Spicy Chinese Eggplant

July 7th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Big eggplant in the fridge. HG peeled the big boy and cut it into chunks. Spicy Chinese eggplant was dinner tonight. Here’s how HG did it. Browned the eggplant in sizzling canola oil. Removed when they browned and slightly softened. More oil in the pan. Added two thinly sliced onions. When they softened added chopped garlic (much) and ginger (much). When they cooked slightly, it was time to add soy sauce, oyster sauce, some water, dash of maple syrup (classic recipe calls for sugar but HG prefers maple syrup). Lusty spoonfuls of sambal oelek (HG likes it a bit mouth burning). Put the eggplant back in the pan to simmer and absorb all the flavors. When all was soft and lush, HG topped it with a film of sesame oil and grinds of black pepper. This was served over sushi rice (rinsed thoroughly by BSK before cooking). Fabulous eating. There was leftover rice. Congee in the future?

Chasing the Blues Away

July 6th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is a very old guy (91 in November, hopefully). Despite all of the infirmities of advanced years, HG is a very happy man, Why not? HG lives in beautiful places (New Mexico and Prince Edward Island); HG is in the 58th year of marriage to the best woman in the world, the beautiful, caring, talented BSK. And, HG has the endearing companionship of Toby The Wonder Dog (miss the little fellow who is happy with glorious granddaughter Sofia in New Mexico while HG/BSK frolic by the sea in PEI). Culinary highlights: Oysters and seafood in PEI and green chile menudo and enchiladas in The Land of Enchantment (New Mexico state description). Despite so many delights, HG’s spirits lag at times (Trump-induced). HG chases the blues away with music. Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald bring joy. Jackie Cain and Roy Kral riffing on “Mountain Greenery” always lift the spirits (and bring back good memories of these HG/BSK pals). Yo Yo Ma, the cello genius, is a pleasure and when in need of laughter, nothing beats watching W.C. Fields on Youtube. Godfrey Daniel!!

The Lone Ranger, Etc.

July 5th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

The idiot neo-fascist in The White House thinks he looks like the fictional Lone Ranger when he wears a disease-preventing mask. Of course, the Ranger wore his minimal mask over his eyes — a useless device during the pandemic, and questionable as an effective disguise. Typical of Trump that he’s concerned about his personal appearance rather than the health of Americans. Egocentricity verging on madness. Anyway, it made HG think back 80 years. Home from school, HG had a snack and listened to radio serials before joining HG’s friends in street games. The Lone Ranger and his companion, Tonto, were favorites (BSK recalled that actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels portrayed these western heroes). Other favorite serials were “Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy” and “Renfrew of the Mounties” (Renfrew was the beginning of HG’s love for Canada). Best of all radio personalities was “Uncle Don”, a precursor of “Mr. Rogers” of TV. HG recalls the song young HG sang with Uncle Don: “Hippity gitz hotsah rimboree sibonyeh skippity, honeykodoke and nalacazon, sing this song with Uncle Don. We’ll buy stamps and war bonds too; to Uncle Sam we’ll be true blue; We’ll show Hitler we’re no saps; Stamp on him and lick those Japs.” World War Two patriĆ“tism with a touch of ethnic slurs.

Gorgeous Gorgonzola

July 3rd, 2020 § 2 comments § permalink

Surprise (a happy one). Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Superstores in Prince Edward Island offers sublime, perfectly aged gorgonzola cheese–both “dolce” and “picante”– imported from Italy. This is a favorite cheese and HG/BSK use it in a variety of ways. HG likes to climax dinner with gorgonzola spread on crackers with a side of local strawberry jam. Goes nicely with a glass of robust red wine. HG/BSK like to spread the cheese atop a pan-broiled steak or hamburger. BSK adds it to BSK’s sublime cauliflower sauce for pasta. HG adds gorgonzola to softly scrambled eggs. Also, mixes the cheese with melted butter and many grinds of black pepper into a bowl of egg noodles. BSK adds gorgonzola to BSK’s green salads (they taste much like the Roquefort salad that accompanied HG’s rare steaks at New York’s legendary, long closed, Christ Cella steak house). Gorgonzola enhances life.


June 30th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG was famished last night but stomach rumbling was quieted by BSK’s big pot of flavorful chowder. It is a dish focused on the glories of life by the sea on Prince Edward Island. So, what was in the “chowda”? Mussels from St. Peter’s Bay. Cod from the North Atlantic. Local bacon. Clam broth from a previous meal of local steamed soft shell clams. Dry white wine. Saffron, Thyme. Potatoes. Onion. Garlic. Cherry tomatoes. A melange of herbs and spices. HG looked at the savory pot of goodness and murmured: “Huge. We’ll never finish this dish.” HG/BSK each had three helpings. All gone except for a few scraps. HG finished the meal with the ultimate Canadian dessert: A pecan butter tart topped with much vanilla ice cream. Life is good in the Canadian democracy (not led by a lunatic neo-fascist).

