August 30th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Dinner last night was delicious (as usual) but the mood was slightly bittersweet. That’s because Gifted Daughter, Lesley R., husband Massimo, and their delightful dog, Pip, end their stay on Prince Edward Island and leave for their Rhode Island home in the early morning. Sadness. They will be missed but hope to be together again at Christmas. Farewell dinner concentrated on PEI favorites. First, there were big Malpeque oysters–on the half shell and poached (Massimo did his expert shucking). Then, Lesley cooked four pounds of mussels with PEI potatoes, tomatoes (from Yossi M.’s Ocean Mist Farm); onions, garlic and chopped fennel. This wonderful briny stew displayed Spanish, Provencal and Portuguese influences. The family drank much wine and exchanged many farewell hugs. There was Face Time with son Jeremy and his family in Tokyo. It was Maiko Sakamoto Freeman’s birthday and the wonder chef /wife/mother/daughter-in-law looked radiant. HG had HG’s usual after-dinner snifter of Canadian whiskey and contemplated the good fortune in having a talented and loving family.


August 28th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK has long wanted to make a big pan of paella, the Spanish rice dish, on Prince Edward Island. With sister, Noel M., and Noel’s husband, Yossi M., invited for dinner, BSK collaborated with Gifted Daughter Lesley R. on making a large and lusty paella. (Lesley and husband, Massimo R., have been on a long and joyous Prince Edward Island visit with HG/BSK). Italian arborio rice (Spanish bomba not available) was slow-cooked in the traditional manner (flavored with saffron) and adorned with chicken, chorizo, steamed mussels and shrimp (the shrimp was served on the side due to BSK’s crustacean allergy). BSK, Lesley, Massimo, Noel and Yossi devoured it (murmurs of joy). But, not HG. HG had been suffering for hours with a weakening, distressing cough. (HG thinks it was caused by chopped vegetables and herbs that had lodged in HG’s throat—a throat very narrowed by cancer surgery). As always, BSK came to HG’s rescue. Solid food was out of the question so BSK made the ultimate chicken soup for HG. This was chicken soup stracciatella. Hot chicken broth, thin German soup noodles, beaten egg swirled into the soup to make thick strands of eggy goodness. Magic. HG was restored, thanks to the love of HG’s life for some 57 years.


August 26th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

When HG/BSK had a loft in the wonderful city of Vancouver, B.C., the duo often dined on superlative (and relatively inexpensive) fresh wild salmon. In New Mexico, HG/BSK sometimes buy pricey wild salmon at Whole Foods. On Prince Edward Island (site of HG/BSK’s oceanfront home), only farm-raised (in Nova Scotia) salmon is available. It’s surprisingly good. Recently, BSK used it to make flavorful gravlax. Last night, BSK marinated salmon in a miso, soy sauce, ginger and maple syrup mixture. Gifted daughter Lesley R. (she and husband, Massimo, have been on a long and happy PEI visit with HG/BSK), roasted the salmon on a sheet pan to the perfect level of pink succulence. Served on a bed of PEI potatoes and yellow beans (plus BSK’s vinegar peppers) this was a rich dish that went perfectly with a bottle of chilled pinot noir. Joy.

Masterpieces From The Atlantic Ocean

August 25th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

During a Prince Edward Island exploration, BSK discovered a unique fish store on the northeast end of the Island. (Selfish HG will not reveal its name). The proprietor said they often had fresh-caught tuna and swordfish in stock. BSK called the store two days ago. Yes, they had tuna and swordfish caught that morning. Happy news. BSK and son-in-law Massimo R. (he and HG/BSK Gifted Daughter, Lesley R., are visiting) were off to the store and brought back sea kissed tuna belly and swordfish steaks. The tuna was cut into small cubes for poke. Dressed with sesame oil, a dash of soy sauce, chili oil and lemon juice. Numerous vegetables and herbs were sliced and chopped. Each of the diners had a big bowl of fluffy rice. The rice was topped with fish and vegetables. Chilled white wine. A meal masterpiece. The next night swordfish starred. First, there was a starter of BSK-steamed soft-shell clams dipped in melted butter given some heat with Frank’s excellent product. Swordfish is tricky. Unlike salmon, it can’t be served medium rare (HG’s choice with salmon) but has to be cooked through. Very often this results in dry, flavorless fish. Happily, Lesley R. is an expert at swordfish cuisine. Her swordfish was moist, juicy and full of sea flavor. Lesley R. cut it into chunks which rested on a lovely bed of peppers, onions, garlic, yellow beans, baby lettuce and tiny PEI potatoes. Another meal from the sea masterpiece.

