Quick and Good

July 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Hot summer day. Long day on the beach. Gathering beach glass on shore walks. Swimming in cold, calm waters. Frisbee. Reading. Insects were on vacation making it a perfect day. HG/BSK and grandkids Haru and Teru were ravenous after they washed away the sand in outdoor and indoor showers. While HG sipped his usual grapefruit and vodka pre-dinner cocktail, BSK prepared dinner in record time. Cooked pappardelle. Showered it with handfuls of lightly sautéed cherry tomatoes and a sofrito of olive oil, garlic, anchovies and basil. Large bowls disappeared in record time. Followed by green salad. Dramatic sunset. Early bedtime as cool breezes vanished the heat.

Chowda

July 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s how they pronounce it in New England. However, New England clam chowder with its abundance of cream and potatoes is not favored by HG/BSK. New York clam chowder utilizes tomatoes which cancel out the unique brininess of clams. Rhode Island style is the best “chowda.” Clear (but smokey from chunks of bacon or salt pork) briny broth. Few potatoes. Celery. Onions. White wine, Clam broth. Many, many chopped clams. HG/BSK have consumed bowls of this invigorating soup in Rhode Island and at the Legal Seafoods Restaurant at the Boston airport. Last night, BSK used Sam Sifton’s New York Times recipe to cook a big pot of scintillating “chowda.” HG ate three big bowls. Wanted more but the pot was empty, alas.

Pork Belly, Tofu, Kimchee = Bliss

July 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Pork belly is sold at the meat counter of every Prince Edward Island supermarket. HG used the rich meat in a flavorful Korean dish. First boiled the pork belly to get rid of excess fat and tenderize the meat. Scooped the pork out of the pot and marinated it for 15 minutes in a mix of thin sliced onion, sliced scallions, Gochujong (Korean miso-like chile paste); soy sauce, light brown sugar, sesame oil and grinds of black pepper. Stir fried vigorously in a hot wok filmed with peanut oil and then added kimchi. Steamed tofu for three minutes over boiling water. Pork was placed in the center of a warmed platter surrounded by tofu. Drizzled sesame oi and scattered chopped scallions. Served with bowls of brown basmati rice. This is a heathy rice containing all of the nutrients that are usually processed out of white rice. Has a nice crunchy texture. HG, a fan of hot food, added some incendiary Chinese chile pepper mix to HG’s plate. Don’t know the name of this mix but the illustration on the jar shows flames bursting out of a pepper. Apt illustration.

Garlic Scape Feast

July 12th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Lavish supper (As the evening meal is called on Prince Edward Island. Lunch is dinner). Event was a festive goodbye to SJ who had to get back to Brooklyn to attend to business. Table was set for eight: Noel and Yossi. M. (BSK’s sister and brother in law); Dani, Yosi’s Israeli cousin visiting from Milan where he is a Yoga Master; SJ and his delightful kids, Haru and Teru; HG/BSK. Grapefruit juice and Strait View Gin cocktails. Then on to an extraordinary pasta: Caputo’s homemade Cavatelli (brought from Brooklyn by, SJ) with a freshly picked garlic scape pesto. The pasta itself was sublime with the right amount of texture and chew and the pesto was vibrantly pungent, better than the best Genoa style pesto. This was followed by pan-fry master HG (assisted by SJ) sizzling three pounds of Hake filets in well seasoned black cast iron pans. Filets were first dipped in beaten eggs and then rolled in spicy fish fry mix. Two salads. Chopped onions and tomatoes. Mixed greens. Much red wine. HG thought too much food had been prepared. Wrong. Not a speck left. Dessert was strawberries (once more from N. and Y.’s farm) and vanilla ice cream. Icy maple vodka and local marc followed. Nothing tops a big meal at a table lined with family and friends.

Island Idyll

July 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Shore dinner last night with everything (almost) from Prince Edward Island. HG’s pre-dinner cocktail was Strait Gin (distilled in the town of Souris) with grapefruit juice and cracked ice. Then a dozen plump Malpeque oysters from Malpeque Bay. Canadian vintner Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc. PEI soft shell clams with clam broth and local PEI butter. Fried hake caught offshore and served with PEI potatoes, PEI mustard pickles and a salad of local lettuces. Drank a Spanish Tempranillo. HG’s dessert was a variation of a pina colada: pineapple and coconut mixed with a scoop of local vanilla ice cream. Mixed vigorously over cracked ice. Sipped though a straw. Followed by sweet dreams.

