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Cooking & Recipes Sausage Time!
CONTENTS PAGE 3 7. Editors Block TASTE OF PLACE 8. City of Canals Food Tour 14. Farm Stay in Skagit Valley 22. Taste Tulare County 26. Flagstaff Foodie Stops 30. The Flavors of New Mexico SIPS & SAVOR 36. Wine Tasting & Charcuterie 40. Iris Vineyards Contents Continued… Get a New Big Blend Magazine For FREE In Your Inbox Every Week! SEE OUR LIST OF DIGITAL PUBLICATIONS & SIGN UPFOR OUR BIG BLEND E-NEWSLETTER
CONTENTS Continued SIPS & SAVOR 45. SLO Coast AVA 48. Blind Barrels Whiskey 50. SipLOKI Wins in Fun & Flavor 52. Nepal Tea Collective COOKING & RECIPES 54. Best & Worst Cookware 56. Two Great Cookbooks 62. It’s Sausage Time! 66. Spring Creek Pear Honey 68. Butternut Squash Soup


"I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food." W.C. Fields

It’s that exciting time of year for cooking and getting together to “eat, drink, and be merry!”

From local ingredients to culinary traditions, there’s nothing like getting a true taste of a place. Celebrating farmers and growers, distillers and winemakers, chefs and home cooks, restauranteurs, and innkeepers, along with ambitious entrepreneurs and retailers, this issue is a delicious exploration of flavor that goes from the historic canals of Venice, Italy to the lush tea farms of Nepal, the farm and wine country of Central California and the Pacific Northwest to the culturally diverse Southwest and Southeast.

As always, there are cooking tips and recipes to try. Speaking of fun in the kitchen, stay tuned for our next issue which will feature a collection of recipes from Bed & Breakfast innkeepers across the country.

Be sure to sign up for our weekly Big Blend e-Newsletter to get your copy in your inbox, as well as our other digital magazines. Connect with us on your favorite Social Media outlets here.

Cheers to You and Yours!

Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter duo who publishes Big Blend Magazines, hosts Big Blend Radio, and travels full-time on the Love Your Parks Tour.

BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.

by Debbie Stone PAGE 8

A colorful produce market. Continued on Next Page…

Food tours are one of the best ways to get to know a city. I like to take them not only to learn about the regional cuisine, but to get to know the area from a local’s perspective. It’s a meld of food, history, culture, and geography. Plus, an extra bonus is the exercise you’re getting while walking.

On a recent trip to Italy, I joined a “Get Your Guide Street Food Tour of Venice.” Our guide Silvia led us through lovely squares, past impressive churches and other historical highlights, and to various produce and fish markets. We sampled traditional foods while hearing all about the “City of Canals” and its colorful past.

As we strolled through a number of the picturesque squares, Silvia explained that these squares are “campos” and not piazzas. She

Our Guide, Sylvia, with tramezzini sandwiches PAGE 9

noted there’s only one piazza in Venice – Piazza San Marco. But there are many campos. Like most people, I assumed the two were the same, but the difference is that a campo was once a field; whereas, a piazza was never a field.

When you get off the main touristy sections of Venice, you’ll discover the more peaceful side of the city and get a glimpse into everyday life in this fascinating town. Children play in the street, clothes hang outside the windows to dry, women shell fava beans on the steps and neighbors chat amongst themselves. It’s here where you’ll discover the shops, cafes, and markets often frequented by residents.

The food tour included tastings at five places. The first stop was at Casa del Parmigiano, a traditional family-run shop that’s been in existence since 1936. You’ll find cheese, glorious cheese, plus meats, regional fruits, oils and balsamic vinegars, and wines. We sampled some Montasio cheese and Nostrano salami.

Montasio is an Italian cheese originally produced in the 13th century by Benedictine monks at

their monastery in the mountains north of Venice. Made with cow’s milk, this cheese is delicious at whatever its age. We enjoyed it in several stages of maturation.

The Nostrano salami is traditionally made with the finest quality pork thigh meat. It’s seasoned with several spices and is mild with a touch of sweetness.

Cheese, salami and olives to taste.

Venice Continued… Casa Del Parmigiano

Our next stop was Do Mori, a small, dimly lit bácaro or Italian pub, that accommodates about ten people standing up. It’s the oldest bácaro in Venice, founded in 1462, and reputed to have been one of Casanova’s favorite hangouts. Do Mori serves seasonal homemade cicchetti, or Venetian tapas, and wine. It’s an old-school place with a cozy, dim lit interior, adorned with wine barrels, old photos on the walls, and antique copper pots hanging from the ceiling. No chairs, no tables, just a long wooden bar, where people stand and eat, drink and socialize.

We sampled the cicchetti, of which there was an ample selection – everything from fried meatballs to crostini topped with sardines, shrimp and zucchini, roasted pumpkin with brie, prosciutto with honey and peppercorns, calamari with eggplant, and more. And there were also tramezzini, crustless oversized sandwiches stuffed with deli meats, cheese, veggies, tuna,

Continued on Next Page… The delights of Do Mori Cicchetti at Do Mori

and the ever-popular baccala mantecato or salted codfish simmered in milk and whipped into a creamy mousse. I think the latter is an acquired taste, which I have yet to acquire!

At Mauro El Forner, the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries fills the air. This well-known bakery is more than eighty years old and boasts the experience of four generations of bakers. They use only the highest quality products and maintain traditional artisan techniques. And they make over fifty types of bread plus a variety of Venetian sweets. We tasted Sfogliatine, a typical cookie from the region. The Italian word sfoglio means sheets, which describes the layers of puff pastry dough in the cookies. They are then coated with an apricot glaze and baked to a crisp for a light, not too sweet, delicious treat.

Our fourth stop was at Basegone, a bar, ciccheteria, and winery. In addition to the wonderfully innovative cicchetti, this establishment specializes in spritzes, from

Aperol and Selecta to Campari and Cynar. Aperol spritz is the most popular and you’ll see tourists and locals alike drinking the neon orange libations everywhere in Italy. I liked each

Sfogliatine from Mauro El Forner Cicchetti and Spritz from Basegone Artichokes

The tour ended at award-winning Gelateria al Doge. Tucked in a corner of the Campo San Toma neighborhood, the shop has a walk-up window where you order your gelato. Choosing your flavor, however, can be a process, as there are more than fifteen flavors available – all homemade, of course.

