Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016 Breakfast – Lax and Bagel, Lunch – Sushi Hana, Dinner – Shrimp Fried Rice

May 31, 2016 Breakfast – Lax and Bagel, Lunch – Sushi Hana,  Dinner – Shrimp Fried Rice 

I made a bagel with cream cheese, lax, onion, capers, and sliced tomato at 8:00 which was a good idea because I had a meeting that ran until 2:00.

Bill Turner held the meeting and we decided to go to lunch together at 2:00.  He wanted to go to Sushi Hana, which sounded good to me.  I was pleased when I saw one of the daily specials was a bento box with Sautéed mackerel for $7.95.  This one of the best lunch specials in Downtown.  You first are served a bowl of miso soup. Then you are served a bowl of salad with a fresh ginger salad dressing that is delicious.  Then the bento box is brought with four or five pieces of tempura, the Sautéed mackerel served on a bed of sautéed julienne vegetables, an inverted bowl shaped mound of rice, four pieces of California roll nigiri sushi, an egg roll, and a piece of watermelon for dessert, plus ginger and wasabi and dipping sauce for the tempura and plum sauce for the egg roll. A massive amount of well prepared tasty food.  Neither Bill nor I ate our rice.

We loved it.  I am ready to go back any time.  The owners apparently are Mongolian.

I got home after 3:00 and as I was dressing to go ride about 3:45 Suzette arrived and wanted to go to the new Canvas beer joint on Central.  

I took a shortened r40 minute ride to Candelaria and back, threw on clothes and we drove to Canvas at 3120 Central SE.  Willy said that he had drunk beers at their San Diego location, which eliminated them from consideration as a purveyor of beer for Suzette’s Field to Food meal on June 18 because they are not local.  Suzette and I split a red ale and Willy drank a pecan beer that had an overly buttery taste to me.  We each ordered a pulled pork or carnitas taco ($2.00 on Tuesday.  The beers were $3.00 all day Tuesday.

We then walked the one block to Birdland and talked to Jay and Paula, who is opening a new shop in the Lilly Barack Building, and Suzette got to see the Ultrahealth layout.

The big news today is that Willy got two job offers; one in Boulder and the other in Albuquerque.  He will probably take the job in Albuquerque because it is a full time job and because he can continue going to graduate school and help fashion Albuquerque into a more sustainable city, which has always wanted to do.

When we returned home at 6:00 I watched the news and started dinner.  Willy and Suzette went to look at a 2002 Jetta station wagon that was being offered for sale.

 We had decided on Shrimp Fried Rice to use the PPI rice from lunch and the 15 thawed shrimp in the fridge.  I also minced three cloves of garlic, about 1 ½ T. of fresh ginger, ½ onion, 2 zucchini, and 2 stalks of celery.  

When Willy and Suzette returned at 7:00 I started cooking.  I first made an egg pancake with 2 eggs whipped with 1 T. of  Aji Mirin, a dash of sweet soy, and a dash of sesame oil.  

I then stir fried the zucchini, onion, garlic, and ginger.  Then I added the shrimp mixed with some sesame sauce, 1 ½ tsp. of cornstarch and 1 T. of Aji Mirin, to make the shrimp white cooked, and 1 T. of Oyster Sauce and a dash of Chinese cooking wine and a dash of sweet soy to loosen up the dish.  I then added one bowl of PPI rice soaked with tamari soy sauce and broke it up and stirred it in until most of the grains of cooked rice had separated.  I covered the wok with the lid to let the whole dish steam and cook together for a couple of minutes.  Willy cut the egg pancake into 1 inch cubes and I added them to the mixture and stirred them in and covered and heated the dish for another minute or two and then served the dish.

I drank green tea with my dinner. Suzette had a hard ginger beer.  

We  watched MSNBC until 9:00 because we were enjoying Donald Trump getting tripped up in his lies so much and then went to bed.

We also cheered when Gary Johnson and William Weld, the new Libertarian Party’s candidates for President and Vice President, were interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell.

Bon Appetit 

May 30, 2016 Breakfast – Lax and Bagel, Lunch – Willy’s Green Chile Black Bean Enchiladas, Dinner- Stir Fried Pesto Penne, steak, and Asparagus

May 30, 2016 Breakfast – Lax and Bagel, Lunch – Willy’s Green Chile Black Bean Enchiladas, Dinner- Stir Fried Pesto Penne, steak, and Asparagus 

I slept until 9:00 again this morning for a total of nine hours.  We drove to Will Phipps new house on Spruce to critique possible changes and then Suzette went to work.  

I made a lax and cream cheese with capers and sliced tomato open faced sandwiches. The Gravad lax is still delicious.  I hope the dill lasts a bit longer so I can make some more with dill grown in our garden.

At around 1:30 Willy got in the mood for Black Bean Green Chile Enchiladas like those made at Java Joe’s. So he heated up a can of black beans. I thawed out a frozen round of Queso Asadero and a freezer bag of blue corn tortillas and Willy put together a lovely vegetarian enchilada casserole with the addition of thyme, oregano, garlic, Garduno's Green Chile Sauce, and yellow onion that he baked in the oven.  I ate some of it and enjoyed it.

At 5:30 Suzette came home and Willy said he was hungry.  We discussed dinner and decided to make an quick one pot dinner of the PPI steak and Pesto Penne and some of the Asparagus Suzette had brought home.  I sliced five  slices of grilled rib eye into ¼ inch by 1 inch thick bite sized slices and Suzette sliced about five or six stalks of asparagus. 

Suzette stir fried the pasta, steak, and asparagus in the wok and in a couple of minutes dinner was ready.  The dish was super delicious, far better than last night’s meal, because everything was cooked together and shared their flavors.

I poured out the open bottle of Ullisie Italian Sangiovese that Suzette had brought home and grabbed the bottle of Cherry Blossom California Pinot Noir I bought at Trader Joe’s on Friday for $3.99.

The Sangiovese was a full bodied wine which was good and the pinot noir was a full bodied pinot, which was bad.  Let me explain.  Sangiovese usually is a light red and only through careful processing can it be made more bold.  Pinot noir is a delicate wine that expresses it elegance when handled carefully and grown in a single vineyard.  When mixed with other grape juices or aggregated with other Pinot Noir grapes, it takes on a heaviness and harshness that we find unpleasant.  

Later we ate ice cream for dessert and watched “Dave”. The great line from “Dave” that every one should think about is “you did not vote for me to take care of myself, but to take care of you.”

I finished reading the New Yorker article on the exposing of depositors in HSBC by Falciano and the massive tax evasion supported by The Swiss banking industry and went to bed.  

Bon Appetit

May 28, 2016 Farmers’ Market and the Philharmonic Memorial Day Weekend Zoo Concert

May 28, 2016 Farmers’ Market and the Philharmonic Memorial Day Weekend Zoo Concert

I talked to one of my water clients this morning so we did not start walking to the Farmers’ Market until 9:30.  It was crowded, but we made our way around it, stopping at Amayo Farms to buy an Orange Pimiento plant for $4.00.

Suzette left announcements for the June 18 Field to Food meal.  This tear it will feature Limitar  shrimp and Oyster mushrooms grown at the Center.

I bought a regular Croissant for Suzette and almond croissants for Willy and me.  When we arrive back home around 10:30 we heated  the croissants and made tea and coffee.  

Suzette wanted make BLT sandwiches for lunch and asked Willy and me if we wanted one and we said yes.  

After lunch Suzette wanted to go shopping for tomato plants for the Center, but I stayed at home to watch the EUFA Championship Finals played in Milan between cross town rivals Real Madrid and Madrid Atletico.  Willy went to watch the game with friends.   

I started cooking the clafoutis at around 3:00. I cut up apricots, Rainier Cherries I had bought at Sprouts yesterday for $4.98/lb., red cherries, and blueberries (Sprouts for $1.50 for 6 oz.).

Clafoutis is easy to make as those who are regular readers know.  You simply cut up four cups of cherries or a little over 1 lb..  I marinate fruit in cognac and Grand Marnier or Cointreau.  Then you scald three cups of milk or milk enriched with cream.  You the mix in a mixing bowl 10 T. each powdered sugar and flour and added ½ tsp. salt.  You make well in the center of the dry ingredients and add three eggs stirred and then the milk and then the marinated fruit. 

You butter a ceramic baking dish and pour the fruit batter into the baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. 

Suzette returned at around 4:00 and we took an hour nap.  

And then showered and dressed for the concert.  We put our clafoutis into a plastic pie container and drove to the zoo at 6:30.  When we arrived there was a long line but around 6:45 they started admitting folks.  We walked to the band shell and saw Nancy with baskets and blankets laid out so we laid our blanket next their blankets and added our clafoutis to the food.

John and Vivian Shumaker brought the most interesting dish, a Phyllo wrapped bunt cake shaped savory with Prosciutto and four kinds of cheeses, including Ricotta and Mozzarella.  The filling was crumbly,but delicious and the crust was baked to golden brown. A real stunner.  Nancy Blaugrund's entrée was chicken supremes cooked with olives and prunes. They were a little bit vinegary to my taste, but probably just fine to keep them from spoiling in the warm weather.  The other Nancy made a mixed salad with feta and Terry made a baked Bulgar wheat or rice dish.  All in all the food was excellent.  

