What is Tellicherry Pepper? Aleppo Pepper?


Basically it is Tellicherry (origin: India) Tellicherry peppercorns are like San Marzano tomatoes: they need to come from Tellicherry, a city on the Malabar coast of Kerala in India. They’re considered some of the finest peppercorns in the world, and one of the few “names” in pepper that people are familiar with.
Tellicherry Peppercorns and “regular black pepper” both come from the exact same vine. (And for that matter, so do green and white peppercorns, but that’s another subject for another blog post.) All are the species called Piper Nigrum.
At the end of the growing season, in February and March, the pepper fruit is picked from the vine. The pepper is dried over a series of days and eventually shrivels and turns into what we know as black peppercorns. All of the peppercorns are then shipped to “garbling” facilities. These are places that sort the peppercorns by size and then bag them. The sortation machines have several different large flat metal screens with thousands of identical holes in them. The machines shake the peppercorns so that the smaller peppercorns begin falling through the screens. The smallest peppercorns fall to the very bottom screen. Once sorted, the various peppercorn sizes are called different things and sold for different prices.
So a Tellicherry peppercorn is actually determined by size. When a black peppercorn is 4.25 mm pinhead or larger, it’s “Tellicherry.” That’s all there is to it. Because Tellicherry are so much bigger than the other peppercorns, they make up a much smaller percentage of the crop. Oftentimes they represent 10% or less of any given harvest. There’s less of them, so command a higher price at market … Our Tellicherry has strong lime, lemon and orange notes. When you grind our Tellicherry, the citrus aroma is immediate and beautiful [ Tellicherry Pepper]

Tellicherry Pepper

To Robin and I, it is some of the best black pepper available, especially if you grind it as you need it.

Aleppo Pepper

The other pepper I use is Aleppo Pepper, which comes from The Aleppo pepper (Arabic: فلفل حلبي‎ / ALA-LC: fulful Ḥalabī) is a variety of Capsicum annuum used as a spice, particularly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Also known as the Halaby pepper, it starts as pods, which ripen to a burgundy color, and then are semi-dried, de-seeded, then crushed or coarsely ground. The pepper flakes are known in Turkey as pul biber, and in Armenia as Haleb biber. The pepper is named after Aleppo, a long-inhabited city along the Silk Road in northern Syria, and is grown in Syria and Turkey. It is fairly mild, with its heat building slowly, with a fruity raisin-like flavor. It has also been described as having the flavor of “sweetness, roundness and perfume of the best kind of sundried tomatoes, but with a substantial kick behind it.” The most common use is in the form of crushed flakes, which are typically slightly milder and more oily than conventional crushed red pepper, with a hint of saltiness and a slightly raisin-like flavor. Unlike crushed red pepper, the flakes contain no inner flesh and seeds, contributing to the mildness. Crushed Aleppo pepper can be used as a substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika. The spice is a common ingredient in some of the dishes that comprise a meze. [Meze is a collection of finger foods. A meze is a big part of the dining experience in Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Arab countries. The word “meze” means “taste” and/or “snack.” The concept is very similar to the tapas of Spain, but with different ingredients.] Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level with a mild, cumin-like undertone, a bit of fruitiness, and a hint of a salt and vinegar. [Wikipedia]
Try these two types of pepper. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!

Brussels Sprouts


Brussels Sprouts with a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. Awesome!

Especially if they are fresh from the Boise Farmers Market. Cut in half lengthwise. Steam until just soft. Reduce 1/4 cup good Balsamic Vinegar to about 3 Tablespoon. Put sprouts in reduction. Turn heat off. Mix to fully coat. Serve immediately. (Left-Click to see enlarged)

Farm to Table Feast


A really good event, dinner, wine and company!

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

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…

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Great Dinner at Richard’s in Boise


This was an awesome dinner! Absolutely a 5-Star dining experience. Super food. Super Servers.

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

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…

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New (To Us) Bistros


Yes – New to Us. But not necessarily new to the area. The area being in Garden City in the vicinity of the Boise River. The first place we visited was Push & Pour at 214 E 34th St., Garden City, Idaho 83714 – they do not have a web page but they are on Facebook.
And if you know Luciano’s Restaurant on Overland, Caffe Luciano’s at 3588 N. Prospect Way, Garden City, Idaho 83714, phone (208) 577-6010‍‍‍, is a “…Companion restaurant to the original Luciano’s in Boise, ID…Caffe Luciano’s is developing a new riverside concept for our scratch made, classically inspired dishes based on old world recipes from Northern and Southern Italy…Our location right on the Boise River Greenbelt and beautiful patio are the best in the Treasure Valley, so come enjoy your friends & family as you all dine on our amazing food in a modern, open atmosphere, Caffe Luciano’s is Boise’s only Riverside Italian Caffe…Inspired by our love of authentic Italian cuisine. Our classic recipes are presented in a modern fashion that reflects our location, clientele and philosophy. As an independently owned cafe and wine bar, we strive to present the best we have to offer in the style of our main location Luciano’s Boise.” [www.caffelucianos.com]
Both places are bright, clean and friendly. They have adequate seating and I believe WIFI. Here are some photos I got this morning. Let’s start with Push & Pour. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.

