Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 a PPI day Fried Rice with Red Cooked Chicken

June 29, 2015 PPI Day

I ate a bowl of granola with ½ mango and blueberries with yogurt for breakfast.

I heated up a piece of PPI enchilada and chopped up 2 Tbsp. of red onion, an avocado and about twenty thinly sliced cucumber wedges for lunch.

I worked until after 7:00 so Suzette made fried rice with the PPI rice and red cooked chicken and made  a fried egg pancake. I went to the garden and picked and de-stemmed a handful of chard and put into the wok to add a little color and vegetables to the fried rice.  I felt like we were eating like peasants.

To make the PPI effect complete I mixed the PPI Sauvignon Blanc and Josefina Syrah rose to make an acceptable glass of wine that was not too sweet and not too dry.

Bon Appetit 

June 28, 2015 Grilled Steak and Pasta Primavera

June 28, 2015 Grilled Steak and Pasta Primavera

We started the day eating the croissants we bought from Le Quiche Bakery yesterday at the Farmers’ market, where Suzette also bought a red and a large green cabbage and three bunches of radishes.  There was a new mushrooms grower who was selling several unique varieties of mushrooms, so we bought a six ounce carton of Hungarian black mushrooms and a cinnamon mushroom.

After breakfast and catching up on the Sunday morning news and a bike ride for me and a walk for Suzette we went to the Albuquerque museum to see the high heel shoe exhibit, which was fabulous. 

 Then we went home and made chicken sandwiches with the French sour dough bread we also bought from the Le Quiche Bakery with avocado, cheese, marinated zucchini strips Janis made for Friday night dinner.  

I thawed out a steak and we decided to make pasta to go with it, since we had an additional zucchini and use the new mushrooms In a primavera sauce.  I chopped about 4 Tbsp. of red onion and pulled two garlics from our garden and cleaned them and sliced 4 cloves of garlic into rounds.  I then julienned ½ orange bell pepper and the zucchini. 

I then made the Béarnaise sauce

½ cup off white wine vinegar

½ cup white wine

1 large shallot, chopped 

1 Tbsp. Fresh tarragon 

A dash of salt and white pepper

I boiled that above ingredients down by 2/3 and strained the liquid off and let it stand to cool.  

I removed the tarragon and shallots from the enameled sauce pan and put nine egg yolks into the snd stirred them mix thoroughly.  The recipe calls for three egg yolks, but we had nine left when Suzette made her cloud cake on Friday, so I used all of them.

After I stirred the egg yolks in the sauce pan I added back the liquid and added 10  oz. of cold butter to the mixture over a low heat until the mixture began to thicken.  I then poured it into a pitcher and chilled it in the freezer to cool it quickly.

Primavera Pasta
Suzette heated a large pot of water and when it came to a boil, added  about ½ lb. of spaghetti .  While the pasta was cooking she sautéed the onion, bell pepper, garlic,  and zucchini,  then put in the mushrooms with olive oil  and  butter. I diced about ¼ lb. of fresh mozzarella and put into a large serving bowl.  When the spaghetti was cooked we drained it and put it in the serving bowl with the mozzarella and some chopped up Irish cheddar and then added the sautéed vegetables. 

When the steak was grilled to medium rare, I sliced it we served it with the pasta dish and the Béarnaise sauce.  We opened a bottle of 2007  that tasted amazingly like a heavy Bordeaux that was a bit tannic at first but soon opened up into a smooth luscious jammy wine.  ThanIs to Pierre, who is both a masseuse and s sommelier.

Bon Appetit 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 24, 2015 Dinner - Red Cooked chicken, Rice and fresh snow peas and asparagus

June 24, 2015 Dinner - Red Cooked chicken, Rice and fresh snow peas and asparagus

Today I went to Ranch Market around 3:00 for its weekly produce specials.  I bought limes (2 lb./$.99), 8 small avocados (4 for $.99), 2 manila mangoes (2 for $.99), onions (2 lb. for $.99), and bananas 3 lb. for $.99.  I also bought zucchini for our Italian meal on Friday night for $.89/lb., cooked ham for $1.79/lb., muenster cheese for the lasagna for $1.99/lb..  I then pushed my cart to the meat department to see if there were any specials there and found freshly butchered chicken thighs for $1.09 lb. I bought the smallest package I could find, containing six thighs.

I started cooking Red Cooked Chicken at 5:15.  Since the recipe is for a whole chicken, I halved the recipe and added several of the optional items.  Here is the ½ recipe I used today:

Red Cooked Chicken

1/8 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sherry
½ cup of soy sauce
½ cup of water
4 slices of ginger
Three scallions cut into 1½ inch lengths
1 clove of garlic sliced in rounds
6 skinless chicken thighs 

I placed the liquids and other ingredients in my wok and brought the liquid to a simmer.  I removed the skin and fat from the thighs and placed them in the cooking medium and cooked them for 20 minutes on each side.  Then let them sit to cool.

