Ocean Mist Farm Lamb

August 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother-in-law) are dynamos of energy and creativity. They have made their Ocean Mist Farm near Panmure Island on the south shore of Prince Edward Island a model of self sufficiency. There are grape and kiwi vines; pear, cherry and apple trees; blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry bushes; black and red currants as well as gooseberries. Vegetables galore, including the best mineral rich PEI potatoes. And, yes, there’s horseradish. There are pigs, goats, lambs and a sprightly horse (for riding, not eating, of course). Last night, HG/BSK, SJ, Exquisite Maiko and Adorable Teru supped on a wondrous Ocean Mist Farm leg of lamb. In a curious example of butchery, the leg had a piece of the hip as well the thigh — a strange configuration that made it impossible to broil whole. EM was not concerned. With the aid of a Youtube video (which partially helped) EM used her extraordinary knife skills to trim every bit of fat from the meat before deboning the entire thing. The result was some nice cutlets of varying widths. SJ coated them with a paste of garlic, olive oil, salt, white pepper, rosemary and other herbs. They went into the broiler and meat emerged medium rare, tender and flavorful — some of the best lamb HG has ever encountered. As a side-dish, SJ cooked a variety of vegetables with middle eastern spices and mixed them with Israeli couscous. A flavor bomb. Drank lots of red wine as the sun set over the sea. Good eating. Good living.

Handy Handsome Haru

August 29th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

In the few weeks that HG’s grandson, Handsome Haru was visiting Prince Edward Island, HG was surprised to find the 12-year-old remarkably helpful. He assembled metal shelving in BSK’s studio (a task which his father, SJ, proclaimed eminently frustrating) all by himself without any aid from BSK. Checked on kayaks perched on beach. (Fortunately, heavy winds didn’t dislodge them). And, Handsome Haru raced into the ocean to help HG when waves and slippery rocks caused HG to lose his footing. Special dinner treats for the young oyster lover: One dozen large Malpeque oysters (oysters seem to get bigger as weather cools). Exquisite Maiko, champion shucker, gave HH a lesson in scrubbing and shucking the juicy bivalves. HH shucked four. EM shucked eight. All seemed identical. A kudo for HH. The dozen oysters looked so good that HG had two (best ever) and BSK had one. Generous HH did not object and followed up by tossing the shells into the sea (shells in the bushes surrounding HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home might attract skunks). The oyster feast was followed by BSK’s lush spaghetti with freshly made pesto (basil was from BSK’s garden). The platter of pasta was surrounded by small PEI potatoes, cherry tomatoes and local yellow beans. Much red wine. Beautiful sunset. Another happy time.

Maiko To The Rescue

August 22nd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG awoke to an icy cold driving rain. Sea dotted with whitecaps and big rollers. Brrr!! Invaluable daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko to the rescue. Presented HG with the perfect breakfast. A big bowl of congee (rice Porridge) done in Japanese Maiko style. The rice was simmered in dashi broth with slices of ginger and a touch of soya sauce. Unlike the congee HG enjoyed in Chinese restaurants in Vancouver and New York, Maiko’s congee was not a puree. The rice kernels were soft but had not lost their integrity. The broth was savory. The dish was topped with the Maiko signature of a swirl of finely chopped scallions. The dish was like a warm hug from a loved one. Pure comfort. The rain continued. BSK mitigated the chill with a fire in the wood stove. Dinner time (or supper as it called in Price Edward Island). Maiko plucked a tray of her incomparable gyoza from the freezer and fried them into crisp succulence.¬† Then there was Maiko soup: a homemade pork bone broth. Ginger. Garlic.¬†Onions. Scallions. Apple. Slices of left over pork. Rice noodles. Hearty comfort. EM is a treasure.

Tempura Bliss

August 20th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s daughter, Victoria, has bad Prince Edward Island travel luck — both coming and going. After her joyous PEI family reunion visit (too brief), Victoria arrived at Charlottetown Airport to find all flights to New York canceled (thunderstorms?). Back to HG/BSK’s oceanfront home to watch dramatic rain and rolling whitecaps on the sea. Finally, Victoria (after a few hours sleep) managed to leave on a 6:30 AM flight. But, there was a delicious consolation. Exquisite Maiko created a tempura feast. Fried food that was light as a feather dancing in a gentle breeze and crackling crisp. Squares of haddock, mushrooms, onion slices and rectangles of sweet corn got the inimitable EM treatment. All was splendid but the corn was a surprising revelation. This was served with soba noodles in mentsuyu (soy based soup). Delectable. Dashes of wasabi made it all tingle. Okay, back to Victoria travel. EM awoke at 4:30AM and drove Victoria to the airport. EM looks delicate but has vast reserves of physical strength and endurance (plus wondrous knife skills). Meanwhile, SJ, in New York on a brief business trip, dined with friends at Shuka, one of Victoria’s (and husband/chef Marc Meyer’s) four Manhattan restaurants (others are Cookshop, Vic’s and Rosie’s), Shuka serves inventive Middle Eastern food and am sure that SJ dined well. However, nothing can top an EM tempura extravaganza.

More Magnificent Maiko

August 18th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Dinner began with freshly picked and shucked sweet corn. Cooked to peak of perfection by BSK. So good that HG ate it without benefit of butter or salt. Then, the family proceeded to a an epic seafood meal prepared by Exquisite Maiko. EM picked up just caught mackerel — given away gratis by the fishermen — at the nearby Prince Edward Island port of Naufrage and hake filets at By the Bay Fish Mart in the village of St. Peters. After filleting the fish, EM deep fried the mackerel skeletons into a salty crisp that was dipped in Kewpie Mayonnaise (Japanese brand) sprinkled with cayenne. EM called this “a snack” and it went beautifully with HG’s Bloody Mary. This was followed by two raw mackerel dishes: A tataki of mackerel mixed with ginger, scallions, soy sauce and nori. Marinated mackerel served with a salty, preserved plum sauce. This is better than any variant of pickled herring. Main dish was pan fried hake and mackerel served room temperature over a colorful julienne of vegetables including onions, cabbage, carrots, zucchini and more. Masterful. This was accompanied by a bowl of pickled watercress topped with bonito flakes. The meal featured local ingredients that shone when encountering EM’s skills. (The watercress came from the base of a fresh water stream that empties into the ocean near HG’s home). Superlatives don’t do EM’s cuisine justice. Sublime might be the best descriptive. Beautiful to look at. A delight to eat.

Victoria Arrives! Hurrah!

August 17th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy. HG’s daughter Victoria arrived in Prince Edward Island following flight cancellations, mishaps, frustration, etc.. Looks svelte and lovely. Getting to Prince Edward Island is never fun by air. That’s why HG/BSK do the lengthy auto trip from New Mexico (the auto route means Toby, The Wonder Dog, can accompany HG/BSK). Indomitable Victoria refused to be discouraged. New Yorkers are famed for overcoming obstacles. Victoria and husband/chef Marc Meyer own and run four New York restaurants (Cookshop, Vic’s, Rosie’s, Shuka). They know how to deal wth challenges. Victoria arrived with a bag of good things from an Italian shop in Toronto (there was a layover). Weather has been warm and sunny. Lots of beach fun. Much feasting. Some highlights: Exquisite Maiko’s dumplings; Lesley R.’s lush pappardelle in mushroom sauce (plenty of chanterelles, etc.); BSK’s halibut poached in Greek avoglemono sauce. BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband Yossi M., invited everyone to Ocean Mist Farm for a spectacular lunch featuring Blum’s sweet corn and lamb and pork kefta harvested from their own animals. This was served outdoors on tables sheltered by apple trees and kiwi vines. After lunch, BSK, Handsome Haru , EM, Adorable Teru went off to St. Mary’s Bay for paddle boarding and swimming. Harvested six dozen clams (quahogs). Is there a Linguine con vongole or clams posillipo in HG’s future?

Red Salmon Caviar

August 16th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The real Russian/Iranian caviar—beluga, sevruga — is unbelievably expensive. Can only be enjoyed by oligarchs, billionaires and other plutocrats. Some 58 years ago HG would order these treats (inexpensive then) from Caviarteria in New York and heap tablespoons on lightly toasted and buttered slices of Pepperidge Farm Thin Sliced White Bread. No adulteration of taste by additions of lemon juice, chopped onions, chopped hard boiled eggs and sour cream. Drank icy Polish Vodka Wyborowa from a bottle covered with frost from the freezer. This is a happy memory. However, HG is pleased that one of the great affordable luxuries, Red Salmon Caviar (the color is closer to orange) is readily available online from Zabar’s (HG’s choice) and Russ & Daughters, two New York smoked fish institutions. When living on the upper west side of Manhattan, HG/BSK would have a favorite brunch at The Russian Tea Room on W. 57th Street (this delightful eccentric restaurant was a show biz, dance and music hangout but after many ownership changes and glitzy renovations it is a hyper-expensive shadow of its former self). The brunch would start with “Eggplant Orientale”, a Slav version of baba ganoush. This was followed by stacks of blini drenched in melted butter and topped with red salmon caviar and thick sour cream. Oh, my!! Gifted Daughter Lesley R. makes her version of this with thin crepes (HG murmurs: “More, more.” ) SJ contributes superb latkes that get the caviar-and-sour cream adornment. This takes place at the family feast of the fishes (Russo/Jewish version) on Christmas.Eve in Rhode Island. When back in New Mexico, BSK makes BSK’s inimitable omelets. Very soft on the inside (the French call it “baveuse”) with gently browned exteriors. BSK fills the omelets with red salmon caviar. Scoop of sour cream on top. Heaven.

Cooks. Cuisine. Delight.

August 13th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

During this wonderful Prince Edward Island family reunion, the adults (except for eater and appreciator HG) are cooking their specialties. All noteworthy. One night, Exquisite Maiko pan grilled miso-marinated pork chops. Lesley R. made accompaniments: Moroccan carrot salad and crisped broccoli florets. SJ cooked black beans (they had soaked overnight) served over rice. This beans and rice combo is known as Moros & Cristianos (Moors and Christians) in New York Cuban restaurants. BSK picked leaves of lettuce from BSK’s kitchen garden (the garden is adjacent to BSK’s newly built studio and contains cherry tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, peppers and herbs). The greens were dressed with BSK’s vinaigrette. Pecorino cheese was a nice companion. On a following evening, Lesley R. baked a sumptuous pot of haddock, clams (plucked from St. Mary’s Bay by EM and SJ), onions, garlic, thinly sliced PEI potatoes, white wine, clam broth and herbs. Climax of the meal was a truffle-flavored cheese Ufficiale/Dottore/Profesore Massimo R. brought back from Bologna. The cheese was covered with slices of black truffle. Culinary luxury.

Birds

August 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a lovely dove perched on the deck of HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. The dove adds its lovely voice to the chorus of birdsong that envelops HG/BSK’s lawn, shrubs, rose bushes and flowers. Robins preen. Every variety of finch and sparrow join the robins in the grass. HG saw a vivid yellow bird that HG thought was a canary but was informed by BSK that is was a Golden Breasted Finch. HG is not fond of the crows and their raucous sounds. A sign that blueberries have ripened is the blue poop the nasty crows deposit on the deck. Scores of sea birds soar over the seashore. Gulls are the most graceful as they float on air currents. Another beautiful flyer is the Northern Harrier Hawk with its distinctive white patch near its tail feathers. Herons are the most statuesque. They have a favorite perch on a nearby sea rock formation. Cormorants are amusing. They flap their wings with exuberant abandon. Dive gracefully in search of food. Then, sit on a rock and spread their large wings to dry off. Ospreys may be HG’s favorite birds. They fly in slow motion as they examine the sea. A food morsel is observed in the watery depths. The osprey comes to a dead halt. Flaps its wings like a helicopter as it stays in place. Then drops into the water in a swift vertical line. Flies away with its prey. When HG/BSK drive to the nearby town of Morell they watch for an enchanting sight: A large osprey nest built on a telephone pole adjacent to a cemetery. Mother osprey can be observed often feeding her hungry young. Nest was empty for some weeks after HG/BSK’s PEI arrival. Not to worry. The birds are now back in their comfy abode.

The Magic Of Maiko

August 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s raining today on Prince Edward Island but HG is watching a lovely sight. Daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko is making many scores of dumplings stuffed with ground pork, cabbage, garlic, ginger, smoked daikon and scallions. They will be fried into bewitching tenderness as part of dinner tomorrow night. A professional chef in Tokyo, Maiko has incomparable knife skills and the Japanese ability to serve food that is not only delicious but looks beautiful on the plate. This was in evidence last night. Maiko had filleted, dried and “pickled” fresh caught mackerel (This is a junk fish on PEI. Fishermen give it away) in a marinade of vinegar, kelp, salt and sugar. Better than any pickled herring supplied by Zabar’s and Russ & Daughters (traditional New York smoked fish emporiums). It was topped with scallions and sliced sweet onion in a festoon of flavor. There was also a bowl of mackerel sashimi in yuzu, soy sauce and vinegar. Once more there was an attractive topping of scallions. HG drank glass after glass of sake SJ and Maiko had brought from Tokyo — a variety that SJ picked out for its pairing with oysters and other seafood. After this auspicious beginning there were warm dishes. Pork bellies fried by Maiko. PEI yellow beans and garlic scapes cooked by BSK and lush smashed potatoes, an SJ specialty. (SJ is a spud king. Makes great mashed potatoes and crisp potato latkes). An hour before dinner, Handsome Haru made icy Pina Coladas in a blender. Very refreshing on a warm day (and creator of a nice buzz when the glasses get a shot of rum). Since HG likes Pina Coladas as after dinner drinks, HG had some spicy Bloody Marys. If not tipsy, it was a very happy family group that sat around the dinner table.

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