Autumn

October 31st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Autumn is HG’s favorite season. Prince Edward Island has been delightful this October. Many crisp,sunny, breezy days. Malpeque oysters are very good in October. (A month with an “R” in it). And, of course, the colorful leaf displays of trees and shrubs. HG is a “leafie”, an autumn leaf lover. Montclair, NJ, HG/BSK’s home for many years, was an autumn color explosion. When living in New York, HG/BSK would bicycle to Central Park to enjoy the changing season. Sometimes HG/BSK would cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy the colorful tree-lined streets of Brooklyn Heights. Traditionally, Vermont has been the mecca for leafies. One year HG/BSK motored there to view the spectacle, Sadly, by the time HG/BSK arrived, frost and winds had removed all the leaves. This past Sunday night was alternate week dinner at Ocean Mist Farm, home of BSK’s sister, Noel M., and Noel’s husband, Yossi M. The thirty-minute drive to Ocean Mist was alive with color. Dinner was barbecued pork chops accompanied by, surprise!!, the last sweet corn on the cob of the season. Yums. HG celebrated by drinking locally brewed moonshine, ‘White Lightning” Powerful. HG managed to get to the car for homeward trip. Shakily.

French Toast Via Italy

October 29th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Panettone, the Italian sweet bread/cake is a holiday treat. Happily, it appears at Christmas and New Year celebrations. Panettone, which originated in Milan. is accompanied by sweet wine in Italy. (HG first tasted it that way at a New Year’s Eve visit decades ago with son in law Massimo R.’s parents–Gianni and Franca–at their home in Portogruaro, Italy. Massimo’s brother, Stefano, served HG while setting off firecrackers and rockets). Unforgettable night. Panettone is studded with raisins, candied orange, citron and lemon zest. HG likes it at breakfast, slightly warmed and covered with strawberry jam. The best use for the treat is as a base for French toast. Thick slice is dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs and milk flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Fried in butter until golden brown. Gilded with Canadian maple syrup. Weather at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home is chilly. Will make this comforting dish next week as election tensions escalate. Challa, the Jewish/Russian egg bread can be substituted for panettone. There’s a loaf in the freezer, a Canadian Thanksgiving gift. Looking forward to much goodness.

Getz/Jobim: The Best

October 27th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK were introduced to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim at the Fire Island home of their dear friends, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral (sadly, both are deceased). A great jazz duo, “Jackie and Roy”, met Jobim In Brazil and were enchanted by his bossa nova rhythms. After a day in the sea and sun (HG/BSK had a dune house a short walk from J & R’s rental), HG/BSK would stroll to their tree-shaded residence. Roy would mix an icy XL dry martini for HG and set a Jobim record spinning on a turntable. Heavenly memory. HG’s favorite jazz CD is “Getz/Jobim: Girl from Ipanema”. HG listens to it once a week (martini in hand). THere’s a vocal on the CD by Astrud Gilberto. But the ultimate joy is the collaboration of the great saxophonist, Stan Getz, with the voice and music of Jobim. Getz’s solos of Jobim’s music are works of art. The musical marriage of Getz and Jobim seems unlikely. Getz was the son of Jewish immigrants to the USA from Ukraine. Jobim was Brazilian by birth and musical training. Go figure.

ANXIETY!

October 25th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, autumn on Prince Edward Island is glorious. Colorful leaves. Gentle winds. Crisp temperatures. Seasonal oysters. And, in terms of the coronavirus, PEI is one of the safest places on earth (fingers remain crossed, however). What interferes with HG’s oceanic pleasures is election anxiety. Despite favorable polls, HG is concerned that quasi dictator Trump and the fascist corrupt Republican party might manage to steal the election. A Biden defeat would mean the end of democracy in America. Almost 250 years of a noble experiment, the hope of the world, would come to a crashing halt. Hey, it happened in Germany in 1932. HG will be 91 on Nov. 9. Realistically, HG doesn’t have many more years left. The lucky man married the love of his life, BSK, and has been blessed with a wonderful son and daughter, four glorious grandchildren; a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law who are loving, talented and admirable in numberless ways. In addition HG has a life-enhancing daughter, Victoria, from HG’S first marriage, and Victoria’s multi-talented husband, Marc Meyer, another wondrous son-in-law. As the cliche has it: HG’s cup runneth over. When the Moloch Hamoves (the angel of death) arrives for HG, the old guy’s wish is that the big, black bird, perch on a United States that is still a democracy.

Shakshuka! (Plus Delicious Spuds)

October 21st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Shakshuka is eaten in every dining facility in Israel. At home, of course, but also in restaurants, diners, coffee shops, gas stations, etc. It figures. Life in Israel can be tense and shakshuka is the ultimate comfort food. Basically, this is a dish of stewed spicy tomatoes, garlic, peppers, herbs. It is topped with poached eggs (BSK is a world champion poacher). Accompanied by a bowl of Greek yogurt and sour cream enhanced by HG’s customized mix of zaatar, cumin, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, olive oil and lemon juice. Fiery harissa on the side. Lush shakshuka dinner last night. BSK “French fried” mineral-rich wedges of Prince Edward Island potatoes in the oven. Glorious. Crisp on the outside. Flavorfully soft on the inside. Joyous, comforting meal.