If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be in heaven, as they have eight versions of chocolate, like the signature Crema di Doge, a candied orange and chocolate melt-in-your-mouth concoction, or the spicy chocolate (with pepper!), or dark-pink Himalayan salt and cocoa. And if you’d rather drink your gelato through a straw, the shop blends a variety of milkshakes. And there’s traditional Sicilian granita, too.

As I walked away, I murmured, “Gelato, amore mio, I wish we could always be together!”

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

Heavenly Gelato! Gelateria al Doge


WASHINGTON 12 Fun Recommendations LaConnor Waterfront PAGE 14

Next time you’re planning to visit Washington State, take a road trip through the rural part of the state. Experience, like I did, “the other side” of Washington via a farm stay. The northern part of Washington in Skagit Valley is my recommendation. There are farms that you can visit, tour, and stay at. Buy locally grown products to relish and enjoy. There are tons of opportunities to eat local, taste unique beer, and really savor some exceptional

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva,” Blake Vanfield – Director of Genuine Skagit Valley, and Linda Versage –Blanchard Mountain Farm. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean distinctive cheese. I even have a “BEST EVER” pizza recommendation!

Maybe the coolest part of the region is that everything you want to visit is just a few minutes drive from each other.

More than 90 percent of farms in the U.S. are classified as small, with a gross cash farm income

of $250,000, or less. Skagit County is known for its agricultural products and agriculture remains one of the most important industries in the area. The 1,000-plus farms in the county occupy more than 9% of its total land mass. Notably, a majority of the total number of farms in Skagit County range in size from 1 to 50 acres.

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Blanchard Mountain Farm

Skagit Continued…

The definition of farms includes more than just cows. Skagit Valley farms also includes nurseries and greenhouses, cheese shops, beekeepers, and blueberry farms. In order for a farm to be counted by the US Department of Agriculture, it must have at least $1,000 in annual product sales or have the potential for $1,000 or more annual sales.

Family and small farms are vital to our economy and well-being as a nation. Not only do they support the competitiveness and sustainability of rural and farm economies, but they also protect and enhance natural resources and the environment, and encourage rural populations.

It’s hard to narrow down the list of amazing things to do on your farm stay in Washington’s Skagit Valley, but these are my recommendations for a first-time farm stay.


Blanchard Mountain Farm Stay - Blanchard Mountain Farm has a one-bedroom furnished guest house with a fully stocked kitchen, to rent by the night for farm stays. It is close to wonderful foodie-worthy eateries, galleries, shops, beaches, and other farms (including the tulip farms) in the Bow and Edison area. Literally everything you will be visiting is under 15 minutes from the guest house. The farm is just 30 minutes from Bellingham, LaConner, and Anacortes and 15-20 minutes to Burlington and Mount Vernon. The calendar is managed on AirBnB. It was, for me, one of the best small farm stays I have experienced. Hosts Linda and Walter make it a memorable experience way beyond handing you the keys to the guest house. Ask for a personal tour of the farm.

Blanchard Mountain Farm Commercial Flower Field Blanchard Mountain Farm Eggplant


Christianson's Nursery & Greenhouse – Wake up and smell the roses! For those of us who love gardens, visiting local nurseries is a must. This destination garden has earned numerous awards and achievements over the years. Using restructured old buildings, salvaged glass, and other materials, it is a thoughtfully curated space for all to enjoy through a walkabout. Plan at least an hour here.

The nursery offers a wide variety of common and uncommon plants, garden accessories, antiques & gifts, and the largest selection of roses and perennials in Northwest Washington.

They had me at the rose selection, probably you too.

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Christianson’s Gardens Christianson’s Greenhouse

La Conner Gardens - Nothing is quite as fun as visiting a picturesque farmstand in Washington. At its peak, this smallish Mom and Pop stand grows naturally using organic practices and is filled to the brim with all kinds of local produce and flora like freshly harvested green beans, Amethyst beans, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beets, zucchini, onions, garlic, kale. It’s a yummy and distinctive experience.

Everyone should come home with at least one bunch of their specialty gourmet garlic. Varieties include Inchelium Red (softneck), Chesnok Red, Romanian Red (hardneck), and Elephant Garlic. Tuck one of these beauties in your suitcase! The gourmet bulbs are available for about $15 per pound or $20 per pound for planting-size bulbs.


Nell Thorn Waterfront Bistro & Bar – All you have to do is show up and enjoy. The food, staff, and waterfront view are remarkable. Dine instead or outside. The exclusive waterfront location offers a fresh, daily menu of artisan-made, sustainable, farm-to-table Northwest fare, craft cocktails, fine wines, and microbrews on tap. Anything you order here is going to be good AND there is off-street private parking.

Ingredients are sourced from local family farms and are organic whenever possible. Do a bit of Main Street shopping before or after your meal. Expect kitschy to sophisticated shops.

Chuckanut Manor Seafood & Grill - Chuckanut Manor is a historic culinary roadhouse on scenic Chuckanut Drive. It overlooks Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. Think steaks, seafood, and fresh oysters featured on a local menu. This is classic Pacific Northwest cuisine at an awe-inspiring location. Enjoy the stunning views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands over a glass of premium wine, an entrée, and stellar service.

With a classic upscale roadhouse feel, come as you are and when the weather allows, dine on the outdoor patio for some of the best al fresco dining in the Pacific Northwest.


Blanchard Mountain Farm - Located off Chuckanut Drive near Edison, Blanchard Mountain Farm grows WSDA-certified organic vegetables, unique herbs, cut flowers, and specialty crops, including many Italian varieties. Owners Linda Versage and Walter Brodie are

Nell Thorn’s Signature Hamburger LaConnor Gardens Skagit Continued…

committed to enhancing their farm’s ecosystem and sharing it with wildlife and visitors. They share it with visitors through a farm stand, a 1-bedroom guest house, and occasional education programs.

Prior to farming, Linda’s previous career was as an environmental educator and she taught outdoors. The farm is now her classroom and she loves giving tours to visitors, chefs, and children.

