Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 a PPI day Fried Rice with Red Cooked Chicken

June 29, 2015 PPI Day

I ate a bowl of granola with ½ mango and blueberries with yogurt for breakfast.

I heated up a piece of PPI enchilada and chopped up 2 Tbsp. of red onion, an avocado and about twenty thinly sliced cucumber wedges for lunch.

I worked until after 7:00 so Suzette made fried rice with the PPI rice and red cooked chicken and made  a fried egg pancake. I went to the garden and picked and de-stemmed a handful of chard and put into the wok to add a little color and vegetables to the fried rice.  I felt like we were eating like peasants.

To make the PPI effect complete I mixed the PPI Sauvignon Blanc and Josefina Syrah rose to make an acceptable glass of wine that was not too sweet and not too dry.

Bon Appetit 

June 28, 2015 Grilled Steak and Pasta Primavera

June 28, 2015 Grilled Steak and Pasta Primavera

We started the day eating the croissants we bought from Le Quiche Bakery yesterday at the Farmers’ market, where Suzette also bought a red and a large green cabbage and three bunches of radishes.  There was a new mushrooms grower who was selling several unique varieties of mushrooms, so we bought a six ounce carton of Hungarian black mushrooms and a cinnamon mushroom.

After breakfast and catching up on the Sunday morning news and a bike ride for me and a walk for Suzette we went to the Albuquerque museum to see the high heel shoe exhibit, which was fabulous. 

 Then we went home and made chicken sandwiches with the French sour dough bread we also bought from the Le Quiche Bakery with avocado, cheese, marinated zucchini strips Janis made for Friday night dinner.  

I thawed out a steak and we decided to make pasta to go with it, since we had an additional zucchini and use the new mushrooms In a primavera sauce.  I chopped about 4 Tbsp. of red onion and pulled two garlics from our garden and cleaned them and sliced 4 cloves of garlic into rounds.  I then julienned ½ orange bell pepper and the zucchini. 

I then made the Béarnaise sauce

½ cup off white wine vinegar

½ cup white wine

1 large shallot, chopped 

1 Tbsp. Fresh tarragon 

A dash of salt and white pepper

I boiled that above ingredients down by 2/3 and strained the liquid off and let it stand to cool.  

I removed the tarragon and shallots from the enameled sauce pan and put nine egg yolks into the snd stirred them mix thoroughly.  The recipe calls for three egg yolks, but we had nine left when Suzette made her cloud cake on Friday, so I used all of them.

After I stirred the egg yolks in the sauce pan I added back the liquid and added 10  oz. of cold butter to the mixture over a low heat until the mixture began to thicken.  I then poured it into a pitcher and chilled it in the freezer to cool it quickly.

Primavera Pasta
Suzette heated a large pot of water and when it came to a boil, added  about ½ lb. of spaghetti .  While the pasta was cooking she sautéed the onion, bell pepper, garlic,  and zucchini,  then put in the mushrooms with olive oil  and  butter. I diced about ¼ lb. of fresh mozzarella and put into a large serving bowl.  When the spaghetti was cooked we drained it and put it in the serving bowl with the mozzarella and some chopped up Irish cheddar and then added the sautéed vegetables. 

When the steak was grilled to medium rare, I sliced it we served it with the pasta dish and the Béarnaise sauce.  We opened a bottle of 2007  that tasted amazingly like a heavy Bordeaux that was a bit tannic at first but soon opened up into a smooth luscious jammy wine.  ThanIs to Pierre, who is both a masseuse and s sommelier.

Bon Appetit 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 24, 2015 Dinner - Red Cooked chicken, Rice and fresh snow peas and asparagus

June 24, 2015 Dinner - Red Cooked chicken, Rice and fresh snow peas and asparagus

Today I went to Ranch Market around 3:00 for its weekly produce specials.  I bought limes (2 lb./$.99), 8 small avocados (4 for $.99), 2 manila mangoes (2 for $.99), onions (2 lb. for $.99), and bananas 3 lb. for $.99.  I also bought zucchini for our Italian meal on Friday night for $.89/lb., cooked ham for $1.79/lb., muenster cheese for the lasagna for $1.99/lb..  I then pushed my cart to the meat department to see if there were any specials there and found freshly butchered chicken thighs for $1.09 lb. I bought the smallest package I could find, containing six thighs.

I started cooking Red Cooked Chicken at 5:15.  Since the recipe is for a whole chicken, I halved the recipe and added several of the optional items.  Here is the ½ recipe I used today:

Red Cooked Chicken

1/8 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sherry
½ cup of soy sauce
½ cup of water
4 slices of ginger
Three scallions cut into 1½ inch lengths
1 clove of garlic sliced in rounds
6 skinless chicken thighs 

I placed the liquids and other ingredients in my wok and brought the liquid to a simmer.  I removed the skin and fat from the thighs and placed them in the cooking medium and cooked them for 20 minutes on each side.  Then let them sit to cool.

When I returned home from meditation, Suzette plated up plates in the microwave with PPI rice and asparagus and added the last six or seven snow peas from our garden and heated them while I heated the dark reddish brown chicken in the wok.

