First Farmers Market

…of the Season here in Reno  One of the best days of the year.

Marcus, Eric, Brian and families have a swell app for our smart phones called *What’s App?* It allows us to text and send pictures to one another internationally. Of course it’s free.

In the middle of the night last night, Carol’s and my phones dinged. The next morning we read and C responded while I had a walk….

BRIAN, FRANCE
Know what I love even more than my iPhone? My rotisserie oven. Tonight it’s got a guinea hen in it.
CAROL RENO
Look out Sparks… here comes another part for the grill.
CAROL RENO
Off to the first Farmers Mkt
ERIC
Let me know what stuff they have. In ME there’s not much more than salad greens & the very beginning of asparagus.
CAROL
Since local means 100 miles, we get lots from central CA, hope for corn, green beans and artichokes.
ERIC
Love 2 kno wht’s from eNVy

JunFM_rotisserie

Brian sent a picture of his rotisserie oven and the unfortunate Guinea hen

JunFM_at-end

Carol at the last booth in the row. Is that Bernie???

JunFM_Dwelley-Brentwood1

Inside, we got 4 variaities of green beans: yellow, green, Romano and haricot vert. We passed on the Brentwood corn

JunFM_Lattin-Farm2

Lattin Farm, Fernley NV

JunFM_WixReno

Wix Farm, Reno. Don’t remember this one before.

JunFM_our-haul

Our haul. Pretty slim pickin’s, but each week we’ll see more and more and more.

Dinner Last Night

din_cover

Canyon Vista Magazine is new to our community and striving to gain a strong foothold for their advertisers. To this end, about 20 folks from Sierra Canyon were invited to the Napa Sonoma Grocery — their third event at a featured local restaurant — for a meal and introduction to selected advertisers.

We had visited Napa Sonoma the summer of our first year in Reno, looking for an excellent cheese shop; what we found at the time was a specialty grocer with wine, jams, olive oil, sauces, and the like and lots of baskets including gift baskets. They still have the groceries and baskets, but have evolved into a full service restaurant and substantial wine shop.

We entered the wine shop part of the operation, with a wall of wine, a marble bar spread with an antipasti buffet, and enough tables and chairs for our group. We found only two unoccupied tables — we got there exactly at five o’clock, the appointed hour — both were high tables for four… we selected one and were joined by Jane, from London and her husband Ike, the serviceman who swept her away to America.

My serving of antipasti, a few cheeses, prosciutto, watermelon, cucumber and artichokes, accompanied by Pomegranate Martinis. Yum.

A wine list for the evening with the bottle price, lay on the small round table. Though the wines were complimentary along with all of the food, this gave us an idea of the wine store prices — very reasonable. Dinner menus were also available for our perusal.

[NOTE: with the smallish table and high chairs I wasn’t able to step or scoot back a bit to take pictures, so we have rather cramped close-ups.}
While enjoying the antipasti, we were introduced to some community businessmen and women (advertisers), a dentist, an oriental rug washer (we talked with him and got his card, our rug is long overdue for a cleaning), an investment advisor — Bob, brother of Steve, with whom we consulted about our retirement plans at MC2.

 

The first course was avocado stuffed with a salad of tiny shrimp, paired with Albarino, perfectly chilled and refreshing.

din_spinach-salad

Spinach salad with roasted pear slices and candied walnuts followed, paired with Chardonnay.

 

The next course was chili, made from prime rib scraps, oh my, and perfectly spiced to go with a Sangiovese.

We thought that would probably be followed by dessert… but nooooo… out came a beef short rib, tender enough to cut with a fork, rich and deserving a fine Merlot.

What a great evening. Plenty of good food and wine, and we found some local businesses of interest who are supporting our free community magazine. It was nice to meet these folks in person.

1367 Bean Vegetable Soup TTT

another weather event, sorry to bore you, but I can’t get over how pretty it is

The above photo was a few days ago, a fluffy bunch of stuff in two nights: 4″ then 5″ on top of that.  As you can see, the sun is out and predicted to be so for the near future, so we decided to wait and let nature take its course. In the meantime, it seemed fitting to make a batch of my favorite soup.

pretty nice stuff, all available all winter

The name is derived from 1367 Union, where I spent days and months in that kitchen adjusting Ferry Plaza Farmers Market ingredients until this soup was just right. [Written AS MEASURED AND COOKED SEPT 2012]
Cook your beans in a clay pot or by another method, with a miripoix.
Store in the refrigerator in their liquor until you’re ready to use them.

