Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday Night Special: Airborne Eggs

Kyoto was the dinner destination last night. Regular readers know it's a regular eatery for our family. We sat at the grill for the show, the warmth...and of course, the fresh food. We also ordered some sushi. It was a hot spot to be last night. Owners Lee and Vincent told us it was likely because regular Saturday night diners wouldn't be able to make it tonight because of Halloween festivities.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Batty Pasta

Halloween-themed pasta all cooked up. The shapes always look so much better before cooking. I have to say this was the first time I had ever had black-colored pasta. How'd they do that? One of the ingredients listed was cuttlefish. Did they use cuttlefish ink? And I think because I read the ingredients, the pasta had a fishy taste for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dinner-to-Go at the Pita Pit

I'd had some friends tell me when you just need to pick up some quick food downtown, and you're not in the mood for a hot dog cart, check out the Pita I did last night. All fresh ingredients loaded into pocket bread. I tried the chicken Caesar with tomatoes and olives. It was a good, quick meal, and one pita is enough for two people. The young men working here used to work for another downtown eatery, one that has been struggling because of the economy, and they were laid off. They're thinking of looking into opening their own restaurant business and I wish them the best of luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Boise" Cream Pie

When you "need" a Boston Cream Pie, which we call a "Boise" Cream Pie - stop by locally-owned Pastry Perfection on Glenwood. They stock this vanilla version and a chocolate version. This was my daughter's special request as a birthday cake this week.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Season

A precious little pillow of pumpkin bread my friend delivered to me this morning, along with a cup of tea. I love this idea of a single-serving sweetbread. This pumpkin bread is spicy and has pecans, too. What's your favorite pumpkin bread recipe?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Casa Mexico Friday Night Special

A quick dinner at Casa Mexico at Fairview and Five Mile last night. This is the Friday Night Special, "Crab Enchiladas." As you can see, lots of cheese, too. There were two enchiladas hiding under the cheese and sauce. Light on crab, but flavorful. Two things I like about Casa Mexico: they have one of those old-time ice machines so water and sodas are loaded with those small, crunchy, cylindrical pieces of ice that used to be common in restaurants - and on Friday nights, there's always a harpist playing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ready for Trick-or-Treaters

The treat basket is loaded up and ready for trick-or-treaters. Since this is ready a week early, I wonder how many of these candy bars will still be ready for trick-or-treaters next week? And yes, I always hand out full-sized candy bars, so stop by next Saturday if you want one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Etouffee at the Brick Oven Bistro

Dinner cafeteria-style last night at the Brick Oven Bistro in The Grove, downtown Boise. I had seen so many tweets about the etouffee they were serving up, I had to try it out. My husband and I got the last two servings for the night. It was full of complex flavors and served over rice. I always want more kick in my food, I'm sure others think there was plenty of spice! But this is something I would order again. I ate mine with a side of fresh Italian bread.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beet Goes On....the Table

I was recently reading an article by someone complaining that the White House garden had no beets in it...and then, beets arrived in my organic box delivery yesterday. I had never served my family beets before. My daughter thought they were strange-looking because of their hairy roots. I really didn't know what to do with them, so I treated them like potatoes - such an Idaho thing to do! I peeled and diced them, tossed them with a little olive oil and coarse salt and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Here they are served up with some jasmine rice and teriyaki quick chicken. The beets caramelized in the oven, and passed the taste test with the family.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baked Potato Goodness

Big enough to be a whole meal. An Idaho baker just out of the oven and topped with butter. We like our baked potatoes to have crispy skins and creamy insides. I brush the washed spuds with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Be sure to poke a couple of holes in the potatoes so they don't explode in the oven. Place in a pre-heated oven for crispy skin (425 degrees is good), and never wrap the potato in aluminum foil - that results in a steamed potato, not a baked one. I baked this one for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Morning from Latte Land