We drank water and had a delicious although not very elegant meal.  I was happy to have a good hot meal after working all day and being able to relieve Suzette from cooking, since she had had a hard day of driving to Santa Rosa and back and working all day. The sauce that is made from the cooking juices is delicious on the rice and flavors it with a salty and sweet flavor.

And we have three thighs left for PPIs.

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

May 31, 2015 Giverny and Monet's House and Garden

May 31, 2915.Giverny 

We had breakfast with Kathryn and Mike and Mike walked us down to the taxi stand on Rue Haussman to catch a taxi to CDG where we picked up our rental car and drove to Giverny.

Unfortunately we had a flat tire as we pulled into town and had to leave our car in the parking lot of the Masteurie Hotel and walk to the B&B Helene on the other side of town.  I won’t belabor the car issues, but we called Europcar and they send a mechanic while we were eating a late lunch at the Hotel that towed the car away to the mechanic’s garage. 

I ordered the 26 € three course lunch starting with a raillette of salmon and salmon eggs as the appetizer and then roast duck leg and thigh on a bed of cottage fried potatoes.  I did not eat many of the cottage fries because Suzette had ordered guinea fowl in an apple cream sauce with potatoes au gratin that seasoned with a local cheese that was very delicious, so I ate some of her and Willy’s cheesy potatoes.  Willy also ordered the 26€ lunch and took a bowl of vegetable soup that tasted mostly like split pea soup and a chicken breast with a mushroom cream sauce.  We decided to visit Monet’s house and garden since it closed at 6:00 and then return to the hotel for our dessert course. 

At 4:15 we walked to Monet’s house and garden, which are in the middle of town with the house at street level, and the garden descending down the hill to the main road and with the water lily pond on the other side of the main road. Fortunately, the Walter Annenberg trust built a passageway under the main road that allowed for easy access to the water lily pond and the rest of the garden.  

                      Sharing a romantic moment in Monet's Water Lilly Garden

It was thrilling to see Monet’s house, which has been kept or refurbished with period furniture and copies of his painting.  Actually it appeared that he collected Japanese woodcuts.  There must have been over 50 woodcuts with half of them being by Hishoige.  

The kitchen was wonderful with the copper pots and lids arranged in a row along one of the walls and the blue Delph tile over the stove.

               Suzette among the other tourists in Monet's salon with replicas of his paintings 
                 Monet's Table in the dining room of his house

               The kitchen stove in Monet's house

                       The kitchen in Monet's house 

The garden was in full bloom with a immense array of flowers.  Here are some pictures:

                            Willy and Suzette in Monet's Garden 

               A view of Monet's house from Monet's garden 

I have never seen a better personal garden.  As we drove into Giverny, I even saw a hillside filled with red poppies just like the one in Monet’s famous picture of the woman and young girl that is in the Hermitage collection.

We loved the gardens and Monet’s house and forgot all about the car inconvenience for a few hours.  

We had walked the gardens by 5:30 and returned to the hotel and finished our lunch. Willy got a chocolate crepe that was terrific.  I got an apple tart that was delicious with a light caramel sauce.  Suzette, who had ordered al a carte, decided to try the local cheeses and ordered a glass of red wine and a plate with a wedge each of Liverot and Camembert.  Willy then walked to the B&B and our proprietress picked us up a little after 6:30, after she drove her daughter to the airport in Beauvais to catch a plane back to Parma, where she now lives.

We spent the rest of the evening talking, resting, reading, and drinking tea and eating sandwiches and went to bed at midnight.

Bon Appetit

June 7, 2015 We leave France

June 7, 2015 We leave France

We ate our last egg with the last of the marinated white anchovies for breakfast with some toast and blueberry jam, then loaded the car and drove to Charles de Gaulle Airport without any difficulty. 

I made sandwiches with the ham we had bought the other day at Carrafour and the last of our cheese on the bio organic bread we bought at the market in Bayeux on Saturday.

We have learned on this trip how to navigate our way onto and off the four and six lane limited access highways.  The access points are clearly indicated on our new Michelin map of France, which has gotten us out of several situations in which we were irretrievably lost.

When we arrived at the departure gate around 4:00 they were checking folks in for the 7:45 departure and we were lucky enough to get the last two seats together by a window rather than sit in the middle section comprising four seats, so we were able to cuddle up and get some sleep.

I enjoyed flying on the big Airbus 330 300 with the 300 other people, it was like what the original colonists must have felt cooped up on a small ship with a few hundred others crossing the Atlantic.  

The plane arrived at JFK at 10:00 and within 45 minutes we had navigated the maze of ground transportation from the airport to our Holiday Inn Express hotel.  Ground Transportation included locating the appropriate bus pick up point outside the south end of huge Terminal 4 and then a bus ride to Federal Square subway terminal and bus station, then walking to the other end of the station where there was a pick up point for vans and a courtesy van ride to the hotel.  I knew we were back in the U.S. and NYC immediately, from the level of rudeness and filth.  The only way I can deal with the veneer of rudeness which seems to permeate every conversation between strangers in NYC, even information booth attendants, is to be ready to say “Thank you” as soon as your question is answered.

Bon Appetit

June 23, 2015 Lunch-Lamb and sweet potato Bun. Dinner- Roasted Chicken, steamed asparagus, and Caprese Salad

June 23, 2015  lunch-Lamb with Vietnamese rice noodles. Dinner-Roasted Chicken with steamed asparagus and Caprese Salad

I made a fried rice for breakfast with PPI rice and the stir fried Baby Bok Choy.

For lunch I wanted to use the PPI fresh Vietnamese noodles I had bought at Talin several weeks ago.  I decided to try to make a bowl of Bun so I boiled the noodles in water to cook and soften them and I think I overlooked them because they became gooey and stuck together a bit.  Next time I will cook them less.  In bun there is a layer of cucumber, bean sprouts, lettuce, and herbs on the bottom of the bowl, so I picked some lettuce from our garden and chopped it roughly, sliced up one large scallion, and julienned a 3 inch section of cucumber and put those in the bottom of a large soup bowl.

Fish Sauce

  I then made a Vietnamese fish sauce with 4 Tbsp. of lime juice, 4 Tbsp. of fish Sauce, 2 Tbsp. of Sweet chili sauce, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/3 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced, and 2 Tbsp. of sugar.

The sweet chile sauce is the left bottle

I heated a PPI grilled lamb chop and 2 slices of grilled sweet potato and sliced them into bite sized pieces and put the warm drained noodles and then the potato and lamb on top of the noodles.

I took a bag of cilantro from the fridge.

To eat the dish I put spoonfuls of fish sauce on  the bun to soak into the warm noodles and flavor them and tore leaves of cilantro and added them to the noodles to add their herbaceous flavor and ate the mass of noodles and other ingredients with cho sticks, being careful to mix the ingredients so each bite would contain some mixture of ingredients.

This was my first attempt to make bun, and except for overcooking the noodles, was pretty tasty. 

Bowl of lamb and sweet potato bun beside bowl of fish sauce 

I called Suzette in the afternoon to ask her to bring home a chicken, preferably one seasoned with lemon and tarragon and she did.  Suzette had bought fresh mozzarella cheese at Costco the other day and we had bought cluster tomato son the vine at Ranchers Market last Sunday, so Suzette picked fresh basil leaves from our garden and made an olive oil and balsamic dressing with Shleman olive oil and drizzled it over the sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.

When the asparagus were screamed I removed a leg quarter of the chicken to each plate and Suzette placed asparagus and salad on each plate to make a very attractive plate of food. 

The balsamic and olive oil dressing mixed with the chicken and asparagus and enhanced their flavors.

We opened the bottle of Trader Joe’s  2013 Reserve Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that Megan had brought us on Sunday that was still chilled in the fridge and ate this lovely meal under the gazebo in the garden.  We enjoyed the wine and drank the rest of the bottle as we watched the last installment of the Roosevelts’ series on PBS. 

Bon Appetit 

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 Blue Corn Enchiladas with Pork and Tomatillo sauce

June 22, 2015 Blue corn pork and Tomatillo Sauce Enchiladas 

We went to Ranch Market yesterday and bought lemons, grated Monterrey Jack cheese, blue corn tortillas, and milk because we still had a lot of pork and tomatillo sauce left and wanted to make blue corn enchiladas with it.

Today when Suzette arrived home a bit after 4:00 we had a drink and worked on some paperwork and then around 6:00 we started cooking 

Blue Corn enchiladas with Pork  and Tomatillo sauce

I chopped one large onion and sliced two Mexican Squash into thin slices.

I then sliced 3 ½ small avocados into thin slices.

Suzette assembled the dish in a ceramic baking dish.  She softened the tortillas in some of the tomatillo sauce in a small skillet.  Then she layered tortillas, squash slices, meat, cheese and avocados in layers.  When the baking dish was filled to overflowing, she added tomatillo sauce to the top of the side of the baking dish and then we sprinkled the top of the top layer of,tortillas with Queso Fresco Fud ($1.99/lb. at Ranch Market).

It took about an hour to cook the enchiladas until the ingredients all melted together.  Unfortunately the blue corn tortillas collapsed and lost their shape and became mor mushy than the old corn tortillas we had used to make the last batch of enchiladas last week.

I heated my portion in the microwave to completely cook the squashes and we drank beers with our simple but simply,delicious dinner and watched the Antiques Roadshow.

Suzette ate a bit of PPI cobbler and I went to bed early, since I had gotten tired from my third straight day of riding bike this morning.

Bon Appetit 

June 21, 2015 Dinner Party with Megan and Charlie. Teriyaki Salmon with salad, rice and stir fried vegetables and apricot and blueberry cobbler

June 21, 2015 Dinner party with Megan and Charlie Teriyaki Salmon with Stir fried Baby Bok Choy, salad and Apricot/blueberry Cobbler

We picked apricots this morning at Megan’s house and invited her to join us for dinner.  I then called Charlie and he said he was free for dinner, since Susan was still out of town.  

Megan brought a hard cheese with some fig jam from Whole Foods and some lovely big bing cherries for appetizer and salad for dinner that she dressed with Newman’s Own vinaigrette.

