Mulled Wine Compote

This post is sponsored by Market Street Grocery, but all opinions are my own! Thanks for supporting the brands that support With The Grains!

 

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beneath my permed hair and  80s-inspired poof of bangs, my eyes were wide with horror! My elementary school teacher had just reported a staggering statistic about how much food waste ended up in landfills. My miniature, environmentalist heart could hardly take it. Today, the statistic is even more staggering at 33 million TONS of food each year (source).

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’m not perfect, and mold still claims more of my refrigerator’s contents than I would like to admit, but thanks to the Urban Farmer, most of our scraps become compost and contribute to the soil remediation process on the farm. I know composting isn’t a possibility for a lot of urban dwellers, but this girl can dream of the day my city will take action to mitigate food waste (many cities already do!). In the meantime, I am constantly seeking ways to waste less such as this win-win idea for wasting less food this holiday season.

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

The first part of this resourceful idea requires wine drinking- specifically Mulled Wine drinking. As I mentioned in my recipe post, Mulled Wine is the perfect drink to serve this time of year. It fills the home with a welcoming aroma, it’s easy to serve to a group, it’s a sipper, and it warms your spirit! However, after the last mug of mulled wine has been poured, the crockpot usually still holds a substantial portion of fruit. I couldn’t bear to toss all the wine and spice-infused fruit, so this Mulled Wine Compote was born!

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

I call this “Grandmother-style kitchen work.” There’s no precise recipe. Just throw that flavorful fruit into the food processor or blender, and whirl away! For a hint of sweetness and creaminess, I added a heaping spoonful or two of Creamed Honey. This liquid gold is like creamy caramel (you can learn more about creamed honey here). Bedillion Honey Farm’s version is still raw, so it maintains the goodness of pollen, propolis and enzymes pasteurized honeys lose, and it’s creamed with cinnamon for an extra touch of spice in the compote.

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

I also added another spoonful or two of Chinese Five Spice to intensify the fall notes.

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

My leftover crock of fruit made about 2 quarts of Mulled Wine Compote, which I divided into jam jars to give as gifts and serve at future gatherings.

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

The compote makes a great accent on a cheeseboard, so for very little effort, you’ll be prepared for a few small, holiday gatherings. The tart compote pairs well with the slight sweetness of these Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers or a dense, fruit & nut bread. It would also be delicious on pancakes or French toast if you’re hosting a holiday brunch.

Mulled Wine Compote // www.WithTheGrains.com

Drink warmly, waste less and enjoy more!

Happy Holidays!

www.WithTheGrains.com

Mulled Wine Compote

To make mulled wine compote, reserve whatever wine is left from a batch of mulled wine (recipe below), and set it aside. Use a food processor or blender to puree the wine-infused fruit remnants of mulled wine (but remove the cinnamon sticks first). Add honey and more Chinese Five Spice to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. It also freezes well.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Ginger & Spice Oat Crust (Gluten Free)

My mother taught me to appreciate the beauty in the old, the stories in the vintage, and the potential in the castaway items. However, over time, I allowed too many of these stories and collections to gather around me rather indiscriminately. Clearing space, both physical and mental, took on a daily, Sisyphean feel.  

Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Gluten Free Ginger & Spice Oat Crust // www.WithTheGrains.com

In need of a compass, I turned to an expert. I began reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and immediately, I felt a shift in my thinking. Many magazines and well meaning folks will advise to divide one’s abundance into piles based on the last time an object came into use. If it was more than a year, pitch it. However Marie Kondo, the book’s author, poses this question, “Does this ______ bring me joy?” In the end, this pursuit of tidiness and clarity is really the pursuit of happiness.

Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Gluten Free Ginger & Spice Oat Crust // www.WithTheGrains.com

If the sweater or the jeans or the book no longer brings (or never brought) joy, send it to a new life, but send it with gratitude. This last bit, the gratitude, has made all the difference in my process towards less. Thank you handmade shirt sewn by my mom. Thank you mom, for creating with your hands when I was an impressionable child, for showing me the value and joy of making something from scratch. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Gluten Free Ginger & Spice Oat Crust // www.WithTheGrains.com

Perhaps this is why I gravitated toward baking. Cakes, pies, breads, all made with care and intention, are but temporal objects in our hands. Yet the gatherings, the vague memory of a flavor, the way a room smells when an oven is warm… we carry these memories and cherish the sentiments long after the plates have been cleared.

