August 25 & 26, 2009 Family time

I thought I’d take a break from showing pictures of food and instead show pictures of people we are taking out for food. Is there a theme here? Anyway, I took Sarah out to lunch this week. I try to see both kids and the grandkids every week. Sarah is wearing the new top we got shopping a few weeks ago. She looks great!

A present for Mommy

Originally uploaded by marymompics

On our way home from the ice cream store we stopped and got a present for Mommy. Nathan thought this was a great idea and picked out the sunflowers. He was as excited about them as Ryan was. They matched flower heights and discussed petals and sepals.


Originally uploaded by marymompics

And finally here’s Sam whom we didn’t feed at all! Sam’s just begun eating actual food and ice cream is not on his list yet. He is just the happiest little person. He always has a big smile for us. He is especially happy with his new mobility. He’s learned to get to sitting, crawl and pull up to standing all in the last few weeks.

We started by sharing an order of fried calamari with squid ink aoli. The calamari were perfectly done and the bitterness of the squid ink aoli was a great foil for the sweetness of the calamari. We have been on a calamari quest ever since they closed Starz in Oakville and this calamari and the calamari at Mustard’s have come pretty close to ending the quest.

John ordered wood-grilled pork and olive sausage, calabrese braised romano beans and yukon gold potatoes. I thought the sausage was a little dry but he thought it was just right. Supposedly you eat with your eyes first. This was not a great dish for the eyes.
P5100015.JPGThen on to Chateau St. Jean for a little wine sipping on their back deck.  Bob (whom we call Alpha Bob because he seems first among Bobs there), served us all our favorites.  Phillipe charmed us with his usual bulls*&# and then we too tired to drive back to Pleasanton.

Not being able to find a room at the Gaige House, our favorite, in Glen Ellen, we opted to stay at the Kenwood Inn and Spa.  Word of warning – this place is incredibly overpriced and NOISY.  Plus there was no wireless internet.  But it was a nice room and a gigantic bathroom and it seemed a better choice than driving home.

We had a great day in wine country.  We ate great food, tasted great wine and spent a great deal of money.

August 18, 2009 Slow cooked pork chop

Low temp pork cooking

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Remember how good pork used to taste? And then they made skinny pigs so people could have low fat pork. It cooks up dry and tasteless.  What was the point? Just because something is low fat doesn’t mean that people will want to eat it.

When we were visiting my sister this summer, she made some really good pork chops using the technique recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. They turned out really well. So we decided to try it.

You have to get the butcher to cut you some really thick pork chops. You roast them in a 275 degree oven until they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees. Then you transfer them to a pan and sear all the edges bringing the internal temp up to 145. To avoid the mess we seared the pork chop outside on the grill.

We call this dish Incredibly Yummy Brussels Sprouts. The sprouts are cut in half and started in a pan with a little water and a little butter. I leave the lid on the pan slightly canted. As the sprouts cook the water evaporates. When you are down to just the butter, you throw in some dry sherry. The sherry evaporates imparting a nutty flavor and then the sprouts brown in the residual butter.