Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Boise Winter!

I subscribe to an email weather report and here is the latest one I received. This is not the norm!:
"...Second snowiest December on record at the Boise Airport...
...Third snowiest December on record for all Boise climate records...

As of December 28...a total of 20.2 inches of snowfall has been measured at the Boise Airport which ranks as the second snowiest December on record. In December 1983...a total of 26.2 inches was measured making this the highest snowfall total at the Airport since records began in 1940.

(Our Backyard 28 December 2008)

Observations prior to this date were taken downtown. In December 1884...a total of 36.6 inches of snowfall was measured downtown...making this the snowiest December in all of Boise climate records. Due to the location differences...snowfall records prior to 1940 and those taken after 1940 cannot be equally compared. Therefore... the distinction needs to be made between these data sets."

Buddy in the backyard on 27 December. He loves it! He's a "Snow Bunny"! Anyway, there is what we have been dealing with for the past week. It is now raining. The street looks like a "slush bucket". Not nice. And it's supposed to freeze again Tuesday. Oh, well, so are the Rockies in the winter!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Weather!

So next summer when it is 100 to 110 degrees in the shade, remember this snow and this December. Normal snowfall in December - 7.5". Snowfall so far this December - 19.5" and counting.

Really a "pretty" snow, but it should be in the mountains, not here in the "Banana Belt".

I have shoveled about 8" today and it is still snowing lightly. Supposed to turn to rain after midnight. Oh,Yuk!

Finnlandish Swede

In the previous post, I mentioned "rutabagas". Here is the recipe that Robin used and it really is very good! However, I don't know who the first person references refer to. But here is the recipe.

Finnlandish Swede - Lanttulaatikko

My festive Scandinavian dish for this year is lanttulaatikko. This Finnish recipe takes the humble turnip (what you folks might call swede or rutabaga) and turns it into a rich, creamy, bubbling baked dish of yumminess.
As with most Christmas vegetable dishes, lanttulaatikko could never claim to be in anyway healthy but I quite like the idea that vegetables go a bit wild at this time of the year and naughtily dress themselves up in honey and butter and cream.
In fact, I’ve spoke to some turnips and it seems that for eleven months of the year they feel they are thought of as nutritious but dull - nothing to get excited about. They understand this and respect their position in the vegetable world but come December, these grubby roots want to let themselves go and be transformed into wickedly silky, sexy side-dishes that have diners groaning for more.
And if that comes at a calorific cost, well, both the turnips and I are absolutely fine with that. This month, anyway.

(serves 4-6 as a side-dish)

4 Scottish turnips (i.e. rutabaga or swede - the yellow fleshed one)
8 oz cream (single, double or crème fraîche)
1 egg
1 t nutmeg
Seasoning S & P to taste
4 T soft butter (plus a little extra)
2 T honey

1. Peel the turnip and cut into 2cm wide chunks. Just cover in salted water and boil until completely tender. Drain.

2. Mash the turnip well and push through a potato ricer or a sieve.

3. Combine the cream, butter, honey, nutmeg and egg. Add to the turnip and mix well. Season to taste.

4. Add turnip mixture to a small casserole dish, level off with a fork and dot with butter.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden and crisp on top.

Actually, this is really extremely good. Try it! Something different from your "middle of the road" vegetables. Enjoy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

One Great Christmas!

I don't know about your Christmas, but ours was awesome! It was great to have Marnie, Mac and Sophia with us. We did miss Christopher, who is snowed in until Spring, in Moscow (Idaho). We missed you Chris, but here are some photos.

Ah, yes! The weather. Cold for Boise - it was +9 degrees this morning.

And the snow. Well, it all depends where you are in the Boise area. We have had in the past week, 4-8 inches. Some places in the valley have had 12". And the mountains are approaching their normal and have a little over 100".

We changed the menu this year. We decided to have a ham. And boy was it good! Marinated for about two hours in Brown Sugar, Dark Beer and Cloves. Then cooked very slow. It was awesome!

But you can not have ham without a good New York Style Jewish Rye. Slow cured to perfection.

The Rye Bread is in the foreground and there is a French Bread in the background. See part of the new Bread Box Robin got me for Christmas? Keeps the bread soooo nice! The bread went very well with Mac's Onion Soup and a Rutabaga dish, from Finland, that Robin made (cream, eggs, nutmeg, mashed rutabagas, salt and pepper and baked) which was deeee-lish! And then, there is always Dried Corn!

Robin is out front with our Lion-Elves!

