Monday, December 26, 2016

December 24, 2016 Christmas Eve Party


This year we were diverted a bit by Willy’s commitment to orchestrating Park Ave as a pedestrians only walking street from 6:00 to 8:30.  Jan Yates brought three gallons of chocolate milk for the hot chocolate and six gallons of apple juice for the apple cider.  Suzette brought two tables from Los Lunas plus a hot beverage dispensing container and Susan Palmer loaned a 30 or forty cup electric coffee urn that we set up in front of our house to dispense apple cider.

Sandy Buffet set up a brazier at the intersection of Park and 15th and Willy set up Suzette’s brazier in front of our house beside the table where the apple cider was being dispensed.

Willy got Drew to dispense the hot chocolate at Oxnard Park at the corner of Park and 16th.  There were lots of people walking and even a bike club rode by with lights on their bikes.  All was very festive until 9:00 when it began to drizzle.

This year we had a slightly reduced spread and encouraged guests to bring food to share and they did.  Buddy brought a huge container of green Chile chicken enchiladas, which went well with my posole and Shed red Chile.

Suzette made four British Christmas desserts featured on the a British Baking Show on PBS this year, a triffle (my favorite) with Grand Marnier syrup soaked French Madeleines, Dried fruits poached in a sherry sauce, custard, and whipped cream on top, Pavalova (a ring of egg white meringue filled with whipped cream and garnished with fresh berries), and mincemeat filled Chelsea buns baked into the shape of a Christmas tree.  The fourth dessert was fabulous also but was not served because it did not jell properly, a Grand Marnier soaked cake filled with custard and garnished with orange rings candied in heavy syrup for two hours.

I loved all of them.  To carry on the British theme we roasted a five lb. standing rib roast, which due to the thick bones yielded only about two ½ lb. of sliced roast beef.  We made a sauce of whipped cream and horseradish with a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a mustard mayonnaise sauce and served the beef with hamburger buns for sandwiches.  The beef was the first item to go.  Next was the two packages of asparaguses that Suzette tossed with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven.  This year we served smoked salmon made by Chef Kelly at the Greenhouse Bistro with a bowl of Swedish Mustard and dill sauce we bought at IKEA and a sour cream, cream cheese, dill, and lemon juice sauce.

We roasted parsnips, turnips, golden beets, sweet potatoes, onion and garlic.

I bought and Suzette’s brother Jeff and his wife, Kathy, sent an assortment of good American cheeses, so this year we put out two cheese boards.  I added Italian Tallegio, French Brie, French Delice, English Stilton, Spanish Iberico, Comte, and a few others.

I toasted slices of fresh French Baguette from Fano for the cheeses.

 We cubed about ½ of the Lebanon Bologna that Suzette’s folks sent us and served it on a platter with a mixture of seeded French Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and a pile of cubed Cabot Double Cheddar cheese from Vermont like lunches in Elizabethtown.

I made mulled red wine and this year used Pinot Noir red wine.  We also served Mexican cokes, Gruet Brut champagne, apple cider, and three beers from Mike Campbell’s Crooked Kilt Brewery, a cream ale, a Scottish ale and an IPA.

Guests brought very interesting dishes to share.  Besides the huge Green Chile Chicken Casserole that Buddy brought, Michel Varner brought a fruit salad of orange wedges and raspberries doused with sugar and Reposada tequila.  Michel’s mother Lynn Adkins brought a platter of prunes poached in sherry and stuffed with Italian Marsacapone Che's and topped with walnut halves  Michel ‘s sister Lisa brought a very interesting beet tahini dip with pita chips.  Carol Levitt and Mark brought a huge casserole of kugel, Jill ducal brought a lovely baked chicken liver pate garnished with chopped onions, seeded French Dijon mustard, and capers and Cynthia brought chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies that evaporated almost instantly.

It was fun seeing all our friends, Al Shoman and Jennifer and family came, as did Bill and a Regina.  Mrs. Page and Charlie also made it and stayed for about an hour.  Fewer neighbors came this year except for Dale and Jennifer, who I think have a the longest unbroken record for attendance of any neighbors. Ron Elguera also attended out of his love for mother, which was very sweet.

Many of Luke and Willy’s friends showed up and partied on for a hour or two after Suzette and I went to bed around 10:30.  We walked to Oxnard Park at 9:30 to retrieve Suzette’s table , which is as far as I could comfortably walk this because I was suffering from a cold.

I would rank this a good year with a moderate turn out of thirty to forty plus a number of Willy and Luke’s friends and enhanced by Willy’ successful organization of Park Ave. as a pedestrian only walkway.

After the Green Chile Chicken Casserole was eaten, I heated 6 chicken tamales from Costco at around 9:00 and five of them we're eating when I went to the kitchen at 2:00 a.m.

Bon Appetit


Friday, December 23, 2016

December 23, 2016 Brunch – Polish Dog at Costco, Lunch – Posole Dinner Roasted duck with Orange Sauce, PPI Kabocha Squash, and string beans


December 23, 2016  Brunch – Polish Dog at Costco, Lunch – Posole
Dinner Roasted duck with Orange Sauce, PPI Kabocha Squash, and string beans

We woke up and looked at Squawk on the street until a bit after 8:00.  Suzette baked another dessert and I made the negus for the mulled wine until 10:00 when we drove to Costco to shop for the party.  We bought beautiful large asparagus, napkins, forks, apple juice, Mexican cokes, and Kleenex and then ate a Polish Dog.  Around 10:00 we drove to the Crooked Kilt and tasted and bought growlers of IPA, Scottish Ale, Cream Ale, and Apple Cider (a growler holds 64 oz. of liquid).  We said goodbye to Mike and drove to Sprouts at San Mateo and Academy where bought fresh dill, carrots, two turnips, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and zucchini.
 we arrived home at 1:00 and unloaded I chopped vegetables for the roasted vegetables, three carrots, 2 1/2 sweet potatoes, the two turnips, two parsnips, one large red onion, a handful of garlic cloves peeled and halved, and three golden beets.  When I finished chopping, Suzette tossed the vegetables with olive oil and salt and roasted them.

The weather kept improving, so at 3:00 I decided to ride to Montano.  Unfortunately there was a stiff 10 to 15 mph breeze out of the north, I stopped fighting my way north at Campbell Rd., turned around, and sped home wind aided.

I took a 45 minute nap until 5:00 when I returned home.  Suzette wanted to roast the small wild duck one of her employees had given to her.  We started cooking around 6:30.  Suzette stuffed the stomach cavity of the duck with orange wedges and put it into a small Pyrex baking dish and roasted it in the oven.  I took the green beans from the fridge and snapped the ends off them.  Suzette heated the PPI Kabocha squash with the green beans in a different Pyrex baking dish.
I made a Sauce L ‘ Orange with the PPI Grand Marnier Glaze Suzette had made with which she soaked one of her cakes.  To make the sauce I added 2 T. of Madeira, 2 T. butter, 2 tsp. of cornstarch, and the slices of one orange to the approximately ½ cup of glaze.

Suzette used the orange sauce to marinate the duck.  When we carved the duck it was rather rare, but tasted delicious with the addition of Sauce L’Orange, although slightly gamy.  Actually the breast was fine, but the thigh and leg were a little tough; probably from swimming so much.  I opened a bottle of Valreas Cotes du Rhone red wine ($5.99 at Trader Joe’s.

After dinner Willy made us a cup of tea with a lovely new tea he had bought us for Christmas called Lavender Grey that had both oil of bergamot and lavender in it.

I then made the Shed Red Chile Sauce in quantity following the recipe Janis Lafontaine gave us.  Here it is:


I love making the Shed Red Chili Sauce because it is an adaptation of a French Béchamel Sauce constructed with a roux.

After I finished making the Shed red chili sauce, I made a sour cream dill sauce for the smoked salmon, with ½ cup of sour cream, 2 T. Lemon juice, 1 T. of chopped capers, 2 T. of chopped fresh dill and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.  I improvised a bit and added about 1 T. of shallot and a few drops of Tabasco and set the sauce in the fridge.

After a lovely day of shopping and cooking, we soaked in the hot tub for a few minutes and the Suzette went to bed.

I stayed up and blogged.

Bon Appetit

December 22, 2016 Lunch and Dinner - Azuma Chirashi Donburi.

December 22, 2016  Lunch and Dinner -  Azuma Chirashi Donburi.

At 7:15 I started preparing the 4 lb. of posole.  I chopped ½ onion and 2 lb. of pork sirloin and sautéed that three times until I had cooked 6 lb. of diced pork.  I then washed the posole to remove
December 22, 2016  Lunch and Dinner -  Azuma Chirashi Donburi.

At 7:15 I started preparing the 4 lb. of posole.  I chopped ½ onion and 2 lb. of pork sirloin and sautéed that three times until I had cooked 6 lb. of diced pork.  I then washed the posole to remove
any remaining lime and put all of the sautéed onion, pork, and posole into our largest pot with  a couple of gallons of water and started cooking it at a medium high temperature.  I added ground cumin to each skillet full of meat as it sautéed and four handfuls of Mexican Oregano to the pot, plus 1 T. of cumin seeds,  1 T. of ground coriander, and later in the day about 15 cloves of garlic and 2 or 3 T. of chili caribe and about 2 tsp. of salt.  I cooked the posole all day until 8:30 at night adjusting the seasoning, such as adding a T. of dehydrated chicken stock to enrich the broth.

 I made lax open faced sandwiches on Toasted French baguette smeared with goat cheese, dotted with capers, and garnished with thinly sliced white onion.

At around 11:00 I  was happy when Aaron reminded me that we had a lunch appointment today.
 
I asked, “Where do you want to go eat?”

Aaron answered, “You are the pert, what do you recommend?”

My response was, “Let me make three suggestions and you pick one; East Ocean for Chinese food, Taj Mahal for Indian food or Azuma for sushi,”

Aaron thought a moment and said, “Let’s go to Azuma.”

So I picked Aaron up at his home at Noon and drove us to Azuma by way of Pastian’s Bakery on 2nd St., where I bought day old hamburger buns for $.75 per bag of 8. And then Fano Bakery on McLeod, where I bought five freshly baked baguettes and gave one to Aaron.

When we arrived at Azuma Aaron ordered two specialty rolls and I ordered Chirashi Donburi with my favorite fish and a dollop of seaweed salad.

There was a new chef cutting fish today and I must admit that this was the best Chirashi I have ever had at Azuma.  Not only were there more slices, they were longer and they were more uniformly sliced. Not only was there an addition of seaweed salad, there was also some chopped yellowtail in a cornucopia shaped horn of roasted nori, there were thick slices of egg omelet and spears of imitation crab (fish cake) and shredded daikon, sliced daikon pickles and lots of sushi rice covered with orange flying fish eggs.

I could not eat half of the lovely bowl filled with all the lovely ingredients and took the rest home in a styrofoam box.

Suzette arrived home in the afternoon and began afresh to cook her English desserts like a poached fruit triffle.  We had no plans for dinner, so I tasted a bowl of posole and adjusted the seasonings once again, and we decided to eat the PPI Chirashi.  I made green tea and Suzette drank Rose and we enjoyed our fresh fish dinner.

The Chirashi was a welcome dinner which required no cooking, as the kitchen was already filled with a lot of cooking activity.

