Latkes A La BSK

January 1st, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

Many years ago in New York, there was a pleasant restaurant, Swiss Chalet, which served, of course, Swiss dishes. HG ate there often and always ordered “roesti”, Swiss fried potatoes. They came in the form of a lacy crisp (but juicy) pancake. HG judged these the best fried potatoes in the world. BSK brought back their memory on Christmas Eve. While son Jeremy and his family were eating better than Katz’s pastrami at their Freeman Shokudo restaurant in Tokyo and the Riva family was enjoying a Russ & Daughters “Feast of the Seven (okay, five) Jewish Fishes” in New Mexico, BSK made a platter of latkes. Wonderful. Close to “roesti.” The latkes were covered with red salmon caviar delivered by Tastes of the Homeland international grocery in Moncton, New Brunswick. Topped with sour cream and accompanied by icy vodka and Gahan Red Ale, this was a true holiday treat. BSK drank white wine but, being a locavore, soon switched to the Gahan product, artfully brewed on Prince Edward Island.

Christmas Day in the Age of Corona

December 31st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have always been spent with family (youngsters up early on Christmas Day, eager to open presents which were super numerous.). Due to the pandemic, HG/BSK were at their Prince Edward Island home, alone for the first time in 57 years of marriage. Yes, FaceTime has allowed HG/BSK to share holiday joy with son Jeremy, his wife, Maiko, and kids, Teru and Haru (all in Tokyo and busy with their Freeman Shokudo restaurant); daughter Lesley, R.; husband, Massimo, R., adult granddaughters Arianna and Sofia (they are in New Mexico since the original plan was for HG/BSK to be with them for holiday fun and feasting before the pandemic interfered). So, all alone HG/BSK had to open Christmas Day gifts without the familiar delightful frenzy. Gifts were fabulous. Riva family sent splendid gifts of books (Obama, Prince Edward Island history, etc.); warm. colorful socks; music CDs selected by discerning Massimo; a device to make sparkling water (BSK is fond of fizz). As usual, BSK gave HG perfect presents. Fleece-lined slippers, Warm socks. Stylish, flannel-lined zippered sweater. Comfy pajama set for chilly New Mexico (and PEI bedtimes). Yes, HG will have head to toe joy. Isolation ended in the early afternoon when HG/BSK motored to BSK’s sister, Noel M., and husband, Yossi M.’s Ocean Mist Farm for Christmas dinner. BSK brought a big pot of butternut squash soup (a holiday tradition started by HG’s beloved late sister, Beulah Naomi.). The savory soup began a holiday feast of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed squash done in the manner of sweet potatoes but without dreaded marshmallows; haricot verts and mushrooms (cooked by BSK). Dinner companions included N. and Y.’s neighbor, Murina, and her son, Daniel (husband/dad Amram is currently in Israel but was FaceTime’d). HG/BSK received a fabulous gift from Yossi and Noel–a lavish amount of PEI oysters, world’s best. And, Noel gifted HG with knee-length wool socks (HG’s chills have been taken seriously by folks who are fond of HG). And, Noel found a New Mexico crossword puzzle for BSK. Meal ended with a green salad and climaxed with dessert: A lavish layer cake baked by Murina accompanied by much ice cream. With glasses held high, all wished for a healthy 2021 and a return to American sanity.

Delicious Mussel Improv

December 25th, 2020 § 4 comments § permalink

Prince Edward Island mussels are, in HG’s opinion, the world’s best. Confirmed locavores, HG/BSK are happy that tons are harvested in St. Peters Bay, just minutes from HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. Few Americans know anything about glorious Prince Edward Island. However, if they eat in good restaurants, they are glad that mussels they order are identified as coming from PEI. HG/BSK buy their mussels from Mussel King in the nearby town of Morell. MK is probably the largest harvester and shipper of mussels. And, their mussels are super fresh, just minutes out of the Bay. BSK serves mussels in a variety of ways: with linguini and a lot of garlic, onions, red pepper flakes (HG’s favorite); in chowders; in savory fish and clam broth with plenty of ciabatta for dipping. Very cold last night so BSK improvised a hearty mussel stew. These were the ingredients: Two and a half pounds of mussels; onions, garlic. tomatoes, fennel, potatoes, parsley, clam broth, white wine, olive oil, slices of spicy sausage. The stew received a dusting of piquant Spanish Pimenton plus grinds of black pepper and sprinkles of Maldon sea salt flakes. The stew warmed the body and enlivened the taste buds. Another BSK improv was a dinner winner.

Savory Stracciatella

December 23rd, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Straciatella in Brodo is a delicious, warming, easy to prepare Italian soup. It takes only minutes to get ready. And, that’s what HG had for a light lunch on a sunny, breezy, chilly Prince Edward Island day. Here’s how you do it. Beat one egg, chopped parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf), grated parmesan in a small bowl. Bring chicken broth to a boil. When boiling, gently pour the egg mixture into the broth. With a fork, stir clockwise to form egg/cheese curds. Salt and ground pepper when serving. Perfect as is, but HG/BSK sometimes get more ambitious and add tofu, chopped basil, baby spinach, shavings of carrot. If you toss in some leftover shredded chicken breast, chopped scallions and a squirt of sriracha, you’ve got dinner. For a more filling dish, pour the mixture over some rice flour vermicelli.

