Monday, May 29, 2017

May 28, 2017 Lunch – boiled Shrimp and Gazpacho. Dinner – Fish Fried Rice

May 28, 2017 Lunch – boiled Shrimp and Gazpacho. Dinner – Fish Fried Rice

This morning we ate the last of the tropical fruit salad with yogurt.

Then we worked in the garden.  Mostly we scraped the garlic, which meant we removed the scape that the plant puts out that becomes its seed pod.

We also added some of the dirt we bought yesterday to the water lilies that had floated off their moorings due to lack of ballast in their pots.  The dirt has a large amount of clay that will not wash away.  When refilled the water lilies sank back down on their concrete brick pedestals we placed them on in the pond.  The water in the pond is beginning to clear.  We are running the in pond fountain 24 hours a day to try to settle the ambient particles of dirt.

We then walked over to Janis and Tom’s house and talked to them and picked up Suzette’s shirt she left there last night.

When we arrived back home I boiled the large 16-20 count bag of shrimp I bought at El Super last Wednesday for $7.99/lb. in water seasoned with crab boil seasoning, lemons, and onion, which is my preferred seasoning for boiling shrimp.

I also made cocktail sauce with catsup, horseradish and lemon juice.

Suzette made gazpacho with the PPI tomatoes from Saturday’s dinner, cucumber, and celery and a piece of dried baguette.  Tom had sent us home with the 2/3 full bottle of Autrebois Pinot Noir Rose’, so we decided to drink that with lunch.  Suzette put the shrimp on a platter of ice, I iced the ice bucket and put the rode’ into it and Suzette filled soup bowls with gazpacho and garnished them with croutons.  We took our lunch to the garden and enjoyed our meal under the gazebo beside our newly refurbished pond.

Suzette went through the freezer in the garage.  She tossed a couple of unidentifiable objects and brought in a couple of keepers.  One bag had a fish in a Chinese sauce.  We decided to make Fish Fried Rice with the PPI rice died with cuttlefish ink.  We called Wily and asked him to bring a salmon filet when ha came.

When Willy arrived Suzette thawed the salmon filet. I minced three carrots and two zucchini and we had a bag of minced red onion from last night’s Caprese Salad ingredients.  I also minced 1 T. of ginger root and went to the garden and picked a garlic plant and diced it.  I cleaned and cut in half about 4 oz. of white beach mushrooms I had bought at a Talin a week ago.

Suzette then heated the wok and added the ingredients to cook them into fried rice.

We drank iced mint and green tea with dinner outside in the garden.

Willy and Suzette ate a bowl of clafoutis for dessert.  I drank chai.

Bon Appetit

Suzette started by frying two eggs in the wok into a pancake.

May 29, 2017 Breakfast – Lax and bagel. Lunch – Salad with green beans, cucumbers, eggs, and Blue Cheese dressing. Dinner – New Recipe Stir fried Baby Octopus with Oyster Sauce and Grilled Artichokes

May 29, 2017 Breakfast – Lax and bagel. Lunch – Salad with green beans, cucumbers, eggs, and Blue Cheese dressing. Dinner – New Recipe Stir fried Baby Octopus with Oyster Sauce and Grilled Artichokes

We slept eight hours last night so woke up rested.  At 10:00 I toasted bagels and spread cream cheese on them and studded them capers and laid slices of onion and Lax and then finally tomato slices.

We ate in the garden under the gazebo.

At 11:00 we rode the tandem the entire 15 miles of the southern loop for the first time in two years and felt better when we returned than when we started.

We then made a salad with fresh greens from the garden and I made a fresh vinaigrette dressing with the addition of blue cheese.  We ate it under the gazebo with glasses of mint green ice tea.

We then watched the Monaco Gran Prix.

Yesterday I had cooked the four artichokes I bought at Trader Joe’s on Saturday.  Today we had decided to eat the PPI Grilled Octopus from a Friday night and a grilled artichoke.  When we grill artichokes, we usually simmer them in boiling water for thirt y minutes instead of an hour so they will keep their shape when we cut them in half and grill them.

Suzette basted the artichoke with olive oil and seasoned them with sea salt and pepper and the we grilled the for approximately fifteen minutes flipping them once.

New Recipe – Suzette wanted to replicate a dish we had eaten at our favorite restaurant in Oaxaca.  It was a row of potato salad drizzled with grilled octopus and an oyster sauce and chili oil dressing.  Suzette used PPI Fred rice mixed with a bit of mayonnaise dressing I had made for the artichokes.  The sauce was essentially mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill and a bit of salt to taste.  The mayonnaise replicated the sauce used to bind the potato salad that El Destilado used for the dish.  I quartered each baby octopus and Suzette stir fried the PPI octopus with oyster sauce and hoisin sauce and then laid them on top of the rice roll.  El Destilado garnished the top of the dish with thin slices of fresh radish.  We did not have a radish so I thinly sliced a peeled half of a cucumber left over from the salad at lunch, which mimicked in both look and flavor the radish slices used by El Destilado.

We loved our meal, which turned out to be amazingly filling.

Bon Appetit

May 27, 2017 Lunch – Egg Salad and Herring Sandwich. Dinner Party at Tom and Janis’ House

May 27, 2017 Lunch – Egg Salad and Herring Sandwich.  Dinner Party at Tom and Janis’ House

We walked to the Farmer’ Market and bought feta cheese from Old Windmill Dairy and 2 beautiful heirloom tomatoes and 2 beefsteak tomatoes for the Caprese Salad for tonight.

                  Suzette buying tomatoes




Then we drove to Albuquerque water garden and bought 2 water hyacinth plants, a flowering aquatic plant called Manza, eight gold fish, and two filter plants, plus some dirt and carried them back home and put the plants and fish into the pond and Suzette left for he nail appointment.

A check came in the mail so I took it to the bank and then drove to Trader Joe’s and bought two bottles each of Crayon, Ferme Julien, and La Granja Rose’ and one bottle of Chateau Haut Sorillon red Bordeaux plus a wedge of French Roquefort cheese and a four pack of medium artichokes.

I went home and when Suzette arrived after stopping at Costco foe fresh mozzarella, we decided to make a lunch of egg salad on a tomato.  Suzette fetched the Roma tomatoes from the garage and made two slices at 90 degree angles to open the tomatoes into four petals.  She then heaped a large scoop of the egg salad she had made across the center of the pedals.  I added a pickle that we Suzette had made Thursday evening.  I also toasted a piece of Jewish rye and smeared it with crema and laid three pieces of the Larsen’s sherry flavored herring on the toast to make an open faced herring sandwich.  Even though Suzette had followed her Mother’s recipe, we decided the pickles tasted too salty and vinegary, so Suzette added some sugar to the pickles to balance the sweet and sour and salty.

After our lunch to the garden I napped until 4:30.
We had a 6:30 dinner at Janis and Tom’s and we had to prepare the dessert and Caprese Salad. Plus we wanted to take the pickles.

Suzette made the Caprese Salad and I made the Clafoutis

Clafoutis – I measured 6 heaping T. of flour, 10 measured T. of powdered sugar, three eggs and a mixture of 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream scalded plus the two lb. of pitted and halved cherries that had been marinated over night in two T. of cognac and one T. of Framboise liquor.  We baked it in a 375 degrees oven in a buttered and sugared ceramic baking dish for an hour.

Suzette made the Caprese Salad by slicing the tomatoes we bought at the Farmers’ Market and one one side alternating slices of fresh feta and on the other alternating fresh mozzarella slices and tomato.  I went to the garden and picked five stalks of oregano and 12 basil leaves.  I  destemmed the oregano leaves and chopped the leaves from three stalks and finely diced ½ red onion.  Suzette placed the basil leaves between the slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella on one side of a large glass platter and sprinkled the oregano leaves over the feta and tomato slices on the other side.  She then sprinkled some of the minced red onion onto both sides of salad and mixed a balsamic and olive oil dressing and drizzled it over the salad and covered it.

When the Clafoutis was baked we took it out of the oven and placed the Caprese Salad, the Clafoutis, the jar of pickles, and a bottle of Autrobois French Rose in the car and drove the two blocks to Janis and Tom’s.

When we arrived Diane and Herb and Corky and Janie had arrived.  We took our items to the kitchen and then returned to the back patio where all the action was.  There was a ping pong table and a cozy sitting area and a dining area under a wooden gazebo on the patio.  Janis is an interior decorator and everything was very tastefully arranged on the patio that was surrounded by planted beds.

I sat and talked to Herb about his 25 acre Garcia project at the northeast corner of Rio Grande and I-40 and the changing nature of retail development and played a game of ping pong with Suzette.  Janis had putted out a three well condiment tray with red salsa, green salsa and guacamole plus a basket of chips on the table that between the two couches in the conversation area, which I nibbled on.

After trying the Rose’ I enjoyed a margarita that Janis had made and everyone else was drinking with the spicy salsa and chips.

