Monday, November 30, 2015

November 29, 2015 Breakfast – Granola and fruit salad and PPI baked pasta, Dinner – split Pea and Ham

November 29, 2015 Breakfast – Granola and fruit salad and PPI baked pasta,  Dinner – split Pea and Ham 

I peeled and cubed the pineapple I bought at Ranch Market a week ago and three navel oranges.  Then I opened the Jumex Mango nectar liter box I bought at Ranch Market and poured mango juice over a bowl of granola, fruit salad, and Kirtland Greek style yogurt for my favorite type of biodynamic breakfast.  Suzette was hungry and microwaved a bowl of PPI baked pasta and meatballs left from a girls’ group birthday party earlier this year that we froze and I had thawed out on Friday.  

Then Suzette worked in the garden, watering the vegetable beds and I went back to sleep for an hour.  I try to rest one day a week, especially since I am nursing my sore arm that I hurt when I fell from my bike last week, which I will have x-rayed this week.

At 11:30 Suzette woke me and we drove to Goodwill, where she purchased a new kitchen stool.  We then drove to Total Wine and I was surprised to see that the Morel Signateures Cotes Du Rhone was reduced from $14.99 to 9.99.  I took my $20.00 off $100.00 of wine coupon and Robert, the assistant manager honored it although it was a bit out of date.  I bought 2 bottles of Santiago Station Devil Back Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 bottles of Roero Anglies Italian White, 5 bottles of Famille Perrin Cotes Du Rhone, and 5 bottles of the Morel Signateures red Cotes Du Rhone.  Suzette bought two 1.75 liter bottles of a featured scotch for $23.99. I should have checked the whites and rose Cotes Du Rhone, but I was satisfied with my $100.00 of purchases of reds.  

We drove home and I had another nap while Suzette used several bags of soup ingredients, including ½ lb. of split peas, ½ onion, some garlic, and the PPI spiral cut ham to make a split pea soup.  At 4:30 I awoke and cut up the ham and the bag of red chard Suzette had brought home from the garden at the Center for Ageless Living.

At 6:00 we decided to eat the soup for dinner, instead of cooking another meal.  Suzette wanted some bread, so she sliced four slices of French baguette and we toasted them and I fetched the Boursin herbed cheese to smear on the toast.  We drank water with the soup.  The split peas had not completely re-hydrated but otherwise the soup tasted great.  

We then assembled the new stool Suzette had bought at Goodwill, which is the old style kind that have a screw mechanism that allows one to adjust the height of the seat easily, so she or I can use it at our counter top in the kitchen.  

Suzette had a bowl of vanilla ice cream with the rhubarb and blackberry compote she made last week and we went to bed early at around 8:00 to 9:00.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 28, 2015 Brunch – Gravad Lax Sandwiches, Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops and Asparagus with Roasted new Potatoes, garlic, and onion

November 28, 2015 Brunch – Gravad Lax Sandwiches, Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops and Asparagus with Roasted new Potatoes, garlic, and onion

Today Suzette held a garage sale, so at 7:30 I put up signs at the traffic circle at Eight and Central and 15th and Central.  I did not participate directly in all of the sale but did sit for a few minutes intermittently.  At around 9:30 Frank, who used to be the pastry chef at Stephen’s Restaurant, came by with his friend Kay Wheeler as I was making lax sandwiches  with slices of tomato, onion, and lax on cream cheese smeared Bosque Bakery French bread dotted with capers.

Kay and Frank wanted to see the art, so I showed them the art and at 10:30 ate my sandwiches with the first cup of Earl Grey tea I have drunk in several months because I found the box of teas in the basement.

At II:30 we finished the garage sale and I asked Suzette if she wanted lamb chops for dinner.  When she said, “yes.”, I took the bag of five chops out if the freezer.

At 5:30 de-stemmed 12 stalks of asparagus and Suzette washed the rest of the new potatoes.  We decided to roast the potatoes with garlic and onion and squeeze lemon on them and add chopped fresh mint to make a sauce.

I went to the basement and found a bottle of 2012 Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone reserve (Total Wine $7.99 les 15%, the best red wine value in town in my opinion).  I also found a PPI bottle of 2010 Chateau de Hantiellan haut medoc (Costco $12.99) and brought it up from the cellar.  


Suzette’s plan is to clear the garage and basement so we can park our cars in the garage and she can move her sewing equipment to the basement.   And she achieved the first part of that today with the garage sale by identifying which items need to be sold and which donated to charity in the garage.  After the garage sale an older gentleman named Eddie drove up with a dump truck and Suzette paid him $50.00 to remove all the items we did not wish to sell or donate like an old fridge and an old couch and lumber.

After the potatoes and onions were covered and placed in the oven with a bit of water I went to the basement and found the garlic we picked this year and peeled about a dozen cloves and Suzette put them into the potatoes.  

While Suzette grilled the lamb chops and asparagus I fetched a bottle of mint jelly from the fridge and poured glasses of wine.

We squeezed the juice of 1 lemon onto the potatoes and I chopped the mint and we put that on the potatoes and Suzette tossed them in a little olive oil and we were ready to eat.  

We both loved dinner.  Suzette had grilled the lamb perfectly to rare and the lemon mint sauce of the potatoes added enhanced flavor to the lamb.  

We had extra wine and so after dinner I toasted slices of bread and smeared them with Pont L’Eveque cheese from Normandy.

Later I ate Lindt Lindors with Calvados and Suzette ate some of the chocolate dessert I made for the book club with custard and brandy.

We watched football, especially the Oklahoma v. Oklahoma State game and the Stanford v. Notre Dame game.  

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 27, 2015 Lunch – Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with PPI Salad, Dinner – Sauteed Rib Steak and Mushrooms with PPI baked Acorn Squash and creamed Peas and Onions

November 27, 2015 Lunch – Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with PPI Salad, Dinner – Sauteed Rib Steak and Mushrooms with PPI baked Acorn Squash and creamed Peas and Onions

We slept in a bit and drank coffee and chai and watched the Black Friday edition on Squack on thr Street.  I then attended a meeting of the group I am working with to develop a property in Los Lunas and Suzette went shopping for a couple of items she needed, like Shop-Vac.

When my meeting finished around noon I returned home and Suzette had arrived and was making ham and cheese sandwiches on toasted Fano French baguette with the Beaufort cheese and PPI swirl cut ham.  She filled ½ of the plate with PPI salad from last night’s Thanksgiving Dinner and the sandwiches on the other side of each plate.  

Then Suzette went to the Spanish Market to look for a speaker about Spanish santos and I watched two Inside Einstein’s Mind  programs on Nova on PBS.  One was on the formula E = MC squared and the other was on his General Theory of Relativity, of which this is the 100th Anniversary.  The latter show included how Eddington proves the General Theoryin a total Ecclipse in 1919 and the former show included how a woman scientist named Mitzner and her brother named Friesch, discovered atomic fission using the former theor.  Friesch won the Nobel Prize and worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.

At 5:30 Suzette had arrived and said she spoke to Charlie Sanchez and Rudy Ortiz and Rudy agreed to speak on Santos and the Crypto-Jews in New Mexico at one of the Center’s dinner/lectures.

We watched the News Hour and then started cooking dinner.  At noon I had gone to the basement fridge and fetched a large  1½ inch thick rib steak and thawed it.  I sliced five large white mushrooms and Suzette Sauteed the mushrooms and the steak in a large skillet.  When the steak was cooked to medium rare Suzette removed it and I fetched the bottle of Vya White Vermouth Mike had given us an I poured abot 2 Tbsp.of vermouth on the mushrooms and Suzette stirred the wine into the mushrooms.  I took the creamed Green Peas and Onions from the fridge and she heated those in the microwave.  I opened the new bottle of Kirtland Rioja Reserva ($7.99 at Costco) and poured glasses of it.  I sliced the steak and Suzette filled our plates with slices of steak garnished with sauted mushrooms, acorn squash and creamed peas and onions. 