Yes, you can do this at home! Our trusty Starbucks Barista machine has been pulling these pretty shots for eight years now. I turned these into a latte with extra foam and a spritz of caramel. It's so much easier to get your request right when you're the one putting the drink together :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Burnt Ends Brisket "Kansas City" Style

A burnt ends brisket sandwich "Kansas City" style served up at Goodwood. It was tasty and a bit different than usual Boise brisket fare.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Penne Pasta with Prosciutto

Penne pasta with prosciutto taste test last night. This is a Schwan's item, and it was passable. Of course, making this from scratch probably wouldn't have taken much longer than the 9-10 minutes in the microwave for this "instant" dish. And, it would have probably been better if I hadn't messed up with the Parmesan cheese. The directions said to sprinkle it on top after cooking for 7 minutes. I clipped open the bag of cheese and it came out in a frozen lump. I tried to spread it around, but it became a globby mess.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew with Kale

This is what I did with the kale that arrived in my organic box this week. I stirred it into the beef stew the last few minutes it was cooking. Really, the kale turned out not to have as much flavor as I thought it would. For the stew: I browned flour-dredged chunks of beef and seasoned the meat. I put one medium onion, baby carrots and six cloves of garlic in the crockpot, added the beef, poured a can of diced tomatoes on top, added two cups of chicken broth and about a cup of red wine. I seasoned with oregano, pepper, and a bit of basil. About an hour before serving, I added the baby baker potatoes. Total simmer time was about nine hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Idaho Potato Girl Takes on Kale

I can honestly say I had never before purchased this veggie, but it arrived in my organic box delivery this week, so I'm going to put it to use. Kale is not what I consider an Idaho staple, but I know I've enjoyed it in salads and soups. I'm going to experiment with adding this kale to a beef stew that's simmering today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BBQ Steak- Two Rounds of Grilling

Our family doesn't hesitate to fire up the BBQ any time of year. It just takes a little longer to cook the food in the chilly weather. Above is a rib-eye steak. I usually turn the gas grill on to about 225 degrees and put the steaks on to warm them up before really grilling them. That methods seems to help get rid of that strange overdone gray zone that usually shows up along the edges. Warm them for about 20 minutes, remove from the grill and turn up the heat. Add seasonings and cook to your level of perfection. We like pink, but not red.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Taste Test: The Idaho Spud Bar

With the holiday season approaching, stores are stocking 12-packs of Idaho Spud bars so Idahoans can send them as gifts. It's a novelty candy that doesn't really look like a potato, except for the general shape. It's a chocolate-covered marshmallow candy sprinkled with coconut, and manufactured by the Idaho Candy Co. - which has been in business in downtown Boise for more than 100 years. Below is what I offered my 8-year old daughter to sample.

She is NOT a fan of the Spud Bar. One teeny bite and it was refused.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

But I didn't make them. My friend Faith did and they were excellent. Lots of extras for the freezer, too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Miss My Kitchen

A week without a kitchen is, hopefully, coming to an end this weekend. A flooring project has evicted me from the kitchen since Monday. I've had some good restaurant experiences during that time, and some really marginal experiences, with the worst one last night. We'll be glad to have some home-cooked food again soon. This is what the drip pans on my gas stove looked like yesterday before I started working on the massive dusting project our house needs now!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Rare Find in Idaho: Cioppino

Cioppino over linguine for dinner last night as we tried out Bella Aquila in Eagle. It's in a lovely spot along the Boise River, and there are several more things on the menu I want to try, but just seeing cioppino offered - I couldn't pass it up. It's not a common menu item in this part of the world. Review? It was good, but I would have liked it spicier. My husband ordered the lasagna pictured below.
The twist on this was that it had salami in it. He says it was a subtle added taste. They offer a sweet potato gnocci that I may try next time. It's a white-table cloth place, but casual and they do have a kid's menu.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boise Deli Adventure: Marbled Rye, Pastrami and Egg Salad

