Versatile (Bargain) Chicken

March 23rd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Besides being an inventive HG-delighting cook, BSK is a canny shopper. BSK is a fan of Whole Foods chicken (Pine Manor brand is a favorite). A few days ago, BSK found a PM chicken for sale. Eight bucks. Took the bird home and “spatchcocked” it. That is, BSK cut out the backbone and flattened the bird so that it would lay flat in the roasting pan. Showered the bird with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, Goya Adobo seasoning. Served the chicken with spring asparagus and couscous. There was lots of crisped chicken skin and savory gravy to enrich the couscous. Sumptuous meal. HG/BSK like dark meat so thighs, drumsticks and wings were happily devoured. This left an ample amount of white chicken breast. The next day it was cut into strips and mixed with spring onions, fennel, sliced radishes, tiny Kumatos, scallions and Belgian endive. HG made a dressing for the chicken salad. Sesame oil, Vietnamese fish sauce, soy sauce, wine vinegar, a dash of Chile oil. This was served with chilled Vietnamese rice noodles. Two great meals. Each meal used four bucks of chicken. That’s what shopping and cooking skills can achieve. Thanks, BSK!


March 20th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Chobani fat free, fruit-on-the-bottom, Greek yogurt is HG’s favorite breakfast food. (HG/BSK choose Fage plain Greek yogurt for middle east and Indian cooking). HG enhances a Chobani breakfast container with honey, jam or maple syrup (HG likes a sweet beginning of the day) plus walnuts or pecans. Consumed with a few cups of coffee, this deliciousness offsets the grim news that usually comes forth from HG’s computer. There’s a political aspect to HG’s affection for Chobani. That’s because the product exemplifies the stupidity of Der Trumperer’s immigration policy. Chobani, with more than $2 billion in sales in 2016, was founded by a Turkish immigrant, Hamedi Ulukaya. With a loan from the Small Business Administration in 2005, Ulukaya and a small team of enthusiasts set about creating a yogurt that tasted like the stuff they grew up with in Turkey. The product went on supermarket shelves in 2007 (it was “Greek” yogurt because that thicker yogurt name was already installed in the minds of consumers). An instant hit. Along with its spectacular growth, Chobani has instituted progressive labor policies. Employees get fully paid six week parental leave and can participate in company ownership through a Chobani Shares program. Yes, Der Trumperer, that is what a Turkish immigrant from a 90% Muslim country has accomplished in slightly more than a dozen years. And, he’s created some 3,000 jobs.


March 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG likes to end dinner on a sweet note. BSK passes on dessert (one of the reasons BSK is perpetually svelte.) If accompanying dessert with the last of the evening’s red wine, HG likes crackers with a dab of Bonne Maman preserves (mirabelle or cherry). Another choice would be dunking Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almond biscotti in the wine. Sometimes HG nibbles a TJ chocolate truffle. If no wine, HG likes a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a discreet pour of maple syrup and a scattering of pecans. BSK stocks Trader Joe’s Belgian butter cookies, waffle biscuits and shortbread for afternoon tea. The best desserts of all are served in Paris bistros and brasseries. Here’s the honor roll: Ile Flottante, Creme Caramel, Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce, Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche, Baba au Rhum with Whipped Cream. Vive la France!! Vive la Paris!! However, HG is not moved by the very elegant chocolates produced in chic shops throughout Paris. Best candy in the world is the butter almond toffee produced by Enstrom’s in Grand Junction, Colorado. (The late, great writer James Salter was an Enstrom’s fan. Liked to climax dinner parties with cognac and the lush toffee Nice flourish.).

Horseman’s Haven Cafe

March 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Giddyyvap!! Horseman’s Haven has a simple motto: “Famous For Green Chile.” Believe the words. HH is heaven for those who like hellishly hot food. HG tried the chile today. Ordered a three egg omelet (“Very soft, please.”) accompanied by home fries and a tortilla. As requested, the omelet was cooked to HG’s demanding taste and smothered with the cafe’s “standard” green chile. “Standard” turned out to be very, very hot and spicy. Sublimely flavorful once the initial sting wore off. (HH also serves a “Number Two Chile.” When asked, the friendly waitperson said: “Señor, numero dos is much, much hotter. Mucho!!.). Obviously, “standard” is for gringos and wimps. Number Two is for hombres who have been eating hot coals since childhood. Macho,indeed!! Horseman’s Haven is a warm, rustic room. Located on busy, unbeautiful Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. BTW, HG’s big green chile plate cost $6.75.

Walla Walla

March 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a funny name for a city. But, Walla Walla, Washington, and its surrounding valley make HG/BSK’s favorite wines. Charles Smith, a California-born, innovative winemaker, is an HG hero. After world travel (nine years in Denmark), he opened a wine shop in Washington’s Puget Sound and then moved to Walla Walla to begin winemaking. His first effort was House Wine, an inexpensive, very tasty red blend. Both House and Steak House, a Cabernet, were later sold to a Seattle company (the wines remain splendid). Now, Smith produces the pricier (but still affordable) Velvet Devil, a Merlot; Boom Boom!!, a Syrah, and Chateau Smith, a Cabernet. All outstanding. HG/BSK learned about the grandeur of Walla Walla wines in an unlikely place: Big Timber, Montana. On their motor trips from Denver to Vancouver, a city where they owned some long sold residences, HG/BSK would always stop for dinner at the restaurant in Big Timber’s Grand Hotel. Served the best rack of lamb the duo ever tasted.(Robert Redford ate it almost every night when he was filming “The Horse Whisperer” at a nearby location). The restaurateur was a wine aficionado and the wine list was capacious. He touted Walla Walla wines and HG/BSK drank some wonders (this was before the prices of these important wines deservedly soared upwards). HG/BSK still consume gallons of the previously mentioned Walla Walla moderately priced wines but augment them with Beaujolais, Italian varietals, Argentine and Chilean Malbecs, whites from New Zealand and Roses from Provence.


