Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 24, 2017 Lunch – Miso Noodle Soup with Corned Beef and cabbage, Dinner – Sautéed shrimp with green beans, tomato, onion, and chard.

April 24, 2017 Lunch – Miso Noodle Soup with Corned Beef and cabbage,  Dinner – Sautéed shrimp with green beans, tomato, onion, and chard.

For lunch I wanted to use the PPI corned beef and cabbage stew.  I made my usual noodle soup, except I added the stew for part of the liquid and did not add any Pho seasoning.  I used large 30 cm. Squares of rice noodle and wheat noodles, but no bean thread noodles also.  I went to the garden and picked a large basket of chard, cleaned and destemmed it and added a large handful of chard to the soup.

In the afternoon I thawed out a package of medium heads on shrimp for dinner.

When Suzette came home we discussed dinner and decided to sautéed the shrimp in their shells so they would retain all their flavor and tenderness.  We also decided to use ½ onion, the approximately 1 cup of green beans, two zucchini, and juice of ½ lemon and 2 tsp. of capers and sprinkle parsley on top.

I went to the garden and picked about seven stalks of parsley and chopped it.

Suzette then started cooking.  She heated butter and olive oil in a large skillet and sautéed the onion, then added the green beans, the diced tomato, the shrimp, and finally approximately 1 cup of chard left from my lunch harvest plus ½ cup of wine and about ¾ cup of water to develop a sauce during the 20 minute cooking period.

We heated about 1 1/2 cup of PPI rice and served the shrimp over rice, sort of etouffe style.

I opened a bottle of Crayon Rose (Trader Joe’s $5.99).  The light fruity rose went well with the tangy slightly citrusy flavor of the shrimp.

Bon Appetit

April 23, 2017 New Recipe – Pecan Chocolate Crunch, Brunch – Salmon Smear Omelet, Lunch – Salad with Peter, Dinner – Mapo Dofu with rice

April 23, 2017 New Recipe – Pecan Chocolate Crunch,  Brunch – Salmon Smear Omelet,  Lunch – Salad with Peter,  Dinner – Mapo Dofu with rice

Pecan Chocolate Crunch

Suzette was in a cooking mood today.  She started cooking shortly after we awakened around 7:30 by creating a new confection she calls Pecan Chocolate Crunch.  She chopped about 2 cup of pecans, added several eggs and the PPI caramel and brown sugar mixture left from the Pecan Dreams Suzette made last Sunday which she spread on a piece of parchment paper and baked for 18 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.   The result was a gooey soft toffee-like crunchy mass of Pecans and caramel.  Suzette then melted tempered chocolate drops and mixed the melted chocolate with a bit of half and half to make a chocolate glaze that she drizzled over the baked sheet of Pecan Crunch.  See the photo below.

The result was fabulous, a gooey, sweet confection.

Then Suzette mixed cream cheese with the smoke salmon terrine made by Chef Kelly at the Greenhouse Bistro to make a salmon smear.  She made an omelet with whisked eggs, chopped fresh dill and lovage and the salmon smear. I ate my half of omelet with cHai tea and toast spread with blackberry preserves made by Shirlee Linder at Londer Winery years ago.  Suzette her usual Bloody Mary.

I finished watching the Sunday morning news show and Peter Eller called to say he was coming by to pick up some Baumans and Klosses left on approval at noon.

At 11:30 I started preparing lunch by doing a tomato, 1/3 onion and 1/3 cucumber.  Peter arrived punctually at noon and I finished the salad by adding lettuce and Spanish anchovies.  We decided to make open faced cheese sandwiches of Cypress Grove aged goat cheese from Costco on Jewish rye bread baked by Pastian’s.  We ate outside in the garden.  For dessert we ate a few pieces of Suzette’s Pecan  Chocolate Crunch.

I bought a print of an Adobe Brick Maker by Kenneth Adams from Peter and said goodbye to Peter around 2:00 .

I rested from 2:30 to 3:30 and then rode to Rio Bravo and back.

Suzette was home  when I returned.

I rested for a few minutes and then drove to Lowe’s to buy a poblano Chili, vanilla ice cream, a 12 pack of Rolling Rock beer, and tonic water.  I began cooking at 5:30.

Mapo Dofu

I made 1 ½ cups of rice and then diced the poblano chili, 1/3 onion, two zucchinis, 1 medium eggplant, and three boneless pork steaks.  I also diced 2T. of fresh ginger and Suzette diced 2 T. of fresh garlic.  I also soaked five dried shiitake mushrooms and 1 ½ T. of black wood ear slices in hot water.

I started by stir frying the pork, garlic, and ginger in a large wok with 2 T. of peanut oil.  I the removed the pork and most of the ginger and garlic and stir fried the vegetables for about 20 minutes until the vegetables softened.  I added 1 T. of Chinese cooking wine and 1 T. of mushroom soy sauce and 1 tsp. of sesame oil while the vegetables were cooking and made about three cups of chicken broth and diced 11 oz. of medium tofu.

