Some Thanksgiving Suggestions

It seems as though everytime a holiday comes around, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter for instance, that those traditional family gatherings arrive with questions. Especially, questions from the kitchen. What shall I make for a special breakfast? Or, is there a different way to make mashed potatoes? Or, how do I brine a turkey?
All are good questions and I suppose there are many, many answers. After searching the web and aking questions from some Chef friends and venders at the Saturday Market, here are three suggestions. I’m going to try each one of these and I really believe that they will turn out really good. So here are the three recipes for “How To Brine A Turkey“, “Mashed Potatoes in a Slow Cooker” and “Salsa Ranchera” for Huevos Rancheros. Enjoy and if you use any of these, tell us how it came out. Cheers and Happy Holidays! Left-Click these photos to see them enlarged.

How To Brine a Turkey
Makes 1 turkey

1 turkey
4 quarts water
1 cup coarse kosher salt, or 3/4 cup table salt
Aromatics: bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, juniper berries, allspice berries, orange peels, lemon peels, etc.

1 large pot or bucket with a lid
Measuring cups and spoons
Paper towels

1) Find a pot and make fridge space: Find a pot or food-safe bucket large enough that you will be able to entirely submerge your turkey. Next, clear some fridge space and make sure your pot will fit.
2) Place the turkey in the pot: Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets, then transfer it to your pot. Add any aromatics you’d like to use.

Mix the brine solution: Heat 1 quart of water in the microwave until warmed — it doesn’t need to come to a boil, just be warm enough to dissolve the salt. Add the salt and stir until the salt has dissolved. Let the liquid cool slightly; it’s fine if it’s still a touch warm.
Pour the brine solution over the turkey. Pour the remaining 3 quarts of water over the turkey: This dilutes the salt solution to the best ratio for brining and also helps further cool the solution.
2) Make sure the turkey is completely submerged: If necessary, prepare additional brine solution at a ratio of 1/4 cup per quart of water to completely submerge the turkey.
Cover and refrigerate: If the turkey floats, weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover the pot and place it in the refrigerator.
3) Brine for 12 to 24 hours.
4) Rinse the turkey in cool water and pat dry. Clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to avoid cross-contamination. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Dry for another 24 hours for crispier skin.
Optional: If you have time, let the turkey air-dry overnight in the fridge. Place it on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and cover loosely with plastic bags to avoid cross contamination. This drying step will give your turkey crispier skin.
5) Roast as usual, but check your turkey early: You can roast the turkey either immediately after brining or after air-drying. I’ve found that brined turkeys tend to cook a bit more quickly, so cook as usual, but start checking the turkey’s temperature an hour before the end of your estimated cooking time.

Mashed Potatoes in the Slow Cooker
Serves: 8 to 10
Source: adapted from The Kitchn

5 lbs Russet Potatoes
3 to 4 cloves Garlic, optional
1 t Celtic Sea Salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground Tellicherry Black Pepper, to taste
3 to 3½ c Whole Milk, or a mixture of milk and cream
½ c unsalted Butter

Peel and chop the potatoes: Lightly grease the slow cooker insert with butter or cooking spray. Peel the potatoes and chop into small pieces about 1 inch to a side. The smaller the potatoes, the faster they will cook, obviously. Transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker.
Add the seasonings: Smash the garlic cloves, if using, and drop on top of the potatoes. Stir in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.
Pour in 1½ cups milk: Pour in 1½ cups milk and stir the potatoes once.
Cook until tender: Cover the slow cooker and cook 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or until the potatoes are very tender and soft. Turn the heat to WARM.

Melt the butter: When the potatoes are done, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Warm the dairy: Stir 2 cups milk, or a mixture of milk and cream, into the melted butter and warm gently over low heat.

Mash the potatoes: If you used garlic but don’t want the potatoes super garlicky, remove the garlic cloves and discard. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard any browned bits on the sides of the pot. Use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes right in the pot.

Slowly stir in the dairy: When the potatoes are as smooth as you like, slowly stir in the warmed dairy and butter. The potatoes will look soupy at first but the potatoes will quickly soak up the liquid. Add an additional ½ cup of milk or cream if you want them to be even creamier.

Taste and season: Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired.

Keep warm: To keep the potatoes warm, leave in the covered slow cooker on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours.