When it was time to eat, Corky left for a Jethro Tull concert, Tom grilled lovely ½ lb. hamburgers with slices of Kraft cheese melted onto them.  Janis put a table cloth on 1/3 of the ping pong table to turn it into a buffet table and out our pickles and Caprese Salad on it and Diane put her lovely butter lettuce and watercress salad with mandarin oranges on the table.  The table was set and there was a bottle of red and a bottle of white on it plus sliced onion, catsup, mayonnaise and mustard.  The red was a Chilean Malbec Reserva. I drank the red, which had good acidity.

An interesting fact that Janie told me was that she was a Little sister of the ZBTs at Vanderbilt when I mentioned that I had been a ZBT at university of Texas.  I did not find out exactly what that organization was because we did not have a little sister organization at UT and because I asked an inappropriate question, “What did Little Sisters do for ZBT?”

Any way we enjoyed talking politics with Diane as we ate and caught up on all the latest political gossip and developments in New Mexico democratic politics.

For dessert Janis served vanilla ice cream with a Kahlua espresso sauce
In a parfait cup on a plate with a scoop of clafoutis.

We talked until 10:30 which was probably past our bedtimes, but a completely lovely Evening in honor of Memorial Day.  It was fun to enjoy a patio party to celebrate the holiday that marks the beginning of Summer.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 25, 2017 Lunch – Azuma Dinner – PPI Sashimi and Sushi

May 25, 2017 Lunch – Azuma   Dinner – PPI Sashimi and Sushi

Today was a very monochromatic food day.  I ate Chirashi Donburi at Azuma with Aaron who ate a New Mexico roll with a green chili.  I also ordered him a tempura green chili, but instead we were served a green chili roll.  Aaron and I only ate about ½ of what were served, so we boxed the remaining.

                                        The Chirashi Donburi

When Suzette arrived home we decided to cook the baby octopus, the Sushi and PPI artichokes.

I made the octopus marinade with lemon juice, olive oil and thyme and we marinated the octopus for about an hour.

Suzette took the two cooked artichokes from the fridge and cut them in half and skewered the octopus and grilled them. While she grilled I made a dipping sauce with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt for the artichokes and and a lemon, olive oil and rosemary dipping sauce for the octopus.  I then distributed the sushi and sashimi onto two plates and Suzette reheated some of the cuttlefish ink dyed rice and placed some on the two plates.

I also filled two sushi sauce dipping bowls with soy sauce and added some of the fresh wasabi and stirred it in.

When the artichokes and octopus were ready we opened a bottle of French Pear cider and enjoyed our dinner.  The octopus was a little chewy.  We decided we needed to try grilling them again.  I bought the cleaned and ready to cook baby octopus at El Super market for $4.99/lb.

Later I ate the last bit of the clafoutis I made last Sunday.

Then I pitted and halved the two pounds of cherries I bought on Wednesday at El Super and added some cognac and framboise and covered it with Saran and put it in the fridge.

Bon Appetit

                  The grilled octopus and artichokes

Later I ate the last bit of the clafoutis I made last Sunday.

Then I pitted and halved the two pounds of cherries I bought on Wednesday at El Super and added some cognac and framboise and covered it with Saran and put it in the fridge.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 24, 2017 Lunch – Mexican salad with Morcilla and grilled cheese. Dinner – PPI Salmon, rice, and sautéed squash

This was a PPI day foodwise.  The most exciting dish of the day was the salad I made for lunch with fresh greens from the garden and grilled slices of morcilla and a piece of Oaxacan cheese, plus two slices of Fano baguette covered with melted Jarlsberg.

The most exciting food event was shopping at El Super.  Wednesday is the produce day with special pricing on several items.  Here is the ticket.  I went a little wild, buying, yellow onions and carrots 4 lb. for $.99, limes 3 lb. for $.99, Roma tomatoes and Gala apples 2 lb. for $.99, Mexican squash for $.77/lb., Persian cucumbers for $.67/lb. and a regular cucumber for $.33.

I also bought crema, bacon ends, large 16 to 20 count shrimp for $7.99/lb. and baby octopus and more morcilla for $4.99/lb.

There are lots of recipes in my head.

I went to meditate at 5:45 and when I returned at 7:00 we decided to not cook.  So we simply reheated the rice, squash, and salmon from last night’s meal for our dinner and finished the bottles of Sauvignon Blanc.

Later I ate a little clafoutis.

Bon Appetit

May 23, 2017 Lunch – PPI Lamb Chop with Roasted vegetable. Dinner Party – Salmon grilled on a cedar plank seasoned with Sorrel Pesto, sautéed squashes, tossed salad, and rice dyed with cuttlefish ink.

May 23, 2017 Lunch – PPI Lamb Chop with Roasted vegetable. Dinner Party – Salmon grilled on a cedar plank seasoned with Sorrel Pesto, sautéed squashes, tossed salad, and rice dyed with cuttlefish ink.

I ate the plate Suzette plated with the PPIs from Sunday dinner for lunch.


We had invited Melissa and Cynthia and Ricardo for dinner at 6:30.  I don’t know what Suzette told Cynthia but Cynthia brought a tossed salad and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash, which fit perfectly into he three dishes we had made.  Suzette made rice dyed with cuttlefish ink and grilled two salmon filets on cedar boards that had been soaked in water and seasoned with the sorrel pesto she had made last week.  I had made Clafoutis on Sunday, a cherry custard for dessert.

Melissa arrived first and brought two rose’ wines from Costco, a Martin Ray Rose’ of Pinot Noir from the Russian River region and a bottle of Whispering Angel from Provence, France.

Cynthia and Ricardo brought a bottle of Kim Crawford, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

We drank Melissa ‘s two rose’s and then most of the Kim Crawford by the end of dinner.

The I opened a Gruet Brut to accompany the clafoutis.

The grill flared up, perhaps because of a section of resin in the wood and she had to douse the burning plank, so the sorrel pesto she had spread on the salmon was charred. So she put the container of sorrel pesto on the table and we spread it on the salmon, which was a nice taste addition and made the complementary flavors more evident.

There was a discussion about sorrel and how it has a bitter flavor and several persons noted interest when Suzette said that she had balanced the bitterness of the sorrel by adding raisins to the pesto.  The evening was pleasant, so we lingered at the table under the gazebo and talked about projects.  Melissa has started a new project to write the libretto for an operatic/musical production about a Asian refugee/immigrant now living in Brooklyn.

Ricardo is working on a film project on a mountain man named Coulter.

Willy joined us toward the end of the meal.

It seems like everyone of our vintage’s alarm clock goes off at 9:00 to 9:15. Everyone said goodnight then.

There were PPIs of everything. So we put up the PPIs and went to bed after a few minutes of TV watching to catch up on the newest news.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 22, 2017 Lunch – Sushi Hana. Dinner – PPI Pork stewed in Tomatillo and chayote sauce with sautéed carrots and corn

May 22, 2017 Lunch – Sushi Hana. Dinner – PPI Pork stewed in Tomatillo and chayote sauce with sautéed carrots and corn

After a hearing in Bankruptcy Court today I went to lunch with Bill Turner at Sushi Hana.  We each ordered bento boxes. I ordered beef Yakisoba and Bill ordered shrimp Yakisoba.

When served we were each confronted by a huge tray of food, a large pile of stir fried wheat vermicelli noodles with our choice of meat and teriyaki sauce, an egg roll, a pile of tempura with two slices of sweet potato, one slice of zucchini, a shrimp, and a slice of onion, plus salad dressed with a lovely sweet ginger dressing, and four pieces of a fish mousse filled sushi roll.  Each plate was served with two small bowls of condiments, one of plum sauce for the egg roll and the other with teriyaki sauce for the tempura.  We drank water.  It took an hour to eat lunch, during which we had one of the far reaching conversations that I love, from water rights to hydrology engineering to the history of French settlement of North America to the etymology of words in several languages.

Willy and a workmate walked in during lunch and we said hello.

 We had no enthusiasm for cooking today so we heated up the PPI Pork in tomatillo sauce with the corn and corn vegetable dish and rice.  It was great with the chunks of chayote and the pork that pulled apart on the touch of a fork.  We drank a beer with it.  I was still rather full from lunch, so was happy to have an easy light dinner.

We decided to freeze the rest of the Pork with Tomatillo Sauce after eating it twice.

Bon Appetit

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 21, 2017, Lunch – Polish Dog at Costco. Dinner – Rack of lamb, Roasted turnips, sweet potatoes, and onion, Tzatziki, and steamed asparagus

 May 21, 2017, Lunch – Polish Dog at Costco. Dinner – Rack of lamb, Roasted turnips, sweet potatoes, and onion, Tzatziki, and steamed asparagus

I watched the news shows and drank a coffee hot chocolate.  Then worked until 11:00.  At 12:30 Suzette and I drove to Costco.  We were hungry so we ate Polish Dogs first.  Then we shopped.  We bought a rack of lamb for $10.99/lb., a salmon filet, stuff for the Center, raisins, lemons, and oil for the truck.

We then went home and rested.  We invited Aaron and Willy to dinner at 6:00.  While I worked in the morning Suzette had worked in the garden and among the tasks she accomplished was the picking of a basket full of young turnips, which she had cleaned and cubed the larger ones.

At 3:30 she diced sweet potatoes and onions and roasted those with the turnips for about 40 minutes.  While the vegetables were roasting I made a clafoutis.  I make clafoutis every year when the fresh crop of cherries arrives.


I pitted 1 lb. of fresh cherries.  Suzette cut them in half and I marinated them in cognac and framboise liquor.

We then scalded 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of half and half.

I then mixed 7 T. of flour, 10 T. of powdered sugar and ½ tsp. of salt in a large bowl and made a well in the middle of the dry mixture.

I the lightly beat three eggs and stirred them into the dry mixture with a wooden spoon.

I then blended in the slightly cooled scalded milk and stirred the mixture to remove any lumps.

I then buttered and sugared a ceramic baking dish.

Suzette pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and set the oven on convection bake.

The oven did not need much preheating becauseSuzette had recently taken the roasted vegetables from the oven and covered them with aluminum foil to keep warm.

I then added the fruit to the batter and poured the mixture into the ceramic baking dish.  I placed the baking dish on an aluminum baking tray and placed it in the oven and baked it for 45 minutes and turned off the heat and let the clafoutis sit in the oven until we finished dinner.

Dinner –

Suzette grilled the rack of lamb while I fetched the PPI tzatziki that I had refreshed on Friday evening.

I fetched the bottle of Serve’ Cuvée Charlotte that Aaron and Ioana brought me from Romania.  It it a Bordeaux style blend of merlot and feteasca neagra grapes aged in oak barrels.

Fetească Neagră (Romanian pronunciation: [feˈte̯askə ˈne̯aɡrə]); English: Black Maiden) is an old pre-phylloxeric variety of Romanian[1] - Moldovan grape,[2] cultivated mainly in several areas in the Romanian regions of Moldova, Muntenia, Oltenia, Banat, Northern Dobruja[3] and also in the Republic of Moldova.

These grapes produce dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, with an alcohol content of 12-14%,[4] a deep red colour with ruby shades, and a black currant flavour, which becomes richer and smoother with aging.

I noticed the currant flavor, which was very pleasing.

When the rack was cooked to medium rare, which took a few extra minutes, I sliced the rib steaks and Suzette plated the dishes and we all went outside and ate under the gazebo.

After dinner I ate some Brie cheese with the last few sips of wine.  Willy did laundry and we watched Boston beat the Cavaliers in the Eastern NBA finals.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 20, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – PPI Pork in tomatillo and chayote sauce with rice and carrots and corn sautéed in oregano and cilantro

May 20, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – PPI Pork in tomatillo and chayote sauce with rice and carrots and corn sautéed in oregano and cilantro

I drank a cup of coffee with hot chocolate for breakfast.  Then we worked in the garden.  We planted a new quince tree and weeded an area in which we will plant tomatoes and basil tomorrow.

We put my  bike in the little truck and drove to Zendo coffee where Suzette bought two bags of coffee from Chiapas and we walked through Gertrude Zachary’s and looked at the antiques.

We then drove to the Bike Coop and dropped off my bike.  It was noon and we were getting hungry, so we stopped at Vietnam 2000 for lunch.  I let Suzette order.  We shared an appetizer of Spring rolls with shredded pork and a number 50, which is a layer of cooked flour sheets laid over a bed of sautéed mung bean sprouts and julienned cucumber garnished with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  We liked the no. 50 and did not like the spring rolls.  The reason why we did not like the spring rolls is because they were filled with mostly rice vermicelli wrapped in a rice noodle wrapper, which seemed like an excessive amount of rice noodles, especially since we were eating a dish with rice noodles.

After lunch we continued to Total Wine, where Suzette bought two bottles of shearling Scott for $26.95 each and I bought two bottles of Bacardi Gold for $11.99 each and a bottle of XO Calvados for $29.99 and seven or eight bottles of mostly 2016 French Rose’s with an Oakridge Zinfandel, a bottle of Vouvray Chenin Blanc, and a Calvijo Gran Reserva Rioja thrown in to the mix.  The prices at Total Wine are higher than Trader Joe’s but their selection is much greater.  Today the discount was 15% on wines of greater than $10.00, which all of our wines were.  We also bought a 12 pack of Negra Modelo for $13.49.

Since we had three boxes of beer, wine, and whiskey in the back of the truck we decided to drive home instead of Costco and go to Costco tomorrow.

We took a nap until 4:00 and then rode the tandem to the Nature Center and back home.

We decided to eat the PPI Pork in tomatillo sauce.  We discussed a vegetable and I mentioned carrots, so I went to the fridge in the garage to fetch the carrots and discovered the six ears of corn I had bought at Sprouts on Wednesday.  I filled a pot half full of water and put in on to boil and peeled and sliced five carrots and ½ of a red onion.  I then went to the garden and picked five stalks of oregano and removed the leaves and chopped about 1/3 cup of them.  Then Suzette fetched the cilantro from the fridge and blanched the carrots.  I chopped about 1/3 cup of them also while Suzette shucked and boiled the six ears of corn.  Suzette then shaved the kernels off three ears of corn and sautéed the corn, carrots, cilantro, and oregano in 2 T. of butter to mix their flavors and heated the PPI rice.  She the plated pasta bowls with 1/3 each of rice, vegetables and the Pork stew.

We drank Negra Modelos with dinner and agreed that this dinner equaled anything we ate in Mexico on our recent trip.  I drizzled a few drops of Cholula Chili Sauce on my dish and mixed it in and thought it added a pleasing warmth of chili flavor to the dish.

We were satisfied although Suzette had a few spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream with her delicious rhubarb/strawberry compote.

The combination of nutritious food and exercise in the last few days has me feeling better.

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 18, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner – New Recipe Pan Seared Scallops on Spaghetti with fresh Sorrel Pesto

May 18, 2017 Lunch – Azuma. Dinner – New Recipe   Pan Seared Scallops on Spaghetti with fresh Sorrel Pesto

I made a new dish for breakfast I sautéed red onion and capers and then fried an egg over easy and placed it on a toasted half of a bagel that I had smeared with cream cheese and laid slices of Gravad Lax.  The result was a rich gooey egg sandwich but my body reacted a BLT to the extra fat from the butter in the fried egg.  I realized that there was a trade off between the rich hot breakfast of an egg sandwich and the cool clean flavor of Lax and onion and capers on a toasted bagel with a thin coating of cream cheese.  Each has its own distinctly different characteristics, even though, except for the butter used to cook the egg they contain the same ingredients.  Voila.

I went to lunch with Mike at Azuma.  Mike is the opposite of a sushi freak.  He does not eat raw fish.  I ordered my usual Chirashi Donburi and we looked at and discussed the menu at length. Mike said that he had enjoyed a steak he had tried at a tepals grill recently.  We looked at the teppan choices and the bento box choices and Mike asked about the different fish choices, like, “What does mackerel taste like?”  After some discussion Mike chose a bento box with grilled beef, a grilled salmon filet, a pickled cucumber salad and fresh slices of cucumber.

There is a new sushi chef and his rendition of Chirashi was beautifully presented in an open elliptically shaped bowl.  I shall return.  Mike’s dish was perfect for him.  He enjoyed the grilled meats and ate most of the pickled cucumber salad.  We enjoyed discussing law stuff.

I finished working at 6:30 but had discussed dinner with Suzette when she arrived early at 5:00.  We decided to sauté the scallops I bought at Sprouts on Wednesday and make pesto to mix with the PPI pasta.

So at 6:30 we went to the garden and picked a basket full of sorrel because sorrel’s slightly bitter flavor goes really well with the slightly sweet rich flavor of scallops.

Sorrel Pesto

Suzette first pulsed pine nuts, garlic, and raisins in the blender for a few seconds.  Then she added grated Pecorino Romano and pulsed the mixture for a second.  Then she filled the blender with sorrel leaves that we had cleaned and de-stemmed and drizzled a bit of olive oil onto the leaves and pulsed the mixture until it became a slightly gritty purée.

Suzette adds raisins when she makes sorrel pesto to balance its bitterness.  She does not add raisins to basil pesto, because basil is a sweeter milder flavor.  Suzette told me that Lisa taught her this principle.  You must balance the bitterness of an ingredient with a sweet ingredient that adds balance to both the dish in two respects.  In this dish Suzette said that the raisins not only balance the bitterness of the sorrel, but they add a fruit to the dish, so you have nuts, fruits, bitter herbs, cheese, and oil to emulsify everything.  You end up with a complete condiment that is in balance and can complement many different dishes.  Even something as simple as plain spaghetti and a seared scallop.

