Monday, February 29, 2016

February 28, 2016 Lunch – Salad and New Recipe Salmon Bisque, Dinner – PPI Roasted Potatoes, onions, and Brussels sprouts and Bratwurst with Pork Confit

February 28, 2016 Lunch – Salad and New Recipe  Salmon Bisque,  Dinner – PPI Roasted  Potatoes, onions, and Brussels sprouts and Bratwurst with Pork Confit

We had fresh blueberries, yogurt, and granola for breakfast.

We discussed what to do with some of the salmon we had and decided to make a salmon bisque.  

Suzette researched recipes and found this one.

Salmon Bisque
Adapted from [An Edible Mosaic|]

Yields: 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb salmon (I used wild sockeye), seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and flaked
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped, for serving

To a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, cooking about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, bay, tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook another 1 minute. Turn the heat up to high and stir in the wine, followed by the broth and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, cover and cook 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
Using a hand immersion blender, blend the soup until very smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and heavy cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with flaked salmon and chives, with lemon wedges on the side.

Suzette also decided that a salad with fresh greens from the garden would be lovely, so at 10:30 we took the car to be serviced and then went to Lowe’s to pick up a 6 oz. can of tomato paste.  When we got home Suzette picked a handful of celery stalks and a basket of greens in the garden.  I went to the garage and fetched the PPI salmon poaching medium, two carrots from the bag Jefferson had given us, and the leek I had bought at Sprouts several weeks ago.  I diced the celery, carrots and leek and then three cloves of garlic from out garden.  Suzette picked some thyme from our dining room herb pot and put out two bay leaves and I fetched the sweet paprika from the fridge. She then Sautéed the leek, celery, and carrots and then added the broth and other ingredients and washed and  spun the greens, while i reconstituted the shallot vinaigrette dressing with some balsamic vinegar and Sprouts’ Spanish olive oil.  I also minced several sprigs of chives Suzette had picked in the garden to garnish the soup.

Soon Suzette removed the bay leaves and puréed the soup with the hand immersion blender, added the ¼ cup of heavy cream and lemon juice and we were ready to eat. 

   The salmon bisque in its cooking pot

   Some of the fees green from our garden

What a lovely lunch!  I loved the interesting blend  of flavors of lemon, cream, with the tartness of the herbs and spices and tomato paste that makes bisque such an interesting soup.

We drank the last of the 2014 Italian Bellini Vernaccia di San Gimagnano. It's heaviness went well with the complex flavors of the bisque.

We started simultaneously watching the red carpet for the Oscars and the Downton Abbey Marathon at 5:00 and we decided to make a simple dinner with PPIs. Suzette heated the Brussel Sprouts, onion, Bratwurst, and potato casserole I had made earlier in the week and added some pork confit in a large Le Creuset casserole.  I poured the last of the 2007 Eguia Reserva from Rioja and we had a hardy dinner of peasant food.  

Suzette made an ice cream float with the last remaining coke left by Kathryn and Mike during their visit in January and the cherry vanilla ice cream.  I resisted dessert because I had eaten several forks full of Susan’s delicious Shed mocha Cake after lunch, while we talked to Bea Torgerson.  She liked the new movie "Race".

There were lots of phone calls today, including one from Willy and Luke from New York City.  Willy plans to return to Albuquerque on March 6.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 27, 2016 Brunch – Salmon Omelet, Dinner – New Recipe. Teriyaki Grilled Swordfish and Shrimp, Spaghetti Squash, and Steamed Asparagus

February 27, 2016 Brunch – Salmon Omelet, Dinner – New Recipe. Teriyaki Grilled Swordfish and Shrimp, Spaghetti Squash, and Steamed Asparagus 

We slept in.  At around 9:00 I de-boned the meat from the poached salmon and froze some, refrigerated some and we decided to make an omelet with about 1 cup of salmon.  I diced 2 small yellow and 2 red bell peppers and about 3 T. of  onion, a sprig dill, and I sliced 2 mushrooms, while Suzette whisked three eggs. Suzette sautéed  the peppers and onions in butter. I then added the mushrooms, salmon, dill, some spinach leaves, and a large handful of mung bean sprouts.  Suzette added the eggs to the softened vegetables in the large skillet, while I diced about 2 T. of goat cheese and added that to one side of the omelet after the egg stiffed a bit.  Then I added the diced goat cheese and flipped one side of the omelet onto the other side and cooked it another minute.  I cut it in half and served the omelet. It was perfect; soft on the inside with a somewhat crispy crust. 

    I drank a small glass of Verdicchio with the omelet

Suzette wanted to teriyaki the swordfish I bought at Sprouts on Friday for $4.99/lb. so she made a teriyaki sauce with 7 T. Each of soy, sake, Aji Mirin and 1 tsp. of sugar heated to the point that the sugar goes into solution.  Then she put the fish in a freezer bag with the teriyaki sauce.  I was afraid the .7/lb. piece of fish was not enough meat, so I suggested we add 10 shrimp to the sauce.  We thawed and added ten heads off shrimp.  

At 6:00 after watching Hillary roll to a commanding victory in the S.C. Primary, we decided to heat some PPI spaghetti  Squash and steam some asparagus I bought at Sprouts on Friday for $.98/lb.  I had ridden to montano, so Suzette took over the cooking.  She soaked a PPI cedar board in the bath tub and then put the 1 ¼ inch thick piece of swordfish and shrimp on the board and placed the board in the propane grill. The shrimp cooked in a couple of minutes but it took ½ hour to fully cook the swordfish.  She steamed the asparagus and heated the squash in the microwave and I poured out the last of the Verdicchio di Castelli  di Jesi and chilled a bottle of white Italian 2014 Vernaccia di Gimignano Bellini (Total  Wine $11.99 discounted to $9.59).

   The PPI spaghetti squash

    The asparagus

The swordfish was blackened but tender inside and delicious.  Suzette it cooked until almost the end of the thirty minutes and then the board burst into flames and crisped the teriyaki on the edge of the fish.  As Suzette said, “I bet we could not do that again.”  Suzette lay the shrimp on top of the squash and I lay on the asparagus for a lovely presentation.  The w swordfish was delicious tender and flaky and flavored with the charred teriyaki sauce on the edges.  We both liked the crisp tannins of the Verdicchio better than the Gimignano, which Suzette thought tasted a bit musty.  

We watched Boyhood and liked the editing, but not much else about it.  

After a day of good food we went to bed around 10:30.

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

February 25, 2016 Lunch – Azuma, Dinner at the Palmer's, New Recipe Pork Confit Goulash, salad, and Shed Original Chocolate Mocha Cake

February 25, 2016 Lunch – Azuma, Dinner at the Palmer's, New Recipe Pork Confit Goulash, salad, and Shed Original Chocolate Mocha Cake

Whenever I feel weak and want a high protein lunch, I think of Chiashi Donburi at Azuma, 12 pieces of protein packed seafood, mostly raw laid on sushi rice with egg omelet and daikon pickles. 

After lunch I went to Sprouts to buy Asparagus for $.98/lb. and found Swordfish for $4.99/lb. and bought some tofu and Seven grain granola, also.

On the way home I stopped at Lowe’s and bought 6 lb. of yellow onions.

We had made plans to eat dinner with Charlie and Susan Palmer.  The menu was simple.  We would make a pork confit and pasta dish and Susan would make a salad and the Shed Chocolate Mocha Cake for dessert.

New Recipe Pork Confit Goulash

We began cooking at 5:00.  I diced two small yellow bell peppers, two small red bell pepper and 1 medium onion.

I the diced about 1 lb. of pork confit inti bite sized pieces.

Suzette Sautéed the onion and bell pepper. Then she added about ½ cup of sour cream and ¼ cup of white wine to cream the ingredients.

Finally she added 2 T. of Huitlachote and the pork and cooked the mixture about 15 minutes to integrate the flavors in a Le Creuset casserole.

At 6:45 we carried the warm casserole to the Palmer's.  Susan had some cheeses and crackers and pistachio nuts for snacks.  We inspected the newly bought wines from Costco and settled on a 2013 La Place Madiran red rated 93 points points by Wine Enthusiast.  Here is some information on the wine and the region from Wikipedia.

Madiran was created as an AOC in 1948, and only red wine can be produced under this appellation.[1] The main grape variety in Madiran AOC is Tannat, which must make up 40-60% of the vineyard, and it is supplemented by Cabernet Franc (locally also called Bouchy), Cabernet Sauvignon and Fer (locally also called Pinenc)[2] Some of the appellation's top wines are in fact made from 100% Tannat; this is within AOC regulations.[3][4]

The wine is typically very concentrated, high in tannin and traditionally requires several years aging to be at its best. The style of really good Madiran is not unlike that of high-end Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux wines. However, recently some of the younger generation of winemakers have been experimenting with, and producing, wines which are softer and more approachable in their youth, mirroring a similar tendency in Bordeaux and elsewhere. The modern technique of introducing minute amounts of oxygen into the wine was developed here by Patrick Ducournau at Chateau Aydie. Micro-oxygenation or micro-bullage is regarded by many as one of the most significant developments in modern French wine making[citation needed].

Madiran is also known as the healthiest of red wines due to the high levels of procyanidins it contains. This is said to be good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting.[5]

Madiran wine is produced around the village of Madiran in Gascony under two Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées (AOCs): Madiran for red wines and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec for white wines. The production area for Madiran wine is spread over three départments - Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques - and is a part of the South West France wine region. There are 1,300 hectares (3,200 acres) of Madiran vineyards.[1]
Some of the leading producers are Alain Brumont, who is the proprietor of Château Bouscassé and Château Montus, Didier Barre of Domaine Berthoumieu and the Laplace family at Chateau Aydie.

The wine was smooth and with slightly pronounced tannins.  It was a pleasant wine, if not a big, bold  wine, definitely one of the softer, more approachable Madirans.  This was probably the entry level wine.

We enjoyed salad with warm rolls and the creamy pork goulash with he wine.

We talked for a while after dinner while Susan made tea and then she served the Chocolate Mocha Cake, which was much better than the one I made on or about January 25, 2016.  Luckily Susan gave me her recipe, so I can compare it to the one I found on the Internet.

Here is the recipe:

Bon Appetit 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February 23, 2016 Lunch – Three Noodle Soup with beef meatballs, spinach and salmon, Dinner – New Recipe Boiled and Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Bratwursts

February 23, 2016 Lunch – Three Noodle Soup with beef meatballs, spinach and salmon, Dinner – New Recipe  Boiled and Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Bratwursts

I ate granola with the PPI apples and cherries.  For lunch I made a noodle soup with rice sticks, wheat noodles and mung bean thread noodles, plus nori seaweed, sliced onion, mushrooms, spinach, about 1 oz, pork confit, 1 oz salmon with 1 cup of poaching medium, two beef meatballs, 1 large T. Red miso, 1 tsp of beef broth concentrate, 1 T. Chinese Cooking wine, 4 oz. cubed tofu, 1 tsp. of sesame oil, ½ T. Soy sauce, three egg whites.  I added cilantro and Hoisen sauce to the finished soup.  It was a little thick but very tasty.

Suzette had a Chamber meet and greet until 8:00, so I went to the law library to do research until 7:30. When I returned home I decided to make a quick dinner.

Boiled and Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Brussels sprouts and Bratwursts

I cut up three or four Yukon Gold Potatoes two onions and about a dozen Brussels sprouts and boiled them with three Frozen Bratwursts until the Bratwursts had thawed.  I then removed the bratwursts and sliced them and put them into a ceramic baking dish with 1 T. Of olive oil, 2 sprigs of Rosemary de-stemmed, 1 T. of horseradish, 1 T. of German deli musters,  and 7 or 8 Epazote leaves sliced. Alter about 30 minutes of boiling the potatoes, onions, and Brussels sprouts they softened.  I put them into the ceramic baking dish and garnished them with ½ cup of grated Swiss Gruyere cheese and baked the ceramic baking dish in the oven for twenty minutes.  The vegetables had yielded liquid and it was bubbling.  The casserole was cooked but Suzette had not arrived, so I decided there was not enough cheese, so I added another ½ cup of Peccorino Romano cheese and baked the casserole another fifteen minutes, until the Peccorino cheese melted.

Suzette came home around 8:20 and the casserole was in its final cooking phase melting the Peccorino cheese.  Suzette filled a glass with water and I poured a glass of Spanish Rueda.  

This is an example of a quick 45 minute meal from start to finish.  It is very humble fare but very tasty.  I could have added 1 sliced Apple to give it a fruity component.

Bon Appetit 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 22, 2016 Lunch – PPI Noodles with spinach, Huitlacoche, onions, and confit pork, Dinner – poached Salmon with Dill Sauce and steamed Asparagus and sugar snap peas

February 22, 2016 Lunch – PPI Noodles with spinach, Huitlacoche, onions, and confit pork,  Dinner – poached Salmon with Dill Sauce and steamed Asparagus and sugar snap peas

I was  hungry by 11:00 and wanted to eat the PPI Noodles with pork confit from the other evening.  I enjoyed them and ate 1 ½ plates of them, leaving ½ plate for this evening’s meal.  When Suzette arrived I took out the thawed chicken, but before removing it from its cryovac she reminded me that we had bought a whole fresh salmon at Costco.  We instantly decided to poach the whole salmon.  I fetched it and put it and the poaching pan and cleaned it and put it into the pan.  Suzette added the last of the Savenniers white wine and opened a bottle of Spanish Marques de Riscal Rueda and added some salt and pepper and water to make a medium.  I cut three slices of butter and three slices of lemon and put sprigs of dill with them into the cavity.  Suzette fetched four or five sprigs of lemon thyme from the dining room herb pot Janis gave us at Thanksgiving that we added to the cavity and we poached the fish for 45 minutes.  

While the fish was poaching I went on line to find a recipe for dill sauce.  All the recipes were variations of sour cream based sauces, so I put a cup of the fresh sour cream we bought on Saturday into a bowl and added 1 T. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. of chopped capers, 1/3 cup finely minced fresh dill, 3 t. Finely chopped onion, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1 T. horseradish, ½ T. Olive oil, and ½ T. Dijon mustard.  I stirred the ingredients together and put the bowl into the fridge.

I the de- stemmed the sugar snap peas and cut the tough ends off the remaining 20 or so asparagus and put them into the steamer with water. 

After 45 minutes we checked the salmon by cutting into it and found that it was not fully cooked even thigh the level of the poaching medium was more than half way up the fish.  We decided it needed more time poaching, so we removed the piece of fish we had tested and returned the poaching pan to the oven to continue cooking at 375 degrees.  When I asked how long we should cook it, suzette said, “Let it cook, You can under poach a fish, but you can never over poach a fish.”  That is the thing I like most about poaching, although I like my fish slightly undercooked so the juices in the flesh are still intact.

   Suzette's plate sans the noodles and sauce

Suzette then microwaved the piece of fish we had removed, which was about ½ of on side of the fish with the PPI noodles and I opened and poured the 2014  Sanrocchetto Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, which turned out to be breathtakingly dry, and quite lemony, which went well with the fish.  The sauce was a little sour so after we finished eating I added about ¼ cup of fresh Kirtland’s Greek style yogurt to the remaining 1/3 cup of sauce to move it even closer to Tzatziki in spirit and ingredients.

We have a lot of salmon left and a few asparagus, so I see myself eating a lovely salmon and asparagus salad with the dill sauce.  I have a faint recollection of eating a poached salmon and dill sauce for the first time in London on my family vacation to Europe in 1960.  I think the restaurant was quite famous.  Perhaps it was Scott’s.  Anyway I have gained a greater appreciation for poached fish since then.

The Verdicchio opened up a bit after it sat open and warmed a bit and became quite lovely.  Tomorrow evening we will probably roast the chicken with tarragon and lemon and drink the Rueda with it. 

Here are the wines:

After dinner we ate bowls of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate sauce (I poured a dash of rum onto my ice cream) while we watched the Antiques Roadshow.  

Bon Appetit 

Monday, February 22, 2016

February 21, 2016 Brunch – Gravad Lax and cream cheese on French baguette, Dinner - PPI Chinese food, Evening snack - Cheese and wine

February 21, 2016 Brunch – Gravad Lax and cream cheese on French baguette, Dinner - PPI Chinese food,  Evening snack - Cheese and wine

Today we did not cook, we worked and snacked.  While I watched the news programs Suzette began cleaning the raised beds and started cleaning out the other side of the garage that is still a clutter.

