May 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

At a fancy dinner party, an elegant lady asked Babe Ruth why he didn’t eat asparagus. The greatest Yankee of them all responded: “Because they make my pee smell funny.” HG/BSK are not concerned about the after effect of asparagus. They are now in season and BSK prepares the delicious vegetable in many ways: Roasted on the grill; gently steamed; mixed with garlic, ginger and a bit of soy sauce in a Chinese stir fry; as the filling in an omelet. Last night, BSK steamed a batch and seasoned them with melted butter and lemon juice. They proved a worthy companion to HG’s preparation of Coho salmon a la unilaterale. A very simple dish. HG melted a mix of butter and olive oil in a cast iron pan. When quite hot, HG placed the salmon in the pan skin side down. A minute of high heat; covered the pan and turned heat to medium low. After four minutes, HG checked the fish. Found it rare (but cooked to HG’s liking). Placed it on a warm platter (like a steak, grilled salmon continues to cook after its removal from heat). Sauced the fish with melted butter, lemon juice and a dash of cayenne. Asparagus and salmon: A perfect marriage. (like HG/BSK). Tossed salad in a pungent vinaigrette provided a healthy finale.


Cooling Down

July 20th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

HG/BSK were at the lovely St. Peters Harbor Beach (A.K.A. The Bad Boy Beach according to grandson Haru) yesterday. Powdery white sand. Towering sand dunes and beach grass tossed by the breezes. Would have been perfect except for broiling heat. Hottest day HG/BSK ever encountered on Prince Edward Island. Even a plunge in the cold surf couldn’t cool HG sufficiently. HG/BSK’s home on the Island’s northeast shore proved to be an oasis. Shade, insulation and architecture that places windows to strategically pick up breezes and ventilation from every direction. After showering, HG listened to Scarlatti concertos and sipped Pernod (Pernod with lots of ice, cold water and a dash of Angostura Bitters) while watching gulls and herons skim over the sea. HG/BSK then proceed to a leisurely, deeply satisfying hot weather meal. Savage Harbor oysters on the half shell with shallot/vinegar condiment; grilled oysters with a dab of butter and lemon; grilled local asparagus dressed with garlic, olive oil and sea salt. Main dish was a platter of simply dressed garden lettuce topped with gently browned sea scallops. Drank some cold Pinot Grigio and finished with glasses of Argentine Trapiche and slivers of Oka cheese. Delightful dining on a rare scorcher in PEI.


Spring Asparagus – An SJ Post

May 5th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

SJ here. Last night I prepared a risotto with asparagus and fresh chives alongside a mix of greens (Chard, Spinach, Arugala) sauteed in olive oil and garlic and topped with a fried egg. While delicious, the meal plunged me into reverie concerning one of my most important food memories: Nearly 20 years ago I had a friend who lived on an apple orchard in Michigan that was surrounded by farms. While walking through the orchard we found, to our surprise, countless asparagus growing wild — seeded no doubt from blowing winds from nearby farms. We filled a paper shopping bag with these asparagus and steamed them in a big pot. Served with some drawn butter and a squeeze of lemon, they were a revelation. From top to the bottom they were impeccably tender with none of the tough, fibrous ends which I had been accustomed to. The taste was as if I had re-discovered the asparagus — vegetal, sexy, with a layered, almost mineral quality. It was the taste of Spring embodied, heightened by the almost certain reality that those flavors were disappearing from the second the asparagus was snapped from the ground. It moved me, this discovery of what a fresh vegetable could taste like; alternately, the discovery made me almost sad, because I knew that I would surely not be able to have this experience in my daily life. For the next two days I pretty much ate only asparagus — watching in horror as many of the unpicked plants flowered and became inedible. On my last day I filled a bag and brought them back to the city and when I prepared them for dinner that night, I noticed that those hours in transit had sapped that vigor, that technicolor palate of flavors and reduced the heavenly asparagus back to the earthly plane. If everything alive is connected with an energy that draws us all together, and which departs into the common ether upon death, then I believe I tasted the soul of an asparagus and nothing has ever been the same.Asparagus-spears-in-spring2

Spring: A Glorious Season For Asparagus

March 13th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, even though winter continues to buffet HG/BSK’s children and grandchildren in Brooklyn and Rhode Island, spring, gentle spring, has arrived in New Mexico. A big spray of golden forsythia is on HG/BSK’s dining table. There are crocuses galore peeping out of the garden and the first daffodil and hyacinth have made their appearance. Best of all, there are the fresh asparagus in the markets. Had a glorious dinner last night of salmon (pan fried unilaterale) with steamed stalks of asparagus glistening with melted butter and lemon juice. HG is looking forward to asparagus omelets, stir fries of asparagus with garlic and ginger, asparagus on a bed of Virginia ham. Can’t get enough of that vegetable when it’s in season. Unlike Babe Ruth, that rough diamond of the diamond, HG never turns down asparagus. As you may recall, The Babe told a society matron who offered him some asparagus: “Nope. It makes my pee smell funny.”


Souful Sole

July 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG and BSK are camping out at a very kind neighbor’s guest house while the interior of HG and BSK’s fire damaged ocean front home is being restored. Last night dinner was perfect. Radio was tuned to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting–the up North version of NPR). The usual civilized, thoughtful commentary. This time it was an irreverent and informed program on Canada and religion. HG sipped gin and Campari while BSK has some summer Rose’. A bit of Nova Scotia smoked salmon and sliced, sweet onion. BSK did a stir fry of local asparagus, garlic and red pepper flakes. Topped it with a pound of thick, flavorful sauteed sole fillets. Dessert was brie with Theresa of PEI’s Pumpkin and Apricot Chutney. Theresa is one of the many artisans on the Island turning out small batches of extraordinary food. As the cliche would have it, her Chow Chow is to die for.

Charles de Gaulle…And Other Asparagus Matters

March 31st, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Because of his height, big nose and high forehead, Charles de Gaulle was called by the irreverent French, “La Grande Asperge” — The Great Asparagus. Well, last night HG had some truly great asparagus. Big, fat guys purchased at Whole Foods and labeled European Asparagus. BSK steamed them and served them with olive oil, a bit of melted butter, lemon juice and sea salt. Yum.

Asparagus doesn’t marry well with most wine. HG likes them with Le Ferme Julien Rose if you can find it or a crisp white or even beer. When only skinny asparagus are available HG suggests they be cut into short lengths and stir fried with a bit of garlic and ginger. Fat white asparagus are a European obsession. Veronika H., the German-born pal of HG and BSK, said all work would halt in Germany on the first day these delectables hit the market. HG and BSK first tasted these lush asparagus many decades ago in a long gone restaurant on the Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris. They were wrapped in a linen cloth to keep warm and served with great ceremony by the maĆ®tre d’ who used silver tongs. A big gravy boat of Sauce Mousseline (Hollandaise mixed with whipped cream) accompanied them. Wow! This was followed by rare spring lamb and souffle potatoes. The meal ended with the first wild strawberries of the season. Ah, springtime in Paree when we were young and the exchange rate favored the dollar!!

Babe Ruth had the last word on asparagus. Invited to a classy dinner of blue bloods, the rough diamond of the diamond, was asked by the hostess why he declined the asparagus: Said Babe: “Because they make my pee smell funny.”

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