Well, here we are. Heading into Halloween weekend. Coming down the home stretch of 2017. WHERE DID THIS YEAR GO?! Someone needs to tell me! Have I told you before that Halloween seems to be my husband's favorite holiday? He gets so excited..and not even for the candy. I am pretty sure that he just loves dressing up in ridiculous costumes...and I think that he gets even more joy out of dressing up our dogs in costumes that they for sure do not like. Here are some pictures of Penny dressed up over the years. Notice that her face doesn't change...but the costumes do:
I will post photos of what the three of them dress up as this year in next week's blog. Matt chooses the costumes, so if there are some inappropriate ones, that is the only reason that they will be missing from the post... We have a costume party to go to on Saturday night at our Crossfit gym. It should be a lot of fun - and there are always some great costumes...but mainly just food and some of our best pals. Can't wait!
I am glad that the guys finished harvest on Monday of this week so that they can enjoy this weekend too! Kevin and Joe are pretty happy with the fruit that we harvested this year - it should make for a nice 2017 vintage. We had a very wet July into August so things started off a little shaky. Luckily, the weather dried up (A LOT...of course after I did all new planting at my house) and allowed us to have a successful harvest! It will be fun to watch these wines evolve over the next few months!!
Don't forget that we have 2 tours scheduled for next Saturday, 11/4. The 12:30PM tour is almost sold out, but there are still spots available at the 11AM tour! Come visit us for a great experience, pretty scenery, great wines, and awesome discounts during your visit!
Have a great weekend, everybody! Until next time...
Well, it's October, 20. You know what that means.... It's Murph's birthday!!! Here he is with his normal dopey face:
He's so cute. Anyway, he is now 2 years old and I am hoping that he is going to be growing out of his crazy puppy ways (ie. chewing our carpet, exploding throw pillows, chewing on a wooden table, and escaping from our fenced in backyard so that he can go and play with his dog friends next door) any day now! In case he doesn't though, we have learned over the last 2 years of his life that he likes to watch TV while we are gone. Matt typically leaves HBO family on for him (nothing scary or violent for this little baby) and I am pretty sure that he actually watches the programs. It has definitely helped a lot with his destroying items of decor. I'm not sure if he will ever outgrow the fence thing, though. The reason that he leaves the yard is not to run away (he never ever goes anywhere where we can't see him) he just goes next door where there is a German Shepard that he is friends with. Sometimes there is the German Shepard as well as (over the summer) younger kids playing in the pool. People having fun without him is Murph's kryptonite. He's gotta be a part of it. He gets serious FOMO. So, even though the neighbor is like "it is OK! We love Murph!", we would prefer Murph stay in our own yard just in case somethign were to happen. So, this week Matt and I met with an Invisible Fence installer so that the little man can have free range outside and work off his energy...without Mom and Dad having to worry! Even though he is a little challenging, he is a great dog. You will never meet a better cuddler or a better when-you-get-home-from-where ever-greeter. I'm going to have to stop and pick up a treat for him on the way home from the tasting in Flourtown tonight.... Happy birthday Murph!!!!
So, as the title of this blog suggests, we are coming to the end of harvest. Joe, Kevin, and the rest of the team are going to be picking the rest of the grapes by Monday of next week (since we are supposed to have some rain through the rest of the week). Overall, they are pretty happy with the fruit! Today they are harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon and then later this weekend they will be harvesting the Petit Verdot (my fave!!!!). I am sure that they are looking forward to having this all completed and maybe sleeping in a little bit next weekend. Here is a shot of our Cabernet Sauvignon in an of its inky purple glory:
Last Sunday I was at Tria (Rittenhouse and Spruce) because they were pouring our 2013 Meritage for their Sunday School. It was great to meet so many people that were loving our wine! Tria does a great job with making wines that maybe people haven't heard of or perhaps would not have been inclined to try very approachable. This upcoming week we are going to be doing a special blend for them that will be available in their Taproom location (probably in mid-November!). We are looking forward to their visit.
