Friday, February 27, 2015

Bangkok House Serves Up Fresh Thai and Sushi.

Bangkok House

2728 South Highway 191
Moab, Utah, 84532

Phone:  (435)355-0899

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bangkokhousemoab



2.5 miles north of the San Juan/Grand County border, a new restaurant opened up recently serving up fresh and delicious Thai cuisine, Japanese specialties and Sushi.  Located a quarter of a mile from Spanish Trail Road (Moab Golf Course, The Moab Man Rock Art Site, Steel Bender ATV Trail), Bangkok House sits high on a hill with a grand view of the La Sal Mountains. 

The owner,  Venus Varunun, and her staff immigrated from Thailand to Salt Lake City, Utah and introduced Utahns to Thai cuisine.  Now they have brought the recipes of their homeland to the Moab area (Grand County); and San Juan County residents would enjoy the experience as well, since it's right across the border.  The restaurant has table seating in the center, while booths line the walls; the ever busy Sushi station is in the rear.  The staff are very friendly with bright smiles and attentive attitude; your happiness is their goal.  I was there for lunch and felt very pampered and well cared for; a culinary spa experience in a way.


A skilled Sushi Chef who loves his artistic work.

Open seven days a week, at 11am (4pm on Sunday), the lunch menu consists of Thai specialty items or a Japanese style Bento box.  The Bento box consists of a main menu item, choice of Sushi roll, Gyoza (a type of fried dumpling) and choice of Miso soup or green salad with ginger dressing.  I chose Pad Thai with Shrimp as my main meal item; stir fried rice noodles with ingredients including egg, peanuts, shallots, sprouts, tofu, and a choice of meat.  The Shrimp Tempura Roll was so good, if I had had room, I would have eaten two of those easily.  I did order two Sushi Rolls to go, the Rainbow and the Playboy, which I highly enjoyed at home for my dinner.




Playboy Roll

Rainbow Roll


The dinner menu is more extensive with appetizers, soups, salads, huge variety of Sushi rolls, Thai and Japanese specialty dishes.  There is something on the menu to please anyone’s taste preferences; even a grand dessert such as deep fried ice cream, or deep fried bananas with ice cream…oh so decadent!







This is Asian cuisine at its finest; you will find yourself making excuses just to go back and try another dish.  By the way, all the menu items are made up fresh; sit back, relax and enjoy the experience! Thinking of something exotic for your next reunion, reception, birthday party or family celebration; Bangkok House can accommodate you.  Give Bangkok House a try and expand your culinary horizons.

Mary Cokenour

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pan Sear When You Can't Barbecue.

As much as we enjoy barbecuing outside, when it snows or the cold wind blows, you won't find us outside doing much.  So how do I get that grilled look and flavor on the steak without the barbecue?  Pan searing is the answer; a cast iron skillet is great for this, but a top of the line pan, like Calphalon, will do the job just as well.





The meat I used was round steaks (one inch thick) which I tenderized with the indented side of a meat mallet.  Just a few good whacks to open up those meaty tissues and allow the steaks to absorb the seasonings better.  To season them, I mixed together a teaspoon of fine sea salt, a half teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder.  I keep it simple, if anyone wants extra seasoning once they taste it, then they can add.  Use half of the seasoning mixture on one side first.

Into my 12 inch skillet, I only add one tablespoon of oil (canola or peanut), heat on medium-high heat, and place the seasoned side of the steaks down into the pan.  I then sprinkle the other half of the seasoning mix onto the side facing upwards.  Now leave that steak alone fore a good five minutes before flipping it over; another five minutes and the steaks will be a tender, juicy medium-rare.  Not playing with the steaks allows the exterior of the meat to caramelize.

What goes better with steak than a topping of mushrooms and onions?  Not much.  Before I began the steaks, I had already sliced up those mushrooms and onions; placed them in a medium heated pan with two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a little salt and ground black pepper.  It will take about a good 20 - 30 minutes for those beauties to caramelize to a sweet, yummy goodness.  Give them a stir now and then to make sure the pan isn't too hot and they're sticking or burning.




Now top those steaks!  I also sliced some potatoes up (1/4 inch thick) and fried them up to a crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside texture.  Steak, mushrooms, onions, potatoes...a sincerely winning combination!!!


