Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hogmanay - New Years Eve in Scotland

Hogmanay - New Years Eve in Scotland
By Elaine Lemm, About.com Guide

What is Hogmanay?
Hogmanay is a Scottish celebration, it is the celebration of New Years Eve and can last for days. No-one celebrates the eve quite like the Scots. It is believed the Scots inherited the celebration of Hogmanay from the Vikings and their celebration of the shortest day but many believe that as Christmas was virtually banned and not celebrated in Scotland from the end of the 17th century until the 1950’s, New Years Eve was a good excuse for some revelry and the excuse to drink whisky and eat good food. Hogmanay involves parties and festivals across Scotland with the largest and most famous public party in Edinburgh.

Hogmanay Customs:
As midnight strikes the strains of Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burn's version of this traditional Scottish air, can be heard everywhere, followed by a toast to health, wealth and happiness for the coming year and the custom of First Footing.

First Footing:
First-Footing – the visiting of friends and family immediately after midnight sees the Scots rushing from house to house to welcome in the New Year. The First-Foot in the house traditionally is a dark, handsome male carrying a piece of coal, whisky, Scottish shortbread and black bun - a rich dark fruitcake encased in pastry. The visitor in return is given a small glass of whisky.

Customs in the Rest of the UK:
Many of the Scottish customs have infiltrated into the rest of Britain. Though First Footing is less common south of the Scottish border, the singing and toasting - sometimes followed by fireworks - can be heard throughout the British Isles.

The Foods of Hogmanay and New Years Eve:
Food at Hogmanay must include the traditional foods of Scotland.

Shortbread is always eaten at Hogmanay and sometimes served with cheese.

All the First Footing on a cold night means food must be warm and comforting a casserole or a hearty Venison Pie with a side dish of Rumbledethumps and of course Haggis will most certainly make an appearance.

And to Drink....?:
It has to be Whisky in Scotland. Scotch Whisky is world renowned and what better time to drink it than Hogmanay. Nobody knows exactly when the art of distilling was first practised in Scotland but it is believed it was the Ancient Celts who first practiced the art. Uisge Beatha - the water of life - as the Celts call it evolved into Scotch, a drink made only in Scotland, but enjoyed around the world.

The Words to Auld Lang Syne:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

The Translation
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
And never be remembered?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and days long ago.
For days long ago, my dear,
For days long ago
We'll drink a cup of kindness yet
For days long ago!

A hearty casserole is ideal for the main course - lamb stew topped with a crust of best Scottish black pudding is perfect food to warm diners up. To line the stomachs further, a dish of Rumbledethumps, made from wholesome potatoes, turnips (called 'swede' south of the Scottish border) and kale is delicious and comforting.

Pudding must be over-the-top as we Scots have such a sweet tooth, so a steamed pudding served with hot butterscotch sauce will end your Hogmanay dinner with panache.


Lamb Stew with Stornoway Black Pudding crust

By Sue Lawrence

Stornoway is my favourite black pudding, with its rich yet non-greasy flavour and good crumbly texture.

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
25g/1oz butter
800g/1lb 12oz lamb shoulder, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 heaped tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bushy sprigs fresh rosemary
150ml/5fl oz red wine
150ml/5fl oz lamb stock
200g/7oz Stornoway black pudding, skin removed, thinly sliced (chill well before slicing)

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil with the butter in an ovenproof casserole until hot.
3. Place the lamb into a large bowl, sprinkle over the seasoned flour and mix well. Tip half of the lamb pieces into the casserole and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat, then remove the second batch of meat to a plate.
4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the casserole and gently fry the onion, leeks and garlic until softened.
5. Return the meat to the casserole along with the rosemary, wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about an hour, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.
6. Remove the casserole from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs. Increase the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
7. Place the black pudding slices on top of the stew, overlapping slightly. Brush the slices with a little olive oil, then return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the stew is bubbling and the topping is crisp.
8. Serve at once with Rumbledethumps and a green vegetable.


Seven-cup Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Serves 6
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time over 2 hours

By Sue Lawrence

Non-Scots might eat this with some custard or cream, but I would inundate it with custard, cream - and (don't forget that sweet tooth of ours!) a scoop of best-quality ice-cream.

For the pudding (use a regular 300ml/10fl oz coffee mug for the measurements)
1 mug raisins
1 mug sultanas
1 mug self-raising flour
1 mug shredded suet
1 mug fresh breadcrumbs
1 mug light muscovado sugar
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
1 mug whole milk
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
butter, for greasing
For the butterscotch sauce
75g/2¾oz light muscovado sugar
50g/2oz butter
150ml/5fl oz double cream
few drops vanilla extract
crème fraîche, to serve

1. For the pudding, place the first six mugfuls of ingredients into a bowl with the spices and mix well.
2. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix well.
3. Grease a 1 litre/1¾ pint pudding basin with butter, then pour the pudding mixture into the basin.
4. Cover with baking paper or foil, then place into a steamer set over a pan of simmering water and cook for about 2½ hours, or until cooked through.
5. For the butterscotch sauce, place all the sauce ingredients (not the crème fraîche) into a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil for three minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened and smooth.
6. To serve, turn the pudding out onto a serving plate and serve with the butterscotch sauce and crème fraîche.


So there you have a different custom. My Mom would be proud! I'll tip a glass for you, Pop! Cheers! (There's a hot link for some information at the title.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

27 Dec 2009 Our Open House

It was really great to have so many people over to our house recently for an Open House. So, what did we have?

Deviled Eggs

Veggie Tray with Green Garlic Dip

Meat Balls in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Idaho Deviled Blue Crab

“Flying Grandma” Punch

Skewered Tomato and Basil and Mozzarella

Fresh Made Lox with Cream Cheese

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichokes Hearts Stuffed with Brie and Spinach

Sage Bread Sticks

Olive Tray

Homemade Chicken Liver Pâté

White Bean Dip

Fresh Baked Cookies

And the wines?

