Valentines Dinner at Parma Ridge Winery Bistro

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We have been to several 5-Star restaurants in Boise – Richard’s, Chandler’s, Cottonwood Grill, Andrae’s (when it was open) and Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, FL – and the dinner that Chef and Winemaker Storm Hodge and Sous Chef Megan Hartman prepared for us, and 50+ others, last night at the winery, gives any of these restaurants a very serious challenge. This dinner was every bit a 5-Star dinner. It was amazingly delicious. Kudo’s to the Chefs, their kitchen staff and the wait staff! I sincerely urge any of you who are in the area, to visit the Bistro on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday Brunch and have superb meal. (Here is more info at Parma Ridge Winery – Snake River AVA Happenings) Look at what they prepared and we enjoyed! (Left-Click any of the photos to see them enlarged.)

Let’s start with the way the butter, for bread, was presented. Beautiful.

Saffron Risotto
with
Butter Poached Lobster and Chive Oil
Parma Ridge Quattra

(super wine paring)

Fried Gnocchi with Char-Grilled Smoked Pork-Belly
and
Kalamata Gouda Cream
2016 Parma Ridge Issac Storm

(The gnocchi was made in-house and the pork belly was smoked 8 hours in-house! Good wine paring.))

Fillet Au Poivre with Crispy Caramelized Onion Polenta
Cognac Tarragon Mushroom Sauce
and
Lemon Grilled Asparagus
2016 Parma Ridge Big Red

(Chef Storm came up with the sauce. Delicious! Robin had some steak this morning for breakfast with an over easy egg! And yes, the asparagus went with the wine! Superb paring with the wine.)

Tiramisu Trifle with Espresso Rum Caramel
2017 Parma Ridge LaRea Dolce

(Super wine paring – almost a TBA! The tiramisu Chef Storm made from scratch without egg yolks. Amazing!)

Weekly News From BFM


Seeds are going into the ground, meetings are being held and funding is being sought and distributed. Winter is so busy it’s starting to feel like Spring!
Boise Farmers Mobile Market Expansion
Grant Received – and More!
We are thrilled to announce that the Boise Farmers Mobile Market has received a St. Luke’s Community Health Improvement Fund grant!

This $8,000.00 grant will help expand the Mobile Market to 4 days each week during the season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and assist with better marketing of our Double Up Bucks and SNAP programs. We are happy to work in concert with St. Luke’s mission “to improve the health of people in our region” and do our part, here, in our Boise neighborhoods.

We have also received $1,200 in Individual Support already this year! We have another $4,000 to raise to fund the summer. If you haven’t read about last year’s success, you can read about it here: 2017 Mobile Market Impact Report.

We would love to have your support. If you feel inspired you can donate any amount, big or small, here: DONATE

Help us get produce and eggs out into the neighborhoods to community members who don’t have access to healthy food!

Earthly Delights Farm The Seed of the Week
Rossa di Milano!
Allium cepa
These gorgeous, long-keeping hotties will be the star of many meals! Excellent Italian heirloom variety, flat-heart shaped and rosy pink. Good storage onion with a hint of hot spice. Perfect for northern latitudes. Long day type. 114 days. Brought to you by our friends at the Snake River Seed Cooperative.
They sell heirloom, non-gmo, open-pollinated seeds grown by 29 small, family farmers around the Intermountain West.

On stage this week is Rossa di Milano Onion! We love this beautiful, rosy pink, flat-heart shaped onion for its petite size and its flavor! It’s an Italian heirloom variety which stores well over winter.

For any gardeners who have been stirring with this warm weather, go full steam ahead with starting onion seeds now! You can plant many seeds together in a small pot, then separate the onion sprouts when transplanting outdoors in early April.

These seeds were saved right here in Boise, Idaho by Earthly Delights Farm! You can’t get much more local than that! You can find them on the Snake River Seed Coop website: http://snakeriverseeds.com/product/rossa-di-milano-onion/

Register Now and Get Involved!

