Willow Park Wines and Spirits

willow park

Community Blog

Erin Rosar
 
March 31, 2017 | Erin Rosar

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

A Classic Cookie that Never Goes Out of Style

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour;
1/2 teaspoon baking soda;
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened;
1/2 cup granulated sugar;
1 cup light-brown sugar;
1 teaspoon coarse salt;
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract;
2 large eggs;
2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (or a combination of both)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies rotating sheets halfway through until edges turn golden but the centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks let cool completely. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

A favourite cookie from our Cookie and Wine Class.

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2017 at 2:50 PM
Erin Rosar
 
March 31, 2017 | Erin Rosar

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A Favourite from our Cookie Pairing Class

 

"You've made oatmeal-raisin cookies before, so why try these? Because they're moist, chewy and loaded with raisins - and they're better than any you've tried before! From Cuisine Magazine"

Ingredients
Whisk together and set aside
Cream wet ingredients
Then stir in

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups oats ( not instant)
1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk dry ingredients; set aside.
Combine wet ingredients with a hand mixer on low.
To cream, increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and the color lightens.
Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible.
(Over mixing develops the gluten, making a tough cookie.) Now add the oats and raisins; stir to incorporate.
Fill a #40 cookie scoop and press against side of bowl, pulling up to level dough (to measure 2 tablespoons of dough).
Drop 2-inches apart onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake 11-13 minutes (on center rack), until golden, but still moist beneath cracks on top.
Remove from oven; let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Delicious when paired with Red Ale and creamy chardonnay

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2017 at 2:32 PM
Erin Rosar
 
March 31, 2017 | Erin Rosar

Green Tea Cookies

A Delicate and Delicious Cookie


Ingredients

240 g all purpose flour (240 g = 2 cups) (See Notes if you use cup measurement)
15 g matcha green tea powder (15 g = 2 1/2 Tbsp) (1 Tbsp matcha is 6 g)
170 g unsalted butter (170 g = 3/4 cup) (softened)
130 g confectioners’ sugar/powder sugar (130 g = roughly 1 cup)
pinch Kosher salt
2 large egg yolks
50 g white chocolate chips (50 g = 1/4 cup)


Instructions

Gather all the ingredients.

Combine 240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour and 15 g (2 ½ Tbsp.) matcha green tea powder in a large bowl.
Sift the flour and the matcha powder.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter until smooth and creamy. It’s important to soften the butter ahead of time.
Add a pinch of salt and blend.
Add 130 g (roughly 1 cup) powder sugar and blend until soft and light. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Add 2 large egg yolks and mix well until combined.
Gradually add the flour and matcha green tea powder mix and blend until the dough is smooth.
Add 50-65 g (1/4-1/3 cup) white chocolate chips and blend well.
Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 cylinders, about 1.5 inches (4 cm) diameter, 7" (18 cm) long.
Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours (or overnight). Optional: you can place the logs on a bed of rice while chilling. It’ll keep the dough in nice cylindrical shape, so your cookie slices won’t be flat on one side.
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) degrees. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking liner. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, and with a sharp knife, slice the dough into ⅓ inches (7 mm)-thick rounds. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1” (2.5 cm) between rounds.
Bake the cookies at 350F (175C) degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the edge of the cookies starts to get slightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; then carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. If you pack the cookies in an airtight container, they will keep for at least 4 days.
You can also freeze the unbaked logs of dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 months. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting and baking. Do not let the dough fully defrost.

Recipe Notes

A properly measured cup of all purpose flour weighs 4.25 oz (120 g). The weight for 1 cup of all-purpose flour varies depends on how you measure it. When you measure flour by volume, please follow the methods below. I’ve tested this method many times, and if you do it properly, 1 cup is VERY close to 120 g each time.

Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Namiko Chen
 

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2017 at 2:23 PM
Erin Rosar
 
March 31, 2017 | Erin Rosar

Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Always a Fan Favourite

 

3 large egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 package (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut (5 1/3 cups)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or coat generously with nonstick cooking spray).

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in coconut until moistened.

