Of course the meal is delicious on Thanksgiving. But….isn’t there something special about eating the same meal for the next 3 days? It never gets old until it’s gone! Sadly it is, but not before I captured the full experience.
Happy Easter! I hope the Easter bunny brought you some chocolate almonds (Piedras de Chocolate from Spain). They came all the way from Wegmans in our case. (If not, malted chocolate eggs will probably work okay, too.) Pair them with a Twisted Sidecar by the fire (as it was snowing today!) for a relaxing and elegant ending to your Easter.
1 1/2 ounces Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac
3/4 ounce Cointrau
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
Demerara sugar for rim
Run a lemon wedge around the top of your glass, then dip it in a small amount of Demerara sugar to coat the rim. In a shaker over ice mix ingredients and shake well. Strain into glass and garnish with twists of lemon and orange (twisted together).
Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is an awesome value. For $40 you’ll get a blended cognac aged, on average, 10 years. It’s smooth, light, and bright with flavors of vanilla, honey, oak, and a mix of citrus and flowers. It’s very nice on its own, and excellent in cocktails.
I like pho. Do you like pho? I bet you do. You just don’t know it yet. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup. I wanted to make the authentic version, but figured it would take too long (who has three hours to make stock?), so enter… Thai culinary stock. Some recipes use a chicken stock, but I figured the Thai stock would have a flavor profile closer to Vietnamese. Or something like that.
I used this recipe as a rough guideline, but as usual, I changed a few things. I specifically liked the idea of pan searing some of the elements to add more flavor; thus the mini stir fry. Enjoy!
1medium onion, peeled, halved through root end
2 Thai chili peppers or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2garlic cloves, crushed
2star anise pods
11” piece ginger, peeled, chopped
8cups Thai culinary stock
1 lb. of peeled and deveined shrimp
2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup beech mushrooms
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8ounces Thai Kitchen straight rice noodles
Mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, thinly sliced scallions, chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts, and lime wedges (for serving)
Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, cut side down, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Add chiles (if using crushed red pepper flakes, add with fennel seeds), garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise to skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds (do not burn). Quickly transfer to a large saucepan (reserve skillet) and add onion, ginger, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broth is flavorful.
Meanwhile, heat oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, toss in the skillet with baby bok choy and beech mushrooms. Stir fry for a minute or two until shrimp is cooked through.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Divide among bowls and add stir fry. Strain broth and ladle into bowls. Top pho with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts and serve with lime wedges.
It snowed today. In April. Not that that is unusual for us here in Rochester, it’s just a little frustrating given the long winter. But…it was also very pretty, and had the nice effect of reminding us of a recent trip to Mirbeau Inn and Spa. One of our fondest memories from Mirbeau is sitting together in the spa with large fluffy snowflakes falling through the open timbers overhead. I hope you get the chance to visit Mirbeau in the snow, but not until next winter.
Our Christmas Eve dinner was slightly out of the ordinary for our family. We decided to mix it up and serve a sandwich. But what kind of sandwich? Let’s take a stab at the perfect sandwich, I thought….the Bánh Mi. It was a hit, even with the little ones (although they may have skipped a few of the ingredients).
From the bottom running clockwise, our sandwich consisted of: roast pork loin (marinated in white vinegar, Asian BBQ sauce, chopped ginger, soy sauce), Wegmans Asian BBQ sauce, bacon, sliced jalapeños, cucumbers (marinated in equal parts white vinegar and sugar), Wegmans ciabatta baguette, Sriracha sauce, pork liver pâté, fresh cilantro. Don’t forget a nice spicy Gewürztraminer to go with it. I still think our house white, from Chateau Ste. Michelle, is excellent.
This is a must try. In fact, it’s time for leftovers. Enjoy!
First, let me say…..”Wow, that was good.” Now that I got that out of the way, let me tell you that it’s hard to find a 40 ounce beer in Victor. “What,” you ask? (Thinking I’ve lost it.)
The original purpose of me doing a post today was to wish my friend Joe a happy 40th birthday. He had this great idea:
I am not one for parties.I didn’t have a birthday party at 8, 16, 21 or 30 and I’d rather not have one for my 40th—which is quickly approaching. However I would like to celebrate it in my own way via social media, so here’s the deal, I want to experience my 40th through your eyes.
