My Favorite Holiday Party

Another wonderful, fabulous meal at Casa de Meyer!  Our small dinner party enjoyed another trio of dishes at the Casa.
First course
I think the chef referred to our first plate as salmon lasagna. The only thing lasagna like was it was a layered dish. No red sauce. No pasta. This dish layered thin slices of poached salmon, thin slices of smoked salmon and blanched cabbage…on a bed of red pepper cream sauce. Amazing flavor combinations!
Second course
The chef’s signature ravioli takes on a new (to me) filling. This time the pillows of striped saffron and chili pepper pasta are surrounding a butternut squash filling topped off with an almond cream sauce.
Third course
The chef sets a new bar for pork loin deliciousness! Filled with cranberries and pecans, smothered in a cranberry red wine sauce, nestled on the plate with perfectly seared asparagus and sautéed Cantrell mushrooms. Words cannot make you drool as much as a photo will. In case you are wondering, the one word that sums it up: FABULOUS!!! And, it paired wonderfully with the Barbera we were sipping on.
Dessert
I volunteered to make dessert – a new recipe I found about a month ago when putting away my cookbooks in my recently remodeled kitchen. Of course, the recipe centers around Chef Meyer’s favorite dessert food – coconut. This triple layer coconut cake was filled with coconut flakes, white chocolate and pecans, then frosted with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and toasted unsweetened coconut flakes. Even after the fabulous three course meal, I was able to eat the whole slice!

Vosges Haut Chocolat

The front of the label reads:

  • Black Salt Caramel Bar
    • Black Hawaiian sea salt
    • Burnt sugar caramel
    • Dark Chocolate (70% cacao)

My taste buds say:

100% delicious…eat slowly…savor every morsel

My brain says:

Make it last longer. Stop yourself at two squares a day.

The back label reads:

How to enjoy an exotic candy bar:

Breathe…Engage your senses. Take three deep ujjayi breaths, quiet the chattering mind and be in the present moment.

See…There should be a glossy shine to the chocolate bar indicating the tight bond between the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass.

Snap…Break the bar in two pieces. Listen to the soft break, exposing the chocolate bar’s molten caramel interior.

Taste…Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue and press it to the roof of your mouth. Within thirty second the chocolate will melt, releasing a bouquet of rich burnt caramel note with the essence of black Hawaiian salt.

Thanksgiving Traditions

As the holidays roll around, it is always fun to think of fabulous ways to simplify and enjoy the celebration. This year was no different.

Our current Thanksgiving tradition is to play in the snow at 49 Degrees North, followed by pizza and beer. The only challenge is that we venture out late Wednesday in the holiday traffic. Plus, it is typically a five+ hour drive. Thus, the need for sleep inspired our fabulous tradition…

Sleep at home in our warm, comfy beds. Then get up and enjoy a delicious breakfast. For our first annual tradition, we feasted on:

  • Dill scones filled with cream cheese
  • A cheesy frittata
  • Hashbrowns (Bailie’s favorite breakfast food)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Champagne (of course)

New traditions = FABULOUS!

The Joel Palmer House

Another night, another FABULOUS dinner.

Tonight was rainy and cold, a night you want to curl up in bed and eat frozen pizza, curled up with a good book. Instead, we headed south to Dayton. A town of maybe 1,000 people. And the home to The Joel Palmer House. Where the menu focused on mushrooms. Even giving you the option of a multiple course mushroom meal.

Their website introduction summarizes: Experience an internationally-inspired menu of WILD MUSHROOM DISHES paired with FINE WINE in the comfort of a HISTORIC OREGON WINE COUNTRY HOME.

Of course, we had to indulge in “Mushroom Madness”…

Chef Christopher’s

Mushroom Madness Menu

This tasting menu is a selection of the best that the Joel Palmer House has to offer. Three generations of Czarnecki chefs have dishes represented and mushrooms are integrated into nearly every course, including dessert! Since our menu is focused strongly on wild mushrooms I recommend Pinot Noir to accompany your meal and our sommelier is happy to assist you with a selection.

