Spaghetti with cannellini, onions, sundried tomatoes and parsley – 2 April 2018

Oh Argh. Writing this [finally (and ironically) in the time I have to spare b/c the internet is down and we don’t have extra minutes to spare on the cell phone data plan] on the 16th, and I remember this was an absolutely sumptuous pasta but I’m not sure if I remember everything in it. We had leftover cannellini to use up, I know that, and so D was punting a pasta (as is his wont) to do that. He cooked red onions and large bits of oil-packed, sundried tomatoes (as I recall, my only suggestion was to cut the s-d tomatoes smaller), added in parsley and cannellini. But I’m not sure what else, which is definitely unfortunate. Or maybe that was it. No, he’s likely to have used garlic, too.

Anyway, great dinner! D chose a Cantele Salice Salentino to have with this, and IIRC it went quite well. I think this is from the Bowl.

 

 

Lunch:

Not sure why I’m including this except that I took the photo ;). I remember making this sandwich, but I don’t remember what the cheese was. Possibly the end of the Fontina Valle d’Aosta, possibly some Danke… what else did we have? English cheddar?

And we needed to use up the green pepper, so that made a good, quick fresh veggie.

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Grilled, marinated salmon with red pepper aioli for Easter dinner; Brussels sprouts; mixed rices – 1 April 2018

Resisted the temptation to tell R&E “April Fool” about the promised salmon.

Since the Bowl would be closed on Easter, I asked on Friday if there would be a fish delivery on Saturday, the last purchase day before we wanted to cook the fish. No, so the fish I bought Saturday would be the same sitting before me Friday – I bought 2 lb of 1 ½” thick steaks, looking carefully to avoid those that were too thick. Though given they were to be cubed, it would have been

Marinated salmon awaiting grilling

possible just to cut them in oblongs and grill through the thin direction, now that I think of it. Anyway, the fishmonger gave me a bag of crushed ice so I could carry the fish home, and I set the fish on the crushed ice, in a Dutch oven, in the bottom drawer of the fridge, thinking this would keep it coldest. Sunday afternoon, the ice water had escaped from the bag and started to wet the fishwrap, but till then, it turned out to be a good way to store the fish.

The fish is tossed in a paprika/cayenne/olive oil/etc. marinade, and then grilled. The aoili starts with garlic and roasted red bell peppers, with the addition of (obviously) mayonnaise. I need to write this up for this blog.

At the last minute, I noticed I had forgotten to start the Thai jasmine rice. Argh! R&E happened to have some leftover rice that wanted eating, and we had a bit of the “Olde World” pilaf that likewise, so we determined to mix them. Unfortunately, we forgot, until E asked, that the pilaf had been cooked with a Tbsp of butter; and E was on her dairy-free experiment, so she declined the rice mix. Fortunately, she enjoyed the fish without the rice.

We had Brussels sprouts, boiled, and D removed E’s before mixing the other ¾ with butter; E had grabbed her pseudo-butter, which she likes ok, so D put that over her serving of sprouts.

I had suggested to D that he reprise (which he had wanted to do) the interesting salad he had made back on the 27th, and he thought that was a great idea. This is based on a bit of romaine, but not much, some of the chicory growing in the back from a six-pack D bought last fall at East Bay Nursery (on a whim), finely chopped fresh carrots, some scallions, some arugula flowers, some of the little yellow flowers that grow in the back, and one pretty nasturtium flower atop each serving. And probably more I’m forgetting (drafting this the 16th in Word, during the internet drought). He made a champagne vinaigrette to dress it. R&E found it as wonderful as I did.

 

We decided to try the Irouleguy Manseng white with this, and it went well – also had it for “cooking wine” (wine to drink while cooking). D wanted to try the 2015 Getariako Txakolina called “Finca Jakue,” which we got at a Wine Mine tasting recently, to see if it would go with the fish. It’s bright and has a sparkly feel to it; it cost $13.50. We enjoyed the wine but thought it was a less good match than the Irouleguy (which cost, $25, including the case discount, at the Bowl).

 

R&E brought over a dairy-less sort of breakfast cake that I think E had made and I need to check with them about what to call it. We enjoyed it a lot. IIRC after we discussed possibly having coffee with it – never a great idea near bedtime – R suggested a Puerto Rican rum they still had a bit of, and ran home to get that – Ron del Barrilito, it’s called – and we enjoyed the pairing.

Treat:

We had one of D’s chocolate chip cookies in the afterrnoon 🙂

 

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Leftover Baked Garden Vegetables – 20 March 2018

This is spring? {sigh} Well, at least it’s rain we need. It’s been cold and gray and this will continue for several more days, apparently. We planned to do more on our taxes, heading into preparing for Section C – whoopie! – so it was great we had the rest of the Baked Garden Vegetables left over from the 17th.

I had moved the remaining half of them to our 9″? Corning Ware casserole and topped with the same aluminum foil used in cooking, so they were essentially ready to go into the oven. I forgot to take them out at 5pm to pre-warm to room temp, though, and put the Corning thingy (temporarily sans foil) into warmed water in our 12″ Revere pan for a bit at 6:15 to get it started. I put into the cold oven – no reason it needed to preheat before “cooking” for this re-heat – and it took more than a half hour (checked periodically) to heat up nicely. I was thinking “wow, took as long to reheat as to cook” and D said “an hour and 45 minutes?” I forgot this was not 40, but 105 minutes in the oven. Something else was 40… Anyhow, at the end I turned off the oven, then remembered to grate the rest of the extra-sharp cheddar – possibly another ounce or a bit more – over the top and return to the oven. Took about 2 minutes to melt, and that was that. I also defrosted (in the toaster oven) three slices from the smaller part of the frozen Acme Italian loaf. D decided on an old favorite, St. Jacques d’Albas 2014 “Domaine d’Albas Minervois.”

 

 

Lunch:

I really didn’t need to photograph this lunch, but isn’t the bunny-bread cute? Steamed and then reheated with butter, S&P, the remaining 7 Brussels sprouts, and reheated in olive oil the last of the rice/black beans/poblano mix D made last night. Good lunch.

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Baked Garden Vegetables – 17 March 2018

Not sure why I got a bee in my bonnet about having this right now, except that it seems to me a nice cold weather comfort food. And of course, it’s delicious! The only problem with this concept is that tomatoes are as out of season as they get, and we haven’t gotten a good one since November. But I made the recipe anyway. The recipe is from California Fresh, an outstanding cookbook from 1985, by the Junior League of Oakland and the East Bay. This was our first serious gourmet cookbook, and we still use and love it. And it’s very beautiful.

So, the veggies. It says “serves 6 to 8” but that’s as a side to something else. I use it as… well… dinner, so it serves four. This time I altered the recipe slightly, and I think I’ll go with this version.

Note that the baking time is almost 2 hours. Start early!

Cook some rice. You need 1 cup cooked rice for this recipe. D thinks using more would be good, and I can’t argue with that. I cooked short grain brown rice, and I think brown is really right for this recipe. Great chewyness 🙂

Slice 4 ripe tomatoes. D chose the ones on stems, which were pretty and moist but didn’t really taste like tomatoes. However, moistness may be as important. I used the top and bottom (skinn-y) slices on the bottom of the casserole.

Cut the following in 3/4″ (recipe: 1″) dice: 1 large potato (8 oz), zucchino (I used half a moderate one; recipe says “small”), 1 small eggplant, 1 green bell pepper, one small onion. Slice one medium carrot. Shell peas resulting in 1/2 cup. I think we have used frozen previously, but D found actual English peas this time, and did the shelling. There was more like 2/3 cup when he was done, but what of that? Chop parsley to 2 Tbsp (more, what the heck?). Mix the above in a large bowl, adding 1 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Butter a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex dish. Place half the tomato slices on the bottom, then half the veggie mix, all the rice, the rest of the veggies, the rest of the tomatoes. Carefully (to spread it well) drizzle 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar over the top.