9th Annual Soil Health Symposium

Bringing Our Soil Back To Life
Thursday, February 15, 2018
7:30 am to 4:30 pm
Four Rivers Cultural Center
676 SW 5th Ave., Ontario, OR

The 9th Annual Soil Health Symposium is coming up! If you are interested in Soil you will want to attend the 9th year of this incredibly informative symposium, offering useful farming practice information, and to hear what improvements other local producers have added to their routines.

Attend the Soil Health Symposium this winter. Registration and other speaker information can be found at http://www.payetteswcd.org.

Boise Farmers Market is Coming Soon!

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The weather outside right now is cloudy and 60 degrees! It’s Springtime in the Rockies. And with Spring, comes the Boise Far,ers Market. Here is the latest news from them.
Even though it’s winter, there is a lot going on in the world of local food and local sustainable farming!
The Babies are Growing Up at True Roots Organics!
Kaimana, the youngest farmer at True Roots Organics, and his side-kick Nala are checking the seedlings to make sure all is well.

These were planted in early January and are already sprouted, but we couldn’t pass up on this darling pic!

With biodynamic innovation and some large black barrels that absorb the heat of the sun, the inside temperature in the green house is 60 degrees plus. Perfect for spring seedlings.

Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress

We can hardly wait to enjoy the fresh produce from the True Roots Organics booth come April!
The Seed of the Week
Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress!

Brought to you by our friends at the Snake River Seed Cooperative.
They sell heirloom, non-gmo, open-pollinated seeds grown by 29 small, family farmers around the Intermountain West.

This variety is not easy to harvest commercially due to its small size, so it is perfect to grow for your home garden! In addition to offering a unique, lovely floral-spice flavor for salads and dishes, it can also be grown as an ornamental plant in your garden! The seed stalks are a beautiful filler in bouquets and can be dried for fall and winter wreaths.

This cress comes from well known plant breeder Frank Morton, located in Philomath, Oregon. Frank Morton has bred many varieties of delicious greens in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon. We enjoy trialing these greens to see which grow well in our high altitude desert climate. Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress is one of those varieties that have been a success!

tHe FuNkY tAco!
Another BFM Vendor Gets a Storefront!
The Funky Taco is going brick-and-mortar! We’re sure you’ve seen the construction on the corner of 8th & Bannock. That’s Funky Taco’s new location!

 

Below is a short interview we did with co-owner, Sheri Archambo.

How long has the Funky Taco food truck been around?
We started in April of 2013 in step with the Boise Farmers Market.

What made you decide to create it?
We decided to create the food truck for a number of reasons. One of those being our passion to create interesting and delicious food that is sourced as locally as possible. We thought the food truck would be a great platform for us to develop our concept and provide us with valuable feedback that would allow us to establish a brick and mortar location in the future. Being part of the Boise Farmers market allowed us to develop relationships with local farmers who has provided us with education and product that you can’t get anywhere else.

Funky Taco

What was the tipping point that drove you to establish a brick and mortar business?
Owning our own restaurant is a dream for us, we have taken the time to during this process to assure long term success. There have been numerous tipping points. We’ve had many repeat customers who have encouraged us to build a restaurant so they could enjoy our food more than just Saturday mornings at the Boise Farmers Market or special events around the valley. There have been several locations that were considered for the brick and mortar but nothing felt “right” until 8th and Bannock presented itself. We knew deep in our hearts this was the right decision.

Has the Boise Farmers Market had any role in your success?
Yes, of course! The Boise Farmers Market has allowed us to grow in may different areas of our business. We have developed personal and working relationships with our farmers and other speciality food vendors at the market. We’ve learned a lot from the vendors about farming, food, and our overall business. They’ve been valuable in shaping our concept and our mission as restauranteurs.
In addition, we have also developed a loyal repeat customer base who come back each week bringing their friends and family to share in “the food” and “the experience”. We will continue to develop our existing relationships with the Boise Farmer Market producers and wish to also forge new relationships as well. These relationships have been a big part of our success and we will count on them being a big part of our success in the future.

When will you be open for business?
We are hoping that the restaurant will be open at the end of February. We are thinking our hours will be from 11 – 9 Monday to Wednesday, 11am – 11pm Thursday Saturday, although that’s not final just yet.

What “insider” info can you give us?
The restaurant is going to be an exciting and comfortable place to enjoy creative and nutritious food. We have an elevated stage where we will have live music with a state of the art PA system. With such a great location in downtown we’ve made the space something that we know our customers and the Boise Farmers Market will be proud of.

tHe FuNkY tAco will be opening late February at 801 West Bannock in Downtown Boise. Locally sourced healthy taco-licious grub. We can hardly wait!

Marsala Sauce vs Madeira Sauce


Just in case you missed this post in 2010.

Boise Foodie Guild

Two very, very classic sauces!! I told Robin that I have posted and article and recipe from Rudy’s – A Cook’s Paradise about Marsala Sauce. And she said that there is a difference between Madeira Sauce and Marsala Sauce. I know. But the question is: How many others are not aware of the differences? I have the book, The Sauce Bible: Guide to the Saucier’s Craft by David Paul Larousse. If you are into cooking and sauce variations based on the classic sauces, this is the book for you. But for now, look at the basic differences between these two awesome sauces.


Madeira Sauce
(Sauce Madère)

Ingredients:
1 T Butter, unsalted
1 Shallot, Minced
1 c Madeira wine
1½ c Demi-Glaze
2 T Butter, unsalted and cut into ¼ –inch cubes

Directions:
Sauté the shallot in the butter for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Madeira and simmer until reduced…

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Like honey? Try Tupelo Honey.

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And I do like honey. The natural honey from Weiser, ID is really good. Idaho Honey Apiaries, 426 Krause Rd, Mathews Farms in Weiser, to be exact.
And those of you who read this blog and follow it, know that I use 99.9% Idaho products. Especially Idaho farm products – eggs, beef, lamb, chicken and all kinds of produce.
But there are some times when I defer to the 0.1% of the time when I leave the trend and go outside of Idaho. Honey. My favorite, hands down, is Tupelo Honey! (Tupelo, MS was named after the tupelo tree!) It is a fruity, floral and slightly tan. It is delicious! From healthywithhoney.com, “…The center of all tupelo honey producers is Apalachicola River, in the Florida Panhandle. Tupelo honey is produced wherever tupelo trees bloom, all over southeastern USA, but the purest and most expensive version (certified by pollen analysis) is produced in this valley.”
Tupelo honey is a high-grade honey produced in a small region in North Western Florida and Southern Georgia from White Ogeechee Tupelo trees. The honey color is light golden amber with a greenish cast. It has a mild floral and fruity taste. The aroma is cinnamon and floral. The honey is produced from the Ogeechee tupelo (southeastern United States) Nyssa ogeche, commonly referred to as Ogeechee tupelo, white tupelo, river lime, ogeechee lime tree, sour gum or wild lime is a deciduous tree.

Nyssa ogeche (Ogeechee tupelo) in bloom

“Tupelo honey’s high fructose content resists crystallization for years. Because of its light floral aroma and balance it goes well with strong blue cheeses (Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Cabrales cheese etc.) and fruit such as fresh roasted peaches. Some diabetics use Tupelo as a sweetener because of its high fructose (levulose) content.” [honeytraveler.com]
Since Tupelo trees grow in swampy areas and beekeepers want the hives close to the trees, it is common to place the beehives on platforms to avoid flooding along side of the swamp. Some beekeepers still use boats to access their hives. In Florida, beekeepers keep beehives along the river swamps on platforms or floats during tupelo bloom to produce certified tupelo honey, which commands a high price on the market because of its flavor.

Tupelo tree grove.

