Ravioli with fresh tomato sauce – last of the season :( ; Romano beans – 1 November (!) 2017

We decided to have another ravioli dinner to use up (almost) the rest of the ricotta I bought a few days ago, and I also wanted to make some of M’s soup  – first steps only – and freeze to cook up in winter when there are no good fresh tomatoes. I planned to go to the Tuesday market yesterday, but was so busy I forgot, so may well have missed the last of the Dirty Girl dry farmed early girls. Alas. But they could still go on all month. We’ll find out. But the Bowl has had Ella Bella dry farmer early girls, and they have been excellent… but… no more! I went there today particularly to buy them for dinner and soup futures. But wait! In the organic section, they have been selling Tomatero dry-farmed early girls and they were still there. So I bought a huge mound of them. I had D pick out how many tomatoes he needed for tonight’s sauce (perhaps a third? a quarter?), and I made the rest into pre-soup. I offered to do the food-milling on his while he ran off to work, since I was food-milling my set anyway – and with the same (finest) strainer in the mill. D cross-cut the flower-ends of his tomatoes and set them in boiling water till their skins burst, then when they cooled, skinned them and left them for me. I milled them into the medium cast-iron frying pan, where he cooked the juice down a bit and added salt and pepper. Meanwhile I stemmed my tomatoes and cut off any soft spots I was worried about (few), and set in batches into

The milling was a lot easier when the tomatoes were cuised first.

boiling water (same pan/water as D used) for one minute, then tossed into the Cuisinart and cuised till liquidy. When the next batch of tomatoes was done boiling their skins loose, I poured the cuised batch over the food mill, keeping back any large lumps that had not gotten thoroughly liquified. I did 4 or 5 batches of tomatoes this way – all the ones in the picture. Sometimes the timing didn’t work just right and the next batch spent too long (more than 1.0 minute) in the boiling water – sorry, M – but not too much longer, anyway. Milling the cuised tomatoes was MUCH easier than milling the whole, skinned ones. I suspect cuising them frees up a larger proportion of the no-skin parts of the toms than going straight to milling, but it’s probably not that big a difference. What’s harder, milling uncuised tomatoes, or washing up the Cuisinart? I’ll go for the washup, but D generally prefers to avoid that.

D added salt and pepper and maybe “3 cuchiao” olive oil to the tomato sauce and cooked it down just a bit.

So, where are we…? Ah, we need ravioli! I’ve done this a couple times lately, and am coming around to a recipe. Today I used 1/2 cup of ricotta from the Bowl (Bellwether Farms Basket Ricotta: hand-dipped, whole milk [There is a sheep version we should try, too!]) – almost all that remained from the container I bought for the previous ricotta – and added 1/8 tsp salt and a random amount of freshly grated nutmeg, which D wanted us to try. We didn’t particularly notice the flavor, but I expect we would have if given a side-by-side, with/without taste test. I used 2/3 of a Bertolli recipe of pasta dough (scant cup flour, 1 large egg, minimalist water) and made 16 ravs – two sheets of four ravs each, two of three ravs each (determined by the length the sheet reached) and two triangular ravs made from the ends of the four sheets. Last time I used more cheese, but I think this would be a good recipe to go with. One could be more circumspect and, if the sheets were longer, get 4 ravs from each sheet, as I did last time. So…. 1/2 cup filling = 8 Tbsp or 24 tsp, right? I must be using 1 1/3 tsp per rav, which I needn’t. So I’m sure that 1/2 cup filling is a reasonable volume for the filling. I added a slightly generous 1/8 tsp (dash) of salt to this cheese (and random nutmeg) but could have added more.

D prepared some Romano beans and boiled them briefly – 3 or 4 minutes – and served with salt and pepper. We selected a bottle of 2008 Chateau Citran (Haut-Medoc) from the cellar, and I bought a Semifreddi Ciabatta (judging from the photo – writing the 16th, starting with this paragraph) at the Bowl.

Later, we had these excellent, super-large green grapes for dessert.





Still writing on the 16th, oops… We used up two (I think) of the tomatoes in a large salad with romaine, some arugula from the Bowl, and some of the tall, thin bitter lettucey things from the garden (D says the nursery called them Italian chicory). We had the leftover panzanella-senza-pomodoro – and with purslane/portulaca – from last night, the start of the Ciabatta, and a bit of cheese – I’m guessing from a closeup look that it was a wedge of manchego but can’t tell for sure.

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Fresh tomato soup; cole slaw; chicken sandwich – 22 October 2017

We’re still in the process of making sure we make all our tomato recipes before the season ends. I realized 1) we hadn’t made “M’s” tomato soup yet, and also the Dirty Girl Produce tomatoes were threatening to go soft on us, so I decided to make the soup for dinner. I used 11 of the 12 remaining tomatoes (small ones – they are the best ones) in the soup, and reserved one to put on the sandwiches. The soup recipe is here, with a later note that about 1/8 tsp salt is a good bet for about this many tomatoes. It made two small-to- moderate bowlfuls. It’s an astonishingly delicious soup. Thinking of making another batch and freezing after the “cook down” step, to hold until the cold weather, when it will be even more of a treat!

I used up the last of the chicken from the 20th, making one sandwich out of the last two full-sized slices of Pain au Levain from the freezer (and also took out the ends, for plate-cleaning 🙂 as well as just it use it up completely). I added mayonnaise and the Bowl’s stone ground Dijon mustard, since I had used up the overflow mustard/mayo/lemon dressing in yesterday’s sandwiches. Romaine, and that last tomato (S&P) completed the deal. I had cut one of the slices poorly before freezing, and had to be sure the romaine was the first thing under that bread so it could protect against stuff falling through the holes. After cutting the larger sandwich in (almost) half, my end’s bread was disconnected into two parts. Owel.

This was 26 Sept, the first time I saw this astonishing-looking cabbage.

The “conehead” cabbage I got at last week’s Tuesday market (also from Dirty Girl) has been unused, but I cut off perhaps the top 1/2 of it (which is probably 1/3 of the total volume) to make a cole slaw, using this recipe for dressing. Last time I made half the recipe and had some left over, so I approximated 2/3 of that half this time. It was better last time, so I should measure more carefully. I added in 1/2 a long but thin carrot, cut into strips via carrot peeler, and D tossed in, at my behest, some fennel seeds, which he had done last time to great effect.

D decided it was time to try the Barbera d’Alba I bought on spec at Kermit Lynch when I was there the other day to see if they still had the Lascaux we had liked recently. They did (see 19th?) but it was not as good as this wine. We both really enjoyed this – Guido Porro, V. S. Caterina (per KL website, per D: Vigna Santa Caterina) 2014. We’ll definitely get more of this. Didn’t need any airing, even. The wine was $19.95, but for some reason the seller just gave me a 10% discount on it. I love places where the staff are empowered to do stuff like that. At dinner, I thought this would go well with Midnight Moon cheese, from Cypress Grove. D says “and what? I sez “bread! He thinks perhaps more tomato soup 🙂 It really went well with everything at dinner, which is especially remarkable for the cole slaw, which has sugar in it. This is a Find – though at $20 a pop, it’s not an everyday treat.


D suggested that instead of going up to “our” hill today, we bike down to the marina, where last week we had seen some people selling “kebab wraps.” I asked them their normal business hours, and those included every Sunday for lunch, so, after a bit of delay… we went off, picked up lunch, and then had the wraps and a half bottle of Kirkland Rioja left over from Tuesday when I was out at the art coop for dinner. Then we tooled around the park a bit, rode over to the sporting goods store and bought stuff for our emergency packs (beautiful new batik bandanas!) and rode home to do our weights workout. Was really a great Sunday 🙂


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Spaghetti with fresh San Marzano tomato sauce – 21 October 2017

Our wonderful neighbor S came by earlier in the week with a large bowlful of San Marzano tomatoes, which they grew and couldn’t use all of. D resolved to make them into a sauce, which is apparently why Italians grow them,


and if this is any indication, that’s a very good decision. D started by cooking a substantial amount of large-chopped red onion in olive oil, then added the chopped tomatoes, and marjoram, Greek oregano, and thyme from the garden, salt, and pepper of course. It was super! (wrote “supper” first – not a bad typo…) Especially good with Pecorino Romano over it – really an inspired choice by D. there’s a bit of sauce left over – perhaps as much as half of it – to which D suggests adding sausage (though the mushrooms in the fridge may take priority).

D wanted immediately to try a wine we bought on spec at The Wine Mine’s tasting today. It’s from the grape called Susumaniello, which is one of those “out of fashion” grapes that a few growers are trying to bring back, and we had another Susumaniello at the tasting. D saw this and said we liked that one (and bought it) why not try this one too? So we did. We both enjoyed it – a “different” taste that I can’t describe well, to tell the truth, especially since I’m writing this on the 23rd. Rest of wine label says: 2015, Salento, Masseria Li Veli. Probably will get more.



Lunch: (thus ends the veggie portion of our program)

One of the best things about the already-wonderful chicken “bruschetta” from last night is the sandwiches made with the leftovers. I defrosted two large slices of the Pain au Levain, which I froze right after dinner, and used half the remaining chicken, and all of the leftover sauce that I dumped into the container when putting away the leftovers. As a result, we didn’t have any additional mayonnaise or mustard on the bread. Just romaine this time. Had a tomato alongside (dry-farmed early girl from Dirty Girl Produce) that wanted eating, and D cooked up the last few of the haricots he bought awhile ago at the Bowl. Great lunch, of course… I think this was the day (writing up on the 23rd) that he brought out green grapes for dessert, too, and they were delicious and refreshing.

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Using stuff up – 17 October 2017

D&R had a meeting at their art coop, so I was alone for dinner. Tried to find the micro-pizza dough I am still sure I have in the freezer, but didn’t find it. Thought of going to the Bowl to buy an herb foccacia to make a pizza on, but ran across the last of the frozen Paratha breads from Vik’s, which D is not especially fond of, so I decided to use that up, and why not with a topping of some sort? I just defrosted one cube (about 1 Tbsp) of Wells [tomato] sauce, and grated some Asiago and I think some mozzarella (writing this the 20th) to put over the top. I heated the paratha in the large cast iron frying pan, with some olive oil, for a couple minutes, turned it and heated another couple, turned again and topped with the defrosted Wells sauce and the grated cheeses. The cheese didn’t look as though it would melt, so I moved the paratha to the toaster oven and broiled briefly till the cheese melted.

I had noted earlier in this blog a tomato salad that had only onion and dressing in it, or thereabouts. I decided to cut up a tomato, add onion and olive oi, and then popped in some capers. Probably added S&P. It turned out to be pretty good. F0r a catch-as-catch-can dinner, pretty decent.

I opened a Kirkland Rioja, since Riojas are not D’s favorite, and that was yummy. Fine with the meal, though no great match or anything.




Lunch:I defrosted some slices from an Acme Italian to eat with varioius cheeses. I put out the manchego, the Asiago, and a Holland goat gouda. Also made up a version of D’s concoction: avocado, tomato, onion/shallot [used red onion] and balsamic vinegar. Quick and yummy lunch.



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Cheese “foccacia” with taleggio; salad with farmers’ market tomatoes – 16 October 2017

The Bowl is trying out selling taleggio, and to encourage them to do that, I bought a couple of packages, totaling about half a pound of cheese, thinking to make this “foccacia,” which is not like any foccacia you’d normally label with that name. It’s just two sheets of what is essentially eggless pasta dough, with large dots (dice – the roll-me kind – that size dots) of cheese laid on the first, and then the second sheet, rolled thin enough to see the grain of the dough board through it, laid over the top, pressed down carefully among the cheese dots, and sealed with water around the edges.

It’s really not supposed to dome up like that!

The recipe I used is 1/3 of the original, which is from Recipes from Paradise by Fred Plotkin. Differences: I used a very damp towel over the dough as it sat in a slightly-warmed (but off) oven, and that worked fine. I also left the towel over the first sheet as I rolled out the second. I let the assembled foccacia sit while I took a shower and the oven preheated, and that seemed to be fine. The dough was somewhat wetter than usual, though, I think. I didn’t forget the oil and salt over the top this time. I thought I should have added a bit more salt, but since I didn’t measure it, just shook into my hand, that is not a very useful note.

I tore up a few mediumish, inside leaves from the romaine we’ve been using and topped with two tomatoes from Riverdog Farm, from the Saturday market, each split between the two salads in case one was better than the other. D made a most excellent dressing – a red wine vinegar and oil (+S&P) with the addition of small bits of red onion, and half a canned anchovy. It really worked – super delicious salad.

D brought up what he thinks is our last bottle of 2013 Domaine La Milliere Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, as North Berkeley Wines has stopped representing them (since I think they went with someone else too, and NBW didn’t like that or something – impression from brief conversation). It was really good (though not as wonderful as the first vintage we got there, of which we bought three cases). We’ll miss it…






This was a great lunch, too. I used up the second of the Gustosella mozzarella de bufala balls I bought a week or more ago at The Cheese Board, in a Caprese, giving each of us halves of two excellent tomatoes, and a half dozen or so basil leaves that D collected from the garden. I asked D whether to use capers, anchovies, or both, and he said just capers this time, to be different, which was a good idea. I salted and peppered the tomatoes (pretty much everything, to tell the truth) and drizzled with olive oil. D made bruschetta with the last of the fresh cranberry beans he got at the Bowl. He defrosted two slices of Semifreddi ciabatta by tossing them on the grill and moving around very frequently. The grilled taste is exceptional! He added in a last bit of the English cucumber that I think he bought for the gazpacho recently.

