Home Cooking Across the Globe with HG and Family

December 28th, 2012 § 0 comments

HG is a lucky man. While HG gets great gustatory pleasures eating at restaurants throughout the world, it is the meals that HG eats with his family that transport him. Yes, HG is blessed with a family of great chefs; and chefs whose influences and talents are truly global in scope. Take the two meals HG ate over the past week: Dinner in Brooklyn Chez SJ and Exquisite Maiko. Their pals Jay and Maya were present. Jay is an outstanding wit and guarantor of laughter. So, fun was guaranteed. A bottle of Tito’s Hand Made Vodka was on the table. The meal started with French smoked herring and smoked salmon. Rich, unusual tastes. Then, wielding chopsticks with her usual grace, Exquisite Maiko transformed into a master of Japanese style BBQ, grilling marinated short ribs and thin slices of pork belly to perfection on a table top barbecue. The crisp, sizzling pieces of meat were placed in cold lettuce leaves accompanied by EM’s extraordinary sesame oil and scallion dressing, onion sauce and discreet dabs of wasabi. With sips of cold vodka, the meal turned into a paen to the real flavors of beef and pork where richness was counter-balanced with the lighter, healthier touch of EM’s Japanese presentation.

Onto Rhode Island where comfort may be the last word one associates with the ever turbulent, bloody and embattled Middle East. But, the word is appropriate when applied to Brilliant Daughter Lesley R.’s riffs on dishes from that region. Lesley R. made her own version of little kefta (middle eastern stuffed grain and lamb meatballs). The ingredients: Ground lamb. cumin, smoked Spanish paprika, chopped almonds, chopped onions, garlic and raisins. Beaten egg as a binder. The mixture was formed into balls (about the size of a golf ball) and baked on a cookie sheet. When done, these were popped into steaming lentil soup. The ingredients: Red lentils, chopped onions and garlic, cumin, finely chopped carrots, chicken stock. Salt and pepper, of course. The savory bowls of soup and meatballs were topped with scoops of Greek yogurt and sprinkled with cayenne. To complete this filling and heartening one dish meal there was cheese, green salad and very superior bread from the Seven Stars Bakery in Providence. Needless to say, there was ample wine.

Yes, verily, verily — there’s no place like home.

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