Adventures in Hot Sauce

On Canada Day we decided to be pretty low-key as it was hot and we’d just had a lot of family stuff going on the past few weeks. We went down into Penticton to check out the festivities in the afternoon. The usual vendors and food tents were set up in Gyro Park with a throng of people milling around or sitting on the grass listening to some cool sounds from a two piece band whose singer had a gravellish Tom Waits thing going on. We wandered past the vendors and hawkers seeing the usual wares but I spied someone/something different. In one sunshade tent sat a gorgeously animated man selling Hot Sauces and Marinades with a highly joyful smile. I love supporting small business, local business and products that are just Different !

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Nelson B.C‘s Hot Sauce Guy Edmond Segbeaya has been selling his Ebeesse ZoZo Hot Sauce‘s and winning competitions since 2002. Segbeaya, 48, landed in Nelson 12 years ago after a decade-long diversion in Germany. He had fled there without his wife and twin daughters after demonstrating against a military dictatorship in his homeland of Togo, Africa. He sells a line of his fiery sauces all over North America yet I had never encountered them and was excited to try the samples and Zowee! Great heat and taste! I bought a jar of the Mild Coconut Milk Marinade Sauce and couldn’t wait to try it at home …but how ? What to choose??

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I decided to use the marinade on jumbo prawns I had in the freezer. After safely thawing the prawns, I poured about a 1/4 cup of the marinade into a bowl then coated the prawns and left them to marinate in the fridge roughly 2 hours. The sauce is a lovely curry-yellow with strands of real coconut. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meanwhile , as the prawns were busy soaking up the tasty sauce , I trimmed up some multi-coloured bell peppers to accompany the shrimp on the barbie. We like to trim them so they lay nice and flat on the grill for best blackening results. I drizzled a bit of olive oil on the peppers to slightly coat them. The weather has been hot hot here like the sauce so this was to be a mostly outdoor grilling dinner.

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When it was nearly grill time I threaded the Prawns on to metal skewers. Wooden ones would work also.  I always soak the wooden ones in water before using so avoid flame ups.

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I then passed the prepared Prawns off to The Grill Guy along with the peppers while I made a quick side dish by sauteing minced, fresh garlic in a dash of olive oil then adding a cup on trimmed Snow Pea pods and gave them a brisk fry around to heat but not lose the crisp bite.

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The results were superb! The Grill Guy did a brilliant job and the flavours of the three choices melded together very well. And the Prawns!? The Coconut Marinade was a lovely sweet and spicy, rich taste extravaganza!

I highly recommend you pick up some Awassi Ebesse Zozo or any of the products when you see them at a Farmer’s Market or better gourmet shop! The price is worth the taste and a little goes a long way!

My Premium Olive Oil Experience!

I am so thrilled that Penticton is now home to the latest Oliv Tasting Room.

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photo courtesy of https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

I had noticed an ad somewhere for the opening or “Coming Soon” type event but didn’t realize where the shop would be until I stopped for my Friday shops of fresh veg, meat and bread on Riverside Drive and Violá! There was the new Oliv shop so I ventured in and was immediately greeted by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff member who asked if I’d ever had an Olive Oil Tasting before.

No! Never! Bring it on!

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To start me off my server poured a tiny amount of  varietal oil into a little cup and had me warm it in my hand while she explained the origins of the oil and a bit about the company. All the Olives are grown in South Africa by owners Awie and Isabeau du Toit who established the first Oliv shop in the unlikely location of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan !

Once the oil was at the right tasting temperature, I sipped the golden liquid and coated the inside of my mouth as I would with wine for a delightful result! Of course I use Olive Oils on a daily basis but I suppose I never just taste the oil on it’s own. This first oil, Mission, was delicious, light yet  deep and complex with  a hint of apple and a buttery finish. Next I tasted the Leccino which proved to be my favourite and my first purchase. It was sweet and possibly oaky with hints of fruit.

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My Purchase!

To be honest, after the first couple of tastings , I had a hard time keeping track of what I had tried, liked, and the different nuances of each but it was so fun I just kept up with everything my lovely hostess poured! We moved on the the Balsamics and then the combinations of Vinegars with the vast selection of flavoured oils on bits of bread from Cobs.  It was  a taste extravaganza and my taste buds became as excited as I was to be living this whole new experience.  I can’t wait to return to Oliv and stock up on some of their vast array of  balsamics and have plans for a delicious bread dip using Oliv’s Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and their Chili Balsamic. Yum! That was by far my preference of the combos but I also loved the sweet Balsamics on fruit.

