Chez Us https://chezus.com She cooks. He devours. Tue, 13 Nov 2018 00:32:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi https://chezus.com/2018/11/12/easy-pumpkin-ricotta-gnocchi/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/12/easy-pumpkin-ricotta-gnocchi/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:05:02 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33143 I warned you that I cannot get enough pumpkin.  Three weeks ago I was cleaning out my cookbooks when I decided to flip open my favorite go-to book for Italian recipes, The Collection by Antonio Carluccio, and immediately turned to my favorite gnocchi recipe.  I could not shake the thought of a big bowl of [...]

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I warned you that I cannot get enough pumpkin.  Three weeks ago I was cleaning out my cookbooks when I decided to flip open my favorite go-to book for Italian recipes, The Collection by Antonio Carluccio, and immediately turned to my favorite gnocchi recipe.  I could not shake the thought of a big bowl of gnocchi for dinner and particularly pumpkin ones.  I went into the kitchen and began playing around with a ricotta gnocchi recipe and before I knew it I was enjoying a big bowl of these easy pumpkin ricotta gnocchi.  Honestly, this recipe is so easy, that I had dinner on the table within 60 minutes.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

When I make gnocchi I tend to make a day of it and use a potato-based recipe which I love.  When in a pinch I will make a batch of ricotta cheese gnocchi that has a hint of nutmeg.  During the fall I adore a bowl of pumpkin gnocchi with some sage butter along with a nice glass of red wine. If I see it on the menu I definitely order it when out. Now, that I have this recipe down, I cannot wait to enjoy it more often than not.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

After trial and error, I found that the recipe comes together easier when I used whole milk ricotta as it is less watery and the flavor is richer.  I also strain the pumpkin to remove any excess moisture.  Lastly, I typically always use 00 flour when making pasta, gnocchi, and even pizza dough as it is lighter and not as dense as all-purpose.  I have tried this recipe a few times and sometimes I may have to add a little more flour.  The key is to make sure the dough holds up when boiled.  If I am scooping the dough by spoonfuls into the water I don’t mind it being a bit tacky but if I want to roll is as I did here I add a little more flour until I can roll it.  Different altitudes can also produce a different dough so keep in mind when making.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

I am so happy with how the ease of this recipe that I cannot wait to try making it this winter with different winter squash as well as beets.  I am not big on freezing food but I did toss some into the freezer to see how they hold up.  My thinking was that I would love to have fresh pumpkin ricotta gnocchi at the drop of a hat.  I will keep you posted on how it works out.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup ricotta, whole milk

1/2 cup parmesan

1/2 cup +3 tablespoons 00 flour (this was for rolling out and cutting the gnocchi – when I used a teaspoon I used 1 tablespoon of flour along with the 1/2 cup)

1 egg

kosher salt

black pepper

semolina flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 sage leaves

How To:

Place the pumpkin in a fine sieve and let sit for thirty minutes to remove any moisture.

Mix together the ricotta, pumpkin, egg, and flour with a fork.  Add the parmesan cheese and season to taste with some salt and pepper.

Clean your work surface and dry well.  Lightly sprinkle a little 00 flour over the surface.  Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 1/2” rope, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces of gnocchi.  After cutting the dough you can opt to use the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board to make grooves into each piece.  I prefer not too.  Completely up to you.

Set the gnocchi pieces onto a baking sheet that has been lightly covered with semolina flour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the gnocchi to the boiling water when they rise to the surface, let cook for another minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon.  I lay them onto a paper towel.

In a large frying pan melt the butter medium-low low heat and add the sage.  Cook until the sage is fragrant then add the gnocchi to the pan and lightly cook until they are golden on each side but do not burn the butter.

Serve.

Eat.

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Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse https://chezus.com/2018/11/07/creamy-no-cook-pumpkin-mousse/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/07/creamy-no-cook-pumpkin-mousse/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 03:00:33 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33136 I love eating anything pumpkin.  The last two months I have been going a bit crazy with using it in everything from breakfast oatmeal to stirring it into a big bowl of mac and cheese.  This recipe for Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse came about one evening when I needed something to feed my sweet tooth.  With [...]

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I love eating anything pumpkin.  The last two months I have been going a bit crazy with using it in everything from breakfast oatmeal to stirring it into a big bowl of mac and cheese.  This recipe for Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse came about one evening when I needed something to feed my sweet tooth.  With not many options I turned to a recipe that I make often in the summer my no-bake strawberry cheesecakes.  I always have a stash of pumpkin in the cupboard and decided to make it seasonal delicious for autumn.

Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse

I was telling a friend about my creation the next day and she tried to talk me into making it a keto recipe but, to be honest with you when I want a little sweet in my life the last thing I want to use is an unnatural sweetener.  Yes, I know Stevia is derived from a plant but it also tastes like sucking on a dirty penny.

When I started changing our diet, even more, I started researching natural sweeteners that actually tasted good and are less processed.  A recent favorite has become sucanat.  Have you heard of it or used it?  Sucanat is the least refined cane sugar outside of nibbling on a cane stalk.  It is crushed, the juices are extracted and then it is heated creating a rich dark syrup.  It tastes similar to molasses but not as strong.  It definitely adds some oomph to this creamy pumpkin mousse.  Feel free to use regular sugar too.

I have made this a few times and have used all cream cheese as well as mascarpone cheese as below.  Personally, I like the tanginess that the mascarpone adds to the recipe.  When made with only cream cheese the recipe will taste more like cheesecake and will be a bit thicker.  Make both ways and then you decide which you enjoy more.

Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse

Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse

** serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature (or you can omit and double up the cream cheese)

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not seasoned or sweetened), let sit in a fine strainer for at least ten minutes to release moisture

1/4 cup sucant, or coconut palm sugar or regular sugar (if you want to be keto use what sweetener you would)

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How To:

Place the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream into a large mixing bowl.  Beat until smooth.

Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extra.  Mix until light and very fluffy;  about 3 minutes.

Serve individually or in a pretty serving bowl.

You can garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or sugared pumpkin seeds or praline which is what I used here.  Whipped cream is also an option.

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Mexican Cauliflower Rice https://chezus.com/2018/10/22/mexican-cauliflower-rice/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/22/mexican-cauliflower-rice/#comments Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:05:25 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33076 Who knew that for the past ten years of my life I have been making “cauliflower rice”.  All this time I thought I was using leftover cauliflower, chopping it up, mixing it with other stuff and calling it leftovers.  I have so many different versions of greatness using cauliflower leftovers that I am not sure [...]