Here’s a recipe for sharing joy and gratitude deliciously, just in time for Thanksgiving!

Single-Grain

Quelcy

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Oat Crust

About This Recipe: Oats, spices, ginger and dates combine to make a wholesomely sweet crust, and each layer of this cheesecake is laced with Wigle’s Landlocked Spiced. Made with local, buckwheat honey, Landlocked Spiced is the distillery’s interpretation of rum and a flavorful ode to Pennsylvania’s many apiaries. If you’re landlocked and can’t get a bottle, substitute your favorite spiced rum, and enjoy!

Disclaimer: I did receive product in exchange for this post, but all opinions are my own! I love a brand that supports the honeybees! 

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Mulled Wine For Holiday Gatherings

This post is sponsored by Market Street Grocery, but all opinions are my own! Thanks for supporting the brands that support With The Grains!

 

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread by With The Grains 01

The Christmas ornaments decked the halls at a comedic scale, as if plucked from the set of Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Greens and lights and velvety ribbons seemed to swathe the entire city. The iconic ferris wheel glimmered with extra holiday spirit.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

From their pop-up village of log cabins, Germans shared their merriment through juicy bratwursts and donuty sweets swirling on skewers to golden perfection. Some of the merrymakers kept warm by whipping around the ice rink to holiday carols. Others, like myself, turned to the warm cups of mulled wine. London knows how to celebrate the holidays!

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Having journeyed to London from conservative Pennsylvania, where public displays of wine drinking only happen in conjunction with communion, I gazed at each sidewalk wine vendor like a child beholding a candy shop. I relished each cup of mulled wine as if it were my last. With a warm cup of mulled wine in my clutches, my hands warmed, my spirit warmed, and I felt inspired to roam the vibrant city long into the wintry night.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Though the street-vending of mulled wine is still a ways away (at least for us in Pennsylvania), this warm indulgence is perfect for stateside holiday gatherings. Mulled wine is easy to make, easy to serve, and the heat and spices make this a sipper. Since guests can serve themselves, it’s the perfect drink to offer with a wine and cheese style spread. Below are some of my favorite Market Street Grocery picks for hosting a small holiday gathering.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

My love for baguettes is deep, but when it comes to a holiday party spread, I like to pick a heartier, more flavorful bread like this Raisin Walnut loaf from Allegro Hearth Bakery. The sweet accent of the raisins pairs perfectly with the creamy texture and sweet-tangy balance of Humbolt Fog cheese and fresh fruit. Additionally, the delicate, edible ash layer adds more visual interest than a simple brie or goat cheese would.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Balance the sweeter notes of the fruit, cheese and wine with an olive selection. The colorful Divina Organic Greek Olive Mix includes a little olive leaf, a small detail which makes for an impressive presentation.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Incorporating fresh fruits into a loose garland is a functional way to decorate your table, and if the festivities continue long into the night, you can always cut up the fruit and replenish the cheese.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

For those who do not drink, I like to offer Pellegrino Sparkling Water or carbonated juices, and I keep gluten-free crackers on hand just in case. For all gatherings, but especially for holiday gatherings, I want all my guests to feel included and partake in the festivities.

Mulled Wine and a Holiday Spread // www.WithTheGrains.com

Even after guests have finished their mulled wine and the party has concluded, you’re likely to have plenty of wine and spice-infused fruit still filling your crockpot. One of the secret ingredients in this Mulled Wine recipe is Chinese Five Spice, a fragrant combination of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger, so don’t let that flavorful fruit go to waste! Stay tuned, and I’ll share a recipe for leftover mulled fruit and spreading even more holiday cheer.

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Happy Gatherings!
-Quelcy

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Brown Rice Pasta w/ Garden Vegetable Beef Sauce & Fried Green Tomatoes

“You know what I call this?” the Urban Farmer said while proudly photographing the rickety wooden crate full of fresh-picked vegetables. “A case of the Mondays,” he said beaming with pun pride.

Brown Rice Pasta with Fried Green Tomatoes // www.WithTheGrains.com

He chose another caption for his photo, not wanting to offend those stuck in Monday drudgery. I have often hesitated on sharing a pure joy lest it be regarded as boastful, so I understood his reserve. I’m not sure if this stems from deep-rooted American values or a Christian upbringing or both, but hiding happiness is RIDICULOUS, no?