Salsa Ranchera

Salsa Ranchera Recipe from Mexico
(Cómo preparar una Salsa Ranchera auténtica en tu casa)
[huevos rancheros—”rancher’s-style” eggs]

Source: adapted from mexgrocer
Preparation: 10 Cook Time: 1 Servings: 6

2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
½ white Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1 T Vegetable Oil
Serrano chile as desired
2 1/2 T Oregano
1 t Cumin
Juice of half a Lime
Celtic Sea Salt

Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds. Peel them, dice them and put them in what will be your salsa bowl. Chop up the onion, chili, and garlic and mix with the tomato. Add the oil and the lime juice and sprinkle with oregano.

Huevos Ranchera

Huevos Rancheros
An Easy Mexican Recipe

Source: adapted from

2 lg Eggs
2 Corn Tortillas
¼ Onion, chopped
BlackmRefried beans (homemade or store bought)
2 med Potatoes
Thick cut Ham, cut into cubes
Salsa Ranchero
Celtic Sea Salt, fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper to taste
Queso Fresco and Cilantro to garnish.

Sauté the potatoes, onion, and ham in a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Lightly fry the tortillas, and pat dry. Put on a plate. Warm up the refried beans, and spread onto the tortillas.
Fry an egg to your preferred level of doneness, and put on top of the tortilla and beans. Top with salsa ranchero, queso fresco, and fresh cilantro. Serve with the potato, onion, and ham mix.

Two Good Meals We Made – Idaho Trout and Eggs Benedict

Ah yes. These were fun meals. Idaho Trout Papillote with Candy Heirloom Carrots and Mashed Potatoes. Served with a delicious 2006 Alves de Sousa Douro Estação (Portugal). From Wikipedia, an En papillote is –

En papillote (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃ papijɔt]; French for “in parchment”), or al cartoccio in Italian, is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be used. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food. The pocket is created by overlapping circles of aluminum foil and parchment paper and then folding them tightly around the food to create a seal. A papillote should be opened at the table to allow people to smell the aroma when it opens.
The moisture may be from the food itself or from an added moisture source, such as water, wine, or stock. This method is most often used to cook fish or vegetables, but lamb and poultry can also be cooked en papillote. Choice of herbs, seasonings and spices depend on the particular recipe being prepared. The pouch should be sealed with careful folding.

We used Apple Brandy for moisture.

Idaho Trout en Papillote with Mashed Potatoes and Candy Carrots.

To serve the papillote, Melissa d’Arabian says,

To serve, cut open the packets and serve directly in the parchment on a plate or remove the fish to the plate using a spatula, being sure you don’t leave the juices behind.

A good recipe can be found here – by Melissa d’Arabian. If you want to add vegetables, you can use almost anything. zucchini, Bok choy, sliced carrots, sweet onion, green beans and mushrooms to name a few. You can also use chicken, beef, pork, salmon, red snapper or sea bass to name a few. Here are some recipes: Sesame Ginger Salmon, by Kelsey Nixon; Salmon and Vegetables, by Jessica Gavin; Chicken en Papillote; Chicken and Summer Vegetables; Pork en Papillote; Pork Papillote with Apples and Onions.
So there are a few recipes. Use your imagination. You can google “Type of en Papillote” and find many, many more. Be creative. Have fun. Serve with a good wine.

And for breakfast, Try a

Klondike Waffles Benedict with Turkey and Fresh Fruit.

and to start here are several different kinds of Eggs Benedict – 17 Twists on Eggs Benedict Recipes, Huffington Post; Here is an awesome twist 13 Eggs Benedict Recipes, Chowhound and Top Eggs Benedict Recipes, Fine Cooking.

To go with the benedict, you need Hollandaise Sauce or Béarnaise Sauce. Here is an easy Hollandaise Sauce from Allrecipes – Microwave Hollandaise Sauce. And here is an easy Foolproof Béarnaise Sauce Recipe.

OK. There you go. Head for the kitchen and have fun. And remember, a Béarnaise Sauce or a Hollandaise Sauce is great on asparagus. Just sayin’.

TVWS Goes to Argentina

Awesome wine buffet at TVWS. Awesome food and wine.

Treasure Valley Wine Society

And such a great trip! Almost 56 people joined us in the festivities. Carl Abrahamson was a great “tour guide” with a lot of great information.
The menu was superb, although I would have prefered some nutmeg in the creamed spinach. The beef was good s was the baked polenta. And that dessert — Superb! You’ll see it below in the photos.
Here is the menu, wine list and some graphics that shows the wine districts in Argentina. Enjoy and hope to see you at the HUGE Christmas bash in December. It is well attended so get your reservations as soon as they are available. Cheers! Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.
The menu!
The wine list.
Wine areas of Argentina
Some of the 56 people who were there.

