Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29, 2015 lunch – PPI Chirashi Donburi, Dinner – Grilled Halibut, sautéed green beans, and Papaya/Pineapple Salsa

September 29, 2015 lunch – PPI Chirashi Donburi, Dinner – Grilled Halibut, sautéed green beans, and Papaya/Pineapple Salsa

For lunch I ate the other half of my Chirashi Donburi from yesterday and it was surprisingly delicious and filling. 

Suzette came home at about 4:00 and we spent 2 hours preparing two raised beds and planted a winter crop of root vegetables and lettuce.  We put the hoops up but did not cover them with plastic yet and started the irrigation system in the two beds.  The beds still have grubs, but we are hopeful the additional diatomaceous powder around the seeds will protect the plants.

At 7:00!after the news we started cooking.  During the news I cleaned a large handful of green beans and Suzette made holes in the flesh of the 1 ½ lb. halibut steak and stuffed them with pieces of butter and then sliced a lemon and squeezed juice from the end pieces over the halibut and lay the halibut on the lemon slices to cook on a heated grill.  The halibut steak was about ]2 inches thick and it took about 25 minutes to grill it.  After 25 minutes the fish was still uncooked in the middle, so I filed each half from the large central bone and we grilled the center on the grill after we turned off the gas burners for five minutes more, which cooked the center of the filets to perfection.

After Suzette started the fish, she drained the impurities from the oil we had sautéed the cipolini onions in a week ago that still had some garlic and lavender.  Then we added about 2 Tbsp. of butter to the reclaimed oil and sautéed 2 cloves of garlic from our garden and about 3 Tbsp. of onion.  After a couple of minutes I added the green beans and tooted them in the oil and butter and the covered the skillet on the Cajun cooker with the wok cover so the beans would steam a bit.

After twenty minutes the beans were cooked so I turned off the headband let them sit covered in the pan until the fish was ready.

I then fetched the papaya pineapple salsa and put it on the table in the garden.  I poured glasses of Albariño wine and we plated each plate with one filet and a pile of green beans.

Everything was delicious, the halibut and green beans were cooked perfectly and the dry acidic Albariño went well with the flaky rich halibut sitting on a pad of butter to complement its richness and with a bit of lemon juice to balance its richness.

We loved dinner.  After dinner I tried the new cheap ice cream from Ranch Market ($1.99) with rum, chocolate syrup and Maraschino cherries and found it to be surprisingly delicious.

Bonn Appetit 

The fruit salsa with its Thai chilis was a cool

September 28, 2015 lunch – Chirashi Donburi at Azuma, Dinner – Sampler Plate at Greenhouse Bistro’s Antiques Roadshow Celebration

September 28, 2015 lunch – Chirashi Donburi at Azuma,  Dinner – Sampler Plate at Greenhouse Bistro’s Antiques Roadshow Celebration

I slept a little later than usual, getting up at around 7:30 and waited for Suzette to return from her walk so I could help her wash the dishes. She washes and I stack and return the dry dishes to their repository, and fetch the dirty dishes, so I guess you could say our division of labor is between stationary and mobile.

Then I rode to Montano, showered, and worked until 12:30.  At 12:30 I went to Tri-Core Laboratory for my annual exam blood work up draw and then to Azuma for my favorite lunch of Chirashi Donburi, which is 12 pieces of raw seafood on a bed of sushi rice in a box with daikon pickles, egg omelet, and shredded fresh daikon.  Quite a meal with lots of protein to make up for my loss of blood.  

The plan today was to make today a medical day with lunch sandwiched between the blood draw and my first trip to the Podiatry doctor.  I did not arrive at Azuma until 1:15, so I could only finish ½ of my Chirashi, which I found to be surprisingly satisfying. At 1:55 I left for my 2:20 appointment at the podiatry clinic off Paseo del Norte at Barstow.  When I arrived I could not help thinking I had entered one of those early Northern Renaissance genre paintings by Bosch or Pieter Breughel of a group of the halt and the lame.  I immediately became aware of how important good foot health was to one’s quality of life and became instantly determined to take to heart whatever advice I was given by the doctor if it prolonged good foot health.  As it turned out that was a good thought because when I was examined by my new doctor she told me that my ankles appeared to be slightly swollen and I had the beginning of varicose veins, which is a sign of poor blood circulation.  She ordered a test to be performed next week, had me fitted for a pair of compression socks, set me up for ten to twelve week check ups, checked then checked the fungus on my toes, prescribed a topical medication for the fungus, and welcomed me to the Albuquerque community of podiatry  patients. 

Actually I liked the Doctor very much. Her name was something like Balkisson and she was clearly an Indian Muslim, so I asked her if she knew Sarah Kassam, because I had seen Sarah and Rahim Saturday evening at Globalquerque and Sarah and the Doctor resembled each other.  Amazingly Dr. Balkinsson knew and had met and visited Sarah several years ago. Small world.  The doctor asked me how I knew the Kassams and I told her I was their attorney for real estate matters and in one of their investor groups.  When I left the doctor smiled and asked me to give my regards to Sarah when I next met her and I said I would.  I felt as if I had started my podiatry treatment on a hopeful note.

