Chez Us https://chezus.com She cooks. He devours. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 03:43:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 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!

 

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

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter two 8″ round cake pans, then line with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper and flour the pans.

In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cardamon, baking soda and salt).  Set aside.

Mix the carrots, raisins, and pineapple with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

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.

Fold in the carrots and raisin mixture, then mix well.

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

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.

To Frost

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.

Serve.

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!

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Scatter the peas over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.

Garnish with peas and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

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Cucumber Radish Salad https://chezus.com/2018/08/06/cucumber-radish-salad/ https://chezus.com/2018/08/06/cucumber-radish-salad/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:05:44 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32174 Summer salads are my jam.  During the warm summer months when produce is exploding I make some sort of salad for lunch as well as dinner.  It could be as simple as a green salad using killer greens or a big ole salad full everything I can think of, to enjoy as a main.  This recipe [...]

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Summer salads are my jam.  During the warm summer months when produce is exploding I make some sort of salad for lunch as well as dinner.  It could be as simple as a green salad using killer greens or a big ole salad full everything I can think of, to enjoy as a main.  This recipe for cucumber radish salad was inspired by one I had at a local restaurant.  The flavors were everything I love but the price tag of twelve dollars for a tiny cucumber salad, there were literally four pieces of cucumber, left me not wanting to come back for more.  I did the next best thing.  I came home and recreated the recipe.  Guess what?  It is bigger and better than the first one.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Cucumbers, as well as radishes, often get overlooked and are thought of as a filler for another recipe.  When actually they are just as fantastic as the star ingredient such as in this recipe.  I love both cucumbers and radishes, and always have a stash in the refrigerator to use as a filler and for snacking.  This summer has been different as I have been trying to think outside of the produce box by using them beyond sad filler.  What I love about this recipe is the crispness of the cucumber and the spiciness of the radishes;  both flavors play well together.  Crisp and cool like a summer evening.

The disappointing version of this salad that we had at the restaurant, the dressing was a squeeze of lemon juice with olive oil.  My dressing goes beyond that as I used my new favorite crush Preserved Lemon Paste.  I am so in love with this product and have been using it on everything from dressings to roasted chickens to sauteed vegetables.  It is tangy and slightly salty, with a rich creamy lemon taste.  I sprinkle in a little Aleppo pepper to add some kick.

Super simple.  Super delicious.  If you want a light lunch double up the recipe and enjoy with a warm pita.  Or serve alongside grilled fish or chicken, which is the way we have been enjoying all summer.

 

Cucumber Radish Salad

** serves two as a side

Ingredients:

1/8 cup red onion thinly sliced

1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled

6 medium-sized radishes, washed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons preserved lemon paste

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

kosher salt to taste

How To:

Place the thinly sliced red onion into a small bowl with cold water.  Set aside.

Peel the cucumber and then using the peeler make ribbons.  I place the cucumber over the salad bowl and peel into the bowl, catching any and all juice.

Thinly slice the radishes and add the cucumbers.

Drain the red onion, pat dry with a paper towel and then add to the cucumber mixture.

In a small jar add the olive oil, lemon paste and Aleppopepperr.  Cover with a lid and shake well.

Drizzle over the salad and lightly toss.

Season to taste with salt.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream with Bourbon https://chezus.com/2018/07/15/roasted-cherry-buttermilk-ice-cream-with-bourbon/ https://chezus.com/2018/07/15/roasted-cherry-buttermilk-ice-cream-with-bourbon/#comments Sun, 15 Jul 2018 10:05:57 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32147 We try to spend as much time as we can in the mountains enjoying the outdoors during the summer months.  One of our favorite places to hit is the Gold Lakes of the Sierras.  Along highway 49 there is a stop called Bassetts Station.  Bassetts Station is basically the entire town housed in one building. [...]

