Tempura Bliss

August 20th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s daughter, Victoria, has bad Prince Edward Island travel luck — both coming and going. After her joyous PEI family reunion visit (too brief), Victoria arrived at Charlottetown Airport to find all flights to New York canceled (thunderstorms?). Back to HG/BSK’s oceanfront home to watch dramatic rain and rolling whitecaps on the sea. Finally, Victoria (after a few hours sleep) managed to leave on a 6:30 AM flight. But, there was a delicious consolation. Exquisite Maiko created a tempura feast. Fried food that was light as a feather dancing in a gentle breeze and crackling crisp. Squares of haddock, mushrooms, onion slices and rectangles of sweet corn got the inimitable EM treatment. All was splendid but the corn was a surprising revelation. This was served with soba noodles in mentsuyu (soy based soup). Delectable. Dashes of wasabi made it all tingle. Okay, back to Victoria travel. EM awoke at 4:30AM and drove Victoria to the airport. EM looks delicate but has vast reserves of physical strength and endurance (plus wondrous knife skills). Meanwhile, SJ, in New York on a brief business trip, dined with friends at Shuka, one of Victoria’s (and husband/chef Marc Meyer’s) four Manhattan restaurants (others are Cookshop, Vic’s and Rosie’s), Shuka serves inventive Middle Eastern food and am sure that SJ dined well. However, nothing can top an EM tempura extravaganza.

More Magnificent Maiko

August 18th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Dinner began with freshly picked and shucked sweet corn. Cooked to peak of perfection by BSK. So good that HG ate it without benefit of butter or salt. Then, the family proceeded to a an epic seafood meal prepared by Exquisite Maiko. EM picked up just caught mackerel — given away gratis by the fishermen — at the nearby Prince Edward Island port of Naufrage and hake filets at By the Bay Fish Mart in the village of St. Peters. After filleting the fish, EM deep fried the mackerel skeletons into a salty crisp that was dipped in Kewpie Mayonnaise (Japanese brand) sprinkled with cayenne. EM called this “a snack” and it went beautifully with HG’s Bloody Mary. This was followed by two raw mackerel dishes: A tataki of mackerel mixed with ginger, scallions, soy sauce and nori. Marinated mackerel served with a salty, preserved plum sauce. This is better than any variant of pickled herring. Main dish was pan fried hake and mackerel served room temperature over a colorful julienne of vegetables including onions, cabbage, carrots, zucchini and more. Masterful. This was accompanied by a bowl of pickled watercress topped with bonito flakes. The meal featured local ingredients that shone when encountering EM’s skills. (The watercress came from the base of a fresh water stream that empties into the ocean near HG’s home). Superlatives don’t do EM’s cuisine justice. Sublime might be the best descriptive. Beautiful to look at. A delight to eat.

Victoria Arrives! Hurrah!

August 17th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Joy. HG’s daughter Victoria arrived in Prince Edward Island following flight cancellations, mishaps, frustration, etc.. Looks svelte and lovely. Getting to Prince Edward Island is never fun by air. That’s why HG/BSK do the lengthy auto trip from New Mexico (the auto route means Toby, The Wonder Dog, can accompany HG/BSK). Indomitable Victoria refused to be discouraged. New Yorkers are famed for overcoming obstacles. Victoria and husband/chef Marc Meyer own and run four New York restaurants (Cookshop, Vic’s, Rosie’s, Shuka). They know how to deal wth challenges. Victoria arrived with a bag of good things from an Italian shop in Toronto (there was a layover). Weather has been warm and sunny. Lots of beach fun. Much feasting. Some highlights: Exquisite Maiko’s dumplings; Lesley R.’s lush pappardelle in mushroom sauce (plenty of chanterelles, etc.); BSK’s halibut poached in Greek avoglemono sauce. BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband Yossi M., invited everyone to Ocean Mist Farm for a spectacular lunch featuring Blum’s sweet corn and lamb and pork kefta harvested from their own animals. This was served outdoors on tables sheltered by apple trees and kiwi vines. After lunch, BSK, Handsome Haru , EM, Adorable Teru went off to St. Mary’s Bay for paddle boarding and swimming. Harvested six dozen clams (quahogs). Is there a Linguine con vongole or clams posillipo in HG’s future?

Cooks. Cuisine. Delight.

August 13th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

During this wonderful Prince Edward Island family reunion, the adults (except for eater and appreciator HG) are cooking their specialties. All noteworthy. One night, Exquisite Maiko pan grilled miso-marinated pork chops. Lesley R. made accompaniments: Moroccan carrot salad and crisped broccoli florets. SJ cooked black beans (they had soaked overnight) served over rice. This beans and rice combo is known as Moros & Cristianos (Moors and Christians) in New York Cuban restaurants. BSK picked leaves of lettuce from BSK’s kitchen garden (the garden is adjacent to BSK’s newly built studio and contains cherry tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, peppers and herbs). The greens were dressed with BSK’s vinaigrette. Pecorino cheese was a nice companion. On a following evening, Lesley R. baked a sumptuous pot of haddock, clams (plucked from St. Mary’s Bay by EM and SJ), onions, garlic, thinly sliced PEI potatoes, white wine, clam broth and herbs. Climax of the meal was a truffle-flavored cheese Ufficiale/Dottore/Profesore Massimo R. brought back from Bologna. The cheese was covered with slices of black truffle. Culinary luxury.

