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eG Food Blog: mgaretz (2011)

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#31 Hassouni

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:12 PM

That is the reddest salmon I've ever seen! Do you know if it was dyed?


Also I must confess my envy that in November you still have peppers and similar things fresh from the local farm. Here in the frozen east, summer vegetable weather seems like ages ago.

#32 mgaretz

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

That is the reddest salmon I've ever seen! Do you know if it was dyed?


Also I must confess my envy that in November you still have peppers and similar things fresh from the local farm. Here in the frozen east, summer vegetable weather seems like ages ago.


I don't think the salmon was dyed. I know their farm-raised salmon is dyed, but I don't think the wild-caught is.

Well it got down to 34f the other night and the farmer said that was the end of the tomatoes, but the peppers survived.

#33 mgaretz

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:36 AM

How about a tour of my kitchen and cooking gadgets?

Here's a couple of shots of the kitchen so you get a general idea of the layout and size:

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Facing left.

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Facing right.

Here is closeup of the appliance counter:

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Left to right there's my FoodSaver vacuum sealer (up against the side wall), a Cuisinart 4 slice toaster, K-cup spinner, the Cuisinart K-Cup coffee brewer, KitchenAid stand mixer, Cuisinart 16 cup food processor and a BlendTec blender. I'm not very happy with the food processor, but I like everything else.

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Here's my latest toy - a Breville Smart Oven. I really like it. In front is my OXO kitchen scale. The display pulls out so you can see the weight when using a bigger container.

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My stove and microwave, flanked on the right by the electic kettle and the ever present collection of bottles (three kinds of oils - peanut, EVOO and canola, balsamic and cider vinegars, hoisin sauce, etc.).

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My SousVide Supreme. It currently lives on the dining room table and gets moved into the kitchen when in use. I like to use it next to the sink becuase it's easier to fill and dump the water that way, but it can't live there!

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Most of my All-Clad pots and pans. My favorite is the D5 4 qt sauté-simmer pan. It, and the 4 qt suace pan, get the most use.

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Here's my pantry "extension" that lives in the breakfast room. To the right are some more pots and pans, below you can't see my rice cooker, 6 qt french braiser, and my All-Clad slow cooker. On the middle shelf to the left you can see a box of the new Starbucks K-Cups - pretty nice.

Here are my knives:

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They are all Wusthof Classics. The Santoku is my favorite - it gets 99% of the usage. The 6" chef's below it I bought on a great sale, but I hardly ever use it. Below them are the boning knife, parer, slicer, and the offset bread knife. Not shown is a new salmon filet knife - it's a Cutco "mercy purchase".

#34 heidih

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:21 PM

Not shown is a new salmon filet knife - it's a Cutco "mercy purchase".


You win the nice guy award - letting the girls have the salmon and making a Cutco "mercy purchase" :wink:

On the color of the salmon - I thought that deep red color was a distinctive trait of Sockeye. The Copper River I had this year was also vibrantly red (and delicious).

You've accumulated quite a stock of cooking gear in your relatively short career. The girls must really appreciate your cooking and thus grant you the expansive real estate use?

#35 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:29 PM

Ah. That's entirely different. Dang those tortilla wrappers are really low carb! I've never seen those around here. Didn't realize the lactose problem. My bad. Carry on...

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#36 Shelby

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 03:03 PM

We're twins! :biggrin: I have a Breville Smart Oven, too!

I bet I comment at least once a week about how much I love it and how I can't believe I didn't buy one sooner.

I have forgotten, on occasion, though, that it cooks waaaaay faster than my oven. :rolleyes:

#37 mgaretz

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:54 PM

Besides breakfast, today was a day of eating out. I had actually packed and brought my lunch to work, but my co-workers felt like lunch out and they chose my favorite local Chinese restaurant: Uncle Yu's in San Ramon.

I only shot my lunch special:

chinese.jpg

Beef with black mushrooms and vegetables, more vegetables and chow mein. Not shown was the hot and sour soup, which wasn't very spicy today. I'll eat my packed lunch tomorrow!

We had a scheduled dinner with some friends and my daughter at one of our favorite restaurants: Esin in Danville. It's named after one of the owner/chefs - Esin deCarion. The other owner/chef is her husband Curtis.

Here are shots of the exterior and part of the interior:

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(Rebecca would want me to tell you she's sticking her tongue out at me even though you can't see it - she's the one on the left. Ellen's the one next to her.)

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I had a New York steak with mushroom sauce and carmelized onions, served with Yukon Gold roasted potatoes and green beans.

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And a glass of Ancient Peaks Zinfandel from Paso Robles.

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Rebecca had pork chops with bacon and cabbage and a gingered applesauce.

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Ellen had the spinach lasagna:

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Our friends had a beet salad with greens, feta cheese and grilled chicken breast and the pot roast:

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For dessert, I had a lemon meringue tart on raspberry purée:

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Rebecca had a pecan tart with caramel sauce and creme anglaise:

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And Ellen had a vanilla/banana/butterscotch bread pudding:

es9.jpg

We all came away happy and over-stuffed!

#38 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:46 AM

That lemon meringue tart looks delicious. Well, so does everything else but lemon meringue is a dangerous weakness...:)

#39 dcarch

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:09 AM

Amazing blog so far. Everything. A very well equipped kitchen. Thank you!

A small unimportant suggestion for your cutting board:

I also have a white plastic cutting board which gets yellow after a while. It does not bother me and it is not a health issue, but if I invite friends over for dinner, I do the following:

I lay a layer of paper towel on top, pour some bleach to wet the towel and cover the towel with plastic bag overnight. The next day the board will be completely pristine white.

dcarch

#40 mgaretz

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:52 AM

Amazing blog so far. Everything. A very well equipped kitchen. Thank you!

A small unimportant suggestion for your cutting board:

I also have a white plastic cutting board which gets yellow after a while. It does not bother me and it is not a health issue, but if I invite friends over for dinner, I do the following:

I lay a layer of paper towel on top, pour some bleach to wet the towel and cover the towel with plastic bag overnight. The next day the board will be completely pristine white.

dcarch


Thanks dcarch! You don't see the yellow in the cutting board in normal room lighting, but it must be there because the camera captures it. I'll remember the bleach trick though.

#41 ScottyBoy

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:17 AM

Ah yes, one of my first chefs had us do this every night. Now since I bring my own cutting for with me to a dinner it's got to look clean!

Man I love restaurants like those. No frills, filling, delicious food. That's similar to my favorite joint here Wood Tavern.
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#42 KatieLoeb

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:59 PM

What a lovely restaurant. Beautiful decor, great lighting and the food looks fabulous. Simple and delicious is something I would never tire of. I can understand why it's one of your favorite places.

Katie M. Loeb
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#43 mgaretz

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:52 PM

After last night's feast and lunch out (the scale had an extra 2 lbs on it this morning), we were feeling like something lighter. Ellen and I also have minor colds, so soup seemed like the ticket!

I also have salad most nights (Ellen hardly ever does and Rebecca does some of time) so I make up a bowl and it lasts three nights or so.

Here are the ingredients for the salad:

salad1.jpg

Lettuce, carrots and peppers from the new CSA, heirloom tomatoes from the old CSA and organic celery from Costco.

Here's a serving of the salad, along with my ever-popular raspberry vinaigrette.

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The vinaigrette never fails to please - the recipe is here.

Here's the soup:

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Chicken stock, thigh meat (previously cooked sous vide and frozen), carrots, collards and shallots from the CSA, celery, apsaragus, peas, barley, 21 Seasoning Salute and fresh ground pepper. It was very yummy and hit the spot! Normally I'd put noodles in it, but felt like trying some barley. I didn't use a lot, maybe a 1/4 cup (it was actually a handful) and it gave the soup a nice extra undertone of flavor.

Rebecca wanted me to tell you that I put celery in the soup even though she doesn't like celery.

#44 mgaretz

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:44 PM

Tonight was another simple dinner - chicken with baked potato. Rebecca wanted her breast plain, so I simply grilled it with no seasoning whatsoever. Ellen likes dark meat, so I made her a thigh that had been previously cooked sous vide by grilling it plain and she added BBQ sauce on the plate.

For mine I used a dry rub that I normally use for veritcally roasted chicken, but I grilled it instead of roasting it.

Here's the breast after applying the rub:

chicken1.jpg

The rub consists of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

Here's the breast grilled and plated with half a baked potato, before butter.

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I like my baked potatoes with butter, salt and pepper - pretty traditional I guess. Ellen will put just about anything on a baked potato, from my vinaigrette to peanut butter to chocolate. But tonight she and Rebecca has theirs with butter and mozzarella. I had a salad as well.

#45 mgaretz

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:13 PM

Thought you might like to see some pics of a meal I made last week - pulled pork. I make it in the slow cooker, lately without any flavorings or spices. "The girls" have been in and out of the mood for spicy things, so if I make it kind of neutral then we can add whatever sauce we feel like when we eat it, and it lasts a few days so we get a few different meals out of it.

First, here's my slow cooker - the All-Clad model with the aluminum insert you can use on the stovetop. It's pricey but great.

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Here's the boneless pork shoulder.

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It goes in the cooker pretty much as is. I'll sometimes add a splash of bourbon and some liquid smoke. That's about it - no other liquids. This time it just went in plain.

I cook it on low for about 8-10 hours. This time I could only give it 8 hours and it didn't have much of crust, so I popped it my new Breville Smart Oven on a 450F broil for about 5 minutes on a side to give it a nice crust:

pork2.jpg

Then I shred it by hand, removing any big chunks of fat. This particular roast has almost no fat.

Here's the shredded pork, ready to get plated with sauce or made into another dish. The first two nights we had it as pork with sauce - BBQ sauce in this case. I used to make my own sauce, but when Bullseye came it it was so close to what I made, that's what I use now. We also like Kinder's, which may be a local brand as they have delis in the area.

The last night Ellen made it into a something like machaca con huevos.

Attached Images

  • pork3.jpg


#46 nikkib

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:35 PM

That pork looks amazing! When I visited friends in Greensboro they were highly entertained by my insistence on ordering pulled pork and hush puppies everywhere I saw them listed!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#47 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:52 AM

That pork looks amazing! When I visited friends in Greensboro they were highly entertained by my insistence on ordering pulled pork and hush puppies everywhere I saw them listed!


Thanks Nikki. I've been to Greensboro once, and I ate as much pulled pork as I could. I don't remember anything about the pork, but I do remember a meal at my hotel. The restaurant had just opened with a new chef. The carmelized baby beet salad was out of this world. But I also remember a steak that had been rubbed with sage and it did not work for me.

#48 chezcherie

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:56 AM

kinder's bbq sauce! when my middle son was at ucla, one of his NorCal buds swore by the stuff. ended up buying a couple cases for the house...they drank the stuff, i think. (when they weren't drinking beer, i guess...)
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#49 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:55 PM

The pork looks delicious. We get pork shoulder roasts on sale all the time here, so I've started making lots of slow-cooker pork. Yum.

#50 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:06 PM

I promised I'd share our meal and experience at the Napa Rose. Since there are lot of photos, I'm going to break this into two parts: Part one will shots of the restaurant and the setup for the meal, and part two will be the meal itself.

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The Napa Rose is one of our favorite restaurants. We ate there on our honeymoon, anniversary and a few other times. It's located in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, their deluxe property at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim. It forms the border for part of California Adventure and there's an entrance/exit from the hotel to the park.

One would tend to dismiss a hotel restaurant, especially one at Disney, expecting a bad to mediocre dining expereince at best. Not so the Napa Rose! It is amazing and we've never been dissapointed there.

We've always eaten in the main dining room, but they have an option called the "Chef's Counter" where you sit at one of three counters that look directly into the kitchen. They have two seatings per evening, one at 5:30 and one at 8:30. We opted for the later seating seating since Disneyland was closing early that night for a special event.

Here's some views into the kitchen from my seat:

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Directly in front of the counter was the dessert prep table, so in addition to seeing most of the rest of the kitchen, we got closeup view of the dessert prep. Here was part of an order of desserts they were prepping for a large party - it was some kind of strawberry shortcake:

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When you sit at the chef's counter, you have several options for dinner. You can order anything you like from the menu. You can order what you want to eat, even if it's not on the menu, and they will make it if they can. (Our friend had once had a great filet there and it wasn't on the menu, but they were able to make it for her anyway.) You can also let the Chef make you what he feels like. The last is a fixed price of $90 and includes four courses plus dessert. For an extra $40 you can have wines paired with each course.

One of our two dining companions opted to order from the menu, the other ordered filet that wasn't on the menu, but both chose custom sides to go with their entrees. Ellen and I decided to be adventurous and put ourselves in the chef's hands. I also opted for the wine pairing.

It starts out with Chef Andrew Sutton (who has been there all 11 years the restaurant has been open) asking us what we like and don't, if we have any food allergies or issues:

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I am lactose intolerant and Chef Sutton said not to worry, he was too, and knew exactly what to avoid. Cool! After just a few other questions, he says "Ok, you're done." Then he goes to the end of the counter and starts to build the menus for your dinner. It's all going to be a surprise!

#51 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:43 PM

Now on to dinner!

Ellens appetizer was medium rare salmon with batons of butternut squash, and an amazing cauliflower "cous-cous".

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My appetizer was lobster in a tempura style batter with greens on top of asian spicy beef. The sauce was coconut dotted with mild and hot sauces. Very yummy!

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With this course they served a Riesling that we both really liked:

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Next course for Ellen was swordfish with pasta with a tomato sauce and olives. Ellen doesn't normally eat or like olives, but she liked these!

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My second course was a large dumpling filled with smoked pheasant with a raspberry sauce.

