Holiday Feasting (Day Seven)

December 31st, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Christmas.Day began with warmed Panettone, marmalade and coffee. Rain ceased. Sun appeared. Lovely meandering walk around the Riverside, RI, shore following the excitement of present opening. Imaginative gifts. Mexican good luck amulets from Gifted Daughter Lesley R. A large collection of mini photo cards (created by Exquisite Maiko) depicting the family and little ones. SJ gave HG Geechie Boy grits and some other culinary wonders including a bottle of handcrafted rye whiskey. Gorgeous Granddaughter Sofia displayed one of her distinctive talents by fashioning a book cover for HG which satirized hilariously one of HG’s traditional and well-worn Christmas jokes. The traditional gifts of books, carefully curated, from Lesley and Massimo R: A winter’s worth of stimulating reading. A beautiful sweater and a colorful watch from BSK. Colorful socks from Lesley R. (HG receives them with joy every Christmas). This just skims the surface. Lots of generosity, originality. And, love. Dinner was a replay of the Seven Fishes with a happy addition. SJ, The Latkes King, made a big batch of crisp potato pancakes (a bow to our collective Jewish heritage). HG covered five raw Dutch herring filets with chopped onion. Gave them a squeeze of lemon and a shower of ground pepper. Flanked them with SJ’s latkes and sour cream. Drank cold half-and-half. Also managed to knock off some smoked yellowfin tuna gilded with very good, fruity olive oil. Happy jingles, one and all.


The Great Improvers

July 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

At the urging (very vigorous urging) of BSK, obedient HG has given up vodka as a pre-dinner cocktail. A sobering move. Instead, creative HG fills a wine glass with ice. In goes some cheap, indifferent white wine plus some Campari and generous squeezes of lime. A refreshing, lightly alcoholic drink. Perfect for summer. While sipping, HG thought how Campari is one of the Great Improvers — it enlivens sparkling water, tonic water and, when living dangerously, it can make even the most pedestrian vodka sing; an even better pairing is vodka, Campari, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and lots of ice. Strained into a chilled martini glass — delicious. Other members of the Great Improvers Club are Sriracha, Parmesan cheese and sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Few things are not made better by a judicious squirt of tongue tingling sriracha. It first made its appearance on the tables of Vietnamese restaurants in the United States. Now,it can be found in every supermarket and in every professional kichen — a Sriracha flavored Dorito chip cannot be far behind. Parmesan is the savior of indifferent Italian cooking (and salad making). Sour cream and/or thick Greek yogurt rescues many Jewish/Russian/Eastern European dishes. Borscht, schav (chilled sorrel soup) and pelmeny (Siberian ravioli) should always be served with abundant dollops of sour cream. Karnezelach (beef-onion-garlic-parsley burgers formed into fat cigar shapes and pan broiled) are attractive with Greek yogurt enhanced by garlic, olive oil and some sliced radish. Latkes (potato pancakes) become poetic with good sour cream. As for blintzes, pierogi, etc. All are simply excuses to eat lots of sour cream.


Chimichanga Perfection

December 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There are some dishes that are only good at home. Potato latkes in a restaurant are terrible. Too greasy. Not crisp. And, if crisp, the interior is mushy — more like a knish than a proper latke. Balance is never achieved. HG has often sighed for the wonders achieved by HG’s Mom. Fortunately, SJ has inherited his late grandmother’s latke skills. His are flavorful delights and HG looks forward to ingesting a dozen or so during the upcoming holiday feast. Restaurant risotto doesn’t work. If it’s reheated it gets gummy. Cooking to order isn’t cost effective. The result is an inferior product, totally unlike the creamy, lush nuttiness that HG creates by constant stirring and laser-like attention. HG has had good omelettes (in Paris) but has only had a great omelette when BSK has wielded her magic skillet.

The opposite of better-at-home food is the lovely Mexican treat: the Chimichanga — or deep fried, crisp burrito. The Chimichanga is impossible to make at home as its preparation requires the wizardry of a professional kitchen and a light touch on the deep fryer. In unskilled hands, it becomes a greasy, tasteless mess. But, when a Chimichanga is good…oh yes! Well, HG is happy to report that he has found the perfect Chimichanga. El Parasol (the wonderful casual restaurant in Pojoaque, NM, often lauded by HG) provided the treat. A perfect filling of ground beef, green chiles and cheese and a crisp exterior that shattered into phyllo-like shards when pierced by a fork. The Chimichanga was served with a scoop of guacamole resting on a mound of shredded lettuce plus a few spoonfuls of sour cream. The dish was augmented by ramekins of green and red salsa. Yes, it is an infantile word but it expresses the taste: YUM!!

Homage To Chanukah

December 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It is common knowledge that the best thing about Chanukah is the consumption of many potato latkes. For the last morning of the Festival of Lights, SJ made that point con brio. SJ’s latkes had lacy, crisp edges. Juicy interiors. Hit with a touch of sour cream and dotted with Red Salmon Caviar and the remainder of Russ & Daughters’ smoked salmon and sable — the result was pure Heaven. HG’s favorite late breakfast. The good times kept rolling.

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