Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 28, 2012 Dinner – Boneless Pork Chop with Wild Rice and Asparagus

April 28, 2012 Dinner – Boneless Pork Chop with Wild Rice and Asparagus

Suzette is still out of town, so I made another super simple dinner tonight.

I thawed out one 1" thick boneless pork chop and salted it with coarse sea salt and ground pepper and sautéed it in a pan with about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of garlic infused olive oil that Eric, the chef at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery made for us.  I put the heat at a a relatively high temperature so the meat would sear and I kept flipping it every couple of minutes for a total of about eaght minutes of cooking time.   I undercooked the chop a bit, so the center was still pink and let it continue cook to white inside as it sat on the plate.  This kept the juices inside

I steamed about 8 stalks of asparagus and heated a pile of wild rice in the microwave oven and then plated the asparagus and when the chop was cooked placed it on the plate with the heated wild rice and drank a glass of Tempranillo/Grenache Spanish Wine with it.
Fast, hot, and delicious.

After dinner, I had another glass of wine with a couple of slices of heated whole grain bread from Costco spread with Costco’s Celebrity fig compote infused goat cheese for a lovely light cheese course after dinner.

Bon Appétit

April 27, 2012 Lunch - La Salita; Dinner – Roast Duck and cous cous and kale

April 27, 2012 Lunch - La Salita; Dinner – Roast Duck and cous cous and kale

I went with Mike Verhagen to lunch at La Salita today and again ate my new favorite Mexican dish in Albuquerque; their Swiss Cheese filled Chili Relleno Dinner with green chili ($11.85).  The Swiss cheese melts into the green chili sauce to make a wonderful picante cheesy sauce that I eat with the refried beans and the garnish of onions, tomato and lettuce.  La Salita also has the best sopapilla I have eaten in Albuquerque in a long time.

Suzette left to celebrate her Mom‘s 85 Birthday in Pennsylvania this weekend so I am on survival rations from the PPIs in the fridge.  I heated the extra two PPI duck wings left from the roasted duck dinner on April 25, 2012 with some of the Kale and Cous Cous from the April 26th dinner. 

A great five minute meal with a glass of Tempranillo/Grenache Spanish wine and a slice of bread slathered with brie cheese afterwards.  I am starting to substitute cheese for dessert to reduce my sugar intake.

Bon Appétit  

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 26, 2012 Dinner - Rack of Lamb Chops with Kale and Cous Cous

April 26, 2012 Dinner -  Rack of Lamb Chops with Kale and Cous Cous

Suzette was late in getting home because she had errands to run to get ready for her trip out of town over the weekend, so I prepared dinner.  As you will see, the use of available ingredients and PPI make it possible to start cooking at around and have a delicious dinner ready in about ten minutes.

As it turned out I made the best cous cous I have ever made this evening.  I picked 4 cups of fresh leaves of  kale from the garden and sliced the green portion of the leaves from the white stalk and sectioned the green leaves into about 1 ½ inch across pieces.  I then sliced and chopped about 3 Tbs. of red onion and put it in a pot large enough to hold the cous cous and kale with 2 Tbs. of butter and heated it until the butter became frothy and the onion started to change color to white and softened (about five minutes).  Then I added about two cups plus two oz. of water to the pot and about 1 tsp. of dehydrated Knorr chicken stock, instead of salt, and let the liquid come to a boil and then added the 10 oz. of cous cous and the 4 cups of Kale segments and covered the pot with a lid and put it on medium high heat to steam and then turned the heat down after a few minutes. 

I then heated the sealed plastic bag with the PPI grilled Rack of lamb from the dinner on April 24, 2012 in the microwave at moderate heat for about 3 minutes until were hot.  I then sliced the rack into chops and we served the chops with the cous cous/kale combination.  The cous cous was moist and fluffy and the kale soft and cooked into soft mounds with threads of it throughout the cous cous.  My impression is that the butter and sautéed onion combined with the kale and cous cous tasted far better together than if the kale and cous cous had been prepared separately. 

We often combine tomatoes with cous cous.  Cous cous is like tofu.  It has very little natural flavor and is more about texture and its flavor is improved by the addition of other ingredients that add flavor to it.  It just so happened that the steaming cooking method for fresh kale perfectly matched the steaming cooking method for cous cous to produce a perfect marriage of texture and flavor in this case.  Ah, visions of Marrakesh.

We served the PPI Pinot Noir and Cutler Creek Cabernet Sauvignon for a delightful meal with bright conversation.  After our simple dinner, I toasted two slices of whole grain bread from Costco and brought out the French brie (Costco) and Celebrity fig flavored goat cheese (Costco) and we finished the wine with bites of bread smeared with thick globs of the cheese.  We shared our respective professional travails with each other; giving the other advice and new perspective based upon our years of experience in our respective professions.  The sharing of ideas and support for each other’s careers plus both being able to create great food together are two of the reasons I think we have such a wonderful relationship.

This meal illustrates another benefit from cooking simply with PPI and available fresh ingredients.  The food is simple but exquisite and does not get in the way of conversation.

Bon Appétit       

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 24, 2012 Lunch – Japanese Kitchen; First Candle Lit Dinner in the Garden of the Year – Grilled Rack of Lamb with Roasted Vegetables and Steamed Asparagus.

April 24, 2012 Lunch – Japanese Kitchen; First Candle Lit Dinner in the Garden of the Year – Grilled Rack of Lamb with Roasted Vegetables and Steamed Asparagus.

I ate lunch with Robert Mueller at Japanese Kitchen in my continuing quest for new and more wonderful restaurants.  Robert suggested that Japanese Kitchen had a really good and generous chirashi.  We both ordered it and when it came I was amazed when we were served two lacquer boxes stacked one on the other.  In one was the traditional sushi rice  topped with a pile of salmon eggs, a piece of grilled unagi and a small pile of pickled umabashi plums.  The other box had a bed of shredded diakon on a layer of ice cubes.  The diakon was topped with an assortment of slices of sashimi, including 2 thick slices of salmon and three slices of maguro red tuna, two slices of octopus tentacle, one surf clam, two slices of omelet, several slices of baby hot house cucumber, one slice of red snapper or mahi mahi, two pieces of squid roll, one scallop, a pile of squid salad, and one large slice of yellowtail. We nibbled and talked for over an hour enjoying the many different delicacies.  I thought it was an entirely delicious food experience ($18.00).