Brown Rice Pasta with Fried Green Tomatoes // www.WithTheGrains.com

I may be riding the emotional highs of listening to a lot of Elizabeth Gilbert wisdom, but who wouldn’t be happy watching that barefoot boy celebrate his dream farm on a weekly basis? Truth be told, Mondays with the Urban Famer were so far from the Mondays I once knew. On Mondays, man, woman and dog piled into the red truck, picked vegetables in the sun and then delivered them to the supporters who made this year’s farm efforts possible. Why would we hide that happiness from imagined miserable people?

Brown Rice Pasta with Fried Green Tomatoes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Today is the last of these CSA Mondays for this season. There will still be farm work to do- bulbs to plant, invasive trees to cut, flowers varieties to select- but the CSA routine concludes today, just as the foggy, gray, frosty mornings are blanketing the fields. It feels more special than sad, more celebratory than conclusive. This was the beginning, and so much is in store! There is still so much room for expansion, so many lessons to teach, so many lessons to learn, and best of all, there will be so many new dishes to eat!

Brown Rice Pasta with Fried Green Tomatoes // www.WithTheGrains.com

The farm calmed my Mondays, calmed my spirit and inspired new kitchen experiments. Monday after Monday, I combed the fruitful tomato vines in search of the bright reds, burgundies and yellows. Despite the challenging weather, the vines persisted with an inspiring abundance. However, the frost brought a new color spectrum- the greens!

I knew fried green tomatoes from the movie title and perhaps the occasional menu item, but I’d never eaten them or made them. I’m sharing Monday happiness with you in the form of these fried green tomatoes. The recipe is loose, like cooking with my mom and her mother before her. Both women knew to follow their instincts, adding a pinch or heap here and there, so allow your traditions and whims to transform this recipe accordingly.

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Happy Monday!
-Quelcy

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Lemon & Honey Barley Water for What Ails You

When a cold or flu sets in, time and traditions have taught me several remedies. I boil water. I juice lemons. Most recently, I add a dash of turmeric to everything, perhaps a swig of apple cider vinegar and a sweet spoonful of honey to help nature’s medicine go down in the most delightful way. However, when it comes to mending the pangs of a wounded heart, the prescriptions are not so tried and true.

Lemon & Honey Barley Water // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’ve mended the shattered pieces of my broken heart before. In a manner that often surprised me, I dug deep, surfacing a resolve I sometimes forget I have. I sought reinvention and reacquainted myself with my individualism. I sought solid ground and forged forward. I turned to yoga, cleansing foods or new projects to carry me through the murky waters of the wrong relationships. Yet for some reason, when it came to a failed friendship, I allowed myself to be kicked while I was down and to stay down.

Lemon & Honey Barley Water // www.WithTheGrains.com

Contrary to the guillotine-like finality of an amorous breakup, the conclusion of the wrong friendship can feel like cutting fabric with dull scissors. As my own threads frayed, I allowed little jabs to continue to hurt me, questioning how such a divide could form where a solid weave had been. Subconsciously, I assumed this form of heartbreak to be different, granting it more time, more generosity of spirit, more of my mind space. Then I had a divine intervention in the form of a dance floor and Destiny’s Child.

Now that you’re out of my life, I’m so much better
You thought that I’d be weak without you, but I’m stronger
You thought that I’d be broke without you, but I’m richer
You thought that I’d be sad without you, I laugh harder
Thought I wouldn’t grow without you, now I’m wiser
Thought that I’d be helpless without you, but I’m smarter

…Wishing you the best
Pray that you are blessed
Bring much success, no stress, and lots of happiness
(I’m better than that)

Lemon & Honey Barley Water // www.WithTheGrains.com

The pop divas were presumably singing to ex-lovers, but it made me realize my failed friendship was really no different. Strung together in a sentence, that idea seems so simple, but discovering it felt like a grand epiphany! A friendship breakup is still a breakup. Whether your heart aches with failed love or failed friendship (or both), I challenge you to blare that song, dance as if a crowd of one million adoring fans is watching, and not feel more empowered. Impossible!

Lemon & Honey Barley Water // www.WithTheGrains.com

Even as those scantily clad, jungle-surviving, good “Christian” girls wield their independence in the form of handmade spears, they remind us to wish the best to those who hurt us. They also remind us to fill our proverbial dance floors with only the best of backups- “After of all of the darkness and sadness, soon comes happiness. If I surround my self with positive things, I’ll gain prosperity.” When it comes to mending your heart, you owe yourself this 2000s throwback. When it comes to mending your physical health, you owe yourself this sweet, tart, nourishing barley water.

