Greatly Improved Sausage Gravy

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A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Chef Storm Hodge of Parma Ridge Winery Restaurant about sausage gravy. He makes an awesome biscuits and gravy that are rightly called Best Ever Biscuits and Gravy with a Fried Egg served Sundays for brunch at the winery. And they are that good. I spent many years in south central Tennessee where biscuits and sausage gravy are a mainstay – especially with fresh poke greens. But Chef Storm’s sausage gravy is far superior! Yes it is! Thank you Chef for your suggestion.

Acme Bakeshop Toasted Sourdough Imkproved Sausage Gravy Over Easy Eggs

Acme Bake Shop Toasted Sourdough
with
Improved Sausage Gravy
Over Easy Eggs


Up to now, I always made my sausage gravy, or any gravy for the matter, using a roux of butter and flour. That probably has come to an end. Here is the recipe for the above pictured Toasted Sourdough and Sausage Gravy. (I didn’t have any biscuits – I could have made some – so I used the sourdough. Thanks Acme Bake Shop!)

Sausage Gravy
Ingredients:
1/4 lbs Country Sausage
2 c whole Milk
1/2 c Heavy Cream
1 t fresh grated Nutmeg
Sea Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Pepper to taste
Thickening Slurry – 1 T Cornstarch + 2 T Water. Mix to make a slurry

Directions:
Crumble the sausage and brown over med-high heat. Set aside reserving 1 T liquid.

Make the thickening slurry.

Place the milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a sauce pan. Heat to a simmering boil. Do not scorch! Add browned sausage and 1 T of sausage liquid. Stir to combine. Stiring, add the thickening slurry. Stir gently, but constantly, until thickened to your liking.

Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Remove from heat, but keep warm.

Serve with biscuits and an egg.

Happy Hour at Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant

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22July2016_1_Parma-Ridge-Friday_Robin_Nikon-BestWe’ve not been out to Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant for their Friday Happy Hour until last night. Glad we went. They are very busy, so if you have a crowd of more than four, it’s best to call ahead. The patio is open and a large part of it is covered.The patio is open! Wonderful sunny and warm day.The menu may also be somewhat different than the Saturday or Sunday Brunch menus. Check the link above for the available menus or look at This Weekend at Parma Ridge to see the menu varieties for at least one of the weekends. Whenever you go, and I highly suggest this 5-Star winery and restaurant, you will be treated to some awesome wines and definitely some awesome food as prepared by Chef Storm and Sous Chef Megan. The Staff in the restaurant has grown! They have added Sous Chef Megan and service Staff. Our server Tammy was excellent. Thank-You! Here is some of the Happy Hour food that was at our table. We did not eat all of this as Fred and Dottie Christensen joined us. Good to see friends there. Enjoy! We did.

 Storm's Deluxe Burger - $8.95 Beef Patty with American cheese and Old-School Diner Sauce served with Fresh Cut Truffle Fries Fred had this.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich – $9.95
Grilled Chicken and Homemade Pesto with Prosciutto and melted Swiss Cheese on a Toasted Ciabatta Bun with Fresh Cut Truffle Fries

Fred had this.

Poached Pear

Parma Ridge Pear Salad – $8.95, with Grilled Chicken $11.95
Mixed greens with apple cider vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese and Poached Pear with Grilled Bread

Dottie had this. The salad is huge!

One-Inch Cut Char-Grilled Ribeye Steak - $16.95 Topped with Bleu Cheese Butter and accompanied by Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes with Cabernet Beef Demi-Glace, Grilled Asparagus and Storm's Homemade Grilled Bread

One-Inch Cut Char-Grilled Ribeye Steak – $16.95
Topped with Bleu Cheese Butter and accompanied by Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes with Cabernet Beef Demi-Glace, Grilled Asparagus and Storm’s Homemade Grilled Bread

Robin had this and took half of it home! It is a large portion.