Last Saturday, when Suzette was out of town, I bought a Rack of Lamb because it is one of Suzette’s favorite meats ($9.99/lb at Costco, an eight chop rack is about $16.00).  Although we had each been working hard, Tuesday is a mandatory night to cook, since we both are usually at home, so I took the rack out to thaw before going on an 18 mile bike ride that did not get me home until

Suzette was at home with I returned and we decided to roast some potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  So I cleaned and sliced about 1 cup of Brussels sprouts and cubed into about 1 inch cubes about three or four baking potatoes and one large brown onion and cut up about five or six cloves of garlic and tossed that all with about 1 ½ Tbs. of garlic infused olive oil Suzette had made in a ceramic casserole dish and covered them with aluminum foil and baked them for about 45 minutes in a 350° oven and then I threw in four or five sprigs of fresh rosemary and baked them for about another 15 minutes while Suzette grilled the rack of lamb and I steamed about fifteen stalks of asparagus.  

I fetched a bottle of Valréas “Cuvée Prestige” 2008 Côtes du Rhône Villages (75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, Trader Joe’s $5.99?) that went really well with the smoke flavored grilled lamb and the garlicy roasted vegetables.  I dowsed the lamb with some mint sauce we made from a recipe in the Joy of Cooking that had a lot of vinegar and some sugar in it that accentuated the flavor of the meat a bit more.  Since I was a little tired from my ride I toasted a couple of slices of whole grain bread from Costco and slathered one with the juices from the lamb that had accumulated when we covered the rack of lamb with aluminum foil after taking it off the grill to let it seal in its juices.

Suzette lit candles in the chandelier in the gazebo and we had our first meal of the year in the garden in the warm glow of candle light.  What a lovely meal.   

I was still a little hungry so I fetched the wedge of French triple crème brie and slathered the other slice of bread with it and we finished the bottle of wine with bread and cheese.

A lovely French meal on a lovely cool spring evening in our garden.  What could be better?

Bon Appétit   

April 25, 2012 Dinner – Roasted Duck with Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables.

April 25, 2012 Dinner – Roasted Duck with Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables.

            Tonight I put on 1 cup of Wild rice with three cups of water and 1 tsp. of dehydrated Knorr chicken stock and went to meditate.  When I arrived at home at around Suzette had put the duck halves into a 375° to roast for about twenty to thirty minutes (Two duck halves are cleaned and ready to roast are packaged in cryovac bags.  We buy a package of two 14 ounce duck halves for $13.95 at Costco) and Suzette had put the PPI roasted vegetables (potatoes, garlic cloves, cubed onion, sliced Brussels sprouts and sprigs of fresh rosemary, tossed with garlic olive oil and baked in a ceramic casserole dish last night) into the microwave to heat for about five minutes.

I went to the basement and fetched a Pennywise Pinot Noir (Costco, $7.87) and when the duck began to brown and seemed well roasted and the vegetables hot, we plated up. We separated the breast and wing quarter from the thigh and leg quarter and each of us took a thigh and leg quarter with a pile of roasted vegetables and couple of spoonfuls of wild rice.

This is an exceedingly easy meal to make.  I did not make an orange sauce this evening because I had made poached pears on Sunday with the juice and zest of a whole lemon to give it a bit of tartness along with the sweetness of the poaching syrup.  The poached pears were a nice accompaniment to the fatty roasted duck.  It seems as if Suzette did not prick the duck skin to release the fat.

I can not say enough good things about the joy of eating such a meal and the ease of its preparation.  Using partially prepared ingredients such as the duck halves and PPIs, it is possible to have a great meal without putting forth much effort.  It is like walking into a great restaurant and having a great meal for just the cost of the ingredients (about $12.00 for this dinner with wine for two people, because only half of the duck was eaten and only half of the bottle of wine was drunk) so there are some great PPI’s left.  The only drawback is, having to clean up the dishes.

A French dark chocolate truffle and a glass of Bailey’ Original Irish Cream with a healthy splash of cognac are the nightcap that helps me enjoy the writing of this review.

Bon Appétit  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23, 2012 Lunch –Pho #1; Dinner – Poached Salmon in Mushroom Cream Sauce with Roasted Vegetables

April 23, 2012 Lunch –Pho #1; Dinner – Poached Salmon in Mushroom Cream Sauce with Roasted Vegetables

I called Mike Verhagen on the spur of the moment around to see if he was free for lunch to get away from the crashing sounds from the back yard of bobcat moving concrete.  I said I wanted Vietnamese egg rolls, so while we were both on the phone, I went on the internet and looked up 2000 Vietnam to get its number and gave it to Mike and he called it on his cell phone to see if it was open and it was not.   So I then looked at all the ads on the internet page and saw the number for Pho #1, which I knew was located close to 2000 Vietnam and gave Mike that number and he called and it was open.  So I drove to Mike’s and jumped into his Audi sports car and he drove us to 414 San Pedro to Pho #1 for lunch.  This was my first time and so I finally settled on my and Willy’s usual, Bun noodles with an egg roll and grilled pork ($8.00).  I had noticed a review of Pho #1 on the internet that commented favorably on its Spring Rolls, so Mike ordered Spring Rolls and he also ordered Bun noodles, but with an egg roll, grilled shrimp and grilled pork.  The spring rolls were cut in halves, so I could try one-half and Mike was able to have the other three halves.  The spring rolls were tightly wrapped and full of breathtakingly fresh shredded lettuce and the peanut dipping sauce was thick and a little spicy with a blob of red chili in the center of the dark sauce. 

The Bun bowl was also interestingly arranged with segments of ingredients.  About one-half of the bowl was noodles and on the other side were sections of finely shopped strips of lettuce, peanuts, carrots.  Bean sprouts and cucumber strips were on the bottom of the bowl.  So perhaps they make the bowls ahead of time and lay the unique ingredients on the top when the order was prepared.  The other unique thing about the Pho #1 presentation is that on top of the noodle the unique ingredients are also arranged in sections as the top layer of the bowl.  There is a section of chopped fresh herbs.  Today’s  looked like mint and purple basil and perhaps one more herb.  Anyway, the top layer of the bowl was beautifully arranged.  Beside the herbs there was an egg roll diagonally cut.  The pieces of pork had been butchered to remove all fat and grizzle and then glazed and then grilled.  So visually there were small bite sized pieces of reddish glazed pork laying on the surface of the bowl along side the egg roll and the chopped herbs. Then underneath were the sections of noodles, lettuce, carrots and peanuts.  Then on the bottom of the bowl were the bean sprouts and cucumbers.  What organization for just a simple bowl of noodles.  I loved the care and attention to detail.  Pho #1 is my new favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Dinner was also fabulous today. During our hour bike ride to Montano and back, Suzette said we need to eat the salmon filet left from Saturday and I suggested that we eat the PPI roasted vegetable and Suzette suggested we add the PPI potato salad to the roasted vegetables and I requested that the salmon be poached and the liquid be made into a cream sauce.  So after the bike ride, I jumped into the shower and Suzette, went into the kitchen.  When I arrived in the kitchen at around Suzette had been to the garden to harvest a pile of spinach and kale and had taken the box of mushrooms out of the fridge.  So I sat down and sliced about 1 ½ cups of white mushrooms, and we stripped the center stalks out of the kale and spinach leaves and I roughly chopped the leaves into 1 ½ inch squares and then I minced two shallots.  Suzette said she needed some white wine for the poaching medium and asked what wine I suggested.  I said I thought either a Spanish Viura or a French Chablis would be fine. So she went to the basement and fetched a Marques de Montañana Viura 2010 (Trader Joe’s $4.49), which is one of my favorite white wines for the money.  When I finished chopping and went into the kitchen Suzette had the roasted vegetables sautéing in a skillet with a bit of Spanish olive oil we had bought in Spain last year and she had made a poaching medium with about 1 cup of prepared chicken stock and about the same amount of wine, shallots, galric and mushrooms.  She asked if I thought she should try to remove the scales and I said no, because I usually throw away the skin from poached fish.  So she cut the filet into two pieces so it would fit into the pan to poach and laid them into the boiling poaching medium and then we covered the pan with the wok lid to let capture the steam of the poaching medium. When the salmon was almost done, Suzette added the fresh greens from the garden on top of the salmon and covered it to steam.   After the fish was poached Suzette put it into a warm oven and made the sauce by adding half and half and Mexican Crema con sal to the poaching medium and reducing it. 

