OK. This is an awesome French restaurant in Eagle, ID, just west of Boise. I know of no other French restaurant in the area of this caliber. Definitely a 5-Star restaurant! It really replaces Le Café de Paris and Andrea’s. Both of which have closed. Great interior ambiance – like sitting in a French café. The patio offers seating also, but on our visit, it was very hot. You may also have live music on the patio. It would be best to call for reservations if you decide to go. Both Chef Franck and his wife Michelle are very warm, charming and interesting. Anxious to answer question you may have. Here is some of the dishes we had and they were awesome. Delicious! Beautifully presented. Enjoy. We did. We’ll be back! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
A wonderful event at Richard’s in Boise, an “…Inventive European bistro dishes & regional fine wines served in an elegant, romantic atmosphere. 500 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702. 208) 472-1463”
The dinner was wonderfully paired with wines from Clearwater Canyon Cellars, 3143 10th St, Lewiston, ID 83501. 208.816.4679. Tasting Room Hours: Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 5pm & by appointment. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
Oh yes! Delicious popovers. Fill with tuna salad, ham, jam or whipped cream. These buttery, soft “rolls”, of sorts, will suit any party. Or dinner table. Or breakfast. They are so versatile. Easy to make and you don’t really need any special tools or pans. Even though there are special pans for popovers. Or, use a metal muffin pan. Big one or little one.
But where did these come? Who “invented” them? Some sources say they are related to Scottish Short Bread. But more than likely, they come from England and are a derivative of Yorkshire Pudding. “The popover is an American version of Yorkshire pudding and similar batter puddings made in England since the 17th century.
The oldest known reference to popovers is in a letter of E. E. Stuart’s in 1850. The first cookbook to print a recipe for popovers was M. N. Henderson, Practical Cooking, 1876. The first book other than a cookbook to mention popovers was Jesuit’s Ring by A. A. Hayes published in 1892.
In American Food (1974), author Evan Jones writes: “Settlers from Maine who founded Portland, Oregon, Americanized the pudding from Yorkshire by cooking the batter in custard cups lubricated with drippings from the roasting beef (or sometimes pork); another modification was the use of garlic, and, frequently, herbs. The result is called Portland popover pudding: individual balloons of crusty meat-flavored pastry.
Other American popover variations include replacing some of the flour with pumpkin puree and adding spices such as allspice or nutmeg. Most American popovers today, however, are not flavored with meat or herbs. Instead, they have a buttery taste.
Ogden Nash inverts the historical order of events.
Let’s call Yorkshire pudding
A fortunate blunder:
It’s a sort of popover
That turned and popped under.” [Wikipedia]
And from the sensitiveeconomist. com site, “Popovers are an American recipe that are thought to have descended from English batter puddings and Yorkshire puddings, although the origin is a bit uncertain. Puddings in medieval times were not like today’s custard-like desserts, but rather were meat-based.” In other words, I’m still not completely sure where popovers came from. Although, they appear to be strictly an American treat.
So now we know a little about the popover. But now the question is:Do I need a special pan? “Popovers are airy rolls that are just as much fun to bake as they are to eat. It is a balloon-like roll with a crisp, buttery exterior and a tender, eggy interior. Many people don’t make them at home because the perception is that you need a specialty pan to bake them. Fortunately, this isn’t true.” [craftsy.com] A good, sturdy muffin pan will work just as well.
Here is a recipe that we like and it works very well.
Total: 50 min Prep: 10 min Cook: 40 min Yield: 8 popovers
Bob and Robin Young, Boise, ID
3 T melted butter, divided
2 lg Eggs
1 c whole Milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 c All-Purpose Flour
1 t Celtic Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes. (This is extremely important to do!)
Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth.
Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin ⅔ full (each popover will expand) and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm. From David Libowitz “Sugar-Crusted Popovers
Adapted from my recipe in The New York Times and Maida Heatter’s Great Book of Desserts.I thought these wouldn’t stay crisp for very long after they were baked and coated with the sugar. But the next morning, I was surprised when I pulled off a hunk and they’re weren’t bad. But they are the best the day they’re made; leftovers can be stored in a container and snacked on the next day. You could freeze them in zip-top bags as well.I don’t have popover tins, but found these work quite well in standard-sized muffin tins. For this recipe, feel free to use salted or unsalted butter, depending on your preference.
For the puffs:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup (140g) flour
For the sugar-coating:
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (60g) melted butter
Softened butter, for greasing the pan
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Liberally grease a nonstick popover pan, or a muffin pan with 1/2-cup indentations,with softened butter.
