Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't Miss it! Saturday, November 20th at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery


NEW WINE being released! Somerset Ridge’s new Reisling is being released the weekend before Thanksgiving! That means major celebration going on! Dennis is an amazing winemaker and has been working on this one for some time. I can hardly wait, and I happen to be “in the know” about the new label! I will only say this….it is the 2nd in the local artist series! You are going to love the wine and the label! The artist, Kristin Goering, will be there to greet you!

Pierogies with Frank Gazella

Last year Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery held their 1st Pierogi Celebration. I was there to prepare the pierogies for Frank Gazella, the co-founder and owner of the Pieroguys Pierogie Company, so he was available to talk to the crowd about his pierogies. Let me tell you about Frank….cutest thing you have ever seen! He was one of Kansas City’s most eligible bachelors last year!

Frank is returning to Somerset Ridge Winery on Saturday, October 20th for another day of sampling! I will be there to keep his wonderful pierogies coming out of the kitchen, featuring his different varieties, paired with my homemade Somerset Ridge Wine sauces. Cindy and Dennis Reynolds, owners of the vineyard and winery, will be there to greet you and invite you to sample their wines.

More Open House Fun! While you're sampling the new Riesling, check out more holiday treats:

*Fresh-from-the-oven poviticia has just arrived for the holidays. Of course it's local! Pumpkin, apple,   cranberry and cream cheese.

*Our turkey bottle toppers from Her Majesty's Wine Closet have arrived. Perfect as a hostess gift or to dress up your holiday table.

*Our wine gift packs are ready for your family and corporate gifts. And so easy.From $25 - $39 each, we   think you will love them.

*Yay! We just received a new delivery of local Kansas Bison sausage & snacks.

*Check out our beautiful new sterling silver chain necklaces featuring original art from local artist David Gross.

*And don't forget to try the ever popular holiday treats from Tallgrass Toffee. Randy will be here all day Sunday serving them up.
So come on down to the vineyard and join the fun!

When people ask me what kind of chef I am, what my speciality is, I usually respond with "I love to prepare Northern Italian and I am a baker at heart". I wake up some mornings and have this great urge to head to the store to stock up on butter, flour and sugar. I truly do love to bake. With Thanksgiving upon us, hundreds of recipes for heavenly baked goods grace the pages of magazines that appear in my mailbox. Glorious photographs of pies, cookies and breads tempt me to preheat and proceed!
Many years ago, (1970!) my sister Ann and I started our catering company we named C and W Gourmet Gifts because almost immediately we became a "foods for gifts" company. We prepared baskets, boxes, etc. of homemade goodies and sold them to realtors, insurance companies, doctors, etc. as gifts for their clients. Needless to say, the holidays turned our homes into factories! It was not unusual to find 25 loaves of pumpkin bread spread out across the dining room table, everyday for weeks before Thanksgiving. It was a great time, yet a trying time. Packaging materials were not available like they are now. Today you can go to your local Michael's and pick up truly fun and inventive packaging from the Martha Stewart Collection. To make things more difficult for us, there wasn't any stretch plastic wrap....nothing that wanted to stick to itself to seal in freshness. So you see, we did have challenges, but very few of them occured in the kitchen. Ann and I were raised to cook and bake....particularly bake. Of course, we were raised to eat what we baked....unfortunately! I am a complete sucker for a pie, or a cookie, or cake, cupcake, scone, biscuit; I think you get the picture!
During our C and W years, we developed some amazing recipes that we still use today. One of my favorites is our Pumpkin Date Bread. I am sure we sold thousands and thousands of loaves of this tea bread! After the loaves were cooled, we would spread the tops with a powdered sugar glaze and decorate with nuts and candied fruit; picture perfect for the holidays.
One of the problems with heirloom recipes, and yes, it is an heirloom, the recipes are almost never written down with complete instructions. Are your Mom's recipes written on the back of envelopes with the post office stamp reading 1953? Some of mine are. And my Mom used shorthand!
Anyway, I am going to share the pumpkin date bread recipe with you, and try to complete the directions as I type.

C and W Pumpkin Date Bread

3 1/3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup crisco oil
4 large eggs
1/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1 cup chopped dates, dusted with a small amount of flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer black walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour lightly 3 8x5" loaf pans.
Sift your dry ingredients together and set aside. In mixing bowl, blend the oil, eggs, pumpkin and sugar. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, folding to blend. Fold in the dates and nuts.
Divide the batter equally into the three pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pans, then continue cooling on rack until completely cooled.
If you wish to freeze the loaves, wrap well. If they are for immediate consumption, such as Thanksgiving Day, you may glaze the tops with a simple powdered sugar glaze then decorated with candied fruit or sprinkled with more chopped nuts. Refrigerate loaves until ready to serve.

Another great tea bread for the holidays is the Cranberry Bread on the back of the Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberry bag. I have used it for years, but I add more cranberries than the bag calls for, and a bit more sugar. The recipe I am giving you is the original, but I add 1 additional cup of cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar.

Where would our Thanksgiving be without Ocean Spray!
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

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Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
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Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
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