After dinner we served the clafoutis with Costco cookies some one had brought.  I was not as proud of this one because it had too many types of fruit and was a bit loose and undercooked, due to either too much fruit or too much cognac and Couvoisier.

The musical program of standard Memorial Day favorites such as the Service themes and Sousa marches started at 8:00 and played until 10:30 with an intermission.  The highlight of the evening were the performances by the best young musicians in the string, piano and conducting categories.  The pianist was a 9th grader, who played a brilliant Schubert concert movement.  The violinist was a senior who will attend Oberlin, who played a Saint Saens violin concerto movement. The conductor winner was a senior who will be attending the San Francisco Conservatory who conducted the Prelude to Carmen,more commonly known as the Toreador’s Dance.

We enjoyed the slightly cool evening.  Suzette and I sat on the grass in modified warrior poses and felt better at the end of the evening after stretching our leg muscles.  

After the music ended we each took our PPI dishes and said goodnight.

We went home and fell asleep.

Bon Appetit

Monday, May 30, 2016

May 29, 2016 Breakfast – BLT Sandwiches, Lunch – Clam Chowder and Egg Salad Sandwich, Dinner Party with the Phipps

May 29, 2016 Breakfast – BLT Sandwiches, Lunch – Clam Chowder and Egg Salad Sandwich, Dinner Party with the Phipps

I slept until 9:00 which is highly unusual.  Suzette made BLT Sandwiches on Fano baguette slices and we watched the Indianapolis 500 as we ate our sandwiches.  After watching the re-broadcast of Fareek Zacharia’s GPS at 11:00 I wanted to ride, so I heated a can of Progreso Clam Chowder and added Amontillado Sherry and cream and to thin it and flavor it,  since we were out of milk.  It tasted delicious. I also spread some of the egg salad Suzette had made yesterday on a piece of toasted baguette and Suzette joined me and ate the rest of the egg salad as we watched the Colonial golf Tournament.  

I used to attend Colonial with my dad when I was growing up in Fort Worth.  Those were the glory days of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.  Colonial was always a big event in Fort Worth because it was one of the the four major golf tournaments in the U.S.  Colonial was a tough golf course to play because it was nestled next to the Trinity River and had lots of trees and long fairways which put a premium on straight tee shots, as it still does.

At around 1:45 I rode 8 miles to the end of the fields south toward Rio a Bravo, then showered and met Shahin at his office do complete my biling.  

I then drove to Spouts to buy milk and apples and returned home around 5:00.

We started cooking dinner.  Suzette had already made penne pasta with fresh pesto, which we planned to combine with a sauce combining fresh garlic and peas from our garden mans Sauteed mushrooms that Suzette had already prepared when I arrived home.  So many began prepping the garlic by finely mincing four T. of fresh garlic and ½ onion for the pasta dish.  We were also going to serve an adaptation of the Catalanian Fried Spinach tapa from Jose Andres’ Tapa Cookbook that combines sautéed chard, piñon nuts, raisins and apples.  So I then chopped two apples into ½ inch cubes, while Suzette went to the garden to pick more chard, which I then de-stemmed and sectioned into 1 ½ inch pieces.  

While I was prepping the main courses, Suzette was making the appetizers, which were melon balls of the remaining ½ of the Tuscan melon I bought on Friday and the Caprese Salad Skewers made by skewering a piece of chard wrapped around a Mozzarella ball and a grape tomato.

By 6:00 we were ready and shortly thereafter Jonathan and Gloria and Will and Maggie arrived.  I served Nessa Albariño and Negra Modelo beers and we carried the appetizers out to the bocce court with a bottle of Spanish Cava Rose’ Champagne.  I drank a gin and tonic.  Willy organized the bocce match and raked the court and we played two games.

We then came back inside to make dinner.  The guests stood on the landing to the cellar while we cooked on the stove.  I took those who wished to the cellar to fetch a bottle of Wellington Mohrhardt Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from northern Sonoma for dinner.  I also served the last ½ bottle of Clear Creek Meritage from Napa.

We sautéed the onion and garlic, then added the peas and mushrooms and 1 cup of Albariño and ½ cup of water to create a sauce.  When that was cooked Suzette added it to the pasta.

We the sautéed the apples and the Suzette added the piñon nuts and chard and finally the raisins and stir fried the ingredients quickly in the wok.
Suzette was grilling the four USDA Choice rib eye steaks I had bought at Sprouts and a handful of the scapes we had picked from our garlic plants in the garden.   She brought the steaks in when they were cooked to medium rare and the scapes were slightly charred and we let them rest while we stir fried the Chard and Apple dish.

I then sliced the steaks and Suzette plated the pasta and Chard dish and we each selected our preferred pieces of steak and carried our plates to the table in the garden gazebo.  We poured wine and ate our lovely fresh meal as night descended.

We had enough PPI steak and pasta for another meal.

We did not serve dessert, although we mentioned ice cream and clafoutis.  No one seemed to want dessert. My he interest of the younger generation was directed toward seeing the latest episode of Game of a Thrones.

This was a highly nutritious meal with lots of fresh ingredients.  Maggie is a vegetarian, so we wanted two strong vegetarian dishes and with the extra protein of the grilled steak.  Will had not had grilled scapes before and he liked them.

We talked a lot about the 1933 house Will had recently bought on Spruce in the Los Lomas area near UNM.  We made a date to go see it at 9:00 on Monday.  

Will and Willy then called their friend Leno who came over and hooked up the TV to record HBO and we watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

At 11:00 the adults said goodnight to Jonathan and Gloria and the kids and we went to bed.

Bon Appetit 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 27, 2016 Lunch – Boiled Lunch with Sautéed Italian Sausages, Fresh Corn and Asparagus Dinner – Duck Confit Ravioli with a Champagne Brown Butter Sauce with onions, Mushrooms, garlic, and Sugar Snap and Snow peas

May 27, 2016 Lunch – Boiled Lunch with Sautéed Italian Sausages, Fresh Corn and Asparagus  Dinner – Duck Confit Ravioli with a Champagne Brown Butter Sauce with onions, Mushrooms, garlic, and Sugar Snap and Snow peas

I went to Trader Joe’s after my podiatry appointment and bought two bottles of Cherry Blossom California Pinot Noir ( $3.99), three bottles of La Granja Spanish Rioja 50/50 Tempranillo/Grenache blend ($4.99, my favorite red wine for the money), a bottle of Valreas Cuvée Prestige 2013 Cotes du Rhone ($6.99) and a bottle of 2014 Chateau Haut Sorillon Bordeaux Superior ($7.99), plus a 4 ounce package of Prosciutto and a container of mini fresh Mozzarella balls.  Trader Joe’s is my favorite store for our every day wines. 

I then drove to Nantucket Shoals and bought a dozen frozen snails in the shells in a small plastic dish ready to microwave for $10.99 and 1 lb. of frozen crawfish tails for $14.95.

I then drove next door to Sprouts and bought Rainier cherries, apricots, and blueberries for the clafoutis, vine ripe tomatoes, three Sweet Italian Sausages, olive oil, and a container of grape tomatoes and a Tuscan melon for appetizers.

I then drove to Lowe’s to buy fresh ears of gourmet corn for 6 ears for $1.00 and two two liter bottles of tonic water and drove home, arriving at about 11:30.  I was hungry and asked Willy if he wanted me to make lunch.  He said okay.  I boiled a pot of water and first cooked two Italian Sausages, then I split the sausages and we sautéed the sausages in a large skillet with slices of yellow onion.  I the shucked the husk from two ears of corn and put them in the boiling water to cook with six stalks of asparagus.  When the sausages and slices of onion were cooked and brown, we served lunch with horseradish and German Deli mustard.  I drank a Negra Modelo with my lunch.

Melissa was coming to dinner at 6:00 at 5:30 Suzette picked some chard leaves and de-stemmed them.  Then she skewered a mozzarella ball, a grape tomato, and a piece of fresh chard on a toothpick for appetizers.  I peeled and cubed ½ of the Tuscan melon into about twenty pieces and then wrapped pieces of prosciutto around each piece of melon and secured them with toothpicks.  Suzette arranged the apps on our large new Portuguese appetizer plate.  I had chilled two bottles of Gruet brut champagne, so when Melissa arrived we poured glasses of champagne and took the bocce balls and appetizers to the bocce court and drank and ate and played bocce for an hour as the sun was setting.

We then went back inside and Suzette heated a pot of water and cooked the PPI Duck Confit Raviolis we made for our Valentine’s Day dinner and made a Champagne Brown Butter Sauce with onions, Mushrooms, garlic, and Sugar Snap and Snow peas.  We grew the snow peas and sugar snap peas in our garden and everyone helped strip the threads from them before Suzette put them into the sauce.

We discussed a wine and Melissa and Suzette both said Rose so I went to the fridge in the garage and fetched a bottle of Clavijo Rioja Rose that was 60% Grenache and 40% Tempranillo.  It was lovely with the duck confit in brown butter sauce (Total Wine for about $7.00 less 20%).  Everyone loved it.  A good inexpensive wine well  matched to good food makes a strong combination.  

We were still a little hungry after dinner so I fetched the Iberico cheese, butter, and fresh goose foie gras and toasted some Fano baguette and Bosque Bakery whole wheat sourdough and we had a cheese course with the rest of the Rose’.

Melissa had brought vanilla bean and caramel salt gelato and cookies from Flying Star, so for dessert Suzette and Melissa made parfaits of gelato and cookies.  

It was a lovely simple, but elegant, meal in the cool late evening air and light in the gazebo by the pond in the garden.

Melissa said goodnight at around 9:30 and we went to bed pleasantly full.  

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 27, 2016

May 26, 2016 Lunch – Que Huong, Dinner – Book Club

May 26, 2016  Lunch – Que Huong,  Dinner – Book Club

Robert Mueller called me at 10:30 to invite me to go to lunch, so I ate a piece of bread with butter and slices of Iberico cheese at 11:00 and then rode to Montano and back.  

I then showered and met Robert at Que Huong at 1:00.  I like Que Huong for two reasons, it has some of the best Vietnamese food in town and it has a great dining room with large picture windows with a wonderful view of the Sandias.  I selected a table with a marvelous view today.  When Robert came he repaid me the 100 € I had lent him for his trip to Paris.  He said, as he often does, that he will let me order for him.  Since it was a warm day, I ordered Grilled Pork and Egg rolls on Rice Vermicelli noodles.  The bowl of noodles resting on chopped lettuce and bean sprouts and topped with grilled glazed pork and fried egg rolls was excellent, although a little smaller than the bowl used by Vietnam 2000.  

We talked a bit about politics.  Robert is a Trump supporter, so there is disagreement on almost everything, especially the sources of data.

After lunch I drove to Ranch Market to buy onions at 5 lb. for $.99, plus 18 large eggs for $1.39, and Russet potatoes for 3 lb. for $.99.

I went to book club at Tom’s house.  He served Muflatto sandwiche with chips and for dessert, ice cream mixed with lemon curd and fresh blueberries and raspberries.  A lovely light dinner.

Bon Appetit

Robert Mueller called me at 10:30 to invite me to go to lunch, so I ate a piece of bread with butter and slices of Iberico cheese at 11:00 and then rode to Montano and back.  

I then showered and met Robert at Que Huong at 1:00.  I like Que Huong for two reasons, it has some of the best Vietnamese food in town and it has a great dining room with large picture windows with a wonderful view of the Sandias.  I selected a table with a marvelous view today.  When Robert came he repaid me the 100 € I had lent him for his trip to Paris.  He said, as he often does, that he will let me order for him.  Since it was a warm day, I ordered Grilled Pork and Egg rolls on Rice Vermicelli noodles.  The bowl of noodles resting on chopped lettuce and bean sprouts and topped with grilled glazed pork and fried egg rolls was excellent, although a little smaller than the bowl used by Vietnam 2000.  

We talked a bit about politics.  Robert is a Trump supporter, so there is disagreement on almost everything, especially the sources of data.

After lunch I drove to Ranch Market to buy onions at 5 lb. for $.99, plus 18 large eggs for $1.39, and Russet potatoes for 3 lb. for $.99.

I went to book club at Tom’s house.  He served Muflatto sandwiche with chips and for dessert, ice cream mixed with lemon curd and fresh blueberries and raspberries.  A lovely light dinner.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 25, 2015 Lunch – Azuma Dinner – Cassarecce Pasta tossed with Pesto and Sautéed Zucchini, onion, Oyster mushrooms, garlic, and Oregano with hamburgers

May 25, 2015  Lunch – Azuma  Dinner – Cassarecce Pasta tossed with Pesto and Sautéed Zucchini, onion, Oyster mushrooms, garlic, and Oregano with hamburgers

I tried to walk with Suzette and got weak, so I decided to get some serious protein.  I suggested sushi to Willy and he was happy to go to Azuma.  I ordered my usual, Chirashi Donburi lunch for $14.99 with 2 salmon slices, 2 octopus slices, 4 Yellowtail, 2 Ultra white, and 2 tuna.

Here is a picture:

Willy ordered a Bento Box with grilled Teriyaki salmon, tempura, a California Roll, and rice.

We enjoyed lunch.  I took half of my lunch home.  On the way home we stopped at Fano and I bought two baguettes for $3.00 each.  Fano is my current favorite French bread bakery.

For dinner I had thawed out two large hamburgers and two small sliders.  We talked about the rest of dinner.  Willy wanted to do something with pesto.  We finally agreed to make Cassarecce pasta tossed in pesto.  I sliced up two zucchini squashes, an onion, about three ounces of fresh oyster mushrooms grown by Suzette’s people at the Center, two cloves of garlic, and the leaves stripped from six or seven sprigs of oregano.  The oregano in our garden is at its best now, almost fully grown but still young and tender.  

I sautéed the onions and squash first for about ten minutes and then added the mushrooms, garlic, and oregano, and tossed all the ingredients together and covered them with a wok cover to sweat them.  Suzette drained the pasta and added the pesto to it while she was also grilling the hamburgers. We turned off the heat to the pasta and Sauted vegetables and let them sit covered.

When the hamburgers were cooked to medium, she took brought them in and Suzette mixed the Sautéed vegetables with the pasta and pesto. Suzette then plated the pasta in a pile and put the hamburgers on the pasta.  I sliced and toasted two frozen dinner rolls for Willy’s sliders and a piece of freshly baked baguette from Fano that approximated the size of my hamburger and toasted the pieces and used two of them as a bun for my hamburgers.  I spread some of the basil mayo Willy had made yesterday on one piece of bread and catsup on the other for a heavenly delicious hamburger sandwich.  

I opened the bottle of 2015 of El Prado Spanish red wine I bought at Total wine for $8.99 less 20% on Saturday.  It was a 70% Temranillo 30% Cabernet Sauvignon blend fro The Valencia Denominacion de Origen.  We found it a bit heavy and bitter compared to our favorite la Granja 50% Tempranillo 50% Grenache blend from Rioja that we buy at Trader Joe’s for $4.99.  This illuminates a difference between Total Wine and Trader Joe’s worth noting.  Trader joe’s excels at finding the $4.00 to $7.00 bottles of wine.  Total wine has very few of these wines, which leads me to conclude that Total Wine marks up their cheaper wines to $8.00 to $10.00 per bottle.  These wines should be avoided.

What Total Wine excels at is the middle range of wines, those that retail at $12.00 to $18.00 per bottle.  Their middle priced wines are superior to any I have found anywhere else in New Mexico and a really good value when purchased at a 20% discount, which Total often offers.

I had the distinct feeling that the El Prado was a wine intended to compete against the super Tuscans that are Sagiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blends.  In my opinion the better blend would have been Grenache/Cabernet Sauvignon, but for my money I would still choose a Tempranillo/Grenache blend.  I just like the softer less acidic wines that are more pleasant to drink with food, like La Granja,especially at $4.99 /bottle.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 22 and 23, 2016 Sunday Brunch – Shrimp and Swiss Cheese Omelet, Monday Lunch – Gravad Lax Salad, Dinner – Roasted Spanish Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions and Grilled Asparagus

May 22 and 23, 2016 Sunday Brunch – Shrimp and Swiss Cheese Omelet, Monday Lunch – Gravad Lax Salad,  Dinner – Roasted Spanish Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions and Grilled Asparagus 

Sunday morning we made a shrimp omelet with the PPI BBQ'd shrimp, a couple of sliced mushrooms, a sliced Mexican Green onion, and grated Swiss Gruyere cheese.  

For dinner I had a bowl of consommé and then at around 8:00 began preparing myself for my colonoscopy by drinking the liquid that forces you to clean your bowels until about 11;00 p.m.

Monday morning at around 9:30 Willy drove me to my colonoscopy.  I was groggy after having a general anesthesia, so Willy drove me home.  I decided to have a simple salad for lunch using the greens from the garden to keep the stomach clean for a while, so I went to the garden and picked a basket of lettuces, red giant, cress and tatsoi and cleaned them.  I sliced a tomato, peeled, seeded, and sliced a 3 inch section of cucumber, a radish, and sliced a Mexican Green Onion.  I then sliced and chopped two slices of Gravad Lax and added that to the salad.  I then made a simple, clean fresh Dijonnaise dressing with Praegers’ white Port vinegar, Sprouts Spanish Olive Oil, 1 tsp. of Grey Poupon mustard, chopped leaves from three sprigs of tarragon and ½ bulb of fresh garlic from the garden and a bit of salt and pepper.  Since I had not eaten for over 24 hours, I was in the mood for something special that was creamy and protein rich and settled on a slice of Bosque Bakery whole wheat sourdough bread smeared with the goose foie gras we bought in Montreal.  When we were in Monteeal we went to the Atwater Market, which is one of Montreal’s main markets.  We found a purveyor that made and sold whole goose livers and a variety of goose liver pate’.  After the butcher acclaimed the differences between the various preparations, we went a little crazy and decided to buy a slice of pure goose liver pate without any preservatives.  The price for pure goose liver pate’ was Can. $255.00/kilo.  The cryovac sealed slice of pate’ we selected was Can. $30.00, so it must have been about 200 grams or just over two oz.

To say the pure goose liver pate’ melted in your mouth is an understatement.  I have never had such a delicious pate’.

After my re-introduction to food I rested,but did remember to thaw out a package of Pork tenderloins.
I had forgotten to buy milk, so I asked Willy to go to Sprouts and buy milk and large asparagus. My dinner menu was to make the Spanish tapa from Jose Andreas’ tapa cookbook and grill fresh asparagus for a wonderful early summer meal.  

