I Can See Clearly Now

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

The weather Thursday was bluebird skies, scattered white fluffy clouds, bright sunshine and no smoke: the perfect day to kick off Labor Day weekend by hopping on the River Run gondola to ascend to a barbecue lunch with the best view in town.  Sailing over the single track mountain bike trails and ski runs, the ride on the gondola is beyond scenic. As you soar above the tree line, the majestic Pioneer Mountains provide a sublime vista to the east, while the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley take form in miniature below.

But getting there is only half the fun when you decide to have lunch at the historic Roundhouse restaurant. Perched at 7,700-feet above Ketchum, Roundhouse says Sun Valley like nothing else. With its rustic interior, vast decks and unparalleled views, a meal there shouldn’t be missed.

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

Roundhouse just reopened for the rest of the summer season and will serve a tasty, varied barbecue menu through September 8. Choose from traditional beef burgers or veer into the more esoteric: buffalo burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers (my choice – delicious!), bratwursts and entrée salads. Sides include homemade coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad or chips. Enjoy a beer, wine, cocktail or soft drink with your sophisticated picnic on the deck.

From Friday to Monday, the Lookout Restaurant atop Baldy will also offer its wildly popular taco bar at lunch to those enjoying a hike, bike ride or sightseeing trip on the mountain. Lift service to Lookout begins where the gondola lets off to get riders to the tip top of the hill.

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

Lunch with a view is just one of many must-do activities to put on your Labor Day weekend “to-do” list. One of the busiest holidays of the year in Sun Valley, there are parades to delight; antiques and art to browse and buy; cars to covet; pancakes of which to partake.

The annual multi-day celebration that is Wagon Days is jam-packed. Starting Friday, Arts, Crafts and Antiques Fairs can be found up and down the Valley. From 4 – 7 p.m. that day, cowboy poets, old-time fiddling, western music and more will delight at the Ore Museum in Ketchum with concerts from Matt Renner and the band Slow Children Playing to follow.  Also Friday night, local art galleries will open their doors and welcome lookers and buyers from 5 – 8 p.m.

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons is a sight to behold and the grand finale of Saturday's parade

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons, is a sight to behold as the grand finale of Saturday's parade

Saturday is the big show with many events leading up to Wagon Days‘ famous Big Hitch Parade. Starting at 8 a.m., bring the entire family to Ketchum for an old-fashioned, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with all proceeds benefiting local youth groups. The kids can work off that carb-fueled energy at a children’s carnival featuring mini train rides, astro jumps, a climbing wall, bungee run and more.

At 1 p.m. the Big Hitch Parade rolls down Sun Valley Road. This, the largest non-motorized parade in the Northwest, features museum quality buggies, carriages, carts, stagecoaches and wagons that illustrate and honor the tenacity of the area’s early settlers. Six gigantic Lewis Ore Wagons, the Big Hitch, pulled by a 20-mule jerkline, offer the eye popping grand finale. Music and festivity in Ketchum extend well into the night following the parade.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race also follows at Rotary Park. A favorite of children of all ages, this event launches thousands of plastic ducks into to Big Wood River to ‘race,’ all while benefiting local non-profits.

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

In Sun Valley, on both Saturday and Sunday, be sure to come by the Silver Car Auction beginning at 9 a.m. 250 collector car owners and dealers display and auction off unique and beautiful cars until 8 p.m. There is eye candy for everyone from admirers of classic cars to sports cars and is a must-see for aficionados of every persuasion.

While in Sun Valley, be sure to stop into the Konditorei or Gretchen’s for a delicious breakfast or lunch, or grab gourmet sandwiches to go at the Short Line Deli followed by a special ice cream treat at a la mode. Village restaurants will be serving dinner over the weekend, too – the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the best in local flavors and handcrafted recipes after a very busy day.

And then there is the final Sun Valley on Ice show of the year starring Johnny Weir, rodeos, more live music, a hoedown, western dance – not to mention golf, biking, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, the Gun Club, fly fishing, swimming …! There is so much to do, it’s a good thing it’s a long weekend.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

We can’t wait to see everyone out in Sun Valley and Ketchum enjoying glorious weather (the forecast looks great), a fantastic array of events and fun for everyone. We are all so grateful that Wagon Days is on and better than ever and can’t wait to share this spectacular weekend, as well as our own very special, very active version of normal, with our guests. It’s going to be a great Labor Day weekend!

To borrow shamelessly from the incomparable Johnny Nash, Jimmy Nash and others, “It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day…”

–RES

Come Out, Thank a Firefighter and Celebrate

The valiant efforts of 1,500 firefighters saved our beautiful Valley. Come say thank you Sunday night at River Run

The valiant efforts of 1,500 firefighters saved our beautiful Valley. Come say thank you Sunday night at River Run

With the monstrous Beaver Creek Fire now 70 percent contained and clear, sunny skies prevailing over Sun Valley, it is time to show our appreciation for the firefighters who protected our Valley and the way of life we so value.