Schuh Farm - This family-owned large farmstand features the best pies and produce around the area. It’s a delicious stop that provides fresh produce, pies, baked goods, fresh fruit shakes, canned goods, eggs, plant starts, flowering baskets, and fresh flower bouquets. The espresso hut on the property bangs out some very tasty brew.

Continued on Next Page…
Chuckanut Manor patio and food Schuh Farms and Fruit

The owners grow seven varieties of berries and offer U-Pick. Corn is picked and offered from August through October. Pickling cucumbers are available for the entire month of August. July and August bring forth crave-worthy stone fruit direct from the Yakima Valley. In the fall, get your fill of pumpkins, squash, and gourds.

Bow Hill Blueberries – Call ahead or go online to go on a tour of this small family-owned and charming farm. Ask which (or if all) of the five tour types are available (starting at $10.00): Family, Organic Agriculture Intensive, Epicurean, School/Camp, and Club. All include a walking tour, tasting, and complimentary ice cream or popsicle, but each focuses on and highlights different aspects of the farm and process. The blueberry juice in a jug is to die for. Seriously.

Garden Path Fermentation


Garden Path Fermentation - Certainly one-ofa- kind, Garden Path Fermentation makes hyperlocal beer, mead, cider, and wine only using ingredients sourced from their own


backyard. Exclusively uses Skagit-grown grain, fruit, and honey, Pacific Northwest hops and ferments all products in oak with 100% native Skagit yeast. Fascinating owners. Great story. Tasty products.

Samish Bay Cheese - Samish Bay Cheese is owned and operated by Suzanne and Roger Wechsler. Their 200-acre farm has a mixed herd, mostly of Milking Shorthorns. Grass-green fields are well-suited to organic farming.

They use their own milk to make cheese, yogurt, and Kefir. Samish Bay Cheese is Certified Organic. They have beef, pork, lamb, and veal as well, all raised on the farm. Wine, cider, beer, juice, honey, jams, and a host of local artisan and complementary products in their shop. Highly recommend this stop. If you can’t take the tasty treats home that day, they ship.

Terramar Brewstillery – Taproom, cidery, speakeasy, restaurant, BEST pizza (IMO) in WA. Casual fun inside or outside at this Edison venue. Dog-friendly outside on the patio. If you can’t find something here to rave about, you need an attitude adjustment. This is an adult oasis while being kid friendly.

The owner created this destination out of nothing into something truly praiseworthy. Obviously, I loved this place and HIGHLY recommend you try it and sample as many libations as you can… over several visits. Things are ever-changing here, be part of the wave of success.

Clamming - Washington’s beaches provide clamming fun for everyone and it is a year-round affair. In the Skagit Valley, there’s an abundance of delicious shellfish species to discover. To find a beach and time of year to harvest clams, mussels, and oysters contact the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

Terramar Brewstillery Pizza - the best pizza Skagit Valley Dahlia


A Foodie’s Paradise in Central California’s Farm Country
Chicken Schnitzel at Ponderosa Lodge in Sequoia National Forest

From restaurants and breweries to farmers’ markets, gourmet gift shops, seasonal festivals, and agricultural attractions, this episode of Big Blend Radio’s 1st Thursday “Travel Tulare County” series with the Sequoia Tourism Council is all about the vibrant farm and food scene in California’s Sequoia Country. Featured Guests: Donnette Silva Carter – Tulare Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Bianco –Visit Visalia, Tina Rice – Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Heathe Jones – Dinuba Chamber of Commerce, and Kristy Martin – Porterville Chamber of Commerce. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

A major agricultural hub that feeds America, Tulare County is a leading producer in dairy, citrus and stone fruits, nuts, and berries. In fact, local farmers grow over 200 different major crops with produce being shipped to more than 75 countries worldwide. Locals and visitors can

get a taste of the region’s bounty, including its dairy products, at one of the many roadside farm stands or community farmers markets, restaurants and gourmet shops, festivals, and events.

The area’s dining opportunities range from tasty Mexican cuisine and delicious European flavors

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Deli in Three Rivers Brews & Bites at Sequoia Brewing Company in Downtown Visalia

to fresh farm-to-table fare, traditional American diner food, steak houses, delis, bakeries, ice cream shops, taco stands and food trucks. If you’re looking for a foodie adventure, look no further!

Home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County is known as California’s Sequoia Country, and makes for a fabulous destination offering a variety of outdoor activities, a calendar full of art events and seasonal festivals, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining opportunities in the park gateway communities of Three Rivers, Exeter, Visalia, Porterville, Tulare, Lindsay, Woodlake, and Dinuba.

East of Fresno, the area is an easy 4-5 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and 3-4 hours from Los Angeles. Plan your visit at

Tulare Continued… PAGE 24

Where is a great spot to eat, drink, and be merry? Some may be surprised when I say it’s Flagstaff. I enjoyed a quick venture to the Arizona city and “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” earlier this year. Not only are the red rocks divine but the foodie scene is hopping. Whether visitors come in search of a quick bite or something more high-end, Flagstaff will deliver.

Annex Cocktail Lounge

When I arrived at the Annex Cocktail Lounge, I suddenly felt I was no longer in Flagstaff. The beautiful space

in which Annex resides has remains of the Historic Basque Handball Court. While the snow on the ground brought me back to “reality,” the walls surrounding me truly had me feeling like I was in Spain. This alone makes a stop to Annex a must.

The crafted drinks aren’t too shabby, either. Their seasonal cocktail menu is incredibly unique

and has many twists on the classics. In addition to libations, Annex also has a full kitchen so plan to stay awhile. Each item is curated to pair expertly with their drinks. For those not drinking, at-least one mocktail is always available, and the best part? They also have a coffee menu with favorites like latte and mocha.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writers Mary Farah and Cori Solomon share their wine, food, and travel adventures in Northern Arizona and Central California. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Beautiful vibes at the Annex Cocktail Lounge - Mary Farah
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Altitudes Bar and Grill

I love to find the “Cheers” bar whenever I'm in a new city. That local hangout where “everybody knows your name.” As soon as I entered Altitudes, I knew I'd found Flagstaff’s. Since opening in 2003, Altitudes has been a beloved favorite for locals and visitors. Since Flagstaff is a skiing town, the walls are adorned with skis and snow gear. It’s the ideal spot to go out with the entire family.

