March 24, 2011

proof whisky, lights out, Vol. 26

In honor of both David Suzuki’s ( 75th Birthday and this weekend’s Earth Hour event, ( we are offering some lights out dinner party tips and a refreshing cocktail to match. We hope that you too will stock up on candles and participate in Saturday’s awesome global movement. To learn more about our brand visit Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on all of our tastings, parties and events.

the blackout-berry
2 oz proof whisky
2 oz Chambord Royale
(or Eduardo Ferreira Licor de Amora Blackberry Liquor)
2 tsp simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
garnish with blackberries

Pour 2 oz proof whisky, 2 oz Chambord Royale, 2 tsp simple syrup, and 1 oz lemon juice into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a tumbler glass filled with cubed ice. Garnish with blackberries. 
(If you would like to keep things local, omit the blackberries for garnish – they are obviously not in season yet. hmmm... Or you can garnish with an icycle)
* Who needs an energy-sucking freezer with this spring weather? Put some water-filled ice-cube trays outside – they’ll freeze. Or you can purchase ice and store it in a cooler or bucket outside.

Earth Hour is almost here. A great way to enjoy this event is to be with friends, so why not throw an Earth Hour dinner party! 
Create a meal that reflects the occasion, by using recipes that you can enjoy by candlelight and where no cooking is required. 
Here is our suggested 3-course vegan raw menu (warning: blender power is necessary):

Tahini Dressing
½ cup raw tahini (specialty food shops, some grocery stores, bulk barn)
6 tbsp filtered water
4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp nama shoyu (Specialty food shops, t&t, bulk barn and some grocery stores)
1 tbsp green onion, diced
1 tsp raw apple cider (may have to use normal cider vinegar)
¼ garlic or ginger, minced
pinch cayenne
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well incorporated. Drizzle over mixed greens and shredded vegetables. 
Garnish with black sesame seeds.

Live Lasagna
¾ cup fresh basil, tightly packed
3 ½ cups macadamia nuts
1 ¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tsp, plus ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
¼ cup plus, 2 tbsps olive oil
6 tbsp filtered water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 bunch chard or rainbow chard, stems removed
4 large tomatoes, sliced
Place ½ c. basil, 3 cups macadamia nuts, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and 4 teaspoons vinegar in a food processor. Process for 20 second on low speed, adding 1 ½ c. water as necessary through the top. You might not need all the water. You want a lightly textured, ricotta-like consistency with a semisweet and basil taste. Over-blending causes a pâté consistency. Add tomatoes to blender and blend (should have 2 cups worth once blended), add remaining nuts, basil, oregano, vinegar, ¼ olive oil, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 6 tbsp water, rosemary and blend on high speed for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Toss zucchini and squash strips in remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Allow to marinate for 1 hour. Lightly oil bottom of 13 x 9” pan. Place a layer of chard on bottom. Add a layer of zucchini, then tomato, then basil mixture, then tomato mixture. Repeat and top with final layer of zucchini. Serve immediately or wrap in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Pecan Pie
3 ½ cups pecans
3 ½ cups pitted dates
½ cup raisins, soaked
2 cups water
¼ cup date/raisin soak water
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup agave nectar
Place 3 cups pecans and 1 ½ cups dates in a food processor. Blend on high speed for 30 to 40 seconds or until mixture sticks together and runs up the sides without falling into the center. You may need to add more dates. Press crust into a pie pan, making a layer around the bottom and sides at least ½” thick. Place 1 cup dates and raisins in a small bowl with water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes. Place remaining 1 cup dates, soaked dates, raisins, ¼ cup soak water, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and agave nectar in a blender and blend on high speed until a thick, relatively smooth mixture forms. Pour mixture into the piecrust, and layer the top with remaining ½ cup pecans. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You want pie chilled to keep its form while slicing. (all recipes by Mark Reinfeld, Bo Rinaldi and Jennifer Murray)

If this menu is too ‘earthy’ for you – try serving fondues, local cheeses, charcuterie plates made of local meats, breads or thermos’ filled with soups and stews – anything that does not require power during the lights out. If you really do want to serve a vegan meal, without the hassle, pick up some yummy vegan take-out at The Big Carrot (348 Danforth Avenue, The Carrot specializes in organically-grown, GMO-free and Environmentally-safe products.

In order to achieve the perfect mood lighting be sure to stock the following items: beeswax candles, hand-crank flashlights, lanterns and if you are lucky you will have access to a wood-burning fireplace or wood-stove.

For a great selection of beeswax candles, visit Grassroots. They carry Pheylonian Beeswax Candles in many different sizes. (

Grassroots has two locations: (east) 372 Danforth Ave. or (west) 408 Bloor Street W. ( They offer “environmentally-friendly products that allow people to make positive choices for themselves, their communities and the earth.”

Grassroots also carries these beautiful serving trays made by Urban Tree Salvage. UTS uses wood from trees, cut down by the city, in the GTA. (

What’s a party without music? Rather than firing up your ipod, crank-up your crank-up radio, strum your guitar or gather around the piano for a show-tune sing-along. After dinner, bundle up and walk the streets. You will get a whole new perspective on things. You may even see a star or two – or better still, catch the neighbours NOT participating in Earth Hour – tsk! tsk!

Take advantage of the dusky mood by telling ghost stories or dust off the Ouija board for a good old-fashioned séance. 
Just remember – your blackout party does not have to end at 9:31 pm – keep the power off for the rest of the night. Lights Out!

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 0 degrees
Sunday: Sunny with cloudy periods and a high of 0 degrees

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