Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 Lunch – Cesar Salad, Dinner – sautéed Aji Tuna Steak, Steamed Broccoli, and Coconut Rice

January 20, 2017 Lunch – Cesar Salad,  Dinner – sautéed Aji Tuna Steak, Steamed Broccoli, and Coconut Rice

I cooked oatmeal for breakfast, with raisins, brown sugar, and pistachios. I use half milk and half water and cook the oatmeal until it develops a saucy consistency.

At 11:00 I drove to Sprouts and bought a 2 ½ lb. chunk of chuck roast, a lb. of mushrooms, a liter of Spanish olive oil, and a 7 oz. package of cipollini onions.

For lunch I made a Cesar Salad: Romaine lettuce, Pecorino Romano cheese, croutons, and Spanish anchovies plus slices of hard boiled egg.

Suzette came home at 2:30 and we went to the Turner Branch Estate sale.  I did not see anything bur Suzette bought a beautiful tooled Leather briefcase made in Paraguay and eight five piece place settings of what appeared to be hand made wrought iron silverware.  She is thinking we might use them at the house which makes me very happy.

We drove to Sprouts after the estate sale and bought 2.85 lb. more chuck roast, an heirloom tomato, and five lb. of russet potatoes.

We returned home at 4:30 and started cooking Boeuf Bourguignon.

I diced the roast, removing all the silver skin and fat.  Then I diced two onions, two carrots and five cloves of garlic.

While I chopped Suzette sautéed a aji tuna steak, steamed some broccoli, and heated the PPI Thai Chicken Massaman Curry.  We ate a lovely dinner and then resumed cooking the Boeuf Bourguignon.

Suzette sautéed about ¼ lb. bacon until crisp.  Then we braised the meat in the bacon fat until it browned.  Suzette then sautéed the onions, carrots, thyme, and garlic.  Then she added 3 T. of flour and cooked the flour for a opulent of minutes.

Then she added 10 cups of beef stock and four cups of red wine to the sautéed meat and vegetables and put them into a roasting pan in the oven to bake for two hours.

I went to bed at this point and let Suzette take over.  Then at 10:00 she removed the dish from the oven and seasoned it with salt and pepper and we took it to the garage.

Tomorrow we will cook it some more and add mushrooms and cipollini onions sautéed in butter.

We used Julia Child’ recipe for Bouef Bourguignon in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Bon Appetit

January 19, 2017 Lunch – Vietnamese Pho Miso Noodle Soup with shrimp, fish cakes and spinach. Dinner – PPI Thai Chicken Massaman Curry

January 19, 2017 Lunch – Vietnamese Pho Miso Noodle Soup with shrimp, fish cakes and spinach. Dinner – PPI Thai Chicken Massaman Curry

For breakfast I ate fruit salad, with granola, vitamin powder, yogurt and a dash of milk.  There are two interesting things I noticed about this breakfast; the ability of fruit to stay fresh for long periods of time when refrigerated.  For example, the pineapple was bought before Christmas and used in the mulled wine.  The rest of the cut up pineapple is still fresh and delicious in this salad although it has shed someone its juice and lost some tensile strength.  The other interesting thing is the rapid conversion of whole milk into a soft yogurt when combined with yogurt.  It and the other ingredients of the salad congeal into a soft mass instead of their different elements remaining separate.

The morning was spent mostly on VinDacia stuff.  I had a teleconference with Aaron and a securities attorney and reviewed and edited the head of terms agreement for the purchase of a Romanian winery.

For lunch I made my usual Pho and miso soup with rice, wheat and mung bean thread noodles.  Today I added dehydrated fish stock(dashi), shrimp, and fish balls to the regular miso ingredients of tofu, green onion, and  seaweed, and added some spinach and the PPI roasted purple carrots from Common Fire in Taos.

After eating two bowls of soup and I felt like a new man.  I like to eat soup for lunch before I ride my bike because it seems to hydrate my body, which aids me in riding my bike.  I wanted to ride at 3:00 but was delayed until 4:00 by a revision of a letter.  The temp was 49 degrees so I wore gloves and long leggings and was quite comfortable, but the wind was gusting a bit and changing direction, so it seemed to be an issue going north and south.

