Pizza with olives, arugula, and prosciutto, from ‘ino

This worked so well on 200611 that I thought I ought to write up exactly what I did.

I was using a defrosted 1/3-crust that was more than 1/3 but less than half white whole wheat flour. I precooked the crust 2 1/2 minutes, so that the toppings would not have to be overcooked to get the crust done.

I used a buffalo mozz from the Bowl called “Angelo & Franco,” which I don’t like as well as Gustosella, but it evidently was fine for this. Two balls, total 8 oz. OMG. I halved each ball then cut crosswise into about 6 slices as usual, and let drain on a plastic cutting board set at an angle over a glass 9×13 baking dish. This drained for about an hour, but at the end, I still had to pour (carefully!) some liquid off the pizza, even after letting it sit for a couple minutes.

I used the speck rather than regular prosciutto, b/c that’s what we had, and we both thought it was terrific! The label says Recla – Speck – Dru-cured smoked ham.” This batch had the larger half of the usual prosciutto slices but not the smaller, so they were maybe 2″ wide (with very good trim!). I used all 5. After putting on 3, I wanted to add more, and it seemed silly to stop at 4 out of 5 of them, so I just added all of them. Of this size, then, 4 or 5 prosciutto-thin slices of speck. I tore them.

Added the cheese directly to the pre-cooked crust, then topped with the speck. I remembered to drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the pizza at this point, and to grind on some pepper.

I baked the pizza 3 more minutes, till the crust looked really good, let it sit (I think while I served out the broccoli), then poured off some liquid and dried the pizza pan with a clean paper towel. Added 20 Nicoise olives (Gaeta would be preferred), halved crosswise into little Os, and a goodly pile of small back-yard arugula leaves, stemmed – pretty much the last of this year’s crop. Probably as much as 1 cup of leaves. Drizzled on another 1/2Tbsp+ of olive oil and ground more pepper over the top, and served.

 

 

 

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Linguine with pancetta mushroom cream sauce; long sum choi – 22 January 2020

I decided to write up the recipe for this on the recipe blog supporting this one, though the original newspaper copy is still in my primary recipe notebook. I’ve modified it, and it’s good to have it spelled out in my own format. It’s an excellent dish – highly recommended!

So you can look there for the details. But I’ll repeat here that the recipe was created by then- (1996) student chef Jeana Lee, and won an award. Outline: cook diced pancetta, then cook sliced mushrooms in the same oil, add chardonnay and cream, parmesan (tiny!) parsley, and minced garlic, and serve with lemon zest over the top. I forgot to take a “setting photo, but at least I have bread to add ๐Ÿ™‚

I went to the Bowl for ingredients, and decided to buy a fresh bread instead of using slices from the freezer. I chose a Metropolis Pane Integrale, which was very good (good toast for breakfast the 23rd, also). We have no idea how they get such height into their breads – but I guess there’s a hint in the flour rings that these are raised in proofing baskets. Maybe that helps.

The reason I made this again (aside from loving it) despite having made it very recently, was that I ran across a Wente chardonnay at Costco. The original recipe was paired with a 1994 Wente Reserve Chardonnay and I decide finally to try this with as close as I could get to its original best bud wine. The pairing was excellent! This Wente wine is labeled “Arroyo Seco . Monterey, Riva Ranch Vineyard,” and is a 2015. It cost under $15 at Costco – a good deal, IMO. D liked it both as a wine and as a pairing.

Later, I said, “We don’t have any chocolate, do we?” Then I heard D rustling around in the kitchen, and he showed up with a square of Tcho Hazlenut Chunk, which was about perfect. I thought it was European upon tasting it, and I think that must have been the hazelnut flavor. It was creamy like European chocolates, too.

 

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Quesadillas with salsa and avocados – 18 January 2020

Brother B worked on his Wikipedia article today and I cooked dinner for us – quesadillas, for which he had bought the fixings before I arrived. We had small (about 8″? 9″?) flour tortillas, so B said he’d like 2 quesadillas. I settled for 1 1/2, folding over one tortilla to make the half. B later decided 2 was too much, so the three tortillas remaining in the package will make a perfect meal for him after I leave.

I was able to cook the quesadillas in the regular 10″ Revere pan, starting at “7” on the stove burner settings, but cutting later to “6.” I grated cheese onto one tortilla, topped with another, then another to grate cheese onto, then another, etc., stacking them up on the cutting board. I heated the oven to its lowest setting (170F) and turned it off, and put the plates in there, moving the cooked quesadillas to a plate to keep warm. When my last half-one was cooking, I put B’s back on the now-empty cutting board and cut them into sixths, arranged on his plate with salsa and avo chunks (I had the avo cut before I started), and then cut up and served mine. It is a very tasty dish, with mild Tostitos salsa, Monterey Jack, and a Haas avocado.

I found two bottles of Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio in the wine cabinet/cooler, and put it in the fridge about 5 – but it was not cold enough when I served “cooking wine,” so I put it into the freezer, which chilled it most effectively!

 

We had some of the Harry & David red balls (cherry-chocolate I think) for dessert, and an almond-flavored cookie sandwich with raspberry filling. And I tried some of the ice cream in the fridge, but decided it’s not worth the calories.

Lunch:

I was thinking of trying out toasting the Nature’s Promise multigrain bread for breakfast (with an egg) but decided to leave that as a lunch option instead. So I fried up an egg for lunch and it was good. Didn’t really get the toast toasty enough, but I noticed at the end of the time that there is a toast/bagel switch on the toaster and I’d had it on “bagel” – the toast not clasped, and the heating elements less hot. Ill try this again with the right setting – B’s toast later was very good (but I think even with the right size-settings it took too toastings).

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Excellent airport pizza – 17 January 2020

I landed a half hour late at DCA and, with at least an hour of subway ahead of me, decided to grab a bite to eat en route to the baggage claim instead of having a very late dinner at brother B’s house. I saw a guy at PAGE (to me, this means polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, but I expect that is not what it means to them) eating what looked like a good pizza, and indeed, it came from there. The woman who seemed to be in charge said it would be just 5-7 minutes for a pizza, so I ordered one. In fact, it was 5-7 minutes before they even started on it, and I got to baggage claim just as they were taking my suitcase to the claim center, but the wait was worth it. I saw the chef curling up the edges of the dough, topping with tomatoes (there were large fresh chunks on the pizza, which I didn’t expect – might have skipped it, it being not tomato season At All), and then lay on a few slices of cheese, bake the pizza a bit, put on more cheese (presumably a different one) and bake in a different oven, then add just 2 basil leaves (but one was huge) at the end. From the online menu:

Margheritaย tomato, mozzarella, parmesan, basil $13

I loved the Margherita! I ate half of it at the airport, and carried the rest home to brother B’s house and we split the remaining four pieces, after trying a warmup via broiler. This was not great. The pizza was excellent hot, but was not at all delicious after it got cold and re-warmed.

I dug out a CalStar Alta Zin from the cold cabinet and we shared that while chatting and eating pizza. It went fine with the pizza.

Brother B had gotten a Harry & David present from someone, and he offered some of that for dessert. We had the red-coated cherry things, which are delicious!

Lunch:

I brought lunch with me on the plane, after realizing that not only was our layover in STL short, it was not a plane change, so there would be no access to outside food. (And no plane food – it’s Southwest). So I took with me the rest of the honey-gouda I’d bought when the Bowl was tasting it, some crackers, the organic Fuji apple D didn’t see I’d bought so he bought another, and half the remaining hunk of fruitcake. I had a drink coupon, so I had a glass of white wine with my cheese and crackers.

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Grilled, marinated chicken thighs; pilaf; broccoli – 14 January 2020

Wow – I thought this would be a decent but kinda boring dinner, but it turned out great! I asked suggestions from D as to how to marinate the chicken thighs, and I made a pilaf instead of just cooking rice. Those two things seem to have made the difference.

