The Time Has Come

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The time really has come. We are supposed to stay “self quarantined” and restrict our travels and public “contact”. Robin and I try to practice this and, I think, we are succeeding. With that in mind, think about creating a “Victory Garden”. We have no grass to mow in the front yard – it is mostly herbs and flowers. More herbs than flowers. And I have some pots going in flowers, Pansies right now, but there will be more and a pot of micro greens. You really can grow squash or zucchini or tomatoes or cucumbers or beans and the list goes on and on. Use your imagination. And then grow it. It will help to keep you home and away from the store and the crowds. Here is some information on growing edible flowers and some suggestions. You can print these out for your use. Left Click the graphic and then CTRL+P to print. (Zucchini and squash flowers can be picked and stuffed.)

Some edible Flowers

Spinach and Rainbow Chard for pots is a good idea. Healthy too!

Here are some things we have made with edible flowers and vegetables grown in pots.

German Potato Salad with Pansy and Nasturtium

Cheesy Chicken with Salad and Edible Flowers

Buffalo and Garden Potted Vegetables

BFM May Be Closed, But There Are “Pop–Up” Markets!

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BFM (Boise Farmers Market) will not start up for a while, but there are some “Pop-Up” markets in the area. One such market is ar Lark and Larder at 233 N Orchard St., Boise. (208) 629-3811.
lark – noun, a merry, carefree adventure; frolic; escapade
larder – noun, a place where food is kept; pantry
Lark & Larder is a neighborhood market offering local and regional products from farmers, producers, artists and makers.” [Lark and Larder] (I always wondered where that name came from.)
Anyway, here are some photos from my visit today.

Front door

Fresh Spinach

Baby Turnips

Spinach and Rainbow Chard Sets

Spring Salad. Greens all from the Pop-Up today!

Air Fryer Charts and Conversions

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I have started a new page for Air Fryer Charts and Conversions, a permanent link is posted above, or click this link Air Fryer Info.
All of these charts are printable. I hope you find them useful and if you have any others that you would like to see posted, just let me know. Cheers!

BFM to Delay Opening on April 4, 2020

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There is a light at the end oif the tunnel. I received confirmation of this just a few minutes ago. But for now from Magic Valley News,

Boise Farmers Market delays spring opening
IDAHO PRESS Mar 15, 2020
BOISE — The Boise Farmer’s Market has delayed its spring opening.
According to a news release posted Friday afternoon, the city of Boise’s COVID-19 task force requested the market postpone its spring opening.
“We will continue to work closely with the City of Boise, Central District Health Department, and the National Farmers Market Coalition to determine the best way to get fresh, healthy food to our community. We are exploring alternative strategies to ensure access to local food from Boise Farmers Market vendors,” the release said.

I will let you know when it will open as soon as I find out.

Update: 17 March 2020, 1515
Dear Boise Farmers Market Community,
Opening day of the Boise Farmers Market has been postponed, but don’t worry – we are working on a plan to make fresh local food available to our customers. We have lots of ideas and are honing in on the most simple and cost-effective ways to make it happen.

Meadowlark Farms Lamb, Potatoes and Swiss Chard

In the meantime, please support our vendors! Many of them have pop-ups, pick-ups, and delivery options available. To keep you informed, we’ve created a Special Page on our Website that we will keep updated with what our vendors have available and where/when you can find them.

And as always, can also find local produce, protein and products at the Boise Co-op, Lark & Larder, and Roots Zero Waste Market!

Thank you for continuing to support local and we look forward to seeing you at the Farmers Market when we reopen!

Purim and Hamantash Cookies

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I love it when I hear of a new food item. New to me, at least. Hamantash Cookies is just that. Thanks to my friend Joe Levitch for mentioning them. An so I search.
Hamantash cookies are associated with the Jewish Festival Purim. The Purim cookie is, “… all associated with the Purim story involving a bad guy name Haman, a Jewish lady named Esther, and her victory over his plot to destroy the Jewish People. The cookie is shaped to resemble the three corners of Haman’s hat. Purim is the name of the festival and both Hamantaschen and Oznei Haman are derived from his name.” [Veenaazmanov]

