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
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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

What’s In A Wine Glass?


Besides wine? Shape and form. An interesting article from SevenFifty Daily “In 1958 the Austrian glassmaker Claus Josef Riedel added a new wineglass to his catalog. With a large bowl and a gently flared lip, the Burgundy Grand Cru was specifically intended to hold Burgundy wines. At that time, a glass made for a particular wine was a first. According to Maximilian Riedel, a grandson of Claus and the current CEO of Riedel, until then nobody else had recognized that the “taste, bouquet, balance, and finish of a wine [could be] affected by the shape of a glass.” His grandfather, he says, “took notice [whenever] a slight change in his glassware made a change in what he was drinking.”

The Burgundy Grand Cru was followed by a line of 10 more wine-specific shapes: Alsace, Bordeaux Grand Cru, Chardonnay, Hermitage, Loire, Montrachet, Riesling Grand Cru, Rosé, Sauternes, and Zinfandel. Today, Riedel makes dozens of specialized glasses; the company’s 2018 catalog specifies which of dozens of shapes are appropriate for some 200 different wines, which include familiar grapes like Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc (in oaked and unoaked expressions); less familiar grapes, such as Bacchus and Zierfandler; appellations, like Hermitage; and styles, like rosé.

The idea that particular shapes are appropriate for particular wines has become so accepted that other makers of high-end glassware, such as Zalto and Gabriel-Glas, now differentiate themselves by explicitly offering “universal” glasses—wineglasses that are suited for drinking any kind of wine.”

There’s a lot more information from Examining the Science of Wineglass Shapes. This is really an interesting article that Robin found. Enjoy!

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.

Berbere Spice Blend and Doro Wot – Chicken


Now is the time to add some spice to your life. At least the spices of North Africa – Ethiopia to be exact.

From Demand Africa, “In Amharic, the state language of Ethiopia, ‘barbare’ means pepper or hot. Not surprisingly, berbere spice, the flavor backbone of Ethiopian cooking, gives traditional Ethiopian dishes that fiery kick. Berbere’s constituent spice is paprika (itself a ground spice made from Capsicum peppers), but the final blend could be made from up to 20 spices.
Ethiopian cooks of old were not short of kitchen experiments, and over time have added garlic, ginger, fenugreek seeds, African basil, black and white cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander seed, thyme, rosemary, turmeric and ajwain (carom seeds commonly used in Indian cooking) to the mix. This allows berbere to impart a richer, aromatic and more layered flavor to any dish it’s added to, whether Ethiopian or not…Amharic language scholars speculate that the name ‘barbare’ came from ‘papare,’ the Ge’ez word for pepper (Ge’ez was the language of ancient Ethiopia). While that is likely lost in the mists of time, the more probable theory is that berbere came at a point in Ethiopia’s history when the independent Axumite kingdom controlled the Red Sea route to the Silk Road. The Axumites knew the secrets of the monsoon winds, and harnessed it to send their ships toward India in summer, and back again to Africa in winter…Berbere is the cornerstone spice blend of Ethiopia; without it, ‘doro wot’ or chicken stew (Ethiopia’s national dish) would not have that distinctive brick-red appearance and rustic, savory intensity.
Doro wot is cooked during traditional festivities and is typically served with injera, fermented sourdough flatbread with a slightly spongy texture that serves as the plate and scooping utensil for the stew. Doro wot is ladled generously on top of it and served alongside vegetables and other dips. (To eat injera, Ethiopians pinch off a piece of it and use the same to scoop out a small portion of the stew.)”

You can buy the spice blend in your grocery store – our Albertsons carries it – but it is more fun to make your own. All of these spices should be locally available.
Berbere Spice Mix
Prep Time: 5 min Total Time: 5 min
Ingredients:
1/2 c Chili Powder
1/4 c Paprika
1/2 t ground Ginger
1/2 t ground Cardamon
1/2 t ground Turmeric
1/2 t ground Coriander
1/2 t ground Fenugreek
1/4 t ground Cinnamon
1/4 t grated fresh Nutmeg
1/4 t ground Allspice
11/8 t ground Cloves
1/8 t fresh ground Black Pepper
Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight jar.

Ethiopian cuisine (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ምግብ) characteristically consists of vegetable and often very spicy meat dishes. This is usually in the form of wot, a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 20 inches in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour.

A recipe from African Bites for
Doro Wat
Ethiopian Chicken Stew -slowly simmered in a blend of robust spices. Easy thick, comforting, delicious, and so easy to make!
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 1 hr Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins Servings: 6
Calories: 470 Author: Immaculate Bites
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Spiced butter Sub with Cooking oil or more
2-3 medium onions sliced
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons Berbere Spice (See above)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
½ Tablespoon minced ginger
3- 3½- pound whole chicken cut in pieces or chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
½ Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon dried basil optional
4-6 Large soft-boiled egg shelled removed
1-2 Lemons Freshly Squeezed (adjust to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Season chicken with, salt, pepper and set aside
In a large pot, over medium heat, heat until hot, and then add spiced butter and onions, sauté onions, stirring frequently, until they are deep brown about 7 -10 minutes. After the onions are caramelized or reached a deep brown color, add some more oil, followed by berbere spice, garlic, and ginger.
Stir for about 2-3 minutes, for the flavors to blossom and the mixture has a deep rich brown color. Be careful not to let it burn.
Then add about 2-3 cups water .Add chicken, tomato paste, paprika, basil, salt and cook for about 30 minutes.
Throw in the eggs and lemon juice; thoroughly mix to ensure that the eggs are immersed in the sauce.
Continue cooking until chicken is tender about 10 minutes or more Adjust sauce thickness and seasoning with water or broth, lemon,salt according to preference.
Serve warm

Biscuits and Gravy Anyone?


