Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 30, 2015 Lunch – Le Troquet, Dinner – Turkey Curry

December 30, 2015 Lunch – Le Troquet, Dinner – Turkey Curry

I went to lunch with Peter Eller.  I wanted to eat a French meal, so I suggested the $12.95 lunch at Le Troquet, which is my favorite French lunch place in Albuquerque for two reasons, the French Onion soup appetizer and the chocolate Mousse dessert.  The usually important entree is irrelevant to me, because the soup and dessert are so good.  Lately the entrée has been sautéed calf’s liver garnished with a balsamic reduction sauce served with a tomato Provençal with a lovely olive oil toasted bread crumb topping, a steamed carrot and two asparagus tips. 
The liver was just right, not too firm and not too slimy, tender and a little toothy.

The French Onion soup is also very delicious.  The broth is enriched to a rich dark brown with Maggie or some other enrichment sauce.  The soup is topped with a crouton and oven melted French Gruyere in the traditional manner.  For that matter everything at Le Troquet is prepared in the traditional manner.  The mousse is perfect, a bit firm because refrigerated but a nice full parfait cup portion and a combination of dark and milk chocolate.  So a really good a French meal for $12.95.

Peter and I both liked lunch.

In the continuing saga of using PPIs, I wanted to make curry with the PPI turkey, the roasted butternut squash, a sweet potato, and several apples.  I usually make a curry with madras curry powder.  Today I used a curry powder that Luke gave us that has a bit of cayenne in it.  
I peeled and chopped 1 sweet potato and a large onion and Sautéed them in 1 Tbsp. of canola oil.  I then added four or five chopped cloves of garlic and two cubed apples sprinkled with curry powder.  I cut up 1/2 roasted PPI butternut squash and put it into the pot I had made the mulled Apple juice in with the four cinnamon sticks and some lemon and orange zest, cloves, and nutmeg still in it.  I added the sautéed onions, apples, sweet potato and garlic mixture that I had sautéed for about twenty minutes to soften to the pot with enough water to cover the vegetables and about 1 Tbsp. of curry powder to the pot plus about 1 lb. of diced turkey and 1/2 cup of raisins and cooked it for about thirty minutes until the sauce thickened a bit and all the ingredients seemed to be integrated.  I then added 2 Tbsp. of heavy cream and stirred it in.

Suzette heated some of the PPI rice Susan prepared and we had a great curry dinner.

This was a healthy fresh hot meal that used up lots of PPIs.  I froze the remaining turkey.  

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29, 2015 coffee at Zendo and Dinner – PPI Salmon with pasta and Spinach

December 29, 2015  coffee at Zendo and Dinner – PPI Salmon with pasta and Spinach

I took Luke to his flight to Panama at 6:40.  At 7:40 I received a call from Luke saying his flight had been cancelled, so I went back to the airport to pick him up.  On our way back home he requested that we stop at Zendo on 2nd street to get a cup of coffee.  I went in and when Luke ordered an espresso, I realized we had no espresso coffee in the house and we had a new espresso machine, so I bought a bag of espresso beans for $12.00.

When we arrived home Luke and Suzette re-booked his flight to Panama.  Luke is leading a one week Maha Rose retreat to a beach resort in Panama! So had to get to Panama in time to catch the flight to the small island where the resort is located.  He appeared to have it booked by 10:00.

Luke went to eat lunch with his Mom and I ate yesterday’s PPI noodle soup, which I liked very much.  I added about six more snow peas cut in halves to freshen up the soup.

I rode to Rio Bravo and then took Luke back to the airport at 4:00 and then worked until after 6:00.  Suzette, who has a cold, came home at around 4:30 and collapsed on the couch.

So at 6:15 we decided we did not want to cook anything elaborate.  Suzette said, “We need to strip the salmon off the bone.” I suggested we mix some salmon with the PPI pasta, panko, preserved lemon, and spinach dish and heat it for a quick dinner, so that is what we did.  Suzette added heavy cream and dash of milk to make a simple cream sauce. The dish turned out exceedingly well.  Here is a picture of it in the Le Crueset casserole cooking on the stove:

 We drank glasses of the open Mendoza Station 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from the Mendoza Valley of Argentina, which went quite well with the creamy pasta and poached salmon (Total Wine $4.49 less 15%).

Tomorrow is PPI turkey curry day, as we work our way through all the PPIs.

Bon Appetit

December 28, 2015 Breakfast - Oatmeal, Lunch - Noodle Soup, Dinner - Cervantes Restaurant

I woke up early and made a pouring custard for the cloud cake Suzette made last night.  I scalded four cups of 2% milk with ¼ cup coffee beans.  Then I beat 15 egg yolks with 1 cup of sugar in another pan.  When the milk had cooled I served it into the eggs and sugar and heated that mixture slowly until the mixture thickened.  I then turned off the heat and stirred the mixture another three or four minutes to allow it to cool so it would not curdle.  We then added 2 tsp. of vanilla and seived the mixture into pitchers to cool.  

I asked Luke if he wanted some oatmeal for breakfast around 9:30 and he said he would like some, so I made oatmeal with my usual mixture of barley and oat flakes, a little water, milk, brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts.

For lunch I made noodle soup with rice vermicelli, wheat, noodles, and bean thread noodles, plus 4 head on shrimp, two sliced shitake mushrooms, a diced smoked pork chop, about 3 oz. of tofu diced, 1 Tbsp. Of strips of seaweed, 2 diced asparagus, 1 heaping Tbsp. of red miso, 7 or 8 snow peas, and dashes of fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Chinese cooking wine.  Here are the bottles.

Here is a photo of the noodle soup

For dinner, Luke wanted to go to Cervantes for Mexican food.  It has been so long I can not recall ever eating at Cervantes, so we readily agreed to meet him there at 7:30.

When we arrived I was surprised to see so many people on a cold Tuesday night and the warm and festively decorated interior.  Obviously, Cervantes is many persons’ favorite New Mexican Restaurant.  Luke and I ordered the daily special, 2 chicken tamales with rice and beans for $10.99.
Suzette wanted to try the seafood enchiladas, to compare them to her Paul Prudhomme shrimp enchilada recipe.  I already knew whose would be better, but said nothing.  

Suzette ordered a Negra Modelo and so did I as soon as I tasted the spicy heat of the Christmas, red and green chile sauces.  

The tamale was well prepared and vey tasty.  I felt like I made a good selection and had a good introduction to Cervantes family style cooking with one of the most traditional Christmas New Mexican and Old Mexican dishes.  No surprise, Suzette thought her adaptation of Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Enchiladas was the better recipe, in part due to the use of fresh shrimp instead of seafood medley.

Bon Appetit

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 27, 2015 Breakfast – lax Omelet, Dinner – PPI Moroccan Chicken and Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, and walnuts

December 27, 2015 Breakfast – lax Omelet, Dinner – PPI Moroccan Chicken and Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, and walnuts

Mike and Kathryn spent the night.  Before they left for Phoenix, we made a lax, onion, cheese, and parsley omelet with toasted French baguette and strawberry preserves around 10:00

After Checking the weather report, Mike and Kathryn left and we decided to go see the new Star Wars movie.

After the movie we drove home and I ate cheese on rice crackers and watched a bit of football.

Around 5:30 Suzette suggested that we eat PPI Moroccan Chicken with rice and asked what I wanted with it.  I said, “Quinoa with Brussels sprouts and walnuts, please.”

So we ate the PPIs. with Luke and watched the final episode of season five of Downton Abbey at 6:00.  We had taken some Moroccan Chicken to Susan when we returned her large pan of rice and kept some of her delicious rice to make room for the chicken yesterday, so we probably were eating the same meal, because during the meal she called to thank us for the Moroccan chicken.

Suzette made another cloud cake today using the spring form pan Amy gave us yesterday and it worked better than our bunt pan, so we are on the road to successfully replicating the recipe.

I will make custard tomorrow and we will try it to make sure it has a good texture.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 26, 2015 Breakfast at Harry’s Roadhouse with Amy and Vahl, evening snacks with Kathryn and Mike

December 26, 2015 Breakfast at Harry’s Roadhouse with Amy and Vahl, evening snacks with Kathryn and Mike

We spent the night at Amy and Vahl’s house.  When we woke up this morning Vahl received a phone call from Kate, his step mother that Vahl’s father had passed away at the age of 98, which Vahl took very well.

At 10:00 we drove to Harry’s Roadhouse for breakfast.  Luke first ordered a waffle sprinkled with brown sugar and garnished with strawberries and whipped cream.

Then Suzette ordered trout and eggs, I ordered a Bilbao sausage hash ade with two eggs sunny side up served on top of a plate of country fried potatoes and diced Bilbao sausage. Amy ordered eggs en brodo, which was a mixtures of eggs fried with tortilla chips and served on a huaraches which is corn formed into the shape of sandal.

Vahl ordered Huevos Rancheros, and Luke ordered           .

After breakfast we drove to cos Bar so Suzette could buy La Mer.  Then we drove to the Railyard and walked to the El Museo Indoor flea market to shop.  Luke found nice quartz crystals he bought to give to attendees of his upcoming group trip to Panama and a wonderful shearling coat I bought him for his Christmas gift.  Suzette found an interesting African basket woven with fragrant smelling twigs into the shape of a bird’s nest.  We also visited David Richard’s gallery and saw lovely colored constructions of colored plexiglass by Christian Haup.

Both David and Richard were at the gallery and told us they were moving the gallery to Pacheco Street because the City of Santa Fe had raised the ground lease rental rate on the developers at the Railyard.

We then walked next door to Casa Nova and said hello to T.R. and Linda invited us to get together on January 16 at their house in Santa Fe.

We to Candyman so Luke could buy a battery powered speaker for his guitar for his trip to Panama and then Stephen’s Consignment. 

Finally at 1:30 Luke drove us home in a snow storm.  

We arrived home at 3:00 and watched TV until 5:30 when I took a shower and dressed.  

Mike and Kathryn arrived around 7:30 after having driven through the same storm. I prepared a snack of caviar, sour cream, onion and egg, and toasted slices of French baguette.  We also fetched the poached salmon from the garage and the cranberry mayo and the cauliflower cous Cous with chick peas, which has become much better after sitting for two days because the flavor of the preserved lemon permeated the dish.  I poured glasses of Mendoza Station Sauvignon Blanc, which was not overwhelmingly received.  Mike gave us a bottle of Gruet Brut and a La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, which I had not ever drunk that I liked very much.  It was a little heavier than a delicate French pinot, but very drinkable.  After the La Crema, I re-filled glasses with Block Party pinot noir, which everyone liked also.  Block Party is a French Pinot made by George's Dubouef that I bought on close out at Quarters. 

I then chilled and poured a bottle of Gruet 25th anniversary Blanc de Blanc when Luke joined us at the table in the TV room where we ate our snacks for dinner and watched Batman Begins by the fire as the winter storm raged outside, which made us feel even more secure and warmed in the house and our friendship.

After snacks we passed around the box of Buffet’s chocolates.

We went to bed around 10:45 after the movie ended.

Bon Appetit

December 25, 2015 Christmas Dinner at Amy and Vahl’s house

December 25,  2015 Christmas Dinner at Amy and Vahl’s house

We had a leisurely morning.  I made real hot chocolate using ground cacao and sugar, a little heavy cream and milk. Then we gathered up some things for a overnight stay and drove to Amy and Vahll’s house in El Dorado.  Jan and Jim were already there when we arrived .  Pretty soon Amy had assembled a full turkey dinner with creamed sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes, a delicious turkey roasted by Vahl, cranberry sauce, a wonderful chopped kale salad, dressing with pecans, and gravy.we brought a bottle of Archer’s Summit 2013 rose, which went perfectly with the meal.  Jim is a Chardonnay fan and brought a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay..  After dinner Vahl made us bowls of vanilla bean gelato with fresh berries and a wonderful chocolate sauce bought at Whole Foods.

Willy called from Berlin, where he is spending Christmas with friends and we called Marta in Santa Cruz.

Bon Appetit

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 24, 2015 Christmas Eve Open House

I December 24, 2015 Christmas Eve Open House  

Today was spent cooking and getting ready for our Christmas Eve Open House.  We butchered the 12 lb. King salmon by removing its head, a bit of the front belly and a portion of the tail.  Here is a before and after pictures of the salmon: 

    The salmon and Suzette before poaching
   The salmon after poaching 

The preserved lemon dishes included Moroccan Chicken, which I cut up and transferred to our crock pot to serve hot, the cauliflower couscous with chick peas and preserved lemon served cold, pasta with sautéed spinach and preserved lemon served warm in a large copper chafing dish, and my favorite, quinoa, walnuts, shaved Brussels Sprouts, and preserved lemon.  In addition we had turkey, warm rolls and Suzette’s cranberry mayonnaise for turkey sandwiches, poached King salmon decorated beautifully by Suzette served with Julia Child’s recipe for cucumber dill sauce made with yogurt, a little mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and wine vinegar.  Here is a picture of the salmon.

Then there was a green rice made by Susan Palmer using a Rick Bayless recipe.  Susan also made my mother’s recipe for cranberry jalapeño salsa.  I amassed an impressive selection of cheeses this year, thanks to better provisioning by Costco, including: a new hard Italian cheese called San Joaquin Gold, Costco’s blue, Old Windmill goat cheese with thyme, a 2.2 lb. wheel of brie from Isigney Ste. Mere, the incredibly creamy Chaource made by Lincet, P’tit Basque made by Istara, Grand Pont L’Eveque, and a new soft ripened goat cheese named Pico from Perigord, France.  All the French cheeses and the Italian cheeses are Appelation d’ Origine Protégée, which means they meet certain standards and their origin is certified.  

Here is some info from Wikipedia on the subject of a. O. P..
These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, olive oils, beers, Balsamic vinegar and even regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables.

Foods such as Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, the Waterford Blaas,[4] Herve cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Piave cheese, Asiago cheese, Camembert, Herefordshire Cider, Cognac, Armagnac and Champagne can only be labelled as such if they come from the designated region. To qualify as Roquefort, for example, cheese must be made from milk of a certain breed of sheep, and matured in the natural caves near the town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the Aveyron region of France, where it is colonized by the fungus Penicillium roqueforti that grows in these caves.[5]

This system is similar to appellation systems used throughout the world, such as the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) used in France, the denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) used in Italy, the denominação de origem controlada (DOC) used in Portugal, the denominación de origen (DO) system used in Spain and the Denumire de origine controlată (DOC) system used in Romania. In many cases, the EU PDO/PGI system works parallel with the system used in the specified country, and in some cases is subordinated to the appellation system that was already instituted, particularly with wine, for example, and in France (in particular) with cheese, for example Maroilles (as most others) has both PDO (Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP) in French) and AOC classifications, but generally only the AOC classification will be shown.

I love Costco's cheese program. 

We also served lumpfish caviar with chopped onion, chopped hard boiled egg, and sour cream.

Many of the regulars showed up this year.  The early arrivals included Bill and Regina Turner, Allison, Ben and Brandon Zachak (our neighbors on the north) and Sandy Buffet (our new neighbor on the South).  Jay and Paula Steinberg came to celebrate our new marijuana dispensary relationship with UltraHealth at the Birdland and we found out that Allison’ sister is married to Justin, the president of UltraHealth’s son.

Robert and Marilyn Mueller came, as did, Josefo and Davida.  Alan and Smokey Torgerson came with her two or three daughters and Paul, one of the daughter’s new husband.  The Petrakises, less Roy, came and Dale and Jennifer Alverson came with their old friends, Denny and his wife.  Also in the early shift were Jill and Marty.  Lots of Luke and Willy’s friends showed up.  Later in the evening Drew, Travis and Kathleen came and soon there was a large group of the neighborhood kids including Emily and Rachel Souder/Graf, the Simbanas, and several others.  

I think the big draw this year is the new kitchen, which everyone seemed to like.  

I made a pot of mulled wine and some hot mulled apple juice and served Gruet Brut Champagne, Block Patch Pinot Noir, Gruet Chenin Blanc.  

Lynn Adkins, Lisa, Michele and Ed came.  Michele is now living and teaching history and government in Las Vegas, N.M.  Ed is directing the U.S. Military’s worldwide investigation and research into advanced technologies, such a quasar computer technology.  Michelle brought head cheese from Mississippi, Lisa brought a lovely banana nut bread, and Lynn made the best brought dish of the night, Dates stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese, and wrapped in Prosciutto and baked in a 425 degree oven for 8 minutes. 

Sandi Buffet brought us a lovely box of Buffet’s chocolates, Rose Petrakises brought Mexican Wedding cookies, Jill and Marty brought a St. Clair winery Merlot, Robert and Marilyn brought a tin of sesame oil, among other gifts.

We actually had some great desserts this year.  Suzette successfully made an Italian Meringue cake with pouring custard that she garnished with Pomelo fruit and zest.  At the other end of the spectrum, I bought a white 9 inch round cake made by Pastian’s Bakery decorated with green, red, and white icing for Christmas.

The flow of folks was slow enough to allow us to talk to almost every one.

  Folks in the new kitchen.

Suzette and I went walking at 10:30 to Janis and Tom LaFountain’s home and visited with them and their family.  When we retuned home, Luke helped us put up the food.  Luke was heroic this year and put up about 180 luminarias all by himself.  

All in all, it was a great Christmas Eve Open House.  

The most fun part of the evening for me was introducing five or six year old Ben to the cheeses.  He carefully tried every one of the cheeses and critiqued each one.  His favorite was the new Italian San Joaquin cheese, as it was for many others.

Bon Appetit


Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 23, 2015 Breakfast – Lax and Fried Egg Sandwich, Lunch – Kibbeh at Istanbul Market and Potato Soup, Dinner – PPI Turkey, Dressing, and Roasted Vegetables

December 23, 2015 Breakfast – Lax and Fried Egg Sandwich, Lunch – Kibbeh at Istanbul Market and Potato Soup, Dinner – PPI Turkey, Dressing, and Roasted Vegetables

Breakfast was the best meal of the day today.  Suzette wanted to try the lax I made this week.  We have no bagels but lots of French baguette which is how the Swedish typically eat lax; with buttered baguette and boiled new potatoes.  Suzette did no like the potato idea for breakfast, so we decided to make egg sandwiches with lax and scrambled eggs on buttered French Baguette.  Here is the picture:

Suzette then began cooking.  She made the Moroccan Chicken with preserved lemon.

Then we went shopping and to lunch.  We needed chick peas for.the best cauliflower couscous with chick peas.  Fork and Fig was filled, so we picked up our repaired kitchen clock at Hoffman Town  and since we were on Wyoming, I suggested we go to lunch at Istanbul Market.  When we arrived at Istanbul we discovered that the kitchen was closed for remodeling, but there were two baskets of kibbeh on the checkout counter, one with spinach filing and the other with meat.  We got two of each and then shopped a bit, quickly finding six different brands and styles of chick peas.  The meat kibbeh were a little dry, so I grabbed a mint flavored yogurt drink from the refrigerated cooler, which my usual drink at Istanbul with lunch.

We then went home and each ate two bowls of potato soup.  

Suzette then made her Cauliflower couscous with chick peas and preserved lemon and I made the sugar and spice base for the mulled wine.

Luke came home around 4:00 and at 6:00, we decided to prepare dinner.  Neither of us were particularly hungry and we quickly decided to heat up the PPI turkey, dressing, and roasted vegetables, which were already combined in a pyrex dish. I fetched a bottle of 2005 Tin Roof California Merlot, which was vey smooth.

After dinner Luke, Suzette and I worked together to make the Italian Meringue Cake with a pouring custard sauce. The cake succeeded this time thanks in part to Luke’s suggestion of how to pour in the meringue batter.

We went to bed at 10:00

Bon Appetit 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 22, 2015 Christmas party Shopping, lunch – Potato Soup, Dinner – Red Grouper, Snow Peas, and Prepared Lemon Baked in foil.

December 22, 2015  Christmas party Shopping, lunch – Potato Soup, Dinner – Red Grouper, Snow Peas, and  Preserved Lemon Baked in foil.

Yesterday for lunch I heated a plate of PPI turkey leg meat, Dressing, Gravy, and Roasted Vegetables.  The turkey was so tough I became physically uncomfortable trying to swallow it and had to stop eating about halfway through lunch.

About 4:30 Justin Sachs of Santa Fe Framing delivered the "Little Man with Monkey Eyes"  by Agnes Sims he had framed and we liked it very much in the new frame.  It was originally matted with a ceiling tile that, as Peter Eller so aptly stated, "Did little to help the picture."  Justin's Moon Glow gold leaf frame is a big improvement.  We all liked the picture a lot more in its new frame.

It makes you wonder what Agnes Sims was thinking when she painted this arresting image.

In the evening I made potato soup using the white portion of three medium leeks sliced thinly, 1 large onion, and six Yukon Gold potatoes sliced thinly and simmered in diluted turkey stock for several hours.  Then I puréed the mixture, seasoned it with salt and added about 1 cup of heavy cream.  The result was a very satisfactory potato soup, although the soup was a ,title too thin to my liking.  I shout not have puréed it so much.

Any way I minced about six stalks of chives and ate two bowls of potato soup today for lunch.

Today was the big shopping day for the Christmas party.  On my way home from a Doctor’s appointment at 11:15 I called Fano and asked if I could stop by and buy three baguettes and Clifton said, “Yes.”  So I picked up three fresh baguettes.  Then I drove to Pastian's for rolls and, much to my surprise,found two dozen poppy seed dinner rolls, one dozen Butter flake Rolls and one dozen regular dinner rolls in the day old rack.  I bought them all, plus a 9 inch cake decorated for Christmas with white icing with red and green flowers. The total bill was $11.07.

 After lunch and a 30 minute nap I drafted an order in my water case and sent it to the Judge for approval.  At about 3:15 I drove to La Montanita Food Coop and bought, nutmegs, whole allspice, ground allspice, ground coriander, and cloves.  

Then I drove to Ta Lin and bought a whole 12 lb. fresh King salmon for $7.95/lb. for about $94.00, three 3.5 oz. jars of black lumpfish caviar for $8.85 each, some long Bok Choy, .8 lb. of fresh red grouper, a bottle of sake, and some beautiful Shishito peppers.

I then drove to Sprouts at Lomas and San Mateo, where I bought, a green pepper, red leaf lettuce, cilantro, beautiful Italian parsley, double dipped chocolate covered peanuts, a head of cauliflower, grape seed oil, olive oil, and returned home by 5:30.

Suzette was cleaning off the dining room table and we threw out many old kitchen tools and put a green table cloth over a white damask table cloth for the party.  

We had a lively discussion about dinner.  I had thawed a boneless pork  steak with the intention of making stir fried pork with snow peas, Shitake mushrooms, and bamboo shoots until I saw the Pink grouper.  When I called Suzette and she affirmed her desire to eat grouper that menu went out the window.  We finally settled on grouper, preserved lemon and snow peas baked in foil.  We have developed a successful method of foil cooking,  I removed the fish from its bones and cut it into two pieces so the thinner flesh that surrounds the stomach could be placed on top of the thicker piece from the top of the 1 inch wide steak to make a bundle of fish.  Suzette then de stringed about a dozen snow peas and put them on the fish that had been placed in the center of an about 12 x 12 inch piece of aluminum foil.  I the chopped onion and put about 1 oz. of chopped onion, a few leaves of Epazote and cilantro, about ¼ oz. of pimiento, and several slices of diced preserved lemon on the fish, plus Suzette seasoned the pile of ingredients with salt and pepper and about 1 oz. of white wine and a ½ oz. pat of butter.  She then crimped the foil until the packet was sealed and then put that packet onto another piece of aluminum foil and crimped the first packet in another packet to double seal the fish.  We have found that double sealing the fish is the only way to assure the first packet retains it sealed integrity.  I also washed and cut four radishes from our garden into halves for a fresh radish garnish to the dish, a la Mexico.

We baked the fish packets for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  While the fish was baking we opened a can of refried black beans and added water to the contents and then some of the chopped onion and some pimiento plus some Epazote and cilantro.  I opened a bottle of 2011 R.G.M.V. white wine lend of Roussane, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Viognier from the Central Coast of California, which I had bought at Trader Joe’s for $3.99 in July of 2014.  Suzette did not like the wine and I thought it had a rather bland flavor without ant interesting characteristics, which is exactly what we had thought last year when we first drank this wine.  My statement to Suzette was, “This the last bottle and I will not buy any more of it.” So we have another bottle of cooking wine in the fridge.  I guess the lesson is that this was a bottle that over promised and under delivered even at the lowly price of $3.99.

I read and then at 8:30 Suzette she was going to poach and flambé some of the pears we picked this fall with Cynthia in Trimbach Pear Brandy.  I said, “The Brandy is not sweet.  You may wish to use the sweet red wine instead.”  Soon Suzette brought me a bowl of vanilla ice cream covered with pears and blackberries that had been poached and flambed in the pear Brandy.  I found the combination of pear chunks, blackberries lightly poached in the Trimbach Brandy to be incredibly delicious a new taste sensation I shall try again soon.

I went to bed happy, soon after I ate the lovely ice cream dessert.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015 Breakfast – Turkey Spread on Toast, Lunch – Turkey Leg, Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, and Roasted Vegetables, Dinner – Poached Salmon and Shrimp in Mousseline Sauce with Quinoa and steamed Asparagus

The December 20, 2015 Breakfast – Turkey Spread on Toast, Lunch – Turkey Leg, Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, and Roasted Vegetables,  Dinner – Poached Salmon and Shrimp in Mousseline Sauce with Quinoa and steamed Asparagus

I woke early and watched news and Watford beat Liverpool to go into fourth place in the Barclay’s Premier League and made Gravad lax by combining ½ cup of sugar and ¾ cup of salt and 1 tsp. of ground black pepper, which is poured onto two halves of salmon filets that have been cut to fit into a pyrex baking dish with layers of fresh dill on the bottom, the middle and top of the four mixture coated sides of the salmon filets.  Here is a picture:

Then I made a cup of tea and spread the PPI turkey spread on toasted Fano baguette.

After the news we worked on Christmas decorations for the living room.  Then for lunch we ate another big turkey dinner with the drumsticks of the turkey we roasted last Wednesday plus the roasted vegetables (Brussels Sprouts, Butternut squash, onion, garlic and sweet potato), cranberry sauce, dressing, and gravy with a glass of Mendoza Station 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Total Wine $4.49) that was quite delicious.

After lunch we rested and at 4:00 I rode to Rio Bravo and back.  

At 5:30 we started dinner.  I boiled ten heads on shrimp with about three oz. of onion and about 1 oz of dill stems.  Suzette then poached the two small end pieces of the fresh salmon filet in butter and wine.  When the fish was poached Suzette poured the poaching medium into the shrimp boil and made a roux with 2 Tbsp. of butter and 1 ½ Tbsp. of flour.  We then poured the shrimp stock into the roux to make a cream sauce, to which we added about 1/8 tsp. of fresh grated nutmeg, and a dash of salt and white pepper.

Suzette steamed asparagus and heated the PPI quinoa in the microwave and I poured the Sauvignon Blanc wine and we had another great meal.  

After dinner we reveled in three episodes of Downtown Abbey and I ate a piece of fruit cake and we sipped cognac from the Baccarat sniffer and ate Ethel M chocolates that Suzette’s parents sent us.

A pretty wonderful day.

Bon Appetit

December 18 and 19, 2015 Neighborhood Christmas Party and Turkey and rice soup and shopping for Christmas Eve Open House

December 18 and 19, 2015 Neighborhood Christmas Party and Turkey and rice soup and shopping for Christmas Eve Open House

Friday Suzette stayed home to supervise the installation of the glass backsplash in the kitchen.  She went shopping during the day and I made salads for lunch for us with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green onion, and Kalamata olives with melted cheese sandwiches on Fano baguette.

On Friday I Suzette picked the meat off the turkey and made a large pot of turkey stock from the carcass of the 24 lb. turkey we baked on Wednesday.  I chopped and added celery, onion and carrot to the stock and sliced the breast and thigh pieces into slices for the turkey sandwiches for Christmas Eve.

Friday afternoon, while I rode to Montano and back Suzette made turkey spread with turkey, sweet relish, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Then she went to the store and bought a box of Ritz crackers, while I sliced rounds of green pitted olive and slices of pimientos.  When Suzette returned she dabbed turkey spread onto Ritz crackers and we garnished the turkey with slices of green olive filled with pieces of pimiento or cranberry sauce and filled a large white plate with our fabulous 50’s canapés.  At 7:30 the glaciers finished installing the backsplash and we carried our plate of canapés the long block to the Bakers for the Neighborhood Christmas Party with a bottle of Alfed Moranti selection French Burgundy white Chardonnay wine..  The bakers have a wonderful large two story house with a large kitchen, dining room and living room.  There were groups gathered in eac of the three rooms.  I deposited our wine in the punch bowl filled with ice in the kitchen among the dozens of bottles of wine and placed the canapés on the dining room table.  Desserts were gathered on a table in the living room.  At the Neighborhood parties, each couple or attendee brings a beverage and a dish to share.  Art his party the wines and desserts were exceptional: I drank a Santa Margaritha sparkling rose I had not drunk before and our French Chardonnay was rather good also.  Doug graciously poured me a glass of Brunello, which is the Baker’s favorite wine.  There were lots of Costco wines and hor d'ouvres like packages of shrimp and little quiches, but the dessert table was filled with exceptionally wonderful desserts.  The two stars of the desserts went to Sandi Buffet, who brought a large box of beautiful and delicious Buffet’s candies and Ted and Peggy Cronin who brought a raspberry Kringle made by the Danish Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin.  I loved both desserts and enjoyed talking to our friends and saying hello to some of our new neighbors.  At 10:00 Suzette filled our emptied plate with desserts and we went home and got into the hot tub for a soak, which helped us get sleep after a day of work and bike riding.

On Saturday I squeezed fresh orange juice and we ate Kringle and slices of a lovely olive bread Luke’s friend, Marjorie brought us and a couple of chocolate filled cookies for Breakfast.  The Kringle is the traditional 36 layer winebrod I used to buy in Denmark.  I loved it warm with tea and juice. 
    Danish pastry or just Danish is a multilayered, laminated sweet pastry in the viennoiserie tradition. ItWikipedia

    Here is a picture of the original whole Kringle:  

    The piece of Kringle is on the left, less its icing, which melted in the microwave 

 Then I picked the meat off the turkey carcass and tossed the bones, leaving a thick slightly gelatinous stock filled with turkey meat, which we put back into the fridge to clear the kitchen, so Bernardo and his Dad and son could finish the installation of the lighting and switches.  I drove to Home Depot to switch a double switch plate for a single and the went to Walgreen’s and bought 192 votive candles for luminarias.

By 12:30 the electrical work was finished, so we heated the PPI Eggplant Parmigiana and pasta and ate our lunch.  We then drove to Big Lots and then the Flea Market on San Mateo between Zuni and Central where we found a rolling open cabinet that was perfect for our grains because it fit under the new table top in the kitchen.

Then we drove to Ta Lin and bought dill, Italian Fusilli pasta, mushrooms, and snow peas.

After Ta Lin we drove east on Central to Costco, where Suzette bought, cream, half and half, a salmon filet, a bottle of a chateau bottled Bourg Bordeaux red for $7.99, hot beverage cups, plastic silverware, rice crackers, six 1.5 liter bottles of Concha y Toro merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend ($7.99 each), three bottles of Gruet Brut for the caviar at $10.89 each and several lovely Italian cheeses and a piece of French Gruyere, plus a few other items like new frying pans.

When we left Costco we stayed in the perimeter road and drove to Home Depot, where Suzette found free Christmas tree boughs and then we drove to Walmart, so Suzette could buy lamp oil. 

We were home by 4:30 after a hectic 2 ½ hours of shopping.

After resting a bit Suzette filled the shelves of the new rolling cart with bottles of grains while I chopped celery and two carrots for the turkey soup.  Suzette added water and reduced the amount of broth somewhat to get the broth to the right consistency.  Then when the soup was hot I added the PPI rice and stirred it in to break up the lumps.  By 6:30 we ate a lovely and filling turkey and rice soup with water.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, December 18, 2015

December 17, 2015 Lunch- PPI Noodle Soup, Dinner – Turkey Sandwiches

 December 17, 2015 Lunch- PPI Noodle Soup, Dinner – Turkey Sandwiches

I spent the day at home working on filing a pleading in the Lower Rio Grande Water  Adjudication case, so I was happy to have some of the PPI Noodles left from yesterday’s lunch to eat.

The same can be said for dinner.  Charlie called and said he had come down with some illness that prevented his attending book club meeting, so I drive. Luckily, Luke returned with my car at 6:15, so I was able to drive my car to the meeting.

I had not prepared a menu for dinner in anticipation of eating snacks at book club, buy was pleasantly surprised when
came home around 5:30 with a hankering for a turkey sandwich.  I fetched the roasted turkey from last night’s meal and sliced several slices of white meat for Suzette and some dark meat for me, while Suzette toasted slices of French baguette and sliced some slices of avocado and tomato and fetched lettuce and mayonnaise from the fridge.  

We also fetched the container of dressing from the fridge and made wonderful turkey sandwiches.  I felt I was channeling the Pilgrim experience when I left for the book club discussion on Nathaniel Philbrick’s history of the settling of Plymouth Plantation in 1620.