Bake 350F 1 hour and 45 minutes, lightly covered with aluminum foil. Grate cheese over the top. I used about 7 oz cheddar cheese, though the recipe, which thinks it’s a side but I think it’s a dinner, suggests 4 oz. Return to the oven till the cheese melts. This is only 5 mins or less.

D thought we didn’t need bread, but this turns out to be rather juicy, in the end. I defrosted the end and a couple of slices from the end of the frozen Acme Italian Batard, and we eagerly used them up.

Earlier in the day we went to the post office, The Wine Mine for their eastern-Spain tasting, Market Hall on Fourth Street for a mini-pepperoni and buffalo, mozz (future dinners) and then (after parking at home) we walked to Walgreen’s. The immediately relevant part of that is that we got a wine at WM that both of us wanted to try with this dinner (despite the vinegar, which might be challenging for any wine). This was Anima Negra, from north-central Majorca. It was the most expensive of the lot today, at $22, but also the one that most intrigued both D and me. Made from a bevy of indigenous grapes, says our WM host. We got a few bottles to check out with our food. this didn’t turn out to be a great dinner for it, but we have more to try out. Good, just not synergistic.

Lunch:

We had a small amount of potatoes left from… something. Oh alongside the sausage. And piperade to use up. So I suggested we have potatoes with scrambled eggs, and piperade on the side, and a slice of defrosted bread for lunch. It was really good! Cooked the potatoes hot in butter, salting them, and then added a mix of two eggs, a bit of milk, salt, and pepper, to the very hot pan (so it cooks quickly) and turn over the cooked pieces rapidly so the moist bits get a chance. Great, easy lunch (given that the piperade was made and the potatoes were cooked!)

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Omelette with Fontina Valle d’Aosta and leftover milk; piperade – 12 March 2018

D got the idea of having piperade again when I bought a discounted bag of red peppers and one yellow one for the polenta with peppers and greens. Needed to buy one more yellow for this dinner, and also added two heirloom tomatoes that were on sale for  $1.09/lb (!) and looked more promising than the Romas (which looked as though they would be white inside). One of the tomatoes actually had a bit of tomato taste to it (not the pictured one, alas).

 

Anyway, I made the piperade according to this recipe from Pintxos by Gerald Hirigoyen, and D made the omelette. He used three eggs, and the probably-half-cup of milk squeezed from the soaking croutons a couple days ago (yay!), salt and pepper.

 

He cooked up the remaining small bit of white onion, and a sliced med-small garlic clove, in butter, then cooked the eggs till mostly done, and then added some of the Fontina Valle d’Aosta, finely grated. I toasted up the slices from a new loaf of Acme Upstairs Bread.

 

We had a wine we got at The Wine Mine on Saturday – the only one from the tasting that we bought this time – that I thought would go well with an omelette. It went fine, but nothing extraordinary about it. However, it’s a good, basic white with interesting flavor for only $9, so might get more, if they still have it when we end up back there. It’s called Basa (Blanco 2015), and is a Verdejo (90% [and 10% Viura – unfamiliar!]) from the Rueda denominacion in northern Spain (WM’s theme for the week’s tasting).

Lunch:

I made the remainder of the polenta into patties (just pressed in my hands – no need to add anything) and cooked them in canola oil in a hot cast iron pan. I discovered that the plastic container (red-topped) that the greens-and-peppers topping was in was microwave safe, so I zapped that 30 seconds (w/o top), turned it a bit, and zapped another 30 seconds, and just served everything out, adding a bit of Upstairs Bread toast. Great lunch!

 

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Grilled chicken thighs; endive with milk-soaked croutons; semolina with bay – 11 March 2018

This came about when trying to come up with a main dish to have with braised endive with milk-soaked croutons (from ‘ino). Which got onto the agenda when I foolishly left out two “seeds” from the Acme Pain Epis after dinner on the 6th. Don’t remember how the semolina with bay got into it, except that that’s always a good accompaniment to grilled chicken or pork. Then we noticed we would be out walking and could obtain a bay leaf for dinner right before the said dinner. Fun. So we did that.

This very bay leaf!

D marinated and grilled the chicken, which I had partially defrosted before our walk. He used sliced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and some old wine, S&P, then grilled on our range grill.

I made the endive with milk-soaked croutons. The original of this recipe is from Simple Italian Snacks, by Denton and Kellinger, and uses escarole. D tried it with endive instead and we loved it so that’s what we do.

For two of us, I used two fat endives, and two cloves garlic, cooking them in 2 Tbsp olive oil – but I am going to try 1 Tbsp next time. Also, used 1/3 tsp salt and think 1/4 tsp would be preferable. Cook the oil “on medium heat for 2 minutes” seemed a bit long. I used 1 minute, then tossed in the individual leaves I had removed from the endives, and the sliced garlic, and the salt, and tossed thoroughly. I ended up then using a heat somewhat below med-low, and cooking a long time to stew them. The croutons were large chunks of dried bread (2 chunks of a pain epis) in a small, deep bowl (the orange one) not quite covered in whole milk, and stirred bottom to top repeatedly for at least an hour. I squeezed them out and put on the toaster oven’s little baking pan and cooked at 400. This is a bit challenging. Also, I forgot to drizzle with olive oil and did that later in the cooking process. They were ok but not as good as usual. Thought we had a red onion but only yellow, so the very-thin slices wer the wrong kind, but I thought they were fine. D noted the difference, though. Endive, then onion (uncooked) then croutons, still warm, over the top. Still good despite the errors.

I also made the semolina, which is incredibly easy. Heated 2 cups whole milk to boiling, with the new bay leaf in it and 1 tsp salt, then streamed in 1/2 cup semolina (Bob’s nRed Mill) and stirred while keeping it bubbling for maybe 4 minutes (recipe says 3-5). It never really disconnects from the sides of the pan – another way Patricia Wells suggests to tell it’s done – so use the timer instead of the description. At the end, stirred in 1/4 cup grated parmaggiano and some freshly grated nutmeg. This recipe is (halved) from Patricia Wells At Home in Provence, a superb cookbook.

We decided to try out the “Silk & Spice 2015 Red Blend” that we got at The Wine Mine on Saturday. We enjoyed it fine, but it didn’t go all that well with the meal, and in fact positively rebelled at being drunk after a bite of endive. We would consider getting another bottle, but not clear what it would go with. Likely would be gone before we got back anyway, so likely moot.

I originally wrote about a photo of three types of citrus here, of which we had one each for dessert – except there is no such photo on the 11th. Probably we had a mandarin or two, but I can’t prove it… [Paragraph added 20 March]

Lunch:

We finished off the tagine – microwaved the last of the couscous with a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the dish to steam it, and heated the tagine itself thoroughly in a small pan. Halfway through, I decided to cut the kefta in half so they could heat more easily (“more that way!” says D :). This time I remembered to add the small container I had saved of chopped cilantro and mint. D wanted a slice of bread with this, too, and so I managed to steal the end off it to swab the plate with 🙂 And I steamed up some haricots.

Breakfast:

Pretty sure I made this omelette (one egg) for breakfast just so I could have toast from the Acme Sweet Rustic Round loaf. I used… not sure what cheese – I think some of the last of the Monterey Jack (or the last of it… have to check the 10th and 9th) but mostly included a ton of shopped basil from the plant on the island, which is not supremely happy and I think needs to be used up. [Breakfast added on the 2oth]

 

 

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Savory pancakes with bacon and dandelion greens; haricots – 10 March 2018

I thought of making this to use up the half of a monster bunch of dandelion greens (12 oz total) that I bought for the polenta with greens and peppers last night. I enlisted D to team up b/c so much happens at the very end. He got to witness the bad behavior of the small oven (humming, and not lighting, and still emitting some gas smell – quit!) and helped immensely in ferrying cooked pancakes to the toaster oven to keep them warm (along with the bacon and the dinner plates – quite a load for the little toaster oven!)

