Monday, May 22, 2017

May 21, 2017, Lunch – Polish Dog at Costco. Dinner – Rack of lamb, Roasted turnips, sweet potatoes, and onion, Tzatziki, and steamed asparagus

 May 21, 2017, Lunch – Polish Dog at Costco. Dinner – Rack of lamb, Roasted turnips, sweet potatoes, and onion, Tzatziki, and steamed asparagus

I watched the news shows and drank a coffee hot chocolate.  Then worked until 11:00.  At 12:30 Suzette and I drove to Costco.  We were hungry so we ate Polish Dogs first.  Then we shopped.  We bought a rack of lamb for $10.99/lb., a salmon filet, stuff for the Center, raisins, lemons, and oil for the truck.

We then went home and rested.  We invited Aaron and Willy to dinner at 6:00.  While I worked in the morning Suzette had worked in the garden and among the tasks she accomplished was the picking of a basket full of young turnips, which she had cleaned and cubed the larger ones.

At 3:30 she diced sweet potatoes and onions and roasted those with the turnips for about 40 minutes.  While the vegetables were roasting I made a clafoutis.  I make clafoutis every year when the fresh crop of cherries arrives.


I pitted 1 lb. of fresh cherries.  Suzette cut them in half and I marinated them in cognac and framboise liquor.

We then scalded 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of half and half.

I then mixed 7 T. of flour, 10 T. of powdered sugar and ½ tsp. of salt in a large bowl and made a well in the middle of the dry mixture.

I the lightly beat three eggs and stirred them into the dry mixture with a wooden spoon.

I then blended in the slightly cooled scalded milk and stirred the mixture to remove any lumps.

I then buttered and sugared a ceramic baking dish.

Suzette pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and set the oven on convection bake.

The oven did not need much preheating becauseSuzette had recently taken the roasted vegetables from the oven and covered them with aluminum foil to keep warm.

I then added the fruit to the batter and poured the mixture into the ceramic baking dish.  I placed the baking dish on an aluminum baking tray and placed it in the oven and baked it for 45 minutes and turned off the heat and let the clafoutis sit in the oven until we finished dinner.

Dinner –

Suzette grilled the rack of lamb while I fetched the PPI tzatziki that I had refreshed on Friday evening.

I fetched the bottle of Serve’ Cuvée Charlotte that Aaron and Ioana brought me from Romania.  It it a Bordeaux style blend of merlot and feteasca neagra grapes aged in oak barrels.

Fetească Neagră (Romanian pronunciation: [feˈte̯askə ˈne̯aɡrə]); English: Black Maiden) is an old pre-phylloxeric variety of Romanian[1] - Moldovan grape,[2] cultivated mainly in several areas in the Romanian regions of Moldova, Muntenia, Oltenia, Banat, Northern Dobruja[3] and also in the Republic of Moldova.

These grapes produce dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, with an alcohol content of 12-14%,[4] a deep red colour with ruby shades, and a black currant flavour, which becomes richer and smoother with aging.

I noticed the currant flavor, which was very pleasing.

When the rack was cooked to medium rare, which took a few extra minutes, I sliced the rib steaks and Suzette plated the dishes and we all went outside and ate under the gazebo.

After dinner I ate some Brie cheese with the last few sips of wine.  Willy did laundry and we watched Boston beat the Cavaliers in the Eastern NBA finals.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 20, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – PPI Pork in tomatillo and chayote sauce with rice and carrots and corn sautéed in oregano and cilantro

May 20, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – PPI Pork in tomatillo and chayote sauce with rice and carrots and corn sautéed in oregano and cilantro

I drank a cup of coffee with hot chocolate for breakfast.  Then we worked in the garden.  We planted a new quince tree and weeded an area in which we will plant tomatoes and basil tomorrow.

We put my  bike in the little truck and drove to Zendo coffee where Suzette bought two bags of coffee from Chiapas and we walked through Gertrude Zachary’s and looked at the antiques.

