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TDG: Diet-ribe


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Nope, no coffee. I generally don't drink any caffeine, actually, not that I mind it. But thanks for reminding me that I should post about:

10:35AM Half liter of water.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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I've known Walt from another wine-related site and I'm sure the best part of his blog will come to be the WINE he will undoubtedly drink (oui, mon ami?)

Just remember, "Zinfandel is Not Just for Corn Flakes Anymore!"

Cheers, Walt.

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Three bowls of cereal??? Wow, I'm impressed.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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11:42 Another 500mL water. Don't worry, this is the last time I'll mention the water, although if it helps you can imagine me posting about it three or four times a day.

12:00PM

For lunch today, leftovers!

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Last night we had local halibut, poached in wine, a 2002 Meridian Chardonnay from Santa Barbara. I reduced the poaching liquid and added it to a sauce of flour, butter, and crimini mushrooms. If you couldn't guess already, I didn't come up with the recipe; it's from Julia Child, intended for sole but she says halibut or any number of other fishes will work. Pretty sure it has a French name. :hmmm: The container in the rear is sliced grilled eggplant with olive oil and seasoned with dried crumbled sage. However, our damn grill (a Weber gas model that's less than a year old) is not putting out much heat, and we were really hungry after a day of cleaning. So, I had to take them off the grill and put them in the microwave to finish cooking. Mmm, steam-grilled eggplant.

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I had the "baby" carrots with the onion dip, a Martha Stewart number my wife made for a party on Saturday. She cooked the onions for twice as long as the recipe said, and then added the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo. Tastes way better than that flavorless crap they sell in tubs. Speaking of tubs, the picture looks like that's about as much as I took, but actually it's a half-cup of dip, and I only had half that. The farmer's market had the first ripe heirloom tomatoes this week, so I had one of those. The nectarines are for later.

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Finally, a cup of tomato "juice," which was actually what you get when you drain a 750mL box of Pomi tomatoes. Not bad, but waste not, want not. Strawberries for later.

Back to work, I'll try to post more background this evening. Tonight, we're having a friend of mine from work and his wife and child over for dinner, so there will definitely be more to share. Also wine, just for you, Carolyn. Glad there's someone else who likes Lucky Charms out there, as well!

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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4:21PM - The nectarine on the right. A little mushy, but ripe and sweet. Easily a 92 point nectarine. Followed by:

4:29PM - The strawberries. A disappointing batch from Medina farms in Watsonville, CA. Usually, they have the most flavorful, best-smelling strawberries at my farmer's market, in nearby Pleasanton. This week's was somewhat underripe and not even red to the core, like usual. My guess is they're between crops and harvested these a little early.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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I am looking forward to your experiences in the kitchen and will be interested in seeing what other veg and fruit you have on hand. My daughter has lived in Livermore for several years, but is moving to Inverness, Scotland next week. I also have friends who live in town (have worked at "the Lab") and in other towns in the area. There are some very fine small growers in the area who market some great produce.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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6:45PM (or so) - Showtime!

A nice couple came over for dinner tonight with their two-year-old daughter. Not really knowing them culinarily, I wanted to start with good, simple food that would go over well but not freak anyone out. Unfortunately, the husband doesn't eat much in the way of veggies or fruit, and the wife doesn't eat much in the way of carbs, but there was no way to know that beforehand. I decided to serve:

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Green beans from the farmers' market. Small, tender, but firm, I just boiled these in salted water and drained. Works for me.

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A saffron orzo "risotto" from "A New Way to Cook". This is a super-easy dish: heat 1 tablespoon butter with 8 oz. orzo till it begins to sizzle, then add 3.5 cups broth, one pinch saffron threads, and cook at a low-boil for 11 or so minutes until orzo is done and liquid is absorbed. Off heat, stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not a whack-you-over-the-head flavor, but quite becoming in its way. With the cheese and pasta it certainly reminds of a genuine risotto.

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This is another recipe from "A New Way to Cook," a sherry and sherry vinegar braised chicken, with a sauce of broth, sauteed shallot, tomato, and a bit of mustard. I love this for dinner parties because it improves if you heat it up the next day. I had to boil down the sauce, and ended up burning a good chunk of it to the bottom of the pan, but it turned out very well. I ran out of dry sherry and had to use some Pedro Ximenez, which is a sweet, raisined style of sherry, so the sauce was sweet. It looks a little odd in this picture, but it's incredibly savory and tends to leave me licking my plate, although because we had company I refrained.

