Sunday, September 30, 2012

June 7, 2012 Dinner - Sauteed Smoked Pork Chop with onion and apple slaw and Broccoli

1 apple grated
2 smoked pork chops
1/3 sliced onion
2 tsp. calvados
2 Tbsp chicken stock

1 lb. broccoli

Suzette was tired and hungry when she arrived home tonight.  We took two smoked pork chops (Pro’s Ranch Market $3.99/lb) out of the fridge.  As Suzette started sautéing the chops while I grated one apple and slice about 1/3 cup of onion thinly.  Then we added the onion and then the apple to the skillet in which the chops were cooking.

Suzette stemmed the broccoli and put in the steamer to steam.

After the chops had seared for a few minutes, Suzette removed them from the pan and I added 2 tsp. of calvados to the apple and onions.  The apple/onion mixture was still too dry, so Suzette added about 2 Tbsp of chicken stock and I covered the pan so it would steam a bit.

The result was that the apple and onion mixture was more flavorful and sweeter than the flavor that larger slices of apple produces.  The dinner was light and delicious.

Suzette drank Whispering Angel rosé and I drank water.

Bon Appétit  

July 6, 2012 Dinner – BD Party at Lisa and Mike’s  Gravad lax salad and Vegetarian penne pasta

It was Mike’s BD on Friday and we had discussed having a party, especially since Kipp and Jean Claude were in town from France.  As it turned out another friend of theirs, Michel, was also visiting the States with them and there was a total of 10 around the dinner table in the garden. 

We brought lovely wines, a Chateau Ott and an Elk Cove Pinot Gris.  The Chateau ott is a rose from Bandol and considered one of the best roses in the world.  The Elk Cove was amazing; crisp and fruity with no residual bitterness or tannin after taste.  Kipp loved it.

The French guys liked the smooth Chateau Ott also.  Jean Claude brought a small vineyard mixture of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and chinen blanc from Tournaise; the region his family is from and where they retain their family home.  I had forgotten that the French are always connected to the their family’s region of origen although they often work and live most of the time in Paris, as do both Jean Claude and Michel.  So when Michel invited us to visit him if we visit the south of France, he means that his family was from the South of France and they have retained their family ties to that region and they spend their weekends and holidays in the South of France the way Lisa and Mike maintain a house in Taos.   

 Others brought wonderful wines, Lisa and Mike opened a magnum of premier Cru Chablis and for dinner Lisa opened a number of great reserve Rioja reds from Ray Vigil’s Iberian Imports. 

The diner was quite simple.  Lisa had coated three logs of goat cheese with coatings like blue berries and red chili and there was a plate of shrimp.

Then Suzette and I made a salad appetizer with baby greens from Costco on which we laid slices of gravid lax and orange and fresh thinly shaved fennel and then we drizzled the salad with basil infused olive oil and an orange and mayonnaise dressing.

This salad was discovered by us in Chicago at a wonderful Italian restaurant across the street from the Drake Hotel called Spiagia.  I had made the gravid lax with the King Salmon from Ta Lin ($5.95/lb.), so it was soft and tender and we had zested orange peel into the sugar and salt mixture. 

Gravad Lax

1 3 lb. piece of fresh never frozen salmon, fileted with the skin on and descaled

2/3 cup salt

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. finely crushed fresh black  pepper

2 bunches fresh dill weed

Zest of one orange

Remove the back bone and flippers from the fish.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl

Use  a  pyrex dish that will hold it snuggly and is deep enough to hold the fish and all the liquid that will be produced.  Lay a layer of fresh dill in the bottom of the dish.  Then coat the outside of one of the two salmon filets with dry mixture and lay the outside side down on the layer of dill.  Then coat the inside of that filet with the mixture and a layer of dill.  Then coat the inside of the other filet with mixture and lay it on the filet side already in the dish so they are mirror images of each other then put the rest of the mixture on top of the second filet and add a layer of dill.   I usually cover the dish with saran and then weigh the salmon down with bricks to compress the fish into the mixture.  I put it in the fridge for 12 and then turn it and let it sit for an additional 12 hours so both sides will be submerged in the liquid produced by the curing, although you can cure for longer periods of time.  I actually did the salmon for this dinner party 36 hours.

When the fish is cured, I washed the curing medium and dill and pepper off the fish, patted it dry and wrapped it in saran and kept it in the fridge.

Dressing -  the traditional dressing is Swedish mustard and olive oil and a bit of sugar to taste.

In this dish we made a basil infused olive oil by blanching fresh basil leaves for a couple of minutes and then processing them in a Waring blender with olive oil for a few seconds until the leaves had been slashed into thin pieces.  We poured the infused olive oil into plastic bottles with spouts, so we could squeeze it out easily.

Suzette did the same for the orange/mayonnaise dressing.  She squeezed fresh orange juice and mixed it with mayonnaise into a smooth, creamy consistency and put it into a plastic squeeze bottle.  We bought a plastic carton of fresh fennel bulbs at Trader Joe’s on the Saturday before the party, so I simply cut the leaves off the base of one of the bulbs and thinly sliced the leaves into thin strips with a vegetable peeler.  

Suzette sliced one of the cured salmon filets into slices a little less than ¼ inch in thickness by placing the skin side down on a wooden board and slicing  through the meat to the skin and then turning the knife and  pushing the flesh away from the skin.

We assembled the dish by laying a mound of fresh baby greens on each plate, then four slices of salmon and three or four slices of orange, then five or six slices of fresh fennel and then a drizzle of orange mayonnaise and a drizzle of basil olive oil.

I drank Elk Cove Pinot Gris with my salad and loved it. 

Lisa made the main course which was Penne pasta tossed with a vegetable mixture that included red chard, pesto, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers and small tomatoes that she had sautéed.  The dish was amazingly delicious.  Lisa is what I call a natural Italian Cook.  Her lineage is Italian on one side of her family and she has an instinct for cooking Italian that one who is not raised in an Italian family will never have.  She continues to amaze me with her skill and dexterity.  This meal for example was cooked after a day of hard work as a lawyer,  she had the ingredients prepped and just threw them into a pan and cooked them quickly and tossed them with the penna for a hot fresh delicious pasta diah.

The light but earthy red Rioja tempranillos went well with the vegetable mixture.

