Scallion pizza – 1 August 2017

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

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

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

Breakfast:

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

Here’s the whole shadow. Amazing moment:

 

 

 

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Dinner at Anchalee – 5 July 2017

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

Appetizer

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

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

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

Vegetarian menu for the entree: (see top photo)

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

This is a soup bowl!

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

 

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

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

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

 

Lunch:

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

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

Canada Day!

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch:

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

French Dressing – from VJ via D’s Mom:

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

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

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

Treat:

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

 

 

 

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Crackers and cheese; broccoli rabe – 29 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

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

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

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

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

Treat:

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

 

 

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

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“Poblano quiche”; panzanella – 24 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Potluck at the art coop – 23 June 2017

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it!

Lunch:

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

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Leftover nasturtium pasta; broccoli – 21 June 2017

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Love the sparkly red on the wine label πŸ™‚

Lunch:

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

Treat:

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunch:

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

 

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Nachos for dinner on a hot (for us) evening; Fathers Day treats in the afternoon! – 18 June 2017

D & I went out for a long neighborhood workout-walk in the morning. After lunch, R&E showed up with a most wonderful Father’s Day treat. After D painted more on his new studio and I did whatever it was I did (writing this the 24th) and we were hot and tired and already well fed by dinnertime, so we had a quick, easy, relatively light dinner of nachos. Monterey Jack over Costco tortilla chips, La Cascada Salsa Fresca, Mezzetta jarred jalapenos. We had a bottle of a nice, light and friendly Slovenian wine in the fridge, which worked great with dinner. It was a liter bottle, so for fun, we sent two glasses over to R&E. It is only 11% alcohol, too. We tried to buy more, but Wine Mine sold out the day of the tasting. The wine is called “Jarenican”.

Fathers’ Day:

R had made a Fathers’ Day treat, as is his wont, and he and E came over to share with us. The treats were from La Cucina Italiana‘s most recent “Dolci” special edition, which R gobbled up immediately. There is no reason for us to bake, so really we should just give him all the Dolci πŸ™‚ Anyway, these were absolutely sumptuous. They’re chocolate tarts with gooey, scrumptious apricot filling. Amazing!

They also made licorice ice cream, in which I honestly didn’t taste anything I would identify as licorice, but it was excellent.

A couple more pix of these before I get to lunch and breakfast this day:

Rather funky little place setting πŸ™‚

We got to keep this one to split tomorrow πŸ™‚

Lunch:

We got into an “empty the fridge” kick again, and ate up the rest of the panzanella from yesterday and also D got out the vat of Costco goat cheese. It is too unprotected once opened (unlike the logs) so I don’t think we’ll buy this kind again. They used to have Laura Chenel logs, which were great. Now they have Kirkland logs, which I don’t like, and Laura Chenel tubs, which go bad. I think this was the last of the tub, anyway. Had a bit of acetoney taste to it in places, which I tried to avoid. Water crackers were good, though.

Breakfast:

I guess this was a slightly novel breakfast πŸ™‚ Fried an egg – not novel – but took a frozen bread packet out and found it had both Morell’s Country Batard and Acme Italian slices in it. Both terrific. Then there was a peach for me to split with D, a banana that wanted eating, and blueberries I hadn’t sampled yet, so I put them all into a bowl and, later, poured a little bit (well, maybe more than a little) of cream over them to complete a luxury breakfast. On my spiffy Tunisian plate from The Spanish Table!

