Monday, August 20, 2018

August 20, 2018 Lunch – Pho Miso Chicken Dumpling and Pork Soup. Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops, Purple Potato Salad, Steamed Sugar Snap Peas, and Boiled Corn on the Cob

August 20, 2018 Lunch – Pho Miso Chicken Dumpling and Pork Soup. Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops, Purple Potato Salad, Steamed Sugar Snap Peas, and Boiled Corn on the Cob

I woke up at 8:00 and ate a bowl of granola, milk, blueberries and yogurt.

I went to ride but found my bike had a flat tire, so at 10:00 I drove up it to the bike shop and left it.

I then drove to Smith’s with the weekly special flyer and bought four bane in rib steaks for $5.77/lb., two 2 lb. bags of peeled large shrimp for $6.99/lb., a lb. of Asparagus for $1.88/lb., two large avocados for $.99 each, a gallon of milk, and a 1 lb. bag of sweet mini bell peppers for $2.99.

I then drove home and put up the groceries.

It was after 11:30 and I was hungry so I decided to make a soup.  I had the PPI pork, Apple, and onion tapa and the bok Choy, Apple, and raisin tapa.

I heated 2/3 of a 2 quart sauce pan of water and added ½ T. of seaweed, a cube of Pho seasoning, a diced slice of Vidalia onion, two sliced mushrooms, and two sliced and diced leaves of bok Choy.  As it heated, I added 1 T. of Red Miso, eight mini pre-cooked chicken dumplings, and the 16 oz. container of PPI pork, apple, and onion tapa and the bok Choy, Apple, and raisin tapa plus 1 ½ T. of Chinese Cooking wine and ½ T. of sesame oil. I had to fish the 1/3 lb. piece of roasted Pork out of the soup and dice it.

This was a very easy lunch to prepare because much of it was already prepped, cooked, and seasoned due to the use of two PPI dishes and the pre-cooked dumplings that only required 5 minutes to prepare.

In about ten minutes as soon as the onion, seaweed, and mushrooms cooked I was ready to eat.

Suzette arrived at around 4:00 from her shopping trip to Costco for the Center.  At 4:30 I checked in with Willy on dinner and he said he would arrive around 7:00.

So at 6:50 Suzette went to the garage and fetched the 4 fresh ears of corn and shucked them.  She also cleaned the sugar snap peas and put them into the steamer with water. I Fetched the big pot and filled it with water and Suzette put the 4 ears of corn into it and I put it on the stove and turned on the heat to start the corn pot boiling.

I then went to the basement and found a bottle of 2014 Valreas Prestige Appellation Cotes Du Rhone Village Controlee and put it in the fridge to chill a bit.

Suzette salted and peppered the 10 lamb chops and put them on the grill, when Willy arrived riding his new mountain bike.  We admired him practicing wheelies while the lamb, sugar snap peas, and corn cooked.

I fetched the purple potato salad from the fridge to let it comet onward room temperature.

When Suzette brought the grilled chops in, we each served ourselves.  I did not take any potato salad, so my dish was not as colorful as the others, but here is a photo of it.

The lamb chops were perfectly grilled because Suzette cooked them on three sides including the bone side down on the grill that cooked the internal portion near the bone.

I poured glasses of red wine and we also drank cold water with our dinner.

Willy left after dinner and we watched a video of a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert from the 60’s on PBS and a bit of Lawrence O’Donnell and went to bed at 9:00.

Bon Appetit

August 19, 2018 Brunch – Crab and shrimp Salad Filled Avocados with Kale and Caprese Salad. Dinner – High Desert Shell Club

August 19, 2018 Brunch – Crab and shrimp Salad Filled Avocados with Kale and Caprese Salad. Dinner – High Desert Shell Club

I awakened at 7:00 and started watching the news shows and toasted a wholewheat bagel and spread cream cheese on it and slices of Vidalia onion and Lax and dotted it with about six capers which I ate with a cup of Earl Grey chai tea.

