Sunday, November 26, 2017

Festive Grapes

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . .
but if the white runs out I'll drink the red.

There's a chill in the air and Twenty Valley's winery halls are decked out for the season, providing lots of decorating ideas -- particularly through the lens of a wine glass.

A basket of colourful balls paired well with Angels Gate's Pinot Noir and beef slider.

The first stop of the day had us sitting lantern-side enjoying mini Yorkshire puddings stuffed with roast beef and mashed potatoes and drizzled with gravy at the newly re-named London Born Co. (formerly Aure). We left with a few bottles of its Gamay Noir for future roast beef and Yorkshire dinners so we were off to a good start.

Calamus Estate Winery offered one of the few sweet pairings but with a twist: they added bacon and chili powder to the basic brownie recipe. I will credit the new taste sensation as 'interesting' with the open acknowledgement that I am a traditionalist when it comes to brownies.

We enjoyed the savoury tart at Mike Weir Estate Winery alongside its chardonnay as we once more quaffed its expansive view of vineyards and the great lake.

Our last stop of the day found us at Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery. We can always count on its chef to create a fabulously tasty treat and he didn't disappoint. The juniper scented venison stew contained a healthy dose of the paired wine, a 2015 Reserve Merlot.

The Three Winos agreed that all the wineries upped their game for the 2017 Wrapped Up in the Valley event. The quality and quantity of the pairings at each and every one of the wineries was first rate. I am already looking forward to the spring event.

In the meantime, "Cheers" to a red and white Christmas!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A votre santé!

Wine can be considered with good reason as the most healthful and hygenic of all beverages.
Louis Pasteur, French microbiologist (1822-1895)

A votre santé! To your health! The Three Winos embarked on the first day of their semi-annual health regime with the first stop advising on corkscrew aerobics via a frig magnet. Works for me.

Greenlane winery's healthy green apple slaw atop a turkey slider paired with a bright chardonnay marked one of our favourite pairings in the Wrapped up in the Valley 2017 event.

Kacaba is a favourite (and frequent) stop in our regime so we are welcomed on a first name basis. We enjoy sampling its as yet unbottled vintages as much as the featured wine.

The gourmet Mac & Cheese with fried prosciutto and onions, garlic butter, cream and parmesan at Di Proprio winery likely caused our cholesterol levels to soar but it nourished the soul.

I'm exhausted by all our exercise today so I will sleep well satiated tonight.

A votre santé!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cookies Galore

If baking is any labor at all, it's a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.
Regina Brett, American author

A lot of labour of love has been happening in the family kitchens as mom and I baked up dozens of cookies for the church's annual Mistletoe Bazaar. I think we did my maternal grandmother proud as she was the prodigious Christmas cookie baker whose footsteps we follow.

The bazaar has concluded with another successful fundraising result. I thought I would share the cookies baked by mom and I for the Cookie Walk. This post will help me remember what we produced and what sold well when we plan for next year.

A treat from cookbooks of the 1970s, Haystacks were made the night before the bazaar. I needed to redeem myself after first making them with uncooked chow mein noodles. They tasted delicious but I feared people would crack their teeth on their crunch. A much better result was achieved with fried noodles, but they were not a big seller.

The other last minute cookie, Ginger Lemon Creams, for which I don't have a photo, attracted much better attention. Another cookie lacking a photo are the Double Chocolate Merlot Cookies that appeared in an earlier post. Regrettably, I didn't separate each layer of cookies with waxed paper and they stuck together. This probably accounts for the abundance remaining. But they taste wonderful! Lesson learned for next year.

There was not one Toffee Triangle left at the end of the day.

Surprising there were about a dozen Hershey Kiss cookies remaining -- but mom probably made six dozen. These were a real favourite with the kids.

My Chocolate Crinkles went out onto the Cookie Walk table late in the day so that may account for the half box remaining.

Next year I must remember to cut the Raspberry Pinwheels thicker, then there won't be any left.

The Mincemeat Scrolls were so easy to make with prepared puff pastry and sold well.

The Figgy Orange Pinwheels have a yummy flavour but there were a lot leftover. I guess figs are not a crowd pleaser.

Nothing was left of the Cranberry Shortbread though.

Nor of the Triple PB Love cookies. I never did find lime jelly for a second batch so that will be on the list for trying next year.

The Shortbread Balls were a big hit.

The bin of Whipped Shortbread emptied. A friend provided me with its recipe telling me that they're a big hit at her church bazaar so they're proven twice over.

The Mincemeat Spice Cookies were well received.

The Toasted Coconut Lime Shortbread sold best when decorated with green holiday sugar.

The Funfetti Cookies sold out. Must remember to hold back on the funfetti in the batter so that there is sufficent to decorate the tops.

Chocolate Chip cookies are a staple.

Festive Fruitcake Cookies are a favourite of mine. I don't recall any leftovers of these.

Fruit and Nut Refrigerator Cookies sold well too.

The Smarties Cookies sold very well. Another kid pleaser.

The Italian Almond cookies looked nice. I cannot recall how well they sold.

Christmas Buttons sold out.

These Thumbprint cookies are a keeper. Not one left of them.

The Hershey Kiss cookies came in green too.

I think the Checkboards sold out. They were quite small and fit nicely to fill the little gaps between the bigger cookies in shopper's boxes.

The Cookie Walk tables were bountiful with an amazing assortment donated by numerous people in the church, including some who don't like to bake. All in all we can be proud of the results. For me, the baking created a connection to my grandmother and the love she put into her baking. It was a labour of love and I look forward to next year.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Warmers

Friendship warms the soul.

A morning spent admiring lovely creations of paint, silver and fabric in a cozy gallery followed by a lovely lunch of harvest colours warmed the cool fall day, while the sharing of friendship and hospitality made it shine.