Here is the recipe:

I sliced a apple and an onion and Sautéed them in butter and Spanish olive oil.  I went to the garden and picked five or six stalks of oregano, which is growing beautifully now.  After I had sautéed the apples and onion and laid the oregano sprigs on top of the and sliced a pork tender into two inch long slices and placed them on top of the oregano, Suzette rallied and took over the cooking.  She added butter to the pan to create more cooking grease and put the Sauté pan into a 225 degree oven while I snapped 15 stalks of asparagus and brushed them with olive oil and salted and peppered them.  Suzette then grilled the asparagus over low heat on the propane grill while I went to the basement and fetched a bottle of La Granja red wine (Trader Joe’s $4.99 50/50% Tempranillo and Grenache), my favorite under $5.00 Spanish Rioja.

The meat was cooked to light grey at the same time Suzette removed  the asparagus from the grill so I dispensed with the final two steps of the pork recipe of making a simple sauce of Spanish Brandy and chicken stock.  Suzette’s addition of extra butter had made an enriched apple and onion sauce of sorts that satisfied my taste, which met my plan for this meal, Which was to reintroduce myself to food by eating simpler food.

Suzette grilled the asparagus beautifully.  They were grilled but firm in the middle so you could taste the fresh crunch of the asparagus.  It takes an asparagus that is at least ½ thick in order to grill properly.  I had salted and peppered the asparagus slightly heavily and I could taste the tangy flavor of the salt and pepper with the asparagus that I enjoyed also.  I had a déjà vu memory of the first time we ate grilled asparagus at about this time of the year in Segovia four or five years ago.

The Rioja La Granja was a little heavy for the meal according to Suzette, but I liked its smooth almost buttery texture.

After dinner we ate bowls of ice cream and I had a bit of bittersweet chocolate with almonds and later a White Russian.

The joy of being back on food.

Bon Appetit

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 21, 2016 farmers’ Market, Almond Croissants, BLT Sandwiches! Dinner – Aluminum Foil Wrapped Cod and Cauliflower Couscous with Garbanzos and Preserved Lemon and Clafoutis

QMay 21, 2016 farmers’ Market, Almond Croissants, BLT Sandwiches!  Dinner – Aluminum Foil Wrapped Cod and Cauliflower Couscous with Garbanzos and Preserved Lemon and Clafoutis 

We went to the Farmers’ Market Downtown at 8:45 and it was mobbed.  Suzette bought a locally grown tomato, four bunches of radishes, and 6 tomato plants.  I bought two almond croissants for Willy and me.

When we returned home I was hungry and Willy and I had tea and an almond croissant.  The reason I like these almond croissants the best is because our local French baker mixes almond milk into the dough, which produces a moist almond flavor infused into the puff pastry of the croissant.  Others I have had that either roll marzipan into layers of pastry dough or put bake a layer of marzipan on top of the croissants are all inferior to this method.

After my discourse on the wonderful almond croissants, Suzette said she was hungry and was going to make a BLT sandwich and asked if  Willy and I wanted one. Willy and I decided to split a sandwich, so Suzette fried six slices of thick cut bacon,  I sliced the tomato she had bought that morning, and she sliced four slices of the Bosque Bakery whole wheat Sourdough loaf.

I finished cooking the bacon to crisp and we toasted the bread and fetched Willy’s Basil mayo and regular mayo and lettuce from the garden and made wonderful sandwiches.

For dinner we had decided to bake the cod Willy had bought on Thursday at Sprouts in aluminum foil wrapped in the Hoja Santa leaves I had bought last week at Ranchos Market.  I had wrapped the bundle of leaves in wet paper towels and put it in a sandwich bag and sealed it.  It held the moisture beautifully and was as fresh as the day I bought the leaves.

Suzette put pieces of cod on the leaves and I cut slices of poblano chili , fresh sprigs of cilantro, and tomato on them and Suzette put slices of butter on and then doused them with white wine and crimped the two pieces of foil separately.

She then grilled the fish packets on a medium heat for about twenty minutes.  

Suzette the made her famous Cauliflower Couscous with the fresh purple tinted cauliflower she bought attack the Farmers's Market, garbanzos, and preserved lemon, garlic and grape seed oil and we added about 1 cup of chard.

We opened the packets and aded couscous and I drank a Negra Modelo beer with mine and Suzette drank the last of the Nessa Albariño.

For dessert, we finished the Clafoutis.

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 19, 2016 Lunch – Lan’s Dinner – Bobby Flay Chicken with Mint Sauce, grilled Asparagus and Rousted Red New Potatoes

May 19, 2016 Lunch – Lan’s  Dinner – Bobby Flay Chicken with Mint Sauce, grilled Asparagus and Rousted Red New Potatoes

I had to attend a mediation in Santa Fe today and had not slept well, so I asked Willy to drive me and I suggested that he hang out with his Mom. We decided to leave at 11:00 so we could eat lunch and 
I could attend my mediation at 1:30,  We called Amy to see if she was available for and she was, so Willy asked her where she wanted to eat and she picked her favorite, which is Lan’s.

We met Amy at Lan’s at 12:00.  I ordered a daily Special of duck stew.  Willy ordered No. 4. BO NUONG (ROOM TEMP, PORK)$12 with pork, , marinated in lemongrass, limeleaf, shallots, org. carrots, cucumber sweet and sour papaya, sweet onion, lettuce, cilantro, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts, and homemade sauce, w/ vermicelli noodles.  Amy wanted something different and ordered a Vietnamese Crepe made like we make an omelet but filled with meat and mung bean sprouts and herbs.

Amy and Willy also split a pot of jasmine tea and I had a Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk.

Amy’s crepe was overcooked and hard and my duck stew was unusually greasy.  Willy’s Bo Nuong was its usual wonderful.  Amy would not eat her crepe and requested a Bo Nuong with chicken.  Lan came by and gave a lame explanation about how the crepe was meant to be eaten with the sauce, as if we had never eaten Vietnamese food or at her restaurant before and surely did not ask or acknowledge that we had eaten much better crepes before.

I had the sinking feeling that I was witnessing the beginning of the end of a long run of great Vietnamese food at Lan’s and was saddened.

Last year Lan told us that she was tired and looking to sell or just quit.  Perhaps we are closer to that occurrence.

After lunch I attended my mediation hearing and Willy and Amy saw the newly released “Money Monster”.  I finished at 4:15 and spoke to Amy and met her and Willy at Kaune’s at 4:45 and we drove back to Albuquerque because we had made plans to eat dinner with Charlie and Susan Palmer.  

We had planned to cook Bobby Flay chicken which seems to be gaining credence as a generic name for chicken dry rubbed with paprika and cumin, then weighted and pan sautéed and then baked in the oven.

Suzette cooked the chicken and I went to the garden and picked 1 cup of fresh mint and ½ cup of parsley for the sauce.  Suzette added garlic,  ½ Serrano chile, and olive oil to make the mint sauce.

 I talked to Susan and she preferred asparagus, so we decided to take our bag of large asparagus (Costco $6.49 for 2.25 lb.) and Charlie and Suzette grilled them after I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled black pepper and salt on them.

I also took the clafoutis.

Charlie and Susan served us a bottle of St. Michelle Riesling from Washington state.

Susan had also roasted red potatoes and heated bread. 

I sat and talked with Charlie and Susan and ate the appetizers they put out including Bousin, brie, Comte, and cheddar on bread and crackers before dinner.

We had so many appetizers that no one could eat any clafoutis but we left some for them to eat later.

After a pleasant evening of food, wine, and conversation we al got sleepy a little after 9:00 and called a night.

Bon Appetit 

Friday, May 20, 2016

May 18, 2016 Lunch - Vietnamese Pho Soup. Dinner – Groundbreaking for SODA Campus in Los Lunas

May 18, 2016 Lunch - Pho Soup,  Dinner – Groundbreaking for SODA Campus in Los Lunas

At 11:00 I became hungry and decided to make Pho a Soup with bits of the fresh hamburger and frozen beef meatballs, plus zucchini, mushrooms, green onion, chard, rice stick noodles, and a can Of special beef broth made especially for Pho.  The result was terrific.  The broth was rich and flavorful.  Willy and Jose had bowls of it and liked it also.

At 5:30 Rich and Ioana picked up Willy and me and drove us to the big groundbreaking celebration and dinner at SOSA’s new campus on the site developed by Railway Land Company just south of the Railrunner station.

There were probably 300 to 350 people.  Marty had done a wonderful job inviting politicians to the event.  There were about twenty speeches from all the local, state, and federal representatives and senators. 

The most interesting part of the celebration was the food.  There was green chile stew and pork and green chili burritos.  It was the best green chili stew I have ever had; spicy but not too spicy.  

After the dinner I had my picture taken by Rich with Aaron, Marty, and Christina, the Village planner responsible for the project.

Bon Project

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 17, 2016 Lunch – Savoy, Jadot Wine tasting at Artichoke, Dinner – Guinness Beef Stew and Corn Bread

May 17, 2016 Lunch – Savoy,  Jadot Wine tasting at Artichoke, Dinner – Guinness Beef Stew and Corn Bread

Rich invited me to lunch at Savoy today.  This was my first lunch.  Rich ordered an Aji Tuna Bowl, which had a center cut filet of Aji tuna seared on red smashed Potatoes and some vegetables.  The bowl concept as Rich explained it is to join a choice of a protein with a choice of a starch and a choice of a vegetable in one bowl.  There are lists of ingredients to choose from, so you build your own meal.  Not unlike our standard approach to dinner menu planning ($17.00?).  

