Sunday, October 28, 2007

La Chaparrita

We found a new treasure in Eureka. I've decided the best Mexican Restaurant Eureka has to offer is La Chaparrita. It's still not as good as Mi Rancho in Fortuna, but it's definitely a great restaurant. Check out this review from the Humboldt Review while you're enjoying some Barbacoa con Salsa Verde (Traditional lamb meat sauteed with green tomatillo sauce - and lots of cilantro) It went in sweet then slowly warmed the back of my throat with each new bite. It was addictive. I couldn't stop eating, and am still in pain from the amount of food I stuffed in my poor belly. If you're not a big eater, be prepared to ask for a box. Here's the review:

Check them out at 210 4th St in Eureka

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Stolen Casserole

My co-worker, Ms. Hale from Rio "Dale" shared a great recipe with me a couple of days ago. It was one that included zucchini and that her kids liked. Right up my alley. It involved rice, zucchini (of course) and a home made cheese sauce ( including cheddar, milk and flour, very simple). Michale topped hers with fried okra and mentioned that sausage may be, no forget that, would be, good in it as well. So....knowing we had some type of sausage in our fridge at home, I called John and asked, "is that sausage in our fridge hot or mild?" Turned out it was hot.

So, knowing my kids like ham, I went with that. So here is my modified version of Michale from Rio Dale's recipe:

1 cup of rice...cook in chicken stock ( Michale puts it in layers uncooked in her version and covers the casserole in foil)
2 medium large zucchini's chopped
4 oz baby portobello mushrooms
1/4 oz reconstituted dried chantrel mushrooms
6 oz chopped ham
8 oz jarlsburg cheese
water from soaking dried mushrooms
half and half
garlic powder
(I'm guessing here, because I made it up on a whim and it turned out damn good!)
I cooked the rice. Put a thin layer down at the bottom of the casserole. Covered it with chopped zucchini mushrooms and ham, topped with a layer of rice and another layer of zucchini, ham, and mushrooms. Finally a layer of rice topped with the cheese sauce (Jarlsburg melted in half and half and mushroom water from the dried mushrooms (a 1/4 cup shaken with 2 tblsp of flour and added in for thickening, plus more for the right consistency). After that was poured over the casserole I toped it with Kettle potato ships (salt and pepper flavored) and baked it for 40 mnutes. It turned out great!

I think you could use a "cream o' " soup instead of a cheese sauce and come up with just as yummy of a recipe.
Well off to bed. Happy cooking!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Your Goose Is Cooked

Our friends Tom and Susan hold an annual Tsunami Party. Tom being a geologist throws this party for a geology group that helps to raise awareness about Tsunami's and Tsunami safety. This year there were a couple of bands, both awesome. One was a ska band the other reggae. One of the singers of the reggae band caught on to the fact that John was cooking a goose, and next thing we know there's a reggae song dedicated to John. "He cooked the goose, but he did not kill it".

The cooking of the goose started with me stepping outside to the BBQ area and noticing that there were a couple of goose carcasses sitting on the table with a ton of pin feathers still attached and a wing on each. (Apparently a requirement of Fish and Game to show that they are Canada geese.) I asked Gio, another geologist celebrating the potential Tsunami, if he was planning on cooking those like that. He didn't say yes, but his waffling implied, that yes he was. Half feathered, and no spices they were going to go on. I couldn't hang with that. I said, "would you like some seasoning or something?" Gio said, "That would be great if you want to do it." I said, "Give me that." Off to the kitchen I went. Now, many people at this party have hunted or appreciate the sport, but there were just as many, if not more who are vegetarians, and probably card carrying PETA members. Those people were a bit put out with my breaking of bones and tearing off of wings. The mere presence of a bird carcass in the sink was sending them off to the vomitorium. I was enjoying that immensely. Sorry, I'm with Anthony Bourdain here. Vegetarians, especially the self righteous moronic ones who want to tell me what to eat, when they have no damn clue where their own food comes from, suck! Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