For dessert we had a Costco Apple pie with Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream.    Costco Apple pie seems to be the dessert of the season.  Lisa and Mike served the dessert with Chevaulier? Sauternes from Trader Joe’s ($12.95). This meal is a great example of how one can create a delightful dinner party without spending hours in the kitchen.  It takes some shopping and prep time, but the final cooking time is quick and easy.

The secret to the fun of this evening was the wide assortment of lovely wines and interesting people.  Another friend named Janet also had a BD, so three of the 10 people were BD celebrants.

A fun evening dinner party in the garden with pleasant talk and wine and food that was not at all heavy.

Bon Appétit

September 29, 2012  Lunch – Rasoi Indian Restaurant;  Dinner – Sautéed Pork, potatoes and kale

I had a snack of bread coated with blueberry jam and slices of Leyden cheese around 10:00 while perusing .  Then I rode 10 miles and then watched Tottenham beat Manchester City at Manchester for the first time in 23 years with Willy.  After the game I suggested to Willy that we look at bikes at a garage sale down the street to see if he wanted a new bike.  We went down the street and looks at a group of bikes that had been refurbished, but most of them were road racing bikes and Willy really wants a street/commuter bike that he can ride around town on, so when I asked if he had tried riding the two other bikes we had at home, he said yes but they did not hold air.  It was around 1:30 p.m., so I suggested that we take Luke’s old bike to the bike shop and see if we could get the tire fixed on it and then get some lunch.  We took it to the Bike Coop on Yale and they installed a new thorn resistant tube on the front rim and filled it with liquid latex fluid.

As we were taking the bike back to the truck, I noticed a new Indian Restaurant for which I had seen advertised  in the IQ that morning named Rasoi located at 110 Yale SE on the north side of the parking lot in which we had parked to go to the Bike Coop.   So I asked Willy if he might be up for Indian food instead of our intended Vietnamese lunch and he said yes, so I drove across the parking lot to Rasoi.

When we entered the restaurant proved to be much more spacious than I thought it would be and it had a downstairs area also, as if it had been a converted home.   I asked if they were serving a lunch buffet and was told, “yes.”  I then asked if we could look at the buffet and again was told “yes.”  So Willy and I looked at the buffet and I immediately saw several items that were intriguing such as Goat Curry and Saag Paneer with real cheese and a dish I had never seen before, pakora curry, so Willy and I decided to try the buffet.   I took my usual Saag on  rice with a thigh of tandoori chicken which was smothered with sautéed onions and a bowl of dhal and a bowl of riata.  Willy took the pakora curry and potato and squash curry and chicken dish with cream curry sauce.   I immediately noticed a difference with the food from that which I usually find in Albuquerque.  This food seemed to be more complex and cooked more, so that the spices melded together with the ingredients.  For example, the tandoori chicken seemed to have a more complex spice and yogurt marinade or to have been marinated longer and the caramelized onions were a great touch that gave the chicken a more subtle flavor.  The dhal was not just the watery soup one usually finds but a thick richly seasoned stew of three or four kinds of beans, including red beans and garam. Like the difference between posole that has been cooked for only about four hours and posole that has been cooked for three days.   Little things that made a difference.

I tasted Willy’s chicken dish and it seemed to have a brighter spice complex than other chicken dishes of its kind and I agreed with him that the pakora curry was not very flavorful.  I finished my meal with a bowl of rice pudding and again was impressed with the complexity of flavors.  To complete the favorable response to Rasoi, while we were eating at around 2:15 a group of four Indians walked in and sat at a table near us and ordered off the menu.   We left before their food arrived, but not before seeing three flaming braziers brought to their table.  So there is both breath and complexity in the menu at Rosai.

As we were paying I noticed the wine cabinet and saw that it had a wide and interesting selection of wines.   Alas a new, wonderful Indian restaurant in Albuquerque.

When Suzette arrived home at around 4:00 p.m. Willy had decided to take a ride up the bike trail on the newly fixed bike and so Suzette and I decided to rest for a few minutes; she in the bed and I on the couch watching football and talking to a client.  At around 5:00 she got up and I suggested that we watch the McLaughlin Report at 5:30 p.m. and then cook dinner.  She looked at the TV schedule and saw the “Book of Eli” was going to be shown starting at 6:00. We asked Willy if it was a good movie and he said, “Yes,”  so we had a plan.  During McLaughlin Suzette and I discussed dinner.   We had originally planned on chicken with couscous with kale and tomatoes.  Suzette brought home fresh tomatoes and peppers from her Los Lunas gardens, but had not brought home a chicken, so we came to the decision to sauté sliced pork and tomatoes and potatoes and kale utilizing the PPI pork and saurkraut.   So at 8:30 p.m. when the “Book of Eli” ended we started cooking.  I went to the garden and picked kale and we de-stemmed it and chopped it roughly.  Then Suzette sliced the pork and sautéed it with some of the PPI roasted potatoes I had made with the pork and sauerkraut and then added the kale and covered the large skillet so the kale would wilt.  I went to the basement for a bottle of Ferme Julien rosé.   The wine was not perfect with the dish, but no wine would have been perfect, because the pork still had a bit of the vinegary flavor of the sauerkraut.  But the wine was refreshingly cool and fruity and the pork, potato, garlic and kale combination was very filling and satisfying.

We decided to not eat dessert or drink the entire bottle of wine to moderate our intake of food and wine.  Are we finally on a diet or had we each eaten large enough lunches to lighten up on dinner?

Bon Appétit    


Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 28, 2012 Dinner –Sauteed Ribeye with mushrooms and peppers, Pasta with pesto and cream of squash soup

September 28, 2012 Dinner –Sauteed Ribeye with mushrooms and peppers, Pasta with pesto and cream of squash soup

We did not cook Wednesday or Thursday, because of Suzette's girls night and my meditation on Wednesday and my Last Thursday Book Club group on Thursday (Willy and Suzette ate left over enchilada casserole with guacamole on Thursday), but I had thawed a ribeye steak out.

On Friday we had planned to go to Santa Fe for the openings, especially the one at David Richard Gallery for Judy Chicago and several other West Coast artists, but Suzette did not get home until 4:00 p.m. and we were both tired, so we decided to cook at home and rest rather than rush up to Santa Fe.

We had picked all of the ripe peppers from our garden on Friday morning, including pimientos, shishitos, and purple bells. 

