BSK’s Diet Secret Revealed

December 13th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

It is a cause of wonder. Why is BSK, a woman in her seventies, beautiful in face and figure, lithe, supple, strong and filled with boundless energy ? Yes, BSK works out four times a week at the Pojoaque Wellness Center (10 minute drive from HG/BSK’s New Mexico home). But, the true answer is in BSK’s diet. Sour dill pickles and lightly salted peanuts are daily basics. The pickles are Bubbie’s (expensive) or Trader Joe’s (cheap). The peanuts are Feridie’s (expensive) or TJ’s (cheap). BSK often lunches on apple slices and a handful of peanuts. BSK tops congee with peanuts as well as curries. No pickles at BSK’s breakfasts but a crisp condiment with many dishes. HG believes BSK’s pickles/peanuts emphasis should be investigated by nutritionists. Sure works for BSK.

“Eat More Chikin”? Yes.

December 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Thrifty BSK spotted skinless/boneless chicken thigh for sale at Whole Foods. Picked up two packs for two nights of delicious oven-cooked dinners. One was chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic. The other was chicken with garbanzos, cumin and turmeric. (New York Times recipes). Both dishes marinate the chicken in a yogurt sauce before cooking it to a tender crisp. HG accompanied the meals with a big bowl of Greek yogurt flavored with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a host of spices: Zaatar, smoked paprika, cumin, sumac, white pepper plus sea salt. Dollops of Harissa (Moroccan fiery pepper condiment) enhanced the food. To avoid growing feathers and clucking, BSK interspersed the chicken dinners with BSK’s incomparable penne with broccoli.

Party of Lincoln or Hitler?

December 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Permit HG to express fury. In a searing column, Paul Krugman of The New York Times, called the Republican Party the “party of full authoritarianism.” In its blind obedience to its leader, Der Trumper (and his lackeys), the GOP has used gerrymandering and blocking the votes of minorities (mainly African-Americans) to keep and seize power. It has echoed Der Trumperer’s war on the media and his disgraceful environmental and immigration policies. The GOP and Der Trumperer have denigrated some of the most significant American institutions: The Federal and State Courts; the Department of Justice; the FBI, the CIA, etc. Like Hitler, the GOP and Der Trumperer are trying to create a Federal government where all institutions serve the President (or Dictator) and not the people of the United States. The disaster of global warming has been denied and the use of fossil fuels has been encouraged. The changes in environmental laws favor industrial giants (and oil companies) while despoiling our air, water, wild life, wilderness, national parks and monuments. Der Trumperer’s tax laws favor the rich and the USA”s health care system is a shambles, the worst among industrialized nations. HG thinks labeling the GOP “authoritarian” is too mild. In HG’s view, the GOP is creating a Fascist oligarchy. Democracy is in danger.

George H.W. Bush

December 9th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The media went overboard this week in praise of the late President George H.W. Bush. HG did not share in the national mourning. As head of the C.I.A., Bush oversaw many covert programs within Central America that were intended to disrupt those countries. We are still seeing the fallout today in terms of migrant refugees fleeing the chaos of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, etc. As the Republican Presidential candidate Bush approved the infamous, racist “Willie Horton” commercial. Basically, this commercial warned voters that the Democratic Party’s more lenient criminal incarceration policies would free a horde of African-American rapists and murderers. It was racist and mean. Facts about Democratic policies were false. Bigotry won and helped turn the tide of the election. During his presidency, Bush ignored the AIDS epidemic that was killing his fellow Americans. HG believes his military interventions in Iraq and Panama were not necessary. There were diplomatic solutions. Bush was a product of the East Coast Republican establishment and the New England W.A.S.P. aristocracy. He had patrician dignity and manners. This is in direct contrast with the semi-Fascist, real estate developer boor now occupying the White House. Thus, the overpraise.

Korean Quickie

December 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Hey, no naughty thoughts, please. HG refers to a rapidly prepared Korean chicken dish that is spicy (or super hot if you like fiery food). Here’s how you make it: Slice chicken thighs into squares. Marinate them for 1/2 hour in a mix of oil (canola or peanut), guanjang (Korean chile paste), garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, chili powder. (Google for precise recipes from Asian mavens). Pre-heat a cast iron pan. Fry on hight heat. Pay attention. Turn them over so the chicken caramelizes a bit during quick cooking. Last night, HG put the chicken on a bed of rice and used generous amounts of hot chile oil and sambal oelek to create incendiary food. Drank icy beer to quench the flames. Pleasure.

Endive

December 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a vegetable that’s sometimes labeled “endive” or “Belgian endive.” Whatever. It’s all splendid. BSK sometimes mixes endive spears with Boston lettuce. HG approves of this mix but no other. HG’s favorite dressing for an endive salad is BSK’s sublime blue cheese or French roquefort dressing. With an extra hunk of the dressing cheese this is a very nice finale to dinner when accompanied by glass of a good red wine (tonight it was Chianti). Endive is versatile. It’s very pleasant when braised in olive oil and white wine. Nice accompaniment for a chicken paillard. Sometimes HG eats braised endive over garlic and anchovy enriched pasta. It’s a perfect scoop for hummus, tsatziki and other spreads. Very nice with a stir fry of ground pork, sesame oil, scallions, szechuan peppers and a splash of oyster sauce (or hoisin). Ale in hand, HG likes to scoop up this mix with crisp, cold endive spears.

