Friday, April 25, 2014

Steve and Ana, Pastors at CCNS and Harry, Deacon at CCL

We haven't seen Steve and Ana in over a year and they graciously agreed to come over for dinner tonight. Steve is a surfer and likes a meaty dish so the theme will be meats cooked over an open fire, well depending on the rain, most of them will be meats cooked over an open fire. We will serve water and also rooibos tea along with the food.

Fire roasted chicken

Started with a corn tortilla as the base, sprinkled it with Mexican blend cheese.
Spooned on the rice cooked in fennel and the juice the Costco organic chicken thighs brined in. (Chose to use thighs because they will not dry out)
Put the fire roasted chicken on top, made this the night before, wrapped it up on the serving plate.

This will be accompanied by nopales from our own cactus.

Spicy fire roasted pork loin

Brined half of a Costco two pack pork loin in a zip lock bag for two days, cooked over a chimera fueled with rosemary, (we have a huge rosemary right next to our chimera). Brought it upstairs and checked the temp with a digital meat thermometer, 150 degrees.

This will be accompanied by a mix of fire smoked potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Thyme smoked pork loin

Here goes the other half of the Costco pack, this has brined for four days. I will cook it the day we serve. If I get a break in the weather, I will smoke it fueled with rosemary sear the outside and we will cook it to safe temperature in the oven. This is a slightly more delicate flavor, but it has brined longer, everything is a tradeoff.

This will be accompanied by butternut squash cubes, cooked in a nonstick Tramontina skillet with no oil so they develop a lovely brown color. I am still working out the spicing, but a bit of red pepper and alaea sea salt is a good bet.

Dessert GF ginger almond blueberry giant cookie with cherry and chocolate topping

We make our own ginger juice and what is left after extracting the juice is the cake, (which still has a lot of ginger taste). I dry the cake and grind it again to get rid of the "hairs". The recipe is simple, 1/3 ginger flour, 1/3 almond flour, 1/3 GF pancake mix, sugar to taste, a big spoonful of blueberries, egg white till it is between cookie dough and pancake mix in consistency, 1 tsp olive oil, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp baking powder and voila. ( if you want to treat it like a bread, add more baking powder, but remember, with no gluten it can break apart easily, I go for cookie).

Topping, chop some dried tart cherries, a box of Sweet Palace chocolates, (a gift from Jon Ham and Sherri Davidoff and the LMG team), and a half a stick of butter. I left the butter out to reach room temperature. Just before serving I melted the butter, threw in the cherry bits and chocolate and as soon as the chocolate started to melt attempted to artfully pour the topping over the cookie and serve immediately.

The food was fun, but we really enjoyed the conversation afterwards.  We got to know Steve and Ana just a bit better and it was great to see them after over a year. We know how busy pastors are and didn't want to impose, but this was really a blessing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A pleasant flight from SEATAC to Lihue on United

Boarding was at 5:05 AM so we got a room at the Hilton Airport hotel. We had a lovely supper at 13 Coins, and went to bed early.

The Hilton scheduled a shuttle for us at 3:30 AM as we both need some time to navigate through an airport. Wish I had scheduled for 3:45 AM because after we checked our bag and got to security there was only one line open. However we were TSA Pre, but they weren't Pre_ing so I ended up having to do the laptop, liquids and shoe thing. However, just as we cleared security they opened up the second line with Pre, but no harm done, just a not for the future.

In both cases, (SEA to SFO and SFO to LIH) our gate was as far away as possible, but we had the time. Flight A14 was on time and it was a pleasant hour and forty five minutes.

We arrived a bit early and then made our way to our gate for LIH. UA 361 was a bit late, a mechanical, something wrong with the door latch, we figured we could wait for them to fix that. We scored a complimentary upgrade which was nice. They served breakfast on the plane and we had some food. The movie was some Hunger Games thing, I am not very familiar with that. We arrived on a sunny day on Hawaii.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Feteasca Neagra Romanian Wine

Kathy has been doing a woman's Bible study on Wednesday nights and tonight was the last session. We thought it might be nice to celebrate and share a bottle of wine.

I cooked a meal to go with it, an organic green pepper cooked in the juice of a ginger, tumeric rice, smoked turkey and at the last minute added some shredded red cabbage. It came out quite nice.