I returned home at 4:00 and worked for an hour and then watched the nightly business news and BBC news and the drove to the Greenhouse Bistro in Los Lunas for the big Antiques Roadshow Celebration.  I was amazed that 7 people, besides Suzette and me, showed up.  It was a great food and wine event.  The Greenhouse Bistro was pouring 6 or 7 wines including a Spanish sparkling Cava and a Rioja rose, both of which I tried and enjoyed.  We watched the first of three episodes of the Roadshow filmed in Albuquerque. The last bid discovery was of Carole and her Ann Peterson painting that she bought for $150 in the early 60’s that was appraised for $300,000 named “the Answer”.

Chef Darren made up lovely small plates with an assortment of appetizers, including two sticks of fresh focaccia with a small ramekin of a slightly salty tapenade, a toothpick used as skewer for a cube of mozzarella cheese, a couple of small pieces of lettuce and a small yellow pear tomato, which I have never seen and thought was very clever (Suzette called it a Caprese Appetizer), and a piece of pork  belly braised in Apple juice and apple cider vinegar served on a thin bread crust, which was very tasty also.  I enjoyed the lovely evening of food, wine and television among the folks who showed up at the Greenhouse Bistro.

After the show we drove home and went to bed around 9:00.

Bon Appetit 

I am trying to sleep more and it is making me feel better I think, perhaps because I am not as burdened with work related thoughts.

Another lovely day of food and activity.

September 27, 2015 a Greek dinner party at the Souder/Graf’s

September 27, 2015 a Greek dinner party at the Souder/Graf’s 

We watched the Sunday morning news shows interrupted by a speech at a prison and a Mass in Philadelphia. 

Then we went to Costco at 10:00 and stocked up on more things for the new kitchen like a 1 ¼ HP disposal, rubber mats for the floor, essentials like toilet paper, Kalamata olives, and olive oil, and lots of meats, including fresh halibut, pork belly, pork chops, and a rack of lamb.

We then came home and I made a Cesar salad and a fresh Cesar salad dressing while Suzette made quick croutons in the toaster with slices of bread that she the then tore into pieces and tossed in a freezer bag with olive oil.

After lunch I watched Dallas lose to Atlanta while I made a papaya, pineapple, avocado and onion salsa, with Thai bird chilis and ½ of a pimiento from our garden.  

     Thai bird chilis from our garden 

   The Rose and papaya, pineapple salsa we took to the party

We then lay down for a nap until 4:45 when we got dressed and filled a bowl with the salsa and took that and a chilled bottle of D’ Autrobois Pay d’ Oc 2013 rose to the Souder/Graf’s house for a dinner party celebrating Jim’s retirement.  The theme of the evening was Greek food.  There was an appetizer table filled with hummus, baba Gounush, Kalamata and green olives, pita bread and dolmas.

When we arrived Jim was bringing in a heaping platter of chicken souvlaki on skewers he had just grilled, so we took a plate of food from the dining room table filled with Greek dishes, such as moussaka, spanakopita, Greek salad and a dessert platter filled with baklava, and pecan tarts made by Diane.

Jim and Diane have travelled extensively and are familiar with many cuisines and are fearless and good cooks willing to tackle any cuisine as proven by this evenings wonderful Greek feast.

After dinner at 7:30 we all walked across the street from their house to the edge of Kit Carson Park where we watched the super moon lunar eclipse until 8:30, when we drove home and got into the hot tub and watched the eclipse until 9:00 when we watched the last 30 minutes of Indian Summer, the latest Masterpiece Theater series.

    2/3rds of the way into the lunar eclipse

Bon Appetit


September 26, 2015 Indian Curry at Globalquerque

September 26, 2015  Indian Curry at Globalquerque

Suzette made BLT sandwiches for brunch today.  

I rested and Suzette went shopping for more stuff for the new kitchen.

Then we dressed and at 5:3 went to Globalquerque.  We went to the commercial area set up within the fence of the NHCC and immediately saw the three or four food vendors.  We chose The Indian food vendor and stood in the rather long line for. About fifteen minutes to buy a bowl of Northern India Lamb curry and a Southern 
India Chicken Curry. My he chicken was a Madras style.  The lamb was a little more complex with allspice seeds, cardamom and cloves.  While we were standing in the curry line we went to the vendor next door and bought a bowl of albondigas garnished with a tomato and onion sauce, which we ate while we waited on line for the Indian food as an appetizer.  The meat balls were quite large and delicious with the thick sauce.  We also bought a mango Cole slaw that was creamy with mayonnaise that overpowered the delicate mango flavor, but was cool and very creamy, so helped balance the spicy curry flavors.  

    The view of the stage in the Plaza Mayor from our seats at dinner 

    The gourd harp player 

We drank glasses of an iced bottle of Gris de Gris rose from the Carmauge in Southern France that was a little light in character for the strong curry flavors but quite delightful and refreshing, until the end when it warmed and a slightly acidic finish appeared.

While we ate, the East River group from China played Chinese music on traditional instruments, which made us recall lovely concerts we had heard on our trip to China a few years ago.  Suzette mentioned one particular musical interlude in the temple grounds of theTemple of Heaven or the Moon in Peking.

The music Saturday night was first rate.  We saw five or six groups.  Our favorite of the evening was Emel, a very strong singer from Tunisia, who sang with a keyboardist and drummer, all of whom employed electronic augmentation to enhance their music with loops and syncopation.  I also loved Alejando Escobar, who appears to have been an old time rocker and singer/song writer from South Texas, whose musical credits included opening for the Sex Pistols in 1976 at Winterland, when he was in a grung band called the Nones?

