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    Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
    12:10 am
    KC Symphony and Joyce DiDonato
    Yesterday arch 25) we went to KC to hear the KC Symphony concert. The whole program was being filmed for later broadcast on PBS, July 20 is supposed to be the date. They said they had 11 cameras in the hall, I could only see 8, and maybe a remote control camera next to the flute players.

    The program started with the overture to Verdi's opera, La Forza del Destino, which we had head live once long ago. The SF Opera used to make a visit to southern California for a few weeks in the fall, I think it was two weeks in LA at the Shrine Auditorium and a week or less in San Diego. I had ticket for seats in the third to last row in the balcony. I think Gaetano Merlola was the GM of the SF Opera then, but I don't know who was conducting. The story as published in the LA Times was the conductor was peeved with the late arriving LA audiences, so he started the opera (La Forzaa) with the first act and played the overture at the start of the second act. So that's when Pat and I had heard the overture live, maybe 1954. The actual plot of that opera is convoluted and matches the title very well. Enough about La Forza.

    The second piece on the program was Rossini's Giovanna d'Arco Cantata, sung by Joyce DiDonato. DiDonato is a fairly young mezosoprano who is having a good career, singing at the Met, Covent Garden in London, and all of the notable opera companies in the US and Europe. She grew up in Prairie Village, KS, a KC suburb, and lives somewhere in the KC area. So she was a popular choice for this, and she seemed very pleased to sing for the home folks. She has a beautiful voice. I of course fell asleep in the middle of this piece.

    After the intermission she sang Jake Heggie's The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love, a piece inspired by his opera, Dead Man Walking, which was based on Sister Helen Prejean's book of that title. Heggie asked her to write a text on her internal spiritual journey, and that text is what he set to music in this piece. A good piece, and not marred by the notions of serialism or minimalism in the composition. In other words, at least it has some sort of tune to it, both in the vocal line and the orchestral accompaniment. I'd like to hear this again. DiDonato came out in a sort of gold gown for the Rossini, and a red gown for this piece.

    The orchestra played R. Strauss's Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Then after we were all set to go away, after the final standing ovation, the Music Director came out with DiDonato, who explained she'd brought three gowns, and so needed to use them all. She sang Somewhere over the Rainbow. Judy Garland should be green with envy, in her grave.

    This was a very long program, as we had some preliminary announcements about the recording, After the Heggie piece there were some short redoes to cover problems in the original performance, once interrupted, by a loud cough at the start of one, another stopped as DiDonato made a mistake.

    We got home about 7:30. I made mushroom omelet with rice a frozen peas for veg., and some cut up carrots, celery, cabbage, and lettuce for salad.

    One note about last week's trip to hear Nixon in China. We'd heard it in London in 2000. I found a booklet about that performance I'd bought then, with the full text and a lot of background about Nixon's trip and events of that era in China. It turned out the singer who was Nixon in London was also the Nixon in the Houston Grand Opera world premier in 1987 and was Nixon in the Met performance last year and was the Nixon we heard and saw last week.

    Emthusiastic revue of the Friday version of this performance in the KC Star, Monday, March 25, 2012. Well deserved, in my view.

    Today there was not a bit of green in our area on the weather radar. Then it started raining.
    Friday, March 23rd, 2012
    11:29 pm
    Cheese Enchiladas
    Tonight we continued using the corn tortillas we bought a week ago at San Antonio in Kansas City, Kansas. We made cheese enchiladas We made 7 of them, ate them with beans alongside. Pinto beans: Wash and pick over some pinto beans. This time I started with a full pound of beans, too much! Probably 2 C. would be a practical maximum for the 2.5b quart sauce pan I tried to use for cooking them; I ended up using that pan and another smaller one. Soak overnight, drain, put in fresh water, add about 3 T. salad oil, 1 tsp. dry oregano, 1 tsp. salt, and several cloves garlic. Heat to boil and cook slowly until the beans are very soft. My pound of beans made almost 1.5 quarts of cooked beans, after we ate some. I'd guess 1.5 C. dry beans would make about one quart of cooked beans. Here is the enchilada recipe from an earlier effort: Cheese Enchiladas Pat's recipe for enchilada sauce: 2 T oil 2 T flour !.5 T ground chiles 1/2 tsp. salt Make roux, cook a little on low heat, add 1.5 C chicken broth, heat and stir until it thickens a little, cook a little. Filling: Grated Monterey Jack cheese, chopped green onions, mix. (We used up two pieces of cheese, cutting off and scraping off the mold. Maybe as much as 1/2 lb.) We used to put chopped olives in the filling, I think, years ago. Take corn tortilla, fry in oil until getting stiff, dip in hot enchilada sauce, let drain a little, put a spoonful of filling in the middle, roll up and put in the baking pan. Best to put the joint in the roll down so it stays rolled. Do another, and repeat until all the filling is used and the baking pan is nearly full. Pour the extra sauce over the enchiladas, cover with Aluminum foil (or pan lid) and bake at 300 - 350 until the whole mass is bubbling and the cheese is melted. (If you can smell them, they should be hot enough.) We were using corn tortillas about 5.5 in. in diameter. We made 8 enchiladas. Serve up on heated plates. Some sort of wide spatula or pancake turner will be needed, as they tortillas pretty much lose strength. Tonight we used about 5 OZ. Monterey jack cheese and 3 green onions in the filling to make 7 enchiladas. Robert
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
    6:41 am
    Food-Corned Beef, Tortilla Things
    Saturday was, as it turned out, St. Patrick's Day! I don't know how I missed out on all the green beer.

