Thanksgiving Feasts


When you retire, birthdays and major holidays are week long events. This past Thanksgiving was no different for us. Even the 415 mile round trip drive to Sun Valley, ID., via Twin Falls and the Blue Lakes. We took our friend and neighbor, David, to Sun Valley to see his parents, Susan and Walt – they treated us to a delicious buffet at the Sun Valley Inn – via Twin Falls and the Blue Lakes. Here you can travel and eat and drink wine with us on our sojourn. Enjoy the photo-trip! Left-Click the photos to see them enlarged.

Thanksgiving with Marnie and family and friends.

Robin, Mui Stowe and Myra Heueta

Myra, Myra’s friend, Eric and Marnie
Anna. Chris was helping in the kitchen.
“A little wine for thy stomachs sake.”
Mui made an awesome Thai Squash Soup.
Eric made this great fresh Salmon Dip.
Chris made the Wilted Lettuce Salad.
Dinner is plated.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie and Anna’s Cheese Cake with Strawberries.

And then we drove the 415 mile round trip sojourn to Sun Valley via Blue Lakes in Twin Falls, ID.

Blue Lakes, Twin Falls, ID
Blue Lakes
David at Bridal Veil Falls, Blue Lakes Canyon. The green in the water is watercress.
Sun Valley Inn Thanksgiving Buffet.
Salad Bar
Steamship Roast.
Ham
Turkey
Plenty of desserts were offered.

But no week is complete with some breakfast. How about –

Turkey Omelet with Cranberry and Crema. Acme Bakeshop Toasted Sourdough with Huckleberry Cranberry Jam.
And after returning from Sun Valley and Blue Lakes – where we (David) picked fresh watercress – I made Robin this Toasted English Muffin with Cream Cheese, Fresh Watercress and Lox.

Ah! Retirement is so great with family and friends. Cheers!

Robin’s Birthday Lunch at Bacquet’s Restaurant in Eagle, ID


Bacquet’s Restaurant, Address: 1117 E Winding Creek Dr #150, Eagle, ID 83616, Hours: 11:30am – 10PM. Phone: (208) 577-6238. Easily a 5-Star French (the best in the area and the only one) restaurant and well worth the trip. Suggest you call for reservations, though. Here is some of what we had. Enjoy. We did.

Menu

House Salad
organic greens, tomatoes, shallots, parmesan cheese house balsamic dressing

Delicious!

French Onion Soup

Traditional Flatbread
bacon, shallots, Swiss cheese, cream on a cracker-like crust

Salmon with Pasta and Capers

Salmon Champenoise
fresh salmon filet baked in white wine, cream, pesto and crusted with Parmesan cheese and served over vegetable basmati rice

Birthday Lemon Cheesecake

Chocolate Mousse

An awesome, 5-Star late lunch. Thanks Chef for a great Birthday meal. Thanks Marnie for treating us.

Bacquet’s Restaurant in Eagle, ID. 5-Stars!


OK. This is an awesome French restaurant in Eagle, ID, just west of Boise. I know of no other French restaurant in the area of this caliber. Definitely a 5-Star restaurant! It really replaces Le Café de Paris and Andrea’s. Both of which have closed. Great interior ambiance – like sitting in a French café. The patio offers seating also, but on our visit, it was very hot. You may also have live music on the patio. It would be best to call for reservations if you decide to go. Both Chef Franck and his wife Michelle are very warm, charming and interesting. Anxious to answer question you may have. Here is some of the dishes we had and they were awesome. Delicious! Beautifully presented. Enjoy. We did. We’ll be back! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Robin is happy with the food.
House Salad and Dressing.

Escargot in Garlic Butter

Coquilles St Jacques in Saffron
Super with 2016 Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Beef Tenderloin with Fois Gras and Baby Vegetables
Super with Les Jamelle Merlot

Opera Cake with Almond and Chantilly Cream

Chocolate Mousse with Chantilly Cream

We were treated to this awesome port. Thank you Chef Franck and Michelle!
Glass of port
Robin and Chef Franck Bacquet
Bob and Michelle Bacquet discuss photos and port.
Specials board
Anyone in Boise remember this French restaurant? Right now, Bacquet’s Restaurant is the only one that I know of.

Superb 36th Anniversary Party at Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro


It is not often that I rave about an eating place, but the Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro is one of our favorites and definitely a 5-Star eatery. Staff is awesome and Chef Storm and Stephanie Hodge, the owners, winemakers, artist and “chief cook and bottle washers”, sorta, are so humble, courteous and kind. Kudos to you both and to your superb staff! And Thank-You for such a great venue for our 36th wedding anniversary. The food was superb and the patio seating was great. Note: The winery and bistro are a great place to go Wednesday through Sunday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you had best call for reservations. Contact information is at the link above. Left Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Chef storm and Stephanie Hodge
The meal that they prepared for us was great. Here is some of what we had.

