Indian Veggies With a Bonus

June 22nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Lively dinner at home with Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother-in-law who are now PEI residents); their Israeli guests Dani and Maria. All admired the majestic sea views from HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. Dani is a vegetarian so an Indian vegetable feast was prepared. BSK cooked a cauliflower curry and an eggplant curry.The cauliflower was a mild, “dry” curry and the eggplant dish had a rich, semi fiery sauce. HG made , a lush dish of red kidney beans and rice enhanced by a plenitude of garam masala. All of the recipes were from the great Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij. They are infallible. Accompaniments were excellent naan from the Atlantic Superstore and bowls of cooling raita (Greek yogurt mixed with chopped cucumbers, radishes and scallions). And, of course, lots of fluffy rice. Mango chutney and lime pickles on the table. Dessert was fresh strawberries and ice cream followed by a local marc. Nobody missed being a pescatore or carnivore. The bonus was much left over rice which was boiled to make satisfying breakfast congee.

Back To The Bay

June 18th, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

By the Bay Fish Mart in St.Peters (five minute drive from HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home), brings much joy to HG/BSK (both passionate lovers of seafood). Everything at By the Bay is wonderfully fresh and very modestly priced (in contrast to Whole Foods, HG/BSK’s source for seafood when resident in New Mexico). The daily array at By the Bay includes: hake, haddock, sole, cod and salmon. Also: little neck clams, smoked salmon, Newfoundland baby shrimp, local oysters, cooked and fresh lobsters, smoked mackerel. Dinners this week included fried hake with tiny boiled potatoes; Japanese style steamed sole on a bed of baby spinach; stir fry of little neck clams in a Chinese inspired sauce. Everything was augmented by in-season asparagus, a glory in spring and early summer. Desserts revolve around seasonal strawberries (they taste like strawberries, not like cotton balls dyed red). The berries top scoops of vanilla ice cream splashed by a bit of Canadian maple syrup. Joy.

Sea Feast

June 15th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

One of the blessings of HG/BSK’s summers is that BSK’s sister and brother-in-law, Noel and Yossi M., are fellow Prince Edward Islanders. The industrious duo have turned their fertile farm into a fruit, flower and vegetable wonderland. Yossi, a talented agriculturist, is growing tasty little potatoes (among many other veggie treats). Noel, a tireless house painter and carpenter, has made their old farmhouse into a comfortable and stylish dwelling. Yossi is charming and gracious (unusual for an Israeli) and has made friends of fishers and lobstermen in the neighborhood. These friendships were evident in the feast of scallops and lobsters HG/BSK enjoyed at dinner last night in Noel and Yossi’s light filled dining room. They were joined by Maria, an attractive Israeli woman, who is visiting with Noel and Yossi. Maria baked some flavorful flat bread and was responsible for a bowl of delicious salmon ceviche. The feast was rounded out with roast potatoes and a big green salad. Dessert stemmed from two traditions: Canadian butter tarts and Lebanese halvah. A joyous evening.

Truck Cuisine

June 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is fond of food sold out of a truck — it can be out of the back of a truck, it can be in a proper “food truck” — doesn’t matter: HG likes them all. The ultimate was Italian sausage grilled to order, smothered in fried onions and peppers and topped with hot pepper flakes and served in halved loafs of Italian bread. The sausage truck was a fixture in the Greenwich Village of HG’s youth. This very inexpensive (and filling) dish sustained a generation of poets, painters, novelists and other impecunious creative types. Here on Prince Edward Island (HG/BSK’s summer home) there are some splendid food trucks in the town of Montague. In season, there’s a truck that sells spectacular sweet corn from Blum’s Farm. For most of the year, there’s a truck offering fresh fish and fish cakes. BSK fried some of their fish cakes for dinner last night. Spectacular. Purchased fish cakes are usually inferior. Lots of potato. Minimal amount of fish. Not these Montague goodies. Chunks of cod bound with velvety mashed potatoes. BSK served them with a perfect companion: Savory mustard pickles handcrafted by a mature woman and sold at the Cardigan Farmers Market. A super condiment. BSK rounded out the meal with a big platter of steamed asparagus doused with melted butter and lemon juice; chopped salad of Kumatoes and Vidalia onions; Italian truffle cheese with a last glass of Montepulciano. Watched the sun set over the sea and listened to cellist Pierre Fournier interpreting Bach and Vivaldi. Envious? You should be.