I made teriyaki sauce in the morning after we picked apricots and we then marinated a 1 ½ lb. piece of wild caught Coho salmon from Costco in it until we grilled it at around 7:00 p.m.

We pitted the approximately 10 lb. of  apricots and Suzette made a large pot of cooked fruit with some sugar and the juice of a lemon in the afternoon.  At around 5:30 Suzette made a jiffy cobbler recipe and baked the cobbler for 45 minutes.

Suzette soaked a cedar board in water for about an hour and we started a cup of rice cooking by boiling two cups of water with about ½ tsp. of Knorr dehydrated chicken stock and when it came to a oil adding 1 cup of basmati rice.  When  Megan and Charlie arrived Suzette put the salmon on the wet board on a heated gas grill.

Stir Fried Bok Choy 

I had picked a handful of chard and de-stemmed it and a bulb of garlic that I had finely chopped and a quarter sized piece of ginger and ½ red onion and the last two Bok Choy and two mushrooms and the last third of the box of grove brown mushrooms.  When the salmon was put on the grill I began stir frying the ginger and garlic in about 1 Tbsp. of peanut oil and a couple of dashes of sesame oil.  Suzette had asked me to make the vegetables simpler, which means less Chinese like, which means “use less soy”, so I stir fried the white portion of the Bok Choy and red onions  until they were soft, about ten minutes. Then I added the green leaves of the Bok Choy with the mushrooms and chard and about 1 tsp. of soy and 1 tsp of Chinese cooking wine and another dash or two of sesame oil.  After another minute the dish was ready.

When Charlie and Megan arrived we served Charlie a gin and tonic and Megan a glass of 2013 Pinot Noir Rose D’Autrefois  (Total  Wine $11.99 discounted to $10.79) from France’s Pay D’ Oc (being the West Bank of the Rhone River in Provence).

We ate cheese and fig jam on Breton crackers as our appetizer as Suzette showed them the garden and grilled the salmon while I made the vegetable dish.

Soon we were ready to eat.

I served rice and vegetables from the stove in the kitchen and then we took our plate outside to the grill, where Suzette served pieces of grilled fish and we proceeded to the gazebo in the garden to eat.  I took wine glasses and the Rose to the garden and poured glasses of wine.

Although they lived only two doors apart, Charlie and Megan had not met, so soon they had lots to talk about, especially since Megan and Susan had both gone to law school as adults two years apart and when they discovered they both loved art.

We drank the bottle o rose with dinner and it  went well with the salmon even though the salmon had been aria red in  teriyaki.  

When the wine was gone I filled a pitcher with ice and water and we drank water.

After we finished dinner Suzette filled parfait glasses with the scoops of cobbler and Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream Charlie had brought.

We talked until the sky darkened and we could see the radiant sliver of moon aligned with Saturn and Jupiter in the darkened sky.  A little after 9:00 we all got sleepy and said good night.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 20, 2015 The Center for Ageless Living's 7th Annual Field to Food event. "What's the Buzz"

June 20, 2015  Field to food at the Center for Ageless Living

Rode to Montano and back this beautiful sunny cool morning.

Then we heated pork and tomatillo enchiladas, beans and cooked an egg and ate breakfast by the pond in the garden.  The pond was particularly lovely today with its blooming water lilies.

Then we went to the Farmers’ market to pick up cheese and carrots.

Suzette drove to the Center at 3:00 and I followed at 6:00.  When I arrived a bit after 6:30 things were in fill motion for the dinner starting at 7:00.  The Gruet champagne was being delivered to the champagne pouring area in the garden, so I went there,, but soon two nicely dressed women showed up to pour and I was able to wander away when Barry, Kylene, Janet, Cynthia and Ricardo showed up.  I showed them the pool at the spa and the secret garden and they seemed impresses.

Then we returned to the tent in the park for dinner.  This year Suzette and the staff were even better organized than last year.  There was individual table service for salad, soup and dessert.

The theme was honey, with honey tasting and honey as an ingredient in many of the dishes, such as the BBQ sauce on the beef brisket, salad dressing, and the wonderful honey horchata soaked Tres Leches cake for dessert.  I missed the appetizers of honey flavored goat cheese, pate and home baked Crackers this year as usual, but was able to join Cynthia and Ricardo in the tent with the other attendees as soon as I realized there were two lovely ladies who had been designated the wine pouters.   I spoke to Tim Lopez, the fruit wine maker about his wine, which was quite good.  He poured raspberry, plum and choke cherry wines that were distinctive and not too sweet or too dry.  The choke cherry tasted a little like a sherry.

Everyone agreed that the flavor and tender texture of the BBQ beef brisket and chicken was first rate.  There was also a gluten free rice noodle salad served, with a hot risotto and a superb penne baked with red turnip sauce.  I had never tasted red turnip and loved the flavor of it.  It seemed to be both creamy and a little chunky at the same time and gave the penne a uniquely zesty flavor, like a cheese sauce.  Dishes like this are a tribute to Executive Chef Derran’s superb food sense.

