Posts tagged Food

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth – by Roy Andries De Groot

Published in 1973, in which de Groot writes about the time he spent at a French inn by that name (L’Auberge de l’Atre Fleuri in St-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, Savoy) and the good meals he ate there. It addresses the logic of constructing a meal of several dishes so that they harmonize with one another, to the use of primarily local and seasonal ingredients to contribute to this harmony, and also an internal harmony within individual dishes. It is also a snapshot of old-school aperitifs, such as kir, and illustrates how a kitchen of little pretension can put out world-class food in an environment of passion, hard work, sound technique, long experience, etc. One of the more interesting aspects of the book is that de Groot was blind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Auberge_of_the_Flowering_Hearth

My Comments~

After reading a fantastic article in a local magazine about a woman’s trek and failed attempt to find The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth in Southern Oregon, I decided I had to have it. She painstakingly drove from Grants Pass, to Rogue River, Glendale and Medford searching high and low. Even though she came back empty handed, she had a grand time trekking through our lower half of the state. All along the way she describes to her friend the reasons she must have this book. I can see why.

Never have I read such a remarkable tale of a journey filled with excitement, longing, passion and love of food. Filled with magnificent descriptive narrative of de Groots travels to a place far away and almost unbelievable, and recipes so divine they are almost un-attemptable, this book took me on a fantastic voyage. Each page better then the next. de Groot takes you from the curvy rocky roads to the Inn, to the pristine kitchen of Mademoiselle Ray and to the rustic markets of Gernoble with Mademoiselle Vivette. These remarkable women teach him the art of a well balanced meal using the valley, rivers and local famers to supply them with the freshest ingredients.

If you are a cook, chef or just have a deep love for food and travel, I encourage you to read this book. It will leave you hungry and read to pack your bags for your own journey to the Auberge.

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Gogi’s

My dearest friend and I went to celebrate something or other, at Gogi’s. First time for both of us. This is quaint 15-table restaurant just below the Britt gardens and is one of the most wonderful well rounded restaurants I have been to in Southern Oregon. For starters that evening; Dungeness Crab Cakes with Scallion Coulis on a bed Organic Greens with herbed Alioli. We chose a light, flowery Pinot Gris at the suggestion of our waiter. Then a second course of a nice, lightly dressed salad of field greens and warm sourdough bread.

For my main course I chose a Grilled Marinated Buffalo Skirt steak with thinly sliced truffles (the buffalo was unbelievably tender and mild, you could cut it with a spoon), a fried potato cake and oven roasted root vegetables. My friend had Coriander Lime Glazed Halibut with Stir Fry Asian Vegetables, Ginger and Soy. We chose a full bodied 2000 Pinot Noir-Hamacher Label from Willamette Valley.

Even though we were sufficiently stuffed and belly happy, for dessert we shared the most wonderful cheesecake with a ginger caramel sauce. The Pinot was an excellent complement to both dinner and dessert. We finished the evening with a rich cup of espresso.

Gogi’s menu has everything from Tuna Carpaccio to Fennel Rubbed Pork Tenderloins. They offer daily specials along with an extensive wine list and cocktail menu. They serve Brunch on Sunday’s too!

I’m kind of a food snob and have worked as a cook and sous chef in my younger life. This place is at the top of my list! The owners have the “whole package” going on. The atmosphere, wait staff, food and wine selection. The prices…a little on the high side, but worth every last bite!

Gogi’s Restaurant
235 W. Main St.
Jacksonville, OR 97530
541- 899-8699
Open Wed-Sun, 9 to 5pm
Brunch Sunday’s 10-2
http://www.gogis.net/index.html

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All American Macaroni Salad

Picnic Season is here! I love a good picnic with family and friends. I don’t picnic as often as I like, but this summer have a couple planned already.

This weekend marks the Josephine County Relay for Life event in Grants Pass, Oregon. My husbands team raised over $10,000.00. The team brought a huge potluck, picnic dinner together to eat at the track. Hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs and salads. Hubby made my All American Macaroni Salad.

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 c grated or diced cheddar cheese
3 hard boiled eggs chopped small
1/2 small red onion , diced small
2 large stalks celery , diced small
3 TB Sweet Relish
3 TB yellow mustard
1/4 c minced parsley
2 TB Dill
2 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TB lemon juice
2 c mayo
2 TB milk – to thin
Salt and pepper

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Chill macaroni in refrigerator until cold.

