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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Picnic at the Vineyard

It was a perfect day!  First of all, the weather was amazing...sunshine, cool breezes and glory!  It was a taste of Spring in the dead of Winter.  I packed a picnic for my family and we headed to Morgan Creek Vineyards in Harpersville, AL...about an hour out of Birmingham.

It was a gorgeous drive!

First, we walked into the gift shop, which also serves as the tasting room.   Here you can get a small sample of each wine.  Most are made with muscadines and have a sweet quality to the flavor.  Some have hints of other fruits as well.  We enjoy more dry wine.  So we decided on the Cahaba White for our picnic.  In our opinion, it was the driest and yummiest.  But of course, everyone has different opinions of how wine should taste.
Check them out here:

Now back to my favorite subject: FOOD!
For our picnic, we had Kale Brussels Sprout Slaw, Asian Pasta Salad, Shrimp marinated in Chimichurri Sauce and a Cheese and Apple plate.

Flavors that transition between Winter and Spring.

Here are the recipes:

Asian Pasta Salad
1 package Asian Noodles
1 Red Bell Pepper (julienned)
about 8 Green Onions (julienned)
1 Cucumber (seeded and julienned)
1 Tbsp Black Sesame Seeds
1 cup Asian Vinaigrette
Instructions: Cook noodles by the instructions on the package.  Put all ingredients in a decorative bowl and toss to blend.  Serve immediately or prepare the night before and store in the fridge.

Recipe for Asian Vinaigrette
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 clove minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Honey
*Whisk ingredients together to combine.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Slaw

1 small bunch fresh Kale (shredded and stems removed)
1 bag Cole Slaw Mix
8-10 fresh Brussels Sprouts (sliced thinly)
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
1 cup Honey Sesame Vinaigrette
Instructions:  Combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Allow to sit covered in the fridge for a few hours to meld flavors.

Honey Sesame Vinaigrette
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Whisk ingredients together to combine.

Shrimp marinated in Chimichurri Sauce

1 bag frozen peeled Shrimp
wooden skewers
Chimichurri Sauce (recipe below)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1.  Thaw and Rinse Shrimp.
2.  Marinate in Chimichurri for about 30 minutes.
3.  Heat the Olive Oil and Butter in a grill pan (or other large pan) over medium-high heat.
4.  Place 4 or 5 Shrimp each, on the wooden skewers.
5.  Throw into the pan, along with any remaining sauce and cook for 5-7 minutes or until pink and starting to brown on each side.

Chimichurri Sauce
1/4 cup Fresh Oregano
1/4 cup Fresh Italian Parsley
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Shallot (or 1/4 a Red Onion)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions:  Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Picnic season is quickly approaching.  Lovely Spring and the urge to do everything outside are just around the corner.  Our picnic day at the vineyard reminded me of that.  Make sure to eat as many meals as possible outside!  Take a picnic somewhere or just to your back yard.  And while you're at it, try my picnic recipes!

Jackson, the Morgan Creek Winery horse.