Growing up in the country and on a farm, it was commonplace to preserve as much of the summer’s harvest as possible. My parents and grandparents worked all spring, summer, and fall planting gardens, picking vegetables, tending fruit trees, picking berries, and then canning, freezing, and storing much of it for future use. I can still see kitchen counters covered with Mason jars of green beans, tomatoes, and black raspberry jam, and the beauty of the jewel-tone colors as the sun shone through the glass and its hard-earned contents. It’s because of this seasonal tradition that I observed and participated in as a child that I appreciate the work that goes into preserving as well as the delight in enjoying something homemade. That’s why I love using a familiar recipe or even finding a new one each year to preserve something special to share. So, when I was leafing through epicurious cooking magazine recently and discovered a recipe for wine jelly–specifically, Sauternes and sage jelly, I knew I had to try it. I’ve made fruit jams and jellies, pickles, and even chutney in the past, but I’ve never tried making wine jelly–until now. The cooking magazine raved about this jelly, describing it as “sophisticated and subtle.” It also stated that it was a delicious substitute to the green mint jelly that traditionally accompanies lamb. Actually, this sublime jelly is wonderful with any roasted or grilled meat and is a fantastic […]
I enjoy salads all year long–mainly, because they’re healthy and don’t take too long to prepare. Salads with roasted vegetables and/or fruit are a favorite. Roasting adds so much flavor and helps create a more satisfying meal. For this pear salad recipe, carmelizing the pears on top of the stove prevents them from becoming overcooked–as they do when oven-roasted. The balsamic vinegar is used to make a fruity vinaigrette that accentuates the pears’ flavor. In addition, a couple of extra tablespoons of the vinegar is stirred into the hot pan while cooking the pears, creating a glazy coating. For the greens, a mix of crunchy, mild green leaf lettuce works well. Add salty Parmesan to offset the pears’ natural sweetness and pecans for buttery richness. And, you have a lovely autumn salad with lots of appeal! Finding a suitable wine pairing for salad can sometimes be challenging, especially when balsamic vinegar is involved. However, this salad pairs well with sparkling wine or Champagne. Enjoy! Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Parmesan and Pecans: Serves 6 *Use organic ingredients when possible Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds pears, quartered lengthwise and cored Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1 small shallot, minced 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/2 small head green leaf lettuce (4 ounces), torn into 1-inch pieces or loose mixed greens 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted Method: –Toss pears with 1/4 teaspoon […]
Meadows of Dan, Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway Recently, Farmguy and I participated in the grape harvest at a local winery just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwestern Virginia. Located in the Rocky Knob American Viticultural Area (AVA), Chateau Morrisette Winery sits at an elevation of nearly 3500 feet. Boasting spectacular views, it’s amid one of the most rugged and mountainous parts of the state. Although the winery is at 3500 feet, most of its vineyards are down the mountain at 1600 feet. Chateau Morrisette Winery was founded by David Morrisette in 1978, making it among the oldest wineries in Virginia. It has 13 acres of land and produces approximately 70,000 cases of wine each year. Chardonnay, Viognier, Chambourcin, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng, and Vidal blanc are among the varietals used in making Chateau Morrisette’s wines. Besides growing many of its own grapes, the winery also buys grapes from other vineyards in Virginia. Due to the state’s climate and growing season, Viognier and Cabernet Franc are some the winery’s most successful varieties. In the photos, Farmguy and I are harvesting Niagara grapes—a variety of the North American grape species Vitis labrusca. Niagara grapes are one of the few grape varieties that can grow at such a high elevation. These green grapes are table grapes and are also used in making jams, juices, and wines. They are mainly used in Chateau Morrisette’s sweet/dessert wines—Sweet Mountain Laurel and Red […]
“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” ~Henry Beston
Farmgirl & lambs Green Hill Farm “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Wishing you a wonderful day!
With the arrival of fall, thoughts turn to cool, crisp mornings, fields full of pumpkins, the smell of a crackling fire, and the taste of hot apple cider. This time of year often causes us to reflect on happy times. I always find it interesting how our senses ignite memories. Memories that take us back to a single, meaningful experience. The senses of smell and taste, in particular, tend to evoke the strongest memories for me. The smells of freshly cut hay and buckets of Dad’s ripened tomatoes, or the taste of Mom’s homemade Thanksgiving dressing. These smells and tastes take me right back to my childhood. It’s such a visceral experience. I think that’s one reason we enjoy the seasonal routines of planting gardens, visiting a pumpkin patch, or preparing and eating a holiday feast. The sights, smells and tastes associated with these activities bring back a familiar comfort. So, here’s the thing. With the many signs of fall, including pumpkins appearing at the local farmers’ market, I remembered one of my favorite recipes: Spiced pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I hope you’ll try this recipe and maybe even add it to your fall favorites. Enjoy! Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins: *Use organic ingredients when possible Ingredients: 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice 1 tablespoon curry 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt *************** 2 […]