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Nacoochee Village Christmas

Nacoochee Village Christmas

Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a visit to the Nacoochee Village on December 13th and we were fortunate enough to be at Habersham Winery when they showed up for Happy Hour.

Chambourcin wine was poured for the adults and delicious S’mores from Hansel and Gretel Candy were enjoyed by the kids and adults alike.

I always try to stay on Santa’s good side, and I know that he likes Unicoi Preserves a lot, so in addition to our usual product samples, we were also able to offer him some Santa Bellies and Georgia Vineyard Snowballs.

With a smile and a nod, Santa and Mrs. Claus wished us a Merry Christmas and were gone.

We hope that you and your family enjoyed a wonderful holiday season.

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Georgia Vineyard Snowballs

Georgia Vineyard Snowballs

Elsie gives Georgia Vineyard Snowballs the Thumbs Up!

I just love Christmas time and boozy rum balls. They’re tasty, fast, easy, no bake and popular at holiday get-togethers.

If you have little ones who would like to have an equally tasty treat, here’s a delicious, family-friendly recipe using our Georgia Chambourcin spread to create something similar to rum balls that the whole family can enjoy — no ID required! You can even get the kids to help you roll them.

A food processor makes fast work of breaking down the nuts and the vanilla wafers.
No food processor? No worries! You can buy finely ground almonds.
To make vanilla wafer crumbs, put your wafers in a plastic zip bag and repeatedly whack them with a rolling pin or cast iron skillet until they are crushed finely.

Don’t like or have almonds? Try pecans, walnuts or pistachios.

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, roasted and ground finely
1 1/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (I prefer Murray brand)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Unicoi Preserves Chambourcin spread
Cocoa powder for dusting

Procedure

To roast nuts, spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
Don’t walk away, set your timer and keep an eye on them — burned nuts are sad nuts. Cool slightly, then pour the nuts into your food processor bowl and pulse them until they are finely ground. Don’t over do it or they will turn into almond butter, which is tasty, but not what you want for this recipe.

In a mixing bowl, mix the ground almonds, vanilla wafer crumbs and 1/2 cup powered sugar until evenly incorporated.

Measure your Chambourcin spread into a glass custard cup and microwave for approx. 30 seconds, watching it the entire time. What you are doing is turning the spread into liquid. Give it a stir, then mix it into the almond-wafer mixture until its incorporated. It will be sticky so refrigerate it for about an hour, then pull it back out to form your Vineyard Snowballs.

Looks like meatloaf but its not!

I use a small cookie scoop to measure out similar size balls but if you don’t have on, just use a teaspoon to measure it out and roll it into balls. After you get the dough rolled into balls, roll them in powdered sugar.To Form Balls

Variety –Dirty Vineyard Snowballs
Mix unsweetened cocoa powder with powdered sugar — I did a one to one ratio powdered sugar to cocoa. Roll the formed Georgia Vineyard Balls in the cocoa mixture

Yield  36 snowballs, depending on how big you make them

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Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie with Georgia Chambourcin Spread

Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie with Georgia Chambourcin Spread

Friday, we had a busy day with product demo at The Lavender Cottage and Garden but we were looking forward to Serenity Cellars Friday Night Wine Down. I wanted to take an appetizer featuring our jelly that would pair well with wine but didn’t have a lot of time to spend making something. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie to the rescue!

Here’s what you need:

1/2 pack of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
1 8 oz. Brie cheese round
1 egg whisked with 1 T. water
1/2 cup Unicoi Preserves Georgia Chambourcin Spread
1/4 c. roasted slivered almonds

I followed this recipe Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie on the Pepperidge Farm website but to make it my own, here’s what I did.

I split the wheel of brie in half horizontally, spread Unicoi Preserves Georgia Chambourcin in between the layers of brie, then sprinkled with the almonds. Then I put the other half of brie on top and spooned the rest of the jelly on top of it, folded the layers of puff pastry to make a cute little package, trimming off some strips with a sharp knife to make the decorations on top. Brushed with the egg wash. Baked at 400 degrees 25 minutes (bake until golden)

It was delicious served with ginger snaps.

