April 1, 2006

Dinner in Amy's honor

tea_eggs2-1.jpgSpring is in the air. I know it mainly by the light and the gently rising temperature. I've been working like mad, just got Mayer's book manuscript into the publisher, now developing the exhibition of his work, teaching, writing, and organizing events, everything coming at once as the semester races to a close. So, thinking about food at a time like this is pure bliss, a little respite and reward. Amy talks on Friday and we'll have an informal dinner in her honor that evening.

Here is what I am planning:

Will figure out dessert when I shopping with my little red cart in Chinatown. Max was not here, so I skipped dessert. He would never have allowed that.

Posted by BKG at 4:02 PM

February 16, 2006

Mayer is here

Dinner tonight in honor of Mayer with Jerry and Diane, Jonathan and Elissa. We're doing the last round of revisions on the manuscript for a March submission deadline. We went to see Brokeback Mountain last night at Mayer's suggestion. I wanted us to see Fateless, but it was on too late. We loved Brokeback Mountain.

For dinner tonight, I have:

* tofu "shtrudel" I bought in Chinatown, Buddhist vegetarian style (bean curd sheets wrapped around mushrooms, clouds ears, etc.),
* Persian spinach with black eye peas,
* roasted sweet potatoes,
* roasted white roots (turnips, celery root, parsnip),
* Halabi stuffed onions (learned how from Avinadav),
* Persian rice (a pilaf with lime and green beans),
* watercress and amaranth salad, with daikon shreds and my own sprouted mung beans.

Will figure out dessert later. Dessert is Max's top priority. It is the only thing he asks about the menu.

Posted by BKG at 7:44 AM

September 4, 2005

Late summer dinner

husktomatoes_s.jpgLast night, Labor Day weekend, we had a lovely dinner here to celebrate the arrival of Joelle, Marshall, and Sarah to NYC for the year, and our dear friends from Australia (Paul and Peter) and New Zealand (Ian). We wanted everyone to meet Brigitte and Jeffrey and Stuart. We were the beneficiaries of flowers, wine, Jewish cookbooks, and Argentinian honey, straight from the source.

Since we just got back from Toronto--what with KlezKanada, working with Mayer, and a day after getting home flying right back to Toronto for a funeral--I've been away from my desk and email for almost two weeks, so rushed off to the laptop repair shop, Man and Machine, to pick up my computer and got to the Greenmarket late in the day with my great big shopping cart. The market was in full swing, with the last of the corn and peaches, and start of the roots. Inspired by Avinadav and defaulting to some of my own personal favorites, here is what we had:

Posted by BKG at 6:35 PM

August 31, 2005

Avinadav cooks in Toronto

DSCN0316_s.jpgWe planned months ahead for the great feast and great it was. Avinadav shopped downtown for goat yogurt, the best tahina he could find, tomatoes, and cactus fruit. We met him at the fishmonger he considers best and Elaine took us to Longo's for a grand suburban produce experience. Once home, everyone pitched in as we wanted to learn how to make some of these wonderful dishes. Here is the menu and here is what Avinadav actually made, the dinner, including a few extras not on the menu!

Posted by BKG at 11:35 PM

August 11, 2005

Alexandra and Jewls

shisolarge_small.jpg Dog days of summer, so named for the sultry weather this time of year, when Sirius, the “dog star,” is in sync with the sun and thought by the ancients to make the sun even hotter. Pilates at 8:00 am yesterday and off to the Greenmarket so Diana and I could chat along the way. Alexandra and Jewls came by at 4:30, with three perfect Italian cheeses, a baguette, Italian honey, and crisp little fennel rings--and Alexandra's wonderful catalogue for the exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture. After a session on electronic research techniques for Alexandra's new book project, a cultural history of modern Japan--Jewls is her able assistant, working from Las Vegas, of all places--we feasted on the bounty of the summer harvest. We finished the meal with Turkish delight--I love all things rubbery--and rooibus tea, my personal favorite.

Posted by BKG at 7:43 AM

July 27, 2005


Avinadav will cook with us August 29 in Toronto. He has asked us to respond to a menu he created--as Dina says, "He wants to make all of it."--and all of it looks wonderful. I love the goat yogurt variations running all the way through the menu.

