Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 19, 2017. Brunch – BLT sandwiches. Dinner Party at Susan and Charlie’s

March 19, 2017. Brunch – BLT sandwiches.  Dinner Party at Susan and Charlie’s

We watched the news shows and then we made BLT sandwiches with fresh lettuce from the garden and freshly bought bacon from Costco on rye bread with slices of our last Roma tomato.  Then I drove to El Super, where I bought 1.4 lb. of 25-30 count shrimp for $5.99/lb., a pineapple, a 12 oz. bag of chips, a papaya, limes, 3 small avocados for $.99, 2 lemons for $.97/lb., 3 ataulfo mangos for $.99, a bag of super ripe Roma tomatoes for $.50/lb., 18 large eggs for $1.50, and a head of celery for $.50.  The idea is to make a tropical fruit salad and to make a gazpacho and boiled shrimp dinner.

Suzette painted cabinets and planted one of the raised beds with sugar snap pea seeds, while I worked on the eternal docketing statement.

I took a break around 2:30 and ate a bowl of Vichyssoise.

We took showers, dressed, grabbed the Vichyssoise, some salad, the tzatziki and a bottle of Cotes Du Rhone and walked over to Susan Charlie’s house.  Susan and I talked earlier and we agreed on lamb chops.  Susan had also bought a lovely apple and frangipan tart at Whole Foods and steamed asparagus and string beans.  We immediately decided to eliminate the salad .  We nibbled on pistachios and Boursin on crackers and sipped wine and talked as a Susan readied the meal.  Soon we took our wines to the table where bowls of Vichyssoise awaited us .  After we finished our bowls of soup, Susan brought two platters of lamb chops and the bowls filled with steamed asparagus and boiled string beans. Charlie had sous vided several lamb chops and Susan had marinated the rest of the ten or so chops in soy sauce for twenty minutes and then roasted them.  Both methods succeeded magnificently.  We each took scoops of tzatziki and dipped our bites of lamb into it.  The fresh rather fleshy asparagus were also delicious.  I stuffed myself with Susan’s delicately cooked lamb to rare andCharlie’s sous vide lamb cooked to medium rare, which actually was more tender and more red than Susan’s chops.  I suspect from the slow cooking sous vide method.

For dessert Susan served the apple frangipan tart with vanilla gelato and made hot tea.

After a lively discussion we said goodnight at 9:30.

Bon Appetit

March 20, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner Vichyssoise and Salad

March 20, 2017  Lunch – Azuma. Dinner Vichyssoise and Salad

I had a podiatry appointment at 11:00 after which I went to Azuma on Paseo because I had not eaten breakfast.  They would not make my favorite, the Chirashi Donburi with my favorite 12 pieces of seafood unless I paid extra, so I drove to my off favorite Azuma on San Mateo near Montgomery Plaza and ordered my usual with my favorite pieces of seafood plus a little seaweed salad band squid
March 20, 2017  Lunch – Azuma. Dinner Vichyssoise and Salad

I had a podiatry appointment at 11:00 after which I went to Azuma on Paseo because I had not eaten breakfast.  They would not make my favorite, the Chirashi Donburi with my favorite 12 pieces of seafood unless I paid extra, so I drove to my favorite Azuma on San Mateo near Montgomery Plaza and ordered my usual with my favorite pieces of seafood plus a little seaweed salad and squid salad and got it all just the way I like it and felt like I had made it back home to my family safely.   I ate ½ of my lunch and packed up the other ½ for later and drove home.
I
I finished my first edit of the docketing statement by 4:00.  I brought the corned beef in from the garage and put a shredded head of cabbage into the crock pot and then rode to Rio Bravo and back at 4:30.  I had a head wind riding south and a tail wind riding home, which is perfect.  You push hard on the way out and relax and get pushed back home on the way home.

Suzette was at home when I returned.  She informed me that the corned beef would not be ready for dinner because it took longer than three hours to cook cabbage in a crock pot and that we were missing the carrots and potatoes that needed to be cooked with the corned beef and cabbage.  How did I not know this?  Perhaps because I was not raised in a mostly German community in rural Pennsylvania?

So I peeled and diced three carrots, four medium potatoes, and a medium red onion and Suzette put them into the crock pot.

We decided to eat PPI Vichyssoise and a salad for dinner.  Suzette wanted to make croutons, so I diced and filled a 1 gallon freezer bag full of several day old Fano baguette. Suzette added olive oil and salt to coat the bread cubes, shook the bag to coat and then baked the bread cubes in the oven for about 15 minutes until they turned into golden brown croutons.  Willy called and I told him of the change in the menu and he joined us about 45 minutes later.  This gave us time to go to the garden to pick lettuce, for Suzette to immerse it in a sink full of cool water to wash it thoroughly, for me to cube an avocado and two Roma tomatoes, for Suzette to hard boil a dozen eggs for dill egg salad and to slice two of them and add the sliced eggs to the salad, and for me to slice and add 4 oz. of red onion.  Willy arrived and freshened the salad dressing by adding lemon juice and olive oil.  Suzette went to the garden and snipped a handful of chives, which I thinly sliced and the she went to the garage to fetch the bucket of Vichyssoise and filled soup bowls with the soup and tossed the salad.

We showed Willy the newly framed and hung art and he liked one of Suzette’s Chinese folk art paintings, which Suzette let him take to his apartment.  While we were talking in the living room, Luke called and we had a family chat for about fifteen minutes.

I then opened and poured glasses of white Cotes Du Rhone Famille Perrin 2014 ($6.99 at Trader Joe’s) and we were ready to eat.

We each filled salad bowls with salad and I sprinkled chives on top of the soup and we feasted as we watched Rachel Maddow’s coverage of the first day of the U.S. House’s Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian hacking into the 2016 election.  I had the same feeling I felt during Watergate.  That slow seismic shift of political power caused by the corruption of a Republican President.  I expect this will end the same way; with lots of folks going to jail and Trump being impeached.   It looks like Paul Ryan may be the winner in this re-enactment of the Republicans over zealous effort to win an election.

Willy loved the croutons and took a few extra for his second bowl of salad.

I went to bed at 9:00 after more art discussion. We are in the midst of Suzette examine the art we have stored in the closets and under beds and getting much of it framed.

Bon Appetit

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 15, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner - Hamburger Patties with string beans and sautéed onion.

March 15, 2017  Lunch – Azuma. Dinner - Hamburger Patties with string beans and sautéed onion.

The best thing that happened today is that the tenants at 524 Romero paid the rest and told me they were moving in to start their restaurant at the end of the month.  I was so thrilled I went to Azuma for a Chirashi Donburi lunch.  At $14.95 with a 10% discount for their VIP club and the ability to select the twelve pieces of seafood, it is the best sashimi value in town.  I requested and the new Chef put seaweed salad on my sushi rice this time.  I loved the cool fresh raw fish with the flavorful slightly sweet and vinegary sushi rice served as part of the dish.

I took home half of my lunch and drove to Fano Bakery on Mcleod and bought a fresh baguette for $3.00.

I rode to Campbell Road at 5:30.  When I returned home I found Suzette tired curled up in her chair watching TV.  I volunteered to cook.  I took two hamburgers out of the freezer and put them into the microwave for 4 minutes at 4 power to thaw and I overcooked them.  Suzette then informed me that the microwave has a defrost setting.  So I sliced an onion and sautéed it as Suzette de-stemmed a handful of haricot vert string beans.  I asked the string beans to the skillet with the onion slices and finally reheated the hamburgers with the other ingredients for a one skillet meal.  I poured the last of the open bottle of Tuella Red from the Douro region of Portugal.



The hamburgers tasted like hockey pucks but the rest of the ingredients were surprisingly tasty, except the edges of the onion slices had burned a bit.  Suzette did not like the wine either.

So we are capable of cooking bad meals.

Bon Appetit

March 14, 2017 Lunch – PPI Salmon Soufflé and Cesar salad. Dinner – Roasted Apple, Onion, and Pork Tenderloin Tapa with Catalan Chard and Mashed Potatoes

March 14, 2017 Lunch – PPI Salmon Soufflé and Cesar salad. Dinner – Roasted Apple, Onion, and Pork Tenderloin Tapa with Catalan Chard and Mashed Potatoes

Ioana came over this morning to work and we finished a little before noon so I invited her to join me for a salad.  At first she declined, so I made one of my Super Cesar salads with a diced tomato, 1/3 of a peeled cucumber diced, some croutons, some diced red onion and a few anchovies dressed with the eternal Cesar salad dressing we keep in the fridge and add olive oil and lemon too to keep it going.

After I made the salad I recalled that there was a small piece of PPI Salmon souffle from last night’s meal.  I heated it and Ioana and I split the salmon souffle and she ate a few bites of salad.  We went to the back yard and picked lettuce and fresh dill after lunch.

March 14, 2017 Lunch – PPI Salmon Soufflé and Cesar salad. Dinner – Roasted Apple, Onion, and Pork Tenderloin Tapa with Catalan Chard and Mashed Potatoes

Ioana came over this morning to work and we finished a little before noon so I invited her to join me for a salad.  At first she declined, so I made one of my Super Cesar salads with a diced tomato, 1/3 of a peeled cucumber diced, some croutons, some diced red onion and a few anchovies dressed with the eternal Cesar salad dressing we keep in the fridge and add olive oil and lemon too to keep it going.

After I made the salad I recalled that there was a small piece of PPI Salmon souffle from last night’s meal.  I heated it and Ioana and I split the salmon souffle and she ate a few bites of salad.  We went to the back yard and picked lettuce and fresh dill after lunch.

After our Brunch Mike called and suggested we go to lunch.  I said I had eaten but would he like to join us for dinner.  In the afternoon I thawed a two pack of Hormel pork tenderloins and called Suzette to let her know we were cooking this evening.

When Suzette arrived we agreed upon an all Jose Andres tapa menu by cooking the Catalan Spinach tapa with the Roasted Pork tapa and serving the PPI mashed Potatoes from last night’s meal with them.  I asked her what wind she preferred and Suzette said, “I like a Rose with this dish, so I chilled a bottle of Lagranja 100% Grenache Rose in the freezer (Trader Joe’s $5.99). This is currently my favorite Rose’ wine at that price and was a perfect complement to the pork dish.

I went to the garden and picked a full basket of chard plus six or seven sprigs of oregano and a garlic plant.

Suzette cleaned and destemmed the chard leaves while I sliced 1 Gala apple, the garlic plant, and one large brown onion into thin slices for the pork tapa and peeled, cored and diced another Gala apple for the Catalan Chard dish.

We started to cook at 6:30.

We started by sautéing the apple slices in olive oil in a long French copper sauté pan.  ThenSuzette added the onions and sautéed them with the apples until both were tender and stopped cooking until Mike arrived.  I butchered and sliced one of the tenders, but I sliced it into thinner slices than usual which meant we would need to cook the pork much more quickly.

When Mike came at 7:00 I poured us glasses of Spanish rose and we resumed cooking.  The Pork dish is a three step recipe.  First the apples and onions are sautéed in olive oil on the stove.  Then the pork and oregano is added to the pan and the pan is placed in the oven to roast the meat. Tonight we only roasted the pork at 300 degrees for ten minutes and it was overcooked a bit.  Then the pan is deglazed with ¼ cup of chicken stock and 2 T. of cognac.  Tonight we used Calvados.

Catalan Chard

This dish is easy.  You sauté ¼ cup of piñon nuts to golden brown. Then you add apple, raisins, and chard and sauté until cooked.

We heated the PPI mashed potatoes, poured more wine, and Suzette plated our plates with the three dishes.

What a lovely meal!  I loved every bite of it.

After I poured small amounts of Calvados into our wine glasses and served the chocolate covered orange peel candies we bought a Chez Mamou several weeks ago.  The candies were wonderful.  Bitter orange peel that had been glaceed (cooked inSyrup until it slightly crystallized) and then dipped into milk chocolate.  The Chef owner of Chez Mamou is a master pastry chef and a darn good chocolatier.

After a lovely meal, we said good night a little after 9:00.