Tupelo floral content can be as high as 95% although only 51% is required by the state to be labeled, “Tupelo Honey”… The tree, first discovered by William Bartram along the Ogeechee River in Georgia, it is also known as Swamp Gum, Sour Tupelo-Gum, Bee-Tupelo, Tupelo Gum and Ogeechee-Lime Tree. It produces 1.5-inch-long, showy red fruits that ripen in autumn. The juice can be used as a substitute for limes, hence its common name. The Tupelo Honey Festival in Wewahitchka, Florida, referred to as “Wewa” by locals, is celebrated annually on the 3rd Saturday of May at Lake Alice Park. Here is a link to more info for the Tupelo Honey Festival It is a great place to try to buy fresh Tupelo honey and talk to the beekeepers that have upheld the traditions that have made Tupelo honey famous.

Tupelo Honey

The only place in Idaho that I know of that has Tupelo Honey on the shelf is the Boise Coop, in Boise. A 13.5 oz jar should run about $6.73. If you would rather, you can go directly to one source at Swanson Vitamins, and they do have the honey from YS Eco Farms, but only in season! Enjoy the honey. We do!

What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

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Roasted Beef Bone Stock with fresh grated Turmeric and Ginger, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

This has been a question that I get quite often. It’s time to post a response. From Emma Christensen at thekitchn.com our answer seems to be quite clear. And non-complicated.

For years I assumed that “stock” and “broth” were interchangeable terms for the same thing: liquid flavored with vegetables, meat scraps, and bones, used as the base for soups, sauces, and other dishes.
But is this actually the case? It turns out there is a slight but significant difference between stock and broth.

The Primary Difference Between Stock & Broth
Often stocks and broths both start off the same way: scraps of vegetable, meat, and bone are slowly simmered to extract as much flavor as possible. But there is technically a difference between the two.

Broth: Technically speaking, broth is any liquid that has had meat cooked in it. Of course, now broth really is a catch-all for any flavored cooking liquid, including broths made by simmering fish, vegetables, or even legumes.
Stock: Stock, however, always involves bones, simmered for a long time to extract their gelatin and flavor. The thick, often-gelatinous nature of stocks is only possible when bones are present. Roasting the bones makes for a richer, more deeply colored stock, but it’s not essential to the process.
Seasoning Makes a Difference
There are other differences as well; chief among them is seasoning. Stock is a liquid that is left unseasoned for cooking with. But broth is usually seasoned and can be drunk or eaten on its own.

For the most part, a stock should be an unseasoned liquid. Broths, on the other hand, get some seasoning. We add salt; some other spices, like black pepper; and perhaps a splash of wine — all for the purpose of making this neutral stock taste delicious and drinkable on its own.

So, a more technical definition for broth would actually be “seasoned stock.” Now that the salt and other seasonings are added in, broth is tasty and satisfying.

It might seem like stock will always end up salted and seasoned once it’s used, and therefore saying there’s a difference between the two is really just splitting hairs, but the point of stock is that you have control over how it gets salted and seasoned from dish to dish. Maybe the stock will be used for poaching fish, so you only want a little or no salt. Maybe you’ll be reducing it down to a sauce, so starting off with a salted broth will make the reduction taste too salty. The point is that stock is a blank slate, while an already seasoned broth is not.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)
A New Way of Doing It
Culinary schools and passed-down kitchen wisdom say that broth is made from meat and stock is made from bones. Meat gives flavor, which is why it is necessary in a broth that can be eaten alone. Bones, cartilage, and skin have collagen, which when heated, turns into gelatin that gives a stock body and a thicker, richer texture in the mouth.

However, whether you’re making a meat-based stock or broth, it’s always best to include as much raw material as possible. While you can skew the proportions in either direction, depending on what scraps you have or what flavor and body you’re going for, having both will ensure that your stock or broth is flavorful yet has body and isn’t thin. And if your liquid is cloudy, don’t sweat it — flavor is the important thing here.

