Homemade Soup: Silky Smooth Seven Veggie Soup

Union Wine Company Fall Soup

With the arrival of autumn, it is true that we begin to lose all those delicious colorful vegetables that seemed so plentiful just a few weeks ago. But the following months give us the opportunity to really explore some fresh new realms in the kitchen, i.e. amazing soups and stews. Once you get the general techniques down, there are literally endless variations that will keep you and your family happy, warm and well-fed through the winter.

If you are new to the world of homemade soups, it’s best to start simply, with a delicious blended soup. We wanted to jazz things up a little bit, so we decided to start with a soup that is both simple and complex at the same time. By incorporating seven different vegetables into this blended soup, the technique is still relatively easy but the taste is much more nuanced.

So without further ado, let’s first head out to the local supermarket to collect everything you will need.

Union Wine Company Fall Soup

Seven Vegetable Blended Soup
Makes 2 Quarts

2 medium sweet onions
2 large cloves of garlic
2 large carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 large stalk of broccoli, stem removed
2 medium white or golden sweet potatoes
1 large Delicata squash, peeled and seeded

5-6 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small lemon

For garnish:
toasted pumpkin seeds
ground cayenne pepper

STEP ONE:

Peel and chop all 7 vegetables into a uniform size. This doesn’t have to be perfect, as you will be blending everything, but keeping all the pieces a similar size assures equal cooking time for everything.

Union Wine Company Fall Soup

STEP TWO:

Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large high walled pot or rondeau. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring so veggies don’t develop any color.

After 5-10 minutes, add celery, broccoli, sweet potato and squash. Re-season slightly and keep moving all vegetables around in the pot to soften but not brown.

After another 5-10 minutes, add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until all vegetables are fully soft. Turn off heat and let the pot rest on the stovetop for 10 minutes to cool down slightly.

Now you are ready to blend…

Sidebar:
To Vitamix or not to Vitamix

Union Wine Company Fall Soup

Many people swear by their Vitamix. And I won’t lie, its a lean mean blendin’ machine. If you own one, I highly recommend you use it. But if you happen to still own an old school blender, fear not. You can still make a delicious smooth soup, you just have to pay a little closer attention.

STEP THREE:

If using the Vitamix, blend in 2 batches, trying to get roughly the same amount of vegetable and broth in each batch. Add just enough liquid to cover the vegetables. You can always add more liquid if need be, but if you add too much, your soup will be too thin.

If using a smaller blender, patience is the virtue! Blend in 5 or 6 batches—the most important thing is to not overcrowd the vegetables so that they can blend smoothly. Pulse vegetables at first to break them down more evenly. A little extra broth or water may be necessary when doing it this way.

STEP FOUR:

As you blend the soup, return each finished batch to a new, clean pot on the stove. Once you have blended all the soup, readjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Reheat soup if necessary and ladle carefully into bowls.

Garnish with the toasted sunflower seeds and a small amount of cayenne pepper (a lot goes a long way!) This soup pairs beautifully with a nice cold glass of Underwood Pinot Gris.

Bon Appétit!

Union Wine Company Fall Soup

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

The Hood River Fruit Loop Apple Picking in the Gorge

Union Wine Co Fruit Loop

If the idea of a Fruit Loop conjures up sugary Saturday morning cereal, you wouldn’t be alone. But out here in the Pacific Northwest, we Portlanders know it as something very different. In fact, an incredibly healthy alternative, the Hood River Fruit Loop is a series of U-pick farms and orchards specializing in Autumnal produce.

Great for day trips with the whole family, the Loop is a very simple drive from Portland: about an hour out Hwy. 84 along the Columbia River and then just up Hwy. 35 through the town of Hood River. On a clear day, the views are beautiful and as much fun as the apple picking. There are many farms along the Fruit Loop to choose from. Each has a myriad of apple varieties available at different points during the Autumn season, as well as pears, grapes and other fruit. You can see what is available and when everything is available on the Official Fruit Loop Website.

Union Wine Co Fruit Loop

For my recent trip out there, I chose to visit one of the farms that is the farthest away from Hwy. 84, but well worth the extra few miles drive: Kiyokawa Family Orchards. Located in the small town of Parkdale, this very accessible family-run orchard has one of the largest selections of apple varietals on the Fruit Loop. I was on the hunt for my favorite apple—Honey Crisp—and I was not disappointed. The Honey Crisps at Kiyokawa were the size of softballs; red, delicious and ready to be picked.

Union Wine Co Fruit Loop Union Wine Co Fruit Loop

Kiyokawa Orchards has many different sections to pick from, so even on the busiest of Autumn weekend days, there is never an issue of overcrowding or a lack of fruit to be harvested.

Union Wine Co Fruit Loop Union Wine Co Fruit Loop Union Wine Co Fruit Loop Union Wine Co Fruit Loop

To commemorate my trip out to the Fruit Loop, I created a cocktail using one of the many amazing hard ciders that are produced out in the Columbia River Gorge, Son of Man Sagardo. A Basque-style cider, possibly the only one produced in this region, it has a very dry flavor that I thought would pair really well with the off-dryness of the Underwood Pinot Gris.

