Monday, March 14, 2011

IT'S ALMOST SPRING!

The view outside my back door on Friday
Everyone is remarking about hearing the birds chirping away in the backyards already and we're all anxious to put the snow shovel back in the garage to rot until next winter.  As it is only March we're bound to have some more snow so I'm trying not to get to excited when we peek out the back door and find another 4 inches of snow on the darn ground!

Lucky us, it came and went fairly quickly, some of us not even having time to get the shovel out.  I know we weren't all so lucky so for you poor folks stuck in the snow belt....spring really is around the corner, have hope.

VIKING VINEYARD
Meanwhile, to put us all in happy moods a gaggle of gals gathered at Viking Vineyard last Sunday to eat, drink, be merry and listen to some happy music from Tequila Bob and the Flip Flops.  We settled in with an abundance of snack foods on the table, a couple bottles of wine and sang along (to the consternation of the band and the rest of the guests) to the band as they played some great tunes ranging from Jimmy Buffet to The Eagles to Eric Clapton to Garth Brooks.  Delores had several up line dancing while the rest of us cheered them along. 

A few good friends at Viking
Viking is a nice little piece of property out in Tallmadge with a small lake (a pond really, but we'll call it a lake since it sounds more important), a nice family running the joint and a very nice room where you can take some food and relax while you enjoy the wines made on property.  Sunday afternoons they have a live band like Mr. Bob and Mr. Flip and Mr. Flop (I'm still a bit confused as to which was which).  In summers they have bonfires and hot dog roasts and a number of other events that make visiting Viking a fun experience. 

Most Ohio-born wines are far too sweet for my tastes but Viking's North Star works for my palate.  It's a nice Syrah/Sangiovese blend that is fruit-forward, with a soft mouth feel and aromas of cherries and strawberries.  For those of us that prefer drier reds to the sweet whites, this was a good choice.

WHAT A SURPRISE....KAF COMES THROUGH WITH ANOTHER RECIPE HIT
Looking for something to take out to the vineyard as a sweet, I used this recipe that I found in (surprise!) a King Arthur Flour baking catalogue.  Seems I've been obsessed with their recipes, but when you find a source you can trust each and every time, well, that's  all you need to know.

These little cookies were terrific.  I took the remaining half of these to work this morning and was told they were "really good" by everyone, so that's quite a compliment.  Not quite as crisp as a traditional ginger snap, but not soft like a molasses cookie, these are a good cross between the two.  Delightedly crunchy since they're coated in sugar before baking, these are wonderful little tea accompaniments. 

GINGER COOKIES

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup turbonado sugar for rolling cookies prior to baking

Whisk together the dry ingredients; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, spices, and salt.  Beat in the molasses and egg, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment. Use a tablespoon scoop or a spoon to scoop walnut-sized balls of dough. Roll the balls in the sugar and place them on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are golden brown and set. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan for a few minutes.  Remove from pan and store in an airtight container. 

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