Grilled sirloin tip; panzanella senza pomodoro – 21 August 2017

D cooked this dinner b/c his ideas, and I did a lot of the prep. First of all, last week I found a video about panzanella without tomatoes – in Italiano – and we watched it and discovered that they used “portulaca,” which Google translated, and myriad images confirmed, as what we call “purslane.” We were leaving the farmers’ market Saturday and passed “Four sisters farm” and Yo! Purslane! So we bought a bunch of it. At the Grand Lake Market a week ago, we bought some sirloin tip from Prather Ranch on a 20% off sale (if you bought 4 or more – teamed with R&E on that), and tonight we had the largest of the lot, about .4 pounds. D marinated this by putting on top sliced garlic, salt, finely chopped onions, more salt, truffle oil (neither of us tasted this), and leaving at room temperature for perhaps 45 minutes before grilling on our range grill. It was superb! But even better was how well the panzanella went with it.

Panzanella (bread salad): D bought a loaf of Harvest Multigrain Bread at Trader Joe’s this morning on the way back from the art coop’s annual seconds sale. We used some for lunch (below) and I froze 4 slices (D said for sandwiches, but I’ll probably have them for toast with some fried eggs for breakfast) and the rest… ok, I just ate some… the rest – I think four more slices – we left to dry for the panzanella. It didn’t really dry much from lunch to dinner. D grilled the slices to dry them a bit, then tore them up and put water and red wine vinegar on them (La Cucina Italiana says to do this), and squeezed them out (tho he says he didn’t put enough on to squeeze much out). Then he tore up the bread. I had washed half of the bunch of purslane, let it dry a bit, and them pulled off the leaves and left them in a bowl for D. There might have been 1/2 cup, but I’m not good at estimating volumes of small particles in a bowl. I also washed and spun dry (and left on a towel) a bit of baby arugula D bought today at the Bowl for this salad. D went out and got several leaves (D says 10 or 15) of basil from the garden and washed them up and chopped them up. He couldn’t find an Italian sweet or spring onion at the Bowl, so he just cut up some of the red onion we had (lamented later that a milder one would be good, but really I thought it was great). He mixed the bread, purslane, basil, onion, and arugula, with olive oil. And I think that was it. It was DELICIOUS! Also went perfectly beautifully with the meat. Amazing match.

D and I rearranged the wines in the cellar yesterday, and grouped the “tester” wines together so they’d be easy to find. This is one D chose at The Wine Mine on Saturday when we went for a tasting of Spanish wines. (Testers are ones we didn’t taste, just guessed might be interesting.) This is called “Cantele” and is a Salice Salentino from 2013. It says “Doc Riserva” – d’Oc? Cost $12. After a lot of airing it got pretty interesting.

eta: D has come out with a large bowl of cherries for dessert!

 

 

 

Lunch:

When D got home from the art coop, via Trader Joe’s, he brought not only the multigrain bread, but also a chunk of Cambozola, which we had bought at Costco a few months ago and really loved.

We decided just to have the bread with the cheese for lunch, with some sundries on the side. D mashed up some of the cranberry beans he cooked Saturday, and served those on the side. He cut up the last three little Riverdog tomatoes from the Saturday market.

We also had wine for lunch – an opened bottle that E “rescued,” apparently after finding it abandoned at the wine tasting she staffed this weekend. The wine was a Rhone-style white – only 700 or so cases! – Cass 2015, from the Paso Robles area. Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier grapes, marked “Rockin’ One”. It was fine, but I can’t say I loved it.

 

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Pizza Margherita – 20 August 2017

I suggested we have this pizza b/c I had two more balls of Gustosella buffalo mozz to use, which I bought on spec before the Cheese Board went on their summer break. We used two of the balls in a Caprese salad and I have two more. I defrosted 5 cubes (about 10 Tbsp) of Margherita sauce that I made probably early this year. Last time we found it lacking somewhat, and D thought it just needed more salt, so I added one, and then two, “smidgens” of salt, or a total of about 1/16 tsp salt, and it was pretty good. Still not super, though. Also, I added some of the less beautiful of the basil leaves that I picked, knowing they would not be as pretty on the top of the pizza, and why not? So, I let the cubes defrost in the little saucepan I was going to cook them in, then added the above and cooked them down just a bit. A bit late, I sliced (if you can call it that with such wet cheese) the dough balls and left on a sloping surface to drain.

I defrosted the last of the 1/3-doughs from the freezer, and let it rise in a small bowl in the sun, and it was extremely happy about that. I didn’t re-work it, just turned it out onto the floured bread board and pressed it flat and let it sit under (reused) plastic wrap for a half hour or so, then stretched into final shape. I pricked with a fork, then cooked on the stone for 1′ 30″ at 500, topped with the Margherita sauce, then the sliced cheese, and baked another 5 minutes, rotating about 1/2 way through. Topped with torn or small basil leaves, and that’s it. Once the sauce is made, it’s an awfully easy pizza. This one was way too wet, though, b/c of the very wet cheese. Not sure how to improve that, except perhaps to drain many hours instead of 1/2 hour. Or spread them out so the liquid can escape better.

We rearranged our wines so the “testers,” the ones we bought b/c we – which usually means D – thought they’d be worth a try b/c of provenance and price, were all together and we could find them. This is a tester from Costco this morning. “Le Grand Bouqueteau” Reserve Chinon, 2014, $12.99. It was very good and we would consider buying it again. Needed airing.

Lunch:

I defrosted part of the Semifeddi (I think) baguette I bought for the crostin dinner a couple of days ago, and we split it for sandwiches. Pretty sure (writing the 22nd) that this was Danke cheese from the Bowl, romaine tomato with S&P, thin-sliced onion, mayonnaise – delicious! D cooked up some shishito peppers in olive oil, with salt and I cut up an avocado and a tomato that D made into a mix with some onion or shallot, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of olive oil. What a great lunch!

 

 

 

 

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Nicoise of small round things; Romano beans 18 August 2017

D wanted to use up the radishes and Tokyo turnips, as well as the last three itty quail eggs,Β  by making another Nicoise salad “with whatever we have around,” rather than shopping for stuff. The other half of the tuna can we plan to use for tuna sandwiches shortly. Adding marble potatoes and Nicoise olives to the mix continued the theme of “small round things.”

D added a chopped filet of anchovy for each of our salads, and made up the dressing using the last of the white onion we’ve used in just about every meal for a week (instead of a shallot, since I used up the last of the last one in the chevre pasta). Basil – lots. D topped a few branches and I washed and dried the leaves, cut thin strips of the large ones and left the tiny ones whole. Ah, and one tomato – this must have been from Dirty Girl Produce last Tuesday, but I’m surprised I got such a large one. It had the “dry-farmed” signature on the underside – a dried, light brown part of the skin that I normally cut off. It was a very good tomato. I washed up, trimmed, and cut the remainder of the Romano beans D had bought, (probably early this week, maybe last), and boiled them in salted water. I just put the beans into the water in which I had boiled the small potatoes (for 15 mins) – putting in the large beans first, the small ones after 1 minute, and leaving them for 4 and 3 minutes, respectively. This was close to perfect timing. I let them drain till I was ready to serve (they were still hot) then reheated in butter with some salt and pepper. As always. Had some more of the Semifreddi sourdough baguette that I bought for lunch, and which, being fresh and all, convinced us to go with this dinner instead of freezing the baguette and having the otherwise-planned puzza.

