Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Theresa and Shawn's New House

Tomorrow the house is officially theirs. At this point they are moving things from the house into the garage. Today Shawn and his friend Don are moving the furniture so tomorrow they can get it in the house and set up where Theresa has it planned out. Theresa will be off tomorrow to help.

What is really spectacular about this place is the piece of property. It is one of the biggest if not the biggest lot in the community and there are open park lands around them except for one side. The view from the back of the house is beautiful and goes on for what seems like forever. The iron fence you see in the back is their back property line and then open parkland from there that goes on and on.

The view to the left in the backyard.

The view to the right. There is a very pretty patio and walkways as well.

The model of this home is the same one my parents lived in so I was not sure how I would feel walking into it the first time. It was a little strange, but this house is different enough that it isn't like my parents completely. Especially the kitchen. This house has cherry wood cabinets which are very nice and it does not have the built-in double ovens. Also they enclosed the top of the cabinets instead of being open. Theresa has plans for new counter tops and things for the kitchen. It will be fun to see it all come together for them.

The caninets have staonless pulls which are nice.

The family room that you see looking out from the kitchen. That's Shawn in the picture.

Shawn and David discussing hwere the Tv and couches are going. Also discussing wiring and hookups.

Looking from the kitchen area into the living room - dining room area and front door. There is also an open office to the left of the front door where Shawn is planning his movie room with flat screen TV and movie theater seating.

The patio in the back of the house. The nice feature of this house is that it has sliders in the master bedroom to the patio as well. I really like that. They have already decided where their spa will be, patio covers and vegetable garden.

The yard already has three watering systems so when they add things they will just have to tap into the existing lines. Very nice addition. I am sure they will be very happy here and it will be wonderful having them as neighbors.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eating Healthy - Soups

After the suggestion of soup for lunches from two good friends, Deborah and Eileen I amade it a goal yesterday to make two pots of soup to have variety and a lot to freeze for convience.

I used what I had in my fridge and pantry and made a vegetable soup, I used:

1 teaspoon EVOO
2 leeks, White and pale green parts only, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
Saute above in EVOO. Then add:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water and let simmer for a few minutes.
1 small cabbage chopped
spinach leaves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 of a large bag frozen cut green beans
1 can or more kidney beans (my first choice was cannellini but I didn't have any)
6 cups beef broth
6 cups water
2 tablespoons or more Penzey Spice Bouquet Garni

Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Squash Soup:
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 - 2 teaspoons EVOO
1 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups or more vegetable broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon or more dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons canned chopped mild green chilies (could use fresh chili and use less)
Place the squash cut sides down on a baking sheet prayed with PAM in a 400 degree F oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Cool cut side up and then scoop squash out into a bowl.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until pale golden. Mix in celery and garlic. Add 1 cup broth. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, 5 cups broth, cumin and cinnamon. Cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Working in batches, puree squash soup in blender until smooth. Be careful, fill only a third of the way each batch! When finished pureeing all batches, return soup to the pot. Thin squash with more broth to desired consistency if necessary. Ad black beans, corn, red bell pepper, thyme and chopped mild green chiles. Cover soup and simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with a dollop of NF plain yogurt or sour cream and sprinkled with cilantro if desired.

To healthy eating!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meyer Lemon Cakes from My Kitchen

In my quest to use some of the Meyer lemons from our garden I made 4 lemon cakes this week.

After creaming the unsalted butter and sugar for 5 minutes I added 5 large eggs, one at a time and then a 1/3 cup of lemon zest.

Then I added in the dry ingredients a little a time, and the wet ingredients between, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Divided between to bread pans that have been greased and floured and fitted with parchment paper on the bottom.

After cooling 10 minutes in the pans, I inverted onto a rack with a foil lined baking sheet under it and spooned on a hot glaze to soak into the bottom of the cakes made with 1 part Meyer lemon juice and 1 part sugar.

When cakes are completely cooled, I turned them over and covered the top with a glaze made from Meyer lemon juice and confectioner's sugar. I lemon lovers delight!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Views from THE KITCHEN - Random Shots

This picture is dark, but that's Jeff, Kelli and I talking at our seats at the counter that surrounds the demonstration kitchen.

Randall having fun lighting booze on fire in a pan.

Some of the intern chefs had A LOT of tattoos. Young chefs are getting like NBA stars concerning tattoos!

W E L L D O N E tattooed across his fingers.

Looking down one side of the counter.

Everyone busy in the demonstration kitchen.

David, Jeff and Kelli at the white glove tea table ordering the type tea they each want.

Washing the stove top after the meal. Some one has to do it!

Views from THE KITCHEN - Shots In the Main Kitchen

Here are some of the beef tenderloins.

Things ready to be used.

There police officers were bring served dinner in the main kitchen.

One of the stove tops.

What you need at your finger tips.

Executive Chef (and owner) Randall Selland.

Views from THE KITCHEN - The Making of Tempura Egg Yolks

The most delicious course in my opinion and I forget to take pictures. I am sure that was because I was too interested in eating it! It was Chervil infused goat cheese Agnolotti (very tiny ravioli), homemade pancetta, frisee, Meyer lemon, and a tempura egg yolk. I was interested in learning how they did the tempura egg yolk. Some other people asked as well, so after dinner they came and got us who were interested and showed us how to make them in the main kitchen.

Eggs and tempura batter.

Using hands you place the egg yolks only, one at a time into the tempura batter.

Using hands still, place one battered egg yolk at a time into a hot fryer.

Fry them 40 seconds. They come out cooked but the yolk is still very runny. I can't find the words to describe what it tastes like when you cut into the tempura egg yolk and the yolk marries with the other flavors and textures of the dish. My taste buds were dancing. I am sorry I did not ask for a second of this course!

Coming out of the fryer.

A perfectly cooked tempura egg yolk. I can;t wait to try this at home!

Views from THE KICHEN - Presented Courses

Dungeness crab bisque with Marieka gouda, creme fraiche, ricotta, scallions and Trout caviar. To die for!

Maine lobster poached in black truffle with puff pastry, local crayfish, artichoke and Creole-bouillabaisse broth.

They had a Saki course to go with the sushi and sashimi at the "intermission" if you were interested. This is Douglas the restaurants wine steward doing the pouring. David and I each tried one. I sipped a very light Saki which was very good. David went with a stronger tasting one. The sushi, etc was on a buffet table outside on their patio where twinkling lights grace the trees, there are cozy seating areas and a fireplace.

Randall offered frois grais as an extra to your dinner menu/price if interested. You could have it served on top of the beef tenderloin or on the side. David and I ordered one on the side to share. OMG! Incredibly delicious and I dislike liver with a passion. This is buttery and melts in your mouth. I couldn't eat much of it though it is so rich. I am glad that we shared a piece.

The presentation of Montana Piedmontesse beef tenderloin and mushroom tart with duck sugo, zinfandel and thyme. David asked for a second plate of this.

The Kitchen's white glove tea service after the meal. You went to the tea table in the demonstration kitchen and picked what type of tea and what flavors you wanted in it and they made a little pot of your own creation and brought it to your seat. There was also coffee service available as well.
White glove tea table.

Dessert presentation. Orange-macadamia custard cake, with Kitchen sorbets (kiwi, raspberry and I forgot, laughing - strawberry or watermelon), creme anglaise, hot chocolate, walnut tuile and blood orange jus.
Another absolutely incredible, over the top dining experience at The Kitchen!