Jelly Filled Hamantash Cookies for Purim

And from the NY Times, “Early versions of the cookies were more commonly known as oznei Haman, meaning “Haman’s ears.” The late Jewish food historian Gil Marks’ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food traces that phrase — but not the cookie — to the Roman scholar and poet Immanuel ben Solomon (c.1261-1328) who, thanks to “a misinterpretation arising from the medieval Italian custom of cutting off a criminal’s ear before execution,” argued that Haman’s ears had been cut off after he was hanged, at the end of the Purim story.”
And Purim is, “Purim is one of the most fun holidays celebrated by the Jewish people, but is often under recognized. Purim (held on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar — usually March or April) commemorates the day Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jewish people from execution by Haman, the advisor to the Persian king.” Purim this year is March 10, 2020.
Here is a recipe for the cookies. It looks like there are many. Enjoy! Hamantash Cookies

Fasnacht Day is Here!

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What? Never heard of them …. Until now! Delicious.
“Fastnacht Day: Pennsylvania Dutch doughnuts mark the beginning of Lent
It’s Fastnacht Day, also known as Fat Tuesday. Traditionally, fastnachts were made by Pennsylvania Dutch housewives on
Fat Tuesday to use up all the fat in the house before Lent. “Fastnacht”
is a German word meaning “night before the fast.”
The heavy yeast-raised doughnuts are as much a part of the central Pennsylvania food landscape as chicken and waffles and whoopie pies. Wise fastnacht lovers placed their orders ahead of time. Others better hurry. The treats have been known to sell out quickly at churches, bakeries and supermarkets.
Some places to buy them: (All in Pennsylvania)
Dingeldein Bakery, 316 Bridge St., New Cumberland: 717-770-0466.
Pennsylvania Bakery, 1713 Market St., Camp Hill: 717-763-7755.
Prince of Peace Parish, 815 S. Second St., Steelton: 717-985-1330.
Schenk’s Bakery, 1023 N. Mountain Road, Lower Paxton Twp.: 671-5133.
St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, 202 E. Lehman St., Lebanon: 272-4412.
Supermarkets: Giant Foods, Karns and Weis.” [Fastnacht Day]

“In the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, housewives traditionally spent Shrove Tuesday using up the larder’s most sinful ingredients: sugar, butter, eggs and (well) lard. Nowadays, German and Amish bakeries throughout Southern Pennsylvania do the same, crafting old-fashioned doughnuts that share their name with the German pre-Lenten carnival: fastnacht (pronounced fash-naht).
According to the Oxford Companion to Food, the German Shrove Tuesday doughnut tradition dates all the way to medieval times. Heagele’s Bakery, a 1930s-era German shop located in the Mayfair section of Philly, notes that fastnacht translates to “feast night.” (Others say it’s “fast night” or “night before the fast.”) Either way, a visit for their annual fastnacht sale is like time traveling. Old-fashioned string dispensers hang from the ceiling, perfectly placed to tie up boxes with a bow. Women wear tasteful dirndl and history feels close at hand.
Bakeries typically keep their recipes secret, but there are constants. A true fastnacht is prepared only for Shrove Tuesday, and made with sweet yeast dough that gets fried. From there, variations abound: mashed potatoes are often added to the batter, and the doughnuts can be crafted with or without holes (the latter is more traditional). Sometimes fastnacht come soaked in cream, glazed or dusted in sugar or cinnamon. Occasionally, they’re filled, but old-school types demand them unadorned, cut into diamonds and served with honey or molasses.” [pastemagazine.com]

Fasnacht
Makes 50 Fasnacht

Ingredients:
¼ cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
2½ cups lukewarm milk
4½ cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup lard, melted
1 cup sugar
dash of salt
5 ½ cups flour

Directions:
1). Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2). Mix next three ingredients together, then add to yeast mixture. Set in warm place and let rise overnight.
3). In the morning add next four ingredients. Add last batch of flour slowly; it may not all be needed. Dough should be sticky but able to be handled.
4). Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
5). Roll out and cut with biscuit or doughnut cutter, with or without a center hole. Let rise 1 hour.
6). Deep fry in hot oil at 375 degrees for several minutes, turning until brown on both sides.

Among the PA Germans, Shrove Tuesday (day before Ash Wednesday) is known as Fassnacht Day (night before the fast). In a symbolic effort to rid their homes of leavening agents and to feast before Lent, many PA Germans cooks spend part of their day making Fasnachts. The cakes are made of yeast dough, and tradition requires that they be shaped in squares or rectangles, with slits cut in them. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins.

And to our dear friend and superb baker, Donna, here is your challenge (and I know she reads this blog!). Seeing as how it is to late for this year, Shrove Tuesday is here, you have a year to practice. Shrove Tuesday, or Fasnacht Day, 2021 is your target. I know you can do this to perfection! Cheers!

10 Items to have In Your Kitchen and How To Make Gravy



 
As many of you know, I have a lot of resources that I use in this blog – recipes, suggestions, food items, kitchen products, etc. Here is a list of ten items that I always have in my kitchen. This list comes from My Recipes
 
 

  • Onion
    White, yellow, or Vidalia, I’ll always have one kicking around. I caramelize them for tarts, build massive pots of black and white beans around them, and throw them into guacamole.
  • Garlic
    Like ebony and ivory, these two (of course!) go together. I love to roast the whole head and use the sweet, smashed cloves on bread or spun into pasta. And in the event that I made too much pasta, I’ll sauté a small smashed clove in butter or olive oil the next day, discarding the clove and tossing leftover noodles quickly in the infused oil, then dolloping the whole shebang with crème fraîche.
  • Lemon
    Ideally one has both limes and lemons, but as bartender Joaquín Simó of New York bar Pouring Ribbons expressed it to me, “Lemons are sour, and limes are tart.” Lemon juice adds a real punch of acidity to a dish, whereas lime sort of nudges it down a tart path. I use lemons to stuff chickens and deglaze their pans for easy gravy. I squeeze them into homemade bourbon sours and over pasta. If a dish is lacking something, I ask myself if it’s lemon.
  • Tuna
    Everyone has their emergency canned protein, and props to those of you who bust out high-quality anchovies and salmon as your go-to snacks, but I always have good tuna on hand, splurging on Genova or Cento packed in olive oil when I can. It makes for instant snacks or—if I have bread—tuna melts when I walk in the door ravenous, and I’ve been playing around with layering it into pasta with olive oil, capers, and roasted garlic. (Yum!)
  • Butter
    I’m a New Englander, and even at my most broke in this life—my pants had holes; I couldn’t afford health insurance—I’d buy good, unsalted, European butter. These days some domestic butters are just as lovely, and the price has gone, blessedly, way down.
  • Olive oil – Greek and Italian
    Yes, this list is heavy on proteins and fats, which testifies to the foods that power me; I’d fight you for cheese, but never for a box of pasta. My belly rumbles when I’ve had biscuits or French toast for breakfast, but not when I’ve wolfed a few tablespoons of cannellini beans sautéed in olive oil with onions and garlic and seasoned with lemon.
  • Salt
    An acquaintance, observing my twitchy salt trigger hand at the table, once joked that I should have a salt lick installed in my home. I’m a big fan. I love that you can season lightly at the beginning of cooking in order to cut down on how much you need later. (Pasta water, for example, should be seasoned with at least a tablespoon.) I always have Kosher and sea salt on hand, and sprinkle the latter liberally on eggs and avocados.
  • Cheese
    It was only when I attended the Vermont cheesemakers’ festival many years ago that I felt truly at home in this world. Here were bearded men holding babies and arguing about the difference between 18-month and 30 month Comté; there were women tipping back beer while debating the merits of Brillat-Savarin and Camembert. I’ll always have a knob of cheddar, some twisty, stringy Oaxacan cheese, or a fresh cheese in my fridge.
  • Coffee
    Because life is short, and it’s best to stay alert to catch it all. I have learned the hard way not to leave the house without coffee, as I am not a good person without it in my system. These days I stock up on locally roasted, chocolatey Ethiopian Forty Weight beans.
  • Beans
    Cheap, cheerful, and plentiful in my Mexican-American neighborhood, beans are a major staple in my home. Ideally I have a bag of cannellini and another of black, which are less expensive and lighter than the heavy pre-soaked, pre-cooked beans, but I like to have those, too, for those hangry, rushed weeknights that sideswipe all of us.

And many readers of this blog have trouble making a good gravy. Even I do, at times. Here, from the same source is how to make gravy.