 

 

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Panzanella; Calabrian sausage; grilled veggies – 17 June 2017

This dinner had a complicated history, and ended up sorta one-off in a couple of places from where it began. I wanted to make a panzanella recipe from Weber’s Real Grilling, which has grilled bread and grilled eggplant in it – eggplant being an unusual ingredient. Also, it’s more usual to have a red wine vinaigrette, but this one has balsamic instead. So, D decided we should have a more traditional (bread, tomatoes, onion, basil) version, leaving out the eggplant. This after we’d bought both long and little egg-shaped eggplants at the Berkeley farmers’ market. We’d also bought more of the nice spring onions from Happy Boy that D enjoyed grilling, so what we ended up with was one little round eggplant, halved, oiled, and grilled; one green onion each, split, oiled and grilled; panzanella using up a pile of the older breads from the freezer, also grilled; and, in deference to my desire to have some actual protein, one grilled Christopher Lee Calabrian sausage (Pork, Calabrian peppers, fennel seeds, garlic) for the two of us. (It turned out to be somewhat freezer burned, alas, but not surprisingly as we bought a lot when Christopher Lee was leaving for a long consultancy on the other side of the Atlantic.) And then I had to go to the Bowl to see what sort of pre-season tomatoes might be edible at this point. Bought some tiny odorikos, but they weren’t, afaik, from Miyashita, and they had little tomatoey flavor. Bought four “stem” ones and those we have not tasted. D is for some reason into the moistness of tomatoes on sandwiches this year, despite their lack of taste. Anyway, while there – actually, when I was standing in line – I got a text from D suggesting I look for purslane/portulaca, which 1) was in an online tomatoless panzanella video (in Italiano), and also 2) is said by something-online-probably-Wikipedia to be considered a weed in the US, though used as an herb/salad ingredient in Italy. Bowl didn’t have it, but while looking I found some Nopales, already de-fanged, and bought some on a whim, based on the rec last week in the What’s For Dinner series. So D painted that with oil, salted and peppered it, and put it on the grill, too. I was not entranced, but it was fine. Apparently full of good-for-you stuff, too. I see the lunch lime bits ended up in the dinner water πŸ™‚

Knowing we were going to make panzanella for dinner, I suggested that we buy one of the wines from today’s Wine Mine tasting to have with dinner (among others we bought for random uses). This tasting was pretty much Adriatic, and we bought a couple of liter bottles of a Slovenian white. Tonight’s wine was “Bibich Riserva 6” – grapes babich, plavinia, lasin, which are “native to Dalmatia on Croatian coast of the Adriatic sea.” Clearly written by a native speaker of a Slavic language πŸ™‚ It was good with the meal, and especially went well with the panzanella – some real synergy there – but probably not going to be bought again since it’s $20 and not mind-blowing. But maybe one or two if we’re making panzanella again.

Lunch:

D sweetly went along with my suggestion that we drop in to Cheese Board after our farmers’ market and Post Office visits, buy a couple of cheeses (Fontina Valle d’Aosta, Roquefort), and indulge in a half light-bake pizza for lunch. The pizza was “pasilla” peppers (possibly actually poblanos?) and corn. I didn’t write down all the ingredients, unfortunately. Ooo, I think the green bits are cilantro. There was a half lime in the box, and we squeezed that onto the pizza after cooking at 400 in the toaster oven. This time, the crust didn’t really cook that well, and I wonder if the pizza was too “lightly” baked in the first step. Tasted good, though. D got out a radish from the farmers’ market (Happy Boy) to have on the side. We were about to run off to Wine Mine for their Saturday tasting, so did not have any wine for this weekend lunch.

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Hamburger; broccoli – 16 June 2017

D thought we should have hamburgers again, and have the yummy summer tomato jam that E made in September on them. We added some of the monster tomato, sliced, salted and peppered, and some romaine. Mayo for me, Mayo and mustard for D. Nothing unusual except the tomato jam, which was wonderful on the burger. D wanted to get buns he thought would be better than the La Brea light-bake ones, but that’s all he could find late in the afternoon. He ended up acknowledging that they were really quite fine hamburger rolls. We have two more in the freezer. The only drawback is how long it takes to heat up the oven. The burgers D mixed, and I’m sure he added Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and chopped scallion tops (since they wanted eating). Not sure about other additions? I mixed (skoodged) and shaped the burgers and fried them. Steamed the broccoli and tossed in butter, salt, and pepper as usual.

I decided we should have a bottle of 2010 Kirkland (Costco) Rioja from the cellar, but it did not have that “Rioja taste” that I was so happy with in the first vintage of this wine that we tried. Perfectly good wine, just not with that special taste I was hoping for.

