Saturday, July 19, 2008

Seafood Boil on the Deck

Life on our deck in Coeur d'Alene is a big part of our summer and definitely a place we love to entertain our guests. There is nothing more wonderful than flying up from 110º Phoenix and arriving in Coeur d'Alene and hitting our deck. 70-80º weather and a cold glass of white wine or a Blue Moon beer with an orange slice and you are ready for a great evening.

Last weekend our guests for the week were my long time associate, Jeff Kramer and his wife Carmelle and their two lovely children Jason and Rachel. They have been are most welcomed guests every year since we have owned the house. We always have a great time with them.

This year they spent a few days in Seattle and then made the drive across Washington to our house in CDA. This year we demanded they hit Pike's Market in Seattle and load up on seafood for our seafood boil. They picked up lobster, crab, shrimp and clams we got the rest of the ingredients from our local farmer's market in CDA.

We started with a large stock pot on our propane cookstand sitting right on the deck - see We started with 6 quarts of water brought to a boil. Once it came to a boil we added a generous amount of sea salt, bay leaves, and the crab seasoning bags you can buy at the store. Add 6 halved lemons and return to a boil. Once boiling again add 4 medium artichokes - we added 6 because we love them. Cover and return to a boil. Let this boil for about 10-15 minutes then add a dozen or so little red potatoes, 6-8 ears of corn cut into small 2-3" sections, and 2 - 3 onions unpeeled but remove the ends. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes then add 6 whole unpeeled heads of garlic and 1 - 2 cups of your favorite dry white wine. Simmer, covered until the veggies are tender. Remove them to a serving platter after about 40 minutes of cooking for the artichokes.

We're almost there. As soon as you remove the veggies take two or three andouille sausages or I add a couple lamb smokies from my lamb farmer at Farmer's Market and slice them up and throw them in the boil. Let them boil for about 3 minutes. Then have all of your shellfish ready to go. Add the crabs and lobsters. Give them about 3 minutes then add the clams, then the shrimp. When the clams open and the shrimp are pink and start to curl it is showtime.

Cut the onions in half, clean the artichokes and remove the chokes. Prepare some melted butter, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, spice rubs for dipping, and you are ready to party. We served 12 easily and it was a big hit. The veggies soak up the spices and the seafood soaks up the flavor of the veggies. The sausages are always the big hit in the dish. It is outstanding and a great dinner on the deck.

Canada Pics

A few more pics from our road trip through British Columbia and Alberta, Canada - Great food in Canada - definitely a European influence wherever we ate - ay! The grizzly bears were the highlight of the trip - amazing animals. What beauty and the air was so clean and fresh - what a place.

Summer Fun in Canada

We have just returned from a fabulous road trip through the Canadian Rockies - well after exploring we realize this is an endless venture and we barely scratched the surface. We spent three days and two nights in the Okanagan specifically Kelowna and three days and two nights in Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Our itinerary was graciously set up by my good friend and Canadian, Patrick Murphy. While in Kelowna we stayed at the Manteo Resort. Great place - extremely family oriented with nice suites, kitchenettes, friendly, sandy beach, two pools one with a great water slide/tube which the kids loved, and a playground. Babysitting services are provided, so Mom and Dad can escape right next door at the Eldorado Hotel for a wonderful dinner on the boardwalk.

Kelowna and Okanagan Valley is the orchard and winery of Canada. It is unbelievably beautiful and fertile. Cherries, peaches, apricots and wine!!!! We sampled several while in Canada and instantly became hooked. Our favorite was the 2005 Private Reserve Gewürztraminer. It was light and not overly syrupy like some Gewürztraminers - very crisp and refreshing. We came to find virtually every nice hotel and restaurant we came across featured it. The best Okanagan red we tried was the Blasted Church Cabernet Sauvignon Revered Series 2006. I had this with a delicious venison tenderloin while at the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise.

After our stay in the Okanagan we headed up through the Canadian Rockies and over Kicking Horse Pass to Lake Louise. This is one of the most stunning places I have ever been! Absolutely breathtaking and indescribable. Glacier fed, turquoise streams and lakes, surrounded by cathedral peaks covered with thick forests and then this 5 star hotel set right in the middle of it all. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel ranks right up there in terms of one of the best hotels in the world. Originally built in 1893 the hotel has undergone many renovations, reconstructions, fires, well you get the picture. It's most recent renovation took place last year and it is exceptionally well done. Our room had a perfect view of the lake, mountains, and glacier.

While at Lake Louise we enjoyed a hike around the lake, the gondola ride whereon we saw three grizzly bears in the meadow below us, and a fantastic fondue dinner - and of course some more wines - at the Walliser Stube restaurant. After cheese fondue and then the venison tenderloin and of course some German speatzle, it was time for Tobblerone chocolate fondue. Ok - we indulged - we had a sitter and it was just Heather and I. Fantastic food, wine, service, accommodations, and scenery that is beyond belief.

My mom visited the resort in the late 50s and was stunned by my photos and the reduction in the size of the glacier - so for all you folks who don't think global warming is not real.....well the pics tell the tale. Today, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism.

Please check the various websites listed on this blog for more information on the hotels and wines. I highly recommend a visit here to escape the Arizona summers. Fly into Calgary and its about a 2 hours incredibly scenic drive. Enjoy!