Poached Eggs

February 25th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Parisians (and most French) don’t think of eggs as breakfast food. Breakfast in France usually consists of a bowl of cafe au lait plus buttered baguette or croissant; however, you will often encounter poached eggs as a bistro appetizer (Ouef Meurette–eggs poached in a red wine sauce) or nestled on a slice of buttery toast and topped with shavings of black truffle. The wonderful Lyonnais salad is an HG/BSK bistro luncheon favorite (Frisee and bits of crisp bacon or lardon topped with softly poached eggs and a warm vinaigrette). HG had had many good luncheon omelets in Paris cafes (very good but not as voluptuously splendid as BSK’s preparations). An unexpected snowfall in New Mexico last night (it will all melt within a few hours providing needed moisture). However, snow calls for a hearty breakfast and BSK answered the call with plates of grits adorned with BSK’s perfectly poached eggs (When a fork pierces the soft yolks, the plate resembles a joyous sunrise). Here’s how BSK poaches eggs: Bring a pan of water to a boil – add a splash of vinegar – break egg into a shallow bowl carefully and slip it into the boiling water – turn down heat to a slow bubble and watch for the white to set (watch carefully because the yolk needs to stay runny) – retrieve from pan with a shallow pierced spoon. Follow these directions carefully and you will enter into egg heaven. Try these eggs atop corned beef or roast beef hash for a super hearty breakfast or brunch.


Lips That Touch Alcohol Shall Never Touch Mine

February 24th, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

That was the motto of the early women’s prohibition movement. BSK doesn’t go that far. However, BSK has often taken a very dim view of HG’s intake of strong white spirits. Namely tequila and vodka. Can’t blame her. BSK’s war hero father had problems with alcohol which led to a stormy family life. The only time HG ever saw BSK drink strong spirits was on their first date in March 1963. The duo met at the bar of Lombardi’s, a Greenwich Village restaurant. BSK ordered a Dewars scotch on the rocks. (Later, BSK confessed feigning sophistication on a first date with an older, worldly New Yorker). HG had two extra dry Martinis (BSK did not heed the warning). BSK loved dining at Fornos, a wonderful Spanish restaurant (long closed); however, BSK did not like HG’s habit of drinking Fornos’ Margaritas (best ever) throughout the meal and finishing with two Banana Daquiris (best ever) for dessert. Matters came to a climax on Fire Island: HG/BSK were guests at a smorgasbord prepared by the late New York Times journalist Glenn Fowler and his Swedish wife. Famished and thirsty after a day of sun, swimming, body surfing and football tossing. The array of herring, meatballs, red salmon caviar, ham, sausages and cheeses was enticing. HG ate a lot (as did BSK). Jolly time. Unfortunately, HG drank a great deal. There were bottles of near-frozen Aakavit in a block of ice and ale nestled in a bucket of crushed ice. HG took a bite of food. Then a snifter of icy Aakavit. A chaser of ale. This was repeated and repeated and repeated. Later, HG/BSK walked home on the narrow boardwalk (no cars on Fire Island). All of a sudden BSK noticed she was walking alone. BSK looked off the side of the boardwalk — There, laying in the sand, was a prone, very happy, very drunk HG. The next morning there were some stern warnings from BSK. If such a drunken scene was repeated marriage would be ended. HG never again became falling down drunk. (BSK was magnanimous about HG being tipsy, high, slightly sozzled, etc.). Lately, strong spirits have had a bad effect on mature HG. The combination of vodka or tequila with HG’s old guy medications has proven dangerous. HG has stumbled and passed out briefly (for about 30 seconds). BSK has expressed concern. HG now adheres to a regimen of bitters and soda (Aperol, Campari, Punt a Mes, Cynar, Angostura) before dinner. A glass of wine (a large one) with dinner. A very small shot glass of bourbon sipped while watching a movie DVD. No, this is not a liquid diet approved by Carry Nation, the temperance women and the health police. However, it keeps HG upright and soberly joyous. Moreover, BSK approves (barely). That’s the only approval HG seeks.


