Eight Eight

November 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

88. That’s not “getting old.” It is old age. Yes, HG has arrived. Eighty Eight on November 9. Many warm greetings and wishes from family and friends. Birthday dinner at home with beloved BSK (and Toby, The wonder Dog, at HG’s feet.) Roaring flames in the fireplace. Heifetz and cellos on the Bose. Candle light. Dinner mixed French and Florentine elements. HG had a starter of buttered Santa Fe Farmers Market radishes (a Julia Child favorite) with cold Provencal rose wine. Then, on to a rib steak cooked very rare (“saignant”). Topped with grated garlic and a dash of olive oil. White cannelloni beans with sliced garlic and olive oil. (Yes, HG ate enough garlic to keep Dracula and his nefarious vampire cohorts away for years). Salad of juicy little tomatoes and chopped sweet onion. BSK cooked a New York strip to a pink juiciness. (BSK doesn’t share HG’s love for bloody meat). And, no massive amounts of garlic for BSK. Drank a BSK discovery, Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Josh vineyards. Big, mouth filling wine. Perfect with steak and cheese (the cheese course was French soft and runny cheese that was a cross between Camembert and Pont L’Eveque). Jameson’s Irish Whiskey after dinner. Vanilla bean ice cream later in the evening. Can’t blame greedy HG for wanting many more birthdays like #88. Stay away from the window sill, Moloch Hamoves.

Instant Pot

November 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

If you don’t have one, get one. Instant Pot is a splendid convenience that shortens the time for braising, roasting, stewing, etc. And, it helps to keep meat juicy while cooking to sublime tenderness. Last week, BSK browned a pork roast (saute setting) and then added apple cider vinegar,onions, garlic and rosemary. A roast with a crusty exterior and a moist, flavorful interior was the result. BSK reduced the juices and little brown bits of meat with white wine to create a lush sauce. On another evening, BSK used the Instant Pot to make congee (jook), the Chinese rice porridge. BSK added garlic, sea scallops and shiitake mushrooms to left over cooked basmati rice. The result wasn’t congee but rather a soupy risotto. Nevertheless, it was deluxe comfort food. BSK said next time there will be an adjustment in water proportions to make a more conventional congee.

Burger A La BSK

November 7th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is not a hamburger fan. The burgers at Mickey Dee’s and its emulators are vile crapola. HG isn’t fond of burgers at upscale restaurants. The green chile burger at Santa Fe Bite (formerly Bobcat Bite) is nationally famous. Some food mags have called it best burger in USA. HG is unmoved. Finds it pedestrian. BSK breaks through HG’s burger bias with half pound burgers pan broiled in a cast iron pan (BSK uses 20% fat ground chuck because fat is flavor and an essential ingredient for a juicy burger.) BSK sizzles the burger until it’s pink in the middle. Melts a round of Mexican quesadilla cheese on top. The burger is the centerpiece of a hearty New Mexican dinner. BSK drenches the burgers in lush 505 Green Chile Sauce. Accompanies them with Goya black beans topped with chopped sweet onions and Mexican sour cream, On the table are sliced avocados plus pico de gallo (from Poaque Supermarket) and warmed flour tortillas. IPA ale for HG and Spanish Rioja for BSK. Joyous eating on chilly autumn evenings in New Mexico.

Prayers?!?!?!?!?!?!

November 7th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

And, so it goes on. Another slaughter by a deranged Caucasian American male. Armed with an army assault rifle Guess what? Der Trumperer offers prayers. We’ve had a slaughter of children in Connecticut. A slaughter at a church in Charleston. A slaughter at a Las Vegas concert. And, today, a slaughter at a little church in Texas. The number of dead continues to grow. The Republican response: Prayers. Hey, why not? Doesn’t cost a dime. Prayers, Mother, apple pie are good things. But, in the land of The Free, Brave and Armed nothing is more worshipped than guns and their apologist, the NRA, is a generous dispenser of campaign funds and possibly more important, a voter bloc that will follow anyone they endorse. So, let the murder continue. Be lucky, my friends.

Catalonia

November 2nd, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

Catalonia (Catalunya) is in the news. HG hopes the issue of Catalonian independence can be settled peacefully. HG/BSK have had joyous times in Barcelona, the wondrous Catalan city. Renowned architecture (Gaudi, etc.). Colorful walks (Las Ramblas). The best public food market. Beaches. Tapas and every type of good food. BSK paid an homage to Barcelona last night with a rousing cod dish. BSK stewed cod with last of season tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic (lots), oregano, parsley, blazing pimenton, tomato paste, olive oil, white wine. HG/BSK raised glasses of red wine and toasted Picasso, Miro and other Catalans. May peace prevail.

New Mexico Bliss

October 31st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK are experiencing a wonderful autumn in New Mexico. Brilliant sun. Cloudless skies. Cool nights. Lots of color in the trees. (Alas. A big cottonwood is beginning to tilt dangerously and will have to be cut down). Yesterday, HG walked over to the fence of neighbor Mister G’s organic vegetable farm and received a gracious gift. A magnificent, fresh-from-the-earth head of escarole. BSK used the vegetable to make a big pot of escarole, beans and bacon soup. The basis was the Frankie’s Spuntino recipe. Topped with lots of grated Romano and sprinkles of hot pepper, this was a lusty dish. Fortunately, there’s enough left over for another meal. HG will add some penne or ziti to create New York’s beloved, late Mayor Laguardia’s favorite dish: “Pastafazoole.”