Starters מנה ראשונה
סלק בתנור ממולא בטרטר דג על מצע סלט פול עם יוגורט עזים, צנון, שמן זית ולימונים מומלחים
Baked beet stuffed with fish tartar, served on fava salad with goat yogurt, radish, olive oil and salted lemons.

בצל ממולא על ירקות שורש
Stuffed onions served on white roots

ליום חם: מרק גספצו'
For hot day: gazpacho soup
ליום קריר: קפוצ'ינו של קרם פלפלים צלויים (מוגש בכוסות קפה)
For chilly day: Grilled pepper cream cappuccino (served in coffee cups)

Main Courseמנה עיקרית
פילה דג ים צלוי על חציל קטן צלוי עם טחינה ויוגורט
Grilled sea fish fillet served on grilled baby eggplant with tehina and goat yogurt

Dessert קינוח
סורבה יוגורט עזים בשמן זית על מרק תות.
Goat yogurt sorbet with olive oil, served with strawberry soup.

Bread לחם: פוקצ'ה
Home made focaccia

There are also the menus he created--the one we chose from and the one he actually made--from the dinner in May.

Posted by BKG at 7:23 AM

May 12, 2005

Avinadav's Mediterranean Feast

DSCN9874.jpgIntense day dedicated to colloquium on Mediations of Anne Frank, followed by a festive meal prepared by Avinadav. Avinadav is 15th generation Israeli on his mother's side (Sephardic Jews from the Balkans). His father's family came from Halab (Aleppo, Syria) to Palestine in the 1930s. He remembers his grandmother cooking for the Sabbath. The kitchen was filled with little primus stoves and on top of each one was a pan of a different stuffed vegetable to feed the family and friends that came to visit throughout the day. She stuffed everything, even carrots. She made her own pomegranate molasses. It was so precious that Avinadav's father saved a bottle of it for 30 years, long after she had passed away.

I stipulated the conditions: vegetarian, actually vegan (no dairy products), and, except for pita, no wheat. Avinadav emailed menu possibilities for the meal. Then we met and finalized the lineup over dinner and worked out a shopping list. Avinadav shopped along Atlantic Avenue and on the Upper West Side. I shopped in Chinatown. The fresh herbs included parsley, coriander, mint, oregano, and rosemary. Mo assisted Avinadav all day and Max and Dina pitched in too.


This is the first time that someone has cooked for me. I did so want to cook myself, but that was impossible. I ruled out a restaurant and considered ordering in, but could not bear the thought of aluminum trays and cans of sterno. Then, I had a stroke of good luck! I was talking with Dina, a visiting scholar, and casually asked how she was doing and how her husband was doing. "He now knows more about Chinatown now than anyone," she said. Inquiring further, I discovered that he is an artist and chef! With the dinner less than a week away and me still undecided, with a limited budget, but wanting the celebration to be beautiful, I asked if he might be willing to cook. Yes, indeed. The results were wonderful! Lara even blogged the meal! The only tragedy in all of this is that I did not get to cook with Avinadav and to learn from him.

Posted by BKG at 2:26 AM

April 1, 2005

The Banquet: PSi 2005

DSCN9251_t.jpg Richard Gough and Alicia Rios collaborated on the PSi banquet, which was held in the old Federal Reserve building in downtown Providence. Now a venue for wedding and bar mitzah receptions, it was choesn for the opening event of "Becoming Uncomfortable," the 11th PSi conference. The theme of money was carried through in all the foil, the Banana Republic appetizer table, the gratis martini in a test tube, with olive and paper umbrella, the fake million dollar notes, and a charming centerpiece on each table--a safety deposit box filled with a commodity of some kind (sugar, coffee, coconut, etc.) I saved as much of what was on the table as I could. I wanted a safety deposite box, but the boss said no.

Posted by BKG at 10:44 PM

March 17, 2005

Dinner last night

fava.jpgShawna was with us and what could be better than a vegetarian cookfest with Joelle and Marshall leading the way and Sarah photographing everything. We made:

Posted by BKG at 10:47 AM

March 8, 2005

Dinner for Joelle, Marshall, and Sarah

Years ago Joelle was here and we cooked up a storm for a reception in her honor. She is a wonderful cook, drawing on her family's North African (Algerian) kitchen. I suggested we cook this time too.