I had brought up previously a most excellent wine that I had found on the sale, “orphan” shelf at Wine Mine – Saintsbury Carneros chardonnay (2013). It’s a rich, velvety sort of chard, with a very special signature taste that I really love, and I was happy to find it on sale (for $14 instead of $18).

The pottery by the late Mary Grabill, and was a gift of D’s Dad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We are using up a small log of Laura Chenel chevre, and this was one of the recipes I proposed (which I found on this blog :). Just sourdough baguette slices (this is not a very sour-tasting baguette, I have to say) lightly toasted, topped with chevre (mixed with a bit of milk so it spreads well), sun-dried, oil packed tomatoes (use the brand Californian), and basil. D complained last time we had this (per blog) that there was not enough basil, so I put a leaf under the cheese this time as well as strips over the top… but IMO there was still not enough basil. Good taste, but perhaps tweak the recipe a bit?

A couple of days ago at the Bowl I bought two avocados, one of which was ready to eat, from what I could tell, so I was eager to use it before it went too far in the ripeness direction. I had put it immediately into the fridge, and in fact it was excellent. We mixed this with one farmers’ market (Dirty Girl? We’ve gotten tomatoes from three places lately) tomato, diced, and I added finely chopped onion (the ubiquitous white one we finally finished for dinner, above), and D added salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of olive oil. It’s an outstanding taste!

 

Here are some nicely mismatched dishes πŸ™‚ The bowls are Russel Wright (produced 1939-1959 – an attempt to let America escape from following the formality of Europe and have its own style) “Iroquois” style rom eBay. The painted plate is from Tunisia, via The Spanish Table, and the blue plate is from Urban Ore, where D found it and a few other different ones and thought I’d like them (correct). The bottom says Century Stoneware, and it’s made in Japan.

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Fettucine with tomato/chevre sauce – 17 August 2017

To use up more of the Laura Chenel chevre loaf I bought for a chard pizza awhile back, I decided to make this recipe, using fresh tomatoes (also wanting using) and sage from the back yard. I cooked up a minced clove of garlic and some finely chopped onion in olive oil, then added I think 3 smallish farmers’ market tomatoes, chopped, including their seeds and juice. I also added a large splash of water so this all could cook down long enough for the tomatoes to cook. I added 8 huge sage leaves, with center stems removed (thus halving the leaves) and some salt to taste. Probably pepper (not writing this till the 21st, after the [invisible] eclipse). I cooked the fettucine in salted water I think about 11 minutes (bulk, so no box to tell us how long to cook it) and then mixed with the tomato sauce, and added perhaps 1 1/4″ of chevre log, in glumps, and mixed again. Other than preheating the pasta bowls with pasta water, that’s it. The bread there looks like an Acme Italian Batard. [eta: Naw, the setting picture says it’s gotta be a baguette.]

Last night D brought up a Toscana red called Campo Ceni, Barone Ricasoli, which we got at Grocery Outlet a long time ago and have enjoyed many times since. Probably bought a case possibly two? Anyway, this seems to be our last bottle. Good wine, good buy. Or goodbye, good wine…

Lunch:

Not remembering which day was which bread, unfortunately. This looks like an Acme baguette, most likely a piece from the freezer though. Tat would make sense, with an Italian bought for dinner. [eta: Yeah but no, must have been a baguette bought for lunch and eaten for dinner,r per the setting photo.] Anyway: Prima Donna cheese, tomatoes, mayonnaise, a bit of thin-sliced white onion. Clausen dill on the side. Yummy lunch!

 

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Trying out E’s jarred family pasta sauce – 7 August 2017

 

E tried out making a large batch of her family’s favorite spaghetti sauce – I think it contains both ground beef and ground pork, along with some sweet-flavored spices – and gave us a quart jar of it. I wanted to try it out, and suggested to D that we have it on these nifty fat noodles I got at Costco awhile back. Some are plain egg noodles and some have spinach in them. D used a combination. It was delicious, but D ended up thinking we were too distracted by the opinionated pasta to dwell on the sauce, so we’re going to have another dinner of this soon with plain spaghetti.

I made a salad of romaine, topped with avocados and Nicoise olives, and sprinkled with a [red wine] vinegar and [olive] oil dressing – my usual. We had some of the Morell’s bread that I bought on the weekend at the farmers’ market.

 

 

All of this had a lot to do with the wine – E returned from hosting wine tastings last night with several opened bottles, and offered three of them to us. We used the fullest of these for this dinner, which was why I thought perhaps E’s sauce would be good – the wine (CalStar) was a 2014 Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, and a wonderful wine. As usual.

 

 

 

Lunch:

More of the Morell’s Country Batard, with cheese (Danke or Prima Donna?), thin-sliced onions, farmers’ market tomatoes, romaine and mayonnaise. Super good! D’s idea of putting very tthink-sliced onions on these sandwiches is really terrific!

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Personal four-cheese pizza, again; yellow beans – 6 August 2017

The last day of the show in SF, so D was gone for most of it (after I ran him up to the truck rental site). Had a great Skype chat with a former student for a letter. Also had good food. Dinner was a rerun of last night. I defrosted one of the two mini-balls of dough from yesterday and made another four-cheese pizza from the Greens recipe. I like just serving these mini-pizzas on a cutting board :).

So, I also had bought some yellow beans at the farmers’ market on Saturday and realized I would not have time to make the salad I wanted them for before they were too old, so I just steamed them up and tossed in the pan with butter, salt and pepper as usual. I steamed them only 3 minutes b/c was going to leave in the pan with butter for awhile, but they were kind of underdone at that timing.

Opened another bottle of the Equia Rioja from Costco, 2007 vintage. I’m writing this the 16th, and know that the second half of the bottle, left in a half-bottle in the fridge, was really great several days later.

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

I had a sandwich using the Morell’s Country Batard I bought at the farmers’ market on Saturday, cheese (I think it was Danke, but could have been Prima Donna – had both in the fridge), romaine, mayonnaise. I also made one of D’s mini-specialties: chopped (teeny, this time) avocado and diced tomato with a bit of shallot and balsamic vinegar. Delicious! And a Clausen dill pickle πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

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Personal four-cheese pizza; kale from the garden – 5 August 2017

I decided halfway through the day that even if a mass dinner was to be gone to after D&R&E’s show in SF, I would not run in by BART and bus to get there. Two days in a row running into SF were sufficient. Then D&R&E said they’d probably come home anyway, but then changed their minds when they looked at the traffic on 511. They went to Blackwood for dinner and liked it a lot. In any case, D said early on not to plan dinner for him, so I defrosted a pizza dough, divided it into three tiny pieces and refroze two, then made myself a little personal pizza. Finally managing to write this post on the 16th…

I seem to have neglected to take a “setting” picture for this meal. this is as close as I get, I guess.

