Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roasted "Punkin" Seeds

The big treat in carving pumpkins, or cutting up pumpkins to bake and make into the pies: the roasted seeds. You can eat these seeds whole, or crack them like sunflower seeds and eat the meat. When you get the seeds nice and crispy in the oven, the shells taste just as good as the meat.
Make your pumpkin carvers save the seeds.

This is the slimy part, getting the seeds off the strings and goo. Dig in and squeeze and the seeds pop off.

It's O-K to leave a little pumpkin on the seeds, it adds flavor.

Next, boil the seeds in water and sea salt. I used about a quarter cup of salt for this batch. I boiled them for about 15 minutes. Then - you drain them.

Here they are almost ready to roast. At this point, I toss the seeds in about 2 tablespoons of butter. You can use any oil, and you need an oil to get them extra crispy. Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Spread the oil-tossed seeds on a baking sheet. Stir them around after about 10 minutes. Roast them to the brownness you want. We like ours extra toasty!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Review of Bonefish

We recently gave Bonefish a try. It's in downtown Boise near the Cultural District. I didn't know until afterwards that it's a chain. Let's order a salad....

I was the only one who ordered a salad, this is a Caesar and it was served on a well-chilled plate. That's something I haven't seen in years. It was very good. The night we ate there, there were only a couple people in the restaurant. They do have a children's menu, and the tables are covered with paper - so kids are invited to draw all over them, and my daughter did just that.

This is the shrimp diablo dish that I ordered. It was....o-k. The sauce was thick and tasted to me like something out of a jar. There was a slight kick on my tongue, but the overall flavor was bland and the noodles were overcooked.

My husband ordered grilled salmon with seasonal vegetables and chimichurri sauce. See all the oil on the plate? He said the salmon was fine. His biggest complaint was "too much sauce." I think he was referring to the oil. I did not take a picture of my daughter's penne pasta and cheese dish. She ate one small bite and said it was awful. The sauce looked like melted Velveeta. The server's style in addressing us was patronizing. She seemed to talk down to us, maybe because we were a family and we didn't look sophisticated enough to her. So...two thumbs down for Bonefish. If this is your favorite restaurant, please chime in and tell me about your experiences. I always feel bad when I give a restaurant a negative review, but I am being honest. It was also pricey, which is always disappointing when the food isn't good enough to make me want to lick the plate!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy

Homemade biscuits and gravy. I use the bulk breakfast sausage, milk, flour, water, some gravy seasoning I have on hand, and about a half of a cup of maple syrup stirred in at the end.
These biscuits are perfect for the gravy, or add a little more sugar and treat them like scones with tea. They are messy to make. They're buttermilk biscuits. I use a recipe I got from Cook's Illustrated a couple of years ago. The basic ingredients are:
2 cups flour - and more when shaping the biscuits
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tsp of salt
4 tablespoons of butter
1 and 1/2 cups of low-fat buttermilk - cold (the powdered buttermilk or the regular milk and vinegar substitution does not work in this recipe)
Use cooking spray to coat the inside of a regular cake pan. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to mix. Then cut the butter into chunks and process with the dry ingredients a few times until it's crumbly. Pour the processed stuff into a big bowl. Mix in the buttermilk. Use cooking spray to liberally coat a 1/4 cup measuring scoop. Spread about a cup of flour on a cookie sheet (I use one with a lip around the edge to lessen the mess). Quickly scoop the 1/4 cup portions of the sticking, wet dough onto the flour. Just keep scooping until you've used it all. Then roll the blobs in the flour quickly, and snug them together in the cake pan. You can brush the tops with melted butter, if you want. Cook at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Lower temp to 450 and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden. Remove from oven and dump the biscuits onto a kitchen towel. Eat right away with butter, or jam, or drench them in gravy. They don't keep - you must eat them all!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treat From My Friend

Wow, I'm sooo lucky. My friend brought this treat to me (she lives in the house behind ours). The cookies were warm, the coffee was a blessing (and it said so on the cup!), and the fall adornments darling. And my daughter was very happy to see acorns when she got home.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"New" Terra Chips - Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

A new kind of Terra Chip - which are vegetable chips made from other than regular potatoes. These are sweet potatoes and carrots. My family loves carrots so I thought these would be a hit, and they're healthy. My husband actually spit out his taste, and my daughter did the same. So much for that idea!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sauteed Cabbage

This was super yummy and simple. Sauteed cabbage. The cabbage was fresh from my garden. I sliced it thinly, got a little dab of butter bubbling in the pan and then plopped the cabbage in. I added a little salt and fresh ground pepper. I cooked it until I saw a couple of brown edges - probably 5 minutes. Do not be afraid of "cabbage odors" with this dish. That distinct cabbage smell is released only when cabbage is overcooked.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Proto's - Restaurant Review

We went to dinner at Proto's in downtown Boise this week. The restaurant is in the BoDo district. I was attracted to the sidewalk dining, and the food smelled really good. They advertise that they serve "Neapolitan-style" pizza. I'm not expert enough to know about that, but what they serve is pizza on a cracker-crisp thin crust. A large pepperoni is pictured. It didn't get kudos from my family because the cracker crust was salty, and the pizza toppings were skimpy - although I'm sure they had to be to match the crust. Not much flavor. My daughter actually spit out what she was chewing on one point because her 6-year old taste buds found so objectionable. We started dinner with salads.
This is the Caesar salad. It is normally served with white anchovies, I declined mine. The salad is listed on the menu as featuring "handmade croutons" - which turned out to be this piece of pizza crust that was so hard, I couldn't even bite into it. The fresh grated cheese on the salad was good. The dressing was bland.

My husband had the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad. The menu said it was sprinkled with kosher salt, and obviously, it wasn't, but my husband said it was good. He liked the balsamic vinegar.
We didn't opt for dessert. While the food was not a hit with us, we really liked the outdoor seating and it was the perfect night in Boise to sit outside.
If this is your favorite restaurant, please let me know. I feel bad not giving it glowing reviews, but it just didn't work for my family.