We did not think there was much special going on with the wine and we will not buy any more of it because, although the wine was very smooth,it had little character, even though the wine seems to be from Elciego, which means it is probably one of the same producer that made the Reserva Costco has been selling for several years, El Eguia.  I guess we liked the 2007 better. 

We watched the TCU/Baylor game until it ended with a TCU victory in the second overtime period.  I have never seen such terrible weather.  After a two hour game delay, the entire game was played in a cold driving rain, which raised the contest to Biblical proportions, which is appropriate since both schools have strong religious affiliations. 

Finally, at 11;00 we put up the PPIs and went to bed.

Bon Appetit

Friday, November 27, 2015

November 26, 2015 Breakfast – Ham and cheese and Asparagus Omelet, Dinner – Thanksgiving Dinner at Janis and Tom’s House

November 26, 2015 Breakfast – Ham and cheese and Asparagus Omelet, Dinner – Thanksgiving Dinner at Janis and Tom’s House

We slept in a bit and started cleaning the kitchen and then decided to cook breakfast around 10:00.  I chopped ham and sliced slices of Beaufort cheese and de-stemmed six asparagus and sectioned them and Suzette made an omelet while I toasted french bread, smeared it with butter and Rose’s lime marmalade.  

At noon I rode to Rio Bravo and back.  It was pretty warm, at about 60 degrees put there was a heavy cloud cover on the mountains and you could tell a storm was coming.  More interestingly, the birds could tell that a storm was coming.  Geese and Sandhills cranes were flying into the middle of the large agricultural fields that bordered the bike trail and Second Street, perhaps to seek the safety of numbers in the middle of this large area with good lines of sight in all directions during the storm.  Rather thrilling to see so much wildlife moving so purposefully in response to a natural event.

    The Sandias socked in by a winter storm

After I returned home and had a shower and dressed for dinner, I prepared the pearl onions for Suzette’s green peas and pearl onion dish by boiling them for three minutes and then cutting the ends off, which liberated the coarse outer peel and left the tender inner peels intact.

Then we went to the garden and picked lettuce for the salad we were to make for dinner.  

I fried bacon and Suzette hard boiled three eggs for the salad.  I minced a shallot and immersed it in Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, herbs Provence and chopped celery tops from the garden.  Suzette cleaned the lettuce in a large bowl and the tore a head of romaine lettuce and the head of frisée she bought yesterday at the Coop and added it to the lettuce.  I chopped up ½ cucumber and sliced Pecorino Romano cheese and put the ingredients into plastic containers.  I finished the dressing by adding salt and pepper and Spanish olive oil and put the dressing in aplastic container.  
I chilled a bottle of chateau de serrat and a bottle of Trimbach homage a Jeaune.  

Suzette made a roux and the added milk to make a Béchamel sauce and added the frozen peas and onions to heat the ingredients in the sauce and viola, Creamed Peas and Pearl Onions.

We gathered up our food and drove the two blocks to Janis and Tom’s house at 3:00.  Just as we arrived Herb and Diane Denish arrived and then Fred and Marg Harris.  Janis had coordinated and orchestrated the meal beautifully.  Marg made grilled sweet potatoes  and beets and a lovely citrus salad on a bed of spinach.  Diane brought the cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries and a sour cream pecan pie and a pumpkin pie.  And Janis made the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

After we arrived and delivered all our dishes to the kitchen, Janis ushered us into the living room, where a table full of appetizers awaited us and served us Old Fashion cocktails.  The best appetizer was a platter with leaves of fresh Belgium Endive with a dab of  onion dip. 

After about an hour of interesting conversation, Fred was U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and had lots of great Lyndon Johnson stories and Herb has been engaged in most of the major developments in Albuquerque  over the last twenty years and Diane was Lieutenant Governor and now runs an education foundation, Janis and Tom had prepared the meal and we each went the kitchen and finished our dishes and arranged them on the table in the dining room and on the buffet.  

   Janis, Suzette, and Diane with Herb in the background 

    Margaret and Fred

We first served the roasted vegetables and creamed peas and onions on the buffet and then sat down at the table and passed our plates to serve the other items.

Everything was just as it should be.  Janis had bought a butterball turkey and had brined it, so it was exceedingly tender.  The dressing was moist and Janis made gravy in the style she described as Oklahoma style with sliced hard boiled eggs and turkey giblets and the neck meat, which reminded me of the gravy my mother made for Thanksgiving.

Suzette’s Green Peas and Onions was wonderful and both of Margaret’s dishes were wonderful.  I had never had Julienned Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets before and I fell instantly in love with them.

We all cleaned our plates.

We first served the lovely bottle of J. Lohr 75th anniversary Pinot Blanc that Herb and Diane had bought at a Cancer benefit auction.  It was light and fruity and delicious. 

 We next served the 2000 Trimbach "Hommage à Jeanne" Pinot Gris

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
 The 2000 Pinot Gris Hommage a Jeanne was produced from a selection of Trimbach's best Pinot Gris parcels (all harvested at over 15% natural potential alcohol). It sports 25 grams per liter of dry extract and 20 grams per liter of residual sugar. While at most firms this wine would merit a Vendanges Tardives bottling, the Trimbachs chose to pay homage to Jeanne Trimbach, the mother of Bernard and Hubert, who turned 100 in May 2000 and continues to drink Alsace's lovely nectars to this day. This gorgeous wine has mineral and smoke-imbued white peach aromas. On the palate, it is medium to full-bodied, dense, and rich. Layer after layer of apricot, poached pear, white peach, and spices can be found in its highly expressive, velvety-textured personality. It is an intensely concentrated, wonderfully balanced, fresh, and structured wine. Drink it between 2005 and 2018.  (12/2001), which had gone a long way toward sherry but still had good flavor and a vibrant character with the hint of fruit that is characteristic of Riesling.  Finally we opened the 2010 Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, which was musty and undrinkable.  Here is a little information on the wine:

The area allowed for Savennières AOC spreads over 3 hills of schist, located on the right (northwest) bank of the Loire river, totaling about 300 hectares (740 acres), situated in three communes: Savennières, Bouchemaine and La Possonnière. Of these, about 146 hectares (360 acres) are actually planted with vineyards.[2] Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines covers 33 hectares (82 acres) and Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant covers 7 hectares (17 acres).[1]

We did not serve the Serrant.  Instead, Janis opened a bottle of 2012 River Road Russian River Sonoma County Chardonnay, which everyone except Suzette and I drank and enjoyed.  We finished our wine drinking with the last of the Trimbach Pinot Gris homage du Jeanne.

After the table was cleared Diane took orders for pie and Janis took orders for decaf coffee.  Soon we had slices of pumpkin and buttermilk pecan pie and coffee and the conversation continued, mostly surrounding politics, both current and past.

The insights that the folks at the table had of current and past political events was breathtaking, especially since they were said with such nonchalance and candor that can only result from an eye witness participant.

Finally, around 7:45 Fred said it was time to go home and check on the chickens and we gathered up all of our things and said goodnight.

This was billed as an empty nesters’ Thanksgiving, but there was nothing lonely or remiss in the quality or quantity of the food, hospitality, or conversation.  I count it as one of the best Thanksgivings in years, perhaps because we did not have to sweat in the kitchen for days and arrange the meal.  We were able to easily prep our two dishes in a couple of hours and be guests and enjoy the meal and talking to the other guests without any pressure of cooking and serving the meal, which Janis and Tom did so graciously.

Bon Appetit 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

November 25, 2015 Breakfast – Loyola’s Super Burrito, Dinner – Casarecce Pasta, Clams, and Asparagus with Mornay Sauce

November 25, 2015 Breakfast – Loyola’s Super Burrito, Dinner – Casarecce Pasta, Clams, and Asparagus with Mornay Sauce

I drove the car to the shop for a battery exchange at 7:30. I asked Mike where there was a café and he suggested Loyola’s at 4500 Central, so I walked there.  Everything was about $10.00, so when the waiter said the Breakfast Super Burrito was $9.19 instead of $9.99, I chose that with red chili sauce and a cup of tea.  

The burrito was super, filling the length if the platter, smothered in red chili sauce with a side of refried beans.  It was filled with three layers, the first was extra crisp bacon that had been pressed to flatten it when it was grilled, the second was scrambled eggs and the third quarter was hash brown potatoes. 

The red chili was the best I have had in some time.  It was smooth, like the red chili made with ground dried red chili at the Shed.
 I enjoyed my breakfast in this mid-century Route 66 diner.  Here are some photos of the burrito and Loyola's:


Suzette called around 3:00 to check in.  I had gotten a call from Mike to say the battery replacement was taking a little longer than expected around 11:30. So when I knew Suzette was on the way home I called and left a message.  Soon I received a call from Mike that the car was ready.  When Suzette arrived we rested for a few minutes while I toasted four slices of Fano French baguette and made open faced sandwiches by smearing Herbed Boursin on the warm toast and then laying a slice of warm ham on each.

Around 4:00 we drove to Jim’s Automotive to pick up the Prius and decided to split our chores.  Suzette would go to the Coop for bay leaves and cardamom to make more preserved lemon and Big Lots for more jars, while I went shopping for green peas and pearl onions for the vegetable dish for Thanksgiving dinner. 

When I arrived at Sprouts at 4:30, the parking lot was full, so I parked on the street.  Actually, other than the slightly more frenzied flurry of folks, madly shopping for Thanksgiving, Sprouts was surprisingly full of merchandise and easy to navigate.  I found the frozen peas and had the choice of four different types of pearl onions, red, white, yellow, and cipolini in bags, produced by Melissa’s. I chose the yellow pearl onions because they looked the freshest (10 oz. for $2.99).

I then went to Sprouts' meat counter to see what was fresh and was surprised to find fresh clams for $3.99/lb., so I bought about 3 lb. of them.  When I arrived home I received a call from Suzette who was at the Coop, asking if I had picked up the Belgium Endives and I had to admit I had forgotten. Suzette said, “That is fine, I found a head of frisée that looks fine.”  I said, “Great” and thought, “saved by the frisée.”

When Suzette arrived home she relaxed with a drink and then at around 6:30 began cooking.  I had chilled a bottle of 2013 Donna Anita, made from a grape variety I had not drunk before, Roero Arneis, and produced in the Piedmont region of Italy in Canale.

Suzette’s standard method of preparing clams is to make a steaming medium with water, butter and white wine and a little chopped onion, to heat it to a simmer, and to immerse the clams in the simmering liquid until they open.  Tonight we decided to add Asparagus to the cooking medium for a vegetable and extra flavor, so I snapped the tough ends off eight stalks of asparagus and sliced the good ends into one inch long pieces.  There were about twenty clams so it took two cycles of steaming in the large enameled Le Creuset casserole to steam all the clams open.  I shucked them while Suzette made a roux with 2 Tbsp. of butter and 2 Tbsp. of flour.  I then ladled the cooking medium broth with the asparagus pieces into the roux as Suzette stirred it in to keep it from lumping. Suzette also added about ¼ cup of heavy cream to give the sauce a creamy consistency.  The sauce was a little thin and runny, so we cooked it a bit longer to thicken it and I grated nutmeg into it and we added about a Tbsp. of fresh chives I had finely chopped and 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese I had micro grated that converted the sauce from a Béchamel sauce to a Mornay Sauce.  She then put the shucked clams into the sauce to heat them.  

Suzette heated the freezer bag filled with PPI Casarecce  pasta in the microwave and then put some pasta in each pasta bowl and then ladled the clam sauce over the pasta while I toasted two dinner rolls cut into halves in the toaster and poured glasses of wine and we were ready to eat.

The freshness of the clams and the fruity, yet dry flavor of the wine made this a memorable meal.

We loved this wine, $13.99 with a 15% discount to $12.59 at Total Wine.  I will buy more of it.  It is a little fruitier than Albariño and a little more acidic, which are both pluses for us.  The wine’s back label describes the wine as: “delicate, fresh and fruity; bitterish, herby flavor.”

 We had never experienced this grape or wine before and we loved it. 

I ate some pecan pie after dinner and Suzette ate some of her delicious rhubarb/blackberry compote over yogurt.

Bon Appetit 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 24, 2015 Lunch – East Ocean, Dinner – PPI Squash, Potatoes, and Fish

November 24, 2015  Lunch – East Ocean, Dinner – PPI Squash, Potatoes, and Fish 

Yesterday Suzette stayed in Sant Rosa, so you ate PPS.  For lunch I made chow Mien noodles with ham and the Yu Choy and bean sprouts.

Dinner was even less creative, ham and cheese sandwiches and chocolates.

Today was better.  Peter Eller called and we went to East Ocean for lunch.  I ordered my usual, Scallops in Lobster Sauce.  Peter was adventurous and ordered Shanghai Spare Ribs.  I enjoyed my dish as usual and enjoyed his spare ribs.  Peter’s word for the total experience was, “Authentic “.

On our way back from  East Ocean, Peter was kind enough to stop at Pastian's where I bought a pecan pie and a loaf of sandwich whole wheat bread.

I rode to Rio Bravo.  It was great being back on the bike.

While I waited for Suzette, I ate melted ham and P’tit Basque sandwiches on toasted French baguette.

Suzette arrived a little after 6:00,  I talked to her while she was driving in from Santa Rosa and we decided to heat up PPIs.  So we heated roasted potatoes, spaghetti squash, the stuffed Dover sole, and poached salmon.  Suzette garnished the fish with a dollop of crema and I poured glasses of Pinot Grigio.

We drank the last of the bottle of Pinot Grigio we opened Sunday evening.  It is a new bottle to me.  An inspection of the back label discloses the wine to be a reasonably good Pinot Grigio produced within the indicazione geographica tipica delle Venezie, so it is the real deal, a Pinot Grigio of modest but reliably Italian origins.

  The more informative bac label that tells where the wine was produced.

  We watched PBS’ American Experience’s Plymouth Colony story.

During the program I ate a pie of the pecan pie and discovered why it was sold in the day old section although it had bee baked this morning.  The crust had gotten unhinged from the bottom of the pie pan and floated to the top and pushed many of the pecans in the topping off the pie.  I reacted negatively to the fact that there was no crust on the bottom of the pie and all the filing was loose in the bottom of the pie pan.  Here is one of those rare occasions when form matters in food.

At 9:00 we went to bed and I started reading “mayflower” by Philcheck, who had been one of the historians featured in the TV program and I immediately felt like the program had been lifted in whole cloth from the book, except for the wonderful quotes from William Bradford’s history of the Plymouth Plantation.

The most interesting discovery from the TV program was that the colony was financed by English investors and never produced enough beaver pelts and other goods to turn a profit.  What it did produce was the first real foothold of English colonization in America, which led to the establishment of the U.S. Government.  Let’s not forget that the Spanish settled New Mexico 23 years earlier, but their model of governance did not form the model for the U.S. Government.

Bon Appetit 

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 22, 2015 Breakfast – Ham and Potato Burritos, shopping at Costco, and Dinner with Ricardo and Cynthia

November 22, 2015 Breakfast – Ham and Potato Burritos, shopping at Costco, and Dinner with Ricardo and Cynthia

Suzette made ham and potato burritos for breakfast.  Suzette made her usual Bloody Mary and I drank peppermint tea.  Mario arrived with a helper and moved the fridge from the TV room to the garage and moved the old fridge into the driveway.

I lay down for an hour’s nap around 11:30.

Around 1:00 we drove to Costco.  It was as crowded with holiday shoppers loading up for their big Thanksgiving dinners as I have ever seen.  The bakery was bringing carts of pumpkin pies out almost continuously and folks were filling their carts with all types of food and wine like there was some national feeding frenzy, which, of course, there is.

Suzette had to shop for Santa Rosa for a week’s meals, including Thanksgiving, so we filled a basket along with all the other folks.  We bought nice asparagus ($6.99),  a Rioja Consejo Reserva for $7.99, an eight can pack of Progresso New England Clam Chowder for $7.29, fresh Dover sole, dishwashing detergent, and heavy cream for our house.

After having eaten ham for three days, we decided to prepare fresh fish for dinner and the Dover Sole looked lovely and was only $5.99/lb.
When we returned home and unloaded the car, I prepared a bowl of the clam Chowder and enjoyed it.

Cynthia said she was bringing a squash dish, so we decided to look at how the plants we had planted and covered with plastic in the raised beds were doing.  We were pleasantly surprised when we removed the bricks weights and pulled back the plastic to see thriving beds of plants.  The bed of lettuces looked ready to eat and so did small red radishes, so we picked a basket of assorted lettuces and Suzette picked a bunch of red radishes.  We watered the beds and recovered them.

I went to the basement and fetched the bottle of Gavi Princessa and took the shrimp I had bought at Albertson’s last Wednesday from the fridge in the garage’s freezer.

At 4:30 Cynthia and Ricardo arrived with their baked Spaghetti Squash and a bottle of Redwood Creek Sauvignon Blanc and appetizers of olives and hummus with sliced vegetables and pita chips that she put out on the table and we were ready to play bocce.  When we picked lettuce, Suzette had raked and removed leaves from the bocce court.

We poured glasses of wine and went out to the bocce court for a game.  

When we finished the game to eleven, the sun had set and it was darkening quickly, so we returned to the kitchen.  

Suzette had decided to make rolled sole filets stuffed with a shrimp stuffing.  Suzette started by grinding the PPI hardened French bread slices from Thursday inti bread crumbs.  I peeled seven or eight shrimp and went to the garden and picked five or six sprigs of fresh thyme and three stalks of garlic chives.  I de-stemmed and put the thyme and shrimp into the Cuisinart where Suzette was mixing the stuffing with the bread crumbs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and a bit of butter. When the stuffing was made, Suzette shaped it into enough minds to stuff the 7 or 8 sole filets and rolled the filets round each mound of stuffing.  We poured Vya white vermouth over each filet and Suzette rigged up the steamer oven to steam bake the stuffed filets.  

While the filets were cooking Cynthia made a salad with the lettuce from the garden, plus some sliced cucumbers she had brought for the hummus and she sliced the garlic chives and made her wonderful balsamic and Olive oil dressing in the salad bowl.

When the stuffed fish filets had cooked, we removed them from the steamer oven, but more importantly, Suzette removed the drip catch pan with all the cooking juices and vermouth, which amounted to about a cup.  Suzette then heated 2 Tbsp. of butter in an enameled sauce pan with one heaping Tbsp. Of flour for several minutes to make a roux. I then added the cooking juices slowly as Suzette whisked the roux into a Béchamel Sauce. Mew finished the sauce with a dash of vermouth and heavy cream.  Suzette then plated a stuffed filet and ladled sauce over each filet. We each spooned heated squash and salad onto our plates.  

Here are some photos.

  Cynthia, Ricardo, and the appetizers

  Suzette and the kitchen 

  Cynthia's spaghetti squash 

   The fresh greens' salad

   The stuffed Dover sole filets

    Cynthia's plate

 Ricardo opened a bottle o Pinot Grigio after we finished the Gavi Pricessa.

After dinner Suzette served vanilla ice cream with some of the rhubarb and blackberry compote she made last week.  The compote was delicious.  I like blackberries cooked better than fresh.

I served the last of a bottle of Londer sweet Gewertztraimer with dessert.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 21, 2015 Brunch – Vietnamese style Ham and Mushroom and Brie Omelet, Dinner with Charlie and Susan Palmer

 November 21, 2015 Brunch – Vietnamese style Ham and Mushroom and Brie Omelet,  Dinner with Charlie and Susan Palmer

The mung bean sprouts I bought Friday a week ago and which I stored in a plastic freezer bag still looked fresh, so I decided to make a Vietnamese style omelet around 11:00.  I sliced two mushrooms from the new carton of white mushrooms I bought at Costco on Wednesday, and sliced up about three oz. of ham from the swirl cut ham we baked (reheated) and served to the Book Club members on Thursday evening.  I also sliced and minced a slice of yellow onion (about 1 oz.) and about 1 oz of red kale stalks.  I then sliced three slices of French brie that had been de-skinned and took the bean sprouts out of the fridge along with two eggs that I whisked with a fork in a metal bowl.  

I started by melting an oz. of butter in a large non-stick skillet and added the onion and kale to cook and soften for about five minutes.  There was not enough grease, so I added ½ Tbsp. of Spanish olive oil (Sprouts Market, $7.99/liter, and worth it).  Then I added the ham and mushrooms and tossed them to coat them with grease and cooked them for several minutes until the mushrooms began to take on color.  Then I added a handful of bean sprouts on top of the other vegetables and ham and cooked that for several minutes until it seemed that some of the mung beans were beginning to soften, at which point I added the whipped eggs.  I cooked the egg mixture for five to ten minutes until the edges of the egg mixture seemed to firm up, but the center was still wet.  I the lay the three slices of brie on one side of the surface and cooked the mixture another couple of minutes, until the cheese began to soften.  It it important to thoroughly remove the skin from the brie if you want it to melt and become runny.

    All the ingredients cooking just before adding the eggs 

After a couple of minutes the Brie softened and I flipped one-half of the omelet onto the other half of the omelet.  

  The finished omelet 

After another couple of minutes when I felt that the cheese had melted and the center of the omelet had firmed sufficiently, I slid the omelet onto a plate I had heated by letting it stand beside the skillet.

The resulting omelet was perfect.  The Brie was gooey and the center fairly firm.  One of the tricks I learned from the French chef who Phil Rosenthal featured on his L.A. segment of “I’ll have what Phil is having” series on PBS was to leave the center of the omelet soft and a little runny, which gives the omelet a creamy, clouted texture.

    See the cheese oozing out 

I drank water and judged this to be on of the best omelets I had eaten in a long time.  I think Phil would have liked it.  

I rode ten miles to Montano and back.

We had invited Charlie and Susan Palmer for dinner at 6:00 so at 5:30 I cut slices of ham from the swirl cut ham and Suzette heated Ham and PPI dinner rolls and slices of Fano French baguette in the new steamer oven.
 Suzette came up with a great idea to make a vinaigrette salad with the PPI steamed broccoli and cauliflower flowerets, so I made a Kirtland Balsamic vinegar and Spanish Olive oil dressing with a dash of Herbs Provence, salt and white pepper, which I put on the new counter in the TV room.

I put the guacamole on the TV room table and Suzette filled a large bowl with corn chips and potato chips and put that besides he guacamole.  I the unwrapped and filled the wooden cheese board with the chunks of Beaufort, P’tit Basque, Pont L’Eveque, Blue, the Old Windmill Dairy thyme goat cheese, and Stilton cheese. 

I then filled a bowl with mixed nuts and another bowl with Lindt Lindor chocolates to finish the food prep.

I fetched a magnum bottle of George Dubouef Patch Block French Burgundy.  Suzette laid plates, silverware, napkins and glasses on the table.  Charlie and Susan arrived at 6:00 and everything was ready.  We ate and talked until 8:00, while I stole glimpses of the Baylor v. Oklahoma football game, which Baylor won, and the TCU v. OSU game. After we seemed to have finished eating ham and cheese around 7:00 I served slices of my chocolate dessert with the thick pouring custard.

After Charlie and Susan left, I watched the rest of the TCU game which became quite exciting as TCU closed a 17 point gap in the 4th quarter and went for a 2 point conversion to win, but lost by one point instead of winning by one point when the points after conversion failed because an OSU linebacker batted the pass into the end zone away.  I was proud of TCU’s Coach Patterson for going for the win, even though it failed.

Anyone who watched the game would have admiration for TCU’s skills and gumption.  I was proud to be a TCU alumni.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 20, 2015 Lunch – Ham Sandwiches, Dinner – Baked Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Onion, and Delicata Squash and Steamed String Beans

November 20, 2015 Lunch – Ham Sandwiches, Dinner – Baked Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Onion, and Delicata Squash and Steamed String Beans  

There was a lot of stuff left from the Book Club Meeting, so today at around 10:30 when I became hungry I toasted pieces of Fano French baguette and spread garlic and herbed Boursin on the toasted bread for a lovely warm ham and cheese sandwich.  I then made several more ham and cheese sandwiches and spread PPI guacamole on them for a richer more interesting sandwich.

Suzette called at 5:15 and we discussed dinner.  We both wanted to use the lovely small potatoes she had bought at Sprouts last week and I needed to use the Atlantic salmon filet I bought on Wednesday at Sprouts ($5.99/lb.).

We decided to microwave the potatoes and then bake them in our new oven, so I filled a pyrex baking dish, a little larger than a loaf pan with the small roasting potatoes and cubed a medium onion into eights and added three pats of butter and covered the baking dish with Saran Wrap and microwaved the potatoes for 12 minutes at 90% power.

Suzette arrived while the potatoes were cooking.

She then diced up the Delicata squash she had baked last night as the ham baked and added the cubed squash to the onions and potatoes and tossed the vegetables with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Suzette then took the salmon and we placed it in a pyrex baking dish and she added some Chardonnay, some pats of butter, and a squeeze of lemon juice and we added a sprig of dill and covered the salmon with aluminum foil.

Suzette then put the covered salmon and the uncovered vegetables to roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  I de-stemmed about a cup of green beans and put them into the steamer with water on the stove and we steamed them for about 8 minutes.

When everything was ready, I fetched the PPI bottle of Wind Haven Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley and poured us each a glass while Suzette plated the food in pasta bowls.

Here are pictures of each of the dishes and the final plated food. 

    The Roasted Squash, potatoes, and onion browned nicely

    The Baked Salmon steamed and baked and made a light dill sauce

   The Steamed String Beans

The salmon was moist and delicious, the vegetables were roasted to perfection.

I honestly could not taste the Pinot Gris, so I must assume it perfectly complemented the oily fresh fish. 

We watched the news and the last half of “Starman”, which is my favorite Jeff Bridges and Karen Black movie and went to bed at 10:30.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 19, 2015 Lunch- Vietnam 2000, Dinner – Book Club

November 19, 2015 Lunch- Vietnam 2000,  Dinner – Book Club

I went to ABQ Health Partners, my new medical provider for a flu shot at 11:00 and, since I had not eaten any breakfast, decided to brunch down the street at Vietnam 2000 afterwards.  I ordered No 21 as I walked in, saving the owner the trouble of bringing me a menu, and seated myself at my favorite table by the window with the exquisite view of the Sandias, with their last vestiges of the first snow of the Winter.

I was hungry and ate the entire bowl of vermicelli rice noodles, grilled pork, fried egg rolls, salad, herbs, and fish sauce as I enjoyed the view and the new New Yorker’s Talk of the Town.  

After lunch I drove to Pastian’s Bakery and bought a dozen day old dinner rolls, a dozen butter flake rolls and a bag of broken biscochitos.  

I then drove to the bank to withdraw money from the ATM and then home.  It was a relatively warm sunny afternoon, so at 3:00 I rode to Rio Bravo.  I noticed that many of the sand hill cranes in the fields were standing up on hillocks warming themselves in the warm afternoon sun.  Here is a picture of some of them.

I started preparing the snacks for the book club at 4:30 by making guacamole with 4 or 5 avocados I had bought in the last few days that had softened to a creamy texture, plus three cloves of garlic from our garden we had stored in the fridge, pressed, 1/3 of  a small onion minced, a couple dashes of Cholulu hot sauce, a small handful of fresh chopped cilantro and the juice of two limes.

Suzette arrived shortly after 4:30 with the coffee pot from her office.  She tried to put the spiral cut ham into the steamer oven, but it was too large to fit, so she filled the roasting pan with water and put it in the oven.  After one hour of baking the internal temperature of the ham was still only 98 degrees so we baked for 1 ½ hours until 7:00, which is when the Book Club was scheduled to begin.  Suzette filled bowls with pretzels, corn chips, potato chips, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise for the ham, chocolate covered peanuts, Lindt  Lindor chocolates, and mixed nuts.  I fetched three kinds of mustard and prepared the cheese board by peeling the ½ round of French brie, Pont L’Eveque, Beaufort, and a small round of P’tit Basque and unwrapped the blue cheese and opened the container of Old Windmill Thyme flavored goat cheese spread.  I also assembled cheese slicers, knives and spreaders.  Suzette also put the biscochitos in a bowl and we heated 8 of each type of roll in the steamer oven and put them beside the ham.  Finally I sliced and toasted about 24 slices of Fano French bread and we put those in a pyrex baking dish covered with a tea towel. 

The table was set by the time Charlie Palmer arrived at 7:00.  We were nine and we gathered around the dining room table and talked and ate snacks and I put out a bottle of Du Boeuf Block Parcel French burgundy and the chilled bottle of Archer’s Summit rose when Keith Gilbert arrived.  When Tom Genomi arrived I poured him a glass of Wind Haven Pinot Gris.  

We had an interesting discussion around Up Front Bill Mauldin’s WWII book of commentary and cartoons he drew for Stars and Stripes while he was stationed in Italy and Southern France in 1944 and 1945.

I explained that I had been introduced to American Studies when I took William Goetzman’s course at UT in Austin in the 60’s which kindled an interest in first person narratives of history and described how my next two year’s book selections, Kit Carson’ Autobiography and Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums fit into that category. 

After the discussion around the book and a hilarious quiz by Keith Gilbert in which he gave a Bill Mauldin's 2010 Commemorative stamp to each person who correctly guessed the author of quotes related to WWII, I served coffee and my chocolate dessert with pouring custard.  We said goodnight by 10:00.  The dessert was moist and light from the folding in of the relatively stiff egg whites and storing the dessert in Suzette’s new glass domed pie container in the cool mud room, instead of the fridge. 

I was not sleepy, so I  stayed up and watched James Taylor on Austin City Limits, Jane Fonda be interviewed by Colbert, and an interesting panel of ISIS experts, Tim McGantis of the Brookings Institute,  Ian Fisher of the New York Times and a scholar who served on a government Foreign Affairs Committee discuss the situation and history in Iraq and Syria.

Finally, at 12:00 I went to bed after a day of stimulating food, exercise, and discussion. 

Bon Appetit

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 18, 2015 Dinner – Baked Acorn Squashes filled with PPI Pork Tapa and Stir Fried Yu Choy

November 18, 2015 Dinner – Baked Acorn Squashes filled with PPI Pork Tapa and Stir Fried Yu Choy

I ate granola with yogurt and blackberries for breakfast.  At around 10:30 I went to the bank and then to Birdland to check the progress of the gas line repair.  Then I went to Sprouts at San Mateo and Lomas and bought a lb. of Atlantic farm raised salmon ($5.99/lb.), avocados ($.50 each), chocolate covered peanuts ($2.99/lb.)nanda Granny Smith apples.  I am hosting my book club Thursday night and need to prepare a table of snacks for them.  

I then went to Albertson's at San Mateo and Montgomery and bought a spiral cut ham ($1.88/lb. and large raw shrimp from Bangladesh for 5.99/lb. then I drove to Macleod and Jefferson and bought two fresh  baguettes at Fano.  It was noon when I arrived at Costco, so I ate a Polish Dog and a glass of lemonade and then shopped.  I found amazing cheeses, Pont-l'Évêque, Petit Basque, a whole kilo wheel of French Brie from Isigny Ste. Mere, and Boursin. Then I bought potato chips, mixed nuts, and Lindt Lindor chocolates. I bought a fruitcake for myself. 

I then drove home, unloaded the car, and soaked the fruitcake with dark rum and put it in the basement.  

The stock market was kind to me today, so I relaxed and read some info on a case and then at 3:00 rode to Montana in a pretty strong wind that seem to gust to about 15 MPH out of the North, which made the ride home quick.  