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Because of the sweetness this is a pretty tough wine match, and I didn't want anything too tannic or acidic in case our guests wanted some wine. So I tried a 2001 Ravenswood "Old Vines" Zinfandel from Lodi, California. It has some good berry fruit, moderate oak, and isn't too tannic, but it just didn't go with the sauce and tasted harsh. Well, live and learn. I do live in a wine-growing region, but Lodi is actually about an hour from here, in a more inland and warmer climate, leading to ripe wines that are pretty high in alcohol (This one is 14.6%) I was also in the mood for some sparkling water, so I had a bottle of Gerolsteiner, which is a pretty good tasting sparkling water from Germany, but its primary virtue is that it's US$.99 at Trader Joe's.

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After dinner we chatted for a while and then had dessert, homemade, nearly homegrown apricot sorbet. My wife's parents have an apricot tree in their yard, left over from the days when Silicon Valley was pretty much one big orchard. It doesn't yield much, but the apricots are head and shoulders above anything I've ever eaten, farmers' market or supermarket. Faced with eating two pounds of apricots in the two days before they would have spoiled, we made sorbet instead. A little simple syrup, a little corn syrup, and three tablespoons of frozen concentrated orange juice yielded a reasonably smooth, very apricotty sorbet. The orange, thankfully, was just a small base note. I've had real trouble with lime juice being too strongly flavored to play well with the other ingredients, but the orange juice worked fine.

There's always a certain amount of stress when you have a couple over for dinner for the first time, but this went well. He was able to eat the chicken, she was able to eat the green beans, and their daughter ate a little bit of everything. I made the right decision not going "all out" with the cloth tablecloth and napkins, crystal, and "fancy" food, because it turned out they really weren't foodies and it would definitely have been too much. I definitely do not like to get compliments like "We couldn't have you over, what would we cook?" because honestly I'll eat anything.

Thanks everyone for your interest, I really am gratified to know that there are some people out there who both post on eGullet and eat Lucky Charms. Hopefully those of you who eat real food will find it worthwhile as well. :wink:

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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That sorbet looks and sounds delicious. I'll have to admit to being a bit of a sorbet freak. I make it all the time, especially in the summer.

My new favourite this year has been champange/rainier cherry sorbet. Lovely. Strangely, I've not tried making apricot sorbet yet; but you have certainly motivated me to do so!

Lookin' forward to more bloggin'!

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Welcome!

Nice to see a bottle of Ravenswood. The R. zinfandels had been my fist steps into californian wine. Looking forward to your wine-subfoodblog.

because it improves if you heat it up the next day.

This is so true for many dishes and allows for some incredible "convenience" food.

"The cuisine of the re-heated" is an unexplored, yet promising field in the times of the freshness cult.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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I greeted that bottle of Ravenswood with recognition, too! It's available (most of the time) in my local Daiei supermarket.

"The cuisine of the re-heated" is an unexplored, yet promising field

Is it really? People here get quite "heated" about how long it takes for optimum flavor to develop in certain dishes.

In the US, is yesterday's food strictly leftovers, or are you "allowed" to like it better next day?

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In the US, is yesterday's food strictly leftovers, or are you "allowed" to like it better next day?

I always thought it was acceptable to speak the truth that in many instances, a good tomato-based sauce for pasta and good stews (pot roast, boeuf a la flamande, etc.) are better on the 2nd day. If someone thinks it's better to lie, that's their lookout. :laugh:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Boeuf Bourguignon and Gulasz are another two classic examples of dishes said to be better the second day. I never made a Cassoulet but I believe to remember same comments. I experienced tasty dishes with reheated (oven fryed in this case) risotto and polenta and even some long cooked vegetables and I found them sometimes superiour.

