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Posts Tagged ‘Wine’


I have recently added a new spice mix to my ever growing spice cupboard. It is “Chinese 5 Spices.” This mix actually contains 7 ingredients and is a very flavorful blend. It contains cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, cloves, white pepper and licorice root. That’s it! No preservatives! I have used this mix to make spareribs, and now a braised beef dish, and love the results! So, are you ready to head into the kitchen? Let’s go!

Ingredients - missing the ginger root

Ingredients – missing the ginger root

Ingredients
2 TBS peanut oil
3 slices of fresh ginger, trimmed
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 # beef stew meat – cut into cubes the size of you pinky finger from tip to first joint
2 TBS hearty red wined
1 whole star anise
1 1/2″ length of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spices
3 TBS dark soy sauce
2 cups of beef stock
Several sprigs of cilatro

This dish takes no time to put together and then cooks in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. So, let’s get that oven going! Set if for 350 degrees. Get out your cast iron dutch oven to start the cooking process!

Add the peanut oil to the pot and heat the pot to high. When the oil is hot add in the ginger, onion and garlic.

Sliced onion, minced garlic and slices of fresh ginger

Sliced onion, minced garlic and slices of fresh ginger

Stir until the aromas hit your nose. Then add in the beef and brown.

Brown the beef

Brown the beef

Once the beef is browned, add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the cilantro. Combine well,

All ingredients added and ready for braising in the oven

All ingredients added and ready for braising in the oven

cover, and place this in the oven. Set your timer for 2 1/2 hours. Let it do its thing…

Half an hour before this is done, prepare some steamed rice and a lovely green vege. When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the oven, and don’t forget to turn the oven off!

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

By now your veges and rice should be done as well. Remove the cinnamon stick, the star anise and the sliced ginger before serving. Then plate it up! And, top each serving with sprigs of cilantro!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

The aromas are amazing, making your mouth water as you serve this up! And, it is very flavorful! This can be made ahead and served the following day and the flavors will be even better!

Please do let me know if you try this simple, flavorful dish! To my friend Conor: Do you dare try this one? :)

Thank you for joining me in the kitchen! Enjoy your Monday! Be well!

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Due to all the issues with the gophers and voles in my vegetable garden, and also a bad back, I bought a whole slew of barrels to create a raised bed garden of wine barrels! You might remember the post that I did a couple of months ago on what is inside a wine barrel. That post was the second step in creating this garden!

To get the garden going, we had to reduce the area that held the raspberries, and also the strawberry patch. And, we cleared the whole bed of weeds. I am hoping that this garden will do really well this year! So let’s go and check out what we did here!

Here is the first area that we put the barrels.

One area of barrels

One area of barrels

Here is the other area…

The other area

The other area

I just planted these last weekend while I still could because of the upcoming chemo. Check this next photo out! My potatoes are emerging! This year’s potato crop are fingerling potatoes!

Emerging potato

Emerging potato

My tomatoes have been in pots now for a month, and here is the Celebrity variety! I have my first of the season tomato!

First tomato - Celebrity

First tomato – Celebrity

Check out my zucchini plants!

Zucchini

Zucchini

In other areas, I have artichokes and of course those raspberries!

Artichoke

Artichoke

Golden raspberries

Golden raspberries

I hope that you enjoyed today’s tour of the vegetable garden! As the garden develops I will share with you more views!

Hugs and be well, and thank you for stopping by!

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Everyone knows that barrels are used in wine making. But have you ever wondered what the inside of a wine barrel looks like? I thought for today that we should take a look at the inside of a wine barrel! Are you game to see what can be found?

You know what a wine barrel looks like, don’t you? Just in case you have not seen one, this is what a barrel looks like!

A used wine barrel

A used wine barrel

Now all that coloring you see on the sides is due to working with the barrels during the wine making process. This barrel was used for making a red wine. The approximate volume of this barrel is 60 gallons, which would convert to 25 cases of wine.

Now let’s cut this barrel open to see what the inside looks like. When cutting a wine barrel, mark the wine barrel midway so you get an even cut and take your time. Here we are using a jigsaw to cut the barrel in half.

Cutting open a wine barrel

Cutting open a wine barrel

With the barrel sliced through with our jigsaw, let’s pull the pieces apart. Think of this as cracking an egg on a larger scale…

Pulling the barrel apart

Pulling the barrel apart

What is that inside the barrel? Let’s take a closer look shall we?

What is that inside the split barrel?

What is that inside the split barrel?

What you see inside the barrel are called “staves.” In the wine making process these staves trap the sediment which are a natural by-product in wine making. Pulling these out of the barrel gives you a better view of what they look like. The ring holds them together at a specific interval, and staples are used to hold them to the inside surface of the barrel.

They are called staves

They are called staves

Let’s take a peek at what these staves look like close up, shall we? The staining is from the red wine that was stored in this barrel, and you will see some of the residue of the wine making process still stuck to the staves!

Staves up close

Staves up close

Now, lets take a good look inside of this barrel now that the staves are gone. It’s too bad you are not right here with me because the aromas from this barrel are almost intoxicating! Let’s check it out!

The inside surface of the wine barrel

The inside surface of the wine barrel

Now let’s take a closer look, OK? Take note of the staple. That is just one of the few that hold the staves in place inside the barrel.

Up close inside the barrel

Up close inside the barrel

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this short trip inside a wine barrel with me! Now I am ready for a glass of wine. You?

Thanks for dropping in today! Enjoy your Tuesday and may the day be terrific for you!