1979 Robin's Best Red Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

1979 Robin's Best Red Petit Syrah

1978 Chalone Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Blanc

1978 Chalone Vineyard Estate Bottled Chardonnay

1971 Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol

1970 Chateau Clerc Milon Grand Cru Baron Philippe de Rothschild

None of this would have been possible without the help of Our Wine Cellar, Susan, to help straighten the house up, Marnie and Mac for their countless hours of helping to prep the food and run errands, Chris for making the punch (Did he try any?) and Mattie for keeping Chris “in line”. Many thanks to all of you. And Thanks too, to everyone who came. We certainly did enjoy your company! Be sure to look at the photos! Some photos are new .... some photos are old! Cheers! And Happy 2010! And yes, some of the recipes are available if you would like a copy. Just email me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Try A "Flying Grandma" Punch This New Years!

At our Open House tonight, close to 30 people were there, we had a Flying Grandma Punch among other things. This is really, really good!

Flying Grandma

Recipe from Mr. Boston Holiday Cocktails

Makes 10 to 12 drinks

• 18 ounces citrus vodka [ or 8 oz Idaho Huckleberry vodka and 10 oz Bombay Gin - Queen Victoria]

• 6 ounces Grand Marnier

• 9 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

• 60 mint leaves (about 10 sprigs)

• Ice mold or large block of ice (made decorative with grapefruit rind and mint leaves -in sparkling water)

• One 750 ml bottle Moscato d’Asti, chilled

• Grapefruit twists, for garnish

Combine the vodka, Grand Marnier, grapefruit juice and mint in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a punch bowl. Add the ice and Moscato D’Asti and stir thoroughly.

Ladle into chilled Champagne coupes, garnish each drink with a grapefruit twist and serve.

This is one awesome punch! Try it. Cheers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas In Boise, 2009

"The Day" has come and essentially gone. Long day. Awesome time. Good dinner. What else can I say. Oh yes, Thank-You to all who made this day so great: Robin, Marnie, Mac, Chris, Mattie and Buddy and Gus. Here are your photos!

Merry Christmas!

Mattie and Chris 24 Dec 2009
Mattie and Chris
24 Dec 2009

Oh, my! Now what do we have here? Have you ever seen such a "twinkle" in Chris' eye?
Cute. Very cute!

Mac's Onion Soup
24 Dec 2009

Mac made his awesome French Onion Soup for dinner along with a Roast of Beef. He can make that any time he wishes. It's a "pretty" soup - but not as pretty as the above photo! Cheers! And Merry Christmas!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2009 Dinner Recipes

From our house to yours:

We Wish You A Very Merry Holiday Season!

And with that said, here are the recipes for two of the dishes we are having for Christmas Dinner. First is a Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb and the second is an awesome Bob's Peppermint Pie that refers to the brand of peppermint candy, not me! Those two links are for a version of the recipe that we have on our web site. If you want to print them out, that is probably the best way. The photograph was taken this afternoon from 19th Street in Boise, looking 15 miles NNE to the ski area and 3500 feet higher. The snows were just outstanding.


Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Author: Bob and Robin Young
Web Page: http://www.rockinrs.com
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 375°F

750 ml Dry Red Wine
¾ t Allspice, ground
¾ t Nutmeg, ground
4½ lbs Leg of Lamb, boned
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 c Pine Nuts
½ lbs Mushrooms, rinsed
2 T Butter
½ c Onions, finely chopped
½ c Sweet Red Pepper, finely diced
1/3 c Pitted Dates, finely Chopped
2 T Chives, minced
2 T Parsley, minced
1½ c Beef stock
1 T Sugar
Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste

1). In an 11x17" roasting pan, combine the wine, allspice, nutmeg and bay leaf.
2). Trim excess fat from lamb. Rinse meat and lay flat, boned side up. Make cuts about halfway through all the thickest parts of the meat. Push cuts open to make meat as evenly thick as possible. Lay lamb flat in the pan. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, turning meat as needed.
3). In a 10 - 12 inch frying pan over med-high heat, stir in pine nuts until golden brown, 3 - 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
4). Trim mushrooms and finely chop. Add the mushrooms, butter, onion and red pepper to the frying pan. Stir often over high heat until vegetables are well browned, 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, dates, chives and parsley.
5). Lift lamb from roasting pan and lay flat; boned side up. Reserve 1½ cups marinade; discard the rest of the marinade and the bay leaf. Spread the mushroom mixture over the lamb to within 1" of the edges. Starting at the narrow edge, roll the lamb into a tight roll, about 5 x 11". Tie at 2" intervals with bakers string. Set in roasting pan.
6). Bake lamb in a 375°F oven until a thermometer inserted in the center of the thickest part reaches 145°F, 1¼ to 1½ hours.
7). Transfer lamb to a rimmed platter and keeping warm, let rest for 10 minutes. Add the reserved marinade, beef stock and sugar to the pan. Stir over high heat, scraping the browned bits (grameels) until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add the accumulated lamb juices and pour into a bowl.
8). Cut lamb crosswise into 1" thick slices. Serve with the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours


Bob's Peppermint Pie

Author: Bob and Robin Young
Web Page: http://boisefoodieguild.blogspot.com
Author Notes: This pie has nothing to do with me. It derives its name from the brand of peppermint candy, "Bob's".
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Servings: 12

1 env Plain Gelatin
¼ c Cold Water
½ c Whipping cream, plus 1½ cups whipping cream whipped
8 oz Peppermint candy, soft type (Bob's)
1 Pie Crust, chocolate cookie crust

1). Soften gelatin in water and set aside.
2). Place ½ cup whipping cream in a small saucepan with candy and cook over low heat until candy melts.
3). Add gelatin and mix well. Let cool and fold in the whipped cream. Pour into the pie shell and let cool.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes


Find some good wine to go with dinner. We're having a NV Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparkling Wine, the White House Wine ($25.00) and a 1969 Clos de Hermitage E. Guigal, a French Rhone wine ($140.00). Then for the dessert wine a 1979 Chateau Suduiraut ($65.00). So there you have the recipes for two of our dishes for Christmas Day. The rest of the menu has been posted earlier on this blog or on the Boise Foodie Blog. Cheers and have a Great Christmas Dinner!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Christmas Dinner

Season's Greetings To All!

So, I guess, whenever the Holiday Season rolls around, there must also be a special dinner. At our house, we do have a good time with these special affairs. All the way from the planning to the preparation, the serving and eating and, of course, the clean-up! So here is our menu. Do enjoy it! We will!

Robin and Bob Young’s
Christmas Dinner Menu
December 25, 2009
3:00 PM

Fresh Spinach Salad

Wine Marinated Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Puréed Root Vegetables

Dried Corn

Fresh Baked Challah
This is really a great Jewish bread. A little sweet, a lot good!

Flan with Raspberry and Grand Marnier

Complete Wine Selection To Accompany the Menu

So there you have it or, at least, the menu for the dinner. Cheers!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Games In Boise

We may be in what's called The Banana Belt - it is usually a warm winter down here - but we have been known to have Winter Games here in town. We are very fortunate here in Boise. The City Fathers were futuristic enough to plan for many, many parks in town. Some big. Some small. Some flat. Some very steep and high. Camels Back Park is one of the steep and high ones. It's a great sledding hill for young and old. Check these photos out! Cheers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

I just made some. They are really very, very good! But, you have to like peanut butter! Looks like these are just in time for the Holidays!

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe created by Carolyn Gurtz, winner of the 2008 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

It's a twist on the classic peanut butter cookie! Crunchy outside, creamy inside, with just a hint of cinnamon. A real winner.

Yield: 24 cookies
1/4 cup Fisher dry-roasted peanuts , finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 roll (16.5 ounces) Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookies , well chilled
Crisco original no-stick cooking spray

Heat oven to 375°.
In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls, about 1 inch each.

Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.

Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with Crisco original no-stick cooking spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.

Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.


When I made these, I also added 1 roasted almond to the top. A chocolate chip would be good also. (Chocolate is great in almost anything!) Do enjoy these. Cheers!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

Everyone, I know, makes left-over turkey dishes ranging from soup to turkey pot pies to ...... Here is an interesting, and very good if I may add, Turkey Enchilada dish.


Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

2 T Olive Oil
1 sm Onion, chopped
1½ c Turkey, cooked and shredded
¾ c Mexican blended cheese
16 oz Salsa, homemade or otherwise
2 c Turkey Gravy, homemade or otherwise
16 oz Mild Enchilada Sauce
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 med Corn or Flour Tortillas

1. Pre-Heat the oven to 350°F
2. Place 2 T Olive Oil in skillet. Add the onion and sweat for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add the turkey, ½ cup cheese, ¾ cup salsa, enchilada sauce, turkey gravy and the cream cheese. Heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheeses are melted.
3. Spoon a scant 1/3 cup of the turkey mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll up.
4. Place in a 13x9 quart baking dish. Drizzle with the remaining salsa. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is melted. Top with additional salsa is desired.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Servings: 6

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


For a printable recipe, Click Here Cheers and hope you enjoy the recipe. Serve with a 2007 Fraser Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving From Our House To Yours!

Yes, it was a wonderful day starting at 10:00am when Chris - our Grandson - arrived to start making bread. He made the "Dilly Bread"; Sophia made the "Green Bean Casserole", Jerri, of "Jerri's Old Fashioned Pie Shop and Bakery" made the awesomely , sinful "Chocolate Truffle Pie"; Le Cafe de Paris surprised us yesterday with an "Apple Torte"; Robin and Marnie had the table all set and the dining room beautiful and Mac was here for moral support. Not much for me to do but sit back and enjoy the day ...... and I did. We hope that everyone who reads this had a great day and I will think about you at "Black Friday". I will be checking my eyelids for holes! Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving In Boise

Thanksgiving 2009Several people have asked what we are making for Thanksgiving Dinner. Folks from Idaho, Michigan, California and South Africa. And no, that is not our house. It is one across the street from us and this is about the first year that they have gone so "all out". I just thought it would be nice to have it here to "introduce" the Holiday Season! It certainly does light up the neighborhood. Here is our Thanksgiving menu (The pie was just delivered and it says "Keep Refrigerated", so I guess I can not sample it. You know, The Queens Taster?) Enjoy - we will!

Wine Opener:
Ogni Giorno Lambrusco Amabile

Dinner Wine:
2005 Westerland Gewurztraminer (South African)

Spatchcocked 70 Minute Turkey
(Recipe found on the Boise Foodie Blog)
Madeira Turkey Gravy

Brussels Sprouts in Balsamic Reduction

Dried Corn

Dilly Casserole Bread

Dessert Wine:
2006 Bitner Vineyards Reserve Red Dessert Wine

Chocolate Truffle Pie
(Jerri's Old Fashioned Pie Shop and Bakery - Listed on this blog)

We do hope that everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving, has a wonderful holiday. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brussdels Sprouts For Thanksgiving

So, what do you do with Brussels Sprouts? Boil 'em. Steam 'em. There's gotta be more and there is.
1) You can take about 12 of the sprouts and boil until tender. Reduce 6 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar to one-half. Place the drained sprouts in the reduction. Stir and add salt. Serve hot. Serves 2.

2). Or take 12 medium sprouts and cut in half - see photo. Then take the juice of 1 lemon and add about 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir until emulsified. Place sprouts in a large bowl. Add the lemon mixture. Let sit for about 30 minutes stirring about every 10 minutes to coat the sprouts. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the sprouts on a lipped cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir sprouts and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle lightly with gray salt - Celtic Salt. Serve hot. Serves 2.

We had these sprouts as a trial for Thanksgiving and we were surprised. They are good! No more of that "cabbage" taste, bitterness or smell. The black leaves can be removed - they do keep the flavors into the sprout. Dinner was a succulent braised Pork Chop with Orange Sauce, Applesauce, Chard Stems with Garlic, Raisins and Roasted Pine Nuts and the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. For liquid refreshment - you always have to have liquid refreshment - we had a 2007 Cinder Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Blend that went very well with the menu.

So there you are. Another Thanksgiving suggestion. Cheers!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Game Day Draws Near

BSU LogoAhhh! Yes! The day draws near. In about 24 1/2 hours, the University of Idaho Vandals will play to their past reputation and go down in defeat!!! BSU Rules! And the game is being played in the Bronco Nation. Snow is predicted to be on the ground, along with the Vandal ball carriers and quarterback. The temperature will be in the upper 30's and wind chill in the lower to mid 20's. The Big Chill is on it's way!!

According to the Associated Press, the sports director from the University of Idaho, could not handle all the pressure. Look at this!

Spear refuses to board Boise St. plane

Associated Press

MOSCOW, Idaho -- The Boise State vs. Idaho rivalry has taken to some not-so-friendly skies.

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear says he declined to board a Horizon Air flight after learning the airplane was painted in Boise State's blue and orange colors.
BSU Horizon PlaneSpear was traveling to Boise on Saturday for fundraising events. He requested another flight and then drove about 90 miles north to fly from the Spokane, Wash., airport to Boise.

Boise State and Horizon Air unveiled the plane, which sports the team logo on its tail, as an ode to the Broncos earlier this month.

Spear says he'll board the plane after Horizon Air paints an airplane for the Vandals, whose football team will try to beat the No. 6 Broncos this Saturday for the first time since 1998.

Oh well. And there you have the latest news on the rivalry!
Go Broncos!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Braised Lamb Shanks

I'm always looking for a good recipe for Lamb Shanks. I have at least one, that suffices, but this one looks good. Think I'll try it. Enjoy these lamb shanks!

Braised Lamb Shanks

Long, slow, braised Lamb Shanks are perfect comfort food, so welcome on a chilly autumn or cold winters day. There are many recipes for Braised Lamb Shanks but this is one of my favorites. The Lamb Shank is cooked very slowly in a good red wine (I emphasize good, never cook with wine you wouldn't drink), which tenderizes the meat until, when it is cooked, the meat will quite literally fall from the bone.

Adapted From: British Food About Dot Com (Some of the spelling and terminology had to be changed)
Prep Time: 0 hour, 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 0 minute
Serves: 6

6 Lamb Shanks
2 T Olive Oil
16fl oz /500ml/ good Red Wine
1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Garlic Bulb, cut in half cross-wise
2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
1 T Greek Oregano
1 T Harissa
3 pints /1.5 litre Beef Stock
2oz /55g ice cold Butter
Salt and ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320 °F/Gas 2.

1). Sprinkle a chopping board with salt and freshly ground pepper, then roll each lamb shank over the board to cover lightly with seasoning.
2). In a large ovenproof casserole heat the oil, once hot, two at a time brown the lamb shanks. Remove the lamb shanks and keep to one side. Pour in the red wine, bring to a gentle boil, leave to simmer until reduced by half. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, rosemary, harissa and finally the lamb shanks.
3). Pour in enough beef stock to cover the meat, don't worry if the bones are sticking out, this is fine. Bring back to a simmer then cover the dish and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking from time to time that the meat is still covered in stock and top up as necessary and turn the shanks from time to time.
4). Once cooked, remove the shanks and keep to one side or the cooking pot. Place the casserole on the burner and bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes. When the lamb shanks are cooked through, remove them from the cooking liquid and set aside on a warm plate. Strain the sauce and check the seasoning. Whisk in the cold butter to create a really glossy sauce.


So there you have it. Give these a try. Serve with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. Here is a Recipe Link to a printable coy of the recipe. Cheers!

Braised Lamb Shanks

I'm always looking for a good recipe for Lamb Shanks. I have at least one, that suffices, but this one looks good. Think I'll try it. Enjoy these lamb shanks!

Braised Lamb Shanks

Long, slow, braised Lamb Shanks are perfect comfort food, so welcome on a chilly autumn or cold winters day. There are many recipes for Braised Lamb Shanks but this is one of my favorites. The Lamb Shank is cooked very slowly in a good red wine (I emphasize good, never cook with wine you wouldn't drink), which tenderizes the meat until, when it is cooked, the meat will quite literally fall from the bone.

Adapted From: British Food About Dot Com (Some of the spelling and terminology had to be changed)
Prep Time: 0 hour, 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 0 minute
Serves: 6

6 Lamb Shanks
2 T Olive Oil
16fl oz /500ml/ good Red Wine
1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Garlic Bulb, cut in half cross-wise
2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
1 T Greek Oregano
3 pints /1.5 litre Beef Stock
2oz /55g ice cold Butter
Salt and ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320 °F/Gas 2.

1). Sprinkle a chopping board with salt and freshly ground pepper, then roll each lamb shank over the board to cover lightly with seasoning.
2). In a large ovenproof casserole heat the oil, once hot, two at a time brown the lamb shanks. Remove the lamb shanks and keep to one side. Pour in the red wine, bring to a gentle boil, leave to simmer until reduced by half. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, rosemary and finally the lamb shanks.
3). Pour in enough beef stock to cover the meat, don't worry if the bones are sticking out, this is fine. Bring back to a simmer then cover the dish and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking from time to time that the meat is still covered in stock and top up as necessary and turn the shanks from time to time.
4). Once cooked, remove the shanks and keep to one side or the cooking pot. Place the casserole on the burner and bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes. When the lamb shanks are cooked through, remove them from the cooking liquid and set aside on a warm plate. Strain the sauce and check the seasoning. Whisk in the cold butter to create a really glossy sauce.


So there you have it. Give these a try. Serve with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. Cheers!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What To Do?

I had to make some more of our award winning Citrus Marmalade and, knowing how long it can take to make it, I wanted something to "snack on". And knowing that Pico de Gallo can actually be several things - an Appetizer, Side Dish or an adjunct to a Main Dish - I made a large bowl of it. We make our own recipe. Here it is:
Pico de Gallo

Comments: Pico de Gallo can be used as an Appetizer, Side Dish or Main Dish additive. It is a versatile component. A condiment.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 12

6 lg Roma Tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped
1 lg White Onion, diced
1 lg Avocado, diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
1 T Mexican Oregano, dried
2 t Cinnamon
3 Limes juiced


1). Dice the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Dice the onion and add to bowl. Chop the cilantro, dice the jalapeno and mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Add the diced avocado. Mix to combine.
2). Add the spices and salt. Squeeze the limes and add the juice to the bowl. Mix until combines. Taste and adjust as necessary.
3). Place the mixture into the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving to marry the flavors. Serve cold with blue corn chips.

Cooking Times:
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

So there you have it, and a repeat for our Citrus Marmalade recipe. Enjoy! Cheers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Eve!

I can almost see Miss Itchy Witchy flying on her whisk broom. You know, for short hops! But really, its time for dinner. Try this salmon. It's great!
Salmon in Beurre Rouge Sauce

Fresh Asparagus

Twice Baked Idaho Potato

Homemade Biscuits

2007 Cinder Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Blend

And it was very good! Had to have this tonight because tomorrow Boise State University has a football game and that might insist that there be "football junk food"! Pizza, Nachos, Brats, Hot Dogs, Beer. Who knows! Hope you enjoy the photos. Guess we need "Smell-A-Vision" or something. Cheers! Go Broncos!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Not Even All Saints Day!

