Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 16, 2015  Grilled Teriyaki Tuna, PPI baby bok choy and rice  May 15, 2015 Five layer bean dip

Friday I thawed out the two tuna steaks I had bought at Sprouts. This morning I made a small portion of teriyaki marinade with 4 Tbsps. each, of aji mirin, sake and Tamari soy and ½ Tbsp. of sugar and marinated the tuna steaks.
Dinner was easy.  I made 1 ½ cups of rice and heated up the PPI stir fried baby bok choy and water chestnuts and Suzette grilled the tuna steaks.  I heated a pitcher of sake to drink with dinner and we drank tea after dinner and had some ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and maraschino cherries.

 This morning it was raining but we wanted to check out the Farmers' Market. First, we drove to Pastians to buy bread.  We bought a loaf of English muffin bread and six bagels.  We then drove by the Farmers' market but there was little activity due to the persistent rain, so we went home and decided to make Eggs Benedict with our newly acquired English muffin bread.  I made a quick Blender Hollandaise from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking  with three egg yolks, 2 tsp. of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. of salt, a dash of pepper and 4 oz. of melted butter.  Suzette sauteed a smoked pork chop for the meat and we had a lovely breakfast.

Eggs Benedict

This month's Neighborhood Second Friday Cocktail Party was hosted by Daniel and Carrie Terrell, who have recently bought and remodeled the big 1960’s California Deck house that was the by Art Speigel/Collister house.  I made a five layer bean dip with layers of re-fried black beans, sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes and crumbled queso fresco.  I think folks liked it.  The best dish at the party was made by Carrie.  It was slices of fresh toasted French baguette smeared with a puree of green peas, thin slices of fresh mozzarella, and topped with a smear of pesto.

There was lots of other good food, including a large basket of chicken wings, chicken salad made by the Buckhalters, and a lovely sugar snap pea salad.  

Chicken Salad
We took a bottle of Famille Perrin Reserve red.  Daniel served Caceres Rioja Rosé and several reds and whites.

We had a lovely evening of conversation with several of our neighbors but crashed at around 8:30 p.m.

Bon Appétit    

May 17, 2015 Black Mole, Black Beans, Sautéed Chard, Rice and Clafoutis for Cynthia and Ricardo’s BD; May 18, 2015 Lunch – Salad Nicoise Dinner –Grilled Steak, Potatoes Savoyard and Steamed Asparagus

May 17, 2015 Black Mole, Black Beans, Sautéed Chard, Rice and Clafoutis for Cynthia and Ricardo’s BD; 
May 18, 2015 Lunch – Salad Nicoise  Dinner –Grilled Steak, Potatoes Savoyard and Steamed Asparagus

            We are into leftovers land this week.  I have stopped buying food and we are trying to use up everything we have in the freezers and crispers.  I ate PPI Clafoutis that I made last night for breakfast.

            For lunch I used 1/2 head of Romaine I had bought several weeks ago to make a Salad Nicoise, with Saturday night's PPI Teriyaki Tuna, a boiled potato, a boiled egg, an avocado, a tomato, some Kalamata olives, a radish, and some boiled green beans.  I added fresh tarragon, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic to the old dressing to freshen it up.  

           The last food I bought was on Saturday at Ranch Market, when I bought 2 lbs. of cherries, three leeks, some green beans, a 10 lb. bag of potatoes, 5 avocados for $.99, 1/2 lb. of crema (sin sal), four serrano chilis, about two pounds of cluster tomatoes for $.69/lb. about 2/3 lb. of Chapala queso fresco for $.3.19/lb., some discontinued re-fried black beans for $.25 per 15 oz. can and a few limes for $.50/lb.