Push & Pour frontage

Happy and very pleasant servers.

Specials menu

Everyday these items are on the menu.

And here is Caffe Luciano’s.

Front sign

Neat and clean interior service counter. They do have patio seating, in season.

Here is a map of the Garden City newly developed area. Enjoy!

What is this thing called …. Borscht?

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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 Brewery Pub


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!)

CLASSIC BURGER
(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.

Instant Pot Ideas

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Robin and I have bought an Instant Pot. The one pictured here. It is really fun to use. And the different cooking methods available are amazing. Enlarge (Left Click) the photo and you will see what methods are available. Because we are using the equipment sort of regular, I am going to add a section in the recipe file (Boise Foodie Guild Recipes) called Instant Pot. The recipes will have a prefix of IP so you can search on it. I do hope you look at the section and the recipes.

Having Fun With Popovers

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Oh yes! Delicious popovers. Fill with tuna salad, ham, jam or whipped cream. These buttery, soft “rolls”, of sorts, will suit any party. Or dinner table. Or breakfast. They are so versatile. Easy to make and you don’t really need any special tools or pans. Even though there are special pans for popovers. Or, use a metal muffin pan. Big one or little one.
But where did these come? Who “invented” them? Some sources say they are related to Scottish Short Bread. But more than likely, they come from England and are a derivative of Yorkshire Pudding. “The popover is an American version of Yorkshire pudding and similar batter puddings made in England since the 17th century.
The oldest known reference to popovers is in a letter of E. E. Stuart’s in 1850. The first cookbook to print a recipe for popovers was M. N. Henderson, Practical Cooking, 1876. The first book other than a cookbook to mention popovers was Jesuit’s Ring by A. A. Hayes published in 1892.
In American Food (1974), author Evan Jones writes: “Settlers from Maine who founded Portland, Oregon, Americanized the pudding from Yorkshire by cooking the batter in custard cups lubricated with drippings from the roasting beef (or sometimes pork); another modification was the use of garlic, and, frequently, herbs. The result is called Portland popover pudding: individual balloons of crusty meat-flavored pastry.
Other American popover variations include replacing some of the flour with pumpkin puree and adding spices such as allspice or nutmeg. Most American popovers today, however, are not flavored with meat or herbs. Instead, they have a buttery taste.
Ogden Nash inverts the historical order of events.
Let’s call Yorkshire pudding
A fortunate blunder:
It’s a sort of popover
That turned and popped under.” [Wikipedia]

And from the sensitiveeconomist. com site, “Popovers are an American recipe that are thought to have descended from English batter puddings and Yorkshire puddings, although the origin is a bit uncertain. Puddings in medieval times were not like today’s custard-like desserts, but rather were meat-based.” In other words, I’m still not completely sure where popovers came from. Although, they appear to be strictly an American treat.

So now we know a little about the popover. But now the question is:Do I need a special pan? “Popovers are airy rolls that are just as much fun to bake as they are to eat. It is a balloon-like roll with a crisp, buttery exterior and a tender, eggy interior. Many people don’t make them at home because the perception is that you need a specialty pan to bake them. Fortunately, this isn’t true.” [craftsy.com] A good, sturdy muffin pan will work just as well.
Here is a recipe that we like and it works very well.

Popovers with Scrambled Eggs and Fresh Fruit

Popovers
Total: 50 min Prep: 10 min Cook: 40 min Yield: 8 popovers
Bob and Robin Young, Boise, ID
Ingredients:
3 T melted butter, divided
2 lg Eggs
1 c whole Milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 c All-Purpose Flour
1 t Celtic Sea Salt
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes. (This is extremely important to do!)
Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth.
Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin ⅔ full (each popover will expand) and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Another variation – Popovers with Ham and Cheese Omelet and Fresh Fruit

(David Libowitz)

From David Libowitz “Sugar-Crusted Popovers

Makes 9
Adapted from my recipe in The New York Times and Maida Heatter’s Great Book of Desserts.I thought these wouldn’t stay crisp for very long after they were baked and coated with the sugar. But the next morning, I was surprised when I pulled off a hunk and they’re weren’t bad. But they are the best the day they’re made; leftovers can be stored in a container and snacked on the next day. You could freeze them in zip-top bags as well.I don’t have popover tins, but found these work quite well in standard-sized muffin tins. For this recipe, feel free to use salted or unsalted butter, depending on your preference.
For the puffs:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup (140g) flour
For the sugar-coating:
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (60g) melted butter
Softened butter, for greasing the pan
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Liberally grease a nonstick popover pan, or a muffin pan with 1/2-cup indentations,with softened butter.
2. For the puffs, put the 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender and blend for a few seconds.
3. Add the flour and whiz for about 10 seconds, just until smooth.
4. Divide the batter among the 9 greased molds, filling each 1/2 to 2/3rds full.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the puffs are deep brown.
6. Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the popovers from the pans and set them on a cooling rack. If they’re stubborn, you may need a small knife or spatula to help pry them out.
7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Thoroughly brush each popover all over with the 1/4 cup (60 g) of melted butter, then dredge each puff generously in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat them completely. Let cool on the wire rack.”

North African Berbere Spice

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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