Okanagan Wine Pairing Menu

Appetizers, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Sides

Okanagan wine pairing with Sandhill wines by Tori Wesszer from Fraiche Nutrition, including Salmon Cakes, Peach Chèvre Crostini and Creamy Mushroom Ragu

I can’t believe that we’re in the back half of August, someone please tell me where the summer has gone! That being said, there are still many days ahead to soak up this beautiful weather and enjoy cool beverages, flowy dresses and delicious fresh summer food.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Sandhill wines for this post!  Clearly I love food, but wine has also been a passion of mine for many years.  I took a wine course with one of my best friends Alyssa many moons ago (doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it was over 10 years now, I suppose that’s what happens when you get older) and since then have loved finding food and wine that tastes good together.  I will admit that one of my favourite things in the world to do is to pour a glass of wine, put on some Frank Sinatra and cook with my talented hubby Charles.  It’s our happy place.

Sandhill is a local winery in my hometown Kelowna, and let me tell you they really have it all figured out. The award-winning winemaker Howard Soon is pure genius, creating wines that are truly top notch.  I picked out three of my favourites this month to put together an Okanagan-inspired food and wine pairing menu below complete with simple fresh recipes for you to enjoy, including a Peach Chèvre Crostini, Salmon Cakes and Creamy Mushroom Ragu!

Peach, Chèvre and Honey Crostini

WINE PAIRING: Sandhill Sauvignon Blanc

These are insanely easy to make and really show off the flavours of these beautiful local ingredients!  I’ve left the quantities out, you can make as few or as many as you want to make!

  • Sliced baguette, lightly toasted
  • Plain local goat cheese
  • Sliced fresh peaches
  • Local honey
  • Thyme sprigs

Spread the goat cheese in a thin layer on one side of each piece of toasted baguette, top with a slice or two of the peaches, and place on your platter.  Continue until you have as many crostini as you are going to serve.  Drizzle lightly with the honey and place a small sprigs of thyme on each crostini before serving.

 

 

Salmon Cakes

Makes 12 large cakes

WINE PAIRING: Sandhill Pinot Gris

These salmon cakes are packed with rich flavour, and make an amazing appetizer or a main if served with a light green salad.  This makes a lot of salmon cakes, so cut the recipe in half if you’re only serving a small crowd.

 

Salmon Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 c. diced salmon (1/4” pieces)
  • 1 c diced cold smoked salmon (1/4” pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced chives
  • ¾ mayo
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • ½  c. finely diced red onion
  • ½ finely chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped capers
  • 3 c. panko, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • neutral oil for frying (ie: avocado or canola)

 

Tartar Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¾ c. good quality mayo
  • ¼ c. finely chopped dill pickles
  • ¼ c. finely chopped red onion
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c. freshly chopped dill
  • 1 tsp. drained capers, chopped

 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine both types of salmon, chives, mayo, dry mustard, red onion, dill, capers and 1 cup of panko and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste then mix in the eggs until combined.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the 2 cups of panko on a large plate. Using a large (size 8 or ½ c.) ice cream scoop or your hands, form each salmon cake and carefully place it onto the plate of panko, gently pressing some panko on the top of the cake.  Using a metal spatula, carefully lift the crab cake onto the prepared cookie sheet and repeat until all of the crab mixture is used up.  Refrigerate the crab cakes for 30-60 minutes and prepare the tartar sauce by combining all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. Line a large plate with paper towel. Add oil to a large frying pan until it is ½” deep. Heat over medium-high heat and fry the salmon cakes in batches, careful not to over crowd the pan (we used a large pan and cooked 4 at a time), until the salmon cakes are golden on each side.  Remove from the pan with a metal spatula and repeat with the remaining salmon cakes.  Serve immediately with the tartar sauce and fresh dill as a garnish if desired.