Lots of variations for this basic recipe for sure. With this being the start of the holiday season,  I foresee wrapping another wheel of brie with puff pastry and using our Georgia Vineyard Fire and salted pistachios.

Please let me know if you make it and if you adapt it at all.
We love seeing your pictures, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
#UnicoiPreserves #VineyardFire

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Recipe for Santa Bellies

Recipe for Santa Bellies

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
From ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
(or A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore (1823)

We participated in A Taste of the Holidays at Habersham Winery this past Saturday and this was one of the tasty treats we had for the sampling at our table.

I called them Santa Bellies in ode to the classic Christmas poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.

Here’s what you need.

9 oz. jar Unicoi Preserves Chambourcin Spread
1 box yellow cake mix
Eggs
Cooking oil
Special equipment
Mini cupcake pan & liners
Pastry or plastic food storage bag for filling cupcakes
Pastry tip – Bismarck tip 230 (I had this but if you don’t, just snip the corner off a plastic bag)
Chopstick or other similar rounded device
Preheat oven as directed on the box, then prepare cake batter, also as directed on the box. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost the flavor but you can skip this if you like.
Put the cupcake liners in your pan and fill 3/4 ways full. I used a small cookie scoop I had to fill the cupcake liners.
Bake until the cakes spring back or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, Mine took 12 minutes. 
Cool on rack & repeat with remaining cake batter.
Mine made 48 bites, this could vary on how full you fill the pans and how drippy you are when filling them.
To fill your bites after cooling
Using the blunt end of the chopstick, poke a hole in the cupcake but not all the way to the bottom & wiggle it to make room for the Chamboucin Spread.

Spoon the jelly into your pastry bag or plastic bag & shoot each bite with jelly so some shows through the top.

These really stay nice and moist thanks to the jelly center.

If you make these, please post your pictures our Facebook and Instagram feed
#unicoipreserves

PS  If you’ve been following us for a while, you may recognize these cupcakes from Halloween. They’re the same recipe as Vampire Bites   The name has been changed to reflect the season!

 

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Peanut Butter & Vineyard Fire Hot Wings

Peanut Butter & Vineyard Fire Hot Wings

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a fond childhood memory for many. What if we took that same basic idea and adapted it into spicy chicken wings?

                              Its not blurry, you’ve had too many beers
Here’s what you need  to make them:This recipe may sound a bit wacky, but it works and its delicious!
And heads up, vegetarian friends, this also works with tofu!

For the chicken:

12 chicken wing sections, thawed, patted very dry

1 T. Vegetable Oil
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

 1/4 cup instant mashed potato 
                                     Will you be my Bud, Mr. Potato?
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Our oven has a convection roast feature, if you have that as well, now is a good time to use it.
Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or use a Silpat to avoid scrubbing later. Spray a baking rack with non-stick spray and put it on the sheet pan.
Toss the wings with the oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne and the mashed potato flakes.
                                             Ready for the oven
Roast for 30 minutes, take out and turn them over, roasting for another 25 minutes.
This time may vary depending on how big your wings are and how hot your oven is.
While the wings are roasting, prepare the sauce.
For the sauce
1/2 C. Unicoi Preserves Georgia Vineyard Fire

1/4 C. Peanut Butter
2 T. soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Sriracha hot sauce to taste
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 t. red chili flakes
1 T. toasted sesame oil

While your wings are roasting, mix up your sauce.
Put all the sauce ingredients in a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl and microwave it for 20-30 seconds to get the peanut butter and jelly a bit more mixable. Whisk together.

                                           Roasted, awaiting sauce

When the wings are done, toss them with the sauce and put them back ion the rack on the sheet pan and into the oven for 5-10 minutes to caramelize. This is not the time to walk away, they can burn pretty quickly.