I used three of the cheeses I bought at Cheese Board before they went on vacation (which actually had not started until close of business this day – but the last day before a week’s vacation is not the time to go to CB). Fontina Valle d’Aosta, provolone (Italian), and gorgonzola dolce, plus our Parmaggiano Reggiano from the fridge (Costco’s).Β  Also marjoram from the garden, about 2/3 cooked in, rest on top after cooking. Didn’t really measure anything, just grated a pile of the fontina, provolone and parmaggiano. Sliced a bit of onion thin, made garlic oil – probably used about 2 tsp oil or less, and a tiny minced clove of garlic. After pre-baking the crust 1.5 mins, I brushed on the garlic oil, strewed on onions, then the mixed cheeses, topped with tomato slices (salted and peppered them) and dotted on some gorgonzola. Cooked another 5 mins at 500.

I got several tender kale leaves from our backyard plant (one of them – pretty sure this is a volunteer I rescued and transplanted last summer) and cooked them a short while in salted water (I think 4 mins), then drained and tossed back in the pan with butter, salt and pepper. Most excellent veggie!

I had the other half of the Equia Rioja (2007) that I opened on the 1st, which was in a half-bottle in the fridge since then. It survived extremely well – in fact, it might have been better the second time. We have several of these and they want drinking. Tough job – somebody’s got to do it… Probably a bit heavy for the pizza, but really, all in all it was a delicious dinner.

Lunch:

D brought home some of the unfinished containers from Greens Restaurant and left them for me. I also had the rest (perhaps 1/4 to 1/3) of the salad I made for dinner last night. Top row, tabbouleh, my white bean etc salad; bottom row, lentil salad and quinoa salad. Glass of Kono Marlborough sauvignon blanc, defrosted (most likely) end of Morell’s country batard. The lentil salad was good, but the quinoa had suffered being at room temperature too long and ended up being tossed – very sad. We actually ate the tabbouleh for a later lunch. Here’s a better look at the Greens salads:

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Pintxos white bean, manchego, avocado and apple salad – 4 August 2017

I went in to the show in the morning with D&R&E, and came home by bus and BART before the end. Usually I go on for Friday afternoon (bus and BART or ferryboat) but this time I decided to skip the Friday evening food truck event, especially since we all went out lsat night, and there was some possibility I would run in for dinner Saturday, too (didn’t happen – I’m writing this the 16th). So I did get home early enough to make the salad I’d planned for last night but didn’t have time to make. It requires last minute work b/c both the apple and the avocado can fade rapidly after they are diced. So, I toasted pine nuts, got a smallish green apple off our tree, cut up an avocado, juiced some of a lemon, and, notably, had yesterday cooked up cannellini beans and left them in the fridge. The lemon is for a vinaigrette (I prefer regular to Meyer lemons for this dish). I see the first time I made this I put a nasturtium flower in it :). Used a basil top this time. Anyway, it was superb.

I went to Cheese Board to get the manchego as well as other cheeses before they close for holiday next week, and bought a sourdough baguette for dinner while I was there. The baguette is terrific, but not the right taste for this salad. They had City Breads, which is what I should have bought. I had some Kono Marlborough sauvignon blanc with this, which was fine but I’ve had better matches (notably Pomelo, per the linked entry).

Lunch:

I offered to go over to Greens Restaurant to buy some of their take-out food for everybody’s lunch.

I was advised to get two sandwiches and eight containers for the four of us, which must include two corn salads. Greens is the restaurant that made “vegetarian” and “gourmet” not contradictions. I got the two sandwiches whose labels are pictured, plus two Thai-ish noodle salads, a tabbouli, some roasted veggies, a quinoa salad and a lentil salad. The avocado sandwich was not as interesting as the ingredients would suggest, but the Santorini was delicious (and the roll was more interesting, too). I loved the corn salad and the lentil salad. The others were fine, but not dazzling. I had my half-vat of corn, several bites of lentil, and just a taste of each of the others to see what they were like. Then I went off and spent a pile of money on a really original necklace that I am going to have to generate excuses to wear. And went home to my lovely white bean/avo salad.

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Dinner at Castagna – 3 August 2017

Taken from the bus when passing several days later…

I took BART and bus to Chestnut in the City to meet D, R, and E, who had spent the day/afternoon getting ready for the ACC show, in their various roles. They made it to Castagna before I did, b/c D found a parking place really close to the restaurant – probably b/c it was a Thursday, not Friday or Saturday, our usual days for post-show dinners. D found a wine (below) that made the other three choose meat dishes, but I chose the lasagna, labeled “Grand-Mother” recipe. Served with a well-dressed and refreshing salad. It was overpriced at $22, but very tasty. Not sure what it had in it that gave it its inviting flavor (somewhat refreshing to see a menu that doesn’t list everything in the dish, but also disconcerting!). The lasagna was served too hot – burned my mouth a bit on first bite – and one of the meat dishes was too cold. The kitchen needs to get their timing down. But everyone enjoyed the flavors. We were all amused by the sprig of thyme sticking up out of our meals.

The wine was also overpriced, but we didn’t know it at the time. D zeroed in on a wine that we both remembered from having been served in in Germany by a friend: Chateau Citran, an Haut-Medoc. The proprietor (nice guy) said it was only double price or something but we found it later online at K&L for $17. Definitely on our list. We had to wait for at least 15 or 20 minutes for the wine to open up after it was served, but that was ok b/c we were also waiting for the food.

 

 

E wanted dessert, and so she and R ordered desserts, and D & I split one – runny chocolate in the middle, don’t recall what it was called. Caramel on the plate was salted IIRC. The white puff was a salted yogurty thing, according to my fellow diners. Mysterious to me! Very good. Overall, we enjoyed our dinner, and it’s a really nice place – friendly, good atmosphere, and good food. Going back for pizza soon, when we start D’s suggested pizza binge again.

I loved the way the multiple lights were reflected through the pretty little water glasses!

 

 

 

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Bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich after the Ecole “meeting” – 2 August 2017

Well, I thought I was going to make a salad from Pintxos, but lo and behold, I had forgotten it was based on cannellini beans… which have to be, y’know, COOKED in advance ‘n’ stuff. {sigh} Well, tomorrow, or if we all go out tomorrow, then Friday. I have the cheese and the avos, apples on the tree, and pine nuts in the fridge, so if I can mange to remember to cook the beans, I’ll be set. So, with less than an hour till my “meeting,” where the school was to present their plans for expansion into existing space being vacated by the current tenant, I suddenly went from “I’ll toast the pine nuts in advance” to “what the heck can I have for dinner?” For some reason, a BLT popped into my mind, and I realized that I had the tomatoes (first of the Dirty Girl Produce early girls – summer is here!) the lettuce, and Niman Ranch bacon and slices of Acme Pain au Levain in the freezer. A plan! So before the Ecole thingy I zapped nine half-slices of bacon so I could separate them, and then put 5 back into the freezer and put the other four in a glass container in the sun for a bit – then into the fridge while I was away. I pulled two slices from the Levain out of the freezer, and left them on the cooling rack that we seem to have perpetually set up at the moment (that seems to be a contradiction. hm). I washed the top of a romaine leaf. Then I went out for an hour or so. After my shower, I cooked the bacon slices slowly in the medium cast iron pan. They gave off something milky, which I thought odd, but it didn’t smell or taste at all odd, so I think it must have been a dried version of bacon fat or something. Blotted and wiped them dry with paper towels. I cut up one tomato into slices, and (once in the sandwich) salted and peppered those well. So, lettuce, bacon, tomato slices – mayonnaise generously over one slice of the bread, cut, and done. I also decided on a Clausen dill pickle πŸ™‚

I pulled up a bottle of Equia Rioga (2007) which is one of the wines that are getting rather old in our cellar. I poured off half a bottoe and refrigerated it, and also put the half-bottle for dinner into the fridge (after some shaking) while I took a shower. I enjoyed this wine with the sandwich, and it seems to be holding up just fine. The 2007 does not need airing the way the 2005 did, but it doesn’t hurt, either. The 2007 (which we got at Costco) is also not as strongly “Rioja-ish” as the 2005 (from Vintage Berkeley, earlier, and for 60% more per bottle).