Then I made the

Dressing for the crab and Shrimp salad.

Last night I finely minced a medium shallot (approximately 1 ½ T.) and covered the pieces with Italian Volcano lemon juice bought at Costco (approximately 1/4 cup).  This morning the red in the skin of the shallot had bled into the lemon juice, which I took as a good sign that the shallot had become pickled.  I added 1 cup of mayo to the shallot/lemon mixture and whisked it until the texture was smooth without any lumps.  Then I added the PPI ¼ cup of salad dressing a Suzette had made last night with apple cider vinegar, honey, and mayo.

Suzette then went to the garden and picked several stalks of tarragon and I de-stemmed about 1 T. of leaves and added them to the dressing.  I covered the dressing with Saran and put it in the fridge to mix flavors.

Fig Clafoutis

We then turned our attention to the Clafoutis.  Suzette selected approximately four cups of white and mission figs and sliced them into halves and I sprinkled them with 1 T. of Grand Marnier and 1 ½ T. of cognac and put them to the side.  I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees on a baking setting.

Suzette then buttered a ceramic baking dish and coated the butter with granulated sugar.

Then I measured  2 cups of heavy cream and 1 ½ cups of half and half into a sauce pan and heated it until it came to a boil and started to form a bubbly crown and turned it off and allowed it to cool.

I measured 10 T. of white all purpose flour, 12 T. of powdered sugar, and ½ tsp. of salt into a large mixing bowl and stirred to mix thoroughly. I then whisked 5 large eggs and added them to to the bowl of dry ingredients.  Then I poured the scalded milk mixture through I strainer to keep the gooey accumulation of butter fat from falling into the mixing bowl of ingredients and whisked the mixture to mix all ingredients .

We then put the ceramic dish on an aluminum baking pan and poured in the stirred custard mixture and then added enough figs and their marinating liquid of cognac and Grand Marnier to fill the ceramic baking dish to within ¼ inch of the top edge.

We then put the baking dish on its baking pan into the oven and baked it for 1 hour.

Here is a picture of the result.


The Crab and Shrimp Salad

Suzette then went to the garage and fetched a 1 lb. bag of large shrimp and thawed them in warm water.  Then she boiled the shrimp in a pot of water seasoned with thyme, a bay leaf and some lemon juice until cooked.

Suzette then diced about ¾ lb. of shrimp and mixed them with the 1 lb. of Phillips Lump crab meat we had bought at Costco yesterday for $16.99 and added the dressing.  The shrimp were de-veined and the shells split open at the top, which makes me believe they were bought at Albertsons.

At 10:00 I took a shower and dressed.  When I returned to the kitchen I found plates spread with Caprese salad (slices of red and green tomatoes grown in her garden at the Center separated by slices of thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves) on one 1/3 of the plate and saw that Suzette had filled the large appetizer platter with fresh figs we had picked in the neighborhood stuffed with a dab of goat cheese (we had bought at Costco yesterday) and squares of peach and blueberry Clafoutis.

I heard voices in the garden and went to investigate and found Cynthia and Ricardo and Suzette conversing and sipping glasses of lItalian Prosecco (they had bought at Trader Joe’s) at the table under the gazebo in the garden.  I joined them and we sipped and talked until we finished the Prosecco.

We decided to serve lunch.  Cynthia had brought a kale salad so she spooned a small pile of that onto each plate, leaving room for two avocado halves covered with crab and shrimp salad on the other 1/3.

We filled water glasses with water and I took a bottle of chilled Gruet Brut Rose, the water glasses, and our plates of salads to the table under the gazebo.  We ate and talked until about noon.

Then I fetched the dessert platter and a bottle of Gruet still Rose’ and filled the glasses again.

We said goodbye to them around 1:00 and I lay down to read and nap and slept until 4:00.  When I got up I called Tom and found out the Shell club meeting was at 5:00 so Suzette stopped her menu planning and dressed and we grabbed a bottle of Vino Real Rioja Reserva and the fig Clafoutis and drove to Donnie and Tom’s house in northern Rio Rancho.

When we arrived Mike, Bruce, and Charles had already arrived.  Mike is the exhibitions curator at the Science and History Museum, Bruce is the Science and Engineering Librarian at Texas A & M, and Charles, I think, is a research paleontologist at the Science and History Museum currently working on preparing the newly found Bisti Badlands 72 million year old mollusks for display.  Charles is a new member of the club.  Tom is the leader of our High Desert Shell Club and editor of the Conchologist, the Conchologists of America! Quarterly publication.  Tom wrote the book on the genus Nerites or Neritidae and Bruce helped write the book on the genus Epidoniidae  or
, so both are world class experts on shells.  Tom has over 9000 different species of shells in his collection.  Although small our club is very distinguished with world experts on shells, so it is always interesting to attend the meetings, which are now once or twice a year.

After we arrived Laura, our other member arrived with two bottles of red wine from her sister’ Gold Medal Wine Club in California, one a Cab and the other a blend.

Tom and Donnie had prepared a buffet dinner of a whole roasted beef tender; a squash, corn, bell pepper, and cheese casserole, a spinach salad, roasted potatoes and onions.  After talking a while and holding the 72 million year old Clams, we served ourselves and sat at the long dining table set up in the den beside the saltwater aquarium.  I collect cowries, so I took four tiger cowries and a panther cowrie from my collection so we could compare the newly identified sub-species of cowrie by Lorenz in his new book, Tigris Pardalis Shaw 1795 to the species nominate Shell, Tigris Tigris, which is locally found in Cebu, Philippines.  There are several other sub-species of which I have a couple.  I am excited to get Lorena’s new book, published in May, and identify my shells.  On casual observation the one we thought might be Pardalis had a more pyriform shaped Shell. I did not have the collection data on all the tiger cowrie shells so we had to guess as to which were from Cebu.

Here is a picture of the two different shells, I think.  Tiger Pardalis is on the left.  Tiger tiger is on the right.

After dinner Suzette and Donnie served plates of dessert; a slice of a lovely key lime pie that Charles brought and a piece of our fig clafoutis.

At 9:00 Suzette and I began to fade and excused ourselves, which appeared to signal the end of the party.

We went home and crawled into bed after a full day of food and parties.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 18, 2018 Breakfast - deconstructed egg sandwich. Lunch – Costco Hotdog Dinner – Grilled Bratwursts, Sautéed Cipolini Onions and Saurkraut, and Purple Potato Salad

August 18, 2018 Breakfast - deconstructed egg sandwich. Lunch – Costco Hotdog  Dinner – Grilled Bratwursts, Sautéed Cipolini Onions and Saurkraut, and Purple Potato Salad

I suggested bacon and eggs for breakfast.  Suzette offered an amendment of adding fresh tomato slices from one of the beautiful tomatoes picked in her organic garden at the Center in Los Lunas.  I fried three slices of bacon while Suzette sliced the tomato.  Then Suzette took over and cooked three whisked eggs while I toasted a slice of whole wheat bread, covered it with slices of Cahill Irish cheddar cheese and then melted the cheese in the microwave.

Here is a picture.

We then rested until 10:00, when we went to the candy store and met with Mario to get the gates fixed, the trash and the weeds cleared.

After we got the clean up plan in motion at 11:45 Suzette andI drove to Costco where we looked for Dungeness crab but found none.  We decided to change the menu to crabmeat stuffed avocado salads, we bought 1 lb. of crabmeat.  Then we bought chicken mini-dumplings, bratwursts and sauerkraut for dinner, two packages of lamb chops for next week, fresh mozzarella for a presentation salads and goat cheese for fresh fig desserts and a few other items.

While Suzette waited to check out I ate a hot dog.  Then we drove home.

The avocados at Costco were green, so after dropping off the groceries, we drove to El Super.  There were no avocados at El Super, but we bought a cauliflower, limes, and ginger root.