Speaking of visits, are you going to come visit me or Shaina tonight? Shaina will be at the Ardmore PLCB store and I will be at the Flourtown store! 4-6PM for both of us. I am not sure what we will be tasting you on, but I do know that the stores have our new 2015 Chardonnay, 2014 Merlot, and 2014 Meritage! So, come on out and give them a taste!
After the event tonight, I am hoping that Matt takes me to our favorite restuarant (Devil's Acre) and then we can go to bed at least semi-early. Tomorrow is going to be an action-packed day! Matt and I are going to play golf in the morning but then at around 3PM, we have to leave our house and head up to Flemington because it is my cousin Andrew's engagement party. I think my aunt said that she is expecting about 70 people (of which I think like 55 are family because Andrew is half Greek and half Irish...so that right there is like 45 people). Luckily the weather looks like it is going to be perfect and I know that we are going to have a blast celebrating them. My brother and sister-in-law (who was a birthday girl on Wednesday of this week....HAPPY BDAY STEPHY!!!!!!!) flew in from Chicago on Thursday night and so did my cousin Chris who recently moved to London. Yay for family get togethers for happy occasions!
I know that there will be a few people tomorrow who will be enjoying Karamoor Wines and I hope that you guys will be too! Just a reminder...we are down to our last 20 cases of 2015 Rosé AND we are currently having a PA Wine Month special of 25% off all wine purchases...use code PAWINE2017 at checkout! Until next time...
Another Friday! You guys - I had my first night of uninterrupted sleep last night (after 2 weeks) because Matt took night time wake ups with Gertie! I finally do not feel like a walking zombie. So, that's great! She's still waking up at least 1 time per night...sometimes 2 or 3 depending on how she feels (I suppose). I am pretty sure that she wakes up because she is hungry so I have been trying to feed her more and more often throughout the day so that she is full (she's growing so fast! 4 lbs in one week!). I learned this from my friend Christina who read a book on sleep training your baby...and she said it worked. So, perhaps it will work on Gertie girl! She's so cute and such a little love though, it is hard to be upset when she wakes me up at night...
I'm not the only one that is tired around here. The crew down in the vineyard and winery are running on E! It is their busiest time of year and so far the weather has been relatively cooperative. This week was not as rainy as it was supposed to be, and it is looking relatively dry through the weekend (though the steady rain that we got earlier this week was very good for the new landscaping at my house...I was getting so tired of watering for a half hour every night after work). Next week is supposed to be almost picture perfect weather with full sun and high 60s and low 70s. So, we should be looking good as we head into the last few weeks of harvest.
Speaking of getting towards the end of harvest, we have a tour scheduled on Saturday, November 4th...which will likely be the weekend after we finish harvest! It will also be a great time of year to come out to the property because all of our trees will be pretty colors and you will likely even get to see some of our wines in barrels going through fermentation! The tickets for that Saturday are $75 per ticket, but if you spend $100 on wine on the day of the tour, you get $25 of that back! You also get 10% off bottles and 15% off 12 bottles or more. In addition, we have some case specials that are available only here at the winery! Shaina and I will be running the tours that morning/afternoon and you can expect to spend about 2 hours with us here. You will drive through the vineyards, see the property, take a tour of the winery, learn everything that you'd ever want to know about Karamoor, and then you will taste at least 5 of our wines in our private tasting room overlooking the 250 acre property! Come out with a few pals and have some fun with us.
I hope that you have plans to enjoy this lovely weekend! Matt is down in the city tonight, is heading to a Flyers game tomorrow night, and then I am down at the Trias...(Chestnut and Rittenhouse) on Sunday to celebrate Pennsylvania Wine Month with them! They are pouring our 2013 Merlot at both locations throughout the whole month at special prices and on Sunday they are going to be pouring our 2013 Meritage for their Sunday School! In addition, they are pouring our Sauvignon Blanc via keg at their Taproom location! If you are downtown, come visit me! If you aren't downtown, enjoy your Sunday. Until next time....
Hello! Happy Friday! I am so happy it is the weekend! Do you know why? Because I am tired. I am not sure if you follow us on social media at all, but if you do, then you know we recently got our third dog! A little puppy named Gertrude (Gertie for short) and she is just the most adorable Dogue de Bordeaux that you ever did see!