Altitudes is also world-renowned for their “train shots.” With the train tracks literally outside, guests can enjoy a tequila shot for two dollars when the train passes by. For the little diners, they can enjoy a shot as well.… of 7-Up!


My evening at Brix was one of the loveliest meals I’ve enjoyed. If you don’t believe me, ask Conde Nast. They named Brix one of the hottest restaurants in the world in 2007. And the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since.

Taking space in a carriage house built in the 1800s, Brix serves elegant American plates. Think seafood, fine meats, and many vegetarian/vegan options. Owned by Paul and Laura Moir, they are dedicated to serving locally-sourced vegetables and fruit and responsibly raised meats.

Brix’s Executive Chef, Logan Webber is a native of Flagstaff and attended culinary school in town. Chef Logan started as a line cook with Brix over a decade ago. His plates bring not only exquisite flavor but an artistic bent that may make some think their plate is “too pretty to eat.” After one bite, you may change that thought and devour every bite. I know I certainly did.

Mary Farah is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles. She's written on her blog, Along Comes Mary, since 2012. Her work can be found in various online outlets including GoWorld Travel and FWT Magazine. Mary is a proud member of IFWTWA, the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association. A former executive board member, she currently serves on their conference and editorial committees.

The Annex Continued… Altitudes Bar & Grill - Mary Farah Last call at The Brix

Get a Taste of the Chile Capital of the World

Chile Relleno Platter at Doc Martin’s in Taos • PAGE 30

Spanish, South American, and European roots have created a culinary adventure like no other. We’re talking margarita perfection and the ultimate mouthwatering cuisine with those famous green chiles, posole, enchiladas served Christmas style, chile rellenos, fry bread tacos, and not to forget the state’s well known Frito pie and green chile cheeseburgers. Along with chiles, you’ll also see blue cornmeal, pine nuts, beans, and squash in many regional dishes.

Every second Thursday Big Blend Radio hosts a “Stay & Play in New Mexico” show with the New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association (NMBBA). From shopping and dining to cultural celebrations and the arts, nature and outdoor adventures, and historic sites and unique attractions, this show features innkeepers who talk about what there is to experience in what is known as “The Land of Enchantment.” When you stay in one of these inns, you can be sure your lodging is as unique and diverse as New Mexico itself. Awake to a freshly prepared breakfast and savor flavorful dishes highlighting the rich, varied, and locally grown ingredients of New Mexico.

Enjoy these two recent podcasts focusing on favorite dining establishments, regional drinks and dishes, and local ingredients and recipes that span the state from Taos to Chimayo, Santa Fe to Albuquerque, and south to Hatch, Silver City and Las Cruces.

Red Door Brewing’s Taproom in Clovis Margarita at Thunderbird Bar & Grill in Santa Fe
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From green chiles to pecans, and prickly pear margaritas to drinking chocolate with chili, this episode focuses on the diverse and delicious food and fall flavors of New Mexico. Featured guests are innkeepers Kathy Hiatt of Bottger

Mansion of Old Town in Albuquerque, and Ernesto Quintero of Casa Escondida in Chimayo. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean

Yucatan Organic Chicken Breast Salad at Cafe Pascal’s in Santa Fe Farmers Market in Silver City New Mexico Continued…


From farm-to-table fare, fry bread, and tacos, to green chiles, blue cornmeal pancakes, and global fusion cuisine, this episode focuses on the regional dishes and dining destinations of Albuquerque. Featured guests are Steve Hiatt of

Bottger Mansion of Old Town, and Darlene Capshaw of Red Horse Bed & Breakfast. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean

Peruvian Cuisine at the Sawmill MarketWine Tasting at Casa Rondena Winery
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NEW MEXICO RECIPES & FOOD FEATURES Get a Taste of New Mexico and click through to see recipes and other Big Blend food features covering the Land of Enchantment! Bottger Mansion Blue Cornmeal Pancakes Sammy’s 4-H Blue Ribbon Zucchini Bread Biscochito: New Mexico’s State Cookie Eat Like O’Keeffe and Corn Soup Recipe A Visit to Casa Rondena Winery Sip & Savor Your Way on Santa Fe’s Margarita Trail Historic Church Street Café in Albuquerque Savor Downtown Santa Fe Plan your New Mexico culinary adventure at Bed & Breakfast stay at: Blue Cornmeal Pancakes New Mexico Continued… PAGE 34
Wine Time with Peggy Podcast: Peggy is on Big Blend Radio every 1st Wednesday. Watch here in the YouTube player. Peggy Fiandaca, Co-Owner of LDV Winery in Arizona, shares wine tasting and charcuterie pairing tips.


1. Do your research before you go. Learn about the grape varieties, download a wine trail map, and get recommendations from friends on where to go.

2. You cannot do them all. Set your priorities and don’t try to power taste.

3. Eat before you go or purchase some food to go with your wine.

4. Avoid coffee and chewing gum. Also, avoid anything that interferes with your sense of smell such as heavy perfumes, etc.

5. Taste what you like but take the opportunity to try something new.

6. Don’t be one of those rude or loud wine tasters. It is not about impressing everyone within earshot about what you know. Unless the

wine is truly flawed, keep your negative opinions to yourself or among your companions.

7. Ask questions about the wine, winery, and what makes their wine unique. Take notes about the wine so that when you are ready to purchase you will remember which wines you liked best.

8. Go ahead and share your wine tastings.

9. Know your limits. It is okay to use the dump bucket. If you had too much to drink, don’t ask for more. You will not be served. Choose a designated driver.

10. Tasting fees are standard and like other service providers if you enjoyed your experience tip accordingly.

Most of all enjoy!

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1. Focus on the food’s main components – salt, fat, and acid. The food’s salt content will soften a wine’s tannins or acidity. It will also enhance the perception of wine’s body on the palate.

2. Wine should always be more acidic than the food pairing.

3. If your board includes creamy cheese, foie gras, Iberian ham, and other fatty dishes, pair them with acidic wine for the perfect balance. The acid will cut through the fat while giving the food bite the perfect enhancement.