I was standing at the kitchen sink window looking out. "Looks like rain", I said. So I took Buddy outside - to guard me - to see what was happening. Guess what? It's "White Rain"!! And it's not even All Saints Day (Halloween). Temperature outside is 38 degrees and no wind to speak of. Buddy was having dreams of last years' snow, when he could play in it. Right now, "things" were "flying" in front of him. White things. He is alarmed and snaps at them. When he catches one, it disappears and there is nothing there. He is puzzled and barks at the "White Things". But they keep coming and they tickle his eyes. He rolls his eyes and looks up at me as to say, "I don't understand." And a "White Thing" lands on his black nose and he goes crossed-eyed trying to look at it and when he tries to lick it off, it is not there. He rolls his eyes and looks up at me as to say, "I don't understand. I know it was there!" Guess I should take him in before he goes completely bananas! Cheers! It's not even Halloween.

Gloomy Boise

So what does one do in Boise on a cold, "looks like snow" day? We could go to Manleys for Biscuits and Gravy. Oh .... I forgot. Manleys closed about 10 or 12 years ago. Boo Hoo! 4 of their biscuits would fill a pie plate and they were probably 2" or so high. So, maybe I should make my own. No Bisquick? No problem!!

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 12 Biscuits, or so

1¼ c Cake flour
¾ c All-Purpose flour
1½ t Baking Powder
½ t Baking Soda
½ t Salt
¼ lbs Butter, cut into small chunks
¾ c Buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 500° F
2. Prepare ingredients: Cut butter into small chunks, place in a bowl and return to fridge. Measure out buttermilk and set aside. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and have extra flour nearby for your hands and biscuit cutter. Have biscuit cutter and an ungreased baking sheet handy
3. Mix dough: In a medium-large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt until very well blended. Add butter and cut into flour using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in buttermilk and stir lightly until dough comes together in a ball.
4. Knead dough and cut biscuits: Dump dough mixture out onto floured work surface. With floured hands, lightly knead dough a few times until it is fairly well blended. Pat out into a circle, ¾ – 1 inch thick. Dip cutter into flour and cut biscuits without twisting the cutter. Form the dough scraps into an extra biscuit-like shape instead of re-rolling the dough. Place cut biscuits together on the baking sheet so that the sides are touching. Brush tops with melted butter, if desired.
5. Bake biscuits: place baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 500° F oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove biscuits to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.


OK, so now I have the biscuits. (I really need to cut them to 1" thick before baking. They would be higher.) How about an old stand-by: Biscuits and Sausage Gravy? Sounds good to me. Just break up some sausage links, or use ground sausage - I would not use an Italian sausage for this - some butter and flour for a roux, salt and pepper, some nutmeg and whole milk. Mix all together with the sausage until it thickens and serve on the biscuits you just made. A hearty cup of El Pico coffee and you are set!!! What a delightful way to spend this gloomy day (even Buddy is gloomy!). Make some fresh and homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy for my blushing Bride!! Yup! That'll work. Cheers!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beef and Lamb Stew

So it is a cold and blustery day here in Boise. Heavy snows are forecast for the 5000 foot level in the mountains, rain and high winds here in the valley. What a good day for a stew!! A good hardy stew - full of vegies, beef and lamb. So, I guess I'd best list the recipe. It calls for a combination of beef and lamb, but, if you don't like lamb you can add more beef. And if you want a straight lamb stew, just add more lamb.


Beef and Lamb Stew

1 T Orange infused oil
2 T Garlic infused oil
. . Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lg Onion, cut into chunks
2 lg Leeks, cut into ¼" rounds
2 lg Carrots, cut into ¼" thick rounds
¾ lbs Mushrooms, thick sliced
1 lg Parsnip. cut into ¼" thick rounds
1 Rutabaga, sliced and cut into ¼" thick pieces
½ c Celery, diced
1 Turnip, sliced and cut into ¼" pieces
1 lbs Lamb Stew meat
¾ lbs Beef Stew meat
32 oz Chicken stock
32 oz Beef stock
½ c Red wine
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Kitchen Bouquet
6 sprigs Thyme, fresh
1 T Sage, fresh and chopped
3 T Parsley, fresh and chopped
2 T Cornstarch
½ c Red Wine

1). Add the oil and salt and pepper to a large stock pot. Heat until hot. Add the onion and leeks and sauté until translucent.

2). Add the meats and sauté until browned.

3). Add the beef stock, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet and wine. Bring up to a low simmer. Add the thyme, sage and parsley. Mix to combine. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours or longer. Taste and adjust as necessary.

4). 15 minutes before serving, mix 2 T cornstarch and ½ cup of red wine. Add to the pot to thicken the sauce into a gravy. Serve piping hot.

Cooking Times:

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours


So there you have it. If you want a better copy of the recipe, either click on the page title above or Click Here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Super Day In The Life Of ......

Today really was a super day for us. We had an audition for teaching a dance program at Arts West School in Eagle, Idaho, a private school dedicated to the arts. They evidently liked our abilities and dance/teaching skills, because there will be a contract issued next week. The contract will run from January 2010 through May 2010. But then there was dinner. Wanted to celebrate in some
small way. Thought about taking Robin out for Halibut Beurre Blanc, but Andrae's closed about a year ago, so I'm not sure anyone in Boise can make it now. Except ......... ME!! And if you look left, you can see the results. (Just should have let it thicken a little more)
But it really was good and the vegetable medley went well with it. The Chardonnay we had to go with it was "over the hill", a 1998 Ravenswood. It is now in the vinegar jar. (We have a wine vinegar going) Oh well, can't have everything. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn In Boise

You know, there probably is Moonlight In Vermont, but Boise, Les Bois, The City of Trees, has a spectacular Autumn. And yes, we are on the high desert at 2900 feet. But the fall colors this year have been breath taking. Look at this slide show and see for yourselves. Don't forget to go Full Screen when prompted. Turn your volume up and listen to Tom Jones singing "Autumn Leaves". All of these photos were taken on 21 October 2009 in Boise. Hope you enjoy these.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chocolate Stout Cake

Here's one for thhe National Chocolate Week in London this week. You will like this! A whole article on the chocolate week and her birthday dinner menu is on the Boise Foodie Blog.