At five I cut up a bag of Yu Choy that had been sitting the fridge for more than a week.  Suzette came home with the PPI Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars from the S’mores party last Friday at the Center for Ageless Living and wanted to cook the two acorn squashes I had bought at Sprouts last week, but we decided to first prepare the chocolate dessert for the party.  I make a baked chocolate pudding that I like very much.  

Baked Chocolate Pudding

½ lb. butter
8 oz. chocolate
2 oz. powdered cocoa
8 eggs separated
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Flour

Melt the chocolate and butter and stir until smooth.
Turn off heat and mix in sugar.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix 4 egg yolks and the 1 Tbsp of flour.   reserve the other 4 egg yolks for the Pouring Custard.
Tonight Suzette whipped the separated 8 egg whites until they stood in firm peaks in our Kitchen aid.
I then added the egg yolk and flour mixture to the chocolate, butter and sugar mixture and stirred them together with a whisk.  I then added that mixture to the egg whites in the mixing bowl and Suzette folded the mixture into the egg whites.

When I began the prep, I had buttered the inside of 2 quart bowl and coated it with sugar. 
I also put water to a depth of 2 inches into a large enameled Le Creuset Casserole into the oven at 350 degrees to make a Bain Marie to cook the pudding in and preheated the oven and the Bain Marie to 350 degrees.  

The volume of the batter became so large, we decided to collar the baking bowl with waxed paper to a height of about six inches above the lip of the bowl.  Suzette cut a piece of waxed paper that just overlapped the circumference of the bowl and a piece of string and she held the waxed paper in place and I tied the string around the paper to create a tight fitting collar. 

I the poured the chocolate mixture into the bowl and we out it into the Bain Marie in the oven to bake at 350 degree for 30 minutes on convection setting.  Suzette also put the 2 acorn Squashes into the oven to bake.  After 30 minutes, Suzette took the acorn squashes out and we set the timer for another 40 minutes, but after about another 20 minutes the pudding seemed to be ready when we stuck a sharp knife into it that came out clean.  We let the pudding sit in the Bain Marie on top of the stove for a few minutes to further cook and set up and the we removed the bowl from the Bain Marie.  After a few more minutes Suzette fetched a new cut glass covered cake dish and we de molded the pudding onto the cake dish.  This the best result I have had in years.  The pudding was loose in the bowl and literally fell onto the cake dish exactly where I wanted it to sit.

While the pudding was baking I made the Pouring Custard 

6 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups of scalded milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar.

I had only 4 1/2 egg yolks, so I reduced the amount of milk to 2 cups, half of which was heavy cream.  I scalded the milk and then let it cool while I whisked the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar and a Das of vanilla and a Tbsp. Of Grand Marnier.  I then strained the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture and began the 30 minute process of stirring the egg mixture until it thickened.  When the mixture coated a spoon and tasted like custard it was ready.  I poured it into a pitcher and put it into the fridge to cool.

    The custard in the fridge

    The chocolate pudding

We covered the pudding and stored it in the cool laundry room.

Then Suzette cut the acorn squashes in half, removed the seeds and filled the cavities with brown sugar and butter and PPI pork, apple, and onion tapa.  She then baked the squashes covered with aluminum foil in the oven for another 30 minutes to heat all all the ingredients.

While the squashes we're baking I chopped three cloves of garlic and 1 Tbsp. of ginger and sliced three baby portobello mushrooms and opened a small can of water chestnuts.  I put 1 ½ Tbsp. If peanut oil and a dash each of sesame oil and chili oil into my wok and heated it.  Then I added the ginger and garlic and cooked it for a minute.  Then I added the stalks of the Yu Choy and cooked the for 2-3 minutes, the added the water chestnuts and mushrooms and cooked them for several more minutes, while I made a thickening sauce with about 3 Tbsp. of Aji Miren, a dash of sesame oil and 2 tsp. of cornstarch.  I then added the green chopped leaves of the Yu Choy and a large handful of mung bean sprouts and cooked the until the greens started to collapse.  Then I added the thickening sauce and told Suzette dinner was ready.  Suzette removed the squashes from the oven and put one half on each plate and laid a pile of stir fried Yu Choy next and onto the squash ver decoratively.  We poured glasses of the PPI Tuella red wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal and had a lovely light meal.

We watched the Nova series conclusion on the geological making of North America and then went to bed.

Bon App

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 17, 2016 Lunch – Fish Soup, Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with Steamed broccoli and cauliflower and making Preserved Lemons

November 17, 2016  Lunch – Fish Soup, Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with Steamed broccoli and cauliflower and making Preserved Lemons

I heated and ate a bowl of PPI the Tomato Fish Soup after adding 1 chopped tomato, 1 clove of garlic and ¼ cup of Chardonnay.

I toasted two slices of Fano French bread and smeared them with slices of Isigny Ste.Mere Brie cheese.

After lunch I thawed an aged beef rib steak. 

At 3:00 it was clear and cool but rideable weather so I toughed it out into about a constant 20 MPH headwind north to Mountain Rd. and then rode a fast return with the 20 MPH tailwind and felt much better after being off the bike since Saturday.

Suzette called after lunch and told me she wanted to make preserved lemons for Christmas gifts this year and wanted my opinion here to buy lemons.  I told her Sprouts. 

Suzette brought home a bundle of rhubarb and a bundle of red chard from the Center’s garden around 4:00 along with five or six 1 lb. bags of lemons and a bag of cardamom pods from Sprouts.

We waited until after Antonio came to measure the kitchen for a sand blasted glass back splash and then Suzette began cooking the Rhubarb with sugar and some blackberries I had bought at Sprouts for $.99 for a 6 oz. carton. 

 I then cut a head of cauliflower and a head of broccoli into flowerets and put them into the steamer and scrapped some of the aged residue off the steak. 

Suzette grilled the steak on the propane grill and steamed the vegetables while I opened our last bottle of Tuella Douro Portuguese red wine (Trader Joe’s has discontinued this wine, so I will need to look at Total wine for a reasonably priced Douro red wine) and sliced six or seven baby portobello mushrooms and 1/2 of a shallot and 2 cloves of garlic sliced into rounds.  Suzette heated butter and olive oil in a skillet and I fetched the PPI oregano and thyme from the fridge and stripped the leaves from about 1 Tbsp. of herbs and added them to the  skillet.  We then added the mushrooms and Sauteed them until they were tender and changed color.  Then I added about 2 Tbsp. of Amontillado sherry and cooked the mushrooms for another couple of minutes while I cut the steak into slices.  Since the steak was of an uneven thickness Suzette had to cook several less than rare slices with the mushrooms for a minute to cook them to medium rare. Syzette plated dinner with slices of steak covered with sautéed mushrooms and a pile of steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  We both liked the full bodied wine with the wonderful steak and mushroom dinner. 

Although the steak suffered from its aging and we had to remove the outer layer of aging, the rest of the steak had a wonderful flavor and texture.

After dinner we made the preserved lemons.  I cut the end off the stem end of each lemon and criss cross  quartered  40 lemons and Suzette filled 8 rubber gasketed jars she had bought with about 1-2 Tbsp. of salt, lemons covered with salt, 10 cardamom pods, 6 bay leaves per bottle and we filled each bottle with lemon juice until the lemons were covered with juice.  

Here are what the Preserved Lemons look like before covering the lemons with lemon juice.

We watched  coverage of ISIS on TV during dinner and while we made the preserved lemons, but we had had enough by 8:00 when we finished the preserved lemons,  so we went to bed and read until 9:00ish.I also cut up the red chard and Suzette put in bags for a chard lasagna in the near future.

My take on the eighth man who is the mastermind behind the Paris coordinated shootings is that he has achieved what diplomacy has not, the unification among the major world powers to resolve the Syrian Crisis or at least to create a coordinated response to the ISIS attacks on Western and Russian citizens. 

