweet was pretty good and had its own type of balance. Its not my favorite ice cider but my husband  didn’t enjoy it much. It had to do with the taste in general. What I do have to say is that Cryo isn’t a big company but it does have some good products. I’ve had it before but another ice cider variety but I just can’t remember which one. I might be in one of my previous haul posts. I feel like a previous year batch tasted more outstanding than this one, but that just happens.

That’s it for this Wine Recap for Janaury 2019!
Its not a whole lot of drinking but overall, it was a pretty nice ice cider and Made in Quebec month.

What have you been drinking? Any recommendations?

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My Weekly Adventures: Shopping Hauls Recap

We’re already halfway through December! Its kind of crazy to think there’s only 16 more days and its 2019. I’m pretty happy to see 2018 go away because it seems to have been a tough year for everyone that I’ve talked to. I know on my end that as bad as things are, when I look back, I see that things did turn out to have the best results out of a bad situation, so glass half full, right? Its how I stay positive. I’ll do a year in review in the next weekly adventures. Not sure together or separate post yet. I guess it depends on time and how I want to structure it. Its a lot of housekeeping behind the scenes going on for the blogs and projects right now. However, there were a few little things that went on this past 2 weeks so let’s check it out! If you follow my Instagram, then you might have seen some of this…

Salon des Metiers D’Art de Montreal

smaq 2018 haul

The Salon is back in town and smaller and shorter than previous years. However, I am now a veteran at this place. There are places that I haven’t tried before and some cool ideas but somehow I ended up picking up stuff from the usual and some returning stalls that weren’t there last year (or I missed it? I don’t remember). So let’s take a look at what I picked up:

  • Cidrerie du Minot – Ice Cider
  • Cryo – Ice Cider
  • La Nougaterie – Nougat – Christmas, Lavender, Chocolate, Classic
  • Coach House Shortbread – Sugar Plum, Rose and Almond, Ginger flavors
  • Nutra Fruit – Dark Chocolate covered Cranberries
  • Courtesy of my friend’s honey wine purchase, a gift of Confit of Onions

Most of these are either gifts or things to share for upcoming festivities with family and friends.

Signé Local – Square Dix30

Signe Local Dix30

The husband and I finally went to Signé Local in Quartier Dix30 which is a store full of local artisan products. Its like Salon des Metiers d’arts everyday. I’m really trying to support more local products because I’ve bought some really durable and great stuff so I’ve been wanting to go see this spot since it opened earlier this year. Its nice that we went because I found a few things:

  • Oomph Popcorn Seasoning- Vegan Maple BBQ Flavor
  • Les As Du Fumoir – Smoked Salt
  • U’nhiver – Handmade Winter Hat + Extra Pompom

Ooomph is one that we’ve bought before and its pretty nice. The sales rep there told us that some people actually use the seasoning for other things. It is a pretty good idea. As for the hat, its pretty cool because you can remove the pompom. It has a snap button (is that what you call it?) and the second pompom was an extra $10. Its pretty nice because not only is being able to change the pompom pretty fun but whenever these hats go into wash (which this one needs to be handwashed anyways) its nice to remove the pompom because its what wears out the most.

Grocery Trip to Plattsburgh, USA

Target

TARGET Haul:

  • Winter Oreo
  • Sugar Cookie Pop Tarts
  • Frosted Nerds
  • Quaker Oatmeal Medleys
  • Lacroix: Passionfruit, Cran-raspberry, Tangerine
  • Sierra Mist
  • Candy Cane
  • Larabar: Snickerdoodle, Strawberry Chocolate Chip

Pricechoppers

PRICECHOPPER Haul:

  • Fresh Bagels
  • KIND Granola Bars
  • Popcorn (because it was on sale and we needed it)

Walmart

WALMART Haul:

  • Cape Cod: Wave Reduced Salt, Waffle Cut
  • Crunchy Rice Rollers: Mixed Berry
  • Larabar: Mint Chip Brownie
  • KIND granola bars 12-bar value pack
  • Ritz Bacon

I haven’t gone across the border (a lot, like once earlier this year) for many reasons in the past few years. Mostly it is because of the fact that our exchange rate is absolutely stupid low. After I saw the foreign exchange on my transactions, I kind of regret it again but then it had some cool vegan snacks and whatnot, flavors and such that aren’t sold here. Most of the stuff I bought aren’t sold in Canada or else I would feel that it wasn’t exactly worth it. However, it was a nice trip.

