Ramble On

Friday, December 4, 2015

Visiting Hopkins Ordinary

We took a little drive over to Sperryville on the weekend – I wanted to show Mary one of the craft breweries over there.  This one is located in the basement of a bed and breakfast called Hopkins Ordinary.  We’d stopped by once before, in the summer, so I could deliver some hops from Hawksbill Hop Yards to them.

There is a second brewery in Sperryville called Pen Druid – we’ll hit that one sometime this winter, and I’m sure she’ll enjoy it as much as this one.  One of our discoveries was the addition of a new beer garden on the grounds there, complete with tables and a firepit.  That’s where we decided to do our tasting.

They typically will have a good range of offerings on tap at Hopkins Ordinary, and many of the beers include a local ingredient or two.  I think everything that was available during our visit used local malt procured from Copper Fox Distillery, and the saison used local persimmons.  The offerings on tap were:
  • Little Devil Blonde
  • Fallen Fruit Saison
  • Stoney Man ESB
  • Wildflower Honey Brown Ale
  • Smiggy’s Wee Heavy Scottish Strong Ale
  • Innkeepers IPA

We had a nice time sitting outside by the firepit.  Looking forward to more adventures over on that side of the mountain – they’re neighbors, after all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Fall Soup

Some of the Thanksgiving traditions we enjoy is the curried butternut squash soup I have been making for the last 20 years or so.  This year was no different – even though we couldn’t get down to North Carolina to join the family, we did have a visit with friends in Bethesda, and I made the soup.

Although I do follow the recipe closely, each year it is a little different – by the way, the link at the end of this post will take you to one that has the recipe.  Variations come from the type of winter squash used (I have used acorn squash, butternut, and banana squash – but there are plenty of others), the type of stock and amount of juice used (the last few editions have been vegetable stock, but I’ve used chicken stock before; also I’ve substituted wine or cider for the juice component of the recipe), or the type and amount of curry used (I always start with about a quarter of what’s specified and add more to taste).

Adding to the excitement this year, the kitchen tool that I use for dicing the onions broke while I was working on the batch, and then our old blender had broken as well.  Fortunately, we got a new Cuisinart food processor this year – that actually made the whole thing easier!  

I doubled the recipe for this year because the headcount for the meal was more than I had prepared for in the past.  We calculated that there was a gallon and a half of soup!  There are leftovers!

In any case, everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I did as well – so all’s good.   Here’s that link that includes the recipe: