Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 Lunch – Lax Salad. Dinner – PPI Pork and Sauerkraut

August 15, 2017 Lunch – Lax Salad. Dinner – PPI
Pork and Sauerkraut

The usual breakfast, granola, milk, blueberries p, and yogurt.

I ate an early lunch of Bibb lettuce, 3 oz. of Gravad Lax, capers, tomatoes, a diced dill pickle, celery and dressed with IKEA Lax sauce and olive oil.

Then a two hour mediation and then home where I distributed some member’s share of the sale of the land in California.

I worked until 7:30 on VinDacia.  Suzette heated the PPI Pork and Sauerkraut and we drank a can of Marble Double White with dinner.

I ate mine with two slices of polenta.  Suzette did not add any polenta to her bowl of pork and sauerkraut.

After dinner we ate some peanuts.

At 9:30 we got into bed.

Bon Appetit

August 14, 2017 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner- New Recipe – Steamed and Sautéed Pattypan Squash and Grilled Lamb Chops with Steamed Asparagus

August 14, 2017 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner- New Recipe – Steamed and Sautéed Pattypan Squash and Grilled Lamb Chops with Steamed Asparagus

I ate ½ of an onion bagel smeared with goat cheese and garnished with slices of onion for breakfast.

Then we rode to Campbell Rd. and back.

I went to the bank at 1:00 and then the one block to Amerasia for a quick Dim Sum meal of Steamed Buns filled with BBQ Pork and bean paste (Cha Siu Bao) made with fluffy yeasted Chinese Milk Bread and a small bowl filled with wedges of deep fried tofu filled wood ear and shiitake mushroom that have been rehydrated and cooked in a salty broth.

Hyangmi, who bought the restaurant from Mickey years ago and moved it to its new location at 800 3rd St. NW has known me since she began serving me dim sum at Amerasia thirty years ago, so she usually offers me a little something extra, which I notice that she does to almost everyone.  Today’s treat was a fried dumpling coated with sesame seeds and filled with a red plum bean paste.  The Cha Siu Bao  are my favorite.  I try to sit near the kitchen so I am the first to be served or order them rather than wait for the cart to reach me, so they are really warm.

After lunch I went home and worked until 6:30.

When I made it to the kitchen Suzette had already been to the garden and picked two pattypan squash and a handful of basil leaves.  She then cooked one of the squashes in the microwave for 7 minutes and then diced the pattypan squash and  ½ of an onion.  Then she sautéed the onion with a couple of minced cloves of garlic and the diced cubes of pattypan with butter and olive oil in a large skillet.  After a few minutes she added the chopped basil leaves and finished the dish with a large T. of honey.

She salted and peppered and grilled six lamb chops and grilled them for about fifteen minutes and brought them in and covered them with foil while she de-stemmed the tough ends off and steamed asparagus for about six minutes.

I went to the basement and fetched a bottle of 2013 Famille Perrin Reserve Red from Cotes Du Rhone, a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah grapes.  I prefer a red French Cotes Du Rhone or Spanish Rioja red with grilled lamb.

Willy arrived around 6:15 and we ate around 6:45.

This is the best squash dish I have eaten in a very long time, tender squash lightly sautéed with onion, garlic and basil leaves and a touch of honey.

After dinner Willy took a walk to the river and we went out into the front yard to see the most radiant sunset I have seen in years; a golden sky filled with clouds and streaks of gold.

I was still hungry so I toasted a piece of seven grain bread and smeared it with Skippy Smooth peanut butter and honey.

We then packed the wine carrying case with eight bottles of wine for the trip (3 champagnes, 2 reds, and 3 whites) and my surf shoes that I will wear to the beach and bike riding in Maine.  I then went to the bedroom and packed my suitcase with a few basics.