We each ate a bowl of ice cream for dessert.

Bon Appetit


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21, 2016. A true food Odyssey, including a San Felipe Pueblo Travel Center Breakfast Burrito

December 21, 2016. A true food Odyssey, including a San Felipe Pueblo Travel Center Breakfast Burrito

This was one of the oddest days of food I have had in a while, but it demonstrates an axiom I have to never be without food when one travels.

I ate my usual yogurt, blueberries, granola, vitamin powder, and milk for breakfast.

I the drove to Santa fFe with Luke for my 11:30 hearing.  Luke suggested we drop for a burrito at the San Felipe Puebla Travel Center.  He picked out two and I paid for them ($3.99 each).  He ate most of his and I took a few nibbles of mine.  It was a fantastically delicious burrito, full of eggs potatoes, green Chile, and sausage. I re-wrapped mine and left it on the folded down glove compartment cover when I went to court.  I let Luke out at the corner of Alameda and Guadalupe at 11:00 and we agreed to meet at the Shed at noon.

Instead of my hearing lasting 30 minutes it lasted 1 ½ hours and I did not arrive at the Shed until 1:00.  When I found Luke and Amy, They had finished lunch, but Luke was feeling sick and only ate ½ of one of the blue corn enchiladas on his No. 5 platter of two enchiladas, beans, and posole.  He wanted to take the uneaten food home for dinner but agreed to let me eat the uneaten ½ enchilada and some of the uneaten beans and posole, so I ate 1/3 of my favorite dish at the Shed for lunch.  Luke was not feeling well so I agreed to drive him to Amy and Vahl’s house, where there was wood waiting to be picked up for use in the brazier on Park Ave on Christmas Eve.

After loading the car around 2:00 I decided to drive home so I could ride my bike, because it was a warm day without much wind.  The temperature gauge in the car read 59 degrees, which is remarkable for Winter Solstice.

Unfortunately I kept dozing off as I drove home, so I ate a few more bites of burrito, which prompted my digestive system into high gear and completely awakened me from drowsiness.

I got home just before 3:00 and hit the trail around 3:20 and rode to Rio Bravo and back.  Many other hard core riders were on the trail enjoying this rare break in the weather.

I worked from 4:30 until 5;00 when I returned home and then heated the last 1/3 of the burrito for dinner, which I are with a cup of tea with lemon.  I the ate 7 chocolate cookies and a bowl of Java Chip ice cream doused with Kahlua and went to meditate at 6:15.  This is proof of my long held axiom that you should always take food with you when you travel, because food will get you through lots of unexpected events.

When I returned home at 7:40 I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed and read a few chapters of Edge of the Taos Desert by Mabel Dodge Lujan.

I also called Amy and Luke to see how he was faring and the report was not good, high fever and chills, sounds like the flu.  Luckily he is in the loving care of his mother at her house in Santa Fe.

Suzette returned from hosting her Center Christmas Party at around 8:30 and I went to bed as she went to the kitchen looking for something to eat.  I awoke at 11:30 and wrote this blog.

I shall return to bed as soon as I become tired.

Bon Appetit

December 20, 2016 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner – sautéed duck breast with a Blackberry Cassis sauce and stir fried vegetables and roasted and sautéed Kabocha squash

December 20, 2016 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner – sautéed duck breast with a Blackberry Cassis sauce and stir fried vegetables and roasted and sautéed Kabocha squash

Luke made oatmeal for breakfast and I ate a bowl with maple syrup.

At 1:00 I went to Amerasia for dim sum.  I ordered my two favorites, BBQ Pork and sweet bean filled Bao  (steamed buns) and mushroom and wood ear stuffed deep fried tofu in its broth. With water, the total was $7.70.

December 20, 2016 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner – sautéed duck breast with a Blackberry Cassis sauce and stir fried vegetables and roasted and sautéed Kabocha squash

Luke made oatmeal for breakfast and I ate a bowl with maple syrup.

At 1:00 I went to Amerasia for dim sum.  I ordered my two favorites, BBQ Pork and sweet bean filled Bao  (steamed buns) and mushroom and wood ear stuffed deep fried tofu in its broth. With water, the total was $7.70.

Suzette brought home two duck breasts and a whole duck given to her by an employee whose husband hunts.  We discussed dinner and decided to sauté the two duck breasts.

Luke wanted to eat some of the Kabocha squash we had bought for the roasted vegetables for our Christmas Eve buffet last week at Sprouts ($.99/lb.), so Suzette roasted the squash in the oven for about 45 minutes.

We decided to stir fry some vegetables, so we chose mushrooms, green beans, onions, and Suzette and I went to the garden and picked a basket full of fresh chard and about ten sage leaves. We sliced, de-stemmed and chopped the vegetables.

Then we discussed a sauce for the duck breasts. At first we thought of a cherry Port wine sauce, so I went to the basement to see if we had a ruby port and found that we had only vintage ports, which I did not want to open for a sauce.  So I decided on using an old bottle of Hiram Walker Crème de Cassis with some of the fresh blackberries I had bought at Sprouts or Costco.
Suzette started sautéing onion in olive oil and butter in a large skillet for the duck breasts.  Luke and Suzette cut the Kabocha in half vertically and skinned and diced it into about 1 inch cubes and that went into another skillet with butter, some garlic in olive oil, the thinly sliced sage leaves,  and a dash or two of whole cumin seeds by Luke to heat.

I stir fried the rest of the onion in my wok with a bit of olive oil.


Blackberry Cassis Sauce

I put a handful of blackberries into a small enameled sauce pan with 1 T. of butter and heated that.  Then I added about ¼ cup of Cassis and cooked that for several minutes until the berries started to yield liquid.  Then I started adding fresh lemon juice until the sweet and tart came into balance.  I then added a dash of salt and about two tsp. of cornstarch.  Suzette had cooked the duck breasts by then and called for the sauce to finish the duck, so I poured the sauce into the duck breast skillet and it thickened into a lovely thick sauce suffused with duck and onion flavor.

While all this was happening I had added the mushrooms and green beans to the wok with the onion and I added a T. of. Butter to the vegetables and a bit of salt.  Finally, Luke added the chard to the wok and I stir fried that into the other vegetables and covered the wok to steam the chard.

We all were cooking together, even helping cook another person’s dish.

It was fun as the food flew into skillets and the meal came together. When the chard softened we were ready to eat.

I poured glasses of Famille Perrin red Cotes du Rhine Reserve and Suzette plated the meal. We enjoyed a delicious duck dinner.

While we were eating Willy at 8:00 and sat with us and then watched an episode of Black Mirror with Suzette.

Luke and I went to bed.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 18, 2016 Dinner – Grilled Rack of Lamb, Steamed Sugar Snap Peas, and Couscous with tzatziki

December 18, 2016  Dinner – Grilled Rack of Lamb, Steamed Sugar Snap
Peas, and Couscous with tzatziki

We ate PPIs for brunch. Then I worked and a Suzette cleaned and picked a basket full of sorrel and chard and oregano and dill.

I then made tzatziki.

Tzatziki

I peeled, seeded and finely diced 1 cucumber and salted the cucumber with ½ tsp. of salt to leach the moisture from it.

I finely diced 1 shallot and added that to the cucumber.

I de-stemmed the oregano leaves and chopped them with the dill and added the approximately 1/3 cup of herbs to the cucumbers and shallot and drained the liquid that had accumulated in the cucumber bowl.  I then peeled and pressed two cloves of garlic into the mixture.

I then added about 1 cup of yogurt and stirred to mix.

I added 2 T. of  olive oil.

I then added the zest of one lemon and 1 T. of lemon juice and stirred to mix and covered the bowl with Saran Wrap and stored in the fridge to mellow.

We then went to the Pueblo center?  Suzette met Cynthia and Ricardo to dance to Soul Kitchen and I met Susan Palmer for a tour of the artifacts collection and toured the museum. I then danced awith Suzette and then Susan came to the dance floor and I rode home with Susan.
We napped a bit and at 6:30 we prepared dinner.  Suzette grilled the rack of lamb.  I de-stemmed sugar snap peas, and chopped the chard and sorrel and made couscous with the sorrel and chard and a sliced mushroom.

Couscous

I sautéed a bit of onion and the mushroom in butter, then added 1 ¼ cup water to the pot and the added slightly less than 1 cup of couscous and the sorrel and chard and cooked the mixture at moderately high temperature for a minute and then reduced the flame to its lowest level and cooked the mixture for about ten minutes  until the ingredients were cooked.  I then added another oz. of butter and fluffed up the cous cous.

I opened a bottle of La Granja 50% Tempranillo/50% Grenache red blend ($4.99 at Trader Joe’s).

The couscous was heavy with all the ingredients, like the risotto last Friday night at the Greenhouse Bistro.

We ate the lamb with mint jelly and tzatziki for a lovely meal.

Willy went home around 10:00 and I went to pick up Luke at the airport at 12:00 midnight.

Bon Appetit

December 19, 2016  Lunch – Miso Noodle soup. Dinner – Roasted Pork steak with Apple and Onion, Steamed Sugar Snap Peas, and PPI Risotto

I went to Bankruptcy Court this morning on Steve Blanco’s case and then we discussed Water rights with Bill Turner.

I returned home, met with Martin and then around 1:00 fixed a pot of noodle soup, with PPI ham, the PPI chicken stir fry dish with almonds and broccoli, and wheat and wide rice noodles and four pot stickers and a sliced mushroom. I had not eaten breakfast, so I ate the whole pot of soup, worked a bit and then napped from 3:00 until 4:30.

I took a package of pork out of the freezer and then drove to the bank and library.

When I returned around 5:00 Luke had arrived and after 5:30 Willy arrived.  I was working in my office, so Suzette took the initiative to cook dinner.  She decided to cut the pork into small chops and make our favorite tapa pork dish, which is a sauté of apple, onion in Spanish olive oil and then roasting those ingredients with sprigs of oregano and the pork in the oven and finishing the dish with chicken stock, cognac, and a bit of butter.

I de-stemmed about ¼ lb. of sugar snap peas and steamed them.  Suzette fetched the PPI risotto and couscous and heated that in the microwave.  I fetched a bottle of La Granja 100% Grenache Spanish Rose, which is the perfect wine for this dish from the basement and poured glasses of wine.  Luke had dinner plans but joined us for an appetizer plate of dinner and glass of wine, so we ate dinner as a family.

Suzette has mastered this dish to the point of being able to re-create it quickly without reference to the recipe.  I love the light fruity dish because it is so tasty and because the fruitiness satisfies my craving for dessert.  La Granja is the only 100% Grenache light rose’ that I like in Albuquerque.   It is $4.99 at Trader Joe’s.

We then watched a recent Bill Mayer interview.  At around 7:30 Willy and Luke left and I went to bed to read The Edge of Taos Desert by Mabel Dodge Lujan and soon fell asleep.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 17, 2016 Lunch – East Ocean and shopping for Christmas Eve Buffet

December 17, 2016 Lunch – East Ocean  and shopping for Christmas Eve Buffet

After a great meal at the Greenhouse Bistro and a good night’s sleep we awakened and refreshed and ready for a day of shopping for our Christmas Eve Buffet and Suzette’s Employee Christmas Party at the Center for Ageless Living.  Suzette had settled on the menu of old favorites; posole, tamales, roasted root vegetables, mulled wine, and smoked salmon; and new for this year, four desserts from the Great British Bake Off on PBS.