Holiday Marathon Update

We’re two weeks into the holiday marathon. Its been going pretty on track with posts related to Christmas every other day. Its been quite a batch of stuff from books to movies to TV binges. You can find it all updated as the reviews go up on the page HERE.

We have another 10 days to go and a few other things in my plans. Hopefully you’ll stick around and keep checking out what I’ve dug up from Netflix and my Kindle and such.

Housekeeping/Planning Ahead/Catching Up

December also brings on a bunch of housekeeping. You will see that most of my indexes are being updated and should be all ready by the time we hit the new year. They are all currently updated to the end of November (if I remember correctly). As for planning ahead, I’ve talked about a few things here and there between this and the What’s Up posts so I’m debating a few structural things but unsure about how committed I will be to a fixed schedule because that is usually when things fall apart. Considering that sort of thing and figuring out how to fit everything I want to keep and maybe what I’m not so dedicated to anymore because I added a good few new segments last year and revived a few as well. Suffice to say, taking everything into consideration, I also have a lot of catching up and backlog. I’m fairly confident that by the end of the year all the movie backlog will be done because its all double features that I’ve already paired off. And books is all done except for one which I can’t figure out how to do for the past few months and ended up rereading at least 2 times. The main thing is TV series and the fact that I’m debating something really ambitiously stupid or doing something more sensible but something I had wanted to do for the past few years but never figured out how to structure it around what’s here. A lot of thinking going on but 2019 overview will talk about all of that and we’ll even go back and talk about some of the achievements this year in 2018 in the next weekly adventures to wrap up the year (if not in a separate post).

I’m sorry to keep talking about this if I’ve talked about it before. To be honest, I don’t remember much sometimes and this adventures post has felt slightly empty so I just wanted to use this space to share some vague thoughts.

Cute Kitty Pics

**I realized that I forgot to post a cute kitty pic in the last weekly adventures so here’s two this time to make up for it! My cat is enjoying the fireplace and basement hangout time a lot to say the least. **

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to? Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Dessert: Apple Crumble Tart

A gloomy (and busy) Sunday brings on a nice simple post with a delicious recipe!

Its a little delayed as always but I did make this Apple Crumble Tart about two weeks or so ago, again from the Made in Quebec book that I had bought which looks at the Quebec harvests per season and shows some cool recipes (in case I never talked about it before). We bought a ton of apples from the Atwater Market and it was the last thing from that shopping trip that I hadn’t used yet so I looked at making something simple and to use up the pie shell sitting in my freezer.

It goes to say that the only change in this recipe is that I didn’t make the pie crust myself but used a frozen one. Other than that, this  one didn’t have any changes to it.

Here’s how it turned out!

Apple Crumble Tart

Apple Crumble Tart
(from Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey by Julian Armstrong)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Pastry for single- crust, 9-inch pie
2 tbsp butter
5 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces and softened

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large, heavy frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook apples, turning to saute on all sides just until golden and caramelized. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Transfer to pie shell.
  3. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar and oats, then add butter and mix into oat mixture with your fingers.  Spead oat topping over apples in pie shell.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until topping is crisp and lightly browned. Cool on a rack to room temperature before serving.

One of the hardest parts of making apple crumble tart (and it isn’t really a hard recipe) is to find the perfect texture for the apples and find that good balance between the tartness of the apples and the sweetness along with making a good topping with a nice bite to it. I’ve done a few of this recipes and sometimes, I don’t post everything. While I didn’t use the pie crust from this recipe that they specified, the apples were done really well. Usually I wouldn’t cook them first so I find recipes that take the easy way  out however, I did realize that cooking them first and getting them caramelized was a good move. It helped flavors it more. It is definitely a step a plan to take again.

This didn’t particularly take a long time to make and honestly, I’d even use this as an apple crisp recipe if I didn’t have the crust. It would still work out, I believe. Maybe I’ll try that out again. Its been ages since I’ve made apple crisp anyways.

Breakfast: Fiddlehead Omelette

Today we’re looking at a little more of an experiment. I’m not sure if any of you know what this vegetable called fiddleheads are. This is what it looks like.

