Friday, May 30, 2008

Late Suppers

So last night, Debi wasn't going to get home till late, so we made up a dish from one of the recipe sheets that arrive with the "box".
So we enjoyed Spinach-ricotta-feta Griddle Cakes. Not as easy as we would have liked, but very tasty. Lots of ricotta gave them a softer texture, but the outside sealed up very well, brown and crisp.
With Nicolas Harnoncourt directing early Mozart, a Sidecar Cocktail to start with, and a light lager, Rolling Rock, with the cakes, all was pretty good.
Next time? Add a small salad, maybe some cut tomatoes, and to drink, maybe a fruity pinot gris or a Vouvray. A more classical French luncheon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Picnics in the parking lot

The sunny weather continued yesterday and so we sent out the call: Hotdogs in the JACC parking lot at noonish! Members of the original Parking Lot Picnic Team, Cathy Thomas (thankfully able to bring her table top grill, since the one I bought wasn't put together yet and proved a challenge for the three capable folks trying to assemble it quickly) and Helena Fagen turned up, Andy Kline and Jeff Brown drove all the way from KTOO to the JACC backyard lot in Andy's hot red Miata convertible, top down of course, Kari and Karen set the table and chairs up, Leonard came, Jeanine and Christina, Madeleine arrived, Albert joined in, Karen's husband Alan and their dog Maple came, Jeff's daughter Callie showed up with her yearbook (last day of school today!) and a friend, Rosemarie came, Coco joined us. For a spontaneous event it was OK! We had Alaska Reindeer sausages, ballpark franks (with sauerkraut!), tofu burgers, chicken dogs, potato salad, chips, more chips, salsa, Dove Bar mini ice creams, rum balls, chocolates, blood orange soda, cookies, mini-donuts, watermelon.

We all felt very Continental sitting under the tree around the table chatting and eating.

Agreed, we need a flag to run up the pole when it's Picnic Day, because these days can't be counted on and they really have to be pretty impromptu. So: Sunny Day? head over to 350 Whittier around noon....the grills are standing by!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Negronis & Salad & Rock Slides

John went to Argentina on a business trip and was introduced to the Negroni, a cocktail made of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, stirred with ice and served with an orange slice in a nice big Martini glass. Varying reports from "I hate Campari" to "What is that awful taste" to "Count Negroni has changed my life."

Juneau is enjoying spectacular weather this past couple of days, so yesterday John and I tried our hand at concocting some Negronis and sat out on the deck enjoying the evening prior to the Hot Tuna concert. Refreshing they were (the Negronis, that is). At the time I thought they would benefit from a bit of ice and perhaps would be good with soda....and indeed, cleaning the bar this morning I found the old Mr. Boston's and lo and behold, Negronis come straight up in old fashioned glasses or in high balls, over ice with soda. I have to say, Gin & tonic is all very well and good, but I think I've found a new summer favorite.

Today John has been abed with some horrible cold, and I've been cleaning the house in anticipation of Ren coming home, so about cocktail hour, I tried the club soda version, sat out with Coco on the deck watching the world go by, quite happily I must say. Roused myself to go make a little supper for Henry and myself:
Breaded and sauteed chicken breasts with a light lemon butter, with a spinach, red onion, hardboiled egg, and marinated fresh mushroom salad. Of course some fresh fruit (the rest of the orange, some kiwi, and mango).

Henry noticed the fresh bottle of gin on the counter and got interested, so he had a Negroni soda version too. I think he liked it. I had a little white wine (Norton Torrontes) to round it out, and finished with a dish of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips and walnuts.

John managed to join us for a little bowl of avgolemono soup, which exhausted him and he went straight back to bed.

Not to worry about the hillside sloughing off in our back yard last night about 4:20 am, blocking the Dan Moller trail and looking like impending doom yet to come. We lived in the avalanche zone for years! How ironic that now we are in the path of a hillside failure.

Another Negroni? If we look out over the water, we won't notice the hill or lack thereof.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Day.

Sunday, weather-wise, was OK, in fact down-right not bad for Juneau. I spent the day with a rake and some pruning shears uncovering the garden and fluffing it up. Lost the mint, lost a lot of primroses, lost the dicentra. All the more reason to head to the garden store for provisions. Meanwhile, John prepared a fabulous Mother's Day dinner, with Nicholas Feuillatte in a chilled flute to start, then Charlene's Salad (fry up some bacon in olive oil with garlic and walnuts, and pour over romaine that has chevre liberally sprinkled on it and lemon juice and toss it all vigorously and sit right down immediately to eat it) then grilled Filet Mignon and some fresh veggies. The red wine was excellent, Redemption Zinfandel. Then we called Thad and Lynn to come up for ice cream with blackberries and chocolate sauce.

Looking forward to having the kids back home soon.

What not to move from Juneau

Saturday, an action-packed day, including presenting the case before the city Finance Committee for funding the Arts Council, an activity guaranteed to cause a gag-reflex, and Birthday dinner! Fresh winter king salmon, grilled, with a lovely white wine, and then off to the Symphony's Artful Instrument Dessert Auction, where we saved ourselves about $1000 by not being the winning bidders on a fabulously painted violin done by local iconographer Charles Rohrbacher, and where, perhaps it was the wine, but I had fun dancing, until my dancing partner insisted on going home.

So the one reason to stay in Juneau (or at least Alaska): Fresh Winter King Salmon. Where else could we get such fish?