We then drove to the Bike Coop and dropped off my bike.  It was noon and we were getting hungry, so we stopped at Vietnam 2000 for lunch.  I let Suzette order.  We shared an appetizer of Spring rolls with shredded pork and a number 50, which is a layer of cooked flour sheets laid over a bed of sautéed mung bean sprouts and julienned cucumber garnished with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  We liked the no. 50 and did not like the spring rolls.  The reason why we did not like the spring rolls is because they were filled with mostly rice vermicelli wrapped in a rice noodle wrapper, which seemed like an excessive amount of rice noodles, especially since we were eating a dish with rice noodles.

After lunch we continued to Total Wine, where Suzette bought two bottles of shearling Scott for $26.95 each and I bought two bottles of Bacardi Gold for $11.99 each and a bottle of XO Calvados for $29.99 and seven or eight bottles of mostly 2016 French Rose’s with an Oakridge Zinfandel, a bottle of Vouvray Chenin Blanc, and a Calvijo Gran Reserva Rioja thrown in to the mix.  The prices at Total Wine are higher than Trader Joe’s but their selection is much greater.  Today the discount was 15% on wines of greater than $10.00, which all of our wines were.  We also bought a 12 pack of Negra Modelo for $13.49.

Since we had three boxes of beer, wine, and whiskey in the back of the truck we decided to drive home instead of Costco and go to Costco tomorrow.

We took a nap until 4:00 and then rode the tandem to the Nature Center and back home.

We decided to eat the PPI Pork in tomatillo sauce.  We discussed a vegetable and I mentioned carrots, so I went to the fridge in the garage to fetch the carrots and discovered the six ears of corn I had bought at Sprouts on Wednesday.  I filled a pot half full of water and put in on to boil and peeled and sliced five carrots and ½ of a red onion.  I then went to the garden and picked five stalks of oregano and removed the leaves and chopped about 1/3 cup of them.  Then Suzette fetched the cilantro from the fridge and blanched the carrots.  I chopped about 1/3 cup of them also while Suzette shucked and boiled the six ears of corn.  Suzette then shaved the kernels off three ears of corn and sautéed the corn, carrots, cilantro, and oregano in 2 T. of butter to mix their flavors and heated the PPI rice.  She the plated pasta bowls with 1/3 each of rice, vegetables and the Pork stew.

We drank Negra Modelos with dinner and agreed that this dinner equaled anything we ate in Mexico on our recent trip.  I drizzled a few drops of Cholula Chili Sauce on my dish and mixed it in and thought it added a pleasing warmth of chili flavor to the dish.

We were satisfied although Suzette had a few spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream with her delicious rhubarb/strawberry compote.

The combination of nutritious food and exercise in the last few days has me feeling better.

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 18, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner – New Recipe Pan Seared Scallops on Spaghetti with fresh Sorrel Pesto

May 18, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner – New Recipe   Pan Seared Scallops on Spaghetti with fresh Sorrel Pesto

I made a new dish for breakfast I sautéed red onion and capers and then fried an egg over easy and placed it on a toasted half of a bagel that I had smeared with cream cheese and laid slices of Gravad Lax.  The result was a rich gooey egg sandwich but my body reacted a BLT to the extra fat from the butter in the fried egg.  I realized that there was a trade off between the rich hot breakfast of an egg sandwich and the cool clean flavor of Lax and onion and capers on a toasted bagel with a thin coating of cream cheese.  Each has its own distinctly different characteristics, even though, except for the butter used to cook the egg they contain the same ingredients.  Voila.

I went to lunch with Mike at Azuma.  Mike is the opposite of a sushi freak.  He does not eat raw fish.  I ordered my usual Chirashi Donburi and we looked at and discussed the menu at length. Mike said that he had enjoyed a steak he had tried at a tepals grill recently.  We looked at the teppan choices and the bento box choices and Mike asked about the different fish choices, like, “What does mackerel taste like?”  After some discussion Mike chose a bento box with grilled beef, a grilled salmon filet, a pickled cucumber salad and fresh slices of cucumber.

There is a new sushi chef and his rendition of Chirashi was beautifully presented in an open elliptically shaped bowl.  I shall return.  Mike’s dish was perfect for him.  He enjoyed the grilled meats and ate most of the pickled cucumber salad.  We enjoyed discussing law stuff.