He played with a very virtuoso guitarist named Bill Nelson from New York, who he introduced after every other song.  Escobar said he had lived in Austin for the last 40 years, so it was fun for me to feel that old Austin connection, when he sang songs he had written with Townes Van Zandt and Willy Nelson.

During the last act starting at 10:30 we danced with Ricardo and Cynthia and then left during the act and  saw and talked with Sarah and Rahim.

We were home by 11:15.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 25, 2015 lunch – Asian Pear Dinner at Globalquerque

September 25, 2015  lunch – Asian Pear  Dinner at Globalquerque

I went with Bill and Sally to lunch at Asian Pear, the Korean restaurant on Central between 5th and 4th that serves a limited menu of well prepared delicious food at reasonable prices.  I had a BBQ Chicken plate with a pile of chicken teriyaki, a pile of Chap Chae (sweet potato starch cellophane noodles tossed in teriyaki sauce and a small salad for $6.99.

After lunch and a bit of work, I went to Gruet to pick up my order of wine.  If you pick up you can substitute wines of your choice for those selected by Gruet.  I selected two G25 Blanc de Blancs, a 2010 Vintage. Blanc de Blanc, a sausage brut, and a still rose of Chenin blanc and pinot noir.  Thank goodness Chenin blanc and pinot noir are both our favorite grapes and Laurent Gruet’s favorite grapes.  That fact and tasting the new Gruet rose this year convinced me to join its wine club.  When I returned home I put the bottle of rose in the fridge to chill for dinner.

At 5:00 Suzette called from somewhere on I-25 between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque. I stopped work and began fixing sandwiches.  I sliced pieces of the fresh Fano baguette and toasted them.  I spread butter on some and then duck foie gras and placed slices of brie cheese on them.  The others I spread mayonnaise on and the lay slices of Lebanon sweet Bologna, Irish cheddar cheese and thinly sliced onion and a smear of Bavarian sweet mustard between the Bologna and cheese.

When Suzette arrived around 5:30 I wrapped the sandwiches and we put them into a Mexican basket and filled a water bottle with rose wine and ice and went to Globalquerque a bit after 6:00.

The variety and quality of music this year was just as good as always.  I was amazed by three performers in particular; Nano Stern a sort of folk singer and rock musician from Chile with a voice that sometimes seems to channel Joni Mitchell, Jane Harjo who is a poet and singer/song writer and Indian, who plays the sax and carries one a tradition I never even knew existed of Indian jazz saxophone musicians from Muskogee, Oklahoma, and a singer and guitar player from Tunisia with a huge voice, who we will see Saturday evening in the Disney Theater with better acoustics and hopefully without a blown keyboard.

We stayed until 11:00 and saw Cynthia and Ricardo, who dance much of the time, which makes watching the acts more fun.

Suzette liked the Bologna sandwiches best, perhaps because they were a little more complex with the added slices of onion.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, September 25, 2015

September 24, 2015 Lunch – East Ocean Scallops in Lobster Sauce

September 24, 2015 Lunch – East Ocean  Scallops in Lobster Sauce

In the ebb and flow of food events there are big food event days and low food event days.  Yesterday was an extremely high food event day and today was an extremely low food event day.

Suzette is going to Santa Rosa tomorrow so I decided to go out to lunch today for my new favorite lunch, which is scallops in Lobster Sauce at East Ocean.  I have become infatuated with this simple dish that combines egg drop soup, ground pork, and scallops into a thick sauce, which when combined with fried rice makes an incredibly delicious meal.

   Beginning the process of integrating rice and sauce

Tonight was Book Club which means no prepared dinner.  Luckily, a couple of days ago I Sautéed the two Italian sausages I had bought at Sprouts Farm Market last week and combined the with the shrimp and spaghetti cooked with Suzette’s fresh from the garden tomato Sauce and sugar snap peas.  The combination of Italian sausage, tomato sauce, vegetables, and shrimp was delicious.  At 6:00 I mentioned to Suzette that I was hungry and would have no dinner at Book Club and did she want to heat up the PPI pasta dish.  Suzette agreed and since I had bought a fresh baked Fano baguette after lunch, Suzette suggested we make the pasta dish into tapas by toasting slices of baguette and making open faced sandwiches by putting the pasta on the slices of bread.

Suzette diced several slices fresh mozzarella into cubes and put the into the bag of pasta. I heated the pasta and put it into a pasta bowl while Suzette sliced and toasted slices of baguette which she put on a plate.  I did not want any sandwiches, although I think it was a great idea, so I ate pasta with a fork from the bowl and Suzette made open faced sandwiches on the fresh bread by piling pasta onto the toasted slices of baguette.  I did eat bites of bread with my pasta and it was a delicious combination of flavors.

So we invented a new dish tonight out of necessity, the lack of time to prepare a meal and the availability of a PPI and a fresh baguette.

After we finished the pasta, there was still some tomato sauce infused with Italian sausage flavor, so I cut another slice of baguette, rubbed it in the remaining sauce to coat it with a thin layer of sauce and then took the round of brie cheese from the fridge and placed slices of brie cheese on the bread and sauce.  This combination of flavors was the best of the night, tomato sauce and brie and sausage is a winner.

I opened a bottle of Epicuro 2010 Primativo produced in the ancient wine area of Apuglia in the heel of Italy, which still had a lot of tannins, but went well with the hardy meal of bread, sausage and pasta in tomato sauce.

Then to book club and Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Iliyitch.

