Apple Pie in Utah

N’Gai and I road-tripped to Brian Head, Utah. And while it was only the second time I’ve been to Utah, I enjoyed our time there and look forward to returning. It’s about an 8 hour drive from San Diego, and Sunny joined us for the ride.

Sunny_fresh_air

Except for cook, go to the spa for a facial, and nap with Sunny, I did nothing. And I loved every moment of it. To recharge batteries, some people need to be around other people. I need quiet. No email, no t.v., no music, just a book and a place to rest.

I wasn't in this little house but was so relaxed for this trip that it felt like it!

I wasn’t in this little house but was so relaxed for this trip that it felt like it!

Our friends Loren and Jennifer go to Brian Head every year and this time, we met them there. They stayed at Cedar Breaks Lodge, where I went for my facial (which was amazing) and we rented a private condo. I volunteered to cook us all dinner since we had a full kitchen.

I made Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta, a crunchy salad, and Dutch Apple Pie. Before I get into the incredible-ness of the apple pie, let me just say that the Pecorino Pasta is my go-to for pasta. I have adopted it as our family recipe. My mom and I joke that, as Italians, no one likes the way anyone else makes sauce (aka sugo aka gravy). And that’s the truth! And it’s no exception here because I’m telling you that this is the best pasta. Make it!

Now, on to the apple pie. I knew I wanted to make it Dutch style, but I had never made apple pie before and had a few questions. Like what’s the best apple to use? Pre-made or homemade dough? I found many answers on the Serious Eats Blog:

I used the Jam Hands Dutch Apple Pie recipe for inspiration, and with a few adjustments, mine turned out fantastic!

Dutch_Apple_Pie_2

My adjustments included:

  • Homemade dough. I don’t recall the exact recipe I used, but it was just flour, sugar, and ice cold butter (cut into tablespoons and in the freezer right up until before I needed it).
  • I precooked the dough just slightly, before it turned golden, to ensure that it didn’t get soggy.
  • I also precooked the Golden Delicious Apples I used for the recipe, and added a little corn starch so that the apple mixture didn’t get too runny.

True pie connoisseurs might take issue with this pie, but me, my husband, and our guests thought it was fantastic. And I would definitely make it again!

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Apple Orchard Inn

Apple Orchard Inn

Cortland Cottage at Apple Orchard Inn, Durango, CO

My husband and I enjoyed a fun trip to Durango, Colorado to go snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. For the first time in our 9 nears of travel together, we stayed at a bed and breakfast and really enjoyed it.

The Apple Orchard Inn has set the standard for any B&B we consider staying at in the future. The Inn has rooms in the main house, as well as six private cottages, all named after different varieties of apples. We stayed in the Cortland Cottage shown in the picture. And it was as cozy as the picture looks!

Kathi, the owner, was so sweet and an wow what an amazing cook too! Homemade breakfast every day, just a few steps away from our cottage was one of the best vacation experiences we’ve ever had! My husband and I really enjoyed meeting new people every morning too. I hope we get a chance to go back, maybe during the summer when it’s green and warm.

Northern Cali Christmas

My husband and I road-tripped to wine country to spend time with my mother-in-law for Christmas. Our stay was so nice, it always is. While we have quite some time before we retire, we do talk about living in that area someday. And not because it’s warm! But because it is so peaceful.

From Sonoma we headed to South Lake Tahoe to stay in a lovely cabin we rented… but before we got on the road we stopped at the Glen Ellen Village Market to get some snacks. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick up a few bottles of local wine. Of the bottles we purchased I saved a few for when we returned home, one of which we enjoyed with our home prepared dinner on New Year’s Eve: 2008 Pellegrini Carignan – Redwood Valley.

Wow this wine was fantastic! We paired it with excellent cuts of filet mignon and rib eye from Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meat & Deli located in Bay Park, San Diego, along with rosemary garlic potatoes and squash. This wine was amazing with our dinner! So good that I Googled Pellegrini Family Vineyard and bought two more bottles right from the vineyard!

Dinner on New Years Eve 2010

Filet Mignon for NYE 2010

I made a statement to my husband on New Year’s Eve that it’s good to be older… We are only in our 30s, and God willing have a lot more time on earth with each other. But what I meant by that is we no longer feel the need get gussied up, go out, spend a bunch of money, only to be hung over the next day! Ah yes, aging isn’t so bad!

Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope 2011 is one of the best years of your life!

Nepalese November

Food from Nepal

Nepalese November

The first time we had Nepalese food, we were in Boulder, Colorado, one of my favorite places to visit. We were staying in Denver and drove up to Boulder to dine at a little two story restaurant called Nepal Cuisine. We were in a state of euphoria when we left. The food and service was something to remember.

When November rolled around for our monthly dinner night, it was our turn to cook. Nepalese food proved to be one of the most difficult dinners for us to carry out so we did just that – ordered carry out! Recipes online were hard to find so we broke the rules for November and ordered Nepalese food from a restaurant in La Mesa, CA. To find the place, I did what I always do and searched Yelp. That’s where I found a lovely little restaurant called Himalayan Cuisine, and my fellow Yelpers gave the restaurant 4.5 stars.

We ordered food that can be found on their menu and also added a few items of our own.

LIBATIONS

APPETIZERS

Alu Bhanta – Eggplant & potatoes cooked in Himalayan style curry sauce.

Vegetables Momo – Steamed dumplings filled with minced cabbage, spinach, mushroom, cashew nuts, paneer, onion, cilantro, green onion & spices, served with special Himalayan sauce.

Samosas – Crispy pastries stuffed with jalapeños, cheese, and potatoes. (I actually bought and made these from an Indian supermarket in San Diego called Ker Fresh.)

ENTRÉES

Chicken Makhani – Premium chicken cooked in the tandoor and then cooked in a butter sauce.

Mixed Tandoori – Tandoor chicken, Boti Kabab (lamb), shrimp tandoor and chicken tikka. Served with sautéed onions, carrots, bell pepper and cabbage.

DESSERT

Gulab Jamun – Juicy sweet milk balls. (I didn’t care for these and was glad I decided to serve the mango sorbet and fresh mint!)

Mango Sorbet topped with fresh mint. (I added this and was glad I did, it was a wonderful ending!)