Birds

August 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a lovely dove perched on the deck of HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. The dove adds its lovely voice to the chorus of birdsong that envelops HG/BSK’s lawn, shrubs, rose bushes and flowers. Robins preen. Every variety of finch and sparrow join the robins in the grass. HG saw a vivid yellow bird that HG thought was a canary but was informed by BSK that is was a Golden Breasted Finch. HG is not fond of the crows and their raucous sounds. A sign that blueberries have ripened is the blue poop the nasty crows deposit on the deck. Scores of sea birds soar over the seashore. Gulls are the most graceful as they float on air currents. Another beautiful flyer is the Northern Harrier Hawk with its distinctive white patch near its tail feathers. Herons are the most statuesque. They have a favorite perch on a nearby sea rock formation. Cormorants are amusing. They flap their wings with exuberant abandon. Dive gracefully in search of food. Then, sit on a rock and spread their large wings to dry off. Ospreys may be HG’s favorite birds. They fly in slow motion as they examine the sea. A food morsel is observed in the watery depths. The osprey comes to a dead halt. Flaps its wings like a helicopter as it stays in place. Then drops into the water in a swift vertical line. Flies away with its prey. When HG/BSK drive to the nearby town of Morell they watch for an enchanting sight: A large osprey nest built on a telephone pole adjacent to a cemetery. Mother osprey can be observed often feeding her hungry young. Nest was empty for some weeks after HG/BSK’s PEI arrival. Not to worry. The birds are now back in their comfy abode.

The Magic Of Maiko

August 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s raining today on Prince Edward Island but HG is watching a lovely sight. Daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko is making many scores of dumplings stuffed with ground pork, cabbage, garlic, ginger, smoked daikon and scallions. They will be fried into bewitching tenderness as part of dinner tomorrow night. A professional chef in Tokyo, Maiko has incomparable knife skills and the Japanese ability to serve food that is not only delicious but looks beautiful on the plate. This was in evidence last night. Maiko had filleted, dried and “pickled” fresh caught mackerel (This is a junk fish on PEI. Fishermen give it away) in a marinade of vinegar, kelp, salt and sugar. Better than any pickled herring supplied by Zabar’s and Russ & Daughters (traditional New York smoked fish emporiums). It was topped with scallions and sliced sweet onion in a festoon of flavor. There was also a bowl of mackerel sashimi in yuzu, soy sauce and vinegar. Once more there was an attractive topping of scallions. HG drank glass after glass of sake SJ and Maiko had brought from Tokyo — a variety that SJ picked out for its pairing with oysters and other seafood. After this auspicious beginning there were warm dishes. Pork bellies fried by Maiko. PEI yellow beans and garlic scapes cooked by BSK and lush smashed potatoes, an SJ specialty. (SJ is a spud king. Makes great mashed potatoes and crisp potato latkes). An hour before dinner, Handsome Haru made icy Pina Coladas in a blender. Very refreshing on a warm day (and creator of a nice buzz when the glasses get a shot of rum). Since HG likes Pina Coladas as after dinner drinks, HG had some spicy Bloody Marys. If not tipsy, it was a very happy family group that sat around the dinner table.

Buddhist Monks of Prince Edward Island

August 9th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yesterday, there was an open house at the Buddhist monastery in the Prince Edward Island town of Heatherdale and HG/BSK were among the scores of visitors. Part of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, the monastery was founded ten years ago and now houses some 200 monks (there’s another monastery in Little Sands). There are expansion plans at Heatherdale, plus an ambitious project for another monastery in Brudenell on land recently purchased by the Society (eventually the site will house as many as 1,400 Buddhist nuns and will contain walking and tourism facilities open to the public). When HG/BSK arrived at the Heatherdale monastery, HG/BSK were handed a form on which to write a wish plus a stick of incense. A monk lit the incense as a method of helping the wish come true. HG/BSK toured the grounds (beautifully tended vegetable gardens), the temple and study hall. Simple, austere, deeply satisfying architecture. Clean lines. Minimal decoration. Mies van der Rohe’s dictum of “less is more” is observed. A Buddhist spokesperson (the Buddhist religion was founded more than 2,500 years ago) told HG/BSK (and other visitors) about the daily routine of the monks which includes work, prayer, study and meditation. The aim, he said, was not only to achieve happiness for oneself but bring happiness to all “sentient” (capable of feeling) life. Prince Edward Island was chosen by GEBIS because of its “calm and serenity.” PEI, which values diversity, has welcomed the monks (who have shaven heads and wear distinctive light brown robes). And the monks have reciprocated this welcome by aiding persons in need; supplying hospitals, schools and food banks with the excellent bread they bake and lending a hand at community projects. The monks project quiet joy and HG/BSK treasured their company during the visit (as well as the fine cookies and iced tea that were part of their hospitality).