On soup day:
PREP
Peel and cube 3 medium potatoes [300g] and reserve in cold water to cover.
Chop two slices of bacon in about 1/2 inch pieces. [I use thick pepper bacon from the meatcase at my supermarket.]
COOK
Start the bacon in a bit of olive oil in the Green Le Creuset pot until it has rendered most of its fat. [At the same time, brown two fresh Italian sausages, if you’re using them.] Add a rough chopped onion and sauté until crisp tender. Add a two-2-finger-pinch salt/pepper mix. Add garlic to taste and cook until fragrant.
Add about an inch of celery [100g] chopped from the top of your head, 3 medium carrots [100g], sliced, potatoes and their soaking potato water to your pot. Add a two-2-finger-pinch salt/pepper mix and stir.
Add broth — if needed — to barely cover. Add a bit of dried thyme and oregano.
Cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Add half of a medium cabbage, chopped or sliced. Add cooked meat (ham, sausage if using) here, if you want.
Add 2 cups beans and their liquor.
Add enough stock to make it soupy.
Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

this soup is brothy with the vegetables in chunks to allow each to show off its taste and texture… and there are no whimpy little vegetables such as corn or peas to get in the way

The deal is, when you use fresh ingredients in suitable proportion and cook with care, the result can’t be bad.

COOKS NOTES

Cooked 2.16 — RG Alubia Blanca, young, tiny, tight red cabbage, two links of LO grilled Merguez sausage.
Cooked 1.16 — Iacopi Italian Butter Beans. Browned 2 links Basque Chorizo sausage with the bacon, cut in thirds, removed and then “sauteed “ the onions in that liquid. Lends a bitchin’ richness to the soup. Used home made *enhanced* turkey stock. Red cabbage. Did not use bean liquor ‘cause C is afraid of beans. Most Yummy.
Cooked 11.14 — RG Yellow Eye beans 2C+, 3C homemade beef broth, pinch of oregano, t of thyme. YUM
Cooked 6.14 — Cassolet beans RG, LO cooked beet greens: shredded [‘cause I had no cabbage], redskin potatoes, chicken broth… no meat except the bacon used to cook the LO greens and used to cook this dish. Good anyway.
Cooked 11.12 — Inspired by “Crispy Potatoes” brought home from CAMPO. Otherwise, did the regular recipe, but didn’t have any cabbage, pity. Not bad, but better with fresh potatoes and cabbage.
Cooked 10.12 — Had about 1 1/2 cups LO Italian Butter beans that weren’t cooked to creamy softness. Started with 2 slices of bacon in a bit of olive oil, cooked and removed bacon. Added 1/2 chopped onion, some garlic, 1 1/2 sliced slender carrot, sliced stalks of a fennel bulb, three whacks of celery, one potato cut into matchsticks, the beans and their juice and some chicken stock. Cooked 12 minutes. Pureed with immersion blender. Pretty good, beans still a little grainy.
Cooked 9.12 — Checked quantities and method and re-wrote recipe — see original on page 3
Cooked 7.12 — about 3 cups Bobs Bountiful Black Beans… about 1/2 pound slab bacon very thick sliced… DIS is good, still.
Cooked 4.19.12 — With shaved Fatted Calf Picnic ham + plus some of Brian’s Polish sausage… Dexter beef stock. C took 2nds
Cooked 3.28.12 —
Cooked 9.10 – Iacopi Italian Butter Beans, spring onions, with cabbage… added 1C raw CP raw tomato sauce at end… otherwise as written. Cooked in Joyce Chen Wok. Still good. C scarfed and took LO for tomorrow lunch.
Cooked 5.10 – Iacopi Italian Butter Beans, spring onions, green garlic, with cabbage… otherwise as written. Cooked in Wendell Wok. Still good.
Cooked 3.10 – regular way. Iacopi Italian Butter Beans, about 1 1/2C, 1 potato, 2 slender carrots, about 1/3 head small savoy cabbage. In calphalon Windsor pan. YUM This just got better and better as I ate it over days in two-cup portions. YUM YUM

Cooked 2.10 w LO Super Bowl vegetables: carrots, romanesco, fennel, green beans, baby zucchini, red and yellow bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, celery, Tokyo turnips. Bacon, spring onions and garlic as directed. No cabbage. Yes potatoes. About 3 cups water, 3 cups chicken stock, 1-cup turkey stock. Cooked in Joyce Chen clay pot.
Cooked 1.10 – In Wendell wok with spring onions and the other stuff, plus cabbage… eye of goat beans that had been cooked with a ham hock.