Bon Appetit 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 16, 2015 Lunch – PPI Chirashi Donburi, Dinner – Fish and Scallop Tacos

November 16, 2015 Lunch – PPI Chirashi Donburi, Dinner – Fish and Scallop Tacos

Since there seems to be a keen interest in every meal I eat, I shall include more information about breakfast and lunch.

Today I had the PPI sashimi from Friday’s trip to Azuma plus several extra Scallops bought at Sprouts on Friday for brunch around 11:00.

A shopping tip.  Sprouts has a policy that when they get a double order or what the butcher deems an excessive amount of a meat item, they reduce the price on the amount deemed to be excess to blow the excess out.  That is what happened on Friday.  The fresh scallops in the tray in the butcher meat display were priced at $10.99/lb. while a pound of what appeared to be scallops of the same freshness was packaged and placed in the packaged meat section for $5.99/lb.

Our dinner of fish and scallop tacos confirmed that the reduced price scallops were just as fresh as the full price scallops, because they were wonderfully fresh today, three days after purchase. 

Suzette had cubed and saved some of the Opah and some of the Peruvian Sea Scallops to use to make tacos this evening.  At 4:00, although it was lightly snowing, I drove to the Ranch Market to buy avocados and fresh corn tortillas.  I also bought three 12 oz. bags of corn chips at $1.00 per bag.

When I returned home I sliced an avocado and four leaves of romaine lettuce for garnish.

I also snacked on the PPI salmon smear with hard boiled egg that we made for the canapés for the Neighborhood Cocktail party on Friday night to which I had added several PPI chopped up pieces of pickled ginger left from the Chirashi lunch today on the fresh corn chips before dinner. 

Suzette put flour and corn meal, salt and pepper into a sandwich bag with the diced Opah and scallops and shuck the bag to coat them.

Then Suzette fried the coated pieces of fish and scallops in about 1/3 inch of heated canola oil and then drained them on paper towels.  We got the cholla red sauce out of the fridge and I made a gin and tonic and Suzette drank water and we made two double tortilla tacos each with the still warm corn tortillas and fried fish and scallops, garnished with lettuce and avocado slices and a few drops of Cholula hot sauce.

The fried fish and scallops tasted wonderfully fresh and tender and the fresh warm tortillas could not have been more tender and delicious.  

Bon Appetit  

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 14, 2015 An evening at the Center for Ageless Living

November 14, 2015 An evening at the Center for Ageless Living

We sautéed eggs and smoked pork chops for breakfast with slices of Fano baguette.  

Suzette shopped and I worked and then road to Rio Bravo.

At 3:00 we put on our bathing suits and drove to the Garden Gate Day Spa at the Center for Ageless Living in Los Lunas.  We swam in the heated pool for a bit and then soaked in the history hot tub.  I have been having pain on the left side of my neck, so had a massage with Chris at 4:15 while Suzette got a facial with Rose.  At 5:30 I dressed and walked out to the lawn where the students at SODA had set up a labyrinth with chains of Christmas lights.  Suzette was rhythmically beating a large Indian drum made with a piece of hollowed pine trunk covered in deer hide at both ends, tied with rawhide.

We traded turns beating the drum until after 6:00 while people walked the labyrinth and drank hot chocolate and made s'mores sitting on logs set around the fire in the fire pit at the center of the labyrinth.

At 6:15 we retired to the Greenhouse Bistro for dinner.  We each took the three course prix fixe dinner ($19.95) of Tomato Bisque, boeuf bourguignon, and an apple tart.

Every dish was better than the last.  I think this is the best food value in the three county area. 

The tomato bisque had a slight tanginess from black pepper and fresh herbs from the Center’s organic gardens.

The boeuf bourguignon was hearty with chunks of beef, carrots, mushrooms and lots of pearl onions served on garlic flavored mashed potatoes with chunks of potato mixed in.  We drank Beaujolais with the mountain of boeuf bourguignon.

Finally we we served a lovely homemade apple tart made with apples from the Center’s own Apple trees.  This evening and meal exemplifies the Center’s goal of sustainable aging.  Who would not want to live in this type of an environment?

Bon appetit

November 15, 2015 Brunch – Breakfast Burritos, Dinner – Fish Soup

November 15, 2015 Brunch – Breakfast Burritos,  Dinner – Fish Soup

At 10:00 we made burritos with a smoked pork chop, shallots, eggs, and PPI Barley Casserole wrapped in toasted flour tortillas.

On Friday I went to Sprouts Farm Market and bought Peruvian Sea Scallops ($5.99/lb.) and a 1 lb. piece of Opah ($9.99/lb.).  This the first time I have seen Opah offered in any store in Albuquerque. 
An Opah or Moonfish 

I am thrilled to see this fish in the markets.  Because it is a warm blooded fish I think it's flesh has a slightly different flavor.

We decided to make a tomato based fish soup for dinner with the Opah and scallops.  I chopped the one Roma and one cluster tomato we had, three shallots, and the last ripe pimiento pepper from the garden.  Suzette chopped six cloves of garlic and sautéed all the ingredients in a large enameled casserole with butter and olive oil.  She added water and white wine and cooked the ingredients for about ½ hour.  Then she added the diced opah and scallops.  I went to the garden and picked thyme and oregano before going to Ranch Market and she added those herbs to the soup.

At Ranch Market I bought limes, onions, and eggs.  When I returned around 6:00 the soup was ready.  Suzette toasted slices of Fano baguette and I opened a bottle of La Granja Spanish red wine (Trader Joe’s $4.99, 50% Grenache and 50% Tempranillo), which was the perfect light red that Suzette wanted for the meal.  

I threw a few croutons on top of the soup after we ladled it into soup bowls.

The soup was delicious, fully integrated with no one ingredient dominating.  

This is the first time we have made tomato based fish soup, but it will not be the last.

We ate the last of the Bavarian Red semi soft cheese on the two slices of toast left after we finished our soup.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 10, 2015 Lunch – Miso Noodle Soup, New Recipe: Dinner – Shrimp Lo Mein

November 10, 2015  Lunch – Miso Noodle Soup,  New Recipe: Dinner – Shrimp Lo Mein

A very noodle centric day.  Last Saturday when I went to Talin to buy grouper for dinner, I also bought a 1 lb. bag of fresh Chow Mein noodles shallots, fresh mung bean sprouts, ginger, and Yu Choy.  And when I went to Ranch Market after Talin. I bought nice heads on shrimp for $4.99/lb. 

For breakfast I drank a cup of tea with thin toasted pieces of Bosque Bakery French Sourdough bread spread with Kalles fish caviar paste.

For lunch I decided to make Miso Noodle Soup with tofu, brown miso, and shallots, green onions, green beans, pork meatballs, shrimp, three kinds of noodles: bean thread, rice sticks, and wheat vermicelli noodles.
I ate two bowls with Hoisin Sauce, Sriracha and fresh cilantro and still had ½ pot of soup left.  

For dinner I wanted to try to make Lo Mein noodles with the fresh Chow Mein noodles and the lovely heads on shrimp I bought at Ranch market, but I did not have enough shrimp and we needed milk, so I drove to Ranch Market for milk, broccoli, and shrimp ( I swear they get their shrimp fresh from San Blas.)

When I got home around 5:15 I found a recipe on the Internet for Shrimp Lo Mein.  Here is a similar, but better one because this one thickens the sauce with cornstarch.
Shrimp Lo Mein
Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon

Shrimp Lo Mein
Total Time:
35 min
20 min
15 min
Yield:4 servings

8 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles, or 1 pound fresh
1 packet chicken bouillon mix, such as Knorr, dissolved in 1 3/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
Lo Mein:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 small bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup thinly sliced white button mushrooms
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch


For the noodles: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to their package directions. Drain and set aside.

For the sauce: Combine the bouillon, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha in a large glass measuring cup or small bowl and set aside. This may look like a lot of sauce, but you have a lot of noodles and veggies to coat!

