Saturday, July 3, 2010

I can’t believe that in exactly 2 months, just 8 short weeks, we will be in the middle of Harvest at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery. There is always much preparation, much planning to ensure that each harvest day goes smoothly, the grapes get picked and crushed, and in my case, all the “pickers” have a wonderful day. Preparing the vineyard for the events is in the capable hands of Dennis and Cindy, the owners; Dennis’ parents, Bob and Mae, who work very hard keeping the entire 40 acres looking picture perfect; and finally Kyle and the vineyard workers.

In recent years, it has been my job to submit menu ideas for each of the harvest weekends, working with Cindy to choose the perfect menu to be served on any one of the picking days, matching the food with the wine that is to be served, making sure the wine is from a previous harvest of the same grape that is going to be picked that particular day. For instance, on the day we are planning on picking the Traminette grape, I would prepare a traditional German menu that would go beautifully with our Oktoberfest Wine, made from the Traminette grape.
This year, I will have MAJOR help! No hints, yet, but stay tuned. I will tell you one thing, when harvest dates are released, make your reservation!

While we are on the subject of the vineyard, are you coming out this weekend to taste the new Citron, Somerset Ridge’s version of Lemoncello?

You absolutely MUST!

Painting this week has been both a challenge
and invigorating. I can guarantee you that no one, who knows my paintings, would walk in and point to one of my new paintings and say, “that's
Kay’s” .
Hell, I’m not even sure they are mine!  What a strange transformation!
This whole new thing may be over with these two paintings, then again, it may last for a while…..but I’m loving it.

I'm anxious to hear what the Judge thinks of them...his ideas are always a HOOT! Actually, what he sees when he looks at a painting is WILD!

Now, as for food…..

Have you tried Ball’s Freezer jars yet? Here is a recipe to take advantage of all the wonderful strawberries and is perfect for the freezer jars.

Balsamic Vinegar-Strawberry Jam
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 cups crushed strawberries
1/2 cup honey
1 pkg Ball® Simple Creations® Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin (1.59 oz)
5 Plastic Ball® (8 oz) Freezer Jars

PLACE balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until reduced to 3/4 cup. Chill until cool.
MIX strawberries, honey and cooled balsamic vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add pectin. Stir 3 minutes.
LADLE jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.

Strawberries and Balsamic vinegar are so good together. Here is a dessert using them together in a

Strawberry Tartlets

1/2 a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup large fresh strawberries, cut into quarters            
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Heat the oven to 400°F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10-inch square. Cut the pastry sheet into 4 (5-inch) squares. Place the pastry squares onto a baking sheet. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
Stir the jam and vinegar in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk. Add the strawberries and black pepper and toss to coat. Spoon about 1/4 cup strawberry mixture in the center of each pastry square. Fold the pastry corners over the filling to the center and twist the points firmly to seal. Brush with the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Serve each with a spoonful or two of homemade Ricotta cheese! Ever heard the phrase "To Die For!"?

Finally, Let me take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a Happy Fourth of July! On this day,remember what it has taken to make America the PROUD, STRONG, Much LOVED country that she is! Our INDEPENDENCE is our heritage! Protect it! Stand up for America!

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker