Thursday, January 18, 2007

Truffles and "port"

Some days just feel good all over. Yesterday we had a couple friends over for brunch (homemade biscuits and gravy, cheesey grits, and fresh squeezed orange juice...mmm), then I spent the rest of the day with my wife. She sprawled out across the floor working on a new travel skirt, I tinkering with the new wood burning stove. After running around opening windows and doors to let smoke roll out, and cussing at the placement of fire detectors (about 15ft up the cathedral ceilings), the place calmed down and warmed up.

We sat back for a moment, went to the cellar and brought up a California "port" from our roadtrip this last summer. The Milat Winery was a little mom & pop establishment in the middle of Napa Valley. Passing by the big conglomerate winery fronts, we pulled into a gravel parking lot hoping for something more authentic. The owner of the winery greeted us with glass after glass of fine grapes. This dessert wine we couldn't pass up. So, after eyeing the one truffle we had left (a gift from the friends of brunch), we knew what we had to do. Sit back once in awhile, enjoy each other, savour the aromas, the textures, the flavours, and live.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blackberry cordials

Sunday I had some creative fun. A month or two ago I made a version of Triple-Sec from freshly squeezed oranges-- it was the tastiest sweet booze I've set taste buds to. Along the same vein, I thought a cordial made from local blackberries I bought during the summer would be even better. After thawing them out, I ran them through the juicer, mixed with a squeeze of lemon and obscene amounts of cane sugar, then brought it all up to a boil. After 10 minutes or so, I shut it down and let it cool. Mixing it with vodka made it look like this.
Perfect for a homemade ice-cream topping next summer...can't wait.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I can't tell you the last time I've gone hiking lately. Been caught up in too much--well, no excuse for it. The Laurel-Snow wilderness area is near Dayton, TN and includes a beautiful hike next to a raging river, caves, and a couple waterfalls (one about 80ft, I think). They used to mine and log back there in the 1800s and early 1900s. You'll see rock walls put together so well, no mortar was needed. A mine shaft/cave is there on the trail, too. My good friend Dirk (who married Becca and I a few years ago) and I went hiking there a couple days ago.
We found a tree with its roots growing through the rock--there were none growing around it.

Don't know yet what kind of spider this is, anybody know?

Click for Ooltewah, Tennessee Forecast