Storm’s Famous Salmon - $16.95  Brined, Lightly Smoked and Pan Fried with Rosemary Truffle Butter and Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes accompanied by Grilled Asparagus Storm's Homemade Grilled Bread

Storm’s Famous Salmon – $16.95
Brined, Lightly Smoked and Pan Fried with Rosemary Truffle Butter and Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes accompanied by Grilled Asparagus Storm’s Homemade Grilled Bread

This is what I had. Delicious and moist!

We did have wine. A wonderful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that paired wonderfully with asparagus. (Robin tried the newest rage of vanilla ice cream in red wine. She tried it with this blend. Wasn’t bad! If you like Guinness and Ice Cream you will probably like this.) And then we had some –

2015 Chardonnay, $16.50
Fargo Farms – Snake River Valley
Everything you would expect from the terroir of the area, this dry Chardonnay is made with Chardonnay grapes from Fargo Farms and a touch of Gewürztraminer from Parma Ridge Vineyards. This wine has been created to preserve the intense flavors and aromas without any manipulation. Hints of grapefruit and rosemary compliment the tart finish to be enjoyed any time of the year.

​2015 Dry Riesling, $16.50
Fargo Farms – Snake River Valley
Made with 100% Riesling, this dry wine features melon with citrus notes and touches of honey crisp apple. This smooth wine is a perfect complement creamy pasta and sharp cheeses. This also pared very well with asparagus. Hard to find a wine that pares well with asparagus or artichoke and maybe avocado.

Such a great evening at the winery and restaurant. Definitely 5-Stars!!!

This Weekend at Parma Ridge


Good weekend coming up at Parma Ridge Winery. Movie “Bottle Shock” tonight at the drive-in in Parma.

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

The patio is open! Wonderful sunny and warm day.

Looks like another great weekend at Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant. Includng the Movie “Bottle Shock” on Wednesday, July 20 at Motor-Vu (in Parma) tonight for wine tasting. Look at these delicious offerings for the weekend.

Come to Parma Ridge this weekend for wonderful wine
fabulous food and an amazing view on the Patio

Join us this weekend for wine tasting and excellent cuisine and enjoy the view with your friends and family. We are open Friday, 12-9 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with wine tasting and regular menu all weekend long. We have Happy Hour on Friday evening from 4-7p.m. and Sunday Brunch Specials. Reservations are recommended if dining on the patio or in the tasting room.

PARMA RIDGE NIGHT AT THE MOVIES – TONIGHT, WEDNESDAY JULY 20
Join us at the Parma Motor-Vu Drive-In Theater on tonight at 8 p.m. for Wine…

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Slow Cooker Cooking


Crock-Pot-Blog-Post_PhotoAh yes. The infamous Crock-Pot, or Slow Cooker. In an article in the Huffington Post, A Brief History Of The Crock Pot, The Original Slow Cooker, they state that “… People tend to use the terms “Crock Pot” and “slow cookers” interchangeably, but they are not, in fact, interchangeable. While all Crock Pots are slow cookers, not all slow cookers are Crock Pots…Don’t get too disappointed. Just because the Crock Pot is a brand doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an interesting back story. In fact, the Crock Pot’s story is rooted in Jewish mothers and beans. The device was inspired by a dish the inventor’s mother told him about. From a humble bowl of bean stew grew a kitchen ware empire. Here’s the story:…Irving Naxon applied for a patent for a food heating device in 1936. His device consisted of an insert, held up by a case that held a heating device, which facilitated even heating of food inside the insert. The device was also portable…By 1940, Naxon got his patent for the device he called the Naxon Beanery, and he says his Lithuanian mother, Tamara Kaslovski Nachumsohn, inspired him. Naxon’s mother had told him stories about a bean-based stew she used to make in her village bakery at home in Lithuania.
In the early 1970s, Naxon sold his design to Rival Manufacturing, who rebranded his Beanery and put it on the market as the Crock Pot. It was marketed toward working mothers who could put food in the pot before leaving for the office and come home to a cooked meal; the Crock Pot sold millions through the ‘70s. The Crock Pot “cooks all day while the cook’s away,” a 1976 advertisement said, the LA Times reports…
Today, slow cooking is as popular as ever, as 83 percent of families owned a slow cooker in 2011, according to Consumer Reports. The original Crock Pot design has changed little over the years, but now the insert is removable, a major improvement.”