We enjoyed our simple, yet elegant meal.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 16, 2017 Lunch – PPI Shed Enchiladas. Dinner – PPI Mussel and Fennel Bisque over Spaghetti

May 16, 2017 Lunch – PPI Shed Enchiladas.  Dinner – PPI Mussel and Fennel Bisque over Spaghetti

Sometimes PPIs are not as good as the original fresh dish and sometimes they are better.  The better PPIs are those that combine several ingredients into a stew or soup that if let to sit for a day will meld their flavors.  Both of these PPIs fit that definition.

Upon re-hearing the posole sauce, cheese, red chili and tortillas all melded their flavors into one mass in the PPI enchiladas from Saturday’s lunch at the Shed.  I went to the garden and picked lettuce and made a salad with chopped red onion, tomato and lettuce.  I also put chopped red onion on the enchiladas when I heated them for a delicious topping of cooked red onion that melded into the enchiladas also.  I drank ½ of a Modelo Especial lager.

Dinner was the same melding but in a very different way.  We had stored the Mussel and fennel bisque in a yogurt container in the fridge for several days and we re-heated it and served it over re-heated PPI  spaghetti. Suzette also toasted pieces of French bread made at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery we took home on May 5.

It was fun to dip the bread into the bisque until it absorbed the soup and then eat the bisque flavored softened bread.

The bisque had benefited from sitting for several days because the herbaceous flavor and aroma of the fresh fennel had melded with the flavor and aroma of the sea that the mussels brought to the dish.  The result was a new subtle combination of flavors and aromas that I did not detect in the original bisque.  Sometimes time is an ingredient in cooking and understanding its subtle effect is a skill worthy of a good cook.

A day after eating the dinner I still feel or sense the elegant infused Mussel and fennel aroma in my body.  This is the height of French cooking.  A dish whose flavors and aromas make a deeply penetrating pleasant impact on you.  The problem with this approach is a dish such as this is like a good wine.  It will be very rough and jangly when freshly made.  It takes time for the flavors and aromas of the sea and land to combine.  I remember a good example of this.  On our first trip together to France twenty years ago we ordered bouillabaisse at a fancy seafood restaurant in Cap Du Antibes.  It was inedible for us because the bisque, which was a reduction of fish, herbs, garlic aioli, and wine was overwhelming to our inexperienced taste for French food.  But I bet that had we eaten the same soup a day or two later we could have enjoyed it because all those strong flavors would have melded together.

We drank glasses of Famille Perrin Cotes Du Rhone Reserve white with the pasta dish.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 15, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000. Dinner – New Recipe   Warm Roasted Fennel, White Bean and Chard Salad with Sautéed Ami Tuna

I went with Aaron to lunch at Vietnam 2000.  We both ordered No. 21 with extra lettuce, mung beans, and cucumbers and fewer rice vermicelli noodles with fried egg rolls and grilled pork.  I loved the more salad like dish.

Suzette wanted to test a new recipe with roasted fennel, white beans, and chard sautéed in olive oil with Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic.

We decided to sauté a piece of ahi tuna with the bean salad.  Suzette sautéed the tuna beautifully in peanut oil.  It had a crisp edge and pink center.

Unfortunately the bean salad was not so successful.  The chard was undercooked and tough, while the beans were over cooked and mushy.  The beans were pre-cooked and canned, so they probably should not have been added until the end of the cooking process.

We drank a bottle of La Ferme Julien Rose’, which is a Perrin Famille wine from the Rhone Valley in Southern France.

I ate some ice cream for dessert and it upset my stomach in the middle of the night, so no more of that, hopefully.

Bon Appetit

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 13, 2017 Lunch – The Shed, Dinner – Mussel and Fennel Stew over Spaghetti

May 13, 2017 Lunch – The Shed,  Dinner – Mussel and Fennel Stew over Spaghetti

We drove to Santa Fe at 8:00 and arrived at Stephen’s Consignment a little after 9:00.  Today was the 30% off sale on all items.  I bought a Kenneth Adams print  and a Agam holographic work, plus a silver Taxco bracelet for Suzette for Mother’s Day.    Suzette bought a landscape drawing by Duane Van Vechten and said she was interested in building a collection of works by female New Mexican artists.

We then drove to Santa Fe Farmers’ Market and bought a bottle of honey from Penasco.

We said hello to Peg and Ted Cronin and went to say hello to Charlotte Jackson, who gave us a book on Florence Pierce.

We then drove to The Shed and ate a great plate of enchiladas with Negra Modelos and finished lunch with a piece of Josie’s Mocha Cake.

We then drove back to Albuquerque and rested.

For dinner we decided to use the PPI mussel stew to make a spaghetti dish.  We picked a basket of chard and I diced two Roma tomatoes and a shallot and Suzette sautéed them while I shaved slices of Pecorino Romano cheese.  We then assembled the dish by piling spaghetti into a pasta bowl, then scooping some mussel bisque onto the spaghetti and finally garnishing with the sautéed chard, shallot, and tomatoes.  I poured out the rest of the bottle of Candida Fontana 2015 Frascati (Total Wine $7.59 after a 20% discount).  The Frascati was a little light and had a slight fruitiness.  Not as much acidity as Frascatis I have drunk before.

This was a wonderful incredibly fresh dish that was very digestible.  We both slept through the night and woke up with good energy for a ride.

Bon Appetit

May 14, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab Salad, Dinner – Pork in Tomatillo and Chayote Sauce

May 14, 2017 Lunch – Dungeness Crab Salad,  Dinner – Pork in Tomatillo and Chayote Sauce

I made tropical fruit salad with mango, papaya, and pineapple.  Then I ate a light breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit salad.  Then I toasted ½ of a bagel, with sliced onion, capers, and Gravad Lax.

Then we rode to Rio Bravo and back.

We then cleaned a Dungeness crab and broke it in half and Suzette made a salad with an avocado, a tomato sliced, and red lettuce.  I added catsup and ½ cup of mayonnaise to the mayonnaise sauce I had made for artichokes to make it into a Louis sauce.

We opened a chilled bottle of Gruet Blanc de Noir and took the salads and champagne to the gazebo table.  We took apart the crab and filled the avocado halves with crab and dressed with Louis Sauce and nibbled our way through the crab and salad as we sipped champagne and called Suzette’s mom to wish her a happy Mother”s Day.

After lunch I watched the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California and helped Suzette plant lettuce in half of one of the raised beds.

At 5:00 I pruned the dead heads if the roses.

Pork and Tomatillo/chayote sauce

We found a package of pork steaks.  I then diced about 3 lb. of tomatillos, two chayotes, one Padilla chili, about eight to ten chopped cloves of garlic, and 1 ½ white onion.  Suzette sauteed the garlic and onion and then added the chayote, Tomatillo, and pasilla chili.  After the sauce ingredients, Suzette seasoned it with salt and pepper and puréed it into a chunk you sauce.  She then added the pork and simmered the sauce and pork for about an hour.

I made a cup of basmati rice and we scooped the pork in Tomatillo sauce and laid it on a pile of rice.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 12, 2017 Lunch – Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery, Dinner - New Recipe Mussel Bisque

May 12, 2017 Lunch – Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery,  Dinner -  New Recipe   Mussel Bisque

I went to Los Lunas today with Aaron to visit with Mike Ogas at the School of Dreams Academy.  He was in a meeting when we arrived at 10:45, so we drove to the Greenhouse Bistro for lunch.

We ordered and then decided to walk through the gardens.  I showed Aaron the organic garden, the herb garden, and the orchard and the we returned to a table under the portal at the education building where the waitress had placed our plates of food.  We decided to split a beef shank braised in green mole sauce and a Felix Verde Salad from the .May Specials menu.  The beef shank in green mole was stewed with diced potatoes and was in a very thick mole sauce made principally with tomatillos and Mexican spices.  The salad was the show stopper.  It included fresh chopped lettuce from the Center’s garden, julienned carrots, halved grape tomatoes and fresh shucked garbanzo beans and was dressed with a cilantro infused olive oil dressing.  We ordered slices of grilled baguette freshly baked in the on premises bakery.

We shared our lunch and the ordered a cream brûlée and an apple tarts or dessert and shared those also.  The Apple tart was delicious, a rectangular slab of fresh apples stewed in spices and sugar until well softened, laid on a base of puff pastry.  The cream brûlée was technically well executed with its traditional thin crisp shell of burnt sugar.

We loved our al fresco lunch.  We then called Mike at SODA, who was available to meet, so we drove back to the campus and met with him and delivered the school’s CO’s and discussed plans to build the next expansion of the facilities.  Aaron, Marty Suazo, and I own a company called Railway Land Co. that provided the development services to locate the school at its current site just south of the Los Lunas Railrunner station.  We are currently working with the school to arrange the financing to build the next facility expansion that we discussed today.