Willy said goodbye around 8:30 and we were in bed by 9:30.  We were both a bit sore from riding and a full day of work. Suzette went to sleep and I read Hidden Figures, this month’s book club selection until 11:00.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab and Salad, Dinner – Chicken in Scallion oil salad

August 13, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab and Salad,  Dinner – Chicken in Scallion oil salad

Today is a good example of prepping salad dressings and ingredients in advance.  I woke up at 6:30, put a bottle of Gruet Rose’ Sauvage into the fridge to chill, and ate my usual breakfast before 8:00.  I wanted to spend a leisurely lunch eating crab and salad ingredients and needed to make a dressing that would go well with both.  My favorite dressing/sauce for cold crab is a mayo mignonette sauce.

Mayo/Mignonette Sauce

Mignonette sauce is shallot, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

It has a rather bitter unpleasant taste to me and Suzette, but it has one redeeming quality, which is vinegar cooked shallot.  Here is the recipe: Mignonette sauce is a condiment usually made with minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar. It is traditionally served with raw oysters. Wikipedia

I have eliminated the pepper and salt and have taken the core concept behind the sauce to create a sauce we like very much that goes well with both crab and as a salad dressing.  It is perfect for the type of lunch we were having today, combining crab and salad ingredients.

I started by finely mincing a large shallot and covering it with about 2 T. of  lemon juice to cook it.  After about 10 minutes I added salt and pepper and about 2/3 cup of Mayonnaise.  I the added a medium tomato diced and about ½ tsp. of fresh minced tarragon. I put this sauce into the fridge at around 9:00 to allow it to congeal a bit

At 10:15 we rode to Rio Bravo and back.  I took a shower and Suzette worked on her cabinet project in the garage.  Then a 11:45 I began organizing lunch.  I cleaned the crab and splitting in half and placed it on the Chinese steel tray Suzette fetched.  We then filled plates with assorted salad ingredients: carrot sticks, celery sticks, round of Armenian cucumber, radish wedges and wedges of a red and a yellow tomato from our garden and a couple leaves of romaine lettuce.  Suzette filled the ice bucket with ice and water and placed the chilled bottle of Sauvage in the bucket.  We then took everything out to the table in the garden and had a wonderful lunch.  Suzette thought the Sauvage Rose’ is a little over rated but I enjoyed its clean dry taste with the crab.  It has only a residual Pinot Noir flavor, so it does not interfere with the delicate crab flavor.

We filled pieces of lettuce with crab and dipped them in the sauce to make crab wraps.

After lunch I lay down for a nap and Suzette went down the alley and picked 8 ripe figs from our neighbor’s bush and the went shopping.

I was abruptly awaken at 4:38 by the noise of a lawnmower outside my window.  It was Mario mowing the lawn.

I walked outside after he finished mowing and asked him to screw the wine rack Suzette had bought into the wall in the basement wine cellar.  Mario fetched his drill and expertly screwed the three supports into the wall and then connected them with additional screws to the wine rack to secure it to the wall.

When Suzette came home I was emptying cases of wine and stacking bottles of wine into the four wine racks in the wine cellar.  She helped me and finally after about an hour  we emptied the six or seven cases of wine.

Chicken and Scallion oil Salad.

We rested a bit but at 6:30ish I started dinner.

I had seen a recipe for what appeared to be a delicious and healthy salad in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine and one for which we had all the ingredients, except the lettuce.  Here is the picture and recipe:

So when I was at Costco on Saturday I bought a container of Bibb lettuce, which is Suzette’s favorite lettuce and the one used to make bowls for the salad.

We had 1 cooked chickenI breast, so I did not need to boil the chicken.  I started by diced the chicken breast and placing it in a bowl with ¼ cup of sliced green onion, 3 T. of finely minced fresh ginger, and 3 T. grape seed oil and 1 T. of olive oil.  Then in a separate bowl I julienned about ½ cup each of Armenian cucumber, carrot, radish and covered the vegetables with about 3 T. of rice wine vinegar.  I let both bowls sit for about ½ hour so the flavors would blend and the vegetables would pickle a bit.

Suzette made two heads of Bibb lettuce into bowls by removing inner leaves.  Then she hulled about 1/3 cup of roasted peanuts and fetched the cilantro.  We had found a case of ginger beer in the basement and we chilled two bottles of it in the freezer to drink with dinner.

