Monday, September 28, 2015

Missouri Wine and the Norton

The Norton

Did you know that the Norton (Vitis Aestivalis, for the sciency types), or Cynthiana (a genetically identical grape) is the oldest American grape still grown? And that our state is the largest producer of the Norton grape. In fact, our state grape is the Norton. Because of our ever-changing climate, the grape flourishes. Built to withstand Missouri's sweltering heat with its hearty vine, and able to thrive in our rocky soil.

Norton's blue-black coloring produces a rich, full-bodied red wine with robust berry flavors, making it an excellent pairing with beef (Tri-tip anyone?) and complex cheeses. Missouri Vineyards all over the region have been producing excellent quality Norton, or Cynthiana wines from Adam Puchta Winery in Hermann, MO to Little Hills Winery in St. Charles.

So, the next time you go to purchase a bottle of wine at Harter House, pass on the Merlot, Cabernet, or Shiraz, and try a bottle of a local favorite for a change, the proud Norton. Just stop by Harter House World Flavors and ask about the Norton's we have in stock and we will gladly point you to the little grape that was brought here by German immigrants over a 100 years ago, to a little town called Hermann, Missouri, and then sit back and take in the rich, delicious history of Missouri Wine.

Missouri Wine

You might not know that before prohibition, Missouri was the second largest Wine producer in the U.S.   In 2009 there were 92 wineries operating in the state of Missouri. ]We have a fantastic history and one that can be enjoyed over any weekend you feel like getting away. Listed below is a short list of the wineries here in the Show-Me State. Most provide free samplings, some have food and entertainment in the form of tours, music and just relaxing with good friends and great wine.

St. James Winery - A great place to stop on your way to St. Louis, right off I-44.

At Adam Puchta Winery, my absolute favorite is their Port, and for good reason. Where most Ports come off as a syrupy mess, Adam Puchta knows how to bring out subtlety and calms the sweetness with floral accents. Actually, I take that back, that's just me being fancy-shmancy, it's just really good.

7C's Winery - Specialize in fruit wines. Located extremely close in Walnut Grove.

Wenwood Farm Winery - A favorite place to go. Lots of music, good wine, and the owners are a hoot. Wenwood always has something going on. Just get there early so you can get a table in the shade. For a real treat try the Bauernhofan. This dry red has a complex palate, goes down smoothly and finishes with you wanting more.

Stone Hill - There is nothing wrong with the Branson location, but for a taste of what it is really like to be at a vineyard, go to the original located in Hermann, MO, especially NOW for Oktoberfest. 

Montelle Winery - This Winery in Augusta has won tons of awards and once you taste, you will know why. Prepare for the gorgeous deck to sit at that will take your breath away. I cannot praise the setting enough, and when music plays on the weekend, I can just open a bottle, sit back and let my day just move along at it's own pace from the outside world.
The deck overlooking the Missouri Hills at Montelle. One word: breathtaking.
Blumenhof Vineyards & Winery - Great winery just outside of Washington, Missouri.

Hermannhof Winery - If you have never been to Hermannhof, you do not have the right to call yourself a Missourian. Every October, it is tradition to sit on the hill overlooking Hermannhof, eat cheese, drink wine, and smile as you feel the warmth (and polka music) overtake you.
The Hill at Hermannhof.  A challenge after a couple glasses


Robller Vineyard Winery - The beauty of Missouri vineyards is that they are a family affair, and with Robller Vineyard it shows, run by Robert and Lois Mueller, and their 3 children, for over 30 years.


OOVVDA Winery - If you like fruit wine and staying close, this is the place for you. Located just outside of Springfield, OOVVDA specializes in Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry and several other varieties of fruit wine.

This is an extremely short list, and does not even touch the tip of the iceberg of Missouri Wines. We have over 300-plus wineries in Missouri, and it would take probably a lifetime to visit them all (although I will try!). I have had many good times with my family and friends at several of these wineries, and it is a tradition that I will pass on to my children and my children's children. It is a part of Missouri's heritage and one we should be both proud of and protect. Stop by Harter House today and try our wines for yourself, and one of these weekends, pack up, grab your family and friend's, a blanket, and prepare yourself for a great time.

Harter House and Harter House World Flavors carries several varieties of Missouri Wines. Come in today and find your favorite!

Special thanks to MO Wine Girl for her expertise when it comes to Missouri wine and knowledge of the Norton grape. If you don't follow her Facebook or her wonderful websites, you need to, right now.

Her Mo Wine website:

Oktoberfest ~ Hermann Region

Tomorrow is October 1, 2015, which brings to my mind Oktoberfest celebrations. So today, my husband and I are planning a day trip to Hermann, Mo., about a 3 hour drive from Springfield. As a Bettlach, I have German blood running through my veins, and I find this quaint German area fascinating! So stop by Harter House Supermarket, get a few snacks for the road and head off with me to the Oktoberfest celebrations in Hermann, Mo.

Spotlight on Hermann
It is commonly believed that the Hermann area's resemblance to the Rhine Valley prompted scouts from the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia to choose the site for a colony on the American frontier. Dismayed at how quickly their countrymen were being assimilated into American society, the Philadelphia Germans dreamed of building a new city in the "Far West" that could and would be "German in every particular way."