I returned home at 4:30 after a shortened ride, showered, and dressed. Suzette asked about my schedule and I said I would be ready by 5:00 and would like to eat some curry before we left for the Museum.  Suzette heated and we ate PPI Chicken Massaman Curry with roasted peanuts and split a Lefftes beer and drove to the museum at 5:20.

There was a full evening of activities at the museum that we enjoyed.  After we obtained our ticket for the Fusion Theater’s presentation of Altitude Sickness by D. H. Lawrence for 7:00, we toured the new block print exhibit and an exhibit on the Jewish community in New Mexico in the 20th century, observed the printing demonstration, and each made a block print by tracing the lines of a print affixed to an inked sheet of glass that created a reverse image of the traced lines by lifting ink from the inked glass where pressed by a sharpened pencil.

Suzette made a wonderful Women Power image and I made a half hearted effort to copy a scene of the Taos Plaza in the 1920s.

After our print making we each had a Negra Modelo and shared a bowl of salty snacks.  At 7:00 the auditorium doors were opened and folks filled the seats.  The seats in the auditorium were rather uncomfortable and tightly bunched against one another so I moved to an open seat at the end of the row in front of our row and was able to shift my position and give Suzette the ability to do the same using my emptied seat.  Suzette liked the presentation but I was tired and sore from riding and missed much of the nuanced dialogue.  The high points of the 20’s and 30’s in Taos in the play were Mabel Dodge’s narcissism and the love triangle between D.H. Lawrence, his German wife, Frieda, and Dorothy Brett, who was a painter, also British, and infatuated with Lawrence.

I recently finished reading the catalog for Mabel Dodge Luhan and Company edited by Lois Rudnick and Malan Powell, which mentioned the bent toward free love and open relationships at Mabel’s Taos compound, so that was no surprise and neither was Mabel’s narcissism.

We went to bed shortly after we returned home at 8:30 after a rather full day if activity.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 18, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000 No. 21, Dinner – PPI Eggplant Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

January 18, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000 No. 21,  Dinner – PPI Eggplant Parmesan with Tomato Sauce

I am still trying to maintain a high protein and carb diet, so I ate fruit salad, granola, yogurt, milk, and vitamin powder for breakfast.

Then at 12:15 I had a hankering for some good Vietnamese food and because I knew I wanted to go by Sprouts Farm Market,  so I drove to Vietnam 2000 at the corner of San Mateo and Zuni and sat at my favorite table with its view of the snow capped Sandias and ordered my favorite dish, Number 21, a bowl of fluffy steamed rice noodles sitting on a bed of fresh chopped lettuce, basil, mung beans, cucumbers, and cilantro and topped with slices of hot grilled lean pork and two pork filled egg rolls served with a sweetened fish sauce for $8.50.  I order an extra fish sauce so I can dip my egg rolls and a side plate of fresh mung beans, basil and cilantro for $1.50, to add freshness and flavor to the dish.  My body must still be craving protein and carbs, because I ate the entire bowl today.

After lunch I drove north on San Mateo to Lomas, where Sprouts Farm Market is located.  I had three things in mind, fresh fish, more organic broccoli, and tomatoes for a tomato sauce to revive the Eggplant Parmesan dish.  I bought two tuna steaks on sale for $5.99/lb.  The broccoli was a different stocky form of broccoli, but I bought it anyway.  Lovely mature Roma tomatoes were on sale for $.50/lb.  I picked out the softest most mature six I could find.  I then bought about a lb. of granola for $2.99/lb. and about a lb. of milk chocolate almond clusters on sale for $6.99/lb.

I went home and worked with Aaron on the Los Lunas project until a little after 5:00, then went to the garage and said hello to Suzette, who was sanding cabinet doors for Los Lunas and told her I was going to meditate and would start a tomato sauce for the Eggplant Parmesan first.  I then went to the garden and picked a handful of fresh oregano and a small clump of garlic growing among the tarragon that I wanted to get rid off.

Tomato Sauce

I sliced and diced ¼ onion, 4 Roma Tomatoes, the garlic and oregano.

There was approximately ¼ cup each of oregano and garlic.

I then heated two T. of Spanish olive oil in a large skillet and sautéed the onion for a couple of minutes.

I then added the oregano, tomatoes, and garlic and added ¼ cup of Chianti and stirred the ingredients to mix them together.