Dessert:

I had noticed that last two of the rather flavorless black mission figs had softened up, and so I washed them and served for dessert. They were, indeed, must more tasty, but really, it’s not Peak Fig yet.

 

Lunch:

Writing this the 23rd, but I’m pretty sure this was a sandwich on Semifreddi Odessa Rye from the freezer, using the “Danke” German cheese I got at the Bowl a week or so before.

Also some of the monster tomato, and mayo and lettuce. D spread the remainder of the Laura Chenel Chevre from Costco onto the end of the rye loaf (still some slices frozen) and topped with pecans, which would have been great except that the chevre had a funny taste to it. I hate the way they are packaging this cheese now – in a bin instead of a log – it goes bad more quickly with all that surface area. Quitting buying this till they put it back in logs. D cooked up some blue lake green beans and we also had one of the excellent Clausen dill pickles from the fridge.

 

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Snacks for dinner at a fundraiser at Fieldwork Brewery – 15 June 2017

We attended a fundraiser for our new mayor, deciding in advance to buy food if the provided snacks were not enough for dinner. The little mini-tacos – beef, chicken, and fish – were very filling, though, and quite tasty, and the beers were good, too.

Having liked the hoppy beer R&E produced, I asked for “Hop & Glo” which I enjoyed. D chose a chocolate stout, and I had a taste and thought that was great, too. Later, I had a “cream ale” they call Churro – I think that’s the closer one in the blurry picture at left – which R pointed out tasted like cinnamon, like the referred-to dessert. I liked it, too. I asked for a half glass but the very busy server forgot that part. D&I, and separately E&R, walked the couple of miles home, in the early evening light. It was a very pleasant evening.

 

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Using up stuff in the fridge: ricotta and spreads; grilled spring onions; grilled prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with Cambozola – 14 June 2017

So, D is on a very useful kick of trying to empty the fridge of stuff that is outdated or otherwise gone bad. We figured out a couple of things to have, and he went to the Bowl and bought, along with the short list on the chalk board, an Acme Sweet Rustic Baguette to spread stuff on.

He opened the ricotta container and found blue stuff around the top, and a couple of dots on the cheese below. I scooped out a lot of cheese and dumped it in the city compost collection (a milk carton – also compostable here) and put the rest in one of our little bowls for dinner. D pulled out a jar of fig spread that I bought awhile ago at the Bowl after tasting it – seriously figgy! [Orchard Choice California Fig Spread, made with California Mission figs] – and a neat spiced tomato jam that E made in September. Later, he went back to the fridge for the ancient guava spread, and the tiny bit remaining in a jar of ginger spread by “Ginger People.” The ginger was too hard to cut into, so he is leaving it on the table overnight to see if it softens up. There’s not much left.

The figs he bought at the Bowl a couple of days ago were not happy figs –Β  unripe, and too early in the season – so we decided to see if they would be better cooked. I noted that there were two slices of prosciutto from Trader Joe’s left that we could wrap around the figs; and D suggested stuffing the figs with Cambozola (Wikipedia: “Cambozola is a cow’s milk cheese that is a combination in style of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola.”). I was loathe to do that b/c the cambo was so yummy by itself, but in fact, I used up very little of it stuffing four figs. I grilled the figs on medium, covered, 3 minutes on the first side, 2 on the second, and they were great. D started the grill and cooked the spring onions, olive oil coated, for something more than 5 minutes – as much as ten? – on the first side, and probably 5 on the second, while I added in the figs to the grill, so they’d finish about the same time. The figs were great! Really enjoyed them this way. We have done this plenty of times, but normally used quite ripe and happy figs. This was a good way to recover the premature ones. Onions also really good, as we learned from the previous two on Saturday. We got the fig idea having such a dish at the late Bistro Viola on San Pablo Ave, many, many years ago.