The wine is quite unique as well. Fetească Neagră, (Black Maiden), is a prephylloxeric epidemic variety of Romanian grape, cultivated mainly in Moldavia and Muntenia. The phylloxera is a tiny insect, (aphid or louse), that destroyed vineyards in the second half of the 19th century by killing the roots of the grapevines. For more than twenty years phylloxera continued to spread wiping out vineyards and even varietals of grapes. The solution was to graft vines onto resistant North American root stock.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Puyallup Riverwalk Trail and the tale of the swollen foot

Kathy and I were hoping to get out on this beautiful day and enjoy the Foothills trail, but when we got to Buckley there was some major police operation going down, highway 410 was closed and all the traffic was diverted. Turns out it was a very tragic incident leading to the death of a 2 yr old. So, we decided to bounce to Puyallup.

There are some great views, this one of Mount Rainier was one of my favorites. It is hard to see, but it has a cloud on top of it which is called a lenticular cloud of all things.

Kathy and I went the other way along the river and met lots of wonderful people and dogs. Fun way to end the day.

We are becoming quite the hopalong pair. Kathy's hip has literally disintegrated and I woke up this morning, (4/14/14), with my left foot swollen and numb. I inspected the foot and could not find any bruising so I don't think I dropped a bowling ball on it or anything like that. There was some edema. Tried elevating and icing and it was good enough for a short walk along the river. I called Multicare to get an appointment with a podiatrist and the earliest they can see me is June 21. That will not work, Kathy's hip replacement is June 9 in Hawaii. She can't possibly fly to Seattle before June 21, we will try to work out a July date.

Update 4/22/14, I put on compression socks for the flight to Kauai. They worked well enough. But the foot has gone from numb to nerve pain. I am going to try to see a doctor in Hawaii, I do not think it is wise to wait till July. 

5/18/14, my ears just blocked, none of the things I do to clear them, (soak in a hot tub, eat very spicy food worked. I have been reading and the best match of my symptoms I can find is diabetes. That would suck. Changing the diet to include less carbohydrates and more vegetables. Also, I have only taken a multivitamin and a calcium for the past 20 years. Added a supplement called Alpha Lipoic Acid and have started cooking more with tumeric.

5/21/14 Got to see Dr. Michael Ancharski, he washed out my ears with warm water shot out of something that looks like a hypodermic needle for King Kong. Ears cleared, ringing in the ears was near to normal by the next day. He had previously ordered a blood test for me. My cholesterol is a shade high, my blood pressure is marginal, but OK, and my blood sugar does not indicate diabetes. He thought Alpha Lipoic Acid was a good choice, suggested I also try Ginko. The blood test said I am anemic, so now I am taking iron

6/3/14 Nonstop flight from SEA to LIH. This time the compression socks did not work. This was partly my fault. I used a lower compression pair since they were more comfortable. Having balance problems, I can walk, even jog on grass, but having a hard time walking on manmade surfaces, slight downhills are the worst.

6/5/14 Went to the Sports Authority and bought some high tech work out shoes, they are called Brooks Transcend. Tested them by walking to Kelia and back. I did not have much trouble. 6/6/14 walked from Baby Beach to the Pineapple Dump. Three hours walking. Also, bought a bottle of Ginko. Need to try things one at a time and keep notes, this is a lot of change.

6/9/14 Kathy's hip replacement. We had to check in at 6 AM. After they wheeled Kathy away, I wandered over to McDonalds and had breakfast. It was pretty healthy the EggWhite Delight McMuffin. For lunch I went to Subway and had a six inch tuna salad sandwich. At 2 PM, my feet were screaming and the left foot was swelling up in my Sketcher's relaxed fit shoe. Hmmm, two meals with white flour, if I do not have diabetes, I have something similar. For supper, I had lean ham and barley with lots of vegetables, but my feet still hurt. Lots of pins and needle feelings.

6/11/14 Dr. Ancharski dropped by to check on Kathy's hip and give her some iron. He also told me to switch to a better Ginko Biloba, said I could finish my bottle when I finished the better stuff to use it up, but wanted me to build up a level.

6/12/14 This morning I was symptom free, just a bit of neuropathy. No balance problems. This afternoon I walked from Baby Beach to the Kukui Heiau, getting there was easy, getting back was hard.

