(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)
Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )
Barley Rye with Pumpkin Seeds – What to do with all those pumpkin seeds? Why put them in bread of course! This bread is a nice mix of flours, regular bread, barley, fresh milled rye, and whole wheat with a little buttermilk and honey along with those pumpkin seeds. – $5/loaf.
Semolina Levain – Made with bread and semolina flours with a touch of freshly milled whole wheat and a bit of butter which softens the crumb. Semolina makes for a beautiful golden loaf and adds a nice nutty flavor. – $5/loaf
Egg Bread with Honey & Dried Apples- Aka “the best Shiksa Challah ever.” This bread is loaded with eggs, honey, butter, milk and apples. Then, instead of braiding into a large challah loaf it is made into a single braid roll and sprinkled with poppy seeds. A delicious treat – 2/$5
Again today. saw Heron on today’s walk. Again didn’t have camera ready when it spotted us, took off, landed further down the slough, so settled for a shot after landing. As you can see in the reflection, LI’s reefnet fishing boats have now been hauled out for the season, and Heron stands in their reflection amid a Monet-inspiring fall tapestry…!
Last week our friend Sam came in ready for Halloween, just a week early! Those glowing pumpkins on her head bob around merrily (or ominously, as you prefer) as she moves, reminding us that this Saturday is Halloween and we are Open for our usual hours, 2-6! Guests are encouraged to don costumes, face paint, Hallow-bling (?) and the like in celebration (yes, Friday, too, why not?).
Most original “costumes” win free tastings!*
(* yes, yes, clip-on pumpkins Are Cute, but you are gonna need Something More to get those free tastings…just sayin’!)
Lamenting the Loss of the Free Press
Okay, so I admit I am Grumpy about the Debates. It’s a Small Thing, really, and now I’ve had time to reflect on it, I do find I am more Accepting. But, yes…still Grumpy. That’s because out here on the Fringes of Civilization, there hasn’t been Free TV for a decade, since TV went Digital. Before that, we were quite content for fifteen or twenty years with the daily rituals of holding the Rabbit Ears in one hand and carrying them around the living room, holding them This Way and That Way in order to bring in one of the three or four stations available (sort of) to us. During those years our primary choices were Canadian, and we learned a lot about Canadian politics and “humor,” and that was fun. I regret to say that picture quality was never sufficient actually to follow the puck in any of the eighteen or so hockey games broadcast every day for, oh, eight or nine months of the year, so I never have figured out what exactly was going on on the ice; but, ah, I digress.
The point here is that for the last ten years or so, we have not been able to access Ordinary Television. Internet, yes, Television, no. That’s because with the Shift to Digital, it became impossible to watch television without a Cable Connection. Fast forward to Now: if you are a Citizen with a Legitimate Interest in the Next Election, and you want to watch or listen to the Candidates’ Debates, you must purchase a Cable Subscription. Just think about that for a minute, because it’s a little breathtaking, another Important Public Perk (read: “right”) that the Corporations managed to Privatize and Charge us for.
Maybe it has always been this way. Maybe we Elders happened to grow up in some Halcyon period when the technology of radio and television outpaced for a few decades our genetic predisposition to Feudalism/Oligarchy, so maybe I should be grateful for the giddy little lapse we enjoyed between WWII and Ronald Reagan. But I have to say, at some gut level, I am Very Disturbed by the fact that unless you pay, you can’t listen to or watch debates among the candidates for President of our Country. I mean, really, is this Really Happening?
Neverclear Tonic Water
According to legend, an Inca suffering from malaria some 500 years ago took a drink from a pool of water under a cinchona tree and was cured. However, the first documented use of cinchona bark against malaria was 1630, also in Peru, and for the next 300 years quinine (kwahy-nahyn) extracted from its bark was the only known “cure” for malaria across the world. British soldiers in India, required to take quinine daily to ward off malaria, found that in therapeutic doses it was unpleasantly bitter. Informal but motivated research eventually proved that mixing it with soda water (and maybe some lime) made it much more palatable and no less effective. Thus began the evolution of the gin and tonic!