Just a week ago, the outcome of this fire was very uncertain as crews worked around-the-clock from Hailey to north of Ketchum (photo Great Basin NationalIncident Management Team #1)

Just a week ago, the outcome of this fire was very uncertain as crews worked around-the-clock to contain it from Hailey to north of Ketchum (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

Sun Valley Resort is throwing a picnic on the River Run lawn this Sunday, August 25, to do just that. Everyone is invited to bring a blanket or chairs down to the mountain beginning at 6 p.m. for an evening of celebration and entertainment featuring the popular bands Old Death Whisper and Up A Creek.

There will be a complete western barbecue with chicken and ribs, beer, refreshments and ice cream available for purchase. You are also welcome to bring a picnic.

The brave men and women who walked into the flames of the Beaver Creek Fire have earned a standing ovation from all of us. Come down Sunday night to honor them, reconnect with friends and neighbors and take in the beauty of everything that was saved. Many firefighters are expected to be in attendance so you can express your appreciation personally.

Please check back to the blog for updates on this event.

–RES

Two of Ketchum Fire Department's finest work Wednesday to ensure the danger has passed

Two of Ketchum Fire Department's finest work Wednedsay to ensure the danger has passed

Breaking Bread with Brian Boitano

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Olympic figure skating legend Brian Boitano just looks like someone you want to have as a friend; someone with whom you want to share dinner, a cocktail and stories. Now is your chance! Brian is coming to Sun Valley to host a special cooking class and party on September 1 and you are invited.

Cooking you might say? Brian Boitano? Yes! As the 1988 Olympic champion, the 1986 and 1988 World Champion, and the 1985-1988 U.S. National Champion in figure skating, he is one of the most exalted skaters of our time. After turning professional following his 1988 season, Brian continued and continues to skate, entertaining countless fans in shows and television specials each year. He has headlined Sun Valley On Ice many times and is a local favorite. But he also found a second career about which he is equally passionate – cooking.

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will share some of them with the lucky guests at his August 22 event

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will offer tips and techniques to prepare them at home with the fortunate guests at his August 22 event

A self taught chef, Brian took his love of food and entertaining and parlayed it into a popular television program on both the Food Network and Cooking Network. In What Would Brian Boitano Make? the eponymous star of the series shares recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining with viewers, all with his signature style. From his television work came a cookbook by the same name, a collection of his best recipes that will help you look like a gold medalist in your own kitchen.

On September 1, 100 lucky people will gather at the spectacular home of Kim Selby in Ketchum to learn from Brian as he gives a cooking lesson and offers tips a la his popular television show.

The Valley Sun caught up with Boitano to discuss the upcoming event.

TVS: You have a long-standing connection to Sun Valley. Are you looking forward to returning next week?
BB: Sun Valley is near and dear to my heart and I always love to come back. Not only do I have wonderful memories of all the shows I’ve performed in, but I have good friends here.

TVS: But this time, you’re trading in your skate blades for knife blades. Tell us what people who attend the function on the 22nd might expect.
BB: Well, you can expect great food and drinks that you will be able to replicate at home. You can also expect to learn these recipes in one of the most beautiful kitchens in the Northwest. Kim’s house is gorgeous and is fully stocked with everything you need to make an unforgettable meal. She even has a pizza oven that we’re going to use.

TVS: Is this event for the seasoned cook or for anyone who is interested?
BB: My philosophy on cooking is that everyone can do it. You just need a plan. My cookbook, from which I will be choosing recipes for that event, lets you make delicious food in very few steps. It’s for everyone from the novice to the experienced chef.

TVS: You created all the recipes in your cookbook yourself, correct?
BB: Yes, they are all mine! Usually I follow something that interests me when beginning a new dish. I may not have used much allspice in cooking and would like to try it, so I think about what allspice would be good with. Rice? For sure! Let’s try rice. Then I lay out how I’m going to make a new dish. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but if it doesn’t I can dissect what went wrong and learn from it. The dishes in my cookbook have gone through a lot of changes to get to where they are!

During all my travels for skating, I have been able to indulge my interest in food from many cultures and many different flavors. I also give a nod to my Italian heritage. It all comes through in my recipes.

TVS: Any ideas about what you plan to cook and teach the guests to cook?
BB: One of the things I’m making is southwestern sopapillas – a recipe in the cookbook that people just love and I love. Where sopapillas are usually sweet, mine are savory. They are little dough balls that puff up when you fry them. Then I poke a hole in them and stuff them with salsa and bean dip. They are absolutely delicious, easy to make and certain to impress dinner guests! I am also planning on a white wine sangria with fresh mint in it and pizza because when you have a pizza oven in the house, you have to use it!

TVS: Any plans to take to the ice while you are in town?
BB: I actually do plan to skate a little bit in Sun Valley to get in shape for my upcoming season. There are a lot of people at the rink I really appreciate working with and it’s a beautiful place to skate. I have two NBC shows coming up in the fall so I am ready to train for them.