 

 

Lunch:

Got half a light-bake Cheese Board pizza for lunch, and gave half to E. The guys are setting up their show in SF. Here’s what CB said about the pizza:

Crimini mushroom, caramelized onion, pine nut, spinach, mozzarella and fresh asiago cheese, garlic olive oil, parsley

I cooked the pizza about 4 or 5 minutes in the toaster oven at 400. Yummers! Had about 1/4 bottle of Kona Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe’s, which was probably a bit too sweet for the pizza, but is a tasty, refreshing wine.

Breakfast:

Writing this the 15th of August, so not entirely sure, but I think I must have must opened a loaf of bread the previous day and wanted to enjoy fresh toast before freezing the rest. Either that or the fading tomatoes inspired me to use them. I broiled them, with thyme and olive oil over the top, in the toaster oven for quite a few minutes. Fried the egg in butter as usual.

 

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Scallion pizza – 1 August 2017

After I made an asparagus pizza and complained I couldn’t taste the asparagus – but it was still good b/c of the scallions – D suggested a scallions-only pizza as a try. So I tried it, and it was good but not great. Wants scallions as a flavor “underlayer” rather than as the only taste, we think. Perhaps some olives? We has other ideas, but don’t recall right now as I am managing to write this on the 15th, believe it or not. I used about 3 cups of scallions – stunning, besutiful long ones from the Berkeley farmers’ market that I bought with the asparagus pizza in mind, but really b/c they were just so beautiful. They were beautiful so I thought of asparagus pizza. I haven’t written that one up yet, either.

I used 3 cups of scallions – whole things, tops and white parts. Also some extra tops left over from the previous pizza that D hadn’t used for salads ‘n’ stuff. These I cooked in olive oil (2 Tbsp) with a couple cloves of garlic, minced. Other than the mounds of scallions and the lack of asparagus, this was really just like the asparagus pizzas I make. I see I don’t have a “setting” picture for this meal for some reason. I probably cooked a veggie with this, but may have been too lazy or too late to do that.

D chose a rose that was already in the fridge, and it was fine. It’s an organic wine called “Ananto” that we got at Wine Mine, made with a “Bobal” grape. Not a typical rose, though at the moment I forget exactly how :(.

Breakfast:

Pretty much the only reason I’m putting this in is the stunning, oblique morning light, which struck the bowl just for a moment or two. Grape Nuts, peaches, banana, pecans, and Silk vanilla soy milk, for the record. The glass bowls don’t hurt, either.

Here’s the whole shadow. Amazing moment:

 

 

 

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Dinner at Anchalee – 5 July 2017

D knew he might be late working on the studio this evening, b/c he and R were really getting going on the porch walls. He said if he wasn’t ready to cook in time, we could go out to dinner. He was thinking about Pizza Moda b/c it was Wednesday, their night whan all wines are $15, and I mentioned that also Riva Cucina had no-corkage night on Wednesdays. So, those both sounded great, and I went to look at their menus, and both are closed around the 4th of July holiday! So D suggested Anchalee, Mint Leaf, or Paisan. We haven’t had great food at Paisan lately (though one pizza we had there on our first visit was excellent). Anchalee or Mint Leaf… we had no strong basis for deciding, but chose Anchalee this time. Honestly, I was mostly interested in having a nice cold white wine than in dinner πŸ™‚ We ordered one appetizer, one salad (both known favorites) and a main dish we’d never tried, as follows:

Appetizer

Curry PuffsΒ  9
Pastry puff filled w chicken,potato,onion,carrot yellow curry spices\

Salad – a big favorite of ours, which I remembered was in season now:

Corn SaladΒ Β  9.5
Fresh corn, grounded chicken tossed with roasted coconut meat,
mint,onion & lime dressing.Served over a bed of iceberg lettuce.

Vegetarian menu for the entree: (see top photo)

Tamarind TofuΒ Β  11
Crispy tofu topped with tamarind sauce,cilantro and crispy shallot.Β  Served with steamed broccoli.

This was expertly prepared – the tofu perfectly crispy on the outside, tender in, and the broccoli cooked to perfection – but I’m not convinced its an optimal flavor blend.

Really enjoyed the Clos du Bois Chardonnay (2015). The server provided an ice bucket so we could keep it cold, which was a plus.

 

R & E had gone to friends’ for the fourth, and came back with extra (amazingly enough) cardamon bars, so we got lucky. Wonderful flavor! This bar is sitting on one of their nifty wooden plates, which tend often to deliver treats to us πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We had an avocado ready to eat, so we made nachos again. We had very little of the Casa Chicas mild salsa left, so we added some of the La Voctoria green sauce, and, D’s suggestion, some of the yellow and red cherry (>) tomatoes he bought for the Mitsitam salad on the 1st. It all worked quite well. Good lunch. After lunch, but not long after, D decided it was time for a small piece of the remaining apple pie, which was still pretty happy despite a night encased in a pie container.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pizza with Italian sausage, onion, and broccoli rabe – 3 July 2017

D had planned to cook, but wanted not to take off early from building the porch walls on their studio, so I offered to make this pizza. It really wanted making anyway, since I pulled the sausage from the freezer a couple days ago to let it defrost in the meat drawer.

The sausage was about 2 years in the freezer, but not seriously the worse for wear, amazingly enough. I cut off some whitened pieces that might have been freezer burned, and then took off the “skin” and broke the sausage into several large pieces. I put about 1 Tbsp of olive oil into the medium cast iron pan and heated to about med-hi and cooked the sausage in that, breaking it up into smaller bits while it cooked. When the sausage was done, I scooped it out onto a plate, and added to the pan a white onion, which I had peeled and trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and then cut into strips probably 3/8″ wide or so. The layers of the onion were quite thick, interestingly. I cooked this at a variety of heats, turning frequently, till it was softened but not completely cooked down, since I thought some integrity of the onion would be right for this pizza. I tore leaves off several stems of broccoli rabe, which we found too bitter to enjoy by itself when we steamed it the other day, and cooked them 2 minutes in boiling, salted water, then drained and left to dry on a towel till needed.

I grated 4 oz mozzarella and possibly 1 oz, maybe more, of parmaggiano, and mixed them. I also put about 1 Tbsp olive oil into a dish and added one minced clove of garlic, and let sit, possibly up to an hour.

I defrosted a 1/3-recipe crust, and when it was ready, precooked 1 1/2 minutes, then brushed with the garlic and oil, and topped with about half of the cheese mixture. I distributed the sausage bits, then the broccoli rabe leaves, over the cheese, and topped with the remaining cheese, then baked another several minutes (forgot to set a timer) till the crust looked done. It was quite a tasty pizza. We wondered if a more opinionated cheese (Valle d’Aosta?) might have been more interesting, but overall, we really liked the pizza. Not bad for a punt to use the sausage and find a use for the broccoli rabe πŸ™‚ Oh, D said maybe add sparse pine nuts?

