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.
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 raw 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
- 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.
- 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 salmon cake onto the prepared cookie sheet and repeat until all of the salmon mixture is used up. Refrigerate the salmon cakes for 30-60 minutes and prepare the tartar sauce by combining all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- 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
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.
- 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
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.
- 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.
- 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!