Bacon, need I say more?

“Bacon bits are like the fairy dust of the food community.”
–Jim Gaffigan

On the weekend when sleeping in just feels right but heading out for a late brunch doesn’t, a delicious savory homemade sandwich and hearty cocktail can mean no waiting in line for a table to open up. Additional bonuses, there is bacon involved and you can eat in pajamas!

Some recipes are not just invented, they evolve and change over time. In the case of the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich (BLT), there is evidence that this recipe descended from a late Victorian-era tea sandwich. Many have taken credit for creating the BLT, but the standard ingredients for the toasted sandwich remain constant. So how does a person who is allergic to raw tomatoes ( yes I’m talking about myself here) enjoy this classic sandwich. Well, in my case I evolved the sandwich yet again to fit my needs and taste.

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli Bacon Sandwich

When I want the bacon to take center stage of a meal I usually reach for thicker cut Apple Smoked Bacon from the meat counter of my local grocery store or butcher shop.

This quick and easy Sun-dried Tomato Aioli is simply delicious on anything from a sandwich to veggies or as a dip.

I use dry Sun-dried tomatoes for this recipe, not packed in olive oil.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
  • Process first 6 ingredients in a food processor for 15-25 seconds or until garlic and sun-dried tomatoes are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add milk milk and blend again for 5-10 seconds. In a small bowl add mayonnaise and fold in the sun-dried tomato mix. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Continuing with a different twist on this Bacon Sandwich, lettuce is replaced with fresh Arugula that has been lightly tossed in Garlic Olive Oil. All that is left to do is to toast your bread, a great mutli-grain bread is always a good way to go, and then assemble your Bacon sandwich. Spread on the delicious Sun-dried Tomato Aioli, add your warm Apple Smoke Bacon and top with Arugula.

Now I know what you are thinking, I mentioned this sandwich for Brunch right? Well this sandwich can easily become a Brunch Sandwich with the addition of a fried egg. Hungary yet? I am!

YES!!! Another recipe with Bacon!

At home Brunch is also a great opportunity to mix up a one of a kind cocktail. Are you a fan of a Bloody Mary cocktail? I love the flavors in a traditional Bloody Mary but I generally avoid tomato juice because of my raw tomato allergy. This is where a reinvention comes in. I came across a recipe for a “Bunny Mary” that used carrot juice instead of tomato juice, yet it had all of the components of a Bloody Mary. This recipe is an adaption of that recipe.

For this “Peter Cocktail” I used Duffy’s Run Vodka© from Pennsylvania Distillers, Restless Spirits©.

In recent years there has been an uptick on Over-The-Top garnishes in a Bloody Mary cocktail. One of the most popular garnish seems to involve the incorporation of bacon. So, wanting to change it up just a bit I cooked up some Spicy Candied Bacon before mixing up the cocktail.

Sweet with warm spices this Candied Bacon is becoming a new favorite in our home.
  • Begin by Preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining an edged cook sheet with aluminium foil. This recipe is for eight slices of bacon, and again I used Apple Smoked Bacon.
  • Next in a shallow dish combine:
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Dredge each bacon slice on both sides through the brown sugar mixture and place the bacon on lined edged cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain, but don’t leave it too long as this is a sticky bacon and will adhere to the paper towel if left in place. After a couple of minutes move to a piece of parchment paper to complete cooling.

Once the Spicy Candied Bacon is done you can start putting together your other garnishes. I used some fantastic Organic Greek Olives from Zelos Authentic Greek Artisan© and some home canned Dilly Carrots.

With the garnishes ready you can start crafting the “Peter Cocktail”.

*Before you start I want to introduce an option here of mixing up the spices with the carrot juice and allowing it to sit in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors meld. The next day you can strain the spice granules and dill for a smoother drinking cocktail.

“Peter Cocktail” a carrot juice twist on a Bloody Mary

As with a traditional Bloody Mary many of the flavor components come from spices and seasonings used in the mix. Some people prefer a hot and spicy cocktail, while others like a milder combination of flavors. In the recipe below the measurements are for the milder flavored cocktail. If you like things hot and spicy, double some or all of the seasonings.

Some of the best Bloody Mary’s are made with a brine and crab seasoning. If you don’t like crab seasoning you can substitute with creole seasoning. Brine & crab seasoning give it this extra kick and acid the “Peter Cocktail” needs.

Ingredients for 2 servings:
16 ounces Carrot Juice
4 ounces Vodka
1.5 ounces Pickle Juice or Olive Brine
0.5 ounces Lemon Juice
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoons Crab Seasoning
1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper
3/4 teaspoons Dill
1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoons Horseradish
1 teaspoons Hot Sauce (Add more or less depending on heat preference)

*The carrot juice and all other ingredients (except the vodka) can be mixed and stored in the fridge overnight, or in a pitcher add in all of your ingredients and stirring until well combined.

