Red Wine Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

November 24, 2015

1 ½ cups of flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ T. strawberry flavored extract
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup cold milk
red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup butter, room temperature
pinch salt
4 oz. cream cheese
2 ¼ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Place liners in cupcake tin. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Add in the extract and whisk to combine. Add in the dry ingredients alternating with the wet, adding 1/3 of the dry, then the milk, 1/3 of the dry then the wine, and then the rest of the dry. Mix just to combine with each addition. If desired, whisk in food coloring until uniform. The batter will be runny.

Portion the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for a couple of minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack until room temperature. Top with cream cheese frosting.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat to combine. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time until it is all combined, and then beat until it is the consistency you like. If you would like a thicker and sweeter icing, add more sugar. Once frosted, keep the cupcakes stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Yield: 12 cupcakes

Concord Grape Pie

November 24, 2015


3 cups fresh Concord grapes
1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar, to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie

Wash and stem grapes. Remove skins by squeezing gently; reserve skins. Heat the grape pulp to the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring, or until the seeds can be easily removed by pressing the pulp through a sieve. Discard the seeds. Mix reserved skins with strained pulp. Combine sugar and flour; stir into grape mixture. Stir in lemon juice and butter.

Place pastry for bottom crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Pour grape mixture into unbaked pastry. Position the pastry for top crust over filling. Seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top crust. (Tip: For a pretty appearance, brush top pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.)

Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes, or until pastry browns and filling bubbles.

Yield: 1 pie; 6 to 8 servings.

Beef Bourguignon: Beef Stew in Red Wine with Onions and Mushrooms

November 24, 2015

SOURCE: Adapted by Tina Danze from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking


  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck cut into 1 ½ to 2-inch cubes
  • Vegetable oil for browning the meat
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • ¾ cup sliced carrots
  • 1 bottle of medium-bodied, fruity, young red wine
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups canned beef broth
  • 4 or 5 large unpeeled garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups canned drained Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 imported bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter (divided use)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 24 small frozen pearl onions, defrosted
  • 3 cups quartered fresh mushrooms (such as cremini mushrooms)
  1. Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels – damp meat won’t brown well. Film a frying pan with 1/16 inch of oil and set over moderately high heat. When very hot but not smoking, brown as many pieces of meat as will fit in one layer without crowding. Turn frequently to brown on all sides – 3 to 5 minutes; this is a very important flavor step, so don’t take shortcuts. Transfer the pieces as they are done to a 3-quart, heavy-bottom, flameproof casserole or Dutch oven. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Skim all but a spoonful of fat out of the frying pan. (If burned, discard all the fat and add fresh oil.) Add the sliced vegetables, stirring and tossing for 3 to 4 minutes to brown lightly before scraping them out over the beef. Pour a cup of the wine into the frying pan, swishing and scraping up any browned bits and coagulated juices. Pour the liquid into the casserole. Add the garlic, the remaining wine, and beef broth to the casserole to cover. Fold in the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and salt to taste. You should have enough liquid almost to cover the beef; add more beef broth if needed.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover and transfer to the preheated oven and cook for about 3 hours, turning and basting the meat several times, until just fork-tender. Check the dish after 15 minutes to make sure it is not boiling; reduce oven temperature if it is bubbling too vigorously; it should maintain a simmer.
  4. While the dish simmers, prepare the pearl onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy saucepan or skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, then sauté onions, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches. Season with salt and pepper. Add water to come halfway up the sides, then simmer, partially covered, until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  5.  Heat the 1 tablespoon butter in a large, nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until brown and any liquid that the mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. When beef is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a colander set over a saucepan to collect all the liquid. Wash out the casserole and return the pieces of beef to it. Press the juices from the solids in the colander into the saucepan. Degrease the cooking liquid and taste very carefully for seasoning. You should have about 3 cups of liquid. Boil it down rapidly if its flavor needs concentrating. Remove from heat.
  7. Using clean hands, blend flour and remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter into a paste with your fingers. Whisk the butter-flour paste into the degreased sauce. When thoroughly incorporated, bring the sauce to a boil to thicken. If not thick enough, repeat the process using ½ tablespoon each of flour and butter.
  8. Add the sauce, prepared onions and sautéed mushrooms to the beef in the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes to blend the flavors. This dish is best if made a day or two ahead of serving, as its flavors meld and develop overnight. Cool, uncovered, before chilling, covered. If making ahead, it’s easier to remove fat from the surface after chilling. If you can’t make it a day or two before serving, at least time the preparation so that it sits at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. The dish may be reheated, covered, in a 350 F oven. For faster reheating, remove stew from the refrigerator an hour before putting in the oven.

Makes 8 servings.

Mini Frittatas

November 24, 2015

Make in a muffin pan. Wonderful for brunch! Delicious with Pirtle Raspberry Mead!

Makes: 6 mini or 12 hors d'oeuvres sized frittatas

- 6 LG eggs
- 2 C heavy whipping cream
- Mix-ins, such as sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, cooked and chopped bacon etc.
- Grated cheese (about 1/3 C)

1) Preheat your oven to 350F and coat a 6-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. (For fun hors d'oeuvres size, use a mini muffin pan.)
2) Put a tablespoon or 2 of your mix-ins in each cup. A little goes a long way!
3) Top mix-ins with grated cheese, a little in each cup.
4) Distribute egg mixture evenly among the muffin cups.
5) Bake the frittatas until they are puffy and the edges are golden brown. About 20 mins for full-size muffin pan, 10 minutes for mini muffin pan.
6) If needed, run a butter knife around the edge of each frittata to loosen them before removing from the pan.