After a Suzette took a shower we assembled the salad, first chicken in the ginger scallion oil, then the pickled vegetables and some of the rice wine vinegar, and finally some crushed roasted peanuts and leaves of fresh cilantro.

It was a delicious and healthy salad an fun to not cook for a change.

The pickled vegetables 

                   The crushed peanuts

After dinner Suzette stuffed the figs with goat cheese and we poured out the last of the six grapes port that Linda and T. R. had given us.

Suzette had worked all day, so after watching Stage 4 of the Colorado Bike Race, she went to bed at 9:00 and I followed at 9:20.

Bon Appetit

August 12, 2017 Lunch – PPI Chirashi Donburi.  Dinner – New Recipe Suzette’s Baked Stuffed Squash with Caprese Salad

This was a easy food day for me.  We did not ride today. At 9:30 I ate my usual breakfast of granola, yogurt, blueberries and a dash of milk allowed to sit for a few minutes until the milk converts into a light yogurt from contact with the yogurt.  This organic chemistry in a bowl never ceases to amaze me and I love the resulting creamy yogurt formed by the bacterial action.

Here is a simple chemical description.

Yogurt forms when bacteria ferment the sugar lactose (C12H22O11) into lactic acid (C3H6O3). The lactic acid makes the milk more acidic (lower the pH), causing the proteins in milk to coagulate. ... There is no simple chemical equation for yogurt production since multiple reactions occur.

At 11:30 I became hungry but Steve was on his way, so I made a cup of coffee and hot chocolate with the newly repaired Miele coffee machine, a bag of Carnation cocoa mix, some heated milk and some hot water.  I was delicious and filling.

I worked with a Steve until 2:00.  I then ate the other half of yesterday’s lunch of Chirashi Donburi that I brought home with two additions that made it better.  The sushi rice was rather dry yesterday so today I drizzled a tsp. of Japanese rice vinegar and a tsp. of Aji Mirin on the approximately 1/2 cup of rice, which made it moist and gave it the sushi rice flavor I like.  I also took the bag of Armenian cucumber sticks from the fridge and dipped some into the soy sauce and wasabi dipping sauce.  Instead of throwing out the PPI dipping sauce when I finished lunch I poured the approximately 1 T. of sauce into the bag of cucumber sticks to see what happens.

At 4:00 after talking with Luke for a few minutes, I called Suzette to ask her if she wanted a Dungeness crab and champagne for brunch on Sunday.  She said, “That would be nice.”

So I drove to Costco at 4:15.  It was crowded with what appeared to by out of town folks shopping, which made it fun and a little crazy with lots of near misses of carts and people, several of which I precipitated as I made stops and turns as I remembered items I needed.  I found a nice 1.8 lb. Dungeness crab ($7.99/lb. frozen) and then bought a three pack of butter lettuce because I saw a recipe in Suzette’s new “Martha Stewart Living” for a chicken salad with carrots and other ingredients dressed in scallion oil in a bowl made from several leaves of butter lettuce that looked attractive.  I also replenished our peanut butter and Nutella.  Actually my dual purpose for going to Costco was the $3.50 coupon on a two pack of Nutella that normally sells for $11.99.

In the meat department after buying the crab I saw that boneless pork steaks were offered for $2.69/lb. with a $3.00 per pack discount so I bought a 5 lb. package of them.  I then looked at the Australian lamb and saw that nice lamb chops were $6.99/lb. which seemed to be a $1.00 cheaper than usual, so I bought a package of 10 of those also. We needed AA batteries, so I bought a box of them also.

When I arrived home around 5:30 Suzette was in the kitchen sautéing the diced chicken breast, onion, apple, asparagus, and pecan stuffing for her squash dish.  I helped her slice the top off two turban shaped squashes she brought from her organic garden in Los Lunas that she had baked a bit in the microwave to soften.  She then removed the seed core and stuffed each squash with the stuffing.  There was lots of stuffing left so she made a mound of stuffing in the baking pan and baked the extra stuffing with the squashes for 45 minutes.  I retired to our bed while she cooked and ordered two books for the book club on Kindle to read on our vacation, Hidden Figures by Shetterley and
Alexander Hamilton by Chernow.  Suzette called me to the kitchen when about ten minutes of baking time was left.  She was putting the finishing touches on a Caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes from her Los Luna garden, fresh mozzarella slices from Costco, fresh leaves of basil from our garden, and a balsamic and olive oil dressing that she plated.

