Archive for category Beverages and Desserts

La Cosa Dolce Bellini

Now that we have Cosa Dolce back in the tasting room, I’ve received several requests for my favorite summer party beverage:  La Cosa Dolce Vita Bellini.  This is light and perfect for picnics and summer barbecues.  Enjoy!

La Cosa Dolce Vita Bellini
(Made with Morovino Cosa Dolce)

1 large ripe peach (about the size of a tennis ball)
2T Club Soda or Ginger ale (Mrs. Vino likes Diet Ginger ale)
½ C. ice cold Cosa Dolce
1 t. orange juice

The Bellini was invented at Harry’s Bar  in Venice and is generally made with Prosecco (sparkling wine).  BUT, we think it is FAAAAABUUU when made with ice cold Cosa Dolce.  Remove the peach pit, then cut the peach in cubes (including skin), and puree in your blender, food processor or mini-chopper.  You want it very well liquified.  Put 4 t. of peach puree in the bottom of a wine glass.  Add 2T of club soda or ginger ale and stir well.  Add the Cosa Dolce and the orange juice. Give another quick stir to blend. My one peach made about 4 glasses.   ENJOY!

If you want to do a pitcher of these, use 2 peaches, 1 bottle of Cosa Dolce, 8 ounces of Club Soda or Ginger ale and 2 ounces of  orange juice—assemble as above.  Then bask in the glory of your friends’ admiration.

For a fun twist, try a frozen Bellini!  Do these in full pitchers and Replace the fresh peach with 1/2 of a 10 oz bag of frozen peaches (I give my blender a break and let the peaches thaw just a tiny bit first).  Kind of like a frozen margarita, only better!

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Mrs. Vino’s Secret Mulled Wine Recipe

We wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!  The Sangiovese Mulled Wine has been an enormous hit!  Just in case you lost the recipe that came with your “Kit” here it is.

(make with Morovino Sangiovese*)

1 Bottle Morovino Sangiovese
½ Bottle of tap water (use the Sangiovese bottle)
1/3  C. Brown Sugar
1 Package Morovino Wine Mulling Spices
1/4 C. dried fruit (use dried cherries, dried plums, dried apricots, raisins – whatever you have, they all work!

In your saucepan or crock pot, add the Sangiovese, water, sugar, spice package (take off the tag, but leave cork and leave spices in the bag) and raisins/cherries/etc.  Simmer on low in a saucepan or high in a crock pot for 1 hour or more (don’t let it boil).  More time is better.  When warm, ladle it into small coffee cups, or heavy wine glasses and serve.  Yes, the dried fruit goes in the glass too – yummy. Or put it in a thermos and take it to a football game (in a Thermos, strain the dried fruit out or it will clog up the pour spout).  Or make yourself a pot and sip on it while wrapping holiday gifts sitting in front of the fire listening to Nat King Cole.  Really, try it.  100% of visitors to the tasting room who have tried it have loved it!  NOTE:  If you don’t finish the entire pot of mulled wine just let it cool a bit, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.  It’s delicious when reheated the second day!

*If you use a wine other than Morovino’s Sangiovese, look for a low tannin Red wine and start with 1/4 Cup brown sugar then adjust to taste.  Here are some reds that are usually low in tannin:  Beaujolais, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Chianti, Merlot.

DON’T HAVE A BAG OF MOROVINO MULLING SPICES?  Here’s the secret recipe for 1 bottle of wine:

1/2 T whole cloves
1/2 T whole allspice
1 and 1/2 Cinnamon Sticks
2″ of orange peel – just peel, no pith
Tie all the spices up in a piece of cheesecloth or in a coffee filter or put them in a tea ball and follow the recipe as above.


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Treasure Every Moment.

It is a source of some amazement to me that the simple act of cleaning out a cabinet can be as meaningful as an archaeological dig.

On a recent evening Mr. Vino foolishly opened my recipe cabinet. Yes, cabinet. Not box, not folder, not drawer. I have an entire kitchen cabinet (3 shelves) devoted to my love of cooking. The majority of the contents of these 3 shelves came tumbling out on top of Mr. Vino that evening. Cleaning out the recipe cabinet was on my list of things to do. Looking at Mr. Vino’s expression, cleaning out the cabinet quickly moved to my list of things to do . . . . tomorrow.

Excavating through the cook books, recipes handwritten on post-it notes (Mrs. Vino’s favorite storage tool), and all my other sources of culinary inspiration was a journey through time. I found the cookbook I put together for my sisters, the Christmas after my father passed away. Dad got his love of cooking from his mother and her mother before her, but he had a particular fondness for HIGHLY UNUSUAL ingredients. To this day, I don’t think any of my sisters have made his recipe for Sumatran Spicy Tripe.

Digging deeper, I found the recipes from my weight loss period (note to self, bring those out and start using them). In order to lose 65 lbs in 6 months, I taught myself to cook in an entirely new way. Weight loss, I discovered, is simple math. You have to burn more than you take in. And, when you cook, adding more of the higher-calorie ingredients does not always make a better end result; but when you add more of the lower calorie ingredients (i.e. veggies) it is much more filling.