A Feast With Friends

August 23rd, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK and visiting daughter, Lesley R., and her husband, Massimo R., have two talented and gracious Prince Edward Island friends: Silva S. (a brilliant architect who designed HG/BSK’s oceanfront home) and her husband, Neb K. (a prominent Dean at Prince Edward Island University). Their home is an astonishingly beautiful design (by Silva, of course) with lovely water views. HG/BSK and the R.’s were invited for what they thought would be drinks and snacks. It turned out to be a multi-course feast served in a comfortable, sheltered, scenic outdoor area. It started with an array of phyllo vegetable pastries, a Balkan eggplant tapenade, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, etc. HG drank a vodka and Aperol cocktail. The others had chilled white wine. Neb then shucked a few dozen excellent oysters. The dinner could have ended there with sighs of joy. But, no. Out came a big pot of steamed mussels in a tangy tomato-based broth accompanied by good bread for dipping. The feast continued with a platter of tender, juicy broiled lamb chops (these were from lamb bred on a neighboring farm). Went well with glasses of fruity Argentine Malbec. Dessert was a confection of berries, a crisp and whipped cream. Great company. Great food. Great atmosphere. A memorable night of fun and flavor.

Funny And Food

August 21st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

We need laughter. Now, more than ever. HG is saddened by the absence of columnist Dave Barry. He made HG/BSK laugh out loud. (The late Russell Baker of The New York Times made HG smile. But, no Barry induced belly laughs). Writers who evoke HG mirth are S.J. Perelman, Woody Allen, P.G. Wodehouse, Steve Martin (Too few written comic pieces, but they are priceless). Ludwig Bemelmans evokes gentle smiles. Gourmand HG likes to read about food. Best writers about food and dining are M.F.K. Fisher (don’t like her recipes); Alec Lobrano and Mimi Sheraton (read her book, “In My Mother’s Kitchen”). Calvin Trillin amusingly writes about food but his talent is versatile and far-reaching. His New Yorker profile of crime reporter Edna Buchanan is a non-fiction classic. A.J. Liebling’s “Between Meals” provokes the appetite for food, wine, Paris and sex. Two women (both deceased) are HG favorites: Marcella Hazan (her cookbooks are the most consulted by HG/BSK) and Nora Ephron (her appreciative critique of the pastrami sandwich at Langer’s Delicatessen in Los Angeles makes HG tearful as HG contemplates the demise in much of the United States of traditional Jewish heartburn heavens).

Festive Family Feast

August 20th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Joyous Sunday family dinner at Prince Edward Island’s Ocean Mist Farm, the magical domain of Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother-in-law). Visiting daughter, Lesley R., and husband, Massimo R. (Plus Pip, their super civilized doggy), formed the table of six. Meal began with gravlax, salmon cured by BSK, mustard dressing by BSK, deftly sliced by BSK. An auspicious beginning. (HG brought gin, dry vermouth and whiskey. The old guy was fortified by a martini on the rocks). And, then food began coming in waves, all farmed and raised by Noel and Yossi. Big platter of barbecued lamb chops, succulent and smoky with flavor. Grilled zucchini slices. Incomparable roast potatoes. Lettuce and tomato salad. Last food item came from an outside source: Blum’s sweet corn from Montague, PEI, the kiss of August. Vanilla ice cream with berries was the dessert. Also, Noel’s zucchini bread (HG took some home for a memorable breakfast Monday). Everyone but teetotal Noel drank copious cabernet. Canadian whiskey was HG’s after-dinner tipple. HG/BSK and N. & Y. alternate Sunday dinners at their homes. Lovely custom. Much enhanced by the presence of Lesley and Massimo on this occasion.