Poke ( Pronounced poh-kay)

February 21st, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

BSK cooks international style, much to HG’s dining pleasure. Italian, of course, relying upon the late Marcella Hazan’s guidance: pasta with mushrooms; Bolognese Ragu; rosemary-chickpea soup, etc.. French (Boeuf Bourguignon from Julia Child’s classic recipe). Israeli (chopped turkey/zucchini fritters and lots of other dishes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” cookbook); Middle Eastern (BSK’s unique version of kefte, cigar shaped burgers). Indian (chicken curry and other dishes from Vikram Vij’s splendid cookbooks). Greek (unsurpassed avoglemono soup). Tex-Mex (spicy chili; chicken green chile stew; cheeseburgers smothered in green chile sauce). Eastern European Jewish (kasha varnishkes with fried onions and sautéed mushrooms; karnezlach; mushroom and barley soup; matzo ball soup that’s better than that prepared by HG’s late Mom); American (Rhode Island fish chowder; New York strip steak pan broiled in a cast iron pan; roast spatchcocked chicken). Chinese (Sesame noodles; congee; Spicy Szechuan peanut butter noodles with peppercorns and fermented vegetables; Hunan eggplant; scores of stir fries. Japanese (Zero. HG/BSK conserve their appetite for Japanese cuisine until visiting Brooklyn and SJ and Exquisite Maiko, HG/BSK’s gifted daughter-in-law. EM creates unsurpassed Japanese dishes which combine beauty with flavor.) Last night–Aloha!!–BSK presented a Hawaiian dish–Poke (pronounced poh-kay). Essentially a tuna tartare with Asian flavoring, Poke has become the hot new thing in New York with a number of fast food Poke restaurants opening. BSK’s Poke started with the purchase of sashimi grade tuna at Whole Foods. BSK cut the tuna into 1/2 inch cubes. Mixed the raw fish with minced onion and ginger; scallions; soy sauce; sesame oil; sesame seeds; fresh lime juice; hot red pepper flakes. The flavorful Poke was scooped up with Belgian endive leaves. Sensational. Only thing missing was a song from Haleloke Kahauolopua (remember her from the Arthur Godfrey TV show ?)



January 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

“Keep it simple, stupid.” That was the mantra that guided the communications strategy of one of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns. BSK follows the simplicity principle in BSK’s daily cooking. HG/BSK like to drink wine before and with dinner. (HG also likes a snifter of brandy, Limoncello or Sambuca after dinner). Following this regime at good restaurants results in a check of $200 plus for dinner a deux. This is too self indulgent so HG/BSK rarely dine out. The exception is lunch at modestly priced Sopapilla Factory and El Parasol (both in Pojoaque, 15 minute drive north of Santa Fe) and Saigon Cafe in Santa Fe. Invariably, dinner is at home. BSK cooks an array of simple dishes that satisfy and delight. Often, cunning BSK enhances these dishes with an unexpected and savory addition. Here’s a partial list of BSK dinner dishes. Pastas: Linguine with oil, garlic, anchovies, parsley, red pepper flakes. Penne with broccoli. Spaghetti with black olives, tomatoes, garlic and anchovies. Spaghetti with tomatoes and Italian canned tuna. Chicken: Marinated, spatchcocked chicken roasted in the oven. Chicken curry (from Vikram Vij’js recipe). Lamb: Pan broiled New Zealand lamb chops. Kefte (Middle Eastern cigar shaped burgers pan broiled or roasted in the oven). Beef: Pan broiled burgers served with fried onions or smothered in 505 Green Chile Sauce. Pan broiled New York strip steak (a rare indulgence). Soups: Sorrel soup (in summer). Green soup (a BSK invention of everything green in the refrigerator plus chicken stock, onions and herbs, all pureed into tasty all season soup). Fish and shellfish: Quickly sautéed sea scallops served over salad greens. Prince Edward Island Mussels steamed with clam broth, white wine, garlic, parsley, olive oil, onions, red pepper flakes. Pacific sole, dusted with fish fry, and quickly sautéed in Canola oil with a bit of butter. Pork: Mo Pu Tofu, a Chinese dish featuring ground pork and tofu. Thick Frenched pork chops dusted with Goya Adobo and pan broiled medium rare. Served with sautéed onions and peppers plus Goya Black Beans covered in chopped sweet onion and Mexican Crema. BSK’s repertoire contains many more simple good things. Main dishes are usually followed by green salad and cheese. Dessert: Trader Joe’s chocolate almond biscotti and Belgian-style butter almond cookies. Candles lighting the table. Flames dancing in the fireplace. Yo Yo Ma on the Bose. Dinner a deux at Chez HG/BSK is celestial.


