Friday, November 5, 2010

Should I just rename this blog "Eating Alone'? II

Very cutely, John expressed concern yesterday that because he'd be in Sitka doing a wine tasting tonight and not here to cook dinner for me, I'd eat poorly. He made a big meatloaf so there would be leftovers. I pointed out that usually when he was gone I made a nice meal for myself, laid it out decoratively, pulled wine from the underwear stash, took a photo of the whole affair, and in fact had a nice dinner.

So it was me and the dog at work early this morning, and through the day to the evening First Friday, a rousing event with a lovely show by a very talented young photographer, and hundreds through the door.

Home about 8 with the CSA box from Mat-Su which contained red chard!

Fed the patient, long-suffering dog. 

Put the "Hello Stranger" Genius mix on. 

Had a glass of the former house favorite, Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc, recently moved to a new distributor, so we will have to develop a new house favorite.

Diced up some little fingerling potatoes and a little red potato, some green onions.

Cleaned and sliced up the chard, a big tomato and minced a big healthy clove of garlic.

Melted a little butter and olive oil in a small saute pan and started the potatoes.

Melted a little butter and olive oil in another larger pan and started the chard stems.

Put some previously washed greens on my plate and sprinkled with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of Balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and pepper.

Tossed the potatoes, and the stems. Added green onions to the potatoes, and tossed to mix. Added the leaves to the stems and tossed to coat with oils. Covered the chard to steam a bit.

Sliced a couple of slices off the meat loaf, and put a pan on with a bit of butter to saute them.

Added the tomatoes to the chard, and tossed to coat with oil and juices. Covered for a couple of minutes.

Put the chard & tomato melange on the plate, top with the heated meatloaf slices, and add the sauteed potatoes.

Light the candles and pull the Carr's Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from the secret stash.
Sam Cooke - What a wonderful world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Should I just rename this blog "Eating Alone'?

So everyone is away, running. John is running a wine tasting in Sitka, Henry is running food at Zephyr, Ren is running the Klondike, and Coco is, oddly enough running up the hill. (Bad dog!)(OLD dog!)(you can't even WALK let alone RUN!! What is this about?)

Consequently I am home for dinner alone, and late. We have:
Lots of mushrooms
Thinly sliced boneless pork chops
plenty of organic veggies and a bunch of nectarines.
cooked rice (for the old dog)
Naturally, John being out of town, there is no wine in the house except in my secret wine stash.

Cleaned and sliced a leek, and began simmering it in some butter in a small saute pan.
Peeled and sliced a couple of ivory carrots (suddenly carrots come in blonde). Added them to the simmering leeks.
Sliced up a whole pile of mushrooms.
Put a dollop of butter (there will be cream later, so let's just not pretend we are on a diet here) in a saute pan, and smashed a clove of garlic and added it to flavor.
Removed the garlic, lightly salted, peppered, and floured two little chops, and put them in the hot butter to brown on both sides.
While that was happening, got out some of the lettuce conveniently washed and ready and put it on the plate. Sprinkled it with olive oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and coarse ground pepper.
Time to add the mushrooms to the chops, and look at that! a little Schmidt Sohne Riesling Kabinett to splash on top. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and add a goodly splash of heavy cream. Allow to simmer gently to cook the little chops through.
While that is happening, warm up some cooked rice in the microwave, slice up a pretty swell nectarine and arrange it in a little bowl.
Put the rice on the plate with the lettuce, arrange the chops on top and dress with the mushroom cream sauce. Put the carrots and leeks next to them and light the candles. 
Dig out a nice bottle from my secret stash - Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2008. My little wine app says it will be figgy, plum-y, raspberry, and violet. Sounds perfect. And good with sausage. Well, a pork chop in a riesling cream sauce will do quite nicely.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Roast Beef

Home alone, but trying to cook stuff that the various night owls and later morning risers can eat for midnight snack or brunch. Tonight I decided to roast off a little bottom round - makes a chef salad, good sandwiches (forgot to buy rye bread) and is just nice thinly sliced.

Got home about 6:30, turned the oven on to 450 to preheat and took the dog for a preprandial meander. Got back, salted and peppered the roast (2 1/2 pound) pretty thoroughly. Peeled a couiple of garlic cloves, and poked holes in the roast to embed the garlic in the meat. Heated a large skillet over high heat with olive oil and butter (somewhat of a mistake) and seared the roast on all sides until nicely browned.

While that was happening, sliced up 1/2 of a Walla Walla sweet onion fairly thickly, and cut about 2 cups of mushroom caps into quarters. It was necessary to clean the burnt butter out of the skillet before putting the onions and mushrooms in and dousing with cheap red wine, just a bit to cover the bottom of the pan a bit.

Put the skillet with meat resting on the vegetable bed into the oven and reduced the heat to 350.

