Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 28, 2015 A Perfect Day of Food

August 28, 2015 A Perfect Day of Food 

We walked down the alley and picked two pounds of white figs that were. Ripe and ready to fall.  We made granola, yogurt, milk and fig bowls and ate by the pond. 

We went to lunch with James Turk and two of his associates at Que Houng.  The food was not up to its usual high quality but Suzette and my Bun bowl of steamed  rice noodles, salad, fried egg rolls, and grilled pork was really delicious.

After lunch I walked across the street to Talin and bought a lovely 1 lb. piece of fresh Monkfish, fresh Shanghai Bok Choy, shallots, and a piece of ginger.

In the evening we were not hungry, but we ate ½ bag of Onion and Sour Cream flavored potato chips while watching the news on TV, so I suggested that we cook the fish.  Suzette she did not want to cook and create a mess that would need to be cleaned , but then she offered a solution; that we cook foil wrapped fish on the grill.  I loved the idea.  Foil wrapped fish is one our favorite ways of cooking fish.  It was a favorite dish we used to eat at Roberto’s Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta when I first used to visit Harold and Suzette in the late 90’s, when they owned the condo at Conchos Chinos overlooking El Set and the Bay.

Roberto was very pleasant and his restaurant had perfected foil wrapped fish. It usually contained red snapper, some kind of chili, tomatoes and other vegetables.  I think it was served with rice and beans.  The dish is the equivalent of the French dish of fish cooked in parchment.  It is always a treat when the bag of aluminum is unsealed at the table and that first rush of delicious aromatic steam hits one’s nostrils.  The secret to the dish is that it makes its own sauce in the bag as it cooks and the flavors of the fish, white wine and vegetables blend.

Monkfish is one of Suzette’s favorite fish because if it is baked properly it has the texture and flavor of lobster.  One of the easiest and most successful ways to bake it in foil.  Suzette is a master at foil baking.  She filled the bags with julienned carrots, diced tomatoes, white wine, sugar snap peas, and butter and a ½ piece of monkfish., sealed the bags and baked them on a moderately low heat on the grill for 45 to 50 minutes.  Monkfish is a vey dense and thick fish that requires long cooking.  I heated a bag of PPI diced brown mushrooms and Yukon Gold potatoes from Tuesday night’s meal and we threw a handful of them into the bags after the bags were opened.  We drank a Santiago Station Sauvignon Blanc that I thought was a little sweet but seemed to be fine with the baked fish.  Suzette toasted three slices of Fano baguette after we had eaten all the baked ingredients and we soaked the bread with the sauce at the bottom of the bag and ate that also.  I relished every morsel of the dish.  We melted slices of butter over the fish when we opened the bag to make a more buttery sauce like the dipping sauce for lobster.  

This a fun way to cook and eat fish and it leaves no dishes to wash other than the dish you serve the bag on.

After dinner I could not resist the urge to open the new goat cheese I bought at Costco and spread a thick layer of it on the third piece of bread and eat it with the last of the Aberdeen rose as we watched a glorious performance of all Scandinavian music performed by the Vienna Philharmonic in a open air concert at one of the beautiful castles in Vienna. 

The concert lasted from 9:00 to 10:30 so we had glasses of cognac.  I partially enjoyed the Grieg Piano Concerto ( think in B flat) and the Peer Gynt Suite.

After a wonderful day’s food I felt great and got up on Saturday and rode 18 miles to Paseo del Norte and back.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 26, 2015 PPI Filet Mignon, black beans, Tomatoes, and sugar snap peas

August 26, 2015 PPI Filet Mignon, black beans, Tomatoes, and sugar snap peas

Suzette heated up the PPI filet with the black beans while I steamed the PPI sugar snap peas and sliced several tomatoes that I drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

We drank Aberdeen 50% Shiraz/50% Malbec rose which tasted a little flat and definitely was not fruity.

A simple pleasant dinner.

Bon Appetit 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 25, 2015 Birthday Dinner for Suzette Grilled Filet Mignon, steamed sugar snap peas, Sautéed potatoes, mushrooms, onions and garlic

August 25, 2015 Birthday Dinner for Suzette  Grilled Filet Mignon, steamed sugar snap peas, Sautéed potatoes, mushrooms, onions and garlic.

I went to Costco for lunch (a hot dog) and to buy some food.  I saw Mimi Montgomery and invited her to dinner.  She said she was having dinner with her friend, Larry Kay, and would check with him.  We were  standing in the meat department and I saw lovely filets, so I picked a package with four nice filets and told Mimi, “We will grill these.”  Mimi said she would call me later to confirm. 

I then picked a 2 lb. bag of sugar snap peas,a blur cheese and a goat cheese and a bouquet of yellow roses for Suzette.

Mimi called later to confirm that she and Larry could come to dinner at 7:15 and they would bring mango sorbet.

I went home and at 6:00 we began washing dishes and preparing dinner.  I chopped about ¼ cup of onion, three or four cloves of garlic, five brown crimini mushrooms, and four Yukon Gold potatoes.  I also fetched a bottle  of 2008 Hafner Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley that Cliff and Nancy had given us for Christmas several years ago.  I also stripped the strings off the edges of 1 ½ cups of sugar snap peas and went the garden and picked stalks of thyme and tarragon and plucked their leaves and added them to the mushrooms.. Suzette added some water to a pyrex bowl filled with diced potatoes and cooked them.  Then Suzette sautéed the onion potatoes and garlic and then added the mushrooms and thyme and tarragon. 

At 7:00 Suzette opened the wine to let it breath.

Mimi and Larry arrived a bit later with a container of butter pecan gelato and a Hagen Daz Mango sorbet.  Suzette heated the grill and turned on the Bayou cooker.  She grilled the steaks and sautéed the potatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and herbs, while I heated the sugar snap peas for a bit more than a minute so they would still retain their crispness and flavor. When Suzette brought in the steaks I sliced them and they were a slightly bloody medium rare. I fetched the Béarnaise sauce and we plated the plates.  The meat was incredibly tender and the wine was fabulous. The sugar snap peas were crisp and sweet, at the height of their flavor and stole the show as best ingredient.

We enjoyed talking with Mimi and Larry.  Larry is also a lawyer and a serious long distance bicycle rider.  

We sat in the gazebo and after dinner ate the gelato and sorbet and sipped cognac

By 10:00 we said goodnight.  

Suzette said she did not like having to cook on her birthday.  I responded that I was able to make a better dinner than we could find anywhere for a cost for the entire meal that was less than the same meal for one of us if we had gone out to dinner and ate a better dinner.  She agreed that we would not have found such a good meal in Albuquerque and if we did we would not have wanted to pay for it.  We play this game after a good meal, by which we try to set the cost of the meal taking into account the dishes, the quality of ingredients and wine. Suzette estimated the dinner at $50 for each person’s Filet Mignon dinner and $100.00 for the 2008 Hafner Cabernet. Her final analysis was, “We would never have paid for such a wonderful meal?”  Meaning $300 for dinner for Four was too extravagant, even for a BD.  And we got to share it with friends we had not seen for a long time.  By my reasoning having to cook a bit was a small inconvenience given the result and the enjoyable evening and dinner.

Bon Appetit 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 24, 2015 brunch – Huevos Rancheros Dinner- Sautéed Smoked pork and Napa cabbage with Calabacitas and Black Beans

August 24, 2015  brunch – Huevos Rancheros  Dinner- Sautéed Smoked pork and Napa cabbage with Calabacitas and Black Beans 

I rode to Rio bravo and then helped Suzette with a project and made breakfast with a smoked pork cutlet, onion, a tomato from the garden, eggs, garlic and lime flavored Mexican red hot sauce.  There was too much liquid and the sauce did hot stiffen, so the result was really soft mushy eggs, which I liked.

I ate PPI Cuban sandwich for a late lunch. Suzette arrived from Santa Rosa a bit after 6:00 and I worked until after 7:00 on my water case trial preparation, Suzette cooked dinner, which turned out to be very interesting and delicious.  She started by chopping red bell pepper and onion and sautéing that with a can of seasoned black beans, Hoja Santa and Epazote for the first dish.  For the second dish, we had thawed a container of Calabacitas, so she chopped Napa cabbage we had bought at the farmer’s market last weekend and sautéed it with a diced pork cutlet and the added some of the Calabacitas to make an elaborate dish.  

We ate the delicious food with Mexican Modelo Especial beer and watched the Antiques Roadshow. 

Bon Appetit 

August 23, 2015 – Day in Santa Fe. Museum Hill Café and Dinner at T. R. and Linda’s

August 23, 2015 – Day in Santa Fe. Museum Hill Café and Dinner at T. R. and Linda’s

Suzette made lovely Bacon, Chard and tomato sandwiches at About 9:30 with chard and tomatoes from our garden on toasted Fano baguette.  

We drove to Santa Fe and parked at Owings Gallery and walked through Indian Market to the Fine Arts Museum, where we saw the color show from the permanent collection.  I saw several new pieces including a Dorothy Morang abstract watercolor in the  Transcendental style from 1940 that I liked.  Then we walked upstairs and saw the Museum construction show with its wonderful Kenneth Chapman and the original Rapp and Rapp elevations.