At 9:30 I joined her in the garage and we moved cabinets and made piles of used lumber and trash.  

At Ii:00ish  we decided to try the new gravad lax, so I went to the kitchen and sliced into three slices and toasted and spread with cream cheese a six inch long piece of Fano baguette and sliced a Roma tomato, ¼ red onion, and about nine or ten slices of the fresh gravad lax.  Suzette came into the house and made herself a Bloody Mary with the Tito’s Vodka and Clamato juice she bought at Costco yesterday and I poured a glass of the PPI tomato juice in the fridge and flavored it with the juice of ½ lime.  We put the platter of ingredients on a tray with plates and napkins and the bottle of capers and took the tray and drinks to the gazebo table and enjoyed our first brunch of the year in the bird bath garden, which is under reconstruction.

The day was sunny and warm, so after brunch we decided to play bocce.  We played for a while and then Suzette went back to her work in the garage and I trimmed the roses in the back yard until 2:30 when we decided we were tired and sore and needed to rest.  At around 4:30 we got up with hunger.  I suggested eating the PPI Chinese food from yesterday!s lunch at East Ocean.  Suzette fetched it from the garage and we re-heated it in a pyrex loaf pan in the microwave and ate while we watched McLaughlin Report.

At 5:00 we determined that the rest of our TV viewing was set for the evening on PBS, with the sequence of news, Charlie Rose, then an episode of Doc Martin, and two episodes of Downton Abbey.

At 7:00 before the beginning of Downton Abbey, Suzette got a scotch and I made a plate with four slices of Comte cheese and a piece of whole wheat bread spread with butter topped with slices of French Brie and poured out the last of the bottle of Village Mt. Eden Pinot Noir.  We shared the Comte and I enjoyed the brie and wine.  The Villa Mt. Eden was still smooth and pleasant.  I may buy some more. 

By 9:00 Suzette was ready to go to bed but I hung on until 11:30 and watched “High Plains Drifter” with Clint Eastwood.  

Bon Appetit

Sunday, February 21, 2016

February 20, 2016 Lunch – East Ocean, Dinner – Duck Confit Salad

February 20, 2016 Lunch – East Ocean, Dinner – Duck Confit Salad

Bernardo and Mark came to the house and fixed the light fixture over the Virgin of Guadalupe and the stereo wiring this morning.  We then went to Costco for lunch at noon, but the snack bar area was closed, so we shopped.  We bought a whole salmon, Brussels sprouts, coffee, lamb chops, Greek yogurt, and several cheeses, including, Swiss Gruyere, blue, Spanish Manchego and Italian Peccorino Romano, plus a few other items.  

Suzette had to attend a seminar at the water conference in the afternoon, so she asked if there was a restaurant close and quick, I answered, “East Ocean”, so we drove to Easr Ocean.  Suzette ordered No. 10, Cashew Chicken and I ordered my usual, No. 8, Shrimp in Lobster sauce with Scallops substituted for shrimp and sweet and sour chicken substituted for an egg roll.  

    Suzette's Cashew Chicken

   My scallops in Lobster sauce and sweet and sour chicken

Neither of us could finish our dishes, so I packed them in boxes and brought them homestead 2:00.  I then napped until 4:00 and rode nearly to Bravo and back.  When I arrived home I took a shower and while I was showering Suzette told me that Cynthia had called and they were going to April Price’s Gallery for an opening of new works by Doug Antreasian and his wife.  

When I was dressed, I went to the kitchen and put a bottle of Gruet Brut and the Trevino Prosecco Ricardo had brought to our Valentine’s Day dinner in the freezer.  Suzette was washing and tossing greens from the garden and had picked and cleaned  turnips and radishes and added carrots and a potato to make roasted vegetables that she had just put into the oven.   We drove the twelve blocks to Civic Center and walked to the Hyatt where April Price’s Gallery is located.  When we arrived I found that every one in Albuquerque’s small art community was there.  I said hello to Ray Graham and Ron Bousek and saw Faye Abrams and Charlie Anderson and several others.  Cynthia introduced us to Clayton Corkurt?, who splits his time between Corrales and Nova Scotia, who told us about the affiliation between Lauren Harris and the Canadian Group of Seven and New Mexico’s Transcendental Painting Group and about an exhibit of their work on tour.   

We then went home and I made a creamy goat cheese and shallot vinaigrette dressing and we de-stemmed and spun the salad greens and I sliced radishes from our garden and two hearts of palm and added them to the large salad bowl of ingredients and grated about ¼ cup of Italian San Joaquin hard cheese to the salad, while Suzette heated the three duck confit breasts in the microwave.  

When Ricardo and Cynthia arrived, they brought a bottle of naked Pinot Grigio and put it in the fridge.  Then  Ricardo opened the Gruet champagne and poured us glasses.  We loved the brut.  After looking at the newly lit art work, we tossed the salad with the dressing and divided it into four bowls and I sliced the duck breasts and garnished the salads and we had a lovely salad.  The big surprise of the evening was the Trevino Prosecco , which we opened after we finished the Gruet Brut.  It was light, dry and delicious.  Ricardo said he had bought it at Trader Joe’s.  We all discussed a wine run on Sunday to get more.

    The Salad 

   The Love Birds

We are all on diets, so no bread and for dessert, Suzette served us I single dark chocolate Lindor.  

At 9:00 we said good night and Suzette went to bed.  I stayed up until midnight in order to watch the Australian Race Down Under from Adelaide, which in the first major bike race of the year.  It was won by Simon Gerrans, an Aussy on the Orica Greenstep team.

