Wine and Chocolate – The Buzz


10feb2017_1_the-buzz_front-counterSuch a great evening of fine wines and some really good food, especially the Spicy Chocolate Soup! A nice crowd was there and it was good to see 30 people! All of the wines that we had, as it turns out, were all rated at a [17]. There was only one that rated below [17]. Cristi’s birthday party at The Buzz, will be on February 24, even though her “real” birthday is February 29th. The next Wine Dinner is March 14th and 15th. The dinner is repeated on each evening. The theme will be “Italian Wines”. See you there! Here is what we had tonight. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers.

 

Opening wines were from South Africa.
Opening wines were from South Africa.
Brie and Chocolate Tart Chorizo Chocolate Toast

Brie and Chocolate Tart
Chorizo Chocolate Toast

2015 Revelry Merlot

 Spicy Chocolate Soup (Awesome) 2011 Ammunition Pinot Noir (Awesome paring! Best paring of the night.)

Spicy Chocolate Soup
(Awesome!)
2011 Ammunition Pinot Noir
(Awesome paring! Best paring of the night.)

Spinach and Pear Salad Chocolate Vinaigrette 2015 Tranche Rose [15]

Spinach and Pear Salad
Chocolate Vinaigrette
2015 Tranche Rose [15]

Chocolate Rubbed Pork Cocoa Vegetables 2013 Arsonist Red

Chocolate Rubbed Pork
Cocoa Vegetables
2013 Arsonist Red

 Trio Chocolate Truffle 2014 Decoy Zinfandel

Trio Chocolate Truffle
2014 Decoy Zinfandel

Cristi presented The Legend of St Valentines Day. Interesting.
It may be based on the Roman pagan festival of Lupercalis which was a fertility celebration on February 15th. In 496 Pope Gelasius changed the celebration to St Valentine’s Day. According to the Catholic encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by the name of Valentine. One was a priest in Rome, one a bishop in Terni and nothing is known about the third St Valentine except that he met his end in Africa. Surprisingly, all three of them are said to have been martyred on the 14th of February.
Pope Gelasius intended to honor the first of these three men: This St Valentine was a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome and attracted the disfavor of Roman Emperor Claudius II who ruled during this time. St Valentine held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited marriage of young men. Claudius II believed that if men were married they were more loyal to their families than the state. Therefore, not good soldiers. St Valentine was against this and would marry young couples secretly. Claudius II found out and had him imprisoned.

It was during the 14th century that St Valentine’s Day became securely associated to love. Chaucer had a lot to do with this day. In France and England it was believe that birds mated on February 14th. Chaucer used this image of birds as a symbol of lovers. “For this was on St Valentine’s Day. When every fowl cometh there to choose a mate.”

Italian Night at Cafe Vicino in Boise


CafeVicinoLogo_2_Wine_ColorWow! Such a great evening having some outstanding wines and an outstanding dinner prepared by Chef Richard Langston, a James Beard Award Nominee! A total of 7 courses and 7 wines. This superb restaurant is located at 808 W Fort St, Boise, ID 83702, (208) 472-1463. It might be a good idea to call for reservations. We had a Dover Sole dish that was absolutely wonderful. So I asked the question, “What is the difference between Dover Sole and Flounder?” The answer is here from Chef Richard and from E-How.

Sole and flounder are both types of flatfish, and because the texture is similar, they are considered interchangeable in recipes. However, they are two separate species with slightly different looks and tastes.
Species
Sole is a type of flatfish. Dover sole, the most common type, is a member of the Soleidae family. Flounder is also a type of flatfish categorized under Heterosomata.
Features
Both fish are flat, with both eyes on one side of their face so they can hide on the ocean floor and watch for prey. While both are oval in shape, flounder is more rounded.

Here is what we had and the wines that went with each course. Thanks to Cafe Vicino for such a great evening and to Chef Richard and his Staff for great service. It was good to see “old” friends again. Enjoy these photos! Left-Click any of the photos to see them enlarged.

