Thursday, April 28, 2011

That is a Wrap - Up!

VIA
Its almost the weekend. I have a fun filled weekend on the books that is bursting with close friends and long lost pals. I am pretty stoked. GIDDY GIRL WITH NEW DRESS type of excited.

VIA  


I will have my camera slung around my neck... of course.

I might watch highlights from the royal wedding while no one is looking.

I might wear my new dress all weekend.

It has been killing me that all I have had to share here has been kind of dark. This is the nature of life, it seems to be a roller coaster and is one hell of a ride. So with Spring in full swing, let there be light!


I want to share with you my newest little creation that I am rather pleased with. It is huge, wonderful and oh...  I MADE THAT!


I am also making stuff and putting it up for sale in my very own ETSY shop. Go peek around. I can make you what ever you want! Or look at what I have here on the site.
 
 
I am also making these perfect chocolate chip cookies to give to friends. You should too.... 
I am totally excited to go see Heidi Swanson in Seattle and have her sign like 18 copies of her newest book, Super Natural Everyday, that I have squirreled away... 
To really make this official and turn this dark star around I made you this from the desert:

A royal thank you for sending me such warm comments and encouraging words.

Enjoy the weekend and everything that you get into!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stove Top Baked Beans


I have to admit something....

You probably already know and J will be the first to bring this to my attention:

I have a hard time with moderation.


I have a tendency to overdo everything (besides cleaning my closet and our house). When I get something I like, there are no forces strong enough to stop me. Huge runs, epic bike rides, two yoga classes a day for weeks, a bottle of wine everyday of the week that ends in Y. My closet bursts when daylight hits it. I can eat 5 pounds of grapes in one sitting.

I am getting better. I take rest days, I get out single serving portions and try like hell to stick to that amount. I am even tackling the idea of one glass of wine rather than one bottle. Trying. Moderation. Even moderation in moderation. I have gained 10 pounds and I am okay with it. There I said it. I am a work in progress.

I am working on it..... truly.

We all have our battles, they come in all shapes and sizes, some are more public than others.


Keep up the good fight and sleep well at night.

I have grown up a little here and there. I know I face a struggle for the rest of my life, I can deal with it. I am a bit more open about it these days and can talk about eating disorders, food and the many roles it plays in our lives, healthy or not. I am very blessed to have a loving partner that has helped me out of the woods and keeps me in check. He keeps it as real as humanly possible. I graciously learned that I am a very powerful and the power that we all poses can be used to fight the good fight just as easy as it can be incredibly self destructing.


Fight the good fight my friends or else you are spinning your wheels and wasting precious time.

I use the energy I once used to run 2 hours on a treadmill and obsess over counting meaningless calories to find food that I love, food that makes me feel good and I truly enjoy the process of discovery and reinventing myself and then sharing it with the lovely people around me.

Here is a much happier and healthier Michelle. It feels good, I feel good.


With all that once misguided energy I now find healthy outlets and pour myself and passion into it. A while back I came across the "Meatless Monday" campaign. Brilliant I thought, helping people stay healthy through moderation of meat consumption. A simple strategy that is easily attainable. I know first hand that habits are hell to break and cold turkey is not very pleasant. Taking one day a week to eat plant based diet is simple with the right tools, summer months make finding great fruits and vegetables enjoyable and a few good recipes, even my meat and potatoes dad will never notice that there isn't meat. I have learned that being easy on my body is the greatest gift I can give myself.

Stove-top Baked Beans Recipe

Adapted from Simply Recipes  

Baked beans are a sweet comfort food for me. I never thought that I would enjoy the rich dish without the savory kiss of bacon. This simple dish will warm the belly and you will not miss the meat, my Texan agreed.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry small white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans (or 3 15-ounce cans of white beans)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or cayenne pepper if you don't have Tabasco)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼  onion, finely chopped

1 If you are using canned beans, put beans in a large pot and skip to step 4. Put dry beans in a large pot. Cover with water by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, bring beans to a boil, remove from heat and let cool for an hour.

2 Drain the beans and rinse them. Add them to a large pot. Cover with 1 inch of water. Insert cloves into onion halves (so they can be easily found and discarded later), add to pot. Add garlic and bay leaf. Heat to a simmer and let cook for 1 to 2 hours, until beans are just tender. (Older beans will take longer to cook). Add boiling water to beans if they begin to look dry while cooking.