    I bought a piece of corned beef at Moser's grocery store. I cooked it on Monday. I unwrapped it from the plastic bag full of pickling liquid and rinsed it off, put it in a pot, and brought it to a boil. When it boiled I reduced the heat to low and skimmed it a few times, then covered it and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Before I covered it I added the contents of the spice packet that came with it and also about a tsp. of mustard seeds, three cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, and a dozen or so peppercorns. I kept the water level up with hot water from the tea kettle. After it was cooked, I took it out to a platter and covered if to stay fairly warm. I put in the pot two carrots, a potato cut up into large chunks, a slice of cabbage, and half an onion. I cooked these until done, 20 minutes for the carrot and potato, about 10 minutes for the cabbage, and about 5 minutes for the onion.

    We ate this with prepared horseradish. Dijon mustard is also good with this.

    Tortilla things. We bought three packets of corn tortillas at San Antonio, 830 Kansas Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. This can be reached fro I-70 by exiting at 7th Street Trafficway and going south about half a mile to Kansas Ave. Then west on Kansas for about two blocks. San Antonio is on the north side of the street. We got these on Friday. the tortillas were in [packages of about 30 each, and they were still warm from being made. When we got home I wrapped two of the package in waxed paper on top of the paper wrapping they came in, put them in zipper bags, and froze them. The third package I split into thirds and wrapped them separately and froze two, kept the third in the refrigerator.

    Bean tostadas. I cooked a cup of pinto beans with about 2 T oil, 3 cloves garlic, and ½ tsp oregano. I made guacamole from an avocado with lemon juice, chopped onion, some chopped tomato, and a chopped pickled jalapeño pepper. I grated some Monterey jack cheese, chopped some tomatoes and some lettuce, and cut up some green onions. I fried tortillas in oil until they were stiff, and set them out between layers of paper towels. Then I mashed the beans in the left-over oil and heated them, added a chopped pickled jalapeño pepper, and we were ready to eat. A tostada was a stiff tortilla with beans on top, then cheese, tomato, green onion, lettuce, and taco sauce. I ate 3 of these. The last one was about ¾ inch thick. Pat ate one, not piled so high as mine.

    Tonight I made a sort of pork Puebla Style from Elena's Fiesta Recipes, p. 71, I cut up a piece of pork sirloin chop into small pieces, about 1 lb. total. This was almost fat free. I cooked this in water until it was tender. I added about 1 tablespoon of oil, so that the meat could brown after the water all evaporated. I browned the meat, added half a chopped onion, a clove of garlic, half a tsp. salt, and after the onion cooked a little, 4 peeled and chopped plum tomatoes. I cooked this on low heat for about half and hour. I added a small can of chopped green Chiles. I heated tortillas in a very little fat in a frying pan, and we ate this with left-over refried beans, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, taco sauce, and left-over guacamole. Ate this on the tortillas, and wrapped up some and ate as tacos, some just eaten with forks.

    Monday, January 30th, 2012
    1:23 pm
    Some Cooking
    January 30, 2012

    Joan came on Saturday a week ago. I did some cooking.

    Braised Turkey Legs

    Our market sells packages of two or three turkey legs. I braise these in a little water with some flavorings added, usually some onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf, pepper corns, parsely or celery, sometimes bits of carrot. They take about an hour to get thoroughly done, some longer if started from frozen state. (Then a short bit of cooking, standing for about an hour, then more cooking.)

    After they get done I set the legs aside to stay warm and usually make some gravy. This time I made mashed potatoes and we had some stir-fried napa cabbage on the side. The gravy is made with flour (3 T for a cup plus of liquid) cooked in some fat, then the strained turkey broth added. Brisk stirring until it thickens, then seasoning (salt only, usually).

    Mashed potatoes: Peel some potatoes, about one medium per person. Cut up into one inch cubes, boil in salted water for about 1`5 minutes, driansaving some water, mash (potato masher or electric mixer) and add some of the water back to adjust consistency. I add a lump of butter, too. Adjust salt, add pepper.

    Stir-fried napa cabbage. Cut up napa into pieces, maybe an inch and half on a side maximum. Mix 1/4 C. wate with some soy sauce and 1/2 tpn. cornstarch. Put oilt in skillet, heat, add cabbage and turn it over and over as it heats. After about a minute or so it will be getting hot through. Add the starch-water-soy sauce and keep stirring until it all gts hot. Then serve. O like to start with some garlic in the oil before the cabbage goes in, but some don't care for garlic.

