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Thursday, January 31, 2013

King Estate Winery

Last weekend, our friends, Brian and Patty, invited us to go to an amazing annual event in Eugene, Oregon, at a wonderful winery- King Estate Winery. It was my 54th birthday so they decided to treat us!!
They specialize in Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Each year, they hold an "All You Can Eat Crabfest and All You Can Drink Pinot Gris" event in January. We also went wine tasting before the dinner and, of course, bought some pinot noirs in addition to pinot gris...

The food was fabulous! We actually did try the fantastic side dishes (in very small amounts! ha ha) but the Crab was king.
Roasted Kale and Garlic
Spicy udon noodle salad with shrimp
cole slaw and potato salad
incredible crab chowder and some flavored aoili and butter...I loved the Saffron Aioli and Kevin loved the roasted  garlic infused butter
As much freshly steamed crab as we wanted....

and dessert 'bites' that were absolutely delicious!


All desserts (like all the food!) is local, sustainable and made in their kitchens...lemon tarts, meringues, homemade marshmallows, brownie bites, jello cups, dark chocolate cups. gingersnap cookies, chocolate chip cookies, raspberry bars, and more...
Here we are...almost too stuffed to walk out...thankfully, we arranged for a Designated Driver! Thanks, Pammy!!! You are awesome!!

Smashed Potatoes with Lemon

I am working my way through some Christmas gifts from my lovely Daughter in law, Melissa. We share a love of cooking and some of the Food Network Celebrity Chefs!!
One of the chefs we both love is Giada de of the several cookbooks Melissa gave me for Christmas is, "Weeknights with Giada",  and I am trying to get through as many of the recipes as possible!

Tonight, with some thin cut quick pan-fried rib eye steaks, I made "Smashed Potatoes with Lemon". Amazing!!!
Smashed Potatoes with Lemon

First, I picked up some beautiful tiny locally grown yukon gold potatoes. I washed them, and boiled them for about 20 minutes. I drained them, dried them over the remaining heat on the stove, and then, gently smashed them.
I chopped some garlic and flavored the oil in the fry pan with it for a good 1 minute. I removed the garlic (and I added it to the lemon and herb mix) and dumped the potatoes in to fry on one side.
I also squeezed and zested a beautiful Meyer's Lemon from my lemon tree in the breakfast nook window.
 I added some chopped flat leaf Italian parsley and lemon thyme from the herb pots in the window, finely chopped, with a little kosher salt and some DELICIOUS freshly ground applewood smoked peppercorns (Thanks, Gene and Carla!!) Mixed it all together in anticipation of the crispy, fried potatoes.
I fried the potatoes in the garlic flavored oil for about 6 minutes on each side, then tossed them in the lemony dressing.
This was incredibly delicious!
You should make these! I made a LOT less than Giada's recipe because, well, it's just me and Kevin and the dogs are not fond of lemon....neither are the chickens...but it's OK, I seriously licked the plate. No one was looking!!! Yes, I did put the dishes in the dishwasher...I'm not that low class :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Latest Food Obsession...

Have you heard of Dukkah? Well, me,neither, until Christmas. My son and daughter in law gave me an amazing cookbook from America's Test Kitchen called "DIY- Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It". As I was going through all the great recipes for things I need to make fresh at home instead of buying pre-prepared (think- ketchup, worstershire sauce, bacon jam, ricotta cheese, oreos, and more!) I found one recipe for an interesting mix called, "Dukkah". It is a seed, nut and spice blend from North Africa that is served as a crunchy topping or crust for meat or fish, blended into hummus or yogurt, or stirred into olive oil as a dip for bread. It's primarily made from pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds, cumin and coriander, but there are many versions.
This past weekend, we went on a wonderful weekend getaway to the beautiful King Estates Winery in Eugene, Oregon for their annual 'All you can eat Crabfest and All you can drink Pinot Gris" Event. That whole story is for another post :)
On the way home, we decided to take the 1-5 to Medford to the 140 to the 97, instead of taking the 58 to the 97--which was a good call, since the 58 was loaded with snow and a winter weather advisory. We only encountered about 10 miles of heavy snow on the 58 and the roads were clear. Anyhow, in Medford, I begged our friends to stop at Trader Joe's- since it recently (December 2012) opened and I haven't had a TJ run since October 2012.
While wandering up and down the aisles, I encountered a container of "Dukkah" in the spice aisle. Since I'd never actually tasted it, I picked up a jar. It's delicious!
Last night, we weren't very hungry, so I baked up a small spaghetti squash and tossed it with my 'fake alfredo' sauce- some half and half and chicken stock blended with a package of Boursin cheese. Yes, I know, it's cheating, but it's soooo good!
Tonight, we wanted something a little more substantial, so I made some garlic lemon sauce with shrimp and peas and added a couple of dollops of the 'fake alfredo' from last night. I tossed it with some eggs noodles and topped it with chives and parsley from my herb pot, and sprinkled some Trader Joe's Dukkah on top.
Here's the finished product...

 It was so delicious!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Holiday Season

I've been neglecting my blog for a while with the whirlwind of activities that have been encompassing my life over the past couple of months! 
One of my 'resolutions' for 2013 is to be a little more consistent with my blog, so here's the first installment (on the 12th of January, of course!).
This past Christmas season saw us in Baltimore MD for our oldest son's graduation from college (University of Maryland Baltimore County- an Honors University)  with his bachelor's degree in computer science. We figured it was so close to Christmas that we just...stayed. The flights to Baltimore were quite an adventure all in themselves (two of my flights out of Klamath Falls were cancelled due to stupid airline stuff by United Airlines) so 3000 extra miles later as compensation, I finally arrived. The rest of the family arrived a day or two ahead of me...including our younger son and my husband!!
We immediately donned our t-shirts (it's a family thing) and everyone headed out to Fells Point for a 'Pub Crawl'. Yes, we hit every single bar on our t-shirt plus a couple of extra bars. Only one on our list was closed on a Wednesday night. And, yes, we had a shot and a cocktail at every bar. Yes, we took a cab both ways...duh!!! 

Graduation on FRIDAY (yes, we had a day between!) was awesome! We are so proud of our oldest! Now, both of our sons are college is our daughter in law! (well, she has her Master's Degree...but she is ahead of the curve ) ha ha! 
Since we had several days to kill before Christmas, we decided to go to Gettysburg. I didn't realize how close it was to Maryland- it was a little less than an hour's drive. 

It's one of the things on my 'bucket list'. I know quite a bit about Gettysburg (our little stand of aspens-Gettysburg- in the backyard are named after the 'little clump of trees' from the battle) and I have always wanted to be commune with the ghosts of the valiant Americans on both sides who bravely gave so much of themselves. Oh, it was better than I dreamed. I'm not so much into the markers and statues, but the guide that Chris hired to take us through Gettysburg was the best storyteller and took us to the places we needed to see. It was incredibly moving and I still am trying to process this whole experience. It was the the best place I've ever been to in my life. I've been to a lot of amazing places, but I think Gettysburg is right on top.
If you are an American History buff, you MUST GO. 
So, more for the next blog...I am a little emotional after thinking about this place. Even though he was wrong about how little the world would note what happened here...I think Abraham Lincoln said it best:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."