I just needed a little bit of herbaceous flavor to round out the cocktail and found that Dolin’s Génépy des Alpes, with its rich Artemisia flavor, worked perfectly. A very simple cocktail served on the rocks, it really embodies the full flavors of Portland’s most glorious season.

(Note: Son of Man can be purchased at a few places around town, but I found it at Belmont Station.)

Underwood Pinot Gris Apple Cider Cocktail

Basque in the Glory

2 oz. Son of Man Sagardo Basque Style Cider
1 oz. Underwood Pinot Gris
1/2 oz. Dolin Génépy des Alpes

Pour all ingredients over ice, stir vigorously and enjoy!

******************

Photography, Text and Cocktail by  David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Underwood Bubbles and a Traditional Texas Fish Fry

Welcome to Texas Hill Country

Underwood The Bubbles

Texas is so big that if you drive Northwest from Houston for 5 hours, you are still not even technically in ‘West Texas’ but rather a beautiful part of the state called Texas Hill Country (picture the area out past Austin and San Antonio). Known for its tall limestone hills and many beautiful rivers, Texas Hill Country is not only a gorgeous part of the state but visually unlike the rest of Texas. As it happens, my wife and I have family who have a house on several acres out in the region, so we visit whenever we can.

This year I was informed that for our visit, we would be treated to a traditional Texas Fish Fry. I thought it would be fun to share some recipes and also some views of the area for the uninitiated. I also thought that some Underwood Bubbles would be a great addition to the festivities.

The menu included fried catfish, hush puppies, Texas-style coleslaw and peach cobbler. You actually have to drive through a peach orchard to get to their property, but more on that later.

Let’s get the recipes out of the way first so we can enjoy the party!

COLESLAW

Underwood Wine

Unlike many mayo-heavy coleslaws, this crisp and colorful sweet and sour version just uses sugar, oil, and vinegar. It is best made the night before for maximum flavor absorption.

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C cider vinegar
1/4 C vegetable oil
8 C shredded green and purple cabbage
1 C thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 C thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 carrot coarsely shredded

Whisk sugar, vinegar, and oil to blend.
Add all ingredients and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

HUSHPUPPIES

These little bombers are absolutely integral to a good fish fry. Best made the day of, you can also make them the night before and warm in the oven just before serving. (Makes about 2 dozen.)

2 C yellow cornmeal
1/4 C AP flour
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
2 t salt
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 C finely chopped green onion
1 1/4 C buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in egg, buttermilk and green onions, mixing gently until ingredients are evenly combined.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy skillet to 375 degrees. Carefully drop batter by teaspoonfuls and fry until golden brown, turning as necessary. Drain on a paper towel.

And now for the main event.

FRIED CATFISH

There are obviously many variations on the seasonings that go into the batter so feel free to add or subtract as your taste desires.

3-4 lbs of catfish fillets, skin and bones removed
2 C milk
2 T lemon juice
3 C vegetable oil for frying
1 C cornmeal
1 C all-purpose flour
2 t paprika
2 t ground black pepper
1 T kosher salt
2 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet until 375 degrees.

Cut fillets into manageable pieces—about 3-4 oz a piece. Combine milk and lemon juice in a baking dish and soak catfish for 5 minutes.

Working in batches, put several pieces of catfish in a strong ziplock bag (Texas Represent!) and shake well.

When fish is evenly coated, gently place in hot oil, frying for 3-4 minutes on each side. If doing several batches, allow the oil to come back to temperature before adding more fish.

Let fried fish drain on paper towels, and keep warm in an oven until ready to serve.

Then all you need is some ice cold Underwood Bubbles, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, ketchup and a few willing participants with big appetites!

Underwood The Bubbles

Underwood The Bubbles

Underwood The Bubbles

Underwood The Bubbles

Underwood The Bubbles

As mentioned above, our family’s neighbor has a huge peach orchard (Roaring Rock Ranch) and is always happy to share his bounty. They usually end up with 20 or so pounds of fresh peaches which they skin, freeze and use throughout the winter.   We thought a traditional peach cobbler (with some Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, of course) would make the perfect end to the party. Apparently, Cobbler gets its name from its biscuit-style topping, which resembles cobblestones. (Ya learn something new every day.)

Underwood The Bubbles

PEACH COBBLER

Underwood Peach Cobbler

1 C AP flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 C cold butter- cut into small pieces
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 T cornstarch
5 C fresh or fresh-frozen peaches
1 egg
1/4 C milk
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For the topping, stir together flour, the 2 T of sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in chunks of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

For the filling, combine peaches, sugar, water, and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until slightly thick and bubbly. Set aside, keeping the mixture warm.

In a small bowl, stir together egg and milk. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until moist. Transfer hot filling mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Using a spoon, drop flour mixture into 6-8 mounds on top of the filling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

******************

So there you have it. Everything you need to host your own Texas Hill Country Fish Fry. I want to thank my in-laws, Bob and Virginia for hosting and cooking up such a delicious meal, and my wife, Meredith, for motivating on making the peach cobbler.