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Who knew that for the past ten years of my life I have been making “cauliflower rice”.  All this time I thought I was using leftover cauliflower, chopping it up, mixing it with other stuff and calling it leftovers.  I have so many different versions of greatness using cauliflower leftovers that I am not sure where to start.  This recipe for Mexican Cauliflower Rice seemed like a great place.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Since we have been trying to eat more of a vegetarian diet cauliflower has become an important staple in our kitchen.  I use it all the time as it basically goes with all seasonings from Mexican all the way down to barbeque.  The rice part of cauliflower is something I have been doing forever.  Usually when I cook cauliflower I save about a fourth of it to use with breakfast the following day.  Usually, I am chopping it to resemble rice and then mixing with whatever else I can find.  The seasoning depends on my mood.

I kind of feel like I have been living under a rock as I just recently learned that cauliflower rice is a thing.  Kind of like when a French friend of mine made the comment when we were cooking together last summer in France, about how American’s suddenly think a one-pan dinner is a thing;  she has been making them her entire life.

Here we are, after making this recipe a few times to nail the ingredients and measurements instead of just tossing in a pan, I have my version of Mexican Cauliflower Rice to share with you.  I should mention that I accidentally used cayenne pepper in this recipe and about burned my face off.  If you opt to use cayenne start with 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up.  It was a huge mistake, trust me.  I prefer using guajillo powder as it is more flavorful than just heat.

And I just found out from a friend is has become Keto that this is Keto.  So all you Keto lovers will love calling this Keto Mexican Cauliflower Rice.  What???

We eat this recipe all the time now. With tacos as well as roasted meats and fish, sometimes in a bowl by itself.  I always save extra to toss an egg or two on for breakfast the next day.  It is so good.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pound cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground guajillo powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 very ripe plum tomatoes or dry farmed tomatoes – make sure ripe and juicy, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 green onions, washed and cut into slices
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

How To:

  1. Remove the stem from the cauliflower and wash.  Break into florets then place into a food processor and pulse until it has the texture of rice.
  2. Preheat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-low heat on the stove.  Add the olive oil and then the onions.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the onion mixture.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes over low heat until slightly tender and a little crispy.  We like it to have some texture and not be mushy.
  5. Add the spices and the tomatoes.  Stir.  Cook for another 5 minutes over low heat.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and green onions.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve.
  9. Eat.

 

 

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Ratatouille https://chezus.com/2018/10/14/ratatouille/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/14/ratatouille/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2018 10:05:12 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33080 My ratatouille recipe is anything but pretty or fancy like the ones you see on Pinterest.  Instead, my recipe is exactly as it was the first time I had it in France.  It is wholesome and rustic.  This time of the year is the perfect time to make this French Provencal stew vegetable recipe by using [...]

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My ratatouille recipe is anything but pretty or fancy like the ones you see on Pinterest.  Instead, my recipe is exactly as it was the first time I had it in France.  It is wholesome and rustic.  This time of the year is the perfect time to make this French Provencal stew vegetable recipe by using up all of the squash and summer tomatoes from the farmer’s market.

Ratatouille

When I decide to make a batch of ratatouille I am thinking about a meal that will last us for a couple of evenings with the possibility of a breakfast too. I am also looking at an abundance of late summer produce waiting to be eaten.  Basically, I chop, sautee and stew.  Sometimes I only use yellow squash and other times such as this time I mix in some green zucchini.  If Jimmy Nardellos are not available then I use red peppers.  If fresh tomatoes are not looking so great then I use canned.  Otherwise, it is a super easy recipe to throw together.

Ratatouille

Sometimes I serve it on its own other times I serve it with old-fashioned egg noodles.  I love egg noodles.  As I mentioned before it is great for breakfast too, just toss a poached egg on top and pass the toast.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

** serves 4 – 6 depending on serving sizes

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces

8 ounces Jimmy Nardello peppers or red pepper, diced

12 ounces of yellow zucchini or squash, cut into bite-sized pieces

12 ounces green zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound dry farmed or plum tomatoes, make sure they are super ripe and juicy or 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons Herb de Provence

How To:

Place a dutch oven over medium-low heat and preheat.

Add the olive oil and the yellow onion.  Stir and cook for three minutes over low heat.

Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the eggplant to the onions, stir and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring over until lightly golden and soft.

Add peppers, stir and cook for 3 minutes over low heat.

Add the yellow and green squash, stir and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.  Stirring often.

Add the tomatoes and the herb de Provence.  Stir and cook for about 15 – 30 minutes.  The vegetables will be tender but not mushy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve.

Eat.

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Travel Necessities https://chezus.com/2018/10/09/travel-necessities/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/09/travel-necessities/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2018 10:05:12 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32157 If you are a regular reader you know how I am on the go all the time.  I get asked all the time how I do it, and what are my main travel necessities.  I finally realized when we had to fly last minute for a family emergency that I had everything perfectly ready to [...]

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If you are a regular reader you know how I am on the go all the time.  I get asked all the time how I do it, and what are my main travel necessities.  I finally realized when we had to fly last minute for a family emergency that I had everything perfectly ready to go at a moment’s notice.  It was seamless and actually made traveling at a mere moment so much easier.  Here are my top travel necessities that are ready to go all the time.  I keep them handy in a bathroom cabinet, and when I need to pack, I grab and go!

Travel Necessities

This is definitely something that did not just come to me one day.  I have been traveling since my teens, and my routine has evolved over the years.  I have tried every bag and brand I can think of, and these items are fail-proof.  At least in my humble opinion, they make my life easier and I feel good about recommending them to you.  By the way, no affiliate links here, just some honest sharing of stuff I love!

A Classic Leather Tote – over the years I have used the same style of bag to throw my laptop in as well as books, files I may need to work on, a makeup bag, travel blanket, and other little things I might want on the plane.  I have also tried different brands from no-names to Coach.  They always fall apart.  I purchased this super cute Cuyana tote about 3 years ago and it is still going strong, and I stuff it when I fly!   The leather is buttery!  I love that it has a zipper so my stuff is not flying out everywhere, and there is an inside pocket that I can put my phone in. I always have my media kit with me which is a small pouch with phone chargers, as well as a portable charger and other electronic chargers I may need, headphones, card readers, etc..