The meal was elegant with a balanced menu and beautifully prepared.  The entrée course was served from a table set up on the pathway beside the park area.  

Attendees by the chilled Gruet Rose and Brut Champagne serving area.
Cynthia and Ricardo at the champagne bar
Tim Lopez discussing his organic all fruit wines.  Note all the empty plates

It was a lovely evening of food and conversation.  I sat across from Marie Paul and her friend Casey and we had a lovely conversation.  Suzette was busy all evening with communications and introducing speakers,such at Ray, the bee keeper, and Tim, the wine maker.

I do not know how or where one could find a more interesting meal with wine beer and apple cider for $45.00.  The Center’s Annual’s Field to Food event must be the most unique and interesting food event in New Mexico for the money.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 18, 2015 grilled rack of lamb with PPI Grilled Sweet Potato and baked Eggplant Parmigiana

Dee Simpson was in town today and we went to lunch at La Salita, which he enjoyed very much.  Dee built his own lunch with ground beef enchiladas, a Swiss cheese chili relleno and a ground beef taco.  We ate four bowls of chips and salsa we liked them so much.

When Suzette arrived home we decided to grill thr rack of lamb she had bought yesterday at Costco.

She salted and peppered the lamb and grilled it to blood rare, so we wrapped it with aluminum foil for about five minutes to let it cook to almost medium rare.

I made tzatziki with about 3 cups of Trader Joes French Village whole milk yogurt, I clove of garlic, finely chopped, 1 1/2 cucumbers finely cubed, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 Tbsp. of chopped dill and 1 Tbsp of chopped mint.  I then picked 4 or 5 stalks of chives and diced them finely and added them to the tzatziki and chilled for while in the fridge to blend its flavors.

Dee and I went to the basement and picked bottle of my new house red; famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone   Reserve.  I bought. About10 bottles of the 2012 at Total Wine during the last French wine sale for $7.99 less 15% in May.

We loved the grilled lamb with mint jelly and tzatziki although a little redundant.

Bon Appetit

June 19, 2015 Salmon Rolls with Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy and mushrooms

June 19, 2015 Salmon Rolls with Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy  

I had my favorite breakfast this morning; fresh orange juice, granola, tropical fruit salad, and Mexican yogurt.  It always reminds me of mornings spent on the patio of the penthouse at Bungalows Auzinko overlooking the beach and ocean at Sayulita.

Dee Simpson stayed for a couple of days.  Today I heated a can of pinto beans and some of the PPI pork and tomatillo sauce enchiladas for lunch.  I love this type of baked enchilada casserole and will  make some more this week, since we have lots of PPI pork in tomatillo sauce.

Suzette suggested rolling and sautéing the salmon in accordance with the recipe in The Wine Country Cookbook.  I suggested stir frying baby Bok Choy with brown mushrooms.

The salmon is easy to fix.  Suzette salted and peppered thin approximately 2 inch wide slices of wild caught Coho Salmon, rolled it in a tight circle and held it in the shape by pushing a bamboo skewer through the roll.  She then fried the rolls in a combination of peanut, sesame and olive until the outer edge of the salmon roll became crisp.

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy and mushrooms 

I separated the leaves by cutting their attachments to the central stalk.  I then chopped the leaves, separating the thick white portions from the thin green portions, into bite-sized pieces.  I then chopped finely: 1 large shallot, 1 Tbsp. of ginger and 1 Tbsp. of garlic, and opened a container of small mushrooms ($1.99 at Ta Lin).

I heated 1 Tbsp. oF peanut oil with 1 tsp. of sesame oil and a few dashes of chili oil in a wok.  I then added the garlic and ginger and stir fried it at high heat for a minute.  I then added the white portions of the Bok Choy with the shallot and lowered the heat to medium and stir fried them until soft (about ten minutes).  Then I added the green portion of the Bok Choy and 1/3 of the packet of mushrooms (after having removed their tough dirty bottoms with my knife) plus 1 Tbsp. of Chinese rice cooking wine and 1 ½ tsp. of mushroom soy and another dash of sesame oil and about 1 Tbsp. of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce.  I covered the wok and let the ingredients steam and cook for about 5 minutes until the salmon was done.

Suzette heated 1 cup of PPI basmati rice in the microwave. 

I then realized the vegetables had developed about 1/3 cup of liquid,so I decided to thicken the vegetables by dissolving 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch in a bowl with about 3 Tbsp. of water and 1 Tbsp of Chinese rice cooking wine and another couple of dashes of sesame oil and adding that to the vegetables.  Soon after I added the thickening solution and folded it into the vegetables it began to thicken the liquid, so I turned the heat under the wok off and we served the meal with a bottle of 2013 Belleruche Cotes du Rhone rose produced byM. Chap outlier (Cotes du Rhone Controlle).  I am guessing that I purchased the wine at Total Wine.  The rose was a perfect match in flavor to the salmon.  Not simply a complement, but a match in flavor.  Amazing.

We served the vegetables on a small pile of warm rice and laid the salmon roll beside the vegetables.

We ate in the garden and after 8:00 the music at the Zoo started and we listen ended to it.