Bon Appetit




March 13, 2017 Lunch – PPI Lamb Stew with Mashed Potatoes. Dinner – Salmon and Crab Souffle with sautéed Caramelized red onion and Kabocha Squash and mashed potatoes

March 13, 2017 Lunch – PPI Lamb Stew with Mashed Potatoes. Dinner – Salmon and Crab Souffle with sautéed Caramelized red onion and Kabocha Squash and mashed potatoes

In the morning Suzette and I were really pleased with how well the crab Souffle cooked in the steam oven yesterday.  We discussed making another souffle tonight with the 4 oz. of PPI crab.  We decided upon a salmon and crab Souffle.  We have struck on soufflés as a wonderful way to diet.  They have very few carbs and lots of protein, so are filling and healthy.

Here is the recipe that a Suzette used for the salmon Souffle.

Salmon Souffle

Prep Time: 15 minsTotal Time: 40 minsServings: 4-6


ABOUT THIS RECIPE
"This is an old stand-by in our house. It is so simple to make and everyone loves it. The glorious end result makes you look like a cooking star. I found the recipe years ago in my SIL's Harrowsmith cookbook."

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pepper ( to taste)

INGREDIENTS
1 (6 ounce) cans salmon, flaked and bones crushed
3 eggs, separated
DIRECTIONS
Melt butter in small sauce pan.
Add flour, milk, salt and pepper.
Boil until thick and then remove from heat.
Add salmon and slighty beaten egg yolks.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold inches.
Pour into greased souffle dish or other deep baking dish.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


NUTRITION FACTS
Serving Size: 1 (106 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving%Calories 244.3 Calories from Fat 14760%Amount Per Serving%Total Fat 16.3g25%Saturated Fat 8.3g41%Cholesterol 190.4mg63%Sugars 0.1 gSodium 772.5mg32%Total Carbohydrate 7.5g2%Dietary Fiber 0.1g0%Sugars 0.1 g0%Protein 16.1g32%

Kabocha and red onion sauté

I I diced ½ of a red onion and I cut the approximately 2 ½ lb. roasted Kabocha squash in half horizontally o expose all the seeds, which Suzette removed.  Then while Suzette sautéed the red onion in a large skillet with butter, olive oil and 1 T. of light brown sugar, I peeled and cubed ½ of the squash and added the cubes to the skillet to sauté.  I bought a large institutional container of marjoram recently and I have been adding a sprinkle to lots of dishes and I dusted the squash and red onion sauté with marjoram.

We also made mashed potatoes.  I peeled six small russet potatoes and Suzette diced them and boiled them until they were cooked to soft.  Then she puts them in the large bowl of the Kitchen Aid and mixes them with butter, cream, and salt and white pepper.

Willy joined us foe dinner just after Suzette took the salmon Soufflé out of the steaming oven.  This soufflé was a little drier than the crab soufflé we cooked yesterday because we cooked it a little longer, while we awaited Willy.  The soufflé’s edges were a little more toasted and darker did and were more stuck to the edge of the soufflé dish.

I had chilled a bottle of 2015 Pouilly- Fume from Appellation Pouilly Fume in the Loire Valley produced at the Les Champs des Plantes property that was an Albion Moriconi selection and carried a label identifying it as a finalist for a silver medal recommended bottle that cost $14.99 at Total Wine less 20%.  When I tasted it, it had a flat taste, neither fruity or any acidity, a very dead wine from any flavor perspective.  It added nothing to the enjoyment of the meal and I will never buy it again.  This is an example of one of Total Wine’s worst habits.  It buys a very ordinary wine and dresses up the wine with a property name and makes it a Moriconi selection and slaps a little silver label on it as if it is an exciting wine, when it is nothing special.  So you can not rely completely on the label at Total Wine especially for Vineyard Direct exclusive wines.  In fairness the really wonderful French wines like Kermit Lynch and Martine selections we drank at the Winter Wine Festival in Taos this year, all sell in the $40.00 to $50.00 price range.  So sometimes a bottle dressed up to look better than it is is still just an ordinary bottle of wine.

We loved our dinner.  I felt like we were having an intimate family dinner in a French Bistro.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 12, 2017 Brunch with Cynthia and Ricardo, Crab Soufflé with garden salad. Dinner – PPI Lamb Stew




March 12, 2017 Brunch with Cynthia and Ricardo, Crab Soufflé with garden salad. Dinner – PPI Lamb Stew

We invited Cynthia and Ricardo for Sunday Brunch and bocce. They arrived at 11:00 with special garlic and basil crackers from NY, bread slices and a cheese spread.  I opened a bag of marinated olives from Trader Joe’s and Ricardo made mimosas.