I cooked the ingredients until I had to leave at 6:20 for meditation when Suzette took over.  When I returned home at around 7:30 Suzette had constructed a casserole dish with PPI spaghetti on the bottom, then the PPI Eggplant Parmesan, then the tomato sauce, and finally, slices of Pecorino Romano cheese that she had covered with Saran Wrap and put into the microwave.  We discussed wine and she decided on another bottle of Aquino Chianti Reserva from Trader Joe’s, so I opened it and poured glasses of it while she heated and served the Eggplant Parmesan casserole.

The dish was fantastic. The fresh tomato sauce reinvigorated  the dried out overcooked Eggplant dish to create a mouth watering delicious dinner with a completely fresh flavor.  It was revelatory for me to see how an unappealing dish could be transformed into an appealingly fresh dish by the addition of a fresh sauce and reconstruction into a casserole.  My idea to add a tomato sauce to the tired old Eggplant dish worked better than I had hoped.

Suzette wants to lose weight so the simple tomato sauce was a good start for her new diet.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 17, 2017 Breakfast – Yogurt, fruit salad, granola and milk, Lunch – East Ocean, Dinner – Thai Chicken Massaman Curry with rice

January 17, 2017 Breakfast – Yogurt, fruit salad, granola and milk, Lunch – East Ocean,  Dinner – Thai Chicken Massaman Curry with rice

Today the weather finally warmed to 50 degrees, the rain stopped, the wind moderated,  and the sun shone intermittently, so I knew I would ride.

I ate a pretty full bowl of granola with the fruit salad I made on Sunday, with papaya, orange, strawberries, and  blueberries and a bit of milk at took my vitamins

Then at 11:30 I went to the dentist and at 12:00 met my new hygienist and had my teeth cleaned and x-rayed.

At 1:15 I drove to East Ocean and met Peter Eller.  Peter ordered No. 16, Kung Pao Chicken and I ordered No. 16, Moo Goo Gai Pan, which is Chicken meat stir fried with sliced baby corn, snow peas, celery, onion, bok Choy,  water chestnut slices, and mushroom slices in a lightly thickened chicken stock/Mandarin sauce served with a mound of fried rice and six or seven pieces of sweet and sour chicken slathered with red sweet and sour sauce.

My Moo Goo Gai Pan contained many of the same vegetables as the Chicken Massaman Curry I knew I would eat for dinner but I did not care because I wanted a dose of protein, carbohydrates,  and vegetables.  We discussed the Plasterer painting by Emil Bisttram and the Von Hassler restoration and I showed Peter the Catalog for the Mabel Dodge Luhan exhibit and encouraged him to see it.

After lunch I went home, checked the mail and the stock market.  This was one of those rare days when my portfolio had a minimal loss of about $692.00, while the whole market dropped about .2% to .4% thanks to Apple perking up $.96 to $120.00.  I had tried to determine what to sell and when to take the mandatory 3.65% distribution from my IRAs.  The unexpected rise in Apple has almost convinced me to wait until the end of the year to decide whether to sell this year or next year depending on my expected income this year versus next year, because the pundits are projecting a better stock market growth for 2017 than 2016.

At 3:45 I felt good and rode 10 miles, all the way to Rio Bravo and back to see the Canadian geese and sandhill cranes feeding in the fields and the heavy clouds hanging over the snow capped Sandias.

When I returned home around 4:45, Suzette was sanding cabinet doors in the garage.  I went in and watched the NBR business news on PBS and around 5:45 she came in.  I told her I wanted to roast peanuts with which to garnish the curry.  We went to the kitchen and Suzette heated a container of rice and curry in the microwave and transferred the remaining rice and curry to a single container while I toasted and crushed about 2/3 cup of blanched frozen peanuts from Talin until golden brown which took about 25 minutes at medium heat.

Suzette reheated the curry and fetched beers from the garage fridge.  I drank a Lettfe from Belgium and Suzette drank a Stella Artois.

The curry was greatly improved by the tamarind paste and juice I added last night and the crunchy toasted peanuts I added tonight.  We enjoyed our slightly exotic Thai dinner.

Later I ate a bowl of Java Chip ice cream garnished with poached pear slices, chocolate sauce, and a dash of Kahlua.

Suzette went to bed at 8:30 and I followed at 9:00 and read a bit of the new Business Week.