We made huevos rancheros for breakfast with PPI ham and some of the PPI Pork, potato and sauerkraut casserole and a dash of Cholulu red sauce.

We first drove to World Market, where we found Amaretto cookies,  French sponge cakes, apricot preserves and a German mustard.

We were looking for Mince meat, so we called Talin Market and they had two different brands of December 17, 2016 Lunch – East Ocean  and shopping for Christmas Eve Buffet

After a great meal at the Greenhouse Bistro and a good night’s sleep we awakened and refreshed and ready for a day of shopping for our Christmas Eve Buffet and Suzette’s Employee Christmas Party at the Center for Ageless Living.  Suzette had settled on the menu of old favorites; posole, tamales, roasted root vegetables, mulled wine, and smoked salmon; and new for this year, four desserts from the Great British Bake Off on PBS.

We made huevos rancheros for breakfast with PPI ham and some of the PPI Pork, potato and sauerkraut casserole and a dash of Cholulu red sauce.

We first drove to World Market, where we found Amaretto cookies,  French sponge cakes, apricot preserves and a German mustard.

We were looking for Mince meat, so we called Talin Market and they had two different brands of
vegetarian mince meat, so we went there next and found a chunky 14 oz. bottle of real English mincemeat plus a bottle of Mexican vanilla paste.  I also replenished our shallots and bought a piece of fresh ginger.  On the way to Talin we stopped at the flea market store on San Mateo 1 block south of Central where Suzette found the perfect metal lockable treasure chest for her Christmas party on its own metal stand for $40.00.

After Talin we were still looking for some specialty baking ingredients, so we drove to the Specialty Store, where we found fine granulated sugar.

We walked across the parking lot and discovered a wonderful new shop Vintage Market and Design at 5901 Lomas NE with room after room of wonderful items, such as scented matches, French wrapping papers, and French soaps.  I bought bars of Pre-Provence French Soaps as Hanukkah gifts.

It was a bit after noon when we started for Costco and Suzette mentioned eating a hot dog and I asked, “Would you rather eat Chinese?  When she said, “Always”, I maneuvered the car into the Comanche exit on I-25 and drove to East Ocean.  Suzette ordered BBQ Pork with LoMein noodles, which I think was a little too crispy for her tender throat.  I ordered my usual scallops in Lobster sauce, which is $6.85 with tea,  sweet and sour chicken, and a bowl of really good egg drop soup.

After refreshing ourselves with a lunch at East Ocean we tackled the mobs at Costco,  where we found baking flour and all purpose flour, Posole, pork tenderloin, tamales, Cabot’s cheddar cheese, and Stilton cheese, strawberries, blueberries, pistachios, sliced almonds, lemon juice, lemons, heavy cream, half and half, olives, and several other items.  We then drove to Sprouts where we bought Borden’s Nonesuch mincemeat, pears, apples, parsnips, sweet potatoes, leeks for postage, milk, and I bought some more double dipped chocolate covered peanuts.

Finally, at 2:00 we drove to Gruet Winery and sipped a glass of Brut Rose and bought a case of Brut champagne.

After our full day of shopping we drove home at 3:00, unloaded the car and napped for the rest of the afternoon.

I awakened at 6:00 and showered and joined Suzette and Willy in the TV room and watched the end of George Clooney and Michelle Kidman movie about stopping Serbian terrorists from blowing up NYC with an atomic device in the early 90’s, while I ate two chocolate chip cookies and an apple with a cup of tea for dinner.

At 7:00 we went to the Outpost for a performance of Berber music by a group from Morocco named Aza.

 Riya Rothenberger, who had prepared the food for the green room for the band said hello, as did Rick Barrish, who had consulted with me about a Quiet title case regarding property located on the Atrisco Grant.

We loved the music and agreed we needed to return to Morocco soon.

The concert ended at 10:00 and we drove home to watched the first few skits of Saturday Night Live, with some scathing humor directed toward Trump and his family.

Bon Appetit

December 16, 2016. Lunch – PPI Pho Miso Chicken soup. Dinner at Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery

December 16, 2016. Lunch – PPI Pho Miso Chicken soup. Dinner at Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery

December 16, 2016. Lunch – PPI Pho Miso Chicken soup. Dinner at Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery

I ate yogurt, vitamin powder, blueberries, and milk for breakfast.

I worked all morning and finally stopped to eat around 1:30m when I ate the rest of the soup I made for dinner earlier this week.

At 3:30 I drove to the center in Los Lunas for a massage and dinner.

I met Suzette in the Greenhouse Bistro at 6:00 after my massage.

She wanted to try the braised pork shanks with sautéed onions and mushrooms on creamy risotto.

I wanted to try the Spinach salad.

The Bistro is a hidden treasure and definitely the best restaurant in Valencia County.  It serves wonderfully fresh food that is elegantly delicious at reasonable prices.  What could be fresher or more delicious than a warm baby organic spinach leaves, bits of onion lightly dusted with flour and fried to crisp, and diced pieces of thick sliced crisp bacon tossed in a skillet with a slightly sweet sherry dressing and garnished with a poached egg for $9.00.

We inspected the freshly baked breads, cookies, and pastries in the showcase in the restaurant and when we asked for bread with our salad the waitress took a loaf of honey whole wheat bread to the kitchen where it was sliced into thick slices and grilled until warm and slightly toasted and served on a warm plate with several of those small individually wrapped pads of butter.

Our entire was equally simple, fresh, and elegant - three inch sections of fresh pork shank braised until crisp on the outside and tender inside;  until the meat fell off the bone at the touch of a fork, served on a mound of the most delicious creamy risotto you have ever tasted with a glass of Beaujolais.

Finally, a piece of fresh home baked chocolate cake made by the Bistro’s new baker.

This was the simple but memorable meal I ate Friday night at the Greenhouse Bistro.

We sat in the Bistro’s gaily lit dining room with only one other couple who left before we were served, making us feel like we very aristocratic with our own private chef and wait staff.  The Bistro has  only about twenty-five seats,  so even filled with customers it will be intimate dining.

I can not say enough good things about Chef Kelly, who cooked in the Pacific Northwest for many years.  When I told him that his risotto was the best I have ever tasted, he replied, “I worked for an Italian family for a number of years who were very particular about their food.”

Perhaps that is the secret ingredient that sets the Greenhouse Bistro apart from the other restaurants in Valencia County, an Executive Chef in the kitchen who has years of food experience and is very particular about the food.

I look forward to the new seasonal field to table dishes that Chef Kelly will make this summer with the fresh produce grown in the Bistro’s own certified organic gardens.

Bon Appetit


Thursday, December 15, 2016

December 14, 2016. Lunch – Donut Mart.  Dinner – Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup

My lunch appointment cancelled, so I called Rahim, who I had agreed to meet at 2:30. And he was gracious enough to meet me at 12:45 at Donut Mart on Central across the street from UNM.

The owner, Fariq?, was involved in a transaction with Nizar that needed legal assistance.  After we talked for a bit I ordered a chocolate frappe, which is a smoothie made with chocolate ice cream. Nizar ordered donut holes and later we ordered a chicken, cheese, and green chili quesadilla.

After lunch I finished editing the brief and then rode to Montano and back.  I am thrilled that my body seems to be coming into shape.  I was able to sit firmly on the saddle rather than having my butt and legs hanging off the saddle, so could get a more efficient and less painful stroke on the pedals.  Hooray!

Suzette was getting sick, so for dinner I made chicken Vietnamese Miso soup with wakame seaweed threads, sliced  mushrooms, ½ of a large shallot diced, chicken, celery, chard, Miso, tofu, and three kinds of noodles (wheat, rice, and mung bean thread).

After dinner I meditated and then did my final edit of Bill’s brief.

Bon Appetit

December 13, 2016 Lunch – Asian Pear. Dinner – Bratwurst Casserole

Events yesterday prove that I often focus on the exotica in ingredients and forget about buying potatoes for the Bratwurst casserole.  Today after the second day long deposition ended I drove to Lowe’s and bought a 10 lb. bag of fresh potatoes for $1.77, which made me immediately feel happy about the dish.

When I arrived home Suzette was feeling worse, but rallied to construct the Bratwurst Casserole, one of the most basic of peasant dishes I have encountered.  It is simply chopped potatoes, sauerkraut, and Bratwurst placed in a baking dish and baked.  It took 1 ½ hours to bake the casserole, so I suspect we could have halved the cooking time if we had boiled the diced potatoes first, especially since the result was rather dried out from being in the stove so long.

The dish is like ratatouille, several ingredients that create their own shared unique flavor from being cooked together into a stew.

We drank beer and enjoyed/endured our simple fare; brats, sauerkraut, and potatoes and nothing else.

I actually had an active and exciting lunch.  I walked to the Public Library and checked out Suzette’s book.  Then I walked to Asian Pear.  As I approached the door I saws board listing specials and saw “Korean Noodle Soup $7.99”.  I went in and ordered the soup, but had some confusion, because the menu board inside said “choice of Meat or Tofu”.  I told the owner that I use both a meat and tofu when I make noodle soup  and she said, “both are okay.”  So I chose tofu and pork.

The soup was served in a large stainless steel bowl and was fabulous.  A clear broth with Korean somen noodles, slices of onion and celery, julienned carrots and omelet, BBQ pork, large chunks of fresh deep fried firm tofu, red chili sauce, spinach and sesame seeds.  A very nice soup.

Bon Appetit

December 12, 2016 Lunch – Anatolia. Dinner – Chicken Stir fry

December 12, 2016  Lunch – Anatolia.  Dinner – Chicken Stir fry

These are busy days for us.  Suzette is doing Christmas activities at the Center.  I am working with Bill Turner to finish his Reply Brief in the Court of Appeals and attending depositions in Martin’s case against the State for wrongful termination.

Today I was in a deposition that lasted from 8:00 to 5:30 p.m.  We took a lunch break and I met Bill Turner for lunch at Anatolia at 313 Central NW, which was 1 block from the building in which the deposition was held.  I ordered my favorite dish, Ishkender Kabob, which is chopped up beef kabob on a bed of diced toasted pita garnished with a savory tomato sauce and yogurt sauce served with a bit of salad dressed with red wine vinegar vinaigrette.  Bill ordered falafels with yogurt sauce.

We talked about the brief and water rights.

After the deposition I went to Lowe’s and bought a bottle of sauerkraut and drove home.  Suzette asked, “Where are the potatoes?”, which made me realize I forgot to buy the third critical ingredient needed for German Bratwurst Casserole.  So I suggested a Chicken stir fry, because we had PPI roasted chicken.  Suzette agreed and I started scouring the fridge. I found four stalks of baby bok Choy, a stalk of celery, ½ of an onion, and a couple of mushrooms, plus the PPI wild rice dressing from Thanksgiving with its fruits and nuts and garlic.  This was not enough ingredients, so I opened a small can of bamboo shoot strips and chopped ½ chicken breast.  I stir fried all the ingredients and thickened them, but was still in my “not enough ingredients” frame of mind, so I added a hand full of shredded coconut, which, because it was finely grated,  gummed up the dish and gave it a gritty texture.  Lesson learned. Enough is enough.  We ate it because we were hungry, not because it appealed to us.