Then I added the pork back to wok and added the tofu and chicken stock.  I added the wood ear and removed the hard stems from the mushrooms and sliced them and added them and stirred the mixture and cooked it another fifteen or twenty minutes.

I added 1 T. of mushroom soy, 2 T. of Chinese Cooking Wine, ½ tsp. of sesame oil,  and 2 T. of cornstarch to the 2 cups of liquid I had soaked the wood ear and mushrooms in to make a thickening sauce.  I also added 1 T. of Oyster Sauce to the mixture in the wok.

About five minutes before we were ready to eat, I stirred the thickening sauce into the mixture.  I occasionally stirred the mixture to see if it was thickening.  At this point you can adjust the thickness.  If if the sauce is coagulating, you can add water or some other liquid to loosen the sauce.  The easiest way to thicken the sauce is to keep cooking the mixture which is what I did tonight.

Another five minutes of cooking produced a consistent, well integrated sauce.

We each scooped rice into pasta bowls and piled scoops of the mixture on top of it.  We drank a beer with dinner.

Willy had arrived and queued up about five episodes of the Silicon Valley series on HBO Go.

We enjoyed the evening watching TV with Willy.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 22, 2017 Lunch – Costco Polish Dog, Diner – Grilled Halibut, New Recipe – grilled Eggplant stuffed with Brie and Rolled in a Chard Leaf, and Tomato Couscous

April 22, 2017 Lunch – Costco Polish Dog,  Diner – Grilled Halibut, New Recipe – grilled Eggplant stuffed with Brie and Rolled in a Chard Leaf, and Tomato Couscous

We drove to Costco at noon.  We were hungry, so we each ate Polish Dogs and then shopped.  Suzette bought cleaning supplies and we visited the Seafood Fiesta booth.  They had fresh halibut again for $11.99/lb. since the last piece we bought was the second or third best halibut ever, we bought a 1 ½ lb. piece today.

When we arrived home Willy called and said he would join us for dinner.  Suzette cut slits into the fish in which she stuffed slices of lemon and butter.  Suzette also wanted to use the six PPI Grilled Eggplant slices to make a new recipe.  She sliced long strips of Brie cheese and rolled the slice of Eggplant around it and then wrapped the eggplant roll with a large leaf of chard and then ran two toothpicks through the roll to hold it together.

When Suzette put the eggplant rolls and halibut on the grill to cook she suggested that I make couscous because it is relatively quick.  I sautéed 3 T. of butter, ½ tsp. of herb flavored salt, and 2 T. of finely diced yellow onion in a sauce pan for about five minutes.  Then I added 1 cup of couscous and 1 ½ cups water and heated the mixture to a boil and then covered the sauce pan and turned the heat to low and let it cook for four minutes.  Then I tossed the couscous with a fork, turned of the heat and let the Couscous stand covered until we were ready to eat.

We ate in the garden and drank the PPI Alsatian Riesling.

It was the third or fourth best halibut I have ever had because it was so incredibly fresh. The couscous was delicious.  Cooking it with sautéed onion and tomato is an excellent way to cook couscous.

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit

April 21, 2017 Lunch – Mary and Tito’s,  Dinner – Oriental Chicken Salad at Debbie and Jeff’s house

Another interesting food day.

I fried two pieces of bacon cut into halves and then added scrambled eggs in the same pan with the fried bacon.  They joined together for an interesting impromptu four sided bacon and egg omelet.

Aaron and I had a meeting at 1:15 so we triangulated at Mary and Tito’s at 12:15.  Mary and Tito’s one of my favorite Mexican restaurants.  It appears unchanged from when it opened in 1963.  The reason why I chose its red. Hili sauce is because it is cooked with ground beef for a more complex meaty flavor.  Today I ordered Chile Rellenos and discovered that the green chili also is cooked with ground beef.

Aaron ordered a very interesting deep fried stuffed sopapilla.  I explained to Aaron the importance of and national recognition that comes with a James Beard award.  After lunch I showed Aaron the restaurant’s 2010 James Beard Award for traditional cuisine.  Mary and Tito’s merits the award, because it has produced consistent,  impeccable New Mexico Cuisine for over fifty years.

My chili Rellenos were of my favored type with a wheat flour and egg batter.

I will go back.

At 6:00 we drove up to Debbie and Jeff’s house at the top of Glenwood Hills with its panoramic view of the city.

We took a bottle of Gruet Chardonnay, a roasted  chicken and a salmon and cream cheese, and caper dip as an appetizer.  Jeff served drinks and then shredded the chicken breasts and Debbie tossed them with the rest of the Oriental salad ingredients, lettuce and slivered almonds.  We drank Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc with the meal.  After dinner Debbie served strawberry short cake with whipped cream for a light heart healthy dinner.

The girls looked cute in their tie dyed dresses.  We enjoyed a back to the 70’s moment after watching the sun set over Mount Taylor and the valley.

