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.)
So much fun in the past month or two. Fun in the kitchen. No particular recipe, just a game of “Chopped”. We have these items, now make something edible. Mostly I did.
Hopefully I found something from breakfast, lunch and dinner. To see any of these photos enlarged, Left-Click them. Lets start with Breakfast. I do hope this stimulates you to prepare something different. Good luck! Most of these ingredients, are available at the Boise Farmers Market at 10th and Grove.
How about some lunch?
And now, Dinner!
Note: Yakitori is mostly a form of skewered chicken. But if you take the sauce, called “… tare, a special sauce consisting of mirin, sake, Japanese soy sauce (Shoyu. Prefered dark but white is also fine), and sugar …” and add it to something like this salmon, you get something completely different and good. No need to skewer the salmon, just marinate it for about 30 minutes and then slowly cook it on top of the stove or bake it in the oven. I do like this sauce and usually have some on hand. Easy to make.
Love the beaming smile she has in this photo! After she got home from the hospital, I had to change the meal plans, somewhat. Watch the sugars, not totally eliminate them. Keep the carbs to 60 or so a day, which is not hard to do. Keep the calorie count to a max of 2000 per day. That’s harder, but not impossible. Here are some of the dishes I came up with. Enjoy! All made from scratch with mostly local products from the Boise Farmers Market – eggs, sausage, Acme Bake Shop Breads, Fruit, Salsa, Pico de Gallo. We’ll start with breakfast.
Lunch and “Tea Time”
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Chef Storm Hodge of Parma Ridge Winery Restaurant about sausage gravy. He makes an awesome biscuits and gravy that are rightly called Best Ever Biscuits and Gravy with a Fried Egg served Sundays for brunch at the winery. And they are that good. I spent many years in south central Tennessee where biscuits and sausage gravy are a mainstay – especially with fresh poke greens. But Chef Storm’s sausage gravy is far superior! Yes it is! Thank you Chef for your suggestion.
Up to now, I always made my sausage gravy, or any gravy for the matter, using a roux of butter and flour. That probably has come to an end. Here is the recipe for the above pictured Toasted Sourdough and Sausage Gravy. (I didn’t have any biscuits – I could have made some – so I used the sourdough. Thanks Acme Bake Shop!)
1/4 lbs Country Sausage
2 c whole Milk
1/2 c Heavy Cream
1 t fresh grated Nutmeg
Sea Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Pepper to taste
Thickening Slurry – 1 T Cornstarch + 2 T Water. Mix to make a slurry
Crumble the sausage and brown over med-high heat. Set aside reserving 1 T liquid.
Make the thickening slurry.
Place the milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a sauce pan. Heat to a simmering boil. Do not scorch! Add browned sausage and 1 T of sausage liquid. Stir to combine. Stiring, add the thickening slurry. Stir gently, but constantly, until thickened to your liking.
Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Remove from heat, but keep warm.
Serve with biscuits and an egg.
September 17th will always be a special day – It is Robin’s Birthday. This year we celebrated the 43rd anniversary of her 29th birthday at Alavita, a good Italian restaurant. Actually a solid 4-Star Italian restaurant. On their webpage, they say, “ALAVITA is all about fresh pasta and local ingredients—from Agnolotti to Tortellini to Garganelli, Linguini to Pappardelle—created freshly every day. A restaurant whose name means “to life,” (Well actually two words– ‘alla’ ‘vita’ –that we put together to create one) ÀLAVITA is a great place for celebrating life with good friends and family alike.
What we believe: great food need not be too convoluted or overwrought, but rather fresh, uncomplicated, relatable and well executed in order to get out of the way of the local ingredients and find the pleasure in their innate flavors and qualities. In the vein of a traditional Italian osteria as a casual, local gathering place (An Italian Joint) to discover food, friends, wine, and creative libations, our menu reflects a new twist on Italian fare that is inspired by local, regional ingredients. As we do at Fork (Our big brother concept located next door by same creators), we firmly subscribe to our mantra of being ‘Loyal To Local.’” And they adhere to these words, rigorously. Enjoy these photos of our visit. We will return.
And such a good visit it was. Daughter Marnie and her husband Mac gave us a gift certificate for dinner and we thank them for that. You can find more by clicking here Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boise. Make reservations online or reserve their Party Room. They have a full and extensive Menu that can be viewed online and get an idea of what they offer. Not ready for dinner? Try their Happy Hour Menu for lighter offerings. “… Our Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour features $8 food specials and premium cocktails.” You will find the menu items either equal to or greater than Chandler’s Steak House or to the Cottonwood Grille. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boise is definitely a 5-Star restaurant. Here is what we had. Two of us ate for $123.00 and it was worth every bite. Definitely a Special Occasion restaurant; Great for “Date Night”.. Enjoy!