I thought the ricotta was delicious just spread on the baguette, but it also went well with a bit of fig jam added to it, or even a bit of the spiced tomato jam. I tried the tomato jam with the onion, but it wasn’t a great match.

We also tried the Costco (Kirkland) 2015 Carneros Pinot Noir that I bought last week. It was $9.99, so not expecting a fabulous wine, and didn’t get one. It had some good flavors there, but I didn’t like it enough to buy again.

Lunch:

We also had an Acme baguette for lunch, but this time it was two defrosted pieces of sourdough, which I made into sandwiches, using up the last of the Danke cheese, some romaine, and thin slices of that vast tomato from a previous diary. Mayo on both, seedy mustard on D’s. He bought an ear of corn when he went to the Bowl, and I suggested this would be a good time for it, about the same time he was discovering it in the fridge drawer and saying the same thing. He cut the kernels off and cooked them in butter with salt and pepper, but also he did this in the pan in which the carrots, with sweetened butter and oil, were reheated last night. It was really good, though D thinks he prefers the corn cooked just in olive oil, rather than in butter. Also a most excellent Clausen dill pickle. That was easy πŸ™‚

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Using up leftovers: chicken with rice; cooked carrots – 13 June 2017

D wants to use up all the myriad stuff in the fridge. We decided to mix the ~1/4 breast of chicken and the rice left over from the 11th, when we served the with onion/vinegar sauce and tarragon, and just to heat up the leftover carrots from the 12th, which were cooked in oil and butter forever (and I also added the leftover butter and oil from the scallion pan to the carrots before stowing them in the fridge). D did the cooking. He cooked some chopped red onion in canola oil, and added the rice, parsley, some butter, and, remarkably, a few drops of rose water, which I actually identified, and I thought which added a quite intriguing note to the dish. He just reheated the carrots. Probably turning them a bit more often would have been good, but anyway, they were delicious. He cut up one of the black mission figs he had bought at the Bowl but found they were not really good yet. So not a major flavor treat. We are going to stuff and broil the rest.

D bought an Acme sour baguette for his lunch (I was at a critical meeting at my former job) and we had bits of that for “sopping bread,” and then I froze two long bits for sandwiches. D got the Ti Point (Kirkland/Costco) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc out of the fridge. Not an exciting wine, but pleasing and highly drinkable, and impressively cheap at I think $6.99.

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Grilled chicken with tarragon; confits of carrots and scallions -12 June 2017

This is from a recipe by Georgeanne Brennan in Potager, one of our most excellent cookbooks. This is what I actually did. Peel and cut up 4 monster carrots (there were leftovers – 3 would do for two people) into 1/3 inch slices (recipe says 1/4″). Heat 1 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil till the butter melts, and toss the carrots in it, then turn the heat to very low cover, and cook 40 minutes. Turn occasionally. Clean and trim 3 bunches scallions (7 scallions were in each bunch – we ate them all) and cut into 1/4″ (whatever) slices. Heated a separate pan with butter and oil as above. This turned out to be more fat than necessary. The carrots cooked more than 40 minutes, the onions probably 20 or so. This worked well. The recipe says to start them at the same time, but really, the carrots should cook MUCH longer than the scallions. [About 15 minutes before the veggies would be done, I turned on the small oven with dinner plates in it, to about 200 degrees.] When the veggies are cooked, stir 1/2 Tbsp sugar into each pan.

Meanwhile, make a dressing for the chicken. For one Costco “breast fillet”, cut into two slabs, I used about 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/3 of 1/4 tsp salt and the same of pepper. I mooshed the two chicken slabs in this and left at room temp for a half hour or so. D grilled these on high till done. The scallions and carrots make a bed for the grilled chicken. It’s a yummy dish!

On Thursday at Costco I bought a bottle of McIlroy Chardonnay fromΒ  new vintage (2015) to see if it lived up to the 2014 wine (of which we have a pile in the cellar). No. Perfectly good wine, but it doesn’t have the magic taste that the 2014 did, which one of the winemakers (at Costco!) pointed out was similar to that of Chalk Hill’s chardonnay. The 2014 was, the 2015 is not. Alas. Glad I stocked up!