When I returned home from meditation, Suzette plated up plates in the microwave with PPI rice and asparagus and added the last six or seven snow peas from our garden and heated them while I heated the dark reddish brown chicken in the wok.

We drank water and had a delicious although not very elegant meal.  I was happy to have a good hot meal after working all day and being able to relieve Suzette from cooking, since she had had a hard day of driving to Santa Rosa and back and working all day. The sauce that is made from the cooking juices is delicious on the rice and flavors it with a salty and sweet flavor.

And we have three thighs left for PPIs.

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

May 31, 2015 Giverny and Monet's House and Garden

May 31, 2915.Giverny 

We had breakfast with Kathryn and Mike and Mike walked us down to the taxi stand on Rue Haussman to catch a taxi to CDG where we picked up our rental car and drove to Giverny.

Unfortunately we had a flat tire as we pulled into town and had to leave our car in the parking lot of the Masteurie Hotel and walk to the B&B Helene on the other side of town.  I won’t belabor the car issues, but we called Europcar and they send a mechanic while we were eating a late lunch at the Hotel that towed the car away to the mechanic’s garage. 

I ordered the 26 € three course lunch starting with a raillette of salmon and salmon eggs as the appetizer and then roast duck leg and thigh on a bed of cottage fried potatoes.  I did not eat many of the cottage fries because Suzette had ordered guinea fowl in an apple cream sauce with potatoes au gratin that seasoned with a local cheese that was very delicious, so I ate some of her and Willy’s cheesy potatoes.  Willy also ordered the 26€ lunch and took a bowl of vegetable soup that tasted mostly like split pea soup and a chicken breast with a mushroom cream sauce.  We decided to visit Monet’s house and garden since it closed at 6:00 and then return to the hotel for our dessert course. 

At 4:15 we walked to Monet’s house and garden, which are in the middle of town with the house at street level, and the garden descending down the hill to the main road and with the water lily pond on the other side of the main road. Fortunately, the Walter Annenberg trust built a passageway under the main road that allowed for easy access to the water lily pond and the rest of the garden.  

                      Sharing a romantic moment in Monet's Water Lilly Garden

It was thrilling to see Monet’s house, which has been kept or refurbished with period furniture and copies of his painting.  Actually it appeared that he collected Japanese woodcuts.  There must have been over 50 woodcuts with half of them being by Hishoige.  

The kitchen was wonderful with the copper pots and lids arranged in a row along one of the walls and the blue Delph tile over the stove.

               Suzette among the other tourists in Monet's salon with replicas of his paintings 
                 Monet's Table in the dining room of his house

               The kitchen stove in Monet's house

                       The kitchen in Monet's house 

The garden was in full bloom with a immense array of flowers.  Here are some pictures:

                            Willy and Suzette in Monet's Garden 

               A view of Monet's house from Monet's garden 

I have never seen a better personal garden.  As we drove into Giverny, I even saw a hillside filled with red poppies just like the one in Monet’s famous picture of the woman and young girl that is in the Hermitage collection.

We loved the gardens and Monet’s house and forgot all about the car inconvenience for a few hours.  

We had walked the gardens by 5:30 and returned to the hotel and finished our lunch. Willy got a chocolate crepe that was terrific.  I got an apple tart that was delicious with a light caramel sauce.  Suzette, who had ordered al a carte, decided to try the local cheeses and ordered a glass of red wine and a plate with a wedge each of Liverot and Camembert.  Willy then walked to the B&B and our proprietress picked us up a little after 6:30, after she drove her daughter to the airport in Beauvais to catch a plane back to Parma, where she now lives.

We spent the rest of the evening talking, resting, reading, and drinking tea and eating sandwiches and went to bed at midnight.

Bon Appetit

June 7, 2015 We leave France

June 7, 2015 We leave France

We ate our last egg with the last of the marinated white anchovies for breakfast with some toast and blueberry jam, then loaded the car and drove to Charles de Gaulle Airport without any difficulty. 

I made sandwiches with the ham we had bought the other day at Carrafour and the last of our cheese on the bio organic bread we bought at the market in Bayeux on Saturday.

We have learned on this trip how to navigate our way onto and off the four and six lane limited access highways.  The access points are clearly indicated on our new Michelin map of France, which has gotten us out of several situations in which we were irretrievably lost.

When we arrived at the departure gate around 4:00 they were checking folks in for the 7:45 departure and we were lucky enough to get the last two seats together by a window rather than sit in the middle section comprising four seats, so we were able to cuddle up and get some sleep.

I enjoyed flying on the big Airbus 330 300 with the 300 other people, it was like what the original colonists must have felt cooped up on a small ship with a few hundred others crossing the Atlantic.  

