Fifty Four and Want More

July 4th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On a torrid July 2, 1963, HG/BSK awakened in their romantic West Side artist’s studio apartment. Eeks!! Overslept. Due downtown at chambers of Judge George Postel to get married. Waiting to witness were BSK’s family and friends Julia and Peter Meyerson. Very disconcerted. However, brief ceremony went smoothly. Wedding breakfast at Longchamps on Broadway near City Hall (sad to see the wonderful restaurant chain disappear from New York). Later in the day, there was a festive reception in the elegant Library Room of the St. Regis Hotel. Music was provided by Bucky Pizzarelli and his guitar (now in his 90’s, he is still performing).Young BSK was chic and beautiful in a Jax suit. Dinner at Fleur de Lys, French bistro on the Upper West Side. HG, much to BSK’s later distress, overindulged in garlicky escargots. The result was HG, on the wedding night, smelling like a giant garlic clove. And, today, 54 years later, HG/BSK are enjoying the cool breezes at HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island oceanfront home. Anniversary breakfast was softly scrambled eggs and John the Baker bread from the Cardigan Market. Yes, Hungry Gerald married the love of his life. But, Hungry Gerald is also Greedy Gerald. Wants many more years with Beautiful Sharon Kent.

Keep It Simple

June 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Easier said than done, a cliche that’s also true. BSK has mastered restraint in the kitchen. BSK knows how to bring out the excellence of fresh and wholesome products. Farm eggs. Free range chicken. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Freshly caught fish and recently harvested bivalves (BSK is allergic to crustaceans); farm raised meat. BSK knows the secret to simple but savory cooking is timing. BSK focuses. BSK’s poached eggs are perfection–slightly firm whites and lusciously runny yolks. These eggs (and BSK’s creamy scrambled eggs) are the foundation for many wondrous breakfasts. Last night’s dinner was simple and heavenly. HG was in charge of the starter: One dozen big and briny Malpeque oysters on the half shell. Aided by experience, HG meticulously scrubbed and shucked. Then it was BSK’s turn: Plump in season asparagus steamed to a state of perfection–not too soft and not too hard. BSK took them off the range at the precise moment when they were at their best. Main dish was Atlantic filets of sole, steamed over a bed of baby spinach and chopped bok choy. Flavored with white wine, garlic,ginger and a touch of soy sauce. The success of this dish was dependent on BSK’s magical timing. No mushy sole is tolerated at BSK’s table.

BSK Vancouver Show

November 21st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK’s show of her hand crafted, one-of-a-kind ceramic vessels, sculptures, expressions and masks was attended by enthusiastic friends, collectors and dealers. Show was at Karen C.’s beautiful Vancouver town house. Much good food. And, generous Jamie S., the co-host, was lavish in pouring a lovely rose, a flavorful white and a robust red. HG/BSK met old friends from HG/BSK’s days in Vancouver when HG/BSK owned a series of lofts and a modernist town house. Conversed with new acquaintances and were pleased to welcome Adam and Meredith C.. Adam is the son of two of HG/BSK/s favorite people, Antony and Claudia C.. Young Adam looks like and sounds like his distinguished Dad. Meredith is a clever sparkler. BSK made some sales, evoked interest from dealers and was questioned about doing custom pieces. A wonderful day that began at 11AM. HG/BSK reluctantly left at 10:30 PM. Jamie was still pouring. Karen was still full of energy and the joyous group was still laughing as tired HG/BSK left. Among the pleasures of the day, besides the joie de vivre of Canadians, was the presence of Kaiser, Jamie’s delightful frisky (but well behaved) Havanese. Made up for the absence of Toby, The Wonder Dog, HG/BSK’s New Mexico companion.