    Mushroom Omelet

    Not much to say about the omelet part, just stir up the eggs in a bowl (I like some hot sauce in the eggs) with a little salt. Heat butter in the pan until it foams up and dies down and just begins to turn brown, pour in the eggs and make holes to let the liquid under the solid bottom layer, let the eggs run under the edges, and generally get the liquid cooked as rapidly as possible. When the remaining liquid is getting very thick, one could roll this up and let the egg finish, but I just flip it over for a few seconds and then turn it back to let it out onto a plate. (This can be exciting. If it doesn't land squarely back in the pan, egg all over the place, or it can fold over on itself, just unfold and say nothing.) At this point one can put filling in and fold it up (mine are usually too thick to roll) and eat. Good fillings include cheese, jelly (red currant would be my choice) or various creamed foods or mushrooms. Some filling on the inside and a little on top.

    Mushrooms: wash up about 1/8 lb mushrooms per person, pare them and cut into thin slices or small bits, cook in some butter until the water is released, salt and pepper, add /12 C beef broth mixed with 1 tsp. starch, stir until thickened some, set aside for use.

    Meat Balls in a Pot.
    This recipe is one we have used for a long time. Pat's friends had a recipe shower for her before we got married.

    Mix 1 lb. ground beef with 1/4 c. uncooked rice and one onion chopped fairly fine, 1 tsp. salt and some pepper. Form into balls (not too large, they swell with cooking.) Brown the balls in a little oil, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of water, some cut up potatoes, and cook covered for about half an hour.

    We like lots of soup left at the end of cooking, so we use two cans of soup and two cans of water. We use 1/2 tsp salt with the meat. Extremely low fat meat needs some water added as the meat balls are mixed

    Once long ago (before 1958) we were making this, and we did not look up the recipe, I was mixing and asked how much rice, Pat said as much as the meat balls would hold, so I kept adding rice. They will hold lots of rice. The cooked meatballs were about the size of tennis balls. Fine if you like lots of rice.

    I cooked a chuck pot roast on Sunday. We ate watching the Pro Bowl. Lots of fun. Not a lot of hard hitting, lots of passing and scoring.

    Pat uses the broth to make little soups, noodle or other sorts. I'll make some onion soup if she doesn't eat it all up too fast; over two quarts of broth so probably onion soup in our future.

    I brown the meat in a little oil, take it out, add some sliced up carrots and onions, cook until some of the carrots are black, put the meat back in, add boiling water to cover, bay leaf, lots of parsley, thyme, rosemary, lots of garlic, peppercorns. Simmer (cook in low oven) for a couple of hours, cook some vegetables, eat with salt and horseradish.

    The vegetable part is what I want to remember: I took a cup of the broth in a saucepan, added some sliced up carots and cubed potatoes, boiled, added the cabbage, boiled, added the onions, boiled. The timeing was carrots and potatoes, 12 min., cabbage 8 min., onions 5 min. These turned ot the way we like them, carrots and potatoes soft, onions and cbbage firm.

    Sunday, October 9th, 2011
    12:01 am
    KC Lyric Opera
    We went to the first production of the KC Lyric Opera in the new theater in the Kaufman Center. The theater is a traditional opera house form: a main floor seating of maybe 1,000, then above and around the big arc the rows of short balconies and boxes.

    We were up in the next to top balcony near the end of a row, so we were well around to the side of the stage, but we could see pretty well and the sound was great. The pit is big enough for an orchestra of at least 80. Today they were doing Turandot, and the orchestra was large, two harps on top of everything else, 6 trumpets (the KC Symphony has 3 regular trumpets) and many trombones, 3 bassoons, 3 flutes, 3 oboes and so on, plenty of strings. When the piccolo played it seemed too loud in our seats, but then they usually do seem too loud.

    The production was lavish, very good singers in all the principal parts (the soprano playing Turandot was somewhat screechy, especially up high) the chorus was excellent. Samuel Ramey was playing Calaf's father Timur, a small part for him, but well done, certainly. The woman singing Liu was wonderful, and the tenor singing Calaf was excellent. Ping, Pang, and Pong were also excellent.The inside the opera theater experience was the best we have ever had in KC. Now annoying stupid insertions into the action or cast. Everyone singing while standing, mostly, except the emperor sang sitting, just a little, I think.

    Our trouble in getting into the theater and then back out was similar to the trouble we had at the symphony, though the elevators did go to the floor we were on. Part of the trouble is that the garage is not part of the theater complex, but is a separate municipal facility, so the garage ins actually next door to the theater, and the whole site is on the side of a hill, so the garage ()downhill) has elevators to get us up to the level of the lowest entrance to the theater complex, but we arrive a good many feet from the elevators in the theater complex. Then I would say the arrangement of elevators in the theater complex is not very good. I think any second year architecture student could have done a better job of it.

    Off just before 9:30 AM, home about 8:30 PM makes a long day (lunch, and dinner on the road making it longer, but providing rests.)

    Next up in November: Cosi fan tutti. This will make the 6th Cosi I have seen. I will try really hard to enjoy it at least some. Honest.
    Monday, September 26th, 2011
    12:20 am
    We were in Kansas City yesterday to hear the Kansas City Symphony concert. They have just started playing in their new concert hall, a state of the art orchestra hall. The acoustic design was done by the man who did Disney Hall, and the results a very good. We were sitting in the very back corner, and we could hear everything very well, with the instrumental colors well blended. I wouldn't say it is better than Disney Hall. John took us to Disney on the way to the train after your birthday party two years ago, and it is very good, but we were seated in a different sort of location and the balance between the violin sections seemed to me a little uneven.

