Tag Archive | wine

Over The Vines – Season Over Party



We’re out camping in Milton, Wisconsin and enjoying this awesome day Mother Nature dealt up for us! We were out looking for wineries, as usual, and happened upon ‘Over the Vines‘, which turns out is really not a tasting winery, but an event location for weddings and corporate parties.
As we looked at our phones, wondering if we should be here or not, we heard, “Hey, are you here to party?!?” We said, “Sure!”
They were having their ‘Drink it or it Gets Dumped’ last party of the year.
We just happened to come at the right time. They invited us in like family!
We loved this place. The owners told us how they made their wine and how their biz came to be. We had such a great time having fun with all the other guests!
We would certainly consider this place a great place to plan an event.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Corn Beef n Baked Cabbage n Squishy Water*?


Once a girl from the Midwest
Thought wine with food was the best
Her blood pressure went high
Script pills she now buys
Sad she can’t drink like the rest

Yup. Seems the prescription I’m on makes me the lightest of light-weights in the drinking department. One glass of wine makes me feel like I’ve drank a bottle quite rapidly. Whoosy, seeing double, nauseous… No favs of mine!! So, I can’t enjoy my meals with wine for a short time, but I can still share an awesome recipe.

Before you note I’m eating Corned Beef. SHUT UP! It’s St. Patrick’s day and I’ll eat corn beef if I want to. =-P

However, the cabbage is salt free and super awesome. I will give you that recipe. I’m assuming by now you’ve learned how to cook the corned beef….

imageBaked Cabbage

Fire up the oven to 350F

Leave the core in the cabbage and cut it into 16 wedges. The core helps it stay together while cooking. If you screw-up on the cutting, just cook them a bit longer.

Melt about 3 tbsns butter and add 3 tbsns olive oil. Baste cabbage.

Add as much garlic as you like. I like a lot. Garlic is the new salt!

Toss in oven about the same time you’re putting the beef on. It will take about an hour.

Half way through baking, flip and baste again. Add more garlic if you’d like. I do.

I like to finish these off with a quick broil. The outer burnt pieces taste like potato chips to me. I will be trying to make a pan of these ‘cabbage chips’ in the future. I’ll let you know!!

Hope you enjoy!


*Squishy water

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Grape Leafroller – Desmia funeralis

Desmia funeralis or possibly, Desmia maculalis

A significant white spot on the head is, according to the Covell Field Guide, a characteristic mark of Desmia maculalis. Brian Scholtens informs me that this is not a reliable character and that two species (D. maculalis and D. funeralis) cannot be distinguished in typical dorsal view photos. It would be necessary to see mouth parts at high magnification or examine genitalia to make specific determinations. It is best to consider photos of these species as representing a species group.

Moth Photographers Group

image  image

The caterpillar host plants are evening primrose, grapes and redbud. As their name suggests, as larvae, they roll themselves in leaves and nibble on the inner curl.

The grape leafroller is a minor pest to the wine industry. Severe outbreaks can happen when their natural predators are low. Many times the leafroller attacks after harvest, when the farmers have stopped treating for pests. Unfortunately, the defoliation may cause a reduced crop size next season. 😯

Honestly, had I had this information available to me when I had it on my finger, this post may have ended in a funeralis…


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Sangria Salute to Memorial Day

imageHappy Memorial Day! A wonderful drink to enjoy today is a Sangria.

Sangrias are a light, citrus fruit drink that is quite refreshing on a hot Spring day! It is the traditional wine of Spain. Its made with fine red wine and natural citrus flavors.

1/4 cup of Orange Juice
1/4 cup of Orange Liqueur (optional), such as Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 tablespoon of Sugar (I like to rim the glass with sugar)
1 cup of chilled Soda Water
Sliced apples, oranges, limes and whatever fruit you enjoy
Combine the wine with the orange juice, liqueur and fruit. Refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Add chilled soda water and a small amount of ice right before serving.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Any Port in a Canned Spam

image I’m trying to venture out of my white wine island…

Porto Morgado is a Port style fortified wine produced in the Douro region of Portugal. We found this wine at a bargain price ($10) at Trader Joes. It’s also available in Tawny, Ruby and vintage styles.

My husband is a whiskey connoisseur and if you know anything about whiskey, it’s aged in used wine barrels. He likes ports because they have the notes that his beloved whiskey picks up for its flavors.

I really liked this one, it was very sweet and not harsh to my delicate pallet. I found this description of it, “Nose: grapey, red cherry candy, plum, prune.” It did smell wonderful!!

I don’t know where SPAM was hiding all my life. I love this heart-attack in a can!! I think the red wine cancels it out. Sure it does!

This meal is just chunked SPAM browned with asparagus and rice. Boom. Fast, easy Monday meal!!


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Chocolate Pork

imageMy husband came up with this concoction after we had bought a large amount of pork shoulder. It’s based on a Mexican pork recipe. I like it over rice with cheddar cheese and sour cream. I call it ‘Chocolate Pork’ only because he asked me if I could tell what the secret ingredient was. I couldn’t spot the chocolate and the name stuck.

  • 3 lbs. of pork shoulder – cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 tbsn. oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 2 tbsn. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. organo
  • 2 tbsn. bakers chocolate powder


Mix up all of the dry ingredients and use as a rub on all of the pork chunks. This can now marinate for as long as you’d like. We feel the spices still get into the mix, even without marinating.

Heat up the pressure cooker.

Dice the onions and caramelize them in the pan. Add the garlic and brown a bit. Remove from the pan. Brown the pork chunks. Put everything back in and cook for 15 minutes per pound. Cool in pot for 15 minutes.

I really must like this wine, (I’m having it again!) Schlink Haus Reisling and Spätlese, both are sweet wines from Germany. They are quite reasonable at $10 per bottle.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Champagne Chicken and Reisling

imageI really like this wine, Schlink Haus Reisling and Spätlese, both are sweet wines from Germany. They are quite reasonable at $10 per bottle. These are very enjoyable on a hot summer’s day. Oh, I can’t wait!

The chicken was more of an experiment, however  a nice surprise!

We soaked our chicken breasts in cola for a day to tenderize them.

4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. champagne or dry white wine
1/4 c. shallots
1/4 c. mushrooms
1/2 c. whipping cream



Heat a large pan and brown the shallots and mushrooms, put in dish. Then brown the chicken breasts. Remove and cover. Pour champagne into pan and deglaze. Put chicken, shallots and shrooms back into pan. Cook until chicken is cooked or 165F. Remove chicken and add cream. Stir and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. I cooked rice to go with this and poured the sauce over both.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Pot Roast and Rosy Fruit Wine

Pot roast is a winter comfort food of mine. I’ve grown-up making it this way.

This wine has a nice, light fruit flavor, like adult Kool-ade. I’m not sure where I picked this wine up, it’s not local and I generally don’t go to liqueur stores. I like going to the winery and tasting the wine. I’ve picked-up way too many cooking wines, i.e. wines that I can’t drink, however are fine for cooking.

  • 1 – 3 pound Chuck Roast
  • Flour or potato starch for searing / thickening the gravy.
  • 2-3 tbsn. of Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • Potatoes, carrots or any other stew type veggie you have around.

In either a large pot or a pressure cooker (my preferred method) saute the onion, then remove. Flour the meat and brown the sides. I sprinkle a bit of soy sauce on now, return the onions, cup of beef broth, add veggies then enough water to cover. Cook until tender. Add soy sauce to taste & thicken gravy to your liking. 15 minutes per pound in a pressure cooker, nice. They’re not just for bombs anymore. Too soon?

© – Ilex Farrell