Another Farewell Dinner

August 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week, HG’s daughter, Victoria, left Prince Edward Island for New York. But, before departure, there was a remarkable dinner featuring local foodstuffs (with exception of Geechie Boy grits). The festivity started with two dozen Coleville Bay oysters and one dozen Malpeques. Professor Massimo R. assisted HG with swift and adroit shucking. Lesley R. surprised with a lush dish of “polenta e schie”, A Venetian favorite. “Schie” are the tiny shrimp harvested in the Veneto lagoon. Lesley substituted tiny river shrimp from Newfoundland. Heated them with garlic, shallots, olive oil, butter, touch of white wine and a shower of chopped parsley. Served over creamy Geechie Boy grits. Splendid. This was followed by BSK’s seafood chowder of clams, mussels, cod, scallops and potatoes. Accompanied by John the Baker’s brown bread. Hearty goodness. Meal concluded with The Gouda Lady’s fenugreek gouda. Red wine. HG chose alcohol, the dazzling marc distilled by PEI’s Bagaco winery.

Photo Crdit: Vicki Freeman

Noo Yawk In PEI

August 11th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

With many hugs and kisses, the Freeman/Sakamoto clan (SJ, EM, Teru, Haru) left Prince Edward Island for Brooklyn with the final destination being Tokyo. Before setting off, there was a fabulous New York breakfast. Visiting HG daughter, Victoria, brought a smoked fish feast from New York’s venerable Russ & Daughters. Two types of smoked salmon. Sable. Red salmon caviar. BSK provided capers, lemons, bagels, brown bread, sour cream, cream cheese, sweet butter. Lesley R. made a big stack of crepes (she is world champ crepe master). Lots of coffee. Yes, it was the classic Sunday breakfast/brunch HG/BSK enjoyed during their years in New York. Russ & Daughters was the source during HG/BSK’s Greenwich Village year and Zabar’s was the source when HG/BSK lived on W. 67th and W.79th Streets. Rainy day so dinner was hearty. Lesley R. made a sumptuous stew of hake, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Served it over Calamari pasta ( a large round shape that holds the sauce with tenacity). This was preceded by cold mussels in a mustard sauce and BSK’s sautéed fresh scallops over greens. The meal was enhanced by the presence of Massimo R. who arrived in time for dinner after a long, non-stop drive from Providence. Happily, the distinguished Professor managed to avoid any collisions with moose.

Maiko Epic

August 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night in Prince Edward Island for the Freeman/Sakamoto family so Exquisite Maiko created an epic Japanese dinner centered around her foraging efforts on the PEI shoreline. Grilled mackerel (form the fishing boats at Naufrage). Shime Saba: slices of raw mackerel preserved in vinegar. Okra and hijiki salad. Tomato, mushroom, avocado and sea asparagus (picked on the shoreline of HG’s home) salad. Marinated and fried eggplant. Pickled watercress (plucked at the base of a freshwater stream that empties into the ocean). HG’s restaurateur daughter, Victoria Freeman, arrived in time for the feast (after arduous air travel marked by cancelled flights and other annoyances). Maiko’s epic was preceded by oysters (shucked by HG) and shrimp salad (one of Lesley R.’s specialties). Vicki is a pescatorian (eats fish and shellfish but no meat). So, the meal worked for her and everyone else.

Maiko Extravaganza

August 5th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

EM drove to the nearby fishing port town of Naufrage and picked up a dozen fresh mackerel right off the boat. No demand for these delicious fish on Prince Edward Island (locals think of them as cat food!) so the fishermen refused payment and gave them to EM gratis. And that’s where the Maiko magic began. EM gutted, cleaned and filleted the fish. Using the heads and other parts, she created a clear, subtle and intensely flavored fish and vegetable soup. And, that’s how dinner started. It was followed by a tataki of raw mackerel with ginger, scallions, soy sauce and nori. Then a dish of marinated mackerel with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Both were fabulous. Topping off the delights was a platter of thinly sliced pork belly over cucumber slivers served with a garlic-soy sauce. A wow. Once more, EM proved to be the ultimate chef. All of this was followed by pounds of mussels meuniere prepared by BSK in BSK’s inimitable fashion. Wee, cute Teru, a big mussels fan, attacked bowls with enthusiasm. The night before, SJ prepared pork ribs and BSK and Lesley R, collaborated on potato salad and cole slaw. HG’s contribution? A big appetite and hearty expressions of approval.

Family Feasting

August 3rd, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Abundance of family with HG/BSK on Prince Edward Island. SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Adorable Teru, Handsome Haru. Gifted daughter Lesley R. is here and husband Massimo plus daughter Sofia arrive next week. HG”s daughter Victoria, the prominent New York restaurateur, arrives tomorrow. As expected, everyone is pitching in to create festive dinners. BSK made a spectacular platter of linguine with freshly picked garlic (pungent magnificence). Lesley R. took a culinary trip down memory lane and created a wonderful pot of a family favorite from their New Jersey days: Stretch’s Chicken savoy as served at the Belmont Tavern in Belleville. EM collaborated with HG shucking Malpeque oysters. (Like everything EM does in the kitchen, EM’s shucked oysters please the eye as well as the palate). EM and SJ collaborated on a fish fry of three pounds of hake. Wondrous. As HG writes, SJ is slow cooking racks of pork ribs (from a healthy pig raised on PEI by BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband Yossi). A few nights ago, Noel and Yossi served the HG/BSK family many slices of a savory barbecued pork roast (Once more, from a N. and Y. raised pig). Yossi assured HG that his pigs have a unique distinction: They are Kosher.

