January 31st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

A very useful bread is Pepperidge Farm Thin Sliced White Bread. HG does not like standard sliced bread or thick slices of whole loaves. Whatever the use, most sliced bread is simply too much for HG: Too much bread for a sandwich and too much for cheese (HG prefers an English water biscuit with a runny brie or camembert); however, the thin, inoffensive Pepperidge product creates the perfect ratio of carbs-to-veggies-to-proteins for the type of BLT that HG desires. Lightly toasted Pepperidge Thins, smeared with organic peanut butter and good jam, make for a worthy companion to breakfast coffee. At lunchtime, HG uses it for a sardine sandwich: Portuguese sardines (sourced from the great Portugalia store in Fall River, Mass.). Thinly sliced onion. Lemon juice, Mayonnaise, All the lusty flavors come through. Here’s some nostalgia. In the 50’s and 60’s, a number of New York stores (Caviarteria, etc.) sold great caviar at modest prices. HG and pals would gently warm Pepperidge Farm thins, butter them and heap the slices with abundant Beluga caviar. The beverage was Polish vodka, Wyborowa. HG eyes go misty at the memory.

Beaujolais Nouveau

January 28th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a young (first of harvest) French red wine. When the vintage is right (it isn’t always) it’s HG’s favorite wine. It is so drinkable, that it’s easy to overdo. Alas, HG has done this often. Geroges Duboeuf, who died last week, was the French vintner and wine merchant who made the wine an international favorite. A gifted promoter and merchandiser, he made the third day in November (that’s when Beaujolais Nouveau is released) a jolly, bibulous holiday throughout much of the world. In Paris, a sign goes up in cafes, bars, bistros, restaurants, wine shops: “Beaujolais Nouveau est arivee!!” The result is joyous madness throughout the city. Music and song get louder as the night progresses. Many decades ago, HG/BSK were in Paris when the BN arrived. Escargots, leg of lamb, pommes frites, cheese platter. That’s what HG/BSK ate that night while drinking almost two bottles of Duboeuf’s wine (excellent vintage that year). Happily, the 2019 vintage is splendid. We toasted GD’s memory last night. Two sad notes: The passing of a gifted man who enhanced HG/BSK’S lives. Beaujolais Nouveau. is now $11-13 a bottle. Used to be laughably inexpensive. Sigh.


January 27th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is very fond of Orzo, the small Italian (or Greek) pasta. Garafalo is the best. Makes a nice breakfast swirled with some butter, sea salt and black pepper. Topped with a fried or poached egg. Also nice when topped with cottage cheese. Mixed with a sofrito of olive oil, garlic, anchovies and parsley, it’s a good accompaniment to many Italian dishes. BSK likes it mixed with slow-cooked mushrooms and fried onions. Since this dish has overtones of kasha varnishkes, HG tops it with sour cream. Best of all is the version BSK made last night: Mixed a pot of orzo with BSK’s extraordinary cauliflower sauce. The supreme comfort food.


January 23rd, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Sazon is a Santa Fe restaurant specializing in Mexican mole dishes. Most Americans think of a mole as a dark, thick sauce with chocolate overtones. At Sazon, moles come in a variety of flavors and textures ranging from light and herbaceous to blazing hot. (There’s a platter of small samplings of the moles and mini tortillas so diners can make an informed choice). HG/BSK dined in the beautiful, upscale restaurant last night with the Brilliant Brits, Anthony and Claudia C. The food is spectacular but the wine list is ridiculous. Cheapest wine is $62. Most range between $90-$125. However, the cocktail list has some pleasant sangrias and very good beers and ales at affordable prices. If you have a designated driver, try their special margarita. Powerful drink. HG dined on big marrow bones (better than Paris) and giant shrimp in a Thai sauce (plus some mole selected by BSK). Drank a hearty black Belgian ale. The rest of the table had good IPA’s. HG’s happy companions had lush mole-topped dishes of duck, lamb, beef and stuffed squash blossoms. Sazon is four-star Mexican dining.

Joyous and Generous Visit

January 21st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy !! Our wonderful friends, The Brilliant Brits, Anthony and Claudia C., are at HG/BSK’s New Mexico home for a visit (much too brief). As usual, these generous souls brought a plethora of gifts. Cheeses. Candy. Biscuits. Vintage red wine. More? Yes!! A beautiful bottle of Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whiskey, the best whiskey in the world (in HG’s informed opinion). Plus, a framed-for-travel color photo of Toby, The Wonder Dog, and a large framed color photo of HG and Anthony seated with their beloved companions: Genghis, Boodles and Toby. Dinner was a dish from Marcella Hazan’s cookbook: Pork roast braised in milk. The milk and pork juices coagulate into a lush gravy. BSK served it with baby zucchini and roast fingerling potatoes. BSK found a bottle of Mostarda di Frutta in the pantry. This condiment consists of preserved fruit in a sweet and spicy syrup. It is a glory of Italian culinary arts and is aways served with Bollito Misto (mix of boiled meats and sausages). Adds spark when it accompanies roast pork, grilled pork chops or poached chicken.