I chose a Ceaser Salad with extra white anchovies ($9.00).  

After lunch I drove to Artichoke for Southern’s Louis Jadot wine tasting.  I love these events.  They are usually associated with some event in the international wine trade.  The three I have attended have all been major French wine producers; Trimbach, Drouhin, and now Louis Jadot.

The event is a tasting to the trade of the range of offerings by the producer from the every day offerings on most restaurants wine lists to the highest level of achievement of the producer.  With the preeminent producers like Jadot that gets to the heights of Burgundy wines.

Huge flights of both whites and reds were offered.  The best red was a 2009 Corton Clos du Roi for $100.00/bottle.  There were lots of good whites.  My favorite white was Chassange Montrachet, a $65.00 bottle.  

  The whites

My favorite red was the Corton Gran Cru Clos du Roi from Beaune.  

Jadot is the other great burgundy producer, other than Drouhin. 

Jadot has been selling Burgundy wine since 1797.  

There was actually a very nice entry level Burgundy Pinot Noir for around $12.00/bottle.

  Jim and Jadot's western US rep pouring

Artichoke prepared a table of appetizers geared to the wines. Smoked meats, cheeses, beef sliders, and a lovely marinated Jerusalem artichoke, caper, white anchovies, and baby arugula salad.  Baby arugula must be the salad ingredient of the moment.  We ate it all across Ontario and Quebec on our trip.  White anchovies seem to also be my fish of the day, since I had just eaten a clutch of them on my Ceaser salad at lunch.


A Clos is a walled field.  Here is the location of the vineyard.  In France, each field of grapes in the areas of highest quality wine, such as Burgundy, carries its own quality designation (Grand Cru is the 
Highest designation), as well as the location of the field on the label.


We came home around 3:15 for a meeting. 

It was a cool, rainy, windy afternoon.

 At 6:00 Willy expressed an interest in cooking his Guinness Irish Beef Stew.  We agreed and he went toughed store for mushrooms, a parsnip and stew meat.

He added carrots, onion, celery and beef broth to make a lovely thick stew.  

While the stew was stewing, we discussed a vegatabl and Suzette suggested corn bread, so I found a recipe in Mark Bitterman’s Simple Food Cookbook for corn bread and Suzette I worked together in the kitchen to make the cornbread.  Suzette added some yogurt to the wet ingredients (milk and an egg).  I added some fried onions to the batter when it was ready to be put in the baking dish.

After 30 minutes of baking at 350 degrees the cornbread was golden brown and Suzette cut squares of cornbread. And put them in a bowl and we ladled spoonfuls of Guinness stew over the corn bread to combine the two.  

I opened a 2009 Clearwater Meritage from Napa and we drank it after we finished the bottle of 2014 Henri Morel Cotes du Rhone Villages.  I liked the heavy, yet complex Meritage with the stew.  It lacked the silkiness of the French Cotes du Rhone, but it was fun to drink a wine that made the stew taste more delicate.

I ate some Clafoutis for dessert and went to bed early after the Oregon Primary results were announced and during Bernie Sanders victory speech a little after 9:00.

Bon Appetit

May 16, 2016 Lunch – Pork Egg Foo Young, Dinner – Grilled Rack of Lamb and Sautéed Zucchini, Fiddlehead Ferns, and Corn

May 16, 2016 Lunch – Pork Egg Foo Young,  Dinner – Grilled Rack of Lamb and Sautéed Zucchini, Fiddlehead Ferns, and Corn

Walked this morning with Suzette around ponds.  Made breakfast of granola, blackberries, milk and yogurt that had a little mold in it.  Bad idea. Threw out the yogurt.

For lunch made an Egg Foo Young out of the PPI Stir Fried Pork and and vegetables and rice from Saturday’s Dinner by heating it in a wok and then adding an egg stirred with sweet soy, Chinese Cooking wine, and sesame oil.

Suzette wanted to cook the Fiddlehead Ferns, so she followed the instructions she saw on the Internet and washed them and then I sliced a zucchini and she blanched those in salt water, which yielded a lot of impurities.  Then I sliced the kernels off the PPI ear of corn from last night’s dinner and sliced a shallot and stir fried all those ingredients in my wok with some butter.  

When Suzette came in with the grilled rack of lamb the vegetables were still not cooked so she added a bit of water and covered the wok and turned up the heat to steam the vegetables.

In a few minutes the vegetables were ready and we had a wonderful dinner of lamb riblets laid on the vegetable medley. 

I opened a bottle of Cotes du Rhone Villages and fetched the mint jelly and we had a wonderful dinner watching the Antiques Roadshow, cheering every time the Center for Ageless Living ad showed before each show.  The Henri Morel Signargues is a blend of four grapes, so it has a well rounded texture (total Wine $14.99 less a 20% discount).  A wonderful bottle of wine for the money.

We ate some PPI clafoutis after dinner.  At 9:00 I became sleepy and went to bed.

It feels good to be back into a regular routine.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 15, 2012 Lunch – Hamburgers Dinner – BBQ Shrimp and Rice

May 15, 2012 Lunch – Hamburgers  Dinner – BBQ Shrimp and Rice

This morning after I watched the news programs I went shopping to replenish our larder.  I first went to Ranch Market, where I purchased avocados at 5/$.99’ Mexican Green Onions at 3 bunches for $.99, heads on 30-40 count shrimp for $4.99/lb., a papaya, a mango, sweet potatoes, eggs, apricots for $.99/lb., a cucumber for $.33, tomatoes for $.99/lb., and fresh Hoja santo.

I then went to Albertson's and purchased chicken thighs for $.89/lb., 80% lean hamburger meat for $2.77/lb., two containers of ice cream, a rack of lamb for $9.99/lb., zucchini for $.99/lb., aluminum pans for sprouting plants, milk, and cherries for $1.77/lb.

When I arrived home Suzette could make her coffee.  At noon I was hungry and asked Suzette what she wanted for lunch.  She said, “A Hamburger.”

So I made a large hamburger for Suzette and two sliders each for Willy and me.  I picked four of the smaller Mexican onions to grill, sliced a sweet potato and ½ of a poblano chili into strips to grill.  I went to the garden and picked a handful of lettuce.  Willy sliced one of the tomatoes and the avocado.

Suzette grilled the hamburgers, the chili strips, the onions, and the sweet potato slices.  Suzette sliced the muenster style cheese we bought in Quebec and melted slices of cheese onto the hamburgers after she had flipped them.

We fetched Willy’s Basil mayo and ketchup from the fridge.  I selected four frozen dinner rolls from the freezer and sliced them in half and toasted them in the toaster.  When the hamburgers, onions and sweet potatoes were grilled, Suzette made each of us plates.  Hers was a bed of lettuce and her grilled hamburger, onion, and sweet potato slices.

Willy and mine were two sliders , an onion, and slices of sweet potato, plus we put a plate with tomato and avocado slices on the table.  We drank PPI Sangiovese Italian red wine for a lovely meal out on the patio.

after lunch we worked in the garden.  I pruned the dead roses from the bushes and cut three nice ones from those still in bloom for our table.  Suzette worked most of the day.

At 5:00 I began making Clafoutis by pitting and dicing five or six firm apricots and about 1 ½ lb. of cherries, which I the marinated with 1 T. each of cognac and Courvoisier.  I then measured 10 T. of flour, 10 T. of powdered sugar, and ½ tsp. of salt into a large mixing bowl.  I then scalded 1 cup of heavy cream mixed with 2 cups of whole milk and let the milk cool. While the milk mixture was cooling I stirred the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and made a well in the middle of those ingredients into which I added 3 large eggs and stirred the eggs into a thick paste.  I then strained in the cooled scalded milk and stirred the mixture to eliminate any lumps.  I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees and buttered and coated the inside of a ceramic baking dish with granulated sugar.  I then combined the marinated fruit to the mixture and stirred that mixture to get all the flour evenly integrated.  I then poured the fruit and batter mixture into the ceramic baking dish and baked the mixture for 40 to 50 minutes in the 400 degree oven until it firmed and the top became a golden brown.  

Here is the recipe from Gourmet Cookbook Vol. 1:

Here is the finished product:

After I put the Clafoutis mixture into the oven Suzette started making the BBQ shrimp using the recipe we always use from Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen Cookbook.  Here is the recipe:

When the shrimp were ready Suzette put rice in a pasta bowl and then ladled shrimp and sauce onto the rice to make a spicy shrimp and rice stew.  We drank beers with the BBQ shrimp.  The shrimp were not as good as some we have bought.  There may be a problem with the way they are processed.  These were farm raised in Ecuador according to the label at Ranch Market.

Although we were full after eating our BBQ shrimp I tried the Clafoutis and it was wonderful. The first breath of fresh summer fruit.

Bon Appetit

May 14, 2016 Dinner - Stir Fried Pork with Snow Peas, red Bell Pepper, Chard, and Water Chestnuts

May 14, 2016 Dinner - Stir Fried Pork with Snow Peas, red Bell Pepper, Chard, and Water Chestnuts 

We arrived home at 7:15 from Quebec City

We went to the garden to see how things faired in our absence.

