Nov 20, 2010

Our Visit to Huber's Orchard, Winery and Vineyard

Every year for our anniversary in late October, Jim and I like to visit one of Indiana's many local wineries. We usually go where we can do a tasting, buy a few bottles, and enjoy a glass or two while we're there. In fact, more and more of our local wineries even have a designated area on the property where you can picnic, listen to music, or just chill out and enjoy the view.  This year we happened to be at Deam Lake in Borden, IN, on our last camping jaunt of the season. It just so happens that only a few miles away, there was not only a winery, but one with a family owned orchard, farm, AND vineyard. (score!) We had heard about Huber Winery from friends as well as the locals and so we decided to go check it out.

First off, this place is HUGE and AMAZING. I totally regret not having my good camera, I only had my iphone at the time, so I didn't take very many pics. So much to do and see.....there is a farm market, winery, distillery, cheese shop, bakery, restaurant, orchard, AND a vineyard. The original farm was started by German immigrants in 1932. They began as dairy farmers, then in 1940 switched to farming fruits and vegetables. Successful as an orchard and vegetable farm, it wasn't until the late 70's that began producing strawberry wine from the crops and opened the winery. They went on to plant their own vineyard and converted the old 1938 dairy barn into the beautiful winery, the loft of the barn serving as the tasting bar.

Adjacent to the barn is the wine cellar where the wine, brandy and grappa are produced, stored to age in barrels or stainless steel tanks, and bottled. Tours are free and if you hit one on the weekend it is followed by a complimentary tasting in the loft. Of course with Jim producing his own wine at home (as well as brewing beer), he had a vested interest in seeing the secret underground world of the wine making process. We didn't have to wait too long before it was time for the next tour.

German Still
One of the things that makes Huber winery unique is that it is also a working distillery (the first distillery in Indiana). The pic on the left is the German still which produces brandy. During the tour, as luck would have it, one of the distillers was hard at work. With his "thief", he drew some apple brandy directly from a barrel and brought it over for us to taste. "It starts out in the still at about 180 proof, but this is only about 120 proof", he informed us. (gasp) The group watched in fear as I was the first to brave a sip. Oooooh yeah, not only is that strong enough to make you wanna "smack your mamma", but your grandma, aunt, uncle, cousins and anyone else at the family reunion!

cork bark
As the tour continued, we learned of course how wine was made from start to finish. From de-stemming the grapes (or other fruit), pressing, filtering, storing, bottling and corking. One of the other interesting things we learned was that Huber is one of the few that actually use real cork bark to seal their bottles (except for champagne of course)....not pressed, not plastic, not screw on tops...but real cork. The very best part? No trees are harmed throughout the process. Large pieces of bark are stripped from the living tree, which is then able to grow back the bark and "heal" itself. (This should make my tree hugging daughter proud that we are drinking eco friendly wine. LOL)

wine filtering

Pop's Reserve
Earlier in the  day while Jim and I did a little tasting in the loft, we had learned about their wine club. Members get wine selections shipped to their door about every 4 months, discounts on all Huber products, invitations to private parties/tastings, complimentary tastings with visits, among other neat little perks.  Of course with them being 2 hours away, we decided to go ahead and join. While on the wine tour, we discovered that members of the wine club (now Jim and I, yay) would be private tasting the popular seasonal "Pop's Reserve", directly out of these barrels (18 in total), and voting on their favs. Once the votes are tallied, the best of the best are bottle up and shipped out exclusively for the wine club members (us!...YAY!)  We had reservations for the tasting/voting the next day, unfortunately, we didn't make it back to the winery. But I'm soooo doing this next year, what a cool experience huh?

Huber Wine Club Shipment
After being home for a few weeks we received our first shipment from Huber. Club select Pop's Reserve, just in time for the holidays! Oh yeah, these bad boys will be making an appearance on the Thanksgiving table. Of course, I'll have to do some tasting ahead of time, just to be sure it is guest worthy. Sigh. It's a sacrifice one must make for the fam ;) ;)

Nov 17, 2010

Archway Sweet Summer Treat Contest Winner!

Is it November already? Really? Whew, I'm a little late getting this post up, to say the least! It's been a very, very busy summer (AND fall).  One of the most exciting things I did this summer was to enter the Archway Sweet Summer Treat Contest that was held back in July. and Archway partnered up and there were several of us who were chosen to receive an array of cookie packages in exchange for creating original recipes for the Archway contest. You didn't have to be a member of bakespace to enter the contest, but being a member has it's perks indeed. They sent us one package of each variety of tasty cookie just for experimenting. (thanks bakespace for hooking us up!)

