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!