Squid

July 18th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Squid (aka Calamari) is a fixture on American restaurant menus. And, for the most part, it’s terrible. Heavily breaded and deep-fried, it’s tasteless. And, when overcooked the squid is rubbery. For some reason, squid is prepared masterfully in Rhode Island. The squid is fried with hot pickled green peppers. It’s great and it’s Rhode Island’s official state dish, a well-deserved honor. HG likes to fry squid, rings and tentacles, in a very hot oiled pan. A very quick crisping. The squid goes on top of a bowl of spaghettini enriched with a sofrito of olive oil, garlic, parsley, anchovies and a splash of clam juice or white wine. Dusted with red pepper flakes, this is good eating. Surprisingly for an island surrounded by salt water, Prince Edward Island fish counters and stores rarely carry squid. Whole Foods in landlocked Santa Fe always stocks fresh squid. Go figure.

Radish

July 16th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Alexander Lobrano lives in Paris and his books on restaurants and cuisine are essential reading if planning a trip to France. Lobrano recalls meeting the late Julia Child at a Paris bistro. The regal lady was eating sliced radishes with salted butter and drinking chilled white wine. Don’t see that appetizer on many American restaurant menus. HG likes to start a summer dinner with buttered radishes and Maldon Sea Salt. BSK uses sliced radish in BSK’s chopped salads which include tomatoes, fennel, celery, sweet onion, scallions and leafy herbs. Good olive oil makes the salad a treat. HG’s late Mom often served slices of super pungent black radish with her excellent chopped liver; all drenched in chicken fat. Sammy’s Romanian on New York’s lower east side used to serve black radishes as an accompaniment to garlic and chicken fat dishes. Horseradish, of course, it the most searing of all radishes. Rodney’s Oyster Bar in Vancouver, B.C., serves fresh shredded horseradish with its splendid shucked oysters. Nice palate cleanser. As a little fellow, it was HG’s job to grate jars of horseradish for family meals. The powerful fumes from the horseradish made tears pour down HG’s rosy cheeks.

Chowda

July 15th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Few things are more comforting than a steaming bowl of chowder (or “chowda” as it’s pronounced at many Atlantic locales). New England Clam Chowder is omnipresent. And, it’s awful. HG/BSK don’t even like the best specimens. Too heavy, Too starchy. Manhattan Clam Chowder with its use of tomatoes isn’t much better. The best clam chowder is served at Rhode Island restaurants and clam shacks (plus Legal Seafoods in Boston and environs). This is a clear, briny chowder. No cream or milk. Judicious use of potatoes and onions. Juicy clams. On Prince Edward Island, local mussels are used instead of clams and the use of milk or cream is minimal. Rick’s Fish and Chips in the Village of St. Peters makes good chowder. The best is constructed by an amiable gentleman, Andrew MacDonald. No restaurateur, he makes it for his family’s pleasure, Generously, he shares some with HG. However, the truly magic chowder is cooked by BSK. The contents include fish (or clam) broth, mussels, a hefty filet of cod, thick cut bacon, Prince Edward Island new potatoes, onions, white wine, garlic. Plus plenty of herbs from BSK’s garden. It is a dish which combines all of the best of the sea and the local terroir. HG eats it while watching the dazzling sunsets that fill the windows of HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. A very lucky HG.

Strait Shine

July 15th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Making moonshine and bootlegging have long been traditional Prince Edward Island activities. One company makes a legal version called, Strait Shine. It is distilled by The Myriad View Artisan Distillery Inc. located at Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island. Strait Shine tastes something like a French Marc or an Italian Grappa. But, more powerful. It is HG’s favorite after-dinner drink. (Second best is Bagaco, a Portuguese Marc produced at another PEI distillery). HG takes modest sips of a small amount of Shine since it carries a punch. This is wise since HG precedes it with a generous cocktail (or two) at 6PM and much wine with dinner. This alcoholic regimen keeps HG (pardon the allusion) in good spirits.

