Shirley Temple (R.I.P.): HG’s First Love

February 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, little HG loved Shirley Temple (who just died). HG was not alone. In those dreary days of the Great Depression, everyone loved that spunky, adorable, talented little girl. Gloom disappeared when she appeared. Every morning little HG had his milk (or cocoa) in a cobalt blue Shirley Temple pitcher/cup. They are still available on e-bay for about $45. Hazel Atlas Glass Company and U.S. Glass company manufactured millions of them. They were a giveaway with a box of Wheaties or Bisquick. (The following may annoy HG’s Gifted Daughter Lesley R., a beautiful woman with a great heart and a great arsenal of talents and skills). The closest approximation HG/BSK ever found to Shirley Temple was daughter Lesley in her early years.. The endearing little lady with a head of tousled curls was precocious and talented. A true lookalike. And, very spunky.


Beautiful Bivalves

December 30th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

HG/BSK are at the warm and welcoming Rhode Island home of Lesley and Massimo R., their daughter and son-in-law, for the family holiday festivities. And, the feasting continues. Arriving from a day at the utterly delightful New Bedford Whaling Museum, HG/BSK were greeted with glasses of pinot grigio and a platter of smoked scallops and room temperature shelled mussels (with appropriate sauces, of course). This was followed by bowls of steaming linguini with white clam sauce enriched with bottarga (dried and pressed mullet roe). Wow!! When HG is in the glorious little Ocean State, HG wolfs down many a clam–raw on the half shell; stuffed with savory garlic infused bread crumbs and topped with bacon (clams casino); in clear and briny clam chowder (no cream) and, of course, enriching al dente linguini. HG is convinced that Rhode Island clams (sorry, Long Island) are unsurpassed.


Day After Christmas Feasting

December 29th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

There are idiosyncratic dining customs in the HG/BSK family. Christmas eve dinner, of course, is a Feast of the Seven Fishes (done Eastern Europe/Jewish style). On Christmas Day, after a mad, 5-hour present opening session (it is a generous family), cooking doesn’t seem like a good idea so it is a time for enjoying the smoked fish wonders left over from the Christmas Eve feast. Thus, the big time dinner takes place on the night after Christmas. And, at this event Gifted Daughter Lesley R. strutted her stuff. Read and be envious: LR made a brandade that was the ultimate. Creamy. Garlicky (but not too). Popped in the oven to give it a crisp brown crust. Served with toasted bread and (an HG innovation) endive spears. Next course was papardelle (from The Italian Corner in East Providence) in a sauce of exquisitely sautéd mushrooms (a mixture of varieties – some fresh, some dried). Brilliant LR sautés them for various amounts of time to insure their moisture disappears and their flavor remains). A reasonable family might call it quits after the pasta. Not the HG/BSK Clean Plate Warriors. LR made exquisite veal rollatini (thin scallopine rolled around prosciutto, gruyere and sage). Browned and then finished in the oven. Accompanied by ultra lush braised fennel. Dessert was flan and Italian nougat. Sheer happiness.


Birthday Dinner

August 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Big birthday dinner for Brilliant Daughter Lesley R. Up from New York, and leaving behind their trio of New York restaurants (Cookshop, 100 Acres, Five Points), are Restaurateur/Daughter Victoria and husband/chef Marc Meyer. Armed with Prince Edward Island’s auspicious sea bounty, Marc made the ultimate brandade for the birthday dinner — screamingly fresh haddock poached in milk and whirled in the blender with olive oil, garlic, boiled potatoes and a bit of sweet cream. Then popped under the broiler to develop a brown crust. Magic. Better than classic salt cod brandade in Paris or creamy mantecato in Venice. Marc has the touch. There was also lots of lobster and steamed soft shell clams. Melted butter. Lemon juice. Tabasco. A jolly family time as all wished BLR scores of happy returns.

The Gang’s All Here

July 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Family R. has arrived — Profesore/Dottore Massimo, Brilliant Lesley, Italian-movie-star-look- alike Sofia. Lots of swimming on a hot, sunny day. And, of course, family feasting. HG and Massimo shucked two dozen oysters. A bowl of EM’s freshly pickled young daikon radishes. Smoked salmon with capers and onions. Exquisite Maiko’s mackerel sashimi. Then a big roast free range chicken. Smashed PEI potatoes enriched with olive oil, chicken broth and scallions. Fresh green beans. Goat brie and ciabatta with red wine to finish. Early bedtime for sun kissed folk.

Philosophical Musing By HG.

August 11th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Misanthropy is defined as a generalized dislike, distrust, disgust, contempt or hatred of the human species. Contemplating the Tea Party crazies, Syria, Somalia and the assorted knaves, incompetents and ideologues running the world these days, HG would have to be defined as a misanthrope.

HG’s misanthropic tendencies were heightened by a recent reading of A.J.P. Taylor’s “The First World War–An Illustrated History.”. Misguided fools — known as Generals — fed millions of men into a military meat grinder of death. Senseless, avoidable slaughter. Assailed by all these gloomy thoughts, HG mused: Life is short, brutish and the end is terrible.

Sooo, in the meantime, let’s have a good meal. Last night it was daughter LR.’s sublime fishcakes accompanied by local Prince Edward Island asparagus and tiny, new potatoes. Plus Theresa’s tomato chow-chow. The cloud of gloom was vaporized.

Salt Cod. Versatile. Delicious.

July 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is a big fan of salt cod. It needs a good soaking in cold water (with frequent changes of the water). Then a gentle poaching or baking or whatever suits your fancy.

HG is a particular fan of the rich, luxury of a brandade (salt cod that has been pureed with some boiled potato, a lot of garlic, sweet cream and olive oil). Served with garlic rubbed toast (HG believes in keeping the vampires away) and chilled white wine it is a lush treat. You can get very good brandade at Balthazar, Five Points and Barbuto in downtown New York. The ultimate is at Rech, the classy brasserie in Paris.

Salt cod is good done in Mediterranean style — baked with thinly sliced onions, potatoes, garlic, olive oil and slivers of green olives. Try it cold as a simple Italian salad with parsley, garlic and olive oil. Or mix it with white beans. Salt cod makes great fish cakes.

When young, HG’s children, LR and SJ hated salt cod so much they stole a wooden box of the stuff from the pantry and buried it in the back yard. The years have made them change their minds.

Brooklyn Takes Culinary Center Stage

June 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It was a great party and Riverside, R.I. rocked. More than 60 people gathered to celebrate the graduation of granddaughters, Ms. A. and Ms. S.. There was lots of tangy sangria to drink and daughter LR provided guacamole, Caprese salad; the very best fusili salad; cumin and garlic flavored grilled chicken; chicken satay and other good things.

But, the stars with oak leaf cluster had to go to the Brooklyn Bombshells, SJ and Exquisite Maiko. Big Boss of Brooklyn Bar-Bee-Q SJ brought along his smoker and logs of white oak. There were ribs and pulled pork. HG is at a loss (almost) for words. SJ’s ribs had a kinship to the dry rubbed Memphis ribs served at Corky’s and other Tennessee establishments. But, better. Much better. SJ ribs had heat, spice, juice, tenderness. Incomparable. Big ribs. HG grabbed four before the crowd discovered the treat. The pulled pork? Juicy. Smoky. Just lush piggy that needed just a touch of SJ’s spicy sauce and LR’s cole slaw.

Maiko provided shrimp summer rolls A gossamer rice paper wrapper enclosed shrimp, ribbons of egg, slivers of carrot and Soba noodles. Thoughtful Maiko also provided a vegetarian version for the shrimp intolerant. She also made a rice noodle salad, Vegetables sliced into needle-like proportions. Shrimp. Maiko’s unique dressing.

A saintly guest provided HG’s favorite dessert: English Trifle. Fresh fruit, sponge cake and lots of whipped cream. The party brought graduation week to a lovely close. But, not quite.

The next night was Senior Prom for Ms. A. and photos revealed that she and escort looked like movie stars.

There’s a Yiddish word–“naches”. Naches is the pleasure one derives from the accomplishments of one’s children. Last week, HG and BSK bathed in a warm pool of naches.

Ocean State Lunch

June 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A respite for Gifted Daughter LR and Profesore/Dottore MR. These busy professionals never have time for restaurant lunches. HG (resident in landlocked Santa Fe) often dreams about freshly shucked oysters and clams freshly dug from the seashore. The solution: Monday lunch at Hemenway’s, a bright, lively restaurant overlooking the river in downtown Providence. A few dozen oysters (from the shores of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Long island and Rhode Island). A few dozen little neck clams from Rhode Island (known as Quahogs in New England). All sparkling with freshness and full of briny flavors. Then a lobster salad with big chunks of juicy Maine lobster. A platter of fried squid with hot peppers (a Rhode Island specialty).

With sun pouring through big windows and a reasonable amount of Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc being poured, this was memorable New England dining.

Famiglia Food. Pt. 2

June 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night, Gifted Daughter LR made an unusual pesto: arugula, walnuts, garlic, chives and olive oil. Mixed it with spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, parsley and quick-sauteed asparagus. Nice summery flavors.

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