April 15th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK, a supreme master of home cooking, consults recipes and uses them as a base before adding original (and tasty) BSK tweaks. However, recipes vary. Marcella Hazan’s Italian recipes are foolproof but provide skimpy amounts of sauces. Patricia Wells’s “Bistro Cooking” is good. Mark Bittman’s recipes are up and down. Karen Lee is excellent on Chinese food. (HG/BSK went to her New York Classes many decades ago). Yotam Ottolenghi is very good. The Silver Palate cookbook is excellent on soups. Alice Waters is a great, pioneering restaurant leader but an incomprehensible recipe writer. The late Michael Field’s books contain flawless, precise recipes. One of the great food writers, M.F.K. Fisher, had some terrible recipes in her books. Witness clam chowder. She recommended adding a can of cream of corn soup to the mix. A-a-a-rgh!!

Mixing Culinary Cultures

April 10th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has probably mentioned BSK’s adroit mixing of culinary cultures. “Fire Chicken” is an example. BSK cooks chicken thighs on the gas range in traditional Korean style. The chicken nestles in Korean chili sauce, Korean chili flakes, chopped onions, garlic, parsley. Then, when almost done, the chicken is covered with slices of Italian mozzarella which swiftly melts. Classic Italian but the “red sauce” is Korean. “Fire Chicken” ? Yes, it’s spicy but not killer hot like some Szechuan, Indian, Thai and Mexican dishes. Since HG has plenty of leftover matzos from Passover (and some robust salsa), HG plans a version of Mexican Chilaquiles, using matzos rather than tortilla chips. An experiment. An international note: The best recipe for Pasta alla Norma (the sublime Sicilian spaghetti in eggplant sauce) can be found in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Israeli cookbook, Ottolenghi Simple.” BSK made it last night and HG had three helpings.

Joyous Belated Seder

April 8th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Snow, ice, rain, muddy slippery roads. Yes, weather on Prince Edward Island has been challenging. That’s why the traditional Passover Seder at the home of Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother in law) was delayed for a week. Worth waiting for. Russian and Israeli/Russian friends were at the table. They brought a wonderful array of salads and the objects that adorned the table and were part of the Haggadah (Passover blessings, ceremonies, songs). Yossi M. conducted the Seder rituals. A trained and talented musician, Yossi accompanied himself on guitar as he sang and chanted the joys of Passover: Jews freed from slavery. (The Seder group also recalled the USA’s shameful history of slavery and the despicable efforts of present day Republicans to deprive Black people of the right to vote). The theme of many Jewish holidays is: “They tried to kill us. They failed. So, let’s eat.” And, eat we did this Seder. The starter was BSK’s chicken soup with dill and matzo balls. Here’s the puzzle: BSK is English/Irish/Welsh/Canadian. Pure goyish. However, the gifted woman makes the best matzo balls ever: light, fluffy, full of flavor. BSK’s chicken soup is super (or souper). HG admits. Better than his late Mom’s, better than that served in renowned Jewish restaurants and delicatessens. The main dish was Noel’s roast leg of lamb. Dessert was BSK’s sweet noodle “kugel”. Other folks brought cookies. Noel provided fresh fruit. Following tradition, much red wine was drunk. (HG augmented this with a robust amount of Jack Daniels whiskey on the rocks).

Bloody Failures. Disatrous Consequences

April 4th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is saddened and angry about the continuous loss of American lives (and those of other countries) in futile, destructive failed wars and invasions. Before the invasion of Iraq (because of the non-existence of “weapons of mass destruction”) Iraq and Iran balanced each other in mutual hostility (they had a bloody war). The Iraq invasion empowered Iran. it left Iraq in ruined chaos. Syria unraveled. A bloodbath leading to a flood of refugees into western Europe giving rise to threatening right-wing leaders. The USA presence in Afghanistan continues. More death. Over the centuries, the British and then the Russians have tried to conquer the country and bring order (of varying political types) to the Afghans. Failure. Now it’s the American turn. Good luck, Uncle Sam!!

Tasty Quickie

March 29th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Sometimes you want a quick and comforting dinner. Little chopping. Few ingredients. Ingredients from the freezer and fridge. Ravioli “stracciatella” with vegetables is the fix. Here’s how you do it: Boil chicken broth. Swirl beaten egg into the broth to make “egg threads.” Add some baby spinach (from the fridge) and ravioli (from the freezer). On Prince Edward Island, HG favors Ziggy’s Cheese and Spinach ravioli. Toss in some frozen peas (from the freezer, obviously). When all is done, pour into heated bowls. A sprinkle of Parmesan is optional, A grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt are essentials. Healthy, convenient dinner. Try it and enjoy.