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I highly recommend this experience to all of you and if you are lucky enough to live near one of the Oliv Tasting Room locations , do go in and Taste!

There are 5 locations in Canada including  here in the Okanagan Valley in Penticton.  As we seem to be smack dab in the centre of the growing B.C wine industry and an ever increasing selection of great restaurants and Foodie enthusiasts such as myself, I think our area is a brilliant choice for this new shop and I wish them much success! I will be back soon!

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The Best Summer Steak Salad Recipe!

I was inspired last year to try a recipe from Cooks Magazine that used fruit and steak in a warm summer salad and we liked it so much that we’ve added it to our list of favourite home meals. It combines the sweetness of Mango, the crunch of Asparagus and the bite of Red Onion with an Asian influenced dressing and warm, grilled steak!  This combo of veggies and protein appeals to Salad Dodgers and Lovers of the Plate o’Green alike. It’s easy to prepare and easy on the pocket book while being “fancy” and “foodie” fun. ( say that fast 5 times!)

(Recipe and the bottom of the page)

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I started with a piece of Hormone-free Sirloin , about 8 ounces for two people. I seasoned the steak with olive oil, ground pepper, coriander and kosher salt and let the flavours meld in the fridge for about an hour.

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Meanwhile I quick blanched 8 fresh stalks of Asparagus, rinsed under cold water and drained them. Then I went outside to pick some greens for the plate. My garden is bursting with Chard, Lettuce, Spinach and Herbs so I snipped a selection. I added a few sprigs of mint, oregano, and cilantro to the greens.

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I sliced up the Mango and Red Onion

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and prepared the dressing.

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Then, when I was all pretty much organized and plating the greens, mango and asparagus, I had “He Who Likes to Cook the Protein” fire up the BBQ and grill the steak to our taste, fairly rare, then trim and slice it on the cross grain to add to the salad. I drizzled (technical term) on the dressing and Presto! Salad Magic!

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We chose one of our favourite local wines to accompany this meal,  a bottle of 2009 D’Angelo Tempranillo and I thought it complimented the meal very well!  Eat! Pour! Repeat!

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For the Steak

1/4 Tbs black peppercorns

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 Tbs olive oil

For the Salad

3 cups mixed salad greens and fresh herbs of your choice

8 stalks fresh asparagus quick blanched and cooled

1 ripe mango peeled and sliced

1/2 Red Onion thinly sliced

For the Dressing

1 1/2 Tbs low salt Chicken stock

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tbs Hoisin

1 Tbs White Vinegar

1 tsp Soya Sauce

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1/2 Dijon Mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

s and p to taste

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Rub the steak with the olive oil. Grind the seeds and corns with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and rub onto surface of the steak with the salt. Refrigerate at least 30 mins to 2 hours.  Prepare the salad greens, fruit, onion and asparagus. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Arrange large platter with greens, fruit, asparagus and onion. Grill or broil steak to taste , trim off any visible fat and crave on the cross grain into 1/2 inch wide, 2 inch long strips and arrange those on top of salad. Drizzle on dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 2 generously

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I have so much Chard ready now ! I need to find some yummy ways of using it before it goes to waste! Watch this space ;-)

Things I Learned at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton

I had a great weekend close to home at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton BC last weekend at I am seriously thinking of trying to get to the next one in Santa Barbara in 2014.

I learned a lot of things about wine and our local wine industry and also a few ideas on how to get my blog off the ground. I met an amazing bunch of wine and food bloggers, wine industry types and people from all over, not just North America but South America and Spain! Many of the bloggers are seriously talented writers and I feel honoured to have been in their presence.

This was the first time the WBC had been held outside of the U.S and even though the participant numbers were down according to Zephyr Adventures Owner Allan Wright, “It was time”.  He said they had purposely pushed back the Penticton venue an extra year in order for the U.S participants to get travel plans and passports in order. And I’m thrilled that I happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to participate! my thanks go out to Allison Markin who really made this happen here for our area and to all her minions and sponsors.

Some things I learned during my fabulous immersion into the world of Wine Blogging were:

1. Don’t overdo it on the first night.

Or this may happen:

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I was so excited to get started that I jumped in with both…glasses so to speak. I started trying whatever was offered and suddenly realized “Hey! I didn’t really eat yet and I am getting rather tipsy!” So I slowed down a bit, ate a few of the amazing Gone Crackers and made note to eat more before anymore tasting sessions. Which brings me to the next point.