I washed the dandelion greens one by one or three by three, and tore the little bits off the heavy stems – easier than cutting the stems out – then re-rinsed in the lettuce spinner and spun dry. I left these on the steamer rack in anticipation of cooking them later, and D steamed them 3 or 4 minutes (per the recipe) at the very end. I started by cooking the bacon – usually use 4 half-strips per person, two per layer, but this time I just defrosted a bank of half-strips and there were 10. So eventually I laid the bottom two side by side across the center of the lower layer, and on the second layer, put the remaining three half-slices in a loose triangle nearer the edges. Worked great for getting bacon everywhere. I had pre-prepped the parsley, and asked D to make the parsley butter – melt 3 Tbsp butter and add 2 Tbsp chopped parsley (this was much more – used all the stuff from the new bunch whose stems were too small to put into water) and stir in juice of 1/2 lemon (that’s double the recipe). I cooked the pancakes, as usual. Beat an egg with 1 1/4 cups milk (added a bit more later to desired thinness) and stir into 1/2 cup flour that has been mixed with 1 1/4 tsp BP and 1/4 tsp salt. Add 1/4 cup chopped scallions (this was one monster scallion!). I cook these in the medium Revere frying pan (8″?), brushing the pan each time (quickly, so as not to harm the brush) with non-olive oil (was Western Family canola IIRC), and dipping the 1/4 cup measure into the batter to get an accurate amount for each pancake. Turn the pan to let the extra batter skoodge out to the edges, flip the pancake when the edges begin to brown and the pancake bubbles – cook the other side a minute or two till done, and keep warm. This is where D’s ferrying was of enormous help – I’m used to just inverting the frying pan onto a plate in the oven at my knees. This makes six pancakes.

On the heated plates, stack pancake, greens, bacon, pancake, greens, bacon, pancake, parsley-lemon butter. Done!

In all this chaos, I also manged to prep a couple handfuls of haricots (not a challenge) and D steamed them, too, buttered, S&Pd, and served in the little black bowls I’d chosen. I chose the black plates b/c I had run across the Indian napkins in the “used once” drawer and wanted to use them again. I think this worked reasonably well for this meal.

We tried out a wine with a good name: Picpour de Pinet 2016n (“Les Costieres de Pomerols”), which we got for $10.50 at the most recent Wine Mine tasting. We thought it was pretty good – D says “another in a series of whites that are brighter than sauvignon blanc – like Txakolina.” I’d get more of it, I think (but adding this paragraph on the 21st, so not remembering it thoroughly). We have some other whites to try out, too.

We had dessert twice, for some reason… a couple of nice mandarins, and then a tiny bit of ice cream – was it cardamom and vanilla? – from R that D dug up in the freezer. Nice find!

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We used up the last of the pork chops reheated in the leftover rice with broccoli, which we composed for dinner on “finance night” – Wed this week. Good, tasty lunch. We ran off to The Wine Mine after, as well as the P.O., and the Depot for Creative Reuse to donate stuff en route, and bought the wine we had for dinner, among others.

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Penne with Molinari pepperoni, arugula, and sundried tomatoes; cold veggies – 19 February 2018

This was a delicious pasta – a takeoff on this one from Epicurious, a favorite of R&E’s, but changed a bit due to ingredients on hand plus a whim or two. Also, this is written for two servings, not 8.

This is for 4 oz, could be 5, of penne. Cook the penne in salted water according to package directions and mix it into the toppings when done. I’m writing this up on the 2nd of March so some details may be fuzzy…

Prep the ingredients:

The tiles on the island are 4″ across.

Cut in two the long way, then slice into 1/16″ or so (thin!) slices, one Molinari Piccolino Pepperoni (about 1.7 oz and $1.75 at Market Hall on Fourth St – a lucky impulse buy on the 18th. These are individually wrapped and placed next to the cash register!).

Clean, dry, and prep about 1 1/4 oz (after stemming/trimming) arugula. Tear or cut into moderate pieces.

Measure about 1/8 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes. Cut into 1/4″ or smaller pieces. Collect the oil that drips off them so you can use it later.

Cut up 1/4 of a small onion, whatever that means. I think I used a red one.

Finely chop one moderate garlic clove.

Clean and dry 1 Tbsp basil leaves and chop coarsely. [Alt: flat-leaf parsley can be used instead.]

Cooking it:

Collect the dripped oil from the sundried tomatoes, and add enough olive oil to make about 2 Tbsp total. Or you can use less than that. Heat over moderate heat in a 10″ frying pan.

Add the pepperoni, onion, and garlic, and 1/16 tsp (one Pinch) each of salt and pepper, and cook till the onion is soft and lightly browned, abut 8 minutes. Add the sundried tomatoes and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the arugula and stir till just wilted, about 1 minute.

A couple minutes before the penne is done, spoon excess boiling water from the penne pot into the serving bowls to warm them.

Drain the penne, and stir into the topping mix, adding a bit of the penne water (which is conveniently saved in the serving bowls, which you should now empty) to the mixture, stir in the basil, and serve.

I decided the cream in the original recipe would be disjunctive with the pepperoni – may be true or not, but I didn’t miss it at all – and also that I often find parmaggiano not to enhance the pasta it is added to, so I skipped it. And I really loved this! The tiny Molinari pepperoni was the main flavor, but everything went together very well.


So I see I gave up on cooking a veggie to go with this and just had some cold ones on the side – a carrot and a couple of radishes. Good stuff, anyhow. Probably defrosted the baguette piece, which looks like a sweet Acme.

I brought up an Equia Rioja, a wine I like more than D does, since he was not here for this dinner. (I made two servings so I would have leftovers – this was only moderately successful, as the penne were tough when I microwaved them. Reheat in a pan instead?) Anyway, the wine went fine with the pasta, I thought.

Later, I had a chunk of fruitcake for dessert.

 

 

 

Lunch:

This was probably the second half of a avocado I opened yesterday, to make the same dish: avocado topped with cottage cheese and VJ’s French dressing (oil, ketchup, sugar, Worcestershipre, etc.) I wasn’t any more ambitious at lunch than at dinner (clearly, I expected to cook up some hot veggie for dinner, but didn’t get around to it) so just had a couple of radishes and some cauliflower. D previously discovered that the cauliflower is delicious dipped in this dressing, so likely I had dressing on this one. With VJ’s permission, I will add this recipe to my associated recipe blog.

Later I wanted dessert for some reason, and decided a few crackers with jelly would do the trick. This is Bonne Maman redcurrant jam on a Monet cracker of some kind.

 

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Wild rice in a rice mix, cooked with mushrooms and chorizo; piperade – 12 February 2018

D discovered the Spanish chorizo I bought awhile ago for I-don’t-remember-what, and decided to use it. I said “pasta?” and he said “Nooooo” in a “don’t be ridiculous” way – as if somehow this particular kind of sausage would not go with pasta. No idea why. Anyway, he did think it would go with rice, so he asked me to start some of the wild rice mix we had while he finished a project (the rice mix takes 45 minutes or so to cook) and then he took it from there. He cooked a chunk of the mammoth sweet white onion (b/c that’s what we have), chopped, in olive oil, and also some of the remaining white mushrooms, sliced, and I cut off the exterior of the sausage, halved it, and cut into very thin pieces (so as to spread it out more, per D).

