Mary Stewart, farm advocate and scratch cook

May 1, 2012 – May is Wine Month
A blog enjoyed by those who love local farms, wines and slow foods
We open our farm, wine and food travel planner with a scenic trip along the Molalla Country Farm Loop to a delightful boutique winery tucked in the rolling oaked hills of Marquam, Oregon, on highway 213 southeast of Molalla. 
AlexEli Vineyard &Winery seems like a good first stop. Not just because it’s name starts with “A” but because winemaker Phil Kramer crafts such splendid wines.
We choose the 2010 Bubela’s Blend to sample, and enjoy the way the blend of Chardonnay (90%), Rielsling and MÜller-Thurgau gives a slightly effervescent tickle to the tongue with succulent notes of applesauce, poached pears, chamomile and honeysuckle. In addition to pouring this playful white for dinner, I used it to make Stroganoff that received a “thumbs up.” See recipe below.

2010 Bubela’s Blend

Owning a winery isn’t just about winemaking, it’s also about keeping the vines producing at their best. This winter, farmer-winemaker Phil, Heidi Hoffman and a dauntless volunteer crew worked through chilly rain and wind to re-trellis and prune the front vineyard.
They are also in the early stages of a three-year project with Oregon Fishing Club to rehabilitate their lake and improve water quality and clarity, which will in turn create an improved fishery. There will be work parties to help transport and plant iris, lily, cattails and willow! Keep an eye on their website for dates and times.
The AlexEli tasting room is now open Saturdays & Sundays from 12 – 5pm, or by appointment throughout the week. The garden patio/tasting room area is available to rent for private events or tastings. Contact: or find them through
Mary Stewart’s Beef Stroganoff
(6–8 servings)
2 lb         beef filet or top sirloin, fat trimmed – it needs to be a tender cut of beef
4 Tbl       butter
1 Tbl       olive oil
1              medium onion, chopped – yellow or white
3              cloves garlic, minced
½ lb        fresh mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick
3 Tbl       flour
1 Tbl       catsup (or tomato paste with ¼ tsp sugar)
½ tsp     kosher salt
⅛ tsp     pepper, freshly ground
1              10 ½ oz. can beef bouillon, undiluted
1Tbl        fresh dill, snipped or ½ tsp dried
1 ½ C      sour cream, either regular or lite
                Sliced scallions (optional)
Cut steak across the grain into ½” slices. Melt I Tbl of butter with olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. On high heat, brown beef strips quickly on all sides until brown on the outside, but rare on the inside.  Remove from pan, and cover with foil or lid to stay warm. In same skillet lower heat to medium, melt remaining butter and sauté onion and mushrooms until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add flour, catsup, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Place skillet on high heat and gradually add bouillon while you stir until it boils.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in wine, dill and sour cream. Add beef strips and heat thoroughly. Serve over hot wide noodles, or a brown and wild rice blend, and sprinkle with scallions. Accompany with young broccoli or a salad of garden greens, craisins and hazelnuts.  Pair with Bubela’s Blend.

The Tasting Room