Leather Travel Set – I have owned this for 5 years and I wish it would fall apart only so I could get a new set in a different color.  Their colors are so sexy.  I have a gorgeous teal set which is perfectly fine, I just would love to have another color but feel guilty as it is still perfect after 5 years.  I use the larger one for my toiletries and the smaller one for my makeup.  Again, amazing quality and luscious leather!  I always have it full of the products I use daily, deodorant, toothpaste, dental floss, moisturizers, and toothbrush.  Though I am looking at replacing the one I have with this one.  When I travel I wear Bon Parfumeur and Madewell carries travel sized ones which I love.

GoToob Containers – when I say I have tried all the TSA approved travel containers, I mean I have tried them all.  They always end up breaking or getting manky after a few months.  I purchased these a couple years ago and love that they are going strong still.  I no longer hoard hotel shampoos and conditioners.  Now I keep my favorite shampoo and two different types of conditioner in these handy containers.  I rinse them out every month to keep them fresh.  Then I refill.

GoTubb Containers – I use these smaller containers for hair product as well as facial soap.  They are big enough to hold enough product for two weeks.

Kellie Little Voyager Hair Brush – I never thought I would love a hairbrush but I do.  This is the best hairbrush ever.  I have wavy/curly hair and use to flat iron it every day to make straight.  Since I have used this brush, over 7 years, I have not used the flatiron.  It is truly magical and small enough for traveling.

Hair Dryer – I never risk a hotel having a hairdryer in the room or even a good hair dryer in the room.  I always carry a travel hairdryer.  I like this Conair dryer as it is 1875 watts and dries my hair fast.

Trench Coat – During all seasons except winter months, I travel with this coat.  It folds up compact enough to fit in the outside pocket of my suitcase so it is handy to grab when I land.  It doesn’t wrinkle either and always looks sharp from day to night.

Notebook and pen – I keep these in my purse, travel bag as well as camera bags.  Cannot live without.

A good book or magazine to read – I am a junkie for books in print and always stop at the bookstore at the airport to grab a couple that I may not have already.  I am a sucker for foreign magazines so when overseas I stock up at the airport.  They always fit nicely into my large tote.

Flipflops – I always have a pair that I can use around the hotel room but stylish enough to wear to the pool or out to a casual dinner.

Berocca – I had a roommate from Australia who introduced me to this supplement some twenty years ago.  End of story.  I always travel with it as it keeps me alert and helps combat sniffles.

Pure Magnesium – this is a new to me add-in for my travel musts.  I have been using for three months now and I just sleep better when I use this oil.  Helps make travel away from home a bit easier too.

Eye Drops – Flying and air-conditioned hotels really dry my eyes out as does new environments that may include dust, smoke or even changing seasons.  Like like these drops as they are gentle on my eyes.

Avene Thermal Spring Water – a lovely quick pick me up after long or short flights.  Hydrates and makes my face feel fresh.  Their travel sized ones get through security and pack up nicely in my tote.

Travel Makeup Bag – Love this cute little bag that my friend Julie gave me.  It fits perfectly in my purse and fits everything I might need for a quick refresh.

Stowaway Makeup – I started using their foundation as well as powder a couple years ago and love it.  The product goes on really well, and the small containers make it easy to carry on.

Travel Blanket – this is mostly used for flights overseas as I am always cold and it is nice to have something to snuggle up with from home.

Cashmere Wrap – I get cold on flights and this is a stylish way to warm up plus it looks stylish with everything.

21″ Carry-On – I became a fantastic packer when I worked at a travel agency twenty years ago.  When we flew on free airline tickets we could not check in bags.  I became very creative with what to pack and wear.  Now I can pack a carry on suitcase with enough clothes for two weeks to a month.  If it is for a month I do end up doing laundry.  I am currently using an American Tourist bag but am looking to replace as after 10 years it is finally taking a beating.

Do you have a great travel necessity that makes your life easy for traveling?  I would love to hear about it as I am always looking for ways to make life easier.

 

 

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs https://chezus.com/2018/10/05/roasted-pork-tenderloin-with-figs/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/05/roasted-pork-tenderloin-with-figs/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 10:05:37 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33073 I always keep a pork tenderloin in the freezer for those nights when I am not sure what to make or for when I am hungry for pork.  This time of the year there is always a bowl full of figs on the counter as well.  I love figs, all the figs I love.  I [...]

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I always keep a pork tenderloin in the freezer for those nights when I am not sure what to make or for when I am hungry for pork.  This time of the year there is always a bowl full of figs on the counter as well.  I love figs, all the figs I love.  I guess you could say this recipe for Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs kind of collided together with a few things that were in the kitchen.  Or maybe it was a match made in heaven.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

I wish I had a witty or sentimental story to share how this recipe came about but I don’t.  It really happened by accident.  I was getting ready to travel and when that happens I go on a major cleaning of the pantry and refrigerator.  I had a little of this and that and this happened.

Most likely I was also enjoying a last of the summer rose and listening to music.  Browning the pork tenderloin as I got it ready for the oven and wondering what to add along with it.  I found a leek and decided to use it.  The original plan was just a leek, then I deglazed the pan with some balsamic vinegar and then I spied the figs. Why not toss them into the mix and see what happened.  Delicious happened and it was so good that I came back from my trip and made it again, and then again so I could share it with you.

Gosh, I love this recipe as it comes together so quickly and it is really good.  I served it with wild rice that I added some sauteed shallots too.  The pork roasts nicely with the leeks leaving little brown bits in the pan with the balsamic and the figs are warm and jammy.  Really lovely mixed together with the wild rice.  You might want to make some wild rice too!

Enjoy!

**The National Pork Board recommends cooking a 1 – 1/2 pound pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145 – 165.  I prefer medium-rare so I remove at about 140 and cover with foil for 5 minutes as it will continue cooking.  Comes out perfect every time.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon pork lard or olive oil

1 pound pork tenderloin

1 medium leek, rough green top removed, washed well to remove any sand, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon balsamic

10 figs, cut in half

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

How To:

Remove the pork tenderloin from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.  Lightly season with some kosher salt.

Preheat oven to 375.

Preheat an oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium-low heat.

Add the lard or olive oil to the skillet, then brown the tenderloin on all sides.

Remove the tenderloin from the skillet and set aside.

Add the leeks to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat of the stove and remove the skillet

Add the tenderloin to the leek mixture, then scatter the figs over the top.

Slide into the oven and cook until a meat thermometer reaches 140 for medium rare.  If you like your pork cooked more then continue cooking until you reach the desired wellness.

Remove from the oven.

Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Place the leeks and figs onto a serving platter.  Top with slices of pork tenderloin.

Serve.

Eat.