There was, by my rough measure, 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp rice left, and rather than leave a tiny bit, I cooked it all. I put the rice in water and then saw what it did to the water and decided to rinse it. I skoodged it around in the water I had added, poured off as much as I could with all the pits of dust and whatever in it, returned to the pan and rinsed again, then drained as thoroughly as possible. I added 2 cups +6 Tbsp water, but decided an extra 1/4 cup, b/c it is not regular white rice, would be a good idea. I also added 3/4 tsp salt. I brought this to a solid boil, lowered the heat to Low, stirred only the slightest bit to be sure the rice was not sticking to the pan, covered and let cook, ultimately (after a few checks) for about 45 minutes. It steamed a bit while D got the other stuff ready, then he added the rice to the frying pan with the other goodies and cooked them together for a bit – no idea how long, but not long. Everything already cooked by this point. It turned out to be really good. D thought it didn’t tie together well, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then he just added piperade to the plates alongside, decided that looked too dead or something on black plates (which he had requested) and added in three raw green beans for each of us, for prettiness (and they were tasty that way). The piperade went very well with the rice mix. It was a great addition in bites by itself, and also in mixed bites with the rice. D ended up stirring his together.

D wanted to try one of the Tempranillos we got at The Wine Mine last time – this called “Dama de Toro” (2014) and it was quite good. We both thought we’d willingly buy a couple more, but were not about to head out for that purpose. It was $9.50, so a decent value. Toro seems to be a denominacion de origen.

I wanted dessert later and opened a Sumo mandarin, and split it with D. Those are so wonderfully easy to open and eat – definitely a pleasure.

 

Lunch:

[Paragraph added 21 March!] We had a simple lunch of sandwiches, with Monterey Jack (undoubtedly, b/c that’s what I insist on with avocados) and… avocados. I served the last bit of avo on the plate, and also some cauliflower. Shot D’s plate on the island b/c it was so pretty in that light:

 

 

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Avocados with cottage cheese and French dressing before the Planning Commission meeting – 7 February 2018

We had pork tenderloin left, enough for sandwiches again, and we had one avocado that was ripening, but perhaps not quite ready. D said let’s have the sandwiches for lunch and see if the avo is rpier for dinner. I put the avo into a brown paper bag to see if that would help it ripen. Not sure much changed between lunchtime and dinner, but the avocado, though still quite firm, was tasty and we enjoyed our dinner. This is the first dinner we’ve had with this dish lately (or for years, I’d say) though it has appeared at lunch. The dressing is described a couple days ago. The cottage cheese is Clover small curd – Clover b/c they are apparently pretty nice to their cows, and small curd b/c for some reason the Bowl doesn’t stock large curd, which I totally prefer. No idea why. I put in a complaint today (writing this at lunchtime of the 8th). Anyway, this is just a delicious combination!

We drank up the half-bottle of 2013 Eagle Canyon cab from P&P (years ago) that I had the first half of when D was away. It’s been in the fridge in a 1/2-bottle, and was very good – still quite enjoyable.

Lunch:

[Veggie portion ends here] I got out two frozen center-cut slices from our recent Acme Upstairs Bread, defrosted them by heating at low heat a couple minutes in the toaster oven as usual, and made sandwiches with the last of the pork tenderloin from the 3rd. Romaine, mayonnaise, S&P, that’s it. D also pulled off a few large pieces of cauliflower, which he determined yesterday was terrific dipped in the French dressing. And it was again. We used up the dressing still in the small overflow-dish (wouldn’t fit into the jelly jar for storage) and then added a bit more.

Breakfast:

After breakfast, I had the other tea I bought from thegoodbuy.com, and I liked it a lot, too.

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Grilled salmon; grilled zucchini, leftover rice with sweet white onions – 6 February 2018

I’m trying to choose dinners to use the wines we got recently – either tasters or testers – from Wine Mine or Costco. Obviously, no tasters from Costco – but this was one we tasted at Wine Mine. I liked it better than D did, but he thought it went well with the meal tonight. His fave and my fave were both Cab Francs – this one (my fave) was from Contra Costa County – which is to say, next door! It had an intriguing flavor, but there was some sharpness there that made it less than perfect (but for $16.50 you really don’t expect perfect).

Somewhere, somehow, I got the info that one of the Cab Francs – his or my fave – would be good with salmon. Salmon Is Fish so one knee-jerks to white, so I decided grilling the fish would red it up. Good call. We had bought a moderate-sized zucchini over the weekend, which seemed as though it would be too small for two when grilled (though fine for two if sauteed? Hm..) so I bought a second one. D started by chopping some of the sweet Spanish onion and pre-cooking it a bit in canola(!) oil, then adding the rice. I got a bit of olive oil on my hands and smooshed around the zucchini slices (three per zucchini, lengthwise) till they were well coated, then salted and peppered them on one side, and placed them on the hotter (rear) half of the range grill. D had me smoosh olive oil onto the salmon pieces, too (the thinnest parts of the tail, two pieces thereof) and salted them (or they were salted first) and placed them flesh-side-down over small branches of rosemary on the grill (which was on high). He covered the grill and cooked the fish 6-7 minutes on the first side, flipped to skin-side-down and cooked another 2-3 minutes. D decided to get more of the rice, and I wanted a bit too. This is what I got!

That was it! We had a small bit of Acme sourdough baguette that I defrosted, so I could clear my palette of zinc pill that I am taking on the off chance it’s true that it helps minimize cold symptoms.

The wine was Campos Family Vineyards, a 2015 Cabernet Franc.  It says “Estate” and then on the next line “Contra Costa County (!). On the back it says the cellared and bottled by Campos Family Vineyards, Lodi, California. So I guess it was grown locally and bottled at greater distance. D liked the wine with the dinner, and also thought the parts of the dinner really went well together, which was nice. He really cooked everything beautifully!

Couldn’t decide on the wine picture…

 

Dessert was a chunk of fruitcake. This shows the fat slice cut in two for the two of us:

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

Between avos. We used up the last two from our earlier Coscto trip yesterday for lunch, and the new batch of six from the Costco trip on the 4th is not ripe yet. So we decided to have nachos with just the remainder of the Monterey Jack and the remainder of the La Cascada Salsa Fresca, and add in a few jarred jalapeno slices, which was a good touch. I took the picture mostly b/c it had this cool, humongous leaf I found walking home yesterday (from where??).

Breakfast:

Just for the tea: I ran across The Good Buy, which sells righteous products, and decided to try out their tea. I liked this very much.

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Sandwiches with leftover grilled pork tenderloin; Brussels sprouts – 5 February 2018

My old notes on the grilled pork tenderloin recipe that we made the 3rd say that it’s worth making just for the leftovers, to use in sandwiches. These were really fine sandwiches, but not as obviously fabulous as the notes suggest. Maybe I wiped off too much of the marinade before grilling (but I did drip some back on when D objected). Anyway – good sandwiches, on defrosted Acme Italian bread with just a bit of romaine and mayonnaise – and later we decided I should have salted and peppered the pork (duh), so we did that at the table.

 

D brought an appetizer: a piece of cauliflower – and then later the small bowl of leftover dressing from lunch, that had not fit into the storage jar. Delicious!

 

I cooked up a pile of Brussels sprouts – trim and clean, split to 4ths or 6ths depending on size, boil in salted water 3 minutes, drain. I decided to cook them a bit early so they had more time to drain, and I tossed them a bit in the colander before  returning them to the heated (ergo dried) pan with melted butter, salt and pepper.

At Costco during the superbowl (hey, I thought nobody would be there – oops!) I talked with the wine assistant and he showed me some wines, one of which, bc of its somewhat tacky purple label, I wouldn’t have looked twice at. It was a cheap grenache/syrah (85:15) blend called Mas Donis, and he said it was good for a cheap wine. And it was, but D thought it still had harsh edges. Or that it had a bitterness. I thought it was fine. We had it with this meal b/c the pork recipe actually suggests a grenache/syrah blend, and it was sandwiches, so somehow it seems ok to have a cheap wine with those. Not that we wouldn’t have a pricey one sometimes 🙂

 

Lunch:

Oooo, special lunch! I made up the family-friend recipe from D’s parents’ friend V, for “French dressing,” which includes ketchup or Chile sauce (ketchup in this case – Bowl may still not have Chili sauce, but forgot to check) sugar, vegetable oil, vinegar, and bits of Tobasco and Worcestershire sauces, and salt. D brought this idea from his childhood – having an avocado half (but they were monster FL avos, so one half was a lot) topped with cottage cheese and this dressing. It’s delicious! D defrosted two sticks of Acme sourdough baguette, but we used only one and I refroze the other.