I then drove Aaron back to his house and went home and worked until 5:00, when Suzette arrived.  We grabbed a bee and went to Willy’s apartment to remove notices from his door.  We then went to the roof garden area and sat and drank a Red Stripe beer from his fridge.

Revived a bit from the pressures of the work day, we decided to go to Costco to buy mussels for the new Mussel Bisque recipe Suzette wanted to make since today is the Seafood Fiesta.  We bought a 5.85 lb. of mussels and also bought a Dungeness crab for our Sunday Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch, and package of Italian shaped pastas,Nutella, mayonnaise, and a case of cans of tomato paste, which Suzette needed for the Bisque recipe.

When we returned home, I put the mussels in a large bowl filled with ice and ice water to soak and hopefully release some of their muddiness.  I the chopped a carrot and two shallots and fetched the open bottles of old undrinkable white wine from the fridge, which Suzette used to make a court bouillon to cook the mussels in.  I the shucked the mussels while a Suzette made the bisque with the Court bouillon, a T. of tomato paste, 1 tsp. of dried thyme, a bay leaf, the ½ cup of minced shallots, the ¼ cup of diced carrot, which she cooked for twenty minutes and then puréed in the food processor.  She then returned the bisque base to the pot and added the mussels and heated the soup and adjusted the seasoning and added some cognac.
While the soup was cooking Suzette chopped about 1 cup of the diced fresh fennel bulbs we chopped up yesterday and sautéed them in butter in a medium skillet until softened and browned.  Suzette then fetched the bag of fresh chopped fennel fronds from the fridge and we scooped the bisque into bowls and garnished it with the braised fennel bulbs and the beautiful green chopped fennel fronds.  I chilled a bottle of Italian Cantina Fontina Frascati, which was not quite as dry as I had thought it would be. It actually had a fruitiness, which complemented the slightly pungent flavor of the fennel, cognac, and mussel broth.

We were both tired and went to bed at 9:30.

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 11, 2017 a fun and rewarding day Lunch – La Hacienda. Dinner – Sautéed Smoked Pork Chops, Chard Custard, Corn on the Cob, and Grilled Artichoke

May 11, 2017 a fun and rewarding day  Lunch – La Hacienda. Dinner – Sautéed Smoked Pork Chops, Chard Custard, Corn on the Cob, and Grilled Artichoke

I toasted  ½ of an everything bagel for breakfast and smeared it with cream cheese and garnished it with red onion slices, capers, and slices of Gravad Lax and drank a cup of tea with it.
Suzette had a meeting downtown this morning, so she ate the other half of the bagel with cream cheese and Lax and mentioned a menu using the ingredients that we had, smoked Park chops, fresh corn on the cob, and the two chard custards Cynthia brought us Sunday evening.

At 11:00 I spoke to the tenant at 524 Romero about paying the rent of $2,500.00.  He said he had it and would be going to his La Hacienda restaurant at noon.  I told him I would meet him at his restaurant and he could deliver it to me there.

I then finalized a letter that had to be sent certified and put on my riding clothes and rode to the Old Town post office and mailed it certified.  I then rode across Central to Old Town and the two blocks to the plaza where La Hacienda Restaurant is located.  The La Hacienda Restaurant has a covered portal filled with tables overlooking the plaza and the San Francisco de Neri church.  I lay my bike against the railing separating the portal from the sidewalk between two planters, so it would not impede any foot traffic and sat at a table next to the bike.
I had the new issue of the New Yorker that arrived in the mail today and read and then ordered an enchilada plate with ground beef and red chili sauce.  The enchiladas were not made in my favorite manner, which is to soften them in a chili broth and then bake them in the oven.  It appeared to me that La Hacienda used the easiest and least flavorful method of making an stacked flat plate of enchiladas of dipping a tortilla in hot oil to soften it and then laying ground meat taco mixture between the two bottom layers and then pouring red chili over the top tortilla and then the plate is filled with a scoop of beans and a scoop of rice and garnished with grated cheese and then put under a 
heat lamp to heat the enchiladas and melt the cheese.   The problem with this method is that the tortillas are not evenly softened because not all areas of the tortillas are evenly covered with the same amount of liquid and those areas that have not been submerged with chili sauce are tough and the areas of tortilla that have been only slightly sauced have an uncooked texture.   The enchiladas I was served had both of these problems today.  My favorite enchiladas are prepared at the Shed in Santa Fe, which both softens the tortillas in chili broth for a few seconds and completely covers the enchiladas with red chili sauce and cheese and then bakes them in the oven or broils them under a salamander to fully cook and integrate the textures and flavors of the ingredients.  After you have tasted the texture of fully baked enchiladas, you will notice the deficiencies of any lesser method
immediately.The La Hacienda enchiladas were not bad today for what they were.  The red sauce was delicious and pleasingly picante as was the taco meat blend of onions, ground beef and spices between the two bottom tortillas.  I requested more garnish and chopped onions and those were brought on the side after the plate of enchiladas was delivered. Also, shortly after I sat down a warm basket of freshly fried tortilla chips with red chili was delivered to my table that I really enjoyed.  I also enjoyed the al fresco dining under the portal with a view of the sun lit plaza and church grounds.


Best of all, after I ate, Debbie arrived with an envelope filled with the rent payment.  I paid my tab and rode the 17 or 18 blocks to the bank and deposited the rent and then rode home after my pleasant midday outing.

I worked until 6:45.  Suzette came home around 6:00 with a bunch of fresh fennel and a bunch of fresh rhubarb stalks from her gardens at the Center for Ageless Living.  While I was still working she diced the stalks of rhubarb and put the diced rhubarb with sugar, water, and strawberries she had bought at Costco a few days ago into a large casserole and simmered the mixture until it reduced into a thick sauce.

When I finished work and went to the kitchen I was confronted by a pile of fennel that needed to be diced, which I did.  I then fetched the three ears of fresh corn and shucked them.  Then we remembered that we had bought a plastic container with four medium artichokes for $2.49 at Trader Joe’s on a Saturday and we had boiled them on Saturday for thirty minutes instead of an hour and then I squeezed out as much water from them as possible to try for them to retain some texture and structural integrity so they would not collapse when grilled.

Tonight Suzette sliced two artichokes in half with our bread knife with it serrated blade and they did not collapse.  She then grilled them on the propane grill while the pork chops were sautéing and the ears of corn were boiling on the stove and the rhubarb/strawberry compote was bubbling while I reconstituted our artichoke dipping sauce by adding  1 ½ T. of fresh chopped fennel fronds! 
Mayonnaise, lemon juice and a  drop of harissa.  Finally,  we heated the chard custards for 1 minute and 23 seconds in the microwave to fully heat them and opened a bottle of French apple cider we also bought at Trader Joe’s last Saturday. We filled our plates with an ear of corn, a sautéed pork chop, a chard custard, and two grilled artichoke halves and took everything out to the garden to eat al fresco at around 7:45 as the sky was ablaze with pinks and golds from the setting sun.  The temperature was pleasant and there was little wind.  We enjoyed the warm evening and our fabulous meal with so many delicious and fresh ingredients.

Two meals of al fresco dining today. What a treat.

After the mosquitos began attacking us, we went back inside and watched the latest historic news reports from Washington.  This period of history seems to me to be a lot like 1973 and 1974, when Watergate investigations were going while anti war demonstrations were going on and the counterculture was still going on.

After a while Suzette suggested we try some of the strawberry/rhubarb compote with scoops of vanilla ice cream.  We made small bowls and it was delicious.  More fresh food.  I love the spring when fresh produce starts being available.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017 Another PPI food day. Lunch – Salad. Dinner – Shrimp Pd Thai

May 10, 2017 Another PPI food day.  Lunch – Salad.  Dinner – Shrimp Pd Thai

I actually had a bagel with Lax and cream cheese for breakfast.

½ on either side of a ride to the bank to get a deed signed to sell the land in California.  Let’s pray for this one to go through.

Then for lunch I made a salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion, dressed with Cesar dressing.  I made two open faced cheese sandwiches with both Leyden and Cypress Cove goat cheese on toasted slices of Pastian’s French bread.

When I returned home after meditation at 7:00, I roasted a handful of peanuts and poured a little of the tamarind juice onto the PPI Pad Thai and we re-heated it in the microwave.  Suzette bought cilantro and fresh limes at El Super yesterday and we still had some mung bean sprouts to garnish the dish.  I drank tea with my dinner and a Suzette drank water.  We are being so healthy it is almost scary.

We liked the Pad Thai better today. It seemed like sitting for a day helped plus the addition of fresh lime juice, peanuts and cilantro added a bit of extra flavor.

Bon Appetit

May 9, 2017 A PPI food day. Lunch – PPI Vietnamese Noodle Soup Dinner – Strawberry Pecan Soup and salad

May 9, 2017 A PPI food day. Lunch – PPI Vietnamese Noodle Soup
Dinner – Strawberry Pecan Soup and salad

I ate the PPI Vietnamese soup that I had combined with the PPI corned beef and cabbage stew and it did not agreed with me.  Alas, you need to know when to throw them.  Actually I threw the shrimp and couscous yesterday.

