Monday, December 28, 2015

Making "Fruit-leather"... and Jerkey

Samantha got us a "kick-ass" dehydrator for Christmas. The first thing Jeff made in it was - of course - deer jerky, which turned out great.

But then we experimented with making fruit leather - the fruit roll-up kind of snacks.  We thawed out some of our seedless blackberry puree (the same kind we use for making jam), and then cooked it with SureJel and sugar, only we used more than twice the amount of fruit than the jam recipe calls for.  This thickened the puree enough to be able to spread it on the trays of the dehydrator.   I should mention that we got non-stick silicon sheets for the trays - which was very helpful.

We also spread out some of our homemade applesauce on two additional trays.  We let the fruit dry for about 8 hours,then peeled them off the sheets onto a cutting board.  We then sliced and rolled up the dried fruit puree.  They turned out really well, more tart than sweet, and absolutely delicious!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sewing for Christmas - Part 2

Dresses for Little Girls and Their Dolls



And some more doll outfits:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sewing for Christmas - Part 1

This year's holiday sewing projects were (as always) a lot of fun.  I made my first ever Christmas tree skirt, based on a relatively simple quilt pattern that used "thangles" paper to ensure perfect HSTs (half square triangles).  I found beautiful fabrics with gold on white patterns at the Smile Spinners sewing store in Perry County.  The entire project only took a few evenings of sewing as I machine quilted the tree skirt.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sauterne - a Wine worth Trying

One of the typical white wines from the southern part of Bordeaux is Sauterne. This sweet white wine is produced in the five small villages that make up the Sauternais appellation in Bordeaux, south of Graves. Sauterne is typically made from a blend of the two white Bordeaux grapes: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Sometimes Muscadelle grapes are also included, usually at less than 3%.

The sweetness of Sauterne is not from a late harvest, but rather from botrytis, or Noble Rot, which develops during cool humid nights and warm, dry days at time of maturity. These humid conditions develop because the two rivers in this area, the Ciron and Garonne, have different temperatures, which cause the misting phenomenon.

The botrytis dries out the grape berries which leads to a concentration of flavors and aromas, as well as a concentration of sugar, which are the foundation of a very rich, full bodied, incredibly flavorful wine.

The botrytized grapes are hand-selected, hand-harvested, pressed, and fermented. Their high sugar levels causes the alcohol level to reach as high as 15% to 16%, at which point the yeast cells die. Fermentation ends with as much as 7% residual sugar!

Sauterne is usually aged in oak, anywhere from 18 months to 3 + years before bottling. Bottles can be consumed young, or aged for many years. The longer it is aged, the more amber the color and the more complex the flavors.

Sauterne is a very rich, sweet wine that is balanced by high levels of acidity. Aromas include honey, melon, pineapple, mango, papaya and dried apricots. It can be very complex and flavorful, and it is serves as an aperitif as well as dinner or dessert wine. Because of the time consuming harvest and production, Sauterne is one of the most expensive wines, and often under-appreciated.  Here is a link to a recent article in the NYT about this specialty wine.