Chicken fajitas

I’m continuing to work through Jamie Olive recipes and so I tried the chicken fajita recipe.

The veggies were grilled first.

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Then, the paprika-coated chicken is flattened and grilled.

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Next, the beans and rice are warmed up.

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Then, salsa is mixed in the food processor.

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Finally, it was all plated while the tortillas were warmed.

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I really enjoyed how simple and healthy, yet flavorful this dish was!

Bethany vineyard in Ridgefield

I hadn’t ventured toward the wineries in Ridgefield, WA until a wine distribution friend of ours mentioned there were some good ones to explore.  We couldn’t recall which ones he’d mentioned so we decided to just try out out.  Bethany vineyard was a pleasant surprise.

In addition to their tasting room, they’ve taken great care to provide beautiful grounds for events as well.

The Tempranillo was my favorite with notes of dark cherry and leather.

Gouger winery was recommended by our friend so we’ll check that one out soon!

Red Ridge farms/Durant vineyard and Vista Hills vineyard and winery and Zerba cellars

What a lovely sequence of 3 wineries to explore today!

Our first stop was Durant vineyard/Red Ridge Farms for the spring pick up party.

See prior posts on Durant vineyard, Red Ridge Farms, and Oregon olive mill:

3.2.13 Check out Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

5.19.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club spring pick up event

7.21.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine club summer BBQ

View this Durant vineyards video from their website talking about their process.

The spring pickup lineup were the following 2 wines:

2013 Southview Vineyards Pinot Gris

Tasting notes:

580 cases.  Our vineyard has a large planting of Pinot Gris.  My father, Ken Durant, has always enjoyed this wine for its easy drinking characteristics-Unpretentious, fruity, racy acidity, a hint of sweetness, and low alcohol.  This is a wine meant to be consumed on your patio, front porch, or when tailgating with good friends with a barbecue fired up nearby.

2012 La Casita Vineyard Pinot Noir

Tasting notes:

155 cases.  We poured this wine as a sneak peak at the winter pickup party.  I have mixed emotions about releasing this wine so early.  It is probably the “biggest” pinot noir we have ever produced, and we do not strive for “big reds”-honestly, quite the opposite.  However, you play the hand you’re dealt with and 2012 dealt some amazing wines and La Casita fits that model.  It is luscious, rich, deep and just damn good.  I hope you savor this wine as it is unique and quite exceptional.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

This is an interesting description as La Casita has always been my favorite and it’s not their poster child block.  However, I do tend toward bold reds and this one is luscious and earthy!  I’m holding onto my bottles of 2011 whole berry and 2011 whole cluster as long as I can as they are going to be so delicious!

Our next stop was Vista hills vineyard which is close to Durant vineyard.  They have a lovely pond at the front door.

Vista hills

The treehouse tasting room is such a lovely view of the vineyard!

Vista hills vineyard

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The 2011 Piedmont estate pinot noir reminds me of what I enjoy about a great Nebiollo.

Tasting notes:
A polished estate Pinot Noir, with a sweet vanilla bean nose and juicy berry notes. Strawberry and raspberry give way to tempered tannins and a soft and extensive finish. 180 cases produced. 90 Points – Wine Enthusiast.

Vines: Vista Hills Old Block C and Block F
Clones: 667, 777
Barrel Regimen: 18 months in French oak, medium plus toast (40% new)

Our final stop was Zerba cellars which is on the way through Dundee back to Portland.  This is only a tasting room as the vineyards are in the Walla Walla valley.  They are an interesting contrast to the pinot noir in the Dundee AVA as I do enjoy bold reds and Italian and Spanish varietals such as Nebiollo, Tempranillo, Barbera, Malbec, etc.

Tempranillo tasting notes:

This medium-bodied red is sourced exclusively from certified sustainable vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley (LIVE, VINEA, IOBC, and Salmon Safe}. Intertwining aromas featuring black licorice, olive, leather, and caramel lead into a pleasing mouthful of dried cherries, and granite on the way to a smooth dark leathery finish.

Malbec tasting notes:

A medium-bodied red that does not disappoint.  This smooth red features rich aromas of huckleberry, lavendar, tobacco and granite that transition into dark cherry flavors and a dark spiciness that leads to a bright huckleberry finish.