NOTE: This is very similar to simply recipes.com Minestrone except that Minestrone has zucchini, parsley and tomatoes. Other minestrone has green beans and spinach, as well. So its really not very similar at all.

Snow EGG

the snow egg

Yesterday morning, I sent pictures to my sons and sibs of the Big Green Egg covered with snow.

well begun is half done…

ready to rock and roll…

“Still, chances are we’ll be grilling by dinnertime…”

Eric challenged that big time. Perhaps he’s jealous… this year we got snow before they did in Maine.

In any case, we went shopping in the afternoon — sunny and high 30’s by then — and got a piece of swordfish for the grill. I wanted something simple and easy. So about 4pm, while still light, I readied and cleaned the Big Green Egg — I was afraid that the lid would freeze shut or the cast iron grate would freeze to its support. No and no. Everything’s cool, in a manner of speaking.

loaded while still daylight

I wouldn’t cook until six, or so, but I wanted to be prepared since it will be plenty dark by then. I got out my recipes for grilling fish steak. I have recipes for Grouper and Salmon, Swordfish will be much the same.

EZ to light, cold but no wind

fish done on one side, just turned

Swordfish
My steak, about an inch thick or less on December 11, under 30° outside and snow swept aside. EGG don’t care, but its uncomfortable for my own hands. Luckily, with swordfish, it’s a timing thing. The grill is only a step outside my kitchen door so I can step inside for most of the cooking time. A nice 350° fire, porcelain grate, seven minutes on the first side, check temps at about 4 minutes of the second side, not yet… temps at 6 minutes, perfect., coming past 140° Close down everything, get your warm platter from inside, plate the fish and take it in. Yum.

served with glazed carrots and a swell salad of endive, avocado and pear

I have other stuff stocked up to grill, but I think I’ll do it with twmps at least above 40.

the peavines

The next morning was lovely… albeit 20°. We’re looking at the Peavine mountain range to the north of us.

T T T

Tasty
Tried
True

In these days of the internet and skaty-eight-b’zillion recipe blogs and sites, what’s a home cook and sometime blogger to do?

I like and trust the “old” recipes and believe that anything from the internet is untrustworthy unless it comes from a site with an editor (Epicurious, NYT, etc). Blog and magazine recipes tend to involve twists and turns and sauces and rubs, etc (*chicken wings 21 ways*) I respect and revere real cookbook authors/writers — James Beard, Madher Jaffrey, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Martha Stewart, and so on — many of my favorite recipes come from them. That said, there are new, innovative writers and recipes; but that’s another story.

And so… (drumroll)
These are the first of a number of recipes that I have cooked lately and have decided are good-to-go, as is. They are worthy of bearing the appellation T T T [Tasty Tried and True]. They may or may not have appeared on *eats…* but they have been hanging around my recipe files for some time.

That doesn’t mean I won’t alter a recipe somewhat as I cook depending on what I have on hand or my mood or the weather or whatever, but if I want — and I usually do in this day and age — I can cook them straight, flat, as written.

In most cases, they came from somewhere — a book, magazine, the TV, newspaper or my head — and have been cooked and adjusted and re-written until Carol and I love ‘em.

and another T: Toss

I’ve recently posted a couple:
K-Paul’s Cajun Meatloaf TTT
The Perfect Steak TTT

More are to come:
Grilled Chicken Thighs
Bourbon Baked Beans
Fish Chowder
Bi-Rite beans n chard
cuban black beans
Basic Cooked Rice
my bean vegetable soup
Cajun Catfish
Beer Butt Chicken
and more…

K-PAUL’S CAJUN MEAT LOAF ttt

Ironically, we got news of Chef Paul Prudhomme’s death at age 75 as I was writing this. RIP

I’ve been cooking this dish since we received K-Paul’s Cookbook as a gift in 1984. It was written to be mixed by hand and baked in the oven. I have cooked it hand mixed, using the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and on every kind of grill, including — most recently — the Big Green Egg.