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Peach Turmeric Oatmeal https://chezus.com/2018/09/26/peach-turmeric-oatmeal/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/26/peach-turmeric-oatmeal/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 10:05:55 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32866 Ever since I discovered that turmeric is a fantastic spice to use beyond Indian food, I have been grabbing it more often than not to use in my cooking.  I have been adding fresh turmeric to water.  Sprinkling the dry spice over roasted vegetables and even adding it to macaroni and cheese.  One recipe I [...]

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Ever since I discovered that turmeric is a fantastic spice to use beyond Indian food, I have been grabbing it more often than not to use in my cooking.  I have been adding fresh turmeric to water.  Sprinkling the dry spice over roasted vegetables and even adding it to macaroni and cheese.  One recipe I have been making all the time is this one for Peach Turmeric Oatmeal.

Peach Turmeric Oatmeal

I have been meaning to share the recipe since peaches appeared in the market but I keep eating it before I shoot the piping hot bowls of oats.  I finally set aside time to make it, shoot it and enjoy for lunch.  Yep, lunch.  I do not even know where to start but I will say that every time I make this for breakfast I feel like I have done something great for my body.

I should also tell you about the type of turmeric I have been using.  When I say sprinkling it on everything, I am actually sprinkling Sunshine Dust.  I discovered this tea brand Big Heart Tea from my friend Christina.  I drink their tea and really enjoy, so I decided to try the Sunshine Dust which is a spice blend.  It is loaded with turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and peppercorns.  It is warm, comforting and slightly spicy.  Turmeric may seem a bit trendy but after some research, I found out how good it really is.  For instance, it is a natural anti-inflammatory and it helps with headaches.  The interesting thing is that in order for it to really work for your body it has to be combined with black pepper.  That is what makes Sunshine Dust even more lovely, it includes black pepper.  No, this is not a sponsored post I just really love the taste and the warmth it adds to my bowl of oatmeal.

I use steel cut oats for this recipe.  I promise it is not as hard as you think to cook steel cut oats.  Why do people become so afraid of recipes with steel oats?  Friends, this oat tastes so much better and has great texture.  Halfway through the cooking time, I add peaches to the oats and continue cooking, this slightly sweetens things up.  While everything is cooking, I warm up more peaches with a little coconut palm sugar to bring out the natural juices and then I add sunshine dust.  It smells so heavenly and tastes amazing.  I cannot wait for you to try it.

Peaches are still in the markets so rush out and grab a few to try this amazing breakfast treat!

peach turmeric oatmeal

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Peach Turmeric Oatmeal

** serves two

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 2/3 cups of water
  • 2 large peaches, washed, pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sunshine dust or turmeric – more or less depending on your tastes
  • heavy cream – optional

How To:

  1. Place half of the peaches into a small bowl with the coconut palm sugar and set aside.
  2. Place the oats and the water into a large saucepan.  I find it cooks better having some room to boil and move around the pan.  Don’t use a small one.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a low simmer.  Stirring often.
  4. 10 minutes into the cooking time add the other half of the peaches to the oats and stir.  Continue cooking until thickened;  about 10 more minutes.  I like the oats to be cooked but with a little bite or crunch.  This takes about 20 minutes total cooking time on our stove and where we live.  Different altitudes can affect the cooking time.
  5. While the oats are cooking place the peaches that have been sitting with the coconut palm sugar into a small saucepan and gently warm over low heat. Stirring often until lightly caramelized.
  6. Stir the sunshine dust into the warm peaches.
  7. Once the oats are finished cooking evenly divide between two bowls.  Top with the warm peach/turmeric mixture.
  8. If you like dairy then add a splash of heavy cream.
  9. Serve.
  10. Eat.

 

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Potato and Green Bean Salad https://chezus.com/2018/09/19/potato-and-green-bean-salad/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/19/potato-and-green-bean-salad/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:05:48 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32492 I love, love, love this Potato and Green Bean Salad recipe which was inspired by my friend Diana who was inspired by David Tannis.  Diana made it over the Fourth of July, and it was a huge hit with the entire crew.  It was so good that I could not stop thinking about it.  Yes, [...]

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I love, love, love this Potato and Green Bean Salad recipe which was inspired by my friend Diana who was inspired by David Tannis.  Diana made it over the Fourth of July, and it was a huge hit with the entire crew.  It was so good that I could not stop thinking about it.  Yes, it really was that fantastic and am not just saying that.  That girl has a knack for making killer salads and this happens to be a favorite.  I could have taken the recipe from her but decided it would be more fun to come home and recreate.

Potato and Green Bean Salad

I should start out by saying that I am usually a super picky person when it comes to fish and salads with fish in them.  Especially when it involves anchovies.  I have bad anchovy memories from my childhood so I typically shy away from them.  Diana used a paste which was fine but I had a feeling that if I could find white anchovies like the ones I had while dining out in DC, that this recipe would be golden.  I found them and it was worth the hunt as well as the dollars.  So fresh and delicious.  White anchovies have made my childhood nightmares about these little fish go away.  They are a bit firmer and pack a very clean taste;  not oily, furry or fishy.

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This recipe is loaded with Yukon gold potatoes that are cooked just long enough to release a slight crunch when bitten into.  You do not want to overcook them as you would for a creamy potato salad.  Same goes for the green beans, you want them to snap with each bite and not to be limp. The dressing is bright and refreshing;  loaded with garlic, anchovies, and capers along with fresh herbs.  Be sure to make the dressing really shine by using a high-quality olive oil, again don’t skimp or I will come after you.

Potato and Green Bean Salad

Last but not least add some creamy soft-cooked eggs.  They are heavenly when combined with the briny herby dressing.  My opinion the eggs really knock this salad recipe out of the park.

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Potato and Green Bean Salad

** serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main

Ingredients:

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leave

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes

1/2 pound green beans, tips removed and cut in half

2 white anchovies, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed into a paste

2 tablespoons capers

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup good quality virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3 large eggs

4 anchovy filets for garnish

1 tablespoon chives or chive flowers for garnish

How To:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the thyme and bay leave, along with the potatoes.  Cook the potatoes until slightly cooked;  about 25 – 30 minutes depending on the size.  They will be easily pierced with a fork.  I begin testing at 15 minutes.  With two minutes left of cooking the potatoes, I add the green beans and slightly blanch.

Remove the potatoes and the green beans with a slotted spoon and place into a colander and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking.  Sit aside.  I like to let the potatoes and beans sit for about an hour if I have time to thoroughly dry them as I find the dressing sticks to the ingredients better.

