Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye Circle Oak Equine! - Petaluma, CA

On our last night in Petaluma, Ron and Sara created quite the feast for our crew: including Dr. Carrie Schlacter, the resident vet at Circle Oak Equine. Scott and I were spoiled and got to watch them both cook. I love watching people cook, it is just like watching the Food Network!

Sara sauteing some mushrooms.

Cowboy Ron maning the grill.

Sweet potatoes ready for the eating.

Steaks resting.

Fava beans and pancetta. It was a simple salad and quite delicious - Doesn't the color look amazing?! 

Dinner is served!

How fun! Thank you Circle Oak Equine for being the best hosts, friends and clients. You guys are really one in a million!

Oh wait, we cannot forget about the tequila. Ron and his tequila... This is my baby shot! Down the hatch.

Stay tuned for 2013 Circle Oak Invitational!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chunky's Taqueria - Petaluma, CA

After the night of tequila tasting while at Circle Oak we woke up feeling a little sluggish. Ron and Scott took care of business and left Kat and I to tend to the horses. We finished and knew we just had to get something to eat pronto. After a short walk to town we discovered, Chunky's. A mexican food restaurant by that name ought to be good, right? As soon as I saw that salsa bar, I knew we would be in good hands. 

You order at the register and then get your selection of salsas to sample. My favorite was actually that orange one. It was creamy and would be delicious on any kind of seafood. At this point, everything I was eating was heaven. There is my RC Cola too, soda can taste so good sometimes.

Here is my lunch! The Carnitas plate with rice, beans and guacamole. I loved this mish mash of fun. They asked if I wanted tortillas but i declined. I like eating everything separately not all mashed up in a burrito. I was craving just exactly this and I would return to Chunky's anytime.

Katt went for a burrito and she said it was good. In fact she said she was stuffed to the gills. Good thing we had a few hours to digest. A pedicure and Starbucks came next so I would say it was a pretty good time. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is "Cutting" anyway?

So you all read about my blog posts about "cutting" and you probably don't quite get what it is. My husband was asked to do a video explaining what we do and what he has accomplished. So check it out. It is worth a watch! You will get a better understanding as to what our ranch and daily life is like!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dinner @ Malone's - Petaluma, CA

After Cutting Day #2 we cleaned ourselves up for a dinner with at Ron and Sara Malone's. We enjoyed wine in their courtyard and I just loved this succulent filled fountain. What a great idea, it is so beautiful.

Who doesn't loved a cowboy boot planter. I would paint it up with bold, bright colors. But, that is just Melissa Good Taste talking...

Sara and Scott...


Cowboy Ron

Melissa Good Taste. That was our Circle Oak Invitational crew this year. Smaller group than other years but it was nice. Small in numbers, but not in enthusiasm is what I gathered. Ok, now onto the food...

Steamed artichokes. Always a winner. I eat and eat until I have reached the heart. Most of the diners threw theirs away at the end of the meal, a complete waste in my opinion.

Potatoe, potato. These scrumptious babies were microwaved and then drizzled with olive oil with a quick roast in the oven.

An experiment that Sara conducted. Fava beans grilled on the grill, then tossed in a lemon infused olive oil and sea salt. Holy moly what fun! After two de-shells each pod and bean you have a succulent blend of finger licking goodness on your hands!

Asian marinated pork tenderloin. Cooked to perfection. Think Rice wine vinegar, ginger, white wine, soy. Delicious!

My plate. I even had another serving of the pork because it was outstanding. I have grown to like pork more as an adult. Although, I think it is more popular now than it ever was. I guess it really is the "Other White Meat" - move over chicken!

And then there is this. Tequila drinking after dinner was what we were up to. It was devine. A super special tequila Cowboy Ron came across. We finished the caramel flavored tequila and I got the final shot. Oh my, this was quite the working vacation! Ole!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flamez Bar and Grill - Petaluma, CA

After our first day of Circle Oak cutting we were in need of a beer! The long drive from the day before, the gathering, setting up, saddling, riding, putting away, feeding... It wears you out! So we went to the local shopping center for supplies and a quick meal. Samuel Adams is always nice. 

The place was alright. Service a little shoddy but it didn't really offend me. I knew what I was getting right when I walked in. Sometimes I am annoyed by this kind of treatment when paying for a meal but today I was in a good mood.

I ordered the Fish and Chips because I always order it. And it tasted extra delicious! I love it when frozen fish deep fried in oil makes my day. The tarter was really good too.    

Kat had the Pesto Wrap and sweet potato fries. She is a sucker for them and will always order them if she sees them on the menu. I guess we all have our addictions. She was not overly impressed with the wrap but it was food and we were all hungry.

Scott had the BLAT - bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato. He loved it. Everything is better with bacon.

I don't have a whole lot else to say about Flamez besides that they should spell their name correctly. Maybe, concentrate on completing orders correctly and possibly serving the beer with cold glasses. That is about it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Circle Oak Ranch Invitational - Petaluma, CA

We are at Cowboy Ron's and we are so excited! Awesome weather, great cows, scrumptious food and stimulating conversation. We are in cutting horse heaven we come here.

Winnie even in getting first class treatment with acupuncture. 

Just one of the many comfort treatments that Circle Oak Ranch has to offer. I love it! 

Views from the ranch. That is the indoor, shop, turnouts and exerciser machine. 

Interested in taking a dip in the pond?

This place is so cool! - Check it out!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the Road. Again.