Bon Appetit  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015 Antiques Roadshow luncheon, Chile and Wine Festival to the trade wine tasting, and Antiques Roadshow reception and dinner at the Balloon Museum

September 23, 2015 Antiques Roadshow luncheon, Chile and Wine Festival to the trade wine tasting, and Antiques Roadshow reception and dinner at Balloon Museum 

I went to the National Hispanic Cultural Center and bought two two day passes for Globalquerque at 10:00.  Then at 11;30 we went to Artichoke for the Antiques Roadshow lunch with Marsha Bemko, Executive Director of the Antiques Roadshow, who is in town to promote the Roadshow’s three showings of its visit to Albuquerque during the next three weeks, starting Monday evening, September 28, 2015.

I took Suzette’s picture with Marsha Bemko and then took photos of the assembled guests who included mostly sponsors, like Suzette, museums that had been featured in the show like the International Folk Art Museum and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and KNME staff who had helped produce the Albuquerque Roadshow and helped organize this series of events to promote it.  

  Marsha Bemko in white dress at Artichoke Luncheon for Roadshow sponsors

Here are some pictures.  

   Apple and Bleu cheese salad 


  The luncheon party with Suzette standing and director of KNME walking 

We had a lovely three course meal of an apple and Bleu cheese salad, a choice of goat cheese stuffed Ravioli garnished with a kale and tomato sauce or a crepe of the day.  I took the ravioli, as did Suzette and we both agreed that it was a little too spicy for our taste, and a slice of flourless chocolate torte for dessert.

Marsha spoke and we went around the table introducing ourselves Suzette told them about the Center for Ageless Living and I told them a little about my Lower Rio Grande water Adjudication case.

During the meal I asked the two women from the Santa Fe museums to discuss how they came up with the collaborative themes of Summer of Color and Fall of Modernism. 

At 1:30 the lunch broke up when we bolted for the door to drive to Santa Fe to pick up my Birger Sanzen watercolor and attend the Chile and Wine Wine Tasting for the trade.

Here is a picture of rain over the mountains and Santa Fe as we drove into Santa Fe.

   Here is a picture of the newly framed Birger Sanzen.  The frame is the most traditional method used by Santa Fe galleries; red clay on wood and then gold leaf over the clay that is then burnished  on the picture surface side to a luster to reflect more light onto the picture surface.

  The wine tasting is an annual event that we always attend held in conjunction during the Chile and Wine Festival.  Since the Wineries and Distributers and providing wine for free for the festival, this event provides them the opportunity to let the restauranteurs and package store owners to taste their wines.  The Chile and Wine Festival is one of the premier wine and food events in the country with wineries and Distributers coming from all over the country and world, so there is a lot of interest in this event and it is usually a show place for the introduction new wines and wineries.

 This year the number of wineries and distributors pouring  has grown so large that the event had to be held in Sweeney Convention Center.  There must have been 100 wineries and Distributers, each with five to a dozen wines each.  With this number of wines being served it is impossible to taste all the wines, so we made some simple rules: only new wines we had never tasted and those we love of a new vintage. Even so we only got through about ¾ of the wineries in the two hours we were tasting.  We saw a lot of old friends like Kaunie and Byron and of course all of the wine merchants from Southern, that is providing much of the wine for the show and to Suzette’s Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery in Los Lunas. 

Here are photos of some of the new wines I liked:

    The Gramena/Gramona.? La Cuvée Gran Reserva Brut is the first gran Reserva Cava I ever tasted

    Another fine Spanish wine producer, this time from Rioja

There was also a table of food this year with really interesting apps like fish ceviche in a bowl made from a deep fried wonton and a small tart shell filled with shredded lamb. 

We ate when we finished the first half of the tables.  

Finally at around 5:00 we grabbed our second or third bottle of chilled Iceland water and staggered back to the car.   Suzette drive back to Albuquerque and only had one near miss of crashing into another car on I-25.  At around 6:00 we arrived at the Anderson-Abruzzo Balloon Museum.  When  we arrived the reception for those affiliated with the Albuquerque Antiques Roadshow was in full swing with a long table of hors d’ouvres and folks sitting eating dinner.  We filled our plate with grilled cheese sandwiches, roast beef wrapped around julienned red, yellow and orange bell pepper sticks, a poached salmon in croute, cheese slices, and mini quiche squares.  We filled a plate, grabbed glasses of water and walked outside.  We were invited by Carole to join them at their table on the lovely patio overlooking the balloon park and with an exquisite view of the sun set on the Sandias.

As it turned out Carole was the star of the evening.  She had gone to Spain as a young woman and fallen in love with the Spanish impressionist painters of the early 20th century.  When she returned and married she had bought a painting in a New York gallery by Ann Peterson called the answer of a young woman with a broken necklace and letter sitting at a desk; a very colorful and interesting painting, for $150.00 in the early 60’s.  The painting was given an appraisal of replacement value of $300,000 at the Albuquerque Roadshow last year and made Carole an instant celebrity.

After dinner we were seated upstairs at the Balloon Museum and shown a 28 minute preview of the Albuquerque Roadshow and then Marsha spoke and the Carole told the story of her Ann Peterson painting.  I sat beside George Saunders who had been filmed with his first edition of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man.  It was a lovely evening with a mix of volunteers and persons whose items had been selected for airing on the Roadshow.  Finally, at around 8:30 after a long day of festivities, we drove home and fell into bed.

