Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wine Weekend

It's officially summer...and that means vacation time! In our house, we rarely take a "real" vacation...usually opting for long weekends of traveling and/or camping. We have fallen in to this routine after years of having different work schedules and family obligations (I used to spend my time traveling back to Seattle, while Jake had to work).
This year, due to the amount of travel I've been doing for work, the thought of getting on an airplane (or even just going to the airport) was about as appealing as a root canal. Instead, we decided that a camping weekend was just they kind of R&R we were in the market for. The original plan was to head down to Virginia...however the weather forecast was not cooperative. We didn't think that 90 degree temps and 60% humidity sounded like our idea of a good time. Although our "camper" (see picture below) has A/C - I don't think German engineering can combat a triple digit heat index.
So we decided to head north - to the NY Finger Lakes, instead of south to Virginia. What a great decision it turned out to be. After driving thru a little bit of lightning and hail on Friday morning, we ended up having a glorious weekend. It was sunny and in the high 70's all weekend.
For those of you who have never heard of the Fingerlakes, it is essentially NY's "Wine Country". It is a gorgeous area of upstate New York with beautiful lakes, nice state parks and a fabulous wine trail. Those of you who live on the West Coast will need to temper yourselves...remember that the Mid-Atlantic states do not have the same length of growing season as California, Oregon and Eastern Washington. However, there are some really terrific wines that can be produced in a colder climate - particularly Riesling's.
One of our favorite New York winery, at least prior to this trip was Dr. Konstantin Frank's.
They really don't make a bad wine and the view of Keuka Lake from the tasting deck is beautiful (not sure that we got a picture). The diamond in the rough of the trip had to be McGregor Winery...there wines are wonderful and the winery was so welcoming. McGregor is our new favorite NY winery. If you ever get a chance to visit - I highly recommend it!
I don't think I had realized how much I needed a little quiet time...thankfully Jake did. Before we left, all I could think about was, between work and home, how much I had to do. I was still thinking about postponing the trip until things were a little calmer...fortunately my husband wouldn't let me. Jake recognized that I needed a break, more than I did...and for that I am grateful. The weekend of relaxing, wine tasting and nature was just what I needed.

Oh, and as an can even eat locally on vacation!...below is my burger and fries from Rooster Fish brewing (after a day of wine tasting - we decided to have dinner at a brewery!) The hamburger is from locally raised cows and the bread baked fresh daily. Served with handcut fries and beer made from NY cascade hops....delicious!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One Local Summer - Week's 2 & 3

As summer gets closer (today, Summer Solstice, is the longest day of the year) eating locally becomes more enjoyable. The farmers markets in the area are starting to open and more green veggie options are beginning to fill the stall's.
I was unable to post our local meal from week 2 because I left for the airport right after we finished eating.

Week Two's Dinner:

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Olive Oil
Braised Sugar Snap Peas and Spring Onions
Mashed Turnips
Heirloom Tomatoes (Organic - grown in a Greenhouse in Lancaster) and Basil from my garden

While we try to produce most of our meals from local ingredients - in the weeks during the "one local challenge" I am trying to make a weekly Sunday dinner from purely local ingredients. Tonight's dinner (Week 3) was inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" (which I'm rereading for the third time).

Week 3's Dinner:

Roasted Vegetable Panini's
Roasted Onion, Zuccini & Yellow Squash from Landisdale
Tomatoes - Lancaster County
Bread - Souderton
Mozzarella - bought from Willow Creek -not sure where locally they get it.
Parm. Cheese - ok, not local...but I brought it back with me from Italy - where it is made locally. I think that still counts.

And for dessert....

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream - using the last bit of strawberry jam we made this afternoon (more on that tomorrow) and local cream.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Scotland Pictures

During my last trip to the UK I was finally able to do some sightseeing....

The city of St. Andrews:

The Castle of St. Andrews:

St. Andrews Cathedral:

The Scottish Countryside:

I will say...Scotland is stunning. If you ever get the chance, visit.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Eat Local - Week 1

My welcome home dinner (after spending the last two weeks in the UK for work, consisted of:

Grass fed steak
Steamed broccoli
Sauteed spring green onions and mushrooms
Asiago bread (from a local bakery)

And for dessert...strawberries and cream with fresh baked shortbread.

All from local sources....(purchased from Willow Creek)