Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Return of the Prodigal Fowl

Actually I doubt if it is the same hummingbird that nested on our wind chime two summers ago. Wife looked on Wikipedia and found that hummingbirds don't use the same nest twice.

But here again we have one. I'll see if I can get Wife to get some close ups.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Enjoying Sunday Like The French

Or at least like the French use to do (not sure how things are today). When I studied in France, Sunday was a day for relaxing and eating. It would not be uncommon for the family to pack up and go somewhere just for a long leisurely lunch at a restaurant. And certainly a big meal was served in the early afternoon at home.

So Wife and I invited our compatriots in activities gastronomique, Wild Bill and Jill, Gaius Derf and Agent W, to join us for an afternoon dedicated to eating, drinking, and companionship. They got to our place around 1:30 and everyone left around 7:30.

Our Menu

Gimlets with assorted Hors d'Oeuvres

Charcutrie (cured meats) w/New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Oregon Gruner Veltner

Pork Shoulder slow roasted over the fire with White Beans w/Oregon Pinot Noir

Cake and Fresh Berries w/New Mexico Kir Royale (sparkling wine with cassis flavoring)

A Pictographic History

I started the beans the day before with ham hock, pancetta, onions and carrots

Beans after cooking

I took some of the beans and pureed them with garlic and basil then heated the rest of the beans in them.

The final result

I made a coating for my meat from sage and rosemary from the garden pureed with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil

I cut slits in the meat and put the flavoring in and all over the meat.

Then onto a slow grill, indirect heat, around 300 degrees (a lot of managing of the coals) for around 6 hours. It was a 6 pound roast.

Meat off the grill

Meanwhile Wife is working on 18 hour bread

Dough she started the night before
Loaves resting

Finished bread


Place settings - check

Agent W pouring the drinks

Cheese, olives, goat cheese on crackers to go with the drinks

Enjoying the charcutrie course which had two kinds of cured sausage, proscutto, spiced ham, pate, home cured onions, and pickles

The roast and beans ready to be served

A divine light pervades our get together

Jill's exquisite Julia Child inspired cake
It was a great afternoon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Long?

A year or so a go my mega roll of Kirkland (Costco) plastic wrap ran out. I couldn't remember how long we'd had it. So I decided to keep track with the next one. As you can see below we are now over the one year mark and I'm estimating we are maybe half done with it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Mexico Sunset

Just one of the pleasures we get from "The Tower"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Seen Today on a Bumper Sticker

Power Corrupts
Knowledge is Power
Go to School
Study Hard
Become Evil

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A New Trail

Wild Bill and I decided to try a new trail, the North Crest Trail, that goes from north of the mountain to the top. We were only going a short way. We don't usually go to this trail because it is healthy hike from our homes (around 20-25 miles) and you have to go on a pretty rough dirt road to get to the trail head.

But you are rewarded by a virtual absence of other hikers (good if you like solitude or want to be eaten by a bear; not so good if you get hurt on the trail by yourself or don't want to be eaten by a bear).

It's a really nice trail with a good climb but a nice steady slope...no clambering over rocks!

On the way up, I noticed this great view across a valley of what looks like an old Spanish or Pueblo town.

And a nice view of Ortiz Mountains to the Northeast

Wild Bill went into the brush and after a short tussle with another hiker won himself this neat backpack.

We had gone about an hour and 3/4 and based on the map figured we'd gone about 3.5 miles and climbed from 6400 to 8400 - a pretty good hike. Not long after we started back we came to a point where I looked down and saw our starting point. I could see our car. That was pretty cool.

That brown spot right smack dab in the center is where the car is. Can't quite see it in the picture. There is actually a short cut trail that will take you right straight down. You go down (or up) a thousand feet over .8 of a mile. Too much for my old legs.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We Are Happy To Announce...

...the return of business life. The last 2 years have simply sucked and it has been quite the struggle. Actually I felt pretty good that we'd been able to be somewhat stable compared to other businesses.

However, the last couple of months have been excellent. It's funny because the economy is definitely not buoyant by any means. But small business owners, my clients, seem to have resigned themselves to this new economic reality and are looking to make the best of it.

My experience is that you never know if anything is really sure and this could turn quickly but we are really trying to take advantage of the current circumstances to but some fat on the bones to handle the next crisis.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Florida Pictures

On our way from St. Augustine to the kids in St. Pete Beach I wanted some BBQ. So I got on line with Chowhound and put out a request and within 24 hrs had recommendations of 4 Rivers in Winter Park. We stopped there and had a great lunch.

In one picture - an entire clan
2 of 3 kids
5 of 5 grandkids

Wife and SiL John the Armenian - Thanks for the great grilling John and Tim!
We grilled every night. Made it so easy on the clean up.

Proof that my blood can produce males after 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters.
The two youngest A and A (alias Mr. drool)

Grandpa buying ice cream is de rigeur for a trip to Florida

The two cousins J the red terror and Miss Dukes were absolutely inseparable!

Here J's older sister C is doing their nails
They sat there for 2 HOURS!

C is really serious about this stuff.
Each nail had a different color base and different color polka dots.

By the way if you think Miss C is just all girlie girl. I present for you Exhibits A & B.

Exhibit A is the game of war that we played usually twice a day. This was game of tag in the water that was no holds barred. You could only score if you tagged the other person's stomach which gave her a big advantage since my stomach is about 10 times larger. After first day and half I had change the rules and ban kicking since I had so many black and blue marks. She was kicking my ass until the very last night when I turned the tables on her.

Exhibit B was no holds barred racing. We'd race the length of the pool but you could grab, push, or do anything to stop the other person. C pretty much had this one in the palm of her hand.

So we gave Mr. Drool this toy that make all kinds of sounds which he found perfect happiness...

Finally it was A's birthday and he really, really wanted a train cake because he's into Thomas the Train (so am I). This meant pulling Wife out of retirement (famous for the Humpty Dumpty cake and the Smurf Village cake (made with cupcakes) in the years of my children's youth.

Wife was pretty rusty and there were plenty of words not appropriate for children but in the end the grandson said, "Train!" with a big smile on his face. And that's what counts.
Thanks Pu and Tim for the use of your house and a great time.