Goodbye Pee-Eee-Eye

October 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, it’s farewell to this gentle, green island with its beautiful ocean, meandering rivers and open lakes. HG/BSK (plus family and friends) have had summers of joy on Prince Edward Island. Basking in the sun. Swimming and kayaking in the sea. Collecting beach glass on long walks on the shore. Cycling on Cable Head Road. Oysters. Clams. Fish from By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters. Neighbors and friends (true originals). Skies filled with shore birds. Walks along the sea bluffs with Toby, The Wonder Dog. Sunsets. Dramatic moonscapes. Shopping at Farmers Markets in Charlottetown and Cardigan. Long, vinous dinners with BSK, the love of HG’s life. Next stop: HG/BSK’s New Mexico home. Hey, New Mexico is called “Land of Enchantment”. Accurate description. Lucky HG/BSK.

Italian Shakshuka

October 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK are very fond of Shakshuka, the Israeli / Middle Eastern egg dish. (BSK uses Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe from the “Jerusalem” cookbook). Cool and windy last night on Prince Edward Island so a hearty dish seemed appropriate for dinner. BSK, in one of her remarkable improvisations, combined elements of a Shakshuka with a recipe for Italian sausages with onions and peppers. BSK added chopped fennel and fennel seed to the fried onion, pepper, garlic mix. Added a splash of wine vinegar before mixing with the cooked and browned hot and sweet sausages. Fried eggs on top. Accompanied by a baguette to soak up the juices and yolks, it was a tasty dish. The sausages were locally made, good, but they needed the addition of fennel and fennel seed to approximate the “real thing.” In the future, HG will have to go online and order sausages from Esposito’s, the venerable Manhattan pork emporium.

Oatmeal

October 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Leaves are just beginning to turn into gold, russet and red on Prince Edward Island. Autumn is here. Clear skies. Whitecaps dotting the sea. Snappy winds. And, as temperature descends, there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. By an odd coincidence, HG/BSK’s Israeli brother-in-law, Yossi M. (now resident on PEI with wife, Noel), lives close to another Israeli transplant, Amram, a guy who grew up in a kibbutz near Yossi’s. Amran is a dedicated organic farmer with a colorful past (he farmed in Turkey for a number of years). He and Yossi trade foodstuffs, farm equipment, etc. HG/BSK are the beneficiaries of the relationship. HG/BSK have big containers of Amram’s oats, the basis of the best oatmeal ever. Yes, better than McCann’s and all the other Scots, English and Irish imports. (Boxed supermarket oatmeal such as Quaker’s, are gluey and insipid). This chilly morning, HG/BSK breakfasted on oatmeal covered in PEI blueberries and gilded with Canadian maple syrup. Nice way to start the day.

Bottarga

October 8th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

What is bottarga? It is magical Italian substance. Dried fish roe (tuna or mullet). Available in powder or a solid block wrapped in wax (must be grated). It gives a pasta dish a pungent burst of the sea. Thoughtful daughter, Lesley R., brought HG /BSK a little jar from her travels in Portugal. BSK put it to good use tonight. BSK constructed a sauce of olive oil, thinly sliced garlic, chopped fennel and sweet onion, capers. Plus a can of superior Ortiz tuna (a stellar Spanish product) and sliced cherry tomatoes (these sweet wonders are a seasonal Prince Edward Island treat). Mixed it with a few spoonfuls of bottarga. Gave it a hit of hot pepper flakes. A dash of raw olive oil. The pasta was spaghetti cooked al dente. One of the best pasta dishes HG ever tasted (and chubby HG has consumed much pasta). Of course, the best pasta dish is tagliatelle with slices of white truffle. HG/BSK ate this wonder in Bologna, Bergamo and Florence. Killer.

Glad They Were In Prince Edward Island

October 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Eric M., HG/BSK’s massively muscled nephew, and his wife, the very beautiful and equally muscled, Lisa, have lived in Las Vegas for a number of years. Eric is the impresario (and a star performer) of “Gladius”, an extraordinary equine show featuring huge draft horses. Lisa also stars in the show and, in addition, is an aerialist in another Vegas extravaganza. Happily, they were visiting Eric’s parents, Yossi and Noel M. (BSK’s sister and brother-in-law), when the insane and tragic Las Vegas massacre took place. Sadly, when they get back to Vegas, they will be poring the lists to see how many of their friends were slain or maimed. At the same time, Trump and the Republican pieces of excrement, will be uttering their usual bullshit about “thoughts and prayers.” Gun control? Fuhgeddabout it. The GOP is puckering up, the better to kiss NRA’s ass and keep those campaign funds flowing. Tragic. Before E. and L. left PEI, HG/BSK hosted a dinner of Portuguese fish spreads (courtesy of daughter Lesley R.), pappardelle with Ragu Bolognese. Dessert was that midwest fave: Tin Roofs (vanilla ice cream covered with Hershey’s Chocolate syrup and topped with Planter’s Cocktail Peanuts). The combo of sweet, salty and rich is a killer. Before leaving, Eric carried a very heavy six foot table top to BSK’s recently completed studio/garage. HG/BSK couldn’t budge it. Powerhouse Eric carried it as if it was a puff of meringue.

