20 Bees Shiraz

20 BEES SHIRAZ, $11.95. LCBO#146837.

20 BEES SHIRAZ, $11.95.

Round #2 of my Wine of the Month Club: The January delivery included a bottle of 2012 20 Bees Shiraz. I have to say I was not excited to see it- I have had 20 Bees Baco Noir and one glass was more than enough for me. I also find their labels and winery name to be overly cute. And Shiraz in Canada? I don’t know- I really like Australian Shiraz (in fact we had a killer bottle last week- 2011 Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa, $20, amazing value, none left at the LCBO, sob, drink some for me if you can find it).

So, I opened the bottle with low expectations on a freezing cold Wednesday night. But my snobbery turned to a smile as we paired it with beef tacos- great match. The wine is what the critics say: dry, light-medium bodied, not overly complex, and a little fruity with a peppery finish. This would be good BBQ wine in the summer.

That said, I don’t know that I would buy it again. The price is reasonable, the wine is fine, it’s just not what I’m looking for in a Shiraz. It was an interesting bottle, not something I would typically pick up on my own, so I will give the Wine Club a pass on this one. But there are a lot of $12 red wines I would buy before this one.

Overall, I give this wine 7.5/10 for taste and 4/5 for value.

Barbequed Beets & Carrots

Roasted Beets and Carrots - Done!

Sweet roasted root veggie perfection.

A few weeks ago, our CSA veggie box contained some particularly fat & sassy beets, and the first carrots of the year. I love roasted beets, and the carrots were crying out to join their purple cousins in tinfoil on the barbeque.

Roasted Beets and Carrots - All Cleaned Up

Peeled and ready for chopping.

Roasted Beets and Carrots - Mixing

Seasoned with S&P and garden herbs.

Simply chop the beets and carrots roughly, toss them in olive oil and chopped garlic, sprinkle with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, oregano and thyme, and pop this all into a tinfoil package. It can go on the BBQ for 45 minutes over indirect heat (one burner on high, the other off, package over the off burner) or in the oven for 1 hr at 375F.

And there you have it- simple, healthy, tasty and local.  And this cooks up just beautifully while steaks occupy the other side of the grill!

Beer Can Chicken

Fresh from the oven

I love roast chicken. Chicken most other ways bores me, but there is nothing better than a roasted chicken (especially when you can be proud that the crispy skin and juicy meat is the result of your labours in the kitchen).

I bought this chicken from Old Farm Fine Foods. I don’t know if it’s local origin made it more tasty, but it certainly made it much more expensive. I was lured in by their “fresh local chicken” sign and was a bit stunned by the $18 price tag at the till….but too embarrassed to walk away! Being a “locavore” is a constant budget dilemma.

Kevin and I experimented with BBQ’d beer can chicken last summer and even bought a little stand that helps the cooking go smoothly. It’s a bit easier to do in the oven because the chicken is quite tall on the stand and the BBQ lid does not always want to close properly.

We don’t drink beer in cans, so we went to the odds and ends section of the LCBO and found a cheap random can of beer to use. You just pour half the beer out, sit the chicken on top of the can, and pop it in your oven (or onto your BBQ grill).

This time we rubbed the chicken with a mixture of equal parts of smoked paprika, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and a double dose of brown sugar.

Roast the chicken at 375F for about 1.5 hours, or as long as it takes for the thigh meat to read around 180F on a meat thermometer. Let it rest 5-10 minutes before you carve it.

The upright cooking method makes sure the skin is crispy all the way around, and the beer can inside keeps the meat incredibly moist and juicy. Who wants a drumstick?

The chicken awaits its delicious fate

Welcome Home

Tuesday night deliciousness.

In honour of our new home (and dream kitchen), we’ve been engaging in some true Gourmandise these last few nights. On the weekend, Kevin made me a fabulous steak dinner, which I hoovered in too quickly to take a picture of it and share. So this will be my official welcome home post. We decided to BBQ, and what could be more appropriate on a Tuesday night than some ribs and a glass of wine?

I think we’ve finally found the perfect rib technique…boil them for 45 minutes, then grill them with tons of sauce for about 15 minutes.  They are tender, but still crispy and saucy. We’re lazy and just use Diana’s chicken and rib sauce, which is always delicious. We also perfected the baked potato this weekend. The key is to use russets and rub them with olive oil before popping them in a 375F oven uncovered for about 45 minutes.  Crusty skins with a buttery inside every time!

Words can’t express how happy I am to have a real kitchen, one that comes complete with a gas stove and oven, a vintage butcher block island and room for my huge new wine glasses (which make wine drinking even more fun, if that is possible).  Next…time to fire up the oven and bake something sweet.