Cheese Board
Beecher’s Aged White Cheddar, Chefs Choice Assorted Cheeses, Blue Cheese Fondue, Sliced Salami, Grapes, Crackers and Sliced Baguette

Puff Pastry filled with Lobster
in a
Cream Cognac Reduction Sauce

This is not on the regular menu, but rather was specially made for us by Chef Storm. It would be great to have this on the appetizer menu!! Thank-You Chef Storm for this surprise. Delicious!

Rutherford Burger
All-Beef Patty with Smokey Mayo, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Rocket Greens, Cabernet Grilled Onions & Sliced Smoked Blue Cheese

Pear Salad
with
Grilled Chicken
Mixed Greens with Apple Cider Viniagrette, Blue Cheese Crumbles and Poached Pears

Char-Broiled Filet Mignon
with
Cabernet Beef Demi-Glacé, Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Broccolini

Char-Broiled Ribeye
with
Cabernet Beef Demi-Glacé, Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Broccolini

And then the desserts. Yes. That is plural! We passed them around so everyone got some.

Meyer Lemon Custard
with a
Blueberry Compote, Lemon Whipped Cream and Lemon Wafers

Tiramisu Bread Pudding
Croissant Bread Pudding with a Mascarpone whip Over a Kahlúa Chocolate Sauce

Wine Lover’s Chocolate Cake
A Red Wine Infused Dark Chocolate Sponge Cake Filled With a Joshua Storm Butter Cream and Finished With a Chocolate Ganache

And finally, thanks to all these delightful folks who joined us.

Chris and Anna
Myra
Marnie and Eric
A view of the patio

Farm to Table Feast


And it was a good feast! Held at Peaceful Belly Farm and the new event room and building – Grand Opening November 16–18, noon until 6 pm.
The Farm to Table Dinner Series, “Josie of Peaceful Belly, Scott from Snake River Winery, Clay from Stack Rock Cidery, Nate Whitley chef at the Modern Hotel and Chef Abby Carlson have teamed up to create an amazing 5-course meal held on our magical Sunny Slope farm. The plates are creative, unique, and 100% local and seasonal. These dinners will transport you to another time and place where fresh food is cooked with amazing brilliance and presented to the table in a picturesque farm setting.” Here are some photos from the evening. Enjoy and Left-Click to see any of these photos enlarged. All in all – A good dinner.

Sunset at the farm.
The menu for the dinner.
New event room and tasting room.
Appetizer –

Fingerling Potato, Lentils and Onion

Smoked Trout
Warm Fingerling Potatoes
Buttermilk
Shallots
Arugula
2012 Arena Valley Riesling

Beef Tongue Carpaccio
Black Garlic Aioli
Roasted Chilis
Sunny Slope Cide
r

Roasted Winter Squash
Leeks
Kale
Brown Butter Tamari Vinaigrette
2014 Blauer Zweigelt

Reflections at the Intermezzo

Intermezzo
Pumpkin Pie Sorbet

Roasted Pork Loin
Onion Puree
Lentils
Tomato
Swiss Chard
2009 Reserve Bordeaux Blend

Tri of Ice Cream Sandwiches
2014 Orange Muscat

Great Dinner at Richard’s in Boise


Yes it indeed was and this is why Richard’s, located at the INN at 500 Capitol, 500 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho (208) 472-1463, is a 5-Star restaurant in Boise. One of the top restaurants. (Richard’s Boise) And when you make your reservations, ask to be seated where David will be your Server. Superb!
Here is what we had for dinner on the special. Robin had one and I had the other. And then we sampled. It was fun and exciting! It is good to note that Chef Richard Langston, Chef-Owner of Richard’s, tries very hard to source his food products from Idaho or from within 200 miles of Boise.
“…Chef Langston and his team share a culinary philosophy that celebrates the integrity of seasonal ingredients, locally sourced when possible. Dining at Richard’s is further enhanced by impeccably mixed drinks, a noteworthy wine list of old favorites and new finds, and sophisticated service in a stylish setting.”
Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

The Menu
Robin and our Server, David.

Crostini with Butternut Squash Puree
fried sage and pecans


 

Tomato Basil Soup


 

Roasted Beet Salad
citrus, arugula, herbs, dressed with labneh horseradish sauce

 

Risotto with Smoked Chicken, Apples and Hazelnuts


 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
hazelnut brown butter, Grana Padano and currents


 

Idaho Trout
pan-roasted, brown butter caper lemon sauce, seasonal vegetable


 

Grilled Sirloin Coulette Steak
sliced on a grape and spinach salad, fingerling potatoes, sweet onion soubise

Wines with dessert: Sticky and Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand and a rare Madeira.