Drop mixture by packed level tablespoons onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. We shaped ours into triangle shapes that looked beautiful on the plate.

Recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com

 

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2017 at 2:14 PM
Erin Rosar
 
March 31, 2017 | Erin Rosar

Shrimp & Noodle Salad with Ginger Dressing

A Crowd Favourite from our Women & Wine Event

  • 7 ounces dried udon noodles or fettuccine (fettuccine broken in half)
  • 12 ounces shredded coleslaw mix
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 pound cooked medium shrimp, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry and transfer to a large bowl. Add the coleslaw mix, scallions, cilantro and shrimp.

In a blender, combine the teriyaki sauce with the ginger and chile-garlic sauce and puree until smooth. With the machine on, slowly add the vegetable oil in a thin stream and puree until the dressing is emulsified. Season lightly with salt. Add the dressing to the bowl with the udon noodles and toss well. Serve the noodle salad with lime wedges on the side.

​Enjoy!

​Adapted by Food & Wine Magazine

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2017 at 2:06 PM
Peggy Perry
 
March 9, 2017 | Peggy Perry

Traveling Through Italy with the Trusted Experts

A Trip of a Lifetime!

The Trusted Experts from Willow Park Wines & Spirits (WPWS) have been travelling to Tuscany for over a decade. What began as a television show to share with the world the wonders of Italian wine and food became an annual pilgrimage to worship at the tables with enthusiastic winemakers, cooks and life loving Italians from all backgrounds. The people of Italy embrace whole heartedly the concept of the shared table. They love opening up their homes and hearts to travelers who want to learn about their history, their cuisine and their ancient tradition of wine making.

Last year the team from WPWS spent five weeks in Italy, sharing our love of the Tuscan people, wine and food with over a hundred friends, family, chefs and customers. After a decade of travelling to Tuscany we have created many special memories and life time experiences all due to our gracious hosts. So may warm welcomes form families of wine that freely give their time to welcome us into their homes and at their tables, teaching us the history of their ancient family or the exciting details of how they have just recently come to the vineyards.

The trip usually starts in the ancient village of San Gusme where our hostess Maria Sorgani has resided for many years as the Jackson Family Estates designer and host at their Italian property Tenuta di Arceno. Maria helps us get our guests settled in the privately owned apartments found in the walls of this 11th Century village. We start with a welcome meal at La Porta del Chianti, a destination restaurant for local food lovers that show cases the food of Sicily. The village is surrounded by the vineyards of Arceno in every direction and this vast estate is the single largest intact Chianti Classico Vineyard in Tuscany.

From this central base we can easily travel to Tuscany’s most scenic wine towns, Montepulciano, Montalcino and San Gimignano. We participate in cooking classes, enjoy formal tastings and fantastic meals with local ingredients complementing perfectly the lively wines. This is Sangiovese country and when your visit is over, you will understand its’ every nuance. The more modern varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot and Syrah will also be tasted and we will learn of the maverick “Super Tuscan” producers who have left an indelible imprint on the new wine standards of Italy.

Cooking classes are essential and each year we try new schools and return to old favorites. The most intriguing stop is at Sting’s Tuscan Estate Il Palagio where all the produce is organically grown, right down to the wild pigs for the prosciutto. A favourite stop is at Fonte de Medici with Michelin Starred Chef Matia Cincello where in his modern kitchen we are well entertained with a constant stream of jokes as he helps us unravel the intricacies of top level cooking. The casual Pici making classes at Carpineto’s home winery in Montepulciano has been among the most popular classes. And without a doubt the chefs at Castello di Gabbiano have helped us create many special dishes upon our return home based on their excellent instruction. The barbecue class at Castello di Fonterutoli is excellent as is the causal pizza making nights at the home of our very special friend Louie Tolaini.

Winery tours are an integral part of the Tuscan experience. This is not about the percentages of each grape variety. Almost 90% of the wines you taste will be made with sangiovese. This is about the intricate differences found in the vineyards in the soil and the age of the vines, in the aspect of the vineyards. All the small differences that make a wine unique to the very localized place it comes from.

