Think Local – Buy Local – Eat Local!

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Mardi Gras Cajun HouseRobin and I are BIG believers in buying local and supporting our local farmers. Even in the winter when the Saturday Farmers Market is closed. (Due to open the first part of April at 10th and Grove!) We shop wise! We check the labels! This breakfast was 100% local products. The sourdough bread from Boise; the bacon from Twin Falls; the potatoes from Burley and the eggs from Nampa. And it was scrumptious. Check this out!

Falls Brand Bacon Acme Sourdough Toast Burley Potatoes Jasmine Tea Mock Fried Eggs from Meadowlark Farms

Falls Brand Bacon
Acme Sourdough Toast
Burley Potatoes
Jasmine Tea Mock Fried Eggs from Meadowlark Farms

Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary, Balsamic Orange Sauce

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21sept2013_2_robins-bday-captains-shack_gumbo_getting-happySuch a great way to serve a scrumptious pork tenderloin. A little involved, but nonetheless delicious. The orange sauce really adds to this dish. I did not have any chicken stock, so I used turkey stock and I think it came out just fine. Then we served it with 2010 Syringa Winery Sangiovese and the paring was super good! I used this wine in the sauce, too. The original recipe came from the Cooking Channel, Kelsey Nixon. I adapted it slightly.
As sides we had a Fresh Green Salad, Steamed Asparagus and Housemade Pasta with Artichoke in a Cheese Sauce. Here are some photos of the dinner. Enjoy – We did! I will probably post the recipe in the Recipe File above. Cheers!

The pork tenderloin has cooled enough to slice it. So juicy and moist and tender. Delicious.

The pork tenderloin has cooled enough to slice it. So juicy and moist and tender. Delicious.

Pan SearedPork Tenderloin with Rosemary Balsamic Steamed Asparagus Green Salad Housemade Pasta with Artichokes in a Cheese Sauce 2010 Syringa SangioveseOrange Sauce

Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin
with
rosemary and balsamic orange sauce

Steamed Asparagus

Green Salad

Housemade Pasta with Artichokes in a Cheese Sauce

2010 Syringa Sangiovese

Olivin – Olive Oil and Vinegar Bar

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20Mar2015_1_Olivin_Door-SignI remember the last time I was able to taste good balsamic vinegar. I was in “Little Italy” in San Francisco. And the last time I could try a good olive oil, I was in Sacramento, at Corti Brothers, and in Napa at the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company. Now we have Olivin in Boise, at Olivin – Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom, 218 N 9th Street, Boise, ID 83702, where you can sample both olive oils and different balsamic vinegars – the best of both worlds. A wide variety of herbal infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars are available to sample. They will offer recipes for enjoying their products. Here is an excerpt from their website.

Olivin, a play on the words Olive Oil and Vinegar, is a unique specialty store located in beautiful downtown Boise. Olivin Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom allows the customer to taste the high quality extra virgin olive oils and vinegars before purchasing. There are over 30 olive oils and vinegars offered to taste for free!
Owner, Joyce Renoff became passionate about the business when she retired after a 40 year career in real estate. Joyce wanted to try something fun so she started working in an olive oil and vinegar taproom in Annapolis, Maryland. She fell in love immediately with the store and found her passion!
The idea of Olivin came about after visiting her daughter in Boise. Joyce adored the city of Boise and the people of Idaho. Joyce quickly realized that an olive oil and vinegar taproom would be a perfect fit for the people of Boise who are dedicated to their health.

Here are some photos of our visit. Enjoy! Let them know you heard about them on this blog.

This is what they are all about.

This is what they are all about.

Here is how you get to sample some different olive oils. These "tanks" are located throughout the store.

Here is how you get to sample some different olive oils. These “tanks” are located throughout the store.

A closer look at the sample tanks.

A closer look at the sample tanks.

The balsamic can be tasted in a similar fashion.

The balsamic can be tasted in a similar fashion.

We bought a bottle of olive oil and of balsamic.

We bought a bottle of olive oil and of balsamic.

Mai Thai Visited

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18Mar2015_1_Mai-Thai-Lunch_PoolWe have been to Mai Thai several times, but this is the first time for the lunch buffet. They are located at 750 W Idaho Street, Boise. (208) 344-8424. Such a treat! They continue their outstanding cuisine. With just a small comment: The duck could have had more of the fat removed and the connective tissue trimmed. The vegetable tempura was good, but slightly soggy and cold. For those reasons, I can only rate this visit a 4-Star, out of 5-Star, meal. The ambiance is terrific. The Waite staff is very attentive and polite. The price, $11.95 for the buffet, is extremely reasonable for the amount of food that is available. Mai Thai is well worth the trip to go there. If you like Asian cuisine for lunch, this is the place to go. It is just a little more of a formal setting than most of the other Asian places in Boise. Give it a try. I have also listed Mai Thai on TripAdvisor. Here are some photos we took. Left-Click any of the photos to see them enlarged. Enjoy!!

Buffet menu

Buffet menu

Makings for a salad

Makings for a salad

Lettuce Wrap Ingredients and Vegetable Tempura. (The tempura was not heavy with batter.)

Lettuce Wrap Ingredients and Vegetable Tempura. (The tempura was not heavy with batter.)

Sushi offerings

Sushi offerings

Curry

Curry

Noodles

Noodles

Chicken and Duck

Chicken and Duck

Vegetable Tempura, Salad and Sushi

Vegetable Tempura, Salad and Sushi

Sushi close-up

Sushi close-up

Duck, Noodles and Curry on Rice

Duck, Noodles and Curry on Rice

Happy 1 Year Birthday Cloud 9 Nano Brewery!!