                        Really, no more beer for you if you think this is blurry!

When they are caramelized, take them out and if you like your wings swimming like we do, toss them again in the sauce and serve.

Tofu version idea & pictures courtesy of my favorite sister Betsy

 

Let me know if you make these and how you like them! Post your pictures to our Facebook and Instagram Feed
#UnicoiPreserves #VineyardFireThis recipe adapted from Food Wishes Video Recipes with Chef John

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Unicoi Wine Festival - Staying Local in Sautee

Unicoi Wine Festival - Staying Local in Sautee

November 1st was the second annual Unicoi Wine Fest at the newly opened Georgia historic site, Hardman Farm. The Sautee Valley has such pastoral scenery that some days I’ll be driving by Hardman Farm and see the Nacoochee Valley Indian Mound and just pull over and get out of my car to take it all in. Its no wonder that the Indian Mound is the second most photographed thing in the state of Georgia (number one is Stone Mountain)

Clark and I have been looking forward to vending at the event at Hardman Farm since it was announced by the White County Chamber of Commerce. A wine festival featuring all our favorite wines from the Unicoi Wine Trail that’s close to home? Sign us up!

Knowing what an energetic and organized staff we have at our Chamber, we knew the festival would come off without a hitch. The one down side to the event was the unseasonable blast of cold air that came in Friday. But, there’s no way for anyone to ever predict the weather when planning an outside event, whether its held in April or November. The volunteers rallied together and the staff of Mountain Valley Community Bank even came around with hot coffee and donuts for us while we were setting up.

Several years ago we were still living in south Georgia but were up at Brasstown Bald for the Tour de Georgia bicycle race, an event that was held in April, and the sunny weather soon disappeared and a cold front moved in, with snow and wind. Thinking I could buy something warm, we went down the mountain and into Hiawassee but all they had out in stores were summer clothes! A lady in one of the stores told me “Honey, the weather changes fast up here in these mountains!”  That advice has stuck with me over 8 years now and I usually do have a hoodie tucked away if we’re heading north, regardless of the weather when we leave the house.

But back to the Unicoi Wine Festival!

We were fortunate to have the zippered sides up on our EZ-Up and be facing south, with the wind coming from the north, so we got the warm rays of the sun and by the end of the day had gathered a nice party of people warming themselves in our tent and enjoying their wine and Unicoi Preserves samples together.

Our friend Sarah had stopped by to see us and not only helped with some customers but also restocked some spreads for us and gave the greyhounds an afternoon let out for us. We get by with a lot of help from our friends.

We are looking forward to next year’s Unicoi Wine Festival and hope that you will come and tour Hardman Farm and the Unicoi Wine Trail soon.

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Mountain Cristo Sandwich

Mountain Cristo Sandwich

Here’s a fast and easy brunch recipe to help you bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch.

A Mountain Cristo is my northeast Georgia mountain interpretation of the famous French sandwich, the Monte Cristo.

Preheat a skillet (I used my cast iron griddle pan) on medium heat with a pat of butter in it while you assemble your ingredients.

Ingredients:
Bread
Butter
Egg
Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread
Sliced ham
Smoked turkey
Provolone cheese
Powdered sugar

Crack egg into a bowl and beat to scramble it up with a tablespoon of water.

To make your Mountain Cristo, simply spread Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread on both sides of the bread, then build you sandwich by layering in the ham, smoked turkey and provolone cheese. Put the other piece of bread on top and dip the sandwich into your egg wash, then flip it over and dip the other side. Let it absorb the egg like you would if you were making French toast.

Now for the fun part! Put your sandwich in your buttery, pre-heated skillet and cook it on one side, making sure to keep your good eye on it so it doesn’t burn. You want golden brown, not blackened! Flip and let it toast. Keeping your heat on the lower side of medium heat is a good plan since you want the interior of the sandwich to be warm and the cheese to melt. I flipped mine around a few times to get it nice and melty. Take out of the pan, slice in half diagonally and dust with powdered sugar.
Serve with apple slices.

