Think Pink! Watermelon Radish Pickles

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Watermelon Radish Pickles!

These pickles take 3 days in the refrigerator to “pickle”. Serve them as an accompaniment to salads and sandwiches. I served them with roasted vegetables for an extra “pop” of sweet and sour flavor. Love these pickles on Avocado Toast (toasted baguette slices topped with a smear of  ripe avocado, chopped tomato, minced red onion, chopped watermelon pickles – and any other topping you like…drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sautéed red bell peppers, grilled corn off the cob, feta cheese, crumbled ricotta salata…)

2 large watermelon radishes, washed, brown spots and any tough parts of rind trimmed off then sliced thin on a mandolin

1/2 red onion, sliced thin on mandolin

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons super fine sugar

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar

Place watermelon radish and red onion slices in non-metal container (metal container will give pickles a metal taste) with tight-fitting lid.

Mix together super fine sugar, red wine vinegar, salt, mixed pickling spice,  whole black peppercorns, garlic and raspberry balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over the watermelon radish and red onion slices. Cover tightly and shake container to disperse the vinegar mixture over the radish and onion slices.  Place in the refrigerator, shaking the container once a day, for three days. Note: sugar, garlic and black peppercorn amounts can be adjusted according to taste.  If you like a sweeter pickle, add more sugar; if you like a less spicy pickle add less garlic and black peppercorns.

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Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé

Rosé Vino Spumante Brut

  Pretty pink in the glass. This sparkling is a wonderful value and a very enjoyable rosé.

Blend of Grasparossa and Pinot Nero grapes.  Raspberry and Strawberry notes are no surprise in this wine. The real surprise is the smooth finish…no acidic bite or tannins at the end of the sip…just a touch of refreshing lingering lemon at the very end.

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Blushing Bride Amaryllis

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Pink Hyacinth

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I love receiving beautiful Spring flowers in the middle of winter, like these gorgeous pink tulips, from my bubbly friends!

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Warm Woolly Sheep

This hot toddy sounds perfectly divine after a day of working…or playing! in the snow. And these blackfaced sheep are the cutest!

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Quiet, cold, and crystal clear.  This is the Green Hill Farm I woke up to on Saturday morning–the first snowfall of the season.  And, there’s nothing like the serene beauty of the country when it’s blanketed with snow.  All of the hustle and bustle and noise just seem to stop.  I breathed in the peaceful views while realizing that the busyness of the day was only about to begin.

The farm looked shimmering and magical, but it also looked shivery and cold–somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 degrees F.–BRRR!! But, anyone who farms knows that’s no excuse.  Especially, when sheep, chickens, cats, and dogs are all waiting on you to take care of them.  So, after applying layers of clothing and looking something akin to the little brother from the film, A Christmas Story, Farmguy and I headed outdoors to embrace what we love. The sense of meaningfulness and…

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André Clouet Champagne 1911 ~ Bottle Number 222

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NV André Clouet Champagne 1911

Only 1911 bottles of this Champagne are made each year.

Each bottle is numbered by hand. My bottle number 222 and it was disgorged on April 4, 2016.

Produced in the Bouzy village in the Champagne region (the village name is pronounced “Boozy” which tickles me!) with 100% Grand Cru  Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir grapes by winemaker Jean-Francois Clouet.

Cuvée 1911 commemorates the year riots broke out in the Champagne region as the local farmers rebelled against the larger houses.  The bottle is wrapped in straw, the same was Jean-Francois Clouet’s great grandfather delivered the champagne to Maxim’s in Paris, France in 1911.

 Bottle wrapped in straw makes for a fun conversation piece. We found this bubbly to be an “upside surprise”.  Consistent tiny bubbles that danced around my flute.   Elegant and smooth with a fine mousse.  Notes of hazelnuts, lightly toasted brioche and just a touch of ripe pear. This champagne is reminisant of the Bollinger style.  André Clouet uses an old Champagne tradition which blends multiple vintages together, in this case 2005, 2002, 2000 vintages were blended together to create this fabulous champagne.  $100 range.

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Just for fun…as I was taking photos of birds outside my kitchen window on a snowy day…at first I thought it was a dog or a snow wolf! but then realized it was just snow settling in between the trees.

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Size Matters When Drinking Bubbles + A Sip Of English Bubbly

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One of the best things about blogging is meeting fun people who share the same interests. At first glance Tonya, author of fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com, and I could not seem more different…she lives on a farm complete with chickens and sheep. I get nervous if I get too far from a city sidewalk.  But we both love writing, reading, traveling, animals and yes…champagne! So I was thrilled when she asked me to present “Champagne, Sparkling Wine and All Things Bubbly” to her Book Club recently. (photo above: Tonya on the left and that’s me on the right)

Driving up to Tonya’s farm I was tickled to see the most adorable Scottish Blackface Sheep in the pasture next to the big brick farmhouse.  I tried to get them to come up closer to me and called to them… “Kitty, Kitty!” which was met with sheepish indifference.