6/13/14 This morning was symptom free, felt the foot start to swell after lunch, and that in turn makes balance harder.

6/15/14 Walked from Baby Beach to Donkey Beach, three hours elapsed time. Did not stop except for a swig from my water bottle at Donkey Beach. The concrete path was a bear, but I can fly on grass.

6/16/14 Bought carbon fiber trekking poles from Costco. They help with my balance on hard surfaces and give me some upper body workout as well. I like them. 

6/20/14 Adding 30 Katana sword to my workout every other day.  

6/22/14 Got a call from Kauai Medical Clinic, they can see me July 8 instead of September. I already bought a plane ticket for September so will try to keep that appointment.

6/28/14 No balance problems on hard surface today. Yeah, I had my walking stick, but it was not touching the ground. Continuing to lose weight, staying on a lean protein/high vegetable/low carb diet. Still have neuropathy in both feet, swelling in left. Let's add up all the potions I am taking in case the folks at Kauai Medical Clinic want to know. For 20 years I have been taking one multi vitamin and one calcium daily. I take almost zero prescription drugs, one Pantanase inhaler lasted me for five years, (I store it in the fridge).

Since the great foot swelling and Dr. Ancharski appointments on a daily basis I take:
1 mature multi 
1 calcium
2 Juvenon from the Weil clinic
1 B-complex from Integrative Theraputics
2 Ginko Biloba Freeze Dried from Eclectic Institute 450 mg per capsule
700 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid 300 from GNC 400 is in the Juvenon
1 Iron complex deom Integrative Theraputics
1 DHEA 25 mg (blood test said I was a bit low)

That is a lot of pills. As I understand, if I start to get better we are going to see about winding some of these down.

7/11/14 Had a podiatrist appointment with Multicare. Basically, this was an exercise in wasting time just before going on travel. We had a pleasant conversation, but no progress about the swelling, neuroapathy, balance, ingrown toenails etc. Made a decision to take matters into my own hand. I am going to find one of these laser fungal treatment places and in addition, take on the callouses, slowly, carefully. Still eating a diet as if I was a diabetic. 

7/15/14 Motoring along inside the hotel without needing the cane, however I went outside and the wind was blowing very hard.  With it pulling on the big SANS bag, it was really freaking me out and decided to go back in and have Kathy and I eat in the hotel restaurant.

7/16/14 Wide awake at 4:00 AM; performance anxiety. Today will be my first lecture in 2014. Found a phone message from Dr. Ancharski, asking how we are doing. Kathy is doing great. There is still some pain, but on Sunday she walked a half mile with no assistive devices.

I taught well today, had a lot of energy and the nature of this class requires me to alternate between the front and the back of the class. The classroom is carpeted and walking was easy.

During the break, I tried to call Dr. Ancharski back, but, could not make out one of the numbers in the voice mail. For myself, it is complicated. Stuff is going on, but it is hard to self monitor. Still having some balance issues on hard surfaces. Down hill is far worse than uphill. I have made it to my classroom and back without a cane, but had to catch myself a couple times. All that said, I was fairly confident I would be able to teach today, full power, full speed and that worked out. Trying to maintain a lean protein/high vegetable/low carb diet in San Francisco is harder than I would have guessed. I thought California was big on health food, but apparently that does not extend to Union Square; they abound in white bread, white rice and potatoes. I have had white bread twice, white rice once and have not found brown rice or quinoa anywhere that we have been. However, Kathy asked the concierge for recommendations for healthy restaurants yesterday. We tried First Crush, had a meal with halibut, vegetables and wild rice.

7/17/14 We went back to the Infusion Lounge for dinner. It was not as tasty as I remembered, but nice and quiet.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tim and Sue - Pastor @LTCC - French Rustic

Tim and Sue are coming over for dinner tonight and we are excited. The playlist is inspired by the rustic approach to French cooking, sometimes called Bonne Femme.


One hour before serving. On small plates, bed of spinach, thin sliced radish (Daikan), apple and oatmeal. For dressing, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, cloves, sugar to taste, raspberry vinagrette. Leave small plates on table.

Also, take the quiche out of the fridge to come to room temp.