I love that the President of China has addressed the World Economic Summit at Davos, Switzerland today.  It has filled most of the business news today and is the perfect antidote to Trump’s tweets.  Not only does it make his tweets irrelevant as news, but it sends a strong message to the world that China stands ready to assume the role of world leader to advance the continuation of globalization and free trade.  It should make Trump think twice before he closes our borders with a border tax that will cause inflation and start a world wide trade war, perhaps for the wrong reason, because it diminishes his status as a world economic leader, but will result in the right action, which is why I am not going to sell Apple this week.

Actually early on Sunday morning I called TD Ameritrade and talked to Mitch, who informed me that a mandatory distribution from an IRA does not require a sale of the stock.  One can transfer the required amount of dollar value of stock from an IRA account to a taxable account and include the amount of the transfer in one’s taxable income.

Bon Appetit


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 16, 2017 Lunch – PPI Eggplant Parmesan, Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak and Artichoke halves, Mashed Potatoes, steamed Broccoli, and Sautéed Mushroom Sauce

January 16, 2017  Lunch – PPI Eggplant Parmesan,  Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak and Artichoke halves, Mashed Potatoes, steamed Broccoli, and Sautéed Mushroom Sauce

I ate no breakfast today thanks to the double helping of Eggplant Parmesan last night.

I went to the fridge at 1:00 and decided to eat another helping of Eggplant Parmesan for lunch.  It was delicious again.  The eggplant had collapsed and become creamy and blended with the spinach, cheese, and meat sauce into arch thick sauce that coated and flavored the spaghetti perfectly.

The only ingredient I did not have when I made the Chicken Massaman Curry on Thursday was tamarind, so I had bought a 1 lb. bag of dried tamarind fruit at El Super yesterday for $1.99/lb.  I asked Suzette to help me make tamarind paste to ad to the curry when she arrived home this evening.  We looked at a couple of videos on the internet and discovered that you remove the hard shell, strip the threads from the fruit,  soak the fruit in heated water for several hours to soften the fruit, and then push the fruit through a sieve to remove the fruit from the remains threads and the internal seeds.

 We removed the dried husk from about ten pods and removed the threads that encased the fruit while we heated water in the tea pot.  We then put the fruit into a medium sauce pan, poured about three cups of water over the fruit, brought the fruit to a boil , covered it and let it sit for about three hours until after the meal.

Suzette was hungry so we immediately started dinner after removing and covering the tamarind fruit.  We had PPI mashed potatoes and I had thawed a rib steak yesterday.

Suzette salted and peppered the steak, I cut the two boiled Artichokes in halves so Suzette could grill them with the steak.  The artichokes retain a lot of water from the boiling and so the grilling simply heats and removes the moisture, leaving a more firm steamed artichoke that has the added benefit of being heated.  We love to grill the tender medium fresh artichokes that Trader Joe’s sells for four for $2.49.

I fetched the mayonnaise dill sauce and put it on the table for the warm artichokes.

We decided to steam some of the fresh organic broccoli that I had bought on Thursday on sale for $.88/lb..  Suzette deflowered a head of broccoli and put the flowerets into the steamer with water, ready to steam.

When Suzette took the steak and artichokes to the grill I turned on the heat under the broccoli and started cooking the Mushroom sauce.

Mushroom Sauce with cream

I sliced about six or seven medium portobello mushrooms and minced ½ of a shallot and two cloves of garlic.  When Suzette took the steak and artichokes to the grill outside, I heated 2 T. of butter and 1 T. of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and then added the minced shallot and garlic and cooked them for a minute or two.  Then I added the mushrooms and about ½ T. of dried marjoram and ½ tsp. fleur de sel with herbs Provence. I tossed and stirred the mushrooms with a wooden spoon for about five minutes until they were coated with the grease and began to soften and change color.  I then added about 2 T. Amontillado sherry and stirred it in to coat all the mushroom slices.  I cooked the mushrooms to infuse the sherry for another couple of minutes.  When the surface of the sauce began to glisten I knew I was on the right track because the sauce was beginning to bind the butter, Mushroom liquid, and sherry.  I then did something I have never done before; I added about 1 ½ T. of Central American Crema from El Super to the sauce to further bind the sauce and add a slightly  creamy flavor.

Willy arrived at this point with his wash and we invited him to join us for dinner.   This was a great example to him of the benefit of being ready to eat when the meal is ready.