See? I didn't lie! Anyway, she's just a baby and she's been waking up twice a night since we got her last Thursday. So, this lady hasn't been getting much sleep! I am hoping for maybe a few naps this weekend....
In addition to getting Gertie, we've been rockin and rollin over here at Karamoor. We started a cool collaboration with our friends at Boardroom Spirits 2 weeks ago. We picked some Merlot for them and are making a wine which they will then turn into brandy. They are going to age this brandy for probably 5 years. Can't wait to taste it when I am 37 years old! We are also going to be making A LOT more Rose than we have before (by the way, we are down to our last 23 cases of 2015 Rose - so get it while you can!), and we finished picking the Merlot that we will be using for that yesterday. We will be bottling that Rose in February or March of 2018 and it will be quick to market...so stay tuned!
Remember when we did that cool collaboration with Tired Hands Brewing (our awesome pals over in Ardmore)? Wellllllllll, yesterday they came over to pick up an actual full ton of grapes that they will be pouring into their Saison. I bet it's going to get a great color on it because the skin on the Merlot that they took was so dark! It's probably going to be just as delicious as the last one that they made with our Merlot!
Today (before the rain this weekend), we are harvesting the first of our Cabernet Franc. We will pick more next week (probably towards the tail end of the week depending on the weather), but here are some pictures that I snapped down at the winery:
I hope that you all have been doing well. Thanks so much for your support the last few weeks - we have seen a major uptick in our online retail and we are so grateful! I also wanted to mention here that we have 3 tours scheduled for November 4th! One at 9:30AM, one at 11AM, and one at 12:30PM. The 12:30PM one is almost sold out! Come visit us on a Saturday, we'd love to host you. Have a wonderful weekend!!!! Until next time....
Hello!!!!!!! Sorry I didn't write last week, but it was Mom's surprise birthday party weekend, and I was rushing around trying to make sure that everything was wrapped up here at work so that I could head home, pack, get Zack and Steph's room ready, and get to the restaurant (19 Bella in Skippack) by 6:30! So, my dad definitely wins best husband of the year award for the weekend that he put together for Mom. He had a surprise birthday party for her on Friday night where he invited all her family and friends to dinner; flew my brother and his wife in from Chicago (they, sadly, didn't make it in time because their flight got cancelled due to smoke on the aircraft! So, they didn't get into Philly until about 10PM...made the tail end of the party :(, but Mom was happy to see them!), had a picture montage of Mom through the years and all of her favorite foods and drinks! He had told her that she and him were flying out to Tahoe (just the 2 of them) the next morning...but the next part of the surprise was that Zack, Steph, me, Matt, my Auntie Des, and Uncle Joe were all flying out with them...and she wasn't going to Tahoe! She was going to Napa! Anyway, we all surprised her at the airport and there were some tears and disbelief, but we were on our way. Napa is beautiful - we visited some really wonderful boutique wineries and stayed at the most amazing resort. It was a great weekend celebrating a GREAT lady. Lucky to call her my mom, that's for sure.
While we were out in Napa, they were also in the midst of harvest. It is funny to see that harvest is exactly the same amount of hustle and bustle on the West Coast as it is on the East Coast. The main difference between Napa and Fort Washington (lol) is that there just seem to be miles and miles of vineyard with hundreds and hundreds of wineries....vs 27 acres and 1 winery. BUT, they, like us here, were harvesting. They had already finished picking all of their white grapes and some of the vineyards were onto their reds. This is because the weather there differs GREATLY from here in Fort Washington, PA. The days are very hot (they had the hottest summer on record out there I think someone told me....a few days got to be over 110 degrees!), and the nights are cool. Because of the hot, dry weather, the grapes ripen at an earlier date. Anyway, it was neat to see such a celebrated grape growing and wine making region doing things exactly as we do them here.
As of today, we have picked all of our white grapes; so all of our Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, and Chardonnay. On Monday, we will be picking some Merlot grapes that have been set aside for our friends at Boardroom Spirits because we will be doing a collaborative Brandy project with them! There will be more to come on this.... In addition, next week we will be picking more of our Merlot grapes that we have cropped for Rose. We plan on making a much larger amount of Rose this year than in 2015; it will be direct to press (so much less pink than our 2015).