4. Salty meats such as prosciutto go well with chilled, wines sparkling. Why? They are low in alcohol content, high in acid, and offer a little sweetness to balance out the saltiness.

5. Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir would also be great choices for salty items.

6. Foods high in fats or oils pair well with bolder red wines because the fat counterbalances the wine’s high tannins. But you could also opt for a crisp, acidic white wine. The combination gives the perception of cleansing the palate.

7. Aim to match boldness of a wine with bold food. Full-bodied red wines, like Merlot or Cabernet Fran or Petite Sirah, are commonly paired with bold cheeses and meats.

8. Spicier meats go well with sweeter wines as the sugar in the wine can counteract the spice, while creating a dance of flavors. Riesling or a Viognier complements meats that have sweet, spicy flavors. These include meats like sopressatta and coppa.

9. Try Syrah, Grenache or Beaujolais that are red and blue fruit forward with crunchy acidic items. These wines are typically lighter body and can make for a versatile accompaniment.

10. Petite Sirah or Barbera wines pair well with cured meats and spicy cheeses.

Learn more about LDV Winery at

Wine Continued… PAGE 38


Sip & Savor Consciously Crafted Wines From Oregon

Charcuterie with Iris Vineyards Brut PAGE 40

A boutique winery and vineyard, Iris Vineyards specializes in producing small quantities of quality, handcrafted Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines. Since the first plantings at the winery’s Lorane Valley Vineyard, Iris Vineyards has been dedicated to growing high-quality fruit through sustainable viticulture practices.

“We work hard at making the best possible wines from the grapes we grow in our own vineyard and those we purchase from others.“ Iris makes wines that are true to the varietal listed on the label of each

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Linda Kissam, the “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva,” winemaker Aaron Lieberman, and wine media specialist Carl Giavanti. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Iris Vineyards Wines
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Iris Vineyards


bottle, being ongoing stewards and protectors of the environment they work in. “We believe that great wines require the hands-on effort of a talented winemaker who has an intimate understanding of the vineyards from which the wine grapes originate and each lot of wine in the cellar.” The proof, as you would expect is in each bottle. The brand is nationally distributed. The wines are reasonably priced, and also sold through the winery's online store at

Iris Vineyards is owned by native Oregonians, Pamela Frye and Richard Boyles. The Chalice Vineyard at Iris Hill was planted in 1996. The foundational vintage was 2001. The family lives on their 870-acre family estate overlooking Iris Vineyards south of Eugene. A winery was built on the estate with a 25,000 case capacity. Annual production is about 14,000 cases. The winemaker is Aaron Lieberman who has over a decade of experience in Oregon winemaking. Winemaker Lieberman’s winemaking philosophy is to create fruit-forward wines that honor their source with crisp acidity and low alcohol. Visitors can now visit the new Iris Vineyard Wine Bar

centrally located in downtown Springfield, Oregon.

Average phenological events:

~ Bud Break - third week of April ~ Bloom - 3rd/4th week of June ~ Veraison - 3rd/4th week of August ~ Harvest (sparkling) - second week of September

~ Harvest (still) - begins last week of September, finishes last week of October


2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris, for me, can be a-hit-or-miss proposition varying wildly from winery to winery. Too often this pleasurable wine presents light in color with a flabby or nondescript flavor. Iris Vineyards has found the magic to this wine. The aromas bring notes of spring flowers and juicy pink grapefruit. The flavors blend well and present with pleasing acidity, and aromas of Asian pear and pineapple with a lively balanced palate. The versatility of this wine allows it to pair well with halibut, scallops, and Pad Thai. About $15.

Iris Vineyards Wine Bar in Springfield, OregonIris Vineyards Brut & Shrimp Appetizer

2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: The Pinot grape is a finicky vineyard soldier. It is extremely hard to grow. It needs just the right soil, temperature, sunlight, and attention during winemaking. If conditions are good, expect some phenomenal wine; if not, things go haywire producing a substandard blend. I think you’ll love this version with its smell-to-taste delivery of pomegranate, earthy spice, and wild raspberry aromas further complemented by red plums and blueberries. Each release is carefully crafted from grapes grown in some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. About $24

Iris Vineyards Brut: The aromas are nuanced, with beautiful notes of baked bread, stone fruit,and citrus zest. Fresh, clean flavors are ready to be served to novice and aficionado alike. The taste profile of this wine makes it a great choice for appetizers or a dinner entry. We served this sparkler and a shrimp appetizer to friends on our boat. Delicious. Sometimes… shake things up a bit and serve this wine with corn dogs.

Iris Vineyards in Oregon

Yup, corn dogs. Corn dogs are salty, fried, and fatty, with a little sweetness in the batter. And that makes them an ideal partner to the acidity in brut champagne. Just sayin’. About $30


Tasting new wines offer the opportunity to pair them with new recipes. Winemaker Aaron Lieberman recommends two recipes that will pair well with the above-mentioned Iris Vineyards wines. Braised Lamb Shanks with Peppers is a recipe by Annette Gertner that was adapted by Florence Fabricant and featured in the New York Times. Yeasted Pancakes as featured in the book Beard on Bread by James Beard pairs especially well with the Iris Vineyards Brut.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit




San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande lie about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, making each an ideal stop for a getaway. Both have agricultural roots that continue to define the towns. Today growing grapes tops the list of farming in the area. The wine scene is the most significant unifying factor, encompassing every aspect of San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande.

Tying the wine scene and the towns together is the new Appellation, SLO Coast AVA, also known as San Luis Obispo Coast AVA. San Luis Obispo was already known for its Edna Valley AVA and Arroyo Grande AVA. The winery and vineyard owners felt the area needed more recognition.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writers Cori Solomon and Mary Farah share their wine, food, and travel adventures in Central California and Northern Arizona. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

geographic terrain became descriptive of the area, the new AVA extended from San Simeon down to Nipomo along the coast and eastward to the Santa Lucia Mountains.

As the vine acreage increased and the

San Luis Obispo Coast AVA Vineyards
Continued on Next Page… PAGE 45

The Edna Valley AVA and the Arroyo Grande AVA now lie within the SLO Coast AVA; therefore, they are sub-appellations. Thirty-two wineries make up this new AVA. They include Center of Effort, Stephen Ross, Talley, Timbre, Piedra Creek, Claiborne and Churchill, Chamisal Vineyards, Edna Valley, Filipponi Ranch, Laetitia Vineyard, Maidenstoen, Niner, Peloton, Sinor-LaVallee, and Croma Vera. Many of these wineries also reside in one of the sub-appellations.