In a small bowl or a mortar mix together the anchovies, garlic, capers, mustard, and vinegar together.  Slowly stir in the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2″ pieces.  Place the potatoes and green beans into a serving bowl.  Using your hands lightly toss with the vinaigrette.

Bring a medium-sized saucepan full of water to a boil.  Add the eggs and cook for 7 minutes.  Cool the eggs in ice water.  I find the easiest way to peel them is to roll the egg on a counter until really cracked and then peel away the shell.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Just before serving add the basil and parsley to the potato mixture and lightly toss.  Lay the anchovies on top of the salad, then cut the eggs in half and quickly place on top.  Sprinkle with chopped chives or chive flowers.

Serve.

Eat.

 

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Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff  https://chezus.com/2018/09/17/marvelous-meatball-stroganoff/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/17/marvelous-meatball-stroganoff/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2018 10:05:15 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32597 I am really excited to be sharing this recipe for Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff with you.  I wish I could take all of the credit for developing this delicious recipe but I cannot.  It is from The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook: Fast to Fix and Nourishing Recipes for All Kinds of Electric Pressure Cookers, written by [...]

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I am really excited to be sharing this recipe for Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff with you.  I wish I could take all of the credit for developing this delicious recipe but I cannot.  It is from The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook: Fast to Fix and Nourishing Recipes for All Kinds of Electric Pressure Cookers, written by my friend Jane of The Heritage Cook and her friend Sara of My Imperfect Kitchen.

Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff 

When I was asked to review their new book and to join along in their virtual blog party to celebrate the release of the book which is on September 18, 2018, I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity.  I felt this would be a great way for me to start using that instant pot I got earlier this year, and to move beyond rice.  To be honest I have been intimidated to start cooking with it.

The first chapter of the book completely put my mind at ease after reading the tips and tricks they laid out, I felt confident that I could tackle not only my instant pot but also the fear of pressure cooking.  There is also a page discussing gluten-free flour blends along with a recipe that they enjoy using.  While we both enjoy our fair share of gluten it is nice to have another option, and I found their guideline handy.

Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff 

The cookbook has fifty recipes ranging from breakfast to appetizers as well as main entrees and dessert.  I opted to try out this recipe for Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff as we love meatballs and stroganoff is a big hit around our house.  The recipe is made with ground turkey instead of beef which was a nice change up.  I did have to use about a half pound more than the recipe called for and I feel it may have been because of the type of meat I was using.  It was a heritage blend from my butcher.  Otherwise, the recipe was made exactly as below.  I found it really simple to make this recipe in my instant pot, using the browning option as well as the pressure cooker option.  The meatballs came out fork tender and the stroganoff sauce was rich and flavorful.  Next time I might throw in a few more mushrooms as we kind of love them, a lot!  Definitely was a hit at our table that night for dinner.  Lenny even made the comment that we should be making meatballs more often in the instant pot.

Thank you, Jane and Sara, for helping lift the fear of cooking with the pressure cooker.  I will definitely be trying out more of the recipes in your book this fall and winter.  Loving all of the soup ideas as well as the creamy mac and cheese with bacon!

Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff 

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Marvelous Meatball Stroganoff

** published with permission from Jane and Sara

Gluten Free and Nut Free

Yield: 5 servings (4 meatballs each)

This dish has a kid-friendly twist by using turkey meatballs instead of flank steak. The meatballs are a fun and different addition and don’t require any flour or bread crumbs as a binder. In a healthy twist, it doesn’t use canned soup to achieve the traditional deep, rich flavor, bypassing an ingredient that usually has gluten in it. Serve over Mashed Potatoes (page 114) or your favorite gluten-free noodles. 

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) ground turkey (Jennie-O brand is gluten-free) 

1 egg 

2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk 

1 teaspoon onion powder 

1/4 cup (12 g) chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish 

1 tablespoon (2 g) fresh thyme leaves 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil 

1 medium onion, thinly sliced 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

2-1/2 cups (588 ml) gluten-free beef stock (page 134), divided 

1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream 

2 tablespoons (16 g) potato starch 

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

1 tablespoon (15 g) tomato paste 

1 tablespoon (6 g) beef bouillon granules (Herb-Ox brand is gluten-free) 

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Lee & Perrins brand is gluten-free) 

1/2 pound (227 g) sliced button mushrooms 

2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch 

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water

How To:

1. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, milk, onion powder, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper until just combined. Shape into 20 (1-inch, or 2.5 cm) meatballs. 

2. Press Sauté on your electric pressure cooker. When the inner pot is hot, add the oil and brown the meatballs, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once the meatballs are brown, transfer them to a serving dish and set aside. 

3. Add the sliced onion to the pot and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add 1 cup (235 ml) of the beef stock to the pan and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. 

4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 11/2 cups (353 ml) beef stock, sour cream, potato starch, paprika, tomato paste, bouillon, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined. Add to the onion mixture already in the pan. Return the meatballs to the pot, submerging them completely in the sauce. 

5. Close and lock the lid, making sure the steam release handle is in the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is finished, turn off your pressure cooker and allow a natural release of 20 minutes, or until the float pin drops. When the float pin has dropped, unlock the lid and open it carefully. 

6. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot. Stir well, then close the lid and let sit for 3 minutes to soften the mushrooms. 

7. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water together to create a slurry. Press Sauté or Browning on your electric pressure cooker again and allow the sauce to heat up. When the sauce is bubbling, add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and whisk constantly for 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. 

8. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. 

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Mendocino Coast https://chezus.com/2018/09/06/mendocino-coast/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/06/mendocino-coast/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 03:05:28 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32165 I am the first to dust off my passport when the word vacation pops up.  This summer over a glass of rose while talking about summer plans, we realized we do not take advantage of what is available to us in our own backyard.  At that moment, we decided it was time to explore a [...]

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I am the first to dust off my passport when the word vacation pops up.  This summer over a glass of rose while talking about summer plans, we realized we do not take advantage of what is available to us in our own backyard.  At that moment, we decided it was time to explore a wine region we knew of;  but knew very little about, the Anderson Valley.  We decided it would be more fun to make our staycation a real vacation and become reacquainted with the Mendocino Coast.  Time away that involved staying at hotels and planning things to do which we normally would not do if we stayed local.  We never take advantage of our area and after this excursion realized we need to do this more often.