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 19, 2016 Lunch – Que Huong, Dinner – New Recipe; German Egg Noodles with Pork Confit, Onion, and Huitlacoche, Ricotta and Comte cheeses

 19, 2016 Lunch – Que Huong, Dinner – New Recipe; German Egg Noodles with Spinach, Pork Confit, Onion, and Huitlacoche, Ricotta and Comte cheeses

I drafted an Access Agreement and worked with Aaron on the Development Agreement for the Los Lunas project this morning until 11:30, when Peter Eller arrived to go to lunch.  Aaron suggested Que Huong at the corner of Louisiana at Central.

We took a table by the window so I could see the mountains and ordered.  I went through my progression of choices with Peter and we arrived at a bowl of steamed vermicelli rice noodles (bun) with chicken with a curry sauce.

I ordered my usual of Bun with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  Aaron ordered his usual of stir fried flat noodles with shrimp in a light tomato sauce. And an order of fried egg rolls.  

Peter liked his dish. We had some discussion about art dealers and art in general and artists such as Gene Kloss.  


After lunch I rode to Montano and back and soon after I returned Suzette arrived and we discussed dinner.  Suzette wanted to use the pork confit.  I wanted noodles, so I fetched a partial bag of German egg noodles, while Suzette fetched the bottle of Huitlacoche, the bag of spinach from the garage, and the container of Ricotta cheese and asked me to chopped an onion.  

She then boiled the noodles (Talin $3.29), spun the spinach, Sautéed the onion, and then added 1 ½ cups of chopped pork confit, ½ cup of ricotta and the cup of Comte cheese I grated and then the boiled noodles. 

After stirring the ingredients for a few minutes, there was a creamy mass of noodles.

I poured glasses of the 2010 Marchesi Chianti Superiore.  The dinner was delicious, creamy cheesy noodles, pork, corn fungus, onions coated with with creamy cheese.  I loved it. 

It is incredible that we have had three excellent meals in one week.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, February 19, 2016

February 18, 2016 New Recipe – Duck and Ricotta Filled Ravioli with Asparagus

February 18, 2016 New Recipe – Duck and Ricotta Filled Ravioli with Asparagus

I ate PPI lax and Cream Cheese sandwiches and Chicken Liver sandwiches for Breakfast.

Lunch was equally uninteresting, PPI Posole with red chile enchilada.

I had a duck confit, tomato, and red onion salad at 5:15 in anticipation of going to the Los Lunas Council meeting, when Aaron called and told me the meeting was actually later and he would go without me.  So instead of not being at home for dinner, I was at home all evening.

My stomach was feeling a bit unsettled from the leftover food, so at 5:30 I went to bed to read my Book Club selection for this month, The Longest Road by Phil Caputo.  At a little after 6:00 Suzette arrived and said she was going to make pasta for ravioli.  I got up and went to the kitchen and Suzette had dinner well under way.  

Duck Confit Ravioli with red wine cream sauce

Suzette mixed a cup of the Italian Ricotta cheese I bought at Albertson’s the other day with a couple of cups of shredded duck confit left from Sunday’s meal, 1/2 cup of Reggiano Romano cheese and  in 1 tsp. of herbs Provence salt and puréed the mixture in the Cuisinart to bind it.

    Crimping the raviolis beside the duck confit and ricotta and pecorino filling

Suzette got the Italian pasta machine from the basement and made a recipe of pasta dough in the Cuisinart and rolled it in the pasta machine into two long sheets.  We used a biscuit cutter to make rounds of pasta, we then spooned a heaping tsp. of the duck mixture onto a pasta round and wet the edge around the stuffing with water and placed another round of pasta on top and crimped the edges together with the tines of a fork.   We let the raviolis dry a bit on a floured surface.  Then we addressed the sauce issue.  We decided to utilize the PPI sauce we made for Sunday night’s meal.  We added a bit of champagne to lighten the sauce.  I also grated and chopped another 1/4 cup of Reggiano Romano cheese to garnish the dish.

    The formed and drying raviolis

    The red wine cream sauce

  The roasted beets and turnips

Then we steamed a handful of asparagus.  I fetched a bottle of 2010 Lionello Marchesi Castello di Monastero Chianti Superiore because it has a lightness that would complement the delicate flavors of the ricotta and duck stuffing and fresh pasta  (I bought the wine as a close out two years ago at Christmas at Quarters, after Barry and Kylene served it at their Christmas party which Connie attended and recommended the wine.  It has aged beautifully) I opened and poured glasses of wine and Suzette plated the dishes with a puddle of the red wine cream sauce on the bottom, then the fresh boiled ravioli, then some PPI roasted beets and turnips from our garden, and finally some of the chopped grated Peccorino Romano cheese.
We had made ourselves a lovely light dinner: one that was as elegant as any of the dishes we made on Sunday.  I was cured from the bad food of the day by great food.  Suzette had made a new recipe worthy of repeating, again and again.

I have recently realized there are two kinds of wine and there are two kinds of wine drinkers.  There are those wines that are made in bulk and have no lasting capability that are best drunk young because they will not age well.  These are usually wines made with grapes grown in multiple vineyards in volume.  Then there are the vineyards that make wines from a single vineyard where they reduce production of the grapes by stressing the vines by either not irrigating or growing the vines on rocky limestone hillsides.  These grapes usually have lots of tannin and are slightly bitter when they are young but age beautifully.  They are also made with great care and blended by master wine makers and aged in oak barrels for years to bring them to maturity.  These are the expensive wines that can and should be stored for a long time, like the great pinot Noirs of Burgundy.  We tasted several 2000's at Taos this year that tasted wonderful, for example.