At 7:00 p.m. after the PBS news, I found the last three mushrooms in the back of the crisper, so I sliced up the mushrooms and peppers and Suzette mixed PPI pesto she had made on Thursday evening into the bag of PPI pasta and microwaved it to heat it and mix the flavors. 

Suzette then started making the soup.  We had roasted and removed the meat from a large yellow skinned squash that had pimples on it (Gavilloin?) and put in in a 32 oz yogurt container several days ago.  Suzette then emulsified it in chicken stock and added nutmeg and salt and pepper and a bit of paprika to the soup.  Then she added heavy cream to make it into a cream soup.  I minced four stalks of chives to garnish the top of the soup.

While the soup was cooking Suzette smashed a couple of cloves of garlic into a large skillet and added about 2 ½ Tbsp. of butter and about 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet and about 2 Tbsp. of chopped onion and sautéed that with the mushrooms and peppers for several minutes until they softened and took on color while I cut the steak into 1 inch thick strips and chunks.  We then added the steak and shishito peppers to the skillet and cooked slowly while we ate the soup.

I went to the basement and fetched and opened a bottle of Murphy Goode Claret 2006 and we ladled soup into pasta bowls and garnished it with chives.  The soup was delicious.  The squash had a buttery texture and mild flavor that worked well with the spicy, creamy soup.  I was amazed that the clean fruity Murphy Goode claret went well with the soup.

When we finished our soup, we heated the skillet of steak and peppers and tossed a pile of pesto coated pasta into the pasta bowls on top of the residue of soup, which gave the bowl that creamy light yellow color and a little creamy flavor, and then ladled the steak and pepper mixture onto the top of the pasta.  After pouring more glasses of claret, we enjoyed one of the best comfort food meals I have had in a very long time.

The combination of wonderful meat (Costco $8.39/lb) with fresh sautéed peppers and mushrooms in a butter sauce with pesto pasta was a combination that I do not think I have ever had before and it was great.  Suzette said this is really Italian and I agreed and mentioned that there is a beef celebration in Cortona, Tuscany, Italy at which large quantities of beef are cooked.  I could imagine the Italians cooking the beef with peppers and eating it with pesto coated pasta and even squash soup, because the combination is an obvious end of summer combination because of the fresh availability of all of the ingredients.

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 24, 2012 Dinner – Grilled Lamb chops and Roasted Vegetables and sauteed greens with port vinegar and garlic

Willy’s friends, Joe and Michelle were in town so I went by Costco to gas up and eat a hot dog at lunch and bought two packages of lamb chops.   When I got home around 2:00 I called Suzette and we decided to grill the chops and make roasted root vegetables and greens from our garden, except we did not have carrots at our garden and Suzette had mentioned that she had beautiful carrots in Los Lunas, so I asked her to bring some carrots home.

So when Suzette came home around 5:30 p.m. we went out into the garden and picked kale and turnips and beets.  I then peeled and chopped up two potatoes, an onion, and five or six each of the small beets and turnips from the garden and Suzette threw them into a large pyrex baking dish with garlic cloves and tossed them with olive oil and put them into the oven at 350˚ and baked them for about 45 minutes.

We then stripped the middle of the stalk from the leaves of the beet greens and kale and chopped them into bite sized pieces and while Suzette was grilling the salted and peppered lamb chops, I sautéed the green in a wok with three smashed cloves of garlic and 1 ½ Tbsp. of garlic infused olive oil until they wilted and then added 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. port vinegar and a dash of salt to the greens. 

I then went to the basement and fetched a bottle of Perrin and Fils’ Les Christins from Appellation Vasqueyras Contrólee (80% Grenache and 20 Syrah from Orange, France).  This is in the Rhone area and I thought it would taste like a Rhone style wine and it did and the lightness of Grenache balanced by the heaviness of the syrah grape made a perfect balance for the grilled lamb chops.

As we were plating up our dishes, Joe and Michelle arrived so we ate together.  The plate were very colorful with the red died vegetables, the chops and the greens.  It was a pleasant and satisfying dinner and not too much food.  We are really enjoying gathering and cooking and eating fresh ingredients from our garden.

We also picked a large yellow squash from the garden and after h vegetables were roasted, we put it into the oven to roast.  After about an hour, we let it cool a bit and then sectioned it with a large knife and the softened inner meat pulled away easily from the hard outer shell.  We put the meat into a 32 oz. yogurt container as a PPI and into the fridge.

Willy arrived from his first day of canvassing for PIRG at 10:30 and heated up a plate of food we saved for him.

Bon Appétit



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012 Dinner - Pork and Saurkraut and Roasted Potatoes

September 25, 2012 Dinner – Pork and Saurkraut and roasted potatoes

Sometimes Suzette wants to eat good German fare and today was one of those days.  We took a pork roast (Shoulder tip?) out of the freezer and thawed it during the day.   I went to lunch at Taco Cabana and ate a pretty good ¼ chicken with rice and beans and a barbacoa taco made with a flour tortilla.

Then went to Sunflower market and found two Italian Sweet pork sausages for $1.99 per pound and then went by the Alpine Sausage Kitchen and bought 1 lb. of sauerkraut for $2.99 and a bottle of German Deli Mustard (Alpine Sausage Kitchen $2.89).

At 4:40 p.m. I put the pork roast and sauerkraut and pork sausages into a pyrex baking dish with a chopped up apple covered with aluminum foil into the oven at 350˚.   Then at 5:22 I peeled and cubed six baking potatoes and two onions and a small handful of garlic cloves and put them in a pyrex baking dish and tossed them with grape seed oil and covered them with aluminum foil and put that into the oven also.

Suzette arrived home at around 5:25 p.m. and was pleased to see that dinner was in motion.   When Suzette checked the pork roast, she decided that it was not cooking fast enough so sliced the roast into slices so it would cook faster and uncovered the potatoes so they would brown.  Then at around 6:20 p.m. we took the roast and potatoes out of the oven and opened two beers and put the PPI cucumber slices pickled in Mirin and rice wine vinegar in a bowl and sliced a tomato.  We served the pork and sauerkraut and sausage and potatoes with horseradish and some of the German Deli Mustard and it was really delicious.  The saurkraut and pork had yielded liquid in the pyrex baking dish that kept it from drying out and when Suzette cut up the pork roast, it basted the roast.  I loved dinner and it was easy to prepare and a quintessentially comforting dish.