The peas we had planted were full of peas, so we decided to pick the 20 to 30 snow peas and pole beans that had grown in our absence.  We had no food in the house and no plan for dinner.  Then I got an idea for dinner to make a stir fry with the peas, some of the prolific chard, with some onion, pork, and water chestnuts.  I minced one large clove of garlic, a quarter sized piece of ginger. Then Suzette defrosted one pork chop and I diced it into ½ cubes. Willy and I made rice with two cups of water to one cup of rice cooked covered on low heat for thirty minutes.

While the rice was cooking I diced 1/3 red bell pepper and opened a small can of sliced water chestnuts.  I stir fried the ginger and garlic, then aded the pork and cooked that until the pork changed from red to white in color.  Then I added the bell pepper and onion and finally the water chestnuts, peas and chard that Suzette had de-stemmed.  I added 1 T. Chinese rice wine, 1 tsp. sesame oil, ¼ tsp. of salt, ¼ tsp. of sugar, 1 ½ tsp. of soy to the mix and covered the wok to let things steam a bit.   

When the rice was ready I added a thickening mixture of 1 T. of soy, 2 T. of Chinese Rice Wine, 1 T. of cornstarch and 3 T. of water and we scooped rice and then the stir fry mixture onto plates and ate dinner with green tea.

We felt great that we had put together an interesting meal in short order using the bounty from our garden. 

Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 13, 2016 Breakfast – Rabbit Omelet, Lunch – Musee de Beaux Arts, Snack- Hotel Fontenac, Dinner – Bistro – St. Malo

May 13, 2016 Breakfast – Rabbit Omelet, Lunch – Musee de Beaux Arts, Snack- Hotel Fontenac, Dinner – Bistro – St. Malo

We made an omelet with the PPI rabbit breast and pork shoulder fro Lapin Saute’ plus a couple of the grape tomatoes we brought from Pennsylvania, several slices of the semi-soft cheese we bought at the Charlevoix specialty food store and four eggs we bought yesterday.

We heated slices of baguette in the microwave and spread them with butter and orange Marmaladeq.

W e then went to big Marche’ of food hall near the train station.  We walked from one end of it to the other end.  It was a little different than Atwater Market in Montreal.  This market seemed to be more tourist oriented, with more regional specialty foods and prepared foods, although it did have fresh fish and meats.  The most impressive item we saw were beautiful large lobsters.  Suzette asked about them and.was told, “It is now lobster season.”  We debated buying one but rejected that idea because of the mess and difficulty of cooking in the BNB, but I did buy two smoked mackerel filets seasoned with fine herbs.  We had a lot of fun tasting Quebec wines and cider and even an appeiitifs in made from fermented tomatoes. 
The selection of wines and spirits was vast.  For example, I liked an ice wine made from fermented pears.  

After the market we took the bus up the hill to the Plains of Abraham to the Museum of Fine Art of Quebec, which has a collection devoted to artists of Quebec.  We were happy to see more M. A. Fortin’s works. He is my favorite Canadian painter.  We looked at most of the galleries and then went to the Cafeteria around 1:00 for a snack.  The day was cold and windy, so I ordered a thickened beef and barley soup with potatoes and carrots and onions. Suzette ordered a hot chocolate that was served in a large café au lait cup/bowl.  My soup/stew was delicious with a thick broth, served with the hardest crouton I have ever had.  After lunch we went to tourist information to try to find a restaurant that served fresh lobster.  The assistant put us onto the Continrpental Hotel which is across the small square and up the street from tourist information.  We walked there and the assistant indicated that the restaurant had fresh lobsters.  We went back down the street to the Hotel Fontenac to get a drink and were told that the bar did not open until 4:00 but we could order a drink with food in the casual dining restaurant.  We walked to the SAM restaurant, which serves creative food in the evening and were seated at a table with a great view of the river.  Suzette asked about drinks and our waiter was so interested in getting us what we wanted, even though we were not fully aware of what that was that he helped direct us.  He recommended a gin and tonic made with Unvara Gin, a premium Canadian gin, flavored with six botanicals harvested on the Unvara Peninsula in Canada’s far north and a quinine tonic base made with quinine extract and tea raised in Canada especially for the Fontenac.  Both the gin and tonic had potent flavors that were moderated with the addition of soda water.  The drink was served with juniper berries and several other Canadian botanicals.  Suzette loved the beautiful and unique drink.  I ordered a sparkling cider named Neige that was delightful with a good balance of acid and sweetness.  We both ordered bowls of soup.  I ordered the seafood chowder, with clams, scallops, shrimp, and potatoes in a medium light cream broth.  Suzette ordered French Onion Soup that was made with a wonderfully light veal stock.  

After eating and drinking at Hotel Fontenac, we went back to the apartment to rest.  

We woke up at 7:00 and showered and dressed and had a sip,of Saskatoon berry flavored cider that was a little sweet and talked to our host and hostess. M

At 7:45 we walked to the St. Malo Bistro located in an old building on St. Paul St. Near the E’ Chaute’ restaurant we ate at last night.

Suzette ordered a Baked Goat Cheese Salad and an appetizer of Salmon Tartare.  I ordered Sweetbreads Forrester.  Suzette ordered a glass of Canadian Sauvignon Blanc and I ordered a pinot noir from the Loire.  We loved the large salad with its round of baked goat cheese, but the entrees disappointed us.  My sauce was heavy and had a slightly burned taste as if the lamb stock had scorched.  The sweetbreads were tender and delicious and the double reduction sauce pleasant.  The dish was served on a mound of spaghettini with potatoes roasted with duck fat.  Suzette was surprised by the spiciness of her salmon tartare.  We asked the waitress and were told that the spice is from the addition of Tabasco sauce, which apparently the normal flavoring for salmon tartare.  Suzette and I both thought the tartare was needlessly spicy.

I managed to finish my dish even though it was not even a lose third to the sweetbread preparation at AG or E’ Chaude’.

The trade off at St. Malo appears to be quantity and price.  You get larger quantities at a reasonable price, but the creativity is not there.

To quote Suzette, “St. Malo serves hearty bistro food.  Nothing fancy.”

After dinner we went back to the apartment and tried to get to bed and digest our huge dinner. 

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 12, 2016 Quebec City, Dinner – L’ Echuate'

May 12, 2016 Quebec City, Dinner – L’ Echuate'

Our hosts’ water as off this morning.  We wanted a baguette for lunch, so they took us to the new small food store down the street that sells  specialty foods and sandwiches, where we bought eggs, a baguette, and a round maple and nut Breakfast roll of puff pastry.  We fixed tea and split the breakfast roll.

Then we caught a bus and road up the hill to the main place and stopped on the way to the tobacco shop that sold bus tickets for a coffee with steamed milk for Suzette.  After we bought bus tickets we jumped on a bus and the bus driver mistakenly took us to the stop for the Hotel Fontenac instead of the Citadele, which sits on the top of the hill overlooking the town, so after walking’ through the Hotel Fontenac a bit, we had to march back up the hill.  Unfortunately I mistook the entrance to the Citadele and we walked beyond the walls of the city to the top of the Plains of Abraham.  It took about an hour to go through all these gyrations, when we finally found ourselves at the Promenade at the highest point on the Plains of Abraham with an incomparable view of the river and the city, next to the Citadele.  This location reminded me of lots of elevated river front fortifications, such as Budapest, Bergamo, and Vicksburg, just to name a few, that are a strategic high ground overlooking a narrow area of the river.  Quebec sits where the St. Lawrence River narrows between two hills near the opening to the Bay of St. Lawrence about 1000 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean.

We could see for miles up and  downstream and all of the surrounding city and land areas.  Unfortunately, Quebec had the same defensive problem that most of the other river front positions have, a relatively flat open area to its rear.  That was the reason for the Citadele, a star shaped fortress built beginning around 1820 by the British using the same design as that developed by the French to guard in all directions from the high point above the town and linking to a wall surrounding the town.  

Unfortunately, good design and superior location could not overcome superior numbers, just like the 1944 Normandy invasion proved.  In 1759 the British invaded with an army of 25,000.  The French withdrew behind the city walls.  The British lay siege to the town and  bombarded from across the river for three months, decimating much of the lower town.  Then the British forces, under the command of Wolfe scaled the cliffs above the river,  where we sat and ate our lunch, on or about September 17, 1759 and engaged the smaller French forces on the Plains of Abraham in an all day battle that decided the fate of Canada.

The French tried to retake Quebec from the British in 1760, but failed and the Seven Years War (1756-1763) finally ended by the French ceding Canada to Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  All of this elaborate history is explained and illustrated in the Museum of Batailes, also located on the Plains of Abraham, which we walked to after lunch.  It even explained that the area was named for a herder named Abraham Martin, who grazed his cattle in the area because people gave the area his name, just like the Juan Tabo area in Albuquerque. 

After the Museum we tried to take a bus to the Museum of Fine Arts, but the buses were not running because of a big demonstration at the Provincial capital area one block away from the bus route.  So we walked back down the hill to the Citadele,which contained the original French magazine from 1759 as well as the rest of the fortress built by the British between 1820 and 1850.  The Citadele is still an active military base so we were required to be accompanied by a guide.  The view from the front of the point facing downstream high above the city was impressive as was the big 7 inch cannon that could shoot a couple of miles.