Until next time,  Bon Appétit!

Union Wine Co Texas

Underwood The Bubbles

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Dinner prepared by Virginia Rizzari, cobbler prepared by Meredith Rizzari.

Discover…or Rediscover St. Johns

Discover…or Rediscover St. Johns
(Tacos, Polaroid Pics, Sunshine and Cans of Wine in the Park)

If you are a new member of the Portland community, or just visiting for a bit and hoping to explore a neighborhood off the beaten path, please allow us to introduce you, or re-introduce you, to that little neighborhood tucked deep in the northwestern corner of Portland…St. Johns.

There are some amazing things going on in St. Johns which we will get to in good time, but let’s start with the one true and proud landmark of the neighborhood…the St. Johns Bridge. In a city of 12 bridges, it can be a little hard to stand out, but let’s face it, the St Johns Bridge takes the blue ribbon every time. It’s gorgeous, greenish and you can safely walk the whole distance.

Here’s a quick history lesson:

The bridge was built within 21 months and one million dollars under budget. At the time of its completion, the bridge had the highest clearance in the nation, the longest prefabricated steel cable rope strands, the tallest steel frame piers of reinforced concrete, the first application of aviation clearance lights to the towers, and the longest suspension span west of Detroit.

The construction of the bridge began a month before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and provided many county residents with employment during the Great Depression. Because of its proximity to the Swan Island Municipal Airport, some government officials wanted the bridge painted yellow with black stripes. County officials waited until St. Patrick’s Day, 1931, to announce that it would be painted green.

Sláinte!

St Johns Bridge

So, you’ve made it to St. Johns. You’ve paid respects to the coolest bridge in Portland. What now? What to do this far north? Well, let us show you what a Portland native might get up to when spending a sunny late summer afternoon in St. Johns.

FIRST STOP: 
Blue Moon Camera

Blue Moon Camera

St. Johns is not a digital neighborhood…it’s purely analog. So, get with the program and tuck that iPhone away in your bag. Dig deep in your closet and find that old Polaroid or 35mm camera. Dust it off and swing by the St. Johns institution, Blue Moon Camera and Machine, for some film and free advice about making the most of your time in their neighborhood. The friendly, incredibly knowledgeable (and always well-dressed) staff will set you straight.

Blue Moon Camera

SECOND STOP:
Taqueria Santa Cruz

Okay. You have the camera situation worked out. (You know if you don’t take a picture, it didn’t happen.) Now let’s get some grub to take down to the park. Probably the best-kept secret in St. John’s, and just 2 blocks from Blue Moon, is Santa Cruz Taqueria and Panadería. I’ll be honest, at first glance it looks like a dodgy little restaurant space in the back of a Mexican bakery. But they serve the ‘hands down, no questions asked, the best, best Mexican food in all of Portland. We recommend a few tacos, that way you can try a selection of their meats. (We highly recommend at least one chorizo taco. Best in the city!)

St Johns Portland

THIRD STOP:
Cathedral Park

Once you’ve acquired all necessary provisions, head down the hill to Cathedral Park­—which is directly underneath the east side of the bridge—and bask in all the overwhelming glory that is the St Johns Bridge. This is the perfect time to pull out some cans of Underwood Pinot Gris and Rosé Bubbles, unwrap those tacos and soak up the sun.

Cathedral Park Portland

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Cathedral Park Portland

After lunch, you can make use of that film and take a few Polaroids for posterity!

Underwood Wine Polaroids

Cathedral Park Polaroids

Underwood Wine

St Johns Bridge Polaroid

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Polaroids by Silke Schuh

Camera Love @bluemooncamera

4 Cocktails with Portland Syrups

At Union Wine Co. we love to create wine cocktails. We recently worked with our friends at Portland Syrups to create a spin on four classic cocktails using their syrups and our wine. Thanks to the fine folks at Wilder Bar for letting us use their space to create and photograph these cocktails.

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktail
Jack Hibiscus
– 0.75 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
– 0.5 oz lemon juice
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans Radler and give it a vigorous shake. Add the Radler into the chilled concoction then strain and pour into a Nick & Nora. Name doesn’t start with an N? No worries, you’re sure to enjoy this floral sipper.

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktails

Marionberry Julep
– 1.5 oz Marionberry Whiskey
– 2 fresh mint leaves
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans wine and give it a vigorous shake. This will activate the oils and wonderful flavor of the mint. Pour into a stemless wine glass filled with ice. Top with the Pinot Gris and a garnish of mint and enjoy.

 

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktails
Rose French 75
– 0.5 oz lemon juice
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans wine and give it a vigorous shake. Pour into a champagne flute and top with the Rose Bubbles. Point your pinky down, sip, and enjoy.

 

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktail
Root Beer Kalimotxo
– 2 oz soda water
Combine soda water and Root Beer syrup in a Collins glass. Fill with ice, then add in the Pinot Noir. Give it a gentle stir, find a shady spot, pretend you’re in Europe and enjoy.