March 1st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Cauliflower is having its moment. You can find it on many chic New York restaurant menus. Whole heads. Slices. Florets. Kale has gone mainstream, too predictable for many trendy eateries. When the spring season gets underway, asparagus will take over. BSK does a lot of good things with cauliflower. Roasts florets in the oven with olive oil and garlic. Uses Vikram Vij’s recipe to maker savory Indian-spiced cauliflower “steaks”. HG’s favorite BSK vegetable dish is pappardelle with a gorgonzola (or roquefort) and cauliflower sauce. BSK blanches cauliflower florets and then chops them into smaller pieces. They go into a saucepan with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, the cheese, lots of fresh sage and a dash of white wine. This sauce is mixed with the pasta and a bit of pasta water. Grated parmesan and a black pepper grinder on the table. Sublime eating and a perfect companion for  Steak House Wine from Walla Walla, Washington.

“Nice Cup Of Tea”

February 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes that’s what you get in any proper English (or Canadian) home, restaurant or cafe. In the land that loves assault weapons (otherwise known as the Land of the Brave and the Free) you get a cup of hot water and a tea bag. Insipid. BSK, granddaughter of English immigrants, knows how to make “a nice cup of tea.” Scalds the teapot with boiling water. Empties the now very warm pot. Puts in tea bags (or loose tea in a metal perforated container). Refills the pot with boiling water. Covers the pot with a tea cozy (knit by her late beloved grandmother). Lets the tea steep for an appropriate amount of time. Pours the tea into cups warmed in the microwave. Adds a dash of milk. Nothing can be more comforting after a walk in the wintry air. A bit of shortbread is a pleasant accompaniment. HG’s late father, Hershele Tsvi Freimann (anglicized to “Freeman” at Ellis Island), was a Belorussian immigrant and liked his tea Russian style. Very hot. Very strong. With a heaping spoonful of cherry preserves at the bottom of the cup. Sometimes he added a squeeze of lemon to the tea, omitted the preserves but clutched a sugar cube between his teeth as he sipped.

Blood Orange Bitters

February 26th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Blood Orange Bitters are a magical addition to cocktails produced by a company called Stirrings. HG buys it at the Kokoman wine and liquor store in Pojoaque, a few miles from HG/BSK’s residence. Kokoman has a big selection of bitters as well as an encyclopedic range of beers (domestic and foreign), fine wines, single malt Scotch, etc. Yes, there’s more to New Mexico drinking and dining than Budweiser, tacos and green chile sauce. HG uses the Blood Orange Bitters in a self invented, pre-dinner cocktail HG has dubbed “The Gerald.” It is composed of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, vodka, the bitters and a splash of Topo Chico sparkling water. Served on the rocks. Stimulating beverage. The Stirrings company also recommends adding the bitters to the usual whiskey and sweet vermouth for a superior Manhattan. They also suggest putting a sugar cube in a flute, soaking it in the bitters and adding chilled Champagne. Sounds nice. HG will try it with Prosecco.

Baa Baa

February 15th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Looking forward to dinner tonight of New Zealand lamb chops (from Trader Joe’s) accompanied by roasted Kumatos and fingerling potatoes. HG/BSK will be drinking The Velvet Devil Merlot from the blessed state of Washington. Yes, HG loves lamb chops (called them “ompa lomps” in his childhood). HG has posted many appreciations of lamb (see HG archive). TJ’s and Sam’s Club carry excellent racks of lamb from New Zealand. Sometimes, BSK separates the rack and makes “lamb popsicles” using Vikram Vij’s recipe. Lush heaven. The only lamb stew HG ever enjoyed was Spring Lamb Stew (Navarin Printanier) prepared by the late Sandra Segal (she learned to cook in Paris). Back to lamb chops. Best ever were the triple thick beauties served at Leon Lianides’s Coach House in New York’s Greenwich Village (long closed and replaced by Mario Batali’s Babbo’s) (see HG archive for more on Coach House). Perfect meal at Coach House was starter of crab cakes or black bean soup (accompanied by corn sticks); the great chops; pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. A few times a year, Lianides made a Greek tripe stew. Alas, HG was not a tripe fan in those days and so missed the treat.


February 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, HG loves alcohol in all its delightful forms. HG’s passion probably leads to excess but so do all passions (including love). This is HG’s drinking routine: (1) Drink before dinner, but after swimming 30 to 40 laps in HG/BSK’s pool house (the 45-foot pool is heated, thankfully). (2) One half bottle of red wine or one bottle of beer with dinner (3) One or two after dinner drinks. HG is inventive with pre-dinner drinks. Glass of 1/2 tequila and 1/2 dry vermouth. Vodka (3/4) and Aperol (1/4). Bourbon (1/3, Sweet Vermouth (1/3), Campari 1/3. Vodka with splash of orange bitters. Vodka (1/2, grapefruit juice 1/2. Vodka with Boker’s Bitters. All of these beverages require plenty of ice and lemon juice. After dinner drinks are bourbon, brandy (with splash of Peychaud’s Bitters), Sambuca, icy Limoncello. Irish whiskey (Jameson’s or Bushmill’s) with a teaspoon of maple syrup. HG’s regimen does not have the Health Police Seal of Approval. But, at age 88, HG declares: WTF??