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Chicken with tarragon/vinegar onion sauce; rice; green beans – 11 June 2017

Hello computer.

When E & I went to Costco, I bought a pack of chicken breast “fillets” – which turns out to mean no tenders included – and D and I decided to leave one of the packets in the fridge rather than freeze them all. I used one of the chicken breasts in this dinner (adapted from Recipes from a French Herb Garden by Geraldine Holt) and the other is in the fridge for our next dinner, which will also use tarragon. I sliced the breast into three slabs, and salted and peppered them, then browned on both sides in about 1 Tbsp butter, in our large cast-iron frying pan. At this point, the recipe, which does not assume you have slabbed the chicken, says to cover and cook 10-12 minutes. Because of the thinness of the slices, I cooked only 5 minutes, but that, plus the time they spent in the warm oven while the sauce was cooked, made them a bit dry and tough. Anyway, the plates, plus a lunch-plate to hold the cooked chicken, were in the oven at about 200 degrees or less, and I moved the chicken to there, and added about another Tbsp butter and half a large onion, finely chopped/diced, to the pan and cooked about 5 minutes, till the onion was soft, then added 2 Tbsp each tarragon vinegar and red raspberry vinegar and cooked down a few minutes. Finally, I added about another 1/2 Tbsp butter (leaving the other 1/2 Tbsp for D to use on the beans, and then he didn’t use it up) I cooked 1 cup Thai jasmine rice in 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt, and spooned that onto the warmed plates, cut two of the chicken pieces into bite-sized bits and arranged over the rice, then topped with the sauce. Forgot it was supposed to have tarragon over the top (1 Tbsp for two) which D remembered partway through. So I added only perhaps 1/3 of the tarragon I had cut up, and the rest remains for the next dinner. Meanwhile, D cooked the green beans (blue lake) as usual, and added butter on top at the end. I had removed an end of last week’s Acme Sweet Batard from the freezer but not early enough, so I popped that in the oven with the warming plates for several minutes – not sure how many – and it ended up nicely crispy on the outside. Very pleasant.

I had brought up a “Bourgogne Passetoutgrain” [not strictly “Burgundy” but I’m not making a new tag for this!] (2014) last night as an alternative choice, and we had that tonight instead. It’s from Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot, and with those two designations together, it probably has more letters on the label than any other wine I’ve had πŸ˜‰ It cost $19 at The Wine Mine, and we’re pretty sure we bought it ‘on spec,’ rather than having tasted it. We should have opened it earlier, to be sure (D put it, at my request, into our rolly decanter) but still, not thrilled with it, particularly, and, especially given the price, won’t buy any more of it.

Lunch:

We had this beautiful – looking tomato with only the thinnest slice having been taken off the bottom to complete the hamburger dinner, and resolved to have cheese sandwiches with it – which was D’s original intention in buying it. This is odd, b/c D is usually pretty resistant to buying tomatoes that are not at their summer peak (except for sauces). But for his recent airplane flights, he decided to add tomato slices to moisten up his sandwiches b/c unable to use mayonnaise with no refrigeration available for the long wait till his meal. So now there is Precedent, and he is buying tomatoes for sandwiches. Moistness, they do nicely.

I defrosted four slices from a loaf of Semifreddi Odessa Rye that we bought a few months ago – for ham sandwiches I think – at the bakery outlet on Claremont that has since closed. We had lunch there, too, – likely the same trip – on the way home from Tilden Park. The rye bread must be a real survivor – it was still great. I planed some English Sharp Cheddar from the Bowl and added romaine and mayonnaise, plus Bowl seedy mustard to D’s, and the sandwiches were great. Scrubbed and split two carrots from yesterday’s Grand Lake farmers’ market (Happy Bow Farm) and that was lunch. Oh also we drank up the half-bottle of Verdicchio that we left when on our way to the Zoning Adjustment Board meeting.