But what about all the recipes I have collected over the years. How can I adapt them to the Slow Cooker? Good question. From About (dot) com we get some interesting information on this subject. Homecooking.

Reduce the amount of liquid used in most oven recipes when using the LOW setting, since the crockpot retains all moisture that usually evaporates when cooking in the oven. Add liquids for sauces about an hour before done. You will normally end up with more liquid at the end of cooking times, not less. A general rule is to reduce liquids by half, unless rice or pasta is in the dish.

• Spices may need to be adjusted. Whole herbs and spices are more flavorful in crockpot cooking while ground spices may have lose some flavor. Add ground spices during the last hour of cooking. Whole herbs and spices will probably need to be reduced by half.
• Crockpots may vary but generally, the LOW setting is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees. One hour on HIGH is approximately equal to 2 to 2 1/2 hours on LOW. Most crockpot recipes recommend cooking 8-10 hours on LOW. Some recipes recommend the HIGH setting based on the nature and texture of the food.
You will have to judge your recipe accordingly. For example, beef cuts will be better cooked on LOW for 8-10 hours to get a more tender texture, while chicken may be cooked on HIGH 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Ingredients to Avoid
• Rice, noodles, macaroni, seafood, milk and Chinese vegetables do not hold up well when cooked 8-10 hours. Add these to sauces or liquid about 2 hours before serving when using LOW setting (or 1 hour before if set to HIGH). If you want to use milk in an 8-10 hour recipe, use evaporated milk.
• Frozen foods cooking at low temperatures can provide the ideal medium for harmful bacteria. If you use frozen “make-ahead” ingredients in your crockpot, defrost them first.

Prepping for the Crockpot
• Choose well-marbled meats and dark-meat poultry for best results. Chicken breasts and lean meats will dry out.
• Browning meats before cooking is a personal choice. It is not necessary, but it will reduce the fat content of some meats. Browned meats also benefit textually and visually.
• Sautéing vegetables (like onions, etc) is not necessary, (except for eggplant which should be parboiled or sautéed prior due to its strong flavor). Just add them to the pot with everything else. You may wish to reduce quantities of stronger vegetables since they will permeate the other foods in the crockpot with their full flavor.

How to Convert Recipes
You generally need twice as much liquid as product to cook these ingredients. Here are basic conversion times:
If conventional time is: 15 to 30 minutes, then cooking time on low should be 4 to 6 hours.
If conventional time is 35 to 45 minutes, cooking time on low should be 6 to 8 hours.
If conventional time is 50 minutes to 3 hours, cooking time on low should be 8 to 16 hours.
Cooking most raw meat and vegetable combinations at least 8 hours on LOW. This gives the vegetables time to soften, the meat time to tenderize and all the flavors to blend.

Of course, the new hotter cooking crockpots change the rules. If you have a crockpot that is less than five years old, you’ll probably need to reduce the cooking time.
In fact, some of the newer recipes I’ve seen in magazines cook the food for only 3-4 hours on low. That’s not really ‘slow cooking’, but it’s the reality of the crockpot manufacturing today. Check the food at four hours on low, using an instant read meat thermometer to see if the food is done.

For more information on using your favorite recipes in a crockpot, look at Cooking Times for Specific Foods. This article has more in-depth information on cooking times for more specific items, i.e., steak, beans, chicken, Swiss steak, brisket, meatloaf, ham and soup to name a few. Give them a try. Great for Gameday treats! Here is a Gameday recipe we use, Creole Slow Cooker Pork Chops, but there are many more ideas at Boise Foodie Guild Recipes. It should be fun. Here is a link for some oven to crockpot recipes. There are more. Lots more! Five Ingredient Crockpot Recipes crockpot recipes. All that being said, here is a good resource for finding the right crockpot for you: Picking the Slow Cooker That’s Right For You.