I guess things like this happened when one’s mind is focused on other matters.

Also, Suzette was coming down with a cold and had little enthusiasm for cooking.

Bon Appetit

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 9, 2016 Lunch – Costco Polish Dog.  Dinner – Neighborhood Cocktail Party

I went to an all day seminar on water law today.

It had a one hour break for lunch, so I drove to Costco for a Polish Dog and glass of lemonade.

Tonight was the December Neighborhood Cocktail Party.  This month it was held at the rambling ranch style home of Steve and Debbie Cito at 300 Laguna.  We unfolded and plated the remains shrimp mold on the new hand painted Portuguese appetizer charger and surrounded it with Carr’s water biscuits.

There were lots of neighbors.  It seems like almost everyone decided to bring either shrimp or desserts this month.  There must have been six or seven platters or bowls of boiled shrimp, two or three of which were those self contained round plastic trays with a circle of small shrimp with a small ramekin of cocktail sauce in the middle.  I was a little upset that so few people chose to cook this month, but enjoyed gorging on shrimp and drinking white wines.  We took a bottle of the newly arrived 2015 Benton Lane Rose, which seemed to be less fruity and more Pinot Noirish on first impression or perhaps it was not a perfect complement for shrimp.

The winning dish this month was Debbie Cito’s Mezze board with its dozen or so small bowls of appetizers including soft fresh ricotta cheese, sliced cheddar and sliced Pecorino Romano cheeses, chopped dates, homemade fig jam, home made tomato chutney, salami, prosciutto wrapped around a bit of cheese, cornichon,smoked salmon slices, and a few other appetizing selections, accompanied by a tray with two kinds of cracker and a pile of toasted French bread.  I loved Debbie’s assortment of appetizing nibbles and ate quite a few raisin and almond crackers spread with fresh ricotta garnished with a smear of fresh fig jam.  Steve was the bar tender at the extensive bar beside the front door.  I tried a wine he recommended by Peju Winery in Napa that was a blend of white and red grapes, but mostly drank Sauvignon Blanc because I like it better with shrimp.

Willy met us at the party and talked to lots of folks about his plan to make Park Ave. a walking street on Christmas Eve.

We arrived a bit after 7:00 and stayed until after 9:30.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 10, 2016 Lunch – PPI Shrimp Scampi. Dinner – Roasted Chicken with Sautéed Yellow Squash, Shallot, and Asparagus

December 10, 2016 Lunch – PPI Shrimp Scampi. Dinner – Roasted Chicken with Sautéed Yellow Squash, Shallot, and Asparagus

Suzette made a lovely cheese, red onion, and mushRoom omelet garnished with a scoop of PPI The Shed red chili and enchiladas.  Suzette made Bloidy Mary and I drank my usual glass of a Clamato juice. I worked all day, so I heated the PPI Shrimp Scampi for lunch with some noodles.

Suzette brought home a Roasted Chicken from the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery.  We decided in the morning to sauté yellow squash with onion for dinner and Suzette said she was hungry when she arrived with the chicken, so she diced seven or eight stalks of asparagus, couple of yellow squashes, and I diced a large shallot.  Suzette then sautéed the three ingredients in a skillet with butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

We ate a great dinner of roasted chicken, sautéed vegetables, PPI pasta with 2013 Herman Moser Gruner Ueltliner Gebling Kremstal Austrian white wine that Penny and Armin gave us.  We found it a little raw when opened, but it mellowed into a very pleasant and drinkable wine after a day or two in the fridge.  I suspect you can find this wine on the wine list at Los Poblanos Restaurant.

Bon Appetit

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 8, 2016 Lunch – Ichiban. Dinner – Oslo Bucco with roasted Vegetables and Cranberry Sauce

December 8, 2016 Lunch – Ichiban. Dinner – Oslo Bucco with roasted Vegetables and Cranberry Sauce

Yesterday and this morning I ate my usual, yogurt, granola, milk, vitamin powder, and red grapes.

Yesterday I drove with Martin to court in Santa Fe.  After court we met Amy and ate at the Shed for lunch.  I had my favorite dish; two blue corn enchiladas wIth ground beef and double posole and red chili.

Martin ordered carne adovado and Amy ordered a cup of mushroom soup.  After Amy left, Martin and I split a chocolate mocha cake.

For dinner after meditation I was not terribly hungry, so I heated and ate the 1/3 of the pot of PPI Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup left from the other day.

This morning I went to the Annual Meeting of TecMed at 9:00 at the Flying Star on Corrales Road north of Alameda and afterwards shopped at Sprouts at Alameda and Corrales Road.  I bought blueberries, yellow squash, bratwurst, green beans, and three lovely lamb chops cut horizontally across the leg (Osso Bucco style).

When I finished shopping, it was 11:08.  Since the Sprouts store is located in the same shopping center as Ichiban I called Robert Mueller, but he was working and had eaten at Ichiban the previous evening, so was unable to join me. I decided to respond to my powerful urge to eat sushi at Ichiban, so at 11:30 I found myself seated and ordering Chirashi Donburi with their wonderful green tea at Ichiban.  I got one fish I did not like, sort of an albacore tuna that tore into pieces instead of sliced and imitation crab (fish cake)m but there were three slices each of yellow tail, tuna, salmon and one other fish, plus egg omelet, so the selection of fish was okay and plentiful.  What sets Ichiban apart from Azusa in my opinion is the addition of flying fish eggs pressed on top of the rice and the addition of liberal amounts of green seaweed salad and pickled squid and mushroom salad.  I live both of these salads.

I enjoyed lunch tremendously. The waitress was very attentive, checking and pouring fresh hot green tea often.  I felt for a second like a Japanese Businessman in a Japanese restaurant being served by geisha.

I finally arrived home a little after 1:00 and worked until a bit after 4:00 when Luke called, so I talked to him until a bit after 5:00 about all his adventures and mis-adventures.

Since the lamb chops were Osso Bucco style cuts, I decided to make Osso Bucco.  I went on line and found an authentic recipe.  Here is the recipe:

I had all the ingredients except for tomato paste, but we had a 15 oz. can of stewed tomatoes that I drained all the juice out of until I compressed down the tomatoes to just the tomato pulp.

I followed the recipe, browning the chops in olive oil in the large Le Crueset casserole until browned.  Suzette arrived around 6:00, as I was chopping and sautéing the c2 carrots, two stalks of celery, and 1 large onion and began helping me.  We decided to use the roasted garlic in olive oil in the fridge, so she fetched the bottle for me and I chopped four or five cloves.  The major shortcut I suggested and Suzette agreed with, was using PPI turkey gravy, instead of making lamb stock.  Also, while I sautéed the Vegetables, added the approximately 8 oz. of crushed canned stewed tomatoes and chopped them a bit and stirred them into the other cooking vegetables, and went to the garden and picked a large handful of thyme stalks, and sat and de-stemmed about 2 T. of thyme leaves from their stems, Suzette chopped Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, ½ of a red onion, and one or two if the yellow crock necked squash I had bought at Sprouts, put them into a baking dish and salt and peppered the vegetables and drizzled them with olive oil.  She also diluted the turkey gravy with water to make the required 1 quart and added it. I fetched the PPI D7 Pinot Noir and she added that to the cooking vegetable mixture and I added the 2 T. of thyme and cooked the vegetable mixture a few more minutes and stirred to mix the ingredients.  Then we laid the lamb chops back on the vegetables and covered the casserole with its lid, removed a rack from the pre-heated oven to make room for the large Le Creuset casserole and slid both the aluminum covered vegetables in their baking dish and the casserole with the vegetables and lamb chops into the oven.


At this point there was a rather lengthy discussion with immediate agreement regarding time and temperature and setting of the oven.  It was decided to bake both the dishes for one hour at 300 degrees without convection although this was a departure from the recipe time and temperature of two hours at 250 or 275 degrees.  I had invited Wily and it was 7:00 and we expected him by 8:00 and did not want to eat too late.

Willy arrived around 7:45 and at 8:00 we removed the lamb from the casserole and uncovered the vegetables and put the lamb on the vegetables and kept cooking the vegetables while Suzette puréed the vegetables with the immersion mixer.  Unfortunately, we had forgotten to remove a rib section of lamb and the vegetables were only an inch to an 1 ½ deep, so sauce was flung around the stove area until we removed the lamb rib bones, but we achieved a rather pleasing rough purée of the vegetables.

I opened a 2011 La Madone Fleurie French Burgundy from Trader Joe’s and poured glasses of it and we heated some dinner rolls that were in the fridge and I put out butter for the rolls while Suzette took the roasted vegetables and lamb from the oven and filled pasta bowls with roasted vegetables, the a lamb chop, and finally spoonfuls of vegetable sauce.

We all agreed that the lamb was sufficiently tender and the sauce was very tasty with both the lamb and the vegetables, but unfortunately the Fleurie was not great, although I think I only paid $6.99 or $7.99 for it a week ago at Trader Joe's. It was heavy and had a slightly bitter aftertaste that was unpleasant, although as it sat uncorked much of the bitterness went away during the course of the meal and we finished it with the meal.  I would not recommend buying this bottle unless you are a fan of heavy full bodied red wine.

After finishing our bowls of vegetables and Oslo Bucco we were satisfied and full and could eat no more and sat and talked.  When we said goodnight to Willy, and checked the time, I realized that it was after 10:00.

Suzette went to bed and I tried to blog but fell asleep at 10:30 and slept until 1:30 when I finished this blog.

I enjoyed this wonderfully full day of shopping, preparing a new dish for dinner and eating and drinking.

This the first time I have cooked Oslo Bucco.  The dish was prompted by Sprouts having lovely Oslo Bucco lamb chops for $5.99/lb.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 6, 2016 Lunch – Vietnamese Pho Miso Noodle Soup. Dinner – Shrimp Scampi on German Egg Noodles

December 6, 2016  Lunch – Vietnamese Pho Miso Noodle Soup. Dinner – Shrimp Scampi on German Egg Noodles

Yesterday Willy and I split four small plates of Dim Sum at Amerasia ($4.00 each); 3 chicken with peanuts dumplings, 2 bag su, fried tofu stuffed with shitake mushroom and wood ear threads, and. Bowl of rice with BBQ pork.

For dinner we ate a PPI turkey dinner and it upset Suzette’s stomach and she threw it up. Yuck.

Today I ate yogurt, granola, milk, and vitamin powder for breakfast.

At noon I made my favorite soup with ¼ cup of PPI rib steak, 2 sliced beef meatballs, 1 T. of wakame seaweed threads, 1 sliced shallot, 1 heaping T. of red miso, 3 or 4 oz. of soft tofu, I sliced stalk of celery, three diced asparagus, a Pho seasoning cube, a handful each of mung bean thread noodles and broad rice noodles, four egg whites, and garnished with two thinly sliced green onions. The coolest discovery of this meal was I poured in the egg whites and let them cook without stirring the soup for several minutes while I attended to some business and when I returned the egg whites had blossomed into mounds of meringue.  This was a new discovery.

I loved the soft meringue and hope to replicate the effect again in the future.