We've got some exciting news coming up (and no, it's not about our tasting room being approved again). I think that a lot of people are going to be happy with this special day that we are putting together. More to come on this next week!
I hope that you enjoy what is shaping up to be a picture-perfect-weather type of weekend! I know that I plan to. Until next time....
Wow! Labor Day 2017 is in the books! Crazy. This summer really flew by. I mean, I feel like I just got married yesterday, but really it's been 5 months! Where does the time go? I have had a great summer that ended with a great family weekend up in New Hampshire. The perfect endcap! Nothing better than a weekend with family! Though, the weather definitely could have been a little more cooperative... I am sure a vast amount of the country can attest to that. These hurricanes are so heartbreaking - it is just really crazy to see what type of devastation Mother Nature is truly capable of. Our hearts here at Karamoor go out to everyone affected, we hope that Irma finds her way out to sea and spares the rest of Florida, and our fingers are crossed that Jose doesn't make landfall.
When we started this grape growing season, we had a very warm spring. We were 2 weeks ahead of last year up until, roughly, the end of July. Now, we're caught up to last year and this weather is kind of threatening to push us past last year's harvest dates. The after effects of Harvey were felt here at the vineyard last week - where it dumped plenty of rain and slowed down the grape ripening quite a bit. We are preparing for a similar rainfall from Irma...which will slow us down even more. As I've mentioned before, rainfall during harvest is relatively catastrophic when it comes to wine grapes. Hopefully we will be able to get some of our white grapes off the vine before the next bout of rain comes or we could lose the crop...and if we lose the crop, that means that there won't be any 2017 Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard team is doing everything in its power to make sure that doesn't happen - we will keep you all in the loop as things continue to develop.
On a happier note, we will be sending out our wine club shipments this month! They will be going out the last week of September and they will include some of our newly bottled 2015 reds and 2016 whites. I hope that a majority of you were able to take advantage of our major sale in August on our 2014 reds, 2014 Chardonnay, and 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. We really moved quite a lot of inventory, and we thank you for being such wonderful customers! If you're not a member of our newsletter group, join! It is how we send out all of our sales and up-to-date information on all things Karamoor! Until next time...
Another week done; skating right into Labor Day...right into the dreaded time of year....school buses on the road time. I am so sad. When the school buses come, they add about 10 minutes to my already too long of a commute! Feel bad for me. WAIT! You are probably wondering how all the projects went last weekend. WELL, I will tell you! They went great. Turned out awesome. My parents came over on Saturday morning around 10AM and Mom didn't leave until Sunday at 6:15PM. My dad was up on this totally vertical extension ladder so that he could paint as high as possible on the chimney and then I painted the very bottom of the house (so like up to 6 feet from the bottom) which was a total pain because we have like rose bushes and holly bushes and all types of other bushes that are pretty close to the house and poke you in places that you'd prfer not to be poked. Matt did all of the mid-ladder work for the whole house. Mom was up on the extension ladder all day Saturday. After Dad finished the chimney, he was in charge of priming all the shutters, and once he was done that, he joined me and mom on the rest of the extension ladder work. On Sunday, Mom and Matt painted all the shutters that had been primed and hung the shutters as well once they dried. I finished the last of the white wash on the extension ladder and then I primed and painted the front door and all the trim (which took SO long even though it was such a small amount of space). I didn't use any painters tape because I hate how it leaves not a totally clean edge...so instead of taping, I used straight edge razors on the glass when I was finished. IT LOOKS LIKE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT HOUSE! And you were right last week when you told me that we wouldn't finish everything, because we didn't. BUT...we got pretty close. Our extension ladder didn't reach as high as we needed it to so that we could finish the brick where the roof makes a point (or the chimney...), so our friend Fireman Rick is coming to finish that today with Matt. SO, hopefully when I get home, the whitewashing is finished! I also had to buy white paint today so that I can paint the stucco that is by the front door since it's kind of yellowy and doesn't match the white brick now. We also have to paint the garage doors, and Mom is coming over on Sunday to help me finish those! I can't wait!!! Now to pick out all the landscaping stuff we want to install...
