The holiday season is the perfect time for a little DIY action. On a budget? Save some money. Throwing a party? Create something memorable.
DIY-ing is also another great excuse to get together with friends, share some appetizers, and open a bottle of your favorite wine. Because that’s what the holidays are all about, right?
But with so many bloggers and crafters bombarding the internet these days, it can be tiring to sift through all the DIY ideas out there. So, for those looking for some instant inspiration, I’ve curated a list of a few favorite DIY ideas. And the best part? They’re totally versatile and can be used throughout the year. Enjoy!
DIY wreath. This is an instant statement piece.
Change out the flowers and greenery to match the occasion.
Holiday Wreath Idea
DIY wrapping paper. Instead of dealing with a slew of wrapping paper that takes up storage space, consider purchasing a plain roll of mailing paper. Now you just have one roll to deal with throughout the year, and a blank canvas for you to get creative with.
Wrapping Paper ideas
DIY dip dyed napkins. My favorite part in prepping to host a party is setting the table. It’s the centerpiece of a room and where most good memories are made. So why not have fun with it? These dip dyed napkins not only look great but can also easily be stored until the next event.
Dip Dyed Napkins
We’ve had no shortage of Cal Poly SLO Alums here at Talley Vineyards and recently we were able to add another to the club. Joining the production team is Emma Lyon, one of our newest production assistants. Emma is fresh out of Cal Poly’s Wine & Viticulture program having graduated just last month. We are excited to have her here at Talley Vineyards and are looking forward to a great 2018 harvest.
I’ve asked Emma some ice-breaker questions so that you can all get to know her a little bit better.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to the Central Coast?
What experience really solidified that you wanted to have a career in the wine industry?
What’s your favorite part about Harvest?
What’s your least favorite part about Harvest?
What are you most excited for this summer?
How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
Speaking of happy hours, what’s your favorite happy hour drink?
What would you say is your spirit animal?
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
What’s something on your bucket list?
And I’m not just talking about plates and silverware. The concept of setting your table goes further than the place settings (but don’t get me wrong, sometimes styling the table is half the fun!)—it is about the moments we share with our friends and family. The food we eat. The wine we drink. You can set your table anywhere—from the dining room to the living room, even a blanket sprawled on the beach.
Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to set your table.
So here’s to making memories this Thanksgiving.
In case you want a peek into how others spend their turkey day, I’ve asked the Talley crew to share some of their most memorable Thanksgiving moments:
“Flippy Cup” AKA flip cup. Great for those who love some friendly competition. This drinking game will get your floors messy, but definitely worth every spill.
We always try to eat our meal early so we have time for a beach walk before sunset. If it's not raining ...
We take in the stray dogs (friends with no thanksgiving plans). This year will be the biggest in a while with 16 people. We cook all day, feast, and then my father-in-law busts out his intense collection of liqueurs and brandies. Drambuie is my jam!
We listen to a lot of music…lots of Adele…
My aunt Ella, who recently passed away, would always bring her green Jello. I remember it being at every Thanksgiving I can remember. I would always put it on my plate but never tried it until last year.
If the weather is nice, which is usually the case here in SLO, my family will head out to the beach, wetsuit up, and go for a morning surf or boogie board session.
My dad makes a Pernod Shrimp appetizer with Crustini that he flambé's and my husband usually smokes our turkey which makes it juicy and flavorful and I watch football all day while cooking the sides.
We started walking on the beach in the morning the last few years, makes you feel a little better before eating so much delicious food later! Then walk “across the street” to my Grandma’s, decide which of the many wines we want to start with for dinner (which is always a hard decision). We always say we’re going to play a game, but never get around to it. I think we end up enjoying the wine too much….
My brother-in-law and I always make ‘competing’ turkeys for Thanksgiving. He usually fries one and I use various roasting or smoking methods. Everyone wins.
Thanksgiving seems to be one of the days when my family and I remember how much we enjoy games. After we finish the traditional meal, we love to pull out board games or cards for some spirited competition.
We roll pumpkins down our hill after our Thanksgiving meal. Dixie Pearl chases them.
The day before Thanksgiving, I go to my mother’s house and we bake 4 to 5 different pies. I make the filling and she makes the crust. Half way through the day we have a Mexican cocktail AKA shot of tequila. We tell everyone that we need just a touch of something to keep us going and warm us up. I look forward to this day all year. I have been watching my mom make pies since I can remember. No matter how hard I try to make her pie crust, it never turns out just right. 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of butter, and ½ cup of cold water is all that she uses; yet it tastes like there is so much more in there. Maybe it is her magic rolling pin. Nothing crazy, just some women baking!