One of the most vivid memories of our New York trip last year was the Carnegie Deli. I had heard descriptions, but it had to be experienced to understand. The Woody Allen sandwich is my husband's favorite. I like egg salad. So with NY deli thoughts in our heads, we tried out Gandolfo's Deli, which bills itself as a New York deli. Above is the I Love NY sandwich: pastrami, corned beef and Swiss cheese on marbled rye, served hot. And below is the Eastside egg salad sandwich on sourdough.
When I saw the marbled rye, I was jealous. The egg salad was good, but next time, I want that rye! My husband gave his sandwich a "thumbs up," too. The deli was clean and those working the counter were attentive and even came out to the seating area, twice, to ask if the food was to our liking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blackened Chicken Salad

As we continue our week without a kitchen, we tried out Buffalo Wild Wings Bar and Grill last night. I do realize that when you go to a place with ‘buffalo wings’ in the restaurant name you should order them. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I saw they were served up in little cardboard food containers and I really wanted food on a plate…with a fork. This is the blackened chicken salad. The chicken was seasoned with a roasted garlic herb mix that gave me ideas for coming up with my own version. The “salad” part was rather limp lettuce and pale tomatoes. My daughter counted 36 TV monitors in the place and decided they use the monitors as a type of wall art. All kinds of sporting events were being shown. The ambiance was a little disturbing at first because I could hear constant smacking/kissing sounds as patrons licked their fingers while eating their wings. I bet that means the wings are good, though. You get your choice of 14 different sauces.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BBQ Chicken Wrap

Day one of eating dinner elsewhere for a week: Red Robin. It's kid-friendly which was most important last night. This is their chicken BBQ wrap - strips of grilled chicken, a few thin tortilla strips, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, spicy BBQ sauce and a touch of ranch dressing wrapped in a spinach tortilla. I would order it again, and probably will since RR is a favorite with my daughter.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Paper Cup Coffee - Drip, or Instant?

Home-brewed drip coffee this morning in a paper cup. It was a big news weekend in the coffee world with Starbucks giving out free samples of their new VIA instant coffee, along with a coupon for a free drip coffee. Did you try it? It's still on my to-do list. Hopefully, I can try it out, in a paper cup, today.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Retro Candy: Pop Rocks

When I was a kid, this was a highly-prized candy, at least in my book. Partially, this was because I never actually owned any, although I tasted it at a friend's house. I was excited to share this childhood memory with my 7-year old daughter last night. However, she didn't share that enthusiasm after putting the candy in her mouth. She says it doesn't really taste that good,'s creepy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Taste Test: Chippery Chips

I chatted with the "Chippery lady" at Albertsons this week. The Chippery is a machine in select stores where they put potatoes in one end, and fresh potato chips arrive at the other end. Then, they're spun with seasonings and bagged up. If the Chippery lady is there, she can do custom seasonings for you. These are A+ chips in my book, and they come at a premium price. Just 6 ounces will set you back $3.99. The chips are big, have bite without being so crunchy that they tear up your mouth, and taste potato-y.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Whole Enchilada - Seafood Casserole Style

Enchilada casserole is just the lazy way to make enchiladas. Layer thawed salad shrimp, crab meat (I use krab), diced onions, a bit of sour cream, cheddar-jack cheese and corn tortillas. I poured a can of green chili enchilada sauce over the top and baked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I like enchiladas served on a bed of iceberg lettuce. Top them with sour cream, or salsa. The last batch of cherry tomato salsa for the season was used as a topper here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinner on the Dashboard

A visit to downtown Boise's Brick Oven Bistro (which, forever in my mind will be the Brick Oven Beanery, the previous name of the restaurant) to grab a sandwich for some car dining. I hadn't been to the Bistro in a while. I ordered the club, which is sliced fresh-roasted turkey, thick bacon, homemade mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce and fresh cucumbers. I don't remember fresh cucumbers being on the sandwich ever before, but they were good. I had a choice of white bread or wheat bread with sunflower seeds. I chose white bread - as you can see, they decided I should have wheat instead.