Sandwiches

July 12th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

HG believes that the problem with sandwiches is there’s too much bread involved. Two slices are too much. And that holds true for rolls and hamburger buns. HG prefers open-faced sandwiches. In HG’s college days at CCNY, the Campus Diner near Convent Avenue served a roast beef (or turkey) platter. The meat rested on a slice of white Wonder Bread and was flanked by mashed potatoes and pallid string beans. All was covered with a maximum amount of dark brown gravy. Appetite honed by football practice on the grassless field of Lewisohn Stadium, HG devoured these dishes with gusto. These days HG is partial to fried haddock sandwiches on the bottom half of a burger bun. HG eats this with knife and fork since the fish is doused with tartar sauce and Tabasco. Franks are removed from their bun and eaten au naturel with mustard and sauerkraut (or pickle relish if kraut isn’t available). Hamburgers get similar treatment. HG rarely eats them anywhere but in the kitchen of BSK, The Burger Baroness. BSK grills them in a seasoned black cast iron pan; tops them with melted cheese and sweet onions. No buns. Just glory. HG concedes there are sandwiches where two slices of bread are essential: The Reuben sandwich (best ever was served at Reuben’s Restaurant on Manhattan’s upper east side. Alas, long closed).; the classic diner grilled cheese (doused with plenty of Worcestershire Sauce); bacon, lettuce and tomato on whole-wheat toast (heavy on the mayo). And, of course, New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen pastrami sandwich. The best, and messiest, two slices of bread sandwich was at HG’s favorite Jewish delicatessen, Gitlitz on the upper west side (HG/BSK lived two blocks away). This was composed of (HG’s orders) chopped liver, pastrami, sliced onion, coleslaw, and Russian dressing. Very untraditional but super delicious. Waiters frowned. One day (if health luck holds out) HG/BSK will visit the Scandinavian countries and eat the famed smorrebrod: open faced sandwiches often featuring herring and smoked fish. Pass the icy Aakavit and beer.

Beans

July 10th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Beans are an essential part of HG/BSK dining in New Mexico. Every Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurant serves abundant amounts of refried beans with their dishes. “Charro” beans are also a feature (Pinto beans cooked with bacon, onions, tomatoes, cilantro). The best canned beans are the Goya brand (Disclaimer: Years ago, HG had the pleasure of serving as public relations consultant to this wonderful Hispanic company). Their cannellini beans are exceptional. HG likes them mixed with olive oil and chopped garlic as an accompaniment to rare pan-broiled rib steak. These are also splendid in a bowl of Italian canned tuna seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, sweet onions and garlic. A mound of Goya black beans is topped with chopped onions and sour cream. Worthy companion to fried pork chops which have been dusted with Goya Adobo spice powder. In HG’s New York/New Jersey days, HG frequently dined in Cuban eateries and had fried shrimp with “Moros y Cristianos.” This was composed of black beans topping white, fluffy rice and recalled Spain’s embattled history. BSK likes Goya’s garbanzo beans and uses them in a hearty chickpea soup. BSK uses the brand’s pinto beans cooked with Indian sauce. It’s a favorite (served with rice) after school snack for both Hindu and Muslim children. Sadly, Prince Edward Island supermarkets don’t carry Goya products. The canned beans they carry are inedible.

Bruce and Theresa. The Best.