 

 

Creamy Mushroom Gnocchi

WINE PAIRING: Sandhill Cabernet Merlot

Serves 4

Fall weather is right around the corner, but there’s never a bad time of year for mushroom gnocchi.  I used a local goat cheese to add richness to the sauce.  You can make your own gnocchi using a recipe such as this one, or you can just buy a store bought version.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 large cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 500 g. white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with food grade twine
  • ½ c. goat cheese
  • ½ c. half and half cream
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • thyme sprigs for garnish
  • 500 g. store-bought gnocchi

 

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, shallot, mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and slightly brown.   Turn the heat to low and stir in the goat cheese and cream, stirring until the goat cheese is melted and smooth.  Turn off the heat, remove the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions (approximately 1 minute) and drain.  Serve the gnocchi with the mushroom sauce on top and garnish with parmesan cheese and extra fresh thyme sprigs if desired.

 

 

Thank you Sandhill for sponsoring this fun post!

 

Print recipe

Kiwi Yogurt Tart (Gluten free)

Breakfast, Desserts

Double Kiwi Yogurt Tart by Tori Wesszer from Fraiche Nutrition. So beautiful and healthy, great as a dessert or even for breakfast!

There are few things in this world more beautiful than the flesh of a kiwifruit. The contrast and symmetry makes them a pure work of art: way to show off Mother Nature!

I was SO excited to have the chance to partner with Zespri Kiwifruit to make a couple of recipes with kiwis! Kiwifruit, are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they have a lot of nutrition per calorie; an average kiwifruit contains a mere 45-50 calories. They have vitamin C, antioxidants, which support immune health and skin health, and fibre and potassium, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, one serving (2 kiwis) of Green kiwifruit contains as much fibre  as a bowl of bran flakes and a serving of SunGold kiwifruit contains as much potassium as a medium banana!

View The Post

Print recipe

Peach Cherry Salsa

Appetizers, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Peach Cherry Salsa made from local Okanagan fruit by Fraiche Nutrition

Anyone who lives in the Okanagan knows that there’s a sweet spot in the middle of summer where cherry and peach season overlap.  It’s the definition of PURE HEAVEN!  It’s as though Mother Nature had a burst of generosity and decided to completely spoil us rotten for a few weeks.

I wrestle with big decisions these days such as which fruit to call my favourite, peaches or cherries? I know, zero sympathy, right? Both taste like candy (but so much better) and are packed with vitamin C, fibre and potassium.  Not one to discriminate, I decided to play Switzerland and create a dish that uses both of them.  Problem solved!View The Post

Print recipe

Back to School Snack Guide

Lifestyle, Snacks

Back to school snack guide to make packing lunches easier for moms! Tori Wesszer from Fraiche Nutrition has put together a top 20 list of healthy kid friendly snacks for those busy back to school days!

I can’t believe that Charlie is already going into kindergarten, someone please tell me where time has gone!?  I get all teary-eyed thinking of him going to school, I’m going to be a complete mess on the first day!

Speaking of which, it’s about that time of year when visions of school lunches start popping into mom and dad’s heads!  Before you hit the panic button (you still have tons of time to enjoy the summer, take a deep breath), I thought I would write a post to give you some ideas for healthy snacks to include in lunches to make life that much easier when September rolls around.View The Post

Print recipe

Homemade Cherry Ice Cream 2 Ways

Desserts, Vegan

Homemade Cherry Ice Cream Two Ways including chocolate cherry vegan and vanilla cherry, made with simple ingredients by Tori Wesszer from Fraîche Nutrition and whipped up in a Cuisinart ice cream maker.

Everyone has their vice, right?  Well, ice cream is my kryptonite. It’s been my weakness since I was a kid and remains my favourite treat to this day. And let’s face it, on a warm summer day is there anything better? I think not. Which brings me to this post: homemade ice cream.

