PEI Dinner. Beautiful Light. Beautiful Food.

June 16th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s nothing like dinner at HG/BSK’s oceanfront Prince Edward Island home. Streaks of sun illuminate the skies and the horizon. As night proceeds, a blazing sunset colors the sea. The colors keep changing until darkness. Seen through some 40 feet of windows, this is HG/BSK’s private panoramic nature show. Dinner tonight began with a dozen Island Shellfish (thanks Cindy Dockendorff) oysters. Expertly shucked by HG, these are the best oysters in the world, sorely missed when HG/BSK reside in New Mexico (Hatch green chile and menudo are consolations). Main dish was grilled Italian sausages (selected by Massimo R.). These were served over vinegar peppers (inspired by those served at long closed Delsomma Restaurant in New York City) and onions. Accompaniment was cheesy, buttery orzo. Delicious food highlighted by BSK’s magical way with peppers. Drank many glasses of red wine. With a snifter of Bagaco (a Portuguese marc distilled on PEI) in hand and BSK by HG’s side, Mozart on the sound system, natural light show, HG was enveloped in PEI magic.

Home At Last

June 15th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK was prepared with ample documentation, so HG and BSK were able to cross the provincal border into Prince Edward Island with no problems. So, oh glory, home at last. BSK’s sister, Noel M., and husband, Yossi, came to the HG/BSK home earlier and filled the refrigerator, freezer and pantry with lots of food. Brought mussels and much fireplace wood. Plenty of wine, beer, spirits. Pantry shelves bulging with pasta, spices, condiments, etc. HG/BSK will not starve (or stay icily sober) during the mandatory 14-day self-isolated quarantine. Lots of meadow and bluffs to roam so cabin fever won’t be a problem. Found our home neat and in good shape. The panoramic sea views and breezes are majestic. Dinner was mussels over linguine. Every element was perfect. BSK did some magic with the broth and it was so tasty that HG/BSK used most of a loaf of bread to soak up every bit. Drank much French pinot noir with Massimo R. selected creamy and pungent gorgonzola. And, then an event that summed up the kindness that is customary on unique Prince Edward Island: As you may have gathered, HG is passionately in love with oysters. And, none are better than the Redheads and Malpeques at Atlantic Shellfish in nearby Morell. HG called Atlantic Shellfish and asked (mentioning quarantine) if 36 oysters could be delivered to BSK. No hurry, said HG, deliver when near St.Peters bay. Voila!! At BSK’s door in the early evening was Cindy Dockendorff, manager of the shellfish operation, with a big bag of oysters. (Dockendorff is a famous name in PEI shellfish). Cindy, a radiant young woman, didn’t want HG to suffer from oyster deprivation. The oysters are in the fridge. HG/BSK will eat many tonight and raise our glasses to kind Cindy.

In A Democracy

June 14th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, HG/BSK are in Canada. No problems at the border. Given orders to self-quarantine for 14 days. So nice to be in a democracy headed by a rational (albeit long-haired) leader. Famished HG/BSK completed first leg of the journey to Prince Edward Island home in a St. John, New Brunswick, hotel. Spacious room. HG had pre-dinner vodka. White wine for BSK. Opened the portable cooler to see the Italian delights selected by generous son-in-law, Massimo R., for the HG/BSK auto voyage. Superb prosciutto and mortadella; olives; very good bread; an array of cheeses—pecorino, gorgonzola dolce, ground parmesan. Oh, my!!! Marvelous dinner with a good bottle of French pinot noir. HG demolished most of the pecorino. HG never found top pecorino in Santa Fe. Massimo’s selection was fabulous, earthy and lush. HG is very lucky to have a leading academician and author as a son in law. And, being Italian, Massimo has the knowledge to source the best in wine and food. (His wife, HG/BSK’s gifted daughter, Lesley R., is a wonderful cook so they compose a dynamic culinary duo).

Leave It To Lesley

June 13th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Gifted daughter Lesley was disappointed. Chongqing House in Providence is HG’s favorite Szechuan restaurant and Lesley had promised HG a take out feast from the restaurant. Eek!! Horrors!! Chongqing closed on June 1. No take out. No nothing. Promised to reopen soon in a nearby location after Covid-19 subsides. A “new concept”, they say. HG is dubious. To make up for it, Lesley picked up a big order from DenDen, a Providence Korean eatery. Lots of good food. HG’s favorite: A spicy stew of tofu with shrimp, mussels and squid. Also ate good unagi, noodles, cod, seafood and vegetable pancakes. Braised pork belly. Cold vodka. Local beer. Breezy al fresco meal on the deck. Happy, happy celebration before leaving for Prince Edward Island in the AM.

Travel and Family Joy

June 10th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Long, arduous air travel from New Mexico to Rhode Island. HG/BSK awoke at 4:30 AM (ouch!!) for an early flight from Albuquerque to Providence on Southwest. Layover in Baltimore, so arrived in Providence after 5:00 PM for pickup by gifted and super helpful daughter, Lesley R. Took every precaution while on the plane and in airports. Face shields. Face masks. Sanitary spray. Sanitary wipes. So far, so good. Hope health stays okay (knock wood, cross fingers). Delighted to see masked Lesley husband, Massimo R., and equally masked brilliant granddaughter, Arianna. Another incredible al fresco meal on the R.’s flower-lined deck with lovely evening views of Narragansett Bay. Dinner food was equally spectacular. Starter of smoked bluefish. Then a platter of succulent, spicy shrimp This was followed by linguine with a sauce ( Sicilian?) of juicy swordfish cubes, tomatoes, olives, garlic, etc. A seafood extravaganza, tribute to coastal living. Expert Massimo picked the wines, all winners. After a bowl of vanilla ice cream, HG hit the comfy bed for a long slumber…

