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What’s Cookin’?

La Quinta, California: Science is a wonderful thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all the amazing scientists who figured-out the COVID vaccination recipe. Being vaccinated changes everything. Simply going to the grocer and choosing our fruits and vegetables again is wonderful. We always mask-up, of course... even though it is law in California... and suppose we will be masking-up for years to come, even when it is no longer the law. I don't care. Happy to keep everyone (and ourselves) safe and healthy. Mask-up people, and if you are not vaccinated - GO GET JABBED!

We are now free to go out to restaurants, but are easing our way back into that world. A few lunches at the clubhouse and a few fish tacos - all the while dining al fresco. Which means, I am still cooking... and cooking... and cooking.

I wrote about the wild-caught frozen cod available at Costco a while ago. I have been working on a miso marinade and think it's about right. For two fillets of cod, whisk together: Juice of one lime), 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root, 1 Tablespoon light/mild/white miso paste, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Season the fish with a little salt, and coat the fish in the marinade. Let the fish marinate for a few hours in the fridge, and then grill or sauté. (I'm going to tell you the marinade makes the fish spatter like crazy in the pan, so prepare for a mess... or grill outside.) Chopped cilantro is a nice garnish. I've been serving this dish over (separately) sautéed vegetables, usually zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and pea pods. This week, I added a bit of asparagus, but usually prefer a bit of red bell pepper for color.

We are good eaters and we exercise a lot, but these days (are we getting old?), we each can't finish a piece of cod. Now I cook one fillet and we split it.

Here is the same dish (7 May 2021) with a little red pepper for color and black sesame seed garnish.

I had a new dress hanging in the closest for several weeks. It was a little too fancy for wearing around the house (or to the only other place I go: the grocer). I convinced My Driver to try dinner at the clubhouse. No difference than eating lunch at the clubhouse - the tables are outside - but with a "dinner menu" instead of sandwiches. Fancy!

Maybe not exactly how it looked on the model, but it fit me like it was tailored... which is rare... due to my... er... figure. The red embroidery continues around to the back of the dress as well, and the dress is fully lined - and machine washable. It is SO CUTE, and I caught it on a sale day. Instead of a pumpkin carriage, we arrived at the clubhouse in our golf cart. Anyway, it was nice to not cook dinner for a change!

Left: Steak Diane. From the menu: two slices of filet mignon, cheddar scalloped potatoes, sautéed asparagus and crispy shallots, peppercorn-cognac pan reduction. Right: Chicken Piccata. Spaghetti, arugula, garlic, chili flakes, capers, Parmesan, olive oil, au jus. (Oddly, no mention of chicken?) Everything was really good, but of course, we brought home a doggie bag. We do not have a dog.

After our one night-out (since March 2020!), we returned to our usual dinner-party-for-two nightly event. Cocktails and appetizers, dinner, and dishes.

I found a box of Rustichella d'abruzzo cannelloni in a little deli sharing the parking lot with Dave's bicycle repair shop. The dried pasta tubes are very thin and do not need to be boiled before baking - similar to no-boil lasagna noodles. I stuffed the tubes with ricotta, spinach (frozen/thawed chopped spinach, and squeezed dry), and lemon zest. After the tubes were stuffed, they were covered in a home-made marinara (also from the freezer) and baked. The box held 24 tubes and I used six for our dinner... and we each finished two (so... left-overs for lunch the next day). I can't find this pasta to purchase anywhere on-line, so am happy to have found this little Italian grocer in Palm Desert.

Served with a salad. Our niece, Meghan, brought a bag of avocados to us from Lisa's tree, so we have been eating an avocado every dang day. We are not sure - exactly - the breed of the avocado tree behind Lenny and Lisa's house (maybe something like a Fuerte?), but the fruit is about twice the size of the normal Haas avocado found in most American supermarkets, and smooth/thin skinned. I have been removing the avocado skin with a vegetable peeler. This avocado can be refrigerated once ripe, and will remain fresh/green for over one week. Also, once cut, this avocado will not brown as quickly as a Haas. Truly a wonderful avocado tree Lisa and Lenny have in their garden! Tastes like eating butter.

Other things cooked this week: Creamy Tortellini Soup, (thanks to our friend, Julie, for sharing this recipe), and - because my cousin Rachel was in town on vacation with her husband: Chile Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon, and Feta. (This link may be behind a pay-wall.) The roasted chicken recipe is very good and needs little hands-on time... perfect if you are having guests. I roasted potatoes with the chicken (bone-in/skin-on thighs), and served it all with a salad. After reading the recipe comments, the chicken was roasted skin-side up and was not turned. Feta and chopped dill were sprinkled over the chicken just before serving. I baked a crusty loaf to sop-up all the juices. Loved by all.

How wonderful to see my cousin, Rachel. Rachel and I are the #1 daughters of the two youngest daughters of our grandmother. Rachel's mother (the youngest child in my mom's family) is the only sibling still living.

Rachel and I are holding the family strong!

Until my next update, I remain, your cooking correspondent.

3 thoughts

  1. Well, you may have just spoiled your husband with all
    your wonderful cooking ! Why would he want to eat out? Lol
    Thank you for sharing recipes and pictures.

  2. Looking fabulous! Beautiful dress. Hopefully it will tuck nicely in your luggage when you two are able to travel again!
    Cheers to both!

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