Are Store-bought Stock and Broth the Same?
All of this said, this difference between stock and broth is fairly confined to the restaurant and professional culinary world. In our home kitchens, the terms are generally interchangeable.

I also see “stock” and “broth” both used to describe the same product in the grocery store, sometimes salted and sometimes not. Personally, if I’m not making my own, I prefer to buy brands with the least amount of sodium (salt) since that gives me the most control with my own seasoning.

What do you think? In your everyday cooking, is this a technical difference, or do stocks and broths both have a place in your cooking?

Robert Burns Night Coming Up!

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The Bobby Burns Supper Night is coming up on the anniversary of his birthday on January 25. He was born on January 25, 1759. The supper night is celebration of his poetry and songs.
“Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr. His parents, Willian Burnes[s] and Agnes Broun, were tenant farmers but they ensured their son received a relatively good education and he began to read avidly. The works of Alexander Pope, Henry Mackenzie and Laurence Sterne fired Burns’s poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration. Handsome Nell, for Nellie Kilpatrick, was his first song. [robertburns.org]”
According to Wikipedia,

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.[robertburns.org]

He died July 25, 1796 at the age of 37. So why is he so famous?
“The Ploughman poet. Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – The Kilmarnock Edition. The main reason Burns is so popular today is because of the themes and language of everyday life that he used. His poems were humorous and he used small subjects to express big ideas. [robertburns.org]
So, you say, what prose or poetry did he write that I might know? Try Auld Lang Syne But the poetry that I like best is,

A Red, Red Rose (1794)
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!”

You can find a list and links to his works at Robert Burns Works.

OK. But what about the party? The dinner or supper?
“The annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard’s birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers range from stentoriously formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to uproariously informal rave-ups of drunkards and louts. Most Burns Suppers fall in the middle of this range, and adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honoured form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.

Every Burns Supper has its own special form and flavour, though there are probably more similarities than differences among these gastro-literary affairs. Individual tastes and talents will determine the character of your Burns Supper. Some celebrants may contribute the composition of original songs or poems; some may excel at giving toasts or reciting verse; while others may be captivating storytellers. A particular group of celebrants will, over time, develop a unique group character which will distinguish their Burns Supper celebration from every other.” [robertburns.org]
Let’s start here –

A Bottle And Friend (1787)
There’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.
__________
from Burns Night: My Supper With Rabbie

Is there that o’re his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scronful’ view
On sic a dinner? [robertburns.org]

Here is one recipe for the traditional supper.

BRIDIES

Pastry
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. shortening
5-6 T. ice water

Meat Filling
1 and 1/2 lean steak (flank or round)
4 tsp. butter (or suet)
1 onion- finely diced
1 carrot- finely diced
salt and pepper

1. Sauté vegetables in the butter until soft
2. Slice meat into very long thin slices, on the diagonal. Cut into pieces 1 inch long. Mix with sautéed veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Roll out pastry and cut into 4″-5″ circles. Arrange meat on top, brush edges with egg wash, fold over and crimp together. Slit a hole in each pie. Egg wash tops if desired. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 10-12 small pies.

For the rest of the Bobby Burns Supper Menu, including Cullen Skink (haddock), Bridies (recipe above), The (Bagless) Haggis and Neeps and Tatties (turnips and potatoes), follow this like – Burns Supper Recipes [robertburns.org].

Mac and Cheese Festival in Coeur d’Alene


There’s A Mac And Cheese Festival In Idaho And It’s Everything You’ve Ever Dreamed Of
Winter is a time for comfort food. Something about the cold weather makes eating warm, delicious, and familiar food an absolute must. Mac and cheese is perhaps the greatest comfort food of them all. And lucky for us, Idaho is hosting an entire festival devoted to macaroni and cheese. It’s the perfect event to get you through the mid-January blues. Check it out.

Since it’s the New Year, many people have made resolutions for healthier eating. Well, that resolution may have to wait until after January 13th, since that is when Idaho’s one and only Mac And Cheese Festival is taking place.