Appetizer offering
Appetizer plated
Wonderful salad
Creamed Spinach
Baked Polenta
Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Cinnamon Crepes…

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Interesting Meals To Contemplate


So much fun in the past month or two. Fun in the kitchen. No particular recipe, just a game of “Chopped”. We have these items, now make something edible. Mostly I did.
Hopefully I found something from breakfast, lunch and dinner. To see any of these photos enlarged, Left-Click them. Lets start with Breakfast. I do hope this stimulates you to prepare something different. Good luck! Most of these ingredients, are available at the Boise Farmers Market at 10th and Grove.

Poached Eggs on a Potato Raft
Fresh Fruit
Acme Bakeshop Toasted Sourdough

Alia’s Manhattan Morning
Fresh Everything Bagel
Cream Cheese

Strawberry Waffle

Fried Egg
Pico de Gallo

Biscuits and Gravy
Poached Egg
Fresh Honeydew

How about some lunch?

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich on Ciabatta
Heirloom Tomato

Huevos con Salsa

Deconstructed BLT

And now, Dinner!

Salmon Yakitori
Jasmine Rice
Spinach Salad
Yellow Beets
Heirloom Tomato
White Carrot Threads

Note: Yakitori is mostly a form of skewered chicken. But if you take the sauce, called “… tare, a special sauce consisting of mirin, sake, Japanese soy sauce (Shoyu. Prefered dark but white is also fine), and sugar …” and add it to something like this salmon, you get something completely different and good. No need to skewer the salmon, just marinate it for about 30 minutes and then slowly cook it on top of the stove or bake it in the oven. I do like this sauce and usually have some on hand. Easy to make.

Fig Jam Marinated Shrimp
Celeriac Thread Salad

Celeriac, also called turnip-rooted celery, celery root or knob celery, is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots, hypocotyl, and shoots.

Lobster Ravioli
Fresh Green Salad
Heirloom Tomatoes and Rose Turnip Threads

Braised Sturgeon
mushroom sauce
Heirloom Carrot Thread Salad
Creamed Spinach

From Sushi Joy in Boise
Playboy Sushi Roll
House Salad

Captains’s Shack Housemade Pasta with Prosciutto
Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian (or simply crudo) and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

Robin’s Birthday Dinner at Alavita in Boise

Yum Birthday dinner for Robin. Take a look.

Our Retirement In Idaho

The rule is: If it’s your Birthday, you pick where you want to eat and you can have anything on the menu. There are several photos I have of Robin, and this is one of my favorites. She is beautiful! and the Love of My Life. Happy Birthday!
She chose Alavita in Boise and it was good. One of the last times we will be able to sit on the patio – the weather is changing. Here is what we had for dinner. And thanks Marnie and Eric for joining us. And Chris and Anna were there in spirit. Left Click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers!

Robin. And the shirt says

I’m a September woman. I was Born with My
Heart On My Sleeve
A fire In My Soul
and A Mouth I Can’t Control

Marnie and Eric

Chef’s House Salumeria Board
Variety of house cured…

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Boise Farmers Market – Dee’s Rum Kãx


And such a great morning it was. 50 degrees F and light winds. Snow in the mountains; None in the valley!

Six weeks and the market moves indoors to the Fulton Street building. But for now – Rum Cake from Dee’s Rum Kãx! And delicious it is! And some really great fruit – Israeli Melon from Rice Family Farms and some fresh Salad Greens from Ohana No-Till Farm. From Chef Jake Sandberg and Crispeats, an awesome Asian Salad. Here is some information about Dee’s Rum Kãx.

Business card. I did not find an email or web address.

Rice Krispie Bars and Rum Cake

The Rum Cake I bought. Delicious and moist!

Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Paddles Up Boise

We had a good lunch today. Different, but good. Look at Paddles Up Poke for a very sufficient Hawaiian bowl. They’re open HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday: Closed LOCATIONS: WE DELIVER IN DT BOISE! and they are located at Downtown Boise: 237 N. 9th St. Boise, ID 83702

Paddles Up Poké is Idaho’s first and only specialty poké restaurant, located in the heart of Downtown Boise. Paddles Up provides Idahoans with a quick meal to support their active lifestyles. Whether you’re in need of some fuel between meetings, or just grabbing a bite to eat before you hit the river, Paddles Up has got you covered!

Robin had a Paddles Up Bowl – Tuna, Avocado, Onion, Cucumber, Green Onion, Ginger, Sesame Seeds which, she said was pretty good. I had a Lucky Peak Shellfish – Shrimp, Scallops, Crab, Sweet Onion, Cucumber, Sweet Korean, Carrots, Green Onion, Sesame Seeds, which was good, I will get a small bowl next time. I just wish the shrimp were something larger than the micro salad shrimp and bay scallops – the small ones. hey were 1 oz servings. I will rate this at a 31/2-Star restaurant. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Inside. Order at the counter. It moves pretty quickly.

