A couple weeks ago, myself and my group of girlfriends looked at each other with serious faces and said “enough is enough, we have to stop going out so much”. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good girls night at great restaurant in town followed by some cocktails – but the spending money and “treat yo’self” lifestyle has been adding up real quick. We decided that our hangouts moving forward would revolve around more workouts and nights in. Plus, now that I have settled into my new place, it’s made it much easier to host friends.
Rewind to the end of November. I was contacted by Black Cellar Wine to attend a three-course cooking class in Vancouver. It was a night that would teach us how to create meals that would pair well with their wines and leave us with some inspiration for those nights in. Plot twist. I wasn’t in town for the event. So they proposed they send me over some wine along with a box of mystery ingredients to create my own dish and pairing.
The Wine: Black Cellar Whisky Oak Aged Shiraz Cabernet
This bottle is a blend of Shiraz from Spain and Cabernet Franc from Ontario. Black Cellar worked with a long long-standing partner and their winemaking team from Spain to choose a Shiraz for this blend that had the backbone and structure to integrate with Whisky Oak aging.
Some of the Shiraz spent 2 months with French and American oak, and some spent 1 month with Whisky oak, both of which contribute to add punch and power to the mouth-feel, along with increasing the wines age-ability and subtle notes of Whisky. The wines were then blended together and bottled.
- Bright garnet in colour with a lovely, aromatic bouquet of blueberry, dark cherry, sweet smoky oak, baking spice, red liquorice, and a sweet note suggesting maple and molasses.
- Medium-bodied and fruit forward.
- The soft drying tannins give this wine great mouth-feel, while flavours of black cherry, spice and vanilla extract fill the mouth.
- Black tea, roasted spice, toasty oak and dark fruits are accented by a hint of whisky nuance.
The Mystery Ingredients + The Recipe
The rule for this challenge: make a dish that includes each of the ingredients included in the box: mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, mozzarella cheese and ground beef. There were two options that instantly came to mind — zucchini pasta or a moussaka. We ended up opting for the zucchini noodles as it would make a quick and easy recipe that allowed for dietary modifications for all readers (ex. keto, vegan, vegetarian, etc.).
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
– Red Onion
– Tomato Sauce
– Fresh Basil
– Bay Leaves
– Ground Beef
– Mozzarella Cheese
STEP 1: THE SAUCE
– Dice up the garlic, mushrooms, eggplant, red onion and spinach.
– Add olive oil to a large pot, on medium heat.
– Once sizzling, add onions and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds and add in the mushrooms and zucchini.
– Add in tomato sauce, salt pepper, bay leaves, basil and spinach.
– Cover on low heat for 30 min. Mix every few minutes.
STEP 2: THE NOODLES
Use a spiralizer to make the noodles with the zucchini, or you can purchase the zoodles pre cut! (I’m all about those life hacks). Once the sauce has been sizzling and is full of flavour, heat the zoodles in a pan with olive oil for approx 1 minute. Once heated, place them into a bowl, add sauce on top and grate fresh mozzarella on top!