Fill serving glass to the top with ice and pour your Bunny Mary over the ice. Garnish with olives, pickled carrots and Spicy Candied Bacon.

Cheers to sleeping in and enjoying a delicious brunch at home.

For the TRAGANO GREEK ORGANICS GREEN OLIVES from Zēlos™ Authentic Greek Artisan visit and for more information of the Vodka used in this recipe visit

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

The Snoqualmie Valley Wine Experience

“Never pass up new experiences, Scarlett. They enrich the mind.” Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind                 

Located just 30 miles East of Seattle, The Snoqualmie Valley is a farming and tourist destination located along the Snoqualmie River in Western Washington. The valley is known for its mountains and rivers, from the convergence of the three forks of the Snoqualmie river at North Bend to the confluence of the Snoqualmie and the Skykomish Rivers which forms the Snohomish River in the town of Monroe. At the town of Snoqualmie, the stretch of the river also includes the popular and majestic Snoqualmie Falls. Towns located in the beautiful valley include North Bend, Snoqualmie, Preston, Fall City, Carnation and Duvall.

The Snoqualmie Valley is rich in heritage, with rough and pastoral landscapes. Farmers in the area take advantage of the fertile soils in the lower valley, and supply fresh produce to restaurants and farmer’s markets both near and far. Outdoor activities are plentiful in the valley, and include numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking. Rafting down the river, rock climbing and sitting in the meadow to admire a herd of local Elk can all be enjoyed in the Snoqualmie Valley.

Washington State is home to 970 wineries, and celebrates Taste Washington Wines in March. The official Washington wine month is in August. The Snoqualmie Valley currently has 9 wineries producing a wide array of varietals. In North Bend you can visit Pearl and Stone Wine Co. and Convergence Zone Cellars. The town of Snoqualmie is home to Sigillo Cellars, Chateau Noelle Vineyard and Winery, and Mount Si Winery. Traveling west down the valley to Fall City, you will find Fivash Cellars and William Grassie Wine Estates. Carnation offers a stop at Orenda Winery, who will be releasing their first Vintage in June. Finally the town of Duvall will land you at Cherry Valley Winery.

With Mount Si in the background, the new releases from North Bend Winery, Pearl and Stone Wine Co. are ready to be enjoyed next month.

Pearl and Stone Wine Co.

Founded in 2013, Pearl and Stone Wine Co. is a partnership of three families and the winemaking talents of Chris Stone, Rob Wesorick and Paul Ribary. All three families are deeply rooted in the valley and share a strong commitment to supporting the local community. Their name says it all, Pearl represents something of value, like the value of friends and family and Stone represents a strong foundation, and a grounding sense of place.

Pearl and Stone specialized in crafting small batch, red blends with grapes sources from some of the “very best vineyards in Washington.” This years red blend releases include 2017 Wandering, 2017 Resolution Peaks, 2017 Mailbox Peak, and 2017 Boulder Loop. This Spring they will also be releasing their very popular Rose’, 2018 Unemployment Beach with the addition of their first white blend, 2018 Old Rickety, a beautiful blend of 94% Grenache Blanc and 6% Roussanne. Each of the wine names represent a well known location in the North Bend area. This years bottling produced approxiamtely 1000 cases and next year Pearl and Stone hopes to continue with an increase in bottling of 1400 cases.

Old Rickety is named for the Old Rickety Bridge that is found along a hiking trail and is a popular spot to jump off into the river.

Pearl and Stone Wine Co. tasting room, located at 43015 SE 114th St in North Bend, is open Saturday from 12 pm – 5 pm (until 6 PM in spring and summer). New release wines will be available on April 15th.

Convergence Zone Cellars

Convergence Zone Cellars is a family-owned and operated winery located in North Bend. Owner/Winemaker Scott Greenberg began as a home winemaker in 2004 and made his first commercial wine in 2008. Due to the unpredictable weather here in the Pacific Northwest, the winery started in the middle of a Covergence Zone weather pattern, hence the name. With an annual case production of 1100 cases, the grapes for Convergence Zone Cellars wines are from some of Washington’s best vineyards in the Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Valley areas. Building on the motto of ‘Where Craft and Culture Meet’, Scott produces small batch, award-winning, premium quality wines that he hopes you will like to drink as much as he does.

Scott is also currently on the City of North Bend Planning Commission (a volunteer position). Scott and his wife Monica moved to North Bend in 2014, but are long time residents of the Seattle area.