OK. So here is the recipe for the Chocolate Stout Layer Cake that Marnie and Mac made yesterday for her birthday dinner. They got the original recipe from Bon Appetit. Enjoy this one ... We did!

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup chocolate stout, regular stout, or porter
2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

1 pound bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper round; butter and flour parchment. Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 11/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in 2 additions just until incorporated.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter between prepared cake pans (about 3 cups for each); smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.

For frosting:
Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Combine whipping cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Pour cream mixture over chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Chill chocolate frosting until slightly thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (or for quick chilling, place frosting in freezer until thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes).

Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cake layers so that tops are flat. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round, then place on rack set over baking sheet. Drop 1 1/4 cups frosting by large spoonfuls over top of cake layer; spread frosting evenly to edges with offset spatula or butter knife. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.
DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before serving.

Ingredient tip:
If you can find it, use a chocolate stout (Brooklyn Brewery and Oregon's Rogue Brewery make it) in the cake batter. The chocolaty flavors in the beer come from dark-roasting the malts. Some brewers even add a little chocolate to the beer as well. If you can’t find chocolate stout, use another stout, such as Guinness. Sierra Nevada Porter and Samuel Adams Honey Porter would also work well in this recipe.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Seafood Dinner

Looks like it might be a seafood type week - except for Saturday which will be Sauerbraten with Cabbage and Potatoes, the beef is getting happy right now. But for tonight, what shall I make. How about a Lemon Spaghetti with Lime Butter Halibut? This was very good! The pasta was not made with fresh cream - I used sour cream, onions, garlic, lemon oil, spinach (peas would be better), chives and fresh parsley. And the halibut was flash grilled with lime oil, butter and French tarragon. YUM-O! Robin had a Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen and I had a glass of a 2006 Davis Creek Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Buh Bye McDonalds! What are you making?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kokanee Florentine

So I asked Robin tonight hat she wanted for dinner. I told her I was going to have a Johnsonville Cheese Brot and some soup (Fall Root Soup) from the other night. She did not want that, but instead she wanted some of the Kokanee I caught last summer. She wanted Kokanee Florentine with Mint Garlic Sauce (she made it earlier) and an Idaho CC Cookie, or two.

Yo! Her wish is my command! There is a photo of what she had. Fun to make these things "on the fly". Actually, it looked good! She ate it all and didn't ask if I wanted a taste. (Sould have tried it right from the pan!!) Oh, well!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Root Soup

Lots of fall root crops are in now - carrots, rutabaga, parsnips, leeks, etc. And from The Splendid Table and Lynne Rossetto Kasper, we get the following statement -

“A trio of fall root vegetables — carrots, leeks, and a rutabaga — forms the savory foundation of this soup. Puréed and enriched with Crème Fraîche, this potage, with its velvety, smooth texture and glorious orange hue, is always a hit — whether it's a first course or the main attraction.

Rutabaga is an often-overlooked root vegetable member of the cabbage family. Its pale yellow flesh is slightly sweet. Choose ones with smooth skin and firm flesh that are heavy for their size.”

Fall Root Soup

Makes 8 servings
Adapted From: The Splendid Table

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2½ c Leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only (3 to 4 medium leeks)
1½ lbs Carrots, peeled and diced
1 lg Rutabaga, peeled and diced
2 lg Parsnips. Peeled and diced
10 c Chicken Stock
Kosher salt
1¼ c Crème Fraîche
3 T Flat-Leaf Parsley, fresh and finely chopped

1. Toss the chopped vegetables with a little olive oil, spread them out on a shallow pan and roast at 425 degrees F until they begin to soften and caramelize. Flavors will be more intense. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
2. Heat butter in a large, heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. When melted and hot, add roasted vegetables and mix until the veggies are warmed through. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, for about 30 minutes.
3. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Whisk in ¾ cup of the Crème Fraîche. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
4. To serve, ladle soup into shallow soup bowls. Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of the remaining ½ cup Crème Fraîche and a sprinkling of parsley.

We have a pot going now. It should go good with a Sauerbraten I am making. Cheers!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boise's First Snow

Somewhere between the night of 4 October 2009 and the morning of 5 October, Bogus Basin, 15 minutes from our house and 43800 feet above the valley floor, there was snow! About 6" and I just had to take Buddy to see it and play in it. Here are some slides. Enjoy!

Nothing But Sunsets

Here is a short slide video of sunsets shot on the Djuma Reserve, Sabi Sands, S. Africa, that we took while on virtual safari drives over the past month. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Green Tomato Relish

So it is 41 degrees outside. It's been raining all day. Mac brought us green tomatoes - lots of 'em! And by the way, he has an excellent recipe for, of all things, Green Tomato Pie. Here's what we did with them. Green Tomato Relish, if you want a better copy of the recipe. (There are two Green Tomato Relish recipes there. This is the best one.) Otherwise, here it is:

Green Tomato Relish

Author: Bob and Robin Young

Author Notes: This is a great way to use up all of those green tomatoes that you have at the end of the season. Sweet, yet with a touch of tartness.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Yield: 12 Pints


4 qt Green tomatoes, diced fine
6 lg Onions, diced fine
8 c Sweet Red Peppers, diced fine
1 bn Celery, diced fine
2 c Apple Cider Vinegar
1 c White Vinegar
1 c Brown Sugar
2 c Sugar
1½ c Water
1 t Turmeric
1 t Salt
1 T Mustard, ground
1 t Cinnamon
1 T Allspice
2 t Mustard Seeds
1 t Whole Cloves, ground


1. Dice all vegetables. Place all ingredients in a 12 quart pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Place in sterilized canning jars and hot pack for 20 minutes.

Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

This really is not hard to do. It just takes some time and patience. Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Diapers and parenting

Uncle Bobby and Aunt Robin, thank you so much for the diapers. They are super-cool. It's so neat to see all the things they come up with these days for little kids. I apologize for not sending a thank you note sooner. I was warned that once I became a parent I would truly lose my mind, I didn't believe it as first, but it is true. Preoccupation is now my occupation.
Anyway, Henry is getting so big. And once I figure out how to post pictures, I'll do so. Thanks again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boise Farmer's Market Video Resized

OK. So snow is forcast for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. But, thanks that Boise is in the Banana Belt, so the snow will stay ion the mountains where it belongs. Snow level: 5000 feet. So this video may be the last for the Farmer's Market tis year. We'll see!