I fetched a bottle of 2015 Chateau Haut Sorillon Bordeaux Superiore I bought at Trader Joe’s on Saturday for $7.99 and Suzette opened it and also heated the PPI mashed potatoes in the microwave while I finished making the Mushroom Sauce.

In a few more minutes, when Suzette brought in the grilled steak and Willy had started his laundry, the sauce and broccoli were ready to eat.  I sliced the steak which was between rare and medium rare and divided it into three portions with Suzette’s being the rare steak.

Suzette divided and plated the mashed potatoes and we each served ourselves the broccoli and Mushroom Sauce and I poured the red wine.

We each took a grilled artichoke and enjoyed our elaborate dinner while watching the Antiques Roadshow from Fort Worth and the one from Santa Clara.

Poached Pears

After dinner Suzette serves us bowls of vanilla ice cream with some of the poached pears we made yesterday.  As I mentioned, I bought four Bartlett pears at El Super. Sunday afternoon Suzette peeled the pears and cored and halved them and I sliced them. I then put about ½ cup of water into a medium sauce pan with about ½ cup of sugar and the remaining 1 cup or 1 ½ cup of 2004 St. Clair Refosco red sweet wine that we found undrinkable but kept for just such a moment.  I also added the zest of one lemon, the juice of ½ lemon, and about 2 T. of an Italian aperitif made from bitter herbs and simmered the pears and liquid for about a hour until the liquid reduced by about ½.

The ice cream with the still firm pear slices and flavorful poaching medium made for a lovely flavorful dessert.

After dinner we ate a few pieces of chocolate and drank more or the new Prince d’ Arignac Armagnac VS we bought at Trader Joe’s for $15.00.  Armagnac is typically more mellow than cognac and cheaper.

After dinner I sieved the softened tamarind and we put about three or four T. of the resulting paste and about 1 cup of the tamarind flavored  water into the curry and bottled the paste and remaining liquid.

Suzette then went to bed a bit after 9:00 and I stayed up and enjoyed immensely watching the family pictures, official ceremonial movies, and commentary collected into a BBC special celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.  I guess I am a closet monarchist.  Or simply that much of her life parallels my life.  I remember fondly the week I spent with my family in London in 1960 in early April during which we viewed the royal wedding procession of Princess Margaret from a balcony window in the heart of London with all the other well wishers and tourists.

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 15, 2016. Lunch – the last of the Christmas Posole, Dinner – Eggplant Parmesan with boiled artichokes

January 15, 2016. Lunch – the last of the Christmas Posole,  Dinner – Eggplant Parmesan with boiled artichokes


This week was the transition point between Christmas food and new food.  I went shopping for food at a Sprouts on Thursday we went shopping for wine, scotch, and beer on Saturday, and today I went to El Super to replenish produce.

We ate light breakfasts of peanut butter mixed with Nutella in toast.

I finished the last of the posole for lunch, while Suzette was sanding cabinet doors in the garage.

I then drove to El Super in the rain.  It was full of Sunday afternoon shoppers, but the prices, even at their regular prices were super.

I bought four Bartlett pears to poach for $.67/lb., limes were expensive at $.79/lb. but I bought about a ten, I bought a bag of dried tamarind for $1.99/lb., onions were expensive at $.33/lb., but I bought about three pounds, I bought four zucchini at $.79/lb.  then I bought a gallon of milk marked $3.00 but was charged $3.99 for it and 1½ lb. of medium heads off shrimp for $6.99.

When I got home at around 2:45 the Playoff game between Dallas and Green Bay was just starting.  Suzette and I watched that while flipping back and forth to two Jennifer Aniston movies, Bounty Hunter and The Switch.  The game was heartbreaking because Dallas lost in the last ten seconds, but the movies were fun.

We started cooking at 4:00 because we told Willy we would eat at 5:00

Yesterday I had boiled the fresh artichokes we bought at Trader Joe’s. Mayonnaise Dill Sauce
Today we inspected and threw out the PPI sour cream dill sauce from the Christmas Party and I made a fresh sauce for the artichokes with about 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1/3 cup fresh dill, 1 minced green onion, ½ tsp. Fleur de sal with herbs Provence that Kathryn and Mike brought us last year, and about 2 T. of lemon juice.  I mixed these ingredients together until smooth and set the sauce aside to meld its flavors.