I was mincing a humongous clove of garlic for the chicken when I asked D how he would suggest marinating it. He said garlic, onion (both? yes, both!) and some soy sauce. Ooo, and some of the mustard that is essentially all seeds. So, since he is good at this, I followed his suggestions. The almost-defrosted thighs were in our largest glass container, and I splashed in several goops of soy sauce. I added the minced, monster garlic clove, and also the “heart of onion” – a pear-shaped center of the half-onion in the fridge – and perhaps a tsp of the seedy mustard. I mooshed these around with my hands, and left the chicken on the counter to marinate and finish the last bit of defrosting while I went for a shower.

I started the pilaf first – fortunately I had notes on the page of The Sultan’s Table for a reduced recipe for our 8″ Revere frying pan: 1/2 cup of rice, coated in 1 Tbsp butter, then 1 cup water, heated (2 mins in microwave) with a chicken bouillon cube in it, mixed into the coated rice. Cover, bring to simmer, cook 15, leave capped for at least another 5. D cooked up for lunch half the small bit of broccoli I had bought the other day, but of course, the remaining half was way too small for me for a dinner serving, so I bought about as much at the Bowl this afternoon and cooked up both that, and the remaining half D left. It was a nice serving size ๐Ÿ™‚

All this was b/c we had had a wine at The Wine Mine on the 4th that I thought would be good with grilled chicken thighs and D was not sanguine about. We bought one, and D kept reminding me we need to have chicken thighs. So, we did. The wine was very good with them, and has a really interesting flavor. I’d be happy to get more of it. D points our that it’s a remarkable price for a decent pinot noir ($12.50). The wine is Ballard Lane central coast, 2017. I’m quite happy with it, and will lobby for more. [200208: Later I realized that this wine sort of fills the same niche as the Meiomi pinot, but is a lot cheaper and possibly better.]

Adding all this 8 Feb: I see we had some of the sesame/fennel seed/sugars treat for dessert. My notes from 15 November, when we first bought some, say ‘a sesame confection called a โ€œround gajak,โ€ brand โ€œCharliee,โ€ which also had sugars and fennel seeds.’ They are quite delicious, but a round is I think 1000 calories or something. Maybe 500. But a lot. 1/4 (shown) is plenty – even half that is enough to make my mouth happy.

Lunch:

[Still writing 8 Feb] I see we had more of the ok-not-great David Tanis “winter minestrone.” Also, the abovementioned broccoli. Fine lunch, nothing to write home about.

 

 

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Oven-roasted baby back ribs; potato salad – 1 January 2020

Well, this marks the 10th anniversary of this blog. I had thought of discontinuing it, continuing under another address to start over, whatever. I guess I decided I might as well go on with a catch-as-catch-can blog, with the pie-in-the-sky ambition of posting every dinner, but without kicking myself when I don’t do that.

So, this was Christmas, sorta. Last Saturday, the 28th, we had “Christmas dinner” on E’s day off, since I had been sick and no one was ready on the 25th. Nobody has any clue when Jesus was born, anyway (or “if,” for that matter, though I gather he’s thought to be an actual historical figure). R expressed surprise that we mentioned presents for the 28th, so we said what the heck and dropped that idea in favor of just dinner. E suggested New Year’s Day, an unusual, mid-week day off, for presents and games, so we settled on that. So as to have a lot of afternoon time free, E suggested maybe rerunning my Mom’s chili (a.k.a. Janet’s Chili), which cooks for three hours or more; but since we’d just had that, I came up with the idea of these baby back ribs, which roast in the oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours. I wrote up the recipe back in July 2018. This left us time to open presents and play with Pi containers and the like.

Everyone really liked the flavor of the ribs, but agreed that they were a little dry.

To consider:

  1. I cooked the ribs the first 2 1/2 hours meaty-side-down. Possibly leave the ribs meaty-side-down in the liquid after opening the foil after 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Invert the ribs as I did for the final half hour at 350, unwrapped, but siphon off the liquid when inverting the ribs, and make into a sauce to pour over the finished ribs.
  3. The original cooking recipe (from Epicurious – the rub is Weber) says check the ribs at 2 hours, re-wrap and cook for another half hour, but gives no reason why you check them. Also, no “what to look for.” Perhaps they were done at this point and should have advanced directly to the unwrapped portion of the program.

Potato salad was just kinda normal – D boiled up the potatoes (he started with four and I said that’s not enough for four people, so he added an unknown amount), already in chunks, in salted water for I think 20 minutes, but they were perfectly done – was it just 15? After they cooled (I finally noticed they were still in water and emptied it!) I made the salad, with one celery stalk, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, and mustard, none measured. It was good. R ate the last bit so no leftovers.

I wanted to have the Easton Zinfandel (Wine Mine) with the ribs, since we’d had it and loved the match before. I assumed everyone else would taste it and go on to an ale – an obvious choice for beer-lovers with ribs (LOL –ย  most beer lovers do have ribs, I’m sure). But then everyone wanted to continue with the wine. Let’s get another bottle from the basement. No, then everyone moved to Brother Thelonius. So that was nice for me. We need to get more of this wine IMO. E decided the ale was a better match, in the end.

We played some Pandemic, won, had some (rather a lot, actually) of the fruitcake I chose out of the batch for Christmas dinner, along with some of R’s excellent eggnog, then played Contagion for the first time. It will take me some time to sort out all the strategies, especially if we start playing after my bedtime.

Breakfast:

I started off the year with a lovely fried egg, and two pieces of Acme “Edible Schoolyard” toast. Fantastic ๐Ÿ™‚ Some bananas, glass of milk, and then homemade cappucino. Ah…

 

 

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Tomato tarts for six, with two cheddars; persimmon salad; romano beans – 15 November 2019

Our dear friends D&J are visiting for a few days. Despite D’s lactose issues, and with the aid of lactase for two of the six gathered, I made two tomato tarts for the six of us, with different cheeses to see if people had a preference. D&I usually split one between us (though sometimes I make a 4/5 tart to be reasonable) so there was about 2/3 as much per person as I’m used to. D said let’s just make a salad to go with the tarts, and I finally realized we should have a persimmon salad b/c a regular salad would demand yet more tomatoes. I also wondered about making a veggie, and D said what if I find romano beans at the Bowl, and I thought that was a great idea. I made two separate doughs b/c not sure how well I could mix a double-batch, but other than that, my cheese experiment had pretty much no variables besides the cheeses: one Tillamook med-sharp yellow cheddar, as called for in the recipe, and the other an extra-sharp white that I tasted at the Bowl. The label just says “Irish Extra-Sharp Cheddar,” $11.99 but likely this is a couple dollars off, b/c the tasties usually are.

I used a ton of Dirty Girl dry-farmed early girl tomatoes – will count and guess when I see the pics – about 2 1/2 oz of each cheese, an entire bunch of basil, and 1 1/2 of the most gigantic leeks I’ve ever seen. I weighed them out to 1 lb, which is what the recipe calls for. Everything basically doubled.ย  [OK, I counted 78 slices of the tiny Dirty Girl tomatoes, which suggests I used about 19 of them tonight.] Here is one place I wrote up the recipe.

The gathered multitudes liked the “wrong,” extra-sharp cheddar better; I preferred the Tillamook. What this says is that I don’t have to stress about what cheddar to use.

Before heading for the shower (D, friend D, and I took a long walk today, from the house, across the pedestrian bridge, and halfway back to Point Emery before turning back, heading home via Vik’s, of which more below. So I needed a shower for sure.) Anyway… before heading for the shower, I trimmed, cut up, washed, and drained the romanos. It looked like a lot in the bag, but there was no excess at all. D took over cooking those, but we both forgot as the tart finished cooking and he put them on and served the persimmon and walnut salad (with EVOO, red wine vinegar, S&P) as a first course.

We had most of a bottle of the Jakue Txakolina left from a night or two ago, and D served that with the salad. He brought up one of our few remaining CalStar San Giacomo 2012 Pinots – he must like these people. It was terrific!

The dinner was well received, and we talked about the upcoming documentary about J’s play, and the upcoming stress season at E’s work. Nice evening, I thought.

D&D went to the Bowl to find stuff, including dessert, and came back with an a Talenti black raspberry-chocolate chip gelatl (!) (which had cream in it, as it turned out, so more lactase ingestion for two guests). D broke up the rest of a sesame confection called a “round gajak,” brand “Charliee,” which also had sugars and fennel seeds. They went really well together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

B/c I had to wait for the laundry, we didn’t leave till about 11:30 for our walk. Also R turned out to have borrowed the more-than-two-people car we were planning to drive to nearer the pedestrian bridge, so as to walk all the way to the marina and Chavez Park. So we ended up changing our walk route to start – obviously – where we were, and that took us past Vik’s. Since we were leaving so late, I observed we could have lunch there on the way home, and we ended up doing that. The awkward menu photo tells me we had Dahi Patata Puri (above, and the best of the lot IMO).

D told me the other was lamb biryani (right) – oddly, the least interesting of the lot.

Friend D wanted to be sure we had Somosas – well, of course! They were excellent.

 

 

Finally, D wanted to have “The Big Puffy Thing,” which is what they actually call it on the menu, in addition to its actual name, which, the menu tells me, is “Cholle Bhature.” The Cholle is the garbanzo dish you have with the airy, delicious bread thing. You are supposed to pick up the cholle and a bit of an odd pickle using the bread, but I used a spork, and didn’t include pickle.

We had mango (D&D) and rose (moi) lassis with this. All good, but I decided I liked the mango better – it’s thicker and richer.

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Another Nicoise before time runs out, this time with Chicken – 3 October 2019

So, I haven’t written anything since early July. Should have – lots of good stuff back there. Maybe I can fill in sometime. Not sure why I’m starting now, except I’ve burnt out on reading news this morning.

Two nights ago we had one of my favorite dinners, wherein oiled bread, herbed tomatoes, lemon/oil-tossed romaine, and thin-slices of chicken breast are broiled and served together. The chicken breast slices have, after turning, lemon/parmigiano/mayonnaise/Dijon spread over them and broiled. I realized when thinking about this that we could try using the leftover chicken (from Costco mega-packs of two chickens-that-would-have-eatcn-Chicago-but-we-ate-them-instead) sliced, for a non-tuna Nicoise, with the thought that someday we might show this to our tuna-hating son. It was good, though I’m not sure using the Dijon/mayo chicken is necessary. A S&P/oil grilled thigh would probably work as well, though it would clearly be quite different – at least that part of the salad.

In the morning before work, I cleaned, cut up, and boiled up (with salt) all our remaining potatoes, some of which were sprouty, forgetting that D would need some for Sorrel Soup on Friday (to use up creme fraiche), and also stuck four eggs into the saucepan to hard-boil them. In a rush to leave, I asked D to put them away, which he did. After work, I realized that we had a small container with the leftover dressing from the last two Nicoises, and D just refreshed that with some shallot and more needed salt, and it was barely enough. Cool. We boiled the haricots ($4.19!) 2 minutes in salted water, and the rest of the stuff – radishes, Tokyo turnips, Nicoise olives, tomatoes from Dirty Girl on Tuesday, some English cucumber,ย  D cut up some scallions in random ways but small enough, and I washed and chopped the last of the basil that was half a bunch D&R split from the Tuesday market a week or more ago. (It’s that time of year for basil.)

We tried out one of our two bottles of CalStar 2014 SCSC Chardonnay that our friend R needs to sell to make room for the new vintage, so tonight I suggested that we have the 2014 Cuvee Ann that was in the fridge, while we still had the other in mind and could compare. It was an excellent idea. CA is definitely the more full-bodied of the two, and was a fine choice for the Nicoise dinner. I took out one slice of the Base Camp sesame seed bread from the freezer (D pointed out that he used one for lunch and we would be back to an even number for sandwiches) and we had that for sopping bread.

 

Lunch:

Couldn’t resist, sry. I had the grilled “BLTA” at work – basically a BLT with the addition of grilled chicken breast fillets and avocado spread. Amazing. Sinful. I need to find someone to split this with.

 

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Spaghetti with fava beans and prosciutto; zucchini with onions – 7 July 2019

We decided Friday not to plan Sunday dinner but to punt it; then I went to the Bowl and found, among other things, very nice-looking fava beans, and bought them assuming they’d come in handy at some point. We had 1 1/2 strips of prosciutto left over from two previous dinners, and D combined those with the favas to make a really good pasta coating. He started by cooking some winter savory (from the garden) in olive oil, then added the shelled, blanched, and peeled favas, and later (I gather – didn’t see) the prosciutto which I had torn up. He cooked the spaghetti and tossed it into the frying pan with the topping and served into heated bowls. D was particularly happy with the taste of the winter savory in this dish. Also there was a small plate of grated Pecorino Romano which we sprinkled over the top of the pasta. I was skeptical and tried a small bit first, but it was a perfect addition.

I quartered (crosswise) and sliced about 3/4 of a medium zucchini, of which D had used some for a salad previously. D was cutting up red onions and I asked him if that was for the pasta, and he said no for the zucchini. I prefer zucchini without onions, but he was doing most of the work so he gets his choice this time ๐Ÿ™‚

D ran to the Bowl just before dinner to get the bread he always prefers with pasta: Acme Italian Batard. He also got a bag of the cat food that we give the neighborhood ferals, so they leave our feral’s food alone. She has had to be switched from the cheap stuff to this $$$ brand due to peeing issues.

D brought up an Epicuro Salice Salentino – impressively good wine for about $5 from TJ’s – and we both thought that went well with the pasta.

We had two peaches from Tuesday that were softening without really ripening. One had a moldy spot in the morning and I cut that out, but decided to leave the two peaches for dessert and grill them. (We had some from Saturday that were ready for breakfast anyway.) I cut the peaches into perhaps 3/8″? slices, rubbed them with olive oil (too lazy to wash the brush so didn’t want to use it) and grilled on the preheated (3 minutes) range grill for 4 minutes on the first side, moving them around when one was cooking faster than the other, and then 3 minutes on the second side. They were quite a nice dessert, cooked this way.

Lunch:

KIND Madagascar Vanilla Almond bar

We got started late for our trail walk, and brought along two KIND bars, planning to have a small lunch to finish off after we got home and did our weight work. I thought the chocolate one was best, but I also liked the nutty one. The chocolate one seemed more like an indulgence, though. D thought we should have nachos to use some of the Costco avocados that are suddenly all ripe, but I suggested an avocado-and-olive salad instead, and he thought that sounded good (no pic of that, though). He washed up a pile of portulaca, which surprised me, and

KIND Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond bar

I washed up one and two halves large romaine leaves. D suggested using two avocados, which had me LOL b/c splitting one of them inundates the plate with chunks. Too bad we neglected to buy bread just before lunch b/c it would have been nice to have with the salad, and would have let us enjoy more of the loaf when it was fresh.

 

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Herb-crusted cauliflower with green beans and small tomatoes – 18 May 2019

This is a complicated recipe till you plot it out – then it’s not hard to follow. The problem is that there are several threads, which split and/or join one another. A flow chart comes in handy.

