Saturday, March 5, 2011


You’ve probably said…”A winery in Kansas?”......or maybe “Who ever heard of Kansas Wine?”…..I know, I’ve heard it many times….but there it is. The amazingly talented Dennis and Cindy Reynolds have built a miracle in the hills of Miami County, Kansas, Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery.
I have written about Somerset Ridge many times. It is one of my favorite places in the whole world!

I’ve also written about Molly’s Table….a gem of a restaurant in Paola Kansas, just 3 miles west of the vineyard. Donna Nagle, the owner, has turned a small catering business and café into a big business by serving delicious food. Donna is a fearless chef, willing…may I say, even thrilled, to tackle any recipe, any foodie idea or challenge!
Another subject I’ve included here in my blog is that of my paintings. Be they good or bad, I need to paint when I’m not cooking.
So there you have it, WINE, FOOD and ART. Think about them, could three subjects go together more perfectly? I think not!

Donna has been thinking about trying her hand at having her breakfast/lunch restaurant open on Friday evenings for special dinners. Over lunch one day, we discussed the possibility of planning a special dinner paired with Somerset Ridge wines. Within moments the date was set, the menu created. For one night only, we were turning Molly’s Table into a French Bistro!

This event was held last night. I have to tell you, the evening was magical! Donna, her good friend and fellow Miami County foodie and bread baker extraordinaire , Brenda Wrischnik, and I prepared a 5 course dinner for 32 guests.

The wonderful wine was delivered and the bar was set up with gleaming wine glasses. 10 of my paintings were hung in the dining room The tables were draped with glistening white tablecloths, and centerpieces were in place.. The silverware was polished, and in the kitchen, Donna’s wonderful collection of antique dinnerware was stacked, ready to be used.

On the stovetop, a huge pan of Boeuf Bourguignon sat gently simmering. On the nearby cutting board sat beautiful loaves of Brenda’s homemade breads and her crisp cracker bread! Thick slices of her breads were stacked onto plates and placed on each table.

With French music playing quietly in the background, the guests began arriving at 6PM, the Reynolds served glasses of perfectly chilled Traminette wine, a crisp dry white. As they were seated, beautiful and delicately colored French Verrines, a shrimp mousse with avocado, creme fraiche & caviar, were served. The guests were offered the next chilled wine, Somerset’s own Riesling, one of the inspirations for the evening. The diners were delighted with a French Potato Soup, Vichyssoise.

Sicilian Spice Market has a new home!
Next, came Flyboy Red and Ruby Red wines, my all time favorite wines! Through the swinging doors came the servers, carrying steaming plates of Beef Bourguignon, beef braised with Somerset Ridge Ruby Red wine. The world famous French dish of rich beef and sauce, carrots and pearl onions was snuggled into a bed of warm egg noodles. One look at the plate of beefy perfection, the guests, particularly the men at each table, asked the servers for more bread….something to catch every drop of the beautiful beefy sauce! The dining room became a place of joy and conversation about food and wine….and suddenly, about paintings! Donna asked for everyone’s attention as she announced the first sale of a painting…..I was feeling very pleased! The Ruby Red wine was glistening in each glass.

While dining, an invigorating conversation on “this is exactly what we need! Wonderful Foodie events, an exciting change from our day to day routine!” One table of 6 became the “party table”, discussing food, wine, art, and how soon can we do this again!
As the dinner plates were removed, in the true French order, the salad was placed in front of each diner. Chilled plates were laden with crisp greens, juicy slices of fresh pears, crumbles of pungent bleu cheese, and crunchy spiced pecans were drizzled with Donna’s own Balsamic Vinaigrette. Oh, and of course….more of Brenda’s wonderful bread!
As the time for the last course arrived, through the swinging doors came antique dessert dishes of Alsace Apple Riesling Sorbet and a French Madeline dusted with powdered sugar and topped with fresh blueberries. There was some moaning and groaning….”I’m so stuffed now!” In spite of “My stomach is about to explode now! Where am I going to put it?”…..all plates returned to the kitchen were practically licked clean! As were the wine glasses, having held the dessert wine, Ambrosia, and Tawny Port….the perfect ending of a perfect meal.
Now, 18 hours after the event….the next Gourmet Dinner at Molly’s Table is in the works! We are going to go Spanish….Paella, the National dish of Spain and their favorite drink…Sangria, of course!

As one of the chefs involved and as the Artist of the Evening….I could not have asked for a more successful evening. Donna Nagle and her mighty crew are to be congratulated! Cindy and Dennis Reynolds are to be praised for their wines and their ability to talk and share the winemaking process! Brenda Wrischnik is to be revered for her artisanal breads!
Just as wine, food and art make a great combination, these people are a perfect combination when you are looking for a terrific evening!

Here is my recipe for the Alsatian Apple Riesling Sorbet….so simple, so GOOD!
You will need an ice cream maker.

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 pounds tart green apples such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut in 1-in. chunks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup Somerset Ridge Riesling Wine, chilled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat 1 cup water, the sugar, and apples in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to a low boil, then reduce heat to low, partially cover pan, and gently simmer until apples are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in wine, salt, and lemon juice. Puree the mixture in food processor
Pour purée into a shallow 9- by 13-in. baking dish and put in freezer 20 minutes. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. For a firmer texture, transfer to an airtight container and freeze another 8 hours before serving

Now, back to my easel!

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