The first commercial tonic water was produced in 1858. Though it has been nearly a hundred years since quinine was used against malaria, the bitter refreshment of “tonic water” has remained popular worldwide. Unfortunately it is often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sugar, and the quinine itself is extracted from the bark using heavy-duty hydrochoric or sulfuric acid.
Enter our Local Hero, Jim Campbell, who, finding those techniques were Too Harsh, has developed a more user-friendly extraction technique using citric acid. He then combines the quinine with his own natural herbal extracts to make his Tonic Water Syrup: just add soda water and lime (and gin or vodka as you prefer), and Voila, the World’s Best G&T, Natural and Delicious! link
And YES, we ARE pouring samples this weekend (sorry, no gin or vodka!)
This week’s wine tasting
Mionetto Gran Rosé sparkling wine Italy $16
An unusual blend of Lagrein and Rabosa; Persistent bubbles with notes of pink grapefruit, pomegranate and black currant, with a hint of wild roses, with intense flavors of fresh raspberry and refreshing acidity.
Cougar Crest Viognier ’14 Washington $14
Heady floral, citrus, and melon aromas aromas; rich texture with pear, peach and tropical fruit flavors and a smooth honey-like finish.
Anciano 5-year Tempranillo Spain $11
From 30-year old vines; aged one year in oak and four bottle. Dense aromas and flavors of rich fruit compote, vanilla, coconut, and licorice, and soft tannins– a great value!
Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico ’08 Italy $14
Spicy red currant, strawberry and herbs on the nose, with tobacco and smoke nuances emerging with air. Pliant red berry and succulent herb flavors show an appealing sweetness, buffered by fresh minerality.
Lost River Massif ’12 Washington $27
80% Malbec, 20% Cab Sauv; a big, dark red wine with dense but supple tannins, a deep mid-palate of blackberry flavors, and a long, satisfying finish.
(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)
Friday Breads (email us to get on the preorder mailing list! )
Poolish Ale Bread- A “poolish” is a process that pre-ferments some of the flour, enhancing flavor and jump starting enzyme activity, in this case using ale with fresh milled whole wheat -$5/loaf.
Buckwheat Rye – About half bread flour and half a mix of whole buckwheat and fresh milled rye flour. The buckwheat lends a great earthy flavor to this artisan bread with a little honey added for sweetness. This is a bread that would be great with cheese – $5/loaf.
Irish Soda Bread Rolls. In honor of our Baker’s recent trip to Ireland, these take great liberties with the traditional soda bread recipe, adding a little rye flour, butter, buttermilk, eggs, orange zest and currants. So maybe not traditional but very delicious – 2/$5.
Picpoul de Pinet
This photo is from a lunch a few years ago in the outrageously picturesque town of Sète on the Mediterranean coast of France. The dish on the bottom of the photo (my side of the table) is moules frites, or mussels and (what else?) French fries! I confess I don’t quite get the connection between the mussels and the fries– I prefer dipping chunks of bread into the broth– but in this recipe there, well, isn’t any broth! And, with nothing in which to dunk the mussels or the bread, having the right wine comes in especially handy. The local choice here is Picpoul de Pinet, an ancient white grape with an upbeat freshness, crisp lemony notes, and mouth-watering acidity. Literally translated as “lip stinger,” Picpoul Blanc has bright acidity and a clean lemony flavor. Think of it as the Southern France answer to northern French Muscadet…oh, and it’s usually very inexpensive!
As we near Halloween, the “cross-quarter day” halfway between fall Equinox and Winter Solstice, with its rich mix of rain identifiers (rain, showers, drizzle, rain at times, slight chance of showers, occasional sun breaks, and all the other Northwest Moisture Euphemisms), there are probably just a few remaining afternoons when you can sit out on the deck munching fresh seafood in the afternoon sun, enhanced by a chilled glass of the perfect white wine for the occasion…Picpoul de Pinet! With its greenish highlights, delicate nose, subtle aromas of acacia and hawthorn blossom, and delicate freshness, not only does it neutralize the salt and iodine in shellfish. It also is surprisingly good with rich cheese and charcuterie!