After lunch I thawed out a lb. of 16 to 20 count shrimp for dinner and chilled the newly purchased bottle of Gavi Princessa ($12.14 Total Wine after a 10% discount).  At 6:00 I walked to the garden and picked a handful of oregano and chard.

Suzette was on an over one hour long telephone call with Verizon in which she found out that her new I phone was previously owned and the previous owner had put in a password that blocked her ability to open the phone.  So much for the thrill of receiving a new phone.  Her occupation with the phone call left me free to cook dinner.

Shrimp Scampi

 I diced 1/3 of a yellow onion, five cloves of garlic and put it in a bowl.

Then I diced two tomatoes and put the tomato in a separate no else.

I sliced four large mushrooms and put the slices in a separate bowl.

Finally I de-stemmed the chard and oregano leaves and about ¼ cup of parsley and put that in a separate bowl.

After everything was sliced and in separate bowls, I fetched the bottle of dry white vermouth and heated 1 1/2T. of butter and 1 T. Of Spanish olive oil in a large skillet.

I then sautéed the onion and garlic for a minute or two over medium heat until it began to soften.

I then added the mushrooms and sautéed them for about five minutes until they were coated with oil and began to soften.

Then I added the tomatoes and about 2 tsp. of capers and cooked the mixture for a few more minutes.

Finally, I added the bowl with the chard, parsley, and oregano leaves and a bit more dry vermouth and covered the skillet with my wok cover and steamed the mixture for a few minutes.  Suzette finally finished her call and came to the kitchen and I added the shrimp and the juice of ¼ lemon and cooked the dish covered for about another five minutes, turning the large shrimp once to cook throughout.

Finally, Suzette heated the PPI egg noodles and we spooned  a small pile of noodles into a pasta bowl and mounded the shrimp mixture on top of it and garnished the dish with fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

We filled our wine glasses with Gavi Princessa.  Gavi Princessa is my favorite white Italian wine with fresh seafood.  It has good tannins and fruitiness without a lot of character to interfere with the food’s flavors.

This was a very successful dinner, simple ingredients combined into a pleasant dish that allowed the ingredients to mix and yet keep a lot of their individual characteristics.  How could these huge shrimp not retain their individual characteristic.  I cut some of them into thirds and each 1/3 was still a lot of shrimp.

I ate chocolates with cognac after dinner.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4, 2016 Breakfast – lax and bagels. Pegasus Jewelry Extravaganza. Dinner – Hungarian Goulash with egg noodles and string beans and apricot Cobbler

December 4, 2016 Breakfast – lax and bagels. Pegasus Jewelry Extravaganza. Dinner – Hungarian Goulash with egg noodles and string beans and apricot Cobbler

I made bagels with shrimp dip and lax for breakfast.

We went to the Pegasus Jewelry show at noon.

Then at 1:20 we went to the Art Museum for a One Woman show on Mabel Dodge Lujan and a Q and A with Lois Rudnick.

At 6:00 we started dinner.  We had thawed out a pork steak before we left home at noon. I sliced ½ onion, 4 large mushrooms, skinned and diced two Roma tomatoes and de-stemmed the ½ lb. of green beans.

Suzette diced the pork steak and sautéed the pork with the remaining pork confit, onion and mushrooms, then added the tomatoes and 1 T. of Spanish paprika and then ½ cup of Mexican crema to make the goulash.

She steamed the green beans and boiled a 500 gram bag of German egg noodles (Talin).

Suzette also made a Jiffy cobbler using a 32 oz. container of apricots we picked from Megen’s tree last Spring.

Willy joined us for dinner.

We drank the rest of the Guadalupe Vineyard’s Gerwurtztraimer with dinner.  Sitting for a day corked in the fridge seemed to have relieved it of its bitterness and it was quite drinkable.

We had no vanilla ice cream, so we poured crème anglais over the cobbler for dessert.

We the watched The Big Short.




Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 2, 2016 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with Stir Fried Broccoli, onion, garlic, ginger and beech mushrooms

December 2, 2016 Lunch – Azuma.  Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with Stir Fried Broccoli, onion, garlic, ginger and beech mushrooms

I worked until 10:45 and then drove to Fano and bought two baguettes, still warm from the oven.

Then I met Robert Mueller for lunch at Azuma.  We shared an order of egg rolls and each ordered a Chirashi Donburi.  I congratulated him on Donald Trump’s victory and even bought him lunch.

Then I stopped at American Escrow to get some documents.

When I got home around 1:40 I thawed out three rib steaks bought in April at Albertson’s for $6.77/lb. which is the new low price in town for choice rib steaks.

I worked until 5:30 and when Suzette came home asked her if she wanted a stir fry of beef and broccoli.  She said, “No, I would like to Grill the steak.  So I took the flowerets off a head of broccoli ($.59/lb. at El Super), chopped three cloves of garlic, about 1 T. of ginger, and ½ medium onion.  At 6:30 when Suzette grilled the steak, I stir fried the ginger and garlic in peanut oil for a minute and then added the other ingredients.  While these ingredients were cooking, I separated the tops of 3 oz of white beech mushrooms from the dirt they grow in and added them to the mixture in the wok.

I then added about 1 T. of each of mushroom soy and Chinese Cooking wine and a couple of dashes of sesame oil.  I put similar amounts of each of these liquids in a bowl and added 1 T. of cornstarch and about ¼ cup of water to the bowl to make a thickening sauce.

I covered the wok so the mixture could steam and cook for about ten minutes.  Then I added the thickening sauce and cooked it with the mixture.  The sauce thickened too much and became a sticky mess, so I added another ¼ cup water and that was too much water because it loosened the sauce too much.  I could have cooked the mixture for another minute to thicken the sauce but Suzette had brought the grilled steak in and had sliced it and she was ready to eat so we plated dinner.

I pulled the cork and poured out the ½ bottle of Zinfandel that had mellowed out from sitting for a few days after being opened and had slightly oxidized in a good way.

I ate some crème anglais for dessert.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November 30, 2016 Lunch - Nellie's. Dinner - Turkey and Oyster Dressing with Gravy

November 30, 2016 Lunch – Nellie’s in Las Cruces.  Dinner – Turkey with Oyster Dressing and Gravy


Today was a good day.  I slept well in the Queen sized bed at Motel 6.  I awoke at 6:50, showered, dressed and ate ½ of a bagel with lox heated in the microwave provided in the room and drove to court.  I arrived at 9:00 and found out that the hearing was scheduled for 9:30, so Sammie Singh and I went back out to the parking lot and loaded a 40 lb. bag of Pecans into my car.

We had hearings from 9:30 to noon and broke for lunch.  I suggested we go to Nellies, which is among the top five rated restaurants in Las Cruces.  I love their Chile Rellenos, although today the effect of the soft fried batter coating was diminished by putting the green chili sauce on top of the chile rellenos.  As I recall the last time I ordered Chile Rellenos at Nellie’s the Chile Rellenos were laid on a puddle of green Chile, so the soft fried egg batter was still toothsome. Today there was evidence that Nellie’s is a top restaurant.  After the meal the waitress asked if everything was okay and I told her my concern about the Rellenos being covered with Stacie and she said, “You can ask for them to be fried a little more.
I asked, “Or have the sauce on the side.”

To which, she answered, “Of Course, on the side.”

A great restaurant can and will make it right; whatever your preference may be.

We went back to court at 1:30 and I made my presentation on the .Motion to Strike Scott’s participation in SSI 107 adjudicating whether any pre-federal water rights survived the initiation of the federal project, which I ended with the  quote by Aldous Huxley that Bill Turner recently sent me, “Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.”

I got a chuckle from Judge Wechsler.  Thank you Bill.

At 3:00 the hearing ended and I drove home at 3:30 after getting gas and made it in three hours, thanks to the Mini.

Suzette arrived as I was unloading the car.  We unscrewed the hoses because it was going to freeze and then we discussed dinner.  I suggested we could go out, but Suzette said, “What about a Turkey Sandwich?”

I loved the idea and in no time at all, she has warmed two plates of turkey and oyster dressing covered with gravy.  I opened a bottle of Naked Grape Pinot Noir that someone has given us.  I did not like it because it had a fairly high percentage of some other red grapes like merlot that gave it a heavy unpleasant taste to me.  I prefer the lighter colored, unadulterated taste of 100% Pinot Noir, but Suzette liked the wine, so I let her finish my glass of wine.

After dinner I drank a cup of chai and ate two chocolate chip cookies and inspected the two lovely shrimp molds Suzette has made for Thursday night’ soirée with the Palmers and Rembes and read the new New Yorker and went to bed around 9:30.

Soon Suzette came to bed also.

Bon Appetit



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 29, 2016 Lunch – Turkey Dinner, Dinner – Panda Buffet in Las Cruces

November 29, 2016 Lunch – Turkey Dinner,  Dinner – Panda Buffet in Las Cruces

I ate yogurt, granola, blueberries, vitamin powder, and milk for breakfast.  Today I let the milk sit with the yogurt until the yogurt enzymes eat the lactose and turn it into a light yogurt, which I find interesting.  It takes about ten minutes usually with a good yogurt.

I worked and packed up some food and my suitcase until 11:30. Then I filled a plate with PPI turkey, wild rice and fruit dressing, sweet potatoes with red chili marshmallows, corn flan and a scoop of gravy and heated that in the microwave using the sensor reheat function, which I like very much, because it works well.  I enjoyed yet another Thanksgiving turkey dinner with ½ glass of Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc.


At 12:11 I left for Las Cruces in the Mini Cooper an arrived at Scott’s house at Radium Springs in less than 3 hours, which is a new record for me.  The sand under the RR trestle in the roadway to the Radium Springs Hotel where Scott lives was deep, so I drove the last fifteen miles into Las Cruces to the Motel 6, where Sammie had reserved me a room.

I rested and read until 5:30 and called Scott, who drove to town to take me to dinner.

Today proves that there is good food everywhere there are capable cooks who care about what they serve and use the freshest ingredients.

I offer as an example Panda Buffet in Las Cruces.  Don’t let the name fool you, this a small family run restaurant that features fresh interesting Chinese food cooked with fresh good quality ingredients.

There are about thirty hot items and about 15 cold items and four ice creams and four soups, so a rather wide selection of items.

Lunch is $6.69 and dinner is $8.69 and for that you get a really fine selection of items.  Among the items I saw or tried were twice cooked pork with vegetables, Orange chicken with fresh orange peel and orange juice in the sauce, baked fish, baked mussels (green lip mussels coated with a congealed cream sauce and a dash of paprika that was out of this world delicious), my favorite - sautéed mung bean sprouts with mushrooms and a few chopped vegetables, an interesting stir fried battered pork with mushrooms, beef and broccoli, dry fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, and many other dishes.  I avoided the spicy dishes after getting blown away by the spiciness of the ladle of Hot and sour soup I added to the bowl of wonton soup.  I ate as much as I could and then, when Scott looked at me askance as he brought bowls of ice cream and pudding to the table for his dessert, I tried those desserts also.  The chocolate and vanilla puddings were the typical Sysco large batch institutional pudding with their preservatives and ersatz flavorings, but the ice creams In five gallon boxes in a freezer unit were wonderful.  There was chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and green tea.  I tried all but vanilla and loved them all.