Fiddleheads

I’ve personally never tasted it but this cookbook that bought about Quebec foods and recipes featured fiddleheads as a spring harvest in our lovely province of Quebec. What better time to give this a try while its late spring although I am still a tad late when its one of the earliest harvests. Before we move one, let me tell you what fiddleheads are. They are foraged in Quebec woods from shoots of the ostrich fern in early-May. I’m not sure what it’ll taste like but that is why we are here.

From the recipe in Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong, here is our take on Fiddlehead Omelette.

Fiddlehead Omelette

Fiddlehead Omelette

Serves 2

Ingredients:
Fiddleheads

2 cups fresh fiddleheads
3 tbsps olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp verjus, cider vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Omelette

1 tbsp butter
4 eggs
3 tbsp whipping cream or whole milk
Salt and freshly ground epper
1 cup shredded Le Marechal, Comte, or aged cheddar cheese

  1. Put fiddleheads in a large resealable plastic bag, add cold water to cover, close and shake to clean off the brown husks and any dirt from the fiddleheads. With your hands, pick out the fiddleheads and place in a bowl. Discard water in the bag. Repeat the washing process with clean water at least once more, until water in the bag is clear. Drain and dry fiddleheads with towels.  Cut tail ends off fiddleheads.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fiddleheads and boil for 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and shallot until softened and lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add fiddleheads and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Drizzle with verjus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In an 8 inch heavy omelette pan or nonstick frying pan, melt butter over low heat.  In a bowl, whisk eggs with cream.  Add pinches of salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture into the heated pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan to distribute the egg mixture.  While the omelette is still fairly moist, spread choose and fiddleheads in the centre of the egg mixture. Continue cooking for another minute.  When the cheese starts to melt, fold half the omelette over itself and tip out onto a warmed serving plate.

Before we talk about the taste of fiddleheads and how our omelette turned out, I think we need to look at the process a little. Making fiddleheads is not incredibly time consuming but it does take a tad more prep time. It could be because I was being overly cautious about how clean it was so I did put it in the large resealable plastic bag and cleaned with water. Its a refreshing way to clean vegetables to say the least but to get clear water, I did it for 4-5 times.

There were some changes to the recipes:

  • Shallots were omitted. We just didn’t have any.
  • We used normal balsamic vinegar and not white
  • Cheese was replaced to lactose-free cheese

Fiddleheads taste a little like spinach. I was searching for that taste that it had. It is also one that some might not like, but I did. My guess is that if it was overcooked and mushy, it wouldn’t have the enjoyment of its slightly crunchier texture. Except crunchy isn’t even the way to describe it because you might think its raw when it isn’t. Although we did veer off from the recipe a little, it turned out pretty well. The thought process behind it is that we are trying something new so omelettes seemed like the way to go.

A little additional fact if you want to give this a go, according to the book, fiddleheads are actually quite easy to make. They make the comparison of cooking it like asparagus where you really can just use butter for flavoring. Its flavor will be enough to make it savoury. The two ways they suggest is to boil for 6 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender (there’s the word for the texture) or steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Just a little side tip for all of you.

I’ve been rummaging in Made For Quebec these days, so expect some more recipes inspired from there soon. Possible something to do with strawberries and rhubarb since now is the harvest season for them and I have made my first harvest. 🙂

Have you tried fiddleheads before? Do you cook them? How do you make it? If not, what are some local Spring produce in your area?

Dinner: Roast Beef

Man, you can tell that its the holiday season when I’m filling up the space with tons of recipes! This one is from a week before the holidays when we realized that we were truly running out of stuff in the freezer and had to desperately go do some major grocery shopping even if meats were expensive…  Still, here we are with my first attempt at roast beef! 🙂

I got the recipe and adapted it a little to what I had available from the Made in Quebec cookbook.

Roast Beef

Serves 8

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Ingredients

1 standing rib roast, 4 to 4 1/2 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tsp spices of your choice (commercial spice mixture or about 1 tsp each of red pepper flakes, dry mustard, dried thyme and rosemary)
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 strig fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves)

 1. Remove roast from the refrigerator 2 hours before starting to roast.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 250F. Sprinkle meat all over with salt, pepper, and spices. Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of roast, avoiding the bone.

2. Place a rack just a little longer than the meat in a roasting pan and add oil to the pan. Place roast on the rack. Roast for 2 hours, then scatter onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves around the meat.