This is what we had to eat and drink over the next  4 1/2 hours!
This is what we had to eat and drink over the next 4 1/2 hours!
Robin getting ready to sample some superb wines from Italy.
Robin getting ready to sample some superb wines from Italy.
James Beard Award Nominee and  super Chef, Chef Richard Langston, our Host.
James Beard Award Nominee and super Chef, Chef Richard Langston, our Host.
Chris Zimmerman, the Wine Host and great Commentator.
Chris Zimmerman, the Wine Host and great Commentator.
The opener - Frico (parmesan crisps) served with Bisol Jeip Prosecco
The opener –

Frico
(parmesan crisps)
served with
Bisol Jeip Prosecco

Salumi e Focaccia sliced prosciutto, mortadella, spec, soppressata, rosemary-sea slat focaccia

Salumi e Focaccia
sliced prosciutto, mortadella, spec, soppressata, rosemary-sea salt focaccia

Pederzana Lambrusco served with the plate above.

Pederzana Lambrusco
served with the plate above.

Fruity and bone dry. Goes great and calls out for salami.

Sfogl in Saor sole in sweet and sour sauce

Sfogli in Saor
sole in sweet and sour sauce
Suavia Soave Classico The wine served with the sole.

Suavia Soave Classico
The wine served with the sole.

In Italy, no wine is served without food. These vines are located 1000 feet above sea level in volcanic soils; oyster shell. We asked for a little parmesan and this seemed to help the wine. This will go great with asparagus.

Insalata Mista local greens, tomatoes, carrots in a vinaigrette Raisins and onions. Very good salad.

Insalata Mista
local greens, tomatoes, carrots in a vinaigrette Raisins and onions
Very good salad.

Bruni Plinio Vermentino A good Tuscan from the west central coast.

Bruni Plinio Vermentino
A good Tuscan from the west central coast. Went very well with vinegar in the salad.

Quaglia e Risotto all'Amarone stuffed quail, Amarone riotto This was superb!

Quaglia e Risotto all’Amarone
stuffed quail, Amarone riotto
This was superb! The risotto was cooked in red wine.

Le Salette Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Went superbly with the quail and risotto. From Verona, "Valley of many Cellars". Superb, full bodied red wine at 15% alcohol.

Le Salette Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Went superbly with the quail and risotto. From Verona, “Valley of many Cellars”. Superb, full bodied red wine at 15% alcohol.

Cinghiale Arrosto Con Rosmarino e Ginepro wild boar with rosemary and juniper, currant sauce, zucchini. Great pairing with the Montalcino wine.

Cinghiale Arrosto Con Rosmarino e Ginepro
wild boar with rosemary and juniper, currant sauce, zucchini
Great pairing with the Montalcino wine.

Fossacolle Rosso di Montalcino Great paring with the boar. Great Tuscan wine. Produced on 6 acres and 1000 bottles a year. We bought a bottle. (We'll worry about our meds next month!)

Fossacolle Rosso di Montalcino
Great paring with the boar. Great Tuscan wine. Produced on 6 acres and 1000 bottles a year. We bought a bottle. (We’ll worry about our meds next month!)

Bonet alla Piemontese chocolate-coffee Amaretti terrine, fresh local strawberries. The best I can say about this is, "Is there any more? I want more!"

Bonet alla Piemontese
chocolate-coffee Amaretti terrine, fresh local strawberries
The best I can say about this is, “Is there any more? I want more!”

Marenco Scrapona Moscato d'Asti From the Piedmont region. This is described as "A rainbow in your mouth." Yes, it is well worth getting some. We did.

Marenco Scrapona Moscato d’Asti
From the Piedmont region. This is described as “A rainbow in your mouth.” Yes, it is well worth getting some. We did.

Such a grand night! Such a grand meal and wines. If you are in Boise, be sure to try this superb restaurant. One of the better ones in Boise and deserves the 5-Star rating I gave it. Superb! It would give the now defunct Andrae’s a run for their money. Cheers!

Sunday At “The Buzz” In Boise


11Aug2013_2_Captains-Shack_Fire-Storm_Clouds-Color 

 

Great food and great friends gathered at The Buzz in Boise to convey our condolences to Cristi and her family for her loss. We were sitting outside and the fire storm from about 50 miles east of Boise and 25 miles north, presented an imposing image of the vastness of the fire. This morning on NPR I heard were the combined two fires was about 120,000 acres. Yuk!
As we gathered, we shared food as a means of bonding our friendships. Everyone who attended, was asked to bring some type of pot luck. And, if you desired, bring a wine. We took a 2010 Fujishin Family Cellars Viognier, a corn pie and grilled fresh herbed zucchini. (Photos are below) Others brought all kinds of wines, BBQ pork, beans, soup, vegetable platter, hot artichoke dip, brownies and different breads. It was a good gathering to show the extent of our friendship for Cristi and her family. Here are a few more photos. Left-Click any of the photos to see enlarged.