Mix onion, celery, relish, mustard, parsley, dill, celery seed cayenne, lemon juice and let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add mayo and milk. Fold mayo mixture over chilled macaroni, eggs and cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8-10

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Magnolia Grill

On a lovely drive the Applegate Valley to taste some local wine, husband and I had heard from friends about a great little restaurant in Ruch and decided to give it a try. The place: Magnolia Grill, owned and operated by Michael Wurster.

What a great little place. For lunch I had a delicious Cobb salad, loaded with grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, hard boiled egg and crumbled Rogue Creamery Bleu Cheese. I topped that off with a glass of crisp Griffin Creek Viognier. Husband had the “Special” a turkey and Cappicola sandwich in an herbed roll with steak fries and Iced Tea. Knowing we were way too full to have dinner later, we thought we should a least make ourselves even more miserable and try a homemade dessert. We had a Banana Spring Roll. This was a banana rolled in brown sugar, wrapped in a won ton skin, deep fried and covered with a drizzle of caramel, toasted coconut and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. WOW! DE-LISH!!

They are open 6 days a week starting at 7:30 for breakfast, lunch and dinner (Monday’s Closed)

Other menu items include three different eggs benedicts (one with grilled tomato and Portobello mushrooms), Chicken fried steak and eggs, Build your own omelets with several delectable items to choose from along with standard breakfast fare.

Lunches range from (and just to name a few) homemade soups and salads, hamburgers and veggie burgers, a Grilled Eggplant sandwich with caramelized onions, sweet roasted red peppers and provolone on a roll with chipotle mayo. A Rueben with hand pulled corned beef, Jamaican Jerk Spiced Pulled Pork sandwich with mango chutney.

They have a large and intriguing dinner menu including a Light Fare menu with Littleneck Clams, Cajun Crawfish Won-Tons, or a Blue Bison Burger. Other dinner selections range from Pasta’s, Steaks, Jambalaya or Fish and a Pork Tenderloin that is topped with an apple and sage chutney, served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies. Too many items to list.

There is a great kids menu at great prices too!

Magnolia Grill
7360 Hwy 238
Jacksonville, Oregon
541-899-8700

About a 35 mile drive from Grants Pass, OR
Check out this mention in April 2007 edition of Sunset Magazine

http://www.sunset.com/sunset/travel/article/0,20633,1595995,00.html

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Karen’s Oven Caramel Corn

I am posting on of my all time favorite recipes. My Aunt Karen’s Oven Caramel Popcorn. It is the best caramel corn I have ever ever had. For a fund raiser for my husbands Relay for Life team, I made two batches. I packaged them in clear cellophane bags with descriptions and sold 4 ounces for $2.00 per bag. They sold well!

Karen’s Oven Caramel Corn

1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks real butter
1/2 c dark corn syrup
6 qts popped popcorn – all un-popped kernels removed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp *Butter Flavoring

Boil brown sugar, butter and corn syrup for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt soda and butter flavoring. Stir fast and well. Pour over popped corn and stir well. Spread on cookie sheets and bake one hour at 200 degrees stirring every 15 minutes.

Store in closed container.

*Please note – the butter flavoring is actually a very important ingredient. Hard to find but worth the search. It will be located with vanilla, orange, lemon and other flavorings in the baking isle. I have tried this recipe with out and I could taste the difference.

I have also added salted peanuts at times, and drizzled melted dark chocolate over the caramel corn once it has cooled.

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Aunt Karen with me and my brother. He was always the center of attention!

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Shan Creek Cafe

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One of my favorite restaurants in Grants Pass is Shan Creek Cafe. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Grants Pass on Riverbanks road. The restaurant at one time was the Shan Creek Market, a local fixture for several years. I was happy to see an old piece of history still hanging above a counter from the old market. The once proud owner self-proclaimed his business as “The Smallest Country Super Market in the World.”