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The Anderson Valley is approximately 100 miles from Oakland and is nestled in Mendocino County.  The summer days are hot and the evenings are cool which makes for amazing grape growing conditions.  There are rolling hills and steep mountains as well as dense redwood forests and cows everywhere.  Misty fog hugs the curves of the road and dew kisses the vines as you rumble by sleepy little towns.  I have been wanting to discover the likes of Boonville as well as Philo, and was like a kid in the candy store with every turn, my mind was exploding as I wanted to shoot all of the farms and vineyards;  unfortunately, those big beautiful blue skies did not make for good photography afternoons.  We did the next best thing and went wine tasting.

The wine industry began in the 1980’s as the timber and farming industries began to decline.  The weather makes for perfect growing conditions for Pinot Noirs as well as Roses, which became the focus of our four days in this area.  We got a bit of a late start and after grabbing lunch we only had time to visit two wineries but don’t fear we tried plenty of Anderson Valley wines while we were there, and we definitely plan on going back to try out a few other wineries that peaked our interest.

Lula Cellars was our first stop in the Anderson Valley.  We had experienced their rose wine at Experience Rose event and could not wait to learn more about the winery and the wines they produce.  Lula produces about 3000 cases of wine a year and their focus is Pinot Noirs.  The winery is located in Philo which is an area considered the Deep End.  The grounds are lovely with a pond and picnic areas;  we had wished we didn’t have lunch earlier as it would have been a great spot to enjoy a bottle of Rose.  Dan greeted us with a warm smile and generous handshake as well Honey the winery dog gave a couple nudges and licks to say hello.  Seated at the redwood bar, Dan dazzled us with more than just Pinot Noir and Rose.  We started with the Rose, which we had enjoyed before so we knew we would love it.  This Rose is made with Pinot Noir and is light and floral and very refreshing.  Perfect for a hot summer day.  We enjoyed a bottle that evening as well with a picnic of cheeses and charcuteries.  Dan surprised us with a Gewurztraminer, and by surprise, I mean he made us fall in love with this wine.  Typically we do not drink this style of wine as the ones we have had tend to be too sweet.  This wine was crisp, dry and had aromas of stone fruit and lemon.  Not sweet at all.  Their 2016 Pinot Noir is a classic;  jammy red fruit-forward flavors with a smooth finish make this a very drinkable bottle of wine.  It was very good but our favorite Pinot was the 2016 Costa Pinot Noir.  This wine has all of the characteristics of the wine that we love;  rich jammy berries, spicy and moist dark earthy undertones.  It was chewy and delicious.  Dan mentioned that this wine would be a good one to tuck away for a later date.  I wish we had grabbed a couple bottles.  Definitely make a stop at this hidden gem to say hi to Dan, and learn more about their amazing pinot noirs.  Be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy the grounds of the winery.

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Handley Cellars was our second stop, and again we were familiar with their Rose wine after the Experience Rose event but not with the winery.  Another delightful spot to lose one’s self during an afternoon of tasting.  The grounds are gorgeous and as soon as you walk up to the winery lavender brings you in.  We started with a 2016 Brut Rose which was the perfect way to start a tasting.  One can never go wrong with bubbles, especially pink bubbles.  It was crisp but delicate with hints of raspberries.  We decided to taste only their Pinot Noirs, and that was a wise decision.  Each of them was really unique in its own way an very lovely.  We came home with a bottle of their 2015 Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard which we enjoyed with a grilled pork tenderloin.

After a lovely afternoon of tasting wine, we made our way up the coast about 45 minutes north on Highway 1 to an area called Newport.  The drive is stunning as we weaved through redwood forests and hugged gorgeous coastal lines.  We were so lucky as the sun was out and the area was showing off for us.

We wanted to get the most of a few days and spread out our stay amongst three completely different properties.  Each offered a different experience, and all were equally enjoyable.

Inn at Newport Ranch – if you blink or drive to fast you will pass this gem on the coast in Newport.  From the road, it looks like a private ranch, but as you make your way down a gravel road past the cows that are greeting you, you realize you have arrived at a magical spot.  The property sits on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean and the views are breathtaking.  We stayed two nights here, which was clearly not enough time to fully become zen and explore the area.  The staff throughout the property was more than hospitable and offering to help make our stay most enjoyable during our entire time there.  We stayed in the Birdhouse Suite which was a stunning little suite with a small kitchen where we could enjoy coffee in the mornings as well as a separate living room area which was the perfect place to stare out at the view or cozy up with a book in front of the fireplace.  After enjoying fireside appetizers in the main lodge of the inn, we opted to enjoy a picnic on our deck the first evening and enjoyed a bottle of wine from Lula and attempted to watch the sun dip back into the ocean through the fog.  Each morning we could hear birds singing which was the perfect way to wake up in our bird themed room.  Cows were wandering in the fields past the garden, and we found their mooing to be heavenly.  Breakfast, as well as evening appetizers, are included with the suite, and Patricia and Ricki energized us with their amazing breakfasts.  While we could have driven up the road about 20 minutes to eat out, we opted to stay at the inn for dinner our last night.  They source their ingredients locally as well as growing their own vegetables, herbs, and greens.  I usually never order chicken but on the recommendation of the staff, I did and I was not disappointed.

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We spent one day at the inn being lazy and enjoying the property which is something we hardly ever do when we travel so it was really nice to take advantage of such a luxury.  We hiked, took photos, read books, played in the grass and took a ranch ATV safari which was a blast.  Ethan took us all over the property past hidden beaches with seals to the redwood trees and fern grottos in the mountains.  The views were stunning, and we both had so much fun.  I cannot recommend it enough. There is also a winery right next door, Pacific Star, but they were closed when we were there.

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After one and a half days and two nights of complete and utter zen and romance, we had to say goodbye to our friends.  Before heading to our next destination we did something we usually never do, and again it was so much fun.  After a leisurely drive and grabbing a delicious coffee at Headlands Coffee we made our way over to the Skunk Train.  Come to find out the Skunk Train is a world-famous train that makes it way through the redwood forests and along the coastline of Mendocino while transporting back in time.  We took the Pudding Creek Express which was a 1-hour train ride through the Pudding Creek Estuary;  we saw many different birds as well as a few deer.  It was very relaxing as well as a fun way to spend an afternoon.

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Brewery Gulch Inn – As we enjoyed another scenic drive along the coast, we could not wait to get to the Brewery Gulch Inn.  I kept talking about how I felt this spot was going to have amazing service, and that I had a very good feeling about it.  From the time our reservation was booked we received amazing service from an email not only confirming the reservation but another one welcoming us to the area with suggestions of places to go and discounts at wineries.  I was blown away as we stay at a lot of hotels and this never happens.  As soon as we made our way to the reception area, Guy was there to welcome us with a glass of wine and made us feel like we were visiting old friends.  Warm and hospitable are an understatement.  We stayed in the Madrone room which was a lovely king size room with amazing views and a deck, along with a fireplace.  There was every amenity imaginable, we could have arrived with only our clothing and been just fine.  It was rather mind-blowing to be honest with you, how a hotel could think of everything from bath salts to chargers for your phone.  After all, I am all about the little things at a hotel.