Adapted from a recipe from Family Fun Magazine

Gorgonzola & Walnut Napoleon Bites

November 24, 2015

These deliciously earthy, flaky appetizers are perfect served with refreshing Pirtle Blueberry Wine!-

Makes: About 24 napoleons

- 1/2 of a 17.3 oz package Puff Pastry sheets (I usually use Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 LG egg
- 1 TBSP water
- about 4 oz gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1 3oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 C walnuts, chopped
- 2 TBSP sun dried tomatoes, minced
- 1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- cracked black pepper (to taste)

1) Heat the oven to 375F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or a whisk.
2) Unfold the pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 12" square. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut into 24 (3"X2") rectangles. Place the pastry rectangles onto a baking sheet. Brush with the egg mixture.
3) Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown. Remove the pastries from the sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. Split pastries into 2 layers, making 48 in all (24 tops, 24 bottoms)
4) Using a stand or hand mixer combine the gorgonzola cheese, cream cheese, walnuts, tomatoes, and parsley, if desired. Season with black pepper. Add the softened cream cheese and mix until combined.
5) Spread about 1 TBSP onto each of the pastry bottom layer, and top with the pastry top layer.
6) When ready to serve, bake for about 5 minutes, or until filling is hot.

Adapted from a recipe from

Creamy Chardonel Dip

November 23, 2015

Winery: Baltimore Bend Vineyard

2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
½ cups Chardonel
1 – 1 oz package ranch dressing mix
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and dressing mix. Stir in Cheddar cheese and then Chardonel. The mixture will appear mushy. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight if possible. Serve with pretzels.

Praline Sweet Potatoes

November 23, 2015

Winery: Stone Hill Winery - Branson

Sweet Potatoes: 

3 cups peeled, cooked sweet potatoes 

½ cup sugar 

½ stick melted butter 

1 egg 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

¼ teaspoon salt 

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

¼ teaspoon nutmeg 

½ cup milk 

2 tablespoons Cream Sherry

Praline Topping:

½ stick melted butter 

½ cup chopped pecans 

2 tablespoons Cream Sherry 

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup quick-cooking oats
¼ cup shredded coconut 

½ teaspoon vanilla

With a mixer whip sweet potatoes until smooth and all lumps are removed. Add the rest of the ingredients; continue whipping until smooth and well-mixed. Place in a 1-½ quart casserole dish.

Mix the praline topping ingredients in a separate bowl. Spread evenly on top of the potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and the top is crisp.

Herbed Feta Cheesecake

November 23, 2015

Winery: Rolling Meadows Vineyards

¼ cup butter, melted
8 sheets (14x9-inch rectangles) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
½ of a 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups crumbled feta cheese (5 ounces)
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs
¼ cup sliced green onion
Fresh oregano sprig (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan with some of the melted butter. For crust, unroll phyllo dough; cover with plastic wrap. Remove one sheet of phyllo and lightly brush with melted butter. Place a second sheet of phyllo on top, placing it at an angle to the first sheet; brush with butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets one at a time, placing each at an angle to the previous sheet to form a circle and brushing each with butter. Using a wide spatula, transfer the phyllo stack to the prepared pan, carefully easing it into the pan and allowing some of the phyllo to hang about ½ inch over the edge of the pan. Make two slits in the center of the phyllo stack for steam to escape.

Bake in preheated oven about 8 minutes or until phyllo is light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Meanwhile, drain and chop artichokes, reserving 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Set artichokes aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth. Add feta cheese, dried oregano, and garlic powder; beat well. Add eggs; beat just until combined (do not overbeat). Stir in artichoke hearts, the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade, and the green onion. Pour mixture into crust-lined pan.

Bake cheesecake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is soft-set and edge stays firm when gently shaken. If necessary, loosely cover the edge with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Remove cheesecake from pan. If desired, let cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to bring out its fullest flavor. If desired, garnish with fresh oregano. Cut cheesecake into wedges. Makes 14 servings.

*Note: For a lower-fat version, substitute fat-free cream cheese for the regular cream cheese.

Angel Hair Pasta with Feta and Broccoli

November 23, 2015

Winery: St. James Winery

½ cup St. James Winery Seyval
8 oz angel hair pasta
½ cup chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
⅔ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Steam broccoli florets until tender-crisp. In a large non-stick skillet heat oil over medium heat, add garlic and sauté until golden. Add wine, broth, basil and oregano to skillet. Cook one minute. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and broccoli. Toss. Add Feta cheese, tomatoes and peppers. Toss. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 4.

Show-Me Gourmet Chicken

November 23, 2015

¼ cup (4 T.) butter
4 chicken breasts
½ cup Stonehaus Vignoles (dry white table wine)
2 T. butter
½ medium onion finely chopped
¼ cup dry white table wine
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. paprika
¼ cup chopped parsley

Melt the ¼ butter in frying pan; add chicken breasts and cook until just delicately brown, turn occasionally. Sprinkle the ½ cup wine over chicken, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in another pan, cook onions in it (but do not allow them to brown). Stir in ¼ wine and sour cream. Remove from heat. When chicken is tender, pour sour cream sauce over it. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat together only long enough to warm cream again. Garnish with paprika and chopped parsley. 4 servings.

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