Beans Make a Meal

March 25th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, if you’ve got a can of beans, you’ve got a meal. In the early days of courtship and marriage some 57 years ago, super lovely young (22 years old) BSK would open a can of Campbell’s Baked Beans. BSK would enhance them with fried onions and ketchup. The beans were served with grilled kosher frankfurters. Besotted with love and lust, HG would pronounce the dish a gourmet treat. Last night on cold and snowy Prince Edward Island, BSK made a side dish of cannellini beans mixed with onions, garlic, finely chopped baby spinach and lots of herbs and spices. Lush. BSK says that a similar stew with garbanzo beans, carrots, spinach, etc., is in the future. When living in New York many years ago , HG consumed many bowls of Moros and Cristianos (savory back beans and rice). These days (when in New Mexico), a favorite HG/BSK meal is Trader Joe’s pork chops, flavored with Goya Adobo spice and fried. The chops are accompanied by a melange of sauteed peppers and onions. Obligatory is a bowl of Goya black beans topped with chopped raw onions and a dollop of sour cream. Pass Frank’s Hot Sauce.

The Glory Of Sunsets

March 21st, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK have almost 50 feet of windows facing the sea (like much of Prince Edward Island the sea is presently covered with a sheet of ice and snow). HG has the perfect vantage point to watch sunsets as the sun continues to move to the northwest. The colors fascinate. The sun becomes a blazing orange disc.Then, there are shadows of violet with glimpses of tiny bits of blue sky. Pale green shadows appear. Intense pink takes over that is very similar to the French designer Elsa Schaparelli’s “shocking pink” (Yves St. Laurent called it “warrior pink”). Gradually, the skies fade to a very gentle pink before fading into darkness. Fortunate HG, pre-dinner cocktail in hand, watches this color cavalcade almost every night (rain, snow or heavy cloud cover can eliminate the viewing). Sunsets are better than TV. Can’t beat Mother Nature.

BSK Pasta

March 17th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Had a lush dinner last night of BSK’s creamy (lots of blue cheese and feta) cauliflower with penne. Chased away windy Prince Edward Island chills. This is just one of BSK’s delicious vegetable pasta dishes. Others are pasta al la norma (eggplant); pasta with zucchini and ricotta (sometimes crisp bacon is added); unsurpassed pasta with broccoli (on a par with the dish served at the lamentably closed Delsomma Restaurant in New York’s theater district.) BSK also makes pasta with finely chopped baby spinach, much garlic and onion, all gilded with Sicilian olive oil; pasta with green peas and parmesan; pasta with extra garlicky broccoli di rabe. BSK has noted a pasta dish with brussel sprouts leaves but hasn’t cooked it yet. HG’s all time favorite pasta dish is spaghetti aglio e olio (olive oil and garlic). A few anchovies and chopped flat leaf parsley give it extra zest. BSK cooks this to flavorful perfection. (This is a favorite dish of Romans after a night of drunken carousing).

Best Breakfast

March 14th, 2021 § 2 comments § permalink

Spring and daylight savings time are arriving. However, even though the sun intermittently shines through and sunsets are spectacular, the weather has taken a turn for chill and wind. Time for a hearty, sustaining Prince Edward Island breakfast. Wonderful BSK got busy and prepared delicious buttery grits topped with perfectly poached eggs. A sprinkle of sea salt. A grind of black pepper. A modest splash of Frank’s Hot Sauce. Heaven in a bowl. BSK used Red Mill Grits and they were almost as good as Geechie Boy grits. (Geechie Boy grits with saucy Cajun style shrimp is great eating.).

Mixing Culinary Cultures

March 10th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK is an adventurous, creative cook. BSK is apt to mix culinary traditions from various cultures, use a variety of spices from different nations, pay little attention to directions for heat or methods. BSK’s rules are her own and the result is delicious, comforting food BSK shares with HG every day. A few nights ago, there was a cannellini, rice, vegetable stew improvised from handy ingredients. HG was sure to eat his bowl with a spoonful of spicy sambal oelek. One of HG’s favorite BSL cultural crossovers is “fire chicken”. Chicken thighs are cooked with spicy Korean chili paste and chili flakes. Then they get the Italian touch of being topped with mozzarella slices which melt into lushness. Koreatalian??