A view of dinner

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Spaghetti with fresh cranberry beans; salad – 15 October 2017

D cooked this delicious dinner. He used most of the remaining cranberry beans that we cooked last week (with garlic cloves, rosemary, and salt in the water) and heated them in olive oil, adding marjoram and Greek oregano from the garden. He made a salad using romaine, a bit of the chicory I got last week from Dirty Girl Produce, and one of their dry-farmed early girl tomatoes. He served the salad on my two Russel Wright olivey-greenish medium plates, and it really set off their brightness beautifully. I loved how they looked! I went to the Bowl before lunch and bought (at D’s behest) an Acme Italian Batard, which we had for both lunch and dinner.

D dug up a “tester” wine from Costco that we both really enjoyed. It’s not a grand wine, but very drinkable and enjoyable, and only $6.99! We’ll get more on our next trip if they still have it. Louise Dubois Ma Belle Reserve Cotes du Rhone 2015.


I couldn’t decide which wine picture to use 🙂







I made sandwiches using the brand new loaf of bread, and the end of our Fontina Valle d’Aosta, with romaine, and the rest of our neighbor S’s monster tomato (beefsteak?). I put mayonnaise on mine, and mayo and the new stone ground mustard the Bowl finally got back in stock for D. Forgot to add thin-sliced onions, but not clear the fontina would be happy with those anyway. The sandwiches were totally yummy. As were the Clausen Kosher dills 🙂

[added the 20th] It was a pretty hot day, and I used this as my excuse – finally! – to make limeade with the limes I had gotten in a 5-for-50-cents bag at the Bowl a few days previously. I squeezed all the limes (after rolling them with pressure on the counter) and they made a whole cup of juice. These were big limes, and I wouldn’t count on that for normal ones. Anyway, recipes suggested volume lime juice = volume sugar, and I thought that sounded appalling, so I decided to start with 1/2 cup sugar – and loved it that way! I added either 4 or 5 cups water – pretty sure it was 4 cups, based on adding five cups (= water plus juice volumes) to the emptied pitcher later. So, my personal recipe for limeade is one part sugar, two parts lime juice, 8 parts water, and serve with ice.

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Salade Nicoise – 9 October 2017

  • [This has no meat, but it does have fish. – meatless but not veggie.]

We decided to have another Nicoise, using up some things that wanted eating. D’s suggestion, and then we just kept going “oh, and we have X.” So, leftover boiled potatoes, fresh cranberry beans to use up, some yellow beans D got for the purpose, a leaf of the chicory from Dirty Girl Produce that D used to house the tuna, a radish, a hard-boiled egg, part of an English cucumber, some dry-farmed early girls, Nicoise olives, an oil-packed anchovy fillet… sounds good. There ought to have been basil over the top, though I can’t say I see it. This may be the one where the dressing was on the thin side? (Writing this the 24th..oops)

Keeping track of the tunas we’re trying since we ran out of the Costco stash (which, though it says “Tonno” on the label, is a US product). This one was Tuna: Tonnino yellowfin solid-pack in olive oil. 4.94 oz.  Packed in Costa Rica. A dark blue can with white writing.

Looks like an Acme Rustic Sweet Baguette, which was used both for lunch and for dinner.

We had a wine we’re pretty sure (today) that we got at K&L*. We weren’t particularly impressed with any of them, though of course the one specially chosen one – from Failla – is still to come. This one was a Bordeaux, 2015, Chateau Lamothe Castera. Had a prize-winning sticker on it that I can’t see in the photo b/c it’s around the edge. *Indeed, the K&L site has this bottle, for a cost of $8.99, no doubt why we elected to give it a try.


I think I only photographed this lunch b/c it looked so nice 🙂 Looks like the Holland Goat Gouda on the sandwich, with romaine and slices of early girl tomatoes, with the extra, end bits on the side, some uncooked haricots, half a radish, and spears of English cucumber. Good lunch 🙂

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Roasted cabbage with Italian sausage – 7 October 2017

So. We had cabbage – the most bizarre, pointy-headed cabbage, which is why I couldn’t resist it when I saw at Dirty Girl Produce – and also Christopher Lee’s Italian sausages, and I ran across this recipe, in a Bon Appetit feature (from google) promising 29 recipes to make you love cabbage. Of which many sounded as though they would. The recipe says it serves four, and there are two of us, so we made some approximation of 1/2 the recipe of cabbage, apple, and onion, though we used only 1 sausage, about 1;4 the recipe, in deference to D’s usual tendency to minimize meat in any recipe. Half an apple from our tree; some amount of red onion.

It was great! Should note that D chose 1/4 tsp of Kosher salt as the amount to add (unspecified) and that worked great. We mixed the cabbage, apples, and onions, in a mixing bowl and added the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper there and mixed well. Added the mixture to oven-proof bowls (handmade by the late Mary Grabill of Coconut Grove), and baked about 35 minutes, adding the sausage (cooked on as many sides as it would rest on, then split lengthwise to cook the inside well) as soon as it was done.

D chose one of the wines from K&L, a Toscana Sangiovese called “Maritima” (the 4 Old Guys) 2015. We liked it fine, but it was not a standout (unsurprisingly, at $8.99). Good enough, especially for the price, but not one we anticipate buying again.

I defrosted the last bit of Acme Sweet Rustic baguette, which had a tendency to look like a curled up cat to me.

D made popcorn later, but somehow got a clove of garlic in my portion. How the heck???



This baguette slice reminded me of a cat.


Defrosted four slices from yesterday’s Acme Italian Batard, a bite-able bread, so I could put tomato on my sandwich and not worry the tom would skoodge out the other side when I bit into it. Danke cheese from the Bowl again (on sale/tasting when I was there), romaine, Ella Bella tomato (dry-farmed early girl from Washington) from the Bowl, mayonnaise. It was a delicious sandwich!


Added a Clausen Kosher Dill pickle spear, and D chose R&E’s most recent IPA to drink, and all was well.

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Bread, cheese, and fruit before the symphony – 5 October 2017

Two composers actually present at the symphony tonight – pretty cool 🙂 And my friend S said the elder statesman of the two held a seminar in her living room for composition fellows that afternoon. Amazing. We enjoyed the concert.

So, dinner: R&E joined us for both dinner and concert. I went to the Bowl before lunch and got three baguettes, Acme sweet and sour, and Semifreddi seeded. We ended up eating a bit of the sweet with lunch, and freezing the rest in four sandwich-sized chunks, and eating up the sourdough and seeded ones with cheese for dinner.

The cheeses were: Brillat-Savarin and  Cambazola, both from the Bowl. I also bought two chunks of Taleggio for an upcoming “foccacia” dinner, thinking we might have some of that this evening, too, but we didn’t remotely need it. I found one obviously ripe plum at the Bowl, and we had that, and some red seedless grapes that were quite dry tasting – not optimal, but fine – called, bizarrely,  “Harvest Hobgoblin.”