Barbera tasting notes:

This light-bodied everyday Italian drinking wine showcases intense currant aromas along with allspice, graphite, and lavender.  As you begin sipping the wine prepare for bright raspberry flavors that fade to dark cherry on the way to a lightly oaked finish.  Enjoy with your favorite pasta or light grilled barbeque fare.

However, their “Wild Z” red blend is quite good as well.

Tasting notes:

This full bodied red table blend is 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Contains cedar, dark plum, and white pepper aromas that lead up to tantalizing flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and cedar with hints of earth and currants. This perfect everyday wine pairs with a wide range of foods.

What a delightful afternoon of red wine tasting!

Bar Lolo

I returned to Bar Lolo to check out their Spanish tapas after enjoying them last year.  See the 1.27.13 post.  I started with a glass of the Gran familia rioja which is 90% tempranillo and 10% graciano.  The meat and cheese plate was a nice place to start.

meat and cheese plate

I then moved on to their Potato chips with sea salt and fried herbs.  Each of the small plates that followed had delicious flavor.  I particularly enjoyed the sherry syrup.

Chickpea stew with spinach, saffron, and sweet paprika.

Serrano ham and manchego cheese croquettes with smoked paprika aioli.

Grilled chicken skewers with moorish spices and sherry syrup.

I tried to learn about the various sherries in order to select one that I’d enjoy.  My husband and I traveled to southern Spain a few years ago, however, we didn’t make it to Jerez de la Frontera which is essentially the sherry capital of the world.

What I learned is that the fino or manzanilla sherry are aged the least, the amontillado is a mid level aged sherry, and the oloroso sherry is aged the most.  So, I tried the amontillado.  I enjoyed it, however, I think I need more experience with sherry to really decide.  This Wine Folly post on Sherry: the dry wine that everyone should love is informative.

Unfortunately, this restaurant closed as of May of 2014.

Spanish quesadilla with chorizo, membrillo (quince paste), and manchego cheese and Rainforest crisps

I’m not particularly a fan of the about.com website and there are typos on this Gourmet Spanish Quesadillas recipe, however, it was easy and delicious!

I found some 12 month aged manchego cheese at Whole Foods.

Manchego cheese

The membrillo (quince paste) is available at many local stores including Fred Meyer.

Membrillo (quince paste)

I couldn’t find the chorizo that I was looking for at Fred Meyer so the closest I could find was Linguica sausage from Portuguese.

Linguica

When I was in Spain, both chorizo and salchichon were sausages found on delicious bocadillos, however, in the U.S. when I ask about chorizo at any grocery store, I get directed to ground sausage from Mexico that is not at all the same thing!  See this blog post on What’s the difference between Mexican and Spanish chorizo? Also, discover more information on the differences between chorizo and salchichon.

To finish out the plate of Spanish quesadillas, I added almonds (a Spanish staple) and some rice.  Marcona almonds are even more delicious than almonds that we typically find in the U.S.!

Spanish quesadilla

I love manchego cheese from Spain and now had more membrillo (quince paste) than I needed for these quesadillas so the next few days they made an excellent breakfast on top of my favorite Rainforest crisps from Vancouver, B.C., Canada! All of the crisps are good, but my favorite are the fig and olive in the purple box. Whole foods and Fred Meyer tend to carry them in their specialty cheese sections.  They are a delicious, healthy, and well balanced breakfast that is easy to do and sticks to my ribs! 🙂

Rainforest crisps

Evergreen space museum

My husband has been wanting to go to the Evergreen space museum for years and we finally did it.  I had envisioned a small, musty type of museum and was surprised at the scale of artifacts and information provided at this amazing museum!  There were 3 buildings on the lot with 2 museums of artifacts (planes and space), a theater, and a water park for kids.

So, I’ll summarize just a few highlights and you can check it all out yourself! 🙂

There are planes and jets outside of the building as you drive up and you can see how enormous just the one building is.

The main building holds a wealth of  general aviation, and world war II fighters with the replicas of the Wright Brothers’ Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, Messerschmitt Me-262 Schwalbe, and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

The Spruce Goose is quite a draw for this museum.  It’s amazing how much of the building it took over!

The SR-71 Blackbird was also an interesting exhibit.

SR-71 Blackbird

The Space Flight building was interesting with rockets, missiles, space capsules, rovers, space probes, satellites, etc.

We didn’t watch any of the movies in the Theater, but that would be interesting on a future visit.  There’s also a Waterpark for the kids!