Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dining at Frenchie Joes

It is amazing that little ole de-I has this totally amazing power to subvert an otherwise strong willed, independent person like Lakeview Coffee Joe to completely undo his preferred lifestyle.  Not only to I force him into gluttony but I have him getting up early to make breakfast for his lovely spouse and me by doing nothing but existing!  How cool is that. 

And, I have Mister allegedly France and all things French hating LCJ to make us a classic French Dish for breakfast - Buckwheat Crepes.  Buckwheat Crepes are a specialty of the Brittany area of France.  And I must say they were delicious indeed.  I also have to take my hat off to Mr. Joe as his cooking skills are getting better and better.  He had two pans going so his spouse and I wouldn't have to wait.  I was so impressed with this that I decided to do a typical de-I photo shoot - only of the final prep.

Layer your crepe with Nutella - a chocolate/hazelnut spread - very French

Joe told us later we were supposed to chose between the three fruits but LL (Joe's Wife) and I just but them all on.

Fold and devour!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Defending My Good Name

One thing one always needs to do int his world of 'everyone can be published critic by blogging' is be vigilant in defending yourself from scurrilous comments.  Just today I was perusing the daily blogs when I ran into this little bit of libel.  Sigh.  I, de-I, the modicum of self-control and discipline, being accused as the cause of gluttony.  Let's go through the actual sequence of events.

Dinner Monday
  • LCJ - "I thought we'd cook in today.  I'm going to make this trout with veggies and cream sauce dish.  Is that OK.
  • de-I - "Sure"

Breakfast Tuesday
  • LCJ - " I decided I'm going to make breakfast today.  I made it for LL over the weekend and she loves it and I'd like to make her breakfast today too.  It's buckwheat crepes with fruit and Nutella.  Is that OK with you?
  • de-I - "Sure"
Dinner Tuesday
  • LCJ - "I was able to get Ricardo for dinner so I thought we'd go to Sun Wah."
  • de-I - "Great with me.  I love Sun Wah"
 And for the record, if you go to Fall-fil and you just get veggie salads with your felafel it is not gluttonous at all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Watching The Genealogical War Expand

It has been a couple of months since Wife drank the genealogical Koolade.  I must say that as she finds more and more information and digs deeper and deeper that I enjoy all the various aspects of the migration stories and the unfolding of the history (I'm a big history buff as it is). 

She found this one site that has accumulated a ton of research on her Mennonite background.

This site is done in a real old technology.  There is no way to copy and paste the information so Wife is collecting the information manually to input later.

 This is no small task

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stages of The Typical de-I Hike

Stage One - Wake-up very, very early to beat heat, cursing that you are up this early

Stage Two - Do yoga to stretch out.  Feel much more 'up' for hiking.

Stage Three - Make coffee and consume same...very, very important...mood usually improves substantially here.

Stage Four - Make and consume a breakfast with plenty of calories to carry you through hike...important.  Simultaneously fill water bottles and get last minute things in pack.

Stage Five - Bodily eliminations...very, very important...nothing worse than being out in the middle of no where and need to...well you can figure out the rest.

Stage Six - Drive to trail head.  If rested and  done  carb loading the day before should be mentally ready to go.

Stage Seven - Start heading up the trail.  Operative word is 'up'.  There are no trails that 'gradually' get you climbing around here.

Stage Eight - Get cardiovascular system into gear.  When  in shape this doesn't take too long.  When  not it takes up to 45 minutes to an hour.  Cardiovascular system not into gear = pain.

Stage Nine - Heart and lungs working to expectations and into the hike.

Stage Ten - Realize that (yet again) you've set out a trail that requires lots of work to get up.

Stage Eleven - Try to remember just how #%!*&@ high and long this freakin' trail is.

Stage Twelve - Reach goal point of spectacular beauty such as:

 (note addition of new young female de-I Sandia Outfitter guide.  We find these attract those out-of-shape wealthy middle age male clients much better)

Stage Thirteen - Rest, enjoy view, eat nourishing snack.  de-I Sandial Outfitters finds PBJ is the greatest for recharging the energy.

Stage Fourteen - Start down feeling refreshed with feeling of accomplishment

Stage Fifteen - Realize that going down is work too

Stage Sixteen - Realize that you have a long way left to go

Stage Seventeen - Realize you are in a lot of pain

Stage Eighteen - Realize it is a helluva a lot hotter as you get lower than it was when you started

Stage Nineteen - Wonder if this is what it felt like on the Bataan Death March

Stage Twenty - Finally get back to car, through things in, drive home trying to stay alert

Stage Twenty One - Fall out of car, put things away, take boots off, have lunch with Wife.

Stage Twenty Two - Get ice packs (de-I uses six) and ice various parts of legs, back, and neck for 30 minutes while hydrating.  Wild Bill taught us this and it really helps from being too stiff in the days that follow.  Pain killers have probably been consumed here.

Stage Twenty Three - Take shower - Ahhhhhhhhh

Stage Twenty Four - Take nap.  Depending on the hike this can be short or really long.

Stage Twenty Five - Get up from nap realizing you hurt, are terribly thirsty, and incredibly groggy.