The plane arrived at JFK at 10:00 and within 45 minutes we had navigated the maze of ground transportation from the airport to our Holiday Inn Express hotel.  Ground Transportation included locating the appropriate bus pick up point outside the south end of huge Terminal 4 and then a bus ride to Federal Square subway terminal and bus station, then walking to the other end of the station where there was a pick up point for vans and a courtesy van ride to the hotel.  I knew we were back in the U.S. and NYC immediately, from the level of rudeness and filth.  The only way I can deal with the veneer of rudeness which seems to permeate every conversation between strangers in NYC, even information booth attendants, is to be ready to say “Thank you” as soon as your question is answered.

Bon Appetit

June 23, 2015 Lunch-Lamb and sweet potato Bun. Dinner- Roasted Chicken, steamed asparagus, and Caprese Salad

June 23, 2015  lunch-Lamb with Vietnamese rice noodles. Dinner-Roasted Chicken with steamed asparagus and Caprese Salad

I made a fried rice for breakfast with PPI rice and the stir fried Baby Bok Choy.

For lunch I wanted to use the PPI fresh Vietnamese noodles I had bought at Talin several weeks ago.  I decided to try to make a bowl of Bun so I boiled the noodles in water to cook and soften them and I think I overlooked them because they became gooey and stuck together a bit.  Next time I will cook them less.  In bun there is a layer of cucumber, bean sprouts, lettuce, and herbs on the bottom of the bowl, so I picked some lettuce from our garden and chopped it roughly, sliced up one large scallion, and julienned a 3 inch section of cucumber and put those in the bottom of a large soup bowl.

Fish Sauce

  I then made a Vietnamese fish sauce with 4 Tbsp. of lime juice, 4 Tbsp. of fish Sauce, 2 Tbsp. of Sweet chili sauce, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/3 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced, and 2 Tbsp. of sugar.

The sweet chile sauce is the left bottle

I heated a PPI grilled lamb chop and 2 slices of grilled sweet potato and sliced them into bite sized pieces and put the warm drained noodles and then the potato and lamb on top of the noodles.

I took a bag of cilantro from the fridge.

To eat the dish I put spoonfuls of fish sauce on  the bun to soak into the warm noodles and flavor them and tore leaves of cilantro and added them to the noodles to add their herbaceous flavor and ate the mass of noodles and other ingredients with cho sticks, being careful to mix the ingredients so each bite would contain some mixture of ingredients.

This was my first attempt to make bun, and except for overcooking the noodles, was pretty tasty. 

Bowl of lamb and sweet potato bun beside bowl of fish sauce 

I called Suzette in the afternoon to ask her to bring home a chicken, preferably one seasoned with lemon and tarragon and she did.  Suzette had bought fresh mozzarella cheese at Costco the other day and we had bought cluster tomato son the vine at Ranchers Market last Sunday, so Suzette picked fresh basil leaves from our garden and made an olive oil and balsamic dressing with Shleman olive oil and drizzled it over the sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.

When the asparagus were screamed I removed a leg quarter of the chicken to each plate and Suzette placed asparagus and salad on each plate to make a very attractive plate of food. 

The balsamic and olive oil dressing mixed with the chicken and asparagus and enhanced their flavors.

We opened the bottle of Trader Joe’s  2013 Reserve Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that Megan had brought us on Sunday that was still chilled in the fridge and ate this lovely meal under the gazebo in the garden.  We enjoyed the wine and drank the rest of the bottle as we watched the last installment of the Roosevelts’ series on PBS. 

Bon Appetit 

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 Blue Corn Enchiladas with Pork and Tomatillo sauce

June 22, 2015 Blue corn pork and Tomatillo Sauce Enchiladas 

We went to Ranch Market yesterday and bought lemons, grated Monterrey Jack cheese, blue corn tortillas, and milk because we still had a lot of pork and tomatillo sauce left and wanted to make blue corn enchiladas with it.

Today when Suzette arrived home a bit after 4:00 we had a drink and worked on some paperwork and then around 6:00 we started cooking 

Blue Corn enchiladas with Pork  and Tomatillo sauce

I chopped one large onion and sliced two Mexican Squash into thin slices.

I then sliced 3 ½ small avocados into thin slices.

Suzette assembled the dish in a ceramic baking dish.  She softened the tortillas in some of the tomatillo sauce in a small skillet.  Then she layered tortillas, squash slices, meat, cheese and avocados in layers.  When the baking dish was filled to overflowing, she added tomatillo sauce to the top of the side of the baking dish and then we sprinkled the top of the top layer of,tortillas with Queso Fresco Fud ($1.99/lb. at Ranch Market).

It took about an hour to cook the enchiladas until the ingredients all melted together.  Unfortunately the blue corn tortillas collapsed and lost their shape and became mor mushy than the old corn tortillas we had used to make the last batch of enchiladas last week.

I heated my portion in the microwave to completely cook the squashes and we drank beers with our simple but simply,delicious dinner and watched the Antiques Roadshow.

Suzette ate a bit of PPI cobbler and I went to bed early, since I had gotten tired from my third straight day of riding bike this morning.

Bon Appetit