I finished working at 6:30 but had discussed dinner with Suzette when she arrived early at 5:00.  We decided to sauté the scallops I bought at Sprouts on Wednesday and make pesto to mix with the PPI pasta.

So at 6:30 we went to the garden and picked a basket full of sorrel because sorrel’s slightly bitter flavor goes really well with the slightly sweet rich flavor of scallops.

Sorrel Pesto

Suzette first pulsed pine nuts, garlic, and raisins in the blender for a few seconds.  Then she added grated Pecorino Romano and pulsed the mixture for a second.  Then she filled the blender with sorrel leaves that we had cleaned and de-stemmed and drizzled a bit of olive oil onto the leaves and pulsed the mixture until it became a slightly gritty purée.

Suzette adds raisins when she makes sorrel pesto to balance its bitterness.  She does not add raisins to basil pesto, because basil is a sweeter milder flavor.  Suzette told me that Lisa taught her this principle.  You must balance the bitterness of an ingredient with a sweet ingredient that adds balance to both the dish in two respects.  In this dish Suzette said that the raisins not only balance the bitterness of the sorrel, but they add a fruit to the dish, so you have nuts, fruits, bitter herbs, cheese, and oil to emulsify everything.  You end up with a complete condiment that is in balance and can complement many different dishes.  Even something as simple as plain spaghetti and a seared scallop.

We enjoyed our simple, yet elegant meal.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 16, 2017 Lunch – PPI Shed Enchiladas. Dinner – PPI Mussel and Fennel Bisque over Spaghetti

May 16, 2017 Lunch – PPI Shed Enchiladas.  Dinner – PPI Mussel and Fennel Bisque over Spaghetti

Sometimes PPIs are not as good as the original fresh dish and sometimes they are better.  The better PPIs are those that combine several ingredients into a stew or soup that if let to sit for a day will meld their flavors.  Both of these PPIs fit that definition.

Upon re-hearing the posole sauce, cheese, red chili and tortillas all melded their flavors into one mass in the PPI enchiladas from Saturday’s lunch at the Shed.  I went to the garden and picked lettuce and made a salad with chopped red onion, tomato and lettuce.  I also put chopped red onion on the enchiladas when I heated them for a delicious topping of cooked red onion that melded into the enchiladas also.  I drank ½ of a Modelo Especial lager.

Dinner was the same melding but in a very different way.  We had stored the Mussel and fennel bisque in a yogurt container in the fridge for several days and we re-heated it and served it over re-heated PPI  spaghetti. Suzette also toasted pieces of French bread made at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery we took home on May 5.

It was fun to dip the bread into the bisque until it absorbed the soup and then eat the bisque flavored softened bread.

The bisque had benefited from sitting for several days because the herbaceous flavor and aroma of the fresh fennel had melded with the flavor and aroma of the sea that the mussels brought to the dish.  The result was a new subtle combination of flavors and aromas that I did not detect in the original bisque.  Sometimes time is an ingredient in cooking and understanding its subtle effect is a skill worthy of a good cook.

A day after eating the dinner I still feel or sense the elegant infused Mussel and fennel aroma in my body.  This is the height of French cooking.  A dish whose flavors and aromas make a deeply penetrating pleasant impact on you.  The problem with this approach is a dish such as this is like a good wine.  It will be very rough and jangly when freshly made.  It takes time for the flavors and aromas of the sea and land to combine.  I remember a good example of this.  On our first trip together to France twenty years ago we ordered bouillabaisse at a fancy seafood restaurant in Cap Du Antibes.  It was inedible for us because the bisque, which was a reduction of fish, herbs, garlic aioli, and wine was overwhelming to our inexperienced taste for French food.  But I bet that had we eaten the same soup a day or two later we could have enjoyed it because all those strong flavors would have melded together.

We drank glasses of Famille Perrin Cotes Du Rhone Reserve white with the pasta dish.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 15, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – New Recipe   Warm Roasted Fennel, White Bean and Chard Salad with Sautéed Ami Tuna

I went with Aaron to lunch at Vietnam 2000.  We both ordered No. 21 with extra lettuce, mung beans, and cucumbers and fewer rice vermicelli noodles with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  I loved the more salad like dish.