TVS: This dinner benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club. Do you have a special connection to the organization?
BB: Skating in Sun Valley is very special and I always want to support and encourage young people in the sport. When I was an up-and-coming skater I competed in the Club’s annual Summer Championships and I am happy to help this excellent program.

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime chance to break bread with Brian Boitano are available at www.sunvalleyfsc.com, by calling 208.622.8020 or at the Club office located behind the skate house. Very limited VIP tickets are available for $200 ($375 per couple) and include a private cocktail hour with Brian Boitano. Tickets to the cooking demonstration, that include signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are available for $100 ($175 per couple). Guests will also receive a signed cookbook. All proceeds benefit the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club, dedicated to skating excellence and making this lifelong sport available to children in the Wood River Valley.

I have my ticket and look forward to this amazing night! See you there.

–RES

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO RECENT FIRES, THIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 1. TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!

 

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

Recipe from the Resort: Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Sun Valley’s long established Austrian heritage is nowhere more apparent than the newly reinvented Konditorei Café in the Sun Valley Village. Step inside, take in the endless expanse of the pastry case and step across the Atlantic to a culture where afternoon tea and cake are a daily ritual. As someone whose early childhood was spent in Germany and who delighted in sidewalk cafes filled with handmade delicious treats, the sight of Black Forest Cake, Linzer Cookies and all the new confections imagined by the Konditorei’s Head Pasty Chef Chris McCarthy, bring back a flood of fond memories.

Chef McCarthy understands the appeal of what he does, not only on a gastronomic level, but on a visual and emotional one as well. This Wood River Valley native attended culinary school in Arizona where he learned both to cook and bake. There, he found his true calling was in flour and sugar, pastry cream and buttercream. Before making his circuitous route back to his hometown and to the Konditorei upon its grand reopening last December, Chef McCarthy prepared pastries in prestigious kitchens from Sea Island, Georgia, to a Ritz Carlton in Florida.

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

As part of the Valley Sun Recipe from the Resort series, the chef shares with our readers the steps to create his fresh, flavorful Key Lime Pie with Creme Anglaise. Now, if you’re like me and intimidated by pastry prep, don’t worry.  Chef McCarthy promises this recipe is easily replicable at home.

Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Ingredients for the crust:

#2 graham crackers – buy crumbs in a bag or crush in a food processor until they are the consistency of granulated sugar

19.2 ounces melted butter

9.6 ounces sugar

3.2 ounce all purpose flour

Method

Combine until uniform in texture and form crust in small pie tins

Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise

2 quarts cream

1 pound sugar divided into two half pounds

1 vanilla bean — cut in half and scrape out the beans (this gives it the little dots in the sauce)

1 egg yolk

Method for the Crème Anglaise

Combine cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil

Whisk together yolk and second half of the sugar

Temper in yolks with sugar (translation for people like me who don’t know how to do this: pour a ladle of hot cream into the yolk sugar mixture. This tempers the yolks so when you add them to the cream they don’t instantly curdle)

Combine all ingredients in cream pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon in a thin, even layer

Strain over an ice bath through a fine mesh china cap to remove any lumps that my have occurred during the cooking process and to prevent the egg from scrambling

Ingredients for Key Lime Pie Filling:

2 lb. 3 ounces sweetened condensed milk

8 ounces key lime juice

8 ounces egg yolks

Zest from 2 limes

Method:

Combine all ingredients together and mix until homogenous

Spoon key lime filling into graham cracker crust

Bake for about five minuites until outside is set then chill until ready to serve

Top with a dollop of Crème Anglaise

This makes about 12 – 15 small tarts

This dessert will certainly be met with a lot of ooh’s and ah’s at your next dinner party, but if you prefer to simply relax on the Konditorei patio and sip a cappuccino, Chef McCarthy and his six pastry wizards will present you with Key Lime Pie or any of the other daily offerings without all that clean up. My family’s favorite? The cream puff swans. Not only are they delectable, they represent the signature Sun Valley swans that glide gracefully around the picturesque Lodge pond.

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The team in the Konditorei pastry kitchen also create hundreds of custom cakes (call ahead to order) and even spectacular wedding cakes. Chef McCarthy said he truly enjoys making one-of-a-kind cakes for one-of-a-kind occasions.

Be sure to visit the Konditorei for a taste of the old country (they serve breakfast and lunch, as well) with a modern, healthy, farm fresh twist. Maybe cake and coffee will become an afternoon tradition in Idaho, too.  One can always hope!

Enjoy!

–RES

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

It is Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Listen carefully and you will hear the telltale signs of the season – the slight creak of wicker picnic baskets settling with gourmet treats and a fine bottle of wine; the hiss of steam as hot iron meets linen; the sticky sound of rosin on a violin bow. If you haven’t already guessed, the season is Symphony Season, that glorious time of the year that began to unfurl its many delights Sunday night at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony brings together the finest musicians anywhere and invites patrons, free of charge, to find a seat under the Pavilion sail or on the vast lawn for a dose of cultural enjoyment that lasts the whole year through. This is the largest privately funded free symphony in America and 2013 marks its 29th magical summer in the Wood River Valley.