I went back to bed to read my book until I was called by Martin at around 9:00 to tell me that the Village of Los Lunas had agreed to purchase the land we are developing.  This is the first land development I have been involved in where I am an active principal in the deal.  We still have a long way to go, but the path to a successful development is open to everyone to succeed.  It feels wonderful. Thanks to Martin and Aaron for inviting me to join their development team.

I got out of bed and told Suzette the good news and ate a bowl of chocolate ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  

I went to bed around  10:00 and slept until 1:30 and watched “The Beach” in its entirety until 4:00 and went back to bed.  The last frames of “the Beach” shows a picture of the group of tourists who lived together on a remote island in Thailand together for several years with the words “parallel Universe” several months after they all were forced to leave the island by the native pot growers.  It is a complicated story line, but Leonard DiCaprio is wonderful in it and it is a great movie.

It made me realize that the difference between success and failure is often in our perception, in other words, in our mind. 

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February 17, 2016 Breakfast – lax and cream cheese on toasted French bread, Lunch – Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery, Dinner – shrimp and Pork Confit Tacos

February 17, 2016 Breakfast – lax and cream cheese on toasted French bread, Lunch – Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery, Dinner – shrimp and Pork Confit Tacos

I had to go to court today, so I made lax, cream cheese, on French bread open faced sandwiches and drank Earl Grey tea.

After court we met Marty at The Range and I helped finish a pecan sticky bun with another cup of Earl Grey tea.

Aaron then drove us to the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery for a lunch meeting with Joe and Mike.  We all ordered from the sandwich menu.  Among the choices were the Southwestern Rueben with grilled bratwurst, the Cuban, and the Monte Christo.  All sandwiches were served with salads.  I chose the raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  I also ordered a Hoegaarden and was surprised to discover it was a white wheat beer, because I was expecting an ale.  Everyone loved their lunch and said they would return.

I worked all afternoon.  Suzette came home around 5:30 and we decided to eat before I went to meditate.  Suzette fetched some of the pork confit from the garage fridge and heated it, the PPI shrimp taco filling, the stewed apples, and one red chile tortillas in the microwave and we had a pleasant dinner as we watched the PBS News Hour.  I went to meditate at 6:45.

When I returned at 8:20 I ate a bowl of yogurt with some more of the stewed apples and cherries.

Bon Appetit


February 16, 2016 Lunch – Duck Confit Salad, with Palm hearts, tomato, cucumber, potato, sugar snap peas, and onion, Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with baked potato, corn custard, steamed vegetables, and New Recipe - Sautéed mushroom sauce

February 16, 2016 Lunch – Duck Confit Salad, with Palm hearts, tomato, cucumber, potato, sugar snap peas, and onion, Dinner – Grilled Rib Steak with baked potato, corn custard, steamed vegetables, and New Recipe - Sautéed mushroom sauce

I ate a salad for brunch with the above mentioned ingredients with a shallot vinaigrette dressing.  I spread some of Malka Sutin’s chopped chicken liver on the dark bread Elaine brought and drank water.

At 1:00 I went to inspect the remodel of the Birdland and was pleased with what Duke and Ultra Health had done.  

   The newly remodeled Birdland area

   The remodeled dispensary area

I then drove to Albertson’s at the corner of San Mateo and Montgomery, where I bought Ricotta cheese for Suzette’s planned ravioli and milk.  I then went to the Butcher Block and bought 1 ½ lb. of large heads off shrimp for $4.99/lb. and had the butcher cut me three Rib steaks.  There is a special on rib eye, in which you buy 1 and get 2 free for $16.99/lb., which works out to about $5.75/lb. for USDA Choice bone in rib steak, which is my favorite cut of beef. Albertson’s USDA Choice is the most reliably delicious beef in town for the money. Remember I bought four boneless USDA Choice rib eye steaks of similar quality at Spouts for $7.99/lb.  I bought three 1 ¼ inch thick steaks weighing about 1 1/3 lb. each.  When I returned home I froze two steaks and the shrimp and put the third steak in the meat drawer of the new fridge.

I napped from 3:00 to 4:00 and then rode to Rio Bravo and back in less than an hour.  Suzette had just arrived when I returned.

We decided upon a super easy dinner: Grilled Steak, PPI corn custard, PPI baked potato, PPI steamed broccoli and cauliflower and a sautéed mushroom sauce.

New Recipe:  I remembered that last night I had forgotten to put any shallot or garlic in the mushrooms, so tonight I minced a shallot and sliced eight baby portobello mushrooms.  I then cooked them in the normal way 1 T. of butter and 1 T. of olive oil heated in a skillet.  Then I cooked the shallot for a couple of minutes on medium heat and then added the mushrooms. After another minute I saw that there was not enough fat to cook all the mushrooms so I added about 2 T. of Amontillado Sherry.  When the mushrooms had softened and turned color from light brown to dark brownish gray I added two tsp. of PPI the beef and red wine cream sauce we made for the party on Valentine’s Day to further enrich the mushroom sauce.  This is the best tasting mushroom sauce I have ever tasted.  The use of the red wine beef sauce enriches anything it is combined into.  

I bought the bottle of 2010 Villa Mt. Eden Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir in the close out section of Jubilation last week for $10.99.  It was surprisingly smooth but not a lot of character.  It went well with the rich flavors of the steak and mushroom sauce though.  There are so many good wines raised in the  mountains and hillsides of the coastal range along the Pacific from Central California through the Willamette Valley, we are truly blessed with many, many great wines.