 

 

 

Grilled Herbed Zucchini Strips
Grilled Herbed Zucchini Strips
Corn Pie
Corn Pie
Plated pulled pork, homemade beans and corn pie.
Plated pulled pork, homemade beans and corn pie.

The “Feast of the Seven Fishes”


OK. We have posted about Hanukkah and a while back about Kwanza and several other culturally diverse holidays. And it seems that this year, I have been hearing a lot about the Italian Christmas Eve celebration of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. As it turns out, there is quite a bit written about the feast, usually held on Christmas Eve. “The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-American families have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. It is unclear when the term “Feast of the Seven Fishes” was popularized.” (Wikipedia) And according to Mario Batali on Epicurious.com, “”It’s what Italians do when they say they’re fasting.” More precisely, the Feast is a meal served in Italian households on La Vigilia (Christmas Eve). In many parts of Italy, the night is traditionally a partial fast, during which no meat should be served. But in true Italian style, this proscription has morphed into something very unfastlike indeed: course after course of luxurious seafood dishes, often as many as 7, 10, or even 13. “No one’s quite sure of the significance of the number,” says Batali. “Some families do seven for the sacraments. Some do ten for the stations of the cross. And some even do 13 for the 12 apostles plus Jesus.” (You can read more at of this article, and get some recipes, at Batali Seven Fishes.)
Cod-with-Tomato-Cream-SauceAnd here is just one of many dishes that you can easily prepare for the feast. I may try it this year. It is called Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce and comes from Eating Well.
And finally, if you would like a little more information and maybe some recipes, look at the Seven Fishes Blog. Enjoy the recipes and the feast! And think of some good wines to go with your meals for this event. Cheers!

A wildly Varietal Day


We are so very lucky in Boise to have such cultural diversity. We have, and we usually attend, the Greek Food Festival, the Russian Food Festival, the Basque Festival, an awesome wine region- the Snake River AVA, and this weekend many of the wineries had an open house, and the Obon Festival – the Japanese festival on Ontario, OR. And I know I have missed some. But we started at the Williamson Orchard and Vineyard open house celebrating 100 years in Sunnyslope. The cherries are ripe and wonderful.

Here is Robin tasting Petite Sirah and Port from the barrel and discussing the the art of blending wine varietals with Roger Williamson.

Can’t have wine without cheese, so here we made a stop at Rollingstone Chèvre in Parma, ID. Below is a photo of one of the products.

We are going back next week with some friends.

Ah, yes, the Japanese Obon Festival in Ontario, OR.

Here is a Bento Box that Robin and I had. Delicious!!

A very different rice dish.

The counter where one could purchase almost anything they wanted.

All of this delicious Japanese food and no sake!

But wait! We can see a place from our table where we are told they have some very good sake. They were right! We had a really interesting sake tasting.

So there you have our “day trip”. It was fun. It was interesting. It was an exciting adventure. Cheers!

"Corned Beef" – Where Did It Come From?


Enjoy your Corned Beef and Cabbage today, but do it with a big Zinfandel or Guiness Stout or a wee bit of Whisky! But first, understand a brief history of the treat. Cheers!

History of Corned Beef & Cabbage
Origin of Traditional Irish American St Patrick’s Day Recipe

Mar 3, 2009 Stephanie Jolly , Source: Suite101.com

While many North Americans associate corned beef and cabbage with Ireland, this popular St Patrick’s Day meal has roots in America, and is not traditional Irish food.

Corned beef, a salt-cured brisket, was traditionally packed and stored in barrels with coarse grains, or “corns” of salt. One of the earliest references to corned beef appears in the 12th century Gaelic poem Aislinge Meic Conglinne, where it references a dainty, gluttonous indulgence. By the 17th century, salting beef had become a major industry for Irish port cities of Cork and Dublin, where Irish beef was cured and exported to France, England and later to America.