Enough about the house though. I want to share with you a cool list of facts that Shaina and I came up with this week. Some of the facts are pretty obscure, some of the facts are funny, and some of the facts are shameless Karamoor plugs!
If you are not a winemaker or a sommelier, you may not have known this. The flesh of a red grape is the same exact color as the flesh of a white grape! The way that red wines turn red is that during primary fermentation, the flesh of the grape is allowed prolonged contact with the red skin of the grape. That's how the juice extracts that dark purple hue!
Oak barrels cost between $450 and $1200 depending on the variety of oak (French is the most expensive that we use). EACH year, we have to buy new barrels because an oak barrel's oak flavor decreases exponentially year over year. After the third use of the barrel, it is considered a neutral aging vessel. You can use the oak barrels for as long as you keep them clean; but they will no longer add any 'oakiness' to the wine (hence, why every year we have to buy about 25% more new oak barrels). $$$$$$$$$$$$
Remember the vineyard consultant that architected our vineyard? Her name is Lucie Morton (in case you forgot). Lucie is a top viticulturist in the United States and Lucie found AND named this disease. It's a type of fungus that is detrimental to vineyards. I just love that it's called The Black Goo disease. It sounds like a horror film from like the 50's...like THE BLOB! Say a little prayer that we NEVER see the BLACK GOO here at Karamoor...
That means that you can drink a whole bottle for only 625 calories! Karamoor's red wines and Chardonnay are 100% dry (meaning all sugar has been fermented out), so they are pretty low in carbs too!
This means that we don't have to leave things up to chance! We don't have to do a little bee or bug or hummingbird dance to make sure that the flowers get polinated so that we can have some grapes on the vines.
The shape of a glass DOES in fact matter. The shape of the glass is not going to help change a bad wine to a good wine...but when you are drinking wine you want to enjoy it to the fullest! The way that you enjoy it to the fullest is you get the most out of both; taste and smell. The larger bowl of the glass helps red wines to open (which is why red wine glasses are wider than white wine glasses), and they also have a larger rim (though still slightly fluted) so help blow off some of the ethanol (since reds are usually higher in alcohol than whites), so that the aromas can be enjoyed. White wine glasses typically have a much smaller bowl (because they don't need to open up), and they typically have a smaller rim because their aromas are more delicate than those of reds. Champagne should really, always be served in a flute (instead of those cute coupes) because it makes the bubbles last longer! Who wants to drink a flat champs?!
Shameless Karamoor plug! We are 100% grown, produced, bottled, labeled, and stored right here in Fort Washington! The truest expression of the finest wines that Montgomery County has to offer...
The first commercial vineyard in the United States of America was located in the Greater Philadelphia region and was established by Peter Legaux in 1793!
Another plug! We're pretty great.
Doctor is to humans what a Viticulturist is to grape vines. We'd be lost without our viticulture team here at Karamoor! Thanks Joe and Casey!
Have you ever wondered how you get wine out of a barrel without having to dump the barrel upside down? (or use a pump...) WONDER NO MORE! This handy little contraption is made of glass and has a hole in the glass up by the handle, thus allowing air to escape as the wand fills with wine. Once you've got enough wine in the thief (which for me is at the very top...), you put your thumb over the hole and voila! You are ready to fill your glass...ahem...I mean...go run some tests.
Lol. My sophmoric sense of humor makes me laugh every single time I say this....or when anyone says this.
ALSO, Terrior can impart all different types of flavors in the wine!
ANOTHER shameless plug! Cases of our 2014 signature wines are 50% off!
UNTIL NEXT TIME................