The lovely owner of Shan Creek Cafe is Angel Taylor. We were told that she and her husband bought the property in 2003 and spent many a night and weekend remolding the old store. During the remodel, Angel worked as a chef at the Sundance River Center in Merlin. She shyly told us that she had the honor of cooking for Martha Stewart when she was in Oregon filming for one of her shows.

Before that Angel lived and worked in Marin County staring her career at age of thirteen. She worked her way up from dishes to prep cook. At age fifteen she was in charge of her first dinner shift as the chef at the time had not show up for work. At eighteen she spent a year traveling and working in pubs in England.

Along with standard fare, the menu offers some unique dishes including a Veggie Omelet loaded with fresh veggies, herbs and feta cheese. A Breakfast Burrito with black beans, eggs, cheese, salsa, avocado and sour cream and French toast stuffed with cream cheese berries and pecans. They also serve fresh homemade muffins and coffee cakes. They also offer homemade jams. Yum!

The lunch and dinner menu has a nice offering of homemade soups, salads and salad dressings. You can order a cup, bowl or Bread Bowl of the soup of the day. Or try one of four different salads like the Field Greens with warm pecan crusted goat cheese, (this would be delish with the homemade creamy lemon dressing) or a Greek Salad with red onion and Kalamata Olives.

How about a hamburger made from Oregon organic free range beef? This comes with the standard toppings for or add grilled mushrooms or grilled onions or avocado. Not interested in burgers? Try the Marinated Grilled Chicken breast sandwich smothered in grilled apples and brie. Or try one of the many other sandwich selections such as the Veggie sandwich with carrots, zucchini and olives smothered in Jack cheese and served on toasted whole wheat with tomatoes, sprouts and avocado for. The selection of sandwiches comes with French Fries or homemade Cole Slaw or Potato Salad.

Other options to try include Beer Battered Fish and Chips (my husband and I think they are the best fish and chips in Grants Pass) and Fish Tacos. The main menu is not large however the daily specials make up for what is not on the menu. Chef Angel offers five to six specials a night including seafood, (one is Clam Steamers with perfect amounts of garlic, wine and herbs) a veggie dish, pasta dish and the best aged steaks in the valley.

Along with Free Trade Coffee, they offer espresso drinks, both black and green iced tea. Fresh squeezed lemonade and orange juice and a small but nice selection of beer and wine.

One of my first meals was the Fish Tacos and let me tell you that as a lover of fish tacos, these ranked at the top of my list. I was served two with a plate of black beans steamed rice topped with grated cheese, lime wedges and home made salsa. The fish was very lightly seasoned and breaded, sautéed, wrapped in a grilled corn tortilla. The taste was sensational. I reluctantly offered a meager bite to my partner to get his take. He loved it. He ordered the Beer Battered Fish and Chips. He too offered up a reluctant and meager bite of his selection, and I do declare it was fantastic. The fish was fried in a light seasoned beer batter and served with fries and a homemade tartar sauce and a crisp Cole Slaw. Even though we were happily stuffed, we were encouraged by the chef’s mother, Grace Alexander, to try one of several home made desserts or cookies. She proudly stated that her daughter not only made the best fish and chips she has ever tried but was indeed a “master baker.” We were sold. I had a wonderful slice of Marion Berry Pie slightly warmed with a crust that was to die for and my husband had a piece of a rich and creamy Kaluha Cheesecake.

Back to those steaks. My husband and I have tried several meals at Shan Creek and beside the Fish and Chips, Angel’s steaks are to die for. Perfectly aged and cooked, I have yet to try anything better in the valley. Tender, flavorful and well just darned right perfect. Her Filet Mignon is like buttah, and so full of flavor you’ll be humming through the entire steak. Oh did I mention the sautéed mushrooms piled on top?

The food is outstanding, the service was beyond compare and the friendly neighborly atmosphere is very comforting. My one critique is the limited hours. Only open Thursday through Sunday, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always call first. Angel’s family always comes first, one of the many reasons my husband and I love this place so much.

Shan Creek Café
5547 Riverbanks Road
Grants Pass, OR 97527
(541) 479-5057

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Grilled Pizzas

Grilled Pizzas

2 packages dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 tsp salt
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
cornmeal
(makes 2 medium pizzas or four small)

In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar and the all purpose flour. Beat vigorously for one minute. Dough should be the consistency of cake batter. Place a towel across the bowl. Find a warm spot in the kitchen or use the oven set at 150 and let the dough rise for 30 minutes or until double.

