Sunday, July 31, 2011

Market Fresh

I have great memories of visiting my town's farmer's market with my mom, so when I learned of Boise's Saturday Market, I couldn't wait to pay a visit. The market draws vendors from all over Idaho and Eastern Oregon and offers up the freshest in fruits, veggies, meats, and treats. I had blackberry cobbler on my mind when we headed out and hoped to fill my canvas tote with other goodies along the way. It was a scorching day and the streets were filled with shoppers so we went through the express lane to scope out our options. Alas, the farm stands were out of blackberries by the time we arrived, so I picked up the last of the gorgeous, ripe raspberries instead. We also grabbed a loaf of Pane di Como from Zeppole, an artisan and organic bakery, and some tart and refreshing mint limeade. I'm excited to go back, hopefully on a cooler morning, to peruse the rest of the stands and bring home some of the beautiful produce.

Maze of Market
Produce stands
His and hers limeade
Colorful fruits
Rustic lunchtime


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday Feast

On Friday, Jeff and I ventured downtown for a night out. We started the evening on the Basque Block at Bar Gernika. Fun fact about Boise? This city is home to the largest Basque community in the United States. Gernika is one of our most visited spots because it offers up no frills, delicious food and a great neighborhood vibe. Bring on the grub!

Not one to stray from the classics, I've only tried two dishes at Gernika - paella and the Lamb Grinder. The latter is a sandwich of sliced lamb, sauteed onion, pepper, and mushroom, with melted cheese on crusty bread. With a side of au jus for dipping, it is truly finger licking good. Jeff and I both ordered Lamb Grinders and an indulgent dose of croquetas. These little fried balls are made with butter, onion, chicken, flour and milk. I ate my share of croquetas while studying abroad in Madrid, but Gernika hits it on the nose with the perfect combination of crunchy exterior and smooth, rich filling.

I know this is a spot that I'll frequent again and again, and if you're ever in Boise, I highly recommend fitting a trip to the Basque Country into your visit.

Dry rosé - perfect for a hot summer night
Lamb Grinders all around
Perfect croqueta


Friday, July 29, 2011

Saucepans, and Ovens, and Pots! Oh, My!

As a "single" gal living with roommates,  most of my dinners consisted of one pot meals - I would throw a can of beans, a bag of spinach, and a couple chicken breasts on the stove on Sunday and eat bowls of my concoction until Wednesday. I dreamed of serving courses, each component created in its own vessel, of traveling through the pages of my cookbooks to new countries to sample the cuisine, of having a recipe Rolodex in my head. When I moved to Boise, my status as head chef was cemented immediately and my brain has been on overdrive ever since. What I didn't count on is that it will take time for me to become an expert on following recipes, grocery shopping for the right ingredients, and making appropriate proportions. Wednesday's meal of sauteed mushrooms, pan fried scallops and shrimp, and white bean puree needs no further documentation. While everything tasted fine, our plates looked more like an array of amuse bouche that an hearty meal for two. Last night, I decided to try out something a little more amateur but sure to satisfy - Taco Night! I served up chicken and black bean tacos, fresh corn, tomato and avocado salad, green salad with yellow pepper, and all the hot sauce and salsa we could manage. We sipped margaritas and enjoyed the early evening breeze in the backyard.

The spread
So colorful!

(Makes 8 tacos)
Saute one pound chicken breast in a splash of olive oil until fully cooked
Remove from pan to cut into bite sized pieces
Pour leftover oil and juices from the pan and add one can black beans (I use low or no sodium beans, drained)
Add desired spices (I used half a packet of low sodium taco seasoning because we are sans spices at the moment!)
Add chicken, cook with beans until thickened and hot
Serve on yellow corn tortillas with shredded cheese

Corn, Tomato, Avocado Salad:
Add two cups fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, and avocado into bowl
Stir in juice of one lime and red pepper flakes

As I take on more adventures in the kitchen, look forward to becoming a better cook, keeping my boyfriend well fed, and putting a healthy spin on even the most indulgent comfort foods. Bon appétit!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Cycling in the City

Last Saturday, Boise bike lovers came out for the annual Twilight Criterium. Cyclists from around the state and beyond race through downtown Boise while crowds of spectators enjoy wine, beer, and good conversation. When Jeff's parents were invited to a wine tasting on a rooftop with views of the race, we decided to go along for the ride. We sipped wines from local vineyards, soaked up the evening sun, and finished the night with a delicious meal at Lock Stock and Barrel. I was having too much fun to snap lots of shots, but here are a few from the evening!


Where the Heart Is

It simultaneously feels like yesterday and like a decade ago that I moved to New York City. The three years that I spent there were filled to the brim with changes, ups, downs, laughter, tears, excitement, success. All of these emotions have centered around one, incomparable The love for a place - no matter how angry it makes you, how crazy the people are, and how exhausted each day leaves you. The love for people - from those who become your closest allies to strangers on the street, we survive and devour the city daily. The love for living - to get up every day, go to work, fight for what you believe in, build relationships, and learn about yourself. And it is love that carried me from New York to where I sit today - Boise, Idaho. My new home is home first to Jeff, my boyfriend since our college days in Eugene, Oregon. A Boise native, he left a budding career in sports marketing and social media in the Big Apple last year to pursue his dream of running his own business. After a year of long distance, I decided to join him. Understandably (to a certain extent), New Yorkers gave me a hard time about this move. I had a wonderful job, a great group of friends, half of my family - I was a success in one of the greatest cities in the world. But no one can truly argue with love. It has been a scary transition, not without tears and frustration, and one that will determine the next, enormous chapter of my life. Yet, as I sit in our home, surrounded by treasures and keepsakes, new furniture and old books, I am warmed by the feeling of comfort for the journey we've taken, excitement for the future unknown, and happiness for being the kind of person who can follow her heart.