Schmaltz

December 3rd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, chicken fat. This is an elixir that captures the very essence of a chicken and is possibly the best artery clogger known to humankind. HG’s late Mom rendered her own and made lavish use of schmaltz. It enriched chopped liver (of course), matzo balls, chopped egg salad, kasha varnishkes, potato blintzes and every variety of stewed and fried dishes. One of Mom’s specialties was “tzimmes”. This was a long simmered stew of carrots, honey, ginger, cinnamon, chicken fat and–ugh!!–chicken feet, HG would push the chicken feet aside and relish the “tzimmes”. Contemporary versions of the dish (even Supergoy Martha Stewart has one) add sweet potatoes, prunes and sugar. Says HG: Feh!!. HG is a radical in politics and a conservative in food, scorning foams, sous vide cooking and other innovations.(many Italians share this proclivity). Schmaltz has entered the American language as defining an excessive sentimentality in drama and musical arts. “Tzimmes” is a Yiddish idiom defining an unnecessary fuss. HG recalls HG’s after school snack: Slice of pumpernickel bread with 1/4 inch of schmaltz and kosher salt and black pepper (sometimes slices of raw onion was added). Armed with this nourishment, HG was a swift and bruising Bronx sandlot football player. If you want to sample an abundance of chicken fat dine at Sammy’s Romanian in New York. There’s a big pitcher of the godly stuff on every table. Sammy’s has frozen vodka, old style Jewish food, music, dancing between tables. Yes, Sammy’s is truly schmaltzy in all meanings of the word.

Fennel

December 3rd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a glorious vegetable. Alas, fennel is underused in American kitchens. Happily, it is a staple in BSK’s cuisine. BSK uses it in BSK’s chopped salad of white turnips, cherry tomatoes, chopped onions, radishes, scallions, parsley, basil, etc., in a sprightly mustard vinaigrette. Decorates it with chopped fennel fronds. BSK braises fennel in chicken broth, olive oil and butter until deliciously smooth and soft. It is HG’s favorite accompaniment for salmon cooked medium rare. HG was introduced to this delightful combo by long rime pal Bob J., the novelist, poet and former luminary in the field of creative advertising. The meal (many years ago) was cooked in the kichen of Bob’s modernist house (designed by famous architect Erno Goldfinger) in the Hampstead section of London (Bob now lives on a Montana ranch). A non sequitur: Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond had a quarrel with Erno Goldfinger, and much to Erno’s chagrin, named a greedy bad guy in one of his novels “Goldfinger” (remember the “Goldfinger” song that introduced the movie version?). Another non sequitur: The Italian word for fennel is “finocchio”. It is also a derogatory term for a gay man. In the classic “Godfather One” movie, Vito Corleone (the Godfather) berates the actor/singer Johnny Fontane (loosely based on Frank Sinatra): “Have you become a Hollywood finocchio?”

Ungrateful (And Thoughtless) HG

November 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Thrifty and inventive BSK is delving into the substantial amount of food in HG/BSK’s freezer to cook delicious dinners. Kind and loving BSK makes an effort daily (with no help from HG) to make food that is delicious and that can be swallowed with ease by HG whose throat is constricted by cancer surgery 26 years ago. So, last night BSK removed frozen cod filets from the freezer and made an exuberant pan of cod, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, white wine, capers, Spanish chorizo, olive oil and an array of herbs and spices. Everything was tasty except for the cod. HG found it tough, stringy and hard to swallow. Not like the fresh cod BSK usually cooks that fall into soft petals of fish goodness at the touch of a fork. HG criticized the frozen cod forcefully. This was a display of ingratitude and thoughtlessness. After all, BSK had worked hard on this dish with the aim of pleasing HG. BSK’s feelings were hurt and she protested that the frozen cod was excellent and very edible. Apologies to BSK, a splendid cook and the love of HG’s life.

T-Day Leftovers

November 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Thanksgiving is a holiday that keeps givng. The night after T-Day, HG/BSK munched happily on warmed leftovers from Karen K.’s lavish feast the day before. For most of America, Black Friday meant a feverish search for bargains plus dried out turkey sandwiches and dread versions of Turkey Tetrazinni enriched (?) with cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. HG shuns of all of this and retreats to Vietnamese Pho containing shredded turkey and udon noodles. Canny HG made a big pot of Pho the day before Thanksgiving. With the addition of vegetables and tofu, the pot provided HG with one dinner and three lunches. All delicious. HG is only sad that BSK didn’t snare Karen K.’s turkey carcass for BSK’s incomparable turkey soup.