Here’s where I wrote up my version of the recipe; however, this time I removed 1/8 tsp salt from the green beans, and 1/4 tsp from the dressing, b/c we thought it was pushing the salt quite a bit last time. Note that this is HALF the salt in the original recipe, which, as written, offers an entire day’s allotment of sodium to each diner. Fortunately, the commenters gave a major warning about the salt, which I had already been horrified by just reading that quantity in the ingredients list.

For some reason, though this recipe is quite lemony, we’ve always had red wines with it. Light reds – our recent Refosco, a TJ’s Epicuro Salice Salentino, and one other I can’t recall at the moment. Tonight we followed that pattern and D pulled out a Ciro that we’d gotten at The Wine Mine. (It says “Librandi” and 2016.) Surprisingly, both of us thought it didn’t go well at all with the meal. I think we should try a bold white sometime. Happy to make this dish frequently!

Lunch:

[End of veggie news.] There was a luncheon after graduation, and I was hoping it would be like last year’s, where there were little sandwiches and small, stand-up tables, and people could mingle. I wanted to meet the graduation speaker! But alas. Possibly the unseasonable rain that put the party inside caused the changes? The tables were normal sitting-tables, so no getting to talk with a lot of people (though the alums at my table were interesting people). The food was very tasty, but the sandwiches were huge, and should have been cut in half. Saves money, too ๐Ÿ™‚ This is a chicken sandwich with I think roasted red pepper on it, and pesto. The tabbouleh was especially good, I thought. I should have looked closer at the sandwich and eschewed the potato chips, but parties are for indulgence, so I took a bunch.

 

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Red Snapper (Rock cod?) baked with lemon and stuff; refried rice; favas – 17 May 2019

This is actually a prep shot – before baking – but I thought it would make an interesting change.

LOL! We have not used the spring onions that I bought a week ago at the farm stand, with the intention of grilling them, b/c D likes to do that. So I mentioned them when we were considering dinner plans, and said why don’t we build a dinner around them, and D said yes, great. So he thought maybe fish – we can cook the fish however, and grill the spring onions. I said yo there’s leftover rice! But what about a green veggie. Brussels sprouts? No, cooked them already. Hm. Favas, then? OK, great. It’s a deal.

And then, the only thing we didn’t do is grill the spring onions. LOL!

Having bought tilapia last time, I decided to go for another simple fish we’d liked before, which is labeled rock cod and also red snapper. Whatever – it’s good ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, only $9.99 today. I bought close to a pound of it. I thought I was going to microwave or bake it in parchment, but I remembered wrong, and the baked fish we had recently was not in parchment. I ended up using the baking temperature and glass pan from that recipe, but going with D’s suggestions for flavors to add (notably b/c we don’t have any ginger, so couldn’t do the previous one again). The previous one was coated with marinade, and did not dry out while baking. The marinade was a Cuised bunch of flavors, rubbed in a bit, but this was not going to be like

The lavender brightened up after D brought it in and put it in water. No idea what stomped on half of the poor plant.

that, so I started protecting the fish by drizzling some olive oil over each of the two fillets and rubbing it in on both sides. Then I salted moderately, ground pepper over the top, and added one monster clove of garlic, very thinly sliced, and a bunch of thinly sliced red onion that I had soaked well over 5 minutes in cold water and patted dry, then a lot of chopped cilantro (to use it up) and most of a very thinly sliced pesticide-free lemon. I poured out a very scant 1/2 cup of the an old white wine that D had given up on (corked, I think this one was) and used a spoon to drip it over the fish. The toppings held in place, which was great. Then I let the fish sit on the countertop till time to cook (probably at least 1/2 hour till D finished buying and stacking the wood that R had found at Urban Ore).ย  I set the timer for 12 minutes baking time at 475, but was not satisfied with the “flakes easily with fork” criterion, and gave it another 5 minutes. It turned out to be delicious! I served out just a little more than the larger fillet, so there are great leftovers for Sunday, as planned.

And D used only half the leftover rice. He cut some red onion and cooked it I think in butter till soft, then added the rice. Easy. He also shelled all the favas today and I blanched them, starting with 6 minutes for the monster-large three (not in photo), then 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minute (joining the smallest ones that are in tow batches in the picture). I drained them into a colander and left for D to pop out of their skins. This bag of favas was about 1 lb 3.5 oz as bought, 4 oz after shelling, blanching, and popping out of their skins. That is to say, the edible part is about 1/5 of the bought part. Since they were just over $4/lb as bought, the edible part is about $20/lb. Luxury food for sure. D wants to grow them!

I spooned some of the liquid in the fish dish over the rice, served out the fish and spooned out more, and there is still a lot for the leftovers. This turned out to be a really good dinner! D suggested we have another bottle of the Haut Marin Cuvee Marine 2017 from Eric Stauffenegger, via The Wine Mine, and it was fine with the meal, though something starker might have been optimal. It’s a really nice and drinkable wine.

D went out and broke off one row of Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate with almonds, so that’s what we split for dessert.

Lunch:

This is really good – I’ve discovered that the avocado stands out more if you do not add salsa to the nachos. I decided to take a different picture of the nachos this time – while they were still in pieces ๐Ÿ™‚ We used chips ‘Home Made’ brand chips this time, since they’re still on sale at the Bowl; Cheese Board “Cheap Jack” (Monterey Jack they keep very low priced); the last of the jar of Mezzetta jalapeno slices, cut up; avocado chunks; and La Victoria mild green taco sauce over the top. Delicious!

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Avgolemono; collards – 15 May 2019

The soup is topped with chopped parsley, and freshly grated nutmeg and Parmigiano.

The return of winter weather – another “atmospheric river” is upon us, and it’s grey and rainy – so I said maybe we should have soup. I also wanted to make my boudin blanc pasta, and suggested I could get extra of the two mushrooms and D could use them in Avgolemono. No, he said, those mushrooms would be wrong – but he was interested in making the soup, so I bought some nice white mushrooms in addition to the special ones.

 

We pretty much had everything else.D used Patricia Wells’ recipe from At Home in Provence, as usual, but the stock this time was Kirkland, which he doesn’t usually use, and also he used 2 cups water to fill out the extra half quart stock in the recipe. The taste was really different – both the thinness and the otherness of the stock could account for this. I wrote up the recipe here.

This is a pretty vitamin-free soup, so I proposed to make up the last two collard leaves. D didn’t want to think about veggies, so I said don’t think about it, I’ll do it. I also cleaned five largish mushrooms, and later separated three eggs while he was working on other aspects of the soup. I stemmed and washed up the collard leaves, cut them in half crosswise to make a thicker bunch when I inverted half so as to line up the cut sides, then rolled tightly and cut crosswise into something like 1/4″ (should be 1/8″ but I’m not that good) slices. I cooked these in hot butter till wilted, then turned down the heat to low and covered the pan to let them steam. I ended up adding a tiny drop or two of water to be sure they didn’t burn on the bottom while the soup finished.

I bought the last loaf at the Bowl of Acme Italian, and when I cut into it, there was a humongous hole! This was at lunch, and the holey part clearly would not make a good sandwich, so I cut away that 1 1/2″ – 2″ chunk from the middle of the loaf, and we each had about half of it for dinner.

 

D chose unsurprisingly, a wine from Wine Mine – unsurprising b/c they were still upstairs and it meant he didn’t have to go into the cellar. But it was not a random choice – a good white, which we had noted went very well with Boucherin from the Bowl awhile back. 2017 Chateau Haut Sarthes, a “white Montravel wine” for $14. It’s 50% sauvignon, 40% semillon, and 10% muscadelle, so says the back label.

Enjoyed it.