After dinner we discussed using the sauce with duck confit tacos and duck confit ravioli, which are the next two dishes on the horizon.  I ate some chocolate covered peanuts and 2 dark chocolate Lindor and they kept my heart racing a bit, so I got up and blogged this blog for an hour and drank some water.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15, 2016 Lunch – Posole and red chile enchiladas, Dinner – hamburgers garnished with blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms, corn custard, and green salad

February 15, 2016  Lunch – Posole and red chile enchiladas, Dinner – hamburgers garnished with blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms, corn custard, and green salad

When we went shopping for blue corn tortillas at Sprouts on Saturday, we bought a bag of whole wheat hamburger buns. 

I ate Posole for a late lunch with a bit of red chile enchiladas and then took a nap.

I awoke at 4:00 and rode to Montano at an easy pace and returned home around 5:30 when Suzette arrived.

After Suzette arrived home we went to the back yard and covered the raised beds to protect them from the cold and picked some Rosemary.

We had decided to use the duck confit cooking medium to make pork confit, so I then chopped up five boneless pork chops Suzette had bought at Costco on Saturday, while Suzette made the marinade for the pork confit with rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and a bit of olive oil.

Tonight I decided to make a traditional dinner of my youth, hamburgers, salad, and a starchy vegetable.  Since we had corn custard, that became the starchy vegetable.  I tore five leaves of red leaf lettuce and added a chopped avocado and some of the PPI salad greens we picked in our garden yesterday and dressed the salad with a garlic vinaigrette.  

Suzette grilled the hamburgers on the grill and added slices of blue cheese to the tops of them after she flipped them and toasted the hamburger buns.  I sliced six mushrooms and sautéed them in a little olive oil and then added some PPI red wine from last night and a dash of the La Vina port and finally a ladle full of the PPI red wine and beef cream sauce from last night’s dinner.

We made hamburgers and ladled a scoop of corn custard onto our plates with some salad for a fresh, light dinner with a dab of catsup.
I drank a glass of PPI Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone and Suzette got back on her diet with a glass of water. 

After dinner while we watched the Antiques Roadshow I ate the rest of the Shed Mocha Cake with a cup of tea.  Suzette showed great will power and abstained.

The addition of the chocolate mousse cake made for a heavy dinner, but I loved it.

Bon Appetit

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 14, 2016 Breakfast – Sautéed Smoked Pork Chop and Fried Egg, Lunch – Posole and Blue corn Enchiladas, Valentine’s Day Dinner Party

February 14, 2016 Breakfast – Sautéed Smoked Pork Chop and Fried Egg, Lunch – Posole and Blue corn Enchiladas, Valentine’s Day Dinner Party 

We had invited Wayne and Elaine, Tom and Janis, Barry and Kylene, and Ricardo for a Valentine’s Day dinner.   We are introduced to new recipes in our travels.  This dinner party’s menu is an example of that principal.  We went to Eloisa’s for lunch not long ago and ordered three interesting dishes, a Pastrami and ball park mustard taco, a duck confit soft taco with a red wine Demi-glacé sauce and a very interesting hibiscus dyed corn husk filled with a corn custard and garnished with small green French lentils.  After lunch we stopped at Kakawa for a cup of hot chocolate drink flavored with lavender and garnished with whipped cream.  Suzette decided on the spot at Kakawa that we should host another Valentine’s Day dinner this year and replicate the wonderful lunch, so we purchased a bag of the chocolate drink mix.

The planning and prep for the meal took several days. Suzette decided to make a Sautéed shrimp taco instead of a pastrami taco.  Suzette decided to make the filling for the shrimp tacos with sautéed chopped shrimp, red onion, pasilla chile and cilantro.   

We found a recipe on the Internet website called All Recipes for Chef John’s a baked corn custard. Last week I had gone to Sprouts looking for duck breasts and did not find any, so Suzette went to Keller’s and found them and bought six for around $60.00.  I started the shopping on Thursday at Ranch Market for ingredients such as Pasilla chiles, limes, shrimp, hibiscus leaves, and corn husks.  

Friday I went looking for veal Demi-glacé and found none, but bought a concentrated beef broth and organic beets at Sprouts and a bag of frozen white corn at Albertson’s.

Suzette went to Costco on Friday and bought 2 quarts of heavy cream and 1 quart of half and half for the corn custard recipe we selected at
and a plastic container of lovely large fresh strawberries.

Suzette dyed the corn husks in the hibiscus Friday night and we constructed the corn husk bowls by securing the ends with strips of corn husk.

I have John Sedler’s first cookbook, in which Suzette discovered the duck confit with red wine sauce recipe, but at the moment I can not find.

On Friday we also thawed out the duck breasts and marinated them overnight.

Saturday morning Suzette made the duck confit by covering the duck breasts with olive and canola oil and cooking them for two to 2 ½ hours.  

    The confit duck breasts in their oily cooking medium

We also went to Ranch Market to buy red chile tortillas and blue corn tortillas.  They had red chile tortillas but not blue corn, so we drove to Vietnam 2000 for lunch.  Suzette ordered flour sheets with shrimp paste and grilled pork.  I ordered No. 21, which is a bowl filled with cool lettuce, basil, cilantro, and mung bean sprouts on the bottom, them warm boiled vermicelli rice noodles and garnished on top with fried pork filled egg rolls and grilled pork and served with a bowl of fish sauce to pour onto the dish to loosen and flavor the noodles.  