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

Sunday’s concert, held on what was arguably the most beautiful night of the summer to date, was a part of the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series that precedes the regular concert season. Featuring members of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony including Maestro Alasdair Neale as Host and Conductor, Teddy Abrams as Host and Conductor, Nicholas Phan, Tenor and Gretchen Van Hoesen, Harp, the series, themed “The Sacred and the Profane: Spirituality Across the Globe and the Ages,” commenced with a performance of Ives’ The Unanswered Question. The In Focus Series continues July 29, July 31 and August 2 at 6 p.m.

Setting the stage for the inaugural evening and the weeks to come was Maestro Alasdair Neale who has led the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 1995. Under his magic baton, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players that present free concerts to more than 50,000 people annually. Maestro Neale’s orchestra includes distinguished and accomplished musicians from throughout North America including the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Throughout the years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has attracted internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jon Kimura Parker, Bernadette Peters, Frederica von Stade, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and many others.  This year, the world-famous violinist Midori will appear as a guest artist on August 4.  Other musicians, dancers, conductors and narrators will also grace the Pavilion stage this season in the role of guest artist.

In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers a variety of education programs for music students of all ages including the School of Music, now in its 14th year, and the Summer Music Workshops, in its 16th year. Upbeat With Alasdair talks given throughout the year and Concert Preview talks given during the symphony season help to educate music lovers of all ages.

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

The Orchestra festival begins on Sunday, August 4, at 6:30 p.m. and features Midori on the violin. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis inside the Pavilion. For those on the lawn, a 14 x 25-foot LED screen shows all Orchestra festival concerts from August 4 – August 20. Low back chairs and picnics are welcome on the lawn. New this year, there will be a kids’ music tent at every evening orchestra concert. For all the protocol of concert going, please click HERE.

If you are in Sun Valley during August, be sure to include the Summer Symphony in your schedule. Call ahead to the Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village and have them create a gourmet picnic for you, including wine if you so desire. Then find a spot on the lawn, close your eyes and prepare to be transported. There is something about live classical music in the mountains that you simply can’t replicate — a wonderful one-of-a-kind way to enjoy the best of Sun Valley.

–RES

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

Recipe from the Resort: The Ram’s Salmon Rillettes

The perfect start to dinner at the Ram Restaurant: Salmon Rillettes and a cocktail

The perfect start to dinner at the Ram Restaurant: Salmon Rillettes and a cocktail

On a warm summer evening earlier this week, I found myself seated on the Ram Restaurant patio perusing the new modern steakhouse menu, sipping a glass of champagne, and once, again, pinching myself that I get to live here.

Selecting from the Ram’s new seasonal menu that was instituted in June proved difficult. Serving only the finest cuts, the Ram’s reinvention as a modern steakhouse with a new twist (five of eight Entrees are meat), choosing among the beef, lamb, short ribs, chicken and fish proved an omnivore’s dilemma.

Relaxing to the music of an acoustic guitar, my friend and I finally decided on dinner. I ordered Salmon Rillettes and the Snake River Chicken; he went the more traditional route with the Summer Beet Salad and Meyer Natural Angus 8-ounce Tenderloin with heirloom tomatoes (at the peak of freshness), creamed spinach and Bernaise sauce. Who doesn’t love Bernaise sauce?

Chef Brian Janego promises that his recipe is easily accomplished at home

Chef Brian Janego promises that his recipe is easily accomplished at home

Chef Brian Janego who has been with the Ram for three years, is thrilled to offer his new menu, certain it will appeal to many palates. “All of the meats, including the lamb, are USDA Prime,” Brian explained. “It doesn’t get any better than that. And most of our meats are sourced in the Northwest: Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington and Montana. Here, we give a nod to the traditional steakhouse, but our dinners are all conceived to work as a whole. You won’t get a slab of beef cooked in butter with a choice of sides.”

Despite the meat-centric menu, Chef Janego is really excited about the Salmon Rillettes I ordered and when the dish was served, I understood why. Presented beautifully in a sealed canning jar and accompanied with watercress salad, rye toast and fennel-dipped apple balls, this starter was a feast for the senses.

The key flavorful ingredient in this dish is salmon and Chef Janego lets the flavor shine through

The bountiful key ingredient in this dish is salmon and Chef Janego lets the flavor shine through

Chef Janego agreed to share this recipe with readers of the Valley Sun and while I would certainly recommend enjoying this company-pleasing dish at home, be sure to come to the Sun Valley Village to get the full experience of dinner on the Ram Patio or in the historic dining room. In fact, the Ram is the longest continually operating restaurant in the valley, having opened in 1937. Much in the dining room is original including the wide plank floors. The hideaway booths are from the 1940s and the carvings beneath the white linens go back decades. Go ahead and take a peek. There is live music at the Ram every night and dinner is served from 6 – 9 p.m. seven nights a week through September 2.

