March 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Daughter Lesley’s last night in New Mexico. Back to Providence in early ayem. A festive restaurant meal was called for. So, HG/BSK and Lesley dined at Joseph’s Culinary Pub. a buzzy room on Agua Fria Street in downtown Santa Fe. Hearty food. Super big portions. The threesome started with (one portion for the table) fried logs of polenta with roasted radicchio covered in a gorgonzola dolce sauce. The dish could have fed six people. HG went on to marrow bones covered in a sauce of perfectly cooked mushrooms. This was the “small” portion. Misnomer. It was giant. BSK and Lesley shared a ratatouille of charred vegetables in a romesco sauce with ricotta gnudi. Another vast dish. BSK and Lesley then had braised short ribs with some inventive vegetable accompaniments. Good, but not great. Ribs needed more cooking in order to achieve fall off the bone succulence. HG had the house specialty. Rabbit lasagna. Not like any lasagna HG ever encountered. This was a tall, round mound of rabbit meat, fresh pasta, ricotta, mascarpone, parmesan nestled in a rabbit bolognese sauce and topped with slices of sun dried tomatoes. Yes, HG met the Easter Bunny early. The Bunny provided marvelous dining. (Sorry, it seems the dish will soon to be off the menu until autumn). Dessert was butterscotch pudding and lemon tart. The pudding was mind blowing. Joseph’s has a great beer/ale list plus some down home green chile New Mexican dishes. HG/BSK will be back to try.

Daughters. Hurrah!

March 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy. Laughter. Delight. And, yes, much feasting. HG/BSK’s daughter, Lesley R., and HG’s daughter, Victoria, have been with us in New Mexico for a sun and fun visit. Alas, Victoria’s visit was all too brief. Vigorous exercise as BSK took the women on hikes along the Pojoaque River and Las Barrancas in Jacona plus a very adventurous climb along the lofty mesas of White Rock and Bandolier. The climb provided extraordinary views of the New Mexico panorama of mesas, mountains, arroyos, etc.. Indeed,The Land of Enchantment. The women (plus HG) visited the juried art show at the Los Alamos Art Center where two of BSK’s beautiful pots were on display. (A juror bought one before the show opened). Feasting? There was a comfort food dinner of risotto mixed with freshly picked, plump asparagus(a true springtime delight). Platter of cheeses, nuts, fruit, red wine and port. The next night, BSK dipped into Vikram Vij’s cookbook for a curry dinner. Aided by able sous chefs, Lesley and Victoria, there were three curries: Cauliflower steaks; eggplant garam masala and chicken curry (the family curry at Vij’s Vancouver home). Victoria’s brother-in-law, Richard, an eminent potter who lives with his wife (also a distinguished potter) in Santa Fe) joined us for the Indian meal. He beguiled us with a discussion of his practice of a highly spiritual branch of Korean martial arts. Richard teaches a class (currently 15 students) in the discipline. Not the familiar Taekwondo, Richard’s teachings emphasizes spiritual growth and understanding (even though, if absolutely necessary, the martial arts can be used to demolish a violent threat). Spent the morning at Santuario de Chimayo, the adobe church (founded in 1816 and designated a National Landmark in 1974) located in the little town of Chimayo. The church contains a room called “el pocito” (little well) which contains “holy dirt”, earth that (according to believers) cures ailments. The earth (sometimes eaten) is rubbed on the body. Crutches and others items related to ailments adorn church walls, attesting to the miraculous cures. The Santuario is the most important pilgrimage site in the United States. More than 30,000 pilgrims are there on Easter Sunday. “Penitentes” walk to the church (some from as far as 95 miles away). Since Victoria couldn’t leave New Mexico without a green chile extravaganza, HG/BSK, V. and L., lunched at Agelina’s, the funky, down home restaurant in Espanola. Chicken enchiladas with plenty of fiery green chile (vegetarian Victoria had cheese enchiladas and vegetarian chile). HG had a big bowl of tender menudo. As HG writes this post, Victoria is in Los Angeles and BSK and Lesley are participating in March For Our Lives rally in Santa Fe. Gun madness must end.