A La Norma

October 20th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Some decades ago, HG/BSK toured the magical island of Sicily with the R. family (daughter Lesley, granddaughters Arianna and Sofia, son in law Massimo, the distinguished Professor, and authority on all aspects of Italian culture). Massimo was an invaluable guide. One sunny day, HG/BSK and family lunched on the terrace of a hilltop restaurant. Beautiful view of the ruins of a Greek temple (columns still intact). This was a reminder that Sicily had been occupied by many nations (European and Arabic) through the centuries. HG/BSK relished their lunch dish of Spaghetti a la Norma (pasta with an eggplant sauce). Through the years, BSK duplicated the dish for many joyous meals. However, the ultimate, ecstatic a la Norma was produced last night as Prince Edward Island (and HG/BSK’s oceanfront home) was battered by hurricane-force winds (the sea was a froth of whitecaps). Oddly, much of PEI lost electric power but HG/BSK’s system remained intact. BSK used the “Pasta alla Norma” recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook: “Keep It Simple.” Yes, HG has noted that traditional Italian methods for pasta dishes were superior to Ottolenghi’s riffs on the subject. HG was wrong. Ottolenghi’s recipe called for oiled slices of eggplant to be roasted for 30 minutes before being added to the other ingredients for further simmering. Italian recipes call for raw cubes of eggplant to be cooked in the pan. The Ottolenghi recipe created the silkiest, juiciest, flavorful sauce ever. BSK said BSK will try other Ottolenghi pasta recipes. HG looks forward.

Favorite Theater Moments

October 17th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Very sad. New York theaters are closed. May open in Spring of 2021 (dependent on the pandemic). There is nothing more exciting, illuminating, thrilling and stimulating than Broadway live theater. Accompanied by beloved elder sister, the late Beulah Naomi, HG began going to the theater at age eight. A venue on Broadway sold cut-rate tickets. Second balcony seats cost as little as 25 cents. That’s where HG and sister perched and exulted in theatrical magic. As HG matured, the seats got much better but the magic remained. Here are some of the best performances HG saw. Marlon Brando (of course) in “Streetcar Named Desire.” Julie Harris in “I Am A Camera” (adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories.”) James Earl Jones in “Great White Hope.” Leo G. Caroll in “Angel Street.” Ian McCellan in “Amadeus.” Leontyne Price in “Porgy and Bess.” Anthony Newley in “Stop The World, I want To Get Off.” Ethel Merman in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Eartha Kitt in “New Faces of 1952.” HG saw many other wonderful performances but these have lodged firmly in HG’s memory.

Thankful

October 14th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Monday, Sept. 12, was Canadian Thanksgiving Day (Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day in USA). HG/BSK have much to be thankful for. Living healthily and happily in HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home during the pandemic is one of many blessings (plus the HG/BSK family in Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Japan have been healthy). Fingers are crossed. No turkey this Thanksgiving Day. Instead, BSK prepared a feast of Indian dishes ranging from chicken curry to cauliflower with sweet pea chutney. Other dishes included saag paneer (using feta cheese instead of Indian paneer); dal (made by HG); refreshing raita salad. Mango chutney, chopped lime pickles and warmed naan. Dining companions were BSK’s sister, Noel M., and brother in law, Yossi M.; Morina Pipes and her son, Daniel. Morina is a Russian from an area bordering Syria. Daniel lives in Charlottetown while pursuing his Masters degree (and running a paint contracting business.). Morina and Israeli husband, Amram, farm many acres near N. and Y. ‘s Ocean Mist Farm. Amram, a skilled agriculturist, is presently in Uzbekistan working with an Israeli team on an ambitious irrigation project. HG/BSK’s guests did not come empty-handed. The multitude of gifts included fresh produce, wine, challah, tasty cookies. Morina’s dish of zucchini in tomato sauce went nicely with Indian fare. White and red wines were drunk in abundance. Laughter and high spirits. A memorable event.

Italy Rules

October 12th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Yotam Ottolenghi is HG/BSK’s authority on Israeli/Middle Eastern food. His cookbooks are filled with savory recipes, most of them easy to prepare. A few nights ago, HG browsed YO’s cookbook, “Keep It Simple”, and encountered an unusual dish: “Pappardelle with harissa, black olives and capers”. The sauce is composed of onions, cherry tomatoes and the aforementioned ingredients. The dish is topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and chopped parsley. BSK cooked it for dinner. Was it good? A qualified “Yes”. HG still believes that Italian pasta dishes are superior. BSK proved this a few nights later. BSK cooked penne with broccoli sauce. (First encountered this dish at New York’s long closed Delsomma restaurant. It was very tasty, but BSK’s version is even better). BSK topped the pan of pasta with local yellow beans and little potatoes (mineral rich) from Ocean Mist Farm. Grated parmesan. Red pepper flakes. (A splash of olive oil for HG). Italy rules !! Indeed.

Recipes

October 9th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Have been browsing M.F.K. Fisher’s “With Bold Knife and Fork.” No one has written English prose with more style and wit than the late M.F.K.. Tripe is one of HG’s favorite foods (the New Mexican tripe stew, Menudo, is a significant culinary pleasure). Fisher’s chapter on tripe, “The Trouble With Tripe”, is a literary masterwork. (The “Trouble” Fisher refers to, is the fact that tripe has to be cooked in quantity and Fisher had very few friends or neighbors who wanted to share savory pots of tripe). If Fisher has a flaw, it is in the book’s recipes. Some are okay. Some are vile. Witness her recipe for clam chowder. Among other things, it contains two cans of cream of corn soup. A-a-rgh!! Recipes from Melissa Clark and David Tanis (both from NY Times) are flawless. Marcella Hazan is HG/BSK’s Italian recipe authority (Caution: She gets a bit stingy in the quantities of ingredients needed for sauces). Karen Lee is best for Chinese dishes. The blog, “The Woks of Life”, has splendid recipes. HG finds Mark Bittman erratic, some good, some bad. BSK often uses Ottam Ottolenghi’s books for Israeli/Middle East dishes. Best recipe writer ever was the late Michael Field. Great dishes resulted by following his meticulous, step-by-step guidance.