Cottonwood Grille Revisited

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04Mar2015_1_Ciottonwood-Grille_Table-Centerpiece_GoodIt was a good meal. And to get the negative out of the way, I thought the peas we had were a little salty for us – we eat very little salt – so the saltiness may not be entirely true for everyone. We would have liked a little more garlic in the potatoes. So will this keep us from going back? Probably not. The Kobe beef that Robin had was so very tender and delicious. My London Broil was good and the Béarnaise sauce on it was wonderful! Robin had an awesome Chocolate Mousse served in a White Chocolate Cup and I had a delicious Crème Brûlée. Here. Look at these photos and enjoy! If you want a more detailed review of the Cottonwood Grille, look at Our Restaurant Guide.

Jumbo Shrimp Coctail

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Wonderfully fresh seafood!

Oysters On The Half Shell

Oysters On The Half Shell

How fresh were these? You could taste the ocean and smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing on shore. That’s how fresh they were!

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Love how this is presented.

Fresh Green House Salad

Fresh Green House Salad

Kobe Beef with garlic mashed potatoes steamed peas

Kobe Beef
with
garlic mashed potatoes and steamed peas

London Broil with Bear garlic mashed potatoes and steamed peas

London Broil and Béarnaise sauce
with
garlic mashed potatoes and steamed peas

Chocolate Mousse in a White Chocolate Cup

Chocolate Mousse in a White Chocolate Cup

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée

And with our dinner, we asked for a Fraser Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon but they were out of it. So we got a good 2011 Colter’s Creek Syrah, both are Idaho wines are very good and went quite well with our dinners.
04Mar2015_1_Ciottonwood-Grille_Robin-at-Arid-Club_GoodBut beforer we went for dinner here at the Cottonwood Grille, we went to the Arid Club, which is designed “To establish a club of business and professional men and women whose members are uniformly congenial with one another as nearly as may be, to provide them with an attractive and convenient meeting place, and to exclude there from bigots, propagandists, boosters, go-getters, uplifters, reformers, and snobs. [Arid Club Preamble]” for the release of the documentary film on the Idaho Wine Regions called “Idaho Wines: From Bud to Taste Bud”. It is on its way to be presented at the Sun Valley Film Festival.

04Mar2015_1_Ciottonwood-Grille_ID-Wine-Docu

Thai Massaman Curry Paste or Sauce

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Chicken MassamanOK. So what is Massaman, or Thai Massaman, Curry Sauce? Here is a good explanation and the anthropology of food definition from Wikipedia. (The photo here is a Chicken Curry with a Massaman Sauce.)

Massaman curry (Thai: แกงมัสมั่น, RTGS: kaeng matsaman, IPA: [kɛːŋ mát.sa.màn]) is a rich, relatively mild Thai curry that is an interpretation of a Persian dish. Matsaman nuea (beef massaman) with potato, and also showing star anise, cinnamon and clove.

Massaman or matsaman is not a native Thai word. It is generally thought to refer to the Muslims with earlier writers from the mid-19th century calling the dish “Mussulman curry”; Mussulman being an archaic form of the word Muslim.

According to Thai food expert David Thompson, as well as Thai journalist and scholar Santi Sawetwimon, the dish originated in 17th century Central Thailand at the cosmopolitan court of Ayutthaya, through the Persian merchant Sheik Ahmad Qomi from whom the Thai noble family of Bunnag descends. Other theories contend that massaman is a southern Thai dish, influenced by Malay and Indian cuisine, or that its name is derived from the Malay word masam, which means “sour”.

The curry is extolled in a poem from the end of the 18th century, attributed to Prince Itsarasunthon of Siam, the later King Rama II (1767-1824). It is dedicated to a lady who is believed to be Princess Bunrot, the later Queen Sri Suriyendra, wife of King Rama II. The second stanza of the poem reads:

มัสมั่นแกงแก้วตา หอมยี่หร่ารสร้อนแรง – Massaman, a curry made by my beloved, is fragrant of cumin and strong spices.
ชายใดได้กลืนแกง แรงอยากให้ใฝ่ฝันหา – Any man who has swallowed the curry is bound to long for her.
Due to its Muslim roots and therefore Islamic dietary laws, this curry is most commonly made with beef, but there are also variations on this dish using duck, chicken, mutton, goat, or, less commonly so, pork. As pork is haram meat – forbidden food in Islam – this last variant is of course not eaten by observant Thai Muslims. Vegetarians and vegans have created their own versions of this dish.

