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    Notes - June 24, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Brad Barker AND Chris Churchill LIVE at the 2015 TD Toronto Jazz Festival

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Hermanos Lurton Verdejo 2014, DO Rueda, Spain, Howard Park Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Australia, Château de Gourgazaud Cuvée Mathilde 2013, Minervois AC, France, and Barone Ricasoli Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011, Tuscany, Italy.

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    Kalamata Olive and Vegetable Antipasto Tapenade
    Adding a little Calabrese Vegetable Antipasto to your tapenade lightens it up a bit and makes for a less intense olive flavour. This spread is amazing on crusty bread or crackers. It plays well with hard Italian cheese like Grana Padano. You can also use it as a pizza topping.

    - 1/4 pound pitted Kalamata olives (check them for pit pieces)
    - 2 tablespoons olive oil
    - 2 garlic cloves
    - 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water
    - 1 anchovy fillets
    - 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    - 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    - 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    - 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    - 2 tablespoons Spicy Mixed Vegetable Antipasto Calabrese – Aurora Brand or the like.
    - Freshly ground pepper

    In a food processor pulse the garlic, anchovy, olive oil and capers into a chunky paste.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you have your desired consistency. For this tapenade it’s nice to have a bit of a chunky texture because the veggies add a nice crunch.

    Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.


    Notes - May 13, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about La Merika Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, San Leonino Governo All’Uso Toscano 2013, Château Tour Saint-Vincent 2010 and Waimea Estate Pinot Gris 2014

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    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
    This dish is best served at room temperature as an appetizer or passed around as hors-d'œuvre.

    Ingredients :

    - 1 bunch of fresh Ontario asparagus (about 24 shoots)
    - 42 tsp olive oil
    - Salt and pepper
    - 3 Tbsp blue cheese
    - 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
    - 24 slices of Prosciutto

    Method:

    Rinse asparagus thoroughly in cold water. Cut 2-3 cm off the stem and discard the small bits. With a vegetable peeler, lightly peel the bottom half of each shoot. Pat the asparagus dry with a tea towel.

    Meanwhile, heat a gas grill to medium.

    Place the asparagus diagonale on the grill dry and gently roast the shoots moving them often so they don’t burn. After 2-3 minutes, brush the shoots with olive oil, rolling the asparagus on the grill until they are just cooked through. Remove and cool asparagus on a board or plate and season lightly with salt and pepper.

    Mix blue cheese and mayonnaise together using the tines of a fork to break down the mixture into a fine paste.

    Spread a small amount of the cheese paste along the length of the Prosciutto. Place the asparagus on top at a slight angle and roll the shoot so that ¾ of the bottom are covered with Prosciutto (it should make a ‘handle’).

    Serve with Pinot Gris(gio), Sauvignon Blanc, Rueda or any other zippy un-oaked white or rosé.


    Notes - April 15, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Casa Silva Gran Terroir Los Lingues Carmenere 2012, Michael David Winery Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Ryan Patrick Vineyards Rock Island Red 2012 and Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico DOCG 2012.

    Have a listen!

     

     

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    Grilled Mediterranean Flank Steak

    Flank steak is easy to grill and perfect for serving a crowd. This version uses simple Mediterranean ingredients that really complement the steak’s flavour.

    Marinating the meat in a wet rub helps the herbs and garlic infuse the steak.

    Ingredients:

    - 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

    - 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

    - 2 Tbs. chopped fresh aromatic herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, or a mix)

    - 1 Tbs. kosher salt

    - 1 Tbs. ground black pepper

    - 1-1/2- to 2-lb flank steak, trimmed of any excess fat and membrane.

    Method:

    Mix garlic, herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place steak in a zip-lock bag or in a shallow dish and rub the mixture into the meat and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

    Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire.

    If your grill has a hot spot, grill the thickest part of the steak over it. Grill steak until medium rate about 12-15 minutes, turning the steak every 3 or 4 minutes to ensure even cooking. The thick part of the steak should come to 140F on a meat thermometer.

    Place the steak on a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain at a slight angle. Serve with grilled veggies and a green salad.  Drizzle the steak with a little olive oil to finish.

    Notes - March 18, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

     

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad are joined by contest winner, guest sommelier Mark Friesner to talk about Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Kunde Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2011 and Francois Lurton Pinot Grigio.

    Have a listen!

     

     

    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    ‘Sweet Heat’ Braised Lamb Shanks

    Ingredients:

    •    1 Tbs. canola oil

    •    4 lamb shanks, 14 to 16 oz. each, blotted dry

    •    Kosher salt

    •    Freshly ground black pepper

    •    1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

    •    2 medium cloves garlic, minced

    •    3/4 cup red wine (Casal Thaulero Merlot / Cabernet)

    •    8 oz. (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries

    •    1 cup lower-salt beef broth

    •    1/3 cup honey

    •    2 Tbs. minced canned chipotles in adobo

    •    2 tsp. ground cumin

    •    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 Tbs. for garnish

    Directions:

    Use a cast-iron skillet for this recipe if possible, the pan keeps temperature stead and even. You can braise other cuts of meat like short ribs too.
    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

    Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, swirling the pan to coat the bottom; then add the lamb shanks and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the shanks to a plate. Season generously with salt and pepper.

    Cook the onion in the skillet over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Stir in the cranberries, broth, honey, chipotles, and cumin and cook until the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Arrange the shanks in the skillet, cover tightly with an ovenproof domed lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil, and put the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet (to make it easier to transfer without spilling). Transfer to the oven and cook, turning the lamb shanks 2 or 3 times during cooking, until they are fork tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

    Transfer the shanks to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm. Skim any fat from the sauce in the skillet and boil over high heat until the liquid lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the shanks to the skillet, briefly turning them in the sauce, and serve sprinkled with the remaining 1 Tbs. cilantro.

    Notes - February 18, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

     

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris and Mark talk about First Press Chardonnay 2011, Los Clop Reserva Malbec 2009, Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Cigar Zin Zinfandel 2012.

    Have a listen!

     

     

     

    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    Fagioli all ‘Uccelletto (Tuscan beans cooked like small birds)

    This simple dish is easy to prepare and is best served with cooked pork sausage. For simplicity, this recipe calls for tinned beans. If using dried beans you will need to soak them overnight in water and cook them for 40 minutes in lightly salted water.

    If you have time and presentation is important to you, fry one or two sage leaves per serving in olive oil until crispy to use as a garnish.

    Ingredients:

    1 540 mL tin of White Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)

    1 796 mL tin of Whole Plum Tomatoes – San Marzano (drained and chopped)

    2-3 cloves garlic crushed and finely chopped

    Olive oil

    5 fresh sage leaves chopped

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Directions:

    Pour enough olive in a medium sized pot or casserole to completely cover the bottom. Sauté the garlic, sage and pepper over medium heat until fragrant (do not let the garlic brown). Add the beans and stir for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and salt, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

    Serve with garlic bread and a drizzle of olive oil.

    or

    Cook four sausages in frying pan, finishing with a few tablespoons of red wine. Add the sausage and wine to the beans while they are cooking for 15-20 minutes,

    or

    Serve with grilled sausages.

     

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