A Day on the Road…

11/28:  As a wonderful end to November, Joe’s folks took us with them on a wine tasting day.  Joe’s uncle joined us as well.  We started out in Silverton at the Vitis Ridge Winery where they had a large range of wine styles to try.  The range from a dry Gewürztraminer to a lovely semi-sparkling Early Muscat 2009.  They also had a extensive range of reds to sample (I really wish I liked red wine).  I did like the Maréchal Foch – it was less harsh than I find most reds and I understand that it makes a very good Gluwein (war, spiced wine). They also had desert wines; 2 ports and a really lovely Grigio D’oro (a sweet, white sipping wine).  The same building also houses the 7 Brides Brewery so the boys were very excited that they could also sample some nice craft brews.

After leaving Silverton, we headed for Salem and the Pudding River Wine Cellars.  They have a nice selection of white and red wines which lean to the dry side.  Given that I prefer sweet wine, they were not really my cup of tea, but my father in law found their Reserve Pinot Noir to be very nice.  These folk were incredibly nice and had some lovely snacks for us including a sample of a pinot noir truffle from the Pudding River Chocolates.

Our last stop for the day was at the Red Hawk Winery and Vineyard in the South of Salem for some lunch and entertainment.  I was pretty well all done tasting wine by then (having had my requisite 1 glass) and only tried the Pinot Gris which was quite tasty. The appetizer buffet was very nice; cheeses, salmon spread, squash soup, and sausages with crackers and bread – it was a perfect lunch spot.  In addition to the lovely food and wine, Joni Harms was singing.  Joni is a country western singer from Molalla that my mother in law heard several years back.  She has a lovely voice and sang a great mix of country standards, her own piece and christmas carols – fantastic.


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book , 1962 edition) Makes about 4 dozen.

1/2 cup shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 teas vanilla
2 eggs
2 squares melted baking chocolate
2 cups flour
2 teas baking powder
1/3 cup milk
confectioner’s sugar for rolling

Cream together the sugars, shortening and vanilla.
Add the eggs and beat in well.
Beat in the melted chocolate.
Sift together dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Chill 3-4 hours.
Form into 1″ balls and roll in confectioner’s sugar.
Place on greased cookie sheet 2″ apart. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes.

Christmas is Coming……

Black Friday is the traditional day to put up the Christmas tree in our house (what else could we do with names like Holly and Joseph).  Joe used to brave the sales but not this year – nothing too exciting stood out.  We do use an artificial tree because of respiratory and skin allergies (I get hives) so we can leave it up for the entire month.  We were able to purchase an LED tree last year and although it does not put out as much heat as the old tree, does not put out enough light to read by, and isn’t quite as large….it is very pretty when all of the decorations go on it and you can actually take a nap in the same room with it without turning it off.

I boiled the turkey bones this morning to make stock and made turkey and dumplings for dinner.  I just wish we had some leftover turkey for a sandwich.  Maybe I’ll roast another turkey next weekend.  I new traditional – turkey every weekend between thanksgiving and Christmas?

Sweet Potatoes with Orange Juice


Whoops! I forgot to take a picture when they were done

4 pound sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup honey
2 t  grated fresh ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom
1 t kosher salt

Simmer the sweet potatoes in boiling water  for five minutes – drain
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl
Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat
Pour everything into a buttered/oiled baking dish and bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350 degrees

(I’ve had some trouble with the timing on this dish so I will update it again soon) This year I tried pre-boiling the sweet potatoes for 12 minutes rather than 5 minutes.  Hopefully this will take care of the “great sweet potato wait” of 2009.

Getting Nervous – Where is the Safeway Truck?

I ordered groceries from Safeway to be delivered on Tuesday evening.  They had a great deal…if I was a first time customer I could get free delivery and $15.00 off the order so I thought I try.  The groceries were supposed to be here between 4:00 and 6:00pm last night.  The deliveryman called at 6:15 and said he couldn’t make it because the roads were icing up again and asked if he could come between 10:00 and 11:00am today.  It’s 10:49 and no sign of my groceries – my thanksgiving dinner is in there – I’m a little nervous, but I’m sure everything will work out.

11:53am ……No groceries yet…..

12:21……Called Safeway and MY BAD, the delivery window was from 10:00am until 1:00pm so there is still hope.  Yeah Safeway.!…

1:18……Still waiting and back to nervous…..

2:25……Getting tired, I need a nap but no truck yet.  Don’t want to fall asleep and miss him……. the pies were supposed to be finished this morning, but I’m still waiting on the grocery truck for the cream cheese.

3:20….He’s here with my groceries and all is better.  What an amazing deal.  I was able to get two turkeys, bread, rolls, cranberry sauce, 10lbs of potatoes, 6 lbs of sweet potatoes, mushrooms, scallions, spinach, chicken stock olives, cream, egg nog, bananas and seven containers of pasta for less than $40.00.  Amazing!  thank you to all of the coupon bloggers out there.

Brining the Turkey

This year I’m going to try brining the turkey.  Last year in December I bought a bottle of Turkey Brine on sale from Kitchen Kaboodle.  It has sugar and salt, orange peel. black pepper, white pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay.

The turkey was fabulous. So delicious that I forgot to take a picture of it.  I can say, however, there were no leftovers.

Fresh Pumpkin/Cream Cheese Pie

1 sugar pumpkin (not jack-o-lantern type) to yield 24oz Baked Pumpkin (see instructions)

1 cup brown sugar
2 x 8oz packages cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas dried ginger
1/4 teas nutmeg
1/8 teas ground cloves
6 eggs (beaten)
1.  Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.
2.  Put 1/2 C brown sugar in each half and wrap in foil.
3.  Bake 2 hours at 400 degrees or until very soft.
4.  Pour off and retain extra liquid
5.  Remove the pumpkin meat from the peel and place into a large bowl.
6.  Mix in cream cheese then add other ingredients
7.  Pour into 2 pie shells and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until the center barely jiggles (is set).  My pie dishes are deep (Emile Henry) so the pie took 75 minutes.
Pie crusts (makes 4)
5 1/2 cups flour
1 T salt
3 1/4 cups cold butter
1 cup ice cold water
Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal.
Add water and pulse to combine – do not mix until a ball starts rolling around.
Divide into 4 parts and pat into a flat disc.  Refrigerate at least two hours before rolling.