Bon Appétit

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 23, 2012 Dinner - Eggplant, chicken, and turnips with Garlic Sauce

September 23, 2012 Dinner - Eggplant, chicken, and turnips with Garlic Sauce

We are enjoying our garden’s bounty these days.  Tonight while we were watching the low rider symphony and exploring the street fair on Central held in conjunction with the ISEA convention, Suzette mentioned that she wanted to use one of the eggplants from our garden and some of the PPI chicken baked with parsley mousse last Monday to make the Eggplant with Garlic Sauce from “Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking” by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo (page 169).

1 Tbsp. double dark soy sauce

2 tsp. oyster sauce

1 tsp. white rice vinegar

½ tsp. pepper flakes from hot chili oil

2 tsp. sugar 

½ tsp. cornstarch


4 cups peanut oil

1 lb. eggplants peeled and sliced lengthwise into ½ wide strips

2 tsp. minced garlic

Suzette made the sauce in a bowl in the kitchen, while I was slicing one Italian rosa eggplant into strips and dicing the chicken.  Willy told us that 2 friends from Vancouver (Joe and Michelle) were coming into town and would arrive around dinner time, so we decided to add additional vegetables from our garden and make 2 cups of white Basmati rice, so Suzette went out and picked 6 small turnips and I picked an about 15 inch long slender Armenian cucumber.

I then sliced the turnips and Suzette stir fried all the vegetables in about ¼ cup of peanut oil to cook them and drained them in a bowl on a paper towel.  While the vegetables were cooking, I peeled and sliced one-half of the cucumber into slices and we put the cucumber slices into a bowl and added 1 ½ Tbsp. rice wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp. Aji Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) and a dash of salt and let that sit for a few minutes to begin to pickle it.  

When the rice was done in 30 minutes on low temperature, she removed the oil from the wok and returned the vegetables to the wok and made a well in the middle of the vegetables and added the sauce and cooked it to heat everything.  While she was doing this Willy’s friends arrived and I fetched a 1.5 liter bottle of cold nigori sake from the fridge in the garage and set the table with chop sticks and cups for sake.  After hurried hellos we all sat down to a lovely light meal. 

As we finished dinner, I placed in a bowl the PPI casaba melon cubes soaked in lemon juice we had prepared several days earlier, which made a lovely dessert.  

So this dinner included the following ingredients from our garden: garlic, eggplant, turnips, cucumber, and casaba melon.

Bon Appétit

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 20, 2012 Dinner – Shrimp Scampi with pesto tossed spaghetti and blanched broccoli

September 20, 2012 Dinner – Shrimp Scampi with pesto tossed spaghetti and blanched broccoli

We finally have an evening together at home, so I went to Pro’s Ranch Market and bought some large limes (3lb. for $.99), two large avocados ($.99 each), one large tomato (3 lbs. for $.99), 1 lb. of strawberries ($1.39/lb.) and 1 ½ lb. of headless medium shrimp ($3.99/lb.). 

When Suzette got home we picked six shishito peppers in our garden and decided to make shrimp scampi.  So I went to the basement and brought up a bottle of chardonnay to use to make the wine sauce for the shrimp and a bottle of Cutler Creek Pinot Grigio ($3.33 at Sunflower Market).

I then shelled and de-veined 25 shrimp, while Suzette chopped up the peppers and mince garlic and heated butter and olive oil in a large skillet and started a large pot of water to boil the spaghetti.  When the spaghetti had cooked for several minutes, Suzette started heating the butter and garlic and then added the peppers and garlic and sautéed them.  When they had softened some, she put in the shrimp and about ¾ cup of white wine and ¼ cup of water and cooked the mixture for about five minutes.

After the shrimp were cleaned and deveined, I cut the flowerets off a fresh stalk of broccoli to make about 1 ½ cups and we placed the broccoli into the pot in which the pasta was cooking to blanch the flowerets.

When the broccoli and pasta was cooked, we drained them in separate strainers and then tossed the pasta in the pot that had been used for cooking it with a liberal amount of Suzette’s homemade red chile pesto that she had made Tuesday evening, September 18th.

The prep on this meal took less than 30 minutes.

We then placed the pesto tossed spaghetti in pasta bowls and spooned the shrimp and sauce over it and garnished with broccoli flowerets and poured glasses of Cutler Creek Pinot Grigio.

There are two interesting things about this meal.  One was the uniformity of the pasta flavor throughout the dish was very pleasing.  It pervaded the broccoli and it mixed with the shrimp and wine and pesto sauces to give the entire meal a uniform flavor of pasta that I found very appealing.  The pasta flavor was enhanced because the white wine and shrimp sauce mixed with the pesto and spaghetti and actually blended with and emulsified the romano cheese in the pesto to make a creamy pesto sauce that coated the pasta.  The other thing that was interesting was that the lightness and mildness of character of the California Pinot Grigio actually enhanced the character of the dish and subdued the chili flavor a bit.  So light wine is sometimes a good thing when you are trying to emphasize delicate food flavors, like sauteed shrimp.

Recipe for Suzette’s red chili pesto

4 cups loosely packed basil leaves

1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

¾ cup toasted pine nuts

1 ¼ cup olive oil

3 to 5 cloves of fresh garlic

Dash or ¼ tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. of red chili powder (optional)
 Suzette’s red chili pesto is now being made and sold at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery in Los Lunas for $8.00 per jar.

Later in the evening, Suzette let me taste a new dessert from the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery, a poached and caramelized quince garnished with crème fraiche that was indescribably delicious.  The caramelized quince will be on the Bistro’s 3 month Italian menu starting on October 4, 2012.  For those of you who read this posting before September 26, the new Italian menu and wines will be featured at a wine and food tasting to be held 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Bistro at the Center for Ageless Living’s campus in Los Lunas on September 26, 2012.  The food tasting is free and the wine tasting is only $5.00. 

Bon Appétit




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September18, 2012 Dinner- Spanish Tapa of Peas and Artichoke Hearts, Hearts of Palms and Ham and saffron.

September18, 2012 Dinner- Spanish Tapa of Peas and Artichoke Hearts, Hearts of Palms and Ham and saffron.

We had to go shopping for Suzette’s Santa Rosa assisted living facility at 4:30 p.m. and did not return home until 6:30 p.m. so we decided to make the Spanish tapa that we had eaten at a small seaside village near San Sebastian last year that utilizes canned ingredients and ham that required little prep time and because I had two fresh artichokes I had cooked two days ago, so we had a fresh ingredient that was part of the dish.