Bon Appetit

September 22, 2015 duck foie gras with red cipolini onions Sautéed in honey and lavender

September 22, 2015 duck foie gras with red cipolini onions Sautéed in honey and lavender

At lunch I Sauteed two Italian sausages with PPI spaghetti and ate a plate of it with a glass of Cotes du Rhone.  

For dinner we made a special meal of some of the foie gras we bought in Bayeaux, France in June.   We clipped the top and bottom from four red cipolini onions and sliced a clove of garlic, cherry tomatoes.  Suzette Sautéed the onions and garlic while I sliced and toasted whole wheat bread and opened and cut the can of foie gras mousse into five slices. 

I placed a slice of foie gras on each piece of bread and then Suzette placed the Sautéed cipolini onions, honey, and lavender beside them.  I poured the last of the Pineau into glasses and we enjoyed an elegant light dinner. 

We also ate the PPI pickled cucumber and red onion salad I had made several days ago with the foie gras and garnished our plates with cherry tomatoes fresh from our garden to complete the meal.

After eating the foie gras, I decided to open the Isiney Ste Mere Brie I had bought at Costco.  I toasted additional slices of whole wheat sourdough bread and cut slices of Brie to cover the bread, which we ate with PPI red wine.

Bon Appetit

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 20, 2015 Dinner at Cynthia and Ricardo’s Linguistic with seafood sauce, smoked salmon, and three salads

September 20, 2015 Dinner at Cynthia and Ricardo’s  Linguistic with seafood sauce, smoked salmon, and three salads

I watched the Sunday morning news shows.  The best new news was David Millibank and Hillary Clinton both saying that Russia’s movement into Syria may presage a basis for a stable transfer of control of the government from Assad to a new more inclusive form of government.1   Suzette made PPI Unagi and eggs and I made Gravadlax sandwiches for brunch.

Ricardo and Cynthia visited us at 5:00 to inspect the remodeling.  I served Brillet Pineau chilled with ice.  

Then we grabbed a bottle of Conde de Caralt cava rose, the container of cream cheese, and a bottle of Santiago Station Torrontes and we drove to Ricardo and Cynthia’s house. 

When we arrived we sat at the dinner table and as Ricardo prepared smoked salmon slices on toasted Bosque Bakery shallot and potato bread smeared with cream cheese garnished with green onion ringlets, capers, and dollops of sour cream.  I poured glasses of the sparkling cava rose, which we all enjoyed.

 Then Cynthia served the best salad; Sautéed asparagus with artichoke hearts, slice,d black olives, mozzarella cheese, roasted red bell pepper slices dressed on a bed of baby arugula with lemon juice and Spanish olive oil.  We loved this salad. 

We then moved to the table on the back patio and Cynthia served linguine with a seafood tomato sauce with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, a Caprese salad made with beautiful yellow tomatoes bought at the Farmer’s market, and a green salad with lovely sunflower sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion ringlets, and wonderful greens.

I opened the bottle of Torrontes and everyone lied it with the seafood pasta.

After dinner Cynthia brought out vanilla bean ice cream and sliced peaches marinated in lemon juice and honey.  

I had to re type this blog entry due to a failure to properly save the original yesterday.

The asparagus salad was the best salad I have had in a very long time.  It reminded us of a meal we had in Segovia three years ago that was famous for its cochineal.  As we ate we saw a table with a platter of fresh large grilled asparagus doused in olive oil, which we ordered.  The asparagus were amazingly delicious.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 19, 2015. Lunch – BLT and cucumber and onion salad, Dinner – Japanese Kitchen

September 19, 2015. Lunch – BLT and cucumber and onion salad, Dinner – Japanese Kitchen 

Suzette walked and I rode this morning.  Then we went to the Farmers’ Market where Suzette bought pears and apples to use for next year’s June dinner.  We also got some yellow squash for a future dinner and saw lovely large slicing tomatoes.  We bought a green one and a red one with the thought of making a BLT sandwich when we returned home.

When we returned home Suzette made BLTs while I peeled and diced the Armenian, the lemon, and the green cucumber Suzette had bought at last week’s Farmers’ Market.  I the added one small red onion and doused the onion and cucumber mixture with Aji Mirin and brown rice vinegar.  When the sandwiches and salad were ready we made plated and ate our lunch by the pond in the garden.

I rested much of the afternoon  while Suzette helped get stuff for the house and Jose to use to paint and install floorboards in the laundry room.  

Around 3:00 we cleaned out the hot tub and re-filed it with water and fresh bromine.  

We had a snack of guacamole at 4:30 and then rested until 6:45 when we got ready for dinner.  

Robert Mueller and his wife, Marilyn Miller, invited us to dinner at 7:30 at Japanese Kitchen, which is Robert’s favorite sushi restaurant.  We go eat sushi occasionally and whenever it is his picked go there.

Suzette ordered a dragon roll made with Unagi with eyes and long antennae.  Marilyn also ordered a roll, but Robert and I ordered our usual Chirashi for $24.00.

    Suzette's Unagi Dragon Roll

  Marilyn's spider roll

  Robert's Chirashi

The Chirashi came with a wide assortment of seafood this evening, including red snapper, albacore tuna, three pieces of tuna, yellow tail, squid, sea clam,  scallop, octopus, Mahi Mahi, salmon, lots of shredded daikon, a bed of rice in a second bowl with salmon eggs, flying fish eggs,mand pickles and a grilled piece of Unagi, two slices of omelet, and a few other fish.  It took me over an hour to eat it all as we discussed Robert and Marilyn’s impending trip to Paris. 