We had selected a 1997 Brunello, but when our latest project to have Mario replace the door jam went haywire and Suzette became upset, I decided on a slightly less wonderful but still good bottle of wine.  I selected a 2012 Banfi Chianti Reserva (Total Wine $20.00 reduced to $16.00).

Eggplant Parmesan

I sliced the eggplant I had bought at Sprouts on Wednesday into ½ inch thick slices.
Suzette on pie pan with egg and the other with Progresso bread crumbs.
She coated the slices first with egg and then with crumbs and the sautéed them in a combination of olive oil and butter until golden brown.

She grated Pecorino Romano cheese and filled a Pyrex baking dish with layers of spaghetti sauce, spinach, eggplant, cheese spinach and cheese and baked the dish in the oven for 45 minutes until the ingredients began to bubble.

We made the spaghetti sauce last week with ground beef, mushrooms, three chopped leeks, fresh oregano from the garden, and two cans of Spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage.

I made a lb. of spaghetti by boiling a pot of water with ½ tsp. of salt and a bay leaf and then adding 1 lb. of Italian spaghetti.

We finished cooking the meal by 5:30, but made a mistake because we waited for Willy and he did not arrive until 6:30 or 7:00, which meant that the spaghetti became cold and stuck together and the Eggplant became dried out as we kept it warm in the oven.

While waiting for eating our artichokes with the wonderful dill mayonnaise lemon sauce.  We thought the fresh boiled artichokes with the fresh mayonnaise sauce was exceptional.

We agreed with Willy that next time we would eat when the food was ready and he can heat up the food when he arrives.

The 2012 Banfi Chianti Reserva was fabulous.  It had a chalky bite and a smoothness with a clean finish, everything one would want with a red wine, except it did not have that exceedingly long finish that great Red  burgundies have.  Just a very solid wine that Suzette kept drinking until it was gone (the true test of quality).

The Eggplant Parmesan with spinach was also delicious even though the eggplant slices collapsed a bit more than I would have liked due to its overcooking.  The benefit of overcooking is that the cheese melted fully and became a creamy binder in the dish.

We loved the meal and wine.  It was a very successful and simple meal.

We tried the new bottle of Armagnac that we bought for $15.00 at Trader Joe’s on Saturday, which was soft and creamy tasting.  It won a gold medal and well worth the price.

Bon Appetit



onion, ½ tsp. Fleur de sal with herbs Provence that Kathryn and Mike brought us last year, and about 2 T. of lemon juice.  I mixed these ingredients together until smooth and set the sauce aside to meld its flavors.

We had selected a 1997 Brunello, but when our latest project to have Mario replace the door jam went haywire and Suzette became upset, I decided on a slightly less wonderful but still good bottle of wine.  I selected a 2012 Banfi Chianti Reserva (Total Wine $20.00 reduced to $16.00).

Eggplant Parmesan

I sliced the eggplant I had bought at Sprouts on Wednesday into ½ inch thick slices.
Suzette on pie pan with egg and the other with Progresso bread crumbs.
She coated the slices first with egg and then with crumbs and the sautéed them in a combination of olive oil and butter until golden brown.

She grated Pecorino Romano cheese and filled a Pyrex baking dish with layers of spaghetti sauce, spinach, eggplant, cheese spinach and cheese and baked the dish in the oven for 45 minutes until the ingredients began to bubble.

We made the spaghetti sauce last week with ground beef, mushrooms, three chopped leeks, fresh oregano from the garden, and two cans of Spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage.

I made a lb. of spaghetti by boiling a pot of water with ½ tsp. of salt and a bay leaf and then adding 1 lb. of Italian spaghetti.

We finished cooking the meal by 5:30, but made a mistake because we waited for Willy and he did not arrive until 6:30 or 7:00, which meant that the spaghetti became cold and stuck together and the Eggplant became dried out as we kept it warm in the oven.

While waiting for eating our artichokes with the wonderful dill mayonnaise lemon sauce.  We thought the fresh boiled artichokes with the fresh mayonnaise sauce was exceptional.

We agreed with Willy that next time we would eat when the food was ready and he can heat up the food when he arrives.

The 2012 Banfi Chianti Reserva was fabulous.  It had a chalky bite and a smoothness with a clean finish, everything one would want with a red wine, except it did not have that exceedingly long finish that great Red  burgundies have.  Just a very solid wine that Suzette kept drinking until it was gone (the true test of quality).