Moules

June 11th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

There are few things more satisfying than a big bowl of plump, juicy mussels. Wonderful with a baguette to soak up the savory broth. Just fine when served over linguine with a lusty shower of red pepper flakes. That’s the way HG/BSK did it last night and it was dish to remember. HG bought the mussels at the plant of a big mussel company in Morell (jut a few miles from HG/BSK’s ocean front home on Prince Edward Island). Last summer, HG was disappointed with PEI mussels. Tiny and flavorless. Woman at the mussels plant said summers are spawning season for mussels and they shrink in size. Assured HG that the early June mussels would be good eating. She was right. The two pound bag (about $2.25 in American dollars) provided some of the best bivalves HG/BSK ever tasted. Learned that knowing gourmands bought frozen mussels during the summer. These are harvested at a peak time and are tasty specimens.`A lesson learned.

Roadies

June 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Like the Willie Nelson tune, HG/BSK are “On The Road Again.” Destination: Prince Edward Island Island and HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. It will be a delight to be back in Canada, a democracy with an enlightened leader. First stop on the trip was Amarillo, Texas, and Tyler’s BBQ for splendid sliced brisket, dry rubbed ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, beans and pickles. Lots of icy pink lemonade. Tyler’s is a visit to down home America, warm, honest and tasty. Next leg of trip was to St. Louis and then on to Youngstown, Ohio. Stayed in two La Quintas and a Holiday Express, all dog friendly and welcoming for Toby, The Wonder Dog, HG/BSK’s travel companion. Yes, America has some frightening flaws but two things the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave does superlatively: Tyler’s Barbecue. Chain motels. (Great beds, TV,sparkling bathrooms, free wi-fi, plenty of hot water and ice, efficient toilets,free breakfast, modest prices). Had to make time so didn’t stop at eateries like Sawadee Thai in Rolla, Mo. or Shapiro’s Jewish Deli, Indianapolis. Opted for quick meals at Waffle House. No complaints. Big bowls of buttery grits with perfect poached eggs; softly scrambled eggs with onion topped home fries. Waffles, of course. Reminded HG of artist Saul Steinberg’s advice: “If you want to eat well in the midwest of the USA, eat breakfast three times a day.” Arrived at the Riva home in Riverside, R.I., after a struggle with Connecticut Friday night traffic jams. Brilliant (and beautiful) granddaughter Arianna was there to welcome the hungry duo with San Daniele prosciutto, crisp bread sticks, bowls of steaming chicken broth with tortellini. Warm and comforting finale to the days on the road.

From Paradise to Paradise

May 31st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK will soon leave New Mexico paradise for HG/BSK’s equally salubrious oceanfront home on Prince Edward Island. It will be a blessing to be in Canada, a true democracy with enlightened leadership. A delight to frolic in the sea and shore again. Eat fresh caught seafood plus oysters and clams. However, HG/BSK leave New Mexico with a modest pang. BSK adjusted the underground sprinkler system to help the extensive gardens to flourish. (yes, gardening and landscaping are among BSK’s multitudinous talents). Thus, the gardens are alive with color and fragrance. A blizzard of yellow columbine. Lush peonies. Big white roses. Lilacs. Red roses. Spirea. Flowering shrubs. Daisies. And, one majestic poppy. Of course, these delights were preceded by apple blossoms, forsythia, crocuses, daffodils, tulips and wisteria. As June approaches, towering trees are in full leaf and sunny breezes create changing patterns of light and shadow. Farewell.