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Spaghetti with two kinds of mushrooms; tall choi sum – 4 February 2018

We planned this dinner – by going to the Bowl and looking at mushrooms and choosing two – to go with a wine we were tasting from The Wine Mine. It was pricey, but we bought a bottle from the description, a Ventoux that the distributor had three languishing cases of, earthy, highly recommended. We opened the wine – Clos de Trias 2007 – a couple hours in advance. Thought it had minimal bouquet at that point, and that didn’t change a lot. At 6:30, when we had decided the wine needed to be in the fridge to get to “cellar temperature,” I moved stuff around and miraculously managed to get the rolly decanter into the fridge, so I poured the wine into that to give it additional air…

Meanwhile… actually starting quite a bit earlier, b/c it took a long time, I cleaned the “hedgehog” mushrooms, which look like chanterelles in color (and are not unlike in taste) but instead of gills or pores have thousands of “quills” that are soft and delicate – and which capture and hide, unless you look closely, tiny bits of grit. So, I cleaned out the bits with the point of a very pointy paring knife, after brushing off, or attempting to brush off, any bits lying on the surface. The hen-of-the-woods were easy to clean (or to check for already-cleanness) and I pulled off all the smooth “feathers” but left the smallest of the “leaves” with the core of the mushroom unseparated. D decided not to use those but we will use them later. D cooked the two kinds of mushrooms separately in butter with salt and pepper, and laid them alongside cooked spaghetti. Back in cleaning time, I also washed the several plants of Choi sum [there was another word here… tall?], rerinsed them, spun them, and left on a towel to dry. When the spaghetti went in, I started cooking the chopped choi stems in butter and olive oil (with S&P), and maybe 6 minutes later I added the cut leaves (with more S&P). Almost at the end, I decided they needed to steam, and poured in some water, and stirred while some evaporated, then covered the pan and let the choi steam, and finally uncovered the pan so the last of the liquid could evaporate. It turned out quite well. I heated the pasta bowls and the veggie bowls with pasta water a couple of minutes before the spaghetti was done, and the choi was still hot in my little bowl after I’d finished eating the pasta. Amazing!

D sliced up an orange (the one I zested for the marinade yesterday, which has been in the fridge) suggesting it would be good on the hedgehog mushrooms. He was right, but I didn’t think that would go so great with the wine, so I oranged only a small part of the pasta, to get a taste of it. We had the rest of the orange for our first dessert. For the second, see below. I bought an Acme sweet baguette to go with dinner, and it was a good choice.

So, all this was b/c E at The Wine Mine said “mushrooms” as one great dish to have with the Clos de Trias 2007 Ventoux. It was a good idea, and we loved the pasta, but we are not convinced that the wine is worth the price, or that we are happy enough with it for it to outrank other wines of our acquaintance that are a lot less $$. So, no more of this one, alas. I was hoping it would be a big winner, but of course, this saves us a pile of money 🙂

OMG it’s Girl Scout Cookie time! There was a Scout outside the Bowl when we left, and of course I had to buy at least one box of cookies – so I chose my (and everyone’s I think) favorite, the thin mints. So, the box says 8 servings per container, and we ate one of the sleeves of cookies (slowly, only 2 at a time – really!) which means we had two servings each. Which is better than I’d feared, but really, we can’t go on like this… But wow, yummy cookies! (hardly a surprise) So yummy I forgot to take a picture…

Lunch:

We ate up the last of the black bean soup [this is not the veggie part of the program: soup has ham and bacon in it) as a sort of chili on top of nachos. I opened another avocado. We broiled the Monterey Jack to melt it, topped with La Cascada Salsa Fresca (I heated this briefly in the broiler too, so it would not chill my nachos out) and avocado chunks. We split one of R&E’s small “Blind Pig” IPAs, which was a great choice with the nachos.

 

 

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Grilled pork tenderloin with citrus glaze; choi sum; Thai jasmine rice – 3 February 2018

I was thinking of having the Claiborne & Churchill Dry Gewurtztraminer from the cellar with the meal for which it was bought a few years ago (R’s b/day choice) – a pork tenderloin confit from Gerald Hirigoyen’s Pintxos. Somehow, I just wasn’t up to the long-cooking-in-duck-fat required of that recipe, and decided to try the wine with another favorite pork tenderloin recipe, this from Weber’s Art of the Grill. My old notes say this recipe’s worth making just for the sandwiches you make with the leftovers. I made the marinade and put the tenderloin (from Costco – kept half the package [with two tenderloins] and gave the other half to R&E, who said “want more of this!”) into our largest oblong glass refrigerator container after lunch. Wiped off too much (per D, and he was right) of the marinade before cooking, and dripped a bunch of it back on. D did the cooking, giving it I think 15 minutes on the first side and 10 on the second, on medium on our gas range grill  (covered), per my written previous observation.

I got little, white-stemmed, dark-leaved choi that said “choi sum” from the Bowl, and treated it as usual: cleaned well, separated stems from leaves and chopped each, rinsed again and spun dry the parts separately and let dry on a towel, cooked in (this time) butter and olive oil, and S&P. Thai jasmine rice as usual.

The wine was excellent, but did not really have a synergy with this meal, unfortunately. The Weber’s suggestion with the recipe is for a garnacha/syrah, which a dry gerwurtz definitely is not. It was ok, just not great, with the pork. Claiborne & Churchill 2011 Central Coast – cost $16.99.

 

We had what I think (writing this the 7th) was the last third of the cream cheese/Nutella pie/cake/tart that R made to use up the cream cheese unused for Christmas cookies. Loved it 🙂 It had toasted hazelnuts over the top and some sort of pressed-crumb crust, in the fashion of graham cracker crust but not, I think, graham crackers.

 

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Reheated Common Grill black bean soup with salsa, avocados, and sour cream; Brussels sprouts – 2 February 2018

Well, if the groundhog had been out here, he sure would have seen his shadow. Taken off his fur coat to boot. A lovely spring day, sunny and warm. Probably in the low 70s (though the interior of the house has not warmed up yet… probably b/c the walls haven’t, not b/c the downstairs furnace has not been on on most days).

But we have a major winter soup! Pretty cool by dinnertime anyway 🙂 We have avocados from Costco on the 28th coming ripe – of course, all of them more or less at once – so are finding ways to enjoy them, in lunches and dinners. We used half an avocado for lunch (below) and the other half in small chunks over the reheated soup, which I made for dinner on the 30th, and we have eaten since as a nachos-topping. I went to the Bowl and bought more La Cascada Salsa Fresca and a small Clover sour cream, as well as cottage cheese for another, (immediate) future avocado idea. Also bought an Acme Sweet Rustic Baguette for lunch and dinner.

I added some water to reheat the soup, but it was still rather more like a pile of beans than like a soup this time! Also cooked up the last of the Brussels sprouts from a large bag I got probably about 22 Jan (trim, wash, quarter or “sixth,” boil 3 mins in salted water, drain, return to pan to toss in melted butter with S&P).

My notes for the soup say that the Belgian-style “abbey ale” called Brother Thelonious is a perfect match for this soup, so we had that instead of wine with dinner, and it does, indeed, go well.

Lunch:

I bought the baguette with sandwiches in mind. Also bought Monterey Jack with nachos/avocados/salsa/etc. in mind, and I also know it is my favorite cheese to have with avos on a sandwich. I used up the last little bit of the [not very] old Jack and started the new one on our two sandwiches, topped with sliced avocado and spread mayonnaise on, and that was it. Tasty sandwiches – but hard to eat b/c when you bite into a baguette crust, slippery things slide out of the sandwich. Alongside, we ate up the last of the piperade, just having it cold. A pretty, as well as tasty, lunch.