Lunch:

We decided to have cold cheese sandwiches so as to use up the last of the leftover tomato, from hamburger night. The tomato provides color and moisture at this time of year – pretty much no tomato taste. So, I bought the last Acme Italian at the Bowl, and cut into it and found this massive hole, per the above. At the end of that portion, however, was some perfectly good sandwichable bread, so we had our sandwiches. The cheese was a raw goat cheddar from the Bowl. Also had lettuce, mayonnaise, and tomato on mine, that and mustard on D’s. Good stuff. I also cooked up all the rest of the Brussels sprouts that were in the fridge, in the usual way: 4 minutes boil in salted water, drain well, toss back in heat-dried pan with butter in it. Salt if needed, and pepper. D had the semi-domesticated feral on his lap, so I delivered lunch to him in the living room, and then decided I might as well join him, so used a handy chair as my side table.

 

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Lori’s Pizza at Drake’s Dealership before Apollo 11 – 14 May 2019

Wonderful new place for pizza!

I wanted to see Apollo 11 on the big screen, and it was showing exactly one place, for one night, in this area (New Parkway Cinema – good place!). D is steadfastly uninterested in anything space-related, but suggested we have dinner in the area, then I could go to the movie and drive home and he would (leave me the car and) take the bus, given it would be light. The neighborhood does not feel like the safest place in the world. Anyway, he looked at Drake’s Dealership (named for a previous business) and it was a terrific place. We ate outside in an interior courtyard, which was plenty warm enough due to massive heaters above our heads (uneasy about the energy waste here, as I always am with these heaters heating the sky). It was busy but not full at 6:15pm. We both thought the Lori’s pizza sounded interesting, and it was really delicious. It seemed to have a very light underlayment of tomato sauce (marinara?), also some mozzarella, under Black Mission Figs, goat cheese, and castelvetrano olives. An unexpected combination that totally worked.

We had their own beers – D a “Drakonic” Imperial Stout and me the Robust Porter. They were both really good – mine more bitter, but also I thought somewhat more interesting. Next time I should try one of their flights.

 

Lunch:

For lunch we had sandwiches. We had already decided on having dinner out, so instead of buying a loaf of bread that would languish after lunchtime, I bought one Semifreddi ciabatta roll and we had sandwiches on that. Raw milk goat cheddar which the Bowl was tasting recently, a bit of lettuce from the Farm Stand (which I forgot till after the photo), too thin a slice of the leftover (from hamburgers) tomato to taste, though salted and peppered, mayonnaise, and some mustard on D’s side. It was good, but wanted more moisture, i.e. more tomato, even though it had little taste. I also cleaned up and spit the largest of the four carrots in the bunch I got Thursday at the farm stand. These are pretty good and sweet, though not the best I’ve ever had.

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Leftover grilled chicken thigh over rice, with spicy slaw from lunch at El Tazumal #2 – 12 May 2019

After a most excellent walk at Point Pinole, we drove back a ways to have lunch at El Tazumal 2 in Richmond, which we’d found back last June, and really loved. We had a big lunch – see below – and sorted out how to have a small dinner, while using up the last of the grilled chicken thighs from the 8th.

 

D suggested [what I thought was] to cook rice and mix it with the chicken and re-cook in oil a bit, but he just meant serve the reheated chicken over the rice. Which worked out fine. He wanted to have brown rice, but I wanted a lighter variety, b/c, per his suggestion, we were going to have the spicy cabbage-based salad that was our only leftover from lunch, and I decided I wanted to scatter mine over the top of the chicken and rice, to contrast the soft/crunchy textures, and the hot/cold temperatures. It worked pretty well, in fact, though the match of flavors was not made in heaven or anything.

D put an Eric Stauffenegger import into the fridge that we’d gotten Saturday at The Wine Mine – an old favorite, Haut-Marin (Cotes du Gascogne; Cuvee Marine 2017), and that made a nice complement to the tiny meal. D hoped we could have a pear with the last glass of wine, but the teeny Bartletts I bought the other day aren’t quite ready, and besides, today we have the last of the pre-Mother’s Day “Oreos” from R that we had planned on. And they really survived very well in their tightly-closed (and highly reflective…) cookie box – a lovely end to a most excellent day.

Lunch:

Ack! El Tazumal does not have a menu online! Well, I know I chose a chile relleno con queso (could alternatively have had pork or other meats inside). A refreshing and tasty salad, a little molded rice thing with some pretty veggies in it, and a pour of their delicious beans completed the lunch. The chile is hidden in the liquidy vegetable sauce there – I’ve never seen it done this way, and the flavor war different from what I expected, but this may be a Salvadoran variant. Anyway, it was very good. I especially loved eating the beans and rice together.

D and I switched plates partway through. His was a pupusa with cheese and beans, the above-mentioned spicy slaw* alongside to put over the top (not yet added in the photo, I see), the insides of a tamale evidently with potatoes, a fried plantain, and pools of sour cream and beans. All wonderful! The best, though, was the Salvadoran horchata, which is made from rice and other interesting stuff. It’s sweet and scrumptious. It served as dessert, b/c I had some left over by then (hard not to drink it all at once!) Just noticing this was a vegetarian lunch. Not surprising, really, as we eat veggie by accident all the time, just having what we love.

* “thekitchn” has this to say: Curtido, the accompanying slaw, is a combination of cabbage, carrots, and onions in a vinegary, spicy brine. Traditional curtido is fermented…”

 

 

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Tilapia baked in a cilantro/ginger/soy/sesame sauce; chard – 9 May 2019

No bones in tilapia fillets! I do love that.

R&E left us almost an entire bunch of cilantro, which I originally thought was parsley. Of which we also had most of a bunch, in washed bouquets on the island. So we planned how to use up parsley (gremolata with fish!) and then I discovered that the new half the parsley was cilantro. Since, as D pointed out, cilantro is more fragile than parsley, we decided to use that up first. My usual idea, of course, is to make a pizza, but D stuck with the fish – “it would be good with fish” – so I looked up recipes. The one I used was from thekitchn.com, and I would definitely alter it a bit, but it was very tasty and fundamentally very easy. It’s not a “quick meal,” in the sense that we would have to shop for at least three of the ingredients on most occasions – obviously you would buy the fish “day of,” and also we don’t keep fresh ginger, and rarely have cilantro, around (b/c it dies quickly). But it’s good and we might well make it again. Two other recipes I dug up are very different baked fish in cilantro sauce:ย  one a sort of Mexican style, and the other with lemon/garlic/ginger: Both seem as though they would be worth a try. D liked the sound of this one when I gave him a quick oral recitation, so we went with it, and I did the shopping while he took out all of the trash/recycling/compost for collection tomorrow – quite a project this time.

So, the idea here is to mix chopped cilantro, garlic, grated ginger (use the regular grater – the planer made ginger juice), etc., in a small food processor. Ok, but the mix included three liquids, making it very juicy, and it splashed all over when I tried to mix it in my little inverted Cuisinart. I also have a mini-Cuisinart that looks like a regular one, so I transferred what was left (most of it) to that one, and it still tried to escape out the top. So my revision is: Cuise the dry stuff and the sesame oil to a paste, remove or leave, but then mix in the white wine and soy sauce by hand! I decided not to add the optional jalapeno to the sauce this time, b/c I thought it would overshadow the fish. I really liked it quite well this way, though I enjoy hotness in food. One minor thing: The fresh cilantro garnish was a totally different green from the rest of the meal, and I don’t think it added anything to the taste, so I would not bother with it next time. TheKitchn said this was not a pretty recipe, but I think it looks fine – probably better – without the garnish. The photos on the recipe site show colors that are not in the recipe!

Veggies from the farm stand today. $2 each, except $5 for each bag of favas (1lb 3+oz each). We had the rainbow chard for dinner.