 

 

 

K-PAUL’S CAJUN MEAT LOAF
FULL RECIPE Rewritten *Marc’s way* 8.09
Note: I’ve substituted sour cream, yogurt, or condensed milk, of necessity, but evaporated milk is best.

Recipe for 1 1/2# ground beef, 1/2# ground pork, 2 eggs, 1 C breadcrumbs

Spice mix
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Combine in a small bowl and set aside.

Vegetables
3/4 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C finely chopped celery
1/2 C finely chopped green pepper
1/4 C finely chopped scallions
2 tsp minced garlic
Combine in a small bowl and set aside.

Preparation
Melt 4 Tbsp butter in the Le Creuset red pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and spice mix. Stir to mix thoroughly until mixture begins to bubble. Add 1 Tbsp Tabasco, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Saute till mixture starts sticking excessively, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in 1/2 C evaporated milk (see note), 1/2 C ketchup. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Remove the bay leaves.

formed and waiting for fire to peak…

Mix by hand = Break 2 large eggs into a big bowl and lightly beat. Toss in the ground beef and pork a big pinch at a time. Add the cooled cooked vegetable mixture and 1 C breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. Do not overhandle.

Mix with KitchenAid = Break 2 large eggs into the mixer bowl and lightly beat. Toss in the ground beef and pork a big pinch at a time. Add the cooked vegetable mixture and 1 C breadcrumbs. Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer. Turn to SPEED 2 and mix for one minute.
Transfer to the small glass (6”x 10”) ungreased baking dish and shape the mixture into a loaf that is clear of the sides of the dish.

loaf on the Big Green Egg

COOK
For the Oven:
Fan bake uncovered at 350° for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400° and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer to an internal temperature of 150°F.
For the Big Green Egg:
Set up the EGG for indirect grilling with platesetter – legs up – and porcelain grid.
Preheat to 350°F. Place baking dish on the grid and close lid. Bake uncovered at 350° for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400° and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer to an internal temperature of 150°F.
For a Charcoal or Gas Grill:
Cook over an indirect fire on a covered grille for about 50 minutes.

loaf on kitchen counter with scalloped potatoes

It’s better to overcook than undercook this dish, if you’re not sure. Serves 6.

Some Cooks Notes

Cooked 10.2015 — DIS is Good. Always. For Brian and Natasza, stand mixer and Big Green Egg. As ever, predictably good, though C thinks its too spicy. (I think its an age thing — she’s also way more sensitive to onion vapors — back in the day, she would beg for me to cook it..)

Cooked 8.2013 — Substituted a shallot for scallions. Used stand mixer. Cooked on Big Green Egg. Used same temps as for oven baking; platesetter legs up, grate on that, baking dish on grate. Just as good as always.

Cooked 8.2010 – Using Mariquita Dexter ground beef, and stand mixer… Wrapped meatloaf with caul fat. Seemed more dense than usual, and darker colored.

what we have here is a bare-ass meatloaf with ketchup sandwich on English muffin

Jerusalem 1989 –K-PAUL’S CAJUN MEAT LOAF
This is oh so wonderful, from the making to the cooking smells to the eating of the last meatloaf sandwich on white bread with ketchup, days later. In Jerusalem, I always made a half-recipe, because that’s what fit in the oven.

Sassy Brassica

I know, it’s a stupid title, but it accurately evokes the spirit and delivery of this “instant classic” way to treat cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and their cousins. It originates with David Chang and Momofuku as an asian-y take on serving cauliflower which is NOT a traditional or widely grown vegetable in Asian cooking. This, from the Momofuku Cookbook, is the Creation Story:

This is one of the best Ssäm Bar dishes — a staple there since the late-night days and and fine way to dispatch either cauliflower or Brussels sprouts in season.

There’s not much of a story to it: we had a deep fryer, we had vegetables in season that we needed to cook, we had Tien‘s fish sauce vinaigrette on hand, and we were looking for a way to use boondi, a fried chickpeas snack used in Indian cooking that Tien brought with him from his days working for Gray Kunz. They all found each other, and the results were awesome. Sometimes it’s just that easy.

Later we swapped out boondi for puffed rice — which is what Rice Krispies are — seasoned with shichimi togarashi.

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