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China’s Continuing Influence

My time in China continues to influence my life. The most radical aspects have to do with travel. The realization that I could go literally anywhere on the planet and I don’t have to get permission to do so. I can just figure out what it takes to go there, book a flight (after getting visas and shots if needed), and go. There was something that changed in my mindset as I was standing alone on the Great Wall staring a a sight in real life which I had only ever seen before in my text books in school. I could just GO!

The second most dramatic thing that changed was my cooking. I learned so many great techniques and recipes while I was there that I immediately came home and started incorporating them into my life. The most common one is soup. The soup pictured above is my cold busting, sinus opening, warm, good feeling soup. It is loosely based on the breakfast noodles which were a common occurrence during my time in China. It goes something like this.

Several chopped garlic cloves

Two Tbs of diced ginger

Two celery stalks, chopped

Two large carrots, chopped

Half of a large onion, chopped

One shallot, minced

Two diced Thai chili peppers (if you want extra heat)

All of the above goes into a medium to large saucepan with a dash of hot sesame oil (add this before the ingredients to the pan while it warms) and sautéed over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add meat. This can be left over roasted chicken which is what I prefer but I’ve also used deli turkey or sliced London broil which is what went into the photo above. You can also use tofu for a veggie version.

After the meat sautés for a couple of minutes pour in enough broth to generously cover the sautéed ingredients. I like to use chicken broth but veggie broth is fine as well.

At this point I usually add rice noodles but this time I added some mushrooms. These are Hen of the Woods and Enokitake mushrooms which add extra nutrients and fiber. The Enokitake mushrooms are thin like noodles and gives the same texture. Simmer until the noodles (or mushrooms) are tender. You can also add a boiled egg a few minutes before to warm it up for a very traditional Chinese pairing. Usually these eggs are boiled in black tea. It I just use regular hard boiled eggs. Top off with some Black Vinegar and some chopped green scallions and you are set.

There you go. A super cold busting mixture that is very tasty and healthy. Not to mention quick to make.

It’s a far cry from the standard take out but oh so delicious.

Harvest 2017 Update

Harvest is usually crazy but this year seems busier than most. After a super cool and very rainy summer we have had several weeks of warm, dry weather which was much needed. 

Riesling for Trestle Thirty One

Unfortunately, the four weather forecast models that I look at this time of year are inconsistent on the next week. As of now, it looks like it will rain. It is uncertain if it will be a few days or a week of rain. Either way it is not what one wants this time of year if one is a winemaker. 

One of the exciting things I’m trying this harvest is a barrel fermented red using Blaufrankisch. The first thing we had to do was remove the barrel heads. Coopering is something I’ve never tried before but after searching the internet I was able to get enough info to be dangerous. 

Two of my team mates and I got together to take apart some barrels last weekend. The hoops needed to be removed then the barrel head then the hoops needed to be replaced. After the first one held water, we felt more confident moving forward. Finally we had five barrels prepped and ready to fill with fruit this week. 

Now I have Chardonnay in a barrel and stainless drums, Blaufrankisch in barrels, and Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Rose in tanks. 

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. 

Back to Blogging, California, and Renovation

As many of you know or may have guessed from my absence of new material on this site, I took some time off from blogging last year due to several personal issues which needed my undivided attention. Now that it seems that life has reached a new level of balance I’m going to get back on the perverbial writing horse.  

I’ve been working like crazy on my Master of Wine Research Paper which is due in June. It’s really weird to be in the program but not attend seminar this year. I miss the group of people but not the bill or the exam prep! This paper is the last part of the exam to become an MW. It’s actually a very relaxing part because it is 100% self study and with only one small aspect of the industry to focus on, far less stressful. It is copious amounts of reading and writing and more reading. As part of  the paper, I have put together a survey which is needed for background for my study. To that end, your help would be greatly appreciated, if you happen to be a Napa winemaker. The link to the survey is here. It would help me out a lot if as many Napa winemakers as possible would take it. 

I am also headed to California as I write this for the Unified Symposium. I’m very excited about getting back out west to catch up on what is happening in the industry as a whole. While I am very up to date on the NY industry now, it is very challenging to keep up with what’s going on elsewhere in our isolation. In the coming days I hope to recap the keynote speaker luncheon as well as the state of the industry talk, both of which I always enjoy. 

On a side note, Brian and I have purchased a “Fixer Upper” house in Geneva, NY which was built in 1865. Apparently our renovation of our house in Calistoga unlocked some sort of latent desire to bring downtrodden houses back. We are still in the demolition stage at this point but we are excited about the possibilities there. Before you ask, because most people do, we do not know what we are going to do with it when we finish yet. We’ll see what life brings us and make a decision at that point.