Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kentucky Derby day at Cellar 4201

April and I had a great day watching the Derby race sipping great wine at Cellar 4201 winery in East Bend NC.
 Hidden K Stables Rescue & Rehab will be hosting a Derby Party at Cellar 4

With silver goblet and cigar - life is good

Sipping Cellar 4201 Cherokee Red

Backyard Garden is well under way

It has been 4 years in the making.  Each year brings in new plants, richer and better soil, new fencing (the deer are rampant around here), and a larger foot print.

Starting Plants

From squash, tomatoes, cucumbers to peppers and herbs

The Garden

Nothing beats cheap - Buckets for Tomatoes

Raised bed of cedar

I use a combination of drip lines and mister heads
hooked to a timer for watering
Raised bed - two tier PVC

Herb Garden

Local NC pottery Mushrooms along side some oregano, garlic, and fennel 

Garlic budding

20 Days Later

We have had plenty of rain and cooler temps this spring.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Mangos were on sale this past weekend so we bought 5.  Now what to do with them?

I had planned to make smoothies but then tonight I got the idea for a salsa to go with the roasted chicken we had planned.  It turned out great.

1 Mango diced
1 Avocado
1/4 cup diced onion
1/8 cup cucumber
1/8 cup diced red pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional - Cumin for that Mexican flare

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taste of Spring

The other weekend at the farm I couldn't help but get some spring flower photos.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday is a good day to recharge and prep for the coming week.  I spent part of this past Sunday tweaking a pizza sauce and dough recipe from Rachel Ray and made some to freeze.



  • 1 can plum tomatoes (28-32 ounces)
  • * 3-4 tablespoons grated onion (grate over food processor or blender to catch juice)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, pasted or finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel or fennel pollen
  • A few leaves of basil, torn
  • A few grinds of sea salt and pepper
  • * 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Makes topping for 6 to 8 pizzas


Blend the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
*I finely chopped my onion instead of grating it.  I will grate it next time or use a blender.
* I also added a splash of red wine vinegar and omitted the sugar since my tomatoes were a little on the sweet side.

Freezer Prep

I use these screw cap freezer containers a lot and to help with head space I placed a folded piece of plastic wrap inside and pressed it against the sauce to better protect it from freezer burn.  As you can see I don't get very creative with labels and since I reuse the containers I like the P-Touch labels so they can be removed after use.

Pizza Crust 

I adapted this quick and easy pizza dough recipe from Rachel Ray as well.  I subbed out 1 cup of the flour with a whole gran grind that I use for breads and the rest with AP flour. I got four baseball size rounds. I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and froze them together in a single zip lock bag.


  • About 1/4-1/3 cup dry white wine (a 3-count in slow stream)
  • About 3 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 1/2 envelopes for each batch of dough), such as Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
  • 3/4 cup very warm tap water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 round teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 1/2 cups double zero flour (such as Molino Spadoni brand Gran Mugnaio Farina Tipo OO)
Makes 4 12-inch thin crust pizzas


Combine the wine, yeast and water and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the honey, salt and olive oil, a turn and a half of the mixing bowl, to the bowl, then stir in a cup of flour at a time to incorporate – stir to combine as much flour as possible, then turn out onto floured pastry board or marble counter and combine by hand, then knead for 6-7 minutes. Rinse the bowl, then dry and lightly oil it, return the dough to the bowl and cover with clean towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm corner of the kitchen for about 45 minutes.

Cut the dough into four pieces, knead each piece and cover again. Let stand 15 minutes more, or until ready to make the pizzas

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Charleston Dining

Last weekend was spent mostly on the road. We racked up over 1400 miles so the wife could attend a scrap book party in south GA. The best part was our detour back through Charleston. A couple we know from Raleigh have opened a wonderful restaurant on the northern most end of N Market St in Charleston called Burwell's Stone Fire Grill.

They really stand up to their claim of being a modern steakhouse with a flare for raising the bar on an American staple. The chef does a great job of incorporating farm fresh ingredients which can add to the experience of trying combinations you would not normally get at other restaurants.

Flight of Flavor
My wife ordered the Flight of Flavor, which is really a started but was just enough for her and allowed us to split two sides and a dessert. The flight is strips of beef filet served with three dipping sauces arranged around a six or seven hundred degree stone that you then sear the beef on yourself. She loved it. They have two starter versions and a larger main course version as well.

I ordered the Deckle special. Deckle is the grillable top part of the rib-eye and is packed with flavor. It was cooked perfectly. It was served over a bed of risotto with a tomato ragu and sauteed mushroom, onion and asparagus salad.

Custom Gin Jello Shooter
They have done a great job with the building both inside and out and you would never know it used to be two separate buildings. The dinning room is open but still gives that air of privacy and they offer areas for large groups as well as cozy nooks for two. The bar area is fun and open they offer up some amazing and unique cocktails but the main attraction is the bar top. Through out the building they incorporated recycled building materials but the bar top and the bar high tops are constructed out of old rail car flooring. To go with the bar is a enclosed see through wine cellar hand crafted to match the reclaimed wood from other parts of the room.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spring Fever

New seeds have arrived.  Hard to wait for planting so getting an early start means turning the garage into a pseudo greenhouse.  With a few grow lights and some reusable starter pots I can get my hands dirty much sooner.  Come on Spring....

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pasta - A look inside

Being of German/English descent and an American Southern, pasta was never much of a staple on our table growing up. Mom did make a helava good lasagna with scratch homemade sauce but that was it.   Now, while my tastes have evolved and I eat more varieties, I have a new prospective having just completed a 2 hour pasta making class with a full blooded American Italian.

Melina of is the one at the Kitchen Aid in the this pic.  You can read Melina's story here: and she has a great little business selling fresh made pastas at the local farmer's markets here in the Triad.  

April and I just completed one of her pasta making classes and we had a blast. Melina showed us the old technique for rolling and stretching the dough to thin it by hand which is a lot of work.  The had crank and electric Kitchen Aid are much better. :)  

We played with several different types of ravioli makers as well as an  Italian Chitarra pasta cutter, a Gnocchi board and Garganelli comb.

After we made the dough by hand and thinned it into sheets, we got to cut different shapes either by hand or with one of the machines or using one of the tools for ravioli and the garganelli  pasta.  I sort knew what to expect of the class but having access to Melina's stories and experience was awesome.  I highly recommend her class even if you know what to make pasta.  

Off to the market ----

Friday, January 18, 2013

First Snow Tracks

Little Man Lawton's first treak onto the snow.  Wide eyed and fearless, he scurries around the wooden deck in amazement to the marks he can leave with each step he takes.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Blending Party

Had some friends over today to help decide what blend would work best with a batch of Viognier and Blackberry that was ready to bottle.

The blackberry is from some berries my dad grew last year.  Since I fermented it to very dry it needed to be sweetened.  I thought it would be fun to get some input.  We also blended some of the blackberry with the Viognier We had a blast.