I also bought one of those squashed-looking “donut” sort of peaches, an Asian pear… anyway, I sent R in (b/c he’s good at fruit) and asked him to see what might be ready to eat, and he chose two peaches I’d gotten the previous trip/day, which were from Idaho. I got slices that weren’t great, and D said one peach was really good but the other was less so. So I evidently got the “less so” one. We had the ripe plum and some of the grapes, and the rest are sitting waiting to be eaten.

D chose a CalStar Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, 2014) and it was really excellent.

When we got home, D pulled out the last of a port called “Otimaio” and we each enjoyed a tiny glass of it.



I cleaned up and chopped the last two of the baby bok choys from over a week ago at the farmers’ market, and sauteed in olive oil and butter, salting and peppering. D reheated the rest of last night’s risotto. Great lunch 🙂


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Risotto in lamb stock with mushrooms and rosemary; haricots – 4 October 2017

D made stock out of the cut-off fat, and then the cooked bones, from the lamb loin chops we had the other day, and decided a risotto made with that would be good. He cooked the  1 cup arborio rice and chopped onions in olive oil first, and heated the stock separately, then stirred in ladlefuls of the stock, as one does, till each was absorbed. He also added some red wine from one or another of the bottles deemed not good enough to drink (too old and oxidized, or perhaps corked). Meanwhile, he cooked sliced white mushrooms (perhaps 10? He thought there should have been more) in olive oil, adding rosemary leaves after a bit, and about halfway through the rice-cooking process, added the mushrooms to the rice. That’s finely grated parmaggiano over the top.

He boiled the beans in salted water – he thinks they got five minutes but it would surprise me b/c they were perfect, not mushy – and used that water to heat the wide bowls he served everything in. Worked great!

We got three Corbieres at K&L on Monday, all of which were praised by one of the staff (and all from one producer, de l’Anhel). We haven’t been particularly impressed, even after airing the wine by pouring back and forth a lot. They’re perfectly find, just not especially exciting, and we would prefer to stick to drinking wines we really love (some of which are downright cheap, others of which are more normal priced. And a few $$$). So, fine, but nothing to write home about.

I bought an Acme Rustic Sweet Baguette to have for lunch and dinner.



We had some leftover pasta sheets when making ravioli for the last two nights, and I cut them into noodles and refrigerated them (after some drying). We boiled these about 9 minutes, which is to say, they were no longer behaving like fresh pasta, and D heated some sage leaves in olive oil and tossed the cooked pasta in there, a rec from the WD group when I asked how to use up sage. It was indeed very good, though I can’t say I was delighted with the state of the pasta. I think it should be dried longer than I did, but not entirely sure of that. Since that dish is pretty much devoid of nutrients, I suggested this be a day for a small Caprese, which I made. Drained one ball of Gustosella mozzarella de bufala after slicing into 12 slices, picked one large and beautiful basil leaf for each cheese round, and cut a slice of tomato likewise. I cut up the last of the anchovy fillets in the can D bought awhile ago at the Bowl (has been in the fridge) and topped the cheese with those bits. This was good, but I think the tomatoes had been sitting too long as it shoudl have been spectacular.


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Ravioli with ricotta and fresh tomato sauce; simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette – 3 October 2017

We decided to use some of the remaining ricotta in another (third this week!) ravioli, with the fresh tomato sauce from La Cucina Italiana. I made the ravs, D made the sauce.

D wanted to have simple ricotta – no egg, etc. – but suggested it might want salt. I made one recipe Bertolli pasta dough (1 cup flour, 1 egg) and used 2/3 of it for ravioli, and cut 1/3 into wide pasta for some other use.

I cut the dough into 6ths for rolling, and made it into wide sheets instead of being kinda random about the width (when I make noodles). I think in future the idea is to use 1/2 cup ricotta and a generous 1/8 tsp (up to 1/4 tsp) salt, well mixed in. However, this time I used 1/3 cup ricotta and a dash (1/8 tsp) salt, ran out of filling, added 1/4 cup ricotta and a scant (2/3?) dash salt, and then had to squeeze a bit – though not much –  to get it all into ravs. Cooked 6 mins, then D added to the frying pan of tomato sauce and served in bowls, which I had heated with pasta water. Tossed a bunch of basil leaves over the top, which I had cleaned from our brand new basil plant(s) this afternoon. To cook the sauce, D plunged the tomatoes into boiling water (cutting a cross into the bottom first to aid in removing the skin) for a minute, peeled and seeded and chopped, put into a medium cast iron frying pan with olive oil in it, cooked 1 minute, then pressed through the food mill, and cooked another 3 minutes. He forgot the salt; should be salted at this point (to taste). This is where the cooked ravs went in. Squidge around a lot, serve to heated bowls or plates, toss basil leaves over the top. We salted at the table.

I decided to use the last (I think it was – writing from here on down on the 8th) little bit of romaine, plus a few leaves each of galisse lettuce from Blue Heron and some very pretty chicory from Dirty Girl Produce. I decided instead of making a dressing with red wine vinegar, I’d just use a dressing that was sitting in the fridge wanting using. I realized later it was probably left over from the panzanella and lamb chop dinner (dressing for the salad, marinade for the lamb chops). It’s a balsamic vinaigrette with added dried oregano leaves. D thought it was an absolutely excellent salad, with the caveat that perhaps a bit less of the bitter chicory would be in order. I thought it was great, too. The salad was prettier before the dressing, though…We tried the first of the Corbieres that we bought yesterday at K&L. It was the most expensive, at $21.99. We found it good, but not exciting, and we don’t expect to buy more of it. We had a Rustic Sweet Baguette from Acme to go with all of this. Here’s a dried up dahlia I was watching during dinner.







A “using stuff up” lunch, I remember. I cut in half the remainder of the manchego, and D prepared a carrot, and spread the last of the sweet gorgonzola into stalks of celery. We ate up one dry-farmed early girl (probably from Ella Bella in Washington, via the Bowl) and D cooked up two of the small bok choy plants from last week’s Tuesday market. We started on the baguette that was bought to have for lunch and dinner.


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Spaghetti with Italian sausage, sundried tomatoes, onion, and herbs; pear and walnut salad – 2 October 2017

I picked up a packet of four Italian sausages from Christopher Lee yesterday, and, since we had dinner planned for that night, tonight was the night for one of his sausages. We decided to make a pasta using one sausage, plus the herbs on twigs that we accidentally dislodged yesterday while weeding and pruning the marjoram and Greek oregano. So I cleaned up those twigs and left them to dry in the afternoon. As usual, I forgot all the stuff that needed doing, and got to doing it – straightening up the bed, washing the dishes – and then it was 7pm and I had not taken my shower and D was through with the day’s work. So he cooked the sausage pasta “sauce.” He cooked the sausage on two sides in some olive oil, then split it down the middle, and found (as he sort of expected) that it was not cooked. So he cooked it cut-side-down for awhile, and then removed the casing and skoodged around the sausage bits. At the same time (in the same pan) he cooked some chopped red onion. He added about 1 Tbsp of those aforementioned herbs, which I had pulled from the stems and chopped. He cooked the spaghetti, then added to the pan with the sauce and skoodged around, and that was it. What a delicious pasta! I used the cooking water to warm the bowls, as usual.