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photo provided by the inn

Guy left us a lovely note written in French along with a bottle of wine that he makes, Sarah’s Rustic Bubbles from the Anderson Valley vineyard Fathers and Daughters which was very well thought touch.  What a lovely way to enjoy the late afternoon; it was a rustic chardonnay with slight characteristics of a cider as well as a champagne.  I would say it was rather farm style or rustic, which is something we both enjoy in wine.  It was crisp with hints of green apple and very lively.  One can never go wrong with bubbles in the afternoon.

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We thought about going into Mendocino for the evening but after seeing how gorgeous the property was we opted to take full advantage of our gorgeous room.  They offer what they called a Light Dinner Buffet, and we expected a glass of wine and some appetizers.  What we got was an amazing dinner of beef tenderloin along with vegetables, salads, and some of the best scalloped potatoes I have ever eaten.  Yes, I had two servings or maybe three.  Guy was off for the evening but Steven made sure we were well fed and that our glass of pinot noir was never empty.  It was really a fantastic night.

After a most enjoyable sleep and walking the grounds in the morning we enjoyed a breakfast made to order. Again the meal did not disappoint. Everything was fresh and local and it was hosted in a wonderful dining with a fireplace to take the chill offer.  We had the entire afternoon open and Guy gave us some great suggestions.  We decided to head back up to Fort Bragg to enjoy some time at MacKerricher Beach as well as Glass Beach.  MacKerricher Beach was really gorgeous and there were even some seals.  Glass Beach was a bit of a disappointment as the photos make it look so spectacular but really we didn’t see much of any glass colored pebbles.  After spending a few hours beachcombing we headed over to Noyo Harbor.  Guy recommended a spot Django’s Rough Bar and he promised it would not be touristy and that the food was good and the beers cold.  He was right!  We shared oysters along with spicy squid and a couple of those cold beers before heading back to Mendocino.

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Little River Inn – this property is a Mendocino icon and if you have ever driven that way you have definitely passed it.  I remember the first time I went to Mendocino some twenty years ago, I really wanted to stay at this beautiful white inn perched upon a bluff.  When we were able to get a night booked at this spot I could not wait.  We arrived later in the day unfortunately and did not get to take advantage of their spa which we heard was amazing.  There is always next time.  We had a great room with ocean views and another fireplace so we took full advantage of the situation and enjoyed a bottle of wine before heading to dinner which was enjoyed at the inn.  We tried to get in a bit early at the  Whale Watch Bar as Guy told us they make outstanding cocktails; but,  it was packed so go early if you are staying there.  We had a great table with ocean views and amazing staff which kept us full and happy.  I cannot pass on a classic Iceberg Wedge salad when I see one of the menus and I have to admit this was one of the best I have ever had.  It was loaded with bacon and blue cheese, just the way I like it.  I ordered a pasta dish and Lenny had the bouillabaisse which is something he always orders when it sees it on the menu;  both were cooked perfectly and were very filling.  We could have shared as the portions were large. That did not stop us from enjoying the olallieberry cobbler for dessert.

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photo provided by the inn (was not bluebird skies when we were there)

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photo provided by the inn

After another restful night sleeping on the coast, we sadly made our way home after stopping in Boonville for a little coffee, pastries, and shopping.  While we did not get a passport stamp on this vacation we left with our minds and bodies relaxed and our hearts were full after a wonderful experience with wonderful folks, close to home.

Mendocino Coast, we will be back for more, most definitely!  If you want to see a little video with more information about our holiday hop over to Instagram to catch my Mendocino story.  More Photos of our staycation as I know you are visual people.

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Wines that we enjoyed but did not get to visit the vineyards:

Scharffenberger Cellars – their Brut Rose is delightful salmon colored bubbly that is slightly jammy and crisp.

Roederer Estate – another wonderful Brut Rose that is the perfect glass of summer bubbles.  It has a hint of oak but the jammiest of the fruit balanced it out perfectly.

Bee Hunter – Lenny saw this on the menu when we had dinner at the Little River Inn.  He had heard about this wine but could not remember were.  So, we tried their 2014 Pinot Noir and it was a knockout!  When I say jammy that is an understatement as it was loaded with stonefruit flavors and was soft as well as elegant.

Next Time – four days was not enough as there was so much we wanted to do.  We are already trying to figure out how we can get back there this winter to whale watch. Yes, you can see whales there!  Here are a few things we did not get a chance to do this trip and plan on taking advantage of next time.

Balo Vineyards – have enjoyed their Rose wine and would love to explore more of what they have to offer.

Toulouse Vineyards – we heard from a few folks that this is a great little spot to visit and that their pinot noirs are lovely wines to enjoy.

Maggie Hawk – another pinot noir that we love to drink, and would be great to visit.

Nye Ranch – we drove by and they had an adorable vegetable stand out front but were not open.  After doing some research on their ranch I am dying to go back, buy veggies and flowers.

Pennyroyal Farm – love their goat cheese but did not realize they had a spot in Booneville. As well, they give farm tours.  Definitely, want to hit this spot!

The Bewildered Pig – again a local spot that we heard has amazing food.

Stone and Embers – we heard their pizzas are definitely worth stopping for.

Jug Handle State Reserve – want to do some hiking here the views are supposed to be lovely.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens – almost everyone we talked to said to plan a visit here that it is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens.

 

disclaimer:  this post is not sponsored. We were gifted our rooms at all three properties and were not asked to write about them.  We had an amazing time and wanted to share our experiences and travel.  All content and photos are our own and were not influenced by other parties.  We appreciate our readers supporting brands that we stand behind.  

 

 

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Super Moist Carrot Cake https://chezus.com/2018/09/04/super-moist-carrot-cake/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/04/super-moist-carrot-cake/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2018 10:05:50 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32181 I made Lenny this super moist carrot cake to celebrate his birthday.  Carrot cake is his favorite cake so I make it once a year to celebrate his birthday.  Whenever he has a slice of carrot cake somewhere else, he always says that mine recipe is the best. It has been a strange year for [...]