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Tonya and her husband Scott had vision for this gem of a homestead, including the sheep ~ they know all of the sheep by name since they are their pets.  Tonya tells the story of their home “Green Hill Farm” which her great-grandparents purchased in 1912. Over the past 100 years, the farm has been operated as a dairy, small grain, fruit orchard, and hobby farm.  In 2003, Tonya and Scott  were gifted her family’s homeplace and 20 acres.  They completed restoration of the home in 2004. After visiting their lovely home complete with a formal parlor, four fireplaces, gorgeous kitchen and sun room opening up to a scenic view of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, I read Tonya’s amazing story about bringing the farm back to life. Their Green Hill Farm is obviously the result of a labor of love. Visiting this beautiful farm takes me back to days on my grandparents farm in Ohio where I listened to the raindrops on the tin roof…one of my favorite places.  Here’s the link to Tonya’s lovely story:

Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective #3 — Faith

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Speaking of animals we love…allow me a short segue…We are finding that our newest addition “Maxine Andrews” likes to drink ice water…wherever she can find it!

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Now back to the Book Club…the ladies and I talked about many facets of champagne and sparkling wine that day.  Tonya shared something “new to me”…sparkling wine from England.  Curious, I ran out the next day to purchase some and here’s what I found…

Fabulous Fizz,  a book (2006) by Alice King shares this little nugget about sparkling wines from the United Kingdom:  “Ten years ago, I would never have dreamed that English wines could in any way be described as “fabulous”.  Such is the leap forward in winemaking and planting of better-quality grapes, including Chardonnay, that there are now several quite stunning sparkling wines.  It makes sense, after all that the UK has a “cool” climate, and there are chalky soils across southeastern England, just as there are in Champagne.”

Ridgeview Sparkling Wines

Ridgeview is owned and operated by the Roberts family. Their wines have won numerous international sparkling wine awards. There is an adorable photo of their family on their website:  http://www.ridgeview.co.uk

Here’s a link to a dandy story about English sparkling wines. The article shares with us that Queen Elizabeth II serves Ridgeview sparkling wine to her guests at State Dinners.

https://grapecollective.com/articles/here-are-your-sparklers-for-the-season-and-theyre-fromwhere

This Rosé Is The Pitts!

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When I say this rosé is the Pitts, I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all. Rather I mean that it is the rosé from Chateau Miraval Winery, located in the heart of Côtes de Provence, France. The winery is owned by the Perrin family and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (soon to be ex’s)  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This beautiful bottle with a punt in the bottom immediately caught my eye and the $27 price tag seemed worth the gamble. I was not disappointed…blend of Cinsaut and Grenache grapes resulting in a lovely pale pink wine. This is exactly what I expect a rosé to taste like…a touch of strawberry followed by a tiny bit of lemon, crisp, dry and elegant. Miraval Rosé was named the “best rosé in the world” by Wine Spectator  in March, 2013: source:  http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/09/brad-pitt-angelina-jolie-divorce-miraval-rose.

I recognize that I am probably “paying up” for this wine since it is associated with Brad and Angelina (and I’m glad I bought it before they divorce and the wine’s “Hollywood Halo” fades).  It is in one of the prettiest rosé wine bottles, so it would make a nice hostess gift.

As I was exploring the Chateau Miraval Winery website I pondered…what is the difference between a winery and a vineyard?

A vineyard is the land where the grapes are grown.

A winery is the facility where the grapes are processed and blended to become wine.

The vineyard and the winery do not necessarily have to be in the same place.  The winery may purchase grapes from another vineyard to complete their compliment of grapes that makes up their wine.  When the wine has the vineyard listed on the label then it must have the winery and vineyard in the same place, but if the wine is labeled as “from a winery” then the winery and vineyard are not in the same place.

Chateau Miraval Winery does purchase grapes from other estates to round out their grape blend to create.  By the way…Brangelina were married at this chateau and their wedding wines were exclusively Miraval Winery wines.

 

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Just for fun…a photo I took of the design on my nephew’s shirt. His adorable girlfriend gave him the shirt for Christmas…for a guy who loves to golf, what better design than Santa playing golf?!

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Please visit my Facebook page: Bubblybee

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All That Sparkles

Happy New Year! … from my sparkling blogger friend…Tonya…fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com

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I absolutely love fizzy and sparkling wines!  And, since New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, I thought it may be fun and helpful to share some information about Champagne and sparkling wines.  I’ve also included a few of my favorites.

Champagne:

First, all that sparkles isn’t Champagne.  Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s from the Champagne region in France and made in the traditional method (méthode champenoise).  The traditional method is a labor intensive, multi-step process (two fermentations) that contributes to the expense.  Champagne can be made from three grapes:  chardonnay and red-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier.  Sometimes the label will use the terms “blanc de blancs” meaning the wine was made from white grapes, or “blanc de noirs” indicating that the Champagne is a white wine made from the dark pinot noir and pinot meunier varieties.  There are also different levels of dryness/sweetness…

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The Weekly Bleat: Goodness and Light

A lovely harmony for the holidays…from my friend Tonya at fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com. Please visit her blog….lots of wonderful prose along with photographs of her fun farm pets including these adorable sheep!

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“Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a song written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker.  This song was written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“Pray for peace, people everywhere.”

~Noël Regney

Many thanks to our friend and wonderful photographer, Doug Frassa for sharing these beautiful photographs.

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