Family & Fritters

August 19th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Lucky, lucky HG. The nonagenarian has the good fortune to have the best, most caring, most loving and most brilliantly creative family. Yes, HG remains alive and reasonably mobile due to the exceptional health guidance and care of BSK. And, being alive, HG can enjoy the talents and beauty of his granddaughters (grown-up and small); the musicality (and ping pong mastery) of his grandson; the writing, insights, photography (and more) of HG’s son, Jeremy. HG’s daughters, Victoria and Lesley are wonders. They balance big-time careers with meeting a variety of challenges. At all times they are spectacular wives, mothers and stepmothers. The only fault lies in geography. Don’t see them enough. HG often reflects on the pleasure received from Victoria’s husband, Marc Meyer, a gifted chef and someone who gives full meaning to the Yiddish word: Mensch. There’s Lesley’s husband, Massimo R. A brilliant scholar, academic, author. He doesn’t think his distinction is impaired by handling a variety of household chores including laundry, dishwasher administration, etc. And, of course, Maiko Sakamoto Freeman, wife of son Jeremy. A diminutive tower of strength. And the best cook. HG dreams of her sashimi, gyoza, tempura, oxtail soup, steamed sole and more. Much more. Lesley R. behaved in a typical thoughtful fashion today. Knowing that HG has a passion for corn fritters, Lesley cooked up a batch for brunch (Using leftover Blum’s sweet corn kernels). Oh, my!! Crisp, lush and deliciously corny. These were better than the fritters which accompanied mutton chops at yesteryear’s Gage & Tollner restaurant in Brooklyn. HG gave Lesley’s fritters a good splash of Canadian maple syrup and drank Massimo’s carefully brewed cafe latte. Heavenly tastes supplemented by the glittering ocean views from HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island home.

Egg Noodles

August 17th, 2020 § 2 comments § permalink

Buttered egg noodles. An HG favorite since early childhood. For lunch, HG’s Mom would fill a bowl for HG. The noodles got a pat of butter and were topped with “pot cheese” from Daitch Dairy in The Bronx (Kingsbridge Road and W. 168th Street locations. Later in life, Daitch enhanced adult HG’s life with its Broadway and 79th Street location). During HG’s New York days, HG often had this dish at Jewish “dairy” restaurants and the legendary cafeterias, Belmore and Dubrow’s. The alternative was kasha varnishkes with mushroom/onion gravy and sour cream. Regrettably, New York’s Jewish eateries have been replaced by the fast-food chains. Sad. Cool day on Prince Edward Island so HG lunched on buttered egg noodles and cottage cheese. (What happened to “pot cheese”? It disappeared). Egg noodles can replace kasha as a brisket side dish. And, unbuttered, they enhance a bowl of steaming chicken broth. HG stirs a beaten egg into the broth for a stracciatella texture.

Appreciative HG

August 14th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

In sports terms, HG has been “riding the bench” when it comes to cooking in HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island kitchen. Witness last night’s fabulous dinner. It started with a dozen big Malpeque oysters (briny goodness). Visiting son-in-law, Massimo R. scrubbed the oysters and shucked them. (BSK usually does the scrubbing and HG shucks). This was followed by crisply fried hake fillets. Frying fish is HG’s specialty but BSK did it and it turned out better than HG’s efforts. (And, these were thick hake filets so real skill was needed to make the fish both juicy and crisp.) Summer magic arrived at the table: Blum’s sweet corn from Montague, PEI, possibly the world’s best food. Corn shucking is an HG job. Not last night. Massimo took over. As for gifted daughter, Lesley R., she acted as sous chef and cooked some exemplary haricot verts. Oh, my!! Nothing beats summer PEI locavore dining. (HG wasn’t totally useless. HG set the table. And, like the best bench players in the NBA, HG cheered on the team with a lip-smacking appreciation of their work.)

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