Ecstatic Eggs

January 20th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

There was a time when an Israeli feast was a raw onion, a tomato and a hard-boiled egg. Basic pioneer and kibbutz fare. But, after many embattled decades, Israeli cuisine has vaulted upwards in spectacular fashion. There are very good Israeli restaurants in almost every major world city (London, Paris, New York, and Philadelphia lead). Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are now favorites for dedicated international gourmands. HG daughter, Victoria Freeman, owns and runs five well regarded New York restaurants with husband, chef Marc Myer (a farm-to-table pioneer). They are Cookshop, Rosie’s, Vic’s, Shuka and Shukette (opening in February). She recently returned from a visit to Israel. She raved about the fresh produce, the splendid seafood, the joyous atmosphere in restaurants. Shakshuka (originated in Tunisia) is a breakfast staple, eaten all over Israel. It is one of HG/BSK’s favorite comfort foods. Shashuka is composed of chopped peppers, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and harissa (a fiery middle eastern condiment). All are cooked in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Then it is topped with poached eggs. Yes, fried eggs can be substituted. But, BSK’s poached eggs are perfect. They are HG’s preference. The dish is accompanied by HG’s mix of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, white pepper and zaatar. It is a sublime moment when the runny egg yolks are pierced and their golden color adds rays of sunshine. The yogurt mix complements the spicy vegetables. Chunks of ciabatta soak up the goodness. Glasses of fruity red wine (many), of course.

Splendid Swordfish

January 15th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK was in Whole Foods today and, fortunately, spied a nice piece of swordfish. On sale and just off the boat (and plane). So, for dinner tonight inventive BSK created a lush, creamy, fish, pasta, bean, lemon, parsley dish. Spectacular. Here are the elements. The pasta was a small shaped, curly-edged organic Italian variety. Beans were Goya capellini. Parley was Italian flat leaf. Sofrito (sauce) was olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest (lots), fish broth, chopped parsley (abundant) and anchovies. BSK heated the beans, crushed some and added it to the sauce to give it body. BSK coated the swordfish with Maldon Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon zest. Topped the fish with thin slices of lemon and lemon zest. Swordfish is hard to cook. It’s usually raw in the middle (HG only likes tuna that way) or dry. Not when BSK is cooking. The fish was pan-broiled in HG/BK’s trusty cast iron pan (almost 50 years old) to the perfect state of moisture and juiciness. And, here’s How BSK built this platter of seafood rapture. A layer of pasta, beans mixed with a bit of pasta water and olive oil and topped with the swordfish and flavorful grilled lemon slices. The wonder is that BSK creates fabulous dinners like this every night. Lucky, lucky HG!!


January 13th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Prunes are not glamorous. HG presumes this is because of their association with old folks and laxative qualities. This is not the case in Eastern Europe where they are used to enhance many stews and roasts. The French and Germans often stuff a pork roast with prunes to savory effect. HG is fond of stewed prunes with Greek yogurt for breakfast. If you don’t want to stew dried prunes, soften them with a soaking in hot water. Prunes have a pleasant affinity with port. A tasty ending to a meal can be a sharp blue cheese (gorgonzola, Roquefort, stilton), nuts and prunes soaked in port. Plus, a glass of port, of course. The port soaked prunes are also nice with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Try warm, stewed prunes covered with scotch whiskey and a bit of simple syrup. Odd, but good. HG’s late Mom’s dessert was prunes with “smetana” (sour cream). HG’s late Father married his prunes with a substantial glass of “slivovitz” (plum brandy).

Fabulous Pho

January 11th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Oh, my. Few things are more comforting during this New Mexico cold snap than BSK’s innovative riff on Vietnamese pho. Served it last night. BSK begins the process with Whole Foods pho broth. No, it’s probably not as good as the streetside broth concocted by women in Saigon or Ho Chi Min cities. But, it’s still mighty good. To the steaming broth, BSK adds baby spinach, sliced onion, tofu, Japanese bonito flakes, grated ginger, thinly shaved carrots, jalapenos (hot!!) and shredded chicken from last night’s juicy spatchcocked bird. There may have been more ingredients but HG was too busy slurping to identify them. HG cooked a substantial bowl of Chinese egg noodles which were added to the pho to give it necessary heft. Condiments were sriracha, chili oil and sesame oil. Happy thought. There will be leftover pho and noodles for lunch tomorrow.

Versatile Chicken

January 11th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

As noted often, BSK makes the best spatchcocked chicken. (The French call it ‘crapaudine’ because with the backbone removed and the chicken flattened, the bird has the shape of a frog). BSK marinates the chicken for hours in olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Dusts it with Goya adobo spice and roasts it in the oven for 40 minutes. The result is a juicy chicken with crusty skin and plenty of juices to enliven each portion. Last night, BSK served the chicken with big sweet potatoes and gently sauteed zucchini spears and shallots. Splendid meal. However, there are more chicken delights ahead for HG/BSK and Toby, The Wonder Dog. Left over chicken breasts will go into BSK’s innovative pho and into HG’s luncheon congee. For the next week, hungry Toby will be eating a special healthy doggy dish: Shredded chicken breast with chopped sweet potato skin and a bit of zucchini. Bow wow, indeed!!!

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