She poured out the ½ bottle of La Granja white Spanish Viura and Verdejo grape blend.

When the squash timer went off we removed the squashes and added one to each plate and distributed the pile of extra stuffing between the two plates.  We carried out plates to the garden table and enjoyed a leisurely dinner.  The thing I liked best was the crispness of the pecans in the extra stuffing pile that had been baked to a tasty crispness.  My second favorite thing was the new squash that had a firm dense texture.  The loose stuffing made a nice contrast and complemented the squash’s earthiness.

The wine was fine although the density of the squash somewhat overpowered both the stuffing and the wine.  Suzette said, “I could have added more butter.”  I said, “No, I like it as it is.”  The extra stuffing was just enough to add to pieces of squash until I had eaten everything on my plate.  Suzette finished about 80% of her squash.

I had not drunk my four cups of water for the day, so after dinner I found drinking three glasses of water enjoyable and helpful in digesting the heavy squash dinner.

We watched the August 11, 2017 Bill Maher show with Fareed Zacharia and Joe Meacham.  It was wonderful to witness an animated 20 to 30 minute conversation engaged in by three clever, insightful commentators on current affairs.

After dinner we each husked, peeled, and ate about ¼ cup of peanuts that probably burned more calories than the peanuts contained.  More importantly, it satisfied a desire for dessert.

At 10:00 Suzette sent me the Amazon email sent to her phone from the Amazon Kindle store and went to bed after her big day of helping set up and run the concert and lunch in the Park at the Center for Ageless Living.

I then downloaded the two new books I ordered and began reading “Hidden Figures”.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 11, 2017 Lunch –Azuma. Dinner- New Recipe. Shrimp Scampi Primavera with Squash Noodles

August 11, 2017 Lunch –Azuma. Dinner- New Recipe. Shrimp Scampi Primavera with Squash Noodles

I had the usual breakfast and we then rode to Montano and back.  I worked until 11:30 when I got a hankering for sashimi, so I drove to Azuma and ordered my favorite, Chirashi Donburi with 12 pieces of sashimi on a bed of sushi rice plus egg omelet and a stalk of asparagus and several slices of omelet plus Miso soup and green tea.  I only ate one half of the pieces of sashimi and ¼ of the rice and took the rest home for lunch tomorrow.

Then I drove home and worked until 5:00.

I took a lb. of 16 to 20 count shrimp out of the freezer at 5:00.  When Suzette arrived at 6:00 with a bag full of fresh tomatoes and squashes from her organic garden at the Center for Ageless Living we decided to make Shrimp scampi with tomatoes, squash noodles, capers, onion, and basil for dinner.  We have become very fond of substituting strips of squash for pasta in our endeavor to avoid needless carbs and to enjoy the bounty of Summer.  Suzette brought home a long yellow squash and we had two pieces of a large green squash from our garden.  The large green squash had a thick skin that I removed with a knife.  Then I used a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips of the squashes until I had sliced the yellow and green squashes into about 1 lb. of slices, which Suzette put into a Pyrex baking dish with a bit of water and covered with Saran so it could be cooked in the microwave when we were ready to eat.

Shrimp Scampi

We then turned our attention to the shrimp scampi.
Suzette placed the half frozen shrimp in a colander and ran water over the heads off shrimp until they thawed.  Then she removed their shells.  They had been split open at the top of the shell and an incision made to remove the vein of excrement at the top of each shrimp, so they were perfect for Scampi because you want an incision on the top of the shrimp so it will butterfly open when cooked.

Suzette chopped two tiger tomatoes and two red tomatoes while I diced ½ of a medium onion and minced three medium cloves of garlic.

Suzette started sautéing the onion and garlic in butter and olive oil in a large skillet after fetching me the PPI basil I had picked last night in the garden.  I removed the leaves and chopped them roughly into about 2 T. and added them to the skillet that Suzette had added the tomatoes to and then I added 2 tsp. of capers to the skillet.