Cozy and romantic; rustic yet sophisticated, nowhere else personifies Sun Valley quite like the Ram.

Salmon Rillettes

Ingredients

For the salmon:

¾ cup salmon poached in white wine

¼ cup hot smoked salmon (available at local grocery stores)

Fresh chives

Lemon Zest

Smoked Paprika

For the Lemon Aioli:

4 cups extra virgin olive oil

4 lemons juiced and seeded

4 egg yolks

Combine in a food processor or whisk together

Method:

Gently fold aioli into the salmon and seasonings, leaving the meat chunky. Use about 3/4 cup of the aioli per portion to moisten and bind the salmon.

Service:

Using a small ring mold, cut four small circles of thin caraway bread. Quickly drop the rings in butter in a sauté pan until toasted.

Prepare a salad of fresh watercress and shaved fennel.

Using a melon baller, place three balls of apple, dredged in fennel on the plate next to the salad, toast rounds and sealed jar of salmon.

Serve and savor!

–RES

Be sure to save room for some of the Ram's handmade desserts

Be sure to save room for some of the Ram's handmade desserts

Recipe from the Resort: Chef Chad’s Crab Cakes

The restaurant at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse is nearby yet away from it all

The restaurant at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse is nearby yet away from it all

It is the height of the season. Ketchum and Sun Valley are overflowing with people and you are hungry for a full-of-flavor, satisfying lunch. But you want something different, something new. A trip out to the Elkhorn Clubhouse, located just minutes south of the Sun Valley Resort (right on the back side of Dollar Mountain) is exactly what you’re looking for. There, Chef Chad K. Woodland offers a menu that will appeal to everyone in your party in an atmosphere that feels like you have gotten away from it all.

The chef believes that the ingredients in a dish should speak for themselves; that if you’re camouflaging flavors, you might want to rethink what you are serving. From a long list of hearty appetizers including lamb sliders, garlic and ginger chicken wings and sweet chili shrimp; salads like the popular and hearty taco salad and a salmon Caesar; and lots of inventive sandwiches, it is hard to decide what to order. Signature cocktails run to the classics like a Singapore Sling or Manhattan, with a large selection of wines by the glass rounding out the recipe for a relaxing afternoon.

Once you have chosen what you would like to eat for lunch or an early dinner, all you need to do is decide where to sit. The large patio is probably the most popular choice on a summer’s day. Offering expansive views of the pristine Elkhorn Golf Course, the patio is a peaceful oasis far from the madding downtown summer crowd. Indoors is lovely, too, with a spacious bar, cozy banquettes, and an almost Arts-and-Crafts, northwestern feel – different than anything else in Sun Valley.  The restaurant is open to the public, seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The patio is the perfect place for an appetizer and cocktail or a leisurely lunch

The patio is the perfect place for an appetizer and cocktail or a leisurely lunch

One of the favorite items Chef Woodland serves is his special crab cakes. Now, preparing crab cakes can be a little tricky. Those that are run-of-the-mill are dense and soggy with fillers, over-fried and short on that key ingredient: fresh crab. But when crab cakes are good, they are really good, and the crab cake appetizer Chef Woodland serves daily is really, really good. Loaded with fresh Dungeness crab and herbs, the chef lets the flavorful shellfish shine. A transplant to Sun Valley from the Seattle area, Chad has a soft spot for fresh seafood and knows how to honor its intrinsic goodness.

If the lure of your own patio or kitchen proves overwhelming, though, as part of our Recipes from the Resort series, Chef Woodland shares his recipe for these crab cakes with readers of the Valley Sun.

The crab cakes at the Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse are chock-a-block of that key ingredient: crab meat

The crab cakes at the Elkhorn Clubhouse are chock-a-block of that key ingredient: crab meat

Chef Chad K. Woodland’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

For the crab cake:

1 lb. Dungeness crab meat

Panko breadcrumbs

Enough mayonnaise to bind the meat

Sea salt

Egg yolks

Clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil

For the red pepper coulis and chive oil: 

1 tsp. fresh chives

1 tbsp. fresh basil

Roasted red peppers from a jar or can

For the basil aioli:

4 egg yolks

6 large basil leaves

1 tsp. of tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar

A pinch of salt and pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Blend roasted red peppers with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, creating a coulis that is poured carefully into the center of a shallow plate.

Blend extra virgin olive oil with finely chopped fresh chives.

Strain the fibers.

Pour the chive oil carefully around the red pepper coulis.

For the crab cakes:

Take approximately one pound of Dungeness crab meat and combine it with the chives and a chiffonade  (long thin strips) of basil using your hands.

Form the crab meat into a patty by hand or use a round form if you have one.

Using a brush, coat each side of the crab cake with egg yolk.