And here are some recipes! From Jim Long’s Columns at Blogspot.
“The “real” gravy most of us in the Ozarks know and love is just plain sausage gravy. It’s simple, cheap and easy to make, yet this satisfying concoction has become almost impossible to find in restaurants. What you’ll find instead, is factory-made gravy out of a can. Wholesale restaurant suppliers deliver cases of gallon-sized cans of fake sausage gravy and all the “chef” has to do is to open the can, pour it into a pot and heat it…There are regional variations of the classic sausage gravy, with some folks adding onions, others adding a dash of cayenne pepper, others swearing fresh-cracked black pepper, or crushed red pepper is the only way to fix the gravy, but over all, the recipe for the real thing remains the same as it has for centuries.” [Jim Long’s Columns]

Sausage Gravy
Ingredients:

1 lbs Country Sausage (mild or hot)
3 T Flour
1/2 t fresh Nutmeg
Salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups Whole Milk
Directions:
Crumble the raw sausage in a hot cast iron frying pan. Fry the sausage until there is no pink left. Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring quickly until a paste forms. Then add milk, 1 cup at a time and the nutmeg. Stir briskly and cook the mixture until it thickens. Then pour it over fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, split in half, buttered or not.

A little biscuit history from Quora, “The American South has deep Scottish roots, and American biscuits are made in a very similar way to Scottish shortbread, so most likely the origin of biscuits is in Scottish shortbread. They brought the recipe over, and as dishes do, it evolved. A little more liquid turned the originally hard biscuit into a soft one…The ingredients of biscuits and gravy are all cheap and readily available. Pigs have been in America longer than the Puritans – originally brought to Jamestown in 1608. Other than that it’s pretty much just flour, milk and some salt and pepper. People brought their cooking methods over from Scotland and Northern England (hence the popularity of fried foods in the South), usually emphasizing the simpler dishes, cooking styles and ingredients. Over the decades of people making, perfecting and experimenting with the recipe, those original recipes and cooking methods evolved into the biscuits and gravy we know today. There’s some evidence people have been eating biscuits and gravy since before the Revolutionary War.”

Buttermilk Biscuits
Drop biscuits or rolled, your choice! And the biscuits? You can buy those canned, frozen, instant or bakery-made but the old-fashioned biscuit is as follows:
Ingredients:
2 c Flour
4 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Salt
2 T Butter
2 T lard or Crisco
1 c Buttermilk, chilled
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. With your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. Pour in the chilled buttermilk and stir to mix. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust with flour and fold dough over on itself 4 or 5 times. Roll out with a rolling-pin or quart fruit jar until the dough is about an inch thick. Cut out biscuits with 2-inch cutter and place biscuits on a baking sheet so the biscuits are just touching. Bake until golden and fluffy, about 15-20 minutes.

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy with Hollandaise Sauce
Make the gravy while the biscuits are baking. This isn’t health food, but it certainly is a satisfying breakfast! Add some eggs and bacon and a few cups of coffee and you are tasting a real Ozarks tradition.

Just don’t confuse Sawmill Gravy with Sausage Gravy. They are not the same.
“During the early years of America, many logging camps sprung up in the mountains where virgin timber was found. In these lumber camps, cooks would prepare breakfast for a hundred or more lumberjacks. One of the common foods was gravy made from coarsely ground cornmeal. When made from whole grain cornmeal, this gravy was very nutritious and would give the lumberjacks strength to do their jobs.
This gravy’s name comes from the fact that these men worked at a saw mill, and sometimes when the gravy would be coarse and thick, the lumberjacks would accuse the cooks of substituting sawdust for cornmeal.

Cornmeal Gravy, aka Sawmill Gravy
Sawmill Gravy
Ingredients:

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
dash of pepper
Directions:
Place bacon drippings in a pan. Add cornmeal and salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring until brown. Add milk and let boil until it thickens, stirring vigorously to keep it from lumping. Season with pepper to taste.” From: “Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook”, Recipe from Janice Miracle, Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Two Superb Wine Dinners for Father’s Day


The first one was on June 4th and we pared wines from 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, 5900 Pearl Rd, Eagle, ID 83616. The second wine dinner was paring Koenig Vineyards, 21452 Hoskins Rd, Caldwell, ID 83607. Both wine dinners were at Chandlers Prime Steaks and Fine Seafood, 981 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702. We had superb wines and food. If you are in Boise and want a fantastic meal – steaks and seafood being their primary dishes – be sure to go to Chandlers. Check all of the posted links for more information and their hours of operation. Enjoy these photos of the dinners. Let’s start with 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards. You can follow along for the ingredients with the posted menu. Double click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers!

Some of the crowd for appetizers.
Eagle Hills AVA Association President.
Robin relaxes before dinner!
The Menu and Wine List for the evening.
Appetizers
Frutti di Mare
Duck Two Ways
Intermezzo Sorbet
American Wagyu Flat Iron Steak
Fromage Blanc Cheesecake

And then on June 11th, we had a wine dinner featuring Koenig Vineyards wines. Here are some photos to enjoy!

Table setting and mood setter
The menu and wine list.
Appetizers
Opening dinner wine.
Moules Frites. The wine above went with this dish.

Baby Lamb Chops. The wine above was served with these delicious lamb chops.
Intermezzo Sorbet

Braised Short Ribs. The Private Reserve was an awesome paring.

Assorted House Made Truffles. The Ice Wine was a superb match!