There were 3 categories to enter, with a grand prize winner in each category; Dessert with Ice cream, Dessert without Ice Cream, and Non-Dessert.  You could enter as many times as you wish. I created and submitted 4 recipes, one in each category (two in the Dessert without Ice Cream).  I'm happy to report that my recipe for "Heavenly 5 Layer Ice Cream Chocolate Cheese Pie" submitted to the Dessert with Ice Cream category was a grand prize winner! I won a $250.00 visa card, more packages of the cookies that were used in the winning recipe, and a nice printed recipe of the winning recipe suitable for framing. (thanks Archway!)

Here is the grand prize winning recipe along with the 3 other recipes that I submitted.

Heavenly 5 Layer Ice Cream Chocolate Cheese Pie

For Pie Crust:
1 ½ C (about 28) Archway Crispy Iced Oatmeal Cookies
¼ C white sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter

For Pie Layers
1 C Archway Dutch Cocoa Cookies crumbs (1/2 of an 8.75 oz pkg)
3 C chocolate chip ice cream
1- 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 C confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ C milk
1- 5.9 oz pkg instant chocolate pudding
1- 12oz container of whipped cream, divided

For Chocolate Curls:
3 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 Tbsp shortening

Preheat oven to 350F.
Break up and add the Iced Oatmeal cookies into a food processor.  Pulse until a fine crumb is achieved.
Pour into a small bowl and add in the ¼ C sugar and stir. Next, add in the melted butter until all crumbs are evenly coated.  Pour crumb mixture into a 9”x3” spring form pan. (you may use another type of pan, just be sure the sides are at least 3” tall) Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of pan using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup. You do not need to spread it up the sides.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove and let cool slightly, then place pan in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the pie. While the crust is cooling, set out the chocolate chip ice cream so that it can soften.
Next, break up then pulse the Dutch Cocoa Cookies in a food processor only until pea sized (slightly larger pieces are ok). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add in the softened cream cheese and the confectioners’ sugar. Mix with a hand mixer on high until well incorporated and there are no lumps.
Slowly begin adding in the milk, a little at a time, mixing well in between additions. Continue until all of the milk has been mixed in.
Next, begin sprinkling in the pudding mix, again, a little at a time, mixing in between additions. This will help to eliminate any lumps. Occasionally scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing until all is incorporated. Add in only one cup of the whipped cream. Mix on high just until well blended. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Take out the crumb crust and add in 3 cups of softened chocolate chip ice cream. Quickly, press down and smooth evenly. Top with the Dutch Cocoa cookie crumbs and spread them out evenly, then pour the chocolate cream cheese mixture over the top and quickly spread it out evenly.
Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and return to freezer. Freeze for at least 4 hours or cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
Meanwhile, for the garnish, chop the chocolate into small pieces and add in the shortening. Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Pour chocolate into an aluminum foil square mold, or into a small flat square dish that has been lined with aluminum foil. (about the size of a candy bar) Set in fridge until chocolate is solid. When firm, pull out of the foil and use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to “shave” off curled pieces from the long edge onto waxed paper or aluminum foil. Place curls back into fridge until ready to garnish pie.
Tip: When ready, use a toothpick to place on pie to avoid them melting from the heat of your hands.
When ready to serve pie, warm a large sharp knife under hot water and dry off. Use to cut the pie with ease.

Recipe #2, submitted to the non-dessert category. Probably my favorite, only because it was different and what I thought, a very creative approach to cooking with cookies. I wanted to "de-construct" the cookie and make something totally unexpected!

Thick n Spicy BBQ Sauce

A quick and easy BBQ sauce that is spicy but not overly sweet. Not only do the cookies give the sauce a deep rich molasses flavor, but they help to quickly thicken the sauce as well. Use over grilled meat such as beef, chicken, or pork. It also makes a great dipping sauce for meatballs or chicken nuggets.

10 Archway Iced Molasses Cookies
1/3 C  warm water
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 ¼ C ketchup
1 tablespoon hot or buffalo wing sauce
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoon butter

Crumble cookies into a wide, shallow dish
Pour the water and teriyaki sauce over the cookies and stir. Set aside for cookies to dissolve.
Place a 2 qt saucepan on medium heat. Add olive oil and minced onion. Saute on medium heat just until onion is soft and translucent. Add in minced garlic until heated being careful not to burn garlic.
To the onion and garlic mixture, add in the ketchup, hot sauce, paprika, cumin, pepper, and garlic salt. Turn heat to low setting and stir occasionally until mixture is just simmering.
Add in the cookie mixture and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly. (using a heatproof rubber spatula works best and keeps sauce from sticking to pan)
Remove from heat and add in the butter. Stir until butter is melted.
Keep sauce in a warm place on the stove until ready to use.
At the last 10 minutes of grilling the meat of choice, brush on sauce. Serve leftover sauce on the side.