(to the right: Jim Fowler's Demonic Cello. We didn't win that one either)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dinner with friends

Monday was a big hoopdeedoo for the Alaska Brewery's new package of their Alaskan Amber beer and half the town turned out. Luckily, we ran into our friends Candy and Dick, and while trying to figure out when would be a good evening to go to dinner at their house, realized RIGHT THEN would be a good evening to go to dinner at their house. We downed the beers (excellent IPA) and ran home to pick up some wine and then went over to conserve electricity by having BBQ'd pork tenderloin in the twilight at their house with their daughter Amanda.(The photo is a bit blurry due to the dimness, I am sure, rather than the beers.)

Candy made a gingery marinade/sauce for the perfectly done pork, a wonderful spinach salad with strawberries and balsamic vinegar and goat cheese pronounced better than the one at Island Pub, which is good but can't hold a candle to Candy's. We chatted into the evening, concluding that Rotary is worth the bother when you get to meet such nice people through the organization. (Candy was Rotary president the same year as John and we have become friends through that connection.)

"Incredibly relaxing and nothing better than good dinner among friends with polite and easy conversation, although I prefer not knowing that someone is wetting their pants every time I send them an email" said John.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


We've been holding "Rent Parties" to raise some money to help with the monthly expenses of running the new arts center. A local group donates a gig, folks come after the First Friday Gallery Walks, pay-as-you-can, and its a party. We've added having a local bar come and set up, and decided we need to add food. Happened to be talking with the person in Juneau most well-known for her tamales, and suggested she do something like tamales. She said not enough time to do that, but what about this new Mexican healthy food called Bionicos: fresh fruit with a creamy sauce and grains on top, very delicious. Sure!

They came in with an array of beautiful fruits, the special creamy sauce, and a variety of toppings: Thinly sliced strawberried, apples, bananas, grapes, pineapple, all fresh and artfully arranged in a little boat with a cocktail parasol on top. You pick your toppings: the cream, coconut, granola, almonds, m&ms (of course). So good! So refreshing!

They hope to go into business here, and I hope they make it. Bionicos are my new fave.

Cooking in the Dark

John and I flew home from Paris on the "milk run" and while on the ground in Ketchikan, my trusty iPhone picked up a signal from somewhere with the news that avalanches had taken down four of the towers that carry power to Juneau from a dam a bit south of town. This is bad news, as this is the primary power source for the community. We flew on through an incredible downfall of about 8 inches of snow into Juneau, and got home to learn that power costs would escalate to 500% until they can get the lines and towers rebuilt, at least three months. Yikes, we heat with electricity.

Hmm. Barbecue sounds good. Chinese food in the wok is fast and uses heat only briefly. Shared dinners, only one family's kitchen needs to be used. We don't need the extra frig in the garage, and room temperatures of 60° are quite comfortable. Split some wood, have a woodfire. Candlelight dinners, and directly to bed under the down comforter. Luckily, the days are getting longer and we have very large (inefficient for heat purposes) windows that let in a lot of light. Turn off, unplug. Hang the clothes out to dry (no clothes line or clothes pins left in town!) $2000/month will be a stretch!

Last night, I got home well past natural light, from a wonderful "Rent Party" at the JACC, where the $2000/month is really going to hurt, and so cooked up a little supper in the dark. Sauteed polenta with mozarella cheese melted over it, topped with a sauté of green onions, garlic, mushrooms, fresh basil, tiny tomatoes, and a good grinding of black pepper. Candlelight, and computer screen glow. A little wine would have been nice, but I forgot to pick some up.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Last Lunch

Ren babysits for a charming little boy near her home in the 17th. Monday evening, she was to take care of him a bit, and then we were going to have dinner, so John went along and had aperitifs in a cafe around the corner. Moseying around the neighborhood waiting for her, he found a restaurant that looked sleek and elegant and like a place we needed to try, so the next day, our last in Paris, we trundled off in that direction. Found it, and indeed it looked sleek and elegant, but alas, no one seemed to be eating in it. Bad sign. We had noticed a little hole in the wall sort of place a block or so back, so went back. Full of folks, smelled great. In we went. Decor a bit like the Silverbow here: a little of this and a little of that on the walls. Aha! named Le Puce (the flea market). The menu was a little obscure for us, unusual, because usually we are good in the culinary French dept. The people at the table next to us were served a terrific looking & smelling salad, so Ren had whatever they had. John ordered a salad of roasted peppers and stuff, and just for me, also ordered a mushroom dish. I ordered roulades of courgette with mixture of chevre and herbs, actually an appetizer so the waitress doubled the order. A nice white wine. Oh wow! The roulades were delicate and delicious, the salad phenomenal, but the MUSHROOMS! Served in a basket made of melted Parmesan cheese, lightly breaded perhaps, and sauteed up, to die for. If you are going, we'll try to find the address.

Lunch and Balls

The French eat these swell sandwiches, which would never fly over here, for lunch: About a foot long piece of great baguette, split open with a single layer of some addition like ham or cheese, or roast chicken. You see folks munching them on the metro, in the parks, as they walk along. Alec and Sharon had their favorite place, le Boulangépicier, an Alain Ducasse eatery. We stopped there for lunch one day, and bread another, it was so good. We grabbed sandwiches at another boulangerie, I don't recall the name, one of Ren's faves I think, en route to the Tour Eiffel, and ate along the Seine. About this time, Ren expounded at length on how she had noticed that France is full of balls. And tits. The dogs all have their balls, the statues all have balls, or if they are females, they all have tits. We walked along noticing the balls.