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Echo Of Le Dome

June 16th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Le Dome, the vintage restaurant in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, serves the best sole dish in the world. It is a Dover Sole, gently sautéed in butter. Deftly filleted by a professional waitperson, doused with a butter/lemon sauce. Accompanied by a mashed potato pancake. The cost? Astronomical. Here on Prince Edward Island, the lovely ladies of By the Bay Fish Mart, supply HG/BSK with fresh Atlantic sole. No, the fish is not Dover Sole. But, thick and firm fillets with a nice taste of the sea. (The Pacific sole fillets HG/BSK buy at Whole Foods when residing in New Mexico, are too thin and have a tendency to disintegrate when steamed or sautéed). Last night, BSK pan steamed a pound of BTB sole, using a technique learned from chef/daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko (Visit her at the Oni Sauce stand at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg for superb Japanese fried chicken, beef tataki and other good things). BSK steamed the sole on a bed of bok choy, spinach, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Served it with bowls of rice. Wonderful. Next week, HG will give the sole the meuniere treatment. HG will dust the sole with flour. Quick saute the fish in canola oil and butter. Serve it with a sauce of melted butter, capers, lemon juice. Plate it with a boiled PEI potato. A faint echo of Le Dome at a modest price.

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Happy Birthday BSK

June 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK’s birthday was a few days ago and HG/BSK celebrated with an improbable, totally crazy, insanely happy dinner celebration. The place was the bar of the Holiday Inn Conference Center and Hotel near Allentown, PA. The dinner marked the near end of HG/BSK’s cross county voyage. For her birthday, HG presented BSK with an array of gifts: Thingumajigs, folderol and tchachkes. They were well received. Dinner consisted of glasses of Chardonnay (meh), Cabernet (very drinkable); Seared, rare Ahi tuna (passable) ; fried calamari with a wasabi sauce (quite good). The happy pair then shared a big platter of strip steak, mashed potatoes and cauliflower/broccoli. The steak presented a problem: It was cooked perfectly. Seared nicely. Cooked medium rare (on the rare side) as requested. BSK sliced the steak. That is, BSK tried to slice the steak. The energetic lady sawed away without much result. HG sawed. Yielded a few rosy slices. They looked good; however, they were tougher than shoe leather. Tougher than an IRS special agent.(Okay, be HG’s guest and choose a simile). Meanwhile, a dozen TV screens were playing events ranging from X-Games to slasher and vampire movies, Strobe lights were flashing overhead. Heavy metal was blasting from mega-speakers. The combination of the steak and the scene was so over the top ludicrous that HG/BSK shook with laughter. It was one of the happiest birthday dinners ever. Toby, The Wonder Dog, was treated to a chunk of the steak. Not too tough for the little guy. Toby loved it. HG/BSK finished the evening with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a Hershey’s Chocolate Almond Bar. Perfect accompaniment to Spanish Lorca Monastrelli red wine.

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HG Becoming a Vegetarian?

May 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The answer to that question is: “NO!!”. HG enjoys occasional pork chops, steaks, chicken, Mexican menudo and other carnivorous goodies. BTW, can’t wait to taste the Japanese fried chicken that is getting raves at daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko’s Oni Sauce stand at the famed Brooklyn Smorgasburg. But, for the most part HG and BSK have a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fish, pasta and fruit (There are always apples in the refrigerator and oranges, tangerines and avocados in one of BSK’s big pottery bowls on the kitchen granite island. When summering on Prince Edward Island, HG/BSK eat many pounds of seasonal PEI blueberries and strawberries). It must work because HG is reasonably spry as HG’s 87th birthday looms. BSK will reach an advanced age next month but looks decades younger and is energetic, athletic, creative and joyous. Genes, diet and exercise contribute to BSK’s senior beauty. And, best of all (in the eyes and tummy of greedy HG), BSK’s dinners (after just about 53 years of marriage) keep getting better (and healthier). A few nights ago, BSK prepared Orecciette with Broccoli, a dish from the Italian province of Puglia where it is a regional specialty. Orecciette means “little ears” and these little pasta shapes enclose the broccoli sauce effectively. Permit me to turn this post over to BSK and allow BSK to share the recipe with you lucky readers:

Put chunked stems, 2 cloves of garlic , a large shallot (or spring onion) and a handful of Italian parsley into food processor with a little good quality olive oil.
Saute 3 or 4 anchovy fillets (diced) slowly then add more olive oil and the mixture from the food processor and cook slowly. Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.