We said good night at 10:00, a pretty late night due to the pleasant conversation.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 20, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean. Dinner – PPI Corned Beef and Cabbage with Zucchini

April 20, 2017  Lunch – East Ocean. Dinner – PPI Corned Beef and Cabbage with Zucchini

Today I started with a hot cup of Mexican coffee and Carnation hot chocolate to which I add a little heated milk.  A lovely way to start the day.

I called Peter Eller for lunch and picked him up and drove to East Ocean at 3601 Carlisle NE.  I ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan and Peter ordered Kung Pao Scallops.  Both were delicious.  There are seven or eight types of vegetables in Moo Goo Gai Pan, so it is my favorite dish when I am longing for vegetables (baby corn, water chestnuts, bok choy, bamboo shoots, snow peas, onion, one or two other vegetables).

It is always fun the go to lunch with Peter because of the far ranging conversations.  Today it centered on the migrations during the period preceding and after Charlemagne, particularly in and around Germany.

The new fact that I learned today was that there were Eastern Goths (oestergoths) and Western Goths (visagoths) and after the Western Goths sacked  Rome in 410,  the Eastern Goths, settled in Austria, “Oesterrich”.

We both knew the Western Goths continued their western migration and took control of the areas in Spain formerly ruled by Rome, until they were conquered by the Moors in the 700’s.
Dinner was serendipity.  When I arrived home I opened the freezer in the garage to see what was in it and a 32 oz. container of PPI Corned Beef and Cabbage fell out.  I took this as a sign that we needed to eat it for dinner so I took it into the house to thaw.

When Suzette arrived she completed the process by heating the cCorned beef in a pot.  Suzette asked me to dice up a zucchini squash to add some fresh vegetable flavor and texture to the stew.

I went to the garage and fetched the last two bottles of Shiner Bock beer, which we drank with dinner.  I also toasted a piece of rye bread and buttered it to eat with dinner.

We ate some vanilla ice cream after dinner.

Bon Appetit


April 19, 2017 Lunch – Salad. Dinner – grilled Pork Steaks, corn and asparagus

April 19, 2017 Lunch – Salad. Dinner – grilled Pork Steaks, corn and asparagus

Today I picked a lot of lettuce and made a large salad, with a tomato, PPI red onion, chives from the garden and made open faced cheese sandwiches on rye bread and aged goat milk cheese from Cypress Cove ( Costco).

After lunch I went to Sprouts for the big Wednesday double discount specials when two weeks’ specials overlap.  I did not see any meat specials, but the best value was on Sprout’s olive oil in one liter bottles for $5.99.  It is the best olive oil value in town even at its usual price of $7.99, because it is fresh Spanish extra virgin olive oil.

I also bought string beans for $.99/lb., asparagus for $1.98/lb., fresh white corn for three ears for $.99, 7 grain granola for $2.99/lb. and an eggplant for $.69.

When I got home from meditating at 7:00 Suzette decided to make a grilled dinner of pork steak, corn, and asparagus. We love rose’ with pork, so I chilled a bottle of H to H Cotes Du Rhone (Homage to Heritage, probably one of Total Wine’s private label wines, but a lovely drinkable rose’ for the $8.99 per bottle from a monopol of Rhone grapes).

The acidity of the wine cut through the charbroiled flavors of the foods nicely.  It even helped make the slightly overcooked pork more palatable.

Kemp’s Vanilla bean ice cream from Lowe’s with Hershey’s chocolate syrup for dessert made this summery dinner complete.

Bon Appetit

Kemp’s Vanilla bean ice cream from Lowe’s with Hershey’s chocolate syrup for dessert made this summery dinner complete.

Bon Appetit

April 18, 2017 Lunch – Taj Mahal. Dinner – Poached Salmon in Cream Sauce and Salad

April 18, 2017 Lunch – Taj Mahal. Dinner – Poached Salmon in Cream Sauce and Salad

I worked with Aaron and Ioana on the wine project before lunch.  At 12:30 when we finished Aaron said, “I have not eaten breakfast.  Do you want to get some lunch?”  We discussed where to go and decided upon a mutual favorite, Taj Mahal.

We said hello to Shamiz as we walked in and took a table near the buffet line.  Everything was perfect.  I ate rice, saag paneer, tandoori chicken, beef meatballs, chicken curry, and riata with slices of onion.  There was rice pudding for dessert so I ate a bowl of it, also.

We have decided to use things we have frozen?  Yesterday, besides the five lamb chops and five pork steaks, Suzette had thawed a piece of salmon from the freezer.  Today we picked lettuce, fresh dill, and some baby turnips from the garden. Suzette poached the salmon in a court bouillon of white wine, water, and butter.  She also sliced the turnips into round slices and sautéed them in salt and pepper and butter and olive oil.  Them she made a cream sauce using the poaching medium, while I added lemon juice and olive oiled fresh tarragon to the salad dressing and sliced a tomato and made the salad.

I opened one of the last Concannon Sauvignon Blanc from deep in the cellar.   After five or six years, it was still good, amazing.

We ate under the gazebo and watched the sunset.  The roses are blooming. Lovely.

Bon Appetit