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The wine was a Somnoma Pinot Noir that was very pleasant:

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Two glasses of wine and I forgot completely to shoot and what Ellen had for her third course and didn't remember to shoot mine until I was half done eating it! It was rabbit meatloaf with a carrot puree and mushrooms. In front is a pear-mustard puree. Chef Sutton served this to me but wouldn't tell me what it was. He came back afterward to see if I could guess. I got the rabbit part right, but incorrectly guessed the carrot puree as butternut squash. He then told us that the pairing of rabbit with carrot was their idea of kitchen humor.

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The wine with the rabbit was a tempranillo from Spain:

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Ellen's main course was lamb with roasted cauliflower:

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Mine was a veal costolleta with batons of something I can't remember!

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The wine was a "super Tuscan"

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Ellen's dessert was a pumpkin creme brulee, but it also had a crust, more like pumpkin pie creme brulee:

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I had an assortment of sorbets. From left to right there was mango atop fresh mango, a pomegranate-yuzu mix (yuzu is a Japansese citrus) atop fresh pomegranate, and concord grape atop concord grapes.

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I really didn't need any more wine at this point (actually after the third glass, but hey..) but they served a very yummy Cabernet Franc Ice Wine:

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Last, here's a picture of our fabulous waiter, John, who we remembered from our honeymoon:

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All in all the highlight of our trip and a fabulous meal. I highly recommend you try the restaurant and give the Chef's Counter a try!

Edited by mgaretz, 12 November 2011 - 04:44 PM.


#52 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:47 PM

kinder's bbq sauce! when my middle son was at ucla, one of his NorCal buds swore by the stuff. ended up buying a couple cases for the house...they drank the stuff, i think. (when they weren't drinking beer, i guess...)


They have it at Costco here. They used to demo it a lot and some time ago they told us to stock up because Costco was going to stop carrying it, so we did. Of course they still carry it.

#53 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:49 PM

Sales are exactly when I make it too! When something (especially good steak) goes on sale, I tend to stock up, vacuum seal and freeze.

#54 mgaretz

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:53 PM

Last post of the blog!

Today I taught my daughter how to make Challah. She's taken over teaching the Sunday School Pre-K class and every Sunday they make mini-Challahs. The previous teacher really had no idea how to approach it. We decided that since it's a two hour class, there wasn't time to make dough, let it rise twice, braid and bake the challahs. So we make the dough a day ahead, letting it rise twice, then storing it in our fridge. It comes out early Sunday morning so it will be about room temperature by the time the kids will braid it. We went through a couple of dough recipes and methods last week and last Sunday was our first experiment. The challahs came out great and the kids were so excited! Last Saturday I made the dough, but today Rebecca learned how to do it.

This evening we met an old high school friend in Novato for dinner. Her kids live there and she was visiting from New Mexico. We picked a restaurant called Hilltop 1982. It's set on a hilltop, but I have no idea where the 1892 comes from and I forgot to ask. I also forgot to bring my better camera, so these are iPhone pics.

Ellen and I split a rainbow beet salad made with greens and roasted hazlenuts:

ht1.jpg

It was amazing. I have no idea how they prepared the beets, but they looked and tasted like beet sashimi!

Ellen had braised short ribs, served with peas, carrots, mashed potatoes and topped with a horseradish cream sauce. The picture came out very fuzzy, sorry:

ht4.jpg

Our friend had the salmon, served with spaetzle, mushrooms and a champagne sauce.

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I had the "jerk" pork chop which was served with baby turnips, broccolini, plantains and sweet potato fritters.

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I thought the sauce was over-spiced and the chop over-peppered, which is a shame because the chop itself was very nice and flavorful, but the treatment way overpowered it.

I forgot entirely to shoot dessert, probably because I didn't eat any! Ellen and our friend split a huckleberry/apple crisp topped with vanilla-bean gelato. They said it was yummy.

Ok, folks, it's been fun! Hope you enjoyed it!

#55 eldereno

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:20 AM

Thank you!!! I enjoyed this week with you.
Donna

#56 blue_dolphin

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:10 AM


Not shown is a new salmon filet knife - it's a Cutco "mercy purchase".


You win the nice guy award - letting the girls have the salmon and making a Cutco "mercy purchase" :wink:
...


Ditto that!

The lovely individual chef's menus served to you and your wife at Napa Rose reminded me how you impressed me with the way you've tailored your home menus to suit the tastes of individual family members. Nice, indeed!

Thanks for taking the time to share your week!

#57 Tri2Cook

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:49 AM

Another fun look into the life of a fellow eGulleter. Thanks!
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#58 heidih

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:14 PM

Thank you for inviting us into your food life!





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