  1. Step One: Choose Your Gravy Style
    As much as we absolutely sympathize with the urge to guzzle gravy by itself, it is admittedly a finishing sauce, not a complete meal on its own. Therefore, it’s important to consider what style of gravy you’d like to go for; that means, ultimately, considering what kind of foods the gravy will be topping. It also means considering whether you have the ingredients on hand to make the base flavor behind most gravies. For white gravy, you’ll want butter, milk, ample salt and pepper, and possibly pork fat. For brown gravies, you’ll want some sort of stock, and ideally, fat drippings and browned bits from recently cooked meat. If you or your dinner guests are vegetarian, you can use vegetables that impart a good bit of umami flavor, like mushrooms or onions. Those ingredients can also be used to amplify your meaty gravies.
    You’ll also want to think about whether you want a smooth finish to your gravy, or if you’re fine with meaty bits in the sauce. If you’d rather a gravy that mimics store bought, you’ll need to use a sieve to strain out any pieces of meat, onion, or mushroom that might be roughing up the gravy’s finish.
  2. Step Two: Make Your Roux
    Making roux is the most critical step to making a good gravy. To many home cooks, it’s also the most nerve-wracking; though it’s not nearly as intimidating a process as it might seem at first. Once you master it, you’ll open yourself up to a lot of other culinary possibilities, like bechamel and hearty stews. To make a roux, you’ll need two things: fat and some sort of thickening agent. Usually, that agent is flour, but cornmeal or cornstarch can also be used, as demonstrated in Uncle Ellis’ recipe listed above. You can also use seeds and nuts (like pine nuts) to thicken your roux, as long as you grind them into a paste first. This method may still require some flour, however.
    To make a roux, warm a couple of tablespoons of butter, bacon drippings, or some other form of fat into a pan over medium-high heat. Once the fat is warm, add in your thickening agent, one tablespoon at a time. Stir the mixture until it begins to brown. If you’re making a country or white gravy, you’ll want it to just barely change colors; it’ll smell slightly nutty and have the texture of wet sand. If you’re making a brown gravy, let the roux cook for a little longer. Just don’t let it get too brown; the more a roux cooks, the less thickening power it has. Dark brown roux is best used in dishes with thinner sauces, like gumbo.
  3. After you’ve cooked your roux, slowly add in your liquid. For white gravies, this would be milk; for brown, this would usually be a stock of some sort. Make sure to add your liquid slowly—less than a quarter of a cup at a time is fine. Stir constantly while you’re adding it, too; if possible, you might even want someone else to slowly pour while you stir. The goal is to emulsify the liquid with the hot roux for a smooth gravy that has minimal lumps. If the liquid is added too quickly, the gravy won’t thicken properly.
  4. If something is going wrong with your roux or you’re feeling a little nervous about making one, check out this troubleshooting guide. It’ll take you through the most common mistakes. Adding hot liquid to a hot roux (or cold liquid to a cold roux), for example, will result in a lumpy mess, which is why you want to use cold liquids when using the stovetop roux-making method. And if roux-making ends up becoming one of your most-hated kitchen activities, it’s worth mentioning that roux can absolutely be made up ahead of time. Just keep it in a container in the fridge, and make sure only to add it to hot liquids so that you’re spared the lumpy gravy that results from the temperature mistake mentioned above.
  • How to Make Brown Gravy
    Brown gravy is one of the most universally applicable forms of gravy. For this recipe, you’ll want to gather fat drippings; these can be collected (and stored for later use) the next time you make a roast, cook a turkey, or simply fry up some bacon in the morning. If you don’t have enough (or any) animal fat, you can also, of course, just use butter. It won’t be quite as flavorful as drippings, but it will absolutely still do the job.
    Once you’ve made your roux, you’ll want to add your liquid to finish your brown gravy. Oftentimes, this will be the stock or any thinner drippings you may have still from your roast, but you can also use canned or boxed stock to finish off your gravy. Add the liquid to your pan slowly, and stir constantly until the sauce coats the back of your spoon. After about three to five minutes, your gravy should be ready to serve.
  • How to Make Mushroom Gravy
    Mushroom gravy follows almost exactly the same process as brown gravy. After adding a chicken (or vegetable) stock and thickening the gravy, however, you will want to add sauteed mushrooms and shallots to the sauce. If you’re looking for even more flavor (and you’re using meat products), consider sauteeing the mushrooms and shallots in your pan drippings before you make your roux. Remove them from the pan, and then proceed to the next step. You’ll come out with an even more full-bodied gravy that’s perfect for your next steak or stroganoff.
  • How to Make Onion Gravy
    As with mushroom gravy, onion gravy is yet another variation on the classic brown finishing sauce. With this variation, however, it’s worth considering whether you’d like a creamier consistency; as noted in the Caramelized Onion Gravy recipe above, milk makes for a great addition to this gravy variant. If you’re looking for an even easier way to incorporate onions into your gravy, sprinkle them with flour after softening them in the pan, and then proceed to make your roux. The flour-covered onions will help you get your gravy to the dinner table even faster.