The flavors of the massaman curry paste (nam phrik kaeng matsaman) come from spices that are not frequently used in other Thai curries. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg and mace would, in the 17th century, have been brought to Thailand from the Malay Archipelago and South Asia by foreigners, a trade originally dominated by Muslim traders from the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and from the archipelago itself, but increasingly threatened by the Portuguese, the Dutch and French East India Company. These are combined with local produce such as dried chili peppers, cilantro (coriander) seeds, lemongrass, galangal, white pepper, shrimp paste, shallots and garlic to make the massaman curry paste. This paste is first fried with coconut cream, and only then are meat, potatoes, onions, fish sauce or salt, tamarind paste, sugar, coconut milk and peanuts added. Massaman is usually eaten with rice, in a meal together with other dishes. There are also traditional versions using oranges, orange juice, or pineapple juice as additional ingredients.

Furthermore, “Massaman Curry hails from the south of Thailand and is different from other Thai curries in that you can easily detect an Indian influence (notable in the addition of Indian spices such as cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg). At the same time, Massaman is also distinctly Thai, and has been a traditional part of the cuisine for hundreds of years. Use this warm and flavorful curry paste to create a wonderful chicken, beef, or lamb Massaman curry — or even a delightful vegetarian curry by adding wheat gluten or tofu plus lots of vegetables.” This explanation comes from a recipe for Thai Massaman Curry Paste. The recipe can be found at Thai Massaman Curry Paste Recipe on About(dot)com. Enjoy!

Thai Massaman Curry Paste Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Yield: Makes approx. 1 cup paste

To Store: Curry pastes can be stored in a jar or other covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter. When ready to use, add coconut milk to make a sauce, then add your other ingredients.

Ingredients:
¼ c dry Roasted Peanuts, unsalted
2 Shallots, sliced
5 cloves Garlic, peeled
1-2 Red Chilies, OR substitute ½ to 1 tsp. dried crushed Chili
1 thumb-size piece Galangal (or Ginger), thinly sliced
1 stalk Lemongrass, minced, OR 2-3 Tbsp. frozen or bottled prepared Lemongrass
1 tsp. ground Coriander
½ T ground Cumin
½ t whole Cumin Seeds
⅛ t Nutmeg, preferably ground from whole nutmeg
½ t Cinnamon
⅛ t ground Cloves
¼ t ground Cardamom
2 T Fish Sauce
1 t Shrimp paste
1 t Palm Sugar OR Brown Sugar
1-3 T Coconut Milk, depending on how thick or runny you prefer your paste (save remainder for cooking your curry)

Directions:
Place all paste ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process well. To make a sauce rather than a paste, add up to 1 can coconut milk.

To use immediately, place sauce in a casserole/baking dish together with 1-2 bay leaves, plus your choice of chicken, beef, lamb, tofu/wheat gluten, plus vegetables. Add 2-3 whole bay leaves if you have them (this is a common ingredient in Massaman curries). Stir well to combine, and simmer in a wok OR cover and bake in the oven at 350 ºF until finished. Garnish your Massaman curry with whole roasted peanuts and fresh coriander. Lime wedges can also be served if your curry is on the salty side.

Our Visit to “Twin Dragon Restaurant” in Boise

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19Feb2015_1_Twin-Dragon_Sign-jpgOur recent visit – we have been there before – was OK. Nothing more. Just OK. 3-Stars out of 5-Stars. Twin Dragon, Boise, 2200 W Fairview Ave, Boise, ID 83702, (208) 344-2141 for take-out or reservations. One reviewer has stated that, “Twin Dragon is a local staple in Boise for classic Americanized Chinese food.” and I completely agree. The food has been Americanized. Another reviewer, from TripAdvisor, says that, “Like the sort of place you see in movies & TV from the 1950’s Old world classic American Chinese Nothing special, yet still nothing wrong in Boise….” Yup! That pretty much says it. But there are reviews that rave about Twin Dragon. Try it yourself and make up your mind. Here are some photos from our visit. Enjoy!

