Oh yes. And some awesome new wines! Chef Storm and his friend Chef John Mercer (see This Post) did a super, awesome job preparing these goodies. This was a special dinner put on by these two very talented Chefs. It will not be available at all times. Their Prime Rib, though, is just as good. Look at what we enjoyed today. (Left Click any of these photos to see them enlarged!)
This was a fantastic event and I do hope we are able to enjoy it next year. It was hosted by the Idaho Truffle Association and you can get more information about Idaho truffles by clicking Here. The event was located at the Chateau des Fleurs located at 176 S. Rosebud Lane, Eagle, Idaho 83616, Phone 208-947-2840. And yes, this is a high-end, 5-Star restaurant. But worth every penny. Here is the exquisite Menu. Enjoy your meal. You can Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
And then for breakfast on Sunday morning, I made us Potato Benedict using Air Fried potato slices for the English muffin. Really good.
Although it is not a national holiday, March 3rd is a special day for girls. Families who don’t have young daughters might not do anything special on this day.
March 3rd is Japanese Girls’ Day or Hinamatsuri. Ornate dolls are displayed in the family home to mark the beginning of spring and to wish good health and good fortune for all of the girls in the family.
However, a tradition of this festival is still passed down until now. Actually, how people celebrate Hina Matsuri is different from place to place. We will introduce here what the Japanese people usually do on this day.
Hina Dolls represent what the imperial family was like in the ancient times. The dolls on the top tire of the platforms represent the emperor and the empress. The rest of the dolls are three court ladies, five musicians and the minister of the Right and Left who used to support the government in the old days. There are some decorations such as Gissha (oxcarts), small cupboards, Japanese paper lamps called “Bonbori”, and orange and peach tree branches displayed on the tire of platforms.
The facial expressions and costumes of each doll are also different depending on their personality and position.
The special meals for Hina Matsuri are Amazake (sweet drink), Chirashizushi (a style of sushi) and Hina Arare (sweet colorful rice crackers).
Amazake is a traditional Japanese sweet and thick drink made from fermented glutinous rice. Amazake literally means “sweet alcohol” but it has less than 1 percent of Shirozake alcohol in it. So children are also able to drink it.
Hina Arare are colorful and cute small rice crackers. The colors of these rice crackers have meanings. White represents the earth of the winter, pink and red represent life, while green represents the green shoots in the spring. Hina Arare is a snack showing our expectations toward the arrival of spring after the long cold winter. People also say that you will live healthy for this coming year if you eat each color of Hina Arare.
Chirashizushi is a type of Sushi which has lotus roots, shrimp and thinly shredded egg omelet on the top of vinegar rice. It has been a dish enjoyed widely at celebrations.
The ingredients in Chirashizushi have meanings as well. The lotus root is said to give one the power to see what will happen in the future, shrimps are a symbol of longevity and so on.
As with almost all holidays, food and drink play a role on Girls’ Day, with rice wine and rice cakes taking center stage, along with flower blossoms. Hinamatsuri is also called Momo no Sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms. Peach blossoms, shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine) and hishi-mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes) are placed on the stand with the hina dolls. Hishi-mochi are colored pink representing peach flowers, white representing snow, and green representing new growth.
Traditionally, girls in Japan invited their friends to a home party to celebrate this festival. Many people prepare a special meal for girls on this day, including savory dishes such as chirashi, which is sugar-flavored, vinegared sushi rice with raw fish on top; clam soup served in the shell; and edamame maze-gohan, mixed rice usually consisting of brown rice and soybeans.
Other popular dishes to serve at a Girl’s Day celebration are inari sushi—rice-stuffed tofu pockets—with miso grilled salmon and cabbage ramen salad. Sweets are on the menu as well, incorporating a feminine shade of pink, like chi chi dango, which are pink pillows of mochi (glutinous rice flour and coconut milk), a favorite among children, and sakura-mochi, a pink, sweet rice cake. Some families include an impressive edible centerpiece, such as the layered chirashi sushi cake.