Earlier, I had washed up I think 4 leaves of Galisse lettuce from Blue Heron, and another four layers from a lovely chicory (pale green with purple/red accents) from Dirty Girl Produce, and dried them, then tore up and put on plates. I defrosted some walnut halves, later cracking them into smaller pieces. At the last minute, I sliced up the big Warren pear from Woodleaf Farm, which was spectacularly good. D remembered to pepper his salad, so I did that to mine, too. After dressing them: I used about a 1:3 or 1:4 mix or olive oil and red raspberry vinegar, with salt and pepper, well whisked. It turned out to be a wonderful, delicious salad!

We had one of the wines we got today at K&L: Chateau Citran Haut-Medoc 2014. It was $16.98, which is less than the 2008 bottles we got at Costco. I was not enchanted by this, but I wonder if it would age into greatness.


D’s ideas: he mixed the rest of the cranberry beans and the rest of the rice, but (sorry) started by cooking some chopped red onion in olive oil, then adding the rice and beans. It was very tasty! He was going to add corn cut off the cob to this, but when I hedged, he kept the corn separate, and cooked in olive oil (with S&P) in a small pan, and served in a separate bowllet. I tried merging the rice and beans and corn for one bite, but the beauty of the corn was entirely lost. I said this, and D agreed that they were better separated.

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Bruschettae with beans, and with tomatoes and basil; pasta with parmaggiano; baby bok choi – 29 September 2017

I was sort of going to make ravioli tonight, but just got too unmotivated to go to the Bowl for spinach and go through that whole process by myself. We had cooked fresh cranberry beans that wanted eating, and the last bits of basil from our once-proud plant to use up, so I suggested a meal with two bruschettae. I also want to use up some pasta I bought awhile ago at Costco, so we made two ounces of that and tossed with parmaggiano and olive oil. Finally, I cooked up two of the six bunched baby bok chois I got from the people on the Alcatraz end at the farmers’ market on Tuesday.

Bruschettae: I cut up two tomatoes – I think one Dirty Girl Produce and the other Ella Bella from the Bowl – and mixed with the last of the basil leaves (chopped), salt, pepper, and a tad of olive oil, and put this all in the fridge, perhaps an hour or more before dinner. I defrosted the last three inches or so of the Acme rustic baguette, and a slice of Cheese Board Suburban Bread, and D rubbed these in a plate with olive oil on it and grilled them till slightly crispy. He also took out the beans, mashed some (including some garlic, I assume) and heated them in some olive oil. He drained the tomato mixture and served over the six slices of baguette, and served the beans on the Suburban slice.

Bok choi: I washed and cut up two small bok choi plants and cooked in < 1 Tbsp olive oil and perhaps 1/2 Tbsp butter till done. S&P.

Pasta: This is the lumpy yellow (egg) or green (spinach) pasta from Costco. Cooked it 6 mins in salted water, drained well and wiped the pan (using hot water to heat the pasta cups) then returned the pasta to the pan with a bit over 1/4 cup grated parmaggiano and a drizzle of olive oil, then served in the hot (wiped) cups.

I went to the cellar and checked out the “tester” wines and found a couple that looked promising. D thought the Cotes du Rhone was the one to try, so I opened that. It was really quite good. Famille Perrin from Trader Joe’s. Enjoyed it quite well. Great buy at $7.99!

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Pizza with tomatoes, sage, and gorgonzola – 28 September 2017

Our sage plant is going great guns, and we want to use as much of its bounty as possible before it goes relatively dormant for the winter. I said I’d make a pizza. D says “but we want to use sage.” I sez “this is a sage pizza.” I picked 16 or 18 large leaves (really large ones) for this, and it really was not too much, interestingly. Preprep has two elements: 1) cooking the sage for a couple of minutes in butter – previous notes say 2 Tbsp, or even 1 1/2 Tbsp, was too much butter, but tonight’s 1 Tbsp was too little IMO. Return to 1 1/2 Tbsp. 2) cooking a small amount of chopped or (what I did ) sliced onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil till soft, adding a clove or two of minced garlic for 30 seconds, then pulling off the heat.

I used about 3 – 4 oz mozzarella and one of Fontina Valle d’Aosta for this, but I think less mozz and more fontina is the way to go – even try all fontina? Three sliced tomatoes, but this of course depends on the size of the tomatoes. After precooking the crust (which was a frozen 1/3 crust) 1 1/2 mins, brush on the garlic/onion/oil, grate 2/3 or so of the cheese over that, lay on the tomatoes, dot with gorgonzola dolce (I used 20 pieces – cut a 3/4″ square prism maybe 2″ long into four long quarters, then five slices crosswise – could have used much more than I did IMO but D was not dissatisfied). Grate the rest of the cheese over the top and bake 5ish mins, during which, restart the burner under the sage so it is hot and the butter (what there is of it) is liquid. Then brush/pour?/whatever the sage leaves over the top and serve.

D suggested we open a Domaine la Milliere Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, and that was a good choice. It’s a 2013. North Berkeley Wines is no longer representing them, so this and the one in the cellar are probably our last. This is a really good wine, but a mere shadow of the previous vintage we got there, of which, after tasting, we returned and got their remaining three cases.







Had small bowls of the Gazpacho from Tuesday (and yesterday) dinners. I defrosted the other half of Tuesday’s Acme Sweet Rustic Baguette, and took out both soft cheeses so they could warm up before lunch: The one called “Chauses” and the old favorite, Fromager d’Affinois. Had half of the remainder of each, saving the rest for tomorrow and the last bit of soup.


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Copy/paste from last night, with bread and cheese substitutions and colder wine. And daylight – 27 September 2017


Title says it – we had more of the gazpacho, on the deck again, with the same wine (Beaujolais), but chilled to white wine temperature. It was fine without airing at this temp. Good idea of D’s to chill it. And we made it up to the deck before the light faded, so the photos are natural light without alteration, for once.




We had Fromager d’Affinois with this, and the bread was Suburban Bread from The Cheese Board (I gather that Country was whole wheat, City is white, and Suburban is halfway between). All excellent. Here’s the gazpacho recipe again.


I cooked up 1 cup (dry) Thai jasmine rice and we had the cold, leftover Dahdi Papdi Chaat from yesterday’s trip to Vik’s over it. I split the remaining samosa in half and placed at the front edge of the toaster oven and heated almost 10 minutes at 350. The thin edges just started to burn, so watch better next time. D heated up the cholle/chutney sides, which he cleverly carried home in the same takout container as the samosa, but in the cut-off bottom of his lassi cup, so as not to get the samosa wet and unappetizing. So delicious!