    This was tiring for Pat, as there was a lot of walking, and she would not wait for elevators and instead walked down (and up) stairs a lot. It seemed to me that the elevator and escalator arrangements were not well thought out, much better in Disney and in the new hall in Baltimore. There is really no way to get anywhere that does not involve a lot of walking.
    Sunday, June 19th, 2011
    10:12 pm
    Cooking, bridge
    On Friday night I made this:

    I made a sort of omelet made by chopping up green pepper, some mushrooms, and an onion, and then pouring beaten eggs over them and mixing them up and cooking covered for a bit, and then turning it all over for a little more cooking. I thought it was a little overloaded with vegetables, 1/4 lb mushrooms, and a whole green pepper, and a whole onion to 4 eggs with salt and a little hot sauce. I used olive oil to cook up the vegetables. We had rice, Swiss chard, and lettuce and tomato salad with this. Pat said the egg dish was delicious, and who am I to argue?

    On Sunday last the team I was on won the B-C-D Swiss teams at the Columbia, MO Sectional Bridge Tournament. I was playing with Dick Booker, and our teammates were Ed Hale from Rolla and Vince Russo from Gardner, KS. (Dick and I won this event a couple of years ago with different partners.) This year we lost the first round by 37 IMPs, won all the others by good margins, and crept into first by 2 VPs. Dick and I had a bad bidding disagreement on the last hand. He opened 2C, I held xxx, xx, AKxx, QJTx and decided the best call would be 2C, showing good club support and 10+HCP. After this bad start the bidding went on 2H from Dick, 3C from me, supposedly showing a minimum, 4C from Dick, and pass from me. Of course 5C was a lay-down, and
    Dick said he had reversed, so showing extra strength, I argued I had showed a minimum by my second bid and if he wanted to be in game he needed to bid it instead of merely inviting. Well, I still think I was right about that, but very wrong for not bidding 1D at my first turn, then a jump to 3C later should show about this much or a little more. Probably 1C-1D-1H-3C is too strong, but 2C at the second turn is too weak, I think. He could still invite game, and I would bid it if I had rebid 2C and I would accept that invite. If I bid 3c at my third turn, I would refuse a game invite, so maybe showing a little less at the first turn would be better here. We can discuss more tomorrow evening when we play at the club.
    Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
    12:14 am
    Meat Loaf, Tomato Sauce, Great Northern Beans
    Meat loaf. Pretty much straight up James Beard Cookbook (old one, not new low fat model.) He gives 2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lb. ground pork, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, 1 fairly large onion finely chopped, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 crumbled bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. crumbled thyme leaves, 1 tsp. freshly chopped green pepper, 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs, 2 eggs. (He puts strips of bacon in the pan under the loaf, and more bacon on top. I don't do this bacon stuff.) I mixed this all up (using hands) and formed into a loaf. (Well, I made 1 and 2/3rds as much and made a larger loaf that I baked and a smaller one that I froze.) I baked this at 325 for about 1.5 hours, to an internal temperature of 180F. I let this sit covered for a while to settle, and also get everything else lined up. This was fine, as usual. I baked this on a rack over a baking pan, not in a pan, so the extra fat dripped out. I used extra lean ground beef, 90% fat free, so not much fat dripped out. In the past I have done my own ground pork, getting it lower in fat, but this is just too much like work.

    Tomato sauce. More of less James Beard High Fat Cookbook (same as above.) I used a 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, a small onion chopped fine, one bay leaf, scant tsp. dried basil, scant 1/2 tsp. each of salt and freshly-ground black pepper. All this simmered for a while, water added when it got too thick.

    The tomato sauce was for use on the meat loaf. Much better than the usual catsup.

    Boiled great northern beans. I used 2 c. dry beans, washed and picked over, soaked for 12 hours in lots of water, drained, and cooked in water with a chopped onion, three cloves garlic chopped, 1/4 tsp. ground cumin seed, 1 tsp. salt, about 1 tbsp. salad oil, and 1 tsp.sesame oil. I got the sesame oil idea from my niece Brenda Jones. It is good. I simmered the beans for about one and a half hours until they were very soft. We have lots of beans left over, about a quart and a half. Probably the ideal amount of sesame oil would be a little less. I made an experimental batch this way (much smaller) about a week ago, with about the same fraction sesame oil, but of course some of the flavoring is lost in the escaping steam, less from the larger batch. The left-over beans seem to be just right on the sesame oil.

    We had this for Easter dinner along with baked potatoes and salad and vegetables and pies, all brought by guests.
    Friday, April 1st, 2011
    4:26 pm
    Scalloped Potatoes, Creamed Cabbage
    We made scalloped potatoes for supper last night. We mostly followed James Beard in his American Cooking book.