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Crackers with sardines, Cambozola; piperade – 1 February 2018

Symphony night again, and D suggested we have more of the Cabozola we got at the Bowl, and add in a can of the sardines I got when they were tasting them at Costco last summer. We didn’t have bread, and could usefully have gone shopping, but D pointed out we could use crackers for the cheese and for the sardines, and I decided I could live without a banana for breakfast by having an egg instead of Grape Nuts. So that’s what we did. The sardines are Wild Planet, Wild Pacific Sardines, and are three to the can. They are gutted and cleaned, but they have little spines, which I took out. I used 3/4 of half of what was left of the Cambozola – lol, that was 2/3 of the original… so…3x1x2/4x2x3 = oh hey, interesting. 1/4 of the original amount. And that was .78 lb, which is…  12.5oz. So we had 3.1 oz of Cambozola for dinner. (Whew!) The crackers are Mozart, two varieties: pepper and poppy seed, and toasted sesame seed. Worked fine. I wonder if we should try both of these again with Sesmark rice crackers – which may be what we originally used for the sardines?

We had half the remaining piperade as something between a vegetable and a condiment. It went really well with the sardines!

D brought up a Kono (Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc). He also put the other Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio in the fridge, but decided on the Kono when it came to dinnertime. Good wine, nothing terribly special. We saved a couple glasses for after the symphony as usual, b/c D has to drive there.

Lunch:

One of the avocados from Costco ripened up yesterday and I put it in the fridge. We had nachos with Monterey Jack melted (broiled) over Costco chips, then La Cascada Salsa Fresca (finished it) and the avocado. Good lunch.

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Omelette with mushrooms; piperade – 31 January 2018

Using Up Stuff dinner, and quite a tasty one. We had the last too-thin-to-plane 6 square inches of the Danke cheese, a red and a yellow pepper originally intended for polenta with greens and peppers (soon, soon) and two large, beautiful crimini mushrooms. D suggested we have eggs with piperade alongside, and I said maybe omelette instead of plain eggs (though I love a fried egg), or maybe a piperade omelette? Or maybe use up the crimnis in the omelette with piperade alongside as originally considered – and that is what we finally went for – or D did, since he’s the official omelette cook. He did some excellent omelette-flips this time, too! LOL 🙂 Cooked the sliced crimni separately, in butter with S&P. Mixed one minced clove of garlic into the melted butter for the omelette and let it cook for a few seconds before adding the eggs; let the eggs start to set before adding the mini-diced cheese. Flipflipflip. It was a very good omelette.

I made the piperade (per Gerald Hirigoyen, in Pintxos) – cleaned and seeded the red and yellow peppers, peeled 6 garlic cloves, and cut off a cord of one of our sweet Spanish onions (to make “one small onion”) before taking (with D, my suggestion) a several-block quick warmup walk and doing our weights. Note that so far this leaves out the 4 tomatoes from the original recipe. Shower, then final prep: peppers into lengthwise thin strips, onion likewise, garlics sliced. Heat the 12″ Revere frying pan on medium-high, add 1/3 cup olive oil; when it ripples, add the veggies and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or till they start to color. Once I started cooking the veggies, I did the winter-tomato thing of opening a 14-oz can of diced tomatoes and draining them in a strainer, then adding these instead of real ones (“real” being a matter of degree in the winter). So, I decided that it would be preferable to use the rather tasteless winter tomatoes from Mexico than to use canned ones, though my original notes say canned were ok. Perhaps this was before I tried real ones, since I got the book for Christmas and obviously, that’s winter. So last time I did this, I have only 1 1/2 tomatoes, and I liked it that way a lot. Obviously a lot of flexibility in this recipe.

I defrosted and toasted up and buttered four slices of Acme Italian, and put them on the plates in the warm oven till the rest was done. D (I think) suggested that we just have the Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio (2016) that I re-bought (based on blog) at Costco. We got a tester bottle and liked it pretty well back on 4 December, and we enjoyed it again tonight, so may well get a couple more when we go back shortly.

Appetizer:

D stuck this lovely little piece of fresh cauliflower down on the front part of the stove, which I was glad I had washed earlier…

Dessert was another third (divided by 2) of the Nutella/cream cheese cake R made to use up the cream cheese they had bought, but not used, bot Christmas cookies. They brought us 1/3 of it last night. Good!

Lunch:

I suggested we have some of the black bean soup as a sort of bean chili on nachos, so we did that. Monterey Jack melted (broiled) over the chips, then La Cascada Salsa Fresca, and microwaved beans. I think the combination lacked “coolness,” which would be provided by an avocado or sour cream. Later noticed we actually did have a ripe avocado (among the six from Coscto).

 

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Common Grill Black Bean Soup; Brussels sprouts – 30 January 2018

To use up what was about 6.4 oz but should (per the recipe) have been 8 oz of remaining Niman Ranch ham – from a 3/4″ or so thick round slice that was a pound – well, I said I’ll just freeze it, but D said no let’s go ahead and make the Common Grill soup, which had been the plan before he left on the 23rd. So I made the soup, but first, he had to buy more black beans, b/c the soup required 1 lb, not 1 cup like some others. After sorting the beans and rinsing really well, I did the “quick soak” technique, then drained and rinsed again, covered in 6 cups water and started to cook. I had 7 half-strips of bacon from a frozen cut-in-half-package of Niman Ranch apple-smoked, and the recipe called for 3 strips, so rather than refreeze the extra half-strip, I just included it – cut the strips crosswise and then in half, but it would have been more sensible to start by halving the bacon lengthwise (but I wasn’t intending to at that point). Cut the hard outer “shell” off the ham and split the slice into two maybe 3/8″ slices, then diced perhaps 1/4″ or so. Cut up two celery ribs, “one small onion” which was actually the last of a yellow and a white onion, and likely a bit on the short side, and some garlic*. The veggies are cooked briefly in the bacon fat (I poured off a bit of this) and then 1 1/2 tsp cayenne and 1 Tbsp salt are added and cooked for a minute (pic is at this point), and finally 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and the diced ham are added and cooked another minute. All this is added to the beans and they cook together until the beans are done, which took more than the prescribed hour.

Meanwhile, I trimmed and split into 4ths or 6ths or whatever, several Brussels sprouts, which I eventually boiled 3 minutes, drained, and reheated in butter with S&P.

D bought us an Acme sourdough baguette for both lunch, with cheese, and dinner, and we ate most of it. The rest D suggested cutting into croutons (lots of sourdough baguette pieces already in the freezer) and letting them dry, so I did that.

Tried out the Bocelli Sangiovese that I re-bought at Costco, based on the “well, not bad” sort of review on this blog back in December. Decided it is fine, but not delicious – no real need to re-buy, though we have one more bottle.

R&E’s anniversary, and they brought over 1/3 of a cream cheese/Nutella cake, with toasted hazelnuts on top and some sort of crumbly crust that was delicious. This was when they cane to see the 90-year-old quilt that L sent to R, as a direct descendant of the quilter. Wow. Anyway, the cake was quite yummy – not spectacular, but a good dessert. We had 1/3 of this piece, split between us, for dessert.

Lunch:

I cut 1/3 off the Costco Cambozola chunk and set it in the oblique, winter sunlight on the kitchen counter by the sink to warm for less than an hour. D bought an Acme sourdough baguette and we had that, along with three skinny ribs of celery, sliced and cooked in butter (and oversalted), and the rest of D’s radicchio and endive fettucine from the 28th, when he arrived home not terribly hungry. Microwaved that. It was fine, but pasta always loses something in the reheating. Reheating in oil would have been preferable b/c of the walnuts. Amazing to think of the canned spaghetti dinners we used to have sometimes as kids…

I thought the cheese looked rather elegant as it warmed up:

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Dinner at Juan’s for the heck of it – 29 January 2018

We couldn’t decide on dinner and nothing obvious was lying around. So we did a workout walk/weights in the early dark, then shower, then walked over to Juan’s. I ordered a half serving of chile rellenos (chile relleno, I guess) with refried beans* and rice. It was fine, but nothing special, and far from the best I’ve had. Filled me up completely, too, all that food!