When I arrived at Mike Blackledge’s house I found a table filled with lots of interesting snacks, including turkey jerky, guacamole, English toffee, and a very interesting fried flour tortilla chip dusted with either red or green chili powder, plus three kinds of cheese, Genoa salami, English water biscuits, and a scrumptious dessert of a lava like cake from Whole Foods.  

I drank a Pinot Grigio and then a glass of Gallo burgundy with the dessert.  We had a lively discussion about the settlement of the Plymouth Colony and its relations with the indigenous Indians, whose assistance was sought in order to survive the first few winters and then slaughtered about fifty years later in order to grab their lands.

In seems like what started out as a flight from religious persecution turned into the all too common human tendency of the strong to annihilate the weak for the personal strong’s gain.  Alas, it the foundational history of our nation that unfortunately persists to this day, with suggestions from some politicians of flattening all the towns controlled by ISIS with bombs.

Bon Appetit 

P.S. Suzette ordered 54 sprigs of Eucalyptus for Christmas this year and I am sitting beside a vase of boughs whose fragrance permeates the area around it with a wonderful aroma of a eucalyptus foresQ

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 16, 2016 Lunch – Noodle soup, Dinner – Roasted Turkey, roasted vegetables, dressing, Brown Gravy and cranberry sauce.

December 16, 2016 Lunch – Noodle soup, Dinner – Roasted Turkey, roasted vegetables, dressing, Brown Gravy and cranberry sauce.  

We had thawed out the 24 pound turkey I had bought for $.67/lb. at Lowe’s before Thanksgiving yesterday.  This morning Suzette cut in half and roasted a butternut squash in the oven.  I chopped two stalks of celery and 1 onion for Suzette to use in her dressing, while she cut up the half loafed of whole wheat bread and Fano baguette.  I then went to the garden and picked a handful of oregano and a handful of sage leaves that were not too frost bitten and chopped each up separately.  The ½ cup of chopped sage went into the dressing.  While Suzette added stirred eggs and water to the stuffing and mixed and stuffed the dressing into the turkey and put the giblets and neck into a pot of water on the stove at low heat to make a turkey stock, I diced ½ of the butternut squash, after de-seeding it, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 small onion, 2 shallots, the handful of de-stemmed oregano (about 1 cup), and about 1 lb. of Brussels sprouts that I had removed the tough ends from and had made  criss-cross cuts into in the ends.

I put the ingredients into our large roasting pan and Suzette doused the vegetables with Olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper.  I then covered the vegetables with aluminum foil and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered  and the put the roasting pan into the fridge in the garage.

We then turned our attention to the turkey we trussed the neck and tail cavity to hold in the dressing and rubbed the flesh with about 4 oz. of butter, and put the bird into an oven bag with about 2 Tbsp. of flour. We then put the bag into the big blue roasting pan.  

At noon I asked Luke if he wanted some noodle soup and when he said yes, I started a pot of water to which I added ½ tsp. of dehydrated dashi, a stalk of celery, diced, ¼ onion, the PPI pork and Bok Choy from last night, a large Tbsp. of red miso, about a Tbsp. of seaweed threads, three types of noodles and about 1 Tbsp. each of soy, fish sauce, and Chinese rice wine and a dash of sesame oil.  I then added about 3 oz of diced tofu and chopped up two green onions.  I fetched the Hoisin sauce and Shiracha and the bag of cilantro and we had a wonderful lunch of noodle soup.

At 1:00 I went to Ranch Market and bought limes ($.77/lb.), Latin Crema ($1.69/lb.), onions (3/lb. for $.99),  4 smoked pork chops at $3.49/lb., 4 sweet limes at $.99/lb.

I then went to Albertson's for milk, eggs, and a lb. of fresh Atlantic salmon at $5.99/lb..

When I got back home a little after 2:00 Eloy, garage repair man was leaving and I waved at hi and he gave me his estimate to fix the automatic garage doors.  

At around 2:30 I put the turkey into a 350 degree oven on the lowest level of convection.  

It was a clear and sunny afternoon but cold at around 40 degrees so I rode to Rio Bravo and back at 3:00.  Soon after I returned home at 4:00 Suzette arrived and shortly after that Mario arrived to move stuff to the basement and out of the garage, so we can park cars in the garage again.  

By 6:30 the turkey had achieved an internal temperature of 162 degrees, which we considered fully cooked .  The guides said turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  We took the turkey out of the oven, because Melissa arrived at 6:20 and Luke shortly after her.  

I poured Melissa a glass of Pinot Grigio and myself a glass of Sicilian Grillo.  Melissa then recounted a fantastic story of how she spent her Autumn.  Melissa writes for “Days of our Lives” and when she saw the BBC news segment on the disabled girl who was wheeled by her family from Kobani, Syria to Europe that we had seen on BBC World News, her heart was touched when the 16 year old girl in the wheel chair said she had learned English by watching “Days of Our Lives”.  John Oliver did a long segment on Immigrants and Refugees in which he featured the BBC segment with Nadia.  Melissa saw the John Oliver segment and noted that Nadia had said she was saddened when her two favorite characters died on the show.  So Melissa found out where Nadia and her family had been settled in Germany, wrote a short segment that brought the two characters back to life, contacted the actors, one of whom was in retirement and living in Vancouver, and got them to act out Melissa’s script, in which they said coming back to life was not as difficult as coming from Syria to Germany.  To make a long story shorter, Melissa and one of the show’s fans raised over $4,000 from the show’s fans on line and visited Nadia and her family in Germany and the fan club has helped Nadia and her family.  Also, the segment Melissa wrote and produced has been seen on You Tube by over 8,000,000 people.

What an Autumn Melissa has had!

At 6:30 we opened the bag and the turkey was perfectly cooked with the meat falling off the bone and the breast meat tender.  It could not have been more perfectly cooked and the dressing was moist and flavorful.  Suzette removed the dressing to a serving dish and I sliced one thigh and three or four slices of breast from the steaming hot turkey.

I put the meat on a wooden cutting board and Suzette spooned some of the roasted vegetables into a serving bowl and heated them in  the microwave.  I put some of the cranberry sauce I made last week into a cut glass compote bowl and Suzette made a roux with 4 oz. of butter and 2 or 3 Tbsp. of flour and I fetched the turkey stock from the fridge and heated it on the stove and Suzette combined the roux and turkey stock to make a gravy while I minced the giblets and some neck meat to make giblet gravy.  I poured glasses of Grillo, which had matured to a slightly bitter wine, with very strong character.  Not exactly an elegant white wine but perfect for washing down the heavy flavors of roasted vegetables and dressing.  I was glad it was our last bottle.  Melissa did not seem to like it.  

We discussed the psychological problems of her nephew a bit and many other topics.  Luke made the best comment, “I wonder how people become psychologically unbalanced from a spiritual stand point?”

We said goodnight to Melissa at 9:00 after inviting her to ourChristmas Eve party.

For those of you who read this blog, we are having our Annual Christmas Eve open House this year and you are invited to drop in between 5:30 and whenever.