    We peeled 6 pretty small potatoes (the kind that come in the cheap 10 lb bags of Russets) and sliced them pretty thin. We put two of these in a layer in a Pammed casserole, put some chopped ham on top, put in another layer of potatoes, dotted with butter, salted, peppered, more chopped ham, and a final layer of potatoes, butter dotted, salted, peppered. We poured in one cup of hot milk, and baked in a 350F oven for a while until the potatoes began to get soft, then uncovered and spread a thin layer of grated sharp cheddar cheese and baked for about another half hour uncovered, until the top got a nice brown.

    The baking until softened took way more than the half hour Beard had indicated, so maybe we should have tried to get the whole thing hot before it went into the oven.

    In the end, we had this as the main dish with grapefruit and avocado salad on the side.

    We are going to have the left-overs for dinner along with left over creamed cabbage casserole.

    The cabbage was made up for dinner on Monday. I took a large quarter of a head of cabbage, slice it thin and chopped the slices some, soaked the cabbage in salted water, and drained it.

    I made some white sauce, 3 T butter, 3 T flour, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, nutmeg, cooked together a bit, 1 C milk added and stirred over heat until hot and thick.

    This mostly from James Beard Cook Book (the old one, from when Beard was fat and high-fat.)

    I cooked the drained cabbage in boiling water for four minutes after the water began to boil again, drained it, arranged a layer in a Pammed casserole, put a layer of sauce on top, pt in another layer of cabbage, covered with sauce, and baked covered for about 20 minutes, uncovered, sprinkled with buttered bread crumbs, baked uncovered for another 20 minutes (all at 350F) and ate it with the boneless ham I had been heating in the oven. We had this with sweet potato, wrapped in moist paper towel, microwaved for about 10 min. total. (The sweet potato gets soft when done.)
    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
    1:44 am
    Onion Soup
    Monday evening I made onion soup.

    2 onions sliced thin
    i T butter
    Cook onions in butter (slowly) until lightly browned
    Add 1.5 C beef broth, bring to boil and cook a little.
    2 hard pieces of bread, toasted. I used sour dough from St. Louis Bread Co.
    Bread that will not collapse in the soup, but maintain some integrity.
    Adjust seasoning of soup
    Put in two bowls
    Put bread on top of soup
    Put grated cheese on top. Swiss is usually called for. I used sharp Vermont white cheddar.
    Put under broiler. (I used our Munsey oven, a supersized toaster oven.)
    When the cheese is melted and begins to brown, serve it up.

    This was very good. I think I should have used 2 C broth for the size of bowls we had, but no real shortage.

    Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
    2:30 am
    Red Beans and Rice
    I made red beans and rice for dinner 1-10-11. The rice is straight-forward: 1C white rice, 2C water, 1 tsp salt. (Well, I use a beef bouillon cube.)

    I washed and picked over about 13/4 C small red beans. These were old (best by Sep.. 05) so I soaked them for about 32 hours in cold water. Then drained and rinsed them, put them in with water to cover and cooked them for a couple of hours.
    I added (all chopped) onion, half a bell pepper, a stalk of celery, 6 green onions, 3 cloves garlic. I didn't have any parsley, so I put in some extra celery.
    Also 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, some black pepper, bay leaf, whole clove. I didn't have any thyme, so I did not put any in. I cooked this some more, put in an andouille sausage cut up, and a small ham hock.
    This all cooked for about a total of 5 hours, until the beans were very soft. (Fresher beans would cook faster.)

    The result was a little blah, a small red pepper would have spiced things up. Still, very good over the rice.

    Mixed lettuce salad and an avocado with sour dough toast finished off our meal.

    Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
    11:44 pm
    Spaghetti sauce
    I made some tomato sauce a couple of days ago, and we had it on spaghetti. Now we have quite a lot of it left.

    2 T olive oil
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    Heat to boiling (this tends to spatter when it is not yet hot all the way through.)
    Add 1 chopped onion
    3 cloves chopped garlic
    one chopped carrot
    1 large rib of celery chopped I peel celery to get the strings off.
    some chopped parsley (I had about 1/2 cup after chopping, not packed down)
    bay leaf
    sweet basil I had some dry but fragrant sweet basil. I put about 1/2 tsp in.
    I also had 3 very small tomatoes that needed to go away, so I skinned them (boiling water for 20 sec) and chopped them up too.

    All this cooked at a simmer for about an hour. It made about 3.5 cups of sauce.

    If this is made with fresh tomatoes some salt will be needed. The crushed tomatoes seem to have some salt.

    I cooked thin spaghetti. We put sauce on top along with some parmesan cheese. We also had some lettuce for salad.

    Now we have sauce for three or four more batches of spaghetti. I intend to put some sausage pieces into one batch, probably Italian sausage.
    Saturday, January 1st, 2011
    5:46 pm
    Stir fry with noodles
    I made the stir fry with Chinese noodles a few days ago.

    The noodle came in a package from Aldi's. They are labeled "Mie Noodles".

    The instructions call for cooking the noodles in boiling water for four minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let drip dry.

    Then we need to prepare some pork, I use a small bone-in loin chop, cut off the bone and as much fat as practical, and then cut into thin strip about one inch long. Also we need to prepare all the other ingredients before doing the stir fry.

