Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thankful for Local and Seasonal Harvests #WinePW

This month's WinePW theme is Celebrating Local Vintners.  It is being hosted by Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  You can see her invitation post here. It is a great theme for Cam because she is lucky enough to live smack dab in the middle of wine country in sunny California.

Here in Michigan we have quite a few wineries from which I was able to choose.  Not as many as California, of course, but enough to offer some choices and variety. The northwestern side of our State is especially conducive for wine growing as Lake Michigan provides protection for the vines in the winter with lake effect snow and can extend the growing season for as much as a month.

Image result for map of michigan wineries

Many of our wineries in Michigan have received high honors in national and international competitions.  The area lies in the 45th parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole. It is one of the most beautiful areas in the United States, in my humble opinion.  I have been to a lot of beautiful States and Countries in my travels and I have found it hard to find anything that compares with northern Michigan.

I must admit that, while our white wines are pretty darn good, it is hard to find a red wine that I like that is made here in Michigan.  I prefer red wines so I normally stick to other States and Countries when buying wine.  But we visit the wineries each time we go up north and relish the beauty and the crisp, white wines that they have to offer.

Image result for black star farm

One of our favorite wineries is Black Star Farms and we visit there at least twice a year.  Not only do they have wonderful wines but they also have a great Inn where we have enjoyed many a nice stay. They recently opened an eatery on site as well, but we haven't yet had an opportunity to try it.

When we were last there I picked up a bottle of Delighted, sparkling rosé, knowing that I had this event coming up.

I am not a big rosé fan, however I do like a little bubbly every now and then and knew that this would be a wine that both those who like dry and sweet wine would be able to enjoy.

As an added bonus for this month's Wine Pairing Weekend, Cam joined up with the folks at Melissa's Produce, who sent us a slew of seasonal produce.  I used several of the items for the dish that I served with the Delighted but it was not a requirement to receive the bounty nor was I required to write about it in this post.  I received no monetary compensation and am only sharing this recipe with you because I was so excited about with how well it turned out.

I had also used some of this produce earlier in the month to make this amazing Chestnut and Persimmon Cake that I am sure to be making each fall and winter when these ingredients are in season.

I had tried the Delighted at a tasting while at Black Star Farms.  It is a light sparkling wine with a touch of sweetness that I thought would go very well with the appetizer I had made.  I, again, used the chestnut/persimmon combo because it turned out so well in the cake.  I had never had either of these ingredients prior to receiving the shipment from Melissa's Produce.  

I decided to make a dip and serve it with chips that I made using the Baby Dutch potatoes that were also included in the basket.  You can find my recipe for homemade potato chips here.  The procedure is the same except I used the Baby Dutch Potatoes instead of Russets and sliced them on a mandolin since they are so small rather than using the slicing tool of my food processor.

To make the dip, I started off by tossing the chestnuts and some garlic cloves in olive oil and seasoning them generously with salt and pepper.  I then put them into a hot oven to roast.  When the were beautifully browned and fragrant, I removed them from the oven and let them cool a bit.

I then put them into the blender with a chopped persimmon and some good olive oil and pureed the combination.  It needed a little more liquid so I added some organic chicken broth that I had in the refrigerator.  When the mixture was smooth I tasted it and it needed a little oomph so I add a little curry powder to the mix and was satisfied.  The dip had a smoky sweetness to it that paired perfectly with the saltiness of the chips.  The lightness and sweetness of the wine complemented the dusky spice of the dip.  I was very happy with the pairing and glad that Cam came up with such a great theme for this month of Thanksgiving.

Chestnut and Persimmon Dip

1 c. steamed and peeled chestnuts
4 cloves garlic
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 persimmon, cut into chunks
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chicken broth
dash of cayenne 
1/4 t. curry powder

Toss the chestnuts and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in an oven safe skillet and roast in a preheated 420* oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Place into a blender or food processor with the persimmon, olive oil, and chicken broth. Puree until smooth. Taste and season with the cayenne and curry powder. Print Recipe

Here are what the others are pairing up this month!


  1. Another creative idea! Love the pairing of chestnut and persimmon in two such different recipes. My husband is bugging me to try your cake recipe, so I'll let you know how I make out.

  2. I might just try making my own potato chips!! Looks like a wonderful dip recipe!

    1. They are very easy Paula and everyone will be very impressed.

  3. I love the creativity and simplicity of the dip- wow!!! And you made your own potato chips...the bar has been raised! Thanks, Wendy! Your dip is on my list for the holidays. Cheers!

  4. I have no experience with chestnuts or persimmons and never would have thought to make a dip. How creative.

    1. Nor had I before this basket Jade....It really helped expand my verizons.


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