Failure

September 14th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has happy memories of perfect New York meals. At Veau D’or: Brains in back butter preceded by sausage with warm potato salad. At The Russian Tearoom: Blini with red caviar, melted butter and sour cream preceded by borscht. At Paul & Jimmy’s: Poached striped bass in brodo with a starter of linguine with white clam sauce. At Christ Cella: Lump crab meat cocktail, New York strip steak, Roquefort cheese salad. At Gitlitz Delicatessen: Pastrami and chopped liver on rye with coleslaw, Russian dressing and pickles. At Delsomma: Penne in broccoli sauce, pork chops with vinegar peppers and potatoes. At Fornos: Margaritas and roast pork with Spanish potatoes and broiled bananas. At Luchow’s: Pfefferlinge (wild mushroom fricasee) and Schlemershnitte (steak tartar covered in Beluga caviar). Blue Ribbon: Grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut and home fries followed by apple pancake. Artist & Writers: Dry martinis and koenigberger klops (meatballs in a dill and sour cream sauce). Paramount Dairy: Warm gefilte fish in fish broth and kashe varnishkes with mushroom and onion gravy. Nom Wah (of yesteryear): Dim sum. (HG has written about HG’s perfect meals at Gage & Tollner in a previous post). These are all joyous meals but they pale compared to the meal HG would relish often at the counter of the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Eight chilled oysters on the half shell. Oyster Pan Roast. Nesselrode pie. The pan roast was prepared behind the counter in a special pot by a dour, unsmiling older Italian. It was incomparable, redolent of the sea and the richness of farmland. For years, HG/BSK have tried to replicate this dish. The ingredients and cooking technique are simple. However, HG/BSK have always failed. Their attempts created a pallid dish, in no way comparable to the Oyster Bar wonder. HG tried again last night using big, plump Red Head Select oysters. The result: FAILURE.

Rainy Day Breakfast

September 11th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Heavy rain is washing away the salty residue (from Hurricane Dorian) on the windows of HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. It’s time for a comforting breakfast. HG mixed the kernels of last night’s leftover Blum’s sweet corn into pancake batter and sizzled a batch of pancakes which were doused with Canadian maple syrup. Glasses of orange juice and multi cups of steaming coffee. Comfort achieved. HG usually has a spartan breakfast of Greek yogurt and fruit (nectarines rule). However, rain and cold call for warming breakfasts. These are some HG favorites: Grits topped with poached eggs (as only BSK can make them). Egg noodles with butter, salt, pepper, and ricotta cheese. Oatmeal with dried fruit. Wheatena (a childhood cereal favorite) accompanied by cups of hot chocolate (using Droste’s cocoa). Beautiful Vancouver has many rainy days. Locals call Vancouver, with affection, “Rain City.” When HG/BSK occupied a loft in the colorful Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, HG would have the ultimate rainy day breakfast at Congee Noodle House restaurant on Broadway. Big bowl of congee (rice porridge) topped with nuts. Rice crepes with barbecued pork and shrimp. Thin-skinned juicy wontons floating in a bit of chicken stock. Many cups of hot tea. HG intends to have that savory breakfast when HG/BSK visit Vancouver this November (an HG birthday–90–treat). Rain is anticipated and welcomed.

Hurricane Excitement

September 10th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Hurricane Dorian dealt Prince Edward Island a blow. No, not like the Bahamas. No houses were blown away. No injuries. No fatalities. A store in the small town of Montague lost its roof; trees were uprooted blocking roads and damaging electric wires. The sea in front of HG/BSK’s oceanfront home was a white froth of churning waves. The rain was intense. Winds howled ferociously knocking out the electricity so no lights, water or internet — resourceful BSK planned wisely for this eventuality, stockpiling candles, lanterns and bottled water. Though the storm sounded ominous, HG/BSK kept snug and dry. Morning found the house un-damaged; the same could not be said for BSK’s carefully tended vegetable garden which was torn apart by the winds. With the power still out, BSK/HG kept informed by battery-operated radio. Grateful for the gas stove so HG/BSK had plenty of hot coffee, ate much Blum’s sweet corn and enjoyed pasta dishes smothered in vegetables — all by the romantic glow of candlelight. HG/BSK had blissful hot showers last night (Sept. 9) after power and water were restored. Internet became functional an hour ago (Sept.10). Today, the sea is calm, the sun is bright. Perfect day for a walk along the bluffs with Toby, The Wonder Dog.