Enjoy!! Let me know if this is any better. Video taken on the "Bike Cam".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oktoberfest Recipes

And continuing with our Oktoberfest theme and recipes from allrecipes.com, here are some more. Enjoy these. This will be all for this year!

Leeks and potatoes are simmered with a ham bone, then pureed before cream is added to this subtle soup.

German Leek and Potato Soup

Serves: 6
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped leeks
8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 ham bone
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onions in butter until translucent. Stir in leeks, potatoes, water, thyme and the ham bone. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove ham bone and puree soup with a blender or food processor. Return to pot, stir in cream, salt and pepper, heat through and serve.


And here is the Grand Daddy of them all -


Serves: 6
4 pounds rump roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sliced onion
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
1/4 cup white sugar
5 whole cloves

Beef Prep:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons bacon grease

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Rub the roast with salt and pepper and place in a large non-metal bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine wine, vinegar and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in garlic, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, sugar and cloves and pour the marinade over the beef. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.

Beef Prep - Remove the meat from the marinade and thoroughly pat dry. Dredge in 1 cup flour (may use more or less if necessary). Heat bacon grease in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown roast in drippings on all sides. Pour in half the marinade, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, 3 hours.

Gravy - Remove meat to serving platter. Increase heat to medium-high; mix 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons water and add to pan, stirring until gravy thickens. Stir in sour cream. Pour sauce over sliced meat.

What to Drink? - Zinfandel or a lager that is on the sweet side.


Black Forest Cake

Serves: 12
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup kirschwasser
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon strong brewed coffee
2 (14 ounce) cans pitted Bing cherries, drained

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon kirschwasser
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line the bottoms of two 8 inch round pans with parchment paper circles. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined. Pour into 2 round 8 inch pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove paper from the cakes. Cut each layer in half, horizontally, making 4 layers total. Sprinkle layers with the 1/2 cup kirshwasser.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, pinch of salt, and coffee; beat until smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add a couple teaspoons of cherry juice or milk. Spread first layer of cake with 1/3 of the filling. Top with 1/3 of the cherries. Repeat with the remaining layers.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon kirshwasser. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with chocolate curls made by using a potato peeler on semisweet baking chocolate.

What to Drink? - Port or a good TBA (I'd take the TBA) or a good Riesling Ice Wine

1st Course - German Leek and Potato Soup
2nd Course - Sauerbraten
Dessert - Black Forest Cake

There's a whole dinner for your Sweetheart during Oktoberfest when you were at the Beer Hall! Cheers!!

Boise Saturday Farmer's Market

I have been using Microsoft's Movie Maker and I really don't think it has kept pace with technology. It is very slow to make the movie after editing it and you are very limited on the available formats. I guess you get what you pay for. I found another video maker/editer called Pinnacle Studuo 12. This is my first attempt at Pinnacle, so let's see what I did. I am also putting a copy on my FaceBook account.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Elderberry Puff Pie

Elderberry Puff Pie before baking. Look at those berries!

Elderberry Puff Pies after baking. YUM-O!

How good do those look?? Here is the recipe.

Elderberry Puff Pie

Source: Robin and Bob Young
Author Notes: Try using huckleberries or blueberries instead of the elderberries. Use your imagination.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Servings: 12

2½ c Elderberries, fresh
½ c Sugar
1/8 t Salt
2 T Flour
3 T Lemon juice
½ pkg Puff Pastry, cut into 12 squares
12 T Cream cheese
½ c Walnuts, broken
4 T Butter

1. Mix elderberries, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Sprinkle with flour and mix.

2. Using a 12 section muffin pan, or 12 - ½ cup ramekin's, place 1 square of the puff pastry in each section.

3. Place 1 T cream cheese in the bottom of each section. Fill each section about ¾ full of the elderberry mixture. Place 1 T walnuts on top then 1 tsp of butter.

4. Bake in the oven at 350°F until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

Cooking Times:
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Cheers! Do enjoy this treat!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wapiti Meadows Sojourn Video

On 17 September, Robin and I took a trip to North Central Idaho and the back country, looking for Peregrine habitat and Elk habitat. Here is a video of that trip. If you have never seen the Idaho back country, this will give you some idea of what it is like. This is Wapiti Meadows Ranch, Diana and Barry Bryant, Hosts, on Johnson Creek. An awesome place! (208) 633-3217. Getting there is half the fun. Ford the stream. Wrong road. Maybe a road. Not a road - goat trail! Closed road. Narrow road. Right road, finally. Enjoy!

Our trip to Wapiti Meadows on 17 September 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Idaho Style "Old Peoples Dinner"

Yes, there really is an Idaho Style Old Peoples Dinner! Chicken? Yes, but sauteed and with an Elderberry Sauce. Potatoes? Yes, but smashed and with garlic, not whipped smooth enough to sip through a straw and smooth enough so one may, if so desired, "gum masticate" them. Gravy? Can't have smashed potatoes without gravy, and chicken gravy at that. Peas? You bet!! And just think, it's not even Sunday afternoon. But the real clincher to this dinner is the Elderberry Sauce. Sweet yet tart. Smooth yet "chunky". And fresh elderberries at that. Serve with a 2008 Dahlia Series Indian Creek Winery Pinot Gris. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Elderberry Sauce

5 c Elderberries, de-stamed and fresh
4 whole Cloves
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 c Plum Vodka (Koenig)

Add everything except the sugar to a 4 quart pot. Heat the berries over a low flame until the juices begin to run. Add the sugar and cook the combination until the liquid boils and the crystals dissolve. Use an immersible blender (Motor Boat) and lightly break the berries up - you want some texture. Pour the hot mixture into hot, sterilized jars and let seal. Enjoy with pork, chicken or turkey. Cheers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunset In Boise

Now I know why I stay in Idaho

Lamb wit Currant Mint Sauce

WE Like lamb - almost any way you prepare it. Thanks to Afrimoo (Caroline on www.wildearth.tv), we received this recipe. I have left the Metric measurements on for those who use that system and have only adjusted it slightly.