At 10:00 we said goodnight and went home and enjoyed a dip in the hot tub and then a bit of Saturday Night Live.

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 18, 2015 A Fun Food Day Lunch - East Ocean. Dinner - Camembert and Duck Foie Gras toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Today was Suzette’s Honoring The Seniors of Valencia County Day at the Center for Ageless Living, which is always a fun event.  This year there were over 100 attendees over 75 years of age.  The center serves a free lunch and entertainment is provided by Senior Line Dancers and musicians and awards of recognition are given to the country's senior Olympians.

I went to East Ocean for lunch and ordered my favorite dish, Scallops in Lobster Sauce.  The lobster Sauce combines egg, ground pork, chicken bouillon and green onion rings. Fresh chunks of sea scallop are cooked into the sauce to flavor it and it is served with a mound of fried rice.

The trick is to mix the sauce and rice together to fully emulsify the rice with sauce as shown in this photo, because that makes a beautifully flavored rice that can be picked up with chop sticks.  The dish is served with sweet and sour chicken and is $6.75 for scallops and $5.75 with its usual shrimp.  I love this dish, especially when the chicken bouillon is less salty.

At 2:30 Cynthia came by to check the progress of the kitchen remodel.  Unfortunately, the cabinets are not yet in, but most of the painting is finished.  

A little after 3:30 Suzette arrived and we drove to Total Wine at 4:00.  I-40 was crowded and so was the parking lot at Total Wine on Uptown Blvd. but once inside, the store is so vast that there is little crowding, except around the bar where there is free wine and spirits tasting.

I picked 19 bottles of wine, mostly roses and Southern Rhone Reds plus a six pack of Ace pear cider, and Suzette picked up six bottles of sparkling wine for her cruise with her sister in October.  All of my choices were $15.00 or less and with a 15% discount came to $284.00.  
At around 5:00 we checked out and drove to Gruet Winery's tasting room for our monthly free wine tasting, now that we are members of its Wine Club.  Suzette tasted the regular sparkling wine tasting and I tasted the Tete du cuvée tasting.  Three different tastings offered, the other being a still wine tasting.  The Tete du Cuvée tasting includes small tastes of each of Gruet's eight best wines for $13.00 and the sparkling offers seven of Gruet’s sparkling wines.  We spent a lovely 1 ½ hours tasting all the wines and talking to Justin, who is the director of the a Wine Club, about the Wine Club and the wines.  What fun!

After stopping at Costco for gas we drove home.  While tasting we had decided to eat alight dinner of a melted cheese sandwich of Camembert cheese and duck foie gras on the fresh whole wheat sourdough bread made by Bosque Bakery that Suzette bought last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. 

While I marked each bottle with the price and date of purchase, Suzette buttered the bread and toasted it in a skillet on the Bayou Cooker and smeared one slice with foie gras and the other slice with Camembert and laid sliced of red onion between the slices of bread.  I opened one of the newly acquired bottles of Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone, a blend of Granache and Syrah produced by the famous Southern Rhone wine making family that makes Chateau Beaucastel.  Chateau Beaucastel is around $80.00 to $100.00 per bottle, while Famille Perrin is $7.99 per bottle.  With the 15% discount it is $6.79 and my current favorite red wine. 

Suzd a handful of cherry tomatoes from our garden to eat with the sandwiches and I poured glasses of red wine.  The wine overpowered the mild flavors of the sandwiches, but reminded us of lunches in the South of France.

After our dinner al fresco, we went inside to watch Charlie Rose’s This Week and Washington Week and I made a dessert of fresh green and mission figs stuffed with goat cheese that I served with Santiago Station Cabernet Sauvignon.  The softer fruitier wine went better with the cheese and fresh fruit.  

Later we ate bowls of ice cream with chocolate sauce, watched a movie and went to bed at 10:30.

Bon Appetit 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 13, 2015 Lax Salad And dinner at Cynthia's

September 13, 2015 Lax Salad and dinner at Cynthia's 

I lost my first rendering of this blog several days ago and then got busy, so it is now four days later and I am trying to reconstruct several day’ meals, which will necessarily cause the descriptions to be more cryptic.

I worked at my desk and Suzette cleaned out the shed this morning.  When I went to help her, she said, “Why don’t you make a lunch salad with the fresh lettuce and cucumbers I bought at the Farmers’ Market.”

I went to the kitchen and found the bag of young shoots of lettuce and divided most of them between two bowls.  Then I thinly sliced about two or three slices of one of the fresh red onions for each salad. I found a cucumber and seeded and sliced about a third of it.  I then sliced chunks of Gravad lax and put them on the salad.  We did not have any salad dressing, so I took the bottle of two year old laxsas that I had bought at IKEA and added some olive oil and mayonnaise to help reconstitute its smooth creamy texture that had been destroyed by heat and cold as we have moved it around over the years.  I then dressed the salad with the sauce.  We took our salads to the gazebo by the pond with glasses of Santiago Station Sauvignon Blanc and had a delicious meal that made me think I was back in Sweden on a warm summer day when the sun shone, which would have been a rarity in Sweden.