Stage Twenty Six - Get some kind of hot caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea and get in front of computer and most likely do something work like.

Stage Twenty Seven - After about an hour look over at Wife who is looking at you like you're slightly nuts for doing the happy financial modeling dance to Hayden on your headphones and realize the post-hike endorphin rush has hit :)

Stage Twenty Eight - Start planning another equally challenging hike for next weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2012


We don't have earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or tornadoes in New Mexico (actually the do get a few tornadoes in the eastern plains to be accurate).  But generally it is pretty benign environmentally...except for the drought and drought induced forest and wild fires.  Of course they've been pretty big news this year even getting mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. 

I was on my way back home from Santa Fe on Wednesday and as soon as I got on I-25 heading south I saw this big smoke plume and said to myself "this isn't good".  I kept driving (it's 60 miles between Santa Fe and Albuquerque) and watching get bigger and wondering just where it was, hoping it wasn't up in the Sandias where I hike.

I took this shot about 30 miles from town

And this one about 15 miles out

And finally this one just 5 miles away

It was a fire in the bosque (the area along the Rio Grande river) just north of town and it was on both sides of the river.  Fortune was on our side as it was just north of a major suburb and south of one of the pueblos but no houses or lives were lost and they had it under control by sunrise.

The next day the wind was hard out of the East.  Sometimes when that happens we have these clouds boiling over the mountains so you can hardly see the mountains themselves.

Answer To Our Quiz!

The inside of my pocket.  Forgot to lock the phone keyboard :(

Winner of the quiz was Erika Stiengloss of Pierre North Dakota.  She's signing up her no good, two timing boy friend Fred up for the de-I Sandia Outfitters special "Wildlife of the Sandias" tour.  Hope you enjoy carnivores Fred :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Count Counts...APP-arently

Let it never be said that de-I is a complete Luddite.  No I usually charge into technology usually only 20 or so years after it becomes really popular.  Reader and commentator, The Count, contacted me after seeing the recent post on my decidedly low-tech solution to my computer overheating problem.

He informed me there was an APP that would control my cooling fans.  Of course this then required my figuring out how to find and download the APP.  Evidently there is a button right on my MAC  toolbar for this but I never have had occasion to use it.

Once I downloaded the APP, I then had to use it.  Double clicking didn't seem to do anything.  No window popping up or anything. 

Then on the very top of my screen I saw these tiny numbers.  It's a bit blurry but it is the temperature of my computer and the rpm of the fan

I clicked on these and up popped

The control panel!  I've been playing around with the rpms and have come up with a setting that seems to do a very good job.  The over heating has been pretty much allayed.

Now on to our contest of the day.  Guess what this is a picture of an you get to drink one of my wines with me OR get to send some coworker or relative you hate on a de-I's Sandia Outfitters trip.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BBQ & Burgundy

What could be more traditional for Father's Day than this:

A wonderful selection of barbequed ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked potato and cole slaw with an equally wonderful Burgundy from the great 2005 vintage.  You might say that drinking good wine with BBQ is wrong...but you'd be wrong.  The BBQ was Texas style meaning no sweet sauces on it while cooking, just a pretty basic rub and long slow & low cooking with wood smoke.  And red Burgundy is made from Pinot Noir which is a grape/wine which tends to the fruity side so that even with the not too sweet barbecue sauce, the match was wonderful

And it was all bought.  No cooking for de-I today :)

On a serious note -

I am so grateful that I have the wonderful relationship I do with my kids.  It was not foreordained.  In fact it was more likely to go in the direction I have with my Dad which is tortuous to say the least.  No because both kids and Wife were willing to be patient and accepting until I could get my act together, I have a relationship with my children that I truly cherish and don't ever take for granted.

And to answer the comment from Joe on the 'Rock Lazy Boy' -

I just happened upon by happenstance.  Many years ago, I went on this trail decided that I had gone long enough and decided to sit down and rest.  The rock looked as good as any place.  I sat down and found with a little experimenting that it just exactly fit my body.  I've looked forward to going there ever since.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

To The Lazy-Boy!

(Correction to last post - Picture of big kohlrabi now is on post.  Thanks for the heads up LCJ)

de-I is not talking about a piece of furniture as you would think of it.  Instead we're talking about a one of the favorite places to go hiking.  As de-I's Sandia Outfitters (You have nothing to lose - but yourself - to a cliff - or a bear - or maybe a puma) is currently not taking on new clients because of some minor legal issues (nasty libelous claims of torture et al), I decided to go hiking by myself.

I went to my favorite lookout point which is about a 9 mile round trip, 2000 foot climb hike.  I love this place because it is the only place I hike to that has this:

My Personalized Mountain Lazy-Boy
That formation of rock in the light tan is sculpted in a way that  perfectly fits my body.  When I put my backpack behind my head I can stretch out with my legs supported.

 Like This
And I can just get meditative or take a little snooze looking at:


 I also am happy to note that I am finally rounding into good shape after all the events of last fall and winter.  I did the hike in two hours.  My best time is an hour and 50 minutes with two hours 15 minutes being totally acceptable.  And I wasn't even really trying to push it either.