We have another new team member to introduce you to in this week’s blog— meet Larry Lemire! A Los Angeles native, Larry moved to the Central Coast in back in 2001 where he has explored living in various locations across the County before most recently settling down in Nipomo. Since relocating to the Central Coast, Larry has worked in the courier industry where he gained freight and warehouse experience. Here at Talley Vineyards, Larry’s position as Warehouse Coordinator is vital to the success of our day in and day out operations. But because Larry’s position is a bit behind-the-scenes to those visiting the winery, I’ve asked Larry some ice breaker questions for you all to get to know him!
Where are you from originally and where have you lived since?
I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. I've always felt L.A. was too crowded and spread out. In 2001, a friend of mine who operated a courier company here on the Central Coast had just landed Mid-State Bank as a client and was in desperate need of drivers. I thought that was a golden opportunity to leave LA, and I've never looked back.
What brought you to Talley Vineyards?
In 2015, my friend decided to retire and sold his courier company. Initially I was grandfathered in as one of the operational managers, but after almost 15 years in the delivery business, I was ready to look at a different line of work.
What aspect your job do you like best so far?
The friendly and positive vibe that the staff here projects. When you come from work environments with unhappy and overly negative people, it makes one really appreciate how much more productive the workplace can be.
What’s your favorite happy hour drink?
After 8+ hours of being on my feet, I will never turn down a cold pint.
If you could spend the day with any 2 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
Oh, living for sure. Not being much of a conversationalist myself, hanging out with two dead guys would make for a very boring afternoon.
What’s something on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to witness the totality of a solar eclipse. Before, time or money constraints were always an issue as it would have involved traveling to another country to see one. This coming August, I hope to cross this one off of my list.
If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?
I've learned over the years, that magic hour is between 4:00-5:00AM. You cannot believe how much one can get done before the rest of the world has even got out of bed.
What is one thing you could not go a week without?
Probably my AM cup of coffee. Or my internet connection!
What would be your ideal vacation?
Any destination with a minimal agenda. My wife and I went to Maui for the first time a few years ago. Outside of lodging and a rental car, we just made up every day as we went. If we felt like zip-lining, we did that. If we felt like napping on the beach, we did that. It was the most fun I have ever had. Someone once told me retirement is like that. Hope to get there some time.
If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?
A hippopotamus. My wife said she wanted one for Christmas.
In honor of spring, and all of the goodness that comes along with it—warmer weather, longer days, chilled white wine—it’s only fair that we share another recipe from Brian Talley’s new cookbook, Our California Table. In my mind, there is no food that says spring better than seafood and this Sea Bass Ceviche is the perfect example. So much so, that we will be featuring this recipe at our Spring Fling for everyone to try. Please join us at our Spring Fling celebrating the release of Our California Table as well as our annual Mano Tinta wine label design competition. Tickets are available on our website. Enjoy!
For this dish I use California sea bass, not Chilean sea bass (actually Patagonian toothfish), which has been severely overfished and is regarded as one of the least sustainable fish you can consume. If you can’t find California sea bass, corvina, rock cod, and red snapper are all good substitutes. Just make sure that the fish is a fresh as possible, since the fish isn’t actually cooked in the recipe, but rather marinated in a combination of lemon and orange juice. With a salsa of fresh tomatoes, garlic, and avocado, the ceviche is perfect for lunch on a hot summer day. All you need to finish this meal is a refreshing glass of chilled white wine.
Serves 4 as a main course
Prep time: 24 hours for the best tostadas; 1 to 2 hours for the fish
Prepare tostadas: For best results prepare the tostadas 24 hours in advance.
Prepare Ceviche: Cut the sea bass into ¼-inch dice. Squeeze juice from lemons and oranges over fish. Mix to coat. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Prepare Salsa: Combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeño, olive oil, and lemon juice. Gently fold in avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To Server: Drain marinade from ceviche. Combine salsa and allow flavors to combine for 15 to 30 minutes. Serve on tostadas with the garnish of cilantro, additional lemon juice, and Mexican hot sauce to taste.
