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.

Cloud 9 Nano Brewery, Boise

Oh yes! Another delightful visit to the Cloud 9 Nano Brewery and Pub at 1750 W State St, Boise, ID 83702, Hours: Open 11am, Closes 9pm. Phone: (208) 336-0681. From their website Cloud 9 Nano Brewery and Pub, “Founded in 2012, Cloud 9 Brewery is a nanopub concept featuring locally sourced and organic components in both the brewery and restaurant.
With an emphasis on creative brewing, Cloud 9 is situated in a unique place in the market. Instead of having the exact same line-up from month to month, the beers on-tap at Cloud 9 change as soon as the last drop from the previous batch has been poured. With so many taps, and only 6 year-round beers, the variety is truly amazing.
Cloud 9 also features a unique feedback process by which we judge what beer-drinkers actually think. We collate and analyze the input and use that to shape the direction of the next batch. In this way the community is involved in the brewing process from concept to the final foamy pint.
A commitment to quality, service and genuine interest in our community make Cloud 9 Brewery the place for beer aficionados, foodies, and everyone who enjoys fresh and unique culinary creations.” Their menu is local and diverse.” We use Natural Idaho meats from local ranches, free of antibiotics, hormones and stimulants. Our produce is locally sourced from small farms in Idaho, when possible, and we strive to use only spray free and/or organic ingredients.
For our current menu, Cloud 9 Current Menu. Updated August 8th, 2018.
The service is very good and very helpful. I asked for fries without salt, and our Waitress made sure they came that way. She was friendly and helpful and exacting. Cloud 9 is definitely a 5-Star pub/bistro. Here is what we had. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Today’s beer menu. I had a Fallen IPA and Robin had a Honey Basil Ale. Both were superb!
(L) Fallen IPA, (R) Honey Basil Ale (A Cloud 9 favorite!)

(Grass fed organic ground beef, lettuce, tomato and pickles,
choice of Ballard cheeses: Swiss, Pepper Jack, Cheddar or
Blue. Served on a BigWood bun with choice of side.

Menu Special
Cloud 9 Cheese Steak
(These are the French Fries I asked for No Salt.)

Cloud 9 Cheese Steak cut.

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

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
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:
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
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

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
dash of pepper
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.

Indian Food and Spices, Anyone?

When I was 15 – many, many years ago – I had the awesome experience of living in India for a year. We were 120 mo;es SW of New Delhi in the state of Rajasthan and the town of Pilani. It was absolutely a wonderful year for me. I met Jawaharlal Nehru – First Prime Minister of India, Rajendra Prasad – Former and First President of India, Lady Mountbatten, Haile Selassie – Former Emperor of Ethiopia and several other heads of state. The people and the food was superb. I will never forget, and have not forgotten, the people and the food. When I walk into an Indian restaurant here in Boise, or overall in the USA, I want to smell the fenugreek and the spices. Then I know it is authentic. If in Boise, go into the Bombay Grill at 10th and Main and inhale the spice odors. There you will be introduced to true and authentic Indian cuisine. Or into the Punjab Market in Yuba City, CA. If you want some really good Indian recipes that use these spice blends or you want to learn how to make Naan, look at Demuths Blog Indian Recipes.

Indian spices

Here are two very basic, but very good, Indian spice recipes from the Southern India area. (The blends will differ from area to area.) [Demuths Blog] Most, if not all of these spices, can be found in an Indian or Asian market.

Homemade Curry Powder
An essential ingredient for numerous Indian recipes.
1 T whole Coriander Seeds
1 T whole Cumin Seeds
1 t whole Black Peppercorns
1 t whole brown Mustard Seeds
2 t whole Fenugreek Seeds
3 hot dried Red Chillies, crumbled. Careful!
3/4 t ground Turmeric
Dry fry all the spices except the turmeric until fragrant, but don’t let them brown as it will ruin the flavor.
Add the turmeric and quickly stir. Decant onto a plate and leave to cool.
Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Garam Masala Powder (Bese Bele)
This is an aromatic sweet blend of spices favored by the Brahmins of Bangalore. Used in numerous Indian recipes, including our masala dosas and masala vada (split pea dumplings in masala gravy).
1 T Cardamom Seeds
1 t whole Cloves
1 t Black Peppercorns
1″ stick of Cinnamon
1/3 of a Nutmeg
a curl of mace
1 sm dried Chilli
6 Curry Leaves
1 T un-sweetened Coconut Flakes
Dry fry all the spices until fragrant, take off the heat and add the coconut flakes. Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible.
Store in an airtight container.

Marsala Spices

Masala Spice Mix – Northern Indian Curry powder
Ingredients – Whole Spices:
2 T Coriander Seeds
1 T Cumin Seeds
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
1 t Fennel Seeds
1 t Mustard Seeds
1 t Fenugreek Seeds
1 t Kalongi/Nigela (A common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, it is in the same family as caraway, dill or parsley. Cumin seeds are a good substitute because they have a peppery and nutty flavor that is similar to nigella seeds.)
10 Curry Leaves
1 Bay Leaf
Ingredients – Ground Spices:
1 t ground Turmeric
1 t ground Ginger
1 t Chilli Powder
pinch of salt
Dry fry the whole spices, until fragrant, cool and grind. Add the ground spices and mix in. This will store in airtight container for a month, or you can make a paste.
To make a paste mix the spice blend with a little vinegar and water until it resembles a paste. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Heat some oil in a pan and add the paste. Gently stir fry for about 5 minutes until the paste start to make a bubbling noise.
Remove from heat and leave to cool. The oil should rise to the surface.
Store in sterilized jars. The layer of oil on top adds to the storing process. Keep in the fridge.