In the afternoon I met Tahir at his Donut Mart store on Central near University.  After we met he was kind enough to give me six fresh bagels and some cream cheese. I am looking forward to smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel for breakfast.

For dinner, we decided to eat some strawberry soup with a salad.  I refreshed the dressing with ½ cup of olive oil, ½ tsp. of salt, about ¼ cup of lemon juice and a minced leaves from a sprig of tarragon.

I made a salad with lettuce from the garden, 1/6 of a cubed cucumber, a diced Roma tomato, a handful of croutons, and the remaining three slices of Gravad Lax from Sunday’s meal.

Suzette opened a bottle of 2009 Concanon Sauvignon Blanc, which still tasted wonderful.

Bon Appetit

May 8, 2017 New Recipe – Shrimp Pad Thai for Dinner. Lunch – PPI French Onion Soup

May 8, 2017 New Recipe – Shrimp Pad Thai for Dinner.  Lunch – PPI French Onion Soup

For lunch I heated the PPI French Onion Soup and name croutons for the top of the soup by toasting two slices of Sliced French bread from Pastian’s Bakery, laying slices of Swiss Gruyere cheese on the toast p, and then melting the cheese covered toast in the microwave for 21 seconds to melt the cheese.

Suzette called on her way home to tell me she was stuck in traffic on the I-40 frontage road and asked if she should stop at Lowe’s for milk.  I said, “Yes, and mung bean sprouts, please, because we have everything else we need to make Shrimp Pad Thai.”  The reason we had all the ingredients was because last week when shopping at Talin I found for the first time a one pound bag of fresh flat Pad Thai noodles for $1.10, so I had the proper fresh noodles.

When Suzette arrived home, with the mung bean sprouts we had all the ingredients.  I searched the internet and found what appeared to be an authentic, no shortcut recipe on Epicurious’ website.

Here is the recipe.  It is complicated, but worth the effort.

The recipe called for 6 oz. of noodles and I had a 16 oz. bag of noodles so I tripled the recipe.  I also diced and added two cakes of deep fried tofu, that I bought at Talin last week.

Making tamarind paste

When we began assembling the ingredients we discovered that our instructions to Loyda to clean out the refrigerator had given rise to the throwing out of the tamarind paste and juice I had made a few weeks ago, so I had to process additional tamarind pods into pulp and juice.  This is easy but a little time consuming.  Essentially, you remove the outer husk and as many strings that bind the seeds and fruit.  You then simmer the fruit in hot water until the fruit falls apart into its constituent parts, seeds, strings, a white membrane, pulp, and liquid.

You push the mixture through a strainer to separate the pulp from the white membrane, strings, and seeds, which you discard.  This leaves the pulp and liquid, which you use for cooking.  In this recipe I substituted tamarind liquid for the water.  Here is a photo of the dried tamarind pods that I bought at El Super for $1.99/lb. before processing.  Note the brown husk and the dark inner fruit bound together by the strings.

The dish was really delicious.  We did not put the chili sauce (shiracha) into the recipe because neither of us wanted the spiciness.

We each had seconds and there was enough for another meal.

Bon Appetit

We cooked the tofu with the shrimp that we had defrosted and peeled.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 7, 2017 Lunch – Polish Dogs and Sauerkraut, Dinner – Strawberry Pecan Soup, Gravad Lax Salad, and Chard Custards

May 7, 2017 Lunch – Polish Dogs and Sauerkraut,  Dinner – Strawberry Pecan Soup, Gravad Lax Salad, and Chard Custards

We rode our tandem bike to Chatters this morning.  Jim Burbank, from the meditation group, was the featured poet and Riha Rothenburger was the sponsor.  I knew her mother and father and did an adult adoption by Gene of her.  Her mother Francis, chose me to be the chairman of Oasis for a couple of the formative years in New Mexico in the 90’s, so I felt very comfortable.  Suzette found us seats on the third row just to the left of the piano keyboard where I like to sit so I can see both hands of the pianist and the keyboard.  The musical program included works related to the ocean.

After Chatter we rode home at noon and heated the PPI Polish dogs and Sauerkraut and added a little beer and drank beers.

We invited Cynthia and Ricardo for bocce and dinner, so we started cooking in the afternoon. I picked red lettuce and zested, peeled and sectioned two oranges and squeezed the juice out of another, while Suzette cut two stalks of fennel and after I cut off the leaves and she cut them into thin slices and blanched the fennel strips.

Suzette then made the Strawberry Pecan Soup with Pecans, strawberries, sour cream, apple juice,  and yogurt.

When Cynthia and Ricardo arrived they brought six chard custards, a bottle of Clos de Bois Sauvignon Blanc, and a container of frozen vanilla yogurt ice cream.  Suzette made a cocktail of cucumber muddled with mint to which mint flavored simple syrup and soda water was added.  Sort of a mojito with cucumber instead of lime juice.  We carried our drinks out to the bocce court and played a game of bocce.  Then we returned to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

We are all on healthy diets now, so we are exploring new recipes.  Cynthia created a new recipe for chard custard by blending chard into a custard recipe of egg yolks, a little sugar, milk, and a sprinkle of nutmeg, which she baked in individual ramekins.

We collected a salad recipe in Chicago at an Italian restaurant across the street from the Drake Hotel named Spiaggia about eighteen years ago that features Gravad lax.  We used the red lettuce from our garden to make the salad and drizzled basil infused olive oil around the plate. Then we added four or five slices of Gravad Lax and four or five orange sections and a few slices of blanched fennel and drizzled the salad with the orange juice flavored mayonnaise dressing and garnished the salad with a sprig of fennel.

Suzette ladled the strawberry Pecan soup into bowls and garnished the soup with sprigs of mint and I poured glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and Cynthia demolded four of the chard custards and placed one each on a small plate.  We then carried all the food out to the table under the gazebo.  We enjoyed the warm glow of the late afternoon sun as we ate our healthy dinner.  No complaints, just compliments for each of the three delicious dishes.

After we finished dinner and the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, we decided to serve dessert, which was a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt garnished with fresh blueberries.  I poured glasses of 2016 Acequia Winery Osprey, a sweet wine made with Vidal Blanc grapes, that we bought yesterday during our wine tastings in Corrales.

The sweet wine had a slight citrus flavor that went well with the creamy vanilla yogurt ice cream.

The Osprey is really a dessert.  We sipped wine and talked into the evening, until we finished the bottle of wine.
Bon Appetit

Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 6, 2017 Breakfast – Gravad Lax Omelet, Lunch – Costco Polish Dog. Dinner – PPI Greenhouse Bistro Mexican Pot Pie

May 6, 2017 Breakfast – Gravad Lax Omelet,  Lunch – Costco Polish Dog. Dinner – PPI Greenhouse Bistro Mexican Pot Pie

Today was one of the few days for which food was not of primary focus, as I will explain.

I watched English Premier League football until the half and then made a salmon, green onion, P’tit Basque cheese, tomato, and avocado omelet.  We had a busy day planned so we drank water with the omelet.

At 10:00 we drove to a house on 11th St. Willy was interested in and checked it out.  We then drove to Corrales for its Annual Gallery and Studio tour.  We got a map and went to the first location, a realty office, and then got a Vine and Wine Growers brovhure and  coordinated the wineries in Corrales’ locations with the studios we wanted to visit.  There were four wineries in Corrales and we visited all except for Milagro.  We visited Pasando Tiempo Winery, which had a good Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend Bordeaux style; then , Corrales Winery that had a good Riesling, and finally, Acequia Winery, where we sat on covered the porch overlooking the Sandias at tables with other visitors and drank a tasting of all of the seven of eight wines it produced.  At Acequia we liked three wines and bought a bottle of 2016 Osprey which was 100% Vidal Blanc.  We also liked Acequia’s Leon Millot Rose’.

We visited two or three art studios and the strip center in Corrales with four or five art galleries.  At the gallery that was an artist’s coop, we bought a small raku horse shaped bowl that we thought could be used as a salt cellar.

Finally, at 2:00 when we finished our tasting at Acequia, I was hungry, so on our way to the Apple Store for our 3:00 lesson on picture taking, we stopped at Costco for a quick lunch.  I ordered a Polish Dog and Suzette ordered a slice of cheese pizza, which we ate in about ten minutes.  We simply needed food to keep going, so abandoned any of the elaborate niceties such as eating with a knife and fork.  I simply threw some onions, catsup, mustard and relish on the dog and ate it by holding it in the wrapper in my hand.

We then drove to the Apple Store for our classes on picture taking and picture organization.  The lessons are free and you can take them as often as you wish. I found the lessons helpful and hopefully readers of this blog will benefit from the rudimentary steps I take toward a more effective use of the camera function in my Apple devices. The whole experience of interacting with the trainers felt to me like we were being praised for joining the Apple culture.  There were a couple dozen Apple green shirted geniuses at the store, so I asked a green shirted young man when we left the store at 4:00, “How many Apple stores are there in New Mexico?”  The friendly green shirted man answered, “One.”

