Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 24, 2014 BBQ Shrimp and Rice with Purslane

July 24, 2014 BBQ Shrimp and Rice with Purslane

I had bought a pound of large fresh shrimp on Tuesday when I went to Ta Lin ($8.95/lb.) that we saved for this dinner.

This is one of Suzette’s favorite recipes.  She uses Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Kitchen recipe with his unique blend of seasonings and lot of butter (you can find the recipe elsewhere in my blogs).

We also made coleslaw and added the PPI Mango Salsa to it for an interesting coleslaw.  We picked a cucumber from the garden and made cucumber spears and stuck them into the coleslaw to garnish the coleslaw.

The result is a spicy sauce and the perfect accompaniment to dirty rice.  Since we did not have a lot of giblets, Suzette picked some of the purslane growing wild outside our kitchen door, which seems somehow appropriate for a Cajun dish and put into the boiling rice water when she put in the rice.

Rice is easy to cook, but for some reason Suzette is scared to cook it. 

For ordinary white rice the radio is two parts water to one part rice.

I usually season the water with something.  My old standby is about ½ teaspoon of Knorr’s dehydrated to 2 cups of water and then when the water boils, add 1 cup of dry rice.

Then reduce the heat to its lowest level under the pot of rice and cook for 30 minutes.

For brown rice the ratio of water I usually use 2 ½ parts water and cook it for 45 minute,

Wild rice is beef stock as the liquid, ratio of 3 parts liquid to rice and a cooking time of 1¼ hours.

Suzette’s rice turned out fine, although she thought it was still a tiny bit hard.

We scooped a pile of rice into pasta bowls and ladled shrimp and sauce on top of it and had a good old fashion Cajun dinner with a bottle of beer.

Bon Appétit

July 27, 2014 Brunch Lambert’s in Taos Dinner Fried Rice with Pork

July 27, 2014 Brunch Lambert’s in Taos   Dinner  Fried Rice with Pork

We got up and drove into Taos and had brunch at the new Lamberts’ Restaurant located in the old Apple Tree location on Bent Street.   We shared a fresh spinach salad with strawberries and a Buffalo pastrami Reuben Sandwich with French fries coated with truffle oil.  Suzette drank a mimosa and I drank lemonade.  

We liked the buffalo pastrami, which we had never eaten before.

We then drove back to Albuquerque.

After a nap, we decided to make a simple meal of Fried Rice.

We combined the PPI apples and onions from the pork tapa dish and Suzette fried an egg in the wok while I chopped up two baby bok choy and a bit of garlic and the PPI pork.

Suzette then fried the pork, some PPI rice from the BBQ shrimp dinner, bok choy and onions and apples in the wok with the chopped up fried egg for a quick meal.

Bon Appétit

July 29, 2014 Lunch Hot Dog at Costco Dinner Talas rack of lamb with purslane couscous and tzatziki sauce

July 29, 2014  Lunch  Hot Dog at Costco   Dinner   Talas rack of lamb with purslane couscous and tzatziki sauce

I went by Costco after my meeting this morning and got my favorite inexpensive lunch, a Nathans all beef Polish hot dog with a drink for $1.60.  I put everything on it, including fresh chopped onions, deli mustard relish and catsup.   It is a great light lunch.

Then I drove to Trader Joe’s and bought a 32 oz. container of European style yogurt ($3.19) and several bottles of wine.

At 6:00 I went out to the driveway and picked a basket of purslane.  With all the rain this year the purslane is larger and more prolific than ever. 

Here is some information on purslane.

Common in our yards but little known in the North American kitchen, purslane is both delicious and exceptionally nutritious. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) — also known as duckweed, fatweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas and wild portulaca — is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world. It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season.
Until recently, most research on purslane has focused on its eradication. A frequently overlooked approach to controlling this weed is to eat it! Purslane is so surprisingly tasty, North Carolina market gardener Patryk Battle says, “I have rarely had anybody not buy purslane after they’ve tried it.”
Purslane is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried. Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.
Battle also uses purslane in pesto. He throws basil and purslane (upper stems and all) into a blender or food processor, adds a small amount of olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and enough hot water to get a good consistency. Because it’s so juicy, purslane helps create a low-fat pesto without too much oil.

A Nutrient-Rich Weed

Purslane may be a common plant, but it is uncommonly good for you. It tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Purslane provides six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.
Omega-3s are a class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Your body cannot manufacture essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food. Unfortunately, the typical American diet contains too few omega-3s, a shortage that is linked to a barrage of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
ALA is most commonly found in plants and grass-fed meat and eggs. Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet, says purslane is one of the richest known plant sources of ALA: It contains 15 times the amount found in most iceberg lettuce.
In addition to ALA, other omega-3s include eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids mostly found in aquatic plants and animals, especially oily fish. Nutritionists now think all forms of omega-3s need to be plentiful in our diets p lants such as purslane may be part of the missing link to better nutrition. Ethnobiologists — scientists who study the relation between primitive human societies and the plants in their environment — believe that the plants humans ate long ago provided a greater proportion of nutrients than the plants we consume today. They estimate, for instance, that humans 40,000 to 10,000 years ago consumed an average of 390 milligrams per day of vitamin C from wild plants and fruits. In contrast, the average American today consumes just 88 milligrams of vitamin C per day. One cup of cooked purslane has 25 milligrams (20 percent of the recommended daily intake) of vitamin C.

Suzette arrived a little after 6:00 as I was still picking a few leaves of chard in the garden, a cucumber and mint for the tzatziki sauce.

It turned out the package of lamb contained two racks, so we decided to grill both racks and make couscous with purslane and Tzatziki Sauce.   Suzette took on the prep responsibilities for the couscous and the grilling and I looked up a recipe for tzatziki and prepared it.

Suzette chopped a tomato into cubes and sliced the large leaves of purslane into ¼ inch wide strips and then made the couscous by melting 2 Tbsp. of butter in a sauce pan and then sautéing the purslane and tomatoes for a minute and then added 1 ½ cups of water and when that started boiling she added 1 cup of couscous and turned down the heat to low for a minute and then turned off the heat to allow the couscous to absorb the liquid.

The Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
1 cucumber
1 cup of Greek style yogurt
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. of dill
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

I also added 1 Tbsp. of fresh chopped mint and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.

Actually I doubled the recipe.

When the lamb was grilled I tried to slice it into riblets and we discovered that it contained a tough cartilage membrane covering the riblets.  This was a surprise to us and we are not sure if it is because the lamb is churro lamb or if the Australians remove the cartilage covering the riblets.  Anyway I cut the cartilage away and then was able to easily slice the riblets between each rib.  We opened a bottle of the 2012 Pontificis red Southern Rhone blend I bought today at Trader Joe’s ($6.99, a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% mourvedre from the Languedoc-Roussillon region).  The wine label indicated that it was from an Indication Geographique Protegée.  

Here is what Indication Geographique Protegée means:

Vin de pays is a French term meaning "country wine". Vins de pays are a step in the French wine classification that is above the table wine (Vin de table) classification, but below Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) and formerly below VDQS classifications. Legislation on the Vin de pays terminology was created in 1973 and passed in 1979,[1] allowing producers to distinguish wines that were made using grape varieties or procedures other than those required by the AOC rules, without having to use the simple and commercially non-viable table wine classification. Unlike table wines, which are only indicated as being from France, Vin de pays carries a geographic designation of origin, the producers have to submit the wine for analysis and tasting, and the wines have to be made from certain varieties or blends. Regulations regarding varieties and labelling practices are typically more lenient than the regulations for AOC wines. In 2009, the Vin de pays classification was replaced by the new IGP - Indication Géographique Protégée, or Protected Geographical Region - designation.[2]

There are three tiers of Vin de Pays: regional, departmental and local.[1]
There are six regional Vins de Pays, which cover large areas of France. The most voluminous contributor to this category of wines is Vin de Pays d'Oc, from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in Mediterranean France.

We loved the slightly gamey flavor of the lamb.  The Couscous was moist and saturated with subtle flavor of tomatoes (the purslane has no flavor, just nutrients) and the wine had a slightly unpleasant finish to it that went away as it opened up or after we had had a glass or two of it.  

I liked the tzatziki sauce also, but the garlic tasted raw.  Hopefully it will mellow overnight in the fridge.  We will eat this same meal tomorrow evening since we have an equal amount of all the dishes left.

Suzette and I were both impressed by the large quantity of ingredients we had grown in our garden; the cucumbers, mint, dill, garlic, and purslane.  And the lamb was New Mexico raised churro lamb.  So this was a very fresh, local dinner.

For dessert I ate a bowl of  spumoni ice cream and Suzette ate a bowl of poached figs and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Bon Appétit

July 26, 2014 A Day in Taos Brunch El Gamal Dinner Martyrs Steakhouse

July 26, 2014   A Day in Taos   Brunch El Gamal   Dinner Martyrs Steakhouse

We slept in a bit but were up and at the Farmer’s Market by 9:00.  The Farmer’s Market has grown in size and now is located on the Plaza.

We parked at the Taos High School parking lot and walked through the John Dunn commercial development, where we bought large cups of Chai for me and coffee for Suzette on the way to the Plaza.

When we arrived at the Plaza it was filled with vendors of all kinds, both fruits and vegetables and prepared foods and baked goods and food vendors.

Suzette at the Farmer's Market
 Suzette bought a bundle of Rhubarb ($5.00/lb.) and we bought a pound of lovely large sugar snap peas ($5.00/lb.)  Then we started looking at the Taos Library’s book sale tables and found five or six books we liked and others we have been intending to read, like David McCollum’s Henry Adams biography.  After looking at and buying books for about ½ hour we were hungry, so we walked to the little plaza one block to the west of the Large Plaza to the El Gamal restaurant.  The name is new and the menu and ownership had changed, but the chef seems to be the same as the space’s last two incarnations as a diner and bakery. 

I ordered a daily special of Eggs Florentine on Challah.  Suzette ordered a chicken curry dish.  When the food was served we discovered that the bakery had baked Challah rolls and everything was served on or with the freshly baked challah rolls, which was okay because they were delicious.  The Hollandaise Sauce on my eggs Florentine was perfect, buttery, creamy and thick.  The eggs were beautifully poached tight bundles of white around a pocket of creamy golden yellow yolk and lots of freshly steamed spinach.  Suzette’s dish was equally good and served with toasted slices of Challah roll with homemade fresh peach preserves, which also delicious.  Regardless of its name, this restaurant in this location is my favorite brunch place in Taos, so long as the chef who always seems to be there is cooking.   I hope he lives a long time.    

Eggs Florentine

Suzette's curry
We then fetched the car, and drove to the Harwood Art Museum and saw the Gus Foster art collection that he is giving to the Harwood, the great Ron Davis resin piece 6 9ths and the John Connell Show with its lovely spray paint on rice paper scroll of a Buddhist monk.  I even saw a great photo of Robert Ray, who painted a picture hanging in the collection. 

Photo of Robert Ray
Ron Davis' 6 9ths
John Connell's monk
Then we drove to the parking lot beside the Taos Inn and visited some of the art galleries on Kit Carson and Pueblo Sur and Bent Street.  By 1:30 we were tired again and still feeling full from our bid brunch so we went inside the Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn and had a pint of honey beer and rested.  Then we returned to the room for a nap.

At 4:00 we were up and going again with a full itinerary for the evening.  We started by going to the Apricot festival at Taos Mesa Brewing, where we discussed the growing of apricots trees and bought an apricot tree from a very nice and knowledgeable young man ($20.00) and drank a apricot beer, which did not taste very much of apricots.  Then we drove toward town but I stopped at Taos Clay to see their ceramics show, which we had passed on the way north last night.  There were still lots of lovely items and I bought a nicely decorated pitcher for $20.00.

Taos Mesa Brewing's patio with view of Mt.Wheeler and apricot trees under awning
We still had some time before the 6:30 reception at Taos Community Auditorium in Kit Carson Park, so we went to the Exchange Store which has lots of interesting things. I looked at a lovely Netsuke carved in the shape of a deer.
Then around 6:30 we drove to the Taos Community Auditorium in Kit Carson Park.
When we walked into the foyer of the auditorium, we saw two long tables filled with appetizers and desserts.  There was a concession stand on one side of the foyer next to which was a small bar with wine and beer.   We walked over to the bar and bought a glass of pinot grigio.   

We had made a reservation at Martyrs Steakhouse for 8:30 so we were happy when the auditorium opened a few minutes before 7:00 for the 7:00 showing of the new documentary film about the life of Frank Morgan named "Sound of Redemption", which was introduced by the director N. Hiekin.

As soon as the movie ended at around 8:25, we left and walked across the street to Martyrs Steakhouse ( and were able to be seated on the patio.  Martyr’s Steakhouse is a beautifully restored house with a lovely bar area, lots of inside seating and a large attractive patio area dominated by several gas torches that one can buy at Costco that shoot flames up about six feet within a self-contained steel frame.  The patio is located next to  Martyr’s Lane and pueblo Norte, so it is subject to all the street noise which can be terrible when the motorcyclists drive through gunning their engines, but we put all of that at the back of our minds because the service and restaurant were so pleasant.  We had looked at the menu in the afternoon when we made our reservation, so it did not take long to decide to split an order of steak tartare ($15.00), a bowl of fish soup ($7.00) and a tournedos ($33.00), which was two 4 oz. petit filet mignons. 

The wine list was a little pricey but we both immediately decided on the first and least expensive choice, a Joel Gott Sonoma and Monterrey County Pinot Noir for $46.00.
Steak Tartare  with Aioli Sauce

Fish Soup

The soup turned out to be over spiced with chili, so we did not eat it, but the steak tartare was delicious with lots of olive oil and capers served with toast points.  We ordered bread and butter and the bread was a soft Italian style of bread that was also delicious slathered with the steak tartare and aioli sauce.  Soon our steaks came with garnished with a delicious cabernet sauvignon demi-glace sauce and a béarnaise sauce on the side.  Both sauces were delicious although the béarnaise was a little more vinegary than I usually make it.

Steak, mashed potatoes, vegetables and bearnaise sauce
The steaks were served with crisp flash blanched and sautéed vegetables that seemed to be fresh from the Farmer’s Market., a mound of not very appealing garlic mashed potatoes that tasted a lot like regular mashed potatoes without much butter, cream or garlic, and a ramekin of bearnaise sauce that was overly vinegary.  

chocolate mousse
For dessert we ordered a chocolate mousse that was overly creamy with the addition of a scoop of whipped cream on the top of a parfait glass and whipped cream stirred into the mousse also.  

Generally my impression was that all things related to the meat and its preparation were superb, but there was a little weakness in the sous elements, the soup, the béarnaise sauce and the chocolate mousse all could have been prepared better.

By 10:00 we had finished our meal and a great day of activities in Taos and went back to the B&B.

Bon Appétit  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 25, 2014 Lunch Lan’s Restaurant Dinner Appetizers at the Millicent Rogers Museum

July 25, 2014 Lunch  Lan’s Restaurant    Dinner  Appetizers at the Millicent Rogers Museum

July 25, 2014 Lunch  Lan’s Restaurant, Santa Fe     Dinner  Appetizers at the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos

We got a late start for Taos today because Suzette had a client leave her facility and there was a search that ended when someone called the APD  as he was having trouble trying to cross Bridge Street, 25 miles away from the Center, but only ten to fifteen blocks from our house near the Sonic at Bridge and 8th.  Suzette went and picked him up and I went to sign my new line of credit and we left at around 1:30.

Suzette wanted to stop in Santa Fe and go to a couple of stores to check out tables for the laundry room.   

When we arrived in Santa Fe at 2:40 we were hungry, but were too late to eat at the shed, which closes at 2:30. When Suzette suggested that We go to Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Stephens, I suggested that we eat at Lan’s Restaurant , which is located in the same strip center as ReStore.
I let Suzette off at ReStore and drove to the end of the shopping center and was happy to see that Lan’s was still open for lunch until 3:00.   

I had become drowsy on the drive up to Santa Fe, so as soon as I was seated I ordered a drip coffee with condensed milk on ice.  The waitress was very Vietnamese, so it turned out I had to communicate with a lot of sign language and the curt language I have developed for oriental restaurants, like holding up two spread fingers and saying condensed milk to indicate the amount of condensed milk I wanted.  She made my coffee and then Suzette arrived.  Lan came out from the kitchen and took our order.  I first tried to order a dish from the menu and Lan said, “That is winter dish, too hot, available in September.”   I then asked Lan about the lamb wontons (5 for $8.00).

Lan replied, “You have never eaten the Lamb Wontons?”

I replied, “We will have an order of them.”

So we looked at the blackboard list of three items.   I ordered Banh Oug, which turned out to be cooked marinated homemade chicken sausage, cucumber, sweet onion, sweet + sour org. carrots + cabbage, papaya , shallots, and bean sprouts wrapped in a fresh sheet of rice noodle and served with a delicious brown sauce made with lime juice and Lan’s special mixture of Vietnamese spices. 

Suzette ordered one of the other three dishes; Vietnamese BBQ pork spareribs with noodles and a salad. 

Soon the lamb wontons came.  They were a beautiful dish; steamed flat wontons pressed around a small mound of flavored ground lamb on a plate and drizzled with green basil infused lime juice and olive oil.  A very fresh salad-like appetizer with a garnish of pickled carrots and fresh cilantro leaves and lots of other interesting stuff, like toasted black sesame seeds and fried garlic.  Ln put small fried rounds of garlic in most dishes, which was wonderful.  It illustrates her technique of enhancing the flavors in every dish with simple flavorful ingredients to push the flavors just a bit beyond ordinary. 

Suz, sipping iced coffee at Lan's

Lamb Wontons

Lamb  Wontons 

BBQ Sapreribs

Namh Oug
After we finished the wontons, the waitress soon brought us the Namh Oug, a plate with three large rolls of ingredients wrapped with a flat sheet of homemade rice noodle garnished with a light brown sauce. The rolls were large and the sauce looked messy and I had no idea how to eat the thing.   So, I asked the waitress how to eat the dish.  She handed us a sharp steak knife and made a cutting motion above the middle of the rolled stuffed noodles and said, “No fork, eat with spoon.”  She then brought us bowls of sauce and bathed the noodle rolls with more sauce so that when we cut the rolls into pieces they were bathed in sauce and could only be efficiently eaten by scooping them up with a spoon.  We loved the dish. The sauce had a sweet and sour flavor with the flavor of pho sauce.  When I was at Ta Lin the other day I bought a bottle of Pho flavoring paste and saw bottles of other Vietnamese flavorings.  So I need to go back and try some of them.
Suzette’s dish came next.  It was rather conventional, with three three inch long sets of BBQ spare ribs on a plate with a mound of vermicelli sauced rice noodles and a small salad.  Suzette’s dish was delicious also, but we could not finish both of them so we boxed about ½ of the spare ribs with vermicelli noodles and salad and drove on to Taos.   After my coffee hit my brain I was no longer sleepy. 