D brought up a wine we got through a North Berkeley Wine sale a few years ago, a 2009 Ventoux from Martinelle. We got one bottle, then included a couple more when returning for the ones we’d liked. I think this one made it via the “pretty good for $9.63” criterion, but I’ve always thought we really shouldn’t have bought more. We enjoyed it fine, notably after a bunch of airing, but it really doesn’t rise to the level of inviting taste that we should be insisting on.

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Burrata at 86 feet instead of 37,000 – 2 July 2017

When I figured out how to marinate roasted red peppers to my liking, I decided that I would have to try this combination of goodies at home sometime. This is what I order from Vino Volo at airports when I am about to get on a plane whose most substantial food item is crackers and cheese spread. Vino Volo provides one ball of burrata, marinated peppers or marinated tomatoes, and salady greens of some sort (once baby kale, for ex) and a balsamic reduction. I have never been convinced that the balsamic reduction was the right thing for this dinner, so, even though I had some small bits remaining from a recent flight, we passed that up and I just tossed the baby lettuce mix in a dressing of olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt, and pepper (with D suggesting more salt when he helped by tasting a drop). I tried to remake the red peppers, scaling up 6x b/c I had bought a discount bag of three mega ones (used some for a pizza, and marinated the rest). But they were much, much too salty. No idea why, unless I recorded that original recipe (linked in first sentence) incorrectly. [corrected 170711!] Fortunately, the first of the marinated peppers were used in a sandwich on the 29th, and that masked the problem enough not to ruin the meal. But the next day I took the rest of the peppers and filled their refrigerator container with water, and let them soak, then drained and repeated.

I let the rinsed/osmosed peppers drain for a long time in a colander, then re-added a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and dried oregano, and let them remarinate. These, remarkably, ended up about perfect.I also found about a 5″ piece of frozen Acme sourdough baguette, and defrosted that and sliced it, and toasted lightly in our toaster oven, then brushed with olive oil. That’s it.

D decided to try a “Vin de Savoie” that he chose at The Wine Mine b/c it said La Porte on the label – in particular, St-Jean de La Porte. Also says Mondeuse – grape? Anyway, we thought it was fine but not exciting, and for $15, probably not on the re-buy list.

Couldn’t decide which of the main photos I liked better, so here’s the other one.

Lunch:

We left for our trail very late -about 12:30! – so I took a Larabar (cashew and dates) with me and we ate that at the top of the trail. Tasty! Great ingredients list, too – it’s in the parentheses in the first sentence of the paragraph, in its entirety.Β  So on the way down the hill we decided to have the leftover Three Sisters Salad from last night’s dinner, which required simply moving from refrigerator container to pretty bowl (by the late Mary Grabill, Sign of the Sandpiper, Coconut Grove). It was still delicious the second day.

 

 

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“Three Sisters” grilled vegetable salad with cranberry beans, from Mitsitam – 1 July 2017

Ugh – I should have taken the time to get out a black napkin – those reds are horrible together!

D suddenly got out a couple of cookbooks the other day b/c he wanted to explore some new recipes. One was the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook from the National Museum of the American Indian. This is the first new recipe he’s cooked, and it was great!

He prepped the components over the course of a day, which worked nicely. He had already opened the fresh cranberry beans by mid-morning, and boiled them with pieces of carrot and onion while we did other things. The recipe calls for 2 cups of the cooked beans. I think it was at lunchtime that he grilled up two small yellow squashes and two zucchini, all halved, as well as (husked) corn on the cob (all, I think, canola oil-brushed). The instructions say to cook the squashes about 10 minutes, and the corn about 5, including all turnings, on high heat.

There were also halved larger-than-cherry tomatoes in yellow and red, 3/4 cup each, used without grilling. The corn was then cut off the cob, and the squashes were cut crosswise into bite-sized pieces, and all the salad ingredients were mixed.

This is a soup bowl!

The only complaint about the recipe is that the dressing makes about a cup, and then the recipe instructs you to use 1/4 of it. That’s really silly. In fact, it ran us out of apple cider vinegar (only 4 years after the bottle was bought!) which was entirely unnecessary. The 4x recipe calls for 6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup canola oil, and S&P “to taste.”

 

The recipe does not call for chives, but the photo shows chopped chives over the top of the salad, so D added that.

D decided this would go well with a rose, and he chilled down a CalStar 2016 Rose of Pinot Meunier. It was an excellent choice! This bottle was a birthday gift to D from the winemaker πŸ™‚

D&R are removing some of the trumpetvine from the back fence, and D brought in a branch, which makes a lovely table addition, but it’s hard to keep in water b/c the stem is straight. It really wants to hang upside down!

 

Lunch:

We had some “baby Swiss” cheese I got at the Bowl when it was out for tasting (and on sale), with tomato slices and romaine. Mayonnaise. Even I probably had Bowl seedy mustard with this sandwich. D recooked the chunks boiled potato left over from two dinners last week, one where they were just potatoes, and the other my pizza with roasted red peppers and tapenade. These were terrific – they’d dried out well and their outsides crisped up nicely in the hot oil. Also a yummy Clausen dill pickle.

D decided we should have a beer, and settled on this Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale, which was wonderful. I’m becoming a beer drinker, amazingly enough. The other possibility was a beer from R&E, which we will have at a near-future meal, I assume.

Canada Day!

R&E brought over some beer with a tad of maple syrup in it, a small glass for each of us, late in the afternoon, so we could celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in style. Good beer. I can’t say I really tasted the maple, though.

 

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Fettucine with Calabrian sausage and porcini in a (defrosted) fresh-tomato sauce – 30 June 2017

D made up a good pasta sauce. He wanted to use the last of the Calabrian sausages from Christopher Lee, and I was not pleased with the freezer burn on the other one, so I carefully cut away all the whitened parts of this one and gave him the good-looking (and good-smelling. And good-tasting – after cooking of course) bits – not a lot more than half the original sausage, I think. Anyway, he cooked this, plus onions and garlic, newly-bought porcini from the Bowl, a bunch of I think oregano from the garden (yeah – looks like oregano flowers over the top in the photo), and a 2/3 cup vat of frozen fresh tomato sauce from the freezer. It was really good. He used pasta I bought on a whim a couple of Costco-trips ago – it’s fettucine, dried into little birds’ nests of either yellow or green – plain egg pasta or with spinach added – which you just drop into boiling water, about 2 nests (each about 1 oz) per serving. [And when I get 23 May of this year posted, you can see the bag of pasta there.] What’s cool about this pasta is that it has a nubby surface, which should allow it to hold onto sauce better. I’ve learned by checking carefully that a serving of sauce is more like 1/4 cup, so these year-old (last time there were good tomatoes) 2/3 cup vats are actually too big for two people, and we had leftovers. Good lunch in the future. D bought a loaf of Acme Italian for this meal and lunch.

The wine he chose was an Ormeasco di Parnassio, a Ligurian wine by Durin that we bought on spec at North Berkeley Wines a few months ago. Good, but didn’t adore it or anything. The trumpetvine was cut away from the back fence by D&R b/c it was in the way of where they were working. Don’t worry, D points out – it will grow back. How true!