Suzette said there was a chilled bottle of wine in the garage, so I fetched it. It was a bottle of 2010 Toulouse Rose’ of Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California that we had bought at the winery when we visited during the Pinot Festival five or six years ago.  Suzette was thrilled when I reminded her and she remembered Tasting and buying the wine, which was shipped to our home by the winery and had gotten lost among the cases of wine in the cellar until I found it recently.  Suzette opened the bottle of chilled rose’ and poured us small glasses of it.  It tasted fantastic.  It had lost much of its youthful edginess and fruitiness but had developed a deep clarity of Pinot Noir flavor that we both found profoundly pleasing.

 Suzette then added the shrimp to the skillet and put the squash noodles in the microwave and cooked them both for a couple of minutes until tender while I shaved several slices of Pecorino Romano cheese with a cheese slicer and we were ready to eat.

   The scampi with a couple of cheese slices in the middle and at the bottom squash noodles

                        Some of the tomatoes from the Center and a piece of the green squash from our garden

We decided to eat inside because it had recently rained and because it was a bit after 6:00 and we enjoy watching Shields and Brooks on the PBS Newshour on Friday night, although this evening it was Ruth Marcus and David Brooks, both of whom have lovely self deprecating personalities that drive their opinion home softly rather than with the usual high pitched rant of so many other news commentators.

So we ate inside.

Suzette plated a pile of squash noodles on each of our plates and we each scooped the shrimp scampi

mixture onto the noodles.

This was a great meal.  We both loved the succulent fresh steamed squash noodles far better than pasta.  The shrimps were also were succulent with a slight chewiness and yet tender.  The mixture of capers and basil in the tomato and squash sauce created the perfect flavor matrix for the shrimp.  We loved the dish, especially with glasses of the rose’.

Let me explain my feelings about Pinot Noir.  My favorite way to drink pinot Noir is in the form of
rose’ wine, except in rare occasions, when I prefer red Pinot, like with French cheeses or red meat dinners such as Boeuf Bourguignon in the winter.

I have two favorite Pinot growing areas, Anderson Valley in Northern California and Burgundy in France.  They are remarkably similar.  They both have mild cool microclimates and regular and abundant rainfall.  This produces a light elegant Pinot Noir.  As one of the winery owners in Anderson Valley told us, “Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon growers have gravitated to Napa and Sonoma and the Pinot growers have gravitated to Anderson Valley.”

I know there are those who prefer a huge heavy Pinot Noir with lots of assertiveness prefer pinots from the Willamette Valley, especially from the Dundee Hills, but I prefer a lighter more delicate and fruity Pinot.  Anderson Valley vineyards were actually carved out of a Coastal Redwood forest in a valley wide enough to create large fields with most of the best growing area located less than twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean, so it has the redwood microclimate that is due in part to the cooling fog that rolls in almost every evening from the ocean.  The climate is almost the same in Burgundy, long days of light drizzling rain that the Pinot grapes love.

After dinner I fell off the wagon and sipped a grappa and then a Trimbach Grande a Reserve Plum Brandy with a couple of oz. of milk chocolate flavored with candied orange peel as we watched episodes of recent Bill Maher and John Oliver shows.

Bon Appetit

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 10, 2017. Lunch – Vinaigrette. Dinner – Greenhouse Bistro Roasted Chicken with garden salad and Sautéed squash

August 10, 2017. Lunch – Vinaigrette. Dinner – Greenhouse Bistro Roasted Chicken with garden salad and Sautéed squash

I ate my usual breakfast and at 7:00 we rode to Rio Bravo and back.

Then at 11:30 Willy called looking for his UBC transcript, which I found and then I picked him up to deliver it to him and take him to lunch at Vinaigrette.  I ordered my usual Frisee Salad, which is a plate of Frisée tossed with crisp pancetta lardons and topped with a poached egg and dressed with a light vinaigrette dressing.  Willy ordered ½ of an Omega salad with a sandwich and a non-alcoholic carrot, club soda, and ginger drink.   The waitress also brought a basket of fresh focaccia bread and a bottle of olive oil.