I removed the leaves and spiny cores from the hearts and diced the hearts while Suzette found an unopened bottle of Italian olive oil and chopped up a smoked pork chop and began sautéing it in 1 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  When we looked at the jar of artichoke hearts in water we had, we found that they had become moldy and disintegrated into a pile of mush.  So we then opened an open bottle of hearts of palm because they have a similar structure to that of artichoke hearts and when we smelled them, they smelled slightly moldy also.  We opened a fresh jar of hearts of palms and it smelled just right.  So I diced four hearts of pam while Suzette was sautéing the pork chop in a skillet with frozen peas.  She then added the artichoke and palm hearts to the skillet and a dash of Spanish saffron and after a minute of sautéing the dish was done.

I ran to the cellar to fetch a bottle of my favorite inexpensive Spanish red wine, La Granja, which is 50% Tempranillo and 50% granache ($4.99 at Trader Joe’s).   I also had made a mayonnaise and lemon dipping sauce and ate the leaves of the two artichokes.  You can also eat bread with this dish, but we did not.  I had made ham sandwiches for lunch, so had had enough bread for the day.  

While the tapa was cooking Suzette cleaned up a two week old lb. of fresh green figs and stuffed five of them with goat cheese and cut up and put the rest into a sauce pan with some sweet Spanish muscatel wine and some sweet French Vouvray white wine and poached them until the liquid almost evaporated.

So for dessert, Suzette made us bowls of vanilla ice cream garnished with fresh poached figs and a bit of chocolate syrup.

I opened and drank a few sips of my newly purchased Francoli grappa made by Fratellifrancoli Distillery in Italy ($28.99 at Jubilation) from nebbiolo grapes grown in the Ghemme region and aged in oak barrels for three years.  It still had that grappa edge to it.  In my opinion Antinori grappa is better because it has less edge, but Antinori‘s grappa is almost twice the price.

On balance a great meal because we discovered that hearts of palm has the same consistency as artichoke hearts and offered a different flavor and color to the dish, so in the future we will probably use both in this dish.  

Bon Appétit

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

August 12, 2012 Angers and Dinner at la Croisette, Béhuard, France

August 12, 2012 Angers and Dinner at la Croisette, Béhuard, France

We got up and had breakfast of bread and butter and jam and tea and coffee and a yogurt in the breakfast room at our B and B.  We asked our hostess where we could get groceries and she suggested a small market in Savvenieres that was opened by the local people on Sunday morning.  So after breakfast we drove across the bridge to Savvenieres and stopped a small grocery store.  It was nicely stocked but we decided to drive on to Angers rather than carry food with us all day.   As it turned out not much is open on Sunday afternoon and that would turn out to be our last chance to buy food.   

We found the auto route and drove into Angers and parked at the base of the Castle walls beside the river.  We then spent about fifteen minutes walking up the steps to the big church in the center of the old Town.  Angers is a fortified position on the north side of the Loire River.  It has been the capital of this western Loire region since the 1200’s.  The British used to own the north side of the river for many years, so it was an important defended position.  In fact when we got to the fort (chateau) we saw excavations that dated back 6000 years to the Neolithic era at the top of the hill inside the fortress.

We saw a Tourist Information Office sign and so we walked up the street toward the fort and the office.  When we arrived we found a large tourist information office with lots of staff to answer questions and lots of brochures on Angers and the surrounding countryside.  One of the interesting things about France is that it has a highly developed system of tourist information offices, with bathrooms and lots of multi-lingual attendants.  We did not find any town without one, even the smallest towns we visited had a tourist information office with at least three or four persons, one of which spoke English open 7 days a week.  How smart.  Here ends the additional text added on September 18, 2012.

Original text. 

Since it was Sunday, there was very little open, so we drove into Angers, distance of about 15 to 20 miles.  We parked at the bottom of the City beside the River and walked up the hill to the upper city where the tourist information office was located and the Chateau.  Angers has been inhabited since Neolithic times.  It sits high on the south side of the Loire.  During the 100 Years War England owned the opposite bank of the river, so it faced the enemy.  It had 17 towers but also has a vineyard and garden inside the walls of the Castle.  We walked around the ramparts and then went through the Apocalypse Tapestry museum.  The “Apocalypse” was woven at the end of the 14th Century during the period of continual war with England for control of this territory and is filled with iconography of heaven and hell and lots of mutilation.   It is huge series of tapestries that fill a good sized museum.  Much of the details were hard to see because the museum is kept in low light to protect the tapestry from destruction from light.   Then we went to the Musée of Beaux Artes that is only a regional Museum.  We saw only one picture that we had not seen before that interested us.  It was painted by Georges Ribemont Dessaignes in 1907 and was both a pointillist and fauvism composition of trees beside the water.   Lovely with a pinkish glow in the background.  By the time we finished the museum we were tired and hungry, so we drove back along the north side of the river toward Rochfort and stopped in Savenniers to taste wine at two wineries.  At the second winery, Clostel d Vault, the owners recommended that we go to dinner at la Croisette, so we agreed to let them call for a reservation for 7:00 p.m.     

Then back to the chambres to rest and we returned to la Croisette for dinner.  This time Suzette ordered gazpacho and I ordered a Salade Anjou and we split an order of calamari.  Suzette’s gazpacho was very fresh tasting, made with celery, cucumber and tomatoes pureed.  My salad was my favorite, frisee with a poached egg and lardons (fried chunks of bacon) and croutons garnished with alight vinaigrette.  We ordered a carafe of the house rosé for half the price of the bottle of Savvenieres the night before and I enjoyed it just as much.  I think the Loire rosés mix a little Cabernet Franc into the Chinen Blanc that gives it a little bite to balance the natural sweetness of the Chinen Blanc.

After dinner and another lovely sunset over the river, we went back to the B and B.

August 28, 2012 Disembarkation at New York and Breakfast - the fish mystery is solved, Lunch – Pastis, Dinner – L’ Ecole

August 28, 2012 Disembarkation at New York and Breakfast - the fish mystery is solved, Lunch – Pastis,  Dinner – L’ Ecole

We got up at 4:30 am, showered quickly, dressed and ran up to the observation deck.  The Lookout on the 13th deck was full, so we went back to the observation Deck at the front of the boat on Deck 11 where we watched the boat go under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge and into New York Harbor, past the Statute of Liberty and south of Governor’s Island to the Cruise ship terminal about one mile south of the Brooklyn  Bridge,  just east of the southern tip of Governor’s Island.