After 30 minutes stir the dough and add the semolina flour, salt and olive oil. Mix well. Place dough on heavily floured surface and knead well for 8 minutes adding additional flour as needed. This is a very sticky dough so make sure your hands and counter are floured well.

Form the dough into 2 balls (at this point you can freeze the dough or use it to make pizza’s immediately).

When ready, place dough on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Press dough out with hands over peel. I usually make mine misshaped but loosely in a circle.

Slide dough rounds on grill, medium heat. Grill until top of dough puffs and underside is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn rounds over. Grill 1 minute. Transfer to baking sheet with well-grilled side up. This side of the dough becomes the surface that will hold the toppings. Lower grill to a low setting.

Top with your favorite toppings.

Return pizzas to grill. Close grill or cover pizzas loosely with foil. Grill until cheeses melt and dough is cooked through and browned, using tongs to rotate pizzas for even cooking, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to plates.

Pizza sauce

3 TB tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
1/8 tsp or more crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sugar

***For Pizza toppings, I am one of those cooks that don’t measure much unless I am baking something. Especially with Pizzas as it is all about how much you want to pile on!

~Buffalo and Buffalo

Pizza Dough – 1/2 of a dough recipe
Pizza Sauce
Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced (aka; Mozzarella di Bufala Campana)
Buffalo Salami ( I use Full Circle Bison Salami from Williams, Oregon)

Slide dough round on grill, medium heat. Grill until top of dough puffs and underside is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn rounds over. Grill 1 minute. Transfer to baking sheet with well-grilled side up. This side of the dough becomes the surface that will hold the toppings. Lower grill to a low setting.

Spoon pizza sauce on top of pizza leaving about 1/4 from edge of dough free of sauce. Layer mozzarella slices first. Top with Buffalo Salami. Return pizzas to grill. Close grill or cover pizzas loosely with foil. Grill until cheeses melt and dough is cooked through and browned, using tongs to rotate pizzas for even cooking, about 8-10 minutes. Let sit about 2-3 minutes before cutting.


~My version of a Margarita Pizza

Pizza Dough – 1/2 of a dough recipe
Olive Oil
Crushed Garlic
Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced (aka; Mozzarella di Bufala Campana)
Fresh tomatoes, sliced to desired thickness
Fresh Basil, whole leaf
salt
pepper

Slide dough round on grill, medium heat. Grill until top of dough puffs and underside is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn rounds over. Grill 1 minute. Transfer to baking sheet with well-grilled side up. This side of the dough becomes the surface that will hold the toppings. Lower grill to a low setting.

Brush pizza top with small amount of Olive Oil, leaving about 1/4 from edge of dough free of oil. Sprinkle with crushed garlic. Layer mozzarella slices first. Top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with whole basil leaves. Return pizzas to grill. Close grill or cover pizzas loosely with foil. Grill until cheeses melt and dough is cooked through and browned, using tongs to rotate pizzas for even cooking, about 8-10 minutes. Let sit about 2-3 minutes before cutting.


~Blue Cheese, Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza

Pizza Dough – 1/2 of a dough recipe
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Blue Cheese, good quality. I use Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese from Central Point, Oregon, about 1/2 pound
Roasted Garlic cloves, about 8-10
Sautéed Mushrooms about 3/4 cup. Sautéed in butter with a splash of white wine and pinch of salt and pepper

Slide dough round on grill, medium heat. Grill until top of dough puffs and underside is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn rounds over. Grill 1 minute. Transfer to baking sheet with well-grilled side up. This side of the dough becomes the surface that will hold the toppings. Lower grill to a low setting.

Brush pizza top with small amount of Olive Oil, leaving about 1/4 from edge of dough free of oil. Sprinkle blue cheese evenly over pizza. Arrange mushrooms and roasted garlic. Return pizzas to grill. Close grill or cover pizzas loosely with foil. Grill until cheeses melt and dough is cooked through and browned, using tongs to rotate pizzas for even cooking, about 8-10 minutes. Let sit about 5 minutes before cutting. This helps the blue cheese to set, otherwise you’ll have a runny mess when you cut it.

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