We walked through the sea of booths and people constituting Indian Market that has grown since I last saw it 15 years ago. Booths now stretch around the Plaza and along all the streets adjoining the Plaza.  For example, we walked from the Museum along Lincoln to Marcy and saw booths stretched all the way to the federal courthouse.  The number of Indian artists seems to have grown over the years.

We then drove to Museum Hill to see the Red Show at the International Folk Art Museum.  The parking lot was full and we parked in the Botanical Garden lot across the street.  The museums in Santa Fe have coordinated shows around the Summer of Color theme with the Wheelwright’s color being silver for jewelry, the Spanish Colonial Museum’s color being blue for indigo, the Indian cultural Museum’s color being turquoise, and the Folk Art’ color red featuring cochineal.  It was 1:45 and we were hungry, so, we walked to the Museum Hill Café and were seated at a table on its expansive patio.  We both chose salads.  I ordered a Cobb with pico de gallo and Suzette ordered a salmon  salad.  My salad turned out to be an adventure as I searched through it to remove all the diced jalapeños and even then it was just on the edge of hotness for my taste with the addition of a small ramekin of blue cheese dressing.  Suzette’s salmon was grilled and a lovely salad.  We ordered glasses of wine.  I ordered a Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc and Suzette ordered a maguey juice Bloody Mary that tasted  like the liquid in a Mexican shrimp Coctel. 

The Waiter realized that we liked wine and brought us a sample of Ponderosa’s Chardonnay that was unbaked and rather nice, like the Chardonnay produced in Anderson Valley.

We then saw the extensive Red show that was highly technical, covering the cultivation, dying and trade in cochineal, besides displays of beautiful cochineal colored objects.  Here are a few:

     El Greco

    Japanese fireman's coat

We then went to the other exhibit of Southern clay objects.  I ran out of gas and we found some lounge chairs in front of a video showing many of the potteries and folks all across the South making many of the objects in the show and I took a nap.

At 5:00 when the museum closed we had to find something to do for 1 ½ hours until dinner.  My stomach was upset from the pico de gallo in the salad, so I suggested ice cream.  We drove to Baskin and Robbin’s on Cerillos and shared a cup of pistachio almond and world champion chocolate wit both white and dark chocolate ice cream mixed together.  We then drove to the narrow park along Galisteo at Cordova and sat and read and walked through the Santa Fe Rose Society garden.

At 6:20 we drove to Linda’s house on Old Pecos Trail.  Soon we were joined by Mitzi and Steve who own Mid-century Modern gallery on San Francisco street and Ronald and Elizabeth who own the Indian jewelry shop in the La Fonda Hotel.  They were all interesting to talk to as we sat on the patio behind the main house and sipped wine and cocktails and ate from the abundant selection of  appetizers, including warm quesadillas, tuna stuffed green olives, cheeses, and salami.

Elisabeth and Ronald brought a bottle of chateau Pegau, Chateau Neufchâtel du Pape Rose, which was new to me.  We brought a bottle of Gruet rose and a bottle of a Presidente cotes du Rhone rose from Total Wine.  T.R. Had made watermelon margaritas, which were quite nice, but I wanted to drink the roses.  I had a glass of each and liked the Presidente the best.  About two hours later Linda made the rice and plated plates with chicken breasts with a Moroccan sauce on rice and Calabacitas.  After dinner we sat around the fire T.R. had made in the fire pit in the middle of the patio and talked until 10:00, when we said goodnight after a lovely evening of food, wine and conversation.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 22, 2015 lunch – Greenhouse Bistro. Dinner – 5 Star Burger

August 22, 2015 lunch – Greenhouse Bistro. Dinner – 5 Star Burger

Lunch was heavenly

Dinner was hellish

I went to the Center for Ageless Living for a massage at around 1:00 and at 2:00 went to its Greenhouse Bistro for lunch.  Suzette joined me. I wanted to try the new chef, Alex’ cuisine.  I started with the Spa lunch special of Peach soup.with a Grape Suzette salad.  The presentation was lovely.  The soup was served in a punch cup (one of Mother’s) on a lovely ceramic plate accompanied by the salad.  It was a beautifully presented dish.  The salad was fresh and delicious with wonderfully fresh large red grapes sliced in half and chopped threads of Parmesan cheese and fresh tarragon and lettuce from the center’s garden.  The soup was surprisingly good, sweetened by peaches in a August 22, 2015 lunch – Greenhouse Bistro. Dinner – 5 Star Burgercreamy base and flavored with Cointreau and peach schnapps.