After seeing the Citadele we returned to our BNB around 5:00 and rested until 7:00, when we showered and got dressed and left the BNB around 8:15.  Our hosts had given us the name of their favorite restaurant, L’Echaude at 23 Sault- au- Matelot that tuned out to be a short ten minute walk through the old lower town where we were staying and nothing much after marching across the Plains of Abraham.

We arrived around wanted to garner the after 9:00 21% discount, so we made a reservation for 9:00 and walked to the end of the street where it met St. Paul street and shared a pint of Mystique cider for ½ hour.  When we returned the restaurant was still crowded but we were seated in about 15 minutes.

We wanted to lighten the food load, especially since I had eaten a ham sandwich at 4:00.  Suzette ordered the Fish special, which was a filet of fresh swordfish and a red lentil croquette that was seasoned with turmeric and a bit of chili plus some green and white asparagus that were quite lovely.

I ordered a sweetbread appetizer that was grilled and served on a pile of baby arugula and garnished with a handful of micro greens and nasturtiums with a veal stock reduction, very lovely and very edible.  I also ordered a French green bean salad with a candied tomato that was very small again made with lots of micro greens, but lettuces this time.  Suzette and I did not think the tomato was candied, but alas we are from New Mexico.  I nibbled the salad and enjoyed it and also really enjoyed the elegant sweetbreads.

We felt good that we had not over eaten, when our waiter cane over and asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu.  We agreed and when he handed it to us, he said, “Perhaps the dessert disgustation for two?”  We chuckled and then looked at the dessert menu and immediately saw three great desserts and decided to consider the dessert for two for $18.00, thinking it was essentially the amount of the discount we would otherwise have not received had we arrived earlier, so our bonus for waiting until 9:00 to eat.  

We settled on a pear cake, a nougat with candied fruits and a crème brûlée with fresh vanilla.  When the waiter brought the tray, it contained not only the three desserts, but also several apricots poached in anise, lots of small chocolate pellets with small pieces of baked sugar crisp in the middle, chocolate coated raisins, and currants and cranberries.  The pear cake was a warm poached pear in a gateau that was fabulous.  The Crème brûlée was also fabulous with its fresh vanilla flavor infused throughout.  Finally, the nougat was just okay because I did not discern many candied fruits, although it was soft and not too chewy and nicely dusted or rolled in cacao. 

We loved dessert and were glad we ordered it.  We walked home happy and were in bed by around 11:30.

Bon Appetit

May 10, 2016 Lunch – Musee Beaux Arts Cafeteria, Dinner – Raviolis with Nordic Shrimp, Rapini, onions, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes

May 10, 2016 Lunch – Musee Beaux Arts Cafeteria, Dinner – Raviolis with Nordic Shrimp, Rapini, onions, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes

We had a big breakfast of Maple Syrup flavored yogurt and fresh Blueberries, toast with orange Marmelade and Earl Grey tea.

We went by bus to the Musee Beaux Arts at around 10:45.  The Museum is a combination of four buildings linked by underground passageways.  The collection is actually quite small by American standards or space is limited and only a small percentage of the collections shown at one time. We enjoyed the Canadian art, which included the Group of Seven.  I was particularly fond of an artist named Fontin; and of course Emily Carr.  One interesting exhibit chronicled the relationship between Alfred Barr, the first director of MOMA, and Phillip Johnson, the great American architect.  The exhibit included items from Barr’s apartment that was decorated by Johnson.

By 12:30 we were tired and hungry, so we went to the Museum’s cafeteria which was open and spacious although smaller than the cattle barns in New York.   I ordered the lunch special, which was Moussaka, with a salad and a small cupcake for can. $10.50.  There were four wonderful salads, a Greek with feta and olives, a kale, a garden and a fascinating seaweed and Edamame and carrot salad.  I could not decide, so the service assistant helped by saying, “The Kale and seaweed salads are a good combination.”  Those were the two that most appealed to me, so I said, “Thank you, yes, those two.” The service lady was pleased and put large scoops of each on the plate with the Moussaka. I grabbed a 1642 soda made in Montreal that was a cola  sweetened with maple syrup.  This was the best food value of the trip; the lunch plate with cupcake was $10.50 and the cola was $3.00 and the portion was large enough to split.  

After lunch Suzette wanted to look for antique picture frames.  Since the antique area was near Atwater Market, we bussed back there.  We walked one direction without success and then walked back to the Market, but did not decide on any fish, so we walked across the street to the supermarket beside Atwater Market and bought Nordic shrimp in brine, which is a favorite of mine.  Nordic shrimp are small and are usually cooked in the ocean water as the ship brings in the catch.  The shrimp has a decidedly briny flavor.  

We also bought more bread, butter, a lemon, and grape tomatoes

We then went to the big liquor store and bought two bottles of Apple cider.  We drank one cider as we walked to regain our strength as Suzette shopped in Antique stores.  At 3:45 we returned to the condo by way of the Supermarket to buy a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine.

After we put the new ingredients into the fridge Suzette poured a glass of wine and I grabbed the other apple cider and we went to the roof area at the condo to sit and get some sun.  It was a warm and windless afternoon for a change.  The roof area contains an enclosed area with a gas fireplace and a open area with two decks, one with a swimming pool and hot tub and the other with gas grills, picnic tables and seats and tables for sitting.  We sat in the open seating area.

After about an hour off relaxing we went back to the condo to fix dinner.  We had cooked all the chippolini onions, raviolis, and fiddlehead ferns last night, so tonight Suzette boiled the Rapinini in salt water to relieve some of its noxious flavor and drained it.  In a separate skillet she sautéed ½ onion, two sliced cloves of garlic, four sliced mushrooms, and the PPI sautéed fiddlehead ferns and chippolini onions in butter and a little  white wine and cream to make a sauce.  She then heated the PPI ravioli and added some Raviolis and the Rapini to the sauce and finally added the shrimp to heat and mix everything.

This was another successful meal, sort of shrimp scampi with Nordic shrimp.  The wine was not crisp, which made it overly lemony, but it still worked with the salty shrimp in the buttery vegetables.

After dinner we poured the last of the cognac we bought in Niagara Falls and took the six chocolates we had bought yesterday at Atwater Market and went back up to the roof patio at around 8:00 and had our dessert while we watched the sunset and the city lights come on.  It was a pleasant end to a pleasant day.

Bon Appetit 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 11, 2016 Train to Quebec City, Dinner at Lapin Sauté

May 11, 2016 Train to Quebec City, Dinner at Lapin Sauté

We got up and had a quick breakfast and went to the train station by 8:00 for our 9:10 train to Quebec City.  We ate ham sandwiches on the train and arrived in Quebec at 1:30.  We went through the chaos of finding transportation, but bought a one day bus pass and found the No. 21 bus, which took us to within steps of our BNB located at the end of the 21 bus route in the oldest part of Quebec.  We met our hostess, Joanna, who got us settled in.

We put down our grips and walked to Place Royal at the center of the old town and stopped for a sangria for Suzette and an apple cider for me.  We then rode the funicular up to the upper part of town and went to tourist information to find out the names of best restaurants and where the best antique shops were.  We went to St. Paul street to the antique shops, where Suzette found curtain holders and a bag of imitation tourist she'll hair barrettes and the proprietor of the store where Suzette found those items recommended Restaurant St. Malo.

We decided to look for more antique shops in our area of town, which is also where several of the recommended restaurants were located, so we took the No. 21 bus to the end of the line and walked west along the street to Rue Champlain where the Restaurant D’Ingue was located.  I did not like it's menu, so we walked up to the next street which also connected to the street that connected to our BNB at the funicular.  It turned out to be a high end shopping street with lovely shops.  Soon we came to a small square and Restaurant Lapin Sauté.  Suzette loves rabbit and the restaurant featured many rabbit dishes, so it was 5:00 and Lapin Sauté was open.  We had not eaten a proper meal all day, so we decided to eat dinner at Lapin Sauté.  It was warming and there were heaters on the roof of a small patio, so we ate outside.

We both decided upon a three course meal, because two additional courses were only $15.00 if taken with an entrée and all the items were appealing. One side of the menu had Classic dishes where the rabbit dishes and the Roasted Pork Shoulder I ordered were located and the other side was a Discovery menu with more exotic choices.  

Suzette ordered a spicy trout as her appetizer, which turned out to be the best Gravad trout she had ever tasted garnished with sour cream and a maple syrup sauce.  There are lots of maple syrup and apple cider sauces in Canadian cuisine.  I ordered a smoked duck breast appetizer that was served with toast points and cornichons.  It was the most tender duck I have ever tasted.  We loved both of our appetizers.  We had trouble choosing a wine and took the waitress’ suggestion of av2014 Les Volcaniques Gamay from France that was good, but not as full bodied or fruity as the Douro we had two nights ago and it was $51.00 which pushed the total price of dinner past Can. 150.  Our host stood me the next morning that they often have a few glasses of wine at home before and after the go out to eat because so many restaurants Mark up wind so much.  Our entrees were also delicious.  I ordered Roasted Pork Shoulder in an apple cider mustard sauce and Suzette Sautéed Rabbit in two different sauces, a mustard sauce and a red wine mushroom sauce.  Lapin Sauté is a legitimately wonderful restaurant because it used first quality ingredients in creative way to make interesting dishes with unique sauces for each dish.  For example, my Pork Shoulder was slow roasted so that it was almost as tender as the Pork Belly at A G in Montreal and it had a delicious sauce of reduced apple cider flavored with mustard; a sauce I will try next time I get a chance.  Both entrees were served with potato wedges fried in duck fat.  This was the real deal, real duck fat fries cooked to dark brown to seal in the duck flavor, the best I have ever eaten.  It was like getting the duck fat revelation.  I saw it.  I also had a salad with a Dijon vinaigrette that I liked very much.  Suzette had steamed and Sautéed vegetables as her vegetable with her sautéed rabbit.  We tasted eac others dish.  Suzette’s rabbit was the most tender I had ever tasted and she said, “Yes, it is good.”  A pretty big complement.  