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta
cranberry compote, local honey drizzle


 

Apple Crostata
cinnamon crème anglaise


 

 

What is this thing called ….. Borscht?


I’m not sure that Cole Porter or Ella Fitzgerald would approve of the title, but I think it is appropriate. Keep reading.

“Borscht (English: /ˈbɔːrʃ, ˈbɔːrʃt/ ) is a sour soup commonly consumed in Eastern Europe. The variety most often associated with the name in English is of Ukrainian origin, and includes beetroots as one of the main ingredients, which gives the dish its distinctive red color. It shares the name, however, with a wide selection of sour-tasting soups without beetroots, such as sorrel-based green borscht, rye-based white borscht and cabbage borscht … Borscht derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled stems, leaves and umbels of common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), a herbaceous plant growing in damp meadows, which lent the dish its Slavic name. With time, it evolved into a diverse array of tart soups, among which the beet-based red borscht has become the most popular. It is typically made by combining meat or bone stock with sautéed vegetables, which – as well as beetroots – usually include cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, borscht may include meat or fish, or be purely vegetarian; it may be served either hot or cold; and it may range from a hearty one-pot meal to a clear broth or a smooth drink.” [Wikipedia] And “those other sour soups” that are cousins to borscht may come from day Lithuania and Belarus, the Ashkenaz Jews, Romanian and Moldovan cuisines, Poland, Armenia and even Chinese cuisine, a soup known as luó sòng tāng, or “Russian soup”, is based on red cabbage and tomatoes, and lacks beetroots altogether; also known as “Chinese borscht”. Wow! There are many varieties of borscht.

But there is only one original or authentic borscht. Borscht derives from a soup originally made by the Slavs from common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium, also known as cow parsnip), which lent the dish its Slavic name. Growing commonly in damp meadows throughout the north temperate zone, hogweed was used not only as fodder (as its English names suggest), but also for human consumption – from Eastern Europe to Siberia, to northwestern North America.
And what is generally served with borscht? “Pirozhki, or baked dumplings with fillings as for uszka, are another common side for both thick and clear variants of borscht. Polish clear borscht may be also served with a croquette or paszteciki. A typical Polish croquette (krokiet) is made by wrapping a crêpe (thin pancake) around a filling and coating it in breadcrumbs before refrying; paszteciki (literally, ‘little pâtés’) are variously shaped filled hand-held pastries of yeast-raised or flaky dough. An even more exquisite way to serve borscht is with a coulibiac, or a large loaf-shaped pie. Possible fillings for croquettes, paszteciki and coulibiacs include mushrooms, sauerkraut and minced meat.” [The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food, Anastas Mikoyan]

So. What is borscht usually made of? What are the components? Ingredients? Borscht is seldom eaten by itself. Buckwheat groats or boiled potatoes, often topped with pork cracklings, are other simple possibilities, but a range of more involved sides exists as well.
In Ukraine, borscht is often accompanied with pampushky, or savory, puffy yeast-raised rolls glazed with oil and crushed garlic. In Russian cuisine, borscht may be served with any of assorted side dishes based on tvorog, or the East European variant of farmer cheese, such as vatrushki, syrniki or krupeniki. Vatrushki are baked round cheese-filled tarts; syrniki are small pancakes wherein the cheese is mixed into the batter; and a krupenikis a casserole of buckwheat groats baked with cheese.

But please note, your borscht may be different from your neighbors. There are cultural differences in the borscht. Ingredients may include,beet juice, beet root, veal, ham, crayfish, beef, pork, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, cucumbers, radishes, green onion, hard-boiled egg halves, dill weed, leafy vegetables, sorrel, spinach, chard, nettle, dandelion, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, squash, to name a few.

Our Borscht
So whatever inspired me to write this post? Well, we made a borscht and I posted a photo of it (the one pictured here actually) and I got comments. One of them in particular, from a Ukrainian lady, and she said,”That’s not real Russian Borsch (smiley face). It’s beet soup (smiley face). My mom makes the best, she is a Gourmet Chef for over 50yrs, and specializes in Jewish Cuisine.” [Mara Rizzio] I spoke to Mara – she makes awesome pirogies – and it was a good discussion. Thank-You Mara for “setting” me straight. Thus, this blog post. Cheers. And here is a recipe for Borscht that I found in the internet, from NPR, that includes various ingredients. Have fun! Borscht Recipe.