Unseasonably windy and cold today on Prince Edward Island. HG/BSK and Toby, The Wonder Dog, went off on a long shoreline exploration for beach glass. Invigorating wind and salt spray. Toby is not wearing his usual fluffy fur coat these days. The groomer went overboard and summer Toby is now naked and barely recognizable; however, the little guy remains brave and supremely active in his shorn state. When all returned home, it was time for comfort food. And, nothing is more comforting than a “bowl a’ red” — a bowl of chili. BSK browned two pounds of ground beef with fried onions, red peppers and garlic. Added crushed tomatoes and Jardine’s Texas Chili Mix. Cooked the savory stew for about three hours until all flavors melded. HG enhanced HG’s bowls of the warming delight with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped raw onion and super fiery chipotle peppers and their sauce. Bach on the cd player, flames dancing in the wood stove. Gahan’s Prince Edward Island Ale in hand. A cool weather, seaside pleasure. HG/BSK ended the meal with a tossed salad of farmer’s market greens with a rich blue cheese dressing. A few glasses of red wine accented the cheese-laden goodness.
Among the splendors of Prince Edward Island are mustard pickles, hand crafted by local women. Tangy, slightly sweet, slightly hot. Utterly delicious. They are the perfect companion to a dish of fish cakes. BSK fried up a batch of cakes last night. Ingredients: Cooked fresh cod and cooked PEI potatoes (spuds only hours out of the red soil); grated Vidalia onion, beaten eggs, bread crumbs and loads of chopped herbs. Lush and moist on the inside. Crisp and golden on the outside. BSK made the meal perfect by stir frying a bunch of sugar snap peas with chopped garlic scapes. While PEI mustard pickles are BSK’s favorite condiment, BSK is also addicted to Bubbie’s Pickles, both sour, garlicky dills and bread and butter slices. (With economy in mind, the lady also knocks off scores of dills from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in New Mexico and Sobey’s in PEI.) In HG’s youth, the young man favored sour dills plucked from a barrel in Bronx neighborhood “appetizing” stores. Walking home from school, HG would pick up some (five cents each) for family dinner and as a side for HG’s after school snack: Pumpernickel bread with chicken fat and kosher salt. Properly energized, HG would then be off for an afternoon of sandlot football or baseball. The world’s best kosher dill pickles were sold from outdoor barrels at Guss’ Pickles on Orchard just south of Delancey in the Lower East Side. Alas, gone in the wave of gentrification.
Pancakes, specially flanked by bacon and gilded with maple syrup, comprise a sumptuous breakfast. But, savory ground turkey, seafood, vegetable pancakes (or fritters) are great for dinner (Or “supper” as they call evening dining on Prince Edward Island). BSK makes wondrous pancakes from ground turkey, zucchini, scallions and Middle East spices bound together with a beaten egg. HG complements them with a garlicky sour cream/yogurt sauce heady with zaatar, cumin, sumac and coriander. (You can find the recipe for the pancake/fritters and sauce in “Jerusalem”, a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook.) BSK used daughter-in-law Maiko Sakamoto’s recipe for the Korean seafood pancakes BSK made last night. BSK mixed flour, egg, baking powder, canola oil, shredded cabbage, chopped scallions. Added thinly sliced local sea scallops to the batter. Fried the pancakes to a glistening crisp. HG made Japanese “Bulldog” sauce: Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, mirin, sugar. BSK steamed a batch of local asparagus. Drank Canadian pinot grigio. The pancake recipe can be altered by using sliced onion instead of cabbage and shrimp, lobster or crabmeat for the seafood element. HG’s preference is to add a bunch of shucked oysters to the batter. In HG/BSK’s continual homage to cross cultural dining, dessert was authentic Middle Eastern pistachio Halvah, imported from Lebanon and sold at PEI’s Atlantic Super Stores.
HG has no guilty pleasures. Finds porn boring. Ditto thrillers and other best selling fiction. Franchise fast food is inedible. French fries are boring. The crap that lines the snacks and candy aisles of supermarkets are a disgrace. HG hates Coca Cola and all of its vile, chemical relatives. The exception is Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray tonic, the appropriate companion of pastrami sandwiches. HG is by no means a health addict. Though 90% of HG/BSK’s diet consists of fish, vegetables, salad greens, grains and pasta, HG/BSK do eat (with pleasure) an occasional well marbled steak, lamb and pork chops. HG ignores cardiological wisdom by indulging in a number of lo-cal but high cholesterol foods like oysters, shrimp and Mexican menudo, the addictive tripe stew that is featured at restaurants near HG/BSK’s New Mexico home. When in France, HG dines on artery cloggers like brains, kidneys and sweetbreads. (Strangely, never eat them on the rare occasions when they appear on American restaurant menus). When resident on Prince Edward Island, HG eats lots of frog legs (Imported from Vietnam and sold at Sobey’s Supermarket). HG wrote about the delicacy in a recent post. Gifted Daughter Lesley R. is concerned. Always well informed on health matters (She’s marketing and communications manager at a major Rhode Island hospital). Lesley R.has warned HG that Asian raised frog legs pose a health risk since they are often raised and processed in unsanitary conditions. While gratified by Lesley R.’s concern, HG will continue to eat these delicious morsels. Will be closing in on age 87 in a few months. Something will kill HG in the not too distant future. Might was well be frog legs.
On the eve of July 2, HG/BSK watched a dramatic sunset in the skies above HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island home, lifted glasses of good Argentine Malbec and toasted the 53rd anniversary of HG/BSK’s marriage. Lucky duo. Still enjoying life with each other; their rewarding family (the grandkids add new luster), and of course, art, music, food, wine and the other pleasures of life. All savored by the sea on Prince Edward Island and on the high desert near Santa Fe, N.M.. Anniversary dinner was crisp skinned, roast spatchcocked chicken with lush juices enriched by tarragon, garlic, cumin and Goya Adobo. Smashed PEI potatoes (BSK roughly mashes the spuds with chicken broth and chopped green onions.) Green salad. Lebanese Halvah for dessert. Among other things, HG/BSK recalled how inexpensive wine was in 1963 when HG/BSK began their marital journey in a one bedroom (small), high ceilinged, big windowed art studio (very big), kitchen (adequate), bathroom (giant tub) apartment at 27 W. 67th Street (Rent: $140 per month). The building was inhabited by many famous artists, photographers, writers and musicians. There was an ornate, creaky elevator and a dour doorman. With their summer meals, HG/BSK drank good splits of champagne ($1.50) from the convenient 67th Street Liquor store. Drank half bottles of Chateau Margaux or Chateau Mouton Rothschild with the dinner finale of camembert, Liederkranz and Zito’s bread. These world class wines cost about two dollars. Yes, this was in 1963 dollars. But, still… HG/BSK can no longer afford these wines (these days they can only be sipped by oligarchs). No complaints from HG/BSK. The long marrieds make do with lots of love and the tasty wines of Chile, Argentina and Australia.