This weekend we continue working our way through the new batch of Lost River wines that we picked up at the winery in Winthrop during Drydock.This weekend we will feature their “Cedarosa,” a blend of Cab franc and Merlot.
Cab franc has a traditional “supporting” role in red wine blends: in France it is usually blended with cabernet sauvignon and merlot to add dark notes of coffee, chocolate, and truffle that sit behind the more forward notes of the other varietals.
Similarly, most (not all) Washington Cab Franc is also used in blends. And although Washington Cab Franc can be fairly robust, its softer tannins make it a good choice for rounding out the big tannins often found in Washington merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Depending on where it is grown, Washington cab franc can also add notes of wild herbs, black pepper, and dark fruits. In this case, the cab franc dominates, softening the tannic edges of the merlot, and allowing its own distinct nuances to come to the foreground.
Dances with Light
We have posted a fair number of photos of herons, generally seen in a little wetland we pass most days on our midday dog walk. Sometimes the light invites taking a few photos. Some of those times the camera is along, though mostly not. Either way, we are all continually nourished by the natural scenes we encounter here every day.
Combine that with midday doses of Indian Summer and the deepening blue of the autumn sky, and pretty much everything natural comes into bright relief on sunny October afternoons. In this case, the Great Blue was startled into flight by our intrusion, taking off and flying in a low arc toward the sun. Took several photos in a few seconds, not even looking, just hoping for the best, and were rewarded by this majestic sequence.
This week’s wine tasting notes
Ormarine picpoul de penet ’14 France. $8
Yellow-green color; fruity nose with sharp citrus and tropical fruits; firm palate of pear, apple, lime peel, lemon, and an very long, refreshing, minerally finish.
La Rocaliere Lirac Blanc ’13 France $15
Grenache Blanc and Clairette. Subtle, elegant floral aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, and verbena. Rich and round on the palate, with wonderful notes of fresh citrus.
Casa Contini Biferno Riserva ’09 Italy $12
80% montepulciano, 20% aglianico; wonderfully smooth and balanced, with smoky blackberry, chestnut, and peppery aromas.
Finca el Tesso Tempranillo Spain $10
100% tempranillo from clay and limestone soil in western Spain at 600 meters above sea level, providing cool nights and long growing season where the wines develop a rich, alluring complexity.
Lost River Cedarosa ’12 $25
55% Cab Franc, 45% Merlot; rich and pruny with notes of blackberry, currant, cassis and licorice.
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Nope, no bread this Friday either!
We had some hope for the Return of the Loaves this week, but it appears that our Baker is still away, with strong indications she will be back soon. Hopefully those of you on the mailing list will be receiving info on next week’s selections early next week.
In the meantime this is your chance to find out if Man and Woman can live on Wine alone…!
This one moment
Rosé on the Edge
As mentioned last week, we just returned from Winthrop with a carload of Lost River wines, and we are pouring two of them this weekend; their latest pinot gris and rosé offerings. The Lost River pinot gris is by far their most popular wine overall, so much so that they have recently acquired additional vineyards to accommodate the demand.
Here at the Gallery it has been a different story. Here, although all of the wines have been appreciated over the years, the Lost River Rosé has been our best seller, to the point that it is the one rosé we often carry well into the fall and early winter, mainly for one particular fan of the wine, but also for die-hard all-season rosé aficionados. Typically a well-crafted blend of merlot and cab franc, it usually has the heft of a Tavel, the bright, crisp palate of Provence, and a hint of sweetness that adds comfort on those cool fall afternoons.
This year it’s very different; by accident or serendipity, a serious quantity of Barbera, a red Italian grape, was inadvertently added to the blend, resulting in a most unusual rosé. Generally speaking, if you drink a rosé in the dark, it is easily mistaken for a flavorful white wine. This one, I think, in the dark could be easily mistaken for a flavorful red wine. Be sure to stop by this weekend; we are looking forward to your reactions!