3 Remove onion, cloves, and bay leaf. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.

4 In a separate bowl, mix together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard powder, Tabasco sauce, and pepper. Add mixture to beans and stir to combine.  Bring the beans to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes until thick. Add more salt to taste.

Serve hot, topped with chopped onions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Heavenly Garlic Bread


I can appreciate a good challenge and often seek something engaging to keep me focused and critical of my behaviors and actions. Challenge provides intent and purpose. I strive to live my life with intent, moving through the day with clarity and grace, a challenge that I welcome.


On a daily basis, I strive to create beauty in the everyday. I like finding beauty in the barren desert, when people doubt the existence of such allure, proving it exists is satisfaction deep in my soul.


Beauty surrounds me each and every day. Sometimes clouds get in the way of natures true colors, rain may blur the landscape or fierce winds may have my head tucked in the bend of my arm at the elbow seeking shelter, nature's true beauty are found in these experiences. It takes a bit of effort to see past the grey and wet to the green and wild.

It takes effort to look through my major faults, rough edges and the harsh lines and believe in the potential that is buried behind the struggle.

When life takes some effort, the reward is usually plentiful.



In the kitchen, baking bread seems to provide me with a rewarding challenge. I am finally able to admit that I might be slightly catching on to baking bread and trying to understand the simplicity behind the complex facade. Sometimes success seems purely luck. Sometimes all I need is patience, in this case patience provides a delicious gift.


I was extremely lucky this month and my Bread Baking Babes challenge, Dan's Garlic Bread turned out better than I had ever imagined.


It might be the best bread I have ever had the delight of eating. The crumb is so tender, dotted with lovely itty bitty pockets of air and each bite was so soft and tender all I could think about was that this bread is what a big billowy desert cloud must feel like. It gets better, oh it is possible, swirled in among the cloud like bread, the most pleasant lace of a savory balsamic reduction leads way to delightful bursts of tender cloves of garlic. Pure delight. Pure love.

Dan's Garlic Bread

If you do nothing more than make this garlic balsamic reduction, your life in the kitchen will forever be changed - there is nothing like it.



For Bread Baking Babes and YeastSpotting
reprinted with permission from Dan Lepard, Exceptional Breads, by Dan Lepard
Dan has reworked the recipe to include a longer rise, less yeast, and less sugar. 
Step-by-Step photos here

for the pre-ferment
200ml water, at about 35C - 38C (95F - 101F)
1 tsp fast acting yeast
200g strong white bakers flour

for the dough
225ml water at 20C (68F)
325g strong white bakers flour
10g sea salt
75ml extra virgin olive oil

for the garlic filling
3 heads garlic, separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped


for the pre-ferment

To easily get the temperature of the water roughly correct measure 100ml of boiling water and add 200ml cold water, then measure the amount you need from this. Stir in the yeast then, when dissolved, stir in the flour until evenly combined.

Leave the mixture covered at about 20C - 22C (warmish room temperature) for 2 hours, stirring the ferment once after an hour to bring the yeast in contact with new starch to ferment.

for the garlic filling

Break the heads of garlic into cloves and place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water from the kettle and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Then strain the garlic from the water, cover the cloves with cold water to cool then peel the slivery skin from the garlic. It's surprising how few cloves you get after peeling so don't be alarmed if "3 heads of garlic" sound like way too much.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then place the add the cloves to it and cook until they are lightly brown (not burnt) on the outside. If you burn the garlic the flavour is nasty and you will have to start again, or serve it to your friends with a straight face, so watch them carefully.

Measure the balsamic and the water then add this to the pan with the sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary. Simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick caramel.

Scrape into a bowl and leave to cool. The garlic cloves should be tender when pierced with a knife.

back to the dough:

After 2 hours the pre-ferment should have doubled and look bubbly on the surface. Measure the water into a bowl and tip the pre-ferment into it. Break it up with your fingers until only small thread-like bits remain (this is the elastic gluten you can feel in your fingers)

Add the flour and salt then stir the mixture together with your hands. It will feel very sticky and elastic. Scrape any remaining dough from your hands, cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes so that the flour has time to absorb moisture before being kneaded. Be sure to scrape around the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Pour 2 tbsp olive oil onto the surface of the dough and smooth it over the surface with your hands. Now rub a little oil on your hands and start to tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, then pull the dough upward stretching it out.