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Another chance for gazpacho; bread & cheese; dinner on the deck – 26 September 2017

It was scheduled to be over 80, even here in the coldest part of the city, so I thought we should take the 3 cups of tomato juice we froze last time and make a second gazpacho from it. Notably, Tuesday is one of the farmers’ markets, so I hoped to get the veggies there. Unfortunately, no green peppers, but of course I got Dirty Girl Produce dry-farmed early girls (also got this bizarre, pointy cabbage and a pretty little chicory), and I was also able to fine red scallions (Blue Heron – also got galisse) and two excellent Japanese cucumbers

This picture more accurately shows the lighting – no porch light, no brightness pushing.

from the people at the end whose name I do not know but who have outrageously low prices. D and R were really busy building, so I made the soup myself, and now know it’s about 1 1/2 person-hours of work. Here is the recipe, to which I added 2 large stems of celery, in about 3/8″ dice. I went to the Bowl to get a Sweet Rustic Acme baguette, and also bought two soft cheeses: one old favorite, Fromager d’Affinois, and the other a new thing whose description sounded good so what the heck: Chausses – French, obviously. We had the Chausses and found it interesting and enjoyable, though it was not a cheese I think I would particularly crave.

We ate outside on the deck (the dark photo is real – for the main picture and the wine, I turned on the deck light briefly, and for the secondary version, at right, I brightened the photo considerably!). When I went out before sunset, the wind was making it too cold for comfort, but by the time of dinner, it was dark and the wind had settled down, and it was comfy. I even took off my (cotton) sweater for most of the meal.

We had a 2015 Beaujolais with this – D’s choice, and a pretty good match, though I don’t adore this wine, alas. We got it at a super price from North Berkeley Wines awhile back – they had made a mistake in calculating the price for their ad or something, but were selling it at the price in the ad nevertheless, which was nice of them. D poured the wine back and forth a bit into our 4 cup measure and back to air it before dinner.


We went for a bike ride around Aquatic Park this morning, and I tossed off the idea (facetiously almost) as we set out that we could stop at Vik’s on the way back for lunch. D said no (as he would) b/c we have to come back to do exercises. But then he said we could go back to Vik’s after that. And we did (after shower and change of clothes, too). We ordered too much, but took some home for tomorrow. It was really good!

First they sent this out: “Dahi Papdi Chaat (V) |  Mid afternoon finds North Indians detouring to their favorite pushcart for this cooling snack of flat papdis, potatoes and garbanzo beans smothered with yogurt and chutneys.”

D’s suggestion and very good, though a bit on the liquidy side. Saved a bunch to have over rice.



Then we had: “Samosa Cholle (V) |  I looked forward to my parents having guests over because it meant samosas would be served. Our samosas are served with a side of cholle and chutneys…”

My request. Considered the lamb-filled ones, but we can come back for those. These are classic and we have not had them in ages. Love samosas!

Also each had a mango lassi, which was (of course) scrumptious. Need to try the rose one next time, though.

Lunch was about $24, but it was actually 2 lunches, with drinks for one lunch.

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Lamb loin chops; panzanella with eggplant; exploding beer bottle – 23 September 2017

OK, so this set out to be a great dinner and it was, and then the beer (actually, cider) bottle explosion definitely made it a memorable evening.

I wanted to make the eggplant panzanella from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling (p. 198-9), and decided what the heck, I’d make the lamb chops, too. I bought a cute, small globe eggplant – probably smaller than the recipe really meant – at the farmers’ market last week, along with two pretty summer squashes I used last night, in order to make this. D had cut up a baguette we mistakenly left out overnight (so too hard to eat) and left in its bag for future panzanella – and then I noticed today that this recipe, unsurprisingly but I didn’t remember, requires slices of bread (2, Italian; I used an extra one in addition b/c it was small and would have been left over) instead of crouton sized, b/c the bread is grilled. So I got some Acme Italian slices out of the freezer and let them defrost, and they worked perfectly. Used about 4 small tomatoes from Dirty Girl Farm (farmers’ market) and Ella Bella (Bowl). Also a pile of smallish leaves from our soon-to-be-gone basil plant out back. I ran out of dressing following my recipe notes of using half the recipe, so made another half recipe. Make whole recipe next time, and use the leftovers for something – it’s a perfectly fine balsamic vinaigrette.

I bought a loaf of Morell’s Country at the farmers’ market (we biked up, bought new helmets, forgot the movie from the library) and we had that with dinner (and also for lunch for cheese sandwiches).

Bowl doesn’t apparently do rib chops, so I bought 4 loin chops, which were much thicker than the required 3/4″ (maybe 1 1/4″?). D grilled them about 10 minutes on high, then about 5 more on medium. The chops are coated with the dressing, as are the bread slices and the eggplant slices, before grilling. I didn’t notice the taste of the dressing/marinade on the lamb, but on the bread it was super good.

Recipe is in my accompanying recipe blog, so I don’t have to keep typing it in.

I remembered that we still had a wine I just adored when I tasted it at Solano Cellars, and dug that up from the cellar. It was much lighter than I recalled – more like the brilliant Failla we tasted at my student M’s employer’s place (Failla – duh) several years ago. Absolutely beautiful wine: McHenry Pinot Noir, 2010, Santa Cruz Mountains. I remmber it was pricey, but didn’t write the $ on the bottle. Nor when I bought it, but I’m guessing it was more than 3 years ago. Anyway, it was about a perfect wine IMO. Fewer than 320 cases produced. Yikes.

And then, as we sat talking after dinner, a boom sounded from the dining room. Sounded like a transformer blowing or something. Turned out to be one of the bottle of sweet cider we’d gotten from R&E’s batch. Apparently, the yeast really liked being in the warmish room and metabolized the residual sugar all to heck, and breathed out their CO2 in quantity. Have to congratulate the bottle capper – the bottle blew but held onto its cap. Interesting. Anyway, pieces of bottle and pools of cider (sniff) everywhere – in kitchen corners, down the hall almost past the dining room – yikes, glad no one got hit by it. Amazing. So we texted them and I decided to uncap the other two bottles that were in the warm room instead of in the fridge, and R&E came over with sanitizer (phosphoric acid or something like that) and the capping equipment so we could recap them. I popped off one cap and got a geyser up about 3 feet, so lost most of that one (we drank it after sitting it in the freezer for awhile) and then just squidged open the second one so it just oozed some bubbles, and they were able to recap that one. And put it in the fridge!

More interesting than many dinners, anyway.

Ah, lunch.

I bought the bread in the morning (great that Morell’s is open before lunch now!) so we could have it for a sandwich for lunch, and then with the lamb chops for dinner. Unfortunately, I’m adding this lunch part on 12 October, so I don’t remember what kind of sandwich it was, but I’m sure it was cheese of some good variety, with romaine and mayonnaise. Nice avocado and romaine salad there, with evidently balsamic vinaigrette.