We arrived at around 4:30 and made our way north to the B&B.  It was located just off Blueberry Hill Rd, which I  thought was the road that went beside the Millicent Roger Museum, but I was wrong.  But I drove to the Millicent Rogers Museum by mistake and when we arrived at a bit after 5:00 the parking lot was full of cars and so we walked in.  We had stumbled into a preview for the Best of Taos, which was an art auction.  Wine was being poured by Black Mesa and the owner of the Trading Post had laid out platters of appetizers.  We immediately blended into the crowd, by grabbing a glass of wine and wandering into the galleries in which the auction items were hung.  We said hello to Robert Parsons who had given a couple of pieces to be auctioned and was deep in discussion with a lady and looked at the art, which appeared to be priced at double its market value. We looked at the art and decided we liked an anonymous set of colchas the best but were not interested in paying the listed price of $5,000 for them.

Colcha Embroidery
A unique style of embroidery evolved in colonial New Mexico. Colcha is done in handspun, hand-dyed wool on a plain-woven wool ground cloth called sabanilla. Sometimes the entire ground is covered with embroidery. The subject matter included ornate and fanciful flowers or birds. Colcha is used for decorative wall pieces and altar cloths as well as household items.

So we went back to the foyer to the table filled with appetizers that had been prepared by the Trading Post Restaurant and had a lovely light meal of appetizers and wine.

There were three appetizers and they were all delicious:  a baked spoon will with a slice of gravad lax and garnished with a dab of seaweed salad, a crab and vegetable filling rolled in phyllo and baked with a dab of flavored mayonnaise sauce, and a wonderful cream puff filled with duck confit and sherry mousse with a slit on the top into which a slice of fresh radish was placed.

Each appetizer was well conceived and executed with unique flavor profiles.  These appetizer were just as creative and appealing as Lan's food had been.  By a series of accidents and mistakes, we had scored a 100% wonderful food day. 

Salmon and Seaweed Spoons

Duck confit mousse filled cream puffs

Salmon and seaweed spoon close up

crab filled phyllo rolls
We sat in comfortable chairs in the inner patio of the Museum and sipped Black Mesa merlot and nibbled appetizers for about a ½ hour before we felt compelled to go to the B&B to meet our hostess at our appointed arrival time of 7:00.. 

When we arrived at the B&B, Marianna, the owner of the house located out on the mesa near the Gorge Road and Blueberry Hill Road, showed us to our room, which originally had been the house's large garage that had been converted into a guest accommodations.  The room was decorated in a Moroccan motif, which meant several posters with a Moroccan motif and a picture of the water lilly pond at Yves St. Laurent’s villa in Marrakesh.  

Our hostess, Marianna, taught art to children and worked at the Harwood Museum.

We were tired and did not want to go out, so I ate the PPI BBQ pork ribs from lunch and Suzette went to bed while I worked on a water law project.

Bon Appétit   


July 23, 2014 Shrimp Cakes

July 23, 2014 Shrimp Cakes

I usually meditate on Wednesday evenings so we do not cook much.  We had a large amount of the seafood stuffing left over from last night’s stuffed flounder meal so Suzette suggested that we make it into shrimp cakes and eat it with some of the PPI coleslaw.

When I returned home at around 8:20 Suzette had already mixed the stuffing with eggs and fried them and the shrimp cakes were in the oven.  Suzette had also fetched Negra Modelo beers that were chilling in the freezer.

We had quick and delicious dinner although we though the shrimp cakes were a little mushy and wet.  This often occurs when things like egg foo young and crab cakes that have a lot liquid in them from the combination of the egg and the wetness of the ingredients are not sautéed long enough to solidify or cook off the liquid.

 Bon Appétit  

July 20, 2014 Pork Tenderloin with Pasta and Pesto with fresh Roasted Garden Vegetables

July 20, 2014 Pork Tenderloin with Pasta and Pesto with fresh Roasted Garden Vegetables

We ate fresh thawed Dungeness crab with coleslaw and Zia Champagne in the garden.   I made my favorite sauce; a mayonnaise sauce with shallots, a little white dry vermouth, a dash of white wine vinegar and a dash of olive oil.  Suzette made her favorite sauce; a cocktail sauce with catsup, lemon, horseradish, and a dash of Tabasco.  We opened the Blanc de blanc Zia champagne we had bought at the Vine and Wine Festival at Las Golondriñas last Saturday.   It was a lovely morning and we loved eating the fresh crab while we watched the fish play in the pond and the water lilies in bloom.   The wine was pleasant, but not world shaking, as you would expect of a non-vintage brut.  

Then Suzette worked in the Garden, picking lots of turnips, carrots and beets.  She also thawed out a couple of small bottles of the pesto she had made last summer. 
We wanted an easy meal for dinner so we decided to make a pasta dish with the pesto and some of the PPI Pork tenderloin.

Suzette cleaned, tossed in olive oil and then roasted carrots, beets, turnips, and fresh garlic in a 350˚ oven for 46 minutes.

She then boiled penne pasta, drained it and tossed it with pesto and the roasted vegetables.

Then in a separate skillet Suzette seared the PPI pork tenderloin. 

When the pork was warm, she plated pasta and vegetables and chunks of warm pork tenderloin onto each plate.

We decided on a light red wine for the dinner and I went to the basement and fetched a bottle of Wellington 2009 Estate Vineyard Sonoma Valley Grenache.

This was the first bottle of Wellington Grenache we have drunk and as it turned out that the Grenache was rather heavy with lots of body and less fruitiness than I thought it would have; quite different than the lighter and cheaper Beaujolais or Spanish Grenaches usually drink.

Some of the vegetables were a bit tough with fibers in them.  I realized in a flash how peasants who rely on a garden must eat at the end of a growing season; simply, but at the tough end of nature’s bounty.  Perhaps that is what is meant by the prayer, “Thank you, our Lord, for this life sustaining food.” 

Bon Appétit      

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 19, 2014 Antiques Roadshow Albuquerque 2014

July 19, 2014 Inside the Antiques Roadshow, Albuquerque 2014

We arrived at the Convention Center at 6:15 a.m. for breakfast before reporting for our triage duties began at 6:55.  Breakfast was terrific: Scrambled eggs with green chili, hash brown potatoes and crisp bacon, fruit, bagels with cream cheese and jelly, orange juice and tea and coffee.

At 6:55 we were at the Triage area.  The Roadshow was located in the large room of the Convention Center that has been expanded lately.  The large room was divided into two areas by a wall.  On one side of the wall was the area where people line up to wait for their appraisals and another closed area for the production area where production staff that create the show work to edit the filming as the Roadshow is in progress are located.

On the other side of the wall was the large appraisal area and a set for shooting appraisals and the feedback booth with bathrooms, water fountains and a concession stand.   On the waiting room side of the large opening between the two rooms, before people entered the appraisal area room with their treasures, they had to go to one of five or six tables set up with boxes of cards, each printed with the name of a category.  

When a person arrived at one of the tables at the end of the waiting area line they presented their items to one of the generalists who examined each item and assigned an appraisal category to each item and gave a card to the person for each item’s category.  

We stood on the appraisal area side of the large opening and when a person walked into the appraisal area it was our job to greet them and escort the person and their items to the location at which their items would be appraised in the Production area where the appraisers were seated and conducted their appraisals and the filming occurred.  There was a filming area inside the circle of appraisers and one outside with better lighting and tables on which items could be displayed better.

Here is a sheet of paper with the instructions and the lay out of the appraisal area with the categories.  

To give you an idea of the scale of the event, there were over 13,000 requests for tickets for the Albuquerque filming.  Of those 3000 received tickets plus there were some VIP tickets given with each ticket allowing each person to bring two items for appraisal.  That meant that there were between 5000 and 6000 persons attending with between 10,000 and 12,000 items to be appraised in one day.   To give you an even greater understanding of the magnitude and democratic nature of this undertaking, there was no charge for anything and the only persons who are paid besides the obvious ancillary service providers such as the people who provide security, food and staff the Convention Center are the permanent Antiques Roadshow production staff.  That means that beyond the 20 or so paid staff, the entire show is produced by 200 volunteers and the appraisers, none of whom are paid.  When Marcia was asked, “What is the incentive for an appraiser to pay their own way to Albuquerque?” (the Roadshow provides each appraiser a room at the Hyatt and all their meals), Marcia answered simply, “Being seen by 7 to 8 million viewers on TV.”  When Marcia answered that question, I remembered seeing the name and affiliated organization of each appraiser at the bottom of the screen during each appraisal.  That is how the show seems to work.  There are free benefits and incentives that motivate each of the participants, and whose collective actions when coordinated by the production staff creates one of the most popular show on TV in the U.S. at a very low cost to PBS.