When the pasta water boils add the broccoli heads and cook briefly (they should still be bright green and have a little crunch). Add them to the anchovy/stem/garlic mix and toss. Keep cooking on low heat.

Cook pasta till it’s not quite done — add it to the mix, turn up the heat and toss vigorously – add a couple of ladlefuls of the pasta water – keep tossing — till it turns creamy. Taste the pasta if it’s still not done – add a little more water and keep tossing.

Serve with good grated cheese (and – if you like top with some chopped fresh tomatoes and some cubed mozerella).

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A Tasty BSK Improv

May 11th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

“Improv” is how actors refer to improvisation, the backbone of acting classes and, in the right hands, the source of both comic and dramatic masterpieces. Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s, The Thousand Year Old Man was total, un-scripted improvisation. Mike Nichols and Elaine May were nifty practitioners of the art. BSK has an extensive theater background (theater study at Ohio State; repertory at the Fred Miller Theater in Milwaukee; summer stock in Hyde Park, N.Y.; advanced study with Lee Strassberg and Lloyd Richards in New York.) While in college, BSK did comic improv in Columbus, Ohio, coffee houses. Her partner was puppeteer Bill Walters (later a New York actor and stage manager) and his monkey puppet “Thelonious Monkey”. More improv on Columbus live TV. These days (much to HG’s delight) BSK applies improv skills to cuisine. Witness BSK’s recent chicken masterpiece. HG/BSK (since coming back to New Mexico from Florida) have been eating out of the freezer. BSK defrosted a package of skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Dredged them in a bit of flour. Using a cast iron pan, BSK gently browned them in canola oil. Placed them in a Creuset casserole. BSK wiped out the cast iron pan. In olive oil, BSK heated garlic until golden and scattered it over the chicken. Simmered wine, chickens stock and an abundant amount of rosemary.`Turned off heat and swirled butter, capers and Dijon mustard into the mix. Poured it over the casseroled chicken and cooked it in the oven. While cooking, BSK made some additional chicken stock, butter and mustard sauce. Poured it over the cooked chicken on a warmed platter. A bit of chopped parsley for color. Ciabatta (to soak up the wonderful sauce) and chopped parsley (for color). Salad of sliced avocado and sweet onion. Finished the sumptuous meal with Trader Joe’s lush Brooklyn chocolate babka and the remainder of a bottle of Pinot Noir. HG looked at BSK and contemplated that old country song: “If My Woman Can’t Do It, It Can’t Be Done.” Sums up BSK’s endless talents.

Pasta Shapes. Pasta Perfection.

March 24th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG respects the Italian belief that there is the right pasta for every sauce: Linguine (or spaghettini) with clam sauce; pappardelle with ragu; orecchiette with broccoli, etc., etc.. Ordinarily flexible, Italians are quite firm about this pasta point. Last night, BSK followed Mario Batali’s recipe (from Food and Wine Magazine) for rigatoni alla amatriciana. BSK used Delallo brand rigatoni (these are short, round pasta shapes with ridged surfaces ideal for hearty sauces). Amatriciana is a sauce of bacon, olive oil, bacon fat, onions, tomato paste, tomatoes, parsley, parmesan cheese and (in a BSK twist) plenty of Mexican chile powder and Aleppo pepper for earthy heat. The pasta shape and the sauce were a happy marriage. Not a dish lauded by cardiologists but a splendid once-in-a-while indulgence. HG/BSK’s guests knocked off the pasta with gusto and asked for seconds. This was preceded by appetizers of white anchovies with peppers and olives and surprisingly good shrimp ceviche produced by Pojoauque Super Market (a grocer near HG/BSK’s New Mexico home). Meal ended with a sprightly salad of butter lettuce and Belgian endive. No dessert. Everyone too full. However, snifters of grappa provided a nice Italian apres meal touch.