Mary Cokenour

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Belated Thank You to a Fine Houston, Texas Gentleman.

Back in September 2014, I met a man passing through town that needed directions; not a problem for me and I happily gave him the information he needed. We struck up a conversation about the area and, per usual, food and restaurants came up. I lamented on how, when I had moved here, I was under the illusion that barbecue and smoked meats would be the norm, not the holy grail. How I had learned the techniques myself, owned two smokers, but time was not always on my side when in the mood for this most excellent type of food.

He then halted the conversation with a, "I'll be right back", went to his vehicle and began rooting around inside. He then returned with a plastic bag, handed it to me, and said, "This is for you." Inside was an approximately two pound beef brisket; he explained that it should be wrapped in foil and cooked for two to three hours at 200 to 225 degrees.  I was in shock and, at first, reluctant to take this man's food from him; he was going camping and hunting and this was one of his provisions.  He insisted, explaining how nice and helpful I had been; and he wanted to share something with me that he knew I would enjoy.



Since my hubby would be home for dinner that night; of course I was going to prepare this treat for us.  Wrapped in foil, oven preheated; it was the waiting that would be the worst.  Roy arrived home just as I had finished preparing red skinned mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley and the brisket.  The aromas wafting throughout the home were intoxicating!


The brisket had an evident smoke ring around it; you could taste the smokiness and I don't know what he used in his rub, but it was awesomely flavored!  It was very tender and melted in the mouth as we chewed; talk about food heaven!  As much as we wanted to eat the entire brisket in one seating, we did save enough for one more wonderful meal.



I allowed so many things to get in the way of my writing this blog post immediately, and I apologize deeply for the lateness of this thank you.  THANK YOU Travis Staudt (hope I spelled your name correctly) of Houston, Texas for your own kindness, and this generous gift you gave to my hubby and myself.  You are a fine gentleman, and this gesture will not be forgotten.

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Semi-Homemade Apple Pie.

As I keep stating, I'm not much on baking as I don't like to do all that precise measuring. Whenever I've made a fruit pie in the past, I used the canned stuff; I know, shocking!  When I received six large Granny Smith apples in my last Bountiful Basket pack, I simply stared at them.  They're too tart, in my opinion, for eating as is, so I've always used them in some type of cooking recipe.  This time I was going to be brave and bake them, but the decision was , "Apple Dumplings or Apple Pie"?

I don't make my own pie crust which is what I would need for either recipe.  Off to the local market I went to get refrigerated pie crusts, but the Marie Callender deep dish pie shells were on sale too; so apple pie it was.  Now how to put the pie together?  Well, I've always enjoyed watching baking shows, have several books on baking; as always, I was going to wing it. 

Surprise!  My little adventure came out a delicious success.  The apples were neither too soft, or too firm; they had just the right scrunch.  The butter melted and combined with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to make a rich, fragrant sauce that, again, was neither too thin, or too gooey.  Goldilocks would have been so awesomely proud of my creation.



Apple Pie
(Recipe makes two pies)

 

Ingredients:

6 large Granny Smith apples
2 qts. cold water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
2- deep dish (9 inch) pie shells
1 package refrigerated pie crusts
8 Tbsp. butter

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425F.

 

Core, peel and slice apples into ¼ inch slices; place in a large plastic bowl, cover with water and add in lemon juice.
 


 

 

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Cut each tablespoon of butter into quarters.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Into each pie shell, place ¼ of the apple slices; use a strainer to remove from the water and shake excess off.  Sprinkle ¼ cup of the brown sugar mixture over the slices; dot with eight quarter pieces of butter.  Repeat each layer – apple slices, brown sugar mixture, butter.
 


 

 
 
 
 
Top with pie crust and pinch the excess around the edge; with the tip of a knife, pierce the crust 9 to 12 times.
 


 
Place a piece of aluminum foil on the oven rack; center pie on top of foil to catch any dripping.  Bake for 45 – 50 minutes; until pie crust is a golden brown.

 

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Smoked Meat Lovers Haven in Dove Creek, Colorado.