"A member of the thistle family. When these thick, silvery stalks are cooked, their flavor is a cross between artichoke, celery and salsify. A popular Italian vegetable. Resembles a bunch of wide, flat celery." It has a big beautiful thistle flower and is related to the artichoke.

Here is her email response to that suggestion:

"Just a little memorabilium (I'm not sure this is the correct English term): Marshall and I kept a vivid memory of that winter day of 1991 which we spent at your apartment, cooking for a dinner party. We made cumin carrots, and other dishes I now forget. Do you remember that lovely time? [Of course I do! We made cardoons and also fresh fava beans in the shell, sliced finely, and if memory serves me also fennel and possibly celery root.]

BitterMelon_small.jpgAs for your culinary plans: Marshall is an expert in both pickled lemons and bitter melon. He keeps Madame Mergui's recipe for pickled lemons very jealously, and will love to share it with you. Madame Mergui is the mother of a long-term friend of mine, Fanny, who lives in Casablanca, and whom we visited a few times in the past ten years. On one of our visits, Marshall begged Madame Mergui to give him the recipe for pickled lemons. We had a controversy about whether or not adding olive oil over the lemons in the jar. I think it is a delicious culinary trick, because you can then use the oil to cook some dishes such as baked fish or celery root/fennel ragout. But Marshall thinks that putting oil over the lemons is not "authentic". So goes conjugal peace.... he will not let me interfere in your fixing pickled lemons....

Sarah is also interested in cooking, although she does little of it, but she and I have been watching some of the Food Channel programs, which I find quite relaxing and interesting, given the depressing stuff one can see on the "news" channels. Our favorite (and most outstanding) chef on FC is a young man by the name of Tyler Florence. Next would be Alton Brown, quite a character of his own."

Posted by BKG at 2:42 PM

March 5, 2005

Shelley's dinner

Great session today and dinner a success.

* Pureed edamame, with lemon juice and shredded zest, and served with black soybeans, simmered with tamari till dry, and garnished with tufts of flowering chives and enoki mushrooms.
* Live salad was especially good: barely sprouted mung beans, tiny intense grape tomatoes quartered, a whole cucumber seeds and all, but peeled, and diced, daikon peeled and diced (all dicing is small), fresh mint, lime, salt, and fresh green chili or black pepper.

Everything else worked out fine: Yukon gold potatoes, cauliflower, roasted red onions with cranberries, carrot poriyal (forgot to add the shredded coconut), and the greens, which were divine--finely julienned collards, diced poached bosch pears, and sauce of poaching liquid reduced to a syrup, with pomengrantes molasses and vinegar. The sticky rice and medjool dates were spectacular.

Posted by BKG at 12:39 AM

February 27, 2005

Lunch for the team

Kichri in the rice cooker--chana dal, brown rice, and spices (garam masala, turmeric, cumin, bay leaf). Will serve it with chopped onion, fresh coriander, lemon, and lime pickle. Plus collard greens and salad. For the rest of the week I have sprouted black eye peas, which I will prepare with fried garlic.

Posted by BKG at 8:36 PM

February 18, 2005

Lewis and Patsy

Dinner tonight was to be here, so I shopped in Chinatown and picked up glass jars at DiPalo--they saved them for me. Haven't there for years, but have fond memories of the father making fresh mozzarella each morning. The banter is still great. What I had in mind was:

* Roasted beets and carrots with thinly sliced beet greens
* Spinach with besan dumplings
* Collards
* Salad (watercress and lettuce)
* Black rice
* Eggplant adobo
* Roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes
* bitter melon

I'll cook this up for the week as we ended up going to Funky Broome instead.