In 1837 school teacher George Bayer, who was appointed to serve as the society's agent, traveled to Missouri and purchased 11,000 acres of the steepest, most rugged terrain to be found anywhere on the Missouri River. It was a beautiful, if highly impractical, site for a town.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia city planners were mapping out a grand new city, undeterred by their total ignorance of the actual terrain. On paper, Hermann was flat, with spacious market squares and sweeping boulevards. Thinking big, they made their city's main street 10 feet wider than Philadelphia's.

When the first 17 settlers stepped off the last steamboat of the season into what one writer described as "a howling wilderness," their starry-eyed idealism died on the spot. Some were furious to discover that the Hermann lots they had purchased back in Philadelphia were what today's residents jokingly refer to as "vertical acreage.” The fact that the town survived at all is a testament to German determination and hard work.

Making the best of a bad situation, the Germans took their cue from Mother Nature and planted vineyards on the rocky hillsides, where wild grapevines grew with tangled abandonment. A decade later, steamboats brought St. Louis visitors to Hermann's first Weinfest, where they enjoyed more than their share of sweet Catawba wine and marveled at the grapevine-covered hills.

By the turn of the century, Hermann's winemakers had become wildly successful. Stone Hill Winery had grown to be the second largest winery in the country and was winning gold medals at World's Fair competitions around the globe. The town's numerous vintners were producing an incredible three million gallons of wine a year. In its glory days, Hermann was a rollicking river port with a tavern on every corner and the largest general store between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The party ended with the one-two knockout punch of anti-German sentiment provoked by World War I and the Volstead Act of 1919. Prohibition sent Hermann reeling into the Great Depression a full decade before the rest of the country. The only silver lining was that the economic ruin put the town into a time warp-there was simply no money to modernize the old buildings.

Today Hermann's Old-World charm attracts visitors in search of the quiet pleasures of an earlier era. Much of downtown is a historic district where brick homes from the 1800's hug the sidewalk in the traditional German style. More than 150 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Idle for nearly 50 years after Prohibition, Hermann's wineries are once again the main tourist attraction. The current eleven wineries in and around Hermann account for more than a third of the state's total production.

Should you decide to stay closer to home, you'll want to get your Beer, Brats and Sauerkraut at Harter House Supermarket. Enjoy this glorious day!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pork Spare Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Pork Spare Ribs are on Sale this week at Harter House stores in Springfield, MO for $2.99 lb.(July 15 - 21, 2015)
These ribs are super tender, juicy and full of flavor. They are sweet and tangy with a hint of smokiness. You would never guess by tasting them that they are cooked in the oven. This rub and sauce is also delicious for BBQ chicken, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. 

First, let’s start with the spice rub:
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (mesquite flavor)
Simply mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl to make a paste.  It should look like this:

Place your ribs in a large casserole dish. Massage the spices all over both sides. If you want them to taste really smokey you could brush some liquid smoke onto your ribs before applying the spices.

Now at this point I usually cover my ribs with foil and let them sit in the fridge for a few hours. If you don’t have time for that, don’t worry, I have done it last minute before and they still come out yummy.

When you are ready to cook the ribs, preheat your oven to 350. Pour a cup of liquid into your casserole dish with your ribs. Normally I use white wine, but I was out so I used Marsala cooking wine. You have a lot of different options on what you can use for this, your favorite beer, apple juice, etc. I also add just a small splash of liquid smoke to it as well. Now cover those babies with some foil and pop them in the oven! (make sure the side with the most meat is facing down) Bake them for 2 to 2 ½ hours.
While your ribs are cooking you will want to make the BBQ sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Mix everything together with a whisk in a small saucepan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will be kind of thin, if you don’t like it that way there is an easy solution. Mix about 1-2 tsp. cornstarch in a small bowl with just enough cold water to dissolve it, then pour it into the sauce for the last minute of simmering. You can make it as thick as you would like that way. Never pour cornstarch directly into a sauce, unless you like lumpy sauce lol. If you would like a bit of a kick you can also add some red pepper flakes to taste.

Once your ribs are finished baking and your sauce is complete, take the foil off and brush your ribs with some of the BBQ sauce. Then flip them over onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. This part can get tricky because they are so tender. You may want to have someone help you, or cut your rack of ribs in half to make it easier. The side of the ribs with the most meat should be facing up at this point.

Brush some of your BBQ sauce onto this side, then stick them back in the oven under the broiler (on high). Please do NOT walk away, you will need to check them literally every minute so you don’t burn them. I usually leave them in until the sauce starts bubbling, add more sauce, and put them back in again. I know this sounds like a lot of work but it only takes a few minutes. Again, keep checking them so you do not burn them. I take my ribs out when they start getting little charred spots, like as if they were cooked on the grill. That is it! Now you can have all of the yumminess of a summer BBQ in the middle of winter.

Yes those are purple mashed potatoes!  The reason these are purple is because I bought a bag of mixed potatoes and there were some blue ones in there.

If you plan on trying this please let me know, I would also love to hear your reviews if you do try it. I really hope you enjoy my recipe.  ~~Shelly