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Gazpacho – 10 September 2017

Our first gazpacho of the season! Knowing it was supposed to be on the hotter side today (which might mean upper 70s ;)) the other day at the Bowl, I bought a large bottle of Campbell’s tomato juice, which is what we use as a base. I posted this recipe yesterday to the What’s For Dinner group, so can just paste it in, and then it’s permanently there.

For today’s variant, I mentioned to D that one person had suggested adding celery, and D, being a major celery lover, thought that was a great idea. He cut up a stalk of celery to add to the main recipe, and he really liked it. The next day [writing this the 17th] he cut the kernels off an ear of corn and added those to the remaining soup. I didn’t notice the taste of either of them. D loved the celery but thought more would be preferable; he didn’t like the addition of corn. Obviously from the picture, he thought it wanted pepper ground over the top, but he wants pepper on everything. And of course, that was great.

Recipe, from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash
(My comments/additions/changed in [ ]s. This is a must-have cookbook!)

4 large, ripe tomatoes
2 ½ cucumbers [We use one long English cuke]
1 large green pepper
10-12 scallions
1-2 cloves garlic [2, of course! or more…]
Salt [I don’t believe we end up adding extra salt outside the 1 tsp in the dressing.]
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups tomato juice [We like Campbell’s for this.]
1 — 1 ½ cups water [Recipe says beef broth or water but I see no point in the broth — never use it.]
Hot pepper sauce [1 — 2 splashes Tabasco works for me.]
Worcestershire sauce [2 splashes]
Freshly ground pepper [I have given up measuring pepper.]
Plain croutons [I’ve never added these.]

Quick version:

1) Cut up veggies. 2) Make dressing. 3) Toss veggies with dressing. 4) Stir in juice and add sauces. 5) Chill, serve.

Official version with my comments in [ ]s:

Peel, seed [naw… just cut ‘em up!] and chop in ¼ inch dice the tomatoes and 2 of the cucumbers. Wash and trim pepper and scallions and chop into ¼ inch dice [I just slice the scallions into pretty little rounds — all the way up — white and dark green].

In a mortar, mash garlic with 1 tsp salt. [This is such a great way to convince garlic to mash! Cut into a few pieces first.] Beat in vinegar and oil. Combine this dressing with the chopped vegetables [get them nicely coated] and stir in the tomato juice. Add broth or water to the consistency you prefer. Season with a dash of hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Chill. Slice ½ cucumber paper-thin. Serve gazpacho in chilled bowls topped with cucumber slices [optional but pretty] and croutons [optional IMO] on the side.

We pulled a small bit of baguette from the freezer to have with this, but D pointed out that the soup deserved better so we would get a fresh baguette for the rest of it.

Had a cheap red wine with the soup, but this was an excellent match b/c it’s a really good wine – Trentatre (“33”) from Trader Joe’s.





D got into a “using stuff up” mode, and we decided on two dishes, both of which were excellent. He made a salad with romaine, tomatoes, carrots, a small bit of leftover green pepper. He found some aioli in the fridge and wondered if it would make a good dressing, if he added some olive oil: answer – yes!

We had both figs and manchego. Manchego is great with crackers and fig jam, so I said let’s try it with the fresh figs, and wow, was that a hit! D also pulled out what was probably the last of some thin water crackers, whose name (now it’s the 17th) escapes me at the moment.

Salads were really pretty when only partway done, too 🙂

LOL! I see the micro-bit of leftover red wine we had for “cooking wine” for lunch – that was the last of the 2008 Brutocao cab I opened while D was away – and that reminds me that we did indeed have wine with lunch, I think the end of the bottle of Kono, Marlborough SB from Trader Joe’s.

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Flatiron steak from Prather Ranch; kale from the garden; boiled and refried Yukon Gold potatoes – 9 September 2017

D&R were at the market again, which was another opportunity to get Prather Ranch beef. D picked up a flatiron steak before they ran out, and cooked that tonight. He sliced garlic and put it on the steak and left it to marinate and come to room temperature. Grilled for a remarkably long time (he thought possibly 15 minutes, but that sounds impossible) and it was still barely pink in the middle – it really was perfectly done. I cut a bunch of bright, sparkly branches off a self-revived kale plant in the garden – with edges like curly parsley –  and boiled 3 or 4 minutes, then drained and reheated briefly in butter with salt and pepper. In the afternoon, I washed up and desprouted all four of the Yukon Gold potatoes in our potato basket and halved them, leaving them in water so their surfaces would not oxidize. While I went to the shower, D cut them into bite-sized pieces and boiled them up in salted water, and then drained thoroughly and refried them. Not sure whether he used butter, oil, or a combination. Everything was really perfect for this meal!

I suggested that with the beef we could have another bottle of Chateau Citran, a Bordeaux (Haut-Medoc) that we found at Costco, having been advised to check there by the proprietor of Castagna, where we found the wine on the menu on the 3rd of August. This bottle was very good, and went about perfectly with the meal.

Has a pretty peacock  on it, too. 🙂





R allowed as how he had wanted to try the jerk chicken sandwiches from Uhuru at the Grand Lake Market, where the guys were showing today, so instead of me getting a pizza on the way in, the guys got two sandwiches, plus a salad version that D requested with the same ingredients, moins bun. I ended up liking the salad better than the sandwich, but both were really good. Chicken some yellow dressingy sauce, some dark sauce, and a lot of very nice, fresh spinach. Tomatoes that were not up to par for this time of year – that would be my only complaint. The guys had some sort of cider – Pink Lady? – but I was about to drive again so just tasted it (good) and had water with lunch. Alas no bottle photo, though. [Lunch written on the day, Dinner on the 17th]

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Pizza with figs, cheeses, arugula, and caramelized onion – 8 September 2017

I decided to make this pizza as a good way to use up the gorgonzola dolce in the fridge. Then it turned out I didn’t have quite enough of the cheese, so I made two slices-worth of the pizza with some of the remaining Monte Enebro aged goat cheese. Since it was bought to use with figs, I figured it would work, and I did like it, though D thought it wasn’t sweet enough. Also thought to use up the rest of the arugula, and yes, of course, I didn’t have enough of that either, and bought more when I went to the Bowl for milk and Silk and other stuff.

I used I think 6 or 6 1/2 (tested part of one 🙂 )modestly-sized figs from the Bowl (“other stuff,” indeed. Hm.),quartering them lengthwise and then cutting in half across the waist, to make 8 pieces from each fig. Since last time I tried to make such a pizza we thought it was not as rich and interesting as it could be, and also b/c the figs really were not super sweet and yummy (some were, more weren’t), I decided to try marinating the fig pieces in the marinade for Gerald Hirogoyen’s figs and Monte Enebro recipe, which is equal parts sherry and sherry vinegar. I used 2 tsp each for these figs – just a bit much, but ok. When I was about to put together the pizza I spooned the figs into what must really be a deep fryer – about 3/8″ grid of wire – (but we don’t deep fry) to drain off the excess.