2. For the puffs, put the 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender and blend for a few seconds.
3. Add the flour and whiz for about 10 seconds, just until smooth.
4. Divide the batter among the 9 greased molds, filling each 1/2 to 2/3rds full.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the puffs are deep brown.
6. Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the popovers from the pans and set them on a cooling rack. If they’re stubborn, you may need a small knife or spatula to help pry them out.
7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Thoroughly brush each popover all over with the 1/4 cup (60 g) of melted butter, then dredge each puff generously in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat them completely. Let cool on the wire rack.”
We have been to several 5-Star restaurants in Boise – Richard’s, Chandler’s, Cottonwood Grill, Andrae’s (when it was open) and Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, FL – and the dinner that Chef and Winemaker Storm Hodge and Sous Chef Megan Hartman prepared for us, and 50+ others, last night at the winery, gives any of these restaurants a very serious challenge. This dinner was every bit a 5-Star dinner. It was amazingly delicious. Kudo’s to the Chefs, their kitchen staff and the wait staff! I sincerely urge any of you who are in the area, to visit the Bistro on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday Brunch and have superb meal. (Here is more info at Parma Ridge Winery – Snake River AVA Happenings) Look at what they prepared and we enjoyed! (Left-Click any of the photos to see them enlarged.)
It’s probably one of the greatest cheddar cheeses you could EVER eat! And it’s a cheese in a can! Not aerosol driven. So it is not Cheeze Whiz. Nor is it Velveeta! It’s pure, fantastic, fresh cows milk cheese.
Corti Brothers Store, 5810 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95819 916-736-3800, is probably one of the most fun grocery stores you will ever enter and they have some great information on this cheese! “…Frank Corti And Gino Corti started Corti Brothers in 1947…” and it has been open ever since. Darrell Corti, who Robin knows quite well and who I met several years ago, is the son of Frank Corti. From their website, Corti Brothers,
…Darrell, whose encyclopedic knowledge of food and wine attracts queries from around the world. As told by Ruth Reichel in her memoir Comfort Me With Apples, Colman Andrews described Darrell to her as the man “who knows more about food and wine than anyone else in the world.”
In 1967, using his role as an insider’s insider, he reached out to the rest of the country with a newsletter, featuring rare, high quality food items and wines discovered during his travels in Europe and Asia. After forty plus years of continuous publication, it is still prized for its wealth of information, including essential details about a product’s history, modes of production, uses, and occasional esoteric bits that ‘foodies’ adore. Never dull, Darrell is known for free expression of his wide ranging opinions, which are often iconoclastic and seldom sugar-coated.
Darrell’s contribution to the food and wine literacy of his friends, associates, and customers has been considerable. He played a large role in the development of wine production in Amador County. He was made a Cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of knighthood, by the Italian government for his efforts in promoting Italian products, not the least of which was the almost single-handed introduction of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale to America. Darrell, an early champion of local olive production, has seen his efforts bear fruit as chairman of the Los Angeles County Fair’s International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.
So when I say that Darrell Corti knows his cheeses and he likes to share his knowledge, here is what he says about Cougar Gold.
“COUGAR GOLD CHEESE is the result of war! In fact it may the only good thing ever to have come out of war. During World War II, it was created by Washington State University to be used as military rations. It is the only cheese that I know of that is made and aged in a tin can. Normally, one does not think of cheese aged in a can, but Cougar Gold has become famous for this methodology. It is a “cheddar” like cheese that I think is possibly the best cheese to accompany wine. It has very low acidity, which does not change the taste of wine, and does have the clean sharpness of an aged cheese. Unique, it is made only at Pullman, Washington, and deserves to be better known.
It is also an easy to care for cheese. Just buy several tins and put them in your refrigerator and turn them from time to time. They just sit there getting better and better. It is also a cheese that is firm, with a crumbly texture, a pale yellow color and it will have specks of tyrosomine on it. Once the can is opened, wrap the cheese in waxed paper and then film and enjoy it until it’s gone. I think it is perfect with an old Cabernet or Vintage Port, perhaps not rich enough for Burgundy. If you like cheese and have not had Cougar Gold, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is hard to resist. By the way, when was the last time you had a 10 year old cheese? COUGAR GOLD CHEESE 30 oz tin.” [Corti Brothers website]
Here is what the WSU Creamery says about Cougar Gold.