 

 

 

Here’s another wine shot. I couldn’t decide.

Had the very last bit of R’s Meyer lemon pi (from Tau Day) for dessert. Wonderful pie!

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We had a bunch of avocados from Costco that came due at the same time – I think four of the six. Writing this part of the post on 11 July, so not sure but I think this is one of that four. One of us remembered this wonderful lunch dish from D’s Mom – the dressing is called after a friend of hers, and used to remind me, decades back when I remembered it, of Catalina dressing in a bottle. So – top the avocado with cottage cheese, pour dressing over the top. The dressing wants a blender or Cuisinart (I used our small Cuisinart for I think 1/2 recipe) but is basically quite easy except for the washing up πŸ™‚

French Dressing – from VJ via D’s Mom:

1/2 cup sugar – natural or light brown (I used brown)
1/2 cup Chili sauce or catsup (Used the last of E’s lovely summer tomato jam – great!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup Mazola oil (I expect anything unopinionated will do – I used canola)
1/4 cup vinegar (used white)
1 tsp grated onion (just thinly chopped a bit – grating an onion is difficult!)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix in a blender and store in the refrgerator. Shake before using.

Here’s another picture, after I cut the avo in half:

Treat:

Here’s the bit of R’s Meyer lemon pi that we had after lunch – the second-to-last bit of it!

 

 

 

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Crackers and cheese; broccoli rabe – 29 June 2017

Filling this one in from photos on the 11th of July, b/c I made a big mistake on the marinated peppers (lunch) and have finally figured out what was wrong.

We were out of bread, and for some reason I don’t recall decided not to buy any, but instead to have a simple dinner of crackers and cheese. Pretty sure I went to the Bowl and bought some crackers, and one of the cheeses we had for dinner (and another that we had later for sandwiches). And also broccoli rabe.

I washed up the broccoli rabe leaves and we just blanched them for a couple of minutes and added butter and salt. I found them bitter, and we decided I’d use most of the rest in a pizza (which we’d seen Arizmendi do) with some sausage from the freezer. I note that, for this dinner, D also got out some Picholine, Nicoise, and Gaeta olives. As he would.

The cheese I bought for this meal was a Holland Goat Gouda, which was out for tasting with some interesting-sounding crackers. I liked the cheese and picked some up, and decided why not add the crackers, too. They are called “Three Seed Crackers” and are made by Urban Oven. They are substantial and tasty. They worked very well with the goat gouda. I guess one reason for this meal was to eat up the Humboldt Fog and Cambozola that we held onto too long after our Costco trip. I had to peel the Fog to remove a bad-tasting outer layer, but the Cambozola was fine. We had these with the last of a box of Toasted Sesame Seed Water Crackers by Monet. We also liked these, though they are less unusual than the Urban Oven ones. When we ran out of the Monets (which had been previously opened) we go tout a new box of Water Wheel All Natural Original Wafer-Thin Crackers, which turned out to be excellent with the Cambozola.

Experiments galore – D had brought up (earlier or the day before) a white wine about which I was skeptical. I’d sort of been avoiding it, to tell the truth. I bought two bottles ad Grocery Outlet long ago, based on an online review, and unfortunately thought the first one was pretty icky. So I just avoided thinking about this other bottle. So I told D that, and we decided he’d bring up a backup, and if this as undrinkable, we’d have the other one and cook with this or something. But it was just fine! Nothing to write home about, but perfectly drinkable wine, even after it had sat long beyond its purchase at GroceOut.

Later we had a tiny slice of the Meyer-lemon pi ( πŸ™‚ ) that R had made for Tau Day. Got out Grandma H’s china for the occasion, b/c … why not?

Lunch:

So, I had to roast a red pepper for my pizza on the 28th, and decided to revisit the marinated peppers I made for my concert-parking-lot meal on the 6th. Once the peppers were roasted, I cut up most of one (they were monsters) for the pizza and marinated the rest, cut into half-length strips perhaps 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide. I made an error with the salt, having misread, and then posted with the error,Β  the hand-written recipe I had created for my dinner on the 6th. So I read the online (6th, now corrected) version of the recipe, multiplied by 6 (1/2 pepper to three peppers) and came up with 1 Tbsp salt. Looked like too much, but the other version was great, so who was I to question. Answer: a good cook, who should have known that instinct was right and the recipe was wrong. Anyway, I used some of these peppers, without tasting them (ack!) on a split, defrosted herb slab (Acme), which I toasted slightly on the inside, and topped with mozzarella, and broiled to melt the cheese.

The oversaltedness of the red pepper was muted by the rest of the stuff, so it wasn’t a disaster, anyway. What I had done was read (apparently) either the measurement for the whole recipe’s worth of salt (1/2 tsp) and recorded it as part of the 1/6 recipe on the 6th, or else used the measurement for the balsamic vinegar instead. Which I finally worked out when I rediscovered the original, hand-jotted recipe that was based on one from Christinascucina, with the addition of balsamic vinegar. Anyway, HERE IS THE RIGHT VERSION for three red peppers (or equivalent – this was two mega-peppers but same as three).

3 red peppers, roasted, skinned, and deseeded (see Christinascucina link above for this)
1 averagey clove of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Mix the marinade, skoodge the peppers around in it to coat thoroughly, and refrigerate.

[In addition, I see we had the leftover cucumber salad from the takeout meal from Anchalee.]

Treat:

Ah, more pi πŸ™‚ D decided in the middle of the morning that we needed to have a piece of the Meyer-lemon pie from R, so here’s the picture from that hour. LOL! Just the nice plain white dishes for this one.

 

 

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Sandwich with leftover chicken; boiled potatoes; baby bok choi – 26 June 2017

This was how we decided to use up the last of the chicken thighs that D grilled a few nights ago. We defrosted three slices of Acme Sweet Batard, to make 1 1/2 sandwiches, and then D realized that there was more chicken than he thought, so I warmed a fourth slice in the toaster oven to defrost it. He made the sandwiches, with just chicken – sliced, salted and peppered – romaine, and mayonnaise.Β  He also peeled and boiled up a couple of Yukon Gold potatoes that I had left on the counter, so they got a bit green. Green parts of potatoes are not good to eat, which is why he peeled them instead of just scrubbing. He just salted, peppered, and buttered them. We also had 1 1/2 bunches of the baby bok choi we got at the farmers’ market on Saturday, sauteed in oil with salt and pepper.

D found this Corbieres to check out at The Wine Mine, and it was pretty good, but didn’t have the “Corbiery” taste that we loved so much when we were there many years ago. The wine is by Gerard Bertrand, and we’ve had several others of theirs, but I don’t think any was a knockout. Bottle says “Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre.”Β  $11.50. It did like being aired in the rolly decanter.

Lunch:

We had another good Costco avocado, and made nachos again. I suggested to D when he went shopping that we try a different salsa, mentioning that we’d used Casa Chiccas at some point, and he bought their mild salsa instead of La Cascada’s Salsa Fresca this time. It’s fine, but not nearly as good as the fresh salsa from LC. Good lunch, though.