After an incredible two days of snow, we got close to 10″ here at the house (BSU will play San Diego State tonight in football. 21 degrees at game time; 12 degrees by the final bell. Hope San Diego can handle the cold! Game starts 8:15 MST on DirecTV 208, ESPNU.), it was time to make a super good Copper River salmon dish. Simple, but, I think, elegant. Quick and easy; a 30 minute meal. Left-Click to see the photos enlarged. Cheers!
Oh yes once again! We do like the duck done this way. Made Creamed Spinach with Grand Marnier Cream and Baked Sweet Potato and Duck Gravy. Certainly was delicious! And then top that off with a super good 1985 Rose Creek Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. That is still a super wine. On a scale of 1-20, easily a 19.7. So close to the perfect 29 year old Cab. Enjoy these photos. Cheers!
About a month ago, I was reading one of the food blogs I subscribe to, and they had an article on the cookbooks that they have in their library. There was only one article, and they gave their most used cookbooks. Sorry, but I can not find that article again. So I thought I would start a series on some of the cookbooks that we have in our library – which is extensive – and the ones we mostly use. These books are only offered as a suggestion and they are my/our opinion. I must say that we receive absolutely no reimbursement of any kind, although that may be fun, from any of these sources. This just sounded like a fun topic. So here I go.
First, I would be remiss if I did not mention The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer and Ethan Becker (The Joy of Cooking). I will not bother you with an extensive review of the book. Only to say that this volumn is a must in any and all kitchens. If you don’t have one, get one and there are several printings. Check Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The other must addition to your kitchen is by Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also available on Amazon and EBay.
The one book that we have, and it has been a blessing whenever I could not find the right sauce for a particular dish, was suggested to me by one of the Instructor Chefs at the BSU School of Culinary Arts and by Chef Andrae Bopp. This particular volumn is used by the CIA, Culinary Institute of America, and the BSU School of Culinary Arts.
One of our other absolutely fantastic reference books is The Modernist Cuisine at Home, Nathan Myhrvold. The Cooking Lab, Belleview, WA, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-9827610-1-4. You can find this reference on the web at Modernist Cuisine. Be sure to check the link. It’s worth the time.
This is the front cover. Look close. See how the sandwich is in an “exploded” view? Many of the views in the main book, there are two books to this set, have these exploded views, especially where they are talking about different kitchen appliances. Interesting! and fun! The second volume, is 2000+ recipes. Oh my!
Hope you have enjoyed these “basic” kitchen resources. Overload? Maybe. Depends on how much you want to learn. Cheers! The next post will probably be cookbooks of different cuisines, i.e., Bistro, Spanish, French, Italian, Tuscan, BBQ etc. Any suggestions?
Robin came across this interesting post on the difference between homogenized and pasteurized milk. It is from Old Almo Creamery in Almo, Idaho. Here is a little about the creamery taken directly from their web site. Enjoy the reading and the information.
Old Almo Creamery is a family owned and operated dairy located in Almo, Idaho, in the shadow of the City of Rocks National Reserve. It is a third generation farm that has always strived to produce quality products. Our mission is to continue this tradition of excellence by providing fresh, quality dairy products to our local communities at affordable prices. We strive to maintain excellent land stewardship practices and efficient use of resources to ensure that this legacy can be passed on to future generations.
What We Offer
Our milk is natural, local, fresh, and creamline making it more like the milk you remember drinking as a child, with the cream floating on the top. It is slowly pasteurized in a vat, cooled, and then packaged in half gallon glass bottles. In addition to bottled milk, we offer a variety of cheeses, cheese curd and ice cream. We use great care to ensure the quality of all our products.
And here, also taken from their web site, is a little about their milk. From what I understand, you can order their products directly from the web site or see them at the Burley Farmers Market.
Why Creamline Milk?
Cream line milk is, simply milk that is allowed to be milk. Like the milk found on most store shelves, cream line milk is pasteurized. We do not, however, homogenize our milk. Homogenization is a process which breaks up the fat particles in milk so that they stay in suspension. The process of homogenization uses very high pressure to break down the fat molecules into particles so small that they can be dissolved into the rest of the milk. They lose buoyancy and thus, the cream never rises to the top of homogenized milk. We believe that homogenization diminishes the flavor and decreases many of the health benefits of milk.
Studies have shown that when fat molecules are forcibly broken up by mechanical means, an enzyme called Xanthine Oxidase is released and allowed to penetrate the intestinal wall. Once it gets through the intestinal wall, Xanthine Oxidase gets into the bloodstream and is capable of creating scar damage to the heart and arteries, which may in turn cause the body to release cholesterol into the blood as a means of protecting the scarred areas with fatty tissue. This can lead to Arteriosclerosis. When un-homogenized milk is consumed, Xanthine Oxidase is normally excreted from the body without much absorption. Our milk is also free of controversial growth hormones including rBST, and is free of animal byproducts. Cows were meant to eat plants not animals, thus the food they eat here contains no animal byproducts.
Milk is all natural — do you know where your milk comes from?