Happy Ending

January 14th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Good news/bad news/euphoria/ecstasy day for HG. The good news is that HG (cross fingers and knock wood) seems to be at the end of his pneumonia bout. The bad news is that a typical old age pain had to be relieved by a very painful medical procedure. Luckily. HG has a group of doctors HG can rely upon for professionalism and sympathetic care. Nevertheless, HG had much trepidation. Procedure went swiftly and efficiently. Forty days of pain ended. Euphoria ensued. HG had always thought about old age as a serene time, a mellow conclusion. HG was wrong. One has to be brave and optimistic to endure all of the physical things that go wrong as one ages. HG is very fortunate to have only minor league ailments (and having a loving supportive family makes a very big difference). Euphoria segued into ecstasy as the day proceeded. BSK prepared BSK’s very special New Mexico Green Chile Stew. HG is in awe of BSK. As an artist (potter/painter), BSK seems to get into the very heart and essence of a region. BSK’s color field acrylics of Fire Island projected the sky, sand, foliage and sea of that magical place. BSK has done the same thing for Prince Edward Island. Here in New Mexico, BSK has been hand forming and firing crosses that evoke, in spectacular fashion, the passionate religiosity and the vernacular design forms of the state’s historic Hispanic population. BSK has captured (much to HG’s benefit) the lusty, fiery, flavorful cuisine of New Mexico in her Green Chile Stew. While it’s not for the timid, every ingredient sings. An evening of ecstasy. Big bowl of the stew topped with chopped sweet onion, pico de gallo and a dash of Mexican creme. Accompanied by beer (Non-alcoholic, alas. The alcohol ban ends in a few days). While HG reveled in the stew, HG watched the Alabama-Clemson national football championship game. Best college football game HG ever watched. Came away with the conclusion that Nick Saban of Alabama is a very smart and very lucky coach. Smarts, heart and luck. Tough combo to beat.


Ah Guteh Nashumeh

January 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Tough day for HG. Pneumonia is back. Big time. (“Mother of God. Is this the end of Rico?” — words from Edward G. Røbinson in the 1930’s gangster film,”Little Caesar.”) Fear not. HG will hang around. And, the reason HG will hang around is because he is married to the best woman in the world. Beautiful. Chic. Sexy. HG and BSK have been married for 52 years. HG is not an easy companion. HG believes BSK deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor with an Oak Leaf Cluster for putting up with HG for more than a half century. Her golden virtues have not tarnished. BSK is a wonderful mother and grandmother, loving, helpful. BSK is much loved and BSK deserves all their love…and more. BSK is an efficient household manager. As the old country song puts it: “If my woman can’t do it, it can’t be done.” Splendid cook, decorator. Excellent judge of wine (HG confesses.BSK is HGs’ favorite sommelier). A brilliant artist, BSK’s hand formed pots are in demand. Sold a beautiful cross yesterday to artistically knowing collectors. BSK shines when the going gets tough. During HG’s pneumonia, BSK has supplied HG with antibiotics, other drugs, water, tea and biscuits, Kleenex. BSK has created a comfort zone before HG/BSK’s bedroom Kiva fireplace. Computer. Phone. Pad. Pens. HG’s Mom, Chaika (Ida) Kopkind was parsimonious with praise for women. Not impressed with fine manners or elegant graces. She was down to earth. Her highest praise for a woman was to call her ah guteh nashumeh – “a good soul”. This has nothing to do with anything superficial. It has to with deep down goodness, HG must confess. HG’s Mom was not “ah guteh nashumeh.” Her life was just too tough. Chaika Kopkind died without really knowing BSK. If she lived longer, HG believes, she would have acknowledged BSK as an authentic “guteh nashumeh.”


Beautiful Broccoli

January 4th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

There’s a famous New Yorker Magazine cartoon of the 1930’s. Mother and young daughter seated at dining table. Mother: “It’s broccoli, dear.” Daughter: “I says it’s spinach. And, I say the hell with it.” The senior President Bush also expressed disdain for broccoli. Why? If treated respectfully, it is a queenly vegetable (nutritious, too). Broccoli (also Brussels sprouts) can be a horror when cooked into mush in the old fashioned English style. Little SJ, a fledgling gourmand, once complained that his friend’s Mom served “mushy broccoli.” Among BSK’s manifold talents is the ability to do justice to broccoli. BSK makes the ultimate penne with broccoli sauce. Rivals the penne with broccoli once served at the long closed (sigh!) Delsomma Restaurant in New York’s theater district. BSK always manages to find very fresh organic heads of broccoli. Stir fries the florets with sesame oil, garlic and ginger as part of a Chinese meal; with garlic and olive oil for Italian eating; steamed to accompany fish. Roasts broccoli in the oven French bistro style. All splendid. Purees broccoli with a variety of greens and herbs to make a fabulous “green” soup. Good hot or cold. HG often tops a bowl with some Greek yogurt dusted with a bit of cayenne. The dash of fiery spice makes it sing.