Miss Vickie’s

October 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Is there anyone who doesn’t like potato chips? Don’t think so. However, good potato chips aren’t always easy to find. Prince Edward Island supermarket and convenience stores carry loads of potato chips. Mostly Lay’s and Old Dutch. Not good. Thus, it was a happy occasion when HG discovered Miss Vickie’s Original Recipe Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. The Canadian company has been making these thick, crunchy, lightly salted chips since 1987 and the package promises: No trans fat. Low in saturated fat. No MSG. No preservatives. Made from Canadian potatoes and cooked in kettles. BSK likes them but has an allegiance to Cape Cod Kettle Chips. Of course, nothing compares to Trader Joe’s Ridge Cut Salt and Pepper Potato Chips (see HG’s May 18, 2017 post). Like TJ’s product, Miss Vickie can be addictive. Disciplined HG limits intake to 15 chips (about 120 calories).

Critters

September 30th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Strolling along the bluff outside HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home (with Toby, The Wonder Dog), HG noticed a variety of animal droppings from (presumably – HG is no scat expert) the fox, mink, raccoons, weasel, skunk and coyote that abound in PEI. In New Mexico, gophers are an unwelcome presence in HG/BSK’s meadows. Coyotes howl at night. An occasional bobcat is sighted. Big news this summer was the appearance of a black bear moseying around HG’s New Mexico neighborhood. The bruin noshed on the splendid vegetables from the organic farm adjoining HG/BSK’s home. When HG/BSK lived on their lofty horse ranch in the Colorado foothills near Golden and Denver, wild life abounded. Herds of deer would peek in HG/BSK/s kitchen windows. On their annual migration, scores of elk would gather in HG/BSK’s meadow conversing in their strange mewling voices. Coyotes were omnipresent as well as rattlesnakes, bear, raccoons, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions. Plus possums, porcupines, skunks and marmots (making their odd whistling noise). Plenty of field mice kept HG/BSK’s cats busy. No critters when HG/BSK resided in a Denver apartment and a Vancouver loft and town house. During HG/BSK’s years in Montclair, NJ, the duo saw no bears though Montclair old timers recalled bears coming down from nearby Eagle Rock Reservation and strolling the suburban streets. When HG/BSK lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, they shared their spacious rent controlled apartments with cockroaches. Efficient BSK would send the pesky little guys to the Roach Motel in the sky without poisoning hubby and kids.

Thanks, EM

September 28th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG adores EM, HG’s exquisite, talented, generous daughter-in-law. A dazzling cook. Wonderful wife and mother. Diminutive, but with a strength that startles. Also, she gives new meaning to the word “cuteness” (like her daughter, Teru). HG thought about EM tonight as HG sipped a superb chilled sake left as a gift by EM in the Prince Edward Island refrigerator. Dinner tonight was steamed (and then fried) Poong dumplings followed by congee enhanced by mushrooms and left over basmati rice. Congee got a dash of sesame oil and chile oil. Dumplings got a splash of Frank’s Hot Sweet Chile Sauce. HG drank most of the sake. Left some over for tomorrow night. Discretion ruled. After all, the sake was preceded by some generous pours of vodka.

Happy New Year!!!

September 24th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, Rosh Hashanah has come and gone, the Jewish new year. HG is an atheist and not fond of religious institutions, holidays, etc. However, HG identifies himself as a Jew and loves Yiddish; sardonic and dark Jewish humor; Jewish food containing an abundance of schmaltz (chicken fat). For a Rosh Hashanah celebratory feast, HG’s late Mom usually prepared long cooked brisket accompanied by kasha (buckwheat groats) smothered in fried onions, garlic and (you guessed it) chicken fat. Challah soaked up the abundant gravy. BSK marked the holiday at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home with a middle eastern feast. Pan broiled kefta (cigar shaped patties of ground lamb flavored with onion, garlic, pine nuts, paprika and herbs); Israeli couscous; buttered yellow beans. HG mixed a big bowl of Greek yogurt and sour cream with olive oil, garlic, cumin, sumac, zaatar, coriander, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Very tasty and festive, If you want to mark a holiday (or any cool day) with brisket, essential reading is “The Brisket Book” by HG/BSK’s talented pal, Stephanie Pierson.

HG’s Vegetable Gumbo

September 20th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The best gumbo in the world is SJ’s chicken and andouille (or chorizo) sausage gumbo. Far better than vaunted New Orleans Creole or Cajun gumbo. Unlike talented (as writer, cook and reggae impresario) SJ, HG doesn’t have the patience or skill to make the flavorful roux that is the base of lush gumbo. So, last night HG turned out a simple version of bacon and vegetable gumbo. Reinforced with splashes of Frank’s Hot Sauce, it turned out to be a robust dish. HG browned five slices of thick cut bacon, onions and okra. When the mix had softened, HG added a can of Italian plum tomatoes and simmered for twenty minutes. Three ears of left over Blum’s corn were in the fridge. Added the delicious kernels to the pan and warmed for another ten minutes. Stirred with File powder (left over from SJ’s last PEI visit). Served the gumbo over basmati brown rice. No match for SJ’s masterpiece. However….