More Reunion

August 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The family is together. Daughter Lesley R. and husband Massimo have arrived with their beautiful and brilliant daughters, Arianna and Sofia. Plus their enchanting dog, Pip (Toby, The Wonder Dog’s special friend). They joined with HG/BSK, SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Handsome Haru and Adorable Teru in fun, sun, swimming and feasting. Weather is hot and sunny. The ocean water is warm. Long swims for everyone. The R. family brought an abundance of Italian treats. HG is crazed with culinary anticipation. In a world where families have a tendency to disintegrate or harbor various angers, HG/BSK are very lucky. Yes, love reigns but there’s much lighthearted activity. Massive amounts of laughter. And, the pleasures of the table are not neglected. BSK made a robust seafood stew (mussels, clams, cod, bacon, potatoes, clam broth, onions, garlic and lots of herbs) last night. SJ created a special rouille: Roasted yellow pepper, garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and some stale bread was whirled in the blender. Flavored with white pepper, paprika and Aleppo pepper. Outstanding. HG’s daughter, Victoria, and husband, Marc Meyer, will arrive in a few days. Vicki and chef Marc own and run four splendid New York restaurants (Cookshop, Vic’s, Rosie’s, Shuka) so the cuisine will get a professional lift. One year, Marc made the ultimate brandade. Let’s face it, when the HG/BSK clan is together, Prince Edward Island becomes the world’s culinary capital.

Pizza Cravings

August 6th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

An eminent broadcasting executive, married to a world famous, beautiful and elegant fashion icon, was queried by a friend as to why he was unfaithful to her with very ordinary, mundane women. The sexist guy replied: “Well, I love caviar but sometimes I have a hankering for a slice of pizza”. No risque metaphor here. In a very literal sense, old HG would like some good pizza. Unavailable in New Mexico and have yet to try Piatto Pizzeria in Prince Edward Island (have heard good things). SJ will soon be on PEI with family. Hopefully, SJ will grill some of SJ’s pizza covered with thinly sliced PEI potatoes, garlic, herbs and fruity olive oil. Excellent. Al Forno in Providence is famous for its grilled pizza (some good grilled pizza is available at a little eatery on Providence’s Federal Hill.) Pizzas are versatile. HG liked the thin crusted pizzas served at the 240 Union restaurant in Lakewood, CO.,when the talented Matthew Franklin was chef. Before moving to HG/BSK’s horse ranch in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain foothills, HG/BSK spent more than a year on Sheridan Square in New York’s Greenwich Village. HG/BSK supped often at a nearby architecturally distinctive, stylish restaurant. The female chef made a variety of fine thin crust pizzas. Alas, the restaurant closed. A bit too stylish for the AIDS-wracked Village of that time (mid-80’s). The ultimate thin crust pizza was the product of a Roman hole-in-the-wall near The Spanish Steps. This was a pizza topped with thin slices of zucchini. No cheese. No tomatoes. It resembled a French apple tart. HG’s guilty pleasure was a thick crusted slice of pizza sold at pizzerias throughout northern New Jersey and The Bronx; also at the “original” Original Ray’s in Manhattan. Greasy. Juicy. Cheesy. Irresistible. Sprinkled with red pepper flakes, garlic powder and dry oregano, this was a treat that united the proletariat with artists, intellectuals, businesspersons and politicians. The great leveler.

Joyous Reunion With Tokyo Guys

August 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Happiness!!! SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Handsome Haru and Adorable Teru have arrived from steamy Tokyo (and an equally hot seven hour layover in Hong Kong; not to mention a steamy 14-hour-drive from Boston). Before getting many hugs and kisses from welcoming HG/BSK, the group took many breaths of the salty, breezy Prince Edward Island air. Toby, The Wonder Dog, was ecstatic. A multitude of hugs and tummy rubs. Then off to the beach for long, refreshing swims in the pleasantly warm water in the ocean fronting the HG/BSK home. Despite jet lag, SJ and EM look fit and relaxed. Haru has grown into a tall young man. Teru is as cute as ever though a number of inches taller. The group brought many gifts. Big bottle of superior sake. Aprons. Tea towels. HG’s favorite cookies. Plus a decorative ball and charming drawings from Teru. Since EM is an outstanding oyster shucker and chef, The group took advantage of EM at supper time (on PEI, “dinner” is lunch and “supper is dinner). EM was awakened from jet lag slumber. Shucked two dozen Malpeque oysters. Perfection. Not a speck of shell marred the lush bivalves. EM then fried two pounds of fresh haddock. Greaseless. Light. Crisp. BSK cooked some local yellow beans with poblano peppers from BSK’s vegetable garden. SJ smashed some local potatoes. Ice cream for dessert. Early to bed. Joyous, tasty reunion after long absence.

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