Well, let’s see. On the Republican side, the three current front-runners (Trump, Carson, Fiorina) have never held an elected political office. And every time they open their mouths, we can understand why. What is most puzzling is that they have any constituencies at all! I mean, can you imagine any of these people actually holding their Fingers over the Button? Now That is Scary!
But, seriously, we should take a moment to recognize that they are indeed different kinds of Idiots from the other several dozen Contenders for the position, and probably that deserves some exploration into, you know, the many kinds of Stupid that drive Human Politics. On the one hand it’s all Subtle…on the other, it is Quite Profound. Somehow the bizarre things going on on both Right and Left (isn’t it fun to be able to say ” on on”…?), though different, are driven by the same forces.
On the Democratic side, the recent Candidates’ Debate revealed the intensified Polarity that is just lately crystallizing in the Public Eye between the Corporate Right and the Progressive Left. The former is being increasingly exposed as the Charlatan Wizard behind both the Republican and Democratic Curtains, and the latter is emerging as an unlikely and probably hopeless coalition of Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow, and Refugee Girl (and Toto, too!) just trying to make good their desperate Escape from Kansas.
The surprising result is that, especially with the addition of Bernie Sanders into the debate mix, the entire Democratic discussion is being pushed (for the first time in about fifty years!) to the Left, while the Tea Party Republicans and their Corporate Puppet-masters keep scrambling to get furthest to the Right of each other and finding new ways to wage war on Just About Everyone for Just About Everything.
The emerging Sense of the Moment seems to be that even Big Money can only push the Pendulum so far to the Extreme Right before the sheer weight of its unlikely and untenable position reaches a Maximum, pauses, teeters, and then inevitably begins to accelerate back to the Left, searching for some kind of balance, some kind of Equilibrium. Oh, and, by the way, in a lot of ways the Future of Our Species is On the Line here, and Bernie is right when he keeps emphasizing that Nothing is going to Change unless we all get Mad as Hell and Make them Stop.
Or, as some people say, “May you live in Interesting Times…!”
In times like these, isn’t it a Comfort to have an Understanding Wine Shop where you can hang out with your friends, taste great wines, and postpone thinking about when is the right time to speculate on oceanfront property in Kansas…??
This week’s wine tasting
Lost River Pinot Gris ’14 Washington $14
Aromas of citrus, pear and tropical fruits. Their most popular wine, the crisp acidity is balanced with a small amount of residual sugar.
Lost River Rosé ’14 Washington $14
A long-time favorite here…blended from merlot and cabernet franc, harvested early to preserve crisp acidity and bright notes of strawberry and cherry.
Estezargues Cuvee des Galets ’14 France $10
Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from organic and biodynamic vines, fermented with natural yeast, and bottled without filtration. Explodes with plump juicy berry fruit, liquorice and spice, showing appealing character and freshness.
Marchetti Rosso Conero ’13 Italy $10
All from “free run juice,” yielding enticing notes of exotic spice, vanilla, dried cranberry, and bitter dark chocolate.
Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha ’13 Spain 92pts $15
Fresh cherry, blackberry and incense on the highly perfumed nose. Lush, sweet and broad on the palate, offering fleshy blueberry and floral pastille flavors that turn spicier with air. Closes on a sweet note of spicy oak, with supple tannins and a touch of fruitcake.
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Note: NO Bread This Friday!
As many of you know our increasingly famous Baker is off to Ireland for hiking and exploring, no doubt scouring the countryside for more delicious bread recipes. Unofficial Lummi Island Rumors predict Bread will Return by October 16, absolutely, Fer Sher. Or maybe by the 23rd at the latest. You know, “more or less.”
Fortunately we still have a few loaves stashed in the freezer, and hopefully you also have a Backup Plan!
A Walk in the Park
The end of Drydock presented an opportunity for us to head over to Winthrop to Pearrygin Lake, one of our favorite Washington State Parks. We Washingtonians are fortunate not only to live in a beautiful place with an incredibly diverse set of spectacular landscapes, but also to have so much of this natural beauty protected and available for us to visit and enjoy. We all know and appreciate the nourishing contrast between our lush, green, moist (well, usually) west-of-the Cascades environment and the open, semi-arid spaciousness we find east of the Cascades.