Cynthia invited us for dinner, so at 6:00 I grabbed a bottle of Winterhaven Columbia Valley Washington State Pinot Gris and we drove the four minutes to her house.  She had told us she had made three salads and when we arrived a lovely Caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, garnished with basil threads and red onion rings and a light balsamic vinaigrette welcomed us from the kitchen table.  The salad was served with slices of fresh Fano sourdough bread. 

 I opened the Pinot Gris and poured us each a glass and we laid sections of slices of salad on the small appetizer plates provided.  Cynthia caught us up on the progress of Ricardo’s set design duties in Austin for the TV series he is working of Urban Cowboy and we discussed last night’s street fair, etc. while Cynthia breaded and fried fresh tilapia in about ½ inch of oil in a large skillet on the stove.

While the fish was frying Cynthia put out a bowl of cauliflower slaw with sliced black olives in a light mayonnaise dressing and made her fabulous balsamic dressing for a tossed greens salad.  She also had made a tartare sauce, which she placed on the table.  I re-filled the wine glasses and when the fished was fried we filled our plates with fish filets, cauliflower slaw, fresh green salad, and tartare sauce.  Everything w as wonderful.  For Cynthia the meal probably harkened back to summer meals in Portland, Maine.  For us it was eating a meal at the pinnacle of freshness and maturity of all the ingredients.  Everything tasted wonderful.  

We soon finished the Pinot Gris and looked in Cynthia’s fridge and found a Spanish cava rosado, Conde de Calbart, with a dark red tint.  We opened it and found it delightfully light in taste and very refreshing. 

After we finished our meal we moved to a small table on an elevated area on the large patio in the back yard.  Soon Cynthia brought out a bowl of fresh sliced peaches marinated in honey and lemon juice and a container of Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream.  We filled small ramekins with ice cream and peach slices and enjoyed yet another wonderful fresh summer treat. 

The next day when Cynthia came to our house for dinner she told us that Ricardo had bought the Spanish rosado at Lowe’s for around $25.  On Friday we found the same bottle at Total Wine for $8.

I loved the meal and still wonder how Cynthia makes such a creamy tartare sauce.  Perhaps that is the answer; she uses cream to loosen up the mayonnaise.

Our other discovery was that Lowe’s now must be counted among the places that offer interesting wines.  

Bon Appetit 

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 12, 2015 Greenhouse Bistro and My Basil food truck

September 12, 2015 Greenhouse Bistro and My Basil food truck

I started around 7:15 with a ride to Montano.  Then I showered and had a meeting until after 1:15 which included going to the bank to sign and notarized papers.

Then I drove to the Greenhouse Bistro in Los Lunas for another meeting at 2:00, stopping off for a minute at the Spa to make a reservation for a 4:00 massage with Alma, my favorite masseuse.  

During our, meeting We are bowls of White Bean and Kale Soup, which was filled with fresh carrots and beans and garnished with fresh alfalfa sprouts.

After my meeting and massage I drove back to Albuquerque.  When I made the final turn onto Park Ave at 10th I saw Cynthia and Suzette walking toward downtown.  I parked in front of Java Joe’s and walked with them to the street fair between 6th and 4th.  It was an environmental themed street fair coordinated with the opening of the Topographic and Sustainable art show at 516 Gallery. Here is the largest piece in the show that covered the entire front of the gallery:

Tractor Brewing was selling their products at the opening for $4.00 a can, so Suzette and I split a 12 oz. can of hard cider and Cynthia had an 8 oz. can of Syrah Rose.  I love the fact that we can get locally produced beverages in cans at an art opening.  It makes me feel like Albuquerque has really grown into a sophisticated cultural environment.  

We danced a bit to the live music being played from the moveable stage parked in the street next to 516.  We danced with and said hello to Ike Benson, our neighbor and Councilman.  I thanked him for introducing an ordinance to de-criminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Then we started walking toward 4th.  Cynthia stopped to say hello to Neal, who produces Globalquerque.  By the time we reached 4th St. we were hungry,  so we stopped to check out the menu at the food truck named My Basil because there was a small crowd of people lined up for food.  The menu looked interesting, Cynthia and I ordered Pressed Mushroom sandwiches and Suzette ordered a pork belly and cheese with caramelized onion sandwich.  The sandwiches were cooked to order and took about fifteen minutes to cook.  While we waited we talked to a young couple living La Luz and Cynthia talked to her friend Ben, who was waiting for sandwiches.  This must be part of the culture of food trucks; the random conversations that occur around and about food.  

After we were given our sandwiches wrapped in paper, we looked for a place to sit and eat them.  We started walking back toward 6th Street and when we arrived at 6th  I realized we were only one block from Boise’s Brewery.  We walked the one block to Gold and 6th.  It was not crowded so we found a table inside without difficulty.  Cynthia and Suzette ordered the wheat beer flavored with lemongrass and I ordered the Scottish Red Ale.  We sat and drank and ate our sandwiches and enjoyed both.

After dinner we walked on Gold to 7th, so Cynthia could show us the new toy store downtown in the old Albuquerque Journal building.  We then returned home and I opened a bottle of 2011 Amador County Sobon Estate Rezerve Orange Muscat ($15.00 at Total Wine) that I bought at a weaker wine tasting in the Albuquerque store; see the signature below the label.  We talked until about 9:00 and then said goodnight.

What a big day of activity!  It was like I was making up for all the activities I missed during the two weeks I was in trial in Las Cruces or confirming why I love living in Albuquerque.