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Leftover chicken with leftover leftover rice; zucchini – 25 June 2017

Using up leftovers – D took the second (of three) leftover pieces of grilled chicken thigh and cut it up, and added to the already-leftover-once rice with onions and herbs (parsley I think). He started by cooking some chopped red onion in olive oil, then mixed in the chicken and rice to heat them. Meanwhile, I cut the last of the spherical zucchini – this must have its own name, no? – in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin slices, and sauteed in olive oil with salt, a little bit of pepper, and a lot of dried dill.

We had a wine that D bought as a tester at Wine Mine, and we both liked it quite well. Not an “instant wow” like the early Nobilo, but still, worth buying more. Also, cool label πŸ™‚ It’s a Spanish white, Rueda region, Rey Santo Verdejo (2016). $10.

Lunch:

We were about to have lunch when D found a text asking where he was – was supposed to be at the art coop a half hour earlier! Oops. He was partway through making a cheddar cheese sandwich for us to split, on the two slices of Acme Sweet Batard I had defrosted. He added mayonnaise and Berkeley Bowl seedy mustard and some romaine. (He noted later that he’d forgotten he was going to add tomato slices from the last of the “red and moist but that’s about it” stemmed tomatoes I bought a week or so ago. So that’s still on the windowsill.) Had a Clausen dill pickle and the rest of last night’s panzanella, which was always in the plan. Fortunately, a quick and easy lunch!

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“Poblano quiche”; panzanella – 24 June 2017

We had half a cup of whipping cream to use up, and I suggested this dish – which we call “poblano quiche” despite its lack of a crust – and D thought that would be great. Amidst all the grilling for lunch, I added in the poblano to the grill, as described below. I set aside perhaps 1/3 of the peeled, seeded pepper for later use, and cut the rest into chunks 1 cm or so on a side. I grated 1 oz of Monterey Jack into each of two ramekins/casuelitas (these are 4″ in diameter), and topped with the pepper chunks. I measured the 1/2 cup cream in a 2 cup glass measuring cup, then broke two eggs into it and added 1/4 tsp salt and whisked to blend completely, then poured the liquid over the cheese and peppers. Meanwhile I had boiled up some water, which I poured around the ramekins in their baking dish. These cooked about 35 minutes (I checked at 30) at 350 degrees. They are SO tasty!

I decided to whip up a small version of panzanella when I noticed, several days ago (first panzanella, actually) that there were two pieces of defrosted bread that D had neither included in the panzanella nor given to us to eat with dinner. These pieces constituted about a half of a sandwich roll, I think from Bread Workshop, that had been previously left over for some reason, and frozen. After a day or two, I had cut this bread into large dice and left these out to dry thoroughly, and this is the bread I used. I toasted it for a couple of minutes at 400 in our toaster oven, basically watching to see when it started to get golden spots. It was probably about 1 1/2 cups of bread dice, total. More than 1 cup, less than two.

Acme Sweet Batard – my request for today’s meals.

At lunchtime, I cooked up two long (10″?) Japanese eggplants that really wanted eating – we bought them at the farmers’ market a week ago, ostensibly for a panzanella, but then D wanted to make a more classic one, so there they sat, getting worrisomely soft. This afternoon, I cut each of them into four lengthwise slices, perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, brushed them with olive oil, salted and peppered both sides, and grilled over medium heat on our range grill until they seemed done to me. Several minutes on a side, IIRC. One of these eggplants I sliced into long strips, then cut crosswise into chunks for the panzanella. The other we had for lunch. I ended up slicing tiny bits off several teensy Odoriko tomatoes from the Bowl to taste them, passing each one (including one that was entirely soft) and cutting them up and adding them to the bread and eggplant chunks. It looked like not enough tomato, so I cut up half, then the rest, too, of one of the remaining two “stem-on” tomatoes from the Bowl. None of these actually tastes like a tomato, so we can only imagine how good this will be in August. I made a dressing, starting with half, then realizing I should make more, based more or less on the Weber recipe for this salad. 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, one tiny clove or garlic, minced, 1/4 tsp dried oregano (made the dressing more than an hour in advance so this could rehydrate) ** salt and several grinds of pepper. I remembered the missing basil late in the process, and D volunteered to get a couple of leaves from our healthy plant out back. Four leaves, that is, and I stemmed them and cut into a chiffonade b/c I thought I should. Mixed it in.

I started the grilling episode by putting my poblano on the grill. I let it cook on three sides, then finally the top, for a decreasing number of minutes per side, then encased it in a heat-proof container for quite awhile [minimum=15 minutes – far exceeded that] then peeled and seeded it, set perhaps 1/3 of it aside for a future meal and cut the rest into chunks.

D brought up a “tester” wine we’d gotten at Wine Mine, a Spanish red called “16” from Valencia. On the back it says “Celler del Roure / Setze Gallets – 2011”. I thought it was really good, and for $11, it seems to me as though we should go ahead and buy a couple more.

Lunch: [This ends the “meatless/vegetarian” part of our program…]

Already talked about grilling the eggplant. I also split one of our three remaining spring onions, brushed with oil, salted and peppered, and broiled on medium several minutes on a side till done. Same with the last paddle of the nopales. These, with one of the Japanese eggplants, were the veggies for lunch. We also split a chicken sandwich, made with leftover grilled chicken from the 22nd, on the new Acme Sweet Batard D went and bought while I was grilling (see photo in the Dinner section, where I had too much text…), with romaine and mayonnaise on it. Delicious sandwich! We have a couple hunks of chicken still left. The sandwich was the best part, but overall it was an excellent lunch.

Chicken coated with Worcestershire sauce, mustard seeds (which you can see in the picture), minced garlic, salt and pepper, and grilled. Leftovers make just about anything πŸ™‚

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Potluck at the art coop – 23 June 2017

There was a potluck at the coop where D&R’s work is shown, to celebrate their new display boxes and front desk, which both D&R helped with last weekend. I went to Cheese Board and bought a pizza (party cut!), for which this description was online:

Fresh corn, red onion, mozzarella and Valbreso feta cheese, cilantro, avocado-cilantro sauce on top

It was great, and was also well-received. We also brought a bottle of Rioja. I suggested the Equia 2007, but D brought up a Kirkland Rioja instead – not sure why. It was really good, anyway. Had a tiny glass (the waxed paper cups were teensy) of the cab at the start, but didn’t like it. There was an excellent broccoli salad with bread chunks and balsamic vinegar (and other stuff) that impressed a lot of people. Not a big potluck, all told, but good food, good conversation, and good craft work to enjoy. And good display boxes.

Lunch:

We have three avocados what ripened up at the same time (of the six from the Costco bag). We skipped chicken sandwiches today to eat up one of the avos, which was in excellent shape. Turns out I forgot (well, it wasn’t on the slate board list) to but salsa at the Bowl, but D pointed out we could have our La Victoria mild green sauce. Which was almost gone too – totally gone by the end of lunch. But what we had was really good. We’re going to try a different kind of salsa for a change – La Cascada Salsa Fresca is so good we pretty much never buy anything else, but I remember some others that we used to like.

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Grilled chicken thighs; grilled nopales; leftover rice with onions and parsley – 22 June 2017

D wanted to grill up another paddle from the three-pak of nopales I bought last week at the Bowl. What meat would you want to go with it, he asked. Beef, I thought, but there is no beef in the freezer that I know of, so he suggested chicken and I said ok, thighs. We had one packet left from a probably early-2016 Costco run, and

I defrosted that and left it in the fridge for D. He did all the rest. He cooked some red onion in olive oil and added the leftover rice and parsley. He added Worcestershire sauce, cumin, minced garlic, and mustard seeds to the defrosted chicken, and grilled on our range grill. He added one nopales paddle. He brushed it with vegetable oil, salted and peppered it, and grilled on high for 8 or 10 minutes total.

D brought up a 2008 Brutocao cab we got ages ago at Grocery Outlet – he prefers the zin, but I thought this was perfectly good – enjoyed it for sure.

That’s it!

Lunch:

We had nachos for lunch, and I’ve taken enough pictures of lunch nachos so I didn’t need another, but something like 4pm D came in with plates and divided up the rest of the excellent sour cherry pie E made a couple days ago. What a treat!

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Leftover nasturtium pasta; broccoli – 21 June 2017

When I was making this pasta yesterday I suggested to D that I just make enough for dinner, but he said no, make a whole half recipe and we can have leftovers. I reheated the pasta slowly in a covered saucepan, putting a small bit of milk to almost-cover the bottom of the pan first. I continually turned over the pasta (the bottom cheese/cream sauce melted first) and then mixed a few times after the penne had come apart. This worked pretty well, though it was nohow as good as on the first day. D thought it was still quite good, though. I put this into Mary Grabill (Sign of the Sandpiper) handled, ovenproof bowls that I had preheated only the very littlest bit (forgot till too late), dotted Roquefort onto the top, and broiled very briefly to melt the Roquefort. I also cut up some broccoli, separating florets, peeling what little stem there was, and then steaming the lot 4 minutes, draining the pan, adding butter and reheating the broccoli briefly while tossing with the butter, salt, and pepper.Β  I defrosted a 3/4″ or so slice of the herb slab from yesterday and we had that for our bread. D brought up a bottle of our new fave, St. Jacques d’Albas Minervois, from The Wine Mine, which was great – except I’m pretty sure this was the night (writing this the 28th) that the first bottle he brought up was corked 😦

Later, we split one of the two pieces of E’s sour cherry pie that E&R left us yesterday after sharing the first of the pie as an afternoon treat. This is a most excellent pie!Lunch:

We had a most excellent omelette! (But this ends the “vegetarian/meatless” portion of our program b/c there was a bit of sausage in the leftover topping.) We based the sauce on the leftover “gmish” that we had over rice a few days ago, that had Calabrian sausage, tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini in it. There was very little of it, so I cut up an additional tomato and added it in – I think we started by cooking up a bit of additional onion, too. Anyway, D found two eggs in the upper egg carton and let that tell him to use two eggs in the omelette, along with salt and pepper and a bit of milk. I see some green.. scallions? Probably parsley. D grated some parmaggiano, which he added after the first flip of the omelette, and then he folded that so it was in the center and topped with the sauce. It was really outstanding! I had defrosted some slices of Acme Sweet Batard that D had designated “sopping bread” b/c the holes made that part of the loaf less than ideal for sandwiches (but perfectly fine for toast) and I toasted them up and buttered them. This was a real luxury lunch! So I’m putting up two pictures of it πŸ™‚

 

 

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Penne with nasturtiums in a cheese/cream sauce; baby bok choi – 20 June 2017

This is a favorite recipe that we have at least once a year, while the volunteer nasturtiums are overrunning the yard. We’re a bit late this year, in fact, as they are already fading with the lack of rain (normal, in June, of course).

The pasta has Italian fontina and parmesan in cream, and shallots cooked with a dried red pepper, with sliced nasturtium petals and leaves stirred in at the end. Recipe for this is pretty well done here, except I didn’t specify dried red pepper, and more casually here, which (also) has some nice pictures of the prep.

This all comes together at the end, so I prepped the bok choi and asked D to babysit it. He cooked in butter, which I mentioned, but he said later he likes it better cooked in olive oil, and I think he’s right. Or a mixture. He gave the stems a bit of a head start b/c they are thicker and take longer to cook.

 

I really could have handled the veggie, too, since the rest is not that hard, once the cutting is done.

D chose one of our new, somewhat “earthy” house wines from The Wine MIne, a Chateau de Manissy Cotes du Rhone. I believe I put it into the rolly decanter (writing the 26th) but I don’t see a photo of it so maybe not. The new Minervois (St. Jacques d’Albas) is the one I prefer – which is why I stocked up, of course.

I went to the Bowl to get some bread, and decided on an Acme Herb Slab, for variety. It would go well as “sopping bread” for both lunch and dinner, and would be useful in its leftover stages (frozen) as pizzoid things or sandwiches if desired.

Love the sparkly red on the wine label πŸ™‚

Lunch:

I bought Roquefort – a new brand called “Carles” instead of the usual Societe – at The Cheese Board, and at the Bowl I got some pears and an apple with the idea of making a salad with them, to use some more of the Roquefort.Β  It isn’t obvious that I remembered to include nuts on the salad, but the pear – a Comice – was quite delicious.

Treat:

In the afternoon, R&E came over to share a most excellent sour cherry pie that E made, when the sour cherries made their one-week-a-year appearance at the Bowl. Crust underneath, crumble on top. They had to clean the very dirty cherries, they said, and pit them, before anything else. I asked for a small slice – just enough to make my mouth happy:We got to keep what was described as two more slices, but we ate half-slices for two desserts instead πŸ™‚

 

 

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Gmish of calabrian sausage, tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash over rice – 19 June 2017

D wanted to use some of the mound of veggies we got at the farmers’ market Saturday, and suggested we use the last of the Calabrian sausages in the freezer. The previous one was seriously freezer burned 😦 so I insisted on cutting off all the whitened outsides this time, and cooking only the still-red interior of the sausage.

This meant it was “skoodgeled” instead of in little rounds, but that worked quite well. After cooking the sausage thoroughly in a bit of olive oil, I removed it to a plate and dumped out most of the grease in the pan, then added onion, two baby round eggplants, and a round summer squash that D had chopped.

When they were pretty much cooked, I added one tomato he had chopped, and cooked till it was no longer raw, but not at all broken down. We had cooked up some Thai jasmine rice, and served the gmish over that, and it was delicious! Really yummy meal πŸ™‚

I suggested that we have the Armador 2013, an organic wine by Odfjell (Norwegian!) from Valle del Maipo, Chile that our wine guru at The Wine Mine had identified as another “earthy” one, though (obviously) not French this time. Grape apparently Carminere. $12. I opened it an hour or so early and put it into our rolly decanter, which was a good idea. It was a perfectly good wine, but we didn’t love it, and likely won’t get more.

Later, we split the remaining chocolate/apricot tart from Fathers’ Day, and had a scoop of the licorice ice cream on the side. It was fantastic!

Lunch:

D had to go to the dump with stuff from the art coop’s remodel over the weekend, and then to his studio. He suggested when leaving that he stop by Mint Leaf and get us a Banh Mi to split for lunch, and that we could cook up some of the farmers’ market veggies to go along with that. I cut up one of the small eggplants and one of the round summer squashes (already missing from the photo above) and sauteed them in olive oil – separately though in one pan. We added Sriracha to our pork Banh Mi. Love this!

 

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