I let the fish cook 12 minutes, which was longer than the described (8-10), despite the fact that the small oven usually cooks things faster, not slower, than expected. I was not satified with the “flakes easily with fork” criterion at 10 minutes. Whatever – it worked. D started some brown rice early on and we let that sit and steam till the fish was done. It was short-grain, which I prefer. While the fish cooked, I also sauteed the (already stemmed, washed, cut, rewashed, spun, air-dried a bit) chard that I bought today at the farm stand when I went to M for a retirement party. Got such beautiful veggies there!! (See above – the picture fit better there ๐Ÿ™‚ )

We had a sorta-tester wine that we got Tuesday at TJ’s – Picton Bay, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for $6.99, which is awfully good. It was fruitier than D expected (he suggested it) but I thought it was fine. We should try this one with Asian food, I think.

Forgot to take another picture of my pre-Mother’s Day cookie, but we did each have one ๐Ÿ™‚ They are delicious!

Lunch:

I had a hamburger and curly fries (the latter of which my friend K helped me eat – thank you) as I usually do, and they were delicious, as they usually are ๐Ÿ™‚ But I forgot to take a picture. Also had a slice of a very nice cake with fruit chunks in the icing, after formal remarks at the retirement reception.

 

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Bread, cheese and veggies before the symphony – 2 May 2019

We still had the half-round of Couronne de Fontenay that we didn’t eat on our long hike on the 28th, and I noted that it would make a good quick dinner for before the symphony. We also still had a chunk of the Cambozola from Costco. D took out the cheeses at lunchtime, and I arranged them on a plate free from their plastic, so they would not be messy once warmed to eating temperature. The Couronne had melted into a much smaller-looking lump during the day-long hike, but turned out still to be excellent eating. We ate it all up, and had only a bit of the Cambozola this time, rather than leaving some of each of the two cheeses. D did the small bit of shopping after lunch, and bought a Semifreddi seeded baguette to go with the cheeses.

By the time I came down at 6 after deciding what to wear and setting it all out for a quick change, D had produced a pretty little arrangement of cold veggies – cauliflower, mushrooms, carrot, and celery – as well as little bowls of quartered strawberries, to go with the bread and cheese.

There was still a bottle of the Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio (2016) in the fridge from the time when I brought it and a CalStar Chard up for the “white omelette” on the 29th, and D chose the CalStar for that dinner. The Tiefenbrunner was really perfect with this meal.

Lunch:

I suggested we either get a Rustic baguette from the Bowl for lunch sandwiches and have the rest for dinner, or take what was about the last of the sliced bread from the freezer and make a sandwich, and then get a regular baguette for dinner. Then I noticed it was already 1:20 – we were just getting back from our bike ride into town for mail and show tickets – and I decided we should use the frozen bread and forget about shopping till after lunch. I made one big sandwich from the two thin slices of [defrosted] Acme Upstairs Bread, with Berkeley Bowl seedy mustard, mayonnaise, thin-sliced yellow onion, and more of the Prairie Breeze cheddar (Iowan) from Cheese Board. D cooked up a batch of the Brussels Sprouts that I bought from the discount room at the Bowl last week but we only started using yesterday, for some reason. It was, of course, a really delicious lunch.

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Dinner at Zuni – 1 May 2019

D suggested dinner at Zuni, to follow a late-afternoon visit to the de Young to see the Gaugin exhibit (and incidentally the Ordinary Objects… exhibit while there). We took BART and bus to the museum, and new (to us) bus back along Haight Street to the restaurant, and after a four-block walk, BART back home. At Zuni, we ended up having dinner alongside two civil rights lawyers and had a really interesting conversation with them – very fortunate seating.

D wanted to order the pork chop.

I was not sure about the halibut with clams (b/c I expected shells, which I resent) and was eyeing the gnocchi instead, but it was not clear it was a whole dinner. (The photo is my half – the staff split the serving for us!)

D suggested we get those two and one other thing – which turned out to be a swordfish confit – and split them all, and that’s what we did. The pork chop was merely very good – the sauce excellent – but the two introductory dishes were just about perfect.

D asked about a few of the white wines (after choosing pork and ricotta gnocchi with lemon zest we intentionally chose a white-friendly first course); the waiter described those choices, and they agreed on this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had their gratis plate of Acme Pain au Levain – the restaurant version – served with unsalted butter at perfect spreading temperature, and accepted a second when offered (we would have asked for it, but they beat us to it). You pay for service here, I think – it’s excellent.

Amazingly, we had room for dessert. This is unusual at restaurants.

D wanted to try the rhubarb upsidedown cake, so I looked for something else, and came up with the pavlova (I had to look it up) with blueberry compote. That was lovely, but the rhubarb cake was outstanding. Unfortunately, the photo I grabbed was fuzzy so I’m reproducing it very small.

 

Breakfast:

Well, just coffee. We didn’t make it down to Caffe Trieste – now Chiave – to buy coffee beans on Tuesday, so just went there for coffee (and beans) in the morning after breakfast. I thought D’s hat made the capuccini most picturesque.

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Spaghetti alla puttanesca – 30 April 2019

D had in mind to make a Pasta all’Amatriciana, which he read about in the special (come-on?) edition of the new Milk Street magazine from Christopher Kimball. But we don’t have the meat for it, and we did have an open half-plus-can of diced tomatoes, so he decided to make puttanesca instead. We pretty much always have the ingredients for that. Here is the recipe for two, pretty much from 100 Best Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed.

I defrosted a rustic baguette piece that has been in the freezer since I managed not to make it into a sandwich when D was away a few months ago, and an end of a Levain, b/c why not. D brought up a Ciro (Wine Mine, $12) which was a fine choice with this meal.

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

We had an avocado ready to eat (could have been better a day or two ago, in fact) so I suggested maybe nachos? D pointed out we had a really nice cheddar from Cheese Board – Prairie Breeze (Iowa) – so we used that, but IMO it was not optimal for nachos. Had the avo, chopped Mezzetta hot sliced (jarred) jalapenos, and some La Victoria green sauce. Pretty good, not great, altogether. But D also cut up some strawberries from lunch (Albion, from Kuni Bea Farms) and that certainly rounded off lunch nicely – also a great color addition to the picture ๐Ÿ™‚

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Orange roughy poached in parchment; pilaf; long choi – 25 April 2019

We’ve had a bottle of Mea Culpa in the fridge for some time b/c D brought it up on spec, but I really wanted to come up with a good meal for it. I thought a simple white fish would be good, and that turned out to be a most excellent call.

I bought 0.43lb orange roughy – which we knew we liked from previous experience – at the Bowl. I wanted something like 0.5 lb, and the filet looked like plenty, but it really did shrink during cooking. It was enough, but up to 3/4 lb wouldn’t hurt, for the two of us. I put the filet onto the parchment (in our smallest Pyrex baking dish) sprinkled it with a scant “dash” (1/8 tsp) of salt, and several grinds of pepper, topped with very thin lemon slices (thinness not consistent – thick places were not optimal). At D’s suggestion, I scattered paprika over the top. Then finally, when ready to cook, I added a scant Tbsp of lemon juice, and a Tbsp of vermouth (dry). I curled down the parchment above the long axis of the fish, and then curled down the ends under the fish, and microwaved on high for 8 minutes, and left to steam itself for another 3. It turned out great! This cooking time would probably work fine for a larger portion of fish, as a guess.

D made a pilaf. He cooked some onion in olive oil, then added Thai jasmine rice and cooked a bit, then added water, plus some veggie bouillon from a tube he bought awhile back. As an afterthought, he sliced up some mushrooms that were in the fridge and cooked them separately, then added late to the rice. It was an excellent dish!