So, on with the cooked goose. I cleaned and ripped, and I finished off the plucking while my friend Laurie lovingly rubbed the goose down in olive oil and cajun blackening seasoning and happily stuffed it, as guys looked on admiring her stuffing the rear end of the carcass, with onions, garlic and apples. We delivered the prize to John and the ready BBQ. Coals were burning low and slow and that's what the goose needed, low and slow. It roasted for 2 to 3 hours on that BBQ and from what I understand it came out fantastic. All I got was one tiny little bite off of a rib bone. That did taste pretty darn good. I heard it wasn't too dry, which can be hard to achieve with a wild goose. That was thanks to the olive oil and apples. And the cajun seasoning was just right for the crisp, crunchy skin on the outside.

All I know is I walked into the kitchen and found a pile of bones that looked like they had been attacked by a group of nematodes in a Spongebob cartoon. This is after hearing the singer I mentioned earlier rap about our cooked goose as my husband danced through the crowd with the carcass in a pair of prongs over his head.

Ooh how primal! And yummy.

What a fun party and now the goose is cooked!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Places to eat in Mendocino

I finally have some time to write a bit today. I've been wanting to list some of the great places my husband and I ate at a couple of weekends ago in Mendocino County.
Obviously from my last post you can see we had dinner at the Ledford House and found it to be a great place to eat. If I get the chance, I will definitely eat there again. The next morning we found a little restaurant in the town of Mendocino called Bayview Cafe'. It was upstairs on Main Street and has a great view of the bay, just as the name implies. The menu wasn't fancy, but the eggs florentine I had was excellent. John had eggs benedict and really enjoyed them. I never got a chance to get a bite of his food, so I'll have to take his word for it. Mendocino, being a tourist town, provided some great people watching while we ate, when it was possible to take your eyes off of the view outside. It's such a pretty little town. (if you go to Bayview Cafe' be aware that they do not take credit or debit cards. Cash or check only)

After lunch we went out to Point Cabrillo Light house and walked breakfast off. We enjoyed checking out the historical light keepers house and were surprised to see that it was possible to stay in one of the restored houses. They are in the process of restoring a third building which will probably be available for lodging in the future. After that we headed north to Fort Bragg to explore. On our way we ran on to the little town of Casper celebrating their Abalone Festival. The urge to stop dissipated as we drove through and saw the lack of parking and the masses of people. We also knew that only "judges" were allowed to eat the abalone. I really didn't feel like going to an abalone festival where I can't eat abalone. So we continued on to Fort Bragg.

John drove around scoping out all of the taqueria's in town so he'll be able to try them out next time he's in town for work. Hopefully I'll get to try a few out too. We ended up driving down to Noyo Harbor and checked out the local color. We decided to go to Silvers at the Warf and have a couple of cocktails. We ended up ordering fried calamari and oysters on the half shell. Yum! The calamari was great, but the oysters were amazing. They were so fresh, they tasted like the ocean smells on a clear breezy day on the Pacific Northwest. They didn't need a sauce, but the one provided was delicious. It was sweet, but with a heat that showed up a few seconds after swallowing the oyster. It had an Asian flavor to it, and would be great with shrimp. I definitely want to come back to Silvers for dinner. Oh, and the bartender makes a great bloody mary.

By evening John was feeling bloated and not so hot after so much rich food. We ended up eating at the Mendocino Hotel in Mendocino. We just had soup and starters, but I very much enjoyed my dinner. I had a french onion soup and John had the clam chowder. He enjoyed it, in spite of not feeling all that well. He ordered a ceasar salad, but didn't feel well enough to eat it. Next I had the Napoleon of Ahi Tuna Tartare which was chopped and mixed with a sweet sauce and served on top of crisp won ton's with cucumbers and a siracha emulsion. Nicely presented and very good. I also ordered their California Artisanal Cheese Plate. I wasn't too impressed with this. First of all no one told me what kind of cheese I was being served. I figured out that one was a Chevre, and the other some type of blue cheese. There was a hard cheese with peppercorns in it. I think it was a sheep cheese and it resembled a mild parmesan. These were served in two very large triangles, which seemed odd. There were basic water crackers, chutney, and fruit on the plate as well. I would have preferred crisp baguette with the soft cheeses. I was too full to eat much, and decided it was good enough to take back to our room for a midnight snack. What most impressed me about the Mendocino Hotel was the craftsman style decor. A very pretty place and the food and service is good enough that I would be happy to come back and try a full dinner, but I'll skip the cheese plate next time.

