Sunday, January 20, 2013

Birthday Bash at the Brewery

Saturday was Mr. Applejack Lane's birthday.  Since Saturday is his normal day to golf, we chose to take him on a birthday excursion as soon as he came home as he is usually starved from being out all day.  And as in the past, we do not tell him where his birthday destination will be.  It is just get in the car and go.

This year's dinner site was the Blue Mountain Brewery or BMB as the locals call it. Blue Mountain Brewery is in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, located in neighboring Nelson County near the crossroads of the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.   The brewery site also happens to be in the midst of Virginia’s finest wine region, known as “The Monticello Wine Trail”, between several of Virginia’s premier destination vineyards. It takes us about 30 minutes of driving time and we arrived late afternoon on this beautiful sun lit day in January .
The parking lots were packed.  People were milling around the grounds, sitting on the patios, enjoying what was left of the sunny afternoon.  I wished we could have come earlier to have an outdoor respite ourselves.
Inside, the place was really hopping.  My son tells me Saturday and Sunday are like this all the time.  But he is a regular patron there so we had no difficulty getting a table. It sort of reminded me of Cheers where everybody knows your name.  At least the staff knew his name. 
Most breweries have a sampler and this is BMB's tasting.  My son recommends The Full Nelson, named in honor of the county. 
Here's the birthday boy...
We all ordered something different. but here is the Chicken Parmesan pizza after a few guest tore into it.  I should have gotten a picture before it was dissected.  The presentation was beautiful.  Pizza is a specialty at the BMB.  Just about every table around us had at least one along with other entrees.  We enjoyed various burgers, Cuban sandwiches, and salads with all dressings made in house.  The chipolata ranch was excellent.

The restaurant has co-oped with local farmers to supply the hops and other ingredients for the beers as well as provide what is seasonally feasible for the food that is served.  One local establishment supplies the breads used for sandwiches.  This is a great boon for the economy of Nelson county.

The ladies in the party can't wait to go back and enjoy that terraced patio on a warm spring day. Blue Mountain Brewery is a place for friends, family, and those of us who enjoy the natural beauty of the Virginia countryside.
  Happy Birthday, Mr. Applejack!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet Corn Muffins

When I was a kid, I hated cornbread.  It just tasted blah.  Enter my friend Valerie with a birthday present.
A cast iron muffin pan...
With the muffin pan, she was obligated to give me a recipe for corn muffins that I would find delicious.  She did, and it was.  Here it is...

Sweet Corn Muffins*
1 cups flour
1/2  cup corn meal
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 T. honey
12 T. melted butter

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  
In a larger bowl, combine the sugar and eggs, mixing well.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, blending well.
Add the honey and melted butter.
Let sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Spoon into an iron pan and bake until golden brown about 10 minutes.
May add green chilies, bacon, or cheddar cheese to give a variety of flavors.
Makes about 12 small muffins.

*This is the perfect recipe to half.  I cut back on the amount of sugar and butter.  Also, we were in a rush to eat so I did not refrigerate for 4 hours. 
On a cold night with a hot bowl of soup, what could be better?
 Until next time...
Joan from Applejack Lane

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Grotts!

I just can't believe that Ben and Meredith are celebrating their 12th and 10th birthdays this week.  How time flies especially when I thought they were 11 and 9!  I missed a whole year of birthdays for them.  Wishing both a very happy day from Applejack Lane!
Ben and Meredith

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Bit of Blue

When I was small, my mother didn't dress me in blue.  It just didn't seem to be a part of her color wheel.  Now that I am a bit older, blue is one of my favorite colors. Here is a bit of blue from my corner of the world at Applejack Lane.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Happy New Year Soup

Happy New Year from Applejack Lane.  In honor of the day, here is a way to eat your black-eyed peas that is light and delicious.  This recipe comes from the 2001 Christmas with Southern Living series.
Black-Eyed Pea and Sausage Soup
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
3 (14 1/2 oz.) cans beef broth
1 (14 1/2 oz). can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
1 (16 oz.) jar chipotle-flavored salsa*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook sausage in oil in a large Dutch oven, stirring until it browns.  Remove sausage, reserving drippings in pan.  Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, and celery.  Saute' over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in sausage, peas, broth, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Cover;  reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes.  Stir in salsa, salt, and pepper.  Simmer 10 more minutes.  Yield 10 cups.

*If desired, a milder salsa can be substituted.