Rotate the bowl as you do this, so that all of the dough gets pulled and stretched. You'll find that the dough starts to feel and look smoother. Leave the dough in a ball, cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Repeat the pulling and stretching of the dough, for no more than about 10 - 12 seconds. You may find that an oiling piece of dough breaks through the upper surface. This isn't a bad thing, but it is a sing to stop working the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave for a further 10 minutes.

This time oil a piece of the worksurface about 30 cm in diameter. Oil your hands, pick the dough out of the bowl, place it on the oiled surface and knead it gently for 10 - 15 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Uncover the dough, oil the worksurface once more and flip the dough out onto it.

Stretch the dough out into a rectangle, then fold the right hand side in by a third.

Then fold the in by thirds again so that your left with a square dough parcel. Place this back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Lightly oil the worksurface again and stretch the dough out to cover an area roughly 30cm x 20cm. Dot the garlic over the 2/3rds of the surface and then fold the bare piece of dough over a third of the garlic-covered dough.

Then roll this fold of dough over so that the remaining garlic-covered piece is covered by dough. Then fold this piece of dough in by a third...then in by a third again. Finally place the folded dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Wipe the oil off the worksurface and lightly dust it with flour. Pin the dough out again as above and fold it in by thirds each way. Replace it in the bowl, cover and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Pin the dough out again fold it in by thirds each way again as shown. Leave the dough for 10 minutes while you prepare the tray the bread will rise on.

Cover a large dinner tray with a tea-towel. Lightly dust it with white flour, then cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife.

Place the dough cut side upward on the tray then pinch the fabric between each so that they stay separated.

Cover and leave for 45 minutes while you heat the oven to 200C (same for fan assisted)/390F/gas mark 5-6. I put a large unglazed terracotta tile in the oven and shovel the dough directly onto it with the back of a small cookie tray. It gives a much better finish and perhaps the bread is slightly crisper, but the bread will still be good placed on a tray just before baking. I also put a small tray of water in the bottom of the oven so that the heat is a little moist, which will help the bread to rise and colour.

Lightly dust the back of a cookie tray (if you have a stone in the oven) or the surface of a baking tray with semolina or flour. Carefully pick the dough up off the cloth, scooping it in from end to end with your finger then quickly lift it clear of the cloth and onto the tray.

Either shovel the dough onto the hot stone, or place the baking tray in the oven, shut the door quickly and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the loaves are a good rich golden brown

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

For the Love of French Onion Soup


If you really want to know and I think you must, caramelized onions cures countless woes. Some afflictions, the really serious ones that leave you curled up under the covers, hiding from the beams of sunlight peeking through the closed blinds or simply the blank stare of whats for dinner - what ever it is - the act of caramelizing onions will woe and suddenly be settled back into the swing of life.


Remember to remember - life is not that serious, you are not that big of a deal, never take yourself that seriously. This is what I tell myself, this is what J teaches me, this is what gets me through.


Start chopping the onions to caramelize at first hint of troubles, then chop more and thank yourself later. The simple task of slicing onions with a sharp knife will get your  mind off of anything except the natural burn that onions produce. Onions extract a brief physiological toll bound to distract, within a few moments of opening up an onion, the tangy scent wafts up to our noses, and our eyes begin to water.


I feared making french onion soup for years, saving the perfectly molten soup tucked under toasted bread and bubbly chewy cheese for a lunch date, trying to forget how I loved the soup. Homemade french onion soup was mystifying and out of reach.

French I thought, I am far from refined and skilled enough to make any recipe that eludes to French origins. I realized I have never really caramelized onions, yes sweat and sauteed but never brought them to the point of total surrender of caramelization. Caramlization takes time, turning over five cups of onions into a mere heap in the pan takes patience. Once the onions turn a deep chestnut color, your house will smell of sweet onions for days.  There is a point, the onion gives up the battle to the heat of the pan, releasing a gift of sweet and smooth caramelized onion.


Apparently it is not the French aspect of the soup, French onion soup is simple, the ingredients are staples and abundant. I was afraid of was penitence not the soup. Patience is a virtue and a challenge. Patience comes with time, will and practice. The simple act of caramelizing a couple pounds of onions is a simple rhythm of the act will have you focused and forgetting why the world seemed so heavy. 

