Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gourmet Dinner Club - Valentine's Day Edition




Gourmet Dinner Club was wonderful last night. It was at our house so we had the entree. We only had one glitch, which I will explain later. We invited an extra couple so there were 10 people in all. Everything that everyone made was excellent! So, without further ado, here is what we had:

For appetizer course - Gallantine of Duck with a Lingonberry Chutney, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Liver/Water Chestnuts cooked in brown sugar, Red Pepper Fondue with mini Ravioli's and Tortellini willed with spinach, tomatoes, and paprika (some of the tortellinis were red - he used beets to color the pasta). Are you starting to drool yet?

For soup or salad course - Tuscan Minestrone Soup with fresh baked Tuscan Pane (bread - and oh was it good).

For entree course - Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Butterflied Pork Loin with a Red Pepper Coulis, Creamy Rosemary Potatoes, and Green Beans Almondine. This is when the glitch happened. After roasting for 30 minutes the foil cover had to be removed for browning during the remaining time. When the timer went off, someone (and I am not naming names) accidently turned the oven off instead of the timer. So, needless to say, dinner was significantly delayed. Everything still tasted great though. It was a little hectic so I forgot to take a picture.

For dessert course - Hazelnut Panna Cotta with a Hazelnut Syrup (homegrown hazelnuts), with assorted Tea Cookies (Ginger Pillows, Bourbon Hazelnut Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies)

We were all happy, full, and tired.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Restaurants in San Francisco - 3rd night

The last time we visited San Francisco was for the Fancy Food Show in 2006. We found this restaurant, also in the Marina District, called Mamacita's (www.mamacitasf.com). We absolutely loved it and could not wait to visit again. Our co-workers came in mid-day today after leaving home around 4:00am and driving to Seattle to catch a plane. We spent a few hours at the food show, got them checked in to the hotel, relaxed a little and then headed out for a restaurant close to the hotel. We decided to take them to Mamacita's. We found out that the same group of people that own Mamacita's also own The Tipsy Pig (see post about 1st night).
The drinks were wonderful and the food was as good as I remembered. I like to make a version of chilaquiles at home so when I saw them on the menu, I had to try them. Their version had the tortilla chips tossed with chipotle cream, roasted chicken, baby spinach and poblano chile rajas. They were excellent and a perfect ending to the day (along with the Mojito).
If you get the opportunity, check out both Mamacita's and The Tipsy Pig!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Restaurants in San Francisco - 2nd night

Before I get into the coverage of the Fancy Food Show, I really want to cover the other things that we did while in San Francisco. Today, we were at the food show all day. More of our staff was supposed to come in but the weather at home was snowy and all flights out of Pangborn airport were cancelled. We decided that we weren't overly hungry so we stopped into Lucca Deli at 2120 Chestnut Street, close to our hotel. The folks working at the deli were sooooo nice. They were working hard, trying to close but still were extremely nice and patient. They helped us with suggesting a sandwich (it was huge - perfect for splitting). We picked up some chips, a bottle of wine and ended up having a picnic in our hotel room. If you are in the Marina area of San Francisco, you really should check out this Italian deli. They have a wonderful food selection. Wait until you see their sandwiches. In the meantime, their website is luccadeli.com.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Restaurants in San Francisco - 1st night

When we get the opportunity to visit San Francisco, we love to stay in the Marina District. It is the greatest neighborhood and has an active nightlife. We keep finding restaurants in that area that quickly become our favorites and this trip was no exception.
The first night, we went to a restaurant called "The Tipsy Pig". We didn't get there until around 7:30 and it was crowded (granted, it was Saturday night). There is a bar area and a restaurant area. At 10:00pm, the kitchen closes and the whole place becomes a bar (I then understood why it was so crowded).
We decided to share two appetizers and a salad. Here is what we had:
Tipsy Sliders - Chimay-braised pulled pork and red cabbage slaw on Hawaiian sweet buns.
Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese (my favorite)
Spinach Salad with roasted butternut squash, prosciutto, soft boiled egg, Greek feta, croutons & balsamic vinaigrette (we both do not like squash so we weren't so sure but it was delicious the way it was prepared).
Everything was amazing! We met a couple at the table next to us that had lived in Boulder. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and the dinner.
If you want to check out the menu, go to http://www.thetipsypigsf.com/

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where did January go?

What happened to January? It came and went in a blink. Between having company for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Years, going to San Francisco 1 week after they left, having 1 week to get cheese of the month ready for shipping, and getting our business taxes to the accountant, I lost the month. I am here to say I am back.
Last February, I quit smoking. I have not had 1 cigarette in almost a year. It is very hard and I still find myself wanting a cigarette every once in awhile. I have had some dreams where I was smoking. I gained a lot of weight but I am okay with that. I decided that 2009 was all about quitting smoking and 2010 would be about losing the weight and getting healthy.
I have tried many, many diet plans and for one reason or another, I have moderate success before reverting back to my normal habits and ending up weighing more than I did before the diet. This time is going to be different. I made up my own plan (who knows me better than me?). I call it my 654321 plan. It is all calorie based, with some intentional movement (notice I refrain from calling it exercising) thrown in. I have 3 meals - one is 600 calories, one is 500 calories and one is 400 calories (for me, that is dinner, lunch, and breakfast, respectively). I am trying to MOVE, at least 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes each time. I also get 1 snack a day (100-200 calories). It is really coming down to eating what I want (okay, maybe not everything I want) just less! I am going to a beach this summer so I do have strong motivation. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy New Year everyone! It has been extremely busy in Leavenworth which has been wonderful. We were shipping gift packages almost every day and we are now getting ready to ship out our Cheese of the Month package for January. Only a few more days before we start wishing for people to come to town. December is our busiest month and then it falls off to one of the slowest months. I must say though, I think I could sleep for a week.
We will be traveling to San Francisco in January and I can't wait to go. I always enjoy visiting the Bay area. We have not planned any other vacations for 2010 yet. I think I would like to visit the east coast and all the families out there. Maybe an early beach trip. We'll see.
Now that I will begin to have some time, I will be trying out some new recipes and will post the ones that come out okay. This year, I would like to work on perfecting a home made pizza crust. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and again, happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Creamy Herbed Potatoes (from The Pioneer Woman)

As promised, here is the recipe for the Creamy Herbed Potatoes that I had at the party. Some people had 3-4 helpings. They are good! You must make these.

Creamy Herbed Potatoes
4-5 whole Russet Potatoes
1 stick butter
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (I used dried)
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley (I used fresh and used 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives (I used green onions)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage (I used dried)
Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2-3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes very thinly. Add butter to a skillet over medium low heat. When melted, add diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt. Pour in cream and half & half, stirring to combine. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add chopped herbs. Place potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour sauce over the top. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Allow potatoes to sit 15 minutes before serving.