San Luis Obispo

Many people think of San Luis Obispo as a college town since it is the home of Cal Poly. The University plays a vital role in the area's activities. While Cal Poly has one of California’s leading enology and viticulture departments, San Luis Obispo is also home to many fabulous Central Coast wineries.

The city was named the happiest city in America, especially since the sense of a small big city

prevails everywhere you venture. Its charm, architecture, art, scenic walk along the creek, cuisine, farmers' market, and friendly atmosphere bring the past and present together.

Find downtown San Luis Obispo very walkable. Visiting San Luis Obispo, one must see the San Luis Museum, which reminds one of an intimate gallery. The art scene carries over to the murals found on the exterior museum walls and other city areas.

The charming historical buildings throughout San Luis Obispo and the Mission are evidence of the past. Arrive on a Thursday and partake in one of the best farmers' markets. The restaurants are eclectic with lots of ethnicities. From Italian and Spanish to Peruvian, one enjoys the cuisine. Even some hotels exude history and ambiance, as reflected in a stay at the Apple Farm Inn.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa San Luis Obispo Continued…

Arroyo Grande

Hang your roost in the charmingly quaint town of Arroyo Grande with its tasting rooms, curio shops, and cafes. Check out the swinging bridge, the only one in California. One must meet the town's mascots, the ever-present roosters who croon and often cause traffic as they walk across the main drag, Branch Street. The rooster population is a mystery even to the locals, but you will surely see one if you stroll along the creek behind Branch Street.

Cori Solomon, an award-winning writer/photographer, based in Los Angeles, often travels with her dogs in tow. Her blog, The Written Palette, features eclectic articles about her experiences traveling, dining, and discovering new wines, wineries, and wine regions, as well as topics including art, history, and pets. Cori's background in real estate and art plays a role in her writing as she utilizes the art palette both visually and verbally. Cori often highlights the story behind the restaurant, chef, winery, winemaker, or artist. Cori Founded LA Wine Writers, a group of seasoned wine writers. She earned her WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, and received the NASA American Wine Specialist Certification and NASA Spanish Wine Specialist Certification.

Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica Interior of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa



This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Eat, Drink & Be Merry" Show features a Blind Whiskey Tasting Experience with Bobby DeMars, founder of Blind Barrels, a blind whiskey tasting subscription, plus, Chris and Angela Smith who own Clouds Rest Acres Farm in Connecticut. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean


America is in the midst of its second whiskey boom. Blind Barrels is about expanding a whiskey enthusiast’s horizons beyond the brands they know and can get at any liquor store. It’s about smaller distilleries, where the farmer that distills his grain is often the one bottling his or her precious juice. While some of the hidden gems in their line-ups have been around for generations, there are many new craft distilleries that are pushing the boundaries of whiskey. These artisanal whiskey wizards have taken craft whiskey to new heights, experimenting with mash recipes, distillation methods, and aging methods. In the end, they all have a story centered on America’s native spirit - whiskey.

Every quarter Blind Barrels subscribers are treated to 4 unique and hard-to-find 50 ml samples of American whiskey. Each experience includes a tasting led by a “spirits guide” to complement their tasting experience, learning

Blind Barrels Labels

about the nuances of each whiskey (color, aroma, taste, etc.) both educating novices and enhancing the knowledge of connoisseurs. Once the subscriber is ready, each of the spirits and their details are revealed (heat level, mash bill, etc.) as well as the back-story of each distillery. More:

More about Clouds Rest Acres Farm:


SipLOKI Wins in

Compiled by Lisa D. Smith & Nancy J. Reid, the motherdaughter duo who publish Big Blend Magazines, host Big Blend Radio, and travel full time on the Love Your Parks Tour.

It was a gorgeous day after the gloomy and windy weather Tropical Storm Ian bombarded us with. The sun was warming up the land and the trees were showing off the first of their vibrant fall colors. We had just published and released the inaugural issue of our new Big Blend “Success Express” Magazine, and we were ready for our traditional celebratory sip. But this time, we traded our usual glass of bubbly for LOKI, a non-alcoholic seltzer enhanced with Delta-8 THC cannabis. This was a first for us, and we were curious about the experience.

Their new Lavender Peach flavor is lightly fragrant, refreshing, and easy to sip and relax

with. We took in the beautiful farm surroundings while chatting and laughing, as we usually do. Did we feel a buzz? Yes. We both felt a light and glowing sensation, and when we poured our second one, we got a little more of a giggly vibe. We did however keep our verbal and mental faculties, and a big thumbs up in our book, is the boost of creativity we experienced while discussing new projects. We got some great ideas out of our LOKI time, and most importantly, had fun!

Another highlight is that LOKI’s five-ingredient formula contains only five calories, zero sugar, and zero carbs. It’s a winner in our books, and now we want to try the Blackberry Lemon flavor!


in Fun & Flavor!

LOKI’s the result of Harij Singh, Rikin Patel and Ashish Joseph’s shared passion and work. Applying their vast knowledge in business and love for the creative industry, they developed SipLOKI to fuse their artistic interest with their acumen for enterprise. With Singh’s leadership, their team is eager to prep LOKI to be the go-to can for the beverage and cannabis industry.

SipLOKI was aptly launched on National Cannabis Day, 4/20 of 2021, and is now available in over 300+ locations across the country. Find a location near you or shop online here: PAGE 51
Tea Farmers with Tea Lovers

Nepal Tea Collective is a public benefit corporation that distributes quality organic black, green, oolong, and white teas, as well as gift boxes and bundles. Sourced from four different small-holder farms in Nepal, their teas are packed at origin and come in biodegradable bamboo pouches, which are locally handmade.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Pratik Rijal and Nishchal Banskota, cofounders of Nepal Tea Collective, talk about their teas and how they are working to make the tea farm-to-table supply chain traceable and transparent. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Nepal Tea Collective aims to bridge the gap between tea farmers and customers by moving past the middlemen and working directly with producers. They are actively working to make the tea farm-to-table supply chain traceable and transparent by putting QR codes on all product labels. When scanned with smartphones, these QR codes offer information on the farm where the tea leaves were grown and when the particular bag of tea was plucked, packaged, and shipped.