TGIF. Seriously. This week has been so busy and I cannot wait to just do nothing (except for going out to dinner to our fav spot, Devil's Acre!) tonight and sleep in a smidge tomorrow morning. Sleeping in "a smidge" means that I get up at 7:20AM to go to the gym instead of 6:30AM to go to work. For some reason, that extra 50 minutes makes all the difference. I think that I am looking forward to an extra 50 minutes of sleep so much because on Monday night pretty much everything that could have happened to interrupt sleep, did. We go to bed at like 9:30PM, so by 1AM when the power went out for some reason (it wasn't raining or anything?) and our alarm started going off, I was in one of those deep sleep cycles. You know the kind...where you like lurch awake and are totally disoriented? So, I'm stumbling around the bedroom and Matt wakes up and he's fumbling around with the alarm panel trying to get it to be quiet (I'm literally not being helpful at all...just stumbling around). Finally he gets the beeping to stop and we get back into bed. Only now...I cannot sleep because all I am thinking about is, "how am I going to take a shower and get ready for work in 5 hours if the power is out?". See, we belong to a Crossfit gym, so there are no showers there (so showering at the gym is not an option), and I get to work by 7:45AM (after showering), which means that I would get to work by like 7:15 if I didn't take a shower. 7:15AM is too early to go to my grandparents' house to take a shower because they are usually exercising or getting ready for work themselves! So, after thinking about this for about 2 hours, I finally doze off. Only to be rudely awoken by my husband who has his phone out and all bright and is setting the alarm clock next to the bed. It is an old alarm clock with noisy clicking buttons and one of those alarms that go MEEP MEEP MEEP until you turn it off. I hate that stupid thing. I know what I am getting him for Christmas this year...an alarm clock that has like the woosh of the ocean or something that hopefully I can incorporate into a dream rather than being startled awake. So, anyway, now that I know that the power is back on (due to the alarm clock being able to be set), I fall back to sleep...only to be woken up at 4:45AM by said stupid alarm clock. Then I try to will myself back to sleep...and you know when the only thing that you want to do is sleep, you're definitely not going back to sleep. I should have just gotten up at 4:45AM and gone into work. Needless to say, Tuesday was a totally sleep deprived day. I wasn't making a whole lot of sense.
Speaking of Tuesday, that's also when we decided to run this wild and crazy case special on our 2014 Meritage, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and our 2015 Sauvignon Blanc! What. A. Gift! The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is $11.25 per bottle! The 2014 wines are 50% off! FIFTY PERCENT OFF! Why do things always look like they are spelled wrong when you put them in all caps? Anyway, the main reason for this sale is that we have A LOT of inventory and with the store still being at least a year away, we decided to offer these wines at a steep discount so that we just don't keep building inventory in the warehouse. If you are a local business, and are looking for client or customer or employee gifts, this could be the perfect answer to, "What do I get these people for the holidays?", it is also the perfect answer to, "How do I make the rest of summer super great?"! Since the 2014 Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Meritage were not released prior to this point, we wrote up some tasting notes for you to enjoy (along with some pairing suggestions from Shaina and Alana, let us know what you think!)! Here they are:
2014 Merlot: Cherry, ripe plum, dried currants and a hint of leather continue to an herbal component with tannins reminiscent of black tea.
Pair this powerful Merlot with robust, earthy cheeses, herb encrusted lamb, and blackened snapper or salmon.
2014 Cabernet Franc: Huckleberry, moss, and savory aromas are accented with light berry flavors, clove and peppercorns leading to a medium bodied, soft tannic finish.
Try this Karamoor favorite with grilled Italian sausages, stuffed portabellas with a smoked cheese, prime rib, or eggplant parmesan.
2014 Meritage: Dark cherry cobbler, vanilla and tar aromas precede the tastes of blackberries, mocha, and sage. The bold elements of this wine are supported by a velvety mouth-feel leading to an elegant tannic finish.
Accompany this Karamoor Flagship with a grilled ribeye steak, decadent dark chocolate cake, or in front of a roaring fireplace with a good book!
Case prices are as listed on our new SALE page on the Karamoor website, and they will be listed until the end of August! A lot of Karamoor fans have already taken advantage of these prices and we thank you for your orders!
We have a tour this afternoon (3rd in a row that has been sold out), but there are still two tickets remaining for next Friday's tour (8.25.17). Come on out and join us! Next Friday will be extra fun because I will be able to fill you in on how I did with all of my house projects that are scheduled for this weekend (that I will be completing with the help of my loving parents and husband!). I will tell you what they are and you're going to be like, "Ali, there is no way you guys are going to get all of that done this weekend!", and I would be like, "What do you know?!". But you would probably be right... So, we are going to whitewash the brick front of our house and our chimney with a mixture of lyme and salt (my mom's idea), we are also priming and painting the shutters of the house, the front door, and the garage doors! ...and I think I'm tired now! Can't wait to fill you in on how it went! Until next time...