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Green Goodness

March 20th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG enjoys healthy gustatory pleasure from BSK’s inventive use of green vegetables. Bok choy is the green which enhances BSK’s Asian-influenced sole. BSK stir fries baby bok choy in a bit of peanut oil, soy sauce, sake, minced ginger and garlic. When the bok choy is wilted and has thrown off much water, BSK covers the pan and steams thin filets of Pacific sole draped over the vegetable. HG likes a dash of chile infused sesame oil on the fish. BSK dusts filets of cod with various spices (including turmeric), pan browns the fish, and finishes it in the oven. The cod is accompanied by Belgian endive (cut in half lengthwise) which has also been pan browned and finished in the oven. Cherry tomatoes, roasted until slightly wilted, are a nice accompaniment. HG likes to use leaves of raw endive as scoops for guacamole or super hot Szechuan ground pork. Fennel braised in butter and chicken stock is a BSK specialty and the perfect companion for BSK’s salmon, pan broiled unilateral. BSK also make a lovely salad of thin slices of fennel, radish and baby turnip (when in season). Goes nicely with Middle Eastern dishes or a slab of feta cheese. HG/BSK were introduced to salmon and braised fennel by Bob Judd, a good friend. Judd is a former advertising executive and author of many auto racing novels (he is to motor sports what Dick Francis is to horse racing). Some years ago Judd was based at the London office of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. He lived in the Hampstead neighborhood in a modernist house designed by the great Hungarian-born architect, Erno Goldfinger. In the sunny kitchen of that house, Judd poached a slab of Scottish salmon and braised knobs of fennel in stock heavily enriched with butter. HG/BSK, Judd and Judd’s then wife, a pianist, drank chilled Beaujolais Nouveau. Memorable. (An aside. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, hated Goldfinger and his architectural style. He took his revenge by naming his most villainous of villains, “Auric Goldfinger”. Shirley Bassey sang the memorable theme song for the filmed version. Much to Erno Goldfinger’s chagrin, people would hum the song when first meeting him. He sued Fleming and his publisher and the case was settled out of court.)

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Marital Conflict (Rare, Raw, Unspeakable)

February 27th, 2016 § 5 comments § permalink

HG is decidedly French in food tastes. Loves innards and long simmered, wine soaked stews of fowl or beef. A caveat: HG does not share the French love of savoring Ortolans (swallowed whole) or devouring execrable chitterling sausages encased in the lining of a pig’s rectum. HG is very French in loving steaks cooked blood rare–seared on the exterior with a bright red (only slightly warm) interior. (Italians also like steaks cooked this way. Witness blood rare Bistecca Fiorentina that is served with cannelloni beans, olive oil and lemon). HG also favors tuna grilled with a raw interior and salmon with a rare interior. These enthusiasms have caused marital conflict with BSK. Such conflict is rare since BSK is a wondrous home cook, dazzling HG and friends with an array of international dishes. However, BSK’s Anglican ancestry takes over when grilling steak or fish — she prefers them cooked a bit more than HG would like and HG often murmurs a soft, diplomatic complaint (BSK thinks HG’s complaint is loud, overbearing and nasty). Thus, marital discord. To bring the marital sail back to calm seas, HG will now grill HG’s own steaks and fish. HG’s mantra is “It keeps cooking.” That is, bloody steaks and barely cooked fish, continue to cook when removed from the grill and allowed to rest a bit on the table before eating — this process also allows juices to re-circulate throughout the cooked flesh. Surprisingly, BSK pan broils the best hamburgers and pork chops HG has ever tasted. Crusty exteriors, Juicy, pink interiors. Tonight, BSK will be cooking Kefte, cigar-shaped Middle Eastern lamburgers. Crusty exteriors. Juicy, pink interiors. Go figure.

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