33 Anniversary at Capitol Cellars in Boise


14July2016_1b_33-Anniv_Capitol;-Cellars_GlasswareYou bet. Our 33rd wedding anniversary and Bastille Day celebration at Capitol Cellars with awesome French foods and wines. Visit theem at the preceeding link or at 110 S 5th St., Boise. (208) 344-9463. A great time and thank-you Marnie for joining us and thank-you to Dr and Mrs Jutzy – she was celebrating her birthday! It was a celebration dinner! The loud dude who sat at the end of our table should have stayed home! At any rate, it was a superb evening! Definitely 5-Star dining. They source their food products from local farmers. Just look at what we had.

The menu for the evening

The menu for the evening

Logan Symser, General Manager, sabers a bottle of champagne.

Logan Symser, General Manager, sabors a bottle of champagne.

Table decorations

Table decorations

When we arrived, each one of us received a glass of 2015 Nicolas Pinot Noir Rosè. Then dinner started.

Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras brioche toast, broiled apricots, raspberry-balsamic glaze and micro greens 2006 Maison Nicolas Sauterne

Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
brioche toast, broiled apricots, raspberry-balsamic glaze and micro greens
2006 Maison Nicolas Sauternes

Nicoise Salad arugula, sunflower sprouts, herbs de Provence, seared tuna, haricots verts, egg, Kalamata olives dressing, tomato 2013 Selection Laurence Feraud Cotes du Rhone

Niçoise Salad
arugula, sunflower sprouts, herbs de Provence, seared tuna, haricots verts, egg, Kalamata olives dressing, tomato
2013 Selection Laurence Feraud Côte du Rhone

Seared Duck Breast summer vegetable ratatouille, port reduction sauce, beech mushroom, tomato, truffle oil, local stewed cherries 2010 hateau Patache d'Aux Cru Bourgeois, Medoc

Seared Duck Breast
summer vegetable ratatouille, port reduction sauce, beech mushroom, tomato, truffle oil, local stewed cherries
2010 Chateau Patache d’Aux Cru Bourgeois, Medoc

Berry Tart creme patissiere, fresh berries, blueberry coulis, Chantilly cream NV Jean Laurent Champagne Blanc de Noirs

Berry Tart
Crème patissiere, fresh berries, blueberry coulis, Chantilly cream
NV Jean Laurent Champagne Blanc de Noirs

This Weekend at Parma Ridge Winery


Great weekend coming up at the winery!

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

6April216_1c_Parma-Ridge-Restaurant_HeaderIt looks like another great weekend at Parma Ridge Winery and Restaurant. Never been there? Then you have missed a great adventure. Great food. Great wine. Parties of 6 or more? Call for reservations! Here’s what’s happening at the winery!

Parma Ridge is the place to be this weekend!
Relax on the patio with wonderful wine, fabulous food and an amazing view

It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend on the Parma Ridge patio! Join us for wine tasting and excellent cuisine and enjoy the view with your friends and family. We are open Friday, 12-9 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with wine tasting and regular menu all weekend long. We have Happy Hour on Friday evening from 4-7p.m. and Sunday Brunch Specials. Reservations are recommended if dining on the patio or in the tasting room.

DELICIOUS FOOD SPECIALS (while supplies last):

Rib-Eye Steak Ribeye…

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Parma Ridge Winery Weekend Specials


Exciting weekend coming up!

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

29June2016_1_Capitol-Cellars_Funny-Sign

Yes. Another qweekend rolls around. And in Boise, there’s nothing to do. Right ………… Wrong! So after you do all the “neat” summertime activities available to everyone in Boise, you really must go to Parma Ridge Winery! Eat at Happy Hour, or Dinner or Sunday Brunch! And just look at what is going on this weekend!

“Are you ready for the weekend?
We are, with wonderful wine, fabulous food and an amazing view

It’s going to be a fun weekend! Join us on Friday from 5-9 to enjoy the Lucky Tongue Band on the Patio or come by on Saturday or Sunday for Lunch and Wine Tasting. We have Happy Hour on Friday evening from 4-7p.m. and Sunday Brunch Specials. Reservations are recommended if dining on the patio or in the tasting room. We are open Friday, 12-9 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m…

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July 4th Weekend at Parma Ridge Winery


Great food and wine at Parma Ridge Winery this coming weekend.

