Scallops and Drunken Chestnuts

Yesterday was our epic Chopped Challenge for Mike’s birthday celebration and our New Year’s Day fun. The baskets of ingredients were provided by members of our blog family and put up to vote by our readers. We completed three rounds including an appetizer, main course and dessert recipe. It was a crazy day of cooking, spills, dirty dishes, laughter, a bit of competitive jabbing and absolute fun. Thanks for all of those that participated and followed along. We hope you had some fun too. 🙂

Now as promised here are the first recipes from the event. We’re going to kick off with the appetizer dishes. We used the ingredients suggested by Linda at Savoring Every Bite (who has some fantastic recipes – we’ve tried several in fact – not to mention amazing party planning/hosting skills) which included Chestnuts, Brandy, Polenta and Scallops. The measurements provided in the recipes are approximated as we didn’t do too much calculating yesterday. We mostly went on gut feel and tossed in what we thought worked.  Continue reading

Ice, Ice…

Don’t worry. I’m not going there (think 1989 really bad song). I won’t do that to you. Especially because I’m still trying to get the Spice Girls out of my head.

Instead I’ll just tell you how much we love Canada’s ice wines. Mike and I enjoyed our first ice wine in Ontario in 2007. Since then we also drank a wonderful German Eiswein and even found a few ice wines from Michigan that we enjoyed.

So we were excited to try some new ice wines this summer in the Niagara region, and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, I’d say they have even improved the overall quality of the ice wines in the past few years. One of our favorites we came across this year was a Cabernet Franc ice wine from Jackson Triggs. It was so balanced and smooth and had such wonderful flavors. Truly about as close to perfection as you can get with an ice wine in our opinion.

That’s why when we were planning our Ontario meals we knew we had to incorporate some Canadian Ice Syrup. Ice Syrup is derived from the same frozen grapes used for ice wine and which are harvested and pressed while still frozen.

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