The effect of his answer was twofold, one, there is still lots of running room for Apple to sell its products and services in the future and second, this is like when I moved to Albuquerque in 1981 and Amy was thrilled when Starbucks opened its first shop in Albuquerque.  Penetration of markets takes a very long time, especially with a constantly evolving technical device like Apple makes.  I recommend taking lessons to expose yourself to the vast array of amazing features offered by the Apple eco-system, such as something as simple as having all you devices linked to and be able to store and share all your pictures and videos taken on any device using the same user name in and from the cloud.  The result of these features for me is to have access to my thousands of photos any time I have an internet connection.

My conclusion from the lessons was

that our phones and computers are machines that have technical capabilities built into them that provide a wide range of communication capabilities and it is necessary to learn those technical capacities, if we a

want to communicate effectively.

After our lessons, we drove around the corner to Trader Joe's and bought artichokes, a bouquet of tulips, toothpaste, bottles of French cider, and three bottles of Le Chevalier VS cognac, which was finally back on the shelf at its usual price of $19.99.

When we arrived at the house Suzette went to the garden and cut roses and arranged bouquets in two vases of roses and tulips.  We then  made ourselves cocktails and sat by the fish pond in the garden and enjoyed the golden light cast by the setting sun across our garden.

We decided to plant the 10 tomato plants Suzette’s folks grew from seeds at the Center for Ageless Living.

We then decided to eat something light for dinner.  We did not wish to cook, so agreed to try the Mexican pot pie Made at the Greenhouse Bistro and bakery as part of the special menu for Cinco de Mayo.  Besides the usual Ingredients of potatoes, carrots, corn kernels, and a rich crust of dough, the filling included pieces of chayote and was seasoned with Epazote.  It was nice to crunch into a piece of baked chayote as one ate the pie.  Suzette fetched the cream and we dabbed some on the pot pie slices warm from the microwave.

We loved not cooking after our long day of activities and still enjoying a delicious dinner.  For the second time today, we were eating a quick meal prepared by others and being driven by our hunger, eating to live, rather than living to eat.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, May 6, 2017

May 5, 2017 Lunch – French Onion Soup. Dinner – Cinco de Mayo Specials at Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery

May 5, 2017  Lunch – French Onion Soup.  Dinner – Cinco de Mayo Specials at Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery

I had a cocoa and coffee for breakfast.  Then at 11:30 I fetched the PPI French Onion Soup from the garage and heated it and melted slices of Swiss Gruyere cheese on toasted slices of French bread.  I then put the toasted cheese croutons on top of the bowl of hot soup for a traditional French Onion Soup without baking the soup.  I drank a glass of 2009 Fleury Cotes Du Rhone red wine with a couple of cubes of ice in it.

At 3:15  I drove to the Center for Ageless Living and had a massage.

At 5:30 I went to the Greenhouse Bistro and waited for Suzette, who arrived a few minutes after me.  We peruse the menu specials.  Here is a photo of the May Menu.

We decided to try the Verde Felix salad, the Fish Veracruz, and the Slow Braise.

The salad was greens, shredded carrots, zucchini, fresh lightly sautéed garbanzo beans and corn kernels garnished with fresh grilled Oaxaca cheese and dressed with a slightly sweet cilantro dressing.  We really liked this salad and found it to be the equal of a similar one we ate in Oaxaca recently.

We asked for bread and soon a basket of thinly sliced grilled baguette was served to us.  The baguette was freshly baked in the on premises bakery and was delicious with the salad.

Next came the entrees.  The fish Veracruz was served in aluminum foil; a filet of tilapia with oven roasted tomatoes, corn kernels, slices of red onion in a herb sauce that included papola, herbs Santa, and tarragon.  The use of tarragon was not traditional to the Mexican dish, but fit the dish well and was picked fresh from the Center’s garden, as were some of the chopped greens. The dish did not have any chili in it, so again an adaptation for this special menu.

The other and best dish was beef shanks slow braised in a green mole tomatillo sauce cooked with red bell peppers. The sauce was thick, not very picante, and rich and coated the meat and the ½ of a baked potato that was served in the dish.  I sucked the marrow out of the crosscut shank and licked the sauce off my fingers.

The grilled bread was so delicious that we asked to take the remaining pieces home and we bought another fresh mini baguette for $2.50.

I drank lemonade and Suzette drank Negra Modelo.

Bon Appetit

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 4, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean Dinner – PPI Lamb Chops and Corn on the Cobb with Tzatziki and Catalan Chard

May 4, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean   Dinner – PPI Lamb Chops and Corn on the Cobb with Tzatziki and Catalan Chard

 I started the day with a bowl of granola, with yogurt, milk, blueberries, and some vitamin powder.

My main intention today was to use the fabulous growth of dill in our garden to make a traditional Swedish Gravad Lax. Yesterday I went by Ta Lin and Sprouts to look at their salmon and did not like the look of either.
Today I worked until 1:00 and then went to the Courthouse to obtain a certified copy for a case.  I then drove to East Ocean and in keeping with my plan to eat healthy and light ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan, which at East Ocean is a stir fry of seven or eight different vegetables with chicken in a lightly soyed thickened chicken stock sauce served with fried rice.  I enjoyed the vegetables but only ate 1\2 of the dish and boxed the other ½.

After lunch I drove to Costco and found two identical matched 2.28 lb. fresh farm raised salmon filets for $7.99/lb. I also bought a wedge of Pecorino Romano cheese and a case of Modelo beer.

I went home and worked and rested until Suzette arrived at about 6:00.


Gravad Lax

I then went to the garden and picked a basket of fresh dill stalks and rinsed them and removed the heavier parts of the stalks.  I went to the basement and fetched the salmon poacher, which is a six inch wide by about 20 inch long and six inch deep steel affair large enough to hold a whole salmon.

Since the total weight of salmon was approximately 4 ½ lb. I made 1 ½ recipes of the Gravad Lax mixture.  The standard measurements of which are 2/3 cup of sugar, ¾ cup of salt, and 1 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper for each 3 lb. of fish.  I mixed the dry ingredients to uniformly mix them.  Then I laid a layer of dill stalks in the bottom of the salmon cooker.  Then Suzette poured the dry mixture onto the outside of one of the fillets to coat it and I laid that outside down on the dill stalks in the poacher.  Suzette then shuck a thick layer of dry mixture on the exposed inner side of the fillet in the poacher and I then laid a thick layer of dill stalks on it.  We repeated the process of pouring the dry mixture onto the inside of the other fillet and lay that side down on the dill on top of the other filet with head and tail ends matching and Suzette poured the rest of the dry mixture on top of the second filet.  I went to the garden again to get more dill and laid more fr

esh dill on top of the salmon.

We then went to the garage and found one of the 1x6 cedar boards we use for cooking fish on the grill that was cracked.  I marked the board so it would fit in the poacher and Suzette found the saw and I took the board and saw outside to saw the board.  Wily arrived at this time and helped hold the board steady while I sawed the length of the wider side that I needed to cover the salmon.  I then placed a piece of Saran over the poacher and then placed the board over the Saran an then placed two bricks on the board to weight down the board.  My unscientific assumption of the curing process is that the weight forces the dry mixture to be compressed into the fish flesh and a chemical exchange occurs whereby the liquid in the fish flesh goes into solution with the dry mixture to form a sweet brine that replaces the liquid in the fish flesh, essentially curing the fish flesh. Under normal refrigeration salmon will keep about three days before bacterial action starts.  With curing the salmon will easily not go bad for three or four months.

We asked Willy what green vegetable he wanted and he said, “I would love Chard cooked with piñon nuts.”  So, Suzette went to the garden and picked a basket of chard and destemmed it while I found the last raisins in the house, which were green raisins from the Bombay Spice store.  I heated water and put the raisins into the hot water to re-hydrate.  Then Suzette fetched the piñon nuts from the freezer and I diced a shallot and put the pieces into the large skillet of melted butter on the stove and fetched the wok top.  Suzette then sautéed the shallot and then browned the piñon nuts.  She the added the raisins and chard and covered the skillet to cook the mixture with its own steam and heat.

I turned my attention to the tzatziki I made yesterday.  I tasted it and mixed in 1 tsp. of salt, which made the flavors pop.  I put it on the table. I also went to the basement and fetched a bottle of 2013 Famille Perrin Cotes Du Rhone, which is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah,  because I like Southern Rhone with lamb.

I poured glasses of wine while Suzette was cooking the chard dish.  When she finished cooking the chard we heated the three ears of PPI corn and the five PPI roasted lamb chops in the microwave and were ready to eat.

I enjoyed dinner but ate a bit too much because it was so delicious.