Burnt garlic, we all have our faults and I am constantly learning. This bread is made out of the pizza dough from last week

Sunday nights at our house are very quiet and calm, the perfect time for me to belly up to the stove and make us a heart warming dinner, trying to comfort us from the looming week ahead.  Enter sweet, savory, caramelized onions. An omen for the week.


Onion Soup [Soupe à l’Oignon]
Source Smitten Kitchen who adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

When Deb adapts a recipe from Julia Child, I sigh and know that my troubles are over and I can indulge. This recipe is for my dear friend Nuisha, I hope you enjoy.

1 1/2 pounds (680 grams or 24 ounces or about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons (42 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) granulated sugar (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons (24 grams or 7/8 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 quarts (8 cups or 1.9 liters) beef or other brown stock*
1/2 cup (118 ml) dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) cognac or brandy (optional)
To finish [Gratinée] (Optional)
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 to 2 cups (to taste) grated Swiss (I often use Gruyere) or a mixture of Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 to 16 1-inch thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. They don’t need your attention; you can even go check your email.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step, as it will build the complex and intense flavor base that will carry the rest of the soup. Plus, from here on out, it will be a cinch.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness and I often accidentally overdo it. Stir in the cognac, if using. I think you should.

Set aside until needed. I find that homemade onion soup is so deeply fragrant and flavor-rich that it can stand alone, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the graitinéed top once in a while. Here’s how to pull it off:

Preheat oven to 325. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bring the soup back to a boil and divide among six bowls. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls, attempting to cover it. Mound grated cheese on top of it; how much you use will be up to you.

Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly. Grab pot holders, and serve immediately.

* Porcini or mushroom stock are a robust vegetarian substitution.

----------

So you want stand at the stove and caramelized onions. You are a saint. You should feel proud.  I am proud of you. Toss in an extra chopped onion so you pull out a half cup of caramelized onions to make a lovely rye bread with caramelized onions slipped in as featured in this month's Kitchen Play contest sponsored by the National Onion Association.


Whole Wheat Rye Bread with Caramelized Onions and Swiss Cheese
Adapted from: Cookistry


1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) medium rye flour
2 cups (9 ounces) whole wheat bread flour
1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup caramelized onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
Extra flour, for dusting

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the water, yeast, sugar, and rye flour. Stir to combine and set aside for 10 minutes.

The mixture will be bubbly and foamy.


Add the bread flour, cheese, and onions. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is elastic. The dough will be sticky; that's fine. Add the salt and butter and continue kneading until both are fully incorporated.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and turn the dough out. Knead by hand, for a minute, adding just as much flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Form the dough into a ball.


Drizzle some olive oil into your stand mixer bowl (or another clean bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it over several times to make sure it's coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled, about an hour.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or sprinkle with cornmeal.

Flour your work surface again and turn the dough out. Knead it very briefly, and form it into a ball. Place it on your prepared baking sheet seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 minute.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 40 minutes.

Move the loaf to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winning Hearts with Cookies


People stopped and watched J walk down the rural streets of Mexico. The first time we went to El Potero Chico for a climbing trip the glances naturally caught us a bit off guard. Flattering but weird. Then someone shed some light, J has a bright and firey red beard, which was similar trait as mythical hero in their culture. Kind of suiting I thought. He even had the school girls swooning which was oddly cute. The strong sense of confidence in his stride, easy smile and fluent grasp of the native language makes him the perfect travel companion in Mexico. I have a mythical warrior at my side.


When we moved to the Tri Cities, J and I were both drawn to Pasco and the cities prevalent Hispanic heritage. J found a little restaurant, El Asadero (the grill), known for their grilled meats. We fell in love the moment we walked  into the humble restaurant that shares a building with an independent auto parts store. The husband cooks and the wife is the face of the restaurant, the kids are always at a table politely doing homework or outside playing in the warm evenings. Predictable and consistent style has surprisingly captivated our dining experience. The restaurant wins my heart in so many ways.


J warmed up to the owner the minute we walked in. Me I probably tripped, pushed my wild blond curls from my face while giggling, I stood no chance, a common theme these days.