This is a sandwich based on what I had on hand. Prefer a different cheese? Don’t eat ham or don’t have turkey? Change it up and let me know what you used.

Post your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #UnicoiPreserves

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Gluten Free Appetizer - Pork Rinds & Unicoi Preserves

Gluten Free Appetizer - Pork Rinds & Unicoi Preserves

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us. Our Georgia Vineyard Fire and Apple Cider Pepper Spread are both fast and easy appetizers served over a block of cream cheese with crackers.

However, what do you serve instead of the crackers if you are gluten free or know some of your guests are gluten free? Unicoi Preserves buys a lot of crackers for sampling and we adore the original Ritz but have tried box after box of gluten free crackers that just don’t taste good. Why eat something that doesn’t taste good?

So with that in mind, behold!

 

Gluten free and high in protein. Pork rinds topped with whipped cream cheese and our hot pepper spreads.

So if you are gluten free, give it a go and let us know how you like it. Please post your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
#UnicoiPreserves

Gluten free and high in protein. Pork rinds topped with whipped cream cheese and our hot pepper spreads.

So if you are gluten free, give it a go and let us know how you like it. Please post your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
#UnicoiPreserves

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Waste not, want not & a recipe for homemade stock

When you’re a kid, you don’t really think of all it takes to have a family and run a household. We never wanted for anything growing up, but looking back on it now, its because my parents both worked very hard and made smart financial decisions that allowed us to not ever know a birthday or Christmas that wasn’t filled with celebration and gifts.

As I got older, I scoffed at my mom clipping coupons and buying store-brand foods, vowing one day, I wouldn’t do the same. Well, fast-forward to today, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I hate for food to go to waste. Hate. We belong to a CSA and get fresh vegetables and fruit in season, so there is a lot of chopping and vegetable scraps that would go to waste if I didn’t have a plan for them. When we lived in south Georgia, we had a compost pile and would put our peelings on that, but since moving to the north Georgia mountains, we have stopped composting because of our neighbors, the bears.

I am not afraid of black bears, mind you, but I respect all wildlife and have seen a bumper sticker around town that says “A fed bear is a dead bear.” Basically, bears are lazy and will forage for scrapes of food, be it your trash can, compost pile or camp site — recall the old Yogi Bear cartoons where Yogi would hide out in the campground and steal pick-a-nick baskets.

Co-existing with wildlife is important to us and respecting nature and not attracting wildlife to our home by feeding them is a huge part of who we are. With that in mind, here is a recipe procedure, of how to use your vegetable (and chicken) scraps.

Best quality chicken & vegetable stock

Get a gallon size freezer zip bag or reusable container and as you cut and peel
Garlic, onions, carrots, celery, okra, green beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, etc. — anything but cruciferous vegetables, they make stock skunky, put the scraps and end pieces in the bag.
Also, apple and pear cores and peelings are good additions
Chicken parts, like necks, skins, backs, wings, etc.
I have left out the chicken before when cooking for vegetarians and its equally yummy.

Keep this bag and its contents in the freezer. When its full, add it to your largest stockpot and add a big handful of fresh herbs if you have them. I usually have oregano and rosemary. Fill up the pot completely with cold water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to a nice easy simmer and leave uncovered, cook for 3-4 hours and turn the heat off, cool a bit and strain the stock.

If you have 4 legged kitchen helpers like we do, pick through and find some yummy chicken pieces, watching for tiny bones, and make your hounds happy that you are a thrifty cook

Today, mine made 4 quarts of nutrient-rich and flavorful stock. Usually I freeze it, but since I bought a gigantic candy roaster winter squash, I will refrigerate my stock and use it this week to make soup

Making homemade stock is easy, let me know how yours turns out and show me some pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
#UnicoiPreserves

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Vampire Bites

Growing up, my mom would pack my lunchbox and I was always happy to find the occasional Tastykake Jelly Krimpet. If you’ve never had this fun little snack cake, it’s a simple yellow sponge cake injected in three places with jelly.