    Vegetables: I used bok choi cut up into pieces no more than one inch in the long dimension, half a raw carrot cut into thin strips, a quarter of a green pepper cut up in strips, six green onions cut up, a celery stalk cut up Whatever is in the refrigerator seems like reasonable instructions for vegetables.

    Also need garlic and fresh ginger chopped fine, about a teaspoon each, though I think more would be good.

    Liquid mixture, 1/2 c water with some vegetable bouillion mixed in, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T oyster (or barbecue) sauce (I don't have oyster sauce on hand) and 1/2 tsp chili paste (I used ground chili, 1/2 tsp), all these mixed together.

    Cooking: Put some oil in wok (deep frying pan) and heat it, put in the meat and fry for about 3 minutes, until it gets brown, then add the garlic-ginger mix, fry for another 2 minutes, add the vegetables and the water ix, stir fry for 3 minutes, and then add the noodles and stir fry for another minute.

    The package says, "Serve the dish garnished with omelette strips or roasted onions in Chinese rice grain porcelain dishes with chop sticks. Enjoy your meal!" We did. We skipped the garnish and ate off plates with forks. We do enjoy.

    More stir fry coming soon. On my last visit to the local farmer's market, in late November, my favorite Korean woman vegetable grower sold me a large bok choi, as well as some other stuff, and then shoved a smaller bok choi into my bag as an extra. So we got home from our three weeks in Albuquerque and Tucson with lots of bok choi cluttering up the refrigerator. The bok choi keeps well when cool so now we are trying to eat it up.

    By the way, I think a lot more soy sauce is needed here, try 2 or 3 T, and the amounts of garlic and ginger could be larger: frying seems to reduce the their effect.
    1:38 am
    Bean Soup, Corn Muffins, Cole Slaw
    I washed and picked over 1 C dry great northern beans. (I prefer these to navy beans. I like small white beans, also.) I soaked these overnight in water, about 3 C water or more for 1 C beans. The next day I drained them, rinsed with fresh water, and held them drained.

    I cut off a thick slice of bacon from a piece of very smoky bacon I got from the grocery in Wilson, KS (the Czech capital of Kansas) and I cooked this up in some vegetable oil. The bacon is pretty lean, so it needs some added fat. I cut the bacon in fairly big pieces so they could be fished out, if one wished to. I cooked in the fat some carrot cut into small pieces, about one medium carrot, and half a large onion chopped. I added the beans, one rib celery cut into small pieces, covered with boiling water, added 1/2 tsp salt, a good deal of black pepper, 1/8 tsp ground cumin, a bay leaf, and one whole clove.

    I also put in one of those small dry red peppers that are sold in the spice area of grocery stores. The pepper was way too much, and about 1/2 of its outer shell without the seeds would have been enough. (Or none.)

    I cooked all this for about 2 hours, until the beans were very soft. (The water level needs to be checked regularly to avoid making burned bean soup. Burned bean soup can be not too bad, but never very good.)

    Brenda Jones told me that the smoke flavor can be replaced with sesame oil in place of the bacon. I recall that. Maybe Brenda will correct me, if my memory fails me, which it does a lot. Getting old does not help with memory.

    We had the bean soup with corn muffins and cole slaw.

    Corn muffins:
    1 C corn meal
    1/2 C flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    2 T sugar
    3/4 tsp salt

    Mix up the dry stuff.

    2-3 T oil
    1 egg, beaten in the oil
    3/4 C milk

    Mix up the wet stuff, pour into the dry stuff, mix well, and turn out into muffin tins.
    Bake 400F for about 20 minutes.

    This makes 11-12 small muffins. Pam in the muffin tin keeps them from sticking very much.

    These are good with butter, honey, or jam or jelly.

    Cole slaw.

    Cut up cabbage pretty fine, not needing to be tiny pieces, but not big chunks.
    Soak in salted water (lots of salt) for a while. Drain and whirl dry in a towel.

    Dressing: butter milk, 1 T, lemon juice 1 T, mayonnaise 2 T, sugar 1/2 tsp, dry mustard 1/2 tsp, salt 1/2 tsp, black pepper 1/2 tsp, celery seeds, 1 tsp. Mix with the cabbage. The cabbage will have some salt left from the soak so this should be enough. Taste for salt, anyway. More can be added and tossed in if needed.
    Friday, December 31st, 2010
    2:00 am
    More food
    We had meat balls in a pot for dinner on Monday. These have been one of our long-time favorites. The original recipe has been changes over the years to accommodate a variety of changes in our tastes

    Now we start with about 2/3 lb. low fat ground beef, some rice, maybe 1/3 C, some chopped onion, maybe one medium-small onion, and mix these together with some salt and pepper. I'd say about 1/2 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper.

    More rice or onion can be worked into this, I recall once long ago I was mixing this up and asked how much rice to put in. Pat said as much as I could get in, so I kept adding rice until the meat would hold no more, certainly at least 2/3 C and maybe more, so those meat balls turned out to be close to rice balls..