(The recipes listed below can be found at the link above.)
Edamame Maze-Gohan (Mixed Rice): Is easy to prepare, especially for large crowds. Steamed rice is mixed with furikake seasoning, bottled nametake (seasoned mushrooms), and shelled edamame for a delicious rice dish.
Inari Sushi: Preparing a dish for a large crowd doesn’t need to be complicated. Find out the secrets of making quick inari sushi with impressive results.
Cabbage Ramen Salad: This spin on the traditional Chinese chicken salad recipe uses crunchy dried ramen noodles, cabbage, and shredded chicken to create a zesty Japanese-fusion salad.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Wings: Let your slow cooker do all the work to whip-up a batch of delicious teriyaki chicken wings with just a few ingredients, and use the free time to prepare a few other dishes.
Miso Grilled Salmon: Miso-grilled salmon can easily be prepared by making the marinade ahead of time and then letting the salmon marinade for a few days in the fridge. All you need is an oven or a grill to cook up delicious fillets in under 40 minutes.
Clam Soup: A traditional soup that is often enjoyed on Hinamatsuri is clam soup. This clear style soup is known as sumashijiru and is simply seasoned from the broth of the clams.
Chi Chi Dango: These pillowy soft bites of mochi are made of glutinous rice flour and coconut milk. These pink, soft mochi are an absolute favorite among children.
Sakura Mochi: Sakura mochi is a glutinous rice dish that is often enjoyed during Hinamatsuri. This slightly sweetened, pink mochi is filled with sweet red beans (koshian) and wrapped in a salted sakura (young cherry blossom) leaf.
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.)
The Bobby Burns Supper Night is coming up on the anniversary of his birthday on January 25. He was born on January 25, 1759. The supper night is celebration of his poetry and songs.
“Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr. His parents, Willian Burnes[s] and Agnes Broun, were tenant farmers but they ensured their son received a relatively good education and he began to read avidly. The works of Alexander Pope, Henry Mackenzie and Laurence Sterne fired Burns’s poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration. Handsome Nell, for Nellie Kilpatrick, was his first song. [robertburns.org]”
According to Wikipedia,
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.[robertburns.org]
He died July 25, 1796 at the age of 37. So why is he so famous?
“The Ploughman poet. Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – The Kilmarnock Edition. The main reason Burns is so popular today is because of the themes and language of everyday life that he used. His poems were humorous and he used small subjects to express big ideas. [robertburns.org]
So, you say, what prose or poetry did he write that I might know? Try Auld Lang Syne But the poetry that I like best is,
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!”
You can find a list and links to his works at Robert Burns Works.
OK. But what about the party? The dinner or supper?
“The annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard’s birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers range from stentoriously formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to uproariously informal rave-ups of drunkards and louts. Most Burns Suppers fall in the middle of this range, and adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honoured form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.
Every Burns Supper has its own special form and flavour, though there are probably more similarities than differences among these gastro-literary affairs. Individual tastes and talents will determine the character of your Burns Supper. Some celebrants may contribute the composition of original songs or poems; some may excel at giving toasts or reciting verse; while others may be captivating storytellers. A particular group of celebrants will, over time, develop a unique group character which will distinguish their Burns Supper celebration from every other.” [robertburns.org]
Let’s start here –
There’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.
Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.
from Burns Night: My Supper With Rabbie
Is there that o’re his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scronful’ view
On sic a dinner? [robertburns.org]
Here is one recipe for the traditional supper.
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. shortening
5-6 T. ice water
1 and 1/2 lean steak (flank or round)
4 tsp. butter (or suet)
1 onion- finely diced
1 carrot- finely diced
salt and pepper
1. Sauté vegetables in the butter until soft
2. Slice meat into very long thin slices, on the diagonal. Cut into pieces 1 inch long. Mix with sautéed veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Roll out pastry and cut into 4″-5″ circles. Arrange meat on top, brush edges with egg wash, fold over and crimp together. Slit a hole in each pie. Egg wash tops if desired. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 10-12 small pies.