On November 29th, take a picture of what you see. Maybe it’s the sunrise, November rain on your window, or the snow laden trees, a selfie of you drinking a frosty beverage after scoring great Black Friday Deals or your neighbors’ cropped mailbox that just shows the 40 of their address. Whatever sparks your fancy. Then, after my birthday, I will collect these photos and create one poster that I will frame and hang in my home to commemorate this day.
These pictures will become a social media snapshot of my birthday shown through the perspective of my friends and family all around the country. It will also let me know that you, on my 40th birthday, thought of me, and—sorry Black Friday— that’s better than any store-bought present out there.
So, on my birthday, Friday, November 29th (Yes, the day after Thanksgiving), take a picture and upload it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or send me an email.
Help me celebrate. Take a picture. Send me the picture.
And make my Black Friday 40th a very special day
So, instead of 40 ounces of beer, I made him one heck of an awesome sandwich. Admittedly, I ate it (I’m sorry, Joe, but you weren’t here). You should all make one in his honor with your Thanksgiving leftovers. On fresh ciabatta bread, spread a layer of mashed butternut squash. Next is a layer of green beans, which have been stewed in a blend of tomatoes and spices. On top of that, place some stuffing (my sister’s sausage, sage, and roasted-chestnut stuffing). Now comes the turkey (which I seasoned with thyme and citrus). To go for the full carb experience, spread mashed potatoes over the turkey. For a pop of color, top the potatoes with mache rosettes. Drizzle with gravy and whole cranberry relish for a sandwich that can’t be beat!
Yup, I ate it all. Everything on the plate, and then dessert. It was all delicious…. and for that I am thankful. I’m also thankful for everyone out there who is following along. I hope that you too had a pleasant day filled with family and friends. Cheers!
Let’s try another animation. You may have to click to view. Now where is that couch?
I cheated. I had a donut before I got home. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it,” I told Heather. She was very forgiving, as she understood my situation. I had a bag full of apple cider donuts from The Apple Farm, here in Victor. It was my second trip in a week for these irresistible treats. How could I resist opening the bag, even before I got in the car?? It was difficult with the bags of apples I was carrying (which were also really good!), but I managed.
Honestly, donuts are never my first choice in baked goods. I generally find them to be too dry. So…a couple weeks back, when Chef Mark suggested we make a special trip to go get some, I was a little skeptical. But these donuts are an exception; moist and flavorful. Yum.
I figured a Pumpkin Harvest Ale pairing would make for a nice fall snack, and I was right. Cheers!
Here I go messing around with those “usual” pairings again. But I had the beer…and I had the cheese, and I thought….why not??? It turned out to be a really good idea!
In this case, the cheese came first…..from a June trip to the Thousand Islands. How can you resist a cheese called Mean and Nasty? It’s a super aged cheddar from River Rat cheese. (Even thought I can’t find any information on their website.) Our oldest son spotted it in a gift shop in Alexandria Bay, saying he’d had it before and liked it. He wanted us to try it, so we picked it up. It sat in the fridge until the right pairing came along. The cheese has a definite sharp bite, but being a fan of sharp cheddar It’s hard to call it nasty. It has a lot of creaminess hidden under the sharpness and plenty of calcium lactate crystals hidden throughout.
The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.
I discovered the beer during a photo shoot. (Yes…I love my job!) I poured 9 different beers for the shots and since there was a touch left in each bottle I got to try them all. The Southern Tier Brewing Choklat was a standout for me. It’s a stout brewed with chocolate….and it’s delicious on its own. The scent of chocolate and caramel fills your nose as you bring your glass up. The taste is very creamy to start, with caramel malt, and finishes with bittersweet chocolate and hops. Together…..it’s creamy chocolate bliss. The bite of the sharp cheddar pairs well with the hops. The creaminess in both blend together, while the chocolate shines through. Yum!
Here are a few highlights from our trip!
A reflection from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton.
The dock in Alexandria Bay at dusk.
The boys were very excited to see Saranac Root Beer on the menu!
The stained glass dome in the grand entrance hall to Boldt Castle, complete with the Boldt family crest.
Many rooms in Boldt Castle have not been renovated and are still covered with graffiti.
Boldt Castle’s South facade. Quite impressive!
The welcome arch at the approach to Boldt Castle, with my crew! Note the tiny house island in the background.