Traditional Irish Recipes Contain Salt Pork Instead of Corned Beef
With the majority of Irish beef being exported, beef was an expensive source of protein and unavailable to the majority of Irish citizens. Cows, if owned at all, were raised predominately for their dairy products, from which butter, cheese and cream could be obtained, and were only slaughtered when they were no longer good for milking. Sheep were raised as a source of wool and hogs and pigs were one of the only livestock species raised by the peasantry for consumption.
Salt pork and bacon, therefore, became the commonly consumed meat protein of Irish tables. In Feast and Famine, Leslie Clarkson writes that “fat from bacon supplemented the lack of fat in the farmhouse diet” and Sir Charles Cameron states that he does “not know of any country in the world where so much bacon and cabbage is eaten.” Even today corned beef and cabbage appears infrequently in Irish pubs and restaurants, except for those in heavily touristed areas, and is much more likely to be replaced its traditional counterpart – an Irish stew with cabbage, leeks, and a bacon joint.

Corned Beef & Cabbage Eaten by Irish Immigrants After Arriving in America
After the Irish potato blight, or Great Famine, of the mid-19th century brought hundreds of Irish emigrants to the shores of America, the newly immigrated Irish Americans found corned beef to be both more accessible and more affordable than it was in Ireland. Both corned beef and cabbage were ingredients of the lower working class, and their popularity among the Irish population likely had little to do with similarities to the food of Ireland and more to due with the relatively inexpensive nature of salt cured beef and green cabbage.
For several decades following the Irish immigration, St Patrick’s Day was celebrated with music, crafts and revelry but banquets, while lavish, contained a scarcity of traditional Irish cuisine. However by the 1920s, corned beef and cabbage came to have an association with Irish American cooking, according to Hasia Diner in Hungering for America: Italian, Irish and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration and joined Irish bacon and greens as a food reminiscent of Ireland.

Corned Beef’s Association with St Patrick’s Day Has Irish American Origins
While both salted beef and green cabbage have historic connections with Ireland, the ritual of serving corned beef and cabbage for St Patrick’s Day is exclusively an Irish American tradition. The scarcity and high price of beef in Ireland prevented it from being consumed by the majority of the Irish peasantry until arriving in America, where corned brisket and cabbage were cheap and readily available to the poor. As the stigma of eating working class food faded and the celebration of Irish ancestry grew in popularity, corned

And from Foodtimeline.com, we have:

“Corned beef
While the process of preserving meat with salt is ancient, food historians tell us corned beef (preserving beef with “corns” or large grains of salt) originated in Medieval Europe. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word corn, meaning “small hard particle, a grain, as of sand or salt,” in print to 888. The term “corned beef” dates to 1621.
“Emphasizing its long history in the Irish diet, Regina Sexton…points out that a similar product is mentioned in the 11th-century Irish text Aislinge meic Con Glinne many wonderful provisions, pieces of every palatable food…full without fault, perpetual joints of corned beef’. She adds that corned beef has a particular regional association with Cork City. From the late 17th century until 1825, the beef-curing industry was the biggest and most important asset to the city. In this period Cork exported vast quantities of cured beef to Britain, Europe, America, Newfoundland, and the W. Indies. During the Napoleonic wars the British army was supplied principally with corned beef which was cured in and exported from the port of Cork.”
—Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (page 218)

Corned beef was very popular in colonial America because it was an economical and effective way to preserve meat. The following corning directions are from The Virginia House-Wife by Mary Randolph, 1824, pages 22-23:
To corn beef in hot weather
Take a piece of thin brisket or plate, cut out the ribs nicely, rub it on both sides well with two large spoonsful of pounded salt-petre; pour on it a gill of molasses and a quart of salt; rub them both in; put it in a vessel just large enough to hold it, but not tight, for the bloody brine must run off as it makes, or the meat will spoil. Let it be well covered top, bottom, and sides, with the molasses and salt. In four days you may boil it, tied up in a cloth, with the salt, &c. about it: when done, take the skin off nicely, and serve it up. If you have an ice-house or refrigerator, it will be best to keep it there.–A fillet or breast of veal, and a leg or rack of mutton, are excellent done in the same way.” “Some people wonder about the shared culinary/cultural heritage of the Irish and Jewish peoples when it comes to corned beef. The practice of curing meat for preservation purposes certainly dates back to ancient times. The use of salt was adopted/adapted by many peoples and cultures, and was widely used during the Middle Ages. Evidence suggests that both Irish and Jewish cooks were making corned (salt) beef independently, long before they met in New York.

“Corned beef comes in two versions: The Jewish special on rye, or the traditional Irish boiled dinner, aka New England boiled dinner. Tonight should be the big night for the Irish version.”
—Boiled dinner, The Boston Globe, March 15, 1990 (p.3)