About the photos: I shot the one at left, held the shutter down too long or something, and the camera shot again while I was moving it (above). So, I would have erased that shot, but the colors in it are actually right, while for the life of me I can’t repair the one at left in either Photoshop Elements 15 or Irfanview. And then I kinda got into the swishy one. So, that’s what we’ve got.

I tried ordering a Red Tail IPA from the menu, but the server said they didn’t have that but had Lagunitas IPA instead, so I had that, and it was good. Beer is the right thing with Mexican food, I think. D had a Modello dark something. Both on tap. He had a tostada with pork, too, and liked it.

Oh, the chips!  They served corn chips and flour ones, but we didn’t notice that till I ate one of the last of D’s – which were corn. The flour ones were To Die For!

*The refritos might be cooked with lard – I don’t know – in which case the “meatless” and “vegetarian” labels would be false. But since this is about ideas, there’s no reason one would have to use lard in the beans so it’s easy to do this as a veggie meal. Except: chile rellenos are really hard to make well!

 

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Fettucine with grilled radicchio and endive, toasted walnuts, and Roquefort – 28 January 2018

[Filling in missing entries on 8 Feb]

This was a kick. D flying home and had a wine tasting with his lunch at Vino Volo, trying the “value reds” this time. He really enjoyed the Mencia and texted me about it – maybe he’d pick up a bottle to bring home. I was in the process of asking him if he’d want dinner, given he’d be home more or less in time, and he said yes. So we negotiated a plan for a dinner to set off the wine. After a couple of my suggestions, he asked for this Weber Art of the Grill recipe. We had maybe 1/4 or less of a small head of radicchio left from a previous dinner and subsequent dishes, and I bought one Belgian endive. Split each, rubbed with olive oil, and grilled over medium heat – I think about 5 minutes on the first side and less on the second. And even less, for the radicchio, on its third side. The endive didn’t have any third side 😉 Walnuts toasted in the pan, Roquefort smooshed into a walnut oil/red wine vinegar dressing. Cooked fettucine tossed in the veggies and dressing and served in heated bowls. I bought D an Acme Italian Batard b/c it seems to be his favorite.

The Mencia – El Cayado Mencia Roble (2013 – denomination “Bierzo”)- didn’t have a lot of time to breathe between D’s arrival and dinner, and D thought it was not as enticing as he’d found it back at Vino Volo. However, we did really like it, and enjoyed it with the meal. Just don’t have to search all over to find more of it.

Lunch:

Sandwich. This part is meatful 😉 Pretty sure I remember correctly that this was another – the third? – of a series of sandwiches to use up both pancetta and roasted yellow pepper. I cooked pancetta, then topped one slice of bread with a slab of the roasted pepper and the other with Danke cheese and broiled them (to melt the cheese and warm the pepper) then put the pancetta in between and closed the sandwich. I had some yellow pepper left after D arrived so I’m sure I must have continued these sandwiches up to today to use it up.

 

 

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Personal pizza with potatoes, ham, and pancetta – 27 January 2018

[Filling in missing posts on 8 February]

Another a bit-too-lazy dinner for one – I used the second half of the defrosted pizza dough, and made an ok but not great pizza. Cooked up the next-to-last round of pancetta, and also sliced two 1/8″ or thinner slices off the 3/4″ or so thick round of ham, and cut into pieces. I used the rest of the boiled potatoes, doing nothing else to them (like, when I brush the potatoes with cooked-garlic oil in the tapenade/red pepper/potato pizza) and scattered on the meats. May have used only mozzarella, might have added some grated parmaggiano, but whatever, not exciting. I see I wasn’t even ambitious enough to make a veggie! Oh well… so, why was I so lazy? Something was going on… oh bizarre, I don’t even have any photos for the day except the ones here. What did I do? 😉

I decided to open a wine D didn’t care about (since he was not here) – one from a gift box from P&P for I think Christmas 2013. I found it quite enjoyable: Eagle Canyon 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Nothing really special, but quite drinkable. Good wine.

 

Lunch:

This picture reminds me of lunch: more of the sorrel soup I made previously, and a small sandwich, no doubt of grill-roasted yellow pepper, pancetta, and melted Danke cheese on defrosted Acme Italian bread. It was a good sandwich, which I made up in order to use 1) the pepper, 2) the pancetta, and 3) the cheese, so it was quite effective. I enjoyed it and had it a few times for lunch.

Breakfast:

Just to note that coffee (espresso and steamed milk – is this a tiny latte or a cappucino?) was in D’s new cup by our friend N.

Great cup 🙂

 

 

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Bonne Bouche cheese and sourdough baguette; pea pods – 26 January 2018

[Filling in missing posts on 8 February]

D came home one day with this and a few other one-of-a-kind dishes from Urban Ore. Isn’t it pretty?

I spent a large part of the day at the Walker Evans exhibit at SFMOMA. A great day. I had the second half of the Bonne Bouche, Vermont cheese for dinner, and a new Acme sourdough baguette to go with it. I probably moved the cheese, on plate under glass, from the fridge to a counter before I left. Did I go shopping this day and buy the pea pods? I could look it up but too much trouble* – I’m comfortably wrapped in a blanket right now 🙂 So: sauteed the stemmed pods in butter or oil or both till they were bright green. S&P. [*9th: Nope – pea pods previous. On the 26th I just bought the baguette and some more bananas for breakfasts.]

Wine… ok, gotta figure this out.. no wine photo… Oh right. I opened two wines, one the 23rd and one the 24th, and this would be the second half of one of those bottles.      I think probably the Kono Marlborough SB (Trader Joe’s, cheap) but could have been the McIlroy Chard (Costco, moderate).

 

Lunch:

I had lunch at SFMOMA, and it looked lovely, but was not nearly good enough, especially for the price.

The salad was supposed to be served warm, according to the person who helped me to order, but it was just the teeniest bit so. Mostly, the flavors just weren’t at all compelling. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. The textures were excellent – everything was fresh and well prepared, but the flavors didn’t remotely live up to the visuals. The fact that I took them up on their suggestion of Kim Crawford Marlborough SB to go with it was my fault. It’s a way overpriced wine (which I knew) so the $12 glass upped the price of lunch seriously. But the two women who let me sit at their table (b/c there weren’t any free ones) were lovely and that was the best part of lunch.

 

 

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Fettucine with pea pods and mushrooms – 24 January 2018

This is the original-size recipe from Georgeanne Brennan’s Potager, with my quantities. Originals in [ ]s. I scaled it down for 4 oz fettucine (for one) tonight, but it should have been even smaller. Try 5 oz for two when D here for dinner.

Steam 1 cup trimmed and cleaned small pea pods and set aside.

Slice 1 cup sliced white or crimini mushrooms [1/2 cup] and cook in 1 Tbsp butter, adding 1/2 tsp salt or slightly more (b/c of the larger amount of mushrooms).

Cook 12 oz dried fettucine till al dente – probably 6 – 8 minutes – in boiling, salted water. Drain thoroughly, using some of the water to heat the serving bowls. Return the fettucine to the drained saucepan. You can keep this on very low heat to keep the pasta warm.

Add 2 Tbsp heavy cream of creme fraiche, 4 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (but I don’t really measure it), 1/4 cup freshly grated parmaggiano, 1 Tbsp chives [or chervil], and the pea pods and mushrooms. Stir well (especially be sure the mushrooms are well distributed as they have most of the salt) and serve in the heated (wiped dry) bowls. Top with more chopped chives.

Enjoy!