I was enjoying the wine so much that I decided to eat some of the new Delice cheese Suzette had  bought at Costco today on a toasted piece of Fano baguette.  The creamy slightly acidic flavor of the cheese on the warm bread also went well with sips of the rose wine.

Bon Appetit


Thursday, June 18, 2015

May 26, 2015 GETTING SETTLED IN PARIS fresh oysters

May 26, 2015 Getting settled in in Paris

We had a wonderful day of art and food.  Yesterday when we arrived, we went shopping.  All the basics are within lone block of Kathryn and Mike’s apartment; a mini supermarket, a fish store, a butcher, a cheese shop, and right outside the door, a bakery.

So as Kathryn said, we provisioned up.  She had just arrived from Attending her daughter, Devon’s graduation from U of Va.s and Mike had not yet arrived from Wisconsin.

We bought groceries at the market one half block from the apartment,  then walked to the green grocer next door and bought heirloom tomatoes, fresh artichokes, and lemons.  We then walked across the street to the fish store and bought filets of a flat fish called chaiballet or something like that and a dozen oysters that the fish market opened for us and packaged in a tray.

We then walked down the street to the butcher and bought four rabbit halves, that the butcher cleaned and made ready to cook and a goose meat pate..

We stopped at the bakery just beside the apartment’s entrance and bought bread and I bought an Opera torte.

Then we returned to the apartment and made a cocktail sauce and ate the oysters and then ate cheese and bread and goose Meat pate for a late lunch at around 3:30.

We showered and took naps and got up around 8:30 and ate the pastry with a lovely rose scented tea that Mike had won is a drawing.

Bon Appetit 

June 17, 2015 Lunch - Luigi’s Dinner- Pork Tomatillo Enchiladas

June 17, 2015 Lunch - Luigi’s  Dinner- Pork Tomatillo Enchiladas

I called Peter Eller to go to lunch today.  When he arrived around 1:00 I said I wanted a salad and he suggested Luigis’s, explaining that they had a good salad bar and also other good Italian food, including chicken cacciatore, which he likes.  So we drove out to Luigi’s which is on 4th just north of Chavez.

I was amazed by a number of things about Luigi’s.  First, it is a large restaurant, probably over 100 seats.  Second the variety of dishes was impressive; minestrone soup, sautéed vegetables, chicken cacciatore, chicken Florentine (in Alfredo Sauce), lasagna, meat balls and sausage and baked penne plus a large salad bar, which was why Peter recommend the restaurant.  The buffet was $9.95, which seems very fair for what it included.  Peter says that if you want fresh pasta they will make that for you also.

meatball, sausage, lasagna sauteed vegetables and chicken cacciatore

the last half of the salad

the buffet line

Luigi's dining room
 I liked it.  I will return.  I took a big salad and then discovered when I had eaten half of it that you could get any of the other items you wanted so I ate a second plate of the hot items and got happily stuffed.

I went to Rancher’s Market at 5:00 to take advantage of the Wednesday/Thursday fruit and vegetable specials.  I bought 6 avocados (3 for $.99), a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $.99, limes (2 lbs. for $.99), Mexican squash (2 lbs./$.99), Anaheim Chiles ($1.49/lb.), FUD queso fresco ($1.99/lb.), LaLa yogurt ($2.50), corn chips (12 oz. for $.150) and cilantro for $.50/bunch.

Suzette arrived shortly after I arrived home and was hungry, so I suggested that we make enchiladas with the PPI pork in tomatillo sauce, corn enchiladas, and the Mexican squash.  Suzette added a layer of avocado.  I chopped up 1 onion and ½ Anaheim chili and she sautéed that in a skillet.  I sliced two Mexican squashes thinly and Suzette cooked them in a freezer bag in the microwave.  Then she heated a 32 oz. container of PPI pork and tomatillo sauce and added some chicken stock to it to cook the tortillas in the sauce to soften them.  She made the enchiladas in a ceramic baking dish, with a layer of softened tortillas, then onions and the green chili and then slices of 2 avocados and then more tortillas, then the pork and tomatillo and 1¼ cup grated Manchego cheese and more tortillas and then about 4 oz. of crumbled queso fresco and filled the baking dish with sauce to the top of the side of the dish.  She put the enchiladas into the oven at 350˚ until the cheese melted and the sauce was bubbling.  I went to meditate and did not eat an evening meal, due to my massive Italian feast.

I will have some enchiladas tomorrow.

Bon Appétit  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 16, 2015 Eggplant Parmesan on Spaghetti garnished with Scape Pesto, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

June 16, 2015 Eggplant Parmesan on Spaghetti garnished with Scape Pesto, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

Fruit and yogurt for breakfast

A salad with greens from the garden for lunch

For dinner we were both tired but after a nap and a drink and a talk with Willy about his new story being published in the Dublin Enquirer, we were ready to fix dinner.  Suzette suggested Eggplant Parmesan on PPI spaghetti, I had bought cluster tomatoes at Sprouts and I sliced those and we put a slice of tomato on each slice of eggplant that had been dipped in an egg wash and then bread crumbs and fried in canola oil, Suzette then sprinkled feta cheese over each slice of eggplant and baked the dish in the oven until the eggplant cooked.