Fish Cakes and Pickles

August 2nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Two trucks are parked on a lot in the town of Montague, PEI. One has a sign, “Blums”, and in season (can hardy wait) sells the world’s best sweet corn. Yes, buttered corn on the cob and lobster rolls. Summer lunch supreme. The other truck’s sign is “Fish.” And, that is what is sold. It is BSK’s source for outstanding local frozen fish cakes. BSK fried a bunch of the wonders last night and served them with tiny PEI potatoes (butter, sea salt, sour cream and zaatar). Big endive and butter lettuce salad with a pungent blue cheese dressing. What made the meal extra special were two varieties of pickles: Mustard pickles from a local woman and dill pickles made from scratch by BSK. Am very familiar with the ravishing mustard pickles (the condiment from heaven) but BSK’s pickles were surprising. As good (or better) than the hearty products turned out in The Bronx and Lower East Side of HG’s youth.

Teru Feast

July 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Teru, HG/BSK’s five-year-old granddaughter, is a tiny bundle of cuteness, precocity (she has taught herself to read some kiddy books) and unusual eating habits. Teru likes to graze on food throughout the day — apples, strawberries, bananas, wheat crackers, yogurt, eggs, string cheese, etc.. Always in motion, Teru needs constant nourishment in order to keep her diminutive motor running full speed. Dinner is an exception. At that time, Teru can focus on one big dish and consume it all. Her favorite food is steamed Prince Edward Island mussels. She consumes them like a famished Normandy fisherman. Last night, BSK steamed four pounds of mussels in a sofrito of onions, garlic, parsley, clam broth, white wine and a pinch of saffron. BSK also cooked nests of spaghettini with exquisite timing. This very thin pasta shape can easily become a mushy tangle. Not when BSK is at the range. Removed it at the perfect al dente stage and served it from a separate bowl. Didn’t want the pasta to soften more in the hot mussel broth. Teru attacked the mussels with vigor, knocking off more than a pound in record time. HG/BSK and eleven-year-old grandson Haru had to be alert about getting their share. No pasta for Teru. A girl must keep her figure.

Quick and Good

July 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Hot summer day. Long day on the beach. Gathering beach glass on shore walks. Swimming in cold, calm waters. Frisbee. Reading. Insects were on vacation making it a perfect day. HG/BSK and grandkids Haru and Teru were ravenous after they washed away the sand in outdoor and indoor showers. While HG sipped his usual grapefruit and vodka pre-dinner cocktail, BSK prepared dinner in record time. Cooked pappardelle. Showered it with handfuls of lightly sautéed cherry tomatoes and a sofrito of olive oil, garlic, anchovies and basil. Large bowls disappeared in record time. Followed by green salad. Dramatic sunset. Early bedtime as cool breezes vanished the heat.

Chowda

July 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s how they pronounce it in New England. However, New England clam chowder with its abundance of cream and potatoes is not favored by HG/BSK. New York clam chowder utilizes tomatoes which cancel out the unique brininess of clams. Rhode Island style is the best “chowda.” Clear (but smokey from chunks of bacon or salt pork) briny broth. Few potatoes. Celery. Onions. White wine, Clam broth. Many, many chopped clams. HG/BSK have consumed bowls of this invigorating soup in Rhode Island and at the Legal Seafoods Restaurant at the Boston airport. Last night, BSK used Sam Sifton’s New York Times recipe to cook a big pot of scintillating “chowda.” HG ate three big bowls. Wanted more but the pot was empty, alas.

Pork Belly, Tofu, Kimchee = Bliss

July 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Pork belly is sold at the meat counter of every Prince Edward Island supermarket. HG used the rich meat in a flavorful Korean dish. First boiled the pork belly to get rid of excess fat and tenderize the meat. Scooped the pork out of the pot and marinated it for 15 minutes in a mix of thin sliced onion, sliced scallions, Gochujong (Korean miso-like chile paste); soy sauce, light brown sugar, sesame oil and grinds of black pepper. Stir fried vigorously in a hot wok filmed with peanut oil and then added kimchi. Steamed tofu for three minutes over boiling water. Pork was placed in the center of a warmed platter surrounded by tofu. Drizzled sesame oi and scattered chopped scallions. Served with bowls of brown basmati rice. This is a heathy rice containing all of the nutrients that are usually processed out of white rice. Has a nice crunchy texture. HG, a fan of hot food, added some incendiary Chinese chile pepper mix to HG’s plate. Don’t know the name of this mix but the illustration on the jar shows flames bursting out of a pepper. Apt illustration.