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This week the folks over at WordPress have chosen “Threes” for their Weekly Photo Challenge! Here is what they are asking for:

“In a nutshell, a three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

1) An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
2) A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
3) A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.”

So, let’s head into the world of wine making!

Here is my establishing shot. These bins are loaded with grapes ready for processing!

Grapes ready for crush

Grapes ready for crush

My relationship shot: The grapes have been sorted and are dropping into the destemmer.

In process

In process

For the detail shot, here is a close up of juice coming off the press!

Juice from the press

Juice from the press

Did I meet this challenge? Here are three that I really liked!

Elizabeth Krall Photos

Beyond the Brush

The Adventures of Inigo Boy

Well, it is the start of the weekend! Go out and have a good one, and of course, thank you for dropping in! ^..^

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At the winery, the white grapes are in and crushed. Today we pulled in the first of the red grapes: Primitivo! “What is Primitivo?” I hear you ask? It is a red grape of the Zinfandel family which hails from the southern end of Italy. The “heel” to be exact! Here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, we are becoming known for really good Zinfandel, although there are some other really great varietals grown here too! So let’s go take a look at the process for the reds, shall we?

Numerous bins come in filled with grapes. Each bin can hold up to 1,000 pounds, depending on the size of the grape. The bins are then lifted to a device that will hold the bin which will be moved gradually to release the grapes. Here is a shot of the grapes being dumped where they will head onto the sorting tray…

From the bin on its way to the sorting table

From the bin on its way to the sorting table

Now just so you know, it is really hard to get a good shot of the grapes dropping and this was the best one I had after taking about 20!

On the sorting table, just like with the white grapes, leaf debris and bad clusters are removed as the grapes travel down the table…

Hand sorting the Primitivo

Hand sorting the Primitivo

Here is another shot of them moving down the table. Check out the size and quality of these grapes! They are magnificent and they are sweet!  Keep in mind when looking at this photo, the grapes are “jumping” on the table as they travel downhill which is why there is a bit of blur.

Primitivo on the sorting table

Primitivo on the sorting table

From the sorting table, the grapes travel up a conveyor on their way to the de-stemmer machine.  Again, another moving photo where my stop action could not stop the action!

Primitivo on its way to the de-stemmer

Primitivo on its way to the de-stemmer

This next photo shows the grapes going “over the top” where they fall into the de-stemmer.

Clusters falling in to the de-stemmer

Clusters falling in to the de-stemmer

Here is a shot of the grapes and juice blowing out of the de-stemmer and back into a bin, where primary fermentation will start.

Primitivo coming out of the destemmer

Primitivo coming out of the destemmer

And here is a bin that clearly shows you not only the juices from the grapes, but the grapes with skins that starts primary fermentation. There is no need to worry about the small pieces of stem that you will see in this bin. They do not add flavor to the wine.

Primitivo ready to start fermentation

Primitivo ready to start fermentation

And the stem residue? Here you go! All of this debris will go back out to the fields to compost amongst the vines.

The residual stems

The residual stems

Well that is the process for the red wine grapes! I hope that you enjoyed this post on the reds!

Thank you for visiting with me today, and I hope that you have a stupendous Thursday! See you tomorrow where I will share another kind of harvest!

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As promised today’s post is all about bottling wine! I took these photos at the winery the other day of the process! Are you ready to jump in with me?

Once the wine has finished fermenting, and aging, the wines are sampled and are sometimes blended with a bit of other varietals to smooth out or soften the wine. This process is unique to each winery! As we get ready to bottle, pallets of empty wine bottles are brought into the tank room and set up near the bottling line.

The tanks

The tanks

Hoses connect from the tanks to the bottling line equipment. Here are empty bottles set out and ready to go through the line.

Bottles ready to be filled with wine

Bottles ready to be filled with wine

From this point the bottles get filled with nitrogen. As the bottle fills with the wine, that gas will sit on the surface of the wine and will help to prevent spoilage of the wine. Here is a shot of Chardonnay being added to the bottles.

Wine going into the bottles

Wine going into the bottles

From this point, the bottles move down the line to a section of the machine that pushes a cork into the bottle.

Cork goes in

Cork goes in

Then the cap goes on the bottle.

Slide on the cap

Slide on the cap

From here it passes through a machine that pinches the cap so that it molds to the top and rim of the bottle, further sealing the bottle of wine.

Then it heads on down the line to the area where the label gets attached.

The wine makes its way to the labeler

The wine makes its way to the labeler

Once the label is affixed to the bottle, it heads to the end of the line where it is placed into a carton, which gets sealed and then stored until it is ready to be released!

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down the bottling line today! Have a great Saturday, and many thanks for taking the time to stop by today!

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Crush has begun at the winery!  Crush is the process of bringing in the grapes, and putting them through a press to extract the juice from the grapes.  This is the first year in the history of the winery that grapes have come in so early!  Today, I wanted to share with you just a few photos of the process!

Grapes come in to winery in bins.  Each bin can hold up to about 1,100 pounds of grapes.

Chardonnay comes in first!

Chardonnay comes in first!

Let’s take a closer look at these grapes!

The grapes up close

The grapes up close

The grapes get sorted with clusters that lack good quality being removed.

Sorting tray

Sorting tray

After being sorted the grapes are dropped into the press. Here is a shot of the juice running out of the press…

The juice coming out of the crusher

The juice coming out of the crusher

The next step for this juice: It goes into a tank where extremely good yeast is added to get the fermentation started.

Stay tuned because I will have photos coming up shortly of the bottling process! Thanks for the visit today!

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