We then drove to Lowe’s where we finally found ripe avocados. We got 6 small avocados and a couple of bottles of tonic water.

When we returned home I napped until 4:00 when Willy called and rode his bike over.  He put his bike into the Prius and we drove to the Bike Coop.  Greg agreed to take the bike on  consignment for sale.  We then drove to the Trek Superstore on Menaul, where Willy ordered the new Marlin 6 mountain bike he wanted.

We arrived home at 5:00.  Suzette was hungry.  I offered to help prep the potato salad.  I diced a colander of purple potatoes, three stalks of celery, and ½ onion.  Suzette boiled 8 eggs and peeled 4 that I diced with our egg cutter, while Suzette made a dressing with mayo, apple cider vinegar, and
sugar that she then folded into the potato salad ingredients.

Suzette then grilled 6 brats and sautéed cipolini onions from her garden in Los Lunas and the sauerkraut.

We ate a lovely dinner of brats, sautéed sauerkraut and onions with potato salad.  Suzette and I drank Warsteiner Oktoberfest beer.

Suzette went to bed and I stayed up to watch “Red Tails” about the Tuskegee airmen.

Bon Appetit

August 17, 2018 Lunch – Salmon Salad. Neighborhood Cocktail Party

August 17, 2018 Lunch – Salmon Salad.  Neighborhood Cocktail Party

I did not ride this morning so I ate breakfast at 9:30, granola, mango, milk, and yogurt.

At 12:30 I made a salad with romaine lettuce, a diced tomato, the PPI teriyaki salmon, ¼ cucumber peeled and sliced, and a green onion sliced.  I dressed this simple salad with Cesar salad dressing.  It was delicious.

Suzette arrived a little after 5:00 and we started. I had a snack of Manchego cheese and summer sausage as we got ready for the party.  At 5:40 I realized iI had no crackers for the cheese board, so I drove to Bosque and bought two flat loaves of chibatta.  I sliced the blueberry and peach Clafoutis into 1 ½ x 1 ½ inch squares and put them on Suzette’s new appetizer platter and suzette put out the cheeses on the Texas cheese board while I sliced one of the chibattas and put it into a basket with several ak mom crackers and wrapped them in a napkin.  The chibatta was wonderful, fresh with a slightly crisp crust and soft on the inside with just a hint of olive oil.

I also filled a bowl with shelled and salted pistachios and another with chocolate covered raisins.  The cheeses were Brie, Iberico, Jarlsberg, Tomme de Savoie, a shallot flavored Boursin, and Cahill Irish chive Cheddar.

By 6:30 everything was ready and at 7:00 Gwen Poe, our first guest arrived.  Many of our other neighborhood friends came even though there was a pretty persistent drizzle; Kylene and Barry, Travis and Kathleen, Crystal and Doug, Diane and Jim, Janis and her new neighbor, Robin, Todd, Megan, and Harvey and Chris.

Everyone brought a dish and a bottle of wine except, Gwen, who brought a container of fresh grape juice she had made and Todd, who brought a bottle of blood orange lemonade, which was very helpful, since we had no soft drinks.

Megan brought the most interesting wine, a Brander Sauvignon Blanc from the San Ynez Valley, she had bought at the winery when she visited.  I also really liked a New Zealand Pinot Noir that Robin brought.

There was a wide variety of food, including dolmas, meatballs, steamed asparagus and a sauce, a
chocolate cake, hummus, chips, and smoked salmon canapés.
At first everyone gathered on the patio where we set up the wine and beer but later as it started to drizzle everyone migrated to the dining room where the food was and I fetched bottles of wine as needed.

After a while when the humidity and temperature in the dining room increased we turned on the whole house fan and the temperature dropped almost immediately.  By 10:00 everyone except Jim and Diane left and we talked for a while longer.  They were interested in my Romanian wine business and Jim told us about his trip to Romania for a local festival.  Jim was in the Peace Corps, and has traveled extensively.

