April 15th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK, a supreme master of home cooking, consults recipes and uses them as a base before adding original (and tasty) BSK tweaks. However, recipes vary. Marcella Hazan’s Italian recipes are foolproof but provide skimpy amounts of sauces. Patricia Wells’s “Bistro Cooking” is good. Mark Bittman’s recipes are up and down. Karen Lee is excellent on Chinese food. (HG/BSK went to her New York Classes many decades ago). Yotam Ottolenghi is very good. The Silver Palate cookbook is excellent on soups. Alice Waters is a great, pioneering restaurant leader but an incomprehensible recipe writer. The late Michael Field’s books contain flawless, precise recipes. One of the great food writers, M.F.K. Fisher, had some terrible recipes in her books. Witness clam chowder. She recommended adding a can of cream of corn soup to the mix. A-a-a-rgh!!

Mixing Culinary Cultures

April 10th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has probably mentioned BSK’s adroit mixing of culinary cultures. “Fire Chicken” is an example. BSK cooks chicken thighs on the gas range in traditional Korean style. The chicken nestles in Korean chili sauce, Korean chili flakes, chopped onions, garlic, parsley. Then, when almost done, the chicken is covered with slices of Italian mozzarella which swiftly melts. Classic Italian but the “red sauce” is Korean. “Fire Chicken” ? Yes, it’s spicy but not killer hot like some Szechuan, Indian, Thai and Mexican dishes. Since HG has plenty of leftover matzos from Passover (and some robust salsa), HG plans a version of Mexican Chilaquiles, using matzos rather than tortilla chips. An experiment. An international note: The best recipe for Pasta alla Norma (the sublime Sicilian spaghetti in eggplant sauce) can be found in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Israeli cookbook, Ottolenghi Simple.” BSK made it last night and HG had three helpings.

Joyous Belated Seder

April 8th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Snow, ice, rain, muddy slippery roads. Yes, weather on Prince Edward Island has been challenging. That’s why the traditional Passover Seder at the home of Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother in law) was delayed for a week. Worth waiting for. Russian and Israeli/Russian friends were at the table. They brought a wonderful array of salads and the objects that adorned the table and were part of the Haggadah (Passover blessings, ceremonies, songs). Yossi M. conducted the Seder rituals. A trained and talented musician, Yossi accompanied himself on guitar as he sang and chanted the joys of Passover: Jews freed from slavery. (The Seder group also recalled the USA’s shameful history of slavery and the despicable efforts of present day Republicans to deprive Black people of the right to vote). The theme of many Jewish holidays is: “They tried to kill us. They failed. So, let’s eat.” And, eat we did this Seder. The starter was BSK’s chicken soup with dill and matzo balls. Here’s the puzzle: BSK is English/Irish/Welsh/Canadian. Pure goyish. However, the gifted woman makes the best matzo balls ever: light, fluffy, full of flavor. BSK’s chicken soup is super (or souper). HG admits. Better than his late Mom’s, better than that served in renowned Jewish restaurants and delicatessens. The main dish was Noel’s roast leg of lamb. Dessert was BSK’s sweet noodle “kugel”. Other folks brought cookies. Noel provided fresh fruit. Following tradition, much red wine was drunk. (HG augmented this with a robust amount of Jack Daniels whiskey on the rocks).

Bloody Failures. Disatrous Consequences

April 4th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is saddened and angry about the continuous loss of American lives (and those of other countries) in futile, destructive failed wars and invasions. Before the invasion of Iraq (because of the non-existence of “weapons of mass destruction”) Iraq and Iran balanced each other in mutual hostility (they had a bloody war). The Iraq invasion empowered Iran. it left Iraq in ruined chaos. Syria unraveled. A bloodbath leading to a flood of refugees into western Europe giving rise to threatening right-wing leaders. The USA presence in Afghanistan continues. More death. Over the centuries, the British and then the Russians have tried to conquer the country and bring order (of varying political types) to the Afghans. Failure. Now it’s the American turn. Good luck, Uncle Sam!!

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