Exploring Local Beauty in Idaho
Sometimes we don’t realize the beauty around us. I love to take long walks and explore new places, but I have never foraged for and then prepared my meals with the ingredients for an amazing meal.
I had the pleasure of exploring the resort grounds with chef Adam Hegsted of Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel. We spent the time together at the lake and foraging for dinner ingredients.
Chef Hegsted showed me cattails, miner's lettuce, mushrooms, and other plants that we used to prepare dinner we were going to enjoy at Chinook. I have seen fiddleheads at our local farmers' market, but have never picked them fresh, and during our foraging expedition I learned that their season is extremely short. After a great afternoon foraging and enjoying the beauty of the lake and learning some history about the resort and the tribes, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more!
We spent morning driving around the golf course. The beauty of this course is like no other. The mountains, the farms, and the wildlife all make this golf course a very special place. In this region it is common for farmers to own pieces of the land surrounding and part of the golf course. As a result, on or near the course you will find lentils, wheat, and grass. During my visit, I learned that Idaho was one of the largest producers of sod and grass in the region
After touring around the entire course we sat outside the clubhouse and enjoyed lunch. I had the Black and Blue burger. There were so many great choices and I was trying to decide from the Buffalo chicken salad, the portobello chicken focaccia, or the turkey avocado croissant. But chef Hegsted ordered the Black and Blue burger, so I decided to order the same! We started with the fried portobello mushrooms and after we ate them all I found myself wanting more.
The burger was a great choice, with the blue cheese, garlic aioli, tomato jam, and red onion on a toasted homemade roll. I ate the entire burger.
I was curious about what chef Hegsted had on the menu for dinner. After a lovely tour of the kitchen, I helped him prepare what we picked earlier that day. The fiddleheads have a similar texture as asparagus and taste like them, too. We just put them in boiling water for 30 seconds then transferred to an ice bath. Later, they would be sautéed for dinner.
The meal started with a simple salad that included the miner’s lettuce and rose peddles that we picked.
I was amazed by the beauty of the land that had provided my dinner — it is very clear there is a respect for the land and environment at this beautiful resort. Of course, enjoying a few more hands of black jack and playing some slots before dinner is also fun!