3. Stir thyme into pan juices. Continue roasting for another 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the roast. When the meat thermometer registers 120F, the meat will be rare.  Remove from the oven or continue roasting until the meat thermometer registers 125F for medium-rare, 130F for medium, or 140F for well done.

4. To brown the roast, increase oven temperature to 500F and continue roasting until richly browned, from 5 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove meat from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.

 Note:

  • I honestly don’t remember what was the cut of the roast but it was definitely not 4 pounds. It probably was less.
  • I used their recommended spices but without the dry mustard
  • When I did this recipe, I was incredibly low on veggies so I ended up making 4 carrots in the place of the celery.
  • This recipe is paired with a gravy made with the pan juices. If you would like to know it, just email me

The experience of making roast beef the first time is definitely memorable. It took a lot of time. Its been a long time since I had taken so much patience and care on cooking. While I felt a little like a headless chicken around the kitchen and somewhat unsure about how it would turn out, but it did work out alright.

The meat was rather tender. The outside was a little drier because the inside wasn’t cooked enough so I popped it back in for a little bit. I should have added some wine or water or sauce to evaporate to help. However, it was well worth the effort.

Have you made roast beef before? What suggestions do you have? What spices do you use?

Baking Through Disney: Snow White and Apple Charlotte!

It took me a thousand years to get this done but I vowed to at least get this first one done by the end of the year, so here we are!  Sure, its not the cupcakes and fanciness but I finally got my baking stuff in order in a new kitchen set-up so it was a little bit of a mess. However, Snow White is all about poison apples so first choice would have been candied apples but it seemed kind of complicated with the syrup and whatnot so I opted for an easier but still unique idea for any apple dessert.  It pretty much came down to Tarte Tatin and Apple Charlotte both from my “Made in Quebec” Cookbook that I bought back in February this year.

If you’d like to read the review on Snow White or any of the adaptations, you can find it HERE.

APPLE CHARLOTTE
(from Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong)

Apple Charlotte

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed ground brown sugar
  • 4 or more slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tbsps butter, at room temperature

1. Slice apples thinly and place in a medium saucepan. Measure lemon juice into measuring cup and fill with water to make 1/4 cup liquid.  Stir into apples along with granulated sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, just until apples are tender, are 15 minutes.  Let cool.

2. Butter a 6 cup baking dish.  A baking dish with sides at least 3 inches high is recommended.  Sprinkle the bottom of the dish with a little brown sugar.  Butter the bread on both sides.  Then, dividing brown sugar evenly, pat onto each side of buttered bread slices.  Cute 2 of the slices in half.  Press a full slice onto the bottom of the baking dish; if necessary, add more bread slices to cover bottom of dish. Line the sides with the 4 half slices, pressing them firmly into place.

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Pour apple mixture into bread-lined baking dish.  Cover apples with remaining slice of buttered, sugared bread and gently press down.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until bread is browned and crisp.  Serve hot or at room temperature, with whipped cream or ice cream.

Apple charlotte

Notes from what I did:

  • They recommend to use Cortland apples. However, I only had Empire apples on hand so they work also.  Any sort of apples work.
  • Room temperature butter is very important.  We don’t have any of that so it was really  hard to get the bread buttered without having to struggle and breaking up the bread.
  • I took about 5.5 slices of bread and for the edges, I cut the piece of bread into 4 pieces in thin lengths to line the side.
  • I did not measure how much brown sugar I used but I might have used less(?)
  • The top should be covered in bread but buttering and sugaring bread in the middle of the night made me lose a bit of patience so I just stopped.

Apple Charlotte has an interesting texture.  I’ve never had it before but the point is that its a dessert wrapped up in toasted, crunchy and sugared bread.  The seasoning of the cooked apples covers up any of the sugared bread. Its not a bad texture and I can actually see it working exceptionally well with ice cream or even maple syrup for a Canadian twist. I’m probably going to try that later. The apples do have a really nice taste and mixed with the sugared and crunchy taste was quite good.  I might prefer apple crisp or apple crumble pie or even straight up apple pie but its because of the fluffy pastry pie shells that I enjoy eating.

Have you had Apple Charlotte before?  

P.S. I’ll be giving an update on how I plan to approach this with much more dedication in 2016 for the next Weekly Adventures on January 1st! 🙂