Frozen Can Be Fine

September 13th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG believes it is food snobbism to decry all frozen food. Lots of very good chefs agree with HG that frozen peas are far superior to the fresh peas available in supermarkets (and that includes Whole Foods). HG likes to toss a package into a pot of simmering ravioli or tortellini. (WF carries excellent frozen varieties). Add some grated parmesan and some grinds of black pepper (can also beat an egg into it) and you’ve got true comfort food for a chilly evening. Frozen peas are also good in a risotto or mixed with fettucini, butter, parmesan and prosciutto. WF’s frozen okra are splendid in Bhindi Masala, the lush Indian okra stew. Frozen spinach makes a nice bed for BSK’s pan steamed sole fillets with fried garlic chips. HG always has a bag of WF’s frozen shrimp in the freezer. HG likes the raw, cleaned, shell on variety. They defrost quickly under cold running water. HG dries them and does a quick stir fry in olive oil, sliced garlic and smoked Spanish paprika. Simple and absolutely delicious. They are a staple at Madrid bars. Customers sip sherry, eat the shrimp and spit the shells on the floor. And, that’s why knowing Spanish women don’t wear open toe shoes when bar hopping.


Controversial Okra

October 15th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Okra. This rather strange vegetable (It traveled to America with the earliest slave ships), provokes strong emotions. Some love it. Some hate it. Count HG among the lovers of this rather slimy treat. In HG’s college days (at uptown CCNY), HG often supped at plain spoken Harlem eateries that served ribs, pork chops and fried catfish. They were not focused on “health” food. Three vegetables were offered: Onions (fried); Collard Greens (cooked with ham hocks); Okra (breaded and fried in sizzling lard). HG often ate pork chops smothered in caramelized onions and accompanied by delicious fried okra. The okra were doused with vinegar steeped with fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers. (Young HG’s appetite was honed by football practice at Lewisohn Stadium so HG filled out the meal with a big bowl of macaroni and cheese). HG’s love affair with okra continues. Texas pickled okra is great condiment. Okra is essential in a good gumbo. (SJ’s chicken gumbo, reigning king of all gumbos, contains mucho okra). HG is looking forwards to a favorite meal tonight. Fried pork chops dusted with Goya Adobo. Goya black beans topped with chopped sweet onions and a dab of sour cream. Sauteed peppers. And,of course, pan fried okra and onions (no breading) enhanced with plenty of Slap Yo Momma Louisiana Cajun spice. Anchor Steam Beer mixed with Guinness Stout will be the beverage.

fresh okra on white background , close up

The Peerless Vegetables of Exquisite Maiko

August 24th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Periodically, Exquisite Maiko delights the HG/BSK famille with spectacular tempura. Cod, sole, scallops, haddock and shrimp are given the EM treatment which renders them crisp, light as a gentle breeze and full of flavor without even the slightest hint of grease. These are served with room temperature soba in a broth topped with scallions, slivers of nori and a bit of wasabi. Last night, EM introduced some delightful innovations with the help of PEI’s bountiful summer harvest. Beautiful just-picked eggplant was done two ways: Braised in a sweet and fragrant sauce and as crisp, tempura slices. In addition, EM found some fresh okra and created a dish that would convert even the most dedicated okra hater. Rather than slimey, EM’s okra was firm, room temperature and sauced with a number of subtle and elusive ingredients (EM has her secrets). EM also prepared oyster mushroom tempura and was ready to do even more vegetables–asparagus, onions and zucchini. But, having had copious amounts of the seafood tempura, a halt was requested. EM received applause for her matchless Japanese cuisine.



July 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The government liquor store in nearby Morell, Prince Edward Island, has moved (there are some private wine merchants in Canada, but most spirits-wine-beer stores are government operations). Sign is still up but the store is vacant. HG/BSK made inquiries from some locals. Informed that the liquor store had moved to the gredge. HG/BSK were puzzled. What is a gredge? Turns out a “gredge” is a gas station or garage. The liquor store now occupies a corner of a Needs (a local convenience store chain) which is attached to a gas station (aka “gredge.”) Mystery solved. Other PEI mysteries abound: Anchovies are near impossible to locate in PEI groceries. After a many fruitless inquiries, HG finally located some dusty tins of anchovies, on ice, in the fresh fish department. Clam broth (or clam juice) cannot be found anywhere. Seems strange on an island famed for its bivalves. And okra, a fairly regular vegetable in US markets, occupies a place of complete ignorance in PEI. No one know what it is or where to get it and when SJ has trolled the markets looking for it (to make his famed gumbo), he has met a rather threatened silence, as if “okra” was a code word for illicit drugs. Fortunately, the main PEI mystery — which HG is happy if it remains unsolved– is how this wonderful, peaceful, eminently liveable island province has remained under-the-radar for so long.


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