  • How to Make Fruit-Infused Gravy
    We know—the idea of fruit-flavored gravy might sound bizarre. But when paired with the right entree, it can be the perfect accompaniment. For this variation, you’ll want to cook a fruit base that compliments your final dish; apple cider can be reduced into a great gravy, but tangerines, cherries, and cranberries would also be a delicious accents to a holiday feast. Once you’ve made a fruit juice that suits your taste, combine with stock, if desired, and add to your roux.
  • How to Use Beer, Wine, or Spirits to Make Gravy
    Whiskey, sherry, wine, and beer can all make for fantastic gravy flavors. And if you’re ambitious, they can also do the duel job of serving as a marinade for your meat. To incorporate alcohol into your gravy, decide whether you would like to add it cold to an already finished gravy, or whether you would like to use it as a cooking liquid first. If the former, make roux as described above and slowly whisk in a quarter cup to a 1 ½ cups of your desired brew. If you’d like to use your gravy as a marinade first, however, cook your meat (either in a slow cooker or on the stove) until tender in a mixture of your chosen alcohol and stock. Remove the meat and strain out any bits that may still remain in the sauce; add the alcohol and stock mixture to a pot, heat it up, and stir in flour a tablespoon at a time. Soon, you’ll have a custom gravy that highlights the flavors you initially imparted into your entree.
  • How to Make Tomato Gravy
    If you love tomatoes, then you’ll adore a gravy that incorporates the sweet, acidic fruit. For this gravy, add tomatoes to your drippings and cook them thoroughly. If they’re whole tomatoes, make sure the skin blisters before breaking them open. Then, once your tomatoes are cooked down and seasoned, add in flour to thicken your sauce. Serve over burgers, pork chops, biscuits, or anything else that you’d prefer topped with tomato-y goodness.
  • How to Make Redeye Gravy
    Redeye gravy is a Southern delight that doesn’t get its due. The caffeine-infused sauce is great when served over country ham and biscuits, and it’s also a great alternative topper for country-fried steak. To make redeye gravy, cook chopped up bacon and ham in butter, along with some onion and garlic, if desired. Add flour and cook your roux, then slowly mix in milk, broth, and cooled, already brewed coffee. Pepper to taste, and feel free to add in some chopped chives or cayenne if you like.
  • How to Make Egg Gravy
    Another Southern staple, giblet gravy is great when dripped over mashed potatoes or bits of turkey. The addition of hard-boiled egg also adds intrigue and flavor to this gravy variation. For this recipe, make gravy using chopped up turkey giblets and turkey neck. Leave these bits in, if desired, once the gravy has thickened. Slice and stir in a hard-boiled egg before serving.
  • How to Make Country Gravy
    Sausage gravy is a comforting treat that every home cook should learn how to make. For great, at-home sawmill gravy, brown some sausage (or use a plant-based meat or textured vegetable protein). If needed or desired, add some butter for extra fat. Then, add some flour to the pan, cooking your roux while adding salt and pepper. Next, slowly stir in milk to finish the gravy off. Cook until thick, and serve over biscuits, mashed potatoes, country-fried steaks, or whatever else you think could use a savry, decadent topping. If you like a little extra spice with your gravy, consider stirring in a can of Ro-Tell tomatoes for an even tastier treat.
  • How to Make Gravy with Chocolate
    Appalachian readers may already be familiar with chocolate gravy—a sweet, thickened sauce that’s sometimes served over biscuits. But if you haven’t had a chance to try it yourself, there’s no time like the present. For this recipe, melt butter in a pan and then whisk in flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Then, slowly add in milk once the roux has cooked. You’ll end up with a thick, chocolatey sauce that’s obviously different from the gravies you may be accustomed to, but no less delicious.
    If you’re a fan of Mexican food, then you may prefer a mole inspired version of gravy. For this recipe, you’ll want to make a turkey giblet stock that incorporates toasted chiles (preferably ancho chiles, but use whatever you like best). Once you make a stock using turkey fat, or some other available fat, pour in some of your chile-infused broth, thicken the gravy, and stir in about two ounces of dark chocolate after removing your pan from the heat, along with about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Serve and enjoy.
  • How to Make Gravy Even Easier
    Gravy isn’t exactly time-consuming to make, but if you need to whip up a delicious gravy at the last minute, we have a few hacks for you. For one thing, you can dissolve a bouillon cube in water and use that for stock, if you’re out of the real thing. You can also use poultry seasoning to punch up a gravy made without drippings. And if you’ve got some extra biscuits around, but no time to make a true sawmill gravy, then add some crumbled up biscuits, hot sauce, and seasonings to a blender. Heat up about a cup of milk for each biscuit you use, then add that hot liquid to a blender, cover the top with a towel, throw in some butter, and hit puree. You’ll have an instant gravy that you can immediately serve over your entree.