This time of year the Park was in full fall color, lots of yellows, greens, and some reds. Skies were sometimes blue and sunny, sometimes gray, and in all cases the landscape embodies a deeply nourishing sense of Space and Quiet. Very soothing. Ahhhhh…..!
It’s the Circular Flow, Stupid!
Day One of beginning Economics talks about the Circular Flow, most basically summarized as “What Goes Around Goes Around.” The “coming around” part we usually hear about depends entirely on the “going around” part. You can explore this for yourself with a simple parlor game. A bunch of people sit around a table. Each one begins with an identical pile of change. When the game begins, everyone passes as little or as much of their change as they like to the right, and keep doing that. At some point the game will stop and everyone will keep whatever they have in front of them. It might be one minute, or five, or ten. So everyone constantly has to decide, as money comes in from the left, how much to keep and how much to pass on.
This simple process evokes interesting insights into ourselves and others, namely, that people have widely varying attitudes about how much is enough, how much they need relative to others to feel Safe, and how important (or not) it is that others have enough to feel Safe.
image credit: “Enso”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enso.jpg#/media/File:Enso.jpg
For the last few decades the pathological Need of those who Can Never Get Enough to Feel Secure has driven them to acquire more and more Wealth, change the rules and values that define the World’s economic systems even more in their favor, and this is the most important part– continue to invest their Gigaholdings into schemes to make themselves even richer. Global infrastructure rots, the Environment teeters on collapse, whole nations flee from wars, famine, and Desperation, and well-paid Politicians around the Planet view the Coming End of the World as We Know It with Self-Satisfied Smugness.
A round or two of the game outlined above will reveal the simple antidote to this Civilization-Threatening Egomania: just change the rules so everyone has to keep passing the money along: workers get decent wages, capitalists get decent return, and natural resources are managed sustainably. And no one would have either Too Much or Too Little. I mean, think about it…What a Relief for our Planet, huh…?!
Like the Little James Basket Press, which we are also pouring this weekend, the “Nooksack Redd” Bordeaux Blend made by our friends at Lost River Winery in Mazama (we picked up our annual carload of their wines on our way home today…!) is an ongoing blend of successive vintages. Although they have lots of varietals they might add to the blend, it is traditionally limited to a blend of cab, merlot, and cab franc, and as the French have demonstrated over many centuries, these varietals complement each other in all conceivable proportions.
I am always impressed with our annual visits to Lost River, rediscovering the underlying themes that carry from one carefully crafted wine to another: judicious use of oak, an ongoing quest for palate-soothing texture, and careful blending of varietals for a satisfying sense of balance. We will be tasting more of the latest Lost River releases in the coming weeks.
This week’s wine tasting
Whidbey Island Siegerrebe ’13 Washington $16
Reminisent of Spring, this pretty white explodes with aromas of spicy pear and exotic blossoms, followed by flavors of lichee nut, grapefruit, honey and pear. Finishes off-dry, delightful with spicy dishes and shellfish!
Maryhill winemaker’s Reserve White ’14 Washington $12
Flavorful blend of pinot gris, chardonnay, semillon and sauvignon blanc; opens with clean, bright aromas of pear and apple with touches of tangerine, butter and lemon oil.
St. Cosme Little James Basket Press Grenache ’14 France $11
An old favorite from an ongoing solera* with an aromatic nose of cassis, cherry and lavender; rustic Old World style, with a firm mineral spine giving clarity and lift to the dark berry and bitter cherry flavors.
Lost River Nooksack Red Washington $18
An ongoing Bordeaux blend of cab, merlot, and cab franc to benefit the Nooksack River Salmon Enhancement Administration…a very worthy cause, AND it’s DELICIOUS!
Cloudlift Panorama ’12 Washington $26
Enticing aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum and cassis, with scents of roses, mulberry and incense, and balanced flavors of red currant and Rainier cherry.