July 9th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Bruce Maguire and his delightful companion, Theresa Tursellino, just spent five days on Prince Edward Island with HG/BSK. Couldn’t ask for better and more thoughtful guests. Tidy, energetic and resourceful, Bruce was constantly helpful and (technology never defeats him) managed to coax HG’s CD changer to function. As for Theresa T. The lovely woman is a paragon. When a meal ends, Theresa does the cleanup. And, that includes greasy pots and pans. She doesn’t even ask “Can I help ?” She just goes to work with maximum efficiency. The B & T visit was filled with beach walks (Basin Head and Skunk House Road), a variety of weather changes plus much feasting. Lobster rolls at The Lobster Shack facing Rollo Bay in the Town of Souris and fried haddock tacos at Red’s food truck on The Town of Montague waterfront. Home meals featured Digby Bay scallops, local lobster and steamer clams; Atlantic haddock and Nova Scotia salmon (BSK’s sorrel sauce gave the salmon a Paris lushness). Fourth of July was celebrated with no military flourishes but a BSK Ohio dessert, Tin Roofs (vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and Planter’s Salty Cocktail Peanuts). HG was Bruce’s mentor and father figure at the beginning of Bruce’s very successful public relations career. HG considers Bruce as HG’s Irish son. B & T left early this morning and didn’t awaken their hosts. They left behind a gracious note and happy memories.

Fryers Hut

July 8th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Prince Edward Island’s St. Peters Bay community (HG/BSK’s home is perched overlooking the sea a few miles from the Bay) isn’t exactly bursting with restaurants. There’s Rick’s Fish and Chips and Seafood. Very good but usually crowded with often a long wait. Lin’s (close to Greenwich National Park) has scallop sandwiches that are much favored by HG/BSK’s family. Ang & Mo’s (on St Peters Landing) for a bowl of hot soup and a fresh biscuit. There’s one fine dining establishment: The Inn at St. Peters. This is HG’s choice for a generous lobster roll. A recent welcome addition to dining in the neighborhood is Fryers Hut, a food truck parked on St. Peters Road. Outstanding French fries from just-harvested PEI potatoes, spuds with a delicious mineral tang. They do a nice fried haddock sandwich. Haven’t tried their beef dishes but nephew Haru (expected on PEI with family in August ) enthusiastically consumed their cheeseburgers last summer. Unexpectedly, Fryers Hut serves an outstanding “Jumbo Hot Dog.” Right up there with the tube steaks at the legendary Katz’s in New York. HG is looking forward to a steaming choucroute next week. October bratwurst and kassler ripchen (smoked pork chop) will nestle in BSK’s flavor enhanced kraut. The topping will be three Fryers Hut franks. Gahan’s PEI Ale, English and French mustard, pickles and fiery horseradish will be on the table. Robust flavors.

Honey

July 6th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

The best honey HG has ever tasted is Lucky Bee Homestead Buckwheat Honey produced by Sabine Schoenknecht at Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island. (BSK and Gifted Daughter Lesley R. also love it). Often, HG has a spoonful with red wine at the end of a meal. BSK has a spoonful in the morning. BSK claims the honey prevented an oncoming head cold. HG uses lesser honey in a variety of ways. As a topping for pancakes or hot or cold cereal. As a sweetener in tea or a bowl of plain Greek yogurt. It is a necessary ingredient in grilled Korean pork bellies or chicken. A few drops will add a nice tang to Chinese dishes that usually call for the addition of sugar. Honey is better. Hey, bees. Keep buzzing!!

Rhubarb

July 4th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Rhubarb was a staple in HG’s youthful diet. HG’s late Mom pronounced it “roobock” and labeled it “good for you.” Mom often cooked prunes with it to heighten the laxative effect. It was like a nuclear bomb in the colon. BSK likes rhubarb and, since strawberries are in season, today cooked a tart and tangy rhubarb and strawberry compote. HG’s Mom would have approved. HG’s favorite use of rhubarb is in Blueberry-Rhubarb and Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam produced by Prince Edward Island’s Sunshine Farm using all natural ingredients. HG likes these jams as accompaniments to Stilton, Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese. Perfect with the last glasses of red wine at dinner. Nice topping Town crackers smeared with cream cheese or peanut butter. This year, rhubarb has made an appearance on the menus of Paris bistros. It’s an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Since rhubarb is very inexpensive, its inclusion is probably a response to the rising costs of French produce.

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