A Certain Someone's Birthday!


Today is my sister's seventeenth birthday! Sarah I have seen you grow into such a poised, witty, intelligent and beautiful young lady. I am totally blown away by the poignant and remarkable things you say sometimes.

You have such a kees sense of humor that you make me laugh...almost to tears sometimes. I miss not having you near, but I love our video chats because they always feel like we pick up where we left off. You are the kindest soul who earnestly cares about what is going on in my life and are the most attentive listener to my ramblings. You are so beautiful. I have always admired your curls and sky blue eyes! I am proud of the strides you have made in the last year and the confidence you have in your self. I wish I could celebrate with you today, but we will get to celebrate the holidays soon enough when I am home. 

Happy Birthday Sarah!

I would be elated if you all would wish my sister a happy birthday. She is one of the biggest supporter's of Fork and Vine...and commentator, and I would love it if you sent a few birthday wishes her way!

Cheers! xoxo, Kate

Thanksgiving in Pictures


I hope all my American friends out there had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. Ours was quite enjoyable...and filling! We spent Thanksgiving with Will's family as per tradition. Although we both are not originally from Oregon, we are blessed to have some of our family here in Portland. My older brother lives about a mile from us and Will's two sisters, Kate and Annie both live in Portland. This year, Will's sister and brother-in-law, Annie and Giovanni, hosted Thanksgiving. We divy up the dishes and everyone brings something.

Of course, I bring the wine! It's one of my favorite things about the holidays. I love to pull out wines I have been saving for a special occasion and share them with others. Our winemaker gave us Champagne as gifts for Thanksgiving, and let me tell you this one was a real treat! From left to right we had:

Larmandier-Bernier Premier Cru Brut Rosé de Saignée (Champagne), 1993 Jos. Christoffel Jr. Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese (Riesling), 2006 Domaine Gerard Charvet Moulin à Vent Vieilles Vignes (Beaujolais, Gamay), 2007 Bergström Shea Vineyard (Pinot Noir), and 2005 Owen Roe Dubrul Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Annie and Gio made two fried turkeys, which is the first time we've done this for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, none of my frier shots turned out so I can't show you the frier in action. This guy is about ready for his injection of an herb mixture!

We had quite the spread! Will and I have been enjoying leftovers with fried eggs on top for breakfast the last few days. Tonight I am making a soup with the remainder of our turkey.

We weren't shy about making desserts either. Kate made pumpkin pie, white chocolate cheesecake and Will and I made pumpkin bread pudding with dulce de leche. All the desserts were so tasty! I wanted more, but I think I might have exploded if I ate anymore.

Of course the kids loved dessert too! Will's niece is so independent. She has to do everything herself; she wouldn't let me serve her an appetizer and when it came time to serve dessert she wanted to put the whip cream on everyone's pie.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving and I hope you did as well. Now my favorite time of year has started! Thanksgiving is the jumpstart into the holiday season and I can't wait for what this holiday season brings, especially visiting my family!


Giving Thanks


Image via Pinterest

I know that almost every blogger is posting on this theme today, but I wanted to share with you what I am thankful on my little corner of the blogging world and I look forward to hearing what everyone else is thankful for. This year has been a very eventful year, which has brought me many new things to be thankful for in my life.

My best friend, Will. I am so thankful to share this wonderful life with my partner and best friend Will. I really am so blessed to have him in my life. I feel like I have my own cheering section with him in my corner. I cannot begin to tell you how encouraging and supportive he is in everything I do and I am so proud of him for following his heart and doing something he really enjoys.

My family. Family is very important to me. I am so close with my family and couldn't imagine not having them in my life. It is really amazing to even see how my family has grown over the last year with the addition of my awesome sister-in-law. I've also really enjoyed seeing how my little sister has grown over the last year. She is one amazing and insightful seventeen year old and I am so proud of her. Momma, Joe, Keith, Sarah, Theresa and Will I love you all so much!

Cassidy. This little lady brings so much joy to my life. She has such a fun personality and really lights up the darkest of my days. It really is true what they say about man and dog's bond. She can sense when I am down, sick or tired and will snuggle me much more.