The next morning before heading home, we had to try one more place. We went back to Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg and found a tiny little restaurant, right on the water called Chapter and Moon. We were greeted (if you can call it that) by a grumpy looking old man, who looked like he was tired out from busting knee caps for the mob the night before. He handed us a one page menu with 3 items on it. Egg's cooked any way you like with your choice of meat, which included bacon, sausage and ham. There was also French toast, and Omelet of the day. Uncle Guido informed us that the omelet of the day was, "a sausage omelet with some other stuff in it. You know, like peppers and things." Well all righty then! He did get around to asking us if we would like coffee, which we were pleasantly surprised to be served a very strong, dark and delicious cup of joe. I assume other beverages were available because I saw customers drinking tea, orange juice and other juices. They also appeared to have a bar of some kind. Well, we went for the sausage and stuff omelet and were not disappointed. The eggs were light and fluffy. Cooked perfectly. The sausage tasted like it was home made and I liked that the omelet wasn't loaded down with a ton of cheese. There were no peppers in it, but there were carmelized onions and tomatoes. The hash browns were unusual and very good. They were more like tiny little fries, cooked to a perfect crisp and they were light and crunchy in your mouth. Other than Uncle Guido, who actually added to the charm of the place in his disturbing demeanor, the service was excellent. It turns out that the chef is locally very well known from working in several of the great restaurants in the area and decided to start her own restaurant. She bakes all of her own bread for the meals, and the sourdough toast we had with breakfast was yummy. I would loved to come back to this place and try one of the pulled pork sandwiches I saw on the lunch menu. I highly recommend this place. Especially to people who have a hard time deciding what to have for breakfast. Your options are limited, so it's easy to decide, and you can bet whatever you order is going to be good.

So there you have it. A fun and food filled weekend. And I actually managed to not gain a single pound through it all! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reporting Back

I have to say the Ledford House was definitely no disappointment. Heavenly is what dinner was. We started with two cocktails. I had a vodka martini and John a Tangeray Gin and Tonic. We ordered a bottle of 2004 Navarro Pinot Noir, which turned out to be absolutely "yummy". Our starters were a dozen oysters on the half shell with a wonderful sauce and escargot. My first escargot ever and it was delicious! They also served fresh bread. Half white, the other half a rustic seeded bread that was wonderful. There was extra virgin olive oil to dip it in, plus the basalmic vinegar that the olives were in. Our main courses were, for me, the braised rabbit. Oh My God!!!! YUM! I haven't had rabbit in years. I forgot that it really does not taste like chicken. This dish brought back child hood memories, and then chased past them with the wonderful sauce that was sitting in my bowl mixed with the mashed potatoes. John had the cassoulet. Another big fat YUM! You can look at the menu on my last post to see what was in it. All I got to taste was the duck, and it was wonderful. For desert we had port (complementary because is was our anniversary) and we shared bread pudding. This is one of the best bread puddings of all time. The caramel sauce was still sugary, just like the bottom of your cereal bowl when you were a kid, the part you liked to lick out when your parents weren't looking. The whole dinner was delicious and magical, including the beautiful sunset over the ocean just as we were seated. I highly recommend the Ledford House for your next dining experience in the Fort Bragg area. Tomorrow, or soon after I'll tell you about the other places we ate. Lots of yum coming up.
Check out more about the Ledford House at

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weekend of delight

I'm too tired to post much tonight. This cold, or alergies, or whatever the hell it is, is wiping me out. I'm going to bed as soon as I can get the girls to bed. So feast your eyes on this. The menu to the place I'm going to dinner with my husband for our anniversary. Pray that I feel up to enjoying myself.....PLEASE:

