Friday, October 24, 2014

Savoring the last of summer's offerings

I went to the garden today to pick what it had left to offer. I found some zucchini. It won't be long before the frost kills everything and it will be time to plow it all under.

I was never one that enjoyed store bought fruits and vegetables. I just can't bring myself to buy strawberries and tomatoes out of season. they just don't have any taste. For now I hope to squeeze every last bit of summer out of my garden and enjoy the taste of sunshine.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Morning Walk

Vineyard in winter with frost covers vine plants Stock Photo - 1478168

A nice crisp early morning walk through the vineyard. The dogs kicked up a rabbit in the brush, if I still hunted it could have turned it into a delicious dish for dinner tonight.  Perhaps a hunters stew.   The walk and my imagination of a delicious dinner  set my mine into think what I could have for dinner. Without the rabbit Bella kick up, I could use chicken. Here is the recipe

This recipe can serve 4-6 normal people or one hungy old dog.
  • legs, wings and thighs of 2 pheasants or chickens
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound smoky bacon, cut into batons or 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound chanterelle or other fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 10-12 small  onions or shallots, peeled but whole
  • 1-2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Armagnac or other brandy
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot
  • Chervil or parsley to garnish

  1. Salt the rabbit or chicken pieces well and let them come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  2. In a large, heavy frying pan, get the olive oil hot over medium-high heat. Pat the pheasant pieces dry and brown them well. Do not crowd the pan and adjust the heat so you get a good sear without scorching.
  3. As the chicken pieces are done, put them into a pot or Dutch oven with a lid. When they’re all browned, pour in the Armagnac and bring to a boil. Add the crushed tomatoes, turn the heat down to a bare simmer and cover.
  4. Wipe the frying pan out well. Bring it to high heat and add the chanterelles. Shake the pan constantly until the mushrooms begin to lose their water. They should squeak in the pan until then. Dislodge any that get stuck on the pan with a wooden spoon.
  5. Once the mushrooms have lost most of their water, add the butter and stir-fry until they begin to brown. Sprinkle them with salt. Once they look lovely, add them to the chicken.
  6. Add the onions or shallots to the pan, adding more butter if needed. Brown them well and add them to the pot with the chicken.
  7. Add the bacon and turn the heat down to medium. Fry the bacon until crispy, then add to the pot.
  8. Pour the vermouth into the pot, bring it to a strong simmer, then drop the heat to low, cover and cook for at least an hour. Check every half hour — you want the meat to almost fall off the bone.
  9. Taste the sauce for salt, and add if needed.
  10. When the meat is ready turn off the heat and ladle the juices into another pot. Mix the corn starch with the heavy cream well, then whisk it into the juices over medium-low heat. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook down until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon.
  11. Pour it back into the Dutch oven with the meat and toss in lots of chopped chervil or parsley.
  12. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or crusty bread, and a light red, such as a Beaujolais or Grenache, or a dry rose or big white, such as a Viognier.


Monday, December 10, 2012

In the Barrel


When a new wine flows from the spout of the basket press, filtering through the wooden basket slats, and grape skins, inside the press. I want to just dip a glass under the flow....which I did, of course.    This year’s wines are now in barrel, asleep, shivering in barrels, for the winter. Clarifying, and becoming more stable, changing ever so slowly. I can smell the bed lavender that grows in around the vineyard and each sip reminds me of the warm, dry days of summer. 
 Now comes the hard part... letting it age into a mature wine.  One more sip, I really miss the warm days of summer or maybe I just like wine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Picture of the HMS Bounty sinkingThe HMS Bounty was lost at sea during Hurricane Sandy off the coast of North Carolina. Fourteen of the ship's 16-member crew are reportedly in good condition after a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue Monday. Two others, Claudene Christian and Capt. Robin Walbridge, were swept overboard when the ship keeled over in 18-foot (5.5-meter) waves.
Several hours after the initial rescue, the Coast Guard found Christian's unresponsive body floating in the water. Walbridge is still unaccounted for.

This past July I was lucky enough to be able to walk upon and below her decks. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back in Newport

The Tall ships are back in Newport R.I. This week. Sixteen ships came in under full sail today. Their crews will spend the next five days in port giving tours of the ships. This is a replica of the HMS Bounty. It was built for the movie Mutiny on the Bounty.

It was a very hot day in Newport, I glad I got there early because I was able to board most of the ships before the crowds came to the city.

My favorite ship was the Peacemaker. Very well kept, all teak woodwork. Captains quarters below was very spacious.

Stained glass windows in the closets.

It may be old but it fully equipped with all modern electronics.

There was even time for a sea shanty or two.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Offically in Summer Mode

The school year has ended and I am offically in summer mode. I do not teach summer courses although I do spend some time in the lab doing research. However, summer is when I spend most of my time recharging my batteries. Either in the vineyard, conversing with wine lovers in the tasting room, or out on the bay sailing.
        Rhode Island is a summer state, its known as the ocean state and Narragansett is definitely a prime summer resort area. Naragansett has beautiful sandy beaches, restaurants with great seafood, and beautiful Narragansett Bay. This is a special week week out on the bay because the America's cup yacht races are underway. The cup races have been a part of Rhode Islands history for over 100 years. In 1980 it was  lost to Australia. It was reclaimed the follwing year by the San Diego Yacht club and has not been back to Newport, RI until this week.
It was a great series and it was the first time that the boats raced so close to shore. The crowds were treated to spectacular show of sailing at its best.  Next week the Tall Ships will be in port. Until then Stay cool. ~Old dog~