Set out a plate with the last of the cleaned (a couple of nights ago)greens, added radish and carrot and croutons (also made a couple of nights ago). Set the timer for 30 minutes and went to finish folding the laundry.

30 minutes later, the roast looked done (slightly puffed up, a nice browned crispiness, and a skewer stuck in center came out vaguely warm.) Moved the roast to a platter to rest and (with a hot pad!) moved the skillet to the stovetop on high heat to reduce the meat and vegetable juices with a tablespoon of butter. Makes a nice sauce.

Dressed the salad with the feta/mint/marjoram vinaigrette from Deborah Madison's book (made that the other day too...), spooned the onions and mushrooms along side, and then thinly sliced the roast beef, perfectly done if I do say so myself, to lay over the top.

And I hope there will be some left for tomorrow's sandwiches!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Need Perfect Pommes Frites!

We've been lucky enough to get a healthy helping of halibut this spring, and I really want to finally try making halibut and chips. I love the french fries from Cafe Campagne in Seattle, does anyone have any recipes/tips on making them at home? What kind of slicer is the best for making frites? Merci.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brown Rice Salad and Fried Rice Hybrid

John's away for several days, so the frig is mine. Today it contained:
  • Washed salad greens
  • a little left over grilled NY steak
  • a little chunk of tofu
  • a dozen eggs
  • some veggies - a few celery stalks, a carrot stick, a clump of broccoli, green onions, a few mushrooms.
  • some cooked rice.
  • a nice organic apple.
  • no wine
Step 1) Pull a bottle of wine from the secret "John's away and there's no wine in the house" stash cleverly hidden in my underwear drawer, and start it chilling. (Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone, blanc)

Step 2) Set the table, and put the washed greens on the plate. Dress them lightly with olive oil and Sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.

Step 3) Slice up the apple, and arrange decoratively on a little plate.

Step 4) Slice the veggies, steak, cut the tofu into small chunks, and scramble an egg with just a bit of water.

Step 5) Heat a frying pan over high heat with a bit of butter. When bubbling and beginning to brown, pour in the egg, swirl, and fold it together with a fork to cook it through. Remove from the pan to a little plate.

Step 6) Add a tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan (which should be clean, BTW. If not, use a paper towel to clear the remnants of egg) and swirl until hot. Add the celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Toss to coat with oil and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli. Toss to coat and cook for 30 seconds. Add the steak. Toss etc. Sprinkle with light soy sauce and a splash of dry Sherry. Add the tofu. Toss and cook for 30 seconds, to warm through. Add the rice, and perhaps a bit more wine or soy if it seems to be sticking.

Step 7) Spoon the fried rice over the dressed lettuce, and sit down to eat. The combination of the tangy salad dressing with the slight salt of the soy is just great.

We used to use Fried Rice as an option for a quick, use whatever is in the frig meal when every one was hungry in a hurry. And the Brown Rice Salad is always a favorite. This combination works well.

Eating Alone is just a chance to show off my new orchid

Saturday, another long day fraught with peril: Fine Arts Scholarship Audition day.
It went well, considering.
a) It was pouring down rain, so no one regretted being indoors.
b) I stopped at Safeway on my way out to the University campus to pick up refreshments for the day and got distracted in the floral department by the lovely orchid display. The Refreshment Table needed something lovely to set the correct tone for the day. What about that very graceful, elongated, delicate Alceara Pacific Nova 'Pacific Heights'? Indeed, it charmed at least the charming Chinese accompanist who spent most of the day running up and down stairs between warm up rooms and the audition room (cleverly disguised as a sailboat repair and storage room, but that's another story - the arts are seriously under siege, folks). It was she that pointed out the bloom has a very clear little face.
Made it home just as John, jauntily attired in suit, pink shirt, and bow tie en route to the vaguely questionable Susan G Komen "Think Pink" fundraising wine tasting, was pulling out. So it was me and the dog and the leftovers in the frig: Roast chicken, steamed broccoli, oven fired potatoes, some lettuce, 1/2 a really good mango, and some strawberries. Hmm, there's an avocado about to go bad.
Step 1: make a fruit salad with the mango, strawberries, and an orange. Sprinkle with Chambord. Put it in a crystal bowl.
Step 2: Set the table. Place the new orchid in a nice cachepot in the center.
Step 3: Make a Chicken Potato salad with the broccoli, sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper.
Step 4: Wash lettuce and make a bed of greens, top with the Chicken Potato Salad, and garnish with avocado fans.
Had a glass of wine (Penfolds Chardonnay). I felt better. It all worked out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fiddlehead Cookbook Blog

So nice! A group of young Alaskan women are cooking their way through the Fiddlehead Cookbook this summer!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Greg's Benedict

The hubby has had a hankering for Eggs Benedict, and last weekend tried a recipe off the Internet, but forgot a key ingredient and it had triple the amount of lemon most recipes call for. Ahem.