 Amuse – Wild Mushroom Risotto with house-made Oregon White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Reggiano

 Matsutake Mushroom Chowder and Joe’s Wild Mushroom Soup

 Oregon White Chanterelles in Bacon Cream over Puff Pastry

 Heidi’s Three Mushroom Tart – this tart is the essence of what wild mushrooms are all about and has been on the menu for over 30 years

We added the Pinot-Noir Poached Torchon of Foie Gras 

 Sorbet – Concord Grape with Rosemary

 Marinated Sturgeon – over Quinoa with Wild Mushrooms and Cayenne Aioli

 Filet Mignon – Painted Hills Oregon Beef with porcini, Schezwan Pepper and veal demi-glace

 Trio of Candy Cap Mushroom Desserts

 Selection of House-Made Chocolate Truffles

We accompanied the meal with a bottle of Pinot Noir selected from over 500 bottles (of Pinot Noir) on their wine list. We enjoyed a Ken Wright Cellars 2007 Pinot Noir from Canary Hill Vineyards. The critical acclaim:

“Deep red. Smoky raspberry and cherry-cola aromas are complemented by dusty spices and herbs. Fleshy red and dark berry flavors boast very good concentration and good nervy cut. Offers a suave blend of depth and energy, with excellent finishing clarity and lingering sweetness. ”
— 91 Points, International Wine Cellar

The Location:

The Joel Palmer House | 600 Ferry St. | Dayton, OR | Website

Paley’s Place

We arrived in PDX in time for a evening out in Northwest Portland. It was a perfect evening to stroll through a few shops on 23rd before dining at Paley’s.

{sip}

Brick House – Les Dijonnais – 2009 Pinot Noir

{starters}

George’s Gathered Greens, Lemon, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

{charcuterie}

Taste of Three

Chicken Liver Pâté
Pork & Cherry Terrine
Oregano & Garlic Salami

{entrées}
Wild Mushroom & Delicata Squash Risotto, Parmesan & Smoked Marrow Butter
Fall Vegetable & Heirloom Bean Cassoulet

{sides}
Brussel Sprouts, House Bacon & Créme Fraiche

{dessert menu}

Our Classic Warm Chocolate Soufflé Cake toasted hazelnuts, honey-vanilla ice cream

Every course was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! We were so satisfied when we headed out that we missed picking up their cookbook. Thankfully, Powell’s Bookstore was a short walk from our hotel. And, we can’t wait to test out a recipe (or two).

The location:

Paley’s Place | 1204 Northwest 21st Avenue | Portland, OR 97209 | 503.243.2403 | Website

Dim Sum For Lunch

Several times, I have attempted to dine on dumplings for lunch. Today was the magic day. Meeting was over early and we beat the lunch rush to Din Tai Fung, a Bellevue location of a well known Taiwan establishment.

The legend is detailed on their website. “Whenever the name DinTaiFung is mentioned,

the first thing that people think of is small, delicate steamed dumplings.”

We enjoyed:

  • Vegetable Dumplings
  • Fish Dumplings
  • Green Beans
  • Bok Choy
  • And for dessert: Steamed mashed red bean dumplings. Anything with beans must be healthly, right?

The location:

Din Tai Fung | 700 Bellevue Way NE, Suite 280 | Bellevue, WA | 425.698.1095 | Website |

A Better Chocolate Chip Recipe?

A few months ago, I read a blog post titled “The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie I Will Ever Need to Know How to Make for the Rest of my Life.

That is a HUGE statement to a Shultz. We are chocolate chip cookie people. Growing up, we made double-batches so they would last for a few days. When I was eight months pregnant, my Grandpa was sitting at my table eating chocolate chip cookies when he nodded to my stomach and asked, “Does she like chocolate chip cookies?” One of the only things he asked me about the baby (I didn’t know what I was having, but I learned that day that Grandpa was certain it was a girl – and she would like chocolate chip cookies). I knew I had to make these cookies just to see {especially since you sprinkle them with sea salt right before putting them in the oven}.

I read the recipe again. This is a multiple-day process recipe.

Tonight, I mixed the dough. Followed most of the tips:

  • It was really hard to wait for the room temperature ingredients. Plus, it was a bit chilly in my house so the butter took a bit longer than I wanted. (So it was about midnight when the dough hit the fridge – thankfully this is “fall back night” and I get an extra hour of sleep).
  • I only have a hand mixer, so it was a challenge to get the creaminess to the right level.

Now for the taste test. YUM! A fabulous caramel flavor with the brown sugar creaminess.

And, cleared space in the fridge for Phase 2.

The Next Day

The oven is ready. Scoop and sprinkled with the salt. Only took 14 minutes in my oven to get golden brown. {Giving me plenty of opportunity snack on the dough.}

Tried the first one warm. Delicious! Waited a few hours…still delicious! But the authors tips said that they are better the second day. So I made sure some are left to eat tomorrow. (Also kept some dough to bake some more with the recommended 24-36 hours in the fridge).