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Thomas Hill Organics

We have a wonderful restaurant here in Paso, Thomas Hill Organics. I was recently invited to a private pairing. Wines from four different wineries were paired with food that the chef made. Each one of us also had the opportunity to talk to the journalist that were visiting the area. The other wineries had their wine makers there, and I was the only one that was an owner. Everyone was so engaging and it was an excellent atmosphere for the journalist and all of us. The seating arrangement was intimate, and the exchange wasn’t just about us, but about the pairing of the food. How food changes the taste of the wine, and how all the different aspects of the dish change the taste of the wine. I was the first one there, so here is what the seating arrangement looked like before everyone got there…

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Our first course was paired with an Albarino. It truly is a seafood lover wine. IMG_0304.jpg

Salmon, jalapeno peppers, olive, tomatoes, and wafer slice of watermelon. It was so delicious!

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This was paired with our Zinfandel. This is a prime cut of grass fed beef, topped with a clove of garlic. Polenta is the side dish for this course. I usually don’t eat beef, but I was surprised how well it paired with the Zin.

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In A Pinch…

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler

I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.

I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!

I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.

Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.

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Eating our Garbage

When my children were younger I wanted to share the cycle of life with them in a real way. I wanted them to be able to see, feel, experience how the circle of life really works. I purchased some worms, (red wigglers), and purchase a box that would allow earthworms to procreate, as well as eat all the garbage that we generated. We would put our shredded papers in the box, coffee grounds, and the filter, apple cores, banana peels, and various other food in our worm box. We had our worm box outside. I have read that some people keep their box in the home. NO! 

When my son was 18 months old, he would take all the daily refuse for the worms to the box. The box did not smell bad, since they eat the bacteria that generates the odor from the food. What does smell is the poo from the worms. Every couple of months we would have to clean out the box, and that wasn’t a fun job. We would separate what was the “black gold” from the garbage, and save the worms. We would then have another generation of worms, and we add the black gold into our garden. We grew some of the biggest pumkins on the block, and then when we were done with Halloween, the worms had their favorite food. Honestly, after having these creatures in our life all these years, I can tell you with confidence that they love mellons, pumkins, etc. 

To this day we still have a worm farm, and we still feed our worms. Some of them are from the same parents we started with more than 18 years ago. 

This is the newest edition, it has layers, after a few months, we take it apart and sort out the gold, and start all ove with new food. This system ensures nothing goes to waste. We dont like waste doing nothing, we want to make the most of it. 

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R. Moretti

I have some small scale reverse glass paintings by R. Moretti that I just adore.

Both are rural Italian scenes, a farm house in the background. I used to having these little gems beside my bed, when we lived in the city. I’m guessing they made a subconscious impact on us, since now we are people that have a town and country life. With all the heavy clads it reminds me of the end of summer, and beginning of the autumn is looming in the horizon.

I love how the artist made use of the light just breaking through the clouds, and the detail is amazing for such a small painting. One has touches of orange, indicating the poppies that are still in bloom. The other has a creek with a waterfall, with light bouncing on the rocks. I just love how paintings take us out of existence in this time and space, then transports us to another location. Well, of course, you have to be willing to use your imagination.

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Baby Goats

“Every mans can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

The babies are staying in the breezeway until they are bigger. If I put them in the pasture, they can wiggle under the gate. We don’t want that to happen.

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Sage

“If the way of the sage is true, that we are all dreaming our world into being, then it has to apply not only to our private, personal universe but to the world at large.”

Alberto Villoldo

When I go out to feed the animals everyday the aroma of sage hangs in the air. It is that smell that lured us back every weekend to find the right property when we were on our search for the piece of property that would be our dream destination.

Honesty, there are those days that I want to just throw up my hands and surrender, but the smell of sage reminds me…”you knew this was going to be tough, so you got to just hang in there.”  Ironically, the sage plant is the only thing growing when all the other grass is dead. It is the thing that perceivers, and emits a fragrance that is intoxicating to me. It is my signal to keep moving forward, keep my head up, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to work.

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Baked Chicken and Magical Mashed Potatoes

Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well. Michael Pollan

Magical Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs of potatoes  4 ounces of butter, 2 cups of milk, teaspoon of salt

Potato ricer, and a mixer

Peel the potatoes, and cut them into small pieces, cover them with water, and start to boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to your water. Once the potatoes are boiling, check them with a fork to see how if they are soft. Drain the water off the potatoes, and in the mixing bowl add the 4 ounces of butter.

Spoon out the potatoes to the ricer, and push the potatoes through the ricer into the mixing bowl. Continue until you are finished. Add about 2 cups of milk, you may need a little more or a little less, it depends on how fluffy or pureed you prefer your potatoes.

Baked Chicken

Stop buying your bread crumbs! When your bread is starting to lose it’s freshness, leave it out so it can become dry. If you have a food processor, put the pieces of bread in there, and store your bread crumbs in a container or plastic bag. What are you going to need?

Chicken,  3 cups of bread crumbs, 1 cup olive oil, spices and herbs you like, use at least a teaspoon of each, Italian Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Tarragon, Sage and Rosemary are our favorites, but you can add what you like. Three bowls are needed, and a cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 450, wash your chicken and put it in a big bowl, Your going to need three bowls. One bowl for your chicken, one bowl for olive oil, and one bowl is going to have the fine breadcrumbs and all your herbs and spiced mixed together.

Give your chicken a bath in the olive oil, and then your going to roll the piece of chicken in the bread crumbs. Add each piece to the cookie sheet.

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It takes about 30 minutes to bake your chicken. Make sure they are crispy and brown before you take them out of the oven. The naked ones I have in the oven are ones I save for lunches. They are just given a olive oil bath, and herbs and spices.

Enjoy!