The food at El Asadero is out of this world. I cannot get enough as much as I try. I order guacamole every time and when no one is looking I eat it with a spoon. I love their simple presentation, reasonable portions and never will you see your plate swimming in a pool of orange cheddar cheese rather a light sprinkle of fresh cojita and a tortilla chip thoughtfully standing up in a scoop of guacamole.  We always wash it down with a cold Negro Modelo in a frosty glass that is priced at a whopping $2.50. Greasy meat and refried beans need to be washed down with cold beer. We always leave satisfied and never feel over charged, a magical combination that keeps us in the ranks of regulars.


When company comes to town we drive them across the Columbia River that dissects these three sprawling cities via big blue bridge, we nearly park in the Taco Bell parking lot and on the weekend pass the spit that sets up on the weekends for grilling pastor, a welcome addition to any entree. Everyone seems to like it or just go along with our enthusiasm as J goes over the menu explaining what he likes.


Week after week we warm the doors of El Asadero at least once but more than we would sometimes admit. She relieves me warming the skillet and the TV in the background blaring Spanish soap operas is a welcome distraction from our apartment.

I had to aid in my cause because I will be occupying a chair in her restaurant until the day we flee this desert. Cookies, I thought, cookies can cure anything. I did it, I showed up Saturday afternoon with perfect snickerdoodle cookies packaged and tied with a ribbon.


She actually smiled.

She gave me chips and guacamole and my eyes got big and shiny.

Perfect ending to a story.


Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Martha Stewart

These cookies are great gifts because of their beautiful cinnamon and sugar crust the cracks as it bakes. A great snickerdoodle will manage to be both crisp at the edges and soft nearly to the point of cakiness in the middle. J even smiled and nodded as he came back for a second cookie. Make a batch and take half to a person that you have been meaning to make smile.

Makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies. Your mileage will vary by the size scoop you use.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.

Chill the dough for an hours to ease the shaping process.

Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tasting the Tri Cities


I recently had several people ask me what vineyards I would recommend in Washington's Tri Cities area. This area is as rich in vineyards as blue skies, making it a great destination for a wine filled few days. I will give you a summary of a few vineyards that are in the Richland area but let this be a spring board for the hundreds of other vineyards in Yakima, Walla Walla, Prosser, Benton City to name a few surrounding towns.

I don't recommend hitting more than three in a day and setting someone up in advance who will drive you around.


First I would say hit the three closest to my house, right after you pick me up... not just because they are close but because they are three fine and well established estates.



Tagaris has snuck into my schedule rather sleuth in nature. It has taken  me a while to warm up to the large open dining room that has a relatively small bar area but once I cracked a few of the bartenders I appreciated the space. The patio outside of the dining area is stunningly large and features live music starting mid Spring and lasting into the Summer months. The wine is very easy, pleasing a variety palates with the goal to “become the premiere authority for making wine using as little oak as possible so the vibrant fruit flavors of the wine are predominant”. The tasting experience is exceptional.

Via


Established in 1983, Barnard Griffin has become the premier family-owned winery in Washington State. Barnard Griffin declared the best rosé in America. That is right,  Barnard Griffin Winery has won the award for best rosé at the largest and most influential wine competition in the United States. The judges at the San Francisco Wine Competition selected the Barnard Griffin 2010 Rosé of Sangiovese as the best in its category. This marks the sixth year in a row that this wine has won gold or better at the event.  Barnard Griffin owner and winemaker Rob Griffin said, “We’re very pleased by this recognition. It’s further proof of the world-class quality we achieve in the Washington State wine industry."

J Bookwalter Winery and Bistro


I was introduced to wine in this region by the fine employees and a few enthusiastic patrons of Bookwalter. I recommend hitting Bookwalter while the sun is out and shining, the patio and gardens are spectacular. What happens there after hours, well is the finest showing of the Tri Cities and well..... I am going to bite my lip.... and not go there. They offer extremely crafted wines that impress all interests.

J BOOKWALTER WINERY & BISTRO AWARDED SUNSET MAGAZINES 2010 WINERY TASTING ROOM OF THE YEAR!

Badger Mountain and Powers Vineyard

Venturing a bit further from the house, like 2 more miles, is the first organic vineyard in Washington and some of our favorite local wines. A must do if you are even passing through.

Terra Blanca

Amazing wines and even more spectacular atmosphere. Beautiful setting, wonderfully cheerful employees and a dog for good measure.

 If you go anywhere for a great experience - this is the place. Did I mention that it was beautiful!




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