Bread each cake lightly with the Panko breadcrumbs.

Heat clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil in a skillet.

Brown both sides of the crab cakes.

Finish the crab cakes in a 350-degree oven for about five minutes.

Place crab cake in the center of the red pepper coulis.

For the basil aioli:

Combine egg yolks, vinegar and basil leaves in a blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil.

Dollop the basil aioli onto the crab cake and serve.

Chef Chad K. Woodland invites you to be his guest for lunch or an early dinner, served daily

Chef Chad K. Woodland invites you to be his guest for lunch or an early dinner, served daily

But better yet, let the pros do the cooking! Parking is plentiful, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and the food is fantastic at the Elkhorn Clubhouse. Come on by. Chances are you’ll want to stay the whole afternoon, watching the golfers work on their game as the sun begins to slowly set over the hills. 

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming special events, too, including a winemakers’ dinner and a beer dinner. The beer dinner is scheduled for August 31 and will feature specialty kegs from Boston’s Samuel Adams Brewery. Chef Woodland will pair the beer with delicious complimentary dishes. The winemakers’ dinner will feature organic Idaho winery Holeinsky and will take place on September 27. This dinner features a five-course gourmet meal paired with wonderful vintages.

Come catch a break from your busy summer and enjoy a flavorful meal with a great view at the Elkhorn Clubhouse. It is worth a trip off the well-trodden path!

–RES

The interior dining room at the Clubhouse is like no other space in Sun Valley

The interior dining room at the Clubhouse is like no other space in Sun Valley

Recipe from the Resort: Crab Gazpacho

Clubhouse Crab Gazpacho -- cool and zesty on a hot summer's day

Clubhouse Crab Gazpacho -- cool and zesty on a hot summer's day

Chef Erik Olson of the Sun Valley Club doesn’t really go in for exact measurements. Rather, his cooking is done to taste and his taste tends toward the flavors of southwestern cuisine. As a child growing up in Arizona, he grew heirloom tomatoes and peppers as a hobby and cilantro is his favorite herb.  He loves to eat light, commenting, “When it was 118 degrees out, we all wanted food that was anything but heavy.”

But his culinary training and experiences broadened his horizons and while he still loves the flavors of his childhood, his palate embraces endless kinds of food. At Sun Valley Resort, he spent one season at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge and one year catering in the Sun Valley Inn kitchen before assuming the mantle at the Sun Valley Club and bringing his point-of-view to the restaurant’s kitchen.

Step one: create a brunoise of fresh, seasonal vegetables

Step one: create a brunoise of fresh, seasonal vegetables

For the summer, Chef Olson created an incredibly fresh, surprisingly hearty and just right spicy crab gazpacho for the menu. The presentation is beautiful, with just picked colorful vegetables and a generous portion of crab meat creating a tower in the middle of a tangy tomato broth. It is just the right combination of cool flavors for a hot summer day.

Chef Olson has shared his recipe with readers of the Valley Sun as part of our Recipe from the Resort series. You will certainly enjoy this dish at home on the deck, accompanied by a nice dry white wine. Or come to the Sun Valley Club and let Chef Olson do the chopping for you, as you luxuriate on the restaurant’s beautiful large patio that overlooks the golf course, Dollar Mountain and Baldy.

Note: Chef Olson is a big fan using the technique called a brunoise — a very fine 1/8” dice. But if your knife skills aren’t up to the task, no worries. Your gazpacho may not look as pretty as his, but it will taste just as good.

Spoon the tomato-y broth around the vegetables taking care not to drown them

Spoon the tomato-y broth around the vegetables taking care not to drown them

Clubhouse Crab Gazpacho

Ingredients

2½ or 3 ounces of shredded King Crab or Dungeness crab (you can take the meat from crab legs or buy it fresh in lump form.  In a pinch even good quality canned crab will do).

Vegetables:

Brunoise dice of fresh:

Cucumber

Yellow squash

Red bell pepper

Zucchini, no seeds, only the skin and flesh

Tomatoes, flesh and skin only, no seeds

Enough of each to fill a small ramekin

For the broth:

About three cups of prepared tomato juice

 ½ cup fresh lime juice

1 to 1½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce, depending on how much heat you like

1 to 1½ tsp red wine vinaigrette

1 Tbl. sugar

A few dashes of Tabasco sauce, again, according to taste

½ tsp. fresh chopped jalapeno

Fresh cilantro and basil

Green onions, cut on a bias and placed in ice water to curl

Method

In a bowl, stir the chives and cilantro into the tomato juice.

In a small bowl, pack in diced vegetables until they take the round shape.

Tip the vegetables into the center of a shallow soup bowl.

Carefully pour the broth around the vegetables.

Shape crab meat into a small ball using your hands.

Place the crab ball carefully on top of the vegetables, creating a small ‘tower.’

Sprinkle curled green onion on top of crab meat as a garnish.

