More Treat Than Trick: Sauternes and Sage Jelly

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 […]

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Tuesday Tunes: The Grapevine

  Over the weekend, 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 […]

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One More Reason to Love Italy

In May, Scott and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in Tuscany, specifically Cortona and Florence.  We chose Italy, because it’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited, and the people are lovely and welcoming.  From the breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside to the art, culture, and history of its towns and cities, Italy offers so much.  And, […]

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Something Refreshing

I’m not much of a mixed drink connoisseur.  I usually find that I enjoy wine more:  sparkling, white Burgundy, and Bordeaux styles. However, a few years ago, while visiting with friends in Yorkshire, England, I discovered a cocktail that I enjoyed so much that I asked the bartender for the recipe. It’s called a Hendrick’s Collins.  This cocktail is delicious and refreshing—perfect for a summer afternoon in the garden. Hendrick’s Collins *Slightly modified Ingredients: One 12 ounce Collins glass One shot of Hendrick’s Gin (distilled Scottish gin infused with rose & cucumber) 3/4 shot of St. Germain elderflower liqueur Dash of lemon 3 Cucumber slices Ice cubes Soda Water Cucumber and lemon wedge to garnish *Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Presse *Special Note:  This is a sparkling beverage that’s handmade in the U.K. and mixes well with gin.  I originally had it in England; however, I have purchased it at The Fresh Market grocery store in my area.  It can also be ordered online at amazon.com.  My preference is to use half soda water and half Belvoir Elderflower Presse in this cocktail. Preparation: Fill the Collins glasses with ice.  Full size ice cubes will melt more slowly and dilute the drink more slowly. Add the gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, and cucumber slices into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.  Cover and shake for several seconds.  Strain into a Collins glass and top with soda water (and Elderflower sparkling beverage […]

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Got Merlot?

Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016   Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire,” made the following line famous: “You had me at hello.”  However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have uttered these words instead, “You had me at Merlot.”  And, with good reason.  Merlot, French for little blackbird because […]

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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

With a sweet, earthy flavor, juicy texture, and beautiful ruby-red hue, beets make a salad into something sensational.  The key to making them the highlight of a simple yet elegant salad is roasting, making the beets juicy and tender with a concentrated sweetness.  Peeling is easier when the beets are still warm.  Also, tossing the sliced beets with the dressing […]

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A World Class Wine from Virginia

  The dream of a world class Virginia wine began with Thomas Jefferson.  Although Jefferson knew that Virginia had the weather and terroir for grape growing and winemaking, he never saw his dream come to fruition.  This is, in part, due to Phylloxera–an aphid-like insect that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines.  However, Virginia grape growers now understand that to successfully grow European grapes, they must first graft the vine onto phylloxera resistant American rootstock.  This was the first major hurdle to realizing the dream of a Virginia wine, the next, proving the viability of grape growing as an agricultural endeavor. Officially, the wine industry in Virginia began in 1976 with the Zonin family.  One of Italy’s largest wine producers, the Zonin’s bought Barboursville in Orange, an area near Charlottesville, with the hopes of starting a vineyard.  Underlying this decision was the belief that European grapes could thrive in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  After the purchase of Barboursville, the Zonin’s invited Gabriele Rausse, an Italian winemaker, who is currently the Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, to assist in making the dream of a Virginia wine a reality.  Today, the Commonwealth boasts hundreds of successful wineries and vineyards, many producing award winning wines–including Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia’s first commercial winery.  And, Gabriele Rausse is partially responsible, having consulted on 40 vineyards and 10 wineries in the Commonwealth, including his own.  He is considered the “Father of Virginia Wine.” […]

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An Afternoon With My Favorite Bubbly Blogger

I’m fortunate to be a member of my local book club–The Friday Book Club.  This wonderful band of readers was established in 1935. And, this year, I have the privilege of being president. As such, I thought it would be fun and festive to ask Becky Ellis, author of The Bubby BEE to speak to all of us about sparkling wines and Champagne for the holidays.  We enjoyed Becky’s presentation, and of course, her sparkling personality.  Many thanks, Becky! , One of the best things about blogging is meeting fun people who share the same interests. At first glance Tonya, author of fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com, and I could not seem more different…she lives on a farm complete with chickens and sheep. I get nervous if I get too far from a city sidewalk. But we both love […] via Size Matters When Drinking Bubbles + A Sip Of English Bubbly — BubblyBEE.com

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