Ungrateful (And Thoughtless) HG

November 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Thrifty and inventive BSK is delving into the substantial amount of food in HG/BSK’s freezer to cook delicious dinners. Kind and loving BSK makes an effort daily (with no help from HG) to make food that is delicious and that can be swallowed with ease by HG whose throat is constricted by cancer surgery 26 years ago. So, last night BSK removed frozen cod filets from the freezer and made an exuberant pan of cod, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, white wine, capers, Spanish chorizo, olive oil and an array of herbs and spices. Everything was tasty except for the cod. HG found it tough, stringy and hard to swallow. Not like the fresh cod BSK usually cooks that fall into soft petals of fish goodness at the touch of a fork. HG criticized the frozen cod forcefully. This was a display of ingratitude and thoughtlessness. After all, BSK had worked hard on this dish with the aim of pleasing HG. BSK’s feelings were hurt and she protested that the frozen cod was excellent and very edible. Apologies to BSK, a splendid cook and the love of HG’s life.

T-Day Leftovers

November 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Thanksgiving is a holiday that keeps givng. The night after T-Day, HG/BSK munched happily on warmed leftovers from Karen K.’s lavish feast the day before. For most of America, Black Friday meant a feverish search for bargains plus dried out turkey sandwiches and dread versions of Turkey Tetrazinni enriched (?) with cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. HG shuns of all of this and retreats to Vietnamese Pho containing shredded turkey and udon noodles. Canny HG made a big pot of Pho the day before Thanksgiving. With the addition of vegetables and tofu, the pot provided HG with one dinner and three lunches. All delicious. HG is only sad that BSK didn’t snare Karen K.’s turkey carcass for BSK’s incomparable turkey soup.

Turkey Day

November 27th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

A few days ago HG/BSK celebrated Thanksgiving at the nearby home (walking distance) of their endearing friend and neighbor, Karen K. White wine, smoked salmon, spicy dip before the feast. Seven hungry folks at the beautifully decorated table. Place markers were our names written on autumn leaves. Inventive. Meal followed tradition. Roast turkey (of course); mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy. Plus good stuff provided by BSK: Brussel sprouts with bacon; darkly browned pearl onions and world’s best cranberry sauce. Desserts were Karen’s spectacular pecan pie and her aunt’s apple pie. Lots of whipped cream. BSK brought bottles of the very good 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau which were quaffed with joy. While thoughtful BSK helped with the cleanup and dish washing, HG retired to the living room TV and watched college football. Karen provided the fortunate fellow with a generous snifter of Armagnac. Hey, old age has handicaps (oy vey!!) but it also has privileges.

Cancer?? Nope, Thankfully.

November 25th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

X-rays on Prince Edward Island and Santa Fe revealed a spot on HG’s lung. Susan P., HG’s pulmonary doctor in Santa Fe, directed HG to a CT-Scan at Santa Fe Imaging. As someone who was a heavy smoker from the age of 13 to 63 (smoking ceased due to throat cancer and miracle surgery plus a year long recuperation), HG approached the procedure with some foreboding. Certainly, lung cancer was a probability despite HG being smoke free for some 26 years. (Praying that SJ is cured of nicotine addiction). Results came in today after one week of waiting. Happy news. Spot was a scar from a previous bout of pneumonia. No sign of cancer. Celebration lunch with pal Robert C., an HG contemporary (almost) with years of colorful experience as journalist, publisher, columnist, US Senatorial press secretary, communications expert. Off to El Parasol. Big bowl of green chile menudo for HG and a giant carne adovado burrito smothered in green chile for Robert. Norte Nuevo Mexico pleasures. Tonight, HG plans to drink some potato vodka (has ignored the stuff for some weeks), make a pot of beef broth Pho filled with udon noodles, bok choi, mushrooms, onions, herbs, sesame oil and fiery chile oil. Will watch “Better Call Saul” on Netflix (no ads). HG has much to be thankful for. Of course, HG’s principal blessing is the love of HG’s life, BSK. The wonderful woman spent the week waiting for CT-Scan results offering HG reassurance, warmth and love.

By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea

November 24th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, New Mexico is landlocked and Santa Fe County (where HG/BSK live) is far, far from any sea. However, Whole Foods does manage to sell very fresh seafood. There are Prince Edward Island mussels, soft shell crabs from Chesapeake Bay (plus oysters), Salmon from Alaska and Northwest USA, Petrale sole from the Pacific Ocean. And, much more. Ah, the wonders of jet planes. Not cheap. But, fresh fish never is (except on PEI). Last night BSK picked up an on-sale tin of shucked oysters at WF. Canny BSK figured the bargain oysters were stocked because folks like to add them to their Thanksgiving stuffing. BSK rolled the oysters in salt-and peppered corn meal and gave them a swift fry. With a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon they were a joy. Main dish was Petrale sole. HG fried five lovely filets in a mix of canola oil, butter and lemon juice. BSK made two side dishes: baby spinach sauteed with ginger and garlic; unadorned small boiled potatoes. Drank Provencal Rose’ with the oysters. Switched to Georges Duboeuf 2018 Beaujolais Noveau with the fish. Best Beaujolais Nouveau in years, truly fresh and sprightly.