They do serve beer if you want some.

They do serve beer if you want some.

Pot Stickers

Pot Stickers

Pork and Seeds

Pork and Seeds

Seafood Soup for 2 Disappointed in this. Hard to find the seafood. Taste was OK, but lacks some seafood.

Seafood Soup for 2

Disappointed in this. Hard to find the seafood. Taste was OK, but lacks some seafood. Robin and I got the Family Dinner #5. $11.00 per person. This photo, and the following ones, are what is included in this selection.

Fried Shrimp

Fried Shrimp

Pork Fried Rice I think this was warmed over from earlier in the day.  It had the consistency and flavor of "left overs".

Pork Fried Rice

I think this was warmed over from earlier in the day. It had the consistency and flavor of “left overs”.

Broccoli Chicken Not bad, but lacked some intense, Oriental flavor.

Broccoli Chicken

Not bad, but lacked some intense, Oriental flavor.

Lemon Chicken Probably the best dish of the evening.

Lemon Chicken

Probably the best dish of the evening.

We still believe that Sushi Joy and Yen Ching far out shine the Twin Dragon Restaurant. The Chinese Buffet on Fairview at Five Mile is better, too.

Valentines Dinner – Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms

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Oh, it was really soooooooo good! Robin and I really liked it. The recipe for the Chicken Marsala can be found in the recipe file above.

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms Housemade Angel Hair Pasta Steamed Green Beans 2008 Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms
on a bed of
housemade angel hair pasta

Steamed Green Beans

dinner was served with a
2008 Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina

Strawberry Boston Chocolate Cake

Strawberry Boston Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu

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What are you having or making for Valentine’s Day Dinner? It would be nice to share. Here is what we are having. Enjoy!

I am really looking forward to making this for Robin for Valentine's Day tomorrow evening. Here is the menu, and, I might add, all made from scratch. Chicken Marsala Pasta (I'm making it from semolina, though, and not white flour.) Steamed String Beans Wine of Choice

I am really looking forward to making this dinner for Robin for Valentine’s Day tomorrow evening. Here is the menu, and, I might add, all made from scratch.

Chicken Marsala
Homemade Angel Hair Pasta
(I’m making it from semolina, though, and not white flour.)
Steamed String Beans
Wine of Choice

Crock Pot Black Bean Chili

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Robin-Bob-In-Kitchen_Looking-RightYes. This is a vegetarian dish. Yes. It is really good! No. I did not miss the beef. The Quinoa gave the dish the “texture” of ground beef. The chunks of Butternut Squash gave the dish the “feel” of beef. You really should try this. It is that good. The recipe came from an Idaho Power mailing and every once in a while, they do come up with a good recipe. I just increased the corn to 1 cup and rinsed the cans out with a little red wine. That is the only change I made. The recipe is below. If you want to see these photos enlarged, Left-Click them. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Black Bean Chili Recipe courtesy Idaho Power

Crock Pot Black Bean Chili Recipe courtesy Idaho Power

The chili is in the crock pot getting "happy".

The chili is in the crock pot getting “happy”.

The chili is plated with tortillas and shredded lettuce.

The chili is plated with tortillas and shredded lettuce.

Salmon En Croûte

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Table ambiance.

Table ambiance.

We saw this reccipe on a competition on the Foodnetwork. Decided we needed to make it. Think of it like a Beef Wellington, only made with salmon. We adjusted the recipe for the two of us. That is, I used 2-4 ounce Copper River Salmon fillets instead of a 2 pound side of salmon. Here is the basic recipe. Adjust it as necessary. Salmon En Croûte. Here are some photos of the cooking and prep process. Take your time and all will come out just right. Have fun with the recipe. The recipe for the Hollandaise sauce is in the recipe file on this blog. Here it is, too: Hollandaise Sauce. Cheers!

In the culinary arts, the term en croute (pronounced “on KROOT”) indicates a food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and then baked in the oven. Salmon en Croûte is a popular recipe. Pâté and brie cheese are also frequently prepared en croute.
One of the classic en croute recipes is Beef Wellington, or in French, Boeuf en Croûte.
Traditionally, the type of pastry used for making Pâté en Croûte is a simple straight pastry dough called pâte à pâté, or pâté pastry. But today, puff pastry is frequently used for most en croute recipes.[http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/glossary/g/En-Croute.htm]

The salmon packet is ready to go into the oven at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes.