Elk Bourguignon

30 minutes before serving, heat on low using smallest burner. I know, I know, I am getting in a rut. Same as the last Elk Bourguignon, but a very small batch. Serve in bowls on top of salad plates. When done, remove plates and bowls. Replace small plates.

Quiche Lorraine


This is going to be the tricky part. They sell gluten free pastry crust at Hagen's, but I am going to try to wing this. I will make the pastry part of the dish on Monday in case it breaks really bad. The inside is muy facil. The pastry is generally cooked at 425 degrees, the filling at 325.


 6 slices uncured Winco turkey bacon, cooked and diced, it is much easier to cut the bacon right after cooking
 1 onion, diced
 3 eggs, whisked in separate bowl, Al and his family gave me some fresh eggs, they will be perfect
 1 cup milk
 1/4 cup powdered milk
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 1/4 cups shredded Kraft Italian 5 cheese
 1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
 1 tablespoon all-purpose GF flour

Suggest, small servings, leave quiche on table. Leave small plates on table.

Coq au Creme Fraiche

Two days before serving assemble all ingredients in an airtight bag, let the flavors mingle

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, I use the Costco rotisserie, cut the breast off the chicken as soon as you get home and let it cool
3/4 cup gluten free pasta cooked to al dente
2 green onions chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
 2 cremini fresh mushrooms, sliced
 1/2 cup creme fraiche
3 teaspoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

After putting the fish in the oven, immediately empty contents of bag into skillet, pull the chicken breast, place on a cutting board, cut into eight pieces. place in sauce 3 minutes before serving.

Serve in covered porcelain dish.

Poisson en Papillote

As soon as we greet Tim and Sue, put the fish in the bag, set oven to 325. I love fish cooked in a bag. The afternoon of serving I prepared the bottom of the bag, with a bit of salt, herbes de provence, and cheese powder, put some more powder in a bowl with sliced almonds. I will dry the fish on a paper towel before placing in the bag.

I am not going to serve a starch with this course, but will cut up a bright red pepper, they had some stunning ones at WinCo. I will also prepare butternut squash cubes in advance.

Serve in a covered porcelain dish.

Longe de Porc Fumé

Even the uncured hams tend to have all sorts of chemicals. So let's make our own, well more of a brined pork than a ham. Start with a minimally processed pork tenderloin. Then I made the brine, salt, sugar, and spices and will let it sit three days before putting it in the Trager.

Originally I was going to serve it with rice spiced with herbes de provence, but now I am thinking about burning a few potatoes. In fact, I think I will give them ten minutes in the smoker as well.

Gel d'Citron Abricot

Squeeze juice of 2 lemons, save the peels. Take a third lemon and harvest the zest. Place in blender with 1/2 cup dried apricots, 3 tablespoons of sour cream, I did fat free, that quiche is rich. I packet of unflavored gelatin. Microwave, place in the lemon peels to harden.

GF Vanille Brownies au Chocolat avec sauce au Chocolat Cerise

I made up two batters, a very lightly sweetened GF pancake mix and a GF brownie mix. Both batters are a bit too moist using egg white. Heat a skillet, alternate the batters, after the second layer, put some chocolate chips on top an broil till they are soft. The bulk area of WinCo has some 65% cacao round buttons that are perfect for this. Add a new layer, with a chocolate chip. Cool.

The reason the vanilla batter has almost no sugar is the sauce we are going to put on the top. In a blender put 1/4 cup of dried cherries and 1/8 cup half and half, ( I had to add some more half and half to get the mix the blend properly. I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cane sugar, 10 of the chocolate buttons and three pitted dates. This is best created just before serving, once you put it in the fridge it will start to set up. The picture is just before we added the sauce.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wilkeson WA

We have been getting up early because I am on call for jury duty and would need to leave the house at 6:45 to make it comfortably.  So we kicked out of work at 3:00 PM and headed for Wilkeson. The sun was out and the road had more convertibles and motorcycles than usual. We were originally hoping to visit the historic Carbonado Saloon, but it is closed Mondays, so we drove north on HWY 165 to Wilkeson and stopped at the Wilkeson Saloon.

Everyone was friendly, the prices are reasonable, the menu was a bit limited, but the smoked potato salad is not to be missed.

Great drive on a sunny day and then we headed home.