There is something so cathartic about making your own food from scratch and ice cream is no exception. You can buy ice cream, but making your own takes it to a whole new level! I love having the creative freedom to add whatever my heart desires and coming up with new combinations. Needless to say, the kids LOVE it, and it’s such a fun way to involve them in the kitchen.View The Post

Print recipe

Creamy Garlicky Kale & Mushroom Pasta (Vegan)

Main Dishes, Vegan

Creamy Vegan Kale and Mushroom Pasta

There is simply nothing that says comfort food better than pasta.  Even in these warm summer months I find myself craving a dish of pasta every now and then, and of course once September hits it’s game on!

We grew up having mushrooms in nearly every second dish.  It’s funny how mushrooms can be so polarizing, either you love them or you hate them.  I’m bound and determined to have a family of mushroom lovers…let the training begin!

Once upon a time we thought that mushrooms had zero nutrition, but were ‘we’ ever wrong!  As a dietitian I preach of the importance of jamming your diet full of colourful fruits and vegetables, but this message diminishes the value of some of the less colourful ones such as mushrooms (cauliflower is another that comes to mind).  Here’s the lowdown on how nutritious  mushrooms really are!View The Post

Print recipe

Black Forest Black Bean Brownies (gluten & dairy free)

Desserts, Gluten-Free

Black Forest Black Bean Brownies gluten free and dairy free and made in a blender!

My husband doesn’t really have a sweet tooth.  He’s the kind of guy who would rather have another serving of dinner and skip the dessert (I can’t relate for the record).  Despite this, he has a real soft spot for Black Forest cake. Therefore, once a year I indulge him for his birthday and make a towering cake piled high with layers of soft, moist chocolate cake, fluffy whipped cream, shaved chocolate and rum-laden cherries.

I wanted to do something different this year (playing with fire, I know), and figured I would try my hand at a black bean brownie version.  I mean, we’ve been married for nine years, isn’t it time we mix things up?  Maybe the cake wasn’t the place to start…

SHOP THE POST

View The Post

Print recipe

Tropical ‘Nice’ Cream Sandwiches (vegan)

Desserts, Vegan

Tropical Nice Cream (vegan) sandwiches using Almond Breeze almond beverage, rolled in toasted flaked coconut and perfect for a healthy summer treat!

(This post was sponsored by Almond Breeze)

It’s that time of the year that we’ve all been waiting for … ice cream season!  Summer weather has us dreaming of days spent lounging poolside, frilly bikinis and of course all of the indulgences that go with it!  One of our all-time favourite summer foods are ice cream sandwiches: I mean, what is there not to love?   We decided to put a Hawaiian twist on this classic treat by making these Tropical ‘Nice’ Cream Sandwiches… get ready to wow your guests!

View The Post

Print recipe

Building the Perfect Local Veggie & Dip Platter

Gluten-Free, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables

How to build the perfect local veggie and dip platter including two recipes for easy healthy homemade dips

Summer is here and that means that boatloads of fresh local veggies!  It’s so easy to eat ‘clean’ during those warm summer months when the gardens are overflowing with goodness, and there’s nothing more simple and perfect than a platter full of fresh cut veggies for your crew (no matter how big or small) to snack on! Of course, what is a plate of veggies without some dip, right?

SHOP THE POST

View The Post

Print recipe

Fit Mom Workout Part 3: Mom Butt

Lifestyle

Fit Mom Butt Workout featuring 5 exercises to tone and firm the mom bum!

I’ve been getting up with the birds to work out and once I got past the initial hurt of waking up at 4:30am (ouch), I’ve been LOVING it!  Sneaking exercise in isn’t always easy, especially when you add kids to the equation. I’m a much better person when I’m active, and it feels so good to start the day doing something for myself: I simply have more to give!

This is the last ‘fit mom’ blog post in collaboration with Rachel Doell from Daily Routine Fitness, and this one is focussing on the derrière my friends.  I’ll let Rachel take it from here!

SHOP THE POST

View The Post

Print recipe
Print recipe