Current releases from Convergence Zone Cellars include: *Drizzle Pinot Gris: 100% Pinot Gris from Ciel du Cheval vineyard, Red Mountain AVA. Drizzle is the only Pinot Gris available from Red Mountain. Vintages currently available are 2015 and 2016.
*Sunbreak Chenin Blanc: 100% old vine Chenin Blanc from Upland vineyard in the Snipes Mountain AVA. Vintages currently available are 2016 and 2017 (new release).
*Three Forks Winery Rose’: 100% Pinot Gris from Ciel du Cheval vineyard, Red Mountain AVA. 2018 vintage is a new release.
*2015 Storm Front: Blend of Merlot (53%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Petit Verdot (9%). Columbia Valley AVA
*2014 Squall Line: Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (69%), Cabernet Franc (20%), Malbec (11%). Columbia Valley AVA
*2014 Mistral: Grenache (63%), Syrah (32%), Mourvedre (5%). Red Mountain AVA
*2015 Fly Rod Cellars Prince Nymph: 50% Cabernet Franc, 31% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Columbia Valley AVA

Convergence Zone Cellars is located at 10808 428th Av. SE in North Bend.
New hours for 2019 are Saturdays 1:00 pm-5:00 pm.

A Bit of History

Snoqualmie is the English pronunciation of “sah-KOH-koh” or “Sdob-dwahibbluh,” a Salish word meaning moon. As a spiritual place, it gave birth to many legends. The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, is a federally recognized tribe of Snoqualmie people. They are Coast Salish Native American peoples from the Snoqualmie Valley.

Growing wine grapes in the Snoqualmie Valley is often a challenge, but Snoqualmie winery Chateau Noelle is proving that it can be done.

Chateau NoElle Vineyards & Winery

Tom and Lorrie Wilson will tell you that “Chateau NoElle is truly the manor built for our children, Elle and Nolan. It is a place of genuine connections between friends and neighbors, it is a place of shared stories over shared glasses, it is a place of laughter and love.”

Long time Snoqualmie residents Tom and Lorrie Wilson, set down roots on their beautiful property in 1998. With a desire to be stewards of the land and with a responsibility to leave the world a better place than they found it, a “Trial” Vineyard was planted in 2015. Located at an elevation 800 feet on the west slope of the Cascade foothills on the 47th parallel, the cool climate is similiar to many of the most renowned wine growing regions of the world. For this reason the “Trial” vineyard was planted with red varietals, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Rondo along with white varietals of Pinot Gris, Sauvingnon Blanc and Siegerrebe. After two years of establishing the root systems and trunks, the first small crop was harvested in 2018 and yeilded a few cases of each variety to share with the Chateau NoElle founding wine club members.

In 2017, more vineyards were planted which is included three clones of Pinot Noir – the “go to” Dijon clones 115, 667, and 777 along with Auxerrois (cousin to Chardonnay) grown in the Alsace region of France and Iskorka a grape that hails from Russia with a beautiful bouquet and flavor profile similar to Pinot Gris. Tom and Lorrie will evaluate the performance of these vines in 2019’ and take a small crop from those vines that are ready to support fruit.
Additionally in 2017’, Chateau NoElle also took over the care of the Hollywood Hill vineyard in Woodinville, WA which is approximately 1 acre planted in 2004. Two clones of Pinot Noir (Dijon 667 & 777) make up 2/3’s of the rows and Chardonnay (Dijon clone 76) makes up the balance. The 2017 wines from this vineyard have been well received (the Chardonnay sold out) with the Pinot Noir set to formally release this month.

Not done yet, in the spring of 2019, they will site prep, install trellising, and plant another acre of vines in Snoqualmie. Approximately 2/3’s of an acre will be planted to 4 clones of Pinot Noir; 113 (said to be the most aromatic/finessed of the Dijon clones) 115 (backbone & structure), 667 (spice & pepper), & 777 (red & dark fruits). The remaining 1/3 of an acre will be planted to Chardonnay – Dijon clones 76 & 95. Chateau NoElle does currently source grapes from other areas in Washington to produce their wines.

Chateau NoElle available wines include:

  • “Eve” 1st pick Riesling – 2016 Spring Ranch Naches Heights. 2017 Bacchus Columbia Valley.
  • “Sarah” Late Harvest Riesling – 2016 Spring Ranch Naches Heights. 2017 Bacchus Columbia Valley.
  • “Delilah” Gerwurtzraminer – 2016 Spring Ranch Naches Heights.
  • “Salome” Chardonnay – 2017 Hollywood Hill (nearly sold out).

Spring Release – May 11 2019, 2018 Eve, Sarah, and Salome.

  • “Revelation” Pinot Noir – 2016 Devorah Creek Puget Sound (almost sold out).
  • 2017 Hollywood Hill (3/22/2019 release).
  • “Communion Syrah – 2016 Spring Ranch Naches Heights.
  • “Numinous” Claret (Cab Franc/Merlot/Syrah blend) – 2016 Washington State.