Lucky Peak Shellfish Bowl

Here is a little more about them from their webpage.

Poké (pronounced POH-KAY) means “to section, slice, or to cut.” This Hawaiian classic is a very casual meal, that families in Hawaii have been packing on the go for years. Poké has now evolved into trendy rice bowls that are customized per order. This tasty lunch is simple: chunks of raw fish marinated in our special house Piranha Sauce, packed with all the tasty toppings that you can find on your classic sushi rolls, and served on top of a bed of brown rice, white rice, zoodles, or fresh mixed greens.

Paddles Up was founded in August, 2016 by Dan Landucci. When you heard the name you may have said, “Why Paddles Up?” Well, to answer your question, when you’re rafting, putting your paddles up signifies to get into attack mode when approaching rapids. The term stuck and putting your paddles up has become a life motto for the Landucci family. In August, Dan decided to put his paddles up and attack his life long dream of owning a restaurant. Dan partnered up with his long time friend, Jordan Tapangco, and together they have built a spot where Idahoans can go to refuel for their next adventure in life.

Two New Sources in Sidebar

I have placed two new sources, both can be found at the Boise Farmers Market at 10th and Grove on Saturday mornings, of food and sauces in the sidebar under “Buy Local” and will remain there permanently. Both places offer really good products. Give them a try.

Chef Jake Sandberg, Crispeats

MFT Sauces, Scott Tharpe
Here is a link to their website: MFT Sauces (You can order online)

Some Good Summertime Meals at The Captain’s Shack

Ah yes! Life in the kitchen in one of the hottest July’s on record at The Captain’s Shack (The Shack). But so much fun to make and serve. Some of these dishes are “eye candy”, too. Some have recipes; Some don’t. (If you want a recipe, just let me know. I’ll see what I can do.) As with most photos on this blog, Left Click them and see them enlarged. Enjoy these photos and if you make any of the recipes, let us know how you liked them. Thanks and Cheers!

Mango Salsa

Fruity and sweet with a moderately spicy component. Great with seafood.

Huevos con Mango Salsa and Avocado

Poached Idaho Trout Nage
Here is the recipe: Idaho Trout Nage

Eggs Florentine
Tomato and Bacon Sourdough Toast

Zucchini Galette

Crab Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
Recipe: Crab Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Chicken Yakitori with Jasmine Rice
Recipe: Chicken Yakitori

We modified the Yakitori sauce somewhat and have our own Teriyaki sauce that we use. Here are the recipes: Sauce Recipes.

And if you are interested, here are some of the main sauces we use. Enjoy.

Peas and Beet Greens
Jasmine Rice

Salmon Yakitori
Lemon Rice
Green Salad
Shaved Baby Golden Beets
White Carrot Threads
Heirloom Tomato
Martin’s Swiss Dressing

Biscuits and Herbal Sausage Gravy

Curry Chicken Salad
Avocado Slices
Heirloom Tomato Slices
Acme Toasted Sourdough

Peach Jam on Cinnamon Pinwheels

Peach Jam on Cinnamon Pinwheels
Vanilla Ice Cream and Peach Jam Drizzle

Awesome 34th Anniversary





Oh my! Such a great weekend. And such a great 34 years with the Apple of My Eye! Thank you Robin for those years. Here is a little bit of how we spent – ate – our way through the anniversary days.





On Friday, July 14th, we went to Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro. And once again, we were not disappointed! This is still a 5-Star bistro! This is their new sign along Hiway 95.

The Love of My Life and 34 wonderful years!

And for dinner, we both had a superb

Prime Rib
Garlic Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus
Storm’s Grilled Bread

And a full flight of wonderful wine. Robin and I both agree that Chef Storm’s Prime Rib is the best in the Boise area. Even better than Chandler’s in Boise. And that is not an easy task to accomplish.

And then, Saturday morning, after coming home from the Boise Farmers Market at 10th and Grove, we were watching Chef Rick Baylis on PBS and he made what looked like a fantastic Huevos con Salsa de Mango y Aquacate. I thought that I could duplicate that. I did. Here it is and all from scratch!

Shackmade Salsa de Mango

Huevos con Salsa de Mango
Aguacate y Carne de Res Rebanada

This is what I made for Robin. Had to use some of her left-over Prime Rib!

Huevos con Salsa de Mango y Aguacate

This is what I made for myself. Really yummy and very easy to do. One could very easily make this for a breakfast party.

So there you have it. Eating our way through our anniversary weekend. And it’s only Saturday!