“The tea industry is ripe for disruption. There are way too many middlemen creating little to no value at all. They’re depressing the income for the farmers and degrading the quality and freshness of tea for consumers,” said Nishchal Banskota, Founder and CEO of Nepal Tea Collective. “We believe consumers deserve to know exactly where their tea comes from and

whether or not it’s single-origin. We think of ourselves as a movement to reinvent the tea supply chain and make it more sustainable.”

“We’ve taken the further step of becoming a public benefit corporation (PBC) to really challenge the status quo and make a sustainable business with a core mission to do good for the tea farmers,” continued Banskota. “Becoming a PBC in fact mandates us to our public benefit purpose with legislative reporting requirements which enforce an enhanced level of accountability and transparency. We really want to challenge ourselves to do what is right for the farmers and the industry.”

More: Nepal Tea Collective PAGE 53


Ruth Milstein on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on

Good cookware is worth the investment!

· Glass and Corning ware are the most inert of all cooking ware; they don't adhere to metal or any other ingredients in the food.

· Cast iron provides great conductivity and heat retention. They are heavy and non-stick. They hold heat and when the food is properly seasoned, oil can be used sparingly.

· Enamel Cast Iron is ideal for dishes where heat retention and balance are required. The surface is non-stick which makes it easy to use and clean.

· Stainless Steel can be used for any type of cooking, especially for quick dishes. Browning meat, cooking broth, or sauce dishes are easier to clean and far less expensive than ceramic.

· A Wok cooks food evenly as it stir-fries. They are inexpensive but make sure it is a cast iron version, not Teflon.

· Green & Blue Pans are a nonstick line called Thermalon. It minimizes or voids the use of oil. It is environmentally friendly and can be cleaned with a wet towel. Today they can be found in a plethora of rainbow colors. I have been using them for a while and like to cook with them. However, be aware that their safety is open to debate!

Teflon is nonstick cookware. It has a plastic coating, an inexpensive price point, and is easy to clean. Ironically, it is made of one of the most persistent synthetic chemicals known to man! This chemical is known as PFOA. Animal studies have shown it to cause cancer, liver damage, growth defects, and immune system damage.

· Copper is not recommended due to its leaching concerns. An excess of copper can cause a variety of health problems such as behavior disorders, depression, eczema, acne, headaches, and poor immune function. Most of the copper cookware these days is coated with stainless steel which improves durability and ease of cleaning. The older Copperware may be coated with tin or nickel which is unsafe and should not be used for cooking. Copper should never be used to cook acidic food because over time the acid can cause copper to adhere to the food.

· Aluminum, which is made of anodized aluminum, has a thin and smooth surface. Aluminum does not adhere to food unless acidic food is used. Studies have shown (but are inconclusive) the adverse side effects of aluminum on the human nervous system as well as a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease.

Ruth Milstein is the author of the Gourmand award-winning recipe book, “Cooking with Love: Ventures Into the New Israeli Cuisine.” See her recipes and cooking tips at PAGE 55



What makes a great cookbook? Certainly, the author needs to commit to doing the research and then convert the sometime dry and complex details into user-friendly verse that welcomes the reader in and keeps them going beyond the first section.

Appropriate photography showing what successful recipe completion looks like helps a new cookbook stand out from the competition. Luckily, I’ve found two

cookbooks you can feel confident about reading. They are different from one another yet have

some complementary features.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Writer Linda Kissam, and cookbook authors Carrie Bonfitto and Jessica Formicola. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.



Author: Jessica Formicola; Published: May 24, 2022; No. of Pages: 152; Price: $16.95 Paperback

Beef has gotten a bad rap over the years, but millions still choose to eat it regularly. That would include me. I haven’t seen a great and easy beef cookbook come across my desk it a while. It’s refreshing to have some new beef recipes.

Author Jessica provides 50 delectable recipes for ground beef, steaks, stews, roasts, ribs, and more. These 50 recipes are the ones that real people will want to make.

They are dishes that will appeal to adults and children, and picky eaters. The recipes are written in an easy-to-follow style. Novice to advanced cooks will all be able to prepare these. Most of the recipes are attractively photographed so cooks know what success looks like.

The author has included important information on where different cuts of beef come from, basic kitchen equipment needed, and basics on choosing and storing beef. This is a perfect cookbook to learn or refresh what you think you know on how to choose, prepare, cook, and serve beef.




When I tell you that you may never order pad Thai at a restaurant again, I am not kidding. This recipe is that good and can be made with any protein, but obviously beef is my favorite. (Shrimp is a close second.) Many pad Thai recipes call for tamarind paste, a slightly acidic and sweet ingredient that I don’t keep on hand because I don't use it in any other recipes. My version skips the tamarind paste but provides just as much flavor.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Serves 4

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 (14-ounce) package stir-fry rice noodles

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds top sirloin, cut against the grain into thin 2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup fresh sugar snap peas

½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced ½ cup shredded carrots

1 egg

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup dry-roasted peanuts

4 scallions, whites only, chopped Lime wedges, for serving

1. Whisk together the broth, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

2. Cook the noodles according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

3. Season the beef with the salt. Heat another 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large skillet over

medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate. Pour off any liquid and wipe the skillet with a paper towel.

4. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the sugar snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.

5. Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet and crack the egg in the empty side. Using a spatula, scramble the egg right in the skillet until cooked, then mix it in with the vegetables. Return the beef to the skillet and pour the peanut sauce over the top. Toss in the rice noodles, coating all the ingredients well, and let everything heat through.

6. Divide the pad Thai among four serving bowls and top with the cilantro, peanuts, and scallions. Serve with lime wedges.

Cook’s Note: Fish sauce adds a deep umami flavor to many dishes. If you don’t have any in your pantry, you can use a little extra soy sauce instead.

Cookbooks Continued…
Beef Pad Thai - Dominic Perri Photography


Author: Carrie


This book takes your health to the next level of wellness with simple, crave-worthy, easy to make recipes and advice. No preaching here. If you want to make and eat delicious, healthy food this is the book for you.