Posted by BKG at 12:29 PM

January 16, 2005

Rangi's winter dinner

Rangi and family arrive January 10 and we'll make a dinner in their honor. Here is what I have in mind:
* To drink: New Zealand wines, mulled cider, and seltzer
* To nibble: Edamame and Malaysian peanuts (they are tiny, hard, tasty)
* Collard, kale, and chard with quinces: I can't find quinces. In desperation I tried Dean and Deluca, but no luck. (While I was there I checked the chestnuts for the cabbage dish. They were mouldy and at top price, mind you. The man in charge of produce shrugged my observation off with "Well, some of them are mouldy."). So, change of plan. Bosch pears instead of quinces. They are nice and firm and will do the trick. I will adapt Robert Wemischner's recipe for Sweet and sour greens with quince and pomegranate and will poach the pears, using quince syrup left over from my last batch of quinces. Turns out Bosch pairs are perfect--select firm ones (not rock hard and not ripe). They hold their texture and provide a wonderful flavor.
* Red cabbage and beets with maple-glazed chestnuts: I tasted the most wonderful red cabbage and beets at Blue Hill and want to replicate it, not as a foil for meat but the main event. I'll saute onion til nice and brown and braise the cabbage (2-3 pounds, finely sliced) with 2 c red wine and 1/2 red wine vinegar and whole spices (cinnamon stick, whole cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, grated nutmeg). The beets will be roasted in foil in the oven, peeled, and cut into a small dice. Cabbage and beets will be mixed together and, depending on what I think it needs, I'll add some red currant jelly. If I were not using pomegranate molasses for the greens, I would definitely use it here. The chestnuts maple-glazed chestnuts will be a very nice touch (I managed to drop a few down the elevator shaft when the bag broke.) They were great! They just made the dish. I piled them on top of the heap of cabbage.
* Red cooked daikon
* Green salad: water cress, thinly sliced Napa cabbage, red leaf lettuce, parsley, dill, scallions. I was hoping for carambola, but I could not find a nice one. So, perhaps sliced lotus root. Actually, as it turned out, I never got to the salad. We'll look forward to salad all this coming week.
* Greek roasted potatoes with olive oil, lemon, and oregano.
* Roasted red onions with dried cranberries and balsamic, and powdered palm sugar (or brown sugar).
* Roasted cauliflower with olive oil and shredded lemon peel--made it without the peel. Just plain, the cauliflower has the most marvelous flavor and texture.
* Black and green soybeans : dried black soybeans soaked, gently simmered, liquid reduced to almost nothing, a little shoyu added--the beans become shiny and delicious--served in its own mound on the same platter as a mixture of bright green edamame, my own barely sprouted mung beans, finely diced purple onions, sliced kumquats (watch out you don't get ones that are all dried out inside), and flowering chives, dressed with lime and cilantro
* Black rice, prepared in the rice cooker--came out with each grain perfectly separate, like little ants.
* Dessert: Chinese preserved plums, dried persimmons, blonde and black sesame wafers, preserved apricots, preserved ginger, and haw flakes.
And, if I get to it, glazed walnuts inspired by the absolutely perfect ones that were served with a seaweed and beet salad at Gobo. Never got to the walnuts. I need to buy perfect ones and try out the two main approaches--fried vs baked. I am after a perfectly shiny, very crisp surface. Very nice with a composed salad of some kind.

Posted by BKG at 9:00 PM

November 26, 2004

Peter's Thanksgiving feast at Ping's

From Pete: "I thought I'd share this year's Thanksgiving menu with my foodie friends. It was the first Thanksgiving at Ping's, which I'd say is the best Hong Kong style restaurant I've ever been to in North America. I was also pleased that Fan, my favorite waiter from the defunct Sun Golden Island is now working there. In
general the food is the most delicate, least greasy, least over-salty Cantonese food I know of in NY.
Roast duck (simple but perfect)
Sliced cuttlefish (cold, just OK--I've had better. It's those big ones cured with soemthing that makes it orange on the outside, then sliced)
Spinach & seafood soup (had an interesting earthy flavor. I wondered if it had a base akin to dashi, or maybe some kind of fungus).
Almond-coated chicken filet, stuffed with chopped shrimp (I believe this is an invention of Mr. Ping).
Steamed sea bass filet with sugar snap peas (in the Spring they serve it with asparagus.)
Beef & mushroom rolls (a bit of a disappointment)
Scallops with black pepper sauce (spectacular)
Chinese baby greens with shallot sauce (I don't know what kind of choi this is, but the combination of the wonderful deep green, the crispy shallot shreds on top and the sauce, which seems to have soy & something akin to Vietnamese to nuoc mam is amazing).
Snow pea leaves with crab meat (the best and lightest version of this I've ever had).
"Portuguese" baked seafood rice with curry (good, but I think it was more flavorful at Sun Golden Island)."