           Last night we made a mostly PPI diner for Cynthia and Ricardo’s birthday. We thawed out and heated up some black chicken mole and black beans from Christmas.  The Chicken mole tasted wonderful with a bite of chili, the sweetness chocolate and the pungency of of the rest of the mole herbs.  The black beans were still sublime with their combination of fresh avocado and Hoja Santo  leaves ingredients and a sprinkle of  queso fresco.  We used some PPI rice we had made and we picked and sautéed fresh chard and garlic from the garden.  Cynthia made a lovely salad with dark purple and yellow tomatoes and a wonderful balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.  I actually made clafoutis to go with the dish.  I had soaked about six cups of pitted and halved sherries in about 1/3 cup of cognac and 3 Tbsps. of Grand Marnier overnight.  We drank LBV port with the Clafoutis and ate in the garden for a lovely dinner.  The garden is a sea of colors with white and pink water lilies, purple sage, orange and yellow snap dragons, pink/red Tropicana and pink Don Juan roses, purple chive, and yellow columbine flowers all in bloom.  

The Clafoutis

Ricardo pouring champagne

toasting the birthday guys

Black Chicken mole, chard and black beans

We also added some crema
         We drank Gruet Rosé champagne and Tecate and Monk’s ale beer with dinner last night with the mole.

         Today I thawed out an aged steak, which we grilled and when the wind picked up finished cooking by sautéing the steak on the stove inside with the last three of our white and last three of our shitake mushrooms, some sherry, 1 oz. of butter, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden. 

        Suzette also steamed the few stalks of asparagus that were not limp.  I made potatoes Savoyard with some of the fresh potatoes, the last ½ cup of Swiss Gruyere cheese, 3 oz. fresh double brie and about ½ cup of Manchego, plus 6 oz. of butter and 1 cup of beef bouillon.  It turned out that the combination of the extra ½ cup of cheese and the 6 oz. of butter produced too much fat and the potatoes were swimming in butter fat, but they were delicious even though we had baked the potatoes for over 50 minutes at 375˚.

         I wanted a pinot noir to drink tonight so I went to the basement and discovered that I had a 2007 Carneros Creek Pinot Noir.  I opened it and when Suzette sipped it, she declared, “It’s lovely.”  After a few minutes the wine opened up more and became smoother and fruitier, which was good because the steak turned out to be a bit stringy, so the wine had to make the dinner memorable.  I ate the last Tsp. of béarnaise sauce, but it was unnecessary because of all the extra butter fat in the potatoes and mushroom sauce.

          Bon Appétit


Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 13, 2015 New Recipe – Italian Sausage, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs over penne and artichoke

May 13, 2015  New Recipe – Italian Sausage, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs over penne and artichoke  

This morning I thawed out two aji tuna steaks and a package of Italian sausages.

I made pho soup for lunch with the fresh Vietnamese rice vermicelli noodles and PPI steak.

This afternoon  I went to shop at Ranch Market and bought zucchini ($.79/lb.), limes ($.50/lb.), tomatoes ($.50/lb.), bananas ($.33/lb.), small avocados (5 for $.99) and green beans ($1.29/lb.).

I recalled that Cynthia had told me that she makes a simple sauce of zucchini and Italian sausage for pasta, so at 5:30 I decided to cook that type of pasta dish using the zucchini and serve it with the artichoke I had boiled yesterday.  

I needed to make a dipping sauce for the artichoke so I went to the garden and picked a few sprigs of dill for the artichoke sauce.  I also picked a small handful of basil leaves and pulled two bunches of garlic that were intruding into the tarragon patch. 

Artichoke Dipping Sauce

2/3 cup of mayonnaise
¼ cup of yogurt
Juice of ¼ lemon
2 tsp. of olive oil
½ tsp. of dill
After mixing the ingredients for the dipping sauce I put it into the fridge to chill and consolidate.

The Italian Sausage Sauté

I washed two stalks of garlic and sliced the white bottoms, then I fetched 1 ½ tomatoes, two halves of onion, the last bit of pasilla chili, ½ of a red bell pepper from the vegetable crisper and chopped them.
Suzette came home and confirmed the concept of sautéing the Italian Sausage and she de skinned and chipped up three sausages and then sautéed them in a large skillet.  I then added to the skillet about 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to keep the ingredients from scorching and then added the garlic, onion, and zucchini initially.  Suzette also went to the garden and picked a handful of fresh oregano for the sauce and chopped it and put it into the skillet.

Then I sliced the tomatoes into wedges and sliced four white mushrooms and the basil leaves and put them into the skillet.

We looked at the skillet and decided it needed more tomatoes and more liquid, so Suzette put in a 15 oz. can of organic stewed tomatoes from Costco and added about ½ cup of water, which brought the liquid level almost to the top of the ingredients in the skillet.  We allowed this mixture to cook covered over medium heat while Suzette started a pot of water boiling.  When the water in the pot was at a rolling boil we added a lb. of dried Italian penne pasta (Costco) to pot of boiling water and cooked it until tender.

After another twenty minutes the ingredients in the skillet were tender and the liquid level reduced to a sauce and the pasta was tender, so I went to the basement and fetched a bottle of 2012 Fabula from Monteregio di Massa Marittima DOC in Tuscany, Italy.  I had tasted the wine at one of Total Wine’s wine tastings and had liked it and bought it ($12.99), but tonight Suzette did not like the wine which I agreed had a flat taste with a slightly bitter finish.  A sure sign that it was an inferior wine was when Suzette only drank one glass and the bottle was not emptied.

Soft but not sauce


The food on the other hand was interesting.  It turned into a meat and vegetable forward dish with all the ingredients intact with a light sauce made mainly from the cooking liquids of the ingredients. This was a refreshing change from the heavy tomato based spaghetti sauce I usually make.  I would cook this dish again, especially since we now have access to more fresh ingredients from the garden and have planted squashes and tomatoes, so by the end of summer we should have most of the ingredients.

We ate the artichoke while the pasta and sauté were cooking and then enjoyed dinner, except for the wine.  So it is back to more reliable chianti superior and reserve.  It is important to be aware that Total Wine pushes its exclusive labels of wine.  Sometimes they are interesting and a good value but others are just dressed up dogs.  One hint as to the winners is to look for the pictures of the employees with their recommendations.  The wine buyer employees drink the wines and the ones they prefer are their picks and they put their picture and stamp of approval on, which usually are the better wines.  

Bon Appétit     


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 12, 2015 Lunch PPI Grouper Dinner- PPI Squash Mapo and Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy.

May 12, 2015 Lunch PPI Grouper   Dinner- PPI Squash Mapo and Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

Lots of leftovers today.  Lunch was wonderful.  I heated the PPI Grouper, re-fried black beans and rice and sprinkled Chapala queso fresco on the beans.

The wind blew and it rained today so no bike ride.  Instead I decided to cook, so that dinner would be ready when Suzette arrived at around 7:00.  

I started cooking at around 6:00.  I fetched a container of PPI Squash Mapo and started cleaning and sectioning the baby bok choy.  

At 6:30 I started a pot with 1 ½ cups of rice by bringing a pot with 3 cups of water and 1 tsp. of dehydrated chicken stock to a boil and then adding 1 ½ cups of Basmati rice to the boiling water and then covering the pot and reducing the heat to the lowest temperature and simmering it for 30 minutes.  

Then I made the Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy.  I had bought a bag of baby bok choy at Ta Lin last week ($.98/lb.)

1 lb. of baby bok choy
1 Tbsp. of fresh garlic
2 Tsp. of fresh garlic
3 oz. of onion
3 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 small can of sliced water chestnuts
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. of mushroom soy
2 Tbsp. of Chinese cooking wine
2 tsp. of sesame oil
2 tsp. of corn starch
4 oz. chicken stock
½ tsp. of salt
½ tsp. of sugar
3 oz. water

I cleaned the bok choy by cutting off the base of each bulb, separating each bulb into leaves and then separating the green leafy part from the white base part and cutting each part into bite sized pieces.  I then washed each under water to rinse away the dirt.

Then I cut about 3 oz. of sweet onion and 1 oz. (a quarter sized piece) of fresh ginger into threads.

Then I sliced three cloves of garlic (about 2 tsp.) into rounds.
I fetched and drained the contents of a small can of water chestnuts   
I heated 1 Tbsp. of peanut oil and 1 tsp. of sesame oil in the wok and put the onion, garlic and ginger into the heated oil and stir fried it for a couple of minutes.
I then added the white portion of the baby bok choy, 1/2 tsp. each of sugar and salt,  and stir fried it for a couple of minutes.
Then I added the green leaves of the baby bok choy and added ½ Tbsp. of mushroom soy and 1 Tbsp. of Chinese cooking wine.
The mixture was too dry so I made up 4 oz. of chicken stock and added that an covered the wok to steam the ingredients.
I made a thickening sauce with the 2 tsp. of corn starch, 1 tbsp. each of mushroom soy and Chinese cooking wine and 1 tsp. of sesame oil and 3 oz. of water
I added the shitake mushrooms, which I usually add with the green portion of the bok choy
After about five minutes more of cooking and steaming, when the rice was ready, I added the thickening sauce and stirred the mixture to integrate it into a thick brown sauce.  If the baby bok choy leaves collapse into a mush you have overcooked the dish. 

I heated the Mapo in the microwave for five minutes and we were ready to eat.  

I made lichee tea and Suzette fetched a beer from the garage.  I had bought the lichee tea on our trip to China in the Asian market in X’ian, so it brought back memories of China, although the Stir Fried Baby bok choy was better than almost any vegetable dish we had on our trip to China.

Squash Dofu on left, Baby bok choy on Right

This was a very successful dish.  It was constructed in the proper Chinese manner, using chicken stock and sauces to flavor the cooking ingredients and then thickening the liquid into a sauce to coat the ingredients with sauce.  It also had good ingredients cooked in a manner that cooked each ingredient the amount of time necessary to heat them or soften them to the same correct point of doneness.  I especially liked the water chestnuts and the sweet onion with the bok choy.

Bon Appétit

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 10, 2015 Lax and bagels for breakfast Dinner – Grilled steak, twice cooked potatoes and steamed asparagus.

May 10, 2015  Lax and bagels for breakfast  Dinner – Grilled steak, twice cooked potatoes and steamed asparagus.

We started the day with by eating the last of the lax with a couple of bagels and cream cheese.

sliced salmon, tomatoes, and onions, with capers and bagels

Then starting at 11:00 we gardened for an hour, planting, tomatoes and eggplants.

We then took boxes of bottles to the recycling center and then bought more plants at Home Depot’s Mother’s Day sale on bedding plants at $2.50 for each 4“ pot .  Then we went shopping at Costco, buying White Fish salad, a white dry writing board, paper towels, and ketchup and pickle relish.  

After all the activities of late, we really enjoyed having a regular Sunday with the usual mix of activities.

I had thawed out a steak yesterday.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be an un-aged steak.  Un-aged beef has a more granular texture and lacks the rich density and tenderness of aged beef.  Suzette turned the baked potatoes from last night’s baking with the acorn squash into twice cooked potatoes with the addition of butter, half and half, and sour cream and some chive slices.

I made steamed asparagus while Suzette was prepping the twice cooked potatoes.

We wanted a good wine so I went to the cellar and fetched one of the newly arrived bottles of 2010 Wellington Mohrhart Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon’s, which was delicious with a delicate finish that I love. Next time though, I will select one that has spent a little more aging time in the cellar. 

After dinner I drank an extra glass of the wine with a piece of buttered French bread and some brie cheese; lovely.

Bon Appétit

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 Lunch – Que Huong Dinner – Baked Pink Grouper with vegetables, Re-fried Black Beans and Rice

May 11, 2015  Lunch – Que Huong   Dinner – Baked Pink Grouper with vegetables, Re-fried Black Beans and Rice

Rosemary invited me to lunch today.  I suggested Que Huong.  We both ordered No. 55 which includes 2 fried egg rolls and grilled pork on top of a bed of warm boiled noodles with salad and herbs on the bottom of the bowl.  We both loved the dish. Each time  I go to Que Huong, it seems to be a little better than any other Vietnamese restaurant in Albuquerque with small personal touches to the dishes, such as a sweeter fish sauce or a dab of shiracha on pickled diakon threads .  I still think Lan's is the best Vietnamese restaurant in the state. 

After lunch we went to Ta Lin to see if they had fresh Pink Grouper and they did.  So we each bought a stomach piece of approximately 1 1/2 lb.

When I saw Suzette in the garden when I arrived home from a 10 mile bike ride to Montano and back, she was happy to hear we were going to make the aluminum baked fish wraps with pink grouper.  I sliced up 2 to 3 Tbsp. each of onion, tomato, pasilla chili, cilantro leaves, white mushroom, red bell pepper, and a carrot. Then I filleted the fish steak into 2 fillets.  Suzette then mixed the vegetables and placed a layer of vegetables on a piece of aluminum foil and then the fish filet.  Then she placed several slices of butter and a splash of 1 Tbsp. of white wine on each fish filet and then covered the fish with more vegetables and crimped the edges and sealed the aluminum foil packages and baked them in a 350˚ oven for 45 minutes.  We heated a 29 oz. can of re-fried black beans in chicken stock and water and a bit of olive oil.  Suzette picked a small handful of epazote leaves from the indoor crop she is growing, which I chopped up and put into the beans.  

the construction of the dish, vegetables, fish, butter and more vegetables 

When the fish was almost finished baking, I heated ½ cup of rice in the microwave and Suzette fetched two bottles of Modelo lager from the garage and we had a wonderful meal of fish baked in a vegetable sauce with rice and re-fried black beans.  We garnished the beans with sour cream.  Only after the meal did I realize that I had queso fresco Chapala in the fridge.

see the sauce made with the wine, butter, and vegetables and fish juices
The fish with rice and beans (see epazote leaves in beans) 
This piece of fish was better than the tail section piece I bought last week.  Always chose a stomach area piece, if you are given a choice.

Also notice how the process of baking the fish sealed in aluminum with a bit of white wine and butter and vegetables produces a considerable amount of its own delicious sauce.  

Bon Appétit

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 9, 2015 Breakfast – Shrimp and Crab omelet Lunch – Chris’ Café, Santa Fe and Dinner – Baked Acorn Squash

May 9, 2015 Breakfast – Shrimp and Crab omelet   Lunch – Chris’ Café, Santa Fe and Dinner – Baked Acorn Squash

We started at 6:00 this morning, so we could get to Stephens' by 9:00 for the Opening of its Semi-Annual Sale.  We wanted to make an omelet with the PPI crab and shrimp Unfortunately, I used an old piece of brie that gave the entire omelet a rather ammoniated flavor that ruined the flavor of the omelet.

We then went to Stephen’s sale and Suzette bought a gate for the east side of the garden.  I bought a lovely orange kimono for Suzette’s Mother’s Day present, a fish plate, and a Carl Von Hassler water color of the Grand Canyon.

We met Josefo and Davida at Stephen’s sale and they invited us to join them for lunch at Chris’ Cafe at 3568 Cerrillos Dr..  Suzette and I both ordered the chicken enchiladas with Ever Ever Sauce and red and green chili. The ever ever sauce is combination of sour cream and mayonnaise and not so fantastic. Josefo and Davida ordered steak and eggs. Chris’ serves Harris beef.  They loved their steak and eggs.

Davida with her steak and eggs
We then visited Josefo and Davida’s new home in La Lagunitas, which has a wonderful view of a pond in La Cienega and is a rambling 5000 sq. foot house with high viga ceilings.  At around 2:30 we drove home and took a nap.

I got up at 5:30 and baked three acorn squashes after filling the cavity of each half with 1 tsp. of butter and 2 to 3 tsps. of brown sugar.  I also baked four or five potatoes.  Neither of us was hungry or wanted to cook, so we ate warm baked acorn squash for dinner. 

At 10:00 I made chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and roasted hazelnuts.  

Bon Appétit