After we enjoyed our lunch I drove Willy back to work and then drove to Bill Turner’s office to sign a document and talk to Bill.

At 2:30 I  headed home, found out the bad news about the stock market, and worked until 4:00 when I listened to Jim Cramer’s comments about the day’s activity.

The Comcast cable failed at 5:00 so I went to the garden and picked lettuce and two small tomatoes for ½ hour and read for the other ½ hour until 6:00. I went to the kitchen at 6:00 and prepped the squash dish by peeling and dicing two pieces of green squash from our garden and dicing the large yellow with a thin skin from Suzette’s organic garden in Los Lunas.  I the added ½ diced medium
onion, and as Suzette arrived with a roasted chicken from her Greenhouse Bistro and bakery in Los Lunas, I minced four small cloves of garlic from our garden.

I then went to the garden and picked nine leaves of sage, topped about ten heads of basil, and picked about ten stalks of oregano growing into the garden path.

When I returned to the house a Suzette had begun to sauté the squash, onion, and garlic with a tsp. of salt and a grind of fresh black pepper in  butter and olive oil.  I sliced the sage and basil leaves and removed the oregano leaves from their stalks and roughly chopped them into about ¼ cup of oregano leaves and added the fresh herbs to the skillet of squash ingredients.1

Suzette sliced the three small tomatoes from our garden and made a dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and blue cheese (the American brand at Costco) and dressed the salad.

At 4:00 I had put a bottle of La Granja white blend of Viura and Verdejo grapes (Trader Joe’s $4.99?) in the freezer to chill and when the dinner was ready at about 6:30 she tore of the leg quarters from the chicken and plated them with the sautéed squash dish.  I poured glasses of chilled white Spanish wine and we carried the plates, salad, and glasses of wine to the gazebo in the garden for an al fresco dinner in the cool glow of this late summer sunset.

After dinner we returned to the house.  The cable had been repaired so we ate ramekins of clafoutis garnished with whipped cream, with shots of cognac for a Suzette and Calvados for me with a cup of Earl Grey tea as we watched Rachel Maddow’s take on the day’s news. Our preferred cognac is
Chatelier VS for $19.95 at Trader Joe's.  My preferred Calvados is Berneroy XO at Trader Joe's for $29.95.

I went to bed at 8:30 but woke up at 12:30.  So much for trying to get ten hours of sleep.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 9, 2017 Lunch – PPI Squash Lasagna. Dinner – Pork, Apples, and Sauerkraut

August 9, 2017 Lunch – PPI Squash Lasagna.  Dinner –
Pork, Apples, and Sauerkraut

This was not a very exciting food day.  I had my usual breakfast.

I worked until lunch and ate a quick re-heated PPI squash casserole.

Then I ran errands until 3:30.  My last stop was Costco, where I bought a 24 oz. jar of organic Sauerkraut a small wheel of Brie cheese from Isigny Ste. Mere, Normandy.  I called Suzette, who is the true German cook and she told me, “Put the meat on the bottom of the enameled casserole and cover it with the sauerkraut.”

When I got home I diced a medium onion and two apples and placed the two pork chops, the two bratwurst, and the lb. of PPI roasted pig left from my 70th birthday party in the casserole, spread the diced onion and apple on top and covered all of the ingredients with the sauerkraut, which filled the casserole.  I covered the casserole, added about 1 cup of water and simmered the casserole on the stove at low heat for three hours.

I chilled a bottle of Gruet Tamaya Vineyard Rose’ but it did not completely chill by 7:00,, so we had to add ice to it which diluted it.

It is such a light delicate wine that it should be served chilled without adding any ice.

We heated up a container of whipped cauliflower and Willy came over, so we sautéed six slices of prepared polenta with olive oil and garlic.

Suzette bought snow peas at Sprouts and we steamed them.

We plated our plates with cauliflower, slices of polenta, and spoonfuls of pork and Sauerkraut.

It was not a great meal, as Suzette said, “It was something different.”

I can not quite get used to the massive amounts of vinegar in this German dish.  

Bon Appetit