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Archive for the ‘Snowbirds’ Category

Puttanesca “Starter”

Chef Jamie McFadden presents

Puttanesca “Starter”

Yields Sauce for 1 pound of prepared pasta

  • ½ cup    Italian olives, pitted & chopped
  • 1 tsp     crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup    green olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp     black pepper
  • ½ cup    golden raisins, soaked in warm water
  • ½ cup    extra virgin olive oil
  • for 5 minutes to soften
  • 1 Tbsp   balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup     Marcona almond
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 each    anchovies, rinsed & mashed
  • 2 cups   halved cherry tomatoes, pan sautéed & chilled
  • 1 Tbsp   capers
  • 1 tsp     cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup     shaved parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients except for the tomatoes & parmesan cheese.  Mix gently and place in a shallow bowl.  Cover for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

To Serve:  Prepare 1 pound of your favorite pasta.  When cooked al dente, strain water carefully and while the pasta is still warm, toss with Puttanesca base. Lightly season with salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with pan sautéed cherry tomatoes & shaved parmesan.  Enjoy!

Fava Bean and White Truffle Ailoi

Fava Bean and White Truffle Ailoi

16 servings

This delicious combination is the perfect substitute for the typical butter you serve on your Holiday table and pairs beautifully with Freshly Baked Bread from Olde Hearth!


5 each whole eggs

1 cup blended oil plus 2 tbsp.

1/4 cup white truffle oil

1 tbsp each cracked black pepper and kosher salt

1 cup frozen/defrosted or pre cooked Green Fava Beans

2 tbsp Lemon juice

2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

In the bowl of a food processor crack the whole eggs.  Secure lid and begin to spin the eggs.  In a very steady and slow stream add in the blended oil and watch as ur eggs become creamy like. As the mix continues to spin slowly add in the white truffle oil, followed by the favas, salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Remove Ailoi from processor bowl and serve immediately with your favorite fresh or grilled bread and or place in a container with a tight fitting lid for up to three days

French West Indian Curry Rub

French West Indian Curry Rub

10 servings

1/4 cup Brown rice, uncooked

1/4 cup whole cumin seeds

1/4 cup whole coriander

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tsp whole cloves

3 tbsp shelled pistachios 

1/4 cup ground turmeric 

In a medium size dry sauté pan place the rice and toast over medium heat, approx 3-4 minutes.  Place rice in a bowl and set aside.  Add the whole spices to the pan and toast until the aromas are released using caution so as the spices to not burn.  Place spices in bowl with the rice.  In small batches, grind this mixture along with the pistachios in a coffee grinder until milled.  Add the ground turmeric and store in a sealed jar for up to 10 days.

Caper Tapenade for Lamb

Caper Tapenade for Lamb

4 servings

  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup assorted olives (about 5 ounces), pitted and minced

1/2 Lemon Squeezed

In a small mixing bowl combine above ingredients.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.  Use as a garnish for the lamb garnish or as a delicious accompaniment to fresh fish.

Florida Frog Legs, Buffalo Style

Florida Frog legs, Buffalo Style
4 Servings
By Chef Jamie McFadden

Marinade Ingredients

8 frog legs
2 cups Milk
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

In a medium size bowl combine above ingredients and marinate in the fridge for up to 3 hours

Breading Ingredients

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon course black pepper
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup cornmeal

Blend above ingredients in a medium size bowl and set aside.  This mixture can be prepared up to one week in advance and stored in an air tight container

Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce
This recipe can be prepared up to 3 days in advance

8 oz  bleu cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1  cup Hellman’s Mayo
4 oz chopped scallions
1   tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1    tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium size bowl combine all the above ingredients, taste for seasoning and refrigerate until ready for use.

Buffalo Sauce Ingredients

2 teaspoons Chili  Powder
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Olive oil
2 teaspoons Honey
2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
3 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon cornstarch blended with 4 oz COLD water

Place above ingredients except cornstarch into a saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium-high heat until just starting to bubble.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture to slightly thicken.  Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. Use immediately or keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Pickled Celery Ingredients

1 bunch celery, cleaned, retain leaves
1 cup Apple Cider vinegar
1 cup water
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon peppercorns
4 large sprigs fresh dill

Slice celery into 1/4 inch thick slices and  place in a clean 1 quart mason jar along with the dill and the celery leaves.
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander and peppercorns.
Bring mixture to a simmer and stir until sugar and salt and completely dissolved.
Carefully pour contents over the celery in the jar.
Let mixture cool, uncovered, then place the lid on and refrigerate.
Celery will be ready to eat in 24 hours.