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Grilled flatiron steak; boiled and fried potatoes; grilled spring onions; fresh carrots – 10 June 2017

D&R were at the Grand Lake market today and so I visited, and D&I decided to buy another flatiron steak from Prather Ranch. We’ve really liked the other two, and these are so small they aren’t even intimidatingly priced (this was just over $6, or $16/lb for .37 lb). Weber’s Real Grilling says just salt and pepper the steaks and grill a couple of minutes on a side. They’re really only 1/2″ thick at most. We’ve cooked these that simply twice now, and D wanted to try adding minced garlic, so he did that. The steaks were again excellent. He also grilled two of the four spring onions we got from Happy Boy at the market. He split the onions lengthwise and just left the green parts on, which made for a chaotically beautiful sight on the grill. I earlier boiled up the Yukon Gold potatoes we had, three of which seriously wanted eating (sprouty, a bit soft) and had to be peeled with a knife b/c they wouldn’t resist well enough for me to use a peeler. The other was fine, and I just washed it. Boiled these and left in a colander for quite a long time, so they were quite dry by the time I heated olive oil in the medium cast-iron frying pan and fried them up. Started with perhaps 1/3 of a yellow onion that was left in the fridge, then added the potatoes when the onion was soft. I cleaned up two carrots that we got at Happy Boy, which were really unnecessary once I realized we should have the onions, but there they were, all prepped, and we enjoyed them, too.

So – great dinner! Everything went well together, which was especially nice. We forgot about bread, which was fine b/c it really was unnecessary. The wine – I brought up two wines, this Greek one from a tasting long ago at Vintage Berkeley (of Greek wines) was $30, it says, and being from 2009 had the better claim on being used. Which is a good thing b/c it was excellent, and went very well with the meal. It’s from Domaine Karydas, and is from a protected designation, “Naoussa.”

We bought three new peaches at the market and had two left from the Bowl that were ready to eat, so we had one of those two for dessert. I noticed D had dumped the last six of the cherries (also from the Bowl) out and he explained they were on their way out and needed eating, so we added those to dessert.

 

Lunch:

As we do most visits, I bought an Arizmendi pizza on my way into the market for D’s & R’s & my lunch. This was a very good one (they’re all good) with fresh tomatoes, goat cheese, and herbs. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I forgot to take the picture till only a small bit of my last (second) slice was left, so it turned into a closeup.

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Hamburger; Brussels sprouts – 9 June 2017

I for some reason wanted a hamburger. Just like the occasional hamburger, I guess. So I decided to leave one of the packets of hamburger from Costco on the 8th in the fridge and we cooked it up tonight. We had two of these La Brea ciabatta rolls in the freezer that want 5-7 minutes in a 385 degree (385?? WTF?) oven, so I defrosted them. D bought a new, monster tomato but we had only the slightest bit off the bottom, and instead used up the older one. these are not “tomato” tomatoes at this time of year, just red things that are moist and help out a sandwich. D added chopped leftover scallions, Worcertershire sauce, salt, and pepper to the hamburger, and I mixed it by skoodging a bunch with my fingers, and then made the mix into square-ish patties. I fried them up. We added mayonnaise and ketchup and romaine, plus tomato slices, salted and peppered, and that was that. Burgers wanted a bit more salt, but otherwise were quite yummy. Thank you cow.

 

I washed, trimmed, and quartered all but one of the Brussels sprouts and D quartered the last one. This is b/c I managed to slice my finger when almost done. #)(%*&#. So I squeezed and then antibioticked and bandaged my finger and he finished the sprouts. Steamed them and then tossed in melted butter.

D suggested one of my Equia Riojas, since we have relatively few dinners that can stand up to such a forceful wine, so I went to the cellar ant picked one up. It’s a 2007, one of the ones we got from Costco, after learning about them and buying a case at Vintage Berkeley. That afaik was all 2005, and I just drank up the last one recently. Those were so “Rioja-tasting” – and that taste is so rare – that I decided to buy a case at VB. The Costco ones were not as dramatically wonderful, unfortunately (lots cheaper, though).

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