So, I don't think that I have kept it a secret that I do not like super hot and muggy weather (you know, the type of weather that is typical in August...), but I do like August for other reasons... And all of those reasons can be found in a vegetable garden. I mean, is there any additional reason that you can think of to actually like August? Neither can I. I think that I also mentioned in another blog article that I am my grandmother's favorite grandchild (I've turned off the commenting for this blog so that none of my cousins or brother can refute that), so I am a beneficiary of the colossal vegetable garden that lives on this property. I am not sure if you follow Karamoor's Instagram, but last weekend I showed a video of me using a ton of tomatoes to make a 3 part sauce. And lemme tell ya, it did not disappoint. This week, I scored 2 more flats of plum tomatoes that I plan to use to make a boatload of bolognese - be on the lookout for those steps on Sunday afternoon (we've got a party Saturday night, so I probably won't be up too early the next morning...). In addition to all the tomatoes, I've been lucking out with peppers, carrots, string beans, and a whole lot of cucumbers. I also got some XL zucchini and squash (not great for eating, but they got so big because of all that rain and they couldn't go into the garden to pick) that I used for zucchini bread. It has been saving me A LOT of money at the grocery store because I would say that on average, I eat about 50 cups of vegetables a week....maybe more. And that doesn't include sweet potatoes. So, summer vegetable season really helps out the old pocketbook.
Are you interested in how I made my sauce last weekend? I bet you are. Even if you're not, I'm going to tell you what I did because it turned out great. I used to throw the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water and then turn off the water and leave them in just long enough for the skins to crack and then I would have to peel the skin off and squeeze out the seeds and it was just the BIGGEST pain in the rear. So, on my way to Wholefoods on Sunday, I swung by Kitchen Kapers in Montgomeryville and bought something that I have been meaning to buy for like 2 years. Makes no sense why it took my so long to get one because they are like $35. Anyway, what a time saver! I threw all of the tomatoes whole (after I cut out any ugly parts) into a massive pot (I think I had like 20 lbs of tomatoes or something like that so I had to use the largest one I had). Luckily, we just got married, so there is no shortage of pots in my kitchen! So, if you cook these tomatoes on low for like 20-25 minutes and stir them around with a large spoon, the tomatoes start to break down and release their own juices...so nothing burns. I should mention that I added 5 cloves of garlic with the uncooked tomatoes so that it would incorporate into the sauce from the very beginning. So, once everything was nice and juicy and the tomatoes were soft, I broke out my new food mill and used the medium hole insert (I wanted some chunks in it and I don't mind a few seeds) and removed all the skins and most of the seeds. Once all the tomatoes were milled, I separated the juice into 3 parts. I eyeballed about 1/4 of the sauce into a separate container, and then I poured some of the sauce to fill about 1/2 of an inch in two (2) 1/4 sheet pans, and then left the remaining 3/4 (minus the sheet pans) in a large pot.
-For the large pot, I put that back on the stove over low heat (for about an hour and a half) to let it cook and bubble and reduce. To that sauce, I added salt (don't add too much and taste in little increments so that you don't OVER salt...no one likes salty tomato sauce), I added another 4 cloves of crushed garlic, and some red pepper flakes. When there was about a half hour left on the stove top, I added a large handful of ripped basil leaves and oregano.
-For the 2 1/4 sheet pans (you could just use a 1/2 sheet pan if you wanted) I put them in the oven at 350 (with the sweet potatoes I was cooking for lunches) and let them reduce and reduce and reduce until I was left with a delicious tomato paste. Make sure that you keep an eye on this or it could easily burn. Stir it every few minutes and more frequently as the water continues to evaporate.
-For the removed 1/4 of sauce, I did nothing to it. I left it and all its fresh tastiness alone and added nothing.