The salmon packet is ready to go into the oven at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes.

The packet is cooling after baking.

The packet is cooling after baking.

The plated Salmon En Croute. Yum!

The plated Salmon En Croûte. Yum!

A Visit To Da Vinci’s Italian in Eagle

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05Feb2015_1a_DaVincis-Eagle_SignOverall, a good visit and meal at da Vinci’s Italian in Eagle, ID last night. Overall good flavors in the food and good wines. My only negative comment is that there seemed to be an overuse of salt. Things were salty. But the layers of flavors – after you got by the salt – were very good. Had it not been for the overuse of salt, we would have rated da Vinci’s a 4-Star restaurant. Instead, we rate this as a 3-Star (out of 5-Stars) restaurant. You can see their menu at Yelp. From their website, “All Full Size Entrees Include Our Bottomless House Salad Bowl With Da Vinci’s Homemade Italian Dressing And Freshly Baked Tuscan Bread, Or Substitute A Caesar Salad For An Additional $2.95.all Chicken And Veal Dishes Are Complemented With A Side Of Angel Hair Pasta With Aglio Olio Or Tuscan Tomato Sauce. Add Extra Chicken $2.50 Add Extra Veal $4.50″ Here are some photos from the evening. Enjoy!

The "party" area.

The “party” area.

Art on the walls.

Art on the walls.

Table ambiance.

Table ambiance.

Robin had

Robin had,

Veal Piccata
Veal scaloppini sauteed with lemon, white wine, capers and garlic

Bob had -

Bob had -

Veal Marsala
Veal scaloppini sauteed with sweet marsala wine and mushrooms

The 2010 Terra Nativa Cabernet Sauvignon went very well with this veal. The wine was light enough that it did not overpower the subtlety of the veal and the marsala sauce did not interfere with the wine. Good paring.

We shared -

We shared –

Homemade Tiramisu
Coffee and rum-soaked chocolate sponge cake layered with mascarpone cream, dusted with cocoa, and garnished with chocolate pieces

Coquilles St Jacques

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29Dec2014_1a_Captains-Shack_Buddy_With-TeddyBear_GoodYes! Buddy wishes! (He licked the shell) An awesome dinner tonight and an easy recipe, but it takes a while to prepare. Coquilles St Jacques recipe. There is also a copy of this recipe in the recipe file above. It is simply a Date Night Dinner! Yup! It is that super. Serve it with a 2003 Marquis de Goulaine Muscadet Sevre and Maine (a cook in this castle invented Beurre Blanc – this is under dispute. But then, the French are always disputing something.) – oldest commercial wine produced by the same French family since the year 1000 – and then finish dinner with a glass of San Sebastian (FL) Port. Here are some photos. Enjoy!

Coquilles St Jacques with Steamed Snap Peas

Coquilles St Jacques With Mushrooms
with
Orange Infused Steamed Snap Peas

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake for Two

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake for Two

Who could ask for anything more?

Super Bowl Vittles

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Robin-Bob-In-Kitchen_Looking-Right

Well it was a good game, even though the Seattle Seahawks lost. But then, that was a weird call in the last 20 seconds and on the 2 yard line that probably cost them the game. 24-27 was a good score. The way a Super Bowl should end up.
I think our appetizers were much better. And 99% of it from Idaho products by local farmers. If you want to see these photos enlarged, Left Click the photo and it will go larger. Here. Take a look. Enjoy!

Fried Meadowlark Farms Eggs, Shrimp with Housemade Tartar Sauce and Idaho Grits A very good breakfast!

Fried Meadowlark Farms Eggs
Steamed Shrimp with Housemade Tartar Sauce
Idaho Grits

A very good breakfast!

Steamed Shrimp with Tartar Sauce

Steamed Shrimp with Tartar Sauce

Fresh Humas

Fresh Hummus

What you don’t see are the Steak Tacos that we made. Again, from scratch. They were yum! Actually the food all night was yum!

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