After a purchase of mixed wheat, tomato, and spinach shells, I decided to experiment with creating my own recipe for the stuffing and the sauce. Hope you enjoy the results. We did!
Stuffed Florentine Shells
Pre-cook a pound of crumbled sweet Italian sausage.
Cook the shells as directed on the package. Set aside while you are mixing the filling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients for the sauce in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Fill the cooked shells with the stuffing and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with sauce. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Readers will know that Barboursville Vineyards remains my favorite winery and generally I choose one of their wines to celebrate special occasions. We recently celebrated a birthday and opened a bottle of Octagon that we were saving for a special day. This was the 2005 vintage.
Octagon is the premier red blend created by Luca Pascina, the winemaker at Barboursville. Vintages of Octagon have been served to Queen Elizabeth and at events in Washington, D. C. Wine competitions and wine ratings have consistently given this wine the recognition it deserves.
The 2005 vintage was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The complexity of this wine allowed for each of the specific flavors to be tasted, but it was the blend that was noticeable on the finish. The wine was definitely worth waiting for and my only regret is that it is no longer available at the winery.by admin
A few weeks ago, an old friend of mine told me she wanted to visit the winery that made the wine that tasted like walnuts. This led to a day trip and an exceptionally fun outing. We spent the day visiting not only that winery but several others that were nearby.
Our trip included three of the Bullitt County wineries. We first visited Forest Edge Winery. Their offerings of a dry Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon were the most appealing to me. The winery is located near Kentucky’s Bernheim Forest, and is easily accessible just off I-65. We enjoyed the wine and our visit with Allison, who was pouring our tastes.
Our next stop was Wight-Meyer Vineyard and Winery in Shepherdsville. We had a nice visit with Sandy Wight and tasted some excellent wine. It was a beautiful day and the vineyard was lovely, even with the netting covering the grapes to protect them from the birds. My favorite there is always the Norton.
Then we went to MillaNova Winery in Mt. Washington. Finally, we had arrived at the winery with the walnut flavored wine. John Miller, the owner and winemaker, was pouring our tastes. We enjoyed tasting a couple of the dry wines prior to trying out the Walnut Ridge wine. Walnut Ridge has a sweet taste but makes an excellent dessert wine, or for me a part of my Memories Blackberry Jam Cake. My friend was pleased with the wine.
On our way home, we made a slight detour off I-71 and visited Smith-Berry Vineyards and Winery in New Castle. We enjoyed our tasting with Chrissy, and found many wines to our liking. My favorite there is the Burley, though any of the wines offered are excellent.
It was a great day. The weather, the wine, and the company made it an enjoyable day trip.
For the sixth year, Kentucky will show off its products in Heritage Hall, at the Lexington Center in downtown Lexington. On October 11, 2014, from 9 to 5, visitors will be treated to tastings of Kentucky’s specialty food companies, Kentucky wineries, and demonstrations from local and regional chefs.
This year’s celebrity chef is Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman.
If you enjoy food, wine, cooking, and trying new products, this show is for you. Mark your calendars. Check back for more information when more details about those attending becomes available.
Sixteen Kentucky wineries will be offering tastings of their wines to visitors at the Bullitt County Fairgrounds, on September 26 and 27. On Friday evening, from 4 to 10, and from noon to 10 on Saturday, visitors can enjoy tasting or purchasing wine by the glass or the bottle while enjoying the entertainment.
This region of Kentucky is home to some of state’s most popular wineries. This sounds like an excellent festival. I think you would enjoy it.by admin
Wine lovers will want to mark your calendars. The MainStrasse Association, in Covington, will host the Northern Kentucky Wine Festival, on October 18, 2014. The festival, one of Kentucky’s best, will feature Kentucky wines and wineries. This year’s event will be from 3 to 10 PM, on MainStrasse near the Goose Girl Fountain.
Look back later for more information on who will be there.by admin
Kenton County farms will welcome visitors on September 20, 2014, from 9 to 5. The tour is self-guided with fourteen stops along the way. The Northern Kentucky Horse Network at Kenton County Fair Grounds, Honey Locust Farms, the Kenton County Library Durr Branch, the Independence Farmers’ Market, the Kenton County Cooperative Extension Outdoor Education Center, Bluegrass Shrimp Farm, Redman’s Farm and Winery, Poverty Hollow Farm, Funke’s Hickory Ridge Farm, Triple J Farms, Rising Phoenix Farm, Atwood Hill Winery, The Pumpkin Patch, and Ed-Mar Dairy Farm are stops along the tour.
Wine lovers will find the stops at the two wineries quite enjoyable. Atwood Hill Winery offers a wide selection of drys, sweets, and fruit wines. Visitor can taste the wine or relax on the patio for a while with a glass of wine of their choice. Redman’s Farm and Winery’s wines are fruit, such as Strawberry, Blackberry, and Apple. They also use Concord, a Native American grape.
This is the fourth year of the Harvest Tour in Kenton County and visitors have enjoyed their chance to explore the agricultural areas of the county. A printable map and a descriptive list of the farms are available at the Kenton County Cooperative Extension website.by admin
We spent an evening with friends in early August at Chrisman Mill Vineyards enjoying one of their Tuscan Dinners. We have been to many of these special dinners over the years and have never been disappointed. Denise and Chris Nelson and their staff provide a memorable dining experience. The food, the wine, the ambiance, and the service are exceptional.
For over two hours, we were treated to six courses paired with wines, from mini bite size gourmet pizzas to an entrée of filet mignon with cognac cream. We enjoyed each course, but have to say that our favorite was an eight layered Bolognese spinach lasagna. It was amazing. There was something for every taste. With the dessert of homemade vanilla bean gelato with an Apricot Strawberry and fresh berries, we were treated to a special treat–a glass of LaMadre.
LaMadre is a dessert wine that was released that night. We had the privilege of trying this new wine from the barrel and had been looking forward to its release. LaMadre is made in the style of a Vin Santo, a wine made in Italy. This unique wine is made from Vidal Blanc grapes that have been left to dry. The dried grapes are then pressed for a special, almost raisin-like flavor. It was worth the wait. LaMadre is excellent.
Our last winery visit during our trip to Virginia was to Villa Appalaccia. The wine, as always, was excellent and the locale was beautiful. We planned badly by going right after a late breakfast. The meal was amazing at Mabry Mill, but we were unable to enjoy the bread and cheese tray at the winery. We did enjoy just sitting and relaxing with a glass of wine. The views are gorgeous in every direction.
The wines at Villa Appalaccia are made in an Italian style and make use of many Italian style grapes. Rosa, a white wine made with the Primativo grape, Sangiovese, and Corvina are all reminders of their Italian flair.
Visiting is worth the trip even though it is off the beaten path, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you visit, I recommend staying at Bent Mountain Lodge and visiting nearby Floyd. You’ll have a wonderful time.