We called Luke and told him we would taxi to his apartment in Williamsburg.  Then we went to our last breakfast.  It was not a stretch to decide on the choice of foods.  Although there is everything you could think to eat on board and you can have it seating in luxury in the Britannia Grille r in a buffet line in the King’s Court, I chose the King’s Court because it had my perfect selection of breakfast items in a short three foot area.  Fresh salad greens, sliced tomato and onion, smoked salmon, capers, sour cream, Philadelphia cream cheese, hard boiled eggs and pickled herring (today’s choices were in either mustard or wine sauce).  I took both types of herring, pile of salmon and all the fixings and then we went around the other side of the hot line and got a toasted bagel and then to the Healthy Corner for a glass of fresh carrot, orange and celery and ginger juice.   I gave Suzette a taste of each of the herrings.  She liked the mustard sauce because it was not as sweet as the wine sauce and she went back for a few more filets of that with some sour cream.    

As stated yesterday, I can not get over how good the herring is so Suzette said why not ask for the producer, so on our way out we stopped one of the Food and Beverage supervisors and asked her for the name of the producer of the herring.  She excused herself and went to the kitchen area for several minutes and finally returned with the following written on a piece of paper “Kattegøt Se(e)afood , Skipp and sild” or “Skipper sild”.     The “sild” is easy, that is erring in Danish and Kattegøt is easy that is a Danish name.  The rest is a little obscure.

Anyway, mission accomplished on the herring. 

Then back to the room and now we are waiting in the Chart Room for our disembarkation scheduled for 8:45 a.m.  Very near the end of a very lovely cruise.   The $1,750 ticket price is rather cheap for what you get.  Our dinner mates are frequent cruisers and their tickets were $990.00 for a 9 day cruise, which is not much more than a transatlantic flight for 7 days of food and lodging.

I recommend everyone consider the cruise option if they can take the extra time.

Bon Voyage

 We had no difficulty clearing customs and took a taxi to Luke’s apartment and arrived around 10:00 am.

When we arrived we were immediately attracted to his back yard which is quite large with lots of blooming plants and trees.  I saw roses, rose of sharrons, a long cylindrical flowered armatures with lots of butterflies and bumble bees feeding on them.   Then we saw three fig bushes toward the back of his yard filled with figs.  We immediately attacked them and working together to bend the limbs down, we picked about a dozen figs that had ripened with an open reddened end to them.   We then went back into his kitchen which is also good sized by New York standards and chopped up the figs and put them into a sauce pan with a bit of water and some maple syrup and I skinned several pieces of skin off a fresh lemon and julienned the lemon pieces into threads and put those into the figs.  Luke then stewed the figs for about fifteen minutes as we discussed what we would like to do in NYC . 

We decided to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan, so we could see the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge from up high, as well as Lower Manhattan.

When we had crossed the bridge we went to a great shop and then decided to walk the High Line, so we took a taxi across town and then walked until we came to the southern end of the High Line.  The High Line is a very interesting urban feature.  It is an elevated train track that was used to deliver goods to the meat packing district to avoid crossing many streets at street level.  It has been landscaped and decorated with walkways and gardens and water effects to make a pleasing diversion in terms of altitude and exposure to a different environment from the neighboring street level concrete and brick corridors around it.  We walked about ten blocks and then Luke said we needed to go the Pastis because we had a reservation for lunch, so we walked the three or four blocks to the Pastis Restaurant at around 12:30.   I had eaten so much stuff for breakfast that I did not want to eat much, so Luke ordered an omelet with French fries and an arugula salad and we ordered a carafe of rosé wine. The omelet was puffed up and delightful and the French fries, a welcome home gift.  The baby arugula with flakes of parmesan cheese was pleasant and not bitter and the bread fresh and heavy with an especially good half whole wheat bread.  

The food was delicious, but at 1:30 we paid the bill and grabbed a taxi to the Morgan Library to see the Josef Albers show, when Luke announced that the Morgan was closing at 5:00 p.m.  The Morgan has an exhibit of many of Albers works from the 40’s through the 70’s, when he was formulating his Homage to the Square series.  The works were oil on paper.  It was interesting to see his experiments with color, but they were just that.  Many were over painted with different colors and did not have that vibratory intensity of his finished works.  Albers’ life is as interesting as his work.  He was born in Germany and attended the Bauhaus and then was in charge of the stained glass work shop at the Bauhaus and met his wife Ari Fleischmann there.  When it was closed by the Nazis, they immigrated to the U.S. and began teaching at Black Mountain.  Albers later taught art at Yale.  He was interested in how one’s perceptions change about colors based upon how their juxtaposition to other colors.  So they are experiments in color theory.  The Morgan also was exhibiting a collection of Winton Churchill memorabilia, but my favorite was an exhibit of Venetian drawings and books.  My favorites in the Venetian Exhibit were two books from the 15th century.  One was a reprint of Vetruvius, a classical Greek or Roman treatise on architecture, for which Palladio prepared the illustrations, and Palladio’s famous treatise on architecture, which was opened to his four sided Villa Rotunda, also from the late 1400’s.

We then came back to Luke’s for a nap and then got dressed and went to L’ Ecole for dinner.  While Luke and Suzette went two blocks to a shop, I sat at the bar and ordered a corked ½ bottle of French apple cider from Normandy (Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2009 produced by Etienne Dupont at Vietot-Pontfol, France that was unfiltered, unpasteurized with 5.5% alcohol for $15.00)  that was delicious, especially with ice.  Then around 8:00 Luke and Suzette returned and Rebecca arrived and we were seated.   L’Ecole in honor of NYC Restaurant Week 2012 was serving a Prix Fixe three course menu for $35.00 which we all took.   Luke took the Smoked Salmon, sliced smoked salmon rolled into a column and stuffed with cucumber-dill salad served on a Potato Galette made from threads of potato deep fried to golden brown with a dab of Horseradish cream, Rebecca and I had the hand made orecchiette pasta that resembled a human ear, tossed with a lovely stewed mélange of late summer squash, tomato jam, and Pecorino Romano that had sautéed the ingredients until they gave up their juices and joined together (melanged).

Suzette was quiet, so she must have enjoyed her grilled eggplant slices stuffed with Ricotta, Arugula, pine nuts and Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette.

