Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cooking Classs at Williams Sonoma

  • My husband forwarded an advertisement to me yesterday from Williams-Sonoma. It seems they will be offering cooking classes in some of their stores. The down side is that the classes are on Sundays and the nearest Williams-Sonoma is in Sacramento, about 1 hour from here.

  • It would be fun, though. They are offering classes on knife skills, grilling, rubs and marinades and bar basics.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

green ford

green ford
Originally uploaded by Hickographer.
Spotted at Charles Mitchell Winery over the weekend. Charles apparently sold the winery a month or so ago. Much less chaotic feel to the winery.

We picked up some of our favorite house wine, Monsieur Omo Red Wine.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wine Weekend

We had some out of town visitors here at the Hick Homestead. They are from Southern California and they like to visit some of the local wineries when they are here in town.

One of our favorite wineries is Narrow Gate Winery located in Pleasant Valley, Ca. The owners are Frank and Teena Hildebrand and are wonderful people along with good winemakers.

The picture on the right was taken several months ago of the winery. The picture on the left was taken on Friday and it shows the snow in front of the winery.
It also shows my best friend throwing a giant snowball at me while my husband stands around looking instead of protecting me.
We visited a few of the local wineries...Sierra Vista, Busby Cellars, Latcham, Granite Springs, Toogood and probably some others that I am forgetting.
Uber-husband did order some futures from Toogood winery. I think it was something called Pinotage. I look forward to its release in May. It's similar to Pinot Noir, but a little more robust.
Now I just have to find some food to go with it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Preserved Lemons

I found a really tasty recipe in one of my many foodie magazines which called for "preserved lemons".

The recipe offered a recipe on making preserved lemons, which I promptly whipped up. I dutifully placed them in a dark place for one month.

Yesterday was its one month anniversary. I proudly pulled out the lemons...

I cannot remember where the dang recipe is.

It's no big deal to find a new recipe using preserved lemons, but now I'm mad and I want to find the original recipe.

At least my preserved MEYERS lemons make for a pretty picture.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lunch Time!

Lunch Time!
Originally uploaded by ifijay.
I found this on one of the groups I belong to on Flickr. I'm envious.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Scream...You Scream...We All Scream for...


I got my husband an ice cream maker for Valentine's Day. I don't know if he really wanted an ice cream maker...but I did. I always see those Iron Chefs making some sort of weird ice cream on the Iron Chef (one of our favorite shows). I was going to surprise him and make mushroom ice cream as a way of presenting his gift, but I ran out of time.

I apologized to him for this and he looked rather relieved.

Anyway, he's making his first batch of ice cream and it sounds a little better than mushroom ice cream...it's chocolate pistachio ice cream.


Anyway...for all the gourmands, here's a mushroom ice cream recipe:

Portabellini Mushroom Ice Cream: 1 liter Cream 12 x egg yolks 1 punnet of Portabellini Mushrooms 100g sugars 1-tablespoon glucose Infuse the cream and the mushrooms for 1 hour; bring to boil and then blend. Strain through chinois. Beat sugar, glucose and yolks together. Add mushroom cream, cool and churn.

PS: I didn't know there was an actual name for those little, lightweight mushroom baskets, but there it is right in the recipe: punnet. I can't wait to try out that word on Uber-husband. He will be so impressed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Winemaker Dinner in Somerset, CA

What to do on Valentine's Evening?

I know...go to a winemaker's dinner. What's a Winemaker's Dinner, you ask. Well, it's a pairing of a winery and a local restaurant (or it could be a catered event) to show off the winemaker's wine and the foodmaker's food with the wine.

In this case, Elliot Graham from Busby Vineyard was the winemaker (and owner of the vineyard along with his wife, Sherrie) and The Gold Vine Grill was the restaurant.

I got to the restaurant at 6:30 on the dot. My husband was driving from Concord (in the San Francisco Bay area) and so he was running a bit late. The small restaurant was packed with happy and expectant gourmands and wine lovers. The whole restaurant was dedicated to this event and I would guess that there were about 50 people present.

My husband and I chose to share our table with another couple whom we had never met before. As it turned out we met a nice local couple. He was retired Army...I was able to thank him for his service to our country. His girlfriend had worked in some of the local wineries in her past and so she was quite familiar with the local wines. It's always fun to meet new people at these events.