In the very back corner of the middle shelf, I found my mother’s recipe box. My mother was an absolutely amazing woman. Ten plus years after her passing, I still miss her each and every day. Cooking wasn’t her passion, it was her chore. I had completely forgotten that she had a recipe box. I hadn’t seen it or opened it since we cleaned up her possessions so many years ago.

It was made of gray metal; small, solid and cool in my hand. Completely innocuous. Really more of an office product than a kitchen tool. As I opened the box, I smelled pepper, lemon and cinnamon. The recipe cards had yellowed and some had crumbled around the edges. I think it’s rather telling and very indicative of the era when women were supposed to find joy in cooking that none of the recipes in her box were written in her own hand.  In my recipe cabinet,  EVERY book, magazine and Post-It is covered with my own notes, thoughts and suggestions.

Mom’s recipe box is most closely tied to my memories of the holidays. As the holidays approached, Mom, my sisters and I would all gather around the recipe box to decide what cookies to put in the holiday gift packages we prepared for teachers, family and friends. Amazingly enough, every year we made the same confections: Bourbon Balls and Sugared Walnuts. Looking through the recipe box now, I realize why. Bourbon Balls and Sugared Walnuts are the only confection recipes in the collection.

My mother’s passion wasn’t cooking. Her passion was her children. But every recipe she prepared was filled with love. I may have inherited my love of cooking from my grandmother and great-grandmother. But from my mother I learned that no matter how simple a dish, if it is made with love, it is nourishing.

With love from my mom and me, here is her classic recipe for Bourbon balls updated to be used with Il Tesoro (chocolate raspberry port) or other dessert wine.

Treasured Bon-Bons
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped (or use the pecans that are already chopped fine)
1 1/4 cups finely crushed (about 1 dozen) Chinese almond cookies (or Vanilla Wafer Cookies–about 16)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup Il Tesoro or other fortified dessert wine
Additional ½ cup powdered sugar, for rolling the balls in when finished

Toast your pecans by putting them in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. You can toast them whole, or chopped–if they are chopped, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THEM, they will toast really quickly. Continually move the skillet back and forth over the burner like you were making Jiffy Pop (for those of you old enough to remember Jiffy Pop). You can tell when the nuts are toasted by smell, more than appearance. They will start to smell a bit like popcorn too. When they start to smell toasted, pour them out of the pan onto a plate and let them cool.

Pulse the cooled pecans in your food processor to finely chop (if you are using whole pecans). If you used chopped Pecans, omit that step.  Put chopped Pecans in bowl, then place cookies in your food processor to crush. Put the cookie crumbs in the bowl, too. Add the first ½ cup powdered sugar and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add the corn syrup and the Tesoro and stir well. Chill the mixture for 10-15 minutes (if you are making these on a cold day, this may not be necessary).

Use a teaspoon to help you make 1″ balls. You are going to roll the balls in the second ½ cup of powdered sugar, so put the second ½ cup of powdered sugar on a plate or in a pie tin. I use the dry hand/wet hand technique. I roll the balls (kind of sticky) in my left hand, then put them on the plate with the powdered sugar. Use your right hand (dry hand) to roll the balls in the powdered sugar, then place them on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper.

Once the balls have all been made, put them in an airtight container and store in the fridge. These are waaaayyyyy better if made several days in advance. The flavors mingle and get happy!

Happy Holidays and remember to TREASURE every moment.

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Coconut Rice Pudding (in the slow cooker)

I LOVE this great recipe for slow cooker rice pudding!  The only trick to this is at the 4 hour mark you do have to keep an eye on it – it comes together very quickly at the end.  Enjoy!

Coconut Rice Pudding
Serve with your favorite light dessert wine like Cosa Dolce, a sweet Riesling or a late harvest . . . something or other.

3 C water
1 C dry Arborio (Risotto) rice
1 15-ounce can of cream of coconut (like you use for Pina Coladas, not coconut milk – I find it in the liquor aisle in my store)
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
¼ C raisins (cuz it’s not rice pudding without raisins)
2/3 c. sweetened flaked coconut (optional)

Slow cooker. 2. Comfort food. 3. Super Easy! In a 4.5 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the water, rice, cream of coconut and evaporated milk and stir to blend. Cover slow cooker and cook for 4.5 hours on low. Add raisins in last ½ hour. Start checking this at about 3.5 to 4 hours – slow cookers do vary. When the mixture in the slow cooker reaches a rice-puddingy (puddingie?) consistency, remove bowl from slow cooker. While pudding stands (10 minutes) toast coconut flakes – either in a small nonstick skillet or on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. To serve, transfer pudding to individual serving bowls and top with toasted coconut. Extra credit points: top each bowl of rice pudding with a spoonful of crushed pineapple before topping with coconut.  Mmmmm.

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