Bon Appetit

December 15, 2015 Lunch – Taj Mahal, Dinner – New Recipe Stir Fried Bok Choy with pork, corn, mushrooms, shallot and green onion

EDecember 15, 2015 Lunch – Taj Mahal, Dinner – New Recipe Stir Fried Bok Choy with pork, corn, mushrooms, shallot and green onion

Luke and I ate a late lunch at Taj Mahal. Luke took the vegetarian choices and I ate saag and tandoori chicken with roasted onions.  The food was wonderful as usual.  We talked to Shamiz and invited him to the Christmas party.  He told us his daughter was studying at UBC and interested in foreign service.  

Taj Mahal’s wall is full of awards, Best of Burque, best Indian restaurant, etc.  the buffet now costs $11.50, so the price had gone up over the years but the quality has not gone down.  It is both of our favorite Indian restaurant.  One of the waiters is really good and when he came to the table and asked if there was anything he could get for us, I said, “Onion Culcha”.  He was puzzled and asked a question, “do you mean garlic Naan ?
I replied, yes.  In a few minutes when a fresh batch of garlic nan was ready he brought us two pieces of warm garlic nan.

Luke had an invitation to eat dinner at a friend's. I had decided to make Mapo Dofu, but Suzette and I decided to make a lighter dish.  I decided to stir fry a Bok Choy with corn kernels, mushrooms, pork, shallot, green onions, ginger, and garlic.  I separated the green leaves from the heavy white stalks, and sliced three mushrooms  diced six small green onions, and cut the kernels from an ear of corn.  I opened a bottle of strips of ginger pickled in salt since we did not have any fresh ginger.  I stir fried the meat with the garlic and ginger first, then the hard white parts of the Bok Choy and the shallot, then the green leaves of the Bok Choy with the mushrooms, the green onions, and corn.

I then made a thickening sauce with about 1 Tbsp. Each of soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, about 1 tsp. of sesame oil, about 2 tsp. of corn starch and about 1/4 cup of water, about 1/3 cup in all and added that to the wok.  I cooked the vegetables and sauce for several minutes until the sauce thickened and all the ingredients appeared to have changed color and softened.  

Suzette heated some PPI basmati rice and we each filled glasses with water and ate a delicious light meal. 

We watched a bit of the Republican debate until I got depressed about what our friends and enemies in the world must be thinking about what America might do to them if one of the Republicans was elected President and decided to read my book instead. 

Bon Appetit

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015 Lunch – Chirashi Donburi at Azuma, Dinner – EggplantI Parmigiana

December 14, 2015 Lunch – Chirashi Donburi at Azuma, Dinner – EggplantI Parmigiana 

I met Robert Mueller for lunch at Azuma.  I ordered us our usual when I arrived ahead of him, Chirashi Donburi, which is a box half filled with sushi rice with a layer of raw seafood (sashimi) on top of the rice.  Azuma includes 12 slices of seafood per order and over the years I have selected the twelve I like the best and order them each time: 2 salmon, 2 red tuna (Mauro), 2 octopus, 2 ultra white, and 4 yellowtail (hamachi) plus two pieces of omelet and two pieces of pickled daikon.

After lunch I stopped at Fano Bakery and purchased a baguette for $3.00.

When Suzette arrived home around 5:30 we discussed dinner.  I was prepared to make Ma Po Dofu, but Suzette wanted to make Eggplant Parmigiana, so I sliced an eggplant and grated about ¾ cup a Pecorino Romano cheese, while Suzette toasted old french baguette pieces in the oven for about fifteen minutes and then ground them into bread crumbs in the Cuisinart.  The she broke an egg into a shallow bowl and stirred it until it homogenized and mixed the bread crumbs with the grated cheese in another shallow bowl.  She dipped the slices of eggplant first into the egg to coat them and then the cheese and crumb mixture to coat them with a layer of crumbs.  Suzette then fried the crumb coated slices of eggplant in about ¼ inch of canola oil to fix the coating and partially cook the eggplant slices.  Then Suzette lay the cooked slices of eggplant in a ceramic baking dish with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and covered the dish with spaghetti sauce and baked the eggplant dish in the oven for about twenty minutes to heat the dish thoroughly and melt the mozzarella.

When the eggplant parmigiana was almost ready Suzette heated the PPI Gemelli pasta from last night and lay a pile of pasta on plate and then topped it with slices of eggplant parmigiana and sauce.

I had opened a bottle of 2013 Tuella Portuguese red wine from the Duero River Valley (Trader Joe's $5.99) earlier when we ate snacks of fresh toasted Fano baguette with duck liver pate (Lowe’s market for $7.99 for 6 oz. and Petit Basque cheese, so we drank the rest of the bottle with dinner.

Suzette’s Eggplant Parmigiana is wonderful and the dish was easy to prepare because we already had 2/3 of it fixed; the pasta and the spaghetti sauce.

Bon Appetit 



December 13, 2015 Breakfast- Huevos Rancheros, Dinner – Roasted Pork Tenderloin Tapa, Sautéed Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Artichokes

BhDecember 13, 2015 Breakfast- Huevos Rancheros, Dinner – Roasted Pork Tenderloin Tapa, Sautéed Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Artichokes

Today we woke up seeing a blanket of snow covering everything.  Here is a picture from our front porch.  

We had a leisurely day, I watched the news programs and then we decided to make Huevos Rancheros with the PPI roasted potatoes and the red three chili salsa Suzette made last week.  Since we were going to make the Roasted Pork Tenderloin tapa for dinner and the recipe called for cutting the thin end of the tender off, I cut the thin ends off the two tenders I intended to use for the tapa dish, stored the cleaned and dried tenders in a freezer bag in the fridge, and diced the two end pieces of the tender into about a ½ cup of meat.  I also minced about 3 Tbsp. of onion.  Suzette sliced and sautéed in one large skillet with the remaining cup of Yukon Gold potatoes with the onions in olive oil and in another skillet cooked four eggs sunny  side up and toasted four corn tortillas.  When everything was hot and the eggs cooked Suzette constructed the dish, by laying two tortillas on each plate, then laying the meat and potato mixture on the tortillas, then laying the eggs on top of the meat and potatoes and finally ladling spoonfuls of salsa on top of the dish.  Here is a picture.

After a hardy breakfast, we moved beds and tables to rearrange the bedrooms for the anticipated arrival of Luke and Willy.  Willy called and we talked to him about his travel plans to Germany and Latvia for the Christmas Holiday and to Thailand with friends in January and February to study kickboxing.  We wished Willy a happy Holiday.