For entrees, Suzette and I both ordered the Sautéed/Fried Branzino with Ratatouille with a puddle of light lemon aioli sauce with four small mounds of pureed tapenade in a row on the aioli sauce.  The ratatouille was super fresh.  It had been sautéed, but not baked, so its vegetables were still quite fresh.

Luke took the gnocchi with peas in a cream sauce.    Very soft and with a deliciously creamy sauce

The restaurant was featuring a selection of wines for $35.00 per bottle also and we decided to try a appellation Quincy Sauvignon Blanc.  I missed the name of the vineyard, but the wine was crisp and fruity.  We need to try more of these in the future.

Rebecca ordered the Pan Seared Grouper on a bed of sticky rice with a Red Pepper Emulsion and garnished with roasted tomatillos.  I try a forkful of her sticky rice and it was creamy and soft to the taste.  A tomatillo was slow roasted to golden brown, perhaps having been glazed with the re pepper-bacon emulsion.  I have not seen this treatment before and like it very much.    

 For dessert we tried one of each of Apple Fennel Compote on a smear of Thyme Anglaise with cinnamon crumbs, a Warm Almond Corn Cake with smoked corn ice cream, a Peach upside down cake with toasted Almond Ice Cream and a balsamic glaze and a dark chocolate Gianduja Tart with Vanilla-orange peel ice cream and a Cocoa Syrup.   The most interesting part of the Apple Fennel Compote (slices of apple and fennel that had been cooked in syrup was a sprig of thyme that had been rolled in turbine sugar and then fried until crisp.  The peach upside-down cake was my favorite because it combined a wonderful Fancipan cake with peach slices and the toasted almond ice cream was delicious.

The corn dessert was too spicy for us for a dessert and the chocolate was okay but not great.  It combined a thick chocolate sauce on top of a layer of coffee flavored lighter chocolate custard below in a tart shell that was a little over-cooked.

One must remember that L’Ecole is like getting a hair cut at a Barber College.  The people in the kitchen are all students, so there are hits and misses.  That is why you can get a three course meal with the freshest and best ingredients for $35.00.

After dinner we went to Luke’s apartment to sleep and get ready to return to Albuquerque.

September 16, 2012 Suzette’s 25th Business Anniversary Celebration: Breakfast – Poached egg and smoked salmon in a squash cup, Dinner – ham and green chili and cheese Quesadilla

September 16, 2012 Suzette’s 25th Business Anniversary Celebration:  Breakfast – Poached egg and smoked salmon in a squash cup, Dinner – ham and green chili and cheese Quesadilla

We got up and at 10:30 a.m. rode ten miles. Then came home and Suzette filled the PPI squash cups we had roasted the night before with a slice of smoked salmon (gravad lax) and an egg and baked it in the microwave for a few minutes until the egg firmed.  We ate the baked squash cups with champagne.

While Suzette wrote her speech or the 25th Anniversary celebration, I watched the T.V. coverage of the Tour of Spain and a great NFL football game between Baltimore and Philadelphia that ended in a Michael Vick scoring drive with a score on his run into the end zone with 50 seconds left on the clock.

We went down to the Center for Ageless Living at around 4:00 p.m. so Suzette could get things ready for the Big 25th Anniversary of her being in business.  While I watched football and napped they set up tables and chairs and a wine tent and prepared food and flower arrangements.  Then at 5:30 p.m., I went over to set up the wine and manned the spa wine station starting around 6:15.  The kitchen had made up platters of antipasto with a wonderful artichoke and dried tomato and pepper spread, kalamata olives, two kinds of salami and cheese and a platter of focaccia bread slices and a tray of small cups of tiramisu, made the correct way with marsacapone dulce.  I tried everything and loved it.  Suzette had selected four wines to pour: a Soave, a Moscato, a Primativo and an El Bastardo Tuscan sangiovoise.  

There were not as many people as we had anticipated; so after a few minutes they moved the food and wine that had been placed at the pool area in the spa to the open filed where the tent and stage were.  There was live music provided by a Western swing band and there was also an additional dish on the table; penna tossed in a Chimayo red chile pesto made fresh with the Center’s garden basil.

Although there was not a large group, Rose Petrakis and Barry and Kylene Wing from the neighborhood showed up.  Rose had ridden 100 miles in a century event that day, so I thought of it as a celebration for her also. 

Suzette has developed an intensely loyal group of families whose mothers and fathers have been clients at the center.  One lady spoke of how her aunt, who had been a client for 19 years as she slowly suffered the ravages of Alzheimers’.    Then Suzette introduced all of the staff and gave out gifts to them and the music began again and we danced one dance and then sat and sipped wine and listened to the band until 9:00.  After a short cleanup we went home around at around 9:15 p.m.

When we got home around 9:45 P.m. Suzette said she had not eaten anything all day, I suggested that  we make quesadillas, so I got out ham and the Pecorino cheese and he bag of green chili and flour tortillas.  We constructed the quesadillas and Suzette fried them up in a skillet with a bit of butter.

Willy had arrived from his camping trip to Colorado with a can of Santa Fe Brewery’s Imperial Stout.  When we tasted it it was too heavy, so I opened a bottle of Kirtland’s Pale Ale and made a black and tan.  Suzette and I drank beers and ate the quesadillas with Willy around 10:00 p.m. and then Suzette and I went to bed tired and happy after a full day of activity.

Bon Appétit

September 17, 2012, Lunch - Vietnam 2000; Dinner - Parsley mousse stuffed Chcken with sauteed Squash and corn and sweet Potato and Pecan pie

September 17, Lunch - Vietnam 2000; Dinner – Parsley mousse stuffed Chicken and sautéed squash and corn and sweet potato and pecan pie

Willy and I went to Vietnam 2000 at the corner of San Mateo and Zuni for lunch.  We got the No. 21 which is grilled pork and pork egg rolls on a bed of cooked vermicelli rice noodles and at the bottom are strips of basil and lettuce and fresh mung bean sprouts.  A very delicious dish, especially on a warm day.  The dish is served with a sweetened fish sauce sauce that soaks into the noodles and makes them moist and flavored.

Suzette and I had agreed to have dinner with Charles and Susan Palmer.   I had bought a 6 lb. fryer at Lowe’s on Saturday but had cut a long sliver out of it when I made a chicken noodle soup for lunch. So I had to truss the chicken, since I had a long open seam in the chicken I decided to make the Michel Guérard’s recipe for Roast Chicken with Parsley (page 217 in Cuisine Minceur) and then after stuffing the chicken to truss it.