Single-Grain

Keep on survivin’!
-Quelcy

Lemon & Honey Barley Water

About This Recipe: I discovered this traditional healing drink after the side effects of an antibiotic sent a family member to the hospital, and she needed natural relief for her symptoms. Barley is a whole grain rich in vitamin B-complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, protein, amino acids, dietary fiber, beta-glucans and various antioxidants. You can reap the health benefits of this versatile grain not just by including it in your diet, but also by preparing this sweet and citrusy tea-like beverage. It’s an especially refreshing way to start the morning!

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Brown Butter Apple Cake with Scotch Caramel

Before Siri, before GPS, before smart phones and even before flip phones, our adventure began with an idea and a map. Yet, like so many adventures with my oldest sister, these adventures often went awry.  Our idea had been to picnic at a nearby lake, flanked by fiery trees blazing with autumn’s robust palette. There was one snag- our horrible sense of direction.

Brown Butter Apple Cake with Scotch Caramel // www.WithTheGrains.com

Yet, like so many routed plans gone awry, our failure to navigate led to something far more endearing- the discovery of an old church/schoolhouse and a playground covered in fall’s leaves. It wasn’t the new sort of playground, with bright, shiny plastics and padding at every possible fall. It was the death-trap sort with metal, concrete and chain links, a remnant of the old schoolhouse. I was still a child at the time, and the monkey bars made me forget the abandoned lake goals.

Brown Butter Apple Cake with Scotch Caramel // www.WithTheGrains.com

The ground was a lake of its own- with thick piles of fallen leaves. Every footstep was accompanied by a swooshing noise and a feeling reminiscent of walking through sand. These leaves swirled and gathered by the graves of the church’s old cemetery. The neat rows were now wonky, and time had chipped away at the crisp stone. We were surrounded by stories, and in the absence of other human beings, the whole place seemed to exist just for us.

Brown Butter Apple Cake with Scotch Caramel // www.WithTheGrains.com

We eventually discovered the lake, with its blue waters and sailboats gently floating on the horizon, but by then, our interest had shifted. We returned again and again to the schoolhouse. It became our “secret place.” Our other sisters pestered and pried, trying to disclose the location, but my lips were sealed, as if protecting a key to a magical kingdom.

Brown Butter Apple Cake with Scotch Caramel // www.WithTheGrains.com

The serendipity of the discovery of our secret place made it all the more special. The quiet of that park and the way the leaves would blanket the earth came to epitomize fall. Even though distance and the years now separate me from that secret place, I still travel back there in my mind with each autumn’s passing. This cake, like my secret place, is an ode to embracing fall.

Single-Grain

Happy Autumn!
-Quelcy

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Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart with Fruit Sweetened Whipped Cream

Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart // www.WithTheGrains.com

There are nights when the pending evening pushes bursts of fire just beyond the city and its sky-carving lines. On these nights, the steeples, the songs and even the speed bumps are complicit in the sky’s vanity. Sentences digress and escape, knowing they’re not needed. The radio participates, playing something slower, a more mesmerizing tune, and words find their role in melody and song.

Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart // www.WithTheGrains.com

Where chaos and ruptured infrastructure reigned by day, a shadow creeps in, vignetting the mundane frustrations and focusing the eye on the exquisite, the heavenly, the celestial painting the tortured artist will erase and recreate. Our praise and appreciation will never be enough, never satiate the infinite ego above. The meter slows, and at best, we mere mortals below ty to soak it in. Like a bite meant to be eaten immediately, the camera would never do the moment justice, and the intensity of the flavor would be lost in the attempt to preserve.

Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart // www.WithTheGrains.com

These fiery skies seem to pull and absorb summer’s last bursts- the tomatoes’ sweetness, the wispy blades of bright green grass, the heat swirling on the horizon, the cooling blue waters, the bronze of bare shoulders and the freedom of exposed toes. Combined, they will form the matted earth tones that will blanket us and prepare us for the quiet winter months.

Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart // www.WithTheGrains.com

Before the blanket is fully drawn, pay one more ode to the summer, to the peaches whose color feeds the sunset’s fiery palette, and then we shall be ready, to fully bask in the warmth of the earthen tones. This crumble tart was a celebration of the nectar flows. It was the very first time the Urban Farmer’s honey and my baking combined their sweet powers – a last summer embrace like a vibrant golden hour on the cusp of a new season!

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Bon Appétit!
-Quelcy

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