Versatile (Bargain) Chicken

March 23rd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Besides being an inventive HG-delighting cook, BSK is a canny shopper. BSK is a fan of Whole Foods chicken (Pine Manor brand is a favorite). A few days ago, BSK found a PM chicken for sale. Eight bucks. Took the bird home and “spatchcocked” it. That is, BSK cut out the backbone and flattened the bird so that it would lay flat in the roasting pan. Showered the bird with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, Goya Adobo seasoning. Served the chicken with spring asparagus and couscous. There was lots of crisped chicken skin and savory gravy to enrich the couscous. Sumptuous meal. HG/BSK like dark meat so thighs, drumsticks and wings were happily devoured. This left an ample amount of white chicken breast. The next day it was cut into strips and mixed with spring onions, fennel, sliced radishes, tiny Kumatos, scallions and Belgian endive. HG made a dressing for the chicken salad. Sesame oil, Vietnamese fish sauce, soy sauce, wine vinegar, a dash of Chile oil. This was served with chilled Vietnamese rice noodles. Two great meals. Each meal used four bucks of chicken. That’s what shopping and cooking skills can achieve. Thanks, BSK!


March 20th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Chobani fat free, fruit-on-the-bottom, Greek yogurt is HG’s favorite breakfast food. (HG/BSK choose Fage plain Greek yogurt for middle east and Indian cooking). HG enhances a Chobani breakfast container with honey, jam or maple syrup (HG likes a sweet beginning of the day) plus walnuts or pecans. Consumed with a few cups of coffee, this deliciousness offsets the grim news that usually comes forth from HG’s computer. There’s a political aspect to HG’s affection for Chobani. That’s because the product exemplifies the stupidity of Der Trumperer’s immigration policy. Chobani, with more than $2 billion in sales in 2016, was founded by a Turkish immigrant, Hamedi Ulukaya. With a loan from the Small Business Administration in 2005, Ulukaya and a small team of enthusiasts set about creating a yogurt that tasted like the stuff they grew up with in Turkey. The product went on supermarket shelves in 2007 (it was “Greek” yogurt because that thicker yogurt name was already installed in the minds of consumers). An instant hit. Along with its spectacular growth, Chobani has instituted progressive labor policies. Employees get fully paid six week parental leave and can participate in company ownership through a Chobani Shares program. Yes, Der Trumperer, that is what a Turkish immigrant from a 90% Muslim country has accomplished in slightly more than a dozen years. And, he’s created some 3,000 jobs.


March 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG likes to end dinner on a sweet note. BSK passes on dessert (one of the reasons BSK is perpetually svelte.) If accompanying dessert with the last of the evening’s red wine, HG likes crackers with a dab of Bonne Maman preserves (mirabelle or cherry). Another choice would be dunking Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almond biscotti in the wine. Sometimes HG nibbles a TJ chocolate truffle. If no wine, HG likes a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a discreet pour of maple syrup and a scattering of pecans. BSK stocks Trader Joe’s Belgian butter cookies, waffle biscuits and shortbread for afternoon tea. The best desserts of all are served in Paris bistros and brasseries. Here’s the honor roll: Ile Flottante, Creme Caramel, Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce, Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche, Baba au Rhum with Whipped Cream. Vive la France!! Vive la Paris!! However, HG is not moved by the very elegant chocolates produced in chic shops throughout Paris. Best candy in the world is the butter almond toffee produced by Enstrom’s in Grand Junction, Colorado. (The late, great writer James Salter was an Enstrom’s fan. Liked to climax dinner parties with cognac and the lush toffee Nice flourish.).

Horseman’s Haven Cafe

March 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Giddyyvap!! Horseman’s Haven has a simple motto: “Famous For Green Chile.” Believe the words. HH is heaven for those who like hellishly hot food. HG tried the chile today. Ordered a three egg omelet (“Very soft, please.”) accompanied by home fries and a tortilla. As requested, the omelet was cooked to HG’s demanding taste and smothered with the cafe’s “standard” green chile. “Standard” turned out to be very, very hot and spicy. Sublimely flavorful once the initial sting wore off. (HH also serves a “Number Two Chile.” When asked, the friendly waitperson said: “Señor, numero dos is much, much hotter. Mucho!!.). Obviously, “standard” is for gringos and wimps. Number Two is for hombres who have been eating hot coals since childhood. Macho,indeed!! Horseman’s Haven is a warm, rustic room. Located on busy, unbeautiful Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. BTW, HG’s big green chile plate cost $6.75.