After Jim and Diane left we put up the cheeses and PPI Clafoutis and went to bed after a lovely evening.

Bon Appetit

Friday, August 17, 2018

August 16, 2018 Lunch – PPPI Mapo Dofu and Couscous Dinner – Voodle Lasagna with added spaghetti sauce

August 16, 2018 Lunch – PPPI Mapo Dofu and Couscous  Dinner – Voodle Lasagna with added spaghetti sauce

If you have good PPIs, why cook.

I started the day with a bowl of granola, ½ of a mango diced, milk, and yogurt and an 8 mike ride to the end of the big field south toward Rio Bravo.  It made me a bit sore for the rest of the day but I feel it is therapeutic and making me stronger.

I worked until noon and then went to the bank.  When I returned I ate a large plate of Mapo Dofu heaped on a pile of Couscous with a cup of green tea.

I began filing my out box until 2:30 and then read and napped from 3:15 until 4:00.  I then went to refill the propane tank for the gas grill.  Soon after I returned home, when Suzette arrived a bit after 5:0 we drove to Costco to buy stuff for the party tomorrow evening.  We bought plates and plastic cups and silverware.  We also bought whipped cream for the Clafoutis and Cahill Irish cheddar and a small wheel of Brie from D’ Isigny in Normandy, France , and two kinds of beer, a Warsteiner Oktoberfest and a San Adams Oktobertfest.  We also bought a lot of things for ourselves like a bottle of gin, a bottle of Mohua Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a bottle of King Estate Pinot Gris from The Willamette Valley in Oregon plus peanut butter and eggs.

We decided to eat our PPI lasagna rather than a Costco hotdog, so when we returned home at 7:30 I brought in the lasagna and pot of spaghetti sauce and we each placed a piece of lasagna in a pasta bowl
And covered it with more spaghetti sauce and heated it in the microwave and shaved several slices of Pecorino-Romano cheese on the top.

I opened a bottle of 2016 Barbera di Asti ($5.99 at Trader Joe’s), a very pleasant mild wine without a lot of acidity that complemented the acidity of the tomato sauce.

Willy called and came by just as we finished eating and ate the last piece of lasagna with sauce and we discussed the Candy store renovation.

After Willy left Suzette sipped a cognac and I sipped a Grappa as we watched news programs and went to bed.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15, 2018 Breakfast – PPI Chile Relleno, Beans, and Eggs. Dinner – PPI Scallops Provençal with Spinach

August 15, 2018 Breakfast – PPI Chile Relleno, Beans, and Eggs. Dinner – PPI Scallops Provençal with Spinach

This one of those rare days with no cooking or shopping.

Since I did not ride today, I did not eat a quick early breakfast at 7:30, but instead waited until 9:30.

I decided to eat the PPI Chile Relleno and Beans from Monday’s lunch at Padilla’s.  I put it on a plate and heated it on the sensor reheat function in the microwave.  While the Relleno was heating I fried two eggs over easy and made a cup of green tea. Here are a couple of pictures.

I was uncomfortable from all the green Chile so at 1:00 I drank a Modelo Especial beer as I helped Aaron with a project.

At 3:30 I ate a few bites of Mapo Dofu before driving to the bank.

Before I went to meditate at 5:45, I heated the PPI Scallops Provencal and spinach from dinner several days ago on a bed of Couscous.

Suzette arrived a bit after 5:00 hungry, so she heated a plate of Mapo Dofu.

When I returned at 7:00 I asked a Suzette if she was still hungry and she said, “No.”

So there was no need to cook dinner.

Around 8:30 I ate several slices of  Manchego cheese and then a few slices of Brie on buttered pieces of Swedish hardbread (knaeckebrod).

As I said, a rather uneventful food day, ther than eating a Chile Relleno for breakfast and a beer for lunch.