Boise Foodie Meet-Up Group Visited “Fork”

06Jan2014_1_Foodie-MeetUp_Fork_SignOn Monday, January 6, the Boise Foodie Meet-up group mat at Fork, 199 N 8th St, Boise · (208) 287-1700, in Boise for a really good dinner. Robin and I were here several years ago, and were not particularly impressed. But now, some serious changes have been made and it is well worth the time to go. I would suggest reservations, as they are very busy. Even with the busyness of the restaurant, Chris, our Server, did a fantastic job. Thank-You Chris! The food was very good, with the exception of the Asparagus Fries. Some of the asparagus still had the woody ends which made them non-edible. For that reason, and that reason alone, I can only rate Fork a 4-Star, out of 5-Stars, restaurant. Robin and I bought and shared an Adelsheim Pinot Gris that went superbly with everything, even the spiciness of the shrimp and the asparagus. Enjoy these photos. Left-Click any of the photos to see enlarged. Please do visit them and let them know you saw them on this blog. And Kat, we are sorry to hear about your loss. Our condolences.

The bar area at Fork.
The bar area at Fork.
Asparagus Fries
Asparagus Fries. We passed this around for everyone to try. Went very well with the wine.
Mushroom Ragout Panfry. Delicious!
Mushroom Ragout Panfry. Delicious!
BBQ Cajun Shrimp
BBQ Cajun Shrimp. This was shared also.
Apple-Barrel Chicken. Very good!
Apple-Barrel Chicken. Very good! It is large enough that Robin and I shared it.
Urban Burger with Tomato Basil Soup.
Urban Burger with Tomato Basil Soup.
Prime Rib French Dip wtth Tomato Basil Soup
Prime Rib French Dip with Tomato Basil Soup
Chocolate Trio
Chocolate Trio
Warm Sugar Doughnuts. We shared this one, too.
Warm Sugar Doughnuts. We shared this one, too.
And as soon as the new Zion Bank Building, right next to Fork, this will be opening. Need a job? They are taking applications.
And as soon as the new Zion Bank Building, right next to Fork, is complete, this will be opening. Need a job? They are taking applications.

Boise Foodies at Fresh Off The Hook

05Jan2014_2_Foodie-MeetUp_Fresh-Off-Hook-Bodo_SignSaturday, January 4, was a busy, food and wine filled day. What else could one ask for? We started with the Boise Foodie Meet-Up group at Fresh Off The Hook in Bodo, Boise downtown. There is another location in West Boise, but this one was chose for the group. It is somewhat larger. But the food is the same – superb seafood!!! I do believe that they get their seafood fresh from Reel Foods in Boise.There was a good sized group that met. About 18. And we all enjoyed a meal together. Enjoy these photos of Fresh Off The Hook and if you visit them – and I hope you will – let them know you saw this blog post. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers! It was a really good experience and the food was terrific. As you will see, they have a large selection of different seafoods and chips.

Then, in the late afternoon, we went to Grow Local on State Street in Boise and looked through the 12 volumes of the books that Luther Burbank gave to Robin’s G-Grandfather Ira B. Perrine (Twin Falls, Idaho), Luther Burbank – His Methods and Discoveries and Their Practical Application. The books were published in 1914 and still have some great quality photographs in them that were hand placed. It was good to look at these writings. Thank-You Mary and Claire for allowing an event of this type in your shop. It is appreciated.

Wall decoration
Wall decoration
Seafood Sampler
Seafood Sampler
Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips
Shrimp and Chips
Clam Strips and Chips
Shrimp and Chips
Shrimp and Chips
Tacos A La Carte
Tacos A La Carte
Salmon Plate
Salmon Plate
Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fries
Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fries
Hot and Cold Seafood Salad
Hot and Cold Seafood Salad
Orange Sorbet
Orange Sorbet
Double Dutch Chocolate Cheesecake
Double Dutch Chocolate Cheesecake
Then we aere off to Grow Local in the River View Shopping Center on State Street in Boise.
Then we were off to Grow Local in the River View Shopping Center on State Street in Boise.
Robin and Mary go through the books by Luther Burbank. Yup! The Burbank Potato!
Robin and Mary go through the books by Luther Burbank. Yup! The Burbank Potato!
Claire and Robin
Claire and Mary
Robin, Mary and Patrick, who is the Orchardist/Vineyard Manager at the Williamson Fruit Ranch and Winery in the Snake River AVA.
Robin, Mary and Patrick, who is the Orchardist/Vineyard Manager at the Williamson Fruit Ranch and Winery at the Sunny Slope, Snake River AVA.
Parma Ridge wines. Drink these slow. The winery is no longer operating and is for sale.
Parma Ridge wines. Drink these slow. The winery is no longer operating and is for sale.
Look at the color differences.
Look at the color differences.