I ate too much but enjoyed Panda Buffet tremendously, especially for the price, and consider it one of the best food values in any city.

Scott is an enthusiastic Trump supporter, perhaps because he is poor and sees that the system is rigged against poor people, but after Scott told me about some of his medical difficulties due to lack of proper medical care I realized that there was not much Trump was going to be able to do to fix a broken medical system and felt even worse for the poor who can not get good medical care.

My fondest hope would be for Trump to make one of his first infrastructure projects, building a new water treatment system for Flint, Michigan, one of the states that gave him his victory and arguably is in greater need of a drinking water system than any other city in America.

I wonder if America has the will to fix the broken systems we now are saddled with, such as the healthcare system, the infrastructure system, and our political system and whether Trump is the man to successfully address those challenges.

We shall soon see.

Bon Appetit


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 28, 2016 Lunch – PPI Shrimp Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup, Dinner – Sautéed Scallops with Chard, tomatoes, garlic, onion, Mung bean sprouts, PPI lasagna noodles, sorrel, and baby bok

November 28, 2016 Lunch – PPI Shrimp Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup,  Dinner – Sautéed Scallops with Chard, tomatoes, garlic, onion, Mung bean sprouts, PPI lasagna noodles, sorrel, and baby bok

I ate yogurt, blueberries, vitamin powder, milk, and granola for breakfast.

For lunch I heated the PPI Shrimp and fish ball Pho flavored Miso soup containing wakame threads, soft tofu, white miso, chard, fish balls, shrimp, onion, and three types of noodles ( Japanese wheat Somen, bean thread, and Chinese wheat noodles).

I thawed out the six sea scallops I had bought at Sprouts last week after lunch.

At 6:00 I refreshed the guacamole with one finely diced clove of garlic, the juice of one lime, a dash of Cholulu and salt plus parts of the last four avocados.  I ate a bit of the reconstituted guacamole with organic corn chips from Costco.

Suzette called to say she was going out with the girls for dinner and would be home around 8:00.  I told her I had thawed the scallops.  She said she would eat lightly and eat some dinner when she came home.

At 7:00 I went to the garden and picked a handful of chard and de-stemmed it and cut it into bite-sized pieces. I then separated two stalks of baby bok choy into the heavy white portion and green leafy sections.  I then sliced and diced 1/8 of an onion, about ¼ cup of fresh parsley,  and sliced two cloves of garlic into thin rounds and diced one Roma tomato.

 I began cooking by adding the onion, garlic, and bok choy’s white portion to a large skillet with 1 T. of butter and 1 T. of olive oil.  I sautéed these ingredients and added the tomato and partially thawed scallops with their liquid  to the skillet and continued to sauté.  I asked Suzette to heat the puréed sorrel and added two spoonfuls of it to the skillet and then added the chard, parsley, and green leafy portions of the bok choy.  The mixture was a little dry so we added some white wine to loosen the sauce.

Finally I added ½ cup of mung bean sprouts and 1 1/2 cup of chopped up PPI lasagna noodles from last week and covered the skillet with the wok cover so the mixture would steam and heat thoroughly.  In three to five minutes more the mixture looked heated and cooked and I served it.

While I was cooking, Suzette had opened the bottle of Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc the Cynthia and Ricardo had brought last night and poured glasses of it.  That was the wine I added to the scallop mixture to make the sauce.

Dinner was not very elegant looking but tasted pleasant, with all of its green leafiness.

We drank glasses of the Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc with dinner.  It was very clean tasting with good minerality/tannins.  Thanks to Cynthia and Ricardo for such a nice bottle of wine.

The idea behind the menu was to prepare a light meal that would feature the Sauvignon Blanc with the scallops with an assortment of leafy green vegetables and I think I succeeded in that regard.

The Roadshow and baking show were not on TV tonight, so we went to bed at 9:30.

Bon Appetit

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016 Brunch – Bacon, Asparagus, tomato, mushroom, cheese, onion, and avocado Omelet, Lunch – Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup Dinner – a Second Thanksgiving Dinner with Cynthia and Ricardo

November 27, 2016 Brunch – Bacon, Asparagus, tomato, mushroom, cheese, onion, and avocado Omelet, Lunch – Vietnamese Miso Noodle Soup  Dinner – a Second Thanksgiving Dinner with Cynthia and Ricardo

We slept until almost 8:00, I then watched news shows until 10:00.  Suzette did not want any bread so I decided to make a sort of BLT omelet by substituting asparagus for the lettuce.  I fried four slices of thick cut bacon from a Costco covered with a wok cover which reduced the oxygen and I diced ¼ onion, four or five stalks of asparagus, two large portobello mushrooms.  Suzette handed me the last tomato from the garden, which I diced and I sliced 7 or 8 slices of Comte’ cheese.

I whisked 4 eggs and drained the cooked bacon and crumbled it with a knife.

I then sautéed the onion and asparagus for a couple of minutes and added the mushroom slices and finally the tomato, bacon, and a diced avocado.

After the ingredients had cooked for a few minutes to make sure they were soft, I added the egg and the slices of cheese and cooked the entire mixture until the edges stiffened and I was able to turn ½ onto the other half.  I let the omelet cook another couple of minutes until all of the egg had congealed and cut it in half and served it.

Suzette had made a Bloody Mary and I flavored a glass of Clamato with the juice of a lime.

At 11:00 I went to El Super to buy roasting bags in which to cook the 17 lb. turkey I had bought at Albertson’s last week for $.79/lb. if you bought at least $25.00 of other goods.  My other goods had been 4 rib steaks that weighted 4.5 lb. and were on sale for $6.77/lb. plus a carton of Java Chip ice cream for $3.49.

At El Super today I went a little wild in the produce department and bought a pineapple (2lb./$.99), a papaya ($.99/lb.), 3 altaulfo mangoes for 2 for $.89, 5 naval oranges at 2 lb. for $.99, broccoli crowns at $.59/lb., three red onions for $.50/lb., a bunch of green onions for $.33,  a cucumber for $.25, 5 nice tomatoes for 2 lb. for $.99.

I then went to the deli department and bought a lb. of Mexican salted Crema for $1.99/lb. and ½ lb. of Oaxacan string cheese for $2.99/lb.  Finally, I went to the fish department and bought 1.3 lb. of 71 to 90 count shrimp for $4.27/lb.

After I returned home and put up the groceries we discussed how to bake the turkey.  We decided at 15 minutes per lb. it would take 4 ½ hours.  While I was shopping Suzette had removed the giblets from the turkey and was cooking them in water and some sage leaves to make turkey broth.  She had also made a wild rice dressing with the three cups of wild rice we cooked last night, plus onion, rehydrated dried cranberrIes and cherries and some chopped sage leaves.

Suzette had put the turkey into a large roasting pan. We stuffed the dressing into the back and stomach cavities and trussed those areas closed with trussing needles and string.  Then Suzette put a handful of flour into the bag and shuck it to coat the bag and we slid the turkey  into the bag and sealed the bag with the provided plastic clasp, poked a few holes in the bag to let it breath, and put the roasting pan into the oven around 1:00.

Everything else was made last week, so I cooked a lb. of the shrimp I had bought at El Super for the shrimp mold for next Thursday’s dinner party with the Palmers and Rembes. I put ¼ onion diced and a cube of pho seasoning into the pot of water in which I cooked the shrimp to give them a little flavor.  After the shrimp were cooked left a few shrimp in the pot of water and added a handful of chard leaves I had de-stemmed and cut into bite sized pieces plus a small handful of sliced wakame seaweed, a large T. of white miso, two fish balls, a large sliced portobello mushroom, three kinds of noodles, and about 3 oz. of diced soft tofu (Sprouts for $.99 for a 14 oz. chunk in a plastic carton filled with water).  I had also picked some basil leaves and five or six chives, so I chopped two of the green onions and the chives and added the basil leaves for garnish and ate a bowl of soup at around 2:30 and the lay down for a nap.

Suzette came and awakened me from my afternoon nap at 4:30 and we went to the basement to select wines.  She selected a Benton Lane 100% Pinot Noir Rose and suggested a White Burgundy, so I selected a 2012 Wellington Winery’s Roussanne, that is a Rhone varietal but raised in Sonoma.  This particular bottling won the Gold medal at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, so it was a lovely bottle of wine great minerality and character with good tannins.  Everyone loved the Benton Lane Rose and Ricardo decided to buy a case of it in the 30% off sale on Monday.

Cynthia arrived at 5:30 with her cranberry chutney, carrots, mashed potatoes and turnips, and three kinds of pie plus a bottle of Clos de Bois Sauvignon Blanc.  We had chilled a bottle of Gruet Brut and Suzette fetched the Cassis liquor from the basement and I made Kir Royals for us.  Soon Ricardo arrived and I made him one also. Then Willy arrived to join the feast, but drank water with a slice of lemon.

Here is some info on cassis: Cassis fruit is the French name given to the black currant berry. It is a member of the genus ribes and its taxonomic classification is ribes nigrum. There are approximately 150 shrub species in the genus ribes that consists of the two groups currants and gooseberries.

I then looked up the difference between cherries and berries.  Although cherries and berries are both considered fleshy fruits, cherries are drupes, which are a type of fruit that contain a single seed in the center surrounded by a hard core. Berries are a type of fruit on which the seed (or seeds) are located on the outside flesh ( I think, kiwi fruit).

Suzette had checked the turkey and it had not quite reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees so we cooked about ten minutes more until the small thermocouple in the turkey popped out and it had reached 180 degrees.  We removed the turkey to a cutting board and removed the wild rice dressing and I carved the turkey while Suzette made gravy in the roasting pan using all the cooking juices.

We heated the vegetable and dressings that were not already hot, like Suzette’s sweet potato casserole with red chili marshmallows, corn flan, and oyster and pecan dressing and Cynthia’s carrots, and mashed potatoes and turnips and carrots.  We laid the table with all the stuff and I poured the Benton Lane Rose’ and we enjoyed our second Thanksgiving feast and Cynthia and Ricardo enjoyed their third.

After we drank the Rose I asked Cynthia what she wanted to try next and she said, “the white Burgundy, so I opened the Wellington Roussanne and poured it.  Everyone loved it also.  I was proud for our Cellar.

After dinner and a lot more conversation, mostly about death, because Cynthia had recently visited a friend from the Outpost who was dying of brain cancer, Cynthia made whipped cream and sliced slices of pumpkin pie and pecan pie and we ate them with fresh whipped cream.  We forgot to put water on the table but this crowd usually prefers wine.

Willy and Ricardo left at around 7:30, because they have to go to work early and soon Cynthia followed soon thereafter.  Suzette and I watched the Poldack series of Masterpiece theater and went to bed at 9:30.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016 Breakfast and Lunch – Bagels with Lax, red onion, cream cheese, and tomato. Dinner – The Cellar

November 26, 2016 Breakfast and Lunch – Bagels with Lax, red onion, cream cheese, and tomato. Dinner – The Cellar

We had bought a dozen Einstein bagels at Costco earlier this week. For breakfast I sliced into thirds and toasted  three bagels.  I then smeared them with cream cheese, and layered them with slices of gravad lax, red onion, and tomato and studded them with capers.  We could only eat three of the six open faced sandwiches at breakfast.  I worked and Suzette went to Joann’s Fabrics to find a pattern for a kimono and where she found that patterns are now available on line and are cheaper on line. Her reaction when she got home at noon was, “I could have stayed home with a cup of coffee and found the pattern more easily and cheaply.”  God bless the internet.