I cooked about 3/4 of a monster onion, quartered and thin sliced, in about 1 Tbsp olive oil and at least on Tbsp butter, probably more like two, for a long time on med, them med-low, salting a bit but not much. The onion weighed over 1 1/2 lb, and I cooked 1 lb 6 oz of it. Probably used about 3/4 of it on the pizza, and that worked, so go for maybe 1 lb onion (after trimming – onion actually in the pan) or slightly less. Probably cooked the onion at least a half hour, maybe more than that. The onions were down to brown by that time, which they didn’t get to the time most recent time I made this pizza. I stemmed and washed 2 cups of baby arugula from the Bowl, and while the pizza was cooking, tossed it in a dressing of 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil. I ended up using less than this and I think that was a good idea. Perhaps start with more like 1 1/2 cups arugula.

I grated about 3/4 of the 4 oz mozzarella onto the pizza, daubed on the onions (cook them early enough that they are cool and can be picked up with fingers – much easier that way), then distributed the figs, and dotted on something less than 1.5 oz gorgonzola dolce. Realized that was not enough, so I arranged the gorg on about 3/4 of the pizza and cut pieces, without rind, of the Monte Enebro for the other 1/4 pizza. I cut the pizza and then put on the arugula, and that worked well. Have to remember that. I made sure each of us got one pice that had Monte Enebro. D thought it was not as good – not sweet enough – but I really liked both the Monte E and the gorgonzola dolce parts a lot.

This pizza could have prosciutto on it too, but I didn’t bother and it doesn’t need it. If any, one piece and small torn segments would do nicely.

I was looking for a Verdejo to serve with this since that was what we had with a similar pizza at Pizza Moda, but we apparently don’t have any Verdejos. So I brought up two Gascognes. D chose this wine, an Eric Stauffenegger import that we’d had before. It says Haut-Marin, Cuvee Marine 2016. It was crispy and nice to drink, but probably not quite optimal – neither the wine for the pizza nor the pizza for the wine.



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Personal four-cheese pizza; salad with avocado and olives and nifty greens – 3 September 2017

I had another personal pizza today, using up some of the cheese that I think I bought before the Cheese Board’s vacation, for the purpose of making this pizza. More than once, clearly, since I think this is actually the 4th one. I didn’t measure cheeses – just grated some parmaggiano (least of this cheese, more of others), Fontina Valle d’Aosta, and provolone (Italian) together. Pizza is garlic oil (about 1 tsp seems to be fine, even with the monster garlic clove I used) on the pre-baked (1.5 min, 500) crust, then thin-sliced (red) onion, mixed cheeses (get most of the marjoram in there), sliced tomatoes (dry farmed ones from the Bowl), marbles or gorgonzola dolce, bake 5 more and top with a bit more fresh marjoram.

I tried to use up all the scrawny, deadish branches of marjoram last time I used it, so this time we’re down (up) to the fresh new ones. This is how much marjoram I used.

Still using up Costco avocados – the last two have been in the fridge for a few days awaiting their turn. I used one today, half for this salad and half for lunch (below). The salad had a base of R&E’s extra romaine, then some new arugula I bought at the Bowl, which is closed Monday and so had all 18 registers open late today, thank you Bowl. Painless. [Also bought a banana and some pre-packaged prosciutto – the deli waiting list did not look painless.] I used some of the last of the purslane/portulaca leaves, leaving some for tomorrow lunch, and several Nicoise olives, halved, then topped with the second half of today’s avocado, in bite-sized pieces. I used a simple red wine vinaigrette. This was less interesting than it sounds, and honestly I could not really taste the portulaca or the arugula. May as well have left them out.

Had the second half of the Costco Kirkland Rioja I opened last time I had this pizza, which has been in the fridge since, in a closed half-bottle. Still good. I took it out perhaps a half hour before dinner, it being a seriously warm evening.

Later, I used up some of the last of R&E’s extra cream on the second half of my white peach. I should have eaten the peach earlier, but it was still pretty tasty.


Using up avocados and also the salsa (which I bought to help use up avocados…) Costco mega-bag of tortilla chips, Monterey Jack (which I bought to help use up…) broiled carefully, topped with spoon-drained La Cascada Salsa Fresca and heated a bit, then topped with chopped avocado. I didn’t think this showed off the avo all that well for some reason, but basically a good lunch. Had the second an of Steigl Grapefruit Radler that I bought the other day to try out. Pretty nice, refreshing drink.

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Cold “poblano quiche”; marinated red peppers – 2 Sept 2017

Well, this experiment didn’t work, but it was worth a try I guess. Not awful, just not inviting. Last night I cooked an extra poblano quiche for tonight, wanting to see how it would be when cold. Answer: dense, not at all light and inviting. Did I use too much cheese? Or is this the way all quiches taste the next day, but usually you’re distracted more by the crust? Anyway, it tasted good, but I almost didn’t want all of it, unlike the fresh (warm) version when I am usually disappointed there is so little (same amount, of course).

Anyway, it was a good time to try this b/c I was busy through dinner with my online hosting, so all to the good, and I know not to do this again 🙂 This was also a good day to try this b/c it was scheduled to be the hottest day in years – cold dinner very inviting idea, and not using the stove: priceless!

I went to the Bowl – foolhardy, I know, on a Saturday, especially with its Monday holiday coming up – but I decided I needed a baguette and other stuff (below). The baguette up there is an Acme sweet.

Had the second half-bottle of the 2014 McIlroy Chardonnay, which was in the fridge in a small bottle. Given the heat of the evening, I tucked the half-bottle into ice water (in our pretty little white ceramic bin with pink flowers from D’s late aunt E) so it would stay cold long enough for me to drink it, and I went up to the deck for dinner. This is a rare treat in this climate – usually by dinnertime it is chilly and windy, even in summer. OTOH we don’t even own an air conditioner, which is great.

Lunch has all the pictures!

The bowl really is that asymmetrical – it’s not camera distortion.

I realized that 1) I had a small bit of leftover feta to use up, 2) it was a hideously hot day, 3) I had a way to use up a green pepper later so ok to buy, and 4) a Greek salad would really be a GREAT lunch. So I bought an Acme sweet baguette, some more dry-farmed tomatoes (have to find out the name of the farm) a sweet green pepper, and an English cucumber. salad is tossed in red wine vinaigrette with oregano.

Also decided to try a “Grapefruit Radler” by Stiegl that the Bowl has been featuring by the 15-item checkouts, and had that for lunch. Turned out to be a pretty pleasant drink for a hot day.

Later I had the first half of a white peach that has been in the fridge since it ripened a couple days ago. White peaches aren’t opinionated enough to fight back against Grape Nuts so it’s been languishing, so I ate it as a treat, with some of R&E’s extra cream.


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Grilled sirloin tip; panzanella senza pomodoro – 21 August 2017

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

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

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

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





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

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

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


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Pizza Margherita – 20 August 2017

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

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

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


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





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Nicoise of small round things; Romano beans 18 August 2017

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

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

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

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









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

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


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

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