Bon Appetit

August 14, 2018 Lunch – Amore Dinner – Voodles Lasagna and Baked Asparagus

August 14, 2018 Lunch – Amore  Dinner – Voodles Lasagna and Baked Asparagus

I ate a bagel with Lax, cream cheese, onion slices, and capers with a cup of green tea for breakfast and then rode to Campbell Road.

Peter came at 12:00 to go to lunch.  We drove to Jay Rembe’s new Country Club Center on Central. The new restaurant was still not open, so we walked around to the walkway in the middle of the complex to Amore.  Peter ordered a Fresca pizza with fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese for $9.00 and a dash of aged balsamic vinegar for $.50.  I ordered a Rustica Salad with pieces of house made mozzarella, Italian salami, artichoke hearts, and pitted Nicoise olives.  There was a large table that ordered ahead of us so we had to wait about twenty minutes but it was worth the wait. Peter really liked the both dishes and thanked me for suggesting Amore.  Amore makes thin crust Neapolitan pizzas and uses the freshest ingredients, so it is uniquely Italian in that sense and well worth a visit.

I had made a meat and mushroom spaghetti sauce last week that was so heavy it gave Suzette terrible nightmares.  So today I tried to fix the sauce.  I went to Lowe’s and bought two 24 oz. bottles of Spaghetti sauce for $3.00.

When I got home I added the two bottles of sauce to the spaghetti sauce with about 20 oz. of water, which doubled its volume and cooked the sauce on low heat starting at 3:30.

Then I diced four Roma tomatoes, a head of garlic (10 cloves), and sliced four mushrooms and sautéed them in olive oil and added eight basil leaves and five chive stalks finely sliced.  When the vegetables softened I added them to the sauce.

Suzette came home at 5:10, when I was starting to make voodles.

I removed the rough ends from two medium Mexican squash, quartered them and sliced each quarter into strips with a vegetable peeler.  We call the resulting strips of squash voodles and substitute them for pasta noodles.

Suzette then suggested we make a voodle lasagna.  After buttering and rubbing the bottom of a ceramic baking dish lay layers of  ingredients: voodles, spaghetti sauce, grated Jarlsberg, mushrooms, and sliced Vidalia onion,  spinach and purslane, then a layer of crema, then voodles, spaghetti sauce and finally slices of Pecorino- Romano cheese.

Here is the finished lasagna before it went into a 350 degree convection oven.

We had invited Aaron for dinner at 6:30, so we wanted a vegetable also and decided to bake asparagus in the oven.  Suzette snapped the ends off 18 stalks of asparagus and coated them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and placed them in a Pyrex baking dish and placed them in the oven at 6:20.

Suzette and I selected a bottle of 2014 Flor de Vino Chianti Classico Reserva from Tuscany, Italy that I recently bought at Trader Joe’s for $5.99.  This was a very good wine for the money. Wine of great complexity with light fruit and flower overtones, very drinkable.

Aaron arrived a bit after 6:30 and we immediately sat down and planned the trip.  I asked if Aaron wanted bread and when he said yes, I wrapped the ½ loaf of PPI multigrain bread In aluminum foil and placed it in the oven.

Finally, a little after 7:00 I suggested we eat.  When we took the lasagna out of the oven, it was perfectly cooked and the bread was heated, but still moist.  But the asparagus had wilted and given up most of their moisture.  They were not tough, just not tender and plump.

We all agreed that the wine was really good, especially for $5.99.  Also, we liked the vegetable heavy lasagna, because the vegetables are fresh and abundant.  We garnished the dish with pieces of shaved Reggiano-Romano cheese.

We also came up with a trip itinerary that combined tasting our Le Dans and Nori wines as they are being bottled along with visits to famous tourist spots in Romania, like the Danube Delta at the Black Sea and the Transylvanian Mountains in the north.

Aaron left at around 8:30 and we decided to eat the last of the Peach and cherry clafoutis.  Here is a picture of the last piece.

There is a fresh blueberry and peach clafoutis and I will make a two fig Clafoutis for the Neighborhood party on Friday evening.

We went to bed at 10:00.

Bon Appetit