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I made Lenny this super moist carrot cake to celebrate his birthday.  Carrot cake is his favorite cake so I make it once a year to celebrate his birthday.  Whenever he has a slice of carrot cake somewhere else, he always says that mine recipe is the best.

Super Moist Carrot Cake

It has been a strange year for us.  Not the usual work is crazy kind of strange, just a lot of personal things that have changed the way we normally do things, like celebrating birthdays.  Last minute we booked tickets and flew back East in July.  It was nice to be in the hot humid weather for a few days, after all, summer is supposed to be hot.  We went to Boston and spent time with his family on the Cape. His only request was to keep his birthday simple and not make any fuss.  I love birthdays so this was hard for me.  It ended up being a pizza delivery kind of night with a bottle or two of red wine for fun.  It was really nice being together with family celebrating love and laughing a lot.

When we came home I extended the birthday celebrations with gift opening at home, a dinner at the house with some friends as well as dinner out with more friends.  It was a lot of fun and while he does not admit it, I know he secretly enjoys the extended birthday celebrating.  Then I made a cake.

My carrot cake recipe has definitely evolved over the years and was inspired by many recipes that are floating around the internet.  A few years ago, after much trial and error, I finally knocked it out of the park.  I have been making carrot cake the same way ever since.  I love this recipe, and Lenny says every year when I bake this cake that is is the best.  It is insanely moist and flavorful.

I am almost positive that the secret is using really fresh ingredients.  I buy fresh carrots at the farmer’s market;  not prebagged carrots or those that are already grated.  It only takes a few extra minutes to wash a carrot and grate it.  I also use fresh pineapple as it is more flavorful and less sugary.  I leave out nuts and add a few extra raisins.  The coconut oil adds a lovely subtle tropical flavor to the cake.  If you don’t like coconut oil you could use canola oil.  We aren’t really into the frosting so much so I keep it even simpler by frosting only the top and between layers.  If you love a lot of frosting, double up the recipe and go crazy. Otherwise, enjoy this amazing carrot cake recipe, rustic style like the way we enjoy it!

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Super Moist Carrot Cake

Ingredients:  

Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups melted coconut oil or canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I like paste)
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 pound carrots, grated

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

How To:

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Butter two 8″ round cake pans, then line with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper and flour the pans.
  3. In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cardamon, baking soda and salt).  Set aside.
  4. Mix the carrots, raisins, and pineapple with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  5. In the mixing bowl of a mixer beat together the coconut oil and sugar until light yellow.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.  Then add the vanilla and mix.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.
  6. Fold in the carrots and raisin mixture, then mix well.
  7. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.  Tap on the counter to release air bubbles.  Bake for 55 – 60 minutes;  a toothpick will come out clean when you poke the center.  All the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire baking rack.  Once cool remove from the pans and set aside on the racks until ready to frost.

Frosting

  1. Mix the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.  Sift the powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture, then add the cream and vanilla.  Mix until smooth, fluffy and creamy.
  2. To Frost
  3. Smear about a tablespoon of frosting onto the cake plate.  Place one layer on top of the plate and frost the top with half of the frosting.  Top with the other cake layer and frost the top with the remaining frosting.
  4. Serve.
  5. Eat.

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Seafood Paella https://chezus.com/2018/08/10/seafood-paella/ https://chezus.com/2018/08/10/seafood-paella/#respond Fri, 10 Aug 2018 10:05:10 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32190 I have been working on perfecting my paella making skills this summer which means I have been making paella often.  By perfecting, I mean I have been striving to get that amazing crispy rice bottom on the paella pan known as the socarrat.  This is how they do it in Spain.  I love when you [...]

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I have been working on perfecting my paella making skills this summer which means I have been making paella often.  By perfecting, I mean I have been striving to get that amazing crispy rice bottom on the paella pan known as the socarrat.  This is how they do it in Spain.  I love when you linger over the table, scraping all the goodness off of the pan after the paella has been devoured.  Any excuse I can find, I am making paella.  What to come over for dinner?  Then you will probably get paella.  I have been making traditional Valencia paella, a killer vegetarian paella and this amazing seafood paella.  Last month, I made this seafood paella for a friend’s birthday and it was so good that I decided I should share the recipe.

Seafood Paella

 

I have enjoyed paella many times during my life but it wasn’t until I spent some time in Spain when I introduced to a really amazing paella.  It was flavorful and the crispy rice on the bottom was perfection, and later I learned what one should strive for making the socarrat when making paella as this shows a well-made paella.  There is a place in Oakland that makes it just like Spain.  While I could go there, I find it is more fun to make it at home. The way to achieve that toasty layer is using a wide and shallow pan, like the Paella pan.  The surface keeps the rice layer shallow and allows the stock to evaporate at an even pace, which creates the crispy layer.

Seafood Paella

Paella is a rich rice dish that originated in Valencia Spain.  Every recipe in Spain is different as they use different meats or vegetables so it is a great recipe that is super versatile and you can definitely use your imagination when working with ingredients.  Some paella purists say you should not mix meat and fish;  but, I have never been one to follow rules!

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Seafood Paella

** serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup clam broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron thread
  • 2 basque or Portuguese chorizo, cut into 1″ pieces – Mexican chorizo is too crumbly
  • 1/8 cup virgin extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups paella rice
  • 6 large shrimp with heads on or regular shrimp if you cannot find with heads
  • 1 pound littleneck clams
  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 1/8 cup peas, fresh or frozen, if frozen let thaw
  • parsley, for garnish
  • lemon wedges, for serving

How To:

  1. Place the chicken stock along with the clam broth into a medium-sized saucepan.  Crumble the saffron into the mixture and bring to a low simmer.  Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large paella pan cook the chorizo over medium-low heat.  Do not cook over high heat or you will burn the chorizo as well as the oils from the meat.  Remove from the pan and place into a bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil to the paella pan, then stir in the onion and cook until soft over low heat;  about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the paprika to the onion mixture and stir and cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Stir in the rice and cook stirring until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings;  about 1 minute.
  5. Add the hot stock mixture to the rice and stir to evenly distribute across the paella pan.  Cook over medium-low heat without stirring.  Rotate the pan for even cooking until half of the liquid has been absorbed;  about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the chorizo, shrimp, clams, and mussels to the pan.  Make sure the clams and mussels are hinge side down.  Cook, turning the shrimp about halfway until the fish is cooked and all of the liquid has absorbed; about 15 – 20 minutes. Depends on the heat of your stove – they are all different.
  7. Scatter the peas over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with peas and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
  9. Serve.
  10. Eat.

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