I bought an Acme sourdough baguette – this may be the day (this part added 2 Feb!) when I got to the Bowl late (seems likely – evidently a whole baguette at dinnertime, none used for lunch) and those were the only baguettes left – but I would recommend either a regular bread or sweet baguette with this in future. I decided to open a bottle of 2014 McIlroy Chardonnay (Costco – a real find) to have with this b/c it’s such a wonderful recipe.

Oops! No, wait… that’s just cleverly framed so the cut end of the baguette is not visible. I took a lunch picture that day b/c it was a great lunch.

 

Lunch:

At the Bowl I bought, in addition to the sourdough baguette (chosen for the cheese here, not for the dinner) I got a Vermont cheese called Bonne Bouche. I moved it from its little light wood crate to a plate, and had half of it for lunch. Was this the day I made the sorrel soup, too? Yes, it was. I needed to use the leeks I had bought (used one) and there was sorrel, and a bit of sour cream to use, and two potatoes getting on… OMG and chives – masses of chives. I should have bought a smaller bunch last week. This recipe, also, is from Potager

Coffee:

While hunting down the lunch picture, I also found this – just a picture to note this pretty cup I bought decades ago at Peet’s in Berkeley. It was made in Poland. Espresso and steamed milk – a small latte.

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Linguine with pancetta-mushroom cream sauce; Romano beans – 21 January 2018

This is a dish from the Contra Costa times [pretty sure] on Wednesday the 24th of July, 1996! I can’t find the article on the web, which I guess, given the date, is not surprising. The dish won the top award for a student chef from L.A. named Jeana Lee, at the “seventh annual Pairing of Wine, Food, Talent & Technique” contest in Livermore.

I have rewritten the recipe for two of us, though the original would serve 4, using 8 oz dried linguine. My original notes reduced this to 6 oz, which I used this time, but I think it should be more like 4 to 5 oz for us, relative to the sauce I made – and this would be in keeping with Ms. Lee’s original proportions. My recipe, changed to my format, with original values in [ ]s.

Pre-prep:

Cut 1 thickly-cut round of pancetta into 1/4″ dice. Keep in the fridge till used. [3 Tbsp]
Slice 3 crimini mushrooms – about 1/4 cup [1/2 cup]
Finely grate 1 tsp Parmaggiano [2 tsp]
Chop 1 tsp fresh parsley [2 tsp]
Mince a teensy clove of garlic [pinch]
Clean one pesticide-free or organic lemon for zesting [1/2 tsp lemon zest]

Cooking:

Boil 4 – 5 oz [8 oz] dried linguine in salted water for about 8 minutes, till al dente.

Meanwhile:

Saute pancetta over medium heat in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil [1 Tbsp] till crispy and brown.

Remove pancetta, reserving oil in the skillet, and saute mushrooms in oil till golden and dry. [I poured off a bit of fat at this point – not sure I should have.]

[The original ingredients list has “Salt to taste” after the mushrooms, but omits mention of salt in the instructions. I’m guessing it would not hurt to salt the cooking mushrooms, but I didn’t this time.]

Add back the pancetta and pour in 1/4 cup Chardonnay [1/2 cup] [Didn’t use dinner wine, but a dry rose we had handy. Vermouth might work ok.].

Cook till wine is reduced by half, then add 1/4 cup heavy cream [1/2 cup]; bring to a boil and stir in the cheese.

Remove from heat and toss in the parsley and garlic. Toss with the cooked pasta, serve in heated bowls, and garnish by zesting lemon directly over the pasta. [Original says garnish with 1/2 tsp lemon zest. Hard to sprinkle! Just turn the zester so the lemon is on top and grate directly onto the pasta.]

So, delicious meal. I think you could up the parsley a bit and certainly the lemon.

I also cleaned and cut up the rest of the Romano beans and boiled 3 minutes. D took them over while I did the endgame on the pasta, and tossed them in melted butter, salt, and pepper.

I told D this wanted a chardonnay, and he could pick a CalStar, Toasted Head, or McIlroy, and he, unsurprisingly, chose CalStar. This was a 2013 “Sonmoa Coast, Sonoma County” bottle, which was great with the meal.

Later, we had the last of the truffles – dark chocolate this time – and Beeson tempranillo dessert wine from Harry & David, gift of P & T. A very nice pairing, and a lovely and thoughtful gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We had a small amount – perhaps 1/2 cup? – of fresh, shelled cranberry beans in the fridge from the 13th, when we made the Hirigoyen dish with the beans cooked in piperade. Remarkably, we also had piperade that was still fine. Hm. I’ll bet I made more since then… anyway, when we got home from walking up “our” hill, D started the beans cooking, pretty sure just in water and salt, and I added two mammoth cloves of garlic, just peeled, not otherwise prepped, then wen tout a lifted a weight or three. The beans cooked a half hour or so; D, at my request, mashed some of them for the bruschetta, and left the others whole. He toasted up one large (center) slice of the frozen Acme Upstairs Bread, split in two, drizzled oil on top, and covered with beans. I microwaved all the piperade and served it out. It was a great match (of course), and mostly I think both of us made bites with both bruschetta and piperade in them. I tasted the beans by themselves, too, of course, b/c they are delicious!

 

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Omelette with leftover cilantro/mint sauce; pea pods – 20 January 2018

D cooked this entirely, while I had a shower, b/c we were running a bit late. He made an omelette using three eggs, and adding the rest of the Old Rotterdam cheese, grated. When it was mostly or completely cooked, he just spread the remaining cilantro/mint sauce from last Sunday (E’s unbirthday dinner) over the top and let it warm, then I guess folded the omelette sorta over it. It was really delicious! He noted that he could have used half the sauce and left half, but not clear when we would use it so he didn’t save any. He had started toasting the two slices of Upstairs Bread that I had defrosted earlier, and I buttered them and put them on the warming plates in the oven to wait. He boiled the stemmed pea pods in salted water about 3 minutes (too long, as he noted later). I dumped out the water and let them dry as much as possible; when the pan was dry, added a bit of butter and D ground some pepper over them and I tossed them in the pan with a big spoon and he served them onto the warm plates.

D decided that this would go with a wine already in the fridge, Kirkland’s “Ti Point” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (2016), and he was right. It was really an excellent combination.

D decided on a treat in the afternoon, one more of the chocolate truffles from Harry and David. He thought the milk and dark chocolates would go best with the remaining wine accompaniment, and chose the raspberry ones for mid-afternoon treat. I forgot to shoot mine till I had eaten half of it 😉

Then after dinner, D got out the wine from the fridge – Tempranillo dessert wine from Harry and David, which is intended to go with the truffles (the combination, a gift from D’s Dad P and caretaker T). He chose the milk chocolate truffle, and poured us tiny wine glasses of the wine. It was an excellent match and a lovely treat of a dessert.

Lunch (not veggie):

Weird lunch today b/c I was at the Women’s March, 2018 edition, in downtown Oakland. I brought two bars with me In Case and ate one of them near the end of the march, then ran across some people eating pizza slices, and got myself one. Even though it was Cybelle’s. It really was pretty competent pizza – nothing to write home about, but nothing bad, either. I got a pepperoni slice, which was hot and waiting and the nice guy just boxed for me, and had him put the change from $5 into the tip jar. the pizza was not even so greasy as to need multiple napkins, which surprised me. I ate it on the way to the bus stop, maybe a half mile from the end of the march (given that the buses were on detour b/c the march ended on Broadway). Satisfying lunch 🙂

The bar was from my emergency grab-and-go bag. the bars have no more than a 6 month shelf life so have to be taken out and eaten periodically anyway. Since we had a few we hadn’t actually tasted before, I decided to have one of those and see if it was tasty enough to get more of, and indeed, I did think so. This CLIF Builder’s Bar (flavor: chocolate) is a low-glycemic, high-protein bar, and I think we got it at REI, and 270 calories. Not a great idea to add pizza after that, to tell the truth 😉

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