Seasons of the Vine: Jan/Feb 2013

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Written by Margo Stich


Fermented Follies

Inspired by the book title, “He Said Beer, She Said Wine,” (DK Publishing 2008) and bored with the dark, cold days of winter, I set out to learn if “she” really says wine and “he” really says beer.





Sweet (but small) Endings

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Written by Margo Stich


Sometimes less really is more, like when family and friends gather ‘round the holiday table and the event turns into a feast. Finishing off all that food with a heavy cake or pie seems too much…yet the thought of a little something sweet beckons. Perhaps then, one (or two) decadent nibbles might be the “less” that is more.

This holiday season try one of the following recipes for “bitty bites” to round out your repast. Replete with dark chocolate and cream cheese, warmly spiced pecans, cashews and almonds, the zing of cherries balanced with a hint of coffee or the tangy-sweetness of cranberry and orange blended with rich hazelnuts, these miniature desserts may be just what your sweet tooth desires.



How to: Spinach Soufflé

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Written by Margo Stich


1/4 cup each margarine and all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/16 tsp. black pepper
Dash of salt
1/2 lb. American cheese slices
1 (10–oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed* and well
6 crisply cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
4 eggs, separated, saving whites and yolks**
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar



Seasons of the Vine: Nov/Dec 2012

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Written by Margo Stich


Midwest award winning wines
The Fourth Annual International Cold Climate Wine Competition, a collaboration of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and the University of Minnesota, was held in St. Paul this past August.

Four Daughters, Spring Valley, Minn., took top honors for its 2011 La Crescent, receiving the coveted Minnesota Governor’s Cup, which recognizes the “Best of Show” (i.e., the top prize of all Minnesota gold-winning wines). This year’s competition included more than 325 wines from participating commercial wineries in 12 states and Canada. For more information and a complete list of winners, see http://mngrapegrowers.com/past-award-winners.


turkey-burgers-special-sauceRecipe courtesy of the Peterson family, owners of Ferndale Market, Cannon Falls.

1 lb. ground turkey
¼ c. green onions
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. Special Sauce (recipe follows)
4 hamburger buns

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into four patties. Grill patties for six minutes or until 165° F. Serve with the Special Sauce on hamburger bun. Serves four. Suggested wine/beer pairing: Hahn Pinot Noir or Goose Lake Honker Ale.



Recipe: Tequila Lime Chicken

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tequila-lime-chickenRecipe provided by Christy and Brent Buchan of Energy Products and Design, Inc. Visit www.EnergyProductsAndDesign.com for store and product information.

Prep Time: 6–12 hours, including marinade

3/4 cup tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5-6 limes)*
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
2 diced and seeded jalapeno peppers
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. course ground pepper
6-8 skinles chicken breasts
Lime wedges for garnish


grilled-pork-chops-basil-garlic-rubRecipe reprinted with permission from PorkBeInspired.com. This rub is delicious on both pork loin and oven-baked turkey tenderloin.

4 pork bone-rib chops, 3/4-inch thick

Basil-Garlic Rub:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup fresh basil, packed
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh*
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


changing-grapesReports started in late July of veraison being observed earlier than usual at area vineyards.

Veraison [vay-ray-ZON], which means the “change of color of the grape berries,” is the visual representation of the transition from berry growth to berry ripening. A lot happens during this phase: berries increase in size, the skins get thinner and seeds begin to ripen, sugar development begins within the berry and as that occurs, the acid content of the grape also shifts and decreases. It is approximately six to eight weeks between veraison and harvest.

Vineyard management is critical during this time to ensure perfect ripening. The vine canopy (the amount of leaves and shoots) is checked to ensure there is an optimal amount of light and air getting to the clusters. A “green drop”—or removal of some unripe clusters—may be done to ensure a balanced crop load per vine.



"Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."  —Thomas Jefferson

One cannot think of October without thinking of beer! Years ago, I started a Fourth of July tradition of making burgers with Merlot-Caramelized Onions. In the recipe that follows, I use a dark ale instead of the merlot. As everyone’s palate varies, choose a beer or ale which appeals to you—likely something you would enjoy drinking as well.



How to: Can Salsa

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Written by Margo Stich

how-to-can-salsaA family favorite recipe from reader Brenda Davis

Equipment Required

Food Processor (optional)
8 Quart bowl
Medium bowl
2 large stockpots
Strainer or colander
Large slotted spoon
1 dozen pint jars with lids and screw-on bands
Canning funnel
Magnet lid wand or tongs
Pressure canner
Jar tongs


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