For the rest of the Bobby Burns Supper Menu, including Cullen Skink (haddock), Bridies (recipe above), The (Bagless) Haggis and Neeps and Tatties (turnips and potatoes), follow this like – Burns Supper Recipes [robertburns.org].
So much fun to make some of these. And not difficult at all. The Creamy Turkey Tetrazzini may be the most difficult, although you probably have most of the ingredients left-over from Thanksgiving in the refrigerator, except maybe for the mushrooms. If you don’t have Cream Sherry, use a good white wine that is slightly sweet, yet bold.
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.”
And such a great party it was! 80 people plus attended and we felt quite honored to be included. Robin did help start the winery back in the early to mid 1970’s. From their web page, “On a fall day in 1976, as ravens taunted from tree branches above, Joel Peterson worked doggedly to bring in four tons of grapes before a looming thunderstorm hit. The fruit he crushed that night was used for one of two single-vineyard Sonoma County Zins – the first wines to bear Ravenswood’s signature ring of ravens. The fledgling winery got off to a great start when those wines came in #1 and #2 at a prestigious San Francisco tasting in 1979. With the critical thumbs-up, Joel was able to gather a few wine-loving investors to help get his winery off the ground. He still didn’t have enough money to buy property, so he looked around for more grapes.” Ravenswood Winery, web page.
But before we get there, we had to travel. Here are some of the places we stopped. Donner Summit is the high pass before we hit the Sacramento Valley.
And the night before the super Ravenswood birthday, we must eat dinner. Here’s what we had at the Sonoma Grille. Super patio eating, if you wish. Awesome meal!!
And now to Ravenswood Winery. Happy 40th Birthday!!
breakfast the next morning before departing at the Sunflower Caffe in Sonoma.
And now ………….. Back to Boise!!
Just a super fun and good weekend celebrating Mother’s Day with Robin. Exciting coming up with meals that were different and surprisingly good. Fun to make. Easy to make, although some were rather involved. Great to have Marnie over for Sunday dinner. Even Ray, her Golden Lab, had a good time with Buddy.
Some of the photos that follow of the dishes I prepared, have the recipe hotlinked in the article. Please feel free to use the recipe if you would like. The Coq au Vin – Chicken in Wine – is not difficult to do, but it does take some time. The Popovers are quick and easy. The Crab Cakes are different. We had these for both dinner a breakfast! the remoulade is a pretty basic sauce and can vary widely. “… Rémoulade (English pronunciation: /reɪməˈlɑːd/; French: [ʁemulad]) is a condiment invented in France that is usually aioli- or mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, it is often more yellowish (or reddish in Louisiana), sometimes flavored with curry, and sometimes contains chopped pickles or piccalilli. It can also contain horseradish, paprika, anchovies, capers and a host of other items. While its original purpose was possibly for serving with meats, it is now more often used as an accompaniment to seafood dishes, especially pan-fried breaded fish fillets (primarily sole and plaice) and seafood cakes (such as crab or salmon cakes).” Ours is mayo, chilli sauce, ketchup and green tomato relish. And a touch of horseradish.
Well, tomorrow at this time who knows where I’ll be. Open heart surgery to start at 0530. Do people actually move around at that hour? But I am so thankful for Marnie, Mac, Carlynne – Robin’s sister who came to help all the way from Delaware – Chris and my Super RN’s who are always in my thoughts – Robin, Roli and Cristi. They will hold my hand as will my sister Peggy and my brother Alex, although they will be long distance.
But one must eat first. Carlynne took us all out for pizza last night at Flying Pie Pizza and it was super, although I think the service is really getting slooooooow. The pizza is still great; The service is not. Thanks Carlynne for this treat. I also came across this chart which helps to figure out recipes if you must change the size and servings. A conversion chart of sorts. Enjoy and I will see you all in about a week. Cheers! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
Tonight? Seafood dinner by Marnie, Mac and Carlynne. Homemade and good! Cheers!