Lamb with Currant Mint Sauce

1/4 cup (50 mL) red wine vinegar
3 tbsp (50 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 T Lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 T thyme) (or 1 tsp/5 mL dried)
1 butterflied boneless leg of lamb (about 3 lb/1.5 kg)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

Red Currant Mint Sauce:
1/2 cup (125 mL) red currant jelly
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped packed fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp (25 mL) port wine (optional)
2 tbsp (25 mL) red wine vinegar
Pinch each sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

In large glass bowl, combine vinegar, oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary, or thyme; add lamb, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Or freeze in freezer bag for up to 2 weeks; thaw in refrigerator.)

Red Currant Mint Sauce:
In food processor, blend jelly, mint, port (if using), vinegar, salt and pepper. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.)

Remove lamb from marinade, discarding any excess; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until meat thermometer registers 145°C (63°C) for medium-rare, 25 to 35 minutes, or until desired doneness.

Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain. Serve with sauce.

And this really looks good!!! I have not tried it, but will soon. If anyone tries this, please let u know what you thing. I suppose too, that you could use some Lamb Shanks instead of the Butterflied Leg of Lamb. Just some thoughts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days

OK, so really, it's not all wine and wine parties. Idaho is so lucky - we have Salmon! Fresh, wonderful, succulent salmon. Twice a year in the Boise area, there is a salmon feast: One in Meridian to support the Burn-Out Fund and then this one to help with the costs of the MK Nature Center. A beautiful natural center in the middle of Boise. Well, you be the judge. Look at these photos. And don't be afraid to go full screen at the prompt.

See what you missed? Good salmon! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mango Dessert Recipe

Rudy's: A Cooks Paradies not only has interesting trivia and kitchen supplies, they also have some very interesting Recipes of the Week. Here is one.

Mango Matrimony De Luxe
by Levi Root of Britain’s “Caribbean Foods Made Easy”

1 ripe mango, peeled, stone removed, flesh chopped
2 kiwi fruit, peeled, cut into quarters, cores removed, flesh finely sliced
2 ripe passionfruit, pulp and seeds
1 large piece preserved ginger (from a jar), finely chopped
1½ tbsp ginger syrup (from the jar of preserved ginger)
½ lime, juice only
double cream or ice cream, to serve

1. Mix the chopped mango, sliced kiwi and passion fruit pulp and seeds together in a large serving bowl.
2. Sprinkle over the chopped stem ginger and mix well.
3. Drizzle over the ginger syrup and squeeze over the lime juice. Mix carefully until the fruit is coated in the ginger and lime juice.
4. To serve, spoon the matrimony de luxe into four shallow serving bowls. Drizzle over double cream or add a scoop of ice cream.

If you like dessert or mango, you just gotta try this one. It sounds soooo refreshing! Do you want more recipes like this? Look at Rudy's: Cooks Paradise. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bistro Jeanty Tomato Soup

Now this is almost as good as Tom's Cove Clam Chowder! You say you have far to many tomatoes in your garden? You say you don't know what to do with about 2 1/2 pounds? Well, try this tomato soup. It is awesome!!

Bistro Jeanty Tomato Soup
Bistro Jeanty is a French restaurant.
6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-0103

This is a published recipe from their web site, Bistro Jeanty

· 2 1/2 lb. tomatoes - ripe, cored and quartered
· 1/2 cup butter - unsalted
· 1/2 lb. yellow onions - sliced
· 6 ea. garlic cloves
· 1/4 cup tomato paste
· 1 ea. bay leaf
· 1/2 tbl. whole black peppercorns
· 1 tsp. dried thyme
· 1 cup water (use only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy)
· 4 cups heavy cream
· 1-2 tbl. butter
· salt - to taste
· 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
· 1 lb. puff pastry - defrosted if frozen
· 1 ea. egg - beaten with 1 tbl. water

1. Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not let the onions color. Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and water if needed. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are very soft. Puree in a blender (working in batches) or use a hand-held immersion blender; strain. Return the soup to the pot. Add the cream, salt, white pepper and the remaining 1-2 tbl. of butter to taste. Bring soup back to boil.

2. Let the soup cool for 2 hours or overnight (in the refrigerator).

3. Divide among six 8-ounce soup cups or bowls. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch. Cut 6 rounds slightly larger than your cups or bowls. Paint the dough with the egg wash and turn the circles egg-wash side down over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the dough tight like a drum.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

5. Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash without pushing the dough down. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven door in the first few minutes or the dough will fall.

6. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Ah, no one said it was healthy. Just said it is awesomely good! Cheers! Here is an Instructional Video or a How-To Video on making the soup. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Market Fresh Dinner

The summer in Boise is just sooooo delicious! The Saturday Market is the most popular, but there also a Thursday Market in Boise. Other towns around Boise also have their market where one can pick up some really good and fresh vegetables and other products: Meridian, Nampa, Kuna to name a few. It's important that we support these "local markets" - Think Local - Buy Local.

Dinner with some of the Market products -

Fresh Orange Beet and Cantaloupe Salad

Grilled Tomato with Basil and Parmesan Cheese

Grilled Squash

Grilled Salmon

Fun to make, fun to look at with all the colors and definitely fun to eat.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The next generation

I am happy to announce we have a new generation in the Young family. Baby Henry Dimas Portillo was born August 13, 2009 at 5:13AM to Jessica Elizabeth Miller Portillo (great granddaughter of Milton G. Young also know as grandpa-great and Elizabeth W. Young - grandma-great) and husband Tony.

If I can figure out how to post a picture, I will!

Beth- (also known as Nana B)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Boise Beer Fest, August 2009

Well really, it does have something to do with food! Beer does have grain in it. And vegetables. And it is cooked. And it is persevered. I guess that makes it a "one pot meal". So, this afternoon, Mac calls me and asks, "Do you want to go to the Beer Festival at Ann Morrison Park this afternoon?" Who am I to turn down a crafted beer. But, I had to explain to him that I had an Apple Honey Challah to bake - pictured here - and that I probably could not go before early afternoon. He said that was Ok. I had to hurry to get the second and third rises done; the bread baked and cooled and coated with a honey/butter mixture. (I never said it was low calorie) OK, I made it! The bread was complete and 8 minutes before I was to meet him, I was on the way. I should have taken some with me ... it would have gone quite well with some of the beers, and there were a lot of them. Here are some photos. Enjoy!