You can also find more Mac and Cheese Festival information by clicking Here. Enjoy!

Ecuadorian Humitas

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Sometimes in touring through the many files and friends we have on Facebook and through many blogs, we come across some interesting recipes and foods. A dear friend of ours, Bonnie Nees from Billings, MT recently went to Quito, Ecuador to visit an exchange student she sponsored several years ago. René Zambrado is this young mans name and he is such a kind and delightful person. He graduated from Facultad de Jursiprudencia at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador in 2010 with a degree in law. Bonnie posted many photos of her trip, but one in particular “struck my fancy”. Food! And in particular, Humitas. AKA, Ecuadorian tamales. (Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged.)

Bonnie and René Zambrado

So, just what are Ecuadorian Humitas? Good question. It seems as though there are as many recipes as there are families in Ecuador – everyone seems to have their own recipe. Like stew recipes in our Homeland. Let’s check with Wikipedia, first. “Humita (from Quechua humita) is a Native American dish from pre-Hispanic times, and a traditional food in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, although their origin is unclear. In Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru they are known as humitas, in Bolivia as humintas, in Brazil as pamonha, and in Venezuela as hallaquitas. It consists of masa harina and corn, slowly steamed or boiled in a pot of water…As in Chile, Ecuadorian humitas are prepared with fresh ground corn with onions, eggs and spices that vary from region to region, and also by each family’s tradition. The dough is wrapped in a corn husk, but is steamed rather than baked or boiled. Ecuadorian humitas may also contain cheese. This dish is so traditional in Ecuador that they have developed special pots just for cooking humitas. Ecuadorian humitas can be salty or sweet.”
And just what does “humitas” mean. Humitas literally means “little steamed things”

Humitas in the kitchen

It seems as though you remove the kernels of corn from the cob, saving some of the “milk” as it aids in digestion according to some, and grind it in a food grinder to a “lumpy” consistency. (Maybe a food processor if a grinder is not available?) “…Depending on whether you’re in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela or the Caribbean, they’re known as humitas, humintas, tamales, tamalli, tamalitos verdes, chapanas, bollos, choclotanda, chumales, cachapas, chapanas, chiguiles, envueltos de mazorca, ayacas, hallacas, juanes, pamonhas. The filling can be sweet or savory, made with fresh or dried corn, plantains or potatoes, wrapped corn husks, banana leaves or parchment paper, steamed or baked, served as a snack, side dish, casserole or heavy stew…Lighter than the pork and chicken filled tamales… these [are] made of fresh corn pureed with scallions then blended with egg yolks, milk, cheese, and a little brandy. The filling is wrapped in corn husks and steamed then topped with ají criollo, a hot pepper sauce. Most recipes tell you that the water content of North American corn is too high in water and too low in starch. [Some people] solve this problem by adding cornmeal to get the right consistency.” [hungrysofia.com] Some recipes call for steaming the humitas and not to boil or bake. Traditionally, I think from what I have read, steaming is the way to go.

Humitas

René enjoys some humitas

Now I suppose you would like a recipe. Ecuador Humitas Recipe. These are about as traditional as I could find. Don’t forget to grind the corn and don’t leave the kernels whole. The recipe link posted here also has the (a) recipe for the sauce, ají criollo, which can be hot and spicy, but doesn’t need to be. Experiment. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get René’s recipe.
 

 

 

 

What’s This Cougar Gold Cheese?