L&M Smoked Meats at the Dove Creek Sinclair

419 US Highway 491
Dove Creek, Colorado, 81324

Phone: (970) 677-3300

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dove-Creek-Sinclair-Station/127811170599131




Only 20 minutes east of Monticello, along Route 491, is the small town of Dove Creek, Colorado.  Sinclair of Dove Creek may look like an ordinary gas station/convenience store, but they hold a foodie secret….smoked meats.  Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and Ribs with meat so tender and delicious; you could swear you’ve gone to barbecue heaven.


 

The owners of the Sinclair, and L&M Smoked Meats, are Laurie and Mike Steele.  Originally from California, they moved to Dove Creek in October 2010 and purchased the Sinclair.  After buying the smoker, Mike got schooled in the art of smoking and opened up L&M in December 2010.  At first the decision to purchase and live in Dove Creek was difficult, but after sitting inside the station, watching and hearing all the friendliness shown by the locals; their decision hit home fast.


 
Mike uses oak wood for the smoking; you can easily smell the aromatic aroma the second you exit your vehicle.  He hand pulls and shreds the meats for sandwiches, taking out as much fat as possible, so you get a full mouth of meat.  The barbecue sauce used is Cattlemen’s brand; natural ingredients and spices that only enhance the smoky taste of the meat.  Looking for a unique meal for a party, reunion or simply a get-together; L&M does catering.  Need a reference?  Ask the San Juan County Sheriff’s department what they enjoy for their lunch meetings.



 

Currently the operating hours for the L&M section of the business is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 12 Noon until all the yummy smoked goodies are gone.  Mike is considering adding Monday to the schedule, but smoking meat to perfection takes time and he’s not rushing anything.  Besides seating inside the station, there are beautiful stone picnic tables outside; don’t forget to take your photo with the Sinclair Dino.
 

 

Love smoked meat?  Why drive hours to elsewhere, when you can fill your belly with the good stuff just next door?  L&M Smoked Meats at the Sinclair of Dove Creek; now that hits the spot!

Mary Cokenour

 
Dove Creek Sinclair Smoked Meats on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lasagna Without Using Your Noodle.

Now I've made traditional Italian lasagna using noodles; I've made vegetable lasagna, again, using noodles. What happens though when, instead of pasta noodles, vegetables themselves become the noodles?  While I did have large zucchinis which I could have sliced lengthwise thinly; I decided to try it out with eggplant; sort of as if lasagna and eggplant parmigiana decided to have a baby.

Eggplant is a spongy type of vegetable; when fried in oil, it will absorb a good deal of the oil.  However, I didn't want my lasagna to be a soppy, oily mess and made the decision to oven fry the eggplant slices.  If it works for potatoes, why not eggplant, right?  By the way, to make it a bit more interesting, I sautéed green bell peppers and grape tomatoes (look like miniature Roma tomatoes) together and made that one of the layers.  In my opinion, this addition made the entire dish come together into a delicious perfection; but then again, I'm biased.



Eggplant Lasagna

 Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 small green bell pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 (32 oz.) container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (8 oz.) package finely shredded mozzarella cheese; divided in half
3 cups homemade pasta sauce

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F; spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and a 2 and ½ quart baking dish.

 
Cut ends off the eggplant and peel off skin; cut into ¼ inch slices.  Place bread crumbs onto flat plate; lightly beat eggs and milk together in a wide mouth bowl.  Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then lightly bread on both sides; place on baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes on one side; turn over, bake for another 5 minutes; remove from oven, but keep oven at 350F.









 

While eggplant is baking; take seeds out of the bell pepper, cut into strips and then dice; cut the tomatoes into halves.  In a 10 inch skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high; add in the bell pepper, tomatoes, salt and garlic powder.  Sauté for 5 minutes, remove from heat.
 

 

 

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella; if using whole milk ricotta, add one egg when mixing to achieve smoothness. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
In the sprayed baking dish, spread one cup of sauce on the bottom; place 3 slices of eggplant on bottom.  Spread half the cheese mixture over the eggplant; spread half the vegetable mixture over the cheese.   Repeat process: one cup sauce, 3 eggplant, half cheese, half vegetables, one cup sauce and remaining eggplant slices.  Top the entire casserole with the other half of the shredded mozzarella; bake for 30-35 minutes (cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling up).  Remove from oven; let sit for 15 minutes before serving.







 

 
 
 
Makes six servings.

Mary Cokenour