Fried Fish

April 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is very fond of fried fish. During the summer, HG is a devotee of fish (haddock or cod) at Rick’s Fish and Chips in the town of St. Peter’s (five minute drive from HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home). When resident in New Mexico, HG relies upon Whole Foods for Petrale Sole from the Pacific. This firm fleshed fish is usually available at WF end of the week (HG calls in and order in advance). Dipped in beaten egg and rolled in fish fry seasoning. Then sizzled in hot canola oil. A treat with plenty of lemon juice and a dash of Tabasco. When HG was a journalist more than 60 years ago, a night of heavy boozing climaxed at an after hours coffee shop. Illegally, the shop served vodka and whiskey in coffee cups (to befuddle any lurking authorities). Accompaniment was chunks of cold fried fish covered with grated garlic and hot red pepper. Nice taste treat before retiring to the Russian baths on Second Avenue for steamy therapy. When HG was a college student at City College, he often haunted the streets of Harlem searching out delicious fried catfish sandwiches served on white bread with lemon, Tabasco and tartar sauce. Best fried fish ever were those served (once a summer) at the community hall (also a church and a music venue) in the Ocean Ridge neighborhood of Fire Island, NY. The late “Hobby” Miller was the cook and host. Fish were caught by Hobby and pals hours before in the Atlantic Ocean (Fire Island is a slim barrier beach with the Atlantic to the East and Great South Bay to the West). Hobby dusted the filets with salt and peppered flour and sizzled them in hot lard. Final touch was a splash of vinegar enhanced by hot peppers (a Louisiana condiment). Ice cold beer. Jolly eating. Ah, those balmy Fire Island summers.

Maple Syrup

February 12th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Maple syrup is HG’s favorite sweetener and HG uses it in a variety of ways. Breakfast is a bowl of organic corn flakes and milk enhanced with a splash of the syrup. Best dessert is Haagen Dasz vanilla bean ice cream gilded with maple goodness. HG often adds a bit of the maple to a snifter of bourbon for after dinner sipping. In civilized, inclusive, democratic Canada, chefs use maple syrup in a variety of dishes. An HG/BSK favorite is roast sablefish with a maple syrup glaze, a perfect blend of smokiness and sweetness. On Prince Edward Island where HG/BSK spend four months annually at the HG/BSK oceanfront home, local groceries offer a variety of Canadian maple syrups at very affordable prices. In New Mexico, HG/BSK buy their maple syrup at Trader Joe’s. Recently, TJ offered Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. Great stuff, dark and robust as advertised. Items come and go at TJ so HG/BSK hope the addition of this syrup is a permanent fixture.

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Heil Der Trumperer

February 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has been reading Adolf Hitler’s biography and am startled (and distressed) how closely Der Trumperer is following the Hitler/Goebbels agenda. Everything is a lie except if pronounced by Der Trumperer and his ludicrous lackeys, Kellyanne and Spicer. There is no truth, only “alternate facts.” Unfavorable polls are “fake.” Unfavorable news is “fake news.” Judges who rule against Der Trumperer’s edicts are not really judges. They are “so called” judges. The media, traditional watchdog of the people, essential in a functioning democracy, is “the opposition”, “corrupt”, “dishonest.” The American intelligence agencies are incompetent unless they agree with Der Trumperer’s views. HG asks the basic question. Are millions of voting Americans racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, theocratic? If so, they have a leader they can love, one who reflects the dark underbelly of hate in America. Very frightening. HG takes heart from the gestures from abroad. The Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons refusing to let Der Trumperer address Parliament. The march against Islamaphobia on Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island (population 146,000). Some 2,000 people showed up on a bitterly cold day to assert their solidarity with Canada’s Islamic communities. HG/BSK are proud to have their summer home on this gentle island which is dotted with scores of churches. It seems true Christian and humanist principles are alive here.

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