    The meat mixture is formed into small balls, no more than an inch in diameter, and browned in some oil in the pot. Once they are browned, some potatoes are cubed and put in. I like the potatoes peeled, but unpeeled would be ok. Two cans of cream of mushroom soup poured over with two cans of water, and the mix cooked for about 25 minutes.

    We mash up the potatoes as we eat them, so all that mushroom soup gets soaked up.

    I made some buttered cabbage with this. 1/4 head cabbage chopped fairly fine, soaked in salted water (pretty salty) and drained. The cabbage is boiled in water for 4 minutes, then drained and put back with butter over heat, stirred until the cabbage dries, and peppered and mixed a little more. The cabbage needs to be turned over as it is stirred with the butter. This is one of our favorite vegetable dishes. We use a large nonstick skillet for cooking this. I use about 1-2 T butter for this, less just does not work well. I suppose one might use part vegetable oil instead.

    More food soon. I made bean soup and corn muffins on Thursday and stir fried Chinese noodles with pork and vegetables tonight.
    Thursday, December 30th, 2010
    1:09 am
    Xmas Dinner
    We had a total of seven for Xmas dinner. I baked salmon (about 2.4 lbs, fillet) and made risotto. The salmon was baked according to package directions, skin side down on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for about 25 minutes. It came out fine. I made some tartar sauce to go with, chopped capers, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped onion, salt, not very carefully measured out so I got maybe too much mayo and overall just too much. Now we need to have some fish about 10 times to use up the left-overs. The risotto was according to directions in volume I of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, J. Child et al. Chopped onion sauteed in butter until soft, then rice sauteed in the onion and butter until the rice turns chalky looking, then boiling water and whole stuff in casserole brought to a boil and baked at 300 or so for about 20-25 minutes until no more liquid on bottom. I used 1.5 C rice and 3 C. water, and about 1/5 tsp salt, made twice as much rice as needed, We also had boiled carrots and peas, and green salad with tomatoes and stuff and more vegetables, the last two brought by our neighbor Linda, and rolls and pies brought by Virginia Peterson.

    Boxing Day:
    We took the bit of left-over salmon and made creamed salmon with hard boiled eggs over left-over risotto. Chopped onion sauteed in butter plus oil until soft, about 3 T butter plus oil, half a green pepper chopped, nutmeg, pepper, and then 3 T flour cooked a bit, one C. milk added and heated until thickened (lots of stirring at this step.) Then I added some salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp) and chopped up salmon and two chopped hard boiled eggs. We had some left-over peas with this
    Friday, June 25th, 2010
    1:12 pm
    I have not been doing as much cooking as usual.

    Pat made her Dinner in a Dish for the grandchildren while they were visiting, two weeks ago.
    (My keyboarding makes me think of the web comic, "Where the typos og")

    Basic scheme is
    Spaghetti, about 1/4 lb or less, broken in short lengths, cooked in salted water, drained, held ready.
    Ground beef, enough, used to be 1 lb, now less. Brown add chopped onion and cook a little, add some chopped green pepper cooked a little half a can of shoe-peg corn (used to be whole small can of cheap corn), 8 oz can tomato sauce, salt and pepper, mix in spaghetti, mix in one raw egg, bake for about 15 minutes or so at 350F, just enough to set the egg. I used to eat this topped with a big chunk of margarine, 50+ years ago, now no butter or margarine and only about half a pound of meat.

    I cooked some pinto beans, one cup, washed and picked over to get rid of the bad beans, twigs, stones and stuff (these beans are generally a lot cleaner than they were 50 years ago, but still sometimes pretty sandy.)
    Soaked overnight in water to cover (about 3-4 cups) and drained in the morning. Then cooked in fresh water with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, about one teaspoon dry oregano, 2-3 big cloves garlic, and some vegetable oil, maybe two tablespoons or less. These cook at a slow simmer until quite soft.

    This was raw material for Pat making Western Meal in One, a recipe my mother got from a magazine, probably Sunset. The old recipe was

    1 lb ground beef
    1 tablespoon salad oil or bacon drippings
    1 clove garlic, minced or mashed (or some alternative forms of garlic)
    1 chopped onion
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 medium sized can of tomatoes (15 oz size, it seems)
    1 can kidney beans
    1/2 cup uncooked rice
    1/4 cup chopper ripe olives
    3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    Brown ground meat in oil until crumbly, add garlic, salt, onion green pepper, and chili powder, saute 5 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, beans, and rice and turn into greased casserole. Baked uncovered at 350F for 45 minutes. Mix in or sprinkle over the cheese and olives and cook another 15 minutes.

    We use cooked pinto beans, about 2 cups. We use ground chilies for the chili powder. Pretty much the original recipe can be found at,1941,154172-246205,00.html but they list chopped green onions in the ingredient list, while they call for chopped green pepper in the cooking instructions. I'm sure green pepper is right, and "onion" just slipped in after green by one of those automatic processes that cause mis-speaking. They say 1/2 cup chopped onion, but we like onion. I try to proof read with some care what I put in here, but some things are hard to catch. The spell checker does not mind numerals in the middle of words. Numb3rs is ok, it thinks. It doe#s not like this, the s after the # is objectionable.