For more information on exciting travel destinations on Trusted Expert hosted trips coming soon please click here.

 

Time Posted: Mar 9, 2017 at 2:23 PM
Eddie Garraway
 
March 1, 2017 | Eddie Garraway

Maple Beer Brittle

A Real Canadian Treat!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • cooked crispy and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Maple Bacon Ale
  • (or your beer of choice)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. Sauté the bacon in a preheated skillet on medium heat. Cook all 8 slices. You want the bacon to be crisp, so give it a good 20-30 minutes and flip when needed. Let the bacon cool on paper towels and then chop. A coarse chop is better than small, fine pieces so the bacon will be noticeable. Set the chopped bacon and chopped peanuts aside.
  2. Have ready a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. You can use parchment paper as well, but silicone mats work very well.
  3. In a saucepan combine the beer, sugar and corn syrup and bring the mixture to 250 degrees F without stirring. (You will need a candy thermometer). Once it reaches temperature add the butter and stir constantly until the brittle mixture reaches 320 degrees F. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the baking soda. The brittle will foam. Add in the chopped nuts and bacon, folding to incorporate evenly.
  4. Pour onto your prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Let the brittle cool completely and then break into desired sized pieces. Melted chocolate can be drizzles over top if desired before it is broken for a real sweet treat.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Tayna from Letters from Lulu

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2017 at 12:19 PM
Eddie Garraway
 
March 1, 2017 | Eddie Garraway

Maple Glazed Salmon

 

 

Ingredients:

3-4 6 ounce salmon

  • fillets, skin on
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • Large pinch of ground
  • ginger or to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix maple syrup, soy, garlic and ginger in a baking dish. Dip each side of the salmon fillets in the marinade, then let sit, skin side down, for about 20 minutes.
  2. Turn on broiler. Spoon a bit more of the marinade over salmon then place 4-5 inches under broiler element. Cook to desired doneness, about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Remove from oven and spoon some of the syrupy marinade over salmon and sprinkle with green onions before serving.
  3. Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat slightly and allow to cook several minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1/4 cup.
  4. Serve salmon warm with 1 Tbsp of the maple soy glaze drizzled over top and black pepper and green onions if desired. Add roasted vegetables, rice or potatoes for a delicious dinner.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2017 at 11:57 AM
Eddie Garraway
 
March 1, 2017 | Eddie Garraway

East Coast Seafood Chowder

Peggy Perry’s Family Tradition

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • fine, about 3/4 cup
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • Salt to taste & approximately 3
  • cups of water to cover the above
  • 2 cups chicken or fish broth
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of chopped white
  • flesh fish like halibut or cod
  • 1 cup raw seafood - sliced
  • scallops, chopped shrimp
  • 1 to 2 cups of milk or cream
  • Roux - 3 Tb flour blended
  • with 3 Tb butter
  • 1 to 2 cups of precooked
  • shellfish if desired
  • 1 cup of fresh diced tomato

Directions:

If adding precooked shellfish, add at the end of the cooking time. I usually will precook clams and/ or mussels, remove them from the shell and add with the tomatoes.

Sautéed onions in butter, add potatoes and salt. Cover with water and simmer until potatoes are just slightly undercooked. Add in chicken or fish broth and wine and bring back to a gentle boil. Add uncooked fish and shellfish and simmer 5 minutes. Add warmed milk or cream and then stir in roux. Once the soup has thickened, add cooked seafood and chopped fresh tomatoes.

Serve piping hot with a grind of pepper and sprinkle of parsley. This recipe can easily be doubled. It freezes well. Serves 12 people.

Serve with Canadian bubbles or chardonnay!

 

Recipe by Peggy Perry

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2017 at 11:04 AM
Eddie Garraway
 
February 28, 2017 | Eddie Garraway

Sparkling Maple Cocktail

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp maple syrup
  • 1 Dash angostura bitters
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Orange Peel

Pour maple syrup and bitters in champagne glass and top with sparkling wine. Twist orange peel over glass and drape peel on rim.

Time Posted: Feb 28, 2017 at 3:38 PM