After dinner we watched a episode of Silicon Valley and then at 10:00 it took Willy to the airport to take his Jet Blue red eye flight to New York for his first big national planning conference and to visit Luke and Rebecca and Mickey.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May 3, 2017 Lunch – Vietnam 2000.  Dinner – Fried Rainbow Trout with Roasted Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus

I left the house a little after noon and drove to Vietnam 2000, which was crowded.  I took a seat at my favorite table with a view of the Sandias over the Wells Fargo branch across the street.  I ordered my usual, No. 21, which is boiled rice vermicelli noodles on a bed of fresh lettuce, green onion, mung bean sprouts, julienned cucumber, and chopped cilantro and basil.  The bowl of noodles and salad is topped with a meat of your choice and fried egg rolls.  I always choose pork.

I could only eat half, so boxed up the rest and drove to Talin to shop.  Suzette had mentioned liking Trout, so I bought a nice 1 lb. rainbow.  The fishmonger asked me if I wanted the trout scaled and I discovered that fresh water fish have small scales, so I said yes.

I went a little crazy or bought a lot of things to restock the larder like dried seaweed, Swedish herring pickled in sherry, tofu, broad Vietnamese noodles and thin bean noodles, shallots, white beech mushrooms and fresh shiitake mushrooms, Pho seasoning cubes, beef broth cubes, a package of pre-cooked polenta, fish balls, beef balls,  and pad Thai noodles.

I then went to Sprouts, but they did not have anything I wanted except for chocolate covered raisins for $2.99/lb. and two medium avocados for $1.00.

I drive home and worked until 4:00 when I watched Jim Cramer interview Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

Todd called at 5:45 to tell me he had been called into work and would not be able to meditate, so threw on my bicycling clothes and road to I-40 in an increasingly strong head wind, which provided such a fast wind assisted return home that I felt like I was approaching Lance Armstrong’s cadence of turning the pedals 60 revolutions per minute.
When I returned home, I started dinner. I fetched the bag of PPI roasted mint potatoes and snapped the hard ends off 14 stalks of asparagus and put them into the steamer with a sufficient amount of water to steam them. Then I rinsed the 15 inch trout and dried it and removed its head and tail so it would fit into a large skillet.

Suzette took over at this point and filled a skillet large enough to hold the trout about ½ inch of canola oil and heated it.  She then put flour, salt and pepper into a gallon freezer bag and then the trout to coat the trout in the flour mixture.  Then she put the trout into the skillet of hot grease, turned the heat on under the steamer and put the bag of potatoes into the microwave.  After about ten minutes of frying the fish I tried to filet it by standing the fish up and running a sharp knife down its backbone.  When I did the knife met resistance and I saw that the flesh by the bone in the middle of the trout was not cooked, so we returned the trout to the skillet and cooked it for an additional five minutes, occasionally flicking hot grease into the cavity I had opened along the backbone to make direct contact with the uncooked flesh.

While the trout was cooking I made tartar sauce by adding pickle relish to the PPI dill mayonnaise sauce I made for artichokes, which Suzette and I love with fried fish.

We plated up the asparagus and potatoes and I successfully filleted and we worked together to lay the 12 inch Trout onto the 12 inch wide plate without it falling apart.

I drank the last of the Cotes du Provence Crayon Rose’ and Suzette drank a beer.

The trout was delicious, tender and yet flaky.  I particularly loved the crisp fried skin.  Another wonderful meal.

After dinner we went to the garden and inspected the trees, which were all doing well after last week’s rains.


I picked a handful of dill and a smaller amount of mint sprigs as we walked through the garden.  When we returned to the house I de- stemmed the leaves of each and chopped them finely and put the chopped herbs in a medium steel bowl with a tsp. of salt.  I then peeled and diced a large cucumber, one Roma tomato, and about three ounces of red onion and put the pieces into the bowl.  Then I added about 1 cup of Greek yogurt, the juice of one lemon and one T. of olive oil and mixed the mixture into a thick sauce.  I then minced 3 small cloves of garlic and added stirred the garlic into the sauce.  I covered the tzatziki with Saran and put it into the fridge. I will adjust the flavors tomorrow when we have a PPI lamb dinner with Willy.

Tonight I discovered another very interesting thing when I had a few bites of tzatziki to taste it for flavor balance.  It seemed to satisfy my urge for dessert.  I then remembered our meal in Bourg en Brest at which Suzette was served yogurt for dessert, which the French call white cheese.  So a few spoonfuls of yogurt can be a helpful degustation after a meal in the French diet. I am committed to reducing the sugar in my diet and desserts with yogurt and a bit of fruit are the perfect answer because it helps settle my stomach and has less sugar.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017 Lunch – Shrimp Couscous, Dinner – Hot Dogs in Sauerkraut

May 2, 2017 Lunch – Shrimp Couscous,  Dinner – Hot Dogs in Sauerkraut

I ate granola for breakfast with blueberries and mango yogurt.

For lunch I made couscous and added to it the sautéed shrimp from a few nights ago plus a generous squeeze of Harissa.  I drank a glass of Crayon Rose’ with it.

I again took something from thee freezer, five Hebrew National hot dogs.

When Suzette arrived around 5:30 she was ailing with a sore back and did not want to do a lot of cooking.  She suggested cooking the hot dogs in Sauerkraut.  We had a 24 oz. container of organic Sauerkraut I had bought at Costco.

Suzette filled a Le Creuset Casserole with the hot dogs and the drained Sauerkraut and cooked it for thirty to forty-five minutes.

We discussed heating roasted potatoes but decided to avoid carbs for a night.

We ate in the garden and drank beers. Suzette made a lovely mayonnaise and Dijon mustard sauce for the hot dogs.

I love it when Suzette connects to her German roots and creates a new dish to me that probably is a classic German dish or inspired by German Cuisine.

I remember living in Sweden were there are hot dog stands all over the place that serve a variation of the hot dogs we ate tonight, called Korv.

Bon Appetit

May 1, 2017 Lunch – Asian Pear, Dinner – Roasted Pork Mole with Sautéed Chayote, onion, and chard and Rice

May 1, 2017 Lunch – Asian Pear,  Dinner – Roasted Pork Mole with Sautéed Chayote, onion, and chard and Rice

Bill Turner and I went to lunch together at Asian Pear, which is my favorite restaurant near my home. It serves Korean Cuisine and the proprietress is my favorite downtown restauranteur, because she is always smiling, greets me as I had made her day by deciding to eat at her restaurant, and always offers extra food,  “Is there anything else you want?”

The vegetable pancakes are to die for and today I took her up on her offer when she was holding a small plate with two slices of vegetable pancake.

The plates are served with a choice of rice or cellophane noodles. I usually order a plate with cellophane noodles dressed with a soy dressing, which also is served with a couple of slices of vegetable pancake drizzled with chili sauce, a bowl of egg drop soup, and kimchi.  Chicken plates are $6.99 and beef and pork plates are $7.49.  I highly recommend Asian Pear.

We decided to eat the food we have frozen so I have employed a new menu strategy.  I go to the freezer and pick the thing that falls out when I open the door.  Today that was a bag filled with the
PPI roasted pork from my 70th birthday party.  Next to it was a ½ lb. cube of red mole sauce from Mexico.  So I thawed both out.  When Suzette came home she put the hip bones covered with meat into a pot filled with water to rehydrate.  In a little while the pork had produced a strong broth and the meat had become tender.  I was able to pick about 1 lb. of meat from the bones.  Suzette the sautéed a smoked pork chop and I diced it and Suzette melted the mole paste in olive oil and added ¼ cup of honey and 1 ¼ cup of pork stock to reduce the solid cube of mole into a smooth light sauce.  Suzette the added the meat and cooked the mole covered for about ½ hour.

Willy came over to do his laundry and we discussed a vegetable.  I wanted to cook chayote and onion.  Willy wanted to cook chard, so we decided to sauté chayote, onion, and chard.  I peeled about a 1 lb. chayote, split in half and removed the internal seed and diced the chayote,  I the peeled and diced a small onion and Wily went to the garden and picked a large basket of chard.  Willy de–stemmed the chard leaves and Suzette cleaned them.  After the chayote and onion softened and began to take on color in about twenty minutes we added the chard and covered the skillet to let the steam do its job.  I added a bit of water to aLow the vegetables to blend their flavors.

We heated the pint container of PPI basmati rice and Willy fetched beers from the garage and I scooped rice onto three plates and Suzette scooped pork mole onto the rice and piled sautéed vegetables on the plates and we were ready to eat.

I felt like I was back in Oaxaca.  The mole embraced and enveloped the tender roasted pork into a delicious spicy stew.  The honey had turned a slightly bitter sauce into a slightly sweet sauce.

The vegetables were wonderful crisp on the outside and tender in the middle.

I resisted eating a dessert.  It was easy because the mole was so rich I was satiated and because it had a hint of sweetness my craving for something sweet was satisfied.

Bon Appetit