The owner of The Gold Vine Grill began the evening by welcoming us and then introducing Elliot. He was charming and interesting. He appeared to be quite comfortable in front of this friendly crowd and told us several humorous annecdotes each time he introduced a new course of food with his wine.

We opened the dinner with a very yummy, juicy Chardonnay paired with "Kabocha Dauphine topped w/Seared Sea Scallops, and drizzled w/aFresh Tarragon Cream Sauce". Kabocha, for all you novices, is a type of squash (she says haughtily after Googling Kabocha to find out what the heck it was.) And everyone knows that a dauphine is:

"The name for little puffs made of potato puree, that are mixed with choux paste and deep fried."

Fortunately, I knew what Sea Scallops were and tarragon is one of my favorite herbs. I may not have known what a Kabocha was, but I know what I liked and I liked this a lot. I think this was the best pairing of the evening. I don't know what was the better half of the pair--the wine or the food. However, both were better for the pairing. (But I love, love, love the Chardonnay by itself.)

The second course was "Agnoloni filled w/Chicken & Prosciutto tossed in a Fresh Tangerine-Chive Butter" paired with Busby Cellars 2005 Fair Play Grenache. I like Elliot's Grenache. It is not to be toyed with or brushed aside as some little whisp of a wine. It can stand up to a spicy dish and it was greatly enhanced by the Tangerine-Chive butter of this dish. The "agnoloni", which looked a lot like large ravioli to me, was perfectly prepared and the Tangerine-Chive butter sauce was to die for. I will have to remember this sauce and add it to my recipe file. The sauce brought out the ripe strawberry flavor of the wine.

The third course was "Indian-Spiced Lamb Curry in Puff Paste" paired with Busby's 2004 El Dorado Syrah. I pretty much like all of Busby's wines, but this wine is the wine that turned me into a Syrah fan. And, for my money, there is no better pairing with Syrah than lamb. We could smell the curry before we even tasted this spicy little dish and the Syrah brought the "heat" of the dish into proper perspective. Neither pair overpowered the other...in other words, a great pairing.

The fourth course was "Peppercorn Crusted Whole Filet Mignon w/a Classic Sauce Bernaise" paired with Busby's 2004 Estate Zinfandel. I've mentioned before that El Dorado and Amador Counties are known for Zinfandel grapes and wine. This one had the spicy, peppery finish that I like and paired well with the peppercorns on the filet mignon. The filet was so tender I almost didn't need to chew it. There was a little mashed potato with some asparagas tips on the side. I think I would have licked the plate if no one was looking. Actually, I probably could have gotten away with it because by that course many people were quite "happy" with the wonderful wine and food.

The final course was "Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Shortcakes w/Framboise Whipping Cream" paired with Busby Cellars NV Port. I'm not a port fan because port usually just tastes like raisins to me. Usually if I'm going to drink port, there must be chocolate present in order to cut the raisin taste. This port was different, however. Although it tasted like port to me, there was no aftertaste of raisin. The raspberry in the dessert brought out a richness in the port that wasn't there when I tasted the port by itself. And, of course, the chocolate shortcake was just an added bonus to the dish.

All in all, the dinner was most successful. The accoustics in this small dining room are not real conducive to intimate conversations with your dinner companions due to all the hard surfaces (hardwood floor, walls and ceiling). As the night wore on and the conversations at the other tables got more robust, it was next to impossible to carry on any type of conversation at our table which was located in the vortex (center) of the dining room. We could hear all other conversations but our own. One of our dinner companions got a little carried away with the wine and was a little effusive and emotional and it was difficult to hear her. All I could do was look sympathetic.

The noise was a little annoying but did not take away from the meal nor the wine. And to be fair, we have been to this restaurant on other occassions where the entire dining room is not set aside for a special event and we have not had this problem. Maybe next year we will ask for a table closer to a wall which will help cut down on the noise level.

I would highly recommend this wonderful little restaurant (we've always enjoyed the food) located right in the middle of Somerset...you can't miss it. It's just down the road from Busby Cellars, one of our favorite wineries.

We're inclined to agree