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17Mar2015_1_Cloud-9_SignAnd it was a rousing St Patrick’s Day celebration and birthday party!! The turn out was superb. The food was awesome as usual and the beer/ale was outstanding! Glad they are so close to us – about 1 1/2 blocks. A nono brewery produces less than 5oo cases per year. They are small but they are sure delicious! Here are some photos from the evening. They had to put a tent up outside in addition to the patio seating. It must be a Rite of Spring, because it sure did feel like it. Happy Birthday Cloud 9! Here’s to many more! You are definitely a 4+-Star Pub (Out of 5-Stars). Love it!

The inside. About 8 tables and bar seating. Children are allowed but not at the bar. Full and delicious menu of Idaho and local products.

The inside. About 8 tables and bar seating. Children are allowed but not at the bar. Full and delicious menu of Idaho and local products.

The beer/ale menu.

The beer/ale menu.

(L) Stout and (R) Heather Ale

(L) Stout and (R)Scottish Heather Ale

Shepard's Pie and Potato Soup. Both were delicious!

Shepard’s Pie and Potato Soup. Both were delicious!

Fish and Chips are awesome. These are always on the menu.

Fish and Chips are awesome. These are always on the menu.

Happy Birthday cake!

Happy Birthday cake!

“Edible Idaho” Spring Brunch Party

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14Mar2015_1_Modern-Hotel_SignThis morning, it was great to join Guy Hand, Edible Idaho Managing Editor, and friends at the The Modern Hotel for an awesome breakfast and the Spring Brunch Party. And from the menu for the brunch, The Modern states that “… thanks EDIBLE IDAHO, Earthly Delights Farm, Loganics, Rollingstone Chevre, Meadowlark Farm, Coiled Wines, Idaho Kombucha Co, Acme Bake Shop, Peaceful Belly, Homestead Natural Foods, Waterwheel Gardens, Next Generation Organics, Sweet Valley Organics, Gaston’s Bakery, and Miss Mona’s Chicken Ranch for their local products.” It’s just great to Eat Local and to support your local agriculture! Robin and I try very hard stay local! Enjoy these photos from this morning. And if you are in the area, The Modern serves some great meals. Try them and check out their website as listed above. They are definitely a solid 4-Star out of 5-Star restaurant.

Guy Hand and friends.

Guy Hand and friends.

Guy Hand

Guy Hand

Tara Morgan, Edible Idaho Editor and food writer for the Boise Weekly.

Tara Morgan, Edible Idaho Editor and food writer for the Boise Weekly.

Guy Hand and Tara Morgan

Guy Hand and Tara Morgan

A. Minskoff and Angie Shaltry

A. Minskoff and Angie Shaltry from Coiled Winery

Sandy and Rich Ostrogorski and Meagan

Sandy and Rich Ostrogorski and Meagan

Scone with Riesling Jelly

Scone with Riesling Jelly

"Rizza" Cured Steelhead Lox Loganics Farm baby greens salad, Acme Bake Shop German rye toast, creme fraiche

“Rizza” Cured Steelhead Lox
Loganics Farm baby greens salad, Acme Bake Shop German rye toast, crème fraîche

Moroccan Black Beans and Poached Eggs Organic Idaho black beans, Earthly Delights Farm heirloom Hopi blue corn polenta, preserved Meyer lemon crème fraîche, Meadowlark Farm poached eggs

Moroccan Black Beans and Poached Eggs
Organic Idaho black beans, Earthly Delights Farm heirloom Hopi blue corn polenta, preserved Meyer lemon crème fraîche, Meadowlark Farm poached eggs

It was a great breakfast!!

It was a great breakfast!!

Scones and Mimosas

Scones and Mimosas

The Orchard House and Williamson Vienyards

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06 Mar2015_1_Orchard-House_SignWhat a great time last night at The Orchard House for dinner and Williamson Vineyard and Orchards serving their wines. The Orchard House is a favorite of ours when we are in the Snake River wine area. And Williamson Vineyards have some fantastic wines and their fruit in season is awesome! We highly recommend these two businesses. Here are some photos from the evening. Truly a Homestyle meal! Enjoy.

Patrick Williamson, Orchardist, explains to the Orchard House customer about the Williamson wines.

Patrick Williamson, Orchardist, explains to the Orchard House customers about the Williamson wines.

06 Mar2015_1c_Orchard-House_Williamson-Flyer

(L-R) 201o Williamson Viognier and a 2012 Williamson Blossom. Both are delightful wines.

(L-R) 2010 Williamson Viognier and a 2012 Williamson Blossom, a rosé of Sangiovese. Both are delightful wines.

More wine offerings.

More wine offerings.

A flight of Williamson wines.

A flight of Williamson wines.

Chicken Nugget Appetizer. Breading was a little heavy and they are spicy.

Chicken Nugget Appetizer. Breading was a little heavy and they are spicy.

Some really good Onion Rings.

Some really good Onion Rings.

Some of the best Idaho Trout in the state!

Some of the best Idaho Trout in the state!

I know. No one makes a Meatloaf like your Mother. And you can not find a good meatloaf when traveling. Until now. Outside of my kitchen, and my Mother's kitchen, this has got to be the best anywhere. And if you are here for lunch, try the Meatloaf Sandwich!

I know. No one makes a Meatloaf like your Mother. And you can not find a good meatloaf when traveling. Until now. Outside of my kitchen, and my Mother’s kitchen, this has got to be the best anywhere. And if you are here for lunch, try the Meatloaf Sandwich!

What else can I say? The meal was a Plus 4-Star dinner (out of 5-Stars) and the wines went extremely well with the dinner. If you are in the area, stop in at both places. You may need reservations at The Orchard House – they get very busy for dinner. And try their breakfast or lunch. And don’t forget the appropriate wine with dinner. Say Hi to Kris for us! Cheers!

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.

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