Too Soon

September 9th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Delightful guests. Rob H. and wife, Kimber W-H, arrived at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island for a two or three-day visit. Rob and Kimber are New Mexico neighbors. Rob was the very effective leader in defeating the efforts of a Texas company to build dangerous electric power lines in the serene and scenic Pojoaque Valley where HG/BSK and gifted, creative neighbors live. (BSK describes her role in the successful campaign as “minor”). Rob flies his own plane and he and Kimber landed in Charlottetown on Thursday. Pleasant locavore dinner of sweet corn (Blum’s best) and fried hake with tomato/onion/feta salad. Canadian butter tarts with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Meal was enhanced by their gift of Rodney Strong cabernet. Snifters of local Myriad View Moonshine was the after-dinner finale. A happy time dining and conversing with erudite, interesting, charming (and kitchen helplful) Rob and Kimber. Alas, their visit was cut short. Friday was sunny and BSK, K. and R., enjoyed walking on beautiful Greenwich beach followed by lunch at the Lobster Shack in Souris. But, Hurricane Dorian was threatening so Rob and Kimber deemed it prudent to fly to Bangor, Maine, while the weather was still good. Wished their visit was longer. The consolation: HG/BSK will see them in New Mexico.

Simple. Local. Delicious.

September 6th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK’s talents are endless. Brilliant in art, cuisine, design, architecture, light construction, home repairs. Also a superior professional political, economic and environmental strategist (Hey, BSK saved a scenic Colorado canyon from being turned into a gravel pit!). Here, on Prince Edward Island, BSK has surrounded HG/BSK’s oceanfront home with a beautifully composed and colorful garden of flowers and shrubs. And, next to BSK’s studio/garage, BSK has cultivated flourishing crops of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, lettuces, and herbs. During SJ’s recent PEI sojourn, SJ beguiled his family with fried zucchini blossoms and slices from the garden. Last night, HG/BSK kept things local for a pleasant dinner. HG shucked Red Head Select oysters (big and juicy). BSK pan-broiled lots of cherry tomatoes in olive oil, parsley, garlic (from Ocean Mist Farm). It was served over tagliatelle and sprinkled with torn basil, red pepper flakes and parmesan. Sublime. HG finished the meal with a snifter of moonshine from the Myriad View distillery in Souris. Locavore luxury.

Another Great BSK Soup

September 4th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK makes many great soups. There’s zucchini soup (topped with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cayenne). Sorrel soup (unadorned if hot and mixed with a dollop of sour cream if cold). Garbanzo and rosemary soup (a pour of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan). “Green Heaven Soup” (numerous fresh veggies in the fridge pureed and unadorned except for salt and ground black pepper). Italian escarole, bean and bacon soup (big splash of olive oil and lots of parmesan). Today, BSK added another soup to her repertoire. Green tomato soup. During HG’s year living in Georgia (when very young), HG often ate slices of green tomato slices that were first dipped in a peppery batter and fried in lard. (a very tasty memory). BSK’s green tomato soup matched it in terms of culinary pleasure. BSK cooked the green tomatoes with onions, garlic, chicken broth and a fiery jalapeno pepper. Pureed it with an immersion blender. Many levels of flavor. All delicious.

Quiet. Serene. Wistful.

September 2nd, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

All have left (Victoria Freeman, SJ plus Haru and Teru). Quiet and serene. It’s a second honeymoon. Long walks on Maclaren beach. Watching white caps on the windy Prince Edward Sea. Pleasant candlelit dining. Fried hake. Sweet corn. Digby Bay scallops on fresh greens. Newfoundland shrimp salad appetizer (for HG and not, alas, for allergic BSK). Tonight there will be a Portuguese dish of baked haddock with potatoes from Ocean Mist Farm, onions, capers, garlic, pimenton, and herbs. Today (a bit chilly and windy), HG made a corn casserole using Cope’s dried corn and leftover corn from last night’s dinner. Should be perfect for breakfast with a splash of Canadian maple syrup. Yes, life as a duet is delightful. However, HG/BSK are a bit wistful when thinking about the long absences from family.