2. Learn to Spit

I know it’s the right way to taste wines and not get tipsy…now I know ! But heck! All that gorgeous wine just getting spat out into buckets seems so wrong to low budget old me! I started telling the pourers to slow down on the pours during the speed tasting sessions , but more about those later!

3. Maybe I do like White Wines after all!

Well, some of them. I’ve discovered I like Rieslings. I guess I am less a fan of those rich, sweet whites. Chards and Chenins don’t seem to appeal to me but I’d love to find some I do like. The best white of the weekend for me was the Upper Bench 2012 Riesling presented to us (at my table by the winemaker Gavin Miller) which rocked my white wine hatin’ sox. It so impressed me that 5 nights later I texted my guy to picked some up on he way home from work- he claims to not have seen the txt in time….hmmmm…but I will be popping in there soon for their wine and cheese and a blog to come!

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4. Charge your camera and take some freakin’ photos!

Sure, I have a phone that takes pictures but it’s a Blackberry and it takes crappy photos, most of which are too crappy to add here. Plus while everyone else was snapping pics of scenery, I thought, In my infinite wisdom”I live here! I don’t need scenery photos!’  Duh! Wrong! My amazing hike on day One with the Okanagan Falls Winery Association would have been so much easier to blog about with some great photos. more about this in 5.

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5. OK Falls has some great wines and some great views!

I chose the Hiking Out Trip sponsored by the Okanagan Falls Winery Association  which took us up high above the southern end of Skaha lake to feast on lovely sandwiches, fruit and of course, delicious  wines from the wineries of that area. I can’t wait to have time to explore these wineries and do that hike again!

Wine Makers of Ok Falls

6. Wines from Uruguay are really good and I like Tannat, a wine I had never tried or even heard of before. Also the people of Uruguay are very smart and drink up most of the wine thus we can’t get much of it here in Canada. I met one of the Winery owners, Leslie Fellows of Artesana, and fell in love with her Tannat wines and just hope we can buy them here sometime at a decent price.

7. Speed Wine Tasting/Blogging is super fun and ridiculously crazy. It’s like speeding dating only wine makers come to your table every 5 minutes to try to engage you and seduce you to have  a relationship with their wine. Very exhilarating!

Something I knew but was reminded of at every turn…

-We live in a very beautiful part of the world here in the Okanagan Valley. Where else can you visit great wineries, climb mountains, play on a lake, ski, golf and experience great weather? Sure our wines aren’t available much outside of the Province or the Country but that’s possibly better for our wine tourism industry. Come here! Try our wines!

View from See Ya Later Ranch

I need to go to more conferences! Well seriously, where else can I meet lovely, like-minded people, eat fabulous foods, drink great wines and learn new things?

Lamburgers and Foch!

Last night we made one of our favourite dinners. Lamburgers with Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon. this is more of a Paleo/Primal version of a burger sans bun. It’s a meat eaters dream combining flavours of smokey cheddar, coleslaw, lamb and succulent red pepper. this time we added Tzatziki sauce to see how it blended with the lambiness and it was a brilliant addition! Recipes at the bottom of the page!

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The more we make this meal, the more we enjoy it. I know it looks like a huge pile of  stuff but Oh My! The flavour!

I start by pan roasting the cut pieces of red pepper in a grill style frying pan. You could do this under the broiler or in a hot oven . I trim the sections so they lay as flat as possible in the pan and cook them at medium heat until they are soft with the blackened lines that just look grill ish.

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While the peppers are cooking we constructed the burgers. No egg is used as a bit of salt seems to keep things together. Finely diced garlic and onion along with a dash of grainy mustard gives the patty a boost. These patties we also cooked in the grill pan as the lamb would really flame up on the BBQ but your mileage may vary and you may want to try them on yer barby.

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We used homemade coleslaw, the creamy style, just a simple mayo based dressing. I also whipped up a quick bowl of Tzatziki using plain yogurt, grated cucumber, dill, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.

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Then for an accompaniment I did a quick Greek Salad. I use the simple dressing rule of thumb; 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil and a handful of fresh Oregano plus fresh ground pepper. I add the olives and feta separately and some people don’t like olives (pah!) and I find the feta gets messy in any leftover salad.

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We agree that the burger and fixins’ part is enough without a starch on the side, and I rarely do starchy foods anymore. This meal would be suitable for those requiring a Gluten-Free diet.