Chef Olson shows off his flavorful dish in the Clubhouse dining room

Chef Olson shows off his flavorful dish in the Clubhouse dining room

Be sure to come to the Clubhouse to sample and enjoy the rest of Chef Olson’s summertime creations. These include: a heirloom tomato salad with a white balsamic reduction, fresh burrata and arugula tossed with pesto and pine nuts; grilled sockeye salmon served with haricots verts, yellow and purple wax beans, fennel and red onion, and for dessert, new cookie sundaes and a decadent strawberry amaretto sundae.

The Clubhouse is now also offering duck tacos. These fabulous tacos are available on the patio Mondays and Mondays only from 4 – 7 p.m.  Following a round on the links, a bike ride or whatever your active Sun Valley day offered, enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail from the full bar and dig into as many duck tacos as you like, priced at $5 apiece.

The Sun Valley Club offers one of the most pleasant dining rooms and patios in the Wood River Valley. Be sure next time you are making lunch plans to include this beautiful spot.

–RES

On Monday nights, grab some friends and come for a duck taco and cocktail on Sun Valley Club's stunning patio

On Monday nights, grab some friends and come for a duck taco and cocktail on Sun Valley Club's stunning patio

Recipe from the Resort: Trail Creek Meatloaf with Tomato Onion Relish

The Trail Creek Cabin patio was full on July 4 with people enjoying great food and a great ambiance

The Trail Creek Cabin patio was full on July 4 with people enjoying great food and a great ambiance

Trail Creek Cabin is located merely a mile and a half east of the Sun Valley Lodge, but is a world away. Step inside the rustic cabin, built in 1937, and step back into an era both of simplicity and glamor; one where meals with friends lasted for hours and ended over a fine single malt scotch. Once Averell Harriman’s private hunting lodge, this idyllic location on the banks of Trail Creek hosted gatherings of some highly influential people, including by many reports, Ernest Hemingway. Today, the cabin’s rough-hewn exterior, log furniture and grand fireplace still exude a masculine, woodsy energy, but don’t let that fool you – the food is refined, sophisticated, and offers just the right fresh, healthy, flavorful ingredients that still give a nod to Trail Creek’s hunting lodge heritage.

Make your own history at Trail Creek Cabin, built in 1937

Make your own history at Trail Creek Cabin, built in 1937

For a festive Fourth of July celebration, my family, friends and I ventured to Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy a meal beneath one of the most spectacular Idaho sunsets I can remember. Under Chef Wendy Little’s discerning eye and exacting palate, the menu offered something for everyone in our party of seven that included four children. Wendy, who has been with Sun Valley Company since 2009 and the chef at Trail Creek Cabin since 2010, said the special environment at Trail Creek Cabin informs the menu, with hearty steaks and meatloaf year-round favorites. For summer, Wendy also incorporates a great deal of fish and farm fresh, local, organic greens and vegetables into her seasonal offerings. For children, she insists on the same high quality of product as with adults, simply cutting down portion size and offering sides to appeal to the younger set. “I don’t do chicken nuggets or strips or any of that,” she laughed.

As we were under a bit of a tight deadline to get to Sun Valley On Ice, our server quickly took our order that included wild salmon, Idaho trout, cowboy rib eye steaks with buttermilk onion rings and baked potatoes (a favorite at the table), Kobe beef sliders, organic chicken and a buffalo and lamb meatloaf. All delivered wonderful flavor and excellent sides, but the meatloaf proved the most interesting. Chef Little agreed to share this recipe with the readers of The Valley Sun.

Trail Creek Meatloaf is a year-round favorite

Trail Creek Meatloaf is a year-round favorite

Trail Creek Meatloaf with Tomato Onion Relish

For the relish: (yields approximately 2 cups)
1 small onion minced
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tbl. Olive oil
7 oz. ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled and seeded

Method:
Chop tomatoes and pepper into a coarse dice, sauté onions and garlic in the olive oil, then add the chopped peppers and tomatoes.
Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and cook 15 minutes.
Cool before stirring into the raw meatloaf mixture. Reserve the extra sauce to spoon on top of the meatloaf as a sauce.

For the meatloaf (yields one four inch deep meatloaf pan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.5 pounds ground buffalo meat
1.25 pounds ground lamb
3 eggs
4 ounces heavy cream
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1.5 cups tomato relish
½ pound bacon for lining the meatloaf pan
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method:
Place meat, eggs, cream, tomato relish, salt and pepper in the bowl of a kitchen aide mixer. Using a paddle attachment, slowly blend these ingredients.
After these are mixed, slowly sprinkle in the breadcrumbs and mix for three minutes more. Cook a small piece to check for seasoning.
Line a Teflon pan with strips of bacon and then fill with the meat mixture. Place more strips of bacon over the top of the meatloaf if necessary.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 30-45 minutes until an instant read thermometer registers 155 degrees.
Allow the meat loaf to rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Spoon reserved tomato onion relish on top of each slice and serve.