Should make an attractive range of possibilites for an entertaining home cook to escape the logistic problems of a professional "cuisine à la minute". Should be viewn separated from the left-over/cantine-food notion.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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This is another recipe from "A New Way to Cook," a sherry and sherry vinegar braised chicken, with a sauce of broth, sauteed shallot, tomato, and a bit of mustard. I love this for dinner parties because it improves if you heat it up the next day. I had to boil down the sauce, and ended up burning a good chunk of it to the bottom of the pan, but it turned out very well. I ran out of dry sherry and had to use some Pedro Ximenez, which is a sweet, raisined style of sherry, so the sauce was sweet. It looks a little odd in this picture, but it's incredibly savory and tends to leave me licking my plate, although because we had company I refrained.

i9360.jpg

Because of the sweetness this is a pretty tough wine match, and I didn't want anything too tannic or acidic in case our guests wanted some wine. So I tried a 2001 Ravenswood "Old Vines" Zinfandel from Lodi, California. It has some good berry fruit, moderate oak, and isn't too tannic, but it just didn't go with the sauce and tasted harsh. Well, live and learn. I do live in a wine-growing region, but Lodi is actually about an hour from here, in a more inland and warmer climate, leading to ripe wines that are pretty high in alcohol (This one is 14.6%) I was also in the mood for some sparkling water, so I had a bottle of Gerolsteiner, which is a pretty good tasting sparkling water from Germany, but its primary virtue is that it's US$.99 at Trader Joe's.

i9361.jpg

After dinner we chatted for a while and then had dessert, homemade, nearly homegrown apricot sorbet. My wife's parents have an apricot tree in their yard, left over from the days when Silicon Valley was pretty much one big orchard. It doesn't yield much, but the apricots are head and shoulders above anything I've ever eaten, farmers' market or supermarket. Faced with eating two pounds of apricots in the two days before they would have spoiled, we made sorbet instead. A little simple syrup, a little corn syrup, and three tablespoons of frozen concentrated orange juice yielded a reasonably smooth, very apricotty sorbet. The orange, thankfully, was just a small base note. I've had real trouble with lime juice being too strongly flavored to play well with the other ingredients, but the orange juice worked fine.

There's always a certain amount of stress when you have a couple over for dinner for the first time, but this went well. He was able to eat the chicken, she was able to eat the green beans, and their daughter ate a little bit of everything. I made the right decision not going "all out" with the cloth tablecloth and napkins, crystal, and "fancy" food, because it turned out they really weren't foodies and it would definitely have been too much. I definitely do not like to get compliments like "We couldn't have you over, what would we cook?" because honestly I'll eat anything.

Thanks everyone for your interest, I really am gratified to know that there are some people out there who both post on eGullet and eat Lucky Charms. Hopefully those of you who eat real food will find it worthwhile as well. :wink:

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes! It's so easy and SO GOOD.

Anything else from the book that you recommend besides the orzo risotto? I like the Tuscan Herb Salt, but haven't made much else from it.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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I do live in a wine-growing region, but Lodi is actually about an hour from here, in a more inland and warmer climate, leading to ripe wines that are pretty high in alcohol (This one is 14.6%) I was also in the mood for some sparkling water, so I had a bottle of Gerolsteiner, which is a pretty good tasting sparkling water from Germany, but its primary virtue is that it's US$.99 at Trader Joe's.

Hi wnissen!

enjoying your blog!

If this fits into the flow of your blog it would be nice to hear a little bit about some of your favorite Livermore wineries. I've been to visit some of them a few times but it has been a long time (7-8 years) since being there. Also interesting if you know a bit about Lodi wines; another "less known" wine region.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Gaah, stupid Minolta Dimage Xt deleted my pictures :angry: so I had to retake them. I've got a meeting in ten minutes that I'm leading, so just the pics for now:

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400mg ibuprofen. Think "happy pills." :biggrin:

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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i9376.jpg

Inquiring minds want to know.... Are you saving the marshmallows for the end? Or not eating them at all (god forbid!)?

I thought that everyone knew that you are supposed to eat all of the sugared oats first and then eat the marshmallows by color (you can choose your own order)!

:biggrin:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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What have they done to my Lucky Charms? I thought it was "pink hearts, yellow moons, blue stars and green clovers." What's all that other hibbity-jibbity?

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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What have they done to my Lucky Charms? I thought it was "pink hearts, yellow moons, blue stars and green clovers." What's all that other hibbity-jibbity?

I was just about to ask the same question! I know it's been a really long time since I had them (I don't really like sweets or cereal, so the combination of the two...ugh), but I don't recognize those orange & white or orange & yellow things at all...

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