T'was a bit whiped out when I got home though.


Friday, June 15, 2012

IT - Rain - Large Vegetable

I think I've mentioned in the past that while de-I is an accomplished cook and loser of people in the mountains, IT is not among my strengths.  But every once in a while, I do amaze myself with figuring out a way to solve various IT related problems.

Current Problem - My Mac Book Pro is over 3 and half years old and starting to have 'issues'.  I want to buy a new one but they're coming out with a new version and I want to wait until that is available.  In the meantime, it overheats causing all kinds of issues with the touch pad.  And something is acting up just under the top plate because if I put my hands on it when it is over heated, it moves the cursor around all over the place.  My first solution was to make sure I always shut the cover every time I'm not working with it.  But I forget and there are times when I'm working for long period.

Solution - de-I's handy computer cooling system.  1)  Get a pair of imported New Zealand Chilly Bricks out of your freezer

See that is what they really called

Place computer on Chilly Bricks

Voila, hours of nice cool computer activity.  (Please note complicated spreadsheet on screen proving that on occasion I do work)


Last week we actually had rain.  During this time of year when we have gigantic forest fires, this is news worthy

Note that I took this picture outside on the porch so those are real rain drops in the foreground, not rain on a pain of glass.

Big Vegetable

One of a number of kohlrabi from the garden.
Tasted good too

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vacation from Entertaining

This last weekend we had yet another two days of entertaining.  Had business associate and wife over on Saturday and did another four course meal.  I was strapped for time so didn't photojournalize.  I did however make the dessert this time which was fruit with sabayon.  That's a frothy custard of egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine.  Came out very good.  I'm really getting into the whole egg yolk emulsion thing.  Next I need to try creme anglaise and hollandaise sauce.

Then on Sunday we were out for pizza with The Count and Contessa.  They were ravenous from tennis and they wanted to try a bunch of different pizzas so we ended up ordering three thinking we'd have a lot left over for them to take back.  There were three slices left when we were done!  It was also half off bottle of wine night so Wife and I almost polished off one of those.  So much for restraint.

As a result of this, Wife has banned me from any entertaining again until mid-July.  So it is going to be full square on the low calorie routine for the next four weeks.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Food, Food, and More Food...and Drink

By an odd set of coincidences Wife and I ended up having three straight evenings entertaining at the end of last week.  One we hosted.  One we were guests. And one we were 'helping' guests.  I'm just going to focus on the first and last.

Last Thursday, I had a business colleague who wanted get together with our wives (who had never met).  I invited them over for dinner.  The colleague and I had a major planning session for a mutual client in the morning so I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare.  So this is an example of how to make a nice meal with significantly less effort.

First Course - Charcoutrie
That's a French term for cured meats and is a traditional first course to meals both simple and nice.  I had a bunch of good stuff available - there was some cured sausage from France the daughter #3 had given me, some homemade pate in the freezer (it freezes well), and some cured Kentucky ham that another business colleague had recently sent me.  I got some pickled peppers, cornichons and olives from Whole Paychecks.  You can easily buy the equivalent meats there or other high end delis.

Second Course - Asparagus with Aioli
The Aioli was left over so I didn't have to make that.  I cooked the asparagus ahead of time and chilled it so not much work required there either.

Third Course - Homemade Pasta
OK this was a bit more grandiose as I made the pasta myself.  I don't consider it to be that difficult as now after some practice I can whip out a batch in about 45 minutes.  You could use bought pasta.  The key was the sauce.  I reduced two cans of beef broth with a teaspoon of ham base, some sherry wine, and some herbs to about 1/4.  I strained it and added a cup of cream and reduced it again to 1/3.  There's not a whole lot of work associated with reducing it other than stirring it once in a while.  It does take some time - around an hour - but it's all done ahead of time.  Homemade pasta cooks really fast, 2 minutes, so you're not gone long from the guests.

Fourth Course - Cheese

No pictures

Fifth Course - Dessert, A Granita Sampler
Wife has become the Granita Queen.  Granita is basically fruit that is pureed, mixed with water and sugar and allowed to freeze.  But periodically you scrape during the freezing process to get a very snow cone type of texture.  Very light, flavorful and refreshing.  Great after a big meal.  You could easily substitute purchased sorbet.

The point of this is that you can prepare a very nice, classy type meal without tons and tons of work if you are willing to buy good stuff and to present it in courses.

Saturday with Cabinet Lady and Dr. Debbie

Always fun getting together with them.  First course of business was to check out their latest addition, their chicken coop which they've added to their extensive garden and apiary.  I had been told by Wife that this had to be seen to be believed.  But I was hardly prepared for the...

Taj Ma Coop

Cabinet Lady then rolled out the cocktail of the evening - Whiskey Sours
Really well done. 

I marinated the pork chops and we grilled them along with little potatoes over the fire as well.
And Dr. Debbie made a Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble for dessert.  It had nuts & coconut in the topping which I particularly liked.

A Note from the Garden

Harvested our first kohlrabi on Sunday
It was very good and I was able to use both the stem/bulb and the leaves in my soup that night.