Suzette wanted to test a new recipe with roasted fennel, white beans, and chard sautéed in olive oil with Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic.

We decided to sauté a piece of ahi tuna with the bean salad.  Suzette sautéed the tuna beautifully in peanut oil.  It had a crisp edge and pink center.

Unfortunately the bean salad was not so successful.  The chard was undercooked and tough, while the beans were over cooked and mushy.  The beans were pre-cooked and canned, so they probably should not have been added until the end of the cooking process.

We drank a bottle of La Ferme Julien Rose’, which is a Perrin Famille wine from the Rhone Valley in Southern France.

I ate some ice cream for dessert and it upset my stomach in the middle of the night, so no more of that, hopefully.

Bon Appetit

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 13, 2017 Lunch – The Shed, Dinner – Mussel and Fennel Stew over Spaghetti

May 13, 2017 Lunch – The Shed,  Dinner – Mussel and Fennel Stew over Spaghetti

We drove to Santa Fe at 8:00 and arrived at Stephen’s Consignment a little after 9:00.  Today was the 30% off sale on all items.  I bought a Kenneth Adams print  and a Agam holographic work, plus a silver Taxco bracelet for Suzette for Mother’s Day.    Suzette bought a landscape drawing by Duane Van Vechten and said she was interested in building a collection of works by female New Mexican artists.

We then drove to Santa Fe Farmers’ Market and bought a bottle of honey from Penasco.

We said hello to Peg and Ted Cronin and went to say hello to Charlotte Jackson, who gave us a book on Florence Pierce.

We then drove to The Shed and ate a great plate of enchiladas with Negra Modelos and finished lunch with a piece of Josie’s Mocha Cake.

We then drove back to Albuquerque and rested.

For dinner we decided to use the PPI mussel stew to make a spaghetti dish.  We picked a basket of chard and I diced two Roma tomatoes and a shallot and Suzette sautéed them while I shaved slices of Pecorino Romano cheese.  We then assembled the dish by piling spaghetti into a pasta bowl, then scooping some mussel bisque onto the spaghetti and finally garnishing with the sautéed chard, shallot, and tomatoes.  I poured out the rest of the bottle of Candida Fontana 2015 Frascati (Total Wine $7.59 after a 20% discount).  The Frascati was a little light and had a slight fruitiness.  Not as much acidity as Frascatis I have drunk before.

This was a wonderful incredibly fresh dish that was very digestible.  We both slept through the night and woke up with good energy for a ride.

Bon Appetit

May 14, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab Salad, Dinner – Pork in Tomatillo and Chayote Sauce

May 14, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab Salad,  Dinner – Pork in Tomatillo and Chayote Sauce

I made tropical fruit salad with mango, papaya, and pineapple.  Then I ate a light breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit salad.  Then I toasted ½ of a bagel, with sliced onion, capers, and Gravad Lax.

Then we rode to Rio Bravo and back.

We then cleaned a Dungeness crab and broke it in half and Suzette made a salad with an avocado, a tomato sliced, and red lettuce.  I added catsup and ½ cup of mayonnaise to the mayonnaise sauce I had made for artichokes to make it into a Louis sauce.

We opened a chilled bottle of Gruet Blanc de Noir and took the salads and champagne to the gazebo table.  We took apart the crab and filled the avocado halves with crab and dressed with Louis Sauce and nibbled our way through the crab and salad as we sipped champagne and called Suzette’s mom to wish her a happy Mother”s Day.

After lunch I watched the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California and helped Suzette plant lettuce in half of one of the raised beds.

At 5:00 I pruned the dead heads if the roses.

Pork and Tomatillo/chayote sauce

We found a package of pork steaks.  I then diced about 3 lb. of tomatillos, two chayotes, one Padilla chili, about eight to ten chopped cloves of garlic, and 1 ½ white onion.  Suzette sauteed the garlic and onion and then added the chayote, Tomatillo, and pasilla chili.  After the sauce ingredients, Suzette seasoned it with salt and pepper and puréed it into a chunk you sauce.  She then added the pork and simmered the sauce and pork for about an hour.

I made a cup of basmati rice and we scooped the pork in Tomatillo sauce and laid it on a pile of rice.

Bon Appetit