For the lo mein: Heat a wok over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, half the garlic, half the ginger and half the scallions and saute 30 seconds. Add in the shrimp and cook until they just start to turn pink and curl up, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp and aromatics to a plate and reserve.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and add the remaining garlic, ginger and scallions. Saute 30 seconds, and then add in the mushrooms, celery, carrots and cabbage. Saute the veggies until they begin to brown and caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisk the cornstarch into 2 tablespoons cold water. Once dissolved, add to the sauce. Add the sauce to the pan with the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Toss in the reserved shrimp, aromatics and noodles and serve!

 The recipe I found was for Simple shrimp Lo Mein and was less complicated than this “better” recipe.  

I used green beans instead of Napa cabbage and the simple recipe had no hot sauce, so I did not use that either but the rest is the things were similar, except I used a shallot instead of the green onions.

I julienned a carrot and the shallot and de-stemmed the haricot vert. Then I chopped about 2 Tbsp. of fresh ginger and 1 Tbsp. of garlic.  I asked Suzette if she wanted the shrimp peeled and she did, so I peeled about 1 lb. of shrimp but was able to keep much of the red tomallay.

I then sliced 2 white mushrooms and took the mung bean sprouts out of the fridge and fetched sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce, sake, and oyster sauce and made the sauce for the Lo Mein by combining these ingredients.

I then heated 2 Tbsp. of peanut oil in  the wok and stir fried the carrots, green beans, shallot, shrimp, ginger, garlic and mushrooms for a few minutes until they were cooked and tender.  I then added about 1/3 lb. of the fresh chow Mein noodles I had cooked in boiling water for a couple of minutes and tossed them with the cooked ingredients to heat them.  Finally I added the sauce and tossed everything in the sauce to further mix and integrate the ingredients into a unified dish. 

The result was very pleasing.  We drank beer with the Lo Mein.  Suzette liked the dish and that we had made a new recipe.  I liked the fact that I had kept the tomallay intact with shrimp, which gave the dish a reddish hue and more flavor.

Bon Appetit 

November 12, 2015 Lunch – Hello Deli, Dinner – sautéed NY Strip steak and PPI Brussels Sprouts and Barley Casserole

November 12, 2015 Lunch – Hello Deli,  Dinner – sautéed  NY Strip steak and PPI Brussels Sprouts and Barley Casserole 

Yesterday I ate PPI miso soup for breakfast and made a Cesar salad for lunch. We ate PPI Mapo Dofu and rice for dinner and then I went to meditate.

Today I attended a seminar on appellate procedure at the State Bar Center.  At noon we were told we had 45 minutes for lunch, so I walked across the bridge to the commercial strip center north of the Bar Center.  I wanted a fast lunch, so I decided to order a Rueben sandwich at Hello Deli.  It was crowded when I walked and there was a long line waiting to order, but a waitress came over to the line and told the couple in front of me if the wished to be served more quickly they could sit at the counter .  In a minute I decided to sit at the counter and went over and was told that I would not have to wait as long for my food if I ordered and sat at the counter.  I thanked the attendant and ordered a Rueben sandwich with potato salad and sat down at the counter.  In less than five minutes a lovely Reuben Sandwich was brought to me.  As I waited I saw that the Deli seemed to be owned and operated by a NY family, who had every one running at NY speed.  I was impressed with the level of organization and the quality of the food.  The Rueben was good and hot. Good seeded Jewish rye bread.  Good lean corn beef.  Good sauerkraut, a sliced of melted Swiss cheese and a good crisp dill pickle wedge and an okay potato salad.  After I ordered I looked at the menu and saw the were many more choices of sides than I had imagined, including salad and soup and even fried onion rings, although potato salad is the traditional choice ($8.35).

    My Reuben sandwich and potato salad

  A view of the line to order from the counter at Hello Deli

I called Suzette at 5:00 and she did not have a suggestion for dinner other than eating the casserole we made last week.  I had not thawed out any meat, so I stopped at Lowe’s and picked up a N.y strip steak, which was on sale for $5.19/lb.

We also discussed what we would take as a appetizer to the Neighborhood cocktail party and came up with the idea of a salmon smear on baguette, so before I arrived, Suzette creamed the two ripe avocados and some Latin American crema I had bought at Ranch Market on Tuesday to form the base of the smear.

When I got home we decided to sauté the steak on our new stove since the temperature was dropping fast.  I went to the garden and picked five or six stalks of thyme and five or six sage leaves.  When I returned Suzette suggested adding mushrooms and fetched the last six or seven chanterelle mushrooms, which I sliced along with three green onions, the sage and thyme.  We discussed wines and I asked Suzette, “What do we have upstairs?” She brought over a couple of bottles including a bottle of 2012 Chateau Haut-Sorillon, a Bordeaux Superieur from an Appellation d’ Origene Protégé, which is the newer EU designation and probably means that this chateau is located within Bordeaux but not within one of the original designated Appellations designated under French law in 1855.  

Suzette heated the casserole in the microwave and salted and peppered the steak and sautéed the steak and then the mushrooms, herbs, onions, and chopped garlic in butter and truffle salt.  The resulting seasoned mushrooms were fantastically delicious on an with the steak.  The steak was good also.  I was happy that I had stopped to pick up a hop for dinner.  The wine was smooth without strong tannins, so very drinkable. I loved the Brussels Sprouts casserole and had forgotten how hearty it was with the barley and mozzarella cheese.  

We had a very filling dinner.  

After dinner I toasted slices of Fano baguette and buttered it and fetched a pear we had picked at one of Cynthia’s gardens and the French brie cheese from Isigny sur Mer in Normandy, we bought at Costco.  We ate slices of brie on the buttered bread with slices of pear for a very French finish to dinner.

After the cheese we still had some wine left.  So we finished the wine with a few Lindt Lindor chocolates to complete the French dinner template as we watched The Lucky One, a made for TV movie, and Thursday Night NFL Football. 

Bon Appetit

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015 Pork and beef Stroganoff and haricot vert

November 9, 2015 Pork and beef Stroganoff and haricot vert 

Tonight’s meal was one of the those magical events that comes together only seldomly, a perfect meal made from disparate PPI parts.  We had about 1½ cups of PPI French onion soup and a bag of PPI Cassarecce pasta sitting in the fridge plus about ½ lb. of chunks of pork that we did not use for last night’s meal, plus Cynthia left the rest of a tub of sour cream that she had brought for the salmon canapés.  Suzette’s genius as a recreational therapist is to see connections where others do not and to put different elements together into programs.  Tonight she proved her genius when she came up with the perfect menu idea, “Let’s make beef Stroganoff.”

We have three kinds of mushrooms, white, chanterelles, and Hungarian blacks, so we had a lovely combination and enough mushrooms for the dish.

I cubed the pork and sliced a medley of the three mushrooms and fetched the sour cream and we were ready to cook.  

I then snapped the ends off about a cup of haricot vert and steamed them in the steamer while Suzette cooked the stroganoff.

Suzette used the lovely large French copper sauté pan we had used to cook the pork tapa dish last night.  She started by sautéing the pork and then the mushrooms in butter.

Then she added the onion soup and about 2/3 cup of sour cream and we immediately had a decent looking stroganoff but the sauce was a little thin, so Suzette cooked it for about five more minutes until the sauce thickened and the ingredients became more integrated.

I opened the bottle of 2012 Chateau St. Michelle Pinot Gris that Jeff and Debbie brought last night, with its slightly sweet fruitiness went perfectly with the creamy slightly tangy stroganoff sauce.

Suzette heated the PPI Cassarecce pasta in the microwave and put some in pasta bowls, then ladled the stroganoff onto the pasta, and finally garnished the top of the stroganoff with a handful of the steamed haricot vert.  It made pretty plate of food that was equally lovely to eat.

A fabulous dinner created with little effort, but a huge flash of brilliance of menu therapy.

For dessert I ate PPI baked chocolate pudding with PPI crème anglais left over from our meal with Carey and Peter on Saturday evening.  Suzette had a bit of PPI vanilla ice cream from last night’s dinner as we watched the news and the Antiques Roadshow.

Bon Appetit