Vampire Bites are an ode to the Jelly Krimpet. A fast, simple and great way to enjoy our Georgia Vineyard Spread.
Here’s what you need.
Ingredients:
9 oz. jar Unicoi Preserves Georgia Vineyard Spread
1 box yellow cake mix
Eggs
Cooking oil
Special equipment
Mini cupcake pan & liners
Pastry or plastic food storage bag for filling cupcakes
Pastry tip – Bismarck tip 230 (I had this but if you don’t, just snip the corner off a plastic bag)
Chopstick or other similar rounded device
Preheat oven as directed on the box, then prepare cake batter, also as directed on the box. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost the flavor but you can skip this if you like.
Put the cupcake liners in your pan and fill 3/4 ways full. I used a small cookie scoop I had to fill the cupcake liners.
Bake until the cakes spring back or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, Mine took 12 minutes. 
Cool on rack & repeat with remaining cake batter.
Mine made 48 bites, this could vary on how full you fill the pans and how drippy you are when filling them.
To fill your bites after cooling
Using the blunt end of the chopstick, poke a hole in the cupcake but not all the way to the bottom & wiggle it to make room for the Chamboucin Spread.
Spoon the jelly into your pastry bag or plastic bag & shoot each bite with jelly so some shows through the top
               Our Georgia Chambourcin had a name change & is now called                                                     Georgia Vineyard Spread.

Serve and enjoy. Can make up to 2 days ahead, possibly longer but there are none left 48 hours after making them.
Don’t forget to share your pictures on our Facebook & Instagram pages when you make them. #UnicoiPreserves
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Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies

Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, every where you look!

In anticipation of the fast-approaching holiday season, I’ve been looking through my cookbooks and online to come up with some different recipes to highlight our spreads at some special events we have coming up.

Here’s the first in a series of recipes that I thought looked really festive!
I used both Georgia Vineyard Fire and Chambourcin spread just because of the brilliant color and contrast. We eat with our eyes first, right?

I found that the 1/8 teaspoon of  jelly that the recipe called for was not enough to fill the indention. Maybe my holes were bigger?  Regardless, don’t make the mistake I made with the first tray, fill up those craters (but don’t over fill them either!) for the prettiest presentation.

Rating: 4 Jelly Spoons
Difficulty:  Easy – I made them after dinner on a Wednesday night

Happy baking!  Please share pictures of your culinary masterpieces using our spreads on our Facebook and Instagram feed.  #UnicoiPreserves

Click through the link below. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies

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Suwannee Wine Fest

We were blessed with a beautiful but windy fall day for the 2nd Annual Suwanee Wine Fest.

Arriving in plenty of time to unload & stage our tent for the festival, we were greeted and helped by many volunteers to get our wagon unloaded and to our assigned spot. This was our first event using our tent weights and the fall crosswinds put us to the test. Once Clark hung our 8-foot banner, the gusts made us wonder if we would get to stay and enjoy the festival or if we’d be meeting folks in the Kansas heartland.

We met a lot of people that had never tried our taste of Northeast Georgia wine country. Clark & I have become pretty good at estimating crowds and based on cracker, cookies & cream cheese that we sampled, upwards of 3000 people were there. Suwanee really loves Unicoi Preserves and we are looking forward to expanding our market in the area.

There were over 200 international wines to sample, a craft beer tent, food trucks and live music all benefiting  Annadale Village, a non-profit organization that provides life assistance to adults with traumatic brain injuries & developmental disabilities.
Cheers & many thanks to the sponsors of such a well run event:

Such a beautiful and well maintained park and town. We’ll be back for sure next year, thanks Suwanee!

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