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To finish off with a Sp!ash! I selected our favourite bold an meaty Red, a 2011 Lang Marechal Foch. At $18 it’s a great value wine with a robust flavour. It’s not a VQA wine so you won’t find it at the BCLCB but need to find a local wineshop that carries it or go to the Naramata Bench Winery for yourself and have a taste!

Now the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb, beef or mixture of your choice
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 small white onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 1 tsp Celtic or sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 whole red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil for frying (or oil of choice)
  • 2 to 4 strips of free range bacon
  • 2 slices of smoked aged or any cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup homemade or store bought creamy coleslaw

Cut red pepper into sections using the natural shape of the pepper and remove seeds and pith. Trim the 4 sections so they lay flat as possible. Pre-roast the red pepper in a 350° oven or pan roast without oil, turning frequently for about 30 mins or until it is soft and pliable. Remove the skin (optional).  Set aside.

Combine meat, mustard, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and form mixture into 4 firm patties. Cook the patties on a hot grill pan, frying pan (or BBQ) until cooked through turning often. While burgers are cooking also precook and drain the bacon on paper towel and keep warm. When the burgers are cooked, finish them off with the cheddar by melting the slices on two of the four burgers using a lid over the pan for a minute or 2. Drain the burgers if desired.

To construct the masterpieces place a cheese topped burger on each plate and top that with a slice of the red pepper and a slice of cooked bacon (and tzatziki if you want to be adventuresome). Place the remaining patty on top of that and garnish with the remaining pepper, bacon and a large dollop of coleslaw. (We have also thrown some Coleslaw between the patties but this makes them a bit slidey)

Eat with a Knife and Fork!

Prep Time :20 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Number of servings: 2

Wine Bloggers Conference Here I Come!

I am sure everyone is thinking (all 2 of my readers so far) “Bazjello! What the hell? What are you thinking? Why are you going to the Wine Bloggers Conference ?

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Well see here’s the thing…I want to be a Wine and Food Blogger! I am sure all the people attending this conference are already brilliant wine bloggers who have many, many posts behind them and have traveled to many of these events yet I am just a Newbie with the shine still on me and my blog page still has a New Car Smell. But , everyone started somewhere right? And here’s me…starting!

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I used to be a regular blogger back in the old MySpace days before they made so many changes most of us got fed up and moved on to other things and I had always wanted to stick my toes back in the pond. So this is it! Sorry about the toe!

Also, this Conference is RIGHT HERE in my neighborhood! I could nearly stagger home from it each night!

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I was born in Kelowna and have lived most of my life in the Okanagan Valley . I feel a huge sense of pride in the way the wine industry has taken off here and have always wanted a way to get involved in the promotion of my beautiful valley and feel that perhaps by blogging about our bounties of wine, produce and fabulous places to tour and holiday I can  fulfill this tiny dream.

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And most of all I really like to meet new people, experience and learn new things…oh…and drink wine! So why not take in this cool event that it right on my doorstep and will likely never come this close to home again!

So if you see me there, please don’t shun me as a Newbie and if there are any other newbs reading this…lets clique together and make fun of the cool kids! ;-)

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Lunch at Mimi’s

I had lunch in Kelowna yesterday with an old friend.  The lake end of Bernard is still annoyingly blocked to traffic but we wandered around the mostly empty street and choose a relatively new place, Mimi’s Italian Grill 

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The blackboard sign out front said ” Wine Wednesday $7″ which sounded interesting and in we went to be greeted by a friendly young man that seemed to be waiter and bartender. The place was pretty empty, one other table of some family grouping…and the two of us. The beverage booklet said Red Roof Cider on tap for $5 a pint! Perfect! I forgot about wine Wednesday as I was parched. But when our young man came to take our order he informed me that they “got rid” of Red Roof but ” Still have Okanagan Ciders in bottles which are better anyway”!  Um…..no…they aren’t really but what would I know? Sheesh! Anyway, I had a cider and the Spinach Salad, a heaping plate of leaves with asparagus, artichoke hearts, pine nuts and goat cheese with a lovely Dijon dressing. My friend ordered the ” Mimi’s Salad” and we split a generous appetizer of Mussels. We both agreed our salads were lovely but we could have used a bit more bread to mop up the tasty juices. But , considering we had split one order, one piece of bread seemed appropriate.

At less than $30 each before tip it was a tasty lunch and hopefully they will either rethink their cider choices or at least bring us a wine list next time so we can peruse the virtues of $7 choices on a wet Wednesday!

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