Directions for breading and frying

1. .  Prepare oil for frying either in a deep fat electric fryer or by placing one quart of vegetable oil in a 5 quart heavy sauce pot.  For stove top method place pot on the stove at medium high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees, use extreme caution when frying, especially if you are working over an open flame.

2. Breading process:  Remove frog legs from buttermilk mixture and set on a clean dish.

3. Next, taking one frogs legs at a time lightly coat in prepared cornmeal mixture and then dip back into buttermilk mixture and then again in cornmeal mixture. Gently place legs one at a time into hot oil and fry until golden brown at which point you will remove and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.  Repeat breading process until all legs are fried.  Note:  When preparing any ingredients for frying it is not recommended to “Pre-Coat” all the product prior to frying. Only coat what is immediately going to be fried.  This will result in a far superior end product

4.Place fried legs on serving plates and brush with buffalo sauce, a side of bleu cheese dipping and Pickled Celery and enjoy!

So Why Snowbirds?

So why Snowbirds?

Growing up in North Central Ohio only a few miles from the amazing Lake Erie; Spring, Summers and Fall provided us with a bountiful amount of natural beauty and flavors.  Locally grown vegetables, artisan cheeses, maple syrup, fruits (including wine grapes) and delicious fish caught in our very own Great Lake.

Our family home was surrounded by miles and miles of farmland and my Grandfather was a crop farmer.  My appreciation of his work along with countless others  in our rural farming community was instilled in me at a very young age.  They adored and appreciated this land, and had for generations.  You see, this dirt is some of the richest mineral driven soil in the country, something you may take for granted until you move away.  Late Autumn appeared year after year, crops picked, gardens tilled and an all to familiar sign of what was in our forecast.

As beautiful as three of the seasons were Winters were quite dreary.  The years we had significant amounts of snowfall, provided a landscape of a fairy tale Winter Wonderland, but most winters were just grey and cold.  My Father worked in the highway construction business, so cold temperatures and icy conditions usually meant multiple weeks of downtime from work.  My parents however, were savers for many things including vacations.  As far back as I can remember the Oldsmobile station wagon was usually loaded up by the first of February and we were headed south to Florida and sunnier warm skies.

As I grew older and these yearly sabbaticals continued, fair weather friendships were created and I realized that it was quite commonplace for other families in the northern section of the United States to also migrate to the south during the winter months.

I soon realized it was not just the geese and black birds heading south in the winter, we humans became “Snowbirds” also.
I cannot begin to count how often I heard that term, snowbirds, used in conversation while vacationing in Florida.  Most definitely it always came up when dining out,  our waiter would approach the table and inquire “Are you locals or Snowbirds”?

When I decided to move forward with this crazy notion of become a vintner, I absolutely wanted to somehow acknowledge the impact my parents have had on my entire life, but especially my professional career.  There constant encouragement and support have given me opportunities that many only dream of.  While often reflecting back on childhood memories “Snowbirds” was born.
Moving forward, we are in the beginning stages of planting 300 Gruner Veltliner vines on that rich soil in North Central Ohio.  And it is our dream that blessings from Mother Nature combined with the work ethic I learned working in those fields as a youngster with my Grandfather, that we will be blessed with countless years of delicious grapes and inspired Gruner Veltliner.

Stay tuned…………..

Gruner Veltliner in America, The Wine Grape of Austria Comes to the US

Gruner Veltliner in America, The Wine Grape of Austria Comes to The US

So What is Gruner Veltliner?

Gruner is a native Austrian white grape, a cross between Traminer and St. Georgen, and is that country’s most widely planted vine, constituting over a third of all vineyard acreage. Austria grows as much grüner as all red grape varieties combined. It’s especially dominant in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) and Burgenland.

The wine itself is nearly always dry and zesty, characterized by notes of white pepper, green apple, quince, and yellow fruits, including apple and stone fruits like peach and apricot. In recent years this bright, crisp white wine has become fashionable in the U.S., and is now the wine most closely linked to Austria.

As a vine, grüner prefers deep and fertile soils and has a tendency to overproduce if not managed aggressively. It thrives in the rich alluvial plains of the Danube in Weinviertel, the heart of Lower Austria.

Plush soils however don’t always produce the most complex wines, and Grüners from the plains tend to be refreshing with simple fruit flavors.  Grüner reaches its best expression in the Kamptal, Kremstal, and Wachau districts, and in the bony, steeply terraced vineyards of the Weinviertel high above the Danube. There, lean soils, extensive solar exposure, and a long, slow Autumn ripening period produce fruit of great concentration and gravitas. Bottle age can add complexity and filigree.