A Night Out

June 30th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Long quarantined HG/BSK finally had a night out and it was glorious. It was dinner at the farm/equestrian center of BSK’s sister, Noel M., and husband, Yossi M. Located on the southeast area of Prince Edward Island (not far from Panmure Beach), their property is verdant, colorful, beautiful. Five years of hard work have made the barn, livestock areas, vegetable gardens functional. And, there are cherry trees, blueberry bushes and much more. Dinner was delicious local lobster for HG (plus salad and mineral rich potatoes). Crustacean allergic BSK had juicy PEI sea scallops. Generous Noel and Yossi gave HG a lobster and a bnunch of lobster claws to take home. Deight will continue. The meal ended with lavish helpings of vanilla ice cream. HG sipped Bagaco marc distilled on PEI. A jolly night with family.

Shopping Day

June 27th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Quarantine is over and HG/BSK went shopping in Charlottetown. HG had been in self-isolated quarantine for almost four months–first in New Mexico and then on Prince Edward Island. (BSK, with great care, shopped weekly in New Mexico). So, for HG, a shopping day was exciting (and tiring). The day began with a visit to the fish store (soft shell clams, cod, haddock, mussels, smoked salmon, chunks of cooked lobster knuckle and claw meat). Then, banking followed by a long session at Atlantic Superstore. Followed by wine purchases at the liquor shop. Last stop was at Atlantic Shellfish in Morell where HG paid an accumulated bill and bought 36 big oysters. Dinner was a tribute to the sea. Steamed clams with butter and clam broth. Fried haddock with steamed asparagus. Early bedtime after dining enhanced by a blazing sunset.

Heavenly Hake

June 25th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

There are few fish dishes better than fried filets of hake. This is a dish rarely seen on American restaurant menus. It’s a staple in Paris bistros. In the USA and Britain, other fish are used for the omnipresent “fish and chips.” HG is a master of the celebratory fish fry, so fried hake seemed an appropriate nod to Juneteenth. BSK’s sister, Noel M., brought the fish to the door of HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. (HG/BSK are still quarantined). HG gave them the following treatment. A light dusting of flour. A dip into a bowl of beaten egg. A roll in bread crumbs. Then, into a cast iron pan of sizzling canola oil. From long experience, HG’s timing is precise. The lightly browned filets emerged from the pan, cooked to a crisp but still firm. BSK served them with delicious little Canadian potatoes and a salad of chopped tomatoes and sweet onions. That was tonight’s happy meal and, fortunately, there was enough fish to repeat the dinner tomorrow. Joy!!

Oyster Heaven

June 23rd, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Murmurs of pleasure emanated from HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home as HG ate the best oysters HG ever ate. HG asked Cindy Dockendoff, the wonderful manager of Island Shellfish, Morell, PEI, for large oysters. (Yes, size matters). And, that’s what HG got. Big, briny, meaty, full of flavor Malpeques. Yes, better than Paris, Reims, Brooklyn, Rhode Island, Maine. Even better than the oysters at New York’s Oyster Bar in Grand Central and Rodney’s Oysters in Vancouver, B.C. HG plucked the oysters from the fridge and devoured them when appropriately cold. (Too cold, oyster flavors diminish). Pinot Grigio was the drink. BSK usually likes smaller oysters but BSK acknowledged these big guys were the best. Oyster Lovers: Look at the photo of HG shucked Malpeques HG ate last night. Try to control your envy.

Tasty Bird

June 21st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK is very choosy and discerning about chicken. When in New Mexico, BSK selects special chickens (free range, no chemicals or additives, etc) at Whole Foods in Santa Fe. BSK has the butcher spatchcock (remove the backbone and flatten) BSK’s selected chicken. The chicken then gets a soak in BSK’s special marinade and is roasted into succulence. Since HG/BSK are in 14-day mandated self-isolated quarantine on Prince Edward Island, BSK’s sister, Noel M., and husband, Yossi M., (they live on the Island are not quarantined) filled the HG/BSK refrigerator before HG/BSK’s arrival. So, a few nights ago, BSK removed a plump chicken from the fridge. The bird went through the usual program of spatchcocking, marinating and roasting. HG/BSK did not have high hopes for the supermarket product. Happy surprise. Turned out to be super juicy and flavorful. HG/BSK, lovers of dark meat, ate the thighs and wings. The ample breast meat got other uses. One use was a very good salad of homemade curry mayonnaise with chunks of chicken, walnuts and raisins. The other was BSK’s innovative Vietnamese pho with chicken and wide Chinese rice noodles. Much pleasure from an underestimated supermarket bird.