Mystery Day

October 25th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

It was a day of mystery. It started with ingenious scammers entrapping HG via the telephone. Yes, HG, old, wise, cynical, suspicious, was trapped. The scammer pushed all the right buttons for HG: namely over-concern for the welfare of the younger members of the HG/BSK family. Fortunately, BSK took over and broke up the scam. No money lost. But, it was a close call. Once more, BSK trusted her instincts. And, once more, those instincts were reliable. Anyway, it was a most trying day and HG was ready for big time comfort at dinner time. BSK provided it in the form of a mystery soup. Why the mystery? Well, the soup started out as a good but conventional butternut squash puree liquified with free range chicken broth. But, BSK made many additions but didn’t inform HG. Other vegetables. Onions and apples, perhaps. There were light undertones of cayenne and nutmeg. The soup was topped with sour cream and sprinkles of Aleppo pepper and accompanied by cheese and tomato quesadillas. HG preceded dinner with more than usual vodka. Drank a splendid red wine (sourced by BSK, of course). Finished with Jack Daniel’s and Lebanese halva. With all tensions vanished, HG ended the day in a haze of comfortable warmth.

The Super Generous And Delightful AC & CC

October 24th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

AC and CC arrived for a brief visit at HG/BSK’s New Mexico home. As usual, they brought a mind bending array of gifts. A lovely shawl for BSK. Two red wines (one a mind altering Chateauneuf de Pape). Two fine whites: Pouilly Fume and Pouilly Fuisse. Bombay Sapphire Gin. Italian biscuits. Dried fruit. Cheese (a lush and runny Brillat Savarin). Of course, the greatest gift is their presence. As HG has noted before, AC has the looks, bearing and accent of nobility (though American citizens, AC and CC retain their essential Englishness). AC is a noted financier with billions under his expert management. CC is in the great tradition of unique English women with outsized personalities and intellect. A journalist and author of numerous books and articles dealing with various aspects of Asian finance and industry. Formerly, a foreign correspondent based in Tokyo and Hong Kong, she is now an illuminating radio interviewer. Much to the joy of Toby, The Wonder Dog, the couple brought their enchanting dogs: Boodles, a Labrapoo (Toby’s love interest) and Genghis, a bouncy little Havanese. Lots of doggy fun. Dinner for the visit began with buffalo mozzarella and sliced kumatoes. Proceeded to a lush tagine of chicken, cauliflower, preserved lemons, onions and middle eastern spices. Served over Israeii couscous. A killer Daniel Boulod recipe. This was followed by Brillat Savarin and ripe comice pears (plus dried pears and Sicilian lemon marmalade). The lush red wines were drunk (not a drop remained). Dessert was vanilla and dulce con leche ice cream gilded with a bit of rose hip syrup. Plus Lebanese halva. AC and HG drank a lot of after dinner Jameson’s Irish Whiskey. A fabulous, animated, laugh filled evening. Plans were made to visit the couple in Colorado. HG/BSK’s hospitality gifts will try to live up to the high standards set.

La Mesita Eatery: Down Home Goodness

October 21st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy to be back in The Land of Enchantment where the trees are golden, russet and red. The skies are blue. Autumn breezes are refreshing. Cool nights call for a blaze in the living room fireplace. Pals Karen K. and David F. treated HG/BSK to a dinner at La Mesita Eatery, a family owned and staffed restaurant in Pojoaque, minutes from HG/BSK’s home. Karen and David touted the fried chicken. HG was dubious when HG found out the bird was deep fried rather than pan fried. A version of the Kentucky Colonel’s crap was anticipated. The chicken arrived. Big portion. Delicious, greaseless crunch cloaked an interior of juicy, flavorful free range chicken. A revelation. Wow!! Accompanied by down home mashed potatoes topped with fried onions. HG drank a great California IPA. A true, no frills comfort meal. Blessings upon you, Karen and David.

Jahunger

October 19th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Before leaving Rhode Island for The Land of Enchantment, daughter Lesley R., son-in-law Massimo, granddaughter Arianna, gave HG/BSK a special treat: Jahunger. This is a lovely, small Chinese restaurant in Providence. The cuisine is Uyghur, Northern Chinese Muslim cooking. It’s similar to the popular dishes served at Xi’an Famous Foods in New York (Chinatown and Flushing). Jahunger specializes in cumin scented lamb and noodles. Wonderful food. HG/BSK and Family R. feasted on lamb skewers, Lamb on Dry Land (lamb stir fried with chunks of naan-like bread); Ding Ding Noodles (small, solid bits of pasta in a fragrant sauce of onions, peppers, scallions and lamb); Langjiman Noodles (long, springy noodles with beef and a sprightly sauce – similar to the national Uzbeck dish); Cold Chicken (this was HG’s favorite, down home shredded chicken in a very spicy, hot but delicate sauce). The group drank a not too sweet coconut beverage. Memorable meal. Can’t wait for next visit.