What to Drink: A summery white wine is best with this refreshing dish—Sauvignon Blanc or cool-climate Chardonnay with little or no oak.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it only appropriate to share the delectable Raspberry Pie recipe from Brian Talley’s new cookbook, Our California Table. This sweet treat is sure to please. Try it out for yourself and you’ll quickly see why this has been a long-time tradition in the Talley Family.
Plus, look how festive it looks! You’ll be sure to earn some extra V-Day bonus points. Cheers!
My family loves pies. While this tradition started with my grandmother, it was reinforced when my dad baked my mom a pie at his apartment in Berkeley on their first date. Over the years, we each did our part to continue to improve our craft. My father gathered cuttings of his favorite raspberry selection from a farmer in Arroyo Grande and planted them next to his prized Gravenstein apples, adjacent to Rosemary’s Vineyard. My mom perfected her crust, which she got from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. The unique thing about this crust is that vodka is used in place of half the water in the recipe. The vodka evaporates as the pie bakes, which reduces the moisture content and results in a super flaky crust. Finally, my daughter Elizabeth continued the family tradition by incorporating a lattice top crust.
Prep time: 2 hours
Prepare dough Place 1½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until combined, about 2 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening, and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. Dough will resemble cottage cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around the processor blade.
Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is tacky and sticks together. Add water sparingly, as more water results in a less flaky crust. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Prepare filling Combine raspberries, flour, and sugar in small bowl. Set aside.
Finish Roll one disk of dough into a roughly 13-inch-diameter circle. Carefully fold in half, then place this in a 9-inch pie dish and unfold, positioning dough evenly in the dish with the edges hanging over. Trim the dough so that a ½-inch overhang remains. Roll out the other disk into a 13-inch circle. If making a lattice-top crust, cut into 12 strips, each ¾ inch wide.
Pour the berry mixture into the bottom crust. Place 6 of the lattice strips over the filling, evenly spaced about ¾ inch apart. Take each of the next 6 strips and weave those through the original 6. When this is done, trim the excess length so that no more than 1 inch hangs over. Crimp the edge of the pie. (For a much more elaborate explanation of this process, and pie making in general, refer to Great Pies & Tarts by Carole Walter.)
If you prefer a solid top, simply place the rolled-out top crust over the berry mixture. Crimp the edges to seal the bottom and top crusts together. Cut vents in the top crust to let the steam out.
Bake at 425˚F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F for 45 minutes, until pie is bubbly and top is light brown.
As promised, we are sharing another delicious recipe from Brian Talley’s new cookbook, Our California Table, in anticipation of the book’s spring release date. This fresh and veggie-filled side dish is the perfect way to kick-start all of those healthy New Year’s resolutions. Not to mention it’s versatile, too. Just add some grilled chicken or shrimp to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a good looking entrée.
This is a recipe that my wife, Johnine, has been making since before we got married, and one that family members and guests have requested many times. It was originally developed by Mary Evely, the chef at Simi Winery in Sonoma County, one of the oldest wineries in California. The salad incorporates a number of vegetables that we grow, including spinach, red bell pepper, and green onion. Orzo, if you’re not familiar with it, is a small, rice-like pasta. The original version of the salad calls for capers as well, but Johnine doesn’t like capers, so she omitted them from her version. The dish can be made well in advance and, with the addition of shrimp or chicken, makes a perfect entrée salad.
Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook orzo as directed on the package to al dente, rinse with cold water, and drain. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then set aside.
Prepare dressing by combining remaining olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, herbs, and cumin. Whisk until smooth, then set aside.
Place orzo in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add spinach, olives, pepper, and green onion. The salad can be held for several hours.
To serve: Top with feta cheese and pine nuts.
What to drink: This fresh summer salad is perfect with a light white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé. A light Pinot Noir is good if the salad accompanies grilled meat.
With a recipe this appetizing, we couldn’t wait any longer to share a sneak peek into Brian Talley’s new cookbook, Our California Table: Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family. This will be the first of several recipes that we will be sharing on our blog over the next few months in anticipation of Our California Table, set to be released in March of 2017. So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for news and updates.
