First of all, if you missed Part I of our Cachí trip to visit The Mike’s, click here.
Now – the best part of our trip (well, besides our cool friends, of course):
FOOD, FOOD, FOOD.
As I may have mentioned yesterday, Mike is super talented in the kitchen. While we were there, I got to play Sous Chef, which was really a blast. I seriously look up to him – he’s been cooking forever and it seems like everything he makes looks mouth watering-ly amazing. And whenever I have a question, I turn to him and he always has answers or suggestions for me.
So the first night we were there, me and Chef Mike got busy in the kitchen making ice cream bases for four (4!) flavors. He had me do one of the flavors, chocolate orange, all by myself (including separating the eggs without an egg separator!). I’ve never made ice cream before, so it was great to see the process. The Mike’s have fresh cow milk delivered to their house, and this is how they get the cream after it rises to the top.
After the bases were made, we put them in the fridge to chill over night. Then the next day they were placed in the ice cream machine, and then afterwards, in the freezer to harden. The machine makes it into a soft serve consistency, and then the freezer hardens it up into a stiffer consistency, like you would buy at the grocery store. More to follow later on the ice cream.
After sleeping the first night on an incredibly comfortable bed, we awoke to delicious smells coming from the kitchen. First we had coffee made by Michael – he always does the coffee, and I was super excited because he was also making steamed milk. That was a HUGE treat that I haven’t had forever. And trust me – this coffee was AMAZING (just look at it):
Then came the breakfast by Chef Mike… Johnnycakes (pancakes made with corn meal), fresh fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice, and rosemary/pepper/brown sugar bacon. Wow – I think Greg (who LOVES breakfast) was in heaven. He said he could have eaten a pound of that bacon. So good.
Later that morning, Mike put me to work making my no-knead bread dough recipe. We calculated with the rising time, that it should be ready for the cob oven by late afternoon. Chef Mike was busy making his pizza crust dough in the bread machine, and making various things for the pizza toppings (which was to be our lunch). It was his first time (in Costa Rica) using the bread machine for pizza dough, and we weren’t sure if it was the altitude or what, but the dough was too liquidy and needed lots more flour. So we kept adding flour. Then more flour. And then MORE flour. FINALLY – it got the consistency we wanted it (but practically doubled the batch as well, we only used half of it for 2 pizzas). Here’s Chef Mike checking on a pizza in the cob oven (which was the coolest way to bake them!):
And here’s how the pizzas turned out!:
The pizza in the forefront is BBQ sauce, chicken breast, pineapple, bacon and mozzarella. Furthest one is tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, oven roasted tomatoes, bacon, basil leaves and mozzarella. They BOTH were awesome (and I don’t usually even care for BBQ sauce).
There is no rest when you are a chef and a sous chef. We barely got cleaned up after lunch, when it was time to deal with the bread dough. We decided to make 3 slightly larger loaves from the dough. One I would bake as a “control” bread – in a dutch oven (as I’m used to doing). Mike would bake the two remaining loaves in the cob oven. And… they both turned out awesome!
We had the bread later for dinner with a scrumptious soup… and both breads were great. We determined the dutch oven crust was a bit more crispy on the outside, and the cob oven bread was a bit more soft overall – but the cob oven bread was perfect for dipping in the soup (well, both were, come to think of it).
Anyway… the soup that Chef Mike threw together because it was “super easy and no trouble at all” was a Roasted Red Pepper Soup made with Costa Rican Sweet Peppers. OMG this was so amazing, and believe me I got the recipe and will be making it again. It was just slightly spicy with an intense flavor, and the sweet peppers used to make this are found everywhere here.
Chef Mike also made his “Awesome Thai Wings” for dinner, but no one got a picture of them before they were all gone. Greg loved them. I’m not a huge chicken wing person, but even I tried them and admit the flavor was really tasty.
THEN…. ice cream for dessert – finally! Here are the four fabulous flavors “we” made:
And if you’re wondering how we made these perfectly shaped ice cream balls? The Mike’s have the most amazing utensil – the Cutco Ice Cream Scoop. It cuts through hard ice cream like it’s melted butter. Seriously – I was impressed, and look how beautiful this ice cream looks! And the taste? We were all in heaven. Greg and I never eat ice cream at home here in Costa Rica (mainly because the hot bus ride is a 1/2 hour long and we worry it would melt in transit) – so this was a REAL treat for us, and so much better than anything store-bought. Taste test results to follow below…
Our last day together, we met up with our friends Marti and Clint, and Chef Mike made lunch for us all. Well, I made the salad dressing, but that was it. He made a really good chicken/green chile casserole, an amazing salad, and we also had left over bread. Oh – and sangrias with fresh fruit in them:
Then we brought out the ice cream again, and had Marti and Clint try it. Everyone loved all the flavors. Here’s a video of everyone’s thoughts and rankings of the ice cream flavors (reminder: I made the chocolate orange):
Michael & Mike are adorable together. They are both interesting, smart, sweet and funny, and their different personalities totally compliment each other. Michael is super smart with all things technical and computers and Apple. It’s entertaining just listening to their stories, and seeing them finish each others sentences. They also spoiled us rotten while we were there. We were honored to be their “first official guests”! Our trip was TOO short – we had a blast during every minute of it.