Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Epicurean Vacation: Part II

While visiting Dad and Martha out in California for my 41st birthday, I was treated to meal after meal of new culinary experiences! As I stated in the blog article before, Martha is an accomplished cook and the simplest of lunches and dinners were elevated to gourmet status by her deft hand.

For instance, one evening, Martha started us off with homemade pita and hummus. Tastes even better homemade! We dined on a medium rare rib eye. Unfortunately, as Martha, Dad, and I agreed, the ribeye turned out to be a bit tough, even cooked medium rare. BUT, our meal was elevated by grilled asparagus with an aoili sauce and roasted potatoes with an herbed mayonnaise of parsley, oregano, and chives. We drank a lovely 2009 Menage A Trois, a California red wine consisting of 3 varietals: Merlot, Cabernet, and Zinfandel. Dad had also picked up a wine to try, Poor Bob's California red wine. The irony of the name didn't escape my father, Bob. Unfortunately, although named extremely well, the wine tasted ... well poor! Hopefully Poor Bob's other wines are better than the bottle we tried. Nice try, Pop. Ha ha! The entire meal was rounded out with a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.


(SOURCE)

(SOURCE)
Another evening, we were treated to grilled hamburgers, medium rare of course, with toasted buns. Martha added sauteed portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions, and more of the aoili sauce. Again, simple elevated to gourmet!  One the side was freshly roasted beets and Cypress Grove Chevre goat cheese.  That evening we drank beers from the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, California. Specifically, their Tangerine Wheat Beer and their Alley Cat Amber Ale. While out surveying the local bar scene in Humboldt County, California, I have also enjoyed their Downtown Brown Ale and their Great White Beer. Lost Coast Brewery is also a great brewery you can visit and dine at their restaurant .

One of my favorite meals that Martha made was a Thai dish of penne pasta with peanut-coconut sauce, chicken breast, and broccoli. The dish was made with limes, cumin, coriander, spearmint, garlic, cilantro, and ginger. Just an incredible culinary experience in my mouth! If you are interested in the recipe, email me and I will forward it on to you. Sidebar: I have started experimenting with different spices this past year, including coriander, cumin, turmeric, and curry. I consider myself pretty well versed in eating various ethnic cuisine. Now I need to start stepping up the plate and cook with these exotic spices!

Martha also cooked my birthday dinner which consisted of a deconstructed chicken pot pie. It was artistic, abstract, and delicious all at the same time. With heirloom carrots, mashed potatoes and a rich mushroom and pearl onion gravy, pardon the cliche expression, but it was simply to die for.  Who knew basic chicken pot pie could be elevated to something gourmet? She also made a tofu version for our vegan family members in attendance. One the side was a warm cabbage salad cooked with red onions, spinach, and dressed in a walnut balsamic vinaigrette seasoned with caraway and garlic.

For my birthday cake, Martha asked me what I wanted and as she has not disappointed my appetite in 18 years, I pretty much gave her carte blanche to surprise me. She did confirm, if I remember correctly, that I would be OK with a gingerbread cake as opposed to something chocolate or vanilla. This intrigued me, never having had a birthday cake of gingerbread. She made me ... get ready for this ... a gingerbread cake with a sour cream and maple sugar whipped cream frosting drizzled with a salted maple caramel sauce! So rich, so decadent, so good! The cake had fresh ginger(of course, duh!), Chinese five spice, and maple sugar and was topped with homemade candied pecans.  In three words, SHE DONE GOOD.

Next up, Part III:
My first experience with an authentic Indian dinner and lunch with Dad, Sheryl, and a herd of Roosevelt Elk.

2 comments:

  1. The Thai pasta sounds fabulous. The cabbage salad also was intriguing with its mixture of flavors and textures.

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  2. I will email you the recipe for the Thai pasta, Muriel! It is really easy to make.

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