Happy New Year to all of you.
What a great way to start our year! We had a great New Years Eve group of people that came in and we had a wonderful time just enjoying food, wine and each other....Gary, Maria, Richelle, Drew and Courtney commented all night what a gorgeous bunch of people we had....
Thank you for thinking of us for this special night.
We had fun.
So now, we gotta get on the ball and figure out our new year's plans I guess. Not one to make resolutions (why set myself up for failure?), instead we try to just set goals for the years....baby steps....that when achieved, we just shout out loud "Good for us" and when we don't, we blame our parents.
Our hopes for the new year? Besides what they say at every convention, beauty pageant or press conference ("Mah dream is for world peace and to be able to stand upright with my tee-ara on straight"), here are some of my wishes:
1. That all of the wineries are able to bottle up and sell really incredible wines this year: balanced, flavorful, and making us realize why California and our counties make us proud wine drinkers.
2. That all the food trends that came and went last year be either put to rest, or be part of our new appetites.
3. The home cooks realize how wonderful bone-in meats really are when they braise them slowly for hours.....making their homes and kitchens smell like heaven and all their people eating these dishes thank them for taking the time to produce such good foods.
4. That we all eat something new this year, and learn to love it with the same secret gusto as we do French Fries.
5. That bacon become part of our food group. And everyone learns how to make candied bacon for breakfast.....(recipe to come...)
6. That soup-making be part of the weekly dining habits of everyone. That we all understand how easy and economical they are to make, and how great they can be as a full-on meal for your family. With a loaf of really good bread, hot out of the oven. And the right wine to go with the soup-meal. Did I mention the wine? (Side note: in my old hippy-dippy daze, a lady named Adele Davis wrote this book called "Let's Eat Right". In it, she praised the benefits of a weekly soup that she made with just the frozen left-overs from your weeks dinners: save all of the cooked vegetables in a Mason jar; save all the stocks, juices from cooked meats, the left-over butters from your cooked veggies, etc. in another Mason jar. Left-over bits of pasta, rice, meats, chicken in another jar. At the end of the week, combine them all to make a hearty soup. She mentioned that pureeing this soup with a bit of cream was also a way to make it look better. At our house, we call it "Must-go" soup.)
7. That we can budget out to purchase one great piece of kitchen equipment that we can use over and over and over again: examples: a heavy bottomed enameled cast iron dutch oven (ala Le Creuset or some of the others on the market); a food mill; Microplane graters; a Kitchen Aid mixer; canning equipment; a stock pot.
8. To find 100 new ways to use the above piece of new kitchen equipment (see #7 above).
9. To find a brand new varietal of wine that we have never tried before and learn to appreciate it and incorporate into our dining habits.
10. To find out the benefits of using a wine decanter for some of our everyday wines.
11. That we talk to a family member and start writing down all the recipes that we love from family and friends get-togethers, so they don't get lost or forgotten. Producing a family/friends cook-book is a goal for everyone who loves to cook or who loves foods. And the awful part, is most of these recipes are in that persons head and not on paper. (Example: Gary's mom made this wonderful Portugese dish she called "Garvanzas"; it was a tradional holiday or special occasion dish that every one of the six brothers loved. Where is that recipe now?????)
12. That we have more functions with friends that are casual.
13. That we have more functions with friends that are formal, and require an R.S.V.P. (It's fun to get dressed up and look snazzy....)
14. To get everyone in the household to eat at least 2 meals a week AT THE TABLE....without the T.V. on, and using cloth napkins.
15. To remember how a lit candle at dinner changes the whole mood of the dining experience. And realize that even KFC Chicken can be romantic, if you set the mood.
16. To go on at least a "once-a-month" date with the one you love.
A real-planned-night or day out. No kids, no other friends. The kind of date that ya primp up for and might hold hands across the table while looking in each others eyes. And smile. It is nice to realize and appreciate why we love our mates. And to court each other all over again. (And the rewards are great too!!!)
17. To try and see some value in that person who always just pushes your buttons. And try to "just get along....."
18. To give the remote control to the other guy for a night or two.....
19. To go dancing. (See #16 and #15). It seems like every movie that gets us kind of romantically weepy has a great dance scene in it, even if it is in your boxers and slippers in front of the T.V. We need to just dance every so often.
20. To help out more in your house with the things the other person does for you.....(the possibilities and the rewards can be endless in the romance department!!!)
21. To put the toilet seat down each time you use it. And be the first one to replenish the toilet paper roll.
22. To live my life with relish.
23. To laugh at myself more,
and to laugh: period.
This months menu:
I am keeping Stuffed Pasilla Chiles on our menu: yes, they were that good!!!! Filled with fresh zucchini, sweet potatoes, and corn, and three kinds of the great Mexican cheeses we found locally. On a bed of rice, topped with a roasted tomato sauce, and Mexican Crema. this is good eating. Vegetarian but so very flavorful.
This months Risotto is a traditional Saffron Risotto that is made with Crimini, Shitake and button mushrooms, grape tomatoes, fresh corn, and winter truffles, topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and white truffle oil.
Filet Mignon is back on the menu: our filets we hand cut at 10 oz. portions, wrap in thick cut apple-wood smoked bacon, and char-broiling them, topping with a wonderful reduction sauce made with Barbera wine, prosciutto, and wild mushrooms. Happy meat eaters unite!!!
Our slow braised Lamb Shanks are going to make my lamb lovers very, very happy. Perfect winter food, these bone in shanks look like something out of a Flintstones cartoon. Slow simmered in red wine, garlic and vegetables, we strain and reduce the sauce down and served it on a bed of our garlic mashed potatoes. Good stuff Maynard...
Mr. Don's Chicken: Don is this great guy who loves this dish, so I named it in honor of his good looks and his good taste: a large skin-on chicken breast, pan-seared until golden, finished on a bed of little potato gnocchi's, Fingerling potatoes, and quartered mushrooms with white wine and a pan-juice reduction.
Scroll down this page to get to our new menu and this months promotions and recipe. This is the fun part!