Then I ordered a Cuban sandwich because Suzette told me that Alex though the focaccia used on the sandwich was too thick and he had used his recipe for focaccia to bake a thinner and slightly denser focaccia.  The sandwich was very delicious and impressive.  Slices of ham, cheese, dill pickles, and roasted pork pressed together in a sandwich press.  I loved the firmness of the sandwich loaf and the side dish of fresh salad greens, slices of cucumber, and cherry tomatoes and even the small pile of crisp potato chips.

Alex is clearly using the bounty of the Center’s garden to enhance the freshness of the menu items, which I love and which I think makes the Greenhouse Bistro’s food so distinctively delicious and appealing.

The opposite occurred at dinner.  I told Suzette that I had had a great Fish and Chips at 5 Star Burger, so we decided to go therefor Fish And Chips.  When we were served our dish, I discovered that instead of the lovely large filets of Haddock that used to be on the dish the dish is now served with fish sticks that are tasteless and so thin they get over cooked and are dry with none of that fresh liquid fish flavor that makes Fish and Chips so delicious.  

I asked to speak to the Manager and when she came I asked why they would change the fish from a delicious filet to a fish stick.  She said the management in Kansas City had changed vendors from Sysco to U.S. Foods because U.S. foods could provide a Kansas ground beef.  Unfortunately U.S. Foods did not have the Haddock filets, only fish sticks.  Suzette explained that U.S. The Foods is mainly an institutional vendor that is known for its cheap prices and that was probably the reason for the change.  The Manager agreed that the fish sticks were of inferior quality and even suggested that if we wanted really fresh fish and chips we should go to “Two Fools Tavern” on Central because they use fresh fish and batter the filets themselves.

We probably will never go back to 5 Star Burger because we do not eat hamburgers for $11.00.  We instead grill rib steaks we buy for $6.00/lb.

But we surely will go to “Two Fools Tavern” next time we want fish and chips. 

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 21, 2015 Dinner- Roasted Chicken, Blanched Green Beans, with mushrooms and onion, tomato salad.

August 21, 2015  Dinner- Roasted Chicken, Blanched Green Beans, with mushrooms and onion, tomato salad.

At around 8:00 I rode south to Rio Bravo and back.  Here is a picture of the Sandias in early morning:

The most momentous event of the day was the over 500 point drop in the Dow.  The stock markets dropped by approximately 3.2% today, after shedding about the same amount over the last three days. It it pretty depressing to watch your net worth drop by 7% in a couple of days.  It is the type of sickening experience,we saw in 2008, but without the reason for the drop, which is even more vexing.

I had a had a doctor’s appointment at 11:15 that lasted until 12:25 and then went to see Bill Turner to discuss the Gila case, and eat lunch but Bill was eating when I arrived so I shared his roasted pecans. Mi was not very hungry when I arrived home at around 1:30, so I made myself a salad of lettuce, cucumber, green onion, cheddar cheese, fresh oregano from the garden, and a sliced tomato, garnisheed with croutons. 

When Suzette called at 5:00 and offered to bring home a roasted chicken I gladly agreed.  I snapped the green beans I had bought at Sprouts last Monday and sliced a crimini mushroom and a bit of yellow onion and put the three ingredients in a pyrex bowl with about 1 Tbsp. of Vietnamese fish sauce I had made a few months ago.  

Suzette arrived home a bit after 6:00 after a very long hard day of work in which her Mustang was stolen and she may have no insurance for it.  So we both were depressed over significant losses today.  She went to the garden to pick a basket of tomatoes and then she made a lovely creamy dressing with mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar and olive oil while I sliced several tomatoes.

We plated the green beans, tomatoes garnished with the mayonnaise dressing and hind quarters of the chicken, poured glasses of Leese-Fitch Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County California and went to the gazebo in the garden to eat.  Later I returned to get the rest of the bottle and picked up the container with the two truffles from the Brazilian confectioner we bought at the Railyard Farmers’ Market last Sunday.  Everything was predictably good, except the Brazilian truffles, which were exceptional.  We had purchased one orange garnished with Macadamia nut threads and one Passion fruit truffle for $1.80 each.  When we bit into them we found them to be fondant made with the fresh fruit.  We have never tasted anything like them and found them quite delicious, particularly with the fruity citrusy Sauvignon Blanc.

After dinner we played bocce for about 1/2 hour and I sat and watched as Mario took over for me and beat Suzette 8 to 4.  I was happy that he got to play and learn the game on the court he worked so hard to create.  He seemed to enjoy it and I was  happy as I heard him explaining to the dry wall crew in Spanish how the game was played. 

After a long day of unpleasant experiences, we went to bed at around 9:30.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is I am reading King Lear by Shakespeare for the book club and  seeing King Lear be humiliated and dis-served by his two older daughters after he gives them each half of England and impoverishes himself.

Bon Appetit