Bon Appetit 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August 29, 2015 Guava Café and dinner at Debbie and Jeff’s

August 29, 2015 Guava Café and dinner at Debbie and Jeff’s

I met Jay for lunch at Birdland and he suggested a new restaurant, so we walked down the alley the 1 ½ blocks to Richmond, just north of Central to Guava Café.  When we checked the menu on the chalk board it became apparent that it was a Cuban sandwich shop.  I ordered a per il sandwich with roast pork, caramelized red onions and a garlic sauce the sandwich was long and toasted like it had been baked in a piece of folded pita shaped piece of bread.  Jay got a vegetarian eggplant sandwich made in a corn sopa with a tomato tart  and black beans that he liked.  My sandwich was nice but nearly the equal of Cubano Sandwich I ate at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery last week.

At 6:00 we went to Debbie and Jeff’s house, which is located at the highest point above Glenwood Hills and overlooks the entire valley.

Debbie had cooked a dinner party for 14 Friday night so she had lots of PPI Thai shrimp, Moroccan Chicken cooked with green olives, asparagus cooked in a sesame and soy sauce, a spicy cucumber and red onion salad, and Cole slaw.  Suzette made a Caprese Salad with tomatoes from,our garden and fresh mozzarella, and basil from her garden at the Center for Ageless Living.  

Jeff showed us an article in yesterday's newspaper announcing the successful test of a new drone killing weapon his engineering group had designed and told us about his plans to present the results to the U.S. Marine’s Impulse weapons symposium in the near future.  He was quite excited and we were impressed and happy for him.  Jeff works for a division of Boeing Aerospace.

We ate at a table on their lovely large patio as we watched the sun set behind a bank of clouds. 

After dinner Debbie cut slices of Tuxedo Cake from Costco and we drank glasses of brandy and Amaretto and watched the lights of Albuquerque flicker in the breezy evening from the table surrounded by glass at the most westerly portion of the patio that literally sits at a cantilevered area over the valley with a thirty foot drop into clusters of boulders below.  As we drove up the private drive we saw a female deer eating by the side of the road.  A very fun evening.

I stopped thinking about my water case for an hour or two, which was very refreshing.

Bon Appetit 

August 31, 2015 Ranchway restaurant Dinner – Grand Buffet

August 31, 2015 Ranchway restaurant  Dinner – Grand Buffet 

I drove to Las Cruces this morning for my trial. Sammie Singh met me at the American Motel, which is super funky.  Out font is the World’s largest red chile, about 100 feet long..  The inside courtyard features a swimming pool, a koi pond, sitting areas, Grill and lots of exotic plants.  I think the proprietors  are Australian and the wife is of Thai extraction. 

After I dressed at 11:45 we drove to the Ranch for lunch.  It is really named Ranchway restaurant.  It serves Mexican food and BBQ and is a very historic restaurant on Valley Rd., which is one of the main thoroughfares.

I wanted to play it safe and ordered beef enchiladas with red chili and double beans.  Sammie and Scott ordered BBQ chicken burritos.  I asked the order taker if the served BBQ chicken and he said, “we only make a limited amount of chicken, mainly for the chicken Burritos.”  Next time I may order something with chicken. 

After the trial Scott and I went to his favorite restaurant, Grand Buffet, which is an all you can eat Chinese buffet.  It had an amazing assortment of choices.  There was a cold table covered with ice and Saran on which were mussels, snow crab clusters, shrimp, and oysters on the half shell. There were dessert areas and several double banks of hot plates filled with all kinds of hot dishes, which I did not go to.  I was attracted to the fresh sushi area, where there was a sushi chef.

   The sushi area 

  Scott filling a plate with food and an attendant adding a fresh dish of food

I started with a dozen oysters, the shrimp and three mussels, which all seemed to have been previously frozen, but delicious.  I then moved on to the sushi area.  There was a lady there who served you and she gave me tuna, salmon,mackerel, and several octopus.  Perhaps the best choice was calamari, which seemed to have the best texture.  All of the fish, seemed to be previously frozen.  I thought I was on a cruise ship.  There were rolls also, I was attracted to the ones with fish and took several Caterpillar roll slices, one topped with salmon and one with tuna and of course slices of avocado.  There was also a lovely roll topped with Unagi (BBQ’d eel) and drizzled with the traditional teriyaki sauce.  I went back for seconds of sushi and Scott said, “We probably ate $40.00 of sushi.”

Even though I did not eat all the rice, I was stuffed by the time I finished my second plate of sushi, but I wanted to try one hot dish.  There is a dish I only have seen at one other buffet, also in Las Cruces, stir fried mung bean sprouts.  I also saw Manila clams in a black bean sauce so I took a scoop of each.  Unfortunately, the bean sprouts were cooked with jalapeños  were too hot for my taste. 

I tried a coconut shrimp that was not very good also.  Scott said he goes there almost every day, so I suspect we will return and I will try other dishes, such as the Mongolian BBQ. 

By 8:00 I was in bed and went to bed by 10:00 after a few phone calls and reding my New Yorker on my new iPad.

Also, I did rather well in trial,except I do not know how to raise an objection.  There was one statement made by the U.S’ witness that was incorrect and I said, “I object your Honor, that was a lie.”  Before the judge could rule on my objection, the U.S.’ Attorney made the witness offered the correct answer as a question to the witness, who agreed by saying,”Yes” and the record was thereby corrected. 

Bon Appetit