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We try to spend as much time as we can in the mountains enjoying the outdoors during the summer months.  One of our favorite places to hit is the Gold Lakes of the Sierras.  Along highway 49 there is a stop called Bassetts Station.  Bassetts Station is basically the entire town housed in one building.  There is a motel, they sell gas, there is a diner, you can buy groceries (well some groceries), grab a case of beer and enjoy some really delicious ice cream.  My favorite flavor is their Black Cherry Ice Cream.  Last week we stopped by to pick up ice and grab some beer, and we decided to indulge in an ice cream.  With every lick, I kept thinking about how I needed to up my cherry ice cream game.  So, I came home and created this summertime recipe for Roasted Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream with Bourbon.

Roasted Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream with Bourbon

 

Every summer I make it a goal to create at least one new ice cream flavor. We tend not to have sweets around the house very often, but when summer hits, it is kind of mandatory.  One cannot enjoy summer without at least a couple scoops of a luscious ice cream.  With summer rushing on by I feel like I need to really up my ice cream game and I have a few ideas to complete before that last ray of summer sun.  First things first, I knew with cherry season around I had to play with some sun-kissed cherries so we could enjoy an even more improved remake of that delicious cherry ice cream we enjoyed at Bassetts Station.

I tend to make all of my ice cream recipes with a rich custard base and this was no exception.  I used some amazing farm fresh eggs that I scored at the farmer’s market and their bright yolks help create a beautiful yellow tint to my custard base.  Gosh, I really love that.  I also roasted the cherries which I find makes their flavor even more intense.  Bourbon purely adds another depth and a bit of sophistication to the mix.  It is completely optional and this recipe will work just fine without as well.  Did I mention this is my third batch in a week so I was able to sample both ways?  I like to roast a few extra cherries to toss on top when serving, but again, that is completely up to you!

Roasted Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream with Bourbon

Roasted Cherry Buttermilk Ice Cream with Bourbon

** makes almost 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients:

1/2 pound dark cherries

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup  heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

5 egg yolks

2 cups whole fat buttermilk

1/4 cup bourbon – optional

 

How To:

Pit the cherries and cut in half.  Place into a bowl, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar and let sit for 30 minutes to bring out the juices.

Preheat the oven to 250.

Place the cherry mixture onto a baking sheet and place into the oven.  Roast for 60 minutes.  I set the timer for 30 minutes, stir and then set for another 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Then place the cherries along with any juices into a small container or jar, cover, and place into the refrigerator.

In a medium-sized saucepan mix the heavy cream with the sugar and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and small bubbles form.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks together.  Slowly pour in the heated cream, whisking the entire time so the eggs do not scramble.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and over low heat while stirring the entire time cook the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon.  Do not stop stirring.

Strain the mixture through a sieve into a mixing bowl.

Stir in the buttermilk, vanilla bean paste and the bourbon.  Cover the mixing bowl with wrap and let sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Making the ice cream:

Following your ice cream maker’s instructions by pouring the custard base into the maker.  Begin churning and half way through add the cherries.  Continue the process according to the instructions with your machine.

Pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze for at least two hours before serving.

I like to roast some extra cherries to serve on top but this is not mandatory.

 

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Pulpo de Maria alla Coggiola https://chezus.com/2018/07/13/pulpo-de-maria-alla-coggiola/ https://chezus.com/2018/07/13/pulpo-de-maria-alla-coggiola/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 10:05:39 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32123 If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love Rose wine as I tend to talk about it all summer.  Therefore, when I was invited to the wine event, Experience Rose, I immediately said yes.  Honestly, I could not think of a better way to escape a chilly June afternoon in the [...]

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If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love Rose wine as I tend to talk about it all summer.  Therefore, when I was invited to the wine event, Experience Rose, I immediately said yes.  Honestly, I could not think of a better way to escape a chilly June afternoon in the Bay area, then by sipping Rose wine and sampling delicious food in the Napa sunshine.  There were many highlights but one that I keep thinking about is this recipe for Pulpo de Maria alla Coggiola which also was the winning dish during the event.

Pulpo de Maria alla Coggiola

Experience Rose was hosted a the beautiful CIA in Napa.  This was my first time at the CIA, and it did not disappoint.  Besides sipping Rose and noshing on food, I did have a chance to wander the grounds of the CIA and it is truly a lovely space to lose yourself in.  Studded with lush gardens and fragrant lavender throughout not to mention beautiful spanning views.  It was the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of Rose.

Experience Rose Napa

I got the chance to experience new to me Roses not only from California but also from Europe.  I tend to lean towards a Rose that is crisp and not sweet and these were a few of my favorites.  Another highlight was being able to attend a tasting with the renowned winemaker, Randall Graham of Bonny Doon Vineyard.  I have always been a fan of his wines and appreciate his no-fuss approach to wine.  He has a way of making wine tasting approachable for the most experienced wine drinker to a novice such as myself.  And his newest venture a bubbly Rose in a can is too fun not to invite to your summer parties!

Experience Rose Napa

On to my favorite Rose wines of the day:

La Grand Courtage Brut Rose – Bubbly Rose, oh my!  I started my tasting with a glass of these French pink bubbles.  This winery is located in the Burgandy area of France and the Rose definitely showed the sophistication that comes with wines from that area.  It was bright with a hint of berry and light florals.  Not overly sweet at all and the perfect way to kick off an afternoon of Rose.

Handley Cellars Pinot Noir Rose – I am a fan of Pinot Noir Roses as well as Anderson Valley wine, this did not disappoint.  The wine is a beautiful pale pink in color, not sweet at all, instead, it was dry with flavors of crisp cucumbers.  I have never thought of pairing Rose with food but thought this would go well with grilled seafood.  A very accommodating wine.

Lazy Creek Vineyards – Rose of Pinot Noir is another luscious wine from the Anderson Valley.  This was also a light in color rose with low acidity and dry.  I tasted hints of citrus as well as strawberries.  Again, a great Rose to enjoy on a hot summer evening.

Bonny Donn Vineyard – one of the first wines I ever enjoyed in California was the Le Cigare Volant.  When I saw that we would be drinking the Vin Gris de Cigare during the private tasting with Randall Grahm, I could not wait and I knew I would not be disappointed.  This wine is not made from red wine byproducts.  Instead, the grapes are harvested at their peak ripeness and made into this lovely rose.  Hints of roses, citrus and minerals make it the perfect afternoon wine.  Leave it to this winemaker to make a wine in a can that is fun and playful;  La Bulle Moose which is made with Vin Gris de Cigare and then carbonated.  The perfect summer wine!

Experience Rose Napa

Domaine Anderson – Rose of Pinot Noir again another lovely Anderson Valley Rose with hints of strawberries as well as watermelon.  This is a very balanced wine that is dry and very drinkable. I  would most likely enjoy a rich triple cream cheese.  I have a feeling one cannot go wrong with Roses from the Anderson Valley.

Now that I have shared a few favorite wines, I want to share this recipe for Pulpo de Maria alla Coggiola with you.  Not only was it the winning nosh of the day but it was my favorite as well.  I believe we sampled it ten times before casting our vote.  Had to make sure it was perfect right?  This recipe would be really lovely served as summer parties with a splash of your favorite Rose.  As soon as I spy some fresh octopus at the market, I definitely plan on making.  I might even make as an entree too!

Experience Rose Napa

Pulpo de Maria alla Coggiola

Cilantro Serrano Mojo – Green Sauce

Garlic 1 head

Serrano, without seeds 1 ea. Or to taste

Cilantro 1 bunch

Extra virgin Olive Oil 100 mL

White Wine Vinegar 50 mL

Rosé, reduced slightly to 50 mL

Water from boiled crinkled potatoes 50 mL

Salt, kosher or sea salt to taste

Method

1. In a food processor, pulse garlic, serrano, and cilantro until begins to combine. Scrape the bowl once in a while.

2. Combine vinegar, Rosé, and water. 

3. Stream in oil while the food processor is on. If mixture becomes too thick, loosen the vinegar-water mixture. Alternate between additions of oil and water, until homogenized. 

3. Season with salt or additional serrano to taste.

Note: Taste better made a day or night before, flavors will marry overnight. 

Sofrito Aioli – Red Sauce

Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Onions, grated 3 ea.

Tomatoes, grated 6-7 ea.

Spanish paprika “Pimenton”- Sweet 3 tsp.

Spanish paprika “Pimenton”- Spicy 3 tsp.

Lemon juice to taste

Mayonnaise as needed

Method

1. Cover the bottom of large pan with at least ½ inch of oil. Heat oil and add the onions. Reduce heat and cook until golden brown, caramelizing the onions. Stir occasionally or add a little water to prevent burning.

2. Add tomatoes and paprika. Mix. Cook until all the water is evaporated. The tomatoes and onions should have melted into each other.

3. Add any desired herbs and squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Allow to cool. In a blender, combine the sofrito with spoonfuls of mayonnaise until desired creaminess. Finish with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Note: Taste better made a day or night before, flavors will marry overnight. 

Crinkled Potatoes

Yellow, waxy potatoes, skin on 2 pounds

Kosher salt 1 cup + as needed

Water to cover potatoes

Method

1. Place potatoes in a medium-sized pot.

2. Cover potatoes with water, and add salt. If potatoes are not floating, add more salt.

3. Bring the water to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until you can pierce the potato with a knife.

4. Drain the water, leaving a little water at the bottom. 

5. On low heat, shake the pot until salt begins to crystallize around the potatoes. 

6. Cover the pot until the skins have wrinkled.

7. Spread out onto a sheet pan to cool. 

8. Slice potatoes thinly for the base of the tapa.

Charred Kumquats

Kumquats, picked, small and sweet 1 pound

1. Slice kumquats medium-thin thickness, making little circles.

2. Remove any seeds.

3. On a grill with a wire-mesh rack, or with a torch, char the kumquats enough without burning.

Grilled Octopus

Octopus, whole 1 ea.

Water as needed

Rosemary 3 stems

Thyme 3 stems

Paprika 6 tablespoons

Garlic 1 head

Onions quartered 2 heads

Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Fill a medium-sized pot at least halfway with water. Add the rosemary, thyme, paprika, garlic, and onions. Bring to a boil. 

2. Blanch the whole octopus several times.

3. Bring the liquid down to a simmer, place the octopus in and simmer until tender.

4. Allow to rest.

5. Grill over wood, rest, and chop octopus into pieces, removing beak especially. Tentacles are the best meat, while meat from the head tends to be stronger tasting yet still delicious.

6. Cover the octopus with additional paprika and olive oil.

7. Slice medium-thin pieces of octopus to place on the tapa. The octopus should be tender but should be a good meaty bite.

Putting it all together

Extra virgin olive oil

Paprika

Microgreens or pea shoots

Charred Kumquat

Sofrito Aioli – Red Sauce

Grilled Octopus

Cilantro Serrano Mojo – Green Sauce

Crinkled Potato

Assembly

1. Place a piece of sliced crinkled potato as the base.

2. Cover the potato lightly with the Cilantro Serrano Mojo

3. Place a piece of sliced octopus next.

4. A small dollop or spread of the Sofrito Aioli – Red Sauce.

5. A charred kumquat piece on the aioli to hold it in place.

6. A couple of microgreens or pea shoots on top.

7. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of paprika.

 

Disclaimer – I was given two VIP tickets to Experience Rose. I was not required to write about my experience or to share anything.  All opinions are of my own.  The recipe was supplied by chefs Kevin Tom, Olga Kokarenko and Bernardo Riosas (students at the CIA), as well the photography was used with permission from Experience Rose.

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Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Peaches and Caramel https://chezus.com/2018/06/26/crepes-dentelles-with-sauteed-peaches-and-caramel/ https://chezus.com/2018/06/26/crepes-dentelles-with-sauteed-peaches-and-caramel/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 10:05:44 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32106 This recipe for Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Peaches and Caramel leaves me speechless.  It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a dessert that makes my heart swoon.  It is silky, buttery and ever so dreamy.  It has quickly become my go-to dessert for the summer. Deborah Balint hosts a monthly cookbook club [...]

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This recipe for Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Peaches and Caramel leaves me speechless.  It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a dessert that makes my heart swoon.  It is silky, buttery and ever so dreamy.  It has quickly become my go-to dessert for the summer.

Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Peaches and Caramel

Deborah Balint hosts a monthly cookbook club on Instagram which I have never had the time to participate in until this month when she challenged her readers to make  Crepes Dentelles with Apples from one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have purchased this year, How To Eat a Peach by Diana Henry.  This cookbook is quickly becoming one of my favorites go-to cookbooks for so many reasons.  For one, it is simply gorgeous from the photography to the seasonal recipes.  I am all about cooking seasonally so it is perfect for my kitchen.  I love a book that is printed on beautiful paper with simple type, this one does not disappoint, and the cover is soft like a peach.  One of my favorite things in a cookbook is a ribbon as a bookmarker.  I could go on and on but lets’ talk about my new favorite summer dessert recipe.

I love crepes and they seem to be the one thing that I do not make often enough.  In fact, when I brought out our crepe pan I realized that I had not used it since two houses before the one we live in now.  It felt great to butter up that sweet crepe pan and start swirling away, crepe after crepe.  I was eager to make this recipe, and could not wait for the book to arrive, which luckily arrived the day I was making.  Anyhow, I made one of Diana’s other crepe recipes as the base, which turned out beautifully.  I opted to use peaches as they were just showing up at the market and have been the best we have had in a long time.  So juicy and full of flavor, which was perfect with the eggy crepe and rich caramel sauce which I salted with some smoked cherry wood sea salt flakes.  The tartness of the creme fraiche wraps this dessert together beautifully as well they are good without or with a spoon of vanilla gelato instead.

I hope you enjoy this bright summer dessert as much as we do.

Happy Summer!

 

Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Peaches and Caramel

*serves 4

**revised from what is published in the book as I did not have the book yet and used one of Diana Henry’s other crepe recipes as well as peaches.  All inspired by her.

Ingredients:

for the crepes

125g (4½oz) plain flour

30g (1¾oz) sugar

pinch of salt

300ml (10fl oz) milk

1 medium egg plus 1 yolk

30g (1¾oz) melted butter

unsalted butter, for frying

for the caramel

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon smoked cherry wood sea salt flakes or regular sea salt flakes

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the peaches

2 peaches, washed and halved and cut into slices – I like the skin but you can peel

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon superfine sugar

to serve

creme fraiche

How To:

Make the crepes

Pour the milk, eggs, sugar, flour and melted butter into a blender, in that order. Blend for one minute, scrape down and blend for five seconds.

Rest in the fridge for two hours.

Make the caramel

Put the butter in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat.

Add the cream, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every so often.  Add the vanilla.  Remove from the heat.

Make the crepes

This amount of batter makes 16 small crepes  – about 10cm (4in) – or six large – about 20cm (8in) – so choose your crepe pan accordingly.

Heat the crepe pan over medium heat.

Melt a small amount of unsalted butter and add some batter. 

Quickly swirl the batter around to make a very thin pancake.

Cook over a medium heat until golden and set underneath. Flip with a small spatula (or your fingers which I use) and cook on the other side.

The first is always a bit of disaster, but you will soon get your crepe making rhythm going. Place 

Keep the crepes in a pile in a low heat oven – about 150 on my oven. 

Make the peaches

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the peach slices but do not crowd or the peaches will steam and become mushy.  Saute on both sides until lightly golden – be sure to watch as this goes by quickly.

Sprinkle with the sugar and cook until lightly caramelized.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Serving

Place a couple crepes on a dessert plate – my size of crepe pan opted for me to place three crepes on each plate.

Gently reheat the caramel sauce – you may need to add a little cream to reheat.

Place some peaches on the crepes, and drizzle with caramel sauce and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Serve.

Eat.

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Portuguese Favish https://chezus.com/2018/06/04/portuguese-favish/ https://chezus.com/2018/06/04/portuguese-favish/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:05:08 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32094 One of Lenny’s favorite Portuguese recipes is this one for Portuguese Favish, which is a fava bean stew.  His mother knows to make it every time we are back in Boston.  My recipe is different than her recipe, and I only make it when fava beans are in season.  It is rich in flavor and [...]

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One of Lenny’s favorite Portuguese recipes is this one for Portuguese Favish, which is a fava bean stew.  His mother knows to make it every time we are back in Boston.  My recipe is different than her recipe, and I only make it when fava beans are in season.  It is rich in flavor and comes together rather quickly.

Portuguese Favish

When I decide to make Portuguese food Lenny often says that it is interesting to see how the same recipe that is used by his mother comes together differently when I make it.  The same holds true for this recipe.  His mother will use either dry or frozen fava beans.  To be honest, I am not a big fan of either option, as I find the dried fava a tad mealy and the frozen one holds more moisture which I feel dilutes the flavor of the recipe.

Being more of a seasonal home chef, I wait until springtime when fava beans are in season.  They require some extra work but in my opinion, ten extra minutes is completely worth it.  After I posted a photo of this recipe last month on Instagram, the fava bean police came after me saying I had completely made the recipe wrong by using fresh fava beans and by not removing the outer skin.  When I make this recipe I remove the beans from the pod and I keep the outer skin on.  When I am making a recipe that is delicate and less hearty, then I blanch the beans and remove the outer skin.  There is no need to do this with this recipe.

The rich flavoring comes from using a spicy Portuguese Chouriço and crushed red pepper.  Portuguese Chouriço is completely different than linguica.  Chouriço is made with pork that is left somewhat chunky as well it is spicy.  Linguica is also made with pork but the meat is ground of more and it tends to be smoked.  This is a brand we buy when we can find it, it is called Mellos.  If you cannot find true Portuguese Chouriço then feel free to use linguica, the flavor will be slightly different but it will give be good.

I have served this recipe with and without eggs.  When I am making a side dish to serve with something else, I leave out the eggs.  When I want to serve as a main then I add the eggs.  That being said, I do not cook my eggs in the favish, instead, I poach and add just before serving.  I think the eggs turn rubbery and are overcooked when adding to the favish.  If I am being honest, it would not photograph very well either and you would never want to make this delicious recipe if there were grayish green eggs sitting on top.

Portuguese Favish

 

Portuguese Favish

Ingredients:

1/2 large Portuguese Chouriço, cut into small circles then cut in half

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper

2 cups of fresh fava beans, about 2 1/4 pounds

1/2 cup of vinho verde wine or water

3 eggs, optional

1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely minced

How To:

In a large and deep frying pan over medium heat cook the Chouriço for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, and the fava beans into the onion mixture.  Pour in the wine, stir and lower the heat to a low simmer.  Cook until the fava beans are tender;  about 10 minutes.  Stir often.

Add the parsley, stir and then remove from the heat.

If you are cooking the eggs with the fava beans, crack each egg into the mixture and cook to your liking.  If you want to top with poached eggs like I do then poach separately and add the eggs after stirring in the parsley.

Serve.

Eat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Banana Blueberry Pancakes https://chezus.com/2018/05/21/banana-blueberry-pancakes/ https://chezus.com/2018/05/21/banana-blueberry-pancakes/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 10:05:26 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32073 I feel like it has been forever since I posted over here.  There has been a lot going on, which I do plan on sharing.  I will share that I have been craving pancakes for the past few months and they are usually something I only order when eating out.  Since I have been cutting [...]

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I feel like it has been forever since I posted over here.  There has been a lot going on, which I do plan on sharing.  I will share that I have been craving pancakes for the past few months and they are usually something I only order when eating out.  Since I have been cutting out refined sugars I lean towards a savory breakfast more often than not.  I had to give in to that craving recently and make a batch of our favorite Banana Blueberry Pancakes.

I often head over here to Chez Us when making a familiar recipe such as these Banana Blueberry Pancakes.  Much to my surprise, I have not even shared this recipe with you, which I did not realize until I began mixing.  I pulled my notes, grabbed my camera and got to work at fine-tuning a recipe we love.