The recipe calls for a 2 ½ lb. chicken or guinea fowl.  I had made the recipe before, so it did not take very long to make the stuffing of;

5 Tbsp. of mince parsley

1 Tbsp. of minced chives

2 tsp. of minced tarragon (I used a little more)

2 shallots, peeled and finely minced

2 medium mushrooms, stems trimmed, rinsed and finely minced

1 Tbsp. of fromage blanc

Salt and pepper

The formage blanc is a combination of ricotta cheese and yogurt.  I had both, but when I opened my PPI ricotta, it was bad and I used Page’s Plain Greek yogurt  and crumbled Feta instead.

I minced all the ingredients and then added about a Tbsp. or two of each of the yogurt and the feta so the mixture would be slightly emulsified and a bit of salt and pepper .

I then stuffed the mixture under the skin of the chicken as the recipe instructs and trussed the open wound close with trussing needles and string.

We then salted and brushed the outside of the chicken with butter so it would cook to a golden brown and laid the chicken in a roasting pan.   We placed the chicken in a 425˚ preheated oven and roasted it for 20 minutes then turned down the oven to 350˚ and roasted for another 40 minutes as the recipe instructed.  Unfortunately, we needed to go to dinner so we removed the chicken before it was completely cooked which as the recipe says is when the juices run clear without any sign of pink.

When we arrived at the Palmer we discovered that the chicken was not fully cooked because it was a 6 lb. chicken and not a 2 ½ lb. chicken so we sectioned the bird and microwaved the sections for 4 minutes to fully cook the flesh.

After the chicken was in the oven Suzette and I walked to the garden to see what squashes might be ripe and we found that our zucchini had grown hugely over night to a length of about 10 inches, so we picked it and a round green 8 ball squash. 

I then diced into 1/4 inch squares ½ of the zucchini and 8 ball squashes and two small yellow crook necked squashes from Suzette’s organic garden at the Center for Ageless Living with two cloves of garlic and 1/3 yellow onion.  Suzette started sautéing the squashes and onion and garlic in butter and olive oil while I diced small red and yellow cherry tomatoes and an heirloom tomato from Suzette’s organic garden in Los Lunas, which Suzette threw into the sautéing squash mixture about five minutes before Suzette finished the dish.   We put the sautéed squash in a serving bowl and placed the chicken on a steel pan and covered it with aluminum foil and I fetched a chilled bottle of Concannon Sauvignon Blanc and we took them over to the Palmers’ around 6:45 p.m.

When we arrived Susan was still cooking but there was a lovely table full of cheeses and toasted French bread slices and crackers, so we nibbled while Susan shucked ears of corn and constructed a sweet potato and pecan pie by placing a dough in the bottom of a deep pie dish and then covering it with a mixture of sweet potato stuffing and then a layer of caramel cooked pecan halves.  The recipe Susan used for the sweet potato pie was from one of Paul Prudhomme’s cookbooks.   So after we had nibbled on Boursin, brie, blue, and other cheeses for a few minutes and the pie was in the oven and the corn boiled to tender, we sliced open the chicken and found that it was still pink, so I sectioned it and Suzette microwaved it for four minutes.   I did not do the sauce for the chicken which is 3/4 cup of chicken stock with 1 clove of garlic and a Tbsp. of mince parsley reduced to a sauce, which would have been a bit nicer, as I found myself dipping my meat into the residue of cooking juices on the serving dish at the table to coat the meat with sauce.   

We then sat down to dinner and enjoyed a perfect summer meal of parsley mousse stuffed chicken, sautéed squash medley, fresh white and yellow corn with glasses of white Sauvignon Blanc. 

We looked at pictures from our recent trip to England and France and then had slices of the sweet potato pie with whipped cream flavored with vanilla and Grand Marnier and brandy.   At around 10:00 p.m. we walked home stuffed full of food and conversation.  

One of the interesting things about Charles and Susan is they are about my age and they had a similar education from 7th grade through 12th grade, which was one of accelerated classes.  Charlie’s were in Houston and mine in Fort Worth, while Susan’s were in American schools in Holland and Saudi Arabia where her Dad worked for Aramco.  So I asked them what their early school experience was like, as part of the conversation.   

For example, we discovered that Charlie’s interest in wood working came from his assisting his Dad in his Dad’s wood working shop, which he inherited, just like my interest in food came from my assisting my mother in her kitchen preparing her menus for her cooking school, whose kitchen equipment I inherited.  

Bon Appétit  

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 13, 2012 Dinner – Lamb Chops and Turnip/beet Sauté

September 13, 2012 Dinner – Lamb Chops and Turnip/beet Sauté           

I made an omelet with the left over stuffed Eight Ball Squash and three eggs for breakfast.  Ground pork, tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil and kale. Quite nice.

We met Jim from Southern to try Italian wine at Slate Street at 5:30, so we were a little drunk and not so hungry when we arrived home at around 8:00 p.m.  We had decided to make lamb riblets.  There was an interesting story behind the lamb riblets.  When I was shopping at Costco on Tuesday, I saw a package of what looked like a rack of lamb cut into chops two ribs thick in the chop section and priced at the chop price of$7.99/lb. and not the rack price of $11.99/lb.  When I asked a butcher why the rack was cut up and priced as the chop price, he said, “The package was opened, so we cut up the rack.”  Not very believable, but I did not question him further and took the package.  So Suzette we got our flashlight and went to the garden and picked about 7 or 8 turnips and 3 or 4 beets and a handful of oregano and Willy washed them off and I chopped them into small bite sized pieces and plucked the oregano leaves and chopped them.  We then par-boiled the turnips and beets covered with saran in the microwave for 2 ½ minutes with a little water to steam them. Then Suzette threw them into a skillet with butter and olive oil and the oregano, a little salt and pepper, and sautéed them with a bit of water covered with a lid to steam them, while she grilled the riblets.  The chops were a little burned but inside they were perfect.  We opened a bottle of Stickleback Australian red meritage wine and had a wonderful fresh dinner.  Willy marveled at the freshness of the turnips and beets and he was correct.  They did not have any perceptible flavor other than one of freshness.  What a difference fresh food makes.

Bon Appetit