Saturday, May 3, 2014

Wine works a 'growing' business

We learned about barreling down and crushing when Perry McFaddin Clark shared the growing and bottling process for Amizetta wine his family produces in Napa Valley. The talk was at the McFaddin-Ward House and the wines are named for his mother; the family is tied to the McFaddin family. The packed house learned how grapes grow on a terrace and the climate, weather and other dangers that could nip a vine in the bud, as it were. Each plant has an expected lifetime value of about $2,000 and a hungry gopher could wipe that out in a day. That’s why owls are on the payroll. It takes a lot of love to get that bottle to your table. The program offered a taste of three very fine wines and appropriate pairings in the lovely visitors center.
One of the offerings came with some much-discussed curry-cheese spread on toasted English muffins. I remember that my mother would prepare these for receptions. The aroma brought me back by decades.

I couldn’t resist putting something on Facebook about the tasting the speaker’s sixth grade teacher in California caught it.

Back to the muffins. They are called Curried Moroccan Muffins in the classic “Lagniappe” Junior League cookbook. It includes recipes from their luncheons. Mother was a regular at the Jackie Lytle’s table at Lagniappe Luncheons at Patrizi’s Other Place, The Tower club and the Beaumont Country Club. Jackie’s table mainly consisted of members of the Woman’s Club of Beaumont, an organization that had a great need of appetizers and hors dooeuvres for their own entertaining at their historic club house. They created an adaptation that was a hit at doffees and teas. They always gave verbal credit to the Junior League. This is the recipe in Mom’s “Food Glorious Food” cookbook.

Curried Cheese Olive Canapes
1 small can ripe olives, chopped
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
One half cup fresh parsley, minced
Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon instant onion
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1 garlic clove, pressed
Mayonnaise to make spreading consistency
Butter, softened
1 package sourdough English muffins
Spread butter on muffin halves
Combine all other ingredients using just enough mayonnaise to make a stiff spread. Divide mixture on muffin halves and spread. Refrigerate to firm up.
When ready to serve, cut with electric knife into 6 pie-shaped segments. May be frozen at this pint. To serve, bake until cheese bubbles in 400 degree oven.

Now here’s a hashtag I can get behind. If you love Texas – of course you do! – go ahead and snap some of your favorite scenes and post them as #TexasToDo and then the world will see and want to come to Texas. As a proud Texan, you can show off everything from our bluebonnets and wide open spaces to culinary delights and historic architecture. Don’t forget good times at festivals. Locals showing they love Texas encourages everyone to visit us and spend their valuable tourism dollars in the Lone Star State. It is a beautiful win-win.

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