Better Than Burgers

December 26th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Kefte. Kefta. Kofta. Keftedes. Called by many names in the Middle East, Greece and the Maghreb, these are fat, cigar shaped rectangles of ground lamb. They are a favorite street food in many cities, grilled over charcoal and permeating the air with savory fumes. The ground lamb is usually mixed with chopped or grated onion, garlic, mint and a variety of spices. Sometimes a beaten egg is added to bind the mixture (A Greek version adds white bread moistened with milk). BSK and Lesley R. toss in some pignolia nuts for added crunch. The cooking technique is browning the Kefte stove top and finishing in the oven.The result is a nice balance between crisp exterior and lush, juicy, slightly pink interior. Better than burgers. BSK often serves Kefte with Israeli couscous and roasted Japanese eggplant. HG makes a sauce of Greek yogurt and sour cream, much grated garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, zaatar, Aleppo pepper, sumac and smoked Spanish paprika. Rather exuberant. Warm pita with olive oil and zaatar is a nice accompaniment. Lesley R. made a lovely platter of Kefte last night with couscous and eggplant. She added tahini to the the yogurt sauce. Interesting variation. The Eastern European/Jewish version of Kefte is Carnezlach. Beef, not lamb. Heavy on garlic and onion. A staple in the long gone “Romanian broilings” restaurants of New York’s once Jewish working class neighborhood of the Lower East Side. (You can still eat them at schmaltz heaven Sammy’s Romanian on Chrystie Street). Last night’s meal ended with a wonderful surprise. Young college student Raphie, a friend and neighbor, celebrated Gorgeous Granddaughter Sofia’s Christmas homecoming by baking a key lime pie. Served with scoops of Raphie’s lush fresh whipped cream, it was the best dessert HG has had in years. Greedy HG had to be wrestled away from the table.


The Perfect Meal? (Redux)

November 10th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Monday was Nov. 9, 2015. It was HG’s birthday. 86. That’s right. 86. Never believed it would be possible to reach such an august age. However, Hungry Gerald is also Greedy Gerald. HG wants more. And, who can blame the old guy? HG has the best wife, children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. HG lives in two of the best places on earth–New Mexico and Prince Edward Island. And, of course, Toby, The Wonder Dog, is an endearing companion. Recently, HG posted a modest essay: THE PERFECT MEAL? (Check it out). Well, ever thoughtful BSK has decided to honor the birthday lad by replicating the meal tonight, A very big rib steak, Gorgonzola salad plus two other elements: orzo with onions and oyster mushrooms plus French brie and a ripe, lush comice pear. Sommellier BSK sourced two splendid red wines for dinner: The Velvet Devil Merlot and Kiona Vineyards Mountain Lemburger. Both from Washington State, HG’s favorite wine growing region. HG is not only Hungry Gerald aka Greedy Gerald. HG is Lucky Gerald.


Golden Oldy

November 4th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

There are some tasty, old fashioned dishes that are always a pleasure to revisit. Meat loaf, for example. There are scores of recipes but HG thinks BSK’s version is the best. The late Nora Ephron, a witty writer and a stylish hostess, was famed in her theatrical-cinema-literary circle for a splendid meat loaf. HG never tasted it but has enjoyed BSK’s many times. Here’s how BSK does it: Mixes chopped beef, pork and veal (lamb if veal not available) with eggs, Panko crumbs, parsley, basil, shallots, Aleppo pepper and salt. And, since HG/BSK reside in New Mexico, world center of great roasted green chiles, BSK adds some of these to the mix for a El Norte blast of flavor. When formed into a loaf, the mix is girdled with slices of thick bacon and popped in the oven for 90 minutes. The meat loaf emerges brown and juicy nestled in a pool of savory juices. BSK serves it with mushroom sauce and quinoa. HG is fond of spicy condiments so devours the meat loaf with nibbles of chipotle peppers and splashes of Frank’s Hot Ketchup. Meat loaf leftovers are fine reheated for dinner the next night and make splendid sandwiches. HG’s favorite: Sliced meat loaf on pumpernickel bread with raw onion, coarse salt and Heinz Ketchup. Only good restaurant meat loaf HG ever tasted was at the Trinity Grille in downtown Denver. This was a veal meat loaf swimming in a dark brown onion gravy. Creamy mashed potatoes was the appropriate companion.


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