Anyone can bring almost any kind of item to be orally appraised for free, although if you need a written one for insurance or tax purposes you will need to engage an appraiser (like the appraiser who made the appraisal for you at the Roadshow, whose cards are sitting on the table where they make the appraisal) to write a written appraisal.  At the orientation Marcia, the Roadshow’s director, spoke and encouraged people who had not yet decided what to bring, to bring items that they did not know the value of or know what they were.  That seems to achieve two purposes that make the Roadshow so much fun to watch.  First, we in audience get to experience the excitement of people discovering that they have something interesting and because people are encouraged to bring stuff they do not know, we the Roadshow TV viewing audience learn, as do the attendees, what some of the weirder items are.  Marcia also went through her selection process.  Of the 10,000 to 12,000 items brought to the Roadshow today there will only a few that each appraiser thinks have merit because of originality or value or because of an unusual historic connection and that appraiser will try very hard to get Marcia to show them appraising those items for the show.  Out of all the items appraised only about 100 are filmed and fewer than that number make it into the TV show and Marcia decides which those are.   

At the reception and at the volunteer orientation we were also told by Joachim, the director of KNME, which sponsored the event, that KNME tracks the number of viewers of each of its shows and they carefully analyze which shows viewers select to watch.  There is a ranking of the 100 most watched shows on KNME and 80 of them have been Roadshow programs.  “That compares to an average of 69% ranking of Roadshow program in other areas”, Joachim said.  So the Roadshow is more popular in Albuquerque than in many other areas of the country.   Joachim and Marcia both mentioned that Albuquerque is among a small number of cities that have hosted the Roadshow three times in the Roadshow’s slightly over twenty year history.  

We were among the majority of persons who did not receive tickets, but because Suzette’s Center for Ageless Living is a supporting sponsor of the Roadshow, which means she pays for KNME to run a 15 second advertisement about the Center at the beginning of each Roadshow presentation on TV, she was allowed to volunteer.  At the Reception on Thursday evening and the volunteer orientation on Friday we met several other persons affiliated with KNME in one way or another who were selected as volunteers or invited to the Reception.  For example Mayor Berry attended the Reception and was a VIP guest at the Roadshow on Saturday.     

I wanted to do a good job for the benefit of Suzette, KNME, Albuquerque and the folks who were seeking appraisals.  Also, there was a big benefit for volunteering.  Each volunteer was allowed to obtain 2 appraisals without waiting in line near the end of the day. 

As the people began flowing into the appraisal area at 7:30 we began taking them to their designated category areas.  The central appraisal area was a circle of tables that surrounded a TV filming area set In the middle of the immense Convention Center hall. 

Here is a picture of the Triage Volunteer Map of the appraisal area.

We got to meet many people and saw many of their items during the eleven hours that I worked as a triage.  

Two folks we knew had items selected for the show.  Anna Barnett presented one of Richard’s mother’s pieces of jewelry, an art nouveau necklace and Buddi Hindi who had a clock with an intricate mechanism that she had been given by Yelli’s wife.  I was really happy for them.  We had to walk past the larger filming booth and one item caught my attention, two tall narrow full size posters of the Lone Ranger and Tonto in mint condition.  The owner was being interviewed by the poster appraiser.

By 11:30 I was sore and hungry.  Kim brought us a basket of chocolate candy bars and after that there were people walking around with baskets of candy.  So I made it to lunch at 1:15 without any further problems.  I had trouble moving but we made it to the lunch room where there was a sumptuous lunch of taquitos of both chicken and beef, both chicken and beef fajita, refried beans, Spanish rice, salad, guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce.  There was also a table with lemonade and coffee and desserts, mostly lime and tiramisu mousse.  I ate my fill and drank several glasses of lemonade and began to feel a little better after I stretched my feet out for a few minutes.  The Chinese art appraiser sat at our table as did the heir to the Lucero Ranch in the White Sands who I discussed the lease of the Ranch by the U.S. before the First World War and how the U.S. has not given it back yet.  The appraiser told me about the horrible new laws regarding ivory that make it virtually a crime to own any of it, because now the burden is on the owner to prove where and when it was imported that has killed the market for ivory objects.  He has a blog at or net.

I was tired but I was enjoying helping folks get to their correct appraisal line so I kept going with longer and longer food and rest breaks.  Finally at 5:30 Kim said we could go get our pieces and have them appraised and then leave.  We went to the car and I put my two paintings and Suzette prints on the dolly we had brought and took them to the front of the line.  We went first to Paintings.  The lady appraiser I got was very knowledgeable and looked up my first piece’s artist, Peter Hayward.  It was a many palette knife impressionist picture of the houses and building in the East 60’s in New York that my dad had bought in the 50’s or 60’s the appraiser thought.  She knew the area because she lived in NYC.  She looked up the artist on her computer and immediately found a piece that looked incredibly similar by Peter Hayward that sold for $1.500 last year.  I was thrilled.  I think Dad had bought it from the artist on the street, so I was not expecting anything.  Then I uncovered the big Swiss Chalet painting by H. Hörst that Peter Eller had been unable to find any values on several years ago.  When the appraiser punched in H. Hörst she found an almost identical but smaller painting of a Swiss Chalet that sold in Salzburg, Austria in 2010 for $1,000. The internet also had biographical information and I found out the artist was born in 1876 in Germany and is known for his Swiss Chalet paintings.  So we agreed that the size I had should fetch at least $1.500; another success.  I was thrilled that I had left home with nothing and returned home with $3,000 of art at wholesale.