After lunch I rode to Montano and back and showered.  At 4:00 we went to the art museum and listened to a man play piano and saw the Mabel Dodge Lujan exhibit again.  This exhibit is so extensive and so encyclopedic that it requires several viewings to see and absorb its full breath.  This time I just looked at the art and did not read the labels, but read some of the gallery signs I had missed the first time and discovered that Mabel Dodge Lujan was the Vice President of the artists organization that organized the 1913 Armory Show and she and Tony Lujan organized the 20 pueblos to oppose the Bursum Bill that would have destroyed the reservation system in 1922 and in 1940, she and Tony were part of the American delegation to the first International Conference on Indigenous people in Patzcuaro, Mexico.   Also Mabel wrote four books and published many periodicals, including the first book ever written on the artists of Taos in 1947. As Suzette said after today’s visit to the show, “All our lives pale in comparison to Mabel Dodge Lujan’s.”

At 5:00 we drove to the Cellar, which is the relatively new tapas restaurant located next to Lowe’s grocery store on Lomas at 11th.

We ordered a bottle of the house red, which is Campo Viejo Tempranillo for $28.00 and a tapa of figs, goat cheese, and fried pancetta.  Willy joined us after we ordered and had just received the tapa.  Bread slices were also served with two small bowls, one filled with a balsamic reduction and olive oil and the other a fiery hot green chili aioli.  We the ordered three more tapas, a bruschetta of goat cheese, a tomato slice and lots of strips of fried Serrano ham, chicken skewers wrapped with Serrano ham accompanied by sautéed blanched chunks of zucchini and crock neck squash, and a lamb dish combining sautéed chunks of lamb and a grilled slice of onion in a lemon sauce. Each of the tapas was $12.00 or $13.00 and the total bill with tax was $79.00 before tip.

We finished dinner at 6:30 and then drove to the Hotel Andaluz bar and had a drink and listened to Hillary Smith and her brother play mostly blues, many of which were duets.  We really enjoyed the lazy, calming blues standards instead of the high powered Honey House presentations for a change.

At 8:30 we went home and cooked the wild rice for the turkey stuffing for tomorrow’s dinner.

I stayed up until 12:00 to make sure the wild rice was fully cooked.  The recipe calls for 3 to 1 of water to wild rice and it took three hours to full absorb the water and for the kernels of wild rice to burst open and curl into their fully cooked shape.

Bon Appetit


Saturday, November 26, 2016

November 25, 2016 Lunch - PPI Lasagna. Dinner - Carrot Soup garnished with Sorrel and Pomegranate Juice and Caesar Salad

November 25, 2016. Lunch – PPP Lasagna Dinner – Cream of Carrot Soup garnished with Pomegranate Juice and Sorrel Juice and Cesar Salad

We rested until about 8:30 trying to synchronize pictures from my phone into the iPad and inserting photos into the blog, which is still a challenge for Suzette.  I am clueless and rely on her expertise.

I had a 9:00 appointment with Al that ended a bit after 11:00.  Suzette had been working making pillows in her basement sewing space.  We were both hungry, so we decided to heat up the PPI lasagna and eat it with the PPI Waldorf Salad Amy had sent us home with from Thanksgiving yesterday.

We then adjusted the plastic over the small section in the old garden where the basil and chard are planted and looked under the plastic covering the two newly planted raised beds.  We were surprised to see how well the sorrel we planted in May was doing and picked two large handfuls.

Suzette worked in her sewing area and I rested until she awakened me at 3:00.  I rode to Rio Bravo and back from 3:30 to 4:30 and at 5:00 discovered that the markets had been open today and my portfolio had benefited from the extension of the Trump Bump. My portfolio is now up 11% for the year and a little over 9% from the beginning of 2015.  2015 was a down year.  We watched news until 7:00 and decided to prepare the thawed carrot soup.  Suzette decided to dress it up with a drizzle of pomegranate and sorrel juice, so she puréed the sorrel, heat the soup and drizzled zigzag lines of pomegranate and sorrel juice over the top of the carrot soup for a lovely presentation and interesting flavor combination.

While Suzette was preparing the soup, I prepared a Cesar salad, using the slightly damaged old romaine lettuce,  2 tomatoes diced, 1/3 of a cucumber and an avocado sliced and diced and five or six anchovies fillets plus about ½ cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  I even found a few old croutons in the cheese compartment that I heated up.

We enjoyed the soup tremendously.  Suzette had created a new wonderful dish out of a PPI. I rejuvenated the Cesar Salad dressing by adding fresh lemon juice and Spanish olive oil and dressed and tossed  the salad.

I drank the last of the2010 Nessa Albariño that was past its prime and tasting more like sherry than Albariño.  Suzette opened the bottle of 2013 Hatfield Creek Estate Zinfandel from the Ramona Valley AVA in Ramona, CA given to us by Karen, Suzette's niece by marriage.  Suzette noted the Hatfield Creek had the high tannin characteristic of 100% California Zinfandels.

After dinner I made a batch of chocolate chocolate chip cookies with raisins and chopped pecans in addition to Nestles chocolate chips by adding Cocoa to the dry ingredients, which makes a drier denser dough that rises better.

I scorched the first batch of cookies, so Suzette read the manual and we changed the oven setting to convection bake, which was recommended for cookies and reduced the temperature 25degrees, as recommended, to 325 degrees and the rest of the cookies turned out beautifully.

We watched the documentary “Sour Grapes” about the first person to be tried and convicted for selling fake wine.  It was a fascinating look at the fine wine auction business and the guys who collect and drink fine wine, usually from $6,000 to $100,000 per bottle.  Bill Koch was in the movie because he did most of the initial research and he showed three bottles from the 1780’s and that had been in Thomas Jefferson’s cellar that he paid $100,000 each for.

I like wine and I collect some wine to drink, but I definitely do not pay much for it, nor do I collect or drink the great Burgundies and Bordeaux’s like the guys in the movie.  The other interesting person in the movie was the French Burgundy wine maker Ponsot, who went on a personal crusade with Bill Koch to expose the wine faker.  The wine faker, Ken, ended up being convicted and is now serving ten years in federal prison.

We ate a few cookies and I drank some tea and we went to bed around 10:30.

Bon Appetit


Friday, November 25, 2016

November 24, 2016 Thanksgiving Dinner at Amy and Vahl’s

November 24, 2016 Thanksgiving Dinner at Amy and Vahl’s

 Amy and Suzette worked out the menu for our Traditional Thanksgiving Family Dinner with little input from others because little input was needed.  There was an agreed division of labor; Suzette and I would make Chef John’s Corn Pudding, oyster and pecan dressing, sweet potatoes with melted red chili marshmallows, an Italian Cloud cake with a vanilla pouring custard and pomegranate glaze, while Amy and Vahl agreed to roast the turkey and make cranberry compote, cornbread dressing, a Waldorf salad with romaine lettuce, diced apples and pear and walnuts with a poppy seed dressing prepared by Harry’ Road House and a store bought Key Lime Pie.

I brought three bottles of wine, a 2009 Londer Corby  Vineyards Chardonnay, a 2009 Londer Corby Vineyards Pinot Noir, and a Gruet Brut champagne to be drunk with the Cloud Cake.

My only input was a request for oyster and pecan dressing which is one of my childhood favorites.

Valley loves key lime pie and he made the cranberry compote with a family recipe. He also is the master at cooking turkey, which is why we decided to eat our dinner at their house in Santa Fe.  Vahl has a very easy and successful prep for turkey.  He encases the turkey and the rack on which it sits inside brown paper bags, the kind they put groceries in at the supermarket that he has greased with butter or oil to keep the turkey skin and drippings from sticking to and bakes the turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 350 degrees.

November 24, 2016 Thanksgiving Dinner at Amy and Vahl’s



Other than that it was all Amy and Suzette’s prep and cooking with some help from me and Vahl.

The Londer Chardonnay was really lovely, clean and fruity without much oak flavor.  I drank mine cold and others, closer to cool room temperature.  The Pinot Noir was also incredibly clean tasting but lacked that lingering Pinot Noir after taste at the back of the throat that the great French Burgundies have.  A small shortcoming when one is using it to wash down large amounts of food, but less than an optimum drinking experience.  I recall the description by Rick Davis, who was Londer’s winemaker about how they came up with Londer’s famous Parabol Pinot.  He said they had two wonderful Pinots, one with a very lovely fruit forward flavor and another with almost no fruit forward flavor but with a powerful finish, so they mixed them until they had a wine with both a fruit forward flavor and a powerful finish.  I bet that the Corby Vineyards Pinot was the fruit forward part of that equation .

Perhaps that is how the French vintners make their great burgundies.

Most wineries buy most of their grapes from growers, so they are able to buy grapes from many different locales raised in many different ways.

Here is an article that describes this relationship between growers and wine makers in Oregon’s Pinot Noir country:

http://www.winemag.com/2016/10/17/five-oregon-vineyards-worth-knowing/

Bon Appetit



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016 Lunch – Café Da Lat Dinner - Poached Salmon with a Garlic Cream Sauce, Steamed Snow Peas, and Fresh Cranberry Sauce

November 23, 2016  Lunch – Café Da Lat  Dinner - Poached Salmon with a Garlic Cream Sauce, Steamed Snow Peas, and Fresh Cranberry Sauce

I reverted to granola, yogurt, milk, and blueberries with vitamin powder for breakfast this morning.

I met Terry Jassman for lunch at Café Da Lat at 1:00, which Terry reintroduced me to several months ago.  I like Café Da Lat and now count it among the best and most authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Albuquerque, although for uniquely wonderful food I still put Lan’s at the top of the list of my favorite  Vietnamese restaurant in the state.

After lunch I went to Sprouts to get a red bell pepper, celery, and gelatin for Mother’s shrimp mold plus mushrooms, asparagus and green beans.  As it turned out I was a week early for the shrimp mold and we had lots of green vegetables because I had bought the snow peas and a package of baby bok choy at Talin two days ago.  Perhaps I was just feeling the herding instinct to go shopping on the biggest food shopping day of the year and rub shoulders to get some physical contact with all those Thanksgiving cooks. For example, as I was picking through fresh green beans for haricot verts a lady came up and said, “I need green beans for ten,” as she stuffed a plastic bag full of handfuls of beans.

After Sprouts I drove to Costco to fill the gas tank for tomorrow’s drive to Santa Fe and back.

When I got home around 3:30  I noted that the market had set another new high in the Dow but the other two indices were starting to turn downward in what may be an indicator that the Trump bump is about at its end.

I rode to Montano at 4:00 and got back home in a very respectable 50 minutes, where I found Suzette watching TV.  We watched the Business news program, NBR, as we usually do and then started cooking at 5:30.

We had decided yesterday to fix the salmon I filleted, but had not decided on the entire menu.  Suzette picked the menu with one suggestion from me. Suzette likes cranberry sauce with salmon, so, since we had a 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries, she wanted to make fresh cranberry sauce.  She also wanted to poach the salmon and make a cream sauce for it using the poaching medium instead of milk, which I also prefer. My request was to flavor the cream sauce with garlic.