Plush Pumpkin

December 16th, 2020 § 1 comment § permalink

HG is not fond of pumpkin. Dislikes pumpkin pie and all the other pumpkin-inspired foods prevalent during autumn and early winter. Once tasted potimarron (pumpkin) soup in a Paris bistro. Bland. However, HG is flexible. HG is willing to taste any of BSK’s dinner creations. Invariably, HG finds them rewarding. And, that’s what happened last night. BSK cut the top off a pumpkin (from Ocean Mist Farm) and hollowed out the interior. This is what BSK mixed with ground beef: Leftover orzo, cinnamon, nutmeg, onions, garlic, jalapenos, toasted pignoli nuts, parmesan, blue cheese, spinach, salt and pepper. It went into the oven for a long, slow bake. The result was a spectacular dish. The savory meat stuffing partnered beautifully with the pumpkin which had achieved the soft sweetness of a baked sweet potato. Spice loving HG added a spoonful of Chinese garlic chili sauce to HG’s robust portion. Drank many glasses of pinot noir. Once more, BSK improvised a lush warming dinner that chased away the chills of Prince Edward Island winter.

Thanks, Beulah Naomi!

December 12th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK has a loose leaf book of old recipes accumulated during 57 years of marriage to HG. (How many thousand nourishing meals has BSK cooked for her family? An astonishing number.). In that book is the recipe for Thanksgiving Day squash soup cooked by HG’s beloved late sister, Beulah Naomi. And. there’s also the wonderful woman’s recipe called “Chicken Stew With Noodles”. BSK thought the description appetizing. BSK cooked the dish (adding a few tweaks) and it proved to be a lush and warming double header (a dish eaten two nights in a row). Here’s how BSK did it. Browned (and then removed) chicken thighs. Heated onions, carrots, garlic, herbs in a pot of chicken broth and white wine. Added a can of crushed tomatoes and the chicken thighs. Simmered until done. Removed chicken thighs and discarded skin and bones. Shredded chicken and put the shreds back in the pot with spicy pepper and salt flakes. In another pot, BSK boiled pappardelle until al dente. Added the pasta to the chicken stew. Wonderful eating and even better the next day.

Meatloaf

December 9th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, HG has often praised BSK’s ability to raise old fashioned “comfort” food to new heights. Few dishes are more old fashioned and comforting than meatloaf. And, that’s what BSK cooked last night. After BSK’s creative treatment of the meatloaf and sauce, the meal was elevated beyond comfort to become a hearty gourmand’s treat. The loaf ingredients involved ground pork and beef, garlic, herbs. tomatoes, ketchup and other ingredients. It was cloaked with slices of thick cut bacon. When it came out of the oven, it was juicy, moist, crusty, slightly smoky from the bacon and jam-packed with flavors (meaty and herbaceous). Wait. There was more. BSK simmered a sauce of shiitake mushrooms, dried and then soaked porcini, garlic (of course), olive oil, tomatoes, chopped onions, some water from the porcini soak. rosemary and parsley. Smothered the meatloaf with the lusty sauce. Buttered orzo mixed with parmesan cheese inhaled some of the sauce. Sublime. Dazzling. In the past, during HG’s Colorado residence, HG often ate meatloaf and onion gravy at Denver’s Trinity Grill. Very good. However, the restaurant’s version was far inferior to BSK’s savory meatloaf and sauce delight, an enhanced classic.

No Turkey

December 3rd, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Thankfully, there was no turkey at the Thanksgiving Day dinner at Ocean Mist Farm, the verdant paradise on the south shore of Prince Edward Island. HG is not a fan of the bird. Noel and Yossi M. (BSK’s sister and brother in law) have made Ocean Mist a model of self-sufficiency. There’s vegetables, fruit and flowers galore. Plus livestock. The Thanksgiving feast featured a leg of lamb (lamb bred at Ocean Mist) and mashed potatoes (Yossi’s spuds are the best). BSK contributed brussels sprouts mixed with Greek yogurt and pickled shallots. And, following a family tradition introduced by HG’s beloved late sister, Beulah Naomi, the meal began with BSK’s creatively spiced and warming squash soup. Dessert was Noel’s squash/pumpkin pie topped with lots of vanilla ice cream. Turkey wasn’t missed.

Comforting Cod

November 30th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Snow, sleet, hail, icy winds, dark skies. B-r-r-r !!! Yes, it’s winter on Prince Edward Island (but, no Covid-19 cases). Wood stove and propane fireplace are keeping HG/BSK comfy in HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. Wildlife seems to be surviving. BSK saw a large coyote loping on a bluff this morning. Resourceful BSK continues to cook meals that are delicious and comforting in bleak weather. Last night, BSK made a stew of cod, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, white wine, etc. Served it over creamy polenta. Cod is one of HG’s favorite fishes. The cod in BSK’s stew was flaky, moist and not overcooked. Obviously, very fresh and tasty. Another BSK culinary triumph. The Wonder Woman knows how to chase away winter cold.

Fighting The Pandemic: Canada VS Trump’s “Reich”

November 28th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Covid 19 infections and deaths continue to mount while the chief Nazi/Fascist and the pile of shit known as the GOP focus on discrediting Biden’s victory and destabilizing democracy in the United States. In what seems like an alternate universe, HG/BSK are residing in HG/BSK’s oceanfront home in Covid 19-free Prince Edward Island. The difference between how Canada’s Maritime Provinces–Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Labrador-Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island–and the USA have dealt with Covid 19 is profound. This was pointed out in a New York Times article from Halifax, Nova Scotia: “Living In Nova Scotia’s Covid Free World” by Stephanie Nolen. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s public health chief spelled out the province’s (and the rest of the Maritimes) Covid 19 response (totally different from the USA’s). Said Strang: “Public health and epidemiological officials, not politicians, should set Covid 19 policy and rule what should be open or closed. People (mostly) follow rules on closure, masks and gatherings. We need to do it to keep each other safe. I think there’s something about our culture, our collective ethic, if you will, that means people obey that.” Hopefully, the US will regain a collective ethic that celebrates life and rationality rather than the pro-death, Nazi/Fascist hysteria that four years of Trump ushered in.

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