You Tube Madness

March 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

YouTube is a treasure for a nostalgic gent such as HG. However, it can be addictive. You log in for one video and are lured down the rabbit hole viewing one after another. Poof!! goes the day. These are some of the videos that lighten for HG (the very few) rainy and snowy afternoons in The Land of Enchantment AKA New Mexico. “Around a Quarter to Nine” with Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler. This is insane, surreal, racist and subversive fun. “My Baby Only Cares For Me” with Nina Simone on vocal and piano. (There’s also a funny version with Eddie Cantor). “Romania, Romania”, Yiddish scat singing by Aaron Lebedoff. “Baryshnikov on Broadway with Liza Minnelli”. This is a blockbuster. Joel Grey in “Cabaret.” Another blockbuster is a collection of Rita Hayworth dance routines plus her dance duets with Fred Astaire. For a display of pure talent and laughter not much beats Billy Crystal’s opening routines at the Academy Awards. Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Tonys is another virtuoso performer.

Neighborly Fun and Feasting

March 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Oscar night. A group of knowing and jolly neighbors (including one actor, one producer, one theater authority and one ex-actress) gathered before the big screen at David F.’s home to watch the Academy Awards. Luckily, David’s controls allowed the group to miss the commercials so the evening ended at a reasonable hour. However, HG found the show tedious. Only solace was that most of HG/BSK’s favorites won. Big annoyance was that the incomparable Willem Dafoe didn’t win the supporting actor prize. Few laughs. Where were Billy Crystal and Chris Rock? They rocked when they emceed. The pot luck edibles the neighbors brought were splendid. Crusty fried chicken. Country mashed potatoes. Nice sautéed broccolini. Fruit salad with Kirsch. Home baked shortbread. Much red wine and artisan vodka. BSK’s contribution was a big platter of roasted vegetables that were flavored with premium extra virgin Italian olive oil. Also, a bowl of crudités featuring peppers, carrots and endive. What made BSK’s assortment of raw and cooked vegetables worthy of a mini-Oscar was a large bowl of aioli. Pungent with garlic and topped with smoked Spanish Pimenton. Pungent deliciousness.

Walla Walla

March 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a funny name for a city. But, Walla Walla, Washington, and its surrounding valley make HG/BSK’s favorite wines. Charles Smith, a California-born, innovative winemaker, is an HG hero. After world travel (nine years in Denmark), he opened a wine shop in Washington’s Puget Sound and then moved to Walla Walla to begin winemaking. His first effort was House Wine, an inexpensive, very tasty red blend. Both House and Steak House, a Cabernet, were later sold to a Seattle company (the wines remain splendid). Now, Smith produces the pricier (but still affordable) Velvet Devil, a Merlot; Boom Boom!!, a Syrah, and Chateau Smith, a Cabernet. All outstanding. HG/BSK learned about the grandeur of Walla Walla wines in an unlikely place: Big Timber, Montana. On their motor trips from Denver to Vancouver, a city where they owned some long sold residences, HG/BSK would always stop for dinner at the restaurant in Big Timber’s Grand Hotel. Served the best rack of lamb the duo ever tasted.(Robert Redford ate it almost every night when he was filming “The Horse Whisperer” at a nearby location). The restaurateur was a wine aficionado and the wine list was capacious. He touted Walla Walla wines and HG/BSK drank some wonders (this was before the prices of these important wines deservedly soared upwards). HG/BSK still consume gallons of the previously mentioned Walla Walla moderately priced wines but augment them with Beaujolais, Italian varietals, Argentine and Chilean Malbecs, whites from New Zealand and Roses from Provence.


March 1st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Cauliflower is having its moment. You can find it on many chic New York restaurant menus. Whole heads. Slices. Florets. Kale has gone mainstream, too predictable for many trendy eateries. When the spring season gets underway, asparagus will take over. BSK does a lot of good things with cauliflower. Roasts florets in the oven with olive oil and garlic. Uses Vikram Vij’s recipe to maker savory Indian-spiced cauliflower “steaks”. HG’s favorite BSK vegetable dish is pappardelle with a gorgonzola (or roquefort) and cauliflower sauce. BSK blanches cauliflower florets and then chops them into smaller pieces. They go into a saucepan with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, the cheese, lots of fresh sage and a dash of white wine. This sauce is mixed with the pasta and a bit of pasta water. Grated parmesan and a black pepper grinder on the table. Sublime eating and a perfect companion for  Steak House Wine from Walla Walla, Washington.

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