Monday, November 19, 2012

Twitter Meetup Wine Tasting at Lynfred Winery

When I, heard a Twitter and Facebook friend from the Netherlands ( ) was coming to visit another Twitter acquaintance ( ) who has become local to me since moving from California recently, I knew that I had to get together with the pair and share something we all enjoy, wine! And what better way to share than to go for a wine tasting at my favorite local winery, Lynfred Winery in Roselle, IL. Another exciting plus was that I would meet the vivacious person behind 

For the wine tasting, I decided to get into the "spirit" of the occasion by wearing a rhinestone embedded t-shirt that my husband had gotten me from Lynfred Winery for my birthday back in June. My husband came with me and took pictures, as well as taking part in the wine tasting. He loves to pick up my monthly wine club selection because then he always gets to taste a wine or two as well. While we were waiting for and to arrive, we enjoyed a chance to go through the Lynfred Winery shop. There are shelves filled with chocolate covered bottled wines, fabulous gift baskets, wonderful gourmet food, t-shirts, fancy painted wine glasses, and of course, wine! 

I met Hanneke and Robin at the front entrance way at Lynfred. How exciting to see them in person!

We were all ready to get down to the wine tastings! We tasted: 

Chardonnay 2009
Riesling 2009
Marsanne Roussanne 2011
Merlot 2008
Pinot Noir 2009 Reserve
Cabernet Syrah 2009
Cabernet 1997
Ice Wine 2009

Of course everything was delicious! 

I peaked Robin's interest in the Sparkling Almond Wine. I explained that the Sparkling Almond is my most favorite wine from Lynfred Winery. When it first came out, I was eager to try it. I love almond flavor, but have been put off by other winery's almond wine, since they have all been super sweet. Until Lynfred Winery. Their Almond Sparkling Wine is extra dry and it is hands down my favorite wine they produce. Lynfred didn't have the Sparkling Almond for tasting, so I bought a bottle to share with my friends in the Lynfred VIP Room.

While sipping the Almond Sparkling Wine, we noticed two other people in the VIP room. We were introduced to and his wife which we all follow as well. What a Twitter Meetup this turned out to be! We talked BBQ and discussed and their most excellent cranberry BBQ sauce. What fun we had!

I took home a couple bottles of Cranberry Wine for Thanksgiving and another bottle of Sparkling Almond Wine for my husband and I to enjoy at another time. I know Robin did the same. Thank you Lynfred Winery for a very enjoyable time!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beer Bread

We like to eat snack foods while watching sports on TV. One of our favorite things to add to the game day menu is beer bread. It's very easy to make on your own using 3 cups of self rising flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 12-oz can of beer. See the following recipe for variations. If you don't have self-rising flour, just add 1-1/4 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt to each cup of all-purpose flour. I've also found that I like to pour about 3 tablespoons of melted butter on top of the loaf before it goes into the oven to bake, instead of afterwards, like my old recipe suggested. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Growing Cubanelle Peppers 2012

According to my analytics report, most people who come to my blog are usually doing a search on cubanelle peppers. I don't know why, but I'll go with the flow. I've enjoyed cubanelle peppers since discovering them at my local produce store a few years back. Twice, I was able to get plants from the plant nurseries to grow them in my garden. 

This year, I decided to grow all my peppers from seed. I bought my seeds from I bought jalapeno, pasilla and poblano seeds, and proceeded to forget about cubanelles! I started growing my seeds early, since we had such a mild winter. When I realized I forgot the cubanelle peppers, the plant nurseries were starting to get their plants in. I waited and waited to no avail. This was the one year the stores decided not to carry cubanelle plants. I immediately sent for the seeds. 

By the time it came time to planting (around Mother's Day), my other pepper plant seedlings that I grew were fairly large, while my poor cubanelles were still pretty tiny. We put them all into the ground and waited to see what would happen. The cubanelles actually took off and caught up with my other pepper plants. It was wonderful to see!

Planted cubanelles grown from seed around Mother's Day.

This was one of our cubanelle plants in mid-June.
Big leaves which hung down the plant.

Cubanelle pepper plant at the end of June.
The hanging leaves were getting stronger!

These cubanelle plants got to be 3 feet tall
and were constantly loaded with peppers.

We got an early frost in September, but the cubanelle plants continued to
produce blossoms up until the time we finally pulled them out mid-October.

This is just one bunch of peppers during a week in early August.
Enough to make a large batch of pasta sauce with.

The cubanelle pepper is a nice stir-fry pepper. A little sweet with just a touch of heat. My favorite thing to do with them is to chop them up and fry them in a little olive oil with diced shallots and add to my homemade spaghetti sauce. Cubanelle peppers really add such a wonderful flavor!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Starting Seeds 2012

Feb 26, 2012 
Oh yeah, I've been itching to get this growing season started. I'm starting early, due to the fact that our winter has been extremely mild. OK, mother nature did drop a surprise load of snow on us last week, but the temperature still has been fantastic. And, the snow is almost all gone. YAY! On with the seeds.

This year, I am not going to do roma tomatoes. That's a big change for me! I love Roma tomatoes because they are great for making sauces. But for the last couple of years, I've been getting blossom end rot in the Romas. While I did get a lot of tomatoes, about 50% were bad from the rot. This year, something new. I bought some Heirloom tomato seeds from Burpee, and the tomato name is "Mortgage Lifter". It looks to be a nice beefsteak type tomato. Wish me luck!

Besides the Heirloom "Mortgage Lifter" tomatoes, I am growing Big Guy Hybrid Jalapeno, Heirloom Pasilla Bajlo Pepper, Poblano Pepper, jalapeno peppers from a generic seed package 2 years ago, and cilantro.

Anyway, here's to starting this years new growing adventure! I have lots and lots of plastic cups. They are perfect for growing seeds. We drill a hole in the bottom of the cup and we're ready to go!

 ^ Label cups with seed type, otherwise I tend to forget. ^

^  Fill cups with dirt. ^

^  Drop 1 seed 1/4" deep ^

^  Cover seed with dirt and water. ^

^  Cover with plastic wrap. ^

^  Only 1 heating pad, so I went with top first. ^

^  Waiting to sprout! ^