Then a little after noon Suzette told me that Cynthia and Ricardo we're hosting a pop up sale for Lena, an artist friend, who makes tie died hand painted silk scarves, so I grabbed a bottle of chilled Nassa Albariño and we drove to the Railyard for the Annual holiday Sale.  We saw lovely Hand blown glass Christmas decorations, but not much else of interest, except we bought a Bosque Bakery baguette to take to Cynthia and Ricardo’s house for the sale by Lena of her hand painted scarves.  We drove from the Railyard to Cynthia and Ricardo’s house and were welcomed by a dining room hung with dozens of colorfully painted silk scarves.   There were appetizers on the kitchen table including an olive medley and hummus and crackers and Brie cheese put together by Cynthia and a pot of hot apple cider and a bottle of home made spiced rum made by Lena, the artist.  

The apple cider was delicious and Cynthia soon brought us a slice of date nut bread she had made using her Mother’s recipe smeared with a thick layer of cream cheese.

I bought a scarf for Luke and Suzette picked out a scarf for her Christmas gift.  This is my favorite way to shop for Christmas.  I dislike going to big stores or the malls, but love seeing beautiful things in a casual atmosphere. 

After buying the scarves we admired some framed architectural designs on the wall of their office. Ricardo explained that they designs were made by a New York architect named Hedjuk, who he was an assistant to when he Ricardo attended Cooper Union in NYC.  Ricardo showed us a folio of designs published by Hedjuk that had been given to him by Hedjuk and then we talked to Ricardo and Cynthia in their living room until Suzette became tired and after inviting them to dinner, we said goodbye and went home to nap.  After a nap, I took a shower and at around 5:30 we began cooking dinner.  I sliced two apples and one large onion into slices and then cut the two pork tenders into twelve 2 inch long pieces for the pork dish.  Then I cut the previously boiled artichokes into halves so they could be grilled.  Suzette peeled and sliced the PPI sweet potatoes into slices lengthwise, so they could be sauteed in butter.  I went to the garden and picked a large handful of oregano sprigs and cleaned them, while Suzette sautéed the onions and then the apples in the long French copper sauté pan.

Cynthia and Ricardo arrived a little after 6:00 with guacamole and chips, the rest of the French olive medley, and the rest of the brie from the party and sesame crackers, a bottle of Cravit Pinot Grigio and a large wedge of date loaf and cream cheese.

Cynthia set up the appetizers on the Texas cutting board and took it to the TV room table while Suzette and I cooked.  

When the apples and onions were softened, Suzette added the pork tenderloin pieces and garnished the pan with sprigs of fresh oregano and placed the pan into a 300 degree oven to roast.  She then sautéed  the sweet potatoes until browned and grilled the artichokes on the grill while I made a mayonnaise, lemon juice, yogurt and herb dipping sauces for the artichokes. 

We then sat for a few minutes and ate appetizers and talked with Cynthia and Ricardo, while Suzette ran from the grill to the kitchen to check the progress of the dinner during the 20 minutes that she roasted the pork dish.  After 20 minutes I made a cup of chicken stock and fetched the bottle of Spanish Pedro Dominguez brandy.  When Suzette removed the pan from the oven I poured a little more than ½ cup of chicken stock into the pan and then we lit two burners and reduced the stock and cooking liquids to a light sauce.  Then we added about ¼ cup of brandy and we lit the brandy and everyone watched the pan burst into flames.  Then Suzette fetched the artichokes and plated plated ps with sweet potatoes and two pieces of pork tender and two halves of grilled artichokes and I ladled apples and onions and sauce over the pork and opened a bottle of La Granja Spanish Rioja blend of Tempranillo and Grenache (Trader Joe's $4.99) and we were ready to eat.

   The Love Birds

  The wine

The pork was cooked perfectly to pink in the center at about 170 degrees.  The sautéed sweet potatoes had slightly caramelized an developed a crunchy edge that was delicious.  The artichokes wer a little tough on the outer leaves but the inner leaves and heart that had faced the flame were soft and wonderfully flavorful, having been soaked in olive oil before grilling.  

We ate and drank and talked until 8:30 when Cynthia became tired from her two days spent cleaning her house and cooking and shopping for the sale.

We were ready to get into bed also after Suzette showed me the three finished bedrooms that we had rearranged and she had completed with fresh bedding and had hung the extra art we had taken down during the remodel. I thanked her for completing the restoration of the three bedrooms, which are finally organized and look wonderful.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 12, 2015 breakfast – shrimp Omelet, Lunch – Posole, Dinner Gemelli Pasta with PPI meat and mushroom sauce.

December 12, 2015 breakfast – shrimp  Omelet, Lunch – Posole, Dinner Gemelli Pasta with PPI meat and mushroom sauce.

We started out today wanting an omelet.  We decided upon a shrimp omelet, so I thawed and peeled 10 large Malayian shrimp (Albertson's $5.99/lb.) and I decided to use the Old Windmill Dairy Thyme infused softened goat cheese.  The omelet was fabulous,especially since Suzette cooked it to just short of firm so the ingredients ran into each other a bit in a loosely congealed manner.  Suzette made a Bloody Mary and I opened a bottle of Nassa Albariño and drank a glass of the smooth white wine from Galicia Spain (close out at Quarters. When I went to Quarters Friday evening after picking up my bike at the Bike Coop, I bought the last three bottles of the Nassa Albariño at the ridiculous price of $2.99/bottle.  

At lunch we finally finished the Posole.

For dinner we decided to try to make a dish of pasta like the Bolognese pasta we ate at Scalo on Thursday night where they mixed the sauce with the pasta to make a homogeneous dish of sauce and pasta.  Our meat sauce had chunks of meat, mushrooms and tomatoes and although Suzette mentioned that we needed to run the sauce through a blender to smooth it out to get the totally integrated texture, I decided against that.  Instead we heated the sauce in its pot and I boiled a pot with about 4/5 of a lb. of Gemelli pasta and steamed 10 stalks of asparagus.  When the pasta was cooked to soft, I cut the Asparagus into 1 inch lengths an d Suzette stirred tomato, meat and mushroom sauce and the asparagus pieces into the pasta, while I opened one of the bottles of 2011 Gaetano Di Aquino Chianti Riserva I bought at Trader Joe’s on Thursday for $5.99.   The chianti was very smooth and its light fruity flavor complemented the slightly tart flavor of the pasta dish perfectly.  

One of the things I noticed and liked about the mixed together pasta dish was that it had a more integrated cohesive flavor which minimized the the acidity of the tomato flavor and created a more integrated texture an flavor.  

After dinner I ate a few Lindt Lindor as we moved dressers in the back bedroom and watched TV.  I finished reading The Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick for my book club.  

I also spoke to Billy about the book this morning as we were making plans to go to a Ridge Winery sponsored wine dinner on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 when he, Elaine, and Rebecca visit us for the Taos Winter Wine Festival.

Here is the proposed wine dinner menu as advertised in Local Flavor this week.  

Later in the evening I opened the fruit cake I had drenched with Bacardi gold rum and ate a couple of pieces of it.  It was a little gooey, but the cake was moist and the fruit softene

Bon Appetit