Makes ten generous, delicious servings that taste even better the next day!

Chef Wendy Little of Trail Creek Cabin works painstakingly to share Idaho's local flavors and Sun Valley's rich history with diners

Chef Wendy Little of Trail Creek Cabin works painstakingly to share Idaho's local flavors and Sun Valley's rich history with diners

While I would certainly recommend making this meatloaf at home (dinner one night, sliced into picnic sandwiches the following day!), no visit to Sun Valley is complete without going out to Trail Creek Cabin. Rent a bike from Pete Lane’s, hop on the bike path, and pedal out for light fare and a signature huckleberry mojito on the peaceful creek-side deck. Or make a reservation for the whole family or a romantic dinner for two on the lawn and enjoy Chef Little’s carefully crafted fare that incorporates more than just a bit of true Sun Valley flavor!

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

–RES

The deck on the banks of Trail Creek -- there is no nicer spot for a glass of wine and a light bite

The deck on the banks of Trail Creek -- there is no nicer spot for a glass of wine and a light bite

Recipe from the Resort: Yellow Squash & Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Healthy, tasty and light -- try this recipe from Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta at home!

Healthy, tasty and light -- try this recipe from Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta at home!

When I visited Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta in the Sun Valley Village this week, I realized it had been a while since I had enjoyed a meal there. If you, too, haven’t been into the restaurant lately, now is the time to again make Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta a part of your restaurant repertoire.

After spending an afternoon with Chef Dennis Pittsley, getting a taste of the new summer menu, it was clear that this is no run-of-the-mill pizza joint. Chef Pittsley has been at Bald Mountain Pizza for two years, working diligently to incorporate the freshest, most flavorful and creative ingredients into the menu.  Before taking over the stove at Bald Mountain, the Chef was a familiar face at the lavish Lodge Dining Room Sunday Brunch. As a longtime (embarrassingly) regular attendee at brunch, seeing Dennis again was like finding an old friend. It also gave me an indication of the attention to detail and passion he now brings to Bald Mountain Pizza.

Chef Dennis Pittsley gives the tomatoes, garlic and shallots a light saute

Chef Dennis Pittsley gives the tomatoes, garlic and shallots a light saute

As a mother of three, I know how hard it can be to find a restaurant that appeals to the entire family and Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta’s menu, based on Italian favorites but with a healthy, modern flair, will keep everyone happy. Particular eaters can build their own pizzas, while others branch out and order those made with chicken pesto, wild mushrooms, even asparagus and Gruyere. A wide array of popular starters and pastas will keep those from three to 103 smiling. But the day I visited, Chef Pittsley introduced me to a vegetarian dish –Yellow Squash and Zucchini ‘Pasta’ created from local garden-fresh ingredients. Light, flavorful and healthy, it will be my ‘go to’ order during the warm weather months.

As part of our Recipe from the Resort series, Chef Pittsley shared his recipe with The Valley Sun. A wonderful alternative to traditional pasta, substituting strands of fresh vegetables for spaghetti incorporates local summer flavors at the peak of readiness. This is a recipe you will rely on time and again at home.

Squash and zucchini are a garden fresh alternative to pasta

Squash and zucchini are a garden fresh alternative to pasta

Yellow Squash and Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh chopped oregano
  • Fresh minced garlic and shallots
  • California cold pressed unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Break off the ends of the asparagus and add stalks to a little olive oil in a sauté pan. Don’t overcook, the idea is to let the flavors of the fresh asparagus shine through.
  • Transfer asparagus to another dish.
  • Using a Japanese Mandolin slicer, or a simple vegetable peeler if you do not have a Mandolin, slice the zucchini and squash into long ‘pasta’ strands.
  • Heat some olive oil in a medium size sauté pan.
  • When the oil is hot (but not smoking), add in minced garlic and shallots. Sauté quickly until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes and oregano, stirring for just a few seconds.
  • Add the zucchini and squash along with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  • Add ¼ cup water and cover for one to two minutes, depending on how soft you prefer the zucchini and squash.
  • Give all the vegetables a good toss before plating. Top the dish with fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
In the restaurant, or on the deck, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is a great dinner choice for the entire family

In the restaurant, or on the deck, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is a great dinner choice for the entire family

As easy as it is to incorporate this recipe into your summertime rotation of dinner choices, it is a wonderful experience to let Chef Pittsley do the cooking for you, too. Pop over to the Village, grab a table on the deck and rest assured the entire gang, from toddlers to grandparents, will enjoy this taste of Sun Valley. Kick back with smoked trout bruschetta and a chilled glass of wine, order some breadsticks for the kiddos (the chef promises they will be to the table in a matter of minutes), and wind down after a busy Sun Valley day. Be sure to also take advantage of the Resort’s special “Dinner and a Movie” offer. With your paid meal at Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta, you will receive movie tickets for that evening’s show at the historic Opera House. Current movie listings can be found here.

Summer should be this simple, shouldn’t it?

–RES