D chopped up the last of the Long Choi I got at the Bowl and separated stems from leaves. He was busy with the pilaf, so I cooked the stems for many minutes in olive oil, with a dash of salt and some pepper, and then added the leaves, cooked till they were wilted, covered and left on its lowest setting for awhile, then finally covered and let cook in the residual heat in the cast iron pan (the middle one – 8″).

The wine was great with the fish! Of rather, the fish was great with the wine, since “something to go well with the wine” was our objective. Mea Culpa is a wine we got a long time ago at The Wine Mine. It’s Slovenian – crisp, delicious white. The labe lsays KOGL 1542, and who a I to argue with that? ๐Ÿ™‚ There is no indication as to what grapes were used in making the wine – it says just “dry white wine.” But good ๐Ÿ™‚

Lunch:

We had the other half or so of last night’s “Amazing Sorrel Soup,” (Patricia Wells) cold, and I think I actually liked it better that way. This soup (as most, I suppose) depends critically on the flavor of the stock used. D took out the last of the fava beans he had blanched, popped them out of their skins, and served them with the rest of the feta in the fridge, some salt, pepper, and olive oil. I defrosted one slice of Acme Pain au Levain, and D got out some Carr’s Water Crackers (I thought the pepper ones went better with the cheese than the sesame ones), and the last of the first half of the Costco Cambozola cheese. Great lunch!

 

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Rainbow of stuffed peppers – 18 April 2019

Last Saturday’s WFD was stuffed peppers, and they use leftover rice, of which we had a bunch. So, why not? But I didn’t use the presented recipe b/c I would have had to buy pork as well as defrosting and then using only half of a Costco aliquot of hamburger. So I tooled about online a bit, and found a nice-looking, simple recipe, and let it lead me into what to do, though I didn’t follow it completely.

I bought four peppers, so as to see whether they worked very differently: red, green, yellow, and orange. They were smaller than average (carefully chosen for size, as well as stand-up-ability – which turned out not to matter) but not itty or anything. For the record, I didn’t find them strikingly different from each other, but D definitely liked the yellow pepper the best. I cut off the centers of the tops, such that the sides came up and then turned inward just a bit.I used a knife (carefully!), a spoon, and tongs to remove the seeds and (more challengingly) the ribs from the peppers.

I defrosted 1/2 lb of hamburger and browned it in a splash of olive oil, salting with 1/2 tsp salt at the beginning. I added onions – the rest of the half-onion I cut up last night and didn’t use (it must have been 1/3 to 1/2 cup) – and continued to cook till the onions were soft, at some point adding in the cut up bits of the tops of the four peppers. I opened a can of Costco diced tomatoes, and an oldie (but, so far, goodie) can of Costco corn. I semi-drained the tomatoes with a spoon, and put 1/2 cup of them into the pan. I put 1/4 cup of corn into the pan. I measured out 1 cup of the rice (by halves – but it was clear 1/2 cup wasn’t enough – good thing – there’s a lot of rice!) and added it. I thought that looked like quite a bit, and that I’d use less than half of it, but the peppers are larger than they look – alsmot all this stuffing went into them! I forgot to add some grated Monterey Jack, which would have helped hold the stuffing together, but for flavor it was not needed. Maybe 1/2 cup next time, if we do this again? The issue was splitting the peppers in half so each of us could sample all four colors. The filling had no integrity, so kinda tended to spill. But it really did taste good. This is a fine way to use up rice! Tomorrow’s dinner will use the rest: Baked Garden Vegetables from California Fresh. [Added 26 April: I see we had a new Acme Pain au Levain.]

D asked what wine would go, and I said a good, basic red. He certainly found one – Epicuro Salice Salentino (2016) from Trader Joe’s, which sells for an incredibly low price. Good wine. During dinner, D allowed as how one might try a white with this dinner due to the sweetness of the peppers, but I am not convinced. But what the heck, why not try it? D asked how our resident WFD vegetarian used to stuff her peppers, and I said lentils, and that got him thinking of other stuffings, so perhaps we will have more of these. It was really quite an easy dinner. One thing I would change would be to have the peppers themselves cook better, and I saw an idea about this on foodiecrush, the third link below. She salted the insides of the peppers and microwaved 5 minutes to pre-soften them, then cut the oven time to 15020 minutes. I’d also like to try them cooked in more of a sauce outside, as well as the stuffing inside.

Didn’t try this one but sounds good, and has different cooking ideas.

This one, also untried, has sauce under and around the peppers – more like a casserole, it seems. Says 945 of stuffed peppers are made b/c there is leftover rice around ๐Ÿ™‚

This seems like something I should do, b/c the peppers, especially the bottoms, which were snugged up inside the baking dish, were not cooked as much as I’d like. From this foodiecrush link: “I pre-cook my peppers with a simple sprinkle of kosher salt to the interior of the peppers and then a 5 minute blast in the microwave pre-cooks these peppers and cuts your baking time in half.”

And here’s the simple, homey recipe I semi-followed (ingredients, not measurements) for this particular dinner.

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Truffled egg toasts and grilled asparagus – 12 April 2019

Our favorite restaurant in NYC – ‘ino – closed, but had a note on their website saying, in part, ‘Thank you for trying our truffled egg toasts.” We just loved that place onceย  student of mine directed us to it. We kept having food at other places that we liked less, and just decided to go back there instead of any place else. We also bought their cookbooks, and this recipe is in Simple Italian Sandwiches, though it is not remotely a sandwich. I just followed the recipe, per the following.

D bought a loaf of Pain de Mie at Acme on his way to someplace – oh right, to sell his bass amp, which he ended up trading instead for a smaller one – and I cut two 1″ thick slices from the tallest part, removed the crusts, and toasted in the toaster oven till lightly done. The Pain de Mie is “plain” like Wonder Bread, but much denser – fine-grained. It’s the perfect bread for this meal. After toasting, I cut through the crusted part on top to create a 2″ (supposedly – whatever I could get) square in the cnter, without cutting too deeply, and then pounded down the cutout part with the heel end of the knife. I laid thin slices of Fontina Valle d’Aosta over the unpounded parts. I separated four eggs, first dumping each white into a small Pyrex bowl and putting the yolk into the center, cut-out part of the bread. Once each egg was successfully separated, I put the yolk into a refrigerator container. Two yolks go into each toast. Then I put the breads on a pan back in the toaster oven (lowest rack setting) and set on “toast” again, and cooked till the cheese melted, and started to bubble just a bit. I removed, stirred the yolks a bit with a sharp knife, salted and peppered the toasts, and sprinkled truffle oil “generously” over the top – for my little bottle, this meand seven shakes for each toast, and that worked quite well. Serve!

Meanwhile, I cooked the asparagus spears (trimmed, washed and let to dry on a towel for at least 1/2 hour) in our panini press for 6 minutes (2 mins at a time, checking). This was too long, as they were no longer at all crunchy, but they were still good. D did the cutting up. That’s it – I scattered the asparagus around the toast and served. The original recipe suggests one asparagus per serving – I think this was as much about presentation as about eating – but when we were thinking “well, we could have the rest of the asparagus as a vegetable” we decided just to make it all up per the recipe. I thought it was quite a good amount, in fact – four fattish stalks per serving, this was. D also decided we needed olives, and created his own marinade for them. He put in some anchovy, red pepper flakes, a tiny bit of minced asparagus(!), lemon juice, and olive oil. They were really good!

D suggested we try the Herri Mina Irouleguy (2015) with this, and I said sure, wow, maybe it will work well – and it did! It was a fine combination. This is such a fascinating wine!

When buying the Pain de Mie at Acme, D also picked up a little pastry with raspberry and chocolate in it, and we had that for dessert. Lovely!

 

Lunch:

We had the last of the sorrel soup, with fresh sorrel julienne and finely chopped chives over the top. We finished off the sour cream yesterday so no more of that, but in truth, we rarely have sour cream with this soup. It’s a real winner of a recipe (from Georgeanne Brennan’s Potager).