Recipe #3- This was one for the "non-dessert" category. Here I wanted to make a cobbler, but instead of just crumbling the cookies on top, I dissolved them in warm milk and created a batter.  You can use fresh peaches if you prefer, but you'll have to cook them first and create a syrup. I decided to use canned peaches instead, saving that extra step. 

Lemonade Peach Cobbler

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
2 C (48 cookies) Archway Iced Lemonade Cookies crumbs
¾ C milk
¼ C white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 – 29oz can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
½ Tbsp white sugar + ¼ tsp cinnamon
Ice cream or whipped topping if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in middle to lower shelf of oven.
2. Place cookies (24 at a time) into a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb is achieved. Alternatively, you may place cookies into a large plastic zip lock baggie and roll with a heavy rolling pin. Place cookies into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the ¼ C sugar, baking powder and the pinch of salt and set aside.
3. Gently warm milk in a microwave or on the stove until just hot.
4. Pour warm milk over cookie mixture and stir. Let stand for about 10 minutes until the cookies are soft and dissolved. 
5. Meanwhile, cube butter and place into a 9x9 square glass baking dish. (If you prefer a thinner cobbler you may use a 13x9 size dish. Just reduce the baking time by 10 minutes or so) Place dish in oven while it is preheating to melt the butter.
6. Pull out hot dish with melted butter from oven. Pour cobbler batter over melted butter, spreading it out evenly but do not stir.
7. With a slotted spoon, spoon peaches directly out of the can over the batter, allowing a small amount of the syrup but not too much. While the cobbler bakes, the peaches will sink in and the batter will rise to the top.
8. In a small dish combine the ½ tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the cobbler.
9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Be careful not to over bake (until toothpick comes out clean) or your cobbler will be dry.
10. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping
11. Store tightly covered.

Recipe #4- Last but not least, I made a yummy coffee cake. Like the peach cobbler, I created a batter with the crushed cookies but in this one, I used some of the crushed cookies in a filling/topping mixture.

Almond Raisin Coffee Cake

 For the Topping/Filling:
1/3 C Archway Windmill Cookie crumbs
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, chilled
1/3 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C blanched almonds, chopped or slivered

For the Cake:
½ C raisins
¼ C brandy or light rum (may substitute water)
1 ½ C Archway Windmill Cookie crumbs
¾ C heavy cream
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
½ C sugar
1 C all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Position a rack to the middle of the oven. Lightly grease an 8 or 9” round spring form pan or cake pan.
In a food processor, crumble an entire (9 oz) package of Archway Windmill Cookies. Pulse until a fine crumb is achieved.  (Alternately, you can crush the cookies in a large zip lock baggie with a rolling pin)
Measure out 1/3 C of the cookie crumbs for the topping/filling into a small bowl and pour the rest of the crumbs (there should be about 1 ½ C) into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
To the 1/3 C of crumbs, add 2 Tbsp flour and stir. Cut 1/2 of a stick of chilled butter into cubes and cut into the flour/cookie mixture with a fork until pieces are about pea size. Add in the brown sugar and cinnamon, stir until combined and set aside.
In a small shallow dish, heat brandy for 30 seconds in the microwave. Pour in raisins, stir and set aside. (the warm brandy will not only add flavor, but plump up the raisins as well)
Heat heavy cream and 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave until just hot and butter is melted (about 1 minute).  Pour cream and butter mixture over the 1 ½ C of cookie crumbs and stir until combined. Add in the brandy and raisin mixture.
Next, add in one slightly beaten egg and the vanilla. Stir until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture all at once into the cookie mixture and stir quickly until combined.
Spread half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the topping/filling mixture evenly over the top.
Pour the remaining cake batter over the filling, then sprinkle the remaining topping/filling along with the chopped almonds over the top of the coffee cake.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs clinging.  (do not wait until toothpick inserted comes out clean because it will be too dry)
Remove from oven and cool slightly before running a knife along the edges and releasing the spring form ring.
Serve warm and enjoy with a nice cup of java!

For more recipes from other bakespace members who entered the Sweet Summer Treats contest, click here:  You can also visit the Archway site for a complete list of recipes entered.

Very soon, I'll be posting even more Archway recipes and ideas for the holiday season! Stay tuned.