Dungeness Crab with Pink Sauce
Dungeness crab is one of the true winter delicacies of the West Coast. We celebrate Christmas Eve with this dish, which features a slight variation on my grandmother’s recipe for the pink sauce. She used to add 1 cup of mayonnaise to the whipping cream. My mother eliminated the mayonnaise, for a lighter version. For many years Master Sommelier Sara Floyd and I hosted a special crab lunch at Alioto’s, the famous seafood restaurant in San Francisco. Nunzio Alioto would prepare platefuls of Dungeness crab, and everyone who was invited to lunch had to bring what they believed to be the perfect wine to pair with the dish. The guests included some of the most highly regarded wine professionals in the Bay Area, and inevitably they brought crisp Chardonnay from France or off-dry Riesling from Germany.
Prep time: 1 hour for live crab, 15 minutes if working with cooked and cleaned crab
Whip cream into stiff peaks. Fold in chili sauce and lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.
If working with live crabs, choose vigorous, healthy specimens. Watch your fingers; the crabs can pinch you hard with their claws. Bring a large quantity of water to boil in the biggest pot you have. Add crabs and return water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes for 2- to 2½-pound crabs and 20 minutes for 3-pound crabs.
Remove crabs from water and rinse with cold water. When crabs are cool enough to handle, pull off and remove the triangular flap from the belly side. Turn belly side down, then remove top shell. Scoop the soft golden crab butter and white crab fat into another bowl (some people like to eat the butter). Break off the bony section, which is the mouth, from the front of the shell and discard.
On the body section, pull off and discard the reddish membrane that covers the back (it may have come off with the shell), as well as any loose pieces. Add any remaining crab butter to your butter bowl. Remove and discard gills. Rinse with cold water.
Twist the legs and claws from the body. Using a nutcracker or mallet, crack the shell of each leg and claw section. Break or cut the body section into quarters. Chill thoroughly.
To serve Arrange cracked parts, including back shells, decoratively over ice on a large serving platter. Serve family style with the pink sauce, lemon slices, and drawn butter. On the side add fresh sourdough bread and a green salad.
What to drink. Follow the lead of the guests at the crab lunch and open crisp Chardonnay or off-dry Riesling.
A few weeks back I brought a bottle of Bishop’s Peak Elevation with me to a relative’s house up in San Francisco. I knew that the wine would be well received, but what I wasn’t expecting was how it would spark our topic of conversation for the next 45 minutes. As the bottle was passed and poured, everyone was genuinely intrigued, not so much about what was going into their glass, but rather about what exactly was on the label itself—Bishop’s Peak. I’m not going to lie, at first I was a bit surprised that no one knew what Bishop’s Peak was. Sure it’s not Mount Whitney, Muir Woods, or any other major hiking destination in California, but for the County of San Luis Obispo, Bishop’s Peak is kind of a big deal.
Bishop’s Peak is iconic of SLO; a climb to the top is every newcomer’s rite of passage. Like many, I was introduced to the mountain back when I first moved into town as a freshman at Cal Poly. I quickly learned why Bishop’s Peak is such an integral part of the community. On any given day, you can expect to find the avid hiker, leisurely sightseer, or thrill-seeking rock climber. This is one of the things that I love most about Bishop’s Peak—the fact that it is enjoyed by so many people with varying agendas. And, not to forget, the hike is also thoroughly enjoyed by happy dogs everywhere.
At 1,546 feet, Bishop’s Peak is the tallest of the Nine Sisters. The Nine Sisters are a series of volcanic peaks that stretch throughout San Luis Obispo County. Not all can be hiked, but of the ones that can, Bishop’s Peak is definitely #1. The hike to the top is a noteworthy two mile stretch. Taking the Highland Drive entrance, the trail begins in a tranquil wooded grove and eventually winds up through a series of scenic switchbacks. The sun can be a bit intense towards the end, so bringing a hat and plenty of water is definitely a must. Once at the top, there are two benches and plenty of rocks that offer a place to catch a breath and absorb the stunning 360-degree view of San Luis Obispo County. This is where hikers can fully revel in the beauty that all of San Luis Obispo has to offer. To the East are expansive views of the Cal Poly campus, downtown San Luis Obispo, and Sister Mountain, Cerro San Luis. To the West are epic views of Morro Bay, Montaña de Oro, the Pacific Ocean, and beyond. Because there is so much to take in, it is common for people to spend more time hanging out at the top of the mountain than on the hike itself.
So the next time you’re in town, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend a trip to the top of Bishop’s Peak. Hikers will be rewarded with a great workout, excellent views, and yet another excuse to open up a bottle of your favorite Bishop’s Peak wine (once you get home, of course!).