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It’s probably one of the greatest cheddar cheeses you could EVER eat! And it’s a cheese in a can! Not aerosol driven. So it is not Cheeze Whiz. Nor is it Velveeta! It’s pure, fantastic, fresh cows milk cheese.
Corti Brothers Store, 5810 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95819 916-736-3800, is probably one of the most fun grocery stores you will ever enter and they have some great information on this cheese! “…Frank Corti And Gino Corti started Corti Brothers in 1947…” and it has been open ever since. Darrell Corti, who Robin knows quite well and who I met several years ago, is the son of Frank Corti. From their website, Corti Brothers,

…Darrell, whose encyclopedic knowledge of food and wine attracts queries from around the world. As told by Ruth Reichel in her memoir Comfort Me With Apples, Colman Andrews described Darrell to her as the man “who knows more about food and wine than anyone else in the world.”
In 1967, using his role as an insider’s insider, he reached out to the rest of the country with a newsletter, featuring rare, high quality food items and wines discovered during his travels in Europe and Asia. After forty plus years of continuous publication, it is still prized for its wealth of information, including essential details about a product’s history, modes of production, uses, and occasional esoteric bits that ‘foodies’ adore. Never dull, Darrell is known for free expression of his wide ranging opinions, which are often iconoclastic and seldom sugar-coated.
Darrell’s contribution to the food and wine literacy of his friends, associates, and customers has been considerable. He played a large role in the development of wine production in Amador County. He was made a Cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of knighthood, by the Italian government for his efforts in promoting Italian products, not the least of which was the almost single-handed introduction of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale to America. Darrell, an early champion of local olive production, has seen his efforts bear fruit as chairman of the Los Angeles County Fair’s International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.

So when I say that Darrell Corti knows his cheeses and he likes to share his knowledge, here is what he says about Cougar Gold.
“COUGAR GOLD CHEESE is the result of war! In fact it may the only good thing ever to have come out of war. During World War II, it was created by Washington State University to be used as military rations. It is the only cheese that I know of that is made and aged in a tin can. Normally, one does not think of cheese aged in a can, but Cougar Gold has become famous for this methodology. It is a “cheddar” like cheese that I think is possibly the best cheese to accompany wine. It has very low acidity, which does not change the taste of wine, and does have the clean sharpness of an aged cheese. Unique, it is made only at Pullman, Washington, and deserves to be better known.

It is also an easy to care for cheese. Just buy several tins and put them in your refrigerator and turn them from time to time. They just sit there getting better and better. It is also a cheese that is firm, with a crumbly texture, a pale yellow color and it will have specks of tyrosomine on it. Once the can is opened, wrap the cheese in waxed paper and then film and enjoy it until it’s gone. I think it is perfect with an old Cabernet or Vintage Port, perhaps not rich enough for Burgundy. If you like cheese and have not had Cougar Gold, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is hard to resist. By the way, when was the last time you had a 10 year old cheese? COUGAR GOLD CHEESE 30 oz tin.” [Corti Brothers website]

Here is what the WSU Creamery says about Cougar Gold.
“Our most famous & popular cheese! Winner of several national and international awards. A rich, white cheddar with a smooth, firm texture. This unique cheddar has a depth and intensity that most people have never before experienced. Its creamy, lingering flavor will leave you wanting for more! Our current stock of Cougar Gold is just over one year in age. Buy 2 and store one for aging, as it becomes more sharp and crumbly with age, developing crystals throughout, which can give it kind of a crunch…Purchasing cheese from the WSU Creamery helps support student employees of Washington State University by providing competitive wages and valuable work experiences…In May of 1992, the Creamery moved from its old home in Troy Hall to a fantastic and modern new location in the Food Quality Building. This new facility allows the Creamery to be at the forefront of research in cheese production. It allows WSU students to gain work experience directly applicable to the work they may be doing in the Food Science field upon graduating… A portion of the revenue from the sale of WSU Creamery products is used for educational support of Food Science students.”

You can purchase it from Corti Brothers, see the link above, or you can purchase it directly from the Washington State Creamery at WSU Creamery. We usually send some to our family and friends at Christmas. But be aware, they do run out of it and then you will have to wait until early Spring or so to get some. And it ages very well. WSU claims that one of their customers had a tin of Cougar Gold for 25 years! And when they opened it, it was awesome. Robin and I have 1 tin of Cougar Gold produced in 2009. All tins come date stamped and who produced it.