Crab Soufflé
 After a good game of bocce we retired to the kitchen and Suzette made a double recipe of crab soufflé.  I had thawed out the 1 lb. plastic container of lump crab meat I had bought at Sprouts several months ago for $10.99 yesterday.  She started by separating the whites from the yolks of  six eggs.  I then whipped the whites into stiff peaks while Suzette made a béchamel sauce with 4T. of butter and flour and I am not sure how much milk. I am not sure what recipe she used but there are a number of simple soufflé recipes on the internet. She took the béchamel sauce off the heat and after it cooled a bit Suzette added the 6 egg yolks and stirred them in.  She then folded in 12 oz. of crab meat.  Then she folded that mixture into the whipped egg whites with a large spatula. She then poured the mic tire into a buttered soufflé dish sufficiently large to hold the entire mixture, which nearly filled the dish.  I mentioned collaring the soufflé dish but Suzette rejected that idea.  She then placed the pan on the second level and cooked the soufflé in the new steam oven for 29 minutes. We sipped mimosas as we watched the soufflé rise a bit but not overflow the dish and then settle a bit as it stiffened as it cooked.  I was amazed that it did not overflow.

I made my favorite Cesar salad with fresh greens from the garden.  Suzette made fresh  croutons from some old Fano baguette by curbing them and the shaking them in a one gallon plastic freezer bag with salt, pepper, olive oil, and herbs and then baking them on a baking sheet in the oven with top and bottom heat.  I diced ½ cucumber, two Roma tomatoes, three or four oz. of red onion and shaved several oz. of Pecorino Romano cheese onto the salad.  We steamed about fifteen stalks of asparagus that I diced and put into the salad also. I revived the Cesar salad dressing with the juice of 1/3 lemon and about twice that amount of Sprouts Spanish olive oil.  Finally I rinsed off six or seven Roland salted Spanish anchovies from the 24 oz. can we bought at the Southwest wholesale food market located near Costco in the Renaissance Center across from the Smart car dealership.

Cynthia and Ricardo brought a quart jar full of fresh squeezed orange juice and a bottle of Cupcake Prosecco.  I opened a bottle of Jaume Serra Cristalino Extra dry (Total Wine $7.99 less 20%).  We drank a bottle of Lagranja Cava Brut with a 70% xarel-lo and 30% paradellada blend of grapes.  Both were Cavas from Catalan and both were made in the Traditional Method.  We plated our plates with crab Souffle and Cesar salad and grabbed our flutes of Cava and went to the gazebo in the garden for a warm sunny afternoon brunch.

Ricardo had a rehearsal at 2:00 so we said  goodbyes at 1:45.

We napped until 4:30.

We were not hungry, so we decided to eat the PPI lamb stew with PPI mashed potatoes.  This made an instant meal that we ate with a Tuella Portuguese red from the Duero/Douro.  A nice hot meal.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 11, 2017 Lunch – Ming Dynasty. Dinner – House Party at Beth and Glen’s

March 11, 2017 Lunch – Ming Dynasty. Dinner – House Party at Beth and Glen’s

We worked in the yard until Ioana came and we worked on our Romanian wine project until 12:30.

I suggested that we go to Ming Dynasty for Dim sun.  We ate roasted pork with jalapeño slices, steamed BBQ pork filled buns, deep fried qual, tofu stuffed with shrimp paste and eggplant deep  fried stuffed with eggplant plus tea.  It was her first time at Ming Dynasty and she loved it.

After lunch I drove to Trader Joe’s and bought eight artichokes and four bottles of wine.

We did not  cook. Instead I made a cheese board with an artisanal blue cheese that Jeff and Athens gave us for Christmas, plus goat cheese. Irish Cheddar, Iberico, and camembert, with Carr’s water biscuits.  I took a bottle of Cherry Blossom Pinot Noir I had bought at Trader Joe’s for $4.99 that afternoon.
A husband and wife duo named Gleewood played music all evening.  We left at 9:30 to 10:00 and stayed up until SNL for a change.

Bon Appetit