“Our most famous & popular cheese! Winner of several national and international awards. A rich, white cheddar with a smooth, firm texture. This unique cheddar has a depth and intensity that most people have never before experienced. Its creamy, lingering flavor will leave you wanting for more! Our current stock of Cougar Gold is just over one year in age. Buy 2 and store one for aging, as it becomes more sharp and crumbly with age, developing crystals throughout, which can give it kind of a crunch…Purchasing cheese from the WSU Creamery helps support student employees of Washington State University by providing competitive wages and valuable work experiences…In May of 1992, the Creamery moved from its old home in Troy Hall to a fantastic and modern new location in the Food Quality Building. This new facility allows the Creamery to be at the forefront of research in cheese production. It allows WSU students to gain work experience directly applicable to the work they may be doing in the Food Science field upon graduating… A portion of the revenue from the sale of WSU Creamery products is used for educational support of Food Science students.”
You can purchase it from Corti Brothers, see the link above, or you can purchase it directly from the Washington State Creamery at WSU Creamery. We usually send some to our family and friends at Christmas. But be aware, they do run out of it and then you will have to wait until early Spring or so to get some. And it ages very well. WSU claims that one of their customers had a tin of Cougar Gold for 25 years! And when they opened it, it was awesome. Robin and I have 1 tin of Cougar Gold produced in 2009. All tins come date stamped and who produced it.
Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Le Peep in Meridian, ID, at 3036 North Eagle Road, Meridian, ID, 208-629-0155, is a 3-Star restaurant out of 5-Stars. On the other hand, Alejandro’s Mexican Restaurant in Marsing, ID at 208 Main St, (208) 896-5339 and Sakana Sushi, 7107 W. State St., Garden City, ID 83714, (208)-853-4993, Mon.-Thur.: 11:00am – 10:00pm, Fri.-Sat.: 11:00am-11:00pm and Sun.: 12:00pm – 9:00pm are both 5-Star restaurants. I urge you to look at these links and visit the restaurants and make up your own mind.
Le Peeps problem is in their Hollandaise Sauce. It is advertised as Hollandaise, but it is far from it. Not bad flavors, just not Hollandaise and an unexpected taste. Plus, the potatoes were cold as noted in the caption above. Just can not give Le Peep a higher rating. Two of the better restaurants we went to were –
Bella Aquila Restaurante in Eagle, ID sponsored the 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards wine dinner. A full 6 course dinner was served with as many 3 Horse Vineyards wines. The participation was superb and the crowd enjoyed themselves. It was good to see the Cunninghams again – it has been a while. They are the owners of the winery. Also they have added Brandon St-Martin to their staff as the winery manager. Just look at this menu. (You can Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.)
Snow! Cold! Great time to stay inside by the fireplace. Snow keeps falling. Lots of food. Seafood mostly for New Years Eve. Then vegetarian – roasted spaghetti squash. Look. And look, too, at the wonderful Beef Wellington that Chris and Anna made. Awesome!
And then, check this out! Chris and Anna made this beautiful – absolutely beautiful – Beef Wellington. Look at this.
I do not generally add articles to this blog that concerns a winery – there are specific blogs for that, i.e. AVA Happenings in Idaho or Treasure Valley Wine Society or the Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog. But this was a special visit to the Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant. A 5-Star winery and restaurant, and well worth this post. And it won’t break the bank. You will have an outstanding meal, whether it is a Friday night Happy Hour visit, a Saturday evening dinner or a Sunday Brunch. And the kids are welcome also! The weather was foggy and slightly wet. The roads were wet, but not icy, until you drove on the “back” roads.
Here is what we had. Go to the winery. Eat there. And say “Hi” to Stephanie, that’s her artwork and to Chef Storm, who comes up with the fantastic epicurean treats. You won’t be sorry you went. Some of these treats are new to the menu. The servings are very adequate and border on being large. Four of us shared the following dishes. We also had some awesome wines to go with the brunch.
And as we were leaving, I told Chef Storm that tomorrow night (Monday) I am making a 5 Hour Roasted Duck.
I will probably also serve a 5 Hour Duck Sauce to go with it.
Chef Storm said he has never had a 5 hour roasted duck. And he asked me to
post photos – I will – and save him some. That may be more difficult as there are 4 of us eating it. I may have to make him one. That’ll be fun! Hmmmm!
Yes, congratulations to Skip and Melinda Smyser for 35 years of marital bliss! A great party at their restaurant in Boise, Capitol Cellars – a 5-Star establishment! (There is a permanent link to their restaurant in the sidebar.) Great party with some 30 year old wines that have aged well, just like the marriage. An interesting point – Skip Smyser was an Idaho State Senator for several years and many of the dishes served are of political slant. Check their menu on the site for some names. “Featuring Prime Rib six nights a week, our dinner menu is all about Idaho cuisine. You’ll be sure to find that almost every product is sourced locally.”