We stopped eating our entrée, so we would have room for dessert.  The waitress was kind enough to bring us a plastic box and we put the remaining potatoes and meat of our entrees in it.  Suzette said she ate a piece of the roasted fat that I had removed from my pork shoulder and found it delicious.

Suzette ordered a honey pie that turned out to be a chess pie that we both enjoyed.  I ordered a discovery dessert of chocolate fondant with a small glass of dark beer.  The flavors of the moist chocolate cake and the dark beer were amazingly similar, which tells you someone in the kitchen has some creativity.  We both loved both desserts and agreed this was the second best meal at a restaurant we had on the trip.

Our waitress recommended a microbrewery across the St. Lawrence River, which is an 11 or 12 minute ferry ride.  Since the Frey terminal was at the last stop of the no. 21 bus, which put it about a five minute walk from Lapin sauté, when we finished dinner at 7:00, we decided to take the ferry across the river to the Coursaire Microbrewery to watch the sunset and have a view of Quebec.  We caught the 7:30 ferry and found a table at Le Coursaire on the deck with a view of Quebec.

We ordered pints of apple cider to help digest al the food and sat and watched the sun set and then the moon rise over Quebec as the light came on.  We sat until almost 8:30 when the return ferry was scheduled to leave and the temperature dropped precipitously and the wind rose as darkness fell.  The walls of Quebec and the towered of the. 
Hotel Fontenac were bathed in light at darkness, which made a pretty picture.  We took the return ferry at 8:30 and were in bed by 9:00.

Bon Appetit   

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 8, 2016 Travel to Montreal, Dinner – Raviolis, Rapini, onion, Mushrooms, and Sockeye Salmon

May 8, 2016 Travel to Montreal, Dinner – Raviolis, Rapini, onion, Mushrooms, and Sockeye Salmon

We got up at 6:00 and made it to the bus station by 7:00 for our 7:30 departure to Montreal.  We went to the top of the double decker bus and took the front left hand seats on the top level because an older gentleman was sitting in the right hand seat.  We began talking to him and found him to be fascinating.  He said he was from Saskachewan and had attended UBC from the age of 15.  He had a consulting business that advised businesses if proposed projects had merit and his main client was Exxon Mobil among other things.  We hit of, to say the least and he helped show us how to board the train to Montreal at the intermediate station where the bus met the lake side train and again in Toronto’ immense station.  He was 87 and as sharp as a tack mentally.

After boarding the train in Toronto we nibbled bread and goat cheese and prosciutto and grapes.  We also bought a 200 ml. bottle of East Dell Vineyards white and red from the cart passing through the train that were not very good for $7.00 each and drank the red and finished the wonderful bottle of Trius rose we had bought in Niagara on the Lake.

We arrived in Montreal around 5:00 and taxied to the Air BNB condo in a new building.  We decided to cook dinner, so we got directions to the nearest supermarket and walked the 8 or nine blocks.  We bought sliced ham, a baguette, coffee, about 1 lb. of sockeye salmon, a large container of ricotta and spinach filled fresh ravioli, mustard, blue berries, maple syrup flavored yogurt, butter, cream, an onion, white mushrooms, a beautiful bunch of Rapini, and croissants for breakfast for a total of $60 Canadian.
We returned to the condo and made a hardy dinner of ravioli and rapini with a mushroom, cream, onion, and wine sauce.  We drank the Wagner Winery Rose of Cabernet Franc we had bought in New York’s Finger Lakes.  We drank cognac and ate chocolates for dessert. After a great meal of fresh ingredients, we went to bed.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 7, 2016 Trip to Niagara on the Lake and dinner at AG Cuisine

May 7, 2016  Trip to Niagara on the Lake and dinner at AG Cuisine

We decided to travel the ten miles down river to Niagara on the Lake today after Suzette had three mini so treatments from 9:00 until 10:30.

We caught the 11:00 shuttle and made it to Niagara on the Lake by 1:00.  We immediately went into a cheese shop and purchased 100 grams of an award winning creamy cow’s milk cheese something like Gouda and 8 slices of prosciutto.  We decided to have a picnic, so we went across the street to Peller’s winery shop and tasted two sparkling wines and then a 2015 new release still rose made with Pinot Noir and syrah that we liked, so we bought a bottle of it.  The town is dominated b

The only thing we lacked was a baguette, so we walked to the supermarket and bought a baguette, some grapes, and an apple.  We then walked four blocks to Queen’s Park at the lake and sat on a bench overlooking the point where the Niagara River enters Lake Ontario across the river from Fort Niagara on the American side of the river, which sits on a promontory located at the point where the river enters Lake Ontario.


The town is dominated by a Main Street filled with shops.  We tasted South African olive oils and then went for our picnic.

  Here is the color of Trius

  The back label

We  ate our picnic until we became chilled at around 2:45 and decided to return to Niagara Falls, as the weather was changing for the worse.  We shuttled back to the Floral clock by 4:00 and to downtown by 5:00.  We decided to go to our dinner early, since bus connections were so poor and arrived at AG Cuisine at 5:30.  Luckily we were not the first to arrive.  We were seated at a large table in a dining room that was uncrowded and much more quiet than the Weinkeller last night.  This restaurant exuded the feel of fine dining. Instead of a loud restaurant on the main tourist street, AG is located in the Sterling Hotel 1 block behind the street on which the Weinkeller is located.  What a difference a block makes.  The street where the Sterling Hotel is located was virtually deserted of tourists and traffic.  

We had our best dinner of the trip at AG this evening.  The waiter was knowledgeable about the food and AG featured local ingredients and a farm to table menu combining creative combinations and presentations of a wide variety of ingredients.

  Rhubarb Strawberry Lemonade

We started with a cocktail called rhubarb lemonade made with a rhubarb consommé and strawberry infused vodka with a wedge of fresh lemon.  

The only fresh ingredients available this evening were ramps that the chef had foraged and rhubarb grown in the restaurant’s garden. Suzette loves rhubarb, so she chose the three course prix fixe menu with an appetizer of sea scallops, a slice of watermelon radish on a pile micro greens garnished with a slice of pork and pistachio terrine, and salmon caviar.  Pretty impressive.

My appetizer was two chunks of the most tender pork belly that were I have ever tasted cooked in five spice and served with a dollop of rhubarb red wine reduction and a dollop of a white bee pollen vinaigrette with steamed rhubarb julienne strips and roasted crushed peanut on a bed of micro greens.  

I did not notice Suzette’s entrée either because I was consumed by the immenseness of my entrée, but it contained two or three beautifully grilled quail that had been cut in halves, sautéed mushrooms, a potato and cheese Napolean, several edible flowers, and a rhubarb reduction sauce.

I ordered a side of ramps, which the kitchen was kind enough to accommodate.  Ramps are in the onion family and look similar to green onions but taste woody and have a meaty texture.  

Allium tricoccum (commonly known as ramprampsspring onionramsonwild leekwood leek, and wild garlic)[2] is a North American species of wild onionwidespread across eastern Canada and the eastern United States.[1] Many of these English names are used for other Alliumspecies, particularly Allium ursinum.

Wild Ramps


My dish contained crumbed house made chorizo with a little pigeon pepper, several chunks of re sweetbread th a dthat had been floured and sautéed, a slab of haddock that had also been flouredoth and pan re sautéed served on a bed of fried ramps and fresh kale and fried fingerling potatouvignon  wedges all surrounded by a puddle of sauce made with thickened carrot juice and cream.  The carrot sauce was liked leaf  the ring master in a three ring circus with the combination of ramps and kale with fish and saucetel in one ring, the chorizo and potatoes with sauce in another, and, in the third, the sweetbreads and carrot sauce.  Instead of one combination like Suzette’s dishes, my dish had three important meat ingredients that could be eaten in varying combinations of two or three ingredients at a time, especially with the addition of the extra ramps, which I shared with Suzette and probably went well with her quail.

Whitefish is a local lake fish with a tight white flesh.

Suzette ordered a flight of three wines paired to her menu selections, a Pinot Grigio was served with the scallops, a full bodied pinot noir with the quail, and a Cabernet franc ice wine was served with her dessert, which was a rhubarb cake in a puddle of caramel sauce garnished with a dollop of mocha ice cream.

I drank my lemonade with my pork belly appetizer and ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for my fish entrée and ordered a glass of local Sauvignon Blanc for my fish entree that was dry with an elegant finish.

For dessert we shared Suzette's rhubarb cake served with a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of mocha ice cream with a fresh mint leaf sticking out of the top.

After dinner we took the bus back to the hotel and had a sip of cognac.

Bon Appetit