HG – All Alone

November 21st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Many years ago, when HG/BSK lived in Montclair, N.J., HG/BSK had a Colombian, live-in housekeeper named Lucy. When HG/BSK and children would leave for an excursion to Manhattan or elsewhere, Lucy would murmur mournfully “All alone. Lucy is all alone.” HG is rarely “all alone” but when BSK is off to an evening meeting of environmentalists or political activists, HG must prepare a single dinner for HG. Ordering pizza has no appeal. (Only pizza HG has ever tasted in years was the “Skinny Pizza” at Reba & Pancho restaurant in Lewisburg, Pa. during the recent trip from Prince Edward Island. That pizza was a worthy competitor of the grilled pizza at Al Forno restaurant in Providence, R.I.). In HG’s New York days, good Chinese food was only a phone call away. No such amenity in New Mexico or PEI. So, what does HG eat in BSK’s absence? (HG isn’t really alone. Toby, The Wonder Dog, is amiable company). First choice is what Romans eat after a late night of carousing: Spaghetti with oil, garlic, chopped parsley and a shower of red pepper flakes.(Not classically Roman, but HG adds anchovies). Next on the list is Pho, utilizing a good Thai beef flavor paste for the broth. HG adds rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, tofu, sliced sweet onion and a good dose of sesame oil and chili oil. Another choice is Congee (MAMA brand mix). HG tosses in some shrimp and slices of garlic. Tops it with salted peanuts. Sesame oil and chili oil? Of course.

Freezer Treats

November 20th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK’s freezer is filled to the bursting point. BSK will remedy this situation by planning a range of dinners utilizing the many products stored there. A few nights ago, BSK found some frozen scallops and made a wonderful sauce of cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and anchovies. Quickly sauteed the scallops until lightly browned. Mixed them with the sauce and served the lush melange over linguine. Last night, pork meat and roasted chile peppers (both hot and mild) emerged from the chill. Augmented with a bit of chopped pork from Pojoaque Super Market, the meat went into the Instant Pot with potatoes, onions, chile powder, tomato paste, cumin, Goya Adobe spice and chicken stock. Hearty dish topped with chopped onions, tomato slices, avocado and Herez Salsa Casera. Lots of bratwurst and knockwurst in the freezer. HG anticipates Alsatian choucroute. Pass the mustard, please.

Pojoaque Super Market

November 19th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is very fond of this market which is just a few minutes drive from HG/BSK’s New Mexico home. Don’t know if it is owned by the Pojoaque Pueblo but it is staffed by Hispanic and Native American folks. They’re all very friendly and helpful. The store stocks an encyclopedic variety of salsas, chiles, Mexican spices (the oregano is the best), tortillas, Mexican cheeses and other ingredients for south of the border cuisine. There’s an in store liquor shop offering (no surprise) many tequilas, some at very lofty prices. Scores of chilled beers and ales plus a roster of wines. Often sells bourbon at bargain prices. The store’s kitchen produces a variety of hot dishes including menudo and green chile stew. HG finds these items inferior but loves the kitchen’s flan, pico de gallo, ceviche and tomatillo sauce. There are excellent pork products in the meat section (from local swine). HG will pick up some pork stew meat today so BSK can use it in BSK’s sublime green chile stew (the Instant Pot will cut down on the cooking time). A happy note: The store stocks Topo Chico, best of all sparkling waters.

Hot Breakfasts

November 18th, 2018 § 3 comments § permalink

HG is writing this post after a breakfast of oatmeal produced by an Israeli organic farmer transplanted to Prince Edward Island after years of farming in Turkey. Best oatmeal in the world, far surpassing imports from Ireland and Scotland. (Check the HG archive for Oct. 9. 2017 post on oatmeal). BSK cooks oatmeal with dried cranberries, cherries and raisins and serves it with Vermont (or Canadian) maple syrup. Makes the dish lush. Congee, the Asian rice porridge, is another cold weather breakfast treat. Others are: Polenta or Geechie Boy Grits topped with BSK’s perfect poached eggs; softly scrambled eggs in 505 Green Chile Sauce; Quaker Oats grits cooked with cream cheese and mixed with parmesan. In HG’s youth, the little fellow ate a steaming bowl of Wheatena, a grainy wheat porridge (oddly created on Mulberry Street in NYC back in 1879) flavored with a big chunk of butter and sprinkled with kosher salt. The beverage was Droste’s Cocoa. Nourished by this breakfast, HG hustled off to Public School 86 to absorb the spelling and arithmetic lessons that have aided HG throughout his long life.

Thai Congee Comfort

November 17th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

If there’s snow, if there’s cold, if there’s rain, if the skies are overcast (and even if it’s warm and sunny), there are few breakfasts more comforting than heaping bowls of Asian congee (rice porridge also called “jook.”) Breakfast joy is a steaming bowl with a few shrimp or scallops or Chinese mushrooms within. HG likes his congee dotted with a few peanuts and modest splashes of sesame oil, chile oil and soy sauce. Some years ago, HG/BSK spent many months of the year in a Vancouver, B.C., loft. The loft was in the hip Mt. Pleasant neighborhood and Congee Noodle House was on Broadway near Main Street, a five minute walk from home. As you might have guessed, the big restaurant specialized in congee and noodle dishes. The Asian customers liked to accompany their congee with deep fried crullers and hard boiled eggs steamed in soy sauce. HG accompanied his congee with Chinese pork or shrimp crepes. With many cups of hot tea and the print edition of The New York Times, it was a wonderful way to start the day. Recently, HG discovered a good instant congee mix. The brand is “Mama” and it originates in Thailand. Quick cooking and lots of Thai flavor. Snow last night in New Mexico but HG was wrapped in Thai comfort this morning as HG dipped HG’s spoon in the congee and read the digital New York Times.

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