Suzette cooked dinner. She snipped the ends off the snow peas but did not strip off the strings on each side of the pea and steamed them.  Then she poached the salmon fillets in the fish stock I had made two days ago from the salmon bones and tail.  Then she kept the salmon warm in the oven while she made the cream sauce by pouring off the poaching medium and then making a roux in the deep skillet she poached the salmon in with two T. of butter and two T. of flour.  After cooking the roux for three minutes to cook the flour, she pressed in the pulp of three cloves of garlic and then whisked in enough stock to make a thin, but smooth sauce.  The sauce, even with the garlic, did not have much flavor, so we started adding things to it, including ½ tsp. of white pepper, 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg, ¼ cup of cream, 1/3 tsp. of salt and finally I went to the garden and picked three sprigs each of tarragon and thyme and put 1 tsp of tarragon and ¼ tsp. of thyme in.  The sauce still did not have a strong flavor so Suzette added another tsp. of salt, which amplified all the flavors and made the sauce taste fabulous.

Suzette also made cranberry sauce by cooking 12 oz. of cranberries with sugar in a bit of water to which I added the juice of ½ lemon and ½ orange and the zest from three small oranges.

I had brought up a bottle of 2010 Nessa Spanish Albariño and chilled it yesterday, which we opened for dinner.  The wine had darkened to a deep yellow and the wine, although not oxidized, had taken on a sherry like flavor.  I guess we better drink the rest of the Nessa Albariño soon.

This was a very satisfying meal and lovely to look at, a color combination of pink, red, green and white on the plate with a deep yellow in the wine glass.

I ate some Java Chip ice cream after dinner with a drizzle of Kahlua.

We went to bed at 9:00 after watching an episode of Miss Fisher on PBS.

Bon Appetit

November 22, 2016 Lunch – Vietnamese Noodle Soup with Shrimp Dinner – Lasagna

November 22, 2016  Lunch – Vietnamese Noodle Soup with Shrimp
Dinner – Lasagna

A day of cooking.  I started the day with a bagel spread with goat cheese and sliced lax with tea.

Then I made Gravad  lax with 2/3 cup of salt, 1 tsp. of black pepper, and ½ cup of sugar. I filleted a whole salmon and cut each filet so it would fit into a Pyrex baking dish, leaving the rest to cook for dinner tomorrow. I then layered dill weed on the outside and inside of” the two matched filets and


November 22, 2016  Lunch – Vietnamese Noodle Soup with Shrimp

Dinner – Lasagna

A day of cooking.  I started the day with a bagel spread with goat cheese and sliced lax with tea.

Then I made Gravad  lax with 2/3 cup of salt, 1 tsp. of black pepper, and ½ cup of sugar. I filleted a whole salmon and cut each filet so it would fit into a Pyrex baking dish, leaving the rest to cook for dinner tomorrow. I then layered dill weed on the outside and inside of” the two matched filets and spooned the dry mixture on the outside and inside of the two matched filets and put them facing each other with their insides joined together and the skin side out into the Pyrex bowl, covered them with Saran and weighted the two filets with a brick.
I then put it into the fridge to cure.  I put the ones into a pot with water to turn into a stock.

For lunch I made a Vietnamese Noodle soup with a pho flavoring cube, a generous T. of miso, ¼ medium onion, fifteen snow peas de-threaded and cut in half, two mushrooms, bean thread, rice stick, and wheat noodles, fish sauce, shrimp, some salmon, sesame oil,  and Chinese cooking wine. I picked basil from the garden, poured hoisin sauce and lime juice into the soup bowl and put in mung bean sprouts I had bought at Talin yesterday.

Suzette came home early and began cooking when I left at 3:30 to ride to Rio Bravo and back.  Suzette prepped the sweet potatoes for thanksgiving and made a really nice Cloud cake.  When I got home I had a shower and the ate three slices of toasted French bread spread with Nutella.

When we cleared out the freezer in the garage, we found a container of what turned out to be spaghetti sauce, so Suzette decided to make lasagna while I went to meditate.  We had a box of sheets of lasagna noodles, which she cooked and then layered mushrooms, tomato, slices of zucchini and cheese between layers of pasta.

When I returned home at 7:30 we dished up the lasagna and poured the rest of the Josh Cabernet Sauvignon that Keith gave me last Thursday and then opened a bottle of Aquino Chianti Reserva (Trader Joe’s $5.99).

After dinner I made a pouring custard (crème anglais) for Suzette’s cloud cake.

Pouring custard

6 egg yolks
¼ to ½ cup sugar
2 ½ cups milk

I scalded the and let it sit to cool

I beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the egg turned a lighter color and the liquid ran smoothly off a spoon.

I then combined the milk using a sieve to catch any chunks of butter fat with the egg mixture and put the entire mixture into a sauce pan and stirred it over low heat until it thickened.

I added vanilla, but there are an infinite number of variations.  For example for my chocolate dessert, I often put ¼ cup of roasted coffee beans into the milk to infuse it with a coffee flavor and then sieve the milk to remove them.

Bon Appetit














spooned the dry mixture on the outside and inside of the two matched filets and put them facing each other with their insides joined together and the skin side out into the Pyrex bowl, covered them with Saran and weighted the two filets with a brick.
I then put it into the fridge to cure.  I put the ones into a pot with water to turn into a stock.

For lunch I made a Vietnamese Noodle soup with a pho flavoring cube, a generous T. of miso, ¼ medium onion, fifteen snow peas de-threaded and cut in half, two mushrooms, bean thread, rice stick, and wheat noodles, fish sauce, shrimp, some salmon, sesame oil,  and Chinese cooking wine. I picked basil from the garden, poured hoisin sauce and lime juice into the soup bowl and put in mung bean sprouts I had bought at Talin yesterday.

Suzette came home early and began cooking when I left at 3:30 to ride to Rio Bravo and back.  Suzette prepped the sweet potatoes for thanksgiving and made a really nice Cloud cake.  When I got home I had a shower and the ate three slices of toasted French bread spread with Nutella.

When we cleared out the freezer in the garage, we found a container of what turned out to be spaghetti sauce, so Suzette decided to make lasagna while I went to meditate.  We had a box of sheets of lasagna noodles, which she cooked and then layered mushrooms, tomato, slices of zucchini and cheese between layers of pasta.

When I returned home at 7:30 we dished up the lasagna and poured the rest of the Josh Cabernet Sauvignon that Keith gave me last Thursday and then opened a bottle of Aquino Chianti Reserva (Trader Joe’s $5.99).

After dinner I made a pouring custard (crème anglais) for Suzette’s cloud cake.

Pouring custard

6 egg yolks
¼ to ½ cup sugar
2 ½ cups milk

I scalded the and let it sit to cool

I beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the egg turned a lighter color and the liquid ran smoothly off a spoon.

I then combined the milk using a sieve to catch any chunks of butter fat with the egg mixture and put the entire mixture into a sauce pan and stirred it over low heat until it thickened.

I added vanilla, but there are an infinite number of variations.  For example for my chocolate dessert, I often put ¼ cup of roasted coffee beans into the milk to infuse it with a coffee flavor and then sieve the milk to remove them.

Bon Appetit










Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21, 2016. Lunch - Amerasia. Dinner - Sautéed Pork Confit on a pile of Smashed Roasted Sweet Potato and Steamed And Brown Butter Glazed Cauliflower

November 21, 2016 Lunch – Amerasia. Dinner – Pork Confit on a sweet Potato mash with Brown Butter Glazed cauliflower

No breakfast.

Willy came by around 12:15 and we called Amy and found out she was downtown.  We had been planing to go to Azuma for sushi, but Willy suggested we go to the sushi restaurant between 2nd and 3rd on Slate, which turned out to be Sumo.  When we got there it was connected to Amerasia, which used to be my favorite dim sum restaurant when it was located at the corner of Lead and Cornell. Micki is gone but the Korean lady who was the first waitress still serves and I am sure owns the restaurant now.

Willy and I sat at a table in the Amerasia side and soon Amy joined us.  We ordered tea and water and soon the service cart came by and we took small plates with three each of steamed dumplings filled with chicken and peanuts, steamed dumplings filled with pork, scallions and ginger, fried dumplings filled with beef, two bao su, a bowl of spicy rice and pork.  Amy and Willy were not very hungry so I


ate a few more dumplings.

Amy became very excited when she realized this was the original Amerasia because it was one of Sonny Lee’s favorites.  She took a picture of the food and called him to tell him of the find.

Later I ordered my favorite dish, wood ear and mushroom stuffed fried tofu in a vegetable broth and the lady gave us a small plate of Chinese Beignets

Here is a review from the Alibi that contains the Korean lady’s name.
Alibi:
Dim sum and sushi under the same roof? It's like a dream come true. The beautiful interior of the antique filling station just east of the federal courthouse is a marked change from the cozy home interior of where AmerAsia used to reside near the University. Hyangami Yi's food is just as good as ever. Expect her familiar dim sum plates and buns, and feel free to order sushi like you've never had in this town from her brother Woo Youn. He's got all the usual sashimi and nigiri in his adjoining restaurant, but it's the original, creative rolls that really set Sumo apart—that, and the adorable little train that ferries your pickled ginger around the sushi bar.

I then drove home for 1 hour, just long enough to do a little work and see the stock market finish at an all time high. Then I drove to a 3:00 meeting  and afterward stopped at Sprouts to shop.  I was looking for dill but there was none.  I bought ½ lb. of nice sea scallops for $12.99/lb., two good medium avocados for $.68 each, a cauliflower for $.98/lb., and cluster tomatoes for $.98/lb.

I then drove to Talin, but they had no dill weed also.  I did buy snow peas, baby boy choy, lots of different noodles, mung bean sprouts, black wood ear threads and beef meatballs.

In desperation, I stopped at La Montanita on the way home and finally found fresh organic dill for $4.00 for an oz. plastic container, which should be enough to do 3 lb. of graves lax. I also bought Wasa hard bread, and a 5 oz. package of duck liver pate’.

I finally arrived home in the rain at 5:30.

I was hungry, so I spread PPI turkey salad on a piece of Wasabread.  Then I heated the PPI Vietnamese Noodle soup and we each ate a bowl of it.  Suzette are up with a wonderful menu, Pork
Confit on a mound of mashed roasted sweet potato, served with steamed cauliflower glazed in brown butter.  It was simple, low calorie, and healthy.

Suzette has bought three cases of Rodney Strong Pinot Noir for the restaurant, so we tried a bottle this evening.  It was surprisingly clean tasting, but did not seem to be 100% Pinot.  We both think a producer can put Pinot Noir on the label if the bottle contains at least 80% Pinot Noir grapes.  It did it have a fully Pinot Noir flavor, but its lightness made it a good food wine.

After diner I ate a slice of my chocolate dessert with pomegranate flavored crème anglais and a drizzle of pomegranate juice.  The dessert is better with a drizzle of pomegranate juice to cut through the creaminess of the crème.

We watched the Antique Roadshow ad then the Gershwin
Prize for American song concert and presentation to Willy Nelson.

Another wonderfully of food.

Bon Appetit