Mac, Sophie (hiding behind her new, warm blanket) and Marnie.

Mac and Sophie.



Since I am taking the photos, I can not be in the pictures (well, there is a way, but....), so here is what Robin got me, along with some other things.

So, as I said before but does need repeating, it was an awesome Christmas party! Marnie even had a champagne named for Sophia, Sophia, which was very good. We really do hope that your Holiday was as good as ours! Cheers! And now for New Years! It was great to hear thatv Alex (Wilson) is doing fine!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tagine of Chicken

When we were in Walla Walla, WA last month, we had a Tagine of Duck that was awesome! (I have requested the recipe) So I had to get Robin a Tagine - a ceramic Algerian cooking utensil. It has a small hole in the top of it to allow steam to escape, but due to the conical shape of the top, the steam - and the flavors - all swirl around. Anyway, this was an excellent dish!

This one is 13" in diameter and can be used to prepare a dish for 2 to 6 people. It was made in Portugal.

After cooking for 60 minutes, we open it up and this is what we have. Chicken with harissa, prunes, almonds, onions, yellow squash, zucchini and tomatoes. It was really extremely good. I would add a little more harissa and spices.

Here you can see everything somewhat better. Make a bed of couscous, lay some of the vegetables on the couscous, drizzle with a little of the cooking liquid and enjoy! Now I want to try some lamb in the tagine - like Lamb Shanks. WOW!

Remember When?

Remember when you were a "little person"? And you looked for icicles to break off and eat?
And usually they were located too high to reach? And you had to throw a snowball at them to break them off? But then they hit the ground and broke? Remember when you were a "little person"? Remember?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Dinner - Trial Run

So, as a trial run for Christmas Dinner - which probably will not be lamb - I made a Rack of Lamb, with Cherry Rice and Roasted Potatoes and Dried corn. To the left is the roast about to go into the oven.

After about 2 hours, out came the roast. And it was delicious!! Marinated in Juniper Berries, Gin, Mustard, Rosemary, Olive Oil and Salt/Pepper. Along with the roast we had 1966 Chateau Haut-Brion and a 1968 Chateau Haut-Brion. Both of these were awesome wines!

Participants in this dinner (L-R): Mac, Marnie, Chris (who will not be home for Christmas) and Robin. (I took the photo)

Then after dinner and the photo op, we were watching PBS ("Extreme Sports") and who did we see? Mike and Tammy Stowe McClure from Indian Creek Winery in Kuna! What a surprise! Now we have seen what they do "in their spare time"! Great job in Rock Climbing - or rather Boulder Climbing. They were awesome. (I used to do spelunking in the NSS. Does that count in the other direction?) Such a fun day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

CNN Technology Report

I uploaded the photos on 2 December - in the previous post - to CNN and about 5:30am MST I received a phone call from them. They asked a few questions and then asked if it would be OK to use the photos! Of course I said "Yes". Here is a link to the CNN Tecnology page where you can see the photo. It is #4. (Sometimes you must try the link twice.) I have posted there before several years ago, but I have never had anything used.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter

OK. So just to let you know that eating and finding good wine is not all we do, there are times when we do venture outside to the "real" world and look up! (If you Left Click on the photo, you can see a full screen image.)

Right outside of our house - see the tree limb and the reflection of the street light?

A somewhat better photo - higher magnification - of the same scene, but without the reflections. The Moon is obvious. Venus - I think is the bottom most "dot" and Jupiter is the upper "dot". Please correct me if I am wrong. An astronomer I am not. Enjoy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

36 Hours to Prepare; 1 Hour to Devour!

Actually, the title is correct: 36 Hours to Prepare; 1 Hour to Devour, but therein lies the excitement and joy! And it was great to have Mac, Sophie and Marnie join us. And Mac, Thank-You for the Roast Beef and Oyster Stuffing. They were terrific!
The Turkey was good, the Shrimp was good, the dinner was good, the company was good, the weather was good and the BSU game on Friday should be good. What else could anyone ask for? (Maybe a turkey sandwich during the game?)
And whoever said that vegetables should be left for the rabbits, has never had Roasted Root Vegetables! Try taking some carrot, fennel, rutabaga, parsnip, Brussels sprouts (blanched), turnip and cutting thick slices, marinate in Olive Oil infused with fresh sage and thyme and oven roasted!

And then, there is always Robin's Ginger Snap and Orange Marmalade Cheese Cake, and layered at that! No, we definitely did not go hungry, and probably won't go hungry for about a week! And did I say anything about being thirsty? Probably not!

The Schramsburg that we ordered, never arrived - our supplier has fallen short on orders before. So we replaced it with a wine from Florida, San Sabastian Winery, St Augustine. A very good rose made from Muscadine grapes. This bottle was somewhat foxy, but it went very well with the cheese cake.

So there you have our Thanksgiving Dinner, 2008. Hope you enjoyed it - We did! Let us know how your Thanksgiving went. What did you have for dinner? Any family traditions?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

12-0 ?

So the big question around here is, "Will BSU go to 12-0 again this year?" It should be a good game this Friday night. 4:00pm (Mountain Time) on ESPN2. Just think of watching the game, Stella Artois in one hand, turkey sandwich in the other and your feet up in your favorite lounge chair. That's where I'll be! See you there! Buddy is anxiously waiting with his BSU blanket and determination on his face. Look at those wolf eyes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Idaho Thanksgiving Dinner

First: Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

OK, so it's almost here. The start of another "cooking" season. Seems as though from here to the end of the year, that's all we do!

Thanksgiving Dinner 2008

The Starters
Steamed Shrimp

Wilted Lettuce Salad

Wine Country Roasted Turkey

Roast Beef

Oyster Cornbread Stuffing

Dried Corn

Roasted Root Vegetables

Fresh Bread

Ginger Snap/Orange Marmalade Cheese Cake

- And From Our Wine Cellar -
1988 Rose Creek (ID) Gewurtztraminer ($25.00)
1970 La Fleur Robin Pomerol ($164.00)
NV Schramsberg Brut Rose ($25.00)

So there you have it, at this point. Just fun! Wonder what the Christmas Dinner will be? Any guesses?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wine to serve at Thanksgiving

Garry Scholz, Wine Writer for the Idaho Statesman and Vice-President of the Treasure Valley Wine Society, offers the following suggestions for wines to serve at Thanksgiving.

"Thanksgiving dinner presents the host with special considerations when selecting wine. First, of course, is the fact that most dinners involve many family members and relatives who have diverse palates.
Second, the range of food is a challenge for pairing with wine. You're serving turkey, or maybe baked ham, along with a range of traditional side dishes." (Idaho Statesman, Nov 12, 2008)

Click Here to read the rest of the article. It is really a good article and Garry has some great suggestions for some wines to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pendleton (OR) Underground

Part of our trip to the wine country in Walla Walla, WA., was a stay in Pendleton, OR. What fun this was! Seeing the "Pendleton Underground" and Hamley's Restaurant. Here are the photos. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cold Springs Winery, Hammett, ID

What a nice trip we had on Saturday, 18 Oct. Robin and I and Geno and Debra Chantrill, all drove down to Hammett and to the Cold Springs Winery, where Robin's cousin, Jamie Martin, is the winemaker. It was good to see Jamie again. Here are some photos. Top Left: Cold Springs Winery Label. Top Right: Some old vine grapes

On the (Left) Robin and Jamie, with Geno Chantrill in the background and on the (Right) New Vines. Have you ever had a "new wine" (Syrah) that is about 3 days off the vine? We did and that is going to be a great wine, Jamie!

On the Left, Jamie's label for his "Hot Rod White". But I really must say that his Hot Rod Red is much better - along the lines of his Basque Red. On the Right, Riesling grapes ready to be converted to wine! Robin, Jamie, Debra and Geno - hiding!

On the Left, Caroline punching down the Syrah and on the Right, Robin, Geno and Debra tasting the Riesling grapes.

Left, another one of the Cold Springs labels and, on the Right, bottles of Riesling lees - still full of sugar and some yeast - that Jamie gave me. I have a special project that I am going to use some on. I will post the project and results at a later time. This should really be fun and interesting. Any suggestions for the use of the lees? Keep Tuned In and I will post updates. Cheers!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Early Snow!

Yes, the first of October is early for snow around here. We had measurable snow, less than 1/4". Whereas, there are places in the mountains that are going to get 12" of snow over night. The earliest snow was in 1998, but it was not measurable. Prior to this evening, the earliest measurable snow was in 1968. Here are some photos of this evenings snow.
Here is looking north from in front of our house. The large white spots are actually snow flakes.
This is looking south in front of our house. And yes, those are snow flakes. Buddy loves the snow!
Snow covered roses.
And of course, there are the Hollyhocks. So there you have "on the spot" photos of the First Snow In Boise for 2008. Now we just have to remind the Snow Gods that this "stuff" belongs in the mountains, not in the Banana Belt!