Whole Whole Garlic Roasted in Olive Oil and Thyme with Fromage Blanc and Crostini.
Salt Cod Brandade with Black Truffle Essence and Crostini.
Caramelized Onion, Gorgonzola and Wild Mushroom Tart.
Duck Pate with a Lavender Thyme Jelly, Dijon Mustard and Crostini.
Duck Prince Edward Island Mussels steamed in White Wine, Parsley and Garlic.
Pacific Oysters on the Half Shell with a Tomato Horseradish Mignonette.
Six Oysters $9.50 Twelve Oysters $18.50
Roast Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts, Balsamic Reduction and Basil Oil.
Mixed Greens with a Basil Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese and Crostini.
Soup of the Evening

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Bistro dishes are hearty meals served ala carte

Fresh Fish Stew in a White Wine, Tomato, Fennel and Saffron Broth with Crostini and Aioli.
Antoines Cassoulet; Lamb, Pork, Garlic Sausage, Duck Confit and White Beans Baked under a Garlic Bread Crumb Crust.
Braised Rabbit with a White Wine Dijon Mustard Sauce and Thyme.
Potato Gnocchi tossed in a Tomato, Saffron and Fennel Ragout.
Pasta of the Evening
Nightly Specials.
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Dinners are served ala carte with market vegetables.
Leg of Lamb
C.K. Ranch leg of lamb grilled with a cabernet balsamic reduction sauce.
Wild shrimp flamed in pastis with tomato, garlic butter and parsley.
Petrole Sole
Sole filet braised in vermouth with capers and meyer lemon with toasted almonds. .
Eggplant Wellington
Eggplant, roast peppers, portabella mushrooms basil pesto and Fontina cheese baked in puff pastry with a red pepper coulis.
Half of a roasted duckling with a blackberry zinfandel sauce, the breast boneless and the leg"en confit".
Filet Mignon
Rosemary, black peppered beef filet, roasted and served with a cherry zinfandel sauce.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Artichoke Heaven

When I was a kid my dad decided to grow some artichokes. I loved artichokes, but I remember getting sick of them that year, because we ate them with every meal for weeks straigt. I also remember we always dipped the leaves in mayo. I'll never forget when Mom and Dad left me with Mom's best friend Josephine when they went on one of the very few trips they ever took without me. Josephine said, " we 're having artichokes tonight!" I was so excited! I was feeling homesick, and this was going to cure it, until I saw what she served. It was artichokes alright, but where was the mayo? No mayo! Only vinegar and oil. I was dismayed!

Well, I've recovered from all of that, and I still love artichokes, as does my husband and kids. My girls are like me, they must have mayo. John on the other hand is like my mom's Portuguese friend....vinegar and oil. But, last night, we had artichokes fresh from the garden that needed nothing. I boiled them in salt water. They were still young enough to not have to cut off their thorns. I served them up with ham and cheese sandwiches. I don't remember an artichoke tasting so fresh. My oldest daughter said, " These are the best artichokes ever! They taste like water, like good water. Fresh, like the earth. They're so good! I don't even need the mayonase." She was right. No mayo or vinegar and oil required. These things were heavenly!
I don't know if I'll ever be able to enjoy an artichoke from the store ever again. Last night's chokes were pure earthly heaven.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nevada Joshie's Sun Baked Zucchini

All Right! I think if I were having a contest, Nevada Joshie would win for most unique, and most resourceful recipe ever! Keep your eye's open for more unique resourceful and fun recipes from Nevada Joshie!

Nevada Joshie's Sun Baked Zucchini

30 lbs of zucchini whole

Take 30 lbs of zucchini to work.I forgot this part, sorry Nevada Joshie...Find an unlocked co-workers car and arrange the zucchini on the dash board. Leave in place until the co-worker finds them

I'm looking forward to the Floorboard Bluegills and the (I believe it was called) Hubcap Shrimp. You go Nevada Joshie!!!!