Blogging and the blogging community. I am thankful for finding something that I really enjoy that reconnects me with my writing background. It has been really fun seeing my little corner of the blogging world grow and gives me so much pleasure to share and create what excites me. This community has been beyond supportive and I am thankful for the support and meeting other awesome people that share in the same passion.

My career and being a part of the wine community. It will come as no surprise that I love wine. I am beyond passionate about wine and really am thankful that is a part of my life everyday. I made the career move full time into the wine industry 2 1/2 years ago and I can't imagine doing anything else. I love learning about wine and am thankful to be in a career where I am learning every day, it keeps what I do fresh.

That is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving 2011 and I hope you have much to be thankful for and would love to hear what it is. Please leave a comment for what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving or a link to your giving thanks post. Happy Thanksgiving!

Blogging and Words to Live By


Image via Pinterest

It is no secret that I am having some problems on the blogging front. I often hear from others how they miss my blogging and wish I were posting more or wonder if I gave up my blog. The answer is no, I haven't given up on my blog. Maintaining a blog is a lot of work and in itself is considered a full time job. There are some bloggers out there that are phenomenal at it. They are fresh, consistent and task oriented, even if they have another full time job. I, however, am not always this way, especially with working another full time job. Another distraction from my blogging is the season change. I definitely am more tired and less motivated in the winter. I am a total home body and once fall hit all I want to do is hibernate, I mean it's practically dark before I even leave work! 

I'm telling you all this so you know I haven't completely disappeared, I just need a little time to recharge my batteries, focus on myself so that I can then focus my energy on Fork and Vine. As the holidays approach I hope to bring you photos of dinners, family and my trip with Will and Cassidy to visit my folks and sister in California. I have a couple of holiday craft ideas I'm working on that in time I will share with you. Another reason I'm looking forward to the holidays is to develop a New Year's resolution for myself as well as my motivation to keeping up Fork and Vine. 

Image via Pinterest

Thank you all for being such understanding, patient and supportive readers while I go through my loll. I am excited to refocus my efforts and bring you more exciting posts in the near future. Cheers!

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole


Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The colors outside, the color of food, and the time to start hunkering down and getting cozy. I go into nesting mode and cook soups and stews constantly, cozy up to Will and Cassidy, drink a glass of wine and watch a movie...oh ya, and I usually go to bed by ten. Lame I know.

We get our fair share of rain in the Pacific Northwest so it's hard to get me to do anything in the fall and winter outside, but on the rare occasion it's not raining I like to go hiking on a brisk fall day...and Cassidy likes it too!

After a long day of hiking you're definitely going to want something to warm you up like chai tea and this yummy stew and a rolling fire. This recipe is pretty big too, so you'll have lunch covered for a couple of days.

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole serves 6-8
Adapted from Gourmet

1 2/3 cup lentils, rinsed well
5 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1 in pieces
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 lb escarole, chopped
1-2 tbs red wine vinegar
croutons (optional)
truffle oil (optional)

Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a large pot pot, uncovered, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Spirit Saturday: Tamarind Whiskey Sour


This week's Spirit Saturday is a great cocktail recipe from Portland's famed thai restaurant, Pok Pok. It's a cool restaurant that serves up unique northern thai dishes and a whiskey centric cocktail list to match. Whiskey is a really great pairing with thai dishes because it's sweetness pairs well with the spiciness of the dishes. For Halloween we got takeout thai food, burgers and watched Paranormal Activity (not very good) with our neighbors while I made some "treats" for the adults, i.e. Tamarind Whiskey Sours!

Tamarind Whiskey Sour yields 1
Adapted Andy Ricker via Food & Wine

1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 tbs tamarind paste, mixed with 1 tbs hot water, cooled
1/2 oz simple syrup
soda water
orange slice and cherry, optional

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all the ingredients except soda water and garnish. Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled rocks glass. Top with soda water and garnish with orange and cherry. Serve with a straw if you have one.