    We had some shrimp for supper yesterday. 3/4 lb frozen cooked medium sized shrimp, shelled and de-veined. I put these in boiling water and bring them back to a boil for a couple of minutes. Then I chill them off with water and then ice. We use a shrimp sauce made of ketchup, prepared horseradish, and lemon juice and salt.

    I found, when eating my lettuce salad off the plate I had the shrimps on, the left=-over shrimp sauce makes a nice addition to the olive oil and vinegar salad dressing I used.

    I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast, made by following the directions on the box. The so-called old fashioned oatmeal, not the instant. I like a lot of brown sugar on top and some milk. This is in place of the toast and jam I used to have with my boiled egg and bacon. The egg and bacon now come after the oat meal.
    Sunday, June 13th, 2010
    12:51 am
    Pinto Beans
    Pinto beans: A good amount of beans is a cup of dry beans. Measure the beans out, put them in a bowl and put in water to wash them. (They tend to have sand and dirt in them, also sometimes stems, bad beans, rocks, and other stuff that are not good to eat.) Wash the beans, pick them out of the water a few at a time, discard any split beans and any that have obvious irregularities, like holes, black spots, mold and so on.). Put the beans in a pan that is about 3 times the volume of the dry beans, or more, at least 3 cups capacity. (They swell as they soak and cook.) Put in fresh water and cover the pot to let them soak overnight. The next day pour off the soaking water and add fresh water to cover with a lot of excess, at least 2 cups. Put in some salt, 1/2 teaspoons to start with, some ground cumin seed, about 1/8 teaspoon or less, Some dry oregano (about 1/2 teaspoon), and garlic, at least 2 medium large cloves of fresh garlic, though neither Uncle John or I would argue for less. Lots of garlic is good, as we see it. Then add about 1-2 tablespoons of oil, such as canola oil or other salad oil. (The oil helps keep the flavor in.)

    Then start cooking, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, with the cover set a little sideways to keep it from boiling over. Check the water level now and then, keep the water level over the beans. Sometimes it helps to give the beans a stir ow and then, especially if the heating is uneven, so that some parts of the pot are actually boiling while other parts are not. The beans are done when they are very soft. This can take a couple of hours, though fresh dry beans cook faster.

    Once the beans are cooked they can be eaten as is, or used in other dishes, such as refried beans or Western Meal in One. Refried beans are made by putting beans in a frying pan with some oil or other fat (I like lard, but Pat does not.) Heat the beans up and squash them with a potato masher. Put in some green pickled jalapeno pepper, cut up fine, or some dry chili, or whatever suits.

    The garlic has to have the dry skin removed before using it. Either cut off both ends of the clove or else squash the cloves to make it easier to get the skin off.

    I usually use water that has been boiled in the tea kettle and then cooled for both the soaking and the cooking. Our water has some temporary hardness that is a little reduced this way.

    Western Meal in One in the Future
    Saturday, June 12th, 2010
    8:10 pm
    Grandchildren Go Home
    We took the grandchildren to the KC airport. They have been a delight to have visiting. I'll post recipes of food we cooked while they were here, but not today.
    Thursday, June 10th, 2010
    12:29 am
    Bridge- New Minor Forcing
    Subject: New Minor Forcing

    I got confused today while playing with Judy.

    New minor forcing applies in this sort of situation:

    1D - P - 1S-P-
    1NT-P -2C-P

    where opener has opened a minor, responder has bid a major, and opener has rebid 1NT. Responder's new minor asks for more description from opener. (Presumably opener has about 12-14 HCP, for us, as we open 1NT with 15-17.)

    Opener with 3 card support for responder's major rebids the major at the 2 level with less than a maximum,
    jumps to the 3 level with a maximum hand.

    Opener with less than 3 card support can do one of several things: rebid in the unbid major with 4 cards there, raise the new minor suit with no stopper in the unbid major, rebid 2NT or 3NT, and rebid the original minor with extra length there.

    To make the new minor forcing bid responder needs a good hand, as it is possible that they will land in 3NT at the next bid. So something like at least a good 10 HCP or more.

    One should note that opener probably does not have good 3 card support for the major, as opener with good 3 card support and a ruffing value should raise the major instead of bidding 1NT.

    1D - P - 1S-P-
    1NT-P -2C-P

    So at ?
    2S = 3 spade cards, minimum
    3S = 3 spade cards, maximum

    If no spade raise,
    2NT = stoppers and less than 14HCP
    3 NT = 14 HCP and stoppers

    If no NT rebid
    2H = 4 H cards, 3H = 4 H cards and 14HCP
    3C = no H stopper
    3D = no H stopper and 5+ D cards

    All of the above similarly if the opening is 1C and the major is H or S, and the new minor is D.

    New minor forcing is not applicable in this situation:

    1D - P - 1NT - P

    I somehow had the idea at the time that 2C would be NMF, which it is not. It is not the least bit forcing, though I would expect responder to take preference to 2D if holding equal or longer D. Responder might raise the level with a good fit in one of the minors and 9 or 10 HCP

    Current Mood: cheerful
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