As I mentioned we are trying to cut out refined sugars as much as possible so when I made some adjustments to this recipe I left out the sugar.  My theory is that the fruit, as well as the maple syrup, is sweet enough so there is no need to add more sugar to the pancake mix.  It is loaded with sweet ripe bananas and tart blueberries which is all the sweet we need.  Plus, I add a little vanilla which brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit even more.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

I tend to like lighter pancakes as well as smaller sized ones, so I do add a bit more milk to thin the batter out.  I also whip the egg white to soft peaks, this creates a lighter and more tend pancake.  Not dense or rubbery at all.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

I hope you plan on making a batch of these Banana Blueberry Pancakes over the long weekend.  I guarantee it will put a smile on your face as well as those who are sharing breakfast with you.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg, separated

1 cup whole milk + 5 tablespoons (I like a thinner batter)

1 1/2 ripe banana

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup of blueberries

warm maple syrup

butter

extra banana to serve

extra blueberries to serve

How To:

Melt the butter and then set aside to cool.

Place the all-purpose flour and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and lightly whisk to mix.

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mash together the milk and banana.  Add the egg and mix with a fork.  Then add the cooled butter and vanilla extract.  Mix together.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture stir with a fork until blended but still slightly lumpy.

Fold in egg whites, then the blueberries.

Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over medium heat. Lightly butter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle.  If you like bigger pancakes then add more batter, if you like smaller, then use less.

When the pancakes have a bubbly surface and golden brown, flip over and cook for a couple more minutes until golden.

Serve with extra blueberries and banana slices, as well as butter and warm maple syrup.

Eat.

 

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Cheesy Meatball Fondue https://chezus.com/2018/04/25/cheesy-meatball-fondue/ https://chezus.com/2018/04/25/cheesy-meatball-fondue/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:05:13 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=31914 This recipe should be called cheesy meatballs.  Guess what?  I like to call it Cheesy Meatball Fondue as it is so much fun to serve to your friends.  This recipe always puts a smile on everyone’s face when you arrive at the table with a big pan full of cheese and meatballs.  It is so [...]

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This recipe should be called cheesy meatballs.  Guess what?  I like to call it Cheesy Meatball Fondue as it is so much fun to serve to your friends.  This recipe always puts a smile on everyone’s face when you arrive at the table with a big pan full of cheese and meatballs.  It is so cheesy that I can get away with calling it fondue.  Guess what else?  Kids love this recipe just as much as adults.  Winner Winner Chicken (or meatball) dinner!

Cheesy Meatball Fondue

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in Cooking Light last year.  It was the photo more than the recipe that caught my eye.  There were so many things that I did not agree with their recipe that I decided to recreate my own version.  The meatballs are made with lean grass-fed ground beef and loads of flavor such as onions, parsley, smoked chili flakes, and oregano.  The sauce is a super simple tomato sauce with some onion and garlic.  The topping is ultra creamy and rich as I used lots of fontina and mozzarella.  Pile it on, I say!

Pass lots of warm bread so you can be sure to get every last drop of cheesy goodness!

 

cheesy meatball fondue

Cheesy Meatball Fondue

** serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely minced

2 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced

28 ounce can crushed low sodium tomatoes

2 pounds lean (85%) grass fed ground beef

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely minced

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely minced

1 teaspoon smoked or regular chili flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 egg

1/2 pound fontina, grated

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

How To:

In a dutch oven or very large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the 1/2 cup of the yellow onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, rosemary and tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to a very low temperature and cook, stirring often for 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix the ground beef, the remaining 1/2 cup of yellow onion, parsley, chili flakes, oregano, parmesan cheese, and egg.  Mix well with your hands and form into meatballs.  I like the meatballs more medium sized than too small or large.  This recipe made about 30 meatballs that were medium sized.  If you like small meatballs go for it or if you like them large then go for that!

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet.  Slide into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Lower the heat of the oven to 350.

Pour about a cup of the tomato sauce into a large frying pan.  Top with the meatballs and then cover with the remaining sauce and all of the cheese.

Place into the oven and bake until bubbly and lightly golden brown – about 30 minutes.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

Eat.

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