Fall Release – September 1, 2019, 2017 new “Numinous” Claret blend (Cab Franc/Merlot/Cab Sauv/Malbec/Carmenere), “Ascension” Malbec, “Unity” Cab Sauv, and “Communion” Syrah.

Chateau NoElle is currently open by appointment only but Tom and Lorrie would love to have you come out to visit, walk through the vineyards and taste some of their handcrafted wines. Chateau NoElle is located at 36105 SE 89th Pl, Snoqualmie, WA

A Bit of History

Many of the exterior shots for David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television series and movie (Fire Walk with Me) were filmed in Snoqualmie and in the neighboring towns of North Bend and Fall City.

Sigillo Cellars

In 2005 the Seal family paired up with former winemaker Steve Bailey and friends to make wine for personal consumption out of his garage. With the passing of time they were able to source better fruit, hone the processes, and share their newfound passion with others. Following a great 2009 crush, father and son team, Mike and Ryan started talking about sharing their passion for good wine with more than just their close friends. Then in 2010 Mike and Ryan Seal along with Ryan’s childhood friend Scott founded Sigillo Cellars, an Italian translation of their last name.

With the help and loyalty of family, friends and the Snoqualmie Valley Community Sigillo Cellars opened a tasting room in the beautiful historic Sunset Theater in the heart of downtown Snoqualmie.

Under the guidance of former winemaker, Steve, Sigillo Cellars broke into the wine industry that first year with a 400+ case production. By 2012 production had increased to just over 1300 cases and continue to increase with a portfolio of traditional Bordeaux and Rhone varietals as well as a few other favorites.

To maintain their belief that wine should be
experienced and not merely tasted Sigillo Cellars has expanded their inviting, family friendly tasting room to include light fare for those who want a longer experience, a new outdoor seating area for the Mt. Si viewing experience, and live entertainment for those who want an evening experience.

  • Sigillo Cellars new releases include:
  • 2017 Columbia Valley Chardonnay
  • 2018 SUD which is comprised of 50% Viognier, 27% Chardonnay and 23% Roussanne
  • 2018 SnoValley which is a blend of 50% Viognier, 27% Chardonnay and 23% Roussanne
  • 2016 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sunset, a 2016 Columbia Valley Red Blend of 36% Merlot, 28% Cab Sauv, 18% Malbec, 9% Cab Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Carmenere
  • 2016 Columbia Valley Malbec

Located at 8086 Railroad Ave Snoqualmie, WA, tasting room hours are:

Monday 3PM – 8PM
Wednesday and Thursday 3PM – 8PM
Friday and Saturday 12PM – 10PM
Sunday 12PM – 5PM

A New Winery in the Snoqualmie Valley

Orenda Winery

Orenda Winery, whose name was chosen because the word means “the balance of energy between all things” is thrilled to release their first vintage in June.

Through immense serendipity, Xander and Samantha Kent stumbled upon the property of Pleasant Hill Estate in Carnation, WA during the fall of 2017. Pleasant Hill, is a 3.3-acre historic farm estate with a boutique winery and event center, whose owners were looking for someone to continue using the property as a winery. Feeling deeply inspired, a plan and a new winery began to form. The Kent’s reached out to friend Mark Bosso, Cellar Master for Baer Winery in Woodinville, about joining their venture. Mark brought his knowledge and passion to the position of head winemaker. Xander has space on the property for his beekeeping and honey making pursuits. The Kent’s plan on offering honey at local farmer’s markets. Samantha is the estate’s manager and marketing/event coordinator, but also works with Mark to add her passion for wine chemistry.

Wine Maker Mark Bosso has been a part of 13 vintages for six different wineries in both the northern and southern hemisphere. Working for three years as cellar master at Baer Winery, Mark is now taking on the role of head wine maker at Orenda.
This April Orenda Winery plans to bottle:
•2018 Riesling (old vine), Columbia Valley.
•2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley.
•2016 Merlot, Columbia Valley (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon).
•2016 Balance, Columbia Valley (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc): This is Orenda’s flagship wine.
•2016 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
•2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Verdot).

This June’s release will be 500 cases of 2016 vintage, with plans to expand to 1000 cases by next year. Currently available to host weddings and events, Orenda Winery looks forward to opening a tasting room soon, and also plans to sell their harvested honey.

The Snoqualmie Valley has always been a location that attracts nature lovers, hikers, railroad enthusiasts, rafters and kayakers, and now the Valley is becoming a perfect destination for wine lovers as well.

For more information about the Snoqualmie Valley Wine Experience you can visit any of the wineries listed above, as well as Cherry Valley Winery, Mount Si Winery, William Grasse Wine Estate, and Fivash Winery.

Group photos supplied by Pearl and Stone Wine Co. and Sigillo Cellars.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.