I fetched a bottle of Leonello Marchesi Castello di Monastero 2010 Chianti Superiore for its lightness and clean taste.  I bought 2 cases from Connie at Quarters two years ago on a close out at $4.99/bottle and have enjoyed the wine ever since.  

I prepared and we steamed about fifteen thin asparagus (Ranch Market $2.99/lb.) bought last week.   

Remember that Ranch Market has vegetable and fruit specials on Wednesday and Thursday.

When the eggplant was cooked, we heated the spaghetti in the microwave and steamed the asparagus and were ready to eat.

We chose to not use a prepared spaghetti sauce because we wanted a lighter dish without any gooeyness, but we found that the olive oil in the pesto was not sufficient to emulsify the dish and that it needed more olive oil and salt to accent and combine the flavors.  We used the lovely Sleman’s Virgin olive oil from Chile that Ed and Michel gave us several years ago and it created a fabulous flavor.  The wonderfulness of this dinner was that by simplifying the ingredients and flavors and using just a little olive oil and salt, we were able to create an very sophisticated and delicious dish that accented the ingredient’s unique flavors and avoided the awful gooey mess created by flooding the dish with a bunch of spaghetti sauce.

It met our intention of keeping the dish light and emphasizing the vegetarian aspects of the dinner.

It was still warm when we took our plates to the table in the garden, so we chilled our wine with a couple of cubes of ice.

I ate a bowl of spumoni ice cream with a bit of lemon curd on it later and watched Golden State win the NBA Finals.

Bon Appétit  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 15, 2015 Lunch – Que Huong Dinner – Pork in Tomatillo Sauce with Sautéed Refried Black Beans

June 15, 2015 Lunch – Que Huong   Dinner – Pork in Tomatilla Sauce with Sautéed Re-fried Black Beans

Today I went to lunch with Jim Burbank from my Meditation group.  Jim has retired from teaching writing at UNM in the Business School and so we were able to compare notes on lots of Albuquerque businessmen we both know.  Jim ordered a Bun bowl with curried chicken.  I ordered a Bun bowl with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  Jim loved his bowl and my bowl was well prepared except that the pork had lots of sinew in it that had to be removed.  I still think Que Houng is the best Vietnamese restaurant for bun in town, because it adds the extra touch of a special red sauce and pickled daikon and carrots to its bowls. 

Jim and his bowl of bun

Jim's bun bowl of curried chicken 

 I had bought 4 lb.s of boneless pork sirloin on sale at Lowe’s for $1.77/lb. yesterday and this morning
Suzette and I discussed and agreed to cook the pork with the thawed out tomatilla sauce from our dead fridge in the garage.  

I chopped up 1 ½ onions and a small head of garlic and Suzette braised the meat and then sautéed the onions and garlic with some oregano and cumin and added that to the tomatilla sauce that she had put into our crock pot.  We let the pork cook in the tomatilla sauce from around 8:30 a.m. until around 7:30 p.m. when Suzette returned from Santa Rosa.

Suzette then made a cup of rice and opened a can of refried black beans.  She then heated the beans in a skillet with some fresh epazote and a dried avocado leaf plus some water and some chili infused olive oil.

steamy pork in tomailla sauce 

The result was an amazing dinner.  The combination of the black beans and rice and the tomatilla sauce and pork tasted great together.

We enjoyed the dinner with a beer in the garden.

Bon Appétit

June 14, 2015 sautéed blood sausage with Apple and onion slices and Grilled Beets

June 14, 2014 Sunday Sautéed Blood Sausage with apples and onions and Grilled Beets

We were busy Sunday and so we decided sauté the Blood sausage rounds I had bought at Alpine Sausage Kitchen on Saturday and eat a simple German style dinner.  Suzette sliced up ½ of an onion and I peeled and sliced an apple and we sautéed those ingredients with four of the six slices of blood sausage in a large skillet.  As you can see the blood sausage broke up in the skillet and became a sort of delicious sausage hash. 

Suzette also cleaned and sliced the white and red beet she bought at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and grilled them and then crumbled some of the Old Windlmill Farm fresh feta goat cheese she had bought at the Farmers' Market on Saturday. . 

We enjoyed a simple meal in the garden that we had worked hard to clean in the morning with beers.

I marvel at the technological innovations occurring in our world now.  I still feel very much like an outsider, like a cargo cultist as I become aware of bits of technical knowledge, but enjoy the ability to record and perpetuate my thoughts and images for friends and posterity, thanks mostly to the effort of Suzette.  We are in a brave new world and I love it. 

Bon Appétit      

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 4, 2015 Mont Saint Michel

June 4, 2015 Mont St. Michel

We left around 9:30 for Mont St. Michel and arrived at around 11:00.  Mont St. Michel is one of the most imposing monumental edifices in the world, sited on a granite rock in the middle of a bay surrounded by miles of sand and shifting flows of water as the tides shift.