The Eggplant Parmesan with spinach was also delicious even though the eggplant slices collapsed a bit more than I would have liked due to its overcooking.  The benefit of overcooking is that the cheese melted fully and became a creamy binder in the dish.

We loved the meal and wine.  It was a very successful and simple meal.

We tried the new bottle of Armagnac that we bought for $15.00 at Trader Joe’s on Saturday, which was soft and creamy tasting.  It won a gold medal and well worth the price.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 14, 2017 Breakfast - Tamales and Fried Eggs, Lunch - Posole and Tamales, Dinner – Bratwursts with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed String Beans


January 14, 2017 Breakfast - Tamales and Fried Eggs,  Lunch -  Posole and Tamales,  Dinner – Bratwursts with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed String Beans

Yesterday was the Neighborhood Cocktail Party. This month it was hosted by Wendy York, who was a judge and now mediates and moved to our neighborhood in May.  She did a lovely food tray filled with lots of wonderful offerings, mostly from Costco, such as the three meat pack of prosciutto, salami and pepperoni guacamole, and Spanish Marconi almonds, corn chips, and currant nut crackers.

Suzette and I filled one side of the Portuguese appetizer plate with slices of Cabot Double Cheddar and the other side with slices of  Wengers Lebanon Bologna we bought in Elizabethtown when we visited her family in October and placed a ramekin of honey mustard mayonnaise in the center of the plate.

The best dish of the night was brought by Peggy Cronin, sautéed scallops wrapped with bacon and sautéed (scallop rumaki).  Wikipedia says that Rumaki was a faux Polynesian dish made with bacon wrapped chicken livers created by Trader Vic’s.

Several folks brought deviled eggs and several brought guacamole, which seem to be popular dishes.

Wendy’s dining room is dominated by a large Warhol print of Elizabeth Taylor that is super impressive.

On Saturday we sautéed a tamale and fried eggs for breakfast.  For lunch we heated the last two remaining tamales and posole from Christmas and ate that at around 1:30.

At 10:30 we drove to Trader Joe’s.  Suzette bought candles for the Bistro for its Valentine’s Day special meal.  I bought seven bottles;  an Armagnac, an Aquino reserve chianti, a Craydon French rose, a Famille Perrin Reserve White Cotes du Rhine, a Chateau Haut Sorillon St. Emillion, a new bottle of Torrontes from Argentina, a La Granja white blend of Viura and Verdejo grapes for $4.99 and a 14 oz. can of medium roast Colombian supreme for the coffee machine for $5.99, a bouquet of lillys and asters for $2.99, and a four pack of medium artichokes for $2.49.

Then we drove to Total Wine where Suzette replenished her scotch and I bought 10 bottles of wine, including three Famille Perrin Reserve Red Cotes du Rhone, a $20.00 Le Pont Bandol rose’, an Italian White, a $20.00 bottle of Monte Clavijo Gran Reserva, and the best bottle we bought was a Haut Cotes de Nuit from Nuit St. George in the Cote d’ Or. There were 12 packs with four beers each of Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, and Leffes for $7.99. We bought the last three 12 packs to replenish our beer.

I took a nap in the afternoon and at 4:30 rode north to Campbell Rd. and back against an increasingly strong head wind.

At 6:30 Suzette suggested that we cook the three bratwursts I bought at Sprouts Farmers Market on Thursday for $2.99/lb.  I suggested we steam the green beans I also bought on Thursday for $.88/lb. and make mashed potatoes.  

 I peeled and chopped five small potatoes and put them into the boiling pot of water in which I was boiling the four artichokes.  I then snapped the ends off the green beans and put them into a Pyrex loaf pan with a bit of water and covered the pan with Saran.  

Suzette boiled the three brats in ½ bottle of Hoegaarden beer and when the potatoes were boiled whipped them with milk and butter into mashed potatoes in the Kitchen Aid mixer.

I fetched bottles of Stella Artois and the mustard, and horseradish and a Suzette fetched the mayonnaise and plated the dishes and we had a merry time dipping our forks filled with mashed potato and slices of brats into a sauce we each made with spoonfuls of mustard, horseradish and mayonnaise while sipping Stella Artois beer.

Bon Appetit