    Suzette's Flour sheet dish garnished with shrimp paste and fried egg rolls

  My owl of bun  Cha Gio noodles with fried egg rolls

We then went to El Mezquite and Ta Lin which had no blue corn tortillas.  Finally we found them at Sprouts at the corner of San Mateo and and Lomas where we also bought asparagus.  

When we got home we made a recipe of the creamy corn custard in our new steaming oven and Suzette tried to bake some of the custard in the corn husk bowls, which worked but did not creat the appealing appearance we wanted of a mound of custard in the middle of the bowl.  We had decided to substitute huicholote (corn fungus) for the stewed lentils, so we opened heated and tasted the huicholote. 

Suzette dipped some of the fresh strawberries and some pretzels in the Wilber’s Chocolate dipping chocolate we bought last time we visited her folks in Pennsylvania.  We were saddened to discover that Wilber’s shuttered its operations this year, after 113 years of operation.

Saturday morning we pulled the plastic covers off the raised beds and found that everything looked great.  

I ate the PPI Vietnamese dish in the afternoon and we heated up some PPI red chile enchiladas for a quick dinner.

Then we tackled the must challenging dish of the menu, the red wine Demi-glacé sauce.  We started by diluting the concentrated beef broth with water, the adding a bottle of Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone red wine and about 7 or 8 cloves of garlic.  After a few minutes of cooking we realized it would not reduce sufficiently because we lacked Demi-glacé, so we decided to make a roux with the cooking medium duck fat and 2 T. of  flour.  We then added the strained the red wine and beef concentrate to the roux to create a lovely creamy red wine and beef flavored sauce.  The sauce was a little bitter so we added sugar and La Vina port to the sauce and we liked the result.

   The finished red wine beef broth cream sauce

   Notice that the sheen of the sauce tells you the ingredients are well integrated

    Suzette with the bounty from our garden.  Note the uncovered beds in the background 

Sunday morning we picked turnips, radishes, daikons, and greens from the garden.  I diced the turnip and beets, which Suzette tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for thirty minutes covered and then twenty minutes uncovered in the oven.  Suzette picked and washed in cold water greens from the garden.  Then she picked radishes and daikons, which I sliced and diced for a garnish for the tacos.  Finally, in the afternoon Suzette made an avocado crema with crema sin sal and avocados I had bought at Ranch Market on Thursday.

I chilled three bottles of champagne including a rose brut for the dessert course.

We napped until 4:00 then showered and went to the kitchen.

At 5:00 Tom and Janis arrived bringing a nice bottle of Spanish Tempranillo named Volver.  At 5:30 Wayne and Elaine arrived with chopped liver made by Malka Sutin and some dark heavy bread and two bottles of Gruet Blanc de Noir champagne. 

  Malka's chopped chicken Liver and dark bread

 We stood in the kitchen and I poured glasses of Spanish Albero Cava and Suzette gave everyone a guided tour of the the kitchen remodel.  Then we went to the living room and sat and talked.  Ricardo came at 6:00 bearing a bottle of Italian Prosecco and at 6:30 Barry and Kylene arrived bearing a bottle of good French champagne (the best bottle of the evening) and a bottle of Gruet Brut.  

I gave Elaine a short tour of the art, while Janis and Suzette prepped the shrimp tacos garnished with green avocado Crema wrapped in red chile soft tortillas and served in a paper taco holders Suzette had ordered on line to match those used at Eloisa’s with the assistance of Ricardo in the plating and addition of the fresh lettuce from the garden and daikon and radish garnish, we sat down in the dining room and I poured glasses of champagne.  After the first bottle of champagne Barry opened and poured his Louis Casters French champagne.

   The happy campers

The shrimp taco was fabulous in the red chile tortilla.  I loved it and so did everyone else.  Suzette and I then returned to the kitchen and heated and plated the duck confit and roasted beet and turnip filled tacos sauced with the red wine cream sauce and served with the red hibiscus corn husk bowls filled with the creamy corn custard for which R Suzette  garnished with more fresh greens from the garden.  I poured the Volver Tempranillo.  

    Suzette's center piece blocked by a rose in the center hole of the candelabra

    The thickened red wine and beef cream sauce on Sunday

  The roasted beets and turnips ready to stuff the blue corn tortillas

    The  heated duck confit ready for stuffing into the blue corn tortillas

    I sprinkled Queso fresco on each taco for garnish

  The finished plate

After the duck course everyone started to talk about cooking and meals.  Wayne said it was some of the best food he had ever eaten in a private home in Albuquerque, which I considered a great compliment.  Others seemed to be of a similar mind.  I felt we had planned and executed a good menu.  When we finished the Volver, I poured a bottle of La Granja, which was a lighter 50% Tempranillo and 50% Grenache blend from the Carenina wine district  which lies south west of Zaragoza on a tributary of the Erbo., down river from the Rioja. 

We talked and then Suzette and Janis went back to the kitchen to prepare the dessert course.  Ricardo helped plate the chocolate dipped strawberries and pretzels and I poured a bottle of Gruet Rose brut.  Suzette and Janis then made whipped cream and mixed the Tonantzin chocolate drink flavored with lavender from Kakawe with water and heated it until it thickened and then ladled it into small Demitasse cups.

After the rose was drunk I opened a 1997 Gilbert vintage Gruet champagne which was smooth but had lost most of its fruity bubbly vibrancy. 

Around 10:00 everyone left and we thanked Ricardo for helping build the support structure and move the Virgin of Guadalupe and the three Florence Pierces to the stairwell to the basement.

I enjoyed the evening and hope everyone else did.  Janis reminded us this was our second Annual Valentine’s Day Dinner.

Bon Appetit