 It is a Romanesque Gothic Abbey that rises hundreds of feet with five or six levels above a town perched on the rocks below that you see for miles as you near it.   The Abbey is owned and managed by the French government while the town below is a warren of tourist related businesses.  The abbey is still an active religious site with monks who live and pray there.  We arrived at the chapel at noon and it was full of monks and tourists performing a liturgy and service.
The government is currently constructing a new raised causeway that will not become flooded at high tide and also will reassert the traditional flows of water in the bay around Mont Saint Michel, which would make for some really dramatic experiences as the tides peak and cover the sans around Mont Saint Michel.  Instead of restricting access at high tide, as the government must now do, high tide will become one of the most popular visiting time for tourists and more tourists will want to stay at the hotels near it to enjoy the changing light and water effects that occur when the tide rises, just like watching the changing colors and light and shadows at the Grand Canyon.
The cloister is considered one of the most beautiful in the world open at one end with a view of the bay and ocean.  Construction of the abbey began around 900 A.D., so it is half Romanesque and half gothic, with clear leaded glass on three sides behind the alter, like at the royal chapel in Paris (Le Chatelet.)

The most interesting aspect for me was how the stone carvers cut gothic arches into the stones instead of adding them after the stones were cut as in most churches.
After exiting the abbey we sat in a small garden near the abbey’s highest level and sat and ate lunch at a place with a superb view of the bay and coast.  We enjoyed the pork pate, Laval, to me and goat cheese and fesh cherries and apricot we bought in Bagnoles at the market that we ate with a baguette we bought at a boulangerie we stopped at on our way up the Main Street, Rue du Roy.  We also stopped and shared  a cup of ice cream (pistachio and caramel) for a break and a bit of strength.  
The garden and house of the neighboring house in Vierville where we stayed near Omaha beach

We made it back to our car by 3:00 so decided to stop in Avranches and see the Manuscripts made at Mont St. Michel, where they are kept in the local history museum.  The history museum is a lovely new building, built into the ramparts of Avranches.  Among the many interesting facts we learned by the audio tour at the museum is that the Romans named towns after the local inhabitants names, so in this area,were the  Avanants and the Roman name of Avantium or some such name has been shortened to a more French sounding name of Avranches.

The other interesting fact is that most of the Roman city was covered up over the years and only began to be excavated only in the 1980’s and surprise, they found that the main church was.built On the Roman forum.  That fact seems so obvious that it almost indicates a lack of knowledge of archeological history.  For example, what was found under the main church and zocalo in Mexico City?  The original pyramids of the Aztecs.  A statement of surprise about what lies below a built city, makes me think that a people are oblivious to their own history, probably with good reason.

After seeing the manuscripts, we walked to a small park beside the.Hotel du Ville where the tourist information office and the parking lot where our car was parked and sat in an outdoor café and ordered a cider.  Then we drove the 1 ½ hour drive back to  Vierville-sur-Mer, arriving around 7:30 p.m. 

I was hungry for a substantial hot meal and requested pasta.  Suzette and I cut up 2 shallots, three cloves of garlic, two strips of pancetta, a small handful of parsley, the PPI tomatoes, and mushrooms.  Suzette boiled the pasta and made a tomato sauce with white wine, some of the pasta, and the ingredients, and,we drank a bottle of Southern Rhone rose wine made with Cinsault and Syrah grapes for a great meal.  We were full and it was still early, so we decided to walk on the beach, so, we drove the two miles to Omaha beach and watched all the re-in actors dressed in American uniforms own vintage motorcycles and in vintage jeeps.  We spoke to two fellows from Portsmouth, England, who were driving a restored U.S. Army eep they had restored and trailed to Omaha Beach.  We then decided to drive to Point du Hoc, which is the famous site where American Rangers scaled a ninety foot cliff face and held the position to silence the big German shore battery with its 6 155 mm guns.  Almost all the 225 rangers were killed in two days of fighting to hold the position against a strong German counter attack until the Allied forces were able to successfully reinforce the position.  It is now an American war monument.

We then drove the 5 miles back to the house in Vierville and ate a lovely salad we had made with the last of the sliced tomatoes, a beet, shallot greens,and goat cheese  crumbles and dressed with an apple vinegar and olive oil dressing with shallot greens.  As we ate the salad, we discovered that in our hour absence the dressing on the salad had pickled the beet, so Suzette decided to pickle three eggs with the some of the remaining beets.

Suzette also cooked the PPI strawberries and the rhubarb we had bought at Bagnoles into a compote with some sugar. 

One of the things I notice about our traveling is that we share the selection of food stuffs, so Suzette participates to a much greater degree in menu selection and the dinners reflect that.  I would never pick a beet for a salad and here we are eating pickled beets and eggs; a very German dish.

We ate Biscuits and a fruit cake we had bought at a biscuit factory store near Mont St. Michel in the morning where I stopped to get instructions for how to get to the parking area.

Another interesting fact is that the days  are really long in June in northern France.  The sun rises around 5:30 a.m. and sets around 11:00 p.m.  Since i usually rise at sun up, I have been going to bed at 10:00 while it is still light out.  Here is a photo of the sunset taken around 10:00 pm on June 4.

Bon Appetit