Al Fresco

June 9th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Beautiful night. Gentle breeze. BSK has festooned the spreading branches of HG/BSK’s dining terrace tree with tiny sparkling electric lights. Perfect setting for an outdoor New Mexico dinner. Gorgeous (and brilliant) granddaughter, Sofia R., and friend, Anton, are at HG/BSK’s home so a celebration is appropriate. (Toby, The Wonder Dog, is overjoyed to be with Sofia). BSK served a lush Jerusalem dish of ground lamb, cherry tomatoes, poached eggs `with HG’s special Greek yogurt sauce. Both the lamb and sauce utilized a wide range of herbs and middle eastern spices. Social distance was maintained. HG/BSK dined at one table and the young folks were at another table a few yards away. The sun set. And, then the evening skies turned a miraculous Yves Klein blue (check out his art). Magic. Yes, New Mexico is The Land of Enchantment.

Rice

June 6th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

Asians use rice as a nourishing and integral part of their cuisine. Of course, their rice is not the same as American rice found in supermarkets. HG has written often about the pleasures of rice porridge (“congee” or “jook”). BSK makes the best congee, enriching it with scallops, mushrooms, garlic, turmeric and numerous herbs and spices. BSK uses sushi rice to create this epitome of comfort food, satisfying for breakfast, lunch or dinner. HG uses Italian rice (Arborio or Carnarolli) for HG’s lush risotto, often mixed with in-season asparagus or all-season baby spinach. Last night, BSK used a David Tanis/New York Times recipe for a delicious rice dish that is midway between congee and risotto. The rice is mixed with English peas plus a sofrito of garlic, onions, olive oil, etc. BSK used basmati rice for the dish and, upon serving, mixed in butter and parmesan. Healthy grinds of back pepper. Joy!!

The Days of Wine and Roses…Well, Mainly Wine.

June 1st, 2020 § 2 comments § permalink

When HG/BSK began their marriage (57th anniversary this year), great wine was cheap. One could buy superb bottles for less than five dollars. HG/BSK began married life on W. 67th Street (just off Central Park) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The 67th Street Wine and Liquor Shop was on the northwest corner of Columbus and 67th. If dining at home during the summer, HG/BSK began dinner with cold splits of very good champagne. Price was $l.50 each. As a weekend house guest in West Hampton, HG/BSK brought a case of Chateau Mouton Rothschild as a gift. Went nicely with grilled sirloin. Price was was less than 50 bucks for the 12 bottles. During early courtship. HG/BSK once had a casual meal of Zito’s bread, ripe French camembert and Irish ham. Drank a bottle of Chateau Margaux ($3.00). These days in New Mexico, BSK acts as wine selector. BSK finds superb values in the nine to thirteen dollar range. BSK favors Pinot Noir from France and California but finds values in Australian Shiraz/Cabernet, Spanish Tempranillo, Italian Chianti, Argentine Malbec, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Annoying aspect of life on Prince Edward Island is the high price of wine (due to tax policies). Makes HG/BSK lower HG/BSK’s drinking standards.

Man VS Food: Feh!!

May 30th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

COPD is the lung disease which affects HG, the residue of almost a half-century of cigarettes (HG started puffing at age 12). Nicotine addiction led to throat cancer, survived by HG through the skills of a remarkable surgeon, Dr. Victor Schramm. There’s no surgical intervention for COPD. It just calls for steady maintenance to keep it in check and leave HG capable of enjoying the beauties of HG/BSK’s New Mexico and Prince Edward Island homes; the love of HG’s family and the delights of food, wine and Negroni cocktails. So, four times a day, HG inserts ipratopium bromide into a breathing apparatus called a nebulizer and breathes the solution for 10 to 15-minute sessions. To ease boredom, HG watches The Food Network while nebulizing. HG’s favorite programs are “Carnival Treats”; “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”; “Man, Fire, Food”; “Burgers, Barbecue and Beer”; “Restaurant Impossible.” The personalities are engaging (even flamboyant Guy Fieri) and there are many useful recipes and cooking tips. However, The Food Network has one vile program which should be banished, the despicable and disgusting “Man Vs. Food”. The program consists of an unattractive man messily eating an enormous amount of food during a short time while being cheered by onlookers. A very unappetizing spectacle. HG has no idea why this glorification of gluttony appears on a network that touts the splendors of food and cooking.

Feta Cheese

May 27th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is very fond of Greek feta cheese. A pleasant lunch is the cheese (happily, a top quality Feta is available in New Mexico); sliced ripe tomatoes (HG loves the “Kumato” brand); Kalamata olives; scallions; a few anchovies—all enhanced by olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, Trader Joe’s demi-ciabatta and a glass of cold rose (with ice) goes nicely with this. If it’s summer dinner, HG/BSK follow this with many ears of buttered, super fresh corn on the cob. Curiously, one of the best feta dishes in HG’s memory was served at Pete’s Diner on Denver’s gritty Colfax Avenue. It was a large, soft omelet filled with melting feta. The French call the omelet’s unctuous interior “baveuse”. Pete’s served the dish with home fries and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Diner cuisine that echoed the owner’s Greek heritage.

Raw Organic White Feta Cheese for Crumbling