The Boise Farmers for 1 Hour Tomorrow!



 

 
Boise Farmers Market – Pick Up, PopUp, a 1 hour special, tomorrow 15 Feb 2020 at the Shoreline location. Limited products. See you there!

7 Tips for Cooking At Home


There are many times when I get ideas/suggestions from the food blogs that I subscribe to. One such reference is Foodie Crush. Recently they offered suggestions on tips to make superb meals at home. (It’s not difficult!)
I will list the headings here and then you can read the entire – it’s not long – article by using the link above, “7 Easy Tips to Cook More at Home“. Enjoy!

  1. Start with favorite recipes and organize your list.
  2. Prep ahead of time.
  3. Keep staples stocked.
  4. Whip up one-sheet or one-pot meals.
  5. Host more dinner parties.
  6. Invest in equipment you’ll love and use.
  7. Make now, freeze for later.

And then try this recipe adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin. Great for Valentines Dinner coming up.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Source: adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hr 40 min
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
1 T unsalted Butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 lbs trimmed Beef Flatiron Steak, Beef Cheeks or Chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Celtic Sea Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper to taste
1 c finely chopped Onion
1 T finely chopped Garlic
1 T All-Purpose Flour
750-ml bottle dry Red Wine – Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah or Zinfandel
2 Bay Leaves
1 med Thyme sprig
5 oz Pancetta
15 Pearl or small Cipollini Onions, peeled
15 Crimini Mushrooms
15 Heirloom Baby Carrots, peeled
Sugar
Chopped fresh Italian Parsley, for garnish

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
2) Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1½ hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
3) Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it ½ inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
4) In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
5) To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

Alyonka Russian Cuisine

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A very good and exciting visit to Alyonka Russian Cuisine at 2870 W State St., Boise. (208) 344-8996, and it’s a good idea to call ahead for reservations.

From their website, “Born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, Elena DeYoung is the event coordinator for Boise’s popular Russian Food Festival. She’s organized the fundraiser at St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church since its humble beginnings 14 years ago. Back then, church volunteers baked in her Meridian home. Nowadays, the annual event serves between 3,500 and 4,000 people over two days, and she keeps hearing the same request: “Where is the place we can eat food like this?” As owner and chef, Elena created a familiar menu at Alyonka Russian Cuisine now open at 2870 West State Street in Boise, Idaho.”

As for their menu – you can view it on their website linked above – “We offer all the comfort foods that make the Russian Food Festival a hit: shish kebab, beef stroganoff, Russian crepes, piroshki, lots of desserts …”.
Their food that we had, was delicious. And the service was delightful. The restaurant is small and cozy, and can be somewhat noisy. Seating is open and all seats are near a window. There is a large area in the back for groups. Overall, a 4 Star restaurant, bordering o0n 5 Stars. Here are some photos I took. Enjoy!

The exterior from the parking lot.

A variety of beers are available along with teas and lemonade.

Vegetarian Borscht

Stuffed Pepper, which I love.

Blini with Caviar

Blini with Vegetables

Royal Poppy Seed Ganache

Thanks Marnie. It was super! We’ll go back.