So this Sunday he went with the Fiddlehead recipe, used crab, and although we were out of English muffins, Everything bagels were just fine. A yummy, sunny, Sunday morning breakfast!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter Dinner was at our house this year - a gathering of long-time friends and family, people we've enjoyed many a meal with and a couple of new faces, a few folks missing and missed, all dear to our hearts.
A special pleasure to pull out the crystal, polish the silver, and, since I forgot to get chocolate bunnies, to make little bunny napkin folds.....In anticipation (it was Sunday afternoon after all) I set the champagne flutes out.
We started out with lox that our neighbor makes, the requisite deviled eggs, and a lusciously runny cheese, the Mt. Townsend Creamery Cirrus. And, miracle of miracles, Scharffenberger bubbly.
We made a Jerry's Double-smoked ham, soaked overnight in water and then baked slowly for 4 hours and glazed with a Honey Mustard Bourbon glaze (thanks to our friend Elizabeth for sending some magnificent stout-hearted Bourbon from Bourbon country), accompanied by oven-roasted cauliflower and beets, vinaigrette potato salad, fabulously garlicky and lemony carrots rapé, and really flaky wonderful warm biscuits. The biscuit maker was embarrassed thinking they'd failed to rise and brought some store-bought challah - not even close. The biscuits were a hit. Followed by a delicious green salad dressed with mandarin oranges, nuts, and craisens in a light oil and vinegar dressing.
Wine flowed - Layer Cake Malbec, AN/2, Guigal Coates du Rhones, Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel. La Posta Cucina Blend, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Goats du Roam Rosé. We also enjoyed a slightly effervescent "100% Good" Elderflower Pressé.
Dessert was fabulous - a coconut and lime cheesecake with whipped cream, I'm hoping Joan will share the recipe. We have one non-cheesecake eater in the crowd, and happened to have some little oranges that needed to be used, so I made some Ambrosia out of them. A friend recently sent us the new Edna Lewis Southern Cooking cookbook, and I used her recipe. On the facing page was a recipe for Glazed Strawberries - you cook a sugar syrup to 300°F, then dip fresh (dry) strawberries in it creating a little crystal sugar glaze on them - really quite delightful.
The light-weights peeled off about this time, but the rest of us finished the evening with a jolly round of Apples to Apples.
It is spring, and we are truly lucky and well-blessed. So many reasons to be thankful.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home alone

Fog in Juneau prevented John from making it home tonight - we had planned to actually go out to dinner! So I stopped at the grocery store late, picked up some frozen cocktail shrimp (fondly recalling the coffee can size we used to get from Petersburg...).
Boiled up some capellini, sauteed leeks and garlic in butter, added mushrooms, some snow peas, tossed it a bit, added a dollop of white wine (that would be the lovely and drinkable Yalumba Viognier), let that come to a boil, then reduced to a simmer, added the shrimp to heat through.
Plated it all up with a tossed green salad, and a side of a really good mango, strawberries, and navel oranges. And finished the lovely and drinkable Yalumba Viognier.
John sent a text to say he was watching a really good NBA game. How nice for him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Remains of the Day

Got to spend time at home this weekend, so went all out: Made a batch of granola, made bread. John marinated sliced beef for beef teriyaki then went of to a wine training seminar (tough work sometimes) so I sliced up veggies, cleaned the acre of real estate off the Romaine, and made roasted turnips.
It was a lovely dinner of beef teriyaki on brown rice (shades of the Fiddlehead), turnips roasted with rosemary and bay, green salad with grapefruit and onion vinaigrette, fresh honey butter oatmeal bread (double shades of the Fiddlehead) crispy apples and Veramonte SB.
Then we watched Helvetica, a fascinating movie about the font. Who knew? Really - if you can, watch it. Nancy

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just like old times

Up early to bake:
A quiche Lorraine for the birthday brunch today, and a rustic apple tart for dinner's dessert, all before 7 am.
Not sure that schedule agrees with me anymore, if it ever did.
The tart used the left over pie crust from the quiche, involved sautéing sliced apples in some butter with a bit of sugar until lightly browned and then putting them on the crust, folding over and baking for about 30 minutes, then sprinking with a bit of brown sugar as it comes out of the oven. Got the recipe from Bistro Cooking, a nice little book of French recipes by Patricia Wells.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thanks, Julia Child

So, I'm probably the last foodie I know to see "Julie and Julia," and we watched it last night, after finally thawing out from the Polar Bear Dip at Auke Rec, my first. It really lit a fire under the hubby, who is, as we speak, carmelizing onions for French Onion Soup. (Fiddlehead recipe, not Julia's) Speaking of the Fiddlehead Cookbook, I sent a copy to our exchange student's family in Germany, and Evi L. of Gerlingen is making an entire meal from it for friends for dinner tonight. We'll keep you posted, or maybe get her on the blog. She loves Alaskan seafood and Italian cooking, so will have some great thoughts I bet. Happy New Year!