Posted by BKG at 10:04 PM

October 7, 2004

Final lineup

oldtbilisi_alazanired_e_s.jpgLovely evening! Haidi brought Persian nougat (saffron and pistachio) from Dean & Deluca, Paul and Sonja brought delicious Australian wine ("closest to NZ" they could get on short notice), and Bruce and Holly brought museum wine (a semi-sweet red Georgian wine, Old Tbilisi Alzani , made from Saperavi 60%, Rkatsiteli 40%). Museological? According to the website: "Wine has been produced in Georgia since 5000 BC and the Georgian vineyards, located between the Black and Caspian seas below the Caucasus Mountains are widely acknowledged as the birthplace or �cradle of wine.� According to the label: "...Archeologists found Kvevri--clay vessel--in Georgia with the ornament of grape, which dates back 8000 years, and is the first wine storage vessel. Preserved in the State Museum of Georgia." Bottled in 2002 and ready to drink!
The lineup last night:
Chinese broccoli, blanched, with thick stems scored and plunged into boiling water first, and served with a little dark sesame oil and huge cloves of wonderful Rocambole garlic, from the Greenmarket, sauteed till golden.
Salad: Frisee, watercress, and amaranth, with a pile of thinly sliced red radish, dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar
Black longevity rice, in a nice round mound
Red beets, thinly sliced, steamed, and dressed with pomegranate molasses and Chinese flowering chives and cilantro
Carambola, sliced
Lotus root: peeled, thinly sliced, steamed, and dressed with fresh lime juice and thinly sliced fresh lemon grass
Three color carrots: thinly sliced in the length. Had hoped to do the julienne from earlier menu, but no time, dill, or parsley this time.
Roasted red onions with dried cranberries, balsamic, olive oil, brown sugar, and bay leaves
Roasted roots: wedges of white beets, daikon, and potatoes
Edamame: with sliced fresh shitake mushrooms and flat Chinese garlic chives
Dessert: assorted Chinese sweets, black and blonde sesame bars, preserved plums, haw flakes (hawthorn), Indonesian ginger candies, dried persimmons, and Persian saffron nougat.


On the haw flakes: "Crataegus pinnatifida , major 'Big Golden Star' or Chinese Haw: A very attractive species of hawthorn from northern China. The leaves turn bright red in autumn, and, unlike the common hawthorn, this tree has no thorns. The cultivar 'Big Golden Star' has been grown in China for many years specifically for its red edible fruits which are the size of small crab apples. The fruits can be made into syrups or preserves, or candied."

Posted by BKG at 11:14 AM

October 5, 2004

Ly Daravuth

Daravuth is visiting from Phnom Penh, where he cordirects Reyum with Ingrid Muan. They have done extraordinary projects, exhibits, and books in this unique contemporary art space, right across the road from the museum and art school established by the French during the colonial period. In Daravuth's honor, my museum studies colleagues at NYU will gather at our place for drinks and light supper. Familiar favorites include:
Black longevity rice
Kabocha squash with dried tomato puree
Roasted white beet wedges
Julienned carrots with lemon, dill, parsley, and toasted mustard seeds
Sliced beets with pomegranate molasses
Edamame and fresh shitake mushrooms
Green salad
Roasted red onions with dried cranberries
Brenda's German apple cake
Maybe something else depending on what I find in Chinatown, the Greenmarket, and my refrigerator!

Posted by BKG at 11:59 AM

September 30, 2004

Last Supper

Well, that's the last supper for a while. A smash hit. We were 12 people. My birthday being tomorrow, Faye and Bambi lovingly brought me Chilewich bags, which I adore! They have them and they are just gorgeous. Recycled plastic and oh so stylish. Samantha sent gingerbread cookies. Anne and Jeremy, our guests of honor from New Zealand, brought Godiva chcolates. And, Brian and Diana and Eric brought lovely wine. Jeremy's first trip to NYC. Anne was last here