Rainy Day Comfort Cuisine

July 7th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Driving rain and brisk winds on Prince Edward Island. Evening supper must concentrate on warm comfort. Now that asparagus are in season, there can be few things more comforting than asparagus risotto. HG never orders risotto in a restaurant. It always disappoints. Not surprising. Making proper risotto requires time (20 minutes or more) and concentration. In order to make a profit, restaurants have to resort to pre-cooking or other time saving procedures. Here’s how HG/BSK collaborate on lush pot of risotto. BSK sliced half an onion paper thin. HG cooked the onion and toasted one cup of Italian Arborio rice in olive oil. Many recipes suggest adding white wine at this point and cooking until it evaporates. HG ignores this. Doesn’t enhance the dish. HG adds hot chicken broth (one ladleful at a time) and stirs busily until it evaporates. The aim is to make the rice creamy but not mushy. This takes 20 minutes of adding broth (one and a half containers typically), stirring, stirring and stirring. Meanwhile, BSK cuts the asparagus into thirds and steams the vegetable. Now there is some important timing. (Misguided recipes call for cooking the asparagus with the rice and broth resulting in mushy asparagus). Just a few minutes before the rice is done and the asparagus is cooked but still crisp, the asparagus is added to the pot. When the rice hits the right note of creaminess, a big dollop of butter and plenty of grated parmigiana is stirred into the pot. At table, BSK grates some high quality parmigiana (from a fresh chunk) on each dish. Many grinds of black pepper. Red wine is poured. Goodbye, rainy day gloom.

The Mystery of Canned Asparagus

July 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

There is always a can of green asparagus in BSK’s pantry. Observers are bemused. BSK is not a purist. The excellent cook makes good use of canned San Marzano tomatoes, canned Chinese water chestnuts and bamboo shoots; all of Goya canned beans; Portuguese canned sardines; Ortiz tuna. But, flavorless, mushy canned asparagus? A travesty, especially when the glorious vegetable is in season. Permit HG to solve the mystery: The juice from a can of asparagus is an essential ingredient in one of BSK’s favorite dishes: Shellfish in green sauce. Years ago, HG/BSK devoured many heaping bowls of this Spanish dish at the El Farol and El Charro restaurants in Greenwich Village. BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband Yossi M. were HG/BSK’s guests last night. Encouraged by BSK, they now reside on Prince Edward Island, a salubrious match. Agriculturists, livestock breeders and masters of the equestrian arts, they brought with them some wonders from their farm (strawberries and garlic scapes) plus a bottle of Canadian maple syrup vodka. (Now nestled in the freezer, it should be a super after dinner sip). For “supper” (That’s the evening meal in PEI, Lunch is “dinner”), BSK served clams, mussels and scallops in Spanish green sauce. (HG also boiled some shrimp. They went into the sauce separately, since BSK is allergic to crustaceans). BSK left the traditional recipe in New Mexico. That meant improvisation. BSK was a talented “improv” participant as an actress. Still has that talent in the kitchen. BSK’s “improv” of olive oil, parsley, garlic, onions, white wine, flour,clam juice, asparagus juice from two cans, dry sherry, created an extraordinary sauce. The shellfish and their juices further enriched the sauce. Then there was a unique BSK bit of magic. The tangy dish was served over Geechie Boy Grits. The grits soaked up every bit of the delectable sauce. Another BSK culinary triumph.

Fifty Four and Want More

July 4th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On a torrid July 2, 1963, HG/BSK awakened in their romantic West Side artist’s studio apartment. Eeks!! Overslept. Due downtown at chambers of Judge George Postel to get married. Waiting to witness were BSK’s family and friends Julia and Peter Meyerson. Very disconcerted. However, brief ceremony went smoothly. Wedding breakfast at Longchamps on Broadway near City Hall (sad to see the wonderful restaurant chain disappear from New York). Later in the day, there was a festive reception in the elegant Library Room of the St. Regis Hotel. Music was provided by Bucky Pizzarelli and his guitar (now in his 90’s, he is still performing).Young BSK was chic and beautiful in a Jax suit. Dinner at Fleur de Lys, French bistro on the Upper West Side. HG, much to BSK’s later distress, overindulged in garlicky escargots. The result was HG, on the wedding night, smelling like a giant garlic clove. And, today, 54 years later, HG/BSK are enjoying the cool breezes at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. Anniversary breakfast was softly scrambled eggs and John the Baker bread from the Cardigan Market. Yes, Hungry Gerald married the love of his life. But, Hungry Gerald is also Greedy Gerald. Wants many more years with Beautiful Sharon Kent.

Linguine With White Clam Sauce

July 2nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

This is one of HG’s favorite dishes but finds the versions found in restaurants to be inferior. The exception is La Riviera Trattoria in Clifton, N.J. (The New Jersey towns across the Hudson River have many outstanding Italian restaurants). La Riviera uses littleneck clams in the dish and they work well (HG does prefer larger cherrystones). When in the glorious Italian jewel, Venice, HG lunches often on linguine con vongole. Only fault: The local clams from the lagoon are just too tiny. In order to make great linguine with clams, you need superior ingredients: Best extra virgin olive oil (BSK uses the Bono brand from Italy). Newly harvested garlic. Fresh and abundant cherrystone clams (called “quahogs” on Prince Edward Island). Good clam broth. Quality linguine (HG/BSK rely on the Garafolo brand). Dry white wine. Chopped flat leaf parsley. BSK combined all of these ingredients with BSK’s usual brilliant timing which left the clams still tender. (HG cooked the pasta to al dente perfection). The result: Big bowls of sea heaven. Viva Italia! Viva PEI! Viva BSK!