We drove home and fell into bed.    

Viola! Antiques Roadshow      

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 18, 2013 Roadshow Volunteer Orientation and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Vichyssoise

July 18, 2013 Roadshow Volunteer Orientation and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Vichyssoise

We drove to the Convention Center for our Roadshow Volunteer orientation at 3:45 for an Antiques Roadshow Volunteers Orientation from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., where we were served coffee and industrial bakery baked goods: lemon bars, brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  There were 200 volunteers and we were given the opportunity to select our job. We chose to be Triage runners, which meant we would escort attendees and their valuables to the appropriate line for their appraisal.   That sounds easy but there were 27 of us chosen and there are 5000 to 6000 attendees expected with 2 items each, so there will be lots of moving people with items into the appropriate line during a 10 hour period. 

Our group of triage volunteered met our group leader, Kim, and we went on a tour of the Roadshow set and triage areas during which we walked past the area where the crew was filming an interview of the Keno brothers for the show.  We asked Kim if we could take photos of the set and she said, "Sure." so I took a photo of the set with the Keno brothers interview in the distance.


When we returned home we decided to cook one of the pork tenderloins we had bought at Costco.  The pork tenderloins come four to a package with two sides in which there are two tenderloins in each side ($3.99/lb.).  We have a favorite recipe for preparing pork tenderloin from José Andrés’ Tapas a taste of Spain in America called “Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples” at page 236.
Here is the recipe:

I went to the fridge in the garage and fetched the Vichyssoise we made yesterday.

We wanted a green with the dinner and we had none except what was available in our garden, which was chard and the purslane that is starting to grow vigorously around our house and in our driveway due to the abundant rains lately, so there is lots of purslane growing in the normally unwatered areas around our house and in our gravel and sand driveway anywhere there is no car parked.  As Suzette says, “Purslane seems to like well drained sandy soil”.  

I went to the garden and picked a handful of chard leaves and five stalks of oregano while Suzette picked a handful of purslane growing by the kitchen door and we both de-stemmed and cleaned our respective greens.  

I then sliced one of the Granny Smith apples, that we had bought on Sunday at Pro’s Ranch Market in anticipation of making this dish, into 9 or 10 slices and sliced a yellow onion of about the same size into about the same number of slices and peeled and sliced a small bulb of garlic into slices and stripped sprigs of oregano from the stalks and we were ready to cook.

“Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples” Recipe:

Suzette trimmed off the ends of the pork tender and cut it into three large chunks.  Then she melted 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large fire proof copper skillet we use for this dish and added 2 Tbsps. of Kirtland extra virgin olive oil (Costco) and heated them in the skillet and then added the apple slices and cooked them until soft and then added the onion slices the oregano sprigs and cooked all of that until softened.
Then Suzette seasoned the pork tender chunks with salt and pepper and then placing the pork on top of the onions and apples in the skillet and glazed the pork with some of the cooking medium.

She then placed the whole skillet into a pre-heated 250˚ oven for 20 to 25 minutes and then took it out and placed it back on the burners on the top of the stove and added 2 Tbsps. of cognac and cooked that for a minute and then added ½ cup of chicken stock and cooked that for a couple of minutes until the liquids thickened into a light sauce.

She then added the greens to the skillet and coated them in sauce and cooked them into the dish for a minute or two, until they softened also and the dish was finished.  I then sliced the three pork chunks into ¾ inch thick slices.
While the tenderloins were roasting in the oven Suzette went to the basement and fetched a bottle of 2013 Eguren Tempranillo Rosé (Total Wine $6.49), so we could have a totally Spanish meal.
Suzette then ladled Vichyssoise into soup bowls and I went to the garden and plucked 8 stalks of chives and sliced them into small rounds and garnished the soup with a tablespoon of chives and we were ready to eat.
We plated up the pork and our bowls of soup and took them with our glasses of wine to which we had added ice cubes to keep cool to the gazebo in the garden and enjoyed a lovely fresh meal.

After dinner and an extra glass of wine l prepared us bowls of European yogurt (Trader Joe’s $3.19) garnished with poached figs in port compote for a lovely light finish to pretty heavy dinner.

We remembered eating at Le Francais restaurant in Bourg-en-Bresse, which is where the Tour de France started two days ago, and where they brought a wooden bucket of yogurt to the table as Suzette’s dessert of white cheese fourteen years ago on our last trip with Mother to France.  They also brought us the largest bowl of chocolate mousse I have ever been served for Billy and my dessert.

Alas, so many great food memories.

Bon Appétit