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

11May2016_1_Parma-Ridge_Storm-CloudsOK. So I really need to try to stop using my IPhone for looking at these notices. The first one Stephanie sent me is now floating around in La-La Land laughing! Grrrrrr! But everything comes to those who wait and Stephanie was kind enough to re-send this information. Thanks Stephanie.
IUt looks like a busy and exciting weekend. And the food! It looks delicious. I know the wines are fantastic. We had some last night at Capitol Cellars Hosts Parma Ridge Winery. Add that event to the July 4th celebrations and it could be a long weekend. Here’s what’s happening at Parma Ridge Winery this weekend.

A beautiful weekend of wonderful wine, fabulous food, and an amazing view is coming up!

It’s 4th of July Weekend! Bring your family and enjoy the wine and delicious cuisine on the patio. We are open Friday, 12-9 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m. and…

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Capitol Cellars Hosts Parma Ridge Winery


Gr eat wine dinner! Thank-You Parma Ridge Winery and Capitol Cellars Restaurant.

Treasure Valley Food and Wine Blog

The entrance at 5th and Main in the Belgrade Building.Such a great Wine Dinner hosted by Capitol Cellars in Boise. The featured wines were from Parma Ridge Winery. And if I may so bold as to say, if you need something to do on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, give the Parma Ridge Winery Restaurant a try. Chef Storm Hodges does an awesome job in the kitchen while Stephanie serves some great wines.
The wine dinner served consisted 1 appetizer and 3 entrees and Parma Ridge wines that were perfectly matched. The 2014 Merlot that was served with the Pork Ballontine is in short supply – they have mostly sold out. A wonderful Idaho Merlot and we were lucky enough to get 2 bottles! Yea! Here is how the dinner went. Delicious!

Stephanie and Chef Storm Hodges. Ownrs/Winemakers of Parma Ridge Winery. Stephanie and Chef Storm Hodges. Owners/Winemakers of Parma Ridge Winery.

The Menu The Menu

I did not get a photo of the appetizer, Amuse Bouche, an apricot-prosecco…

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A Delightful Visit to Juniper


28June2016_1_Juniper_Inside-BarOn Tuesday, June 28, we visited Juniper, on 8th Street and we were delightfully surprised. It reminded me a lot of the Cloud 9 Nano Brewery and Pub Review. Essentially the same type of floor plan but an extended menu from Cloud 9. Both are very deserving of our 4-Star rating. We will most likely to return to Juniper, as the staff was delightful and the food awesome. There are some other items on the menu that we want to try. Here are some photos from today’s visit. They had a special soup today, Ginger Carrot Soup, and they gave us a sample. Spicy. Candied ginger. It reminded me of a tomato soup. That texture and “after taste”. Good. Cheers!

Seating is around the edge of the pub, with some at the bar.

Seating is around the edge of the pub, with some at the bar.

A delightful array of local beer and wines. Here we hav a Dutch Quad beer - very dark but very good - and a special drink called a Juni and the Jets -

A delightful array of local beer and wines. Here we have a Dutch Quad beer – very dark but very good – and a special drink called a Juni and the Jets – Gin, St Germaine, Grapefruit, Juniper Simple Syrup and Sparkles.

Pear and Fig Chutney Grilled Cheese - Ballard White Cheddar, Gruyer and Pear and Fig Chutney.

Pear and Fig Chutney Grilled Cheese – Ballard White Cheddar, Gruyère and Pear and Fig Chutney.

Wonderful salmon. The Dutch Quad went very well with this. The beer actually counteracted the sweetness of the honey, yet enhanced the salmon. Wonderful! Gin and Honet Glaved Honey

Wonderful salmon. The Dutch Quad went very well with this. The beer actually counteracted the sweetness of the honey, yet enhanced the salmon. Wonderful! Gin and Honey Glazed Salmon – Fried Sage and Seasonal Vegetable

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