Melissa Good Taste is packing her bags and headed to Petaluma for a week. Prepare for lots of food and wine posts. We will be staying at Cowboy Ron's - I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

I am now off to pack for two humans and two dogs! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Curry Chicken & Couscous

 Hello friends! I was off at a horse show for the past few days so please excuse my blogging absence. It was at the Tejon Ranch just off of Interstate 5 as you are going over the "Grapvine" in your ascent or descent to Los Angeles. Our clients and horses all were very successful and went home with more change in our pockets than we started the show with. 

Now i am going to share with you an easy, exotic recipe. I like that it something very different than what I grew up eating yet, it tastes so comforting. Don't be intimidated. Try it! 

 First you start off my browning six boneless, skinless chicken thighs with 1 Tablespoon oil in your favorite skillet. I salted and peppered them in the step as well.

While they are browning slice one large onion, I prefer a yellow sweet onion but I only had white. I had to improvise.  

Remove the chicken and set on a plate while you deglaze the pan. To the empty pan add a bottle of wine, I prefer a buttery chardonnay and one can of chicken broth. With the liquid in the pan start scraping of the bits of chicken off the sides and bottom. Now you add the fun stuff!
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Curry Powder 
  • 2 Tablespoons of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Chile Pepper (if you do not like spice, make it Paprika)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon 
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin

Place the chicken back into the pan, as well as the onions. Cover with a lid and let slowly simmer for an hour. It will be very aromatic. You can taste the broth at this time, if it is too spicy add sugar. If you think it needs more spice, add it. It is all about suiting your taste buds, that day. 

To make the couscous just boil one cup of water. Once boiling, add one cup of couscous. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve. So easy!

And here is your exotic masterpiece! The chicken is tender, the broth fragrant and couscous fluffy, light. It made me feel like we were in Morocco or some very far away land.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beer & Wine Only - Ventura, CA

Scott usually never gets a day off. During the week, he is preparing horses for upcoming shows all while maintaining our ranch with its daily chores. On the weekend, he is actually at the horse show competing or helping customers. That doesn't leave too much time for himself. He rewarded himself with one boat day, a day to not be a cowboy. Cheers to that!

Scott loves BJ's Brewery. He wanted to try one of their special draft beers and he went with the Totonka. Which means, "buffalo" - Thank you 'Dances with Wolves'. He loves their menu because there are so many options on the little bite and appetizer menu. The Southwestern egg rolls caught his eye and their was plenty of food on the menu!

The Thai Lettuce Wraps are always good too. We are keeping it light and refreshing around here with these.  

There are many things I love about Scott but one of the main things is he is always surprising me. Whether it be where we are going that day, what restaurant he has plans on taking me, I never have to entertain. He is always thinking of what I might enjoy.

Happy Hour at Brophy Brothers? Yes, please. A glass of sauvignon blanc on the patio was just nice with me.

The Ventura Harbor is really nice, they are celebrating Harbor Day on June 9th if anyone is interested. I am not sure what it entails but if it involves seafood and lots of it, I should probably be there for blogging and eating purposes. You know, all for the sake of the blog. 

I took charge and ordered the Cold Seafood Combo: Peel and Eat Shrimp, Clams (which I do not like on the half shell), Oysters (which I love), a couple ounces of crab meat and ceviche. It was plenty for us because we were just snacking. The wine, this meal, my company... How perfect!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oriental Chicken Salad

 With the warm weather here, it also means the days stay lit longer. That means more work can be done and Scott comes into the house later at night. He has more time to ride his special 2 year old horses and that makes him very hapy. It allows me personal time in the kitchen to come up with my next great meal. 

Something light, not too filling, not hot - I am already hot. How about Oriental Chicken Salad? It is easy. Just prep some ingredients and throw it in the refrigerator to macerate. 

Oriental Chicken Salad - Melissa's Version
  • 2 - Packages Oriental Top Ramen
  • Chicken - tenders or filets
  • Slivered almonds - they come in small packages usually so get two
  • Sesame Seeds - a heavy sprinkle 
  • Cole slaw Mix - cabbage and carrot combo
  • Cilantro - one bunch chopped 
  • Bell pepper (optional) - I used a yellow one.
  • Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing or any Asian variety you prefer

1. Boil two packages of Oriental Top Ramen for only about a minute in a half, you want the noodles al dente. Put in a bowl and cool  in the fridge while you assemble the rest of the salad.

2. Boil a package on chicken tenders in water, it takes a bout 7 - 10 minutes because they are very small pieces. You can use any cut of chicken just make sure they are cooked through. Let them cool and shred. You too could put these in the fridge to cool down so it will not wilt the salad when mixed together.

3. On a baking sheet, toast slivered almonds and sesame seeds in a 300 degree oven. Watch them! They burn very quickly! I ruined one batch by being careless!

4. Now take your bowl and start assembling the salad.

5. Open a package of cole slaw mix - Cabbage and carrots pre-sliced from the grocery store. Such a timesaver!

6. Chop up a head of cilantro, the more the better in my book. I also had a bell pepper on hand so I sliced that up and threw it in top. There are no specifics around here! Just wing it!

7. Mix in the cooled noodles, chicken, almonds and sesame seeds.

8. The best easy dressing for this salad is Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad dressing. I used a half of a bottle dressing it. Mix thoroughly and let it all hang out in the fridge for awhile, it gets better the longer it sits.

9. Enjoy!