Once all separate components were completed, I added them all together into the same pot. I tasted, and then seasoned with more basil and oregano, salt, and I added a little sugar. I portioned it all out so that I could freeze it and not have to defrost the whole heap at one time. I didn't add onion or anything - I will do that when I am going to use it. I kind of wanted it to be a blank canvas that I could use for anything. Making pizza? Got a sauce for that. Making bolognese? Got a sauce for that. Eating some spaghetti and want an arrabiata? Got it covered. Anyway, give it a whirl. I'd say that it took a total of about 2.5 hours, so it's a great Sunday-while-you-meal-prep project.
To wrap up today's blog, I am going to make a brief mention of Karamoor wines (since I talked about Karamoor's vegetable garden and sauce for the rest of the post). Today, we are bottling our 2016 Chardonnay. There will be about 430 cases when all said and done. We will probably send it out to our Mixed Wine Club members for the September shipment! Stay tuned for next week when I promise to show you some vineyard pictures since we are approaching harvest! Have a wonderful weekend! Until next time...
Another week into 2017 and we are in August. Last weekend we were up in the Reading area to hang out with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Matt and his brother played in a golf tournament in the morning and Nicole and I worked on perfecting a frozen mojito! It was a great Saturday. Their friends up there are so nice. At the end of the night, Matt, Andy, and Ryan (their childhood pal) set off a bunch of fireworks. It was great! Then on Sunday morning we woke up entirely too early to go to this place called The Tomcat for breakfast. The Tomcat has this INSANE menu. It is like 5 pages long and has wacky breakfast combos like these pancakes: chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes with layers of vanilla mousse - topped with chocolate drizzle and whipped cream or this breakfast sandwich: Honey Sriracha beef BBQ, two over eggs, smoked Gouda, frizzy onions and jalapeños between two oversized silver dollar pancakes. We've kind of made it a yearly tradition...we went there last year after the Pig Roast (and also to celebrate Andy's birthday) and now this year too! I think once you do it more than 1 time, it becomes tradition. That's the rule, right?
Anyway, when I got home last Sunday after The Tomcat, I had to weed the flower beds. I got sick of looking at the weeds and they weren't just going to go away (sadly), and I had already sprayed Roundup this season (the weeds had the audacity to come back)! I haven't had to do any weeding really since I got stung by a bunch of hornets when I was weeding with my mom when I was in high school...but now that I don't live at Mom and Dad's and I don't feel like paying someone to come and take care of our beds, I had to do it (Matt was mowing the lawn and fixing the fence because Murph is BAD and he has been getting out to go and visit his dog friends and kids in the neighbors pool....). I still hate it just as much as I did when I was in high school, but I will say that I felt very accomplished when I saw how nice it looked when I had finished.
I guess this is kind of how the guys feel out in the vineyard. Every single day Joen and his crew are out there making the vines look beautiful and keeping the fruit clean and making sure that they can grow the best that they can. I know they are starting to get nervous because we are down to crunch time and these thunderstorms that dump 2 inches of rain in an hour are less than ideal! Did anyone else get that storm that we had last night? I live up in Doylestown and literally, it rained for about 35 minutes and no lie, we got 2 inches of rain. The front yard looked like a pond for a few. Hopefully the weather doesn't do too much of this during harvest...but it's been a weird summer, so you never know. This is my favorite time of year in the vineyard (my favorite time of year on the property is winter)...it is so cool to see all the grapes that will be brought in to make our wine. I mean, this is the time of year that REALLY counts here at Karamoor. It decides how much wine we get to make and what the quality potential is. It is exciting and nerve wracking. But the vineyard is so pretty with all the red grape clusters hanging out there.
Last week, we released 2 more dates for tours (8.18 and 8.25); we have sold out 8.18, but there are still spots remaining for 8.25! We hope that you will come and visit us. Tours start promptly at 3PM and come prepared for an experience! It's not just a tasting. The visit lasts about 2 hours!
I think that's all I've got. No major plans this weekend other than playing golf tomorrow with Matt and then having dinner with my grandparents. Sunday should be nice and lowkey. I hope that you've got some fun weekend plans...one of the last few of summer! Make it count! Until next time...