Bittersweet

September 1st, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Farewell dinner. Bittersweet. Great food but bittersweet because everyone (HG daughter Victoria plus SJ and family) left Prince Edward Island in the morning. There were eight at the dining table (BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband, Yossi, joined in the farewell festivities). SJ made blue cheese and miso dips for a platter of raw vegetables (heirloom carrots, radishes, cucumbers from BSK’s garden and cherry tomatoes). This was followed by bowls of BSK’s green tomato soup (HG’s favorite). Multiple levels of flavor with a finale of spicy heat. Main dish was SJ’s fabulous seafood stew of mussels, clams, hake, tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc.. A cumin spiked rouille was a welcome addition. Dessert was SJ’s take on a British trifle: a bowl layered with cardamon-allspice-coconut milk tapioca pudding, crumbled toffee cookies and English custard pudding topped with just-picked blueberries and freshly, made whipped cream. Yes, HG/BSK will miss the company of HG/BSK’s family (though home will be quieter). And, HG/BSK will miss SJ’s inventive culinary delights. There was a nice surprise at dinner. Handsome Haru was promised six oysters. With some brief instruction, he shucked them himself. Expertly. So, next summer HG will join in the daily shucking of oysters. This summer, Haru concentrated (with Teru’s assistance) in shucking corn. All departed at 7AM. But, before leaving, Adorable Teru walked into the HG/BSK bedroom. She was very quiet because she didn’t want to awaken drowsing HG. Kissed HG on the cheek and whispered: “I love you.” HG will always treasure that moment.

Surprise Vicki Visit and The Perfect Meal

August 31st, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

A happy surprise. HG’s daughter, Vicki, came to visit Prince Edward Island. Usually, Vicki’s PEI visits have been marred by flight cancellations, late arrivals, weather delays, etc. This time, she was very selective about all the sky conditions and flight times and arrived in Charlottetown punctually and looking bright and beautiful. As noted in many previous posts, Vicki and husband/chef Marc Meyer, own and run four of New York’s best restaurants: Cookshop, Shuka, Vic’s and Rosie’s. A fifth, Shukette, will open soon. Thoughtful Vicki brought to PEI a tin of caviar plus tiny blini (and black licorice for BSK). SJ and family were dining at Noel (BSK’s sister) and Yossi’s Ocean Mist Farm the night Vicki arrived. This enabled HG/BSK and Vicki to have a quiet and serene dinner with a backdrop of a long, colorful sunset. Dinner started with South Lake oysters and progressed to sweet corn on the cub with a finale of spaghettini with cherry tomatoes and sauteed Digby Bay scallops. Salad was local yellow beans in a tangy vinaigrette.

The next night, everyone at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island home contributed to what may have been The Perfect Summertime Meal. The dinner highlighted PEI’s splendid seafood and vegetables as well as delicious imports from New York, Nova Scotia and Great Britain. Handsome Haru and Adorable Teru set the table with all the necessary wine and water glasses. Then, HG shucked two dozen big, meaty, briny Red Head Select oysters. These were consumed at the kitchen bar with chilled white wine and PEI Gin mixed with tonic, a splash of Aperol and mint. The group sat at the dining table and was entranced by Victoria’s gift, a big tin of caviar a accompanied by blini (both from Russ & Daughters in New York). Oh, my!! SJ then served tagliatelle simply adorned with a vivid, lush tomato sauce he created by slowly roasting black grape cherry tomatoes (bought at the Charlottetown Farmers Market). The meal progressed with hake (expertly fried by SJ) and BSK’s salad of PEI yellow beans. Following this was a cheese platter with wonderful cheeses curated by Victoria: A sharp PEI cheddar. Black pepper laden Leicester from Great Britain. A goat triple creme and a blue (both from Nova Scotia). The group munched BSK’s green salad while HG accompanied his cheese with bagel chips (from Russ & Daughters) and scoops of PEI lush buckwheat honey. Many glasses of red wine as the sky erupted in color. Happiness reigned.

Another SJ Culinary Triumph

August 29th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ is a masterful cook who creates dishes with many layers of flavor. Last night SJ defrosted bone-in-skin-on chicken thighs. Browned them in oil and then slowly braised them with roasted tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, white wine, spinach and herbs. The result was juicy chicken and a lush sauce that was used to enhance the side dish of orzo. A triumph. SJ tops HG as a fish fry expert. HG rolls fish fillets in a store bought breading mixture. SJ uses Japanese panko. SJ’s fish are crustier and devoid of any trace of oil. SJ also does a delightful amuse geule of zucchini florets and thin zucchini slices in a batter of flour, water, corn starch and parmesan. SJ learned how to make excellent omelets from his gifted Mom, BSK. One morning, SJ made a western omelet for son Handsome Haru. Chopped onion, green pepper, jalapeno and tomato. Quick saute. Savory omelet filling. On another morning, SJ made corn fritters that utilized the sweet corn kernels from the previous evening’s cobs. Crunchy goodness, Just enough binder to keep the fritters together without blunting the fresh corn taste. On this Prince Edward Island visit, SJ didn’t make his signature chicken gumbo, an HG favorite. Greedy HG will have to wait for next year.

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