“What to Cook; Why to Eat It,” is written by culinary instructor and board-certified holistic nutritionist Carrie Bonfitto. She gently guides the reader to better eating choices with a host of creative recipes, nutritional facts, and benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

In this, her debut cookbook, Bonfitto guides readers through the health benefits of familiar ingredients,

flavors condensing all the information into inspiring and tasty dishes, including options for guilt-free desserts, flavorsome dinners, yummy lunches, power breakfasts, and all-star beverages.

On the way, you'll learn why certain foods can help you cut cravings, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar, and make you feel lighter and more energized. This book will slide easily alongside of your regular lineup of weekly meals! The recipes appeal to all ages and levels of cooks and provides easy-to-master information, tips, and recipes.


Bonfitto, NC, BOHN; Published: September 1, 2021; Paperback: 134 pages; Price:
Continued on the Next Page… PAGE 59

Beet Soup



For the cashew cream:

1⁄2 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄3 cup water

2 cloves garlic

For the soup:

1 leek, whites and light greens only, diced (1cup)

2-3 red beets, peeled and diced (4 cups)

2 cups beef bone broth

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

Make the cashew cream: Put the cashews in a heat proof bowl. Boil some water and pour it over the cashews. Soak the cashews for 30 minutes, then drain. (You can skip this step if you are using a high-speed blender).

Blend the cashews, lemon juice, water, and garlic until creamy.

Make the soup: Place the bone broth, beets, garlic, leeks, and ginger in a medium pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beets are soft, about 15 minutes. Puree the soup in batches. Return to the pan, reheat, and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish each bowl with 4 tablespoons of the cashew cream.

Per serving: 218 calories; 8.3 g fat; 22.7 g total carbohydrates (4.9 g dietary fiber, 11g sugar); 15.3g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 307 mg sodium; 52 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 732 mg potassium; 0 mcg vitamin D.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

Cookbooks Continued… PAGE 60

In honor of October being National Sausage Month, we hosted a special Big Blend Radio Party to celebrate this popular meat treat that’s savored around the world.

Quite frankly, sausage time is a year-round thing!

Sausage is typically made from a selection of ground meats (usually pork, beef, poultry) that are mixed with various spices and seasonings, and sometimes breadcrumbs or rice for extra filler, and then stuffed into a casing or made into patties. However, by using vegetable proteins, sausage can also be made into vegetarian or vegan links and patties. The sky is the limit on what can be made into a sausage, so let your

Check out 5-star Chef and Culinary Educator Ivan Flowers’ tips on buying, cooking, and serving sausage, watch Jeff Benoit make Boudin, a specialty in Southwest Louisiana, and take a listen to our 2-part Big Blend Radio Sausage Party podcasts to hear more about cooking sausage, what drinks and side items to pair with sausage, favorite sausage dining spots, and the various types of sausage across the country and around the world.

Of course, there’s always some music, fun, and games involved in a party, so enjoy the humor of it all too!




Look for nitrate and nitrite free varieties. Be sure to check sodium levels. Be aware that there is pork, turkey, chicken, beef, and even seafood sausage varieties available. Choose spice level and flavorings that suit your taste or dish. From hot and spicy to maple and sage. Look for natural casing. Much better snap when you bite it!


Poach uncut, unpunctured sausage at 185 degrees for 8 minutes. You can poach in beer,

water, or even add in some flavor to liquid when you poach. After poaching, dry thoroughly then caramelize in lightly oiled sauté pan or grill. Again, do not break casing.


Sausages tend to be fatty, so use vinegar or citrus based sauces.

Serve alone or with pasta, rice, potatoes, veggies, or on a bun.


Jeff Benoit, owner of B&O Kitchen & Grocery in Sulpur, Louisiana shows how to make Boudin, a traditional food of Southwest Louisiana. Watch here on YouTube.

Continued on Next Page…

PART ONE: Special live broadcast from a farm in Rougemont, North Carolina, featuring Steve & Karen Wilson – The Lion & The Rose B&B, writer and home cook Eva Eldridge, Hollywood Historian Steve Schneickert –

PART TWO: This sausage party spans Southern California, Arizona, and Louisiana, and stretches out to England and South Africa! Featured guests include Chef Ivan Flowers, Chef Jeremy Manley, attorney Ward Heinrichs, Peggy Fiandaca – LDV Winery, Jeff Benoit –B&O Kitchen & Grocery, Glynn Burrows – Norfolk

Tours UK, and home cook Melissa Rippon. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


From The Farm At Spring Creek

Terry and Erin Turner at the The Farm at Spring Creek show how to make Pear Honey, a favorite local preserve.

The Farm at Spring Creek is located near Greeneville, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Learn more about The Farm including its White Rose Cabin vacation rental, or shop for their grass-fed beef products at:

9 cups of chopped and peeled pears

8 cups of sugar

1 20-oz can of crushed pineapple

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Optional: Add 2 teaspoons Of freshly grated ginger.


Combine all ingredients in a steel stock pot. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cook for 2-3 hours until mixture is thickened. Ladle into sterile jars leaving ¼ head space. Water bath for 10 minutes



Full-bodied white wine like Viognier to cut through the creaminess of the soup.


1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

1 large white onion, peeled & coarsely chopped

2 quarts of chicken stock

¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce

Salt/pepper to taste

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Crème fraiche & fresh sage to garnish


Prepare Squash - Quarter butternut squash and clean out seeds. Rub the flesh with olive oil and

salt/pepper. Put squash flesh side up in roasting pan; cook at 375 degrees F until soft and caramelized, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 – hours. When done roasting, cool then peel and cut into cubes.

Prepare Soup - Heat 1 T olive oil in a large pan with a lid. Add white onion and sauté until translucent. Add broth, salt and pepper. Add cubed squash and simmer covered for about a half hour. Remove from heat and cool for approximately 20 minutes. Puree soup using a blender, food processor, or hand blender. Add Tabasco and heavy whipping cream.

To Serve - Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of crème Fraiche in the center with a sprinkling of fresh chopped sage or fried sage leaves. Optional: Sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg on top of the soup.

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