We then plated up, by putting some filet on a plate and ladling the light cream sauce onto it and then ladling a pile of the roasted vegetables beside the fish.  I poured glasses of Spanish viura and we had one of the best meals I have had in a long time.  The vegetables included turnips from our garden, beets, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions and garlic with rosemary sprigs from our garden and the German mustard, vinegar and sugar and chopped almonds from the Potato Salad.  A real flavor bomb. 

The fish was just as good and complex.  The combination of ingredients (mushrooms, kale, shallots) cooked together with the wine and chicken stock combined with the fish juices and the addition of crema (Mexican sour cream) and half and half made a hardy, fresh, rich and delicious light cream sauce that coated the fish filet nicely.  So we had two complex preparations combined into one super dish.  The only way this could be done in less than one hour is to have some of the components ready as PPI’s. 

The Spanish viura had body and character and stood up to the strong flavors of the crusty roasted oily vegetables and cream sauce. It is produced in the Calatayud denominacion de origen on a tributary of the Erbo River, southwest of Zaragoza, Spain.

A little bit of heaven on earth.

I need to note that fresh Spanish olive oil does not impart any flavor other than the true essence of the olive.  It is like fresh vegetables or fish or oysters. You can taste the freshness.  The flavor of freshness is the absence of any distinct flavor or smell that is not the essences of the ingredient.  All you have is the fresh olive oil that coats the ingredients and in the case of the roasted vegetables, brought their distinctive flavors and roasted flavor back to life.    

Bon Appétit

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 21, 2012 Shopping

April 21, 2012 Shopping

Suzette was out in Tucumcari for a Health Fair so I decided to go shopping to replenish the basics.  After working for a couple of hours, I cleaned and sliced a quart container of slightly frost bitten strawberries and added some orange liquor to them and put them into the fridge to brandy. 

At about I went to Costco.  I bought flour, sugar, butter, raisins, some office supplies, French triple crème brie, an interesting Canadian goat cheese flavored with fig compote named Celebrity, my new favorite item at Costco; Whitefish Salad ($7.99), two loaves of whole grain bread, and a few other basics.  There was a fish fiesta with Salmon at $4.29/lb so I bought a 4 pound Atlantic farmed salmon and 6 large sea scallops ($13.99/lb.) After my favorite lunch of a polish dog and a Dr. Pipp at around 11:00 am,  I decided to go to Trader Joe’s to see if they had dill for gravid lax and replenish our wines.  No dill, but I bought a case of some of my favorites including two Spanish Albero rosés and two French Le Ferme Julien rosés, Italian chiantis, Spanish Montanana Viura and two French Chevalier sauternes and a cognac. I also bought a lovely basil plant.

No dill at Trader Joe's, so I drove on to Ta Lin and picked up some dill and some banh noodles and bean sprouts.  When I got home around 3:30 pm, Suzette had arrived and had already eaten so, I heated the PPI Vietnamese soup from Friday’s lunch and added some of the fresh bean sprouts and Banh noodles and had a late lunch.  Suzette had just eaten a Quesadilla. 

We then had our first ride of the year on our tandem bicycle to Montano and back. 

At around 6:00 or 7:00 when I asked Suzette if she was hungry she said no, so I heated up some of the PPI Chicken and Vegetable stir fry from Thursday evening and had a pleasant dinner with two cups of green tea. We later ate scoops of chocolate ice cream (Lowe's $2.50 a gallon) with poached pears and Hershey's chocolate sauce watching hockey.

Bon Appetit

April 22, 2012 Lunch - Cheese and Wine and bread; Dinner- Stir Fried Salmon with Vegetables

April 22, 2012  Lunch -  Cheese and Wine and bread;  Dinner- Stir Fried Salmon with Vegetables

When one spends a large portion of one’s day buying new food items, the thing to do the next day is to eat some of them.  I awoke and had a bagel and the last of my old carton of whitefish salad with a slice tomato, sliced red onion and capers and hot tea and said good bye to Suzette, who went to work in Los Lunas. I then sliced up five pears and poached them with some wine and sugar and the zest of one lemon and the juice of one lemon. Then I started to make gravid lax by measuring 1/2 cup of sugar and 2/3 cup of salt into a bowl and crushing 1 tsp. of black peppercorns and adding them.  I put the mixture aside when Max Aragon came by around to make measurements for an extension of a patio awning we intend to add as part of the back yard remodel.

Max was kind enough to say that he would go with me to the Albuquerque Art Museum to see the Francisco Goya show, so at we drove over to the Museum at the end of the free morning period at . The Goya show was the 80 aquatint prints he did in 1799 called Los Caprichos (whims).  They involve images of the foibles and hypocrisies of Spanish society of Goya’s time and although caricature like and sketchy, they include many strong images.

When we got home a little after it appeared that Suzette had been home and gone, so I called her and she said she was at the Earth Day celebration at the Coop at Central and Carlisle and would be home in about 45 minutes.

I was hungry and asked Max if he was interested in something to eat and he said yes, so I decided to make a light cheese and meat platter and serve a bottle of wine.  So I immediately went to the fridge and took out the last 7 or ight asparagus from an old bag and snapped them and steamed them and then drizzled them with Spanish olive oil.  Then I got out Manchego, Dubliner cheddar, the new French brie, the Celebrity fig flavored goat cheese, Romano Pecorino, some Genoa salami and the coarse Braunschwieger and placed them on a cheese board and handed Max a fesh pear to slice while I fetched one of the new bottles of a Spanish tempranillo/Genache blend.  But I did not open it, because Max said he and Jane really were enjoying rosés.  I went back down stairs and fetched a chilled bottle of Spanish Albero organic 2010 rosé and then sliced and heated slices of the new Whole grain bread from Costco and Suzette joined us at the table to try the cheeses and wine, although she had eaten a quesadilla before going to the Earth Day celebration.  Suzette mentioned several interesting observations about the Earth Day celebration, including seeing the Old Windmill Cheese folks and that they had committed to donating cheese to the June 23, 2012 Field to Food special dinner at the Center for Ageless Living. Yeah.

My favorite combo with the Spanish rosé was a piece of bread spread with Braunschwieger and the fig flavored goat cheese.

We drank the Spanish rosé quickly, so I went back downstairs for a bottle of the Le Fermé Julien 2010 French rosé and poured it and we continued eating and drinking.  My favorite combo with the French wine was bread smeared with the French brie. 

Spanish wine was intensely fruity and although 12.5% alcohol could be drunk like lemonade.  The French rosé was more austere and better suited to cut through the rich creamy and acidic brie.

Then at around I asked Max if he wanted to see how to make gravid lax, and he said, “Sure.” I had already made the dry mixture, so I fetched the fresh dill from the fridge and filleted and cleaned the salmon and cut it to the length of the pyrex dish (about one half of the length of the fish filet) we had chosen to use.  Then Suzette and I showed him how to layer the dill and then sprinkle the fish with the dry mix and add layers of dill and dry mixture to the fish until the two sides of the filets were layered in mirror images of each other and the whole assemblage was covered with saran and weighted with a brick and in the fridge.

When Max took off for Santa Fe at around I could not think about dinner but by Suzette, who had only eaten a few nibbles of cheese, said she was hungry.  I said I was not hungry, but Suzette decided to stir fry one of the left over filets with the last of the PPI Chicken and vegetables.  So Suzette got out the salmon filet and scaled it and cleaned it and cut into about 1 inch squares and then made a two egg pancake and cut the egg pancake into squares while I cleaned and sliced the last four or five baby portabella mushrooms.

Then Suzette cooked the salmon and the mushrooms and added the PPI chicken and vegetables and some Hoisen sauce and dark soy and viola, a tasty fresh cooked dinner.  After all the wine we had drunk, the only thing we could think to drink with dinner was water.  The addition of the Hoisen actually eliminated the salty flavor of the dish from the soy sauce that had dominated the flavor of the dish before.  A new discovery.  To get rid of salty soy flavor; add Hoisen or something sweet.        

I went to bed at , drunk, full and sleepy.

Bon Appétit


Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 20, 2012 Neighborhood Cocktail Party.

April 20, 2012 Neighborhood Cocktail Party.

I woke up early this morning and made chocolate chip cookies with craisins and raisins and dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips and about ½ cup of barley flakes and about 1 tsp. of last year’s dried lavender from our garden. 

Then at I grabbed a chilled bottle of Corrales Winery Reisling 2010 and drove to the Crecca’s house around the corner.  Alex and Sara Crecca hosted the neighborhood in their lovely, expanded and remodeled home.  There must have been about forty old and new neighbors casually chatting in the Creccas’ large open two story high space comprising their kitchen/family room that opens to outdoor patios on both ends by large French doors.  Very dramatic.  It seems like everyone in the neighborhood has been remodeling recently.  

Lots of interesting small talk.  For example, Eleanore Macnish stopped me cold in my tracks wearing an absolutely dazzling necklace of glass beads she had made with Murano glass, so we had to talk about staying in Murano and visiting glass blowing factories and how much more pleasant and small town like Murano is than crowded, touristy Venice.  Jim and Diane Souder had just returned from Turkey, so I enjoyed talking to Jim about their travels and they congratulated me on having another child graduate college.  Willy will graduate from U. of British Columbia on May 24 and we will travel there starting May 18 with my brother Billy and his wife, Elaine, but more immediate impressions about that later.  Dale Alverson had just returned from a telemedicine conference in the Ukraine.  When he said that the Ukraine was a world leader in telemedicine, he did not have to say it but I thought that that was an obvious solution for a region that has a 50 to 100 mile exclusion zone around the contaminated Chernobyl reactors.

I have noticed in the last year that the quality of food and wine has improved dramatically at neighborhood cocktail parties.  As Rex Throckmorton said, “It seems like only a year or two ago that there were only chips and dips.”  The best dish, hands down, was a beet and greens salad with a light slightly vinegary dressing (perhaps rice wine vinegar). A close second was Jennifer Bean’s healthy shrimp in a creamy garlic sauce made with sour cream. 

The wines were great, I had several Malbecs I had never tried before but the surprise wines were the pinot noirs.  I drank Cambria, Coppola, Beringer and several others.

After lots of good wine and food, I drove Mecon McCrossen home around and had a chance to hear about her wonderful recent trip to the Atlantic coast of Mexico and the great food she ate in the Vera Cruz area.

I love my neighborhood and neighbors. 

Suzette has to attend a health fair tomorrow morning in Tucumcari, so she is out of town tonight.          Salud

April 19, 2012 Dinner - Stir Fried Chicken and Vegetables.

April 19, 2012 Dinner - Stir Fried Chicken and Vegetables.

Suzette sometimes puts time limits of how long we can keep leftovers by usually saying, “If we do not use this tonight, we will have to throw it out tomorrow.”   So tonight the PPI roasted chicken from the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery faced that fate. We agreed that a stir fried dish would be fine and I looked through the fridge and baskets for other late term leftovers.  I found a moldy brown onion and three Mexican Squashes and the old box of baby portabella mushrooms and a couple of baby bok choy that needed to find a home in a dish. 

I made 1 ½ cups of Basmati rice with three cups of water, a little Knorr dried chicken stock and when that came to a boil, 1 ½ cps of dry rice and boiled that on low heat for about 23 minutes, when I smelled that all the water has been absorbed.  Our gas stove does not have a very good adjustment for really low temp cooking

Then, I chopped everything into ½ inch cubes and sliced the mushrooms and divided the ingredients into bowls depending upon cooking time: onions and squash in one, baby bok choy and mushrooms in another and chicken and about ½ cup sliced water chestnuts in another. 

Then I minced about 1 Tbsp. each of garlic and ginger and we tossed that into a heated wok with about two Tbsp. of peanut oil and then after a minute of sautéing added the onion and squash.  After that cooked for about ten minutes on a relatively high heat, we added the bok choy and mushrooms and chicken and then added 1 tsp. of sesame oil and 1 ½ Tbsp. of rice cooking wine and covered the wok to steam a bit. 

Then we added about three Tbsp. of Suzette’s Mu Shu cooking combination of dark soy and rice wine and sesame oil and a bit of water to keep the sauce from drying out and burning on the bottom of the wok.

I then made a thickening mixture with cornstarch, regular soy sauce, rice wine and a dash of sesame oil and about three Tbsps. of water and threw that into the wok.

The dark soy in the Mu shu sauce stained and coated the other ingredients with a dark brown, almost black colored sauce.  I added water to get the sauce to a thick soupy consistency and then we served the stir fried chicken in a bowl filled with a pile of rice, so that the sauce also coated the rice.  The sauce had a rich savory flavor and depending upon whether you think soy has much salt, salty.

I drank water. 

Although it probably does not sound very appetizing I found the dish to be very satisfying.  Suzette was still hungry, so she took more vegetables.  Healthy and low fat.  .

Bon Appétit   

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 15, 2012 Dinner- Chicken Pot Pie

April 15, 2012 Dinner- Chicken Pot Pie

Suzette makes a really good Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken pot pie, which is made typically with strips of fresh pasta and carrots, potatoes, chicken and a chicken broth. 

Since we had a roasted chicken, Suzette boiled the carcass with celery, onions and thyme from the garden for several hours until it reduced and took on flavor.

This time she boiled store bought egg noodles instead of making noodles.  I chopped up two PPI baked potatoes from Friday evening’s meal and four stalks of carrots and picked and chopped up five stalks of fresh parley and three cups of kale from the garden. We heated about three cups of the chicken broth and threw in about ½ lb of chopped up chicken and the potatoes and carrots, and after a few minutes threw in the parley and kale and the cooked egg noodles and cooked a few minutes more. 

The stew was fresh and delicious with the fresh flavors from the garden.

We drank a glass of Concannon Sauvignon Blanc with dinner,

I had cookies and ice cream after dinner.

Bon  Appétit

April 17, 2012 Dinner - Salmon Medallions with rice and baby bok choy

April 17, 2012 Dinner - Salmon Medallions with rice and baby bok choy

Another easy meal tonight because I had to work late and Miguel Cordova came by to estimate the masonry job for the new garden we are planning to build.

I stopped at Sunflower Market today and bought 1lb. of fresh Atlantic Salmon, two mild Italian pork sausages, ½ lb. of fresh string beans and two artichokes. 

Suzette decided to make salmon medallions by slicing the salmon filet  into two thin flat filets and then skewering each half filet with a skewer and sautéing them in Chilean olive oil and serving them with boiled rice and baby bok choy.  I cleaned and cut three baby bok choy into pieces and then sliced 7 or 8 water chestnuts and 2 green onions.  While Suzette sautéed the Salmon I cooked the bok choy mixture in the wok with some of Suzette’s Mu Shu Pork sauce and a bit of sesame oil and a bit of water to keep the sauce emulsified.

We plated up the dishes and drank Concanon Sauvignon Blanc wine (Jubilation $3.33 per bottle) with dinner. 

When folded over and skewered the middle of the salmon tend to be slightly under cooked when sautéed in this manner, which I like very much.  As the salmon sits it cooks a bit more and is juicy and red in the middle, somewhere between sashimi and super juicy cooked fish.

Bon Appétit 

April 16, 2012 Smoked Pork chops with Braised Cabbage

April 16, 2012 Smoked Pork chops with Braised Cabbage

Another simple a meal.  I had purchased two smoked pork chops at Pro’s Market on Thursday, ($3.99/lb.) and we had a half head of green cabbage in the fridge in the garage.

I shredded the cabbage and put it in a large skillet with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of powdered cumin (comino), 1/3 cup of chopped onion, and a couple of  cloves of garlic and sautéed it until it collapsed and then Suzette took over and added apple cider vinegar and sugar to taste.   I cleaned a pineapple and sliced it into ½ inch slices.  The smoked chops were already cooked so they only needed to be heated.  Suzette put a tbsp. of olive oil in a lage skillet with a couple of cloves of garlic and the pineapple slices and we sautéed them all together.  Then we served the cabbage and pork chops and braised pineapple slice and drank a Josephina syrah Rose from California (Trader Joe’s $4.99).

A simple and satisfying meal.

I ate a bowl of chocolate ice cream later in the evening with Land O Lakes whipped cream and Hershey’s chocolate syrup and a splash of Orange liquor.

Bon Appétit     

April 13, 2012 Dinner – BBQ Country Style Ribs with Baked Potatoes and Asparagus

April 13, 2012 Dinner – BBQ Country Style Ribs with Baked Potatoes and Asparagus

We had Max Aragon over for dinner while Jane Phillips, his partner, was photographing the season opening game of the Isotopes for the New Mexican.

I had stopped at Lowe’s at 11th and Lomas for ice cream and cookies on my way home from meditation on Wednesday evening and bought a 4 lb. package of pork boneless ribs for $1.69/lb. and several Gala apples for $.88/lb.

So on Friday I brushed a chipolte, bacon, BBQ sauce we had purchased at the Fiery Food Show several years ago onto the ribs and slow cooked them four hours at 250°. 

When Suzette arrived at home, she tasted them and they were really piquant tasting and so we decided to slice up two apples and bath the apple slices with honey and sautee the apple slices and then glaze the pork chops with the apple honey glaze and cook them thirty minutes more.  

When Max Aragon came we served dinner and the pork chops were delicious.  They no longer had that chipolte heat and were yet were not overly sweet.   We garnished the potatoes with butter and crema con sal and fresh minced chives.  The potatoes were great.

After dinner we watched “Easy A” with Emmy Stone until when Max left to pick up Jane.

A great Friday night with dinner and a movie.

Bon Appétit   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 12, 2012 Lunch - Swiss Cheese Chile Rellenos; Dinner – Roasted Chicken and Asparagus

April 12, 2012 Lunch - Swiss Cheese Chile Rellenos; Dinner – Roasted Chicken and Asparagus

I went with Mike Verhagen to La Salita for Lunch and they had several new chili relleno dishes on the menu.  I was immediately drawn to the Swiss Cheese Chile Rellenos for the same price as the regular one ($11.85 for two with rice, beans and a sopapilla).  The insert describing the new chili rellenos items stated that the chili rellenos were made fresh, which was another plus.

I ordered it and was not disappointed.  The relleno was stuffed with Swiss cheese and topped with one large slice of Swiss cheese instead of the usual pile of cheddar cheese.  Also, it appeared to me that the Swiss cheese melted and mixed with the green chili sauce to make a creamier chili sauce, which I found very appealing.  Try La Salita.  You will like it.  The sopapillas are hot and fresh and pastry like and not to be missed, also.

Suzette brought home a roasted chicken flavored with herbs de Valencia from the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery.  Since we had both eaten large lunches, we waited until after to start on dinner.

Suzette went to the fridge and took out the last of the PPI pureed sweet potatoes from the Salmon dinner, the PPI sushi rice from Wednesday evening and the PPI Israeli cous cous with broccoli flowerets from our Saturday lamb dinner.  We heated the chicken and then the chicken on plates with the PPI ingredients and steamed fresh asparagus and I went to the basement for a bottle of Marques de Montañana Spanish Viura 2009 white wine (Trader Joe’s $4.49). 

Viura is also called Macabeo in Basque and Macaban.  It is the most popular white grape grown in the Rioja area of Spain and is mixed with other grapes to make Spain’s major sparkling wine, cava, downstream, near Barcelona, but Marques de Montañana is grown just south west of Zaragoza in the Calatayud Denominacíon de Origen..  I pleasant, light white wine but with plenty of structure that goes well with roasted chicken.

We enjoyed the colorful and tasty abundance of vegetables and chicken.  

Bon Appétit

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 11, 2012 Dinner – more sashimi and sake

I usually meditate on Wednesday evenings, so to make a fast delicious dinner, we repeated the dinner from last night except we had eaten all of the seaweed salad and squid salad, so I made rice and added some Japanese instant vinegar and sugar in an aluminum packet I had bought at Ta Lin.

I sliced the last of the salmon and octopus tentacle into sashimi cuts and sliced more fresh diakon and we poured cups of Nigori (cloudy) sake ($10.88) and had a wonderful time meal dipping fish into small bowls of prepared wasabi and soy sauce and eating the dipped fish with slices of pickled ginger.  . 

What a fast, hearty and delicious dinner!  I think I could repeat this dinner many times and not get tired of it.

Bon Appétit

April 10, 2012 Dinner - Sashimi and sake

April 10, 2012 Dinner - Sashimi and sake

I had a particularly tough hearing in the morning on Tuesday and then a Titan meeting,
so after the Titan meeting at around 3:00 pm, I knew I needed something to pick me up psychically and physically so I went by Ta Lin and saw seaweed salad, which Suzette just loves, and squid salad, which I love, so I bought a box of each of them and then about a pound of salmon and an octopus tentacle and a fresh diakon and a magnum bottle of Nigori (cloudy) sake ($10.88). 

For dinner, Suzette and I made a seaweed salad on organic salad greens and a sliced avocado on a large plate with the salads and some of the octopus and salmon sliced into sashimi slices and drank cool sake and had a wonderful time meal dipping fish into small bowls of prepared wasabi and soy sauce and eating the dipped fish with slices of pickled ginger.  

Bon Appétit

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 8, Dinner - Grilled Steak and Roasted root vegetables.

April 8, Dinner - Grilled Steak and Roasted root vegetables.

Suzette made a lovely salmon and goat cheese omelet for breakfast and then we planted asparagus as the first action to making our back yard into a sustainable garden.  We also started cleaning out the old formal garden and in the process Suzette pulled all the turnips left from last year’s planting.  So we had a pile of turnips and one beet.

 Suzette and I discussed dinner in the early afternoon and we agreed that a steak would go great with the Summers Cabernet Sauvignon left from Saturday’s dinner and we could roast root vegetables to accompany the steak 

After a ride and a rest, at around 500 p.m. I started cutting up Yukon Gold potatoes, several of the turnips and the beet from the garden, two old carrots and one old beet from the fridge.  I cut up one medium onion and several cloves of garlic and tossed the vegetables in PPI olive oil and salt left from an earlier meal in our ceramic casserole.  I then covered the casserole with aluminum foil and put it into a 350° oven for 45 minutes.  When Suzette checked the vegetables after 45 minutes she said they needed an additional 30 minutes and uncovered the vegetables and put them back into the oven.

 I suggested that we add an herb to the vegetables and went out to the back yard and picked six or seven fresh sprigs of rosemary and tossed them into the vegetables and I fetched the bottle of Andrianna’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon from Summers Vineyard produced in Knights Valley, near Calistoga, from the fridge to warm it to room temperature.

After another twenty minutes Suzette grilled the steak and when it was done I uncorked the Summers Cab and cut up the bone-in rib eye steak and we plated up the steak and vegetables and enjoyed them with the Cab.  As I quoted from Summers Vineyard’s commentary in last night’s meal review (April 7, 2012) the wine with its “bright red fruit with smoky oak aromas that lead to a mouthful bursting with blackberry and spicy tones.” went beautifully with the grilled steak and roasted vegetables.

This is another example of California Cuisine.  The ingredients are allowed to show their fresh flavors without the addition of any sauces.  Their preparation is simple and done in a way that accentuates the ingredients’ natural flavor.  and the other part of the equation is that the ingredients are married to Northern California wines that complement the ingredients so that the wine becomes an important component of the meal.  When I think of great French food I think of the food first and only think about a great wine as a complement to the food.  With California Cuisine I think of the wine as an active ingredient of the meal that stands in parity or exceeds in importance the food ingredients. 

Bon Appétit   


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 7, 2012 Dinner - Rack of Lamb, Israeli Cous Cous, and Steamed Broccoli

April 7, 2012 Dinner - Rack of Lamb, Israeli Cous Cous, and Steamed Broccoli

I had a theme for the meal tonight because it is the Jewish Passover and the Eve of Easter.  Yesterday Suzette and I tried to discuss and could not decide when Jesus was crucified, so there is this current of religious thought and so I picked a meat, lamb, associated with spring and a starch associated with Israel and we had lots of broccoli that needed to be cooked and because we are cooking simple dishes in the Northern California style, we decided to grill the lamb rack and create a Northern California style meal.

Before starting to cook I fetched a bottle of Andrianna’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon from Summers Vineyard produced in Kinghts Valley, near Calistoga, California that was given to me as a Christmas gift by Joe and Aaron at Kaspia Group this last year and opened it so it could begin to breath for the 30 minutes it would take to complete the meal prep.  

We like to flavor the cous cous with natural ingredients.  Today Suzette went to our garden and picked about 1 cup of kale and I chopped about 1 Tbsp. of red onion and I put the kale and onion in a pot with 2 Tbsp. of butter and more water than cous cous and boiled that for about twenty minutes while Suzette grilled the lamb.  Finally after 20 minutes the cous cous began to swell up and taste soft and the water began to evaporate.  I put too much water into the cous cous I suspect, but it is the first time I have cooked Israeli cous cous and I wanted to make sure it had enough water to swell up.  What I found was that after we stopped cooking it, it continued to swell and absorb liquid.

We basted the lamb with a PPI mint sauce (Joy of Cooking recipe with vinegar and sugar) after it was grilled and resting while the cous cous finished cooking.   Then I cut the rack into chops and when the cous cous had cooked a bit more we plated up the food and I poured the Cabernet Sauvignon.

This simple, elegant and delicious dinner seemed to capture the spirit of Easter, Passover and Northern California Cuisine on one plate and in one glass. 

The label on the cab seemed to capture the essence of the wine, “This is a bright red fruit with smoky oak aromas that lead to a mouthful bursting with blackberry and spicy tones.”  The full bodied cab was a perfect complement to the strong and rich flavor of the lamb chops and the couc cous provided a creamy complement to the strong wine and meat flavors and the broccoli was a palate cleanser and green vegetable reprieve from those hugely dominating flavors.

We had had appetizers and Spanish wine with Ricardo and Cynthia at while discussing our plans for redoing our back yard, so we were not so hungry and a light meal was just right.      

Bon Appétit         

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 5, 2012 Dinner- Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery's Spring Menu

April 5, 2012 Dinner- Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery's Spring Menu

Spring is being greeted at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery with new fresh dishes featuring Northern California Wine Country Cuisine. The Bistro’s Special Menu dishes on Thursday through Saturday evenings include Drunken Rabbit (rabbit stewed in red wine, mushrooms, carrots, onions and herbs) served with mushroom studded polenta ($16.95); Crab Cakes served on fresh pea puree and topped with cucumber coriander slaw ($15.95); Salmon Medallions on a yam puree and garnished with fresh micro greens and roasted asparagus tips ($15.95), and hand made 10 inch pizzas ($7.95).  California Cuisine uniquely emphasizes fresh ingredients, usually layered and unadulterated by sauces.

A new Appetizer: “Fire and Ice” will chill and thrill you.  Fresh melon balls are coated with a sauce made with finely diced Serrano and red bell pepper cooked in honey and white wine until citrined, adding sweet and spicy flavors to the sweet melon

Desserts are not to be missed and include: espresso chocolate truffle cheese cake (guaranteed to give you a buzz), light lemon sponge cake with mascarpone filling, a walnut pastry purse garnished with citron syrup, and a pile of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie fingers dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with a light chocolate sauce.

I ordered the pizza.  It had a cracker crust that was crisp, thin and delicious; brushed with garlic olive oil and topped with fresh local goat cheese, a medley of vegetables, and pancetta.  The regular vegetarian pizza is topped with homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.  Also, the Bistro offers a selection of additional toppings such as local Old Windmill Goat Cheese, pancetta or salmon medallions (meats are $1.75 extra), capers, olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, micro greens, and red peppers (non-meat toppings in excess of three are $1.25 each).

The wine list features Northern California wines from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties that perfectly complement the dishes.         

For the next three months you can Be Cool by Eating California Chic at the Greenhouse Bistro.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March 31, 2012 Shopping - Jimmy’s Fine Foods; Lunch – Mai Restaurant; and Dinner - Wedding and Reception

March 31, 2012 Shopping - Jimmy’s Food Store;  Lunch – Mai Restaurant; and Dinner - Wedding and Reception

What a full day.  I am not sure I can do justice to it.  Billy, Suzette, Elaine and I started by going to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Dallas around 9:00 am.  The Farmers' Market is a series of open sided awning covered spaces where merchants display and sell their food stuffs.  The main reason for going was to fetch that week’s production of produce from a farmer from whom Bill and Elaine had purchased a share of his production.  When we arrived at the farmer’s booth, Elaine was given a large brown paper bag half filled with lettuce, spinach, radishes and a few other fresh ingredients.  It is still early in Texas for produce. Then Elaine bought fresh eggs and Suzette bought a small basket with five or six East Texas Sweet potatoes (these were the typical orange colored yams, not the white yams like those apparently grow in Pennsylvania in the spring). 

We separated then and Suzette and Elaine went to IKEA, while Billy and I went to Neiman Marcus’ to check on replacement Baccarat stemware.  Our parents bought Baccarat San Remy stemware in France in 1960 and we were both short a full table setting due to breakage over the years.  Tom Humphrey in the gift and bridal registry department was a joy to work with and said he could match anything if we sent him a picture.  Just like always at Neiman's; superb service and quality. 

Then Billy drove us to Jimmy’s Food Store at 4901 Bryan at Fitzhugh.  Jimmy’s is unique.  It is an over 45 year old family owned Italian food store.  When we walked in we were greeted by an indescribable array of Italian foods, pastas, wines, olive oils, vinegars, capers, olives and on and on.  In the back is the fresh meat department with its house made Italian sausages and imported mortadellas, hams, salamis and cheeses.  Jimmie’s daughter was pouring three wines and we tried them all (a Niro, an Anselmi and an Italian Syrah). Then a man started cooking a round flat pasta with a tube of pasta around the round flat piece of pasta with stewed fresh veal and we tried that.  A person next to me asked the man what the name of the pasta was and he started jabbering in Italian to one of the men behind the meat counter and after a minute of Italian back and forth, he said, "I don't know."  That is how many different types of pasta Jimmy's carries; "I don't know how many"!
Then we met the wine expert from Korbrand importers who was visiting from Bern, Switzerland, who suggested we buy a Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva marked down from $25.00 to $20.00.  I aslo bought a bottle of the Niro for $10.00; which will bring back fond memories of Jimmy's when we open it.  Billy bought Italian sausages for Sunday's lunch.

Then we went across the street to the Mai Vietnamese Restaurant and I ordered a plate of flat noodles with shrimp and chicken and sautéed mung bean sprouts in a light hoisen and shiracha sauce and Billy got a bowl of Bun noodles topped with chicken curry. We could not finish the dishes so we got a box to go.

Then we were off to Central Market on Greenville at 5750 E. Lover's Lane around .  If you have not been to a Central Market you shoul go.  It is like going to food heaven for a foodie, if you do not care about prices.  We bought corn and zucchini and yellow squash for calabacitas for Sunday’s lunch with Bernice.  I could not resist blood tangerines ($2.49/lb.), which I had never eaten before, because the tasted both sweet and citrusy at the same time (there was a plexiglass container with wedges to taste). 

Then we went to Goodies Goodies farther north on Greenville and I bought two bottles of pineau ($25.00 per bottle) and Billy bought a bottle of Deau Cognac.  Finally at around we went home and I napped until around p,m.

Suzette and I got dressed and drove to the Residence Inn in Fort Worth to meet Amy, Marta and Vhal at 5:00 p.m.  and they drove us to the wedding a Ted and Tina Gorski’s house in old Westover (Valley Ridge Road).  When we arrived just before 6:00 p.m.the garden was filled with chairs and people.  The 6:00 p.m. relatively short wedding ceremony went off like clockwork and afterward we all proceeded into the house for dinner.  I was thrilled to see some of our old friends from Fort Worth, Wendy and Clay Hook, Tom and Karen Reynolds, Fred and Laura Harrison, and, of course, our hosts Ted and Tina Gorski. Helen McCrimmon and Rick and Cissie Goggans (Nick's parents and my brother and sister in law from my marriage to Amy) and about 160 other folks were also in attendance. 

One of the most wonderful events of my year occurred while we were lined up making our way through the house to the bar on the deck beside the swimming pool.  I found myself beside Nikki Holland, who had flown in from San Diego, and she told me that my mother was not only one of the greatest cooks but one of the greatest people she had ever met.  That kind of tribute will warm my heart forever; as will Cissie's emphatic statement on Friday evening that she thinks of mother fondly almost every day. 

How does one merit that kind of praise and how does one transmit some of that essence to others?  I hope this small effort to share my thoughts about my food experiences will transmit that grace and spirit passed to me by mother to others.

We sat with Wendy and Clay Hook (Clay was my oldest friend at the wedding.  He and I car pooled to second grade together and have been friends ever since) and talked for about thirty minutes until Ryan Goggans, my nephew, came up to talk to me and Suzette and Clay and Wendy went to fetch plates of BBQ.  Ryan, who is 21, told me he is taking a break from the Berkeley School of Music to learn electronic music production.  I am hopeful that he will be a brilliant musical genius or producer.  Nick, the groom, my other nephew, who is 38, is CEO for @umbell, a social media consulting firm, that tracks social media and advises clients on how to manage their social media marketing campaigns.  Nick and Brooke Botello (Goggans) will live in Austin where @umbell is currently located.

One of the interesting conversations occurred after we ate.   We were on our way out to the dance floor that had been erected where the chairs in the garden had been placed during the wedding, when I saw Ted in the living room and stopped to ask him about the art.  There were lovely portraits of Ted and Tina and several other pieces that Ted told me were painted by James Blake, who is a well know Fort Worth artist, and one of their friends and I believe is married to Amon Carter’s daughter.  There were also paintings and watercolors of their children by Carol Ivey, who also did a portrait of Luke years ago.

There were two other men standing in the living room and one them was Randy Partin, who was a roommate of Rick Goggans at Amherst.  Randy was talking to a lawyer from Boston, whose name I missed, but I introduced Suzette to Randy and she told Randy that she had been married to Harold Lott.  Harold’s brother, Kennon, has worked for Randy’s family's railroad for years, so there was an immediate connection. 

I then asked Randy to tell us abut his family’s support for John Henry Faulk during the McCarthy era and the lawyer from Boston told us something amazing.  That the whole McCarthy era was a shakedown to extort money from those who were accused of connections to the Communist Party and that if you paid $75,000 you would not be blacklisted.  Of course, John Henry did not pay and his trial ultimately led to the famous “Point of Order” documentary film in which Mr. Welch exposed Senator McCarthy and said, “Senator McCarthy, have you no shame?” which ended the McCarthy era witch hunts.

Randy told us about hanging out with John Henry Faulk and Molly Ivins and lots other interesting East Texas populist folk for a few more minutes and I then excused myself and Suzette, so we could dance a few dances.

We then went into the dining room and examined the food and talked to Scott and Mossy Guinn from Monroe, Louisiana.  Mossy is a lawyer and Scott or she are related to Rick’s mother’s family in Monroe.  I ate several mouthfuls of brisket and four or five more chunks of BBQ'd hot links and was charmed by the large platter of peach cobbler with a pastry shell topping with Nick and Brooke's initials on it, instead of a wedding cake.  A very nice Texas wedding touch.
We danced for about twenty minutes and I talked to Tom Reynolds for a few minutes, but about thirty minutes later Vhal and Amy were ready to leave, so we left and picked up Marta at her friend, Marjorie’s house, and they took us back to the Residence Inn to fetch our car and we drove back to Dallas to Billy and Elaine’s.  

A great evening in Fort Worth with a festive wedding and seeing many old friends.

April 2, 2012 Lunch- Seafood Shack in Dallas Dinner – Sautéed Pork Chop with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels sprouts

April 2, 2012 Lunch- Seafood Shack in Dallas    Dinner – Sautéed Pork Chop with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels sprouts.

Billy took us to the Seafood Shack restaurant at 11625 Webb Chapel Road in Dallas
for lunch.  It was all Mexican folks behind the counter and a mix of Anglo and Mexican folks on our side of the counter.  We ordered fried oysters, Shrimp enchiladas, fish tacos and a coctel campechana (oysters, shrimp and.octopus in a parfait glass with chopped avocado and tomato juice and cocktail sauce and chopped cucumber). You add hot sauce to taste.  I ate spoonfuls of seafood and spicy liquid with crackers.

Everything tasted great.  The oysters were battered in corn meal and deep fried until the coating was crisp and the inside steaming hot and juicy.   They were served with two types of dressing.  A regular tartare sauce and a spicier chipolte tartare sauce.  Suzette liked her fish tacos with their obligatory cabbage and thousand island dressing.  We boarded the plane back to Albuquerque happy as clams.    

We made it home from Dallas at about and I was surprised to see a whole bag of Brussels Sprouts when I opened the fridge Suzette had bought at Costco last week.  We unpacked our East Texas sweet potatoes and we thawed out two boneless sirloin pork chops.  So, we had the ingredients for a full dinner.

I cut the Brussels sprouts into halves while I watched Kentucky win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and Suzette baked the sweet potatoes in the oven.  We then peeled the sweet potatoes and Suzette sautéed the potatoes with a handful of sliced sage leaves from the garden while the halved Brussels sprouts sprinkled with peeled shallots and garlic cloves all tossed in olive oil were roasting in the oven at 350° for about 45 minutes.  Then Suzette salted and peppered the pork chops and sautéed them in a skillet with olive oil until they were cooked and took on a little brown color.

I am a big fan of rosé wine with pork, so I fetched a bottle of Quinson Fils Côtes de Provence 2010 Rosé.  Let me say that the younger the rosé wine is, the more fruity and vibrant the rosé will be (Age does not help these wines that are bottled early and drunk early). The 2010 vintage was the last vintage released.  In May 2012 the 2011’s will be released.  This is true for both the U.S. and Europe.  Côte de Provence is one of those dependable rosé regions in France.  Its rosé wines tend to be light and clean without any tannic or musty after taste.  The Côtes de Provence 2010 was pleasant with the sautéed or roasted pork and vegetables, but lacked the character of rosés from other regions of France like Côtes de Massanay (Burgundy) or the great rosés of Bandol.

But if you want a light fruity wine, you can not beat a Côtes de Provence or Côtes de Ventoux.  I can not stop thinking of warm summer afternoons sipping them in the garden like lemonade.

Bon Appétit