Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 9, 2012 Lunch – Wild Rice and Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup; Dinner – Smoked Pork Chop and Sauerkraut and Apple Medley

May 9, 2012 Lunch – Wild Rice and Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup; Dinner – Smoked Pork Chop and Sauerkraut and Apple Medley

Lunch - I was working and needed a quick lunch so I went to the fridge and grabbed three PPI ingredients: kale from the garden, an old chicken sausage (Sunflower Market $1.99/lb.) and the last cup of wild rice still left in its cooking pot.  The chicken sausage was about 1 week old and I thought it might not be good but when I washed it off, it seemed okay. 

Same for the wild rice.  It seemed a little funky, but I added about two cups of water to it and heated it and threw in the chicken sausage of which I had cut the skin lengthwise to open up the meat and threw it into the wild rice pot and then stripped the stems from about two cups of kale and threw that into the pot and then sliced one mushroom and threw those slices in with 1 tsp. of Knorr chicken stock and two dashes of salt and let it boil covered while I worked a bit more. In about twenty minute I smelled it and found it was boiling, so I ladled out a bowl and found it to be the best soup I have tasted in months.    

The puffed up wild rice kernels, a wild aquatic grass, combined with the light white chicken meat flavored with feta and red bell pepper, with the fresh kale and mushrooms seemed to blend their flavors into a delicious naturally flavored broth.  Simple can be better.  Instead of throwing up, I felt great, so I rode 18 miles while Suzette was doing her dance of a thousand errands

Dinner – Suzette has been working on the Garden Gate Day Spa’s new Secret Garden, which is scheduled to open Thursday May 10 and I was going to meditate, so while she was on the run she called and we talked.  I told her I had smoked pork chops (Pro’s Ranch Market $3.99/lb) that were not frozen and some sauerkraut (Alpine Sausage Kitchen).  She asked, “Do you have an apple?  I said, “Yes.”  So we decided to do a skillet of pork chops, cooked with sauerkraut and apples.  When she arrived I was finishing up making a fresh mango salsa with manila mangos that are in season now (Pro’s Ranch Market 4 for $.99), red onion (Pro’s Ranch Market $.99/lb.), cilantro (Pro’s $.25/bunch), a small avocado (Pro’s $.33 each), about 1Tbsp. of green Anahiem chili (Pro’s $.33/lb) and juice of 1/2 lime (Pro's $.50/lb).  For really authentic Mexican ingredients Pro’s is my favorite place to shop.  I think they have their own growing facilities or exclusive relationships with growers in Mexico, so their produce seems to be the freshest and cheapest.  Unfortunately sometimes it is seconds, but you just leave that, as does almost everyone else, unless the prices are ridiculously cheap.  Most of these prices are sale prices. Sales of produce are on Thursday and before 11:00 am at Pro's.
We ate the salsa with Michael’s chips, a Mexican style chip, probably cooked in lard (Pro's, 40 oz for $3.99) and connected with Mexico’s cuisine for a moment.

After our little snack at around 6:30 p.m., I went to meditate and when I returned at 8:20 p.m. there was a covered skillet on the stove turned to a low heat.  When I lifted the lid I was surprised to get a rather sweet smell and saw a slightly browned pile of braised sauerkraut, apple, Brussel sprouts and smoked pork chops.  When I asked, Suzette said she had added some Spanish rosado wine and some cherry juice to the skillet. 

I ate the very pleasant dish with a glass of the Spanish Bobal Albero Rosado and Suzette had a more traditional German style beer (Kirtland from Costco).  Again Suzette had gotten that Northern European flavoring of sweet and sour and ingredients, just right.

After dinner I could not resist washing down the meal with a small glass of my new favorite cheap calvados (Menorval Calvados Prestige $30.99 at Jubilation) and three French chocolate truffles (Costco). The calvados is smooth, with some character and just a bit of a bite on the end of the first sip that can easily be obscured by the chocolate. 

This day’s preparations are a good example of how one can fit good food into a busy day.   The total prep time spent by each of us was about ½ hour.

Bon Appétit

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