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Chicken-basil sausage; Thai jasmine rice; prenatal bok choy – 11 April 2019

We wanted to finish up our taxes, so D suggested an easy dinner – just cook up two of the sausages E&I bought at Costco (despite the “Paleo” brand, which was obviously unrelated to the food) and have some rice and veggie. I pointed out that the sausages came fully cooked, a plus. They said they just needed 2 minutes on the grill, which was nutso. I would have liked them cooked a lot longer. I started a cup of Thai jasmine rice (with 1/2 tsp salt in 2 cups water) as soon as I got out of the shower.

I had found these bok choy – way smaller than “baby” bok choy usually is, so I have referred to them as pre-natal for fun – at the Bowl a few days ago. They were still in perfect shape. Since the leaves were so small, I decided just to break the off and leave them whole. I washed them early, and spun them, and left them to dry, then cooked in a

Those teensy ones – how could I resist? The 8 plants totaled 0.37 lb, according to the charge slip.

bit of olive oil and butter (salted) till well-wilted, and finally put in some water so they could steam a bit to doneness. It’s amazing how much greens cook down – I used the 12″ Revere frying pan to cook these (could have managed with the 10″ to be sure, but…) and they just made two normal-looking servings.

 

D decided on a Costco Rioja, which I’d bought again on my recent trip b/c he’d liked it previously, and been impressed by the price ($6.99!). It was a fine choice for this meal.

 

Lunch:

We had half of the remaining quart of sorrel/potato/leek soup. I cut too many (three) large leaves of sorrel for the fresh julienne on top, and a pile of chives for same. We finished off the sour cream, which had been one of the arguments for having this soup now, though the other – that the sorrel was abundant and huge – was the more compelling! I suggested we add a bit of Cambozola from Costco, and some crackers (Carr’s Original Water Table Crackers were open, and excellent with the cheese), and that was a lovely lunch. That much cheese actually took 6 crackers, not four ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Refried boiled potatoes with melted cheese on a weird food day – 10 April 2019

Well, for dinner… see above (and that’s a tiny plate – about 5″). But that is a small part of the day. Leaving the lecture on campus later than I expected (7:12, by the clock) I was going to text D that I was on my way, but I ran across a couple of interesting students and we had a chat for at least another 15 minutes. So I finally said I was on my way home but not very hungry (see below) and D said he was making himself a little something. When I got home (there was even a traffic jam to get off campus) he was eating and there was some for me. I had boiled up – I think just yesterday? – the remaining 2/3 or so of the monster russet potato I had used part of for the potatoes and poblanos, and left it in the fridge, and he pulled that out, cut the potato chunks into smaller slices, and cooked them in canola oil, salting them even more (I think he didn’t taste first). He put a little bit of cheddar over them and let it melt. He had also poured me half of the bottle of beer he’d opened – a tester I’d bought at Costco when E chose it for them – an IPA called “Hopacolypse,” from Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro. I was not crazy about it, but it was fine.

So, I was not hungry because:

At 4:30 there was a reception for the speaker. I didn’t eat a lot, b/c I was already not hungry, but I did try the adorable biology-themed tidbits and had a glass of some white wine or other. We tried to decipher the caterer’s oddments.

The strawberry-based one with brie, a grape, orange zest (a bit dried out) and two chives we decided were snails. The molecular people took the one with pear wings over a bed of blended [sweet] gorgonzola, with grape head, to be a Drosophila, while the immunologist determined it to be a bunny. I think she was actually right (as much from the carefully clipped pear “ears” as from the unlikelihood that the caterer would have thought of fruit flies). Also tried, at my friend’s behest, a tiny bit of the Bellwether goat cheese, which was, indeed, very good. The edges were well ripened.

Lunch:

[End of the veggie portion, obviously…] I was alreadyย  not hungry at the reception because of lunch, and leftover cookies. I got my usual griddle-cooked hamburger with lettuce, tomatoes, pepper jack, and chipotle aioli (and ketchup) with curly fries. The fries had been sitting under a lamp, and were not very good, but I ate the anyway, which was dumb. Ketchup improved them. There was a plate of leftover cookies in the kitchen, and I had half a slightly-underdone chocolate chip one, and then took a sugar cookie too (but no pictures of that).

 

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Spaghetti with filet beans and tapenade – 8 April 2019

We are celebrating the return of Gaeta olives to Berkeley Bowl with tapenade recipes. D originally found this in the Chez Panisse book Pasta, Pizza, and Calzone, and he makes it a lot. The tapenade is Gaeta olives, anchovies, garlic, cognac (brandy this time) and olive oil, pounded to rough consistency with mortar and pestle.

He puts the beans into what is actually a deep frying cage and boils them one minute in the salted pasta water, then lifts out the cage before adding the pasta. I dipped out some of the pasta water just before serving time to heat the plates, and got the lemon/water together, but was otherwise useless. D even opened the wine, which he pulled up from the cellar: Domaine d’Abas Minervois, from Chateau St. Jacques d’Albas. This is a favorite we were pointed to by our fellow earthy-wine lovers at The Wine Mine a couple years ago. D did the shopping this morning, and bought his favorite bread, Acme Italian, for lunch and dinner.

 

I suggested we have tangerines (Sumo mandarins, actually) for dessert, and then decided to add Girl Scout shortbread trefoils to that, but I didn’t take a picture this time.

 

Lunch:

D wanted to use the new bread for sandwiches, and wanted his with muenster just like the previous one. For me: meunster (from Country Cheese on Sunday) and mayonnaise; for him, add mustard and some thin=sliced red onion. I cooked these in butter, while he dug up old and new picholine olives (Cheese Board old – one of mine had gotten moldy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ – and Bowl new – too acidic for me, but D liked them). He found the last Persian cucumber was getting slimy on the outside so he peeled it with a carrot peeler and that completed the lunch, except that we each had a tangerines for dessert.

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Defrosted Seven Bean Soup with sour cream – 7 April 2019

Not sure why D didn’t want to cook either his tapenade and filet bean pasta, or his herb omelette with raclette tonight (both of which we have planned on having at an unspecified date), but he suggested instead we just eat the Seven Bean Soup that I had moved a couple days ago from freezer to fridge – about 3 cups of it. We were walking down the hill at the time, after almost two hours of walking – unusually, in the late afternoon instead of morning this time – so perhaps he was just tired. He spent the morning finalizing his Dad’s income tax – that will wear anyone out. So anyway, majorly hard dinner – take out container, pour soup into pan and heat; take out sour cream container and put on table; fill glasses with water and lemon wedges; open the wine; defrost a slice of bread.

D suggested we try the Costco (Kirkland) Old Vines Zinfandel (2016) but he ended up not liking it much. I thought it was fine, but not anything special – on the round and full side, not the sparser, food-friendly side. Not that you’d expect anything special for $9.99, but the Rioja for $6.99 was remarkably good, so that’s why I tried this one. Can’t win them all.

I got out two Girl Scout Thin Mints for dessert, but when both of us wanted more dessert, D went over and got out two shortbread trefoil cookies for each of us. I thought they were all gone, so it was especially nice to have them.

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

D got lunch ready while I took a couple things off the line that were dry already. He used the last of the Home Made tortilla chips and some of the new Kirkland tortilla “strips” made by Mission, grated Jack from yesterday’s Cheese Board visit over them, and then set out for me a jar of Mezetta jalapeno rings and half an avocado, cut into pieces, though still in its shell. So I broiled my nachos briefly, added jalapenos and the avocado, and ate. It was quite delicious! I found the last couple of times I could taste the avo better, and I’m beginning to think that the salsa we usually have on nachos kind of damps the flavor of the avos.

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