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.