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Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines

A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines
Once upon a time, I was in a Virtual Wine Club.  Every month we would pick a varietal and then go about our days...working in as many different bottles throughout the month as we could.  Some months it was 2 or 3 bottles.  Other months it was upwards of 10.  I even started keeping a little wine journal with photos of and/or labels from each bottle I tried.  We had lots fun chatting and sharing our finds.  Maybe what we at with the wine or made from it.  Certain vineyards we really loved; others not so much.

And then it (the club) just sort of petered out.  I don't know why, really.  Maybe we all got busy.  I think we meant to take a little rest and then reconnect.  But we never did.  Of course, all of these people are also food bloggers, so it's not like I don't see them around anymore.  Even join in other events with them from time to time.  But I do miss poppin' the cork and sitting down to some wine-fueled chats.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't that any of us stopped drinking (and thoroughly enjoying) wine, it was just one of those thangs.  I know it wasn't that I stopped drinking wine.  Maybe I don't pick up 10 bottles of the same varietal in one given month anymore, but...
A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines
So, that said, you can probably guess at how stoked I was to be fortunate enough to receive a wine sampling box from Schlossadler International Wines this week in conjunction with #SundaySupper.  Our mission for our weekly gathering this week is Cooking with Wine (...and maybe even putting it in the food).  Sorry, couldn't resist.  I still have Julia on the mind from all of the time I spent with her during the first half of the month.

So from the moment I found out which wines I'd be receiving, I started to make a menu.  It was clear to me that I wanted to be outside enjoying this absolutely gorgeous weather we've been having, so I knew a picnic was in order.  And I'm talking the kind of picnic I was born to have.  Loaves of crusty bread...a couple of different types of cheese...some fresh fruit...some thinly sliced meat...and a few (one would have sufficed, but hey) bottles of wine.   I could live on this kind of eating.
A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines
My first goal was to devise a menu.  I started with the bottle of Blaufränkisch, which is a fairly dry red wine with notes of spice, cherry, and blackberry.  Since we still have a lot of juicy red cherries gracing us with their presence, I knew I wanted to play them up by roasting them along with the wine and a hint of thyme and a smattering of vanilla bean flecks to make a savory preserve.

Next up was a bottle of wine...which at first glance fools you into thinking it's a rosé (because it's in a red bottle)...and my surprise favorite of the three bottles - Kerner Auslese.  Now normally, I don't gravitate towards sweet wines.  But this Kerner Auslese is crisp, somewhat fruity, and when you drink it, it almost tingles your tongue.  That sweetness I mentioned is very light and not at all cloying.    It reminded me of a Riesling, which makes sense since it is a cross of Riesling grapes and Trollinger grapes.  I knew right away that I wanted to remember this wine for my Thanksgiving table this year (it just fits).  I combined this with whole-grain mustard to make a glaze for a smoked ham that was baked and basted in a little bit of the wine, as well.  Sliced thinly?  I don't have the words - it rocked.

And then I turned to a little sweet ending.  Not the wine itself...that was a dry and very drinkable Sauvignon Blanc with very heady notes of pear.  It combined perfectly with some fat, juicy summer peaches to make some grown-up ice pops.  Ice pops whose peach flavor was in-your-face happiness.
A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines
The great thing about this picnic menu is that is was all able to be made in advance.  The preserves are packed into a jar and refrigerated.  The ham?  That can be refrigerated, too.  And the ice pops - well, they're just hanging out in the freezer waiting for you to enjoy them.  When you're ready to pack up your picnic, simply add a loaf or two of crusty bread (I used a couple of bâtards), a couple types of cheese and seasonal fruit, and you're pretty much good to go.  Wrap your ice pops in wax paper and then put them in a baggie and then into a small cooler on ice.

Even better?  A very packable sandwich made from these ingredients.  Split a bâtard in half and spread a good layer of the Cherry-Blaufränkisch preserves on the bottom.  Add a small handful of baby kale over the preserves.  Add a layer of sliced brie and top off with a bunch of the Kerner Auslese & Mustard-glazed ham that has been thinly sliced.  It takes a lot to become one of my favorite sandwiches - and this has!  Plus, the whole meal pairs perfectly (seriously. per. fect. ly) with that bottle of Kerner Auslese.

Roasted Cherry & Blaufränkisch Preserves
Roasted Cherry & Blaufränkisch Preserves
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Keywords: roast condiment sauce snack vegan nut-free cherries wine alcohol

Ingredients (1½ cups)
  • 4 c. pitted fresh sweet cherries, halved
  • ½ c. Blaufränkisch
  • few sprigs fresh thyme, crushed & rolled a bit between your fingers
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ⅛ tsp. vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Toss cherries, Blaufränkisch, thyme, brown sugar, and salt together in a bowl to combine. Dump into a baking pan.

Slide into preheated oven and roast, stirring once or twice, until the cherries are starting to break down and the liquid has thickened, ~35 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs. Stir in vanilla bean paste.

Store in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator.

If you are unable to find Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir would make a good substitute.

Smoked Ham w/ Kerner Auslese-Mustard Glaze
Smoked Ham w/ Kerner Auslese-Mustard Glaze
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Keywords: bake roast entree sandwich alcohol wine ham mustard

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 4 lb. cured, smoked boneless ham
  • ¾ c. Kerner Auslese, divided
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 sprig thyme + ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
Preheat oven to 300°F.

Combine ¼ cup of the wine with water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour into the bottom of a small baking dish with the ham in it. Bake ham until it reaches 110° F in center, ~1 hour & 15 minutes, basting with juices occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme sprig; cook, stirring often, until shallots are very soft, ~2-3minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in the remaining ½ cup wine. Return to stove. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half or a bit more. Remove the thyme sprig and transfer mixture to a mini-food processor (or blender). Add thyme leaves, mustard, honey, a few grinds of pepper, and a pinch of salt. Process until well blended (onions with vanish into sauce, but mustard grains and most of the thyme leaves will remain whole.

Remove pan from oven and increase heat to 350° F. Brush the sauce all over the outside of the ham. Return pan to oven and continue to bake until a golden brown, glazed crust forms, ~20-30 minutes (ham should register ~135° F inside).

Let ham rest for 10 minutes or so before slicing thinly. Or slice it thicker, it's up to you.

serving suggestion:
Pile onto crusty bread along with some Roasted Cherry & Blaufränkisch Preserves,a small handful of baby kale, and some sliced brie.

inspired by and adapted from Bon Appetit

Sauvignon-Peach-Vanilla Ice Pops
Sauvignon-Peach-Vanilla Ice Pops
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes + freezing time
Keywords: blender snack dessert vegan nut-free soy-free alcohol wine vanilla beans peaches popsicles summer

Ingredients (12-14 (2.5 oz.) Ice Pops)
  • 4 oz. dark brown sugar
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 3-4 medium (~23 oz.) soft, ripe peaches - pitted, but NOT peeled
  • 7 fl.oz. Sauvignon Blanc
Combine dark brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over low, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean paste. Let cool.

Add the cooled syrup and the peaches to the jar of a blender (or food processor) and puree quickly, leaving a bit of texture. Whisk in Sauvignon Blanc.

Pour mixture into your popsicle molds. Add sticks at appropriate time for your mold. Freeze until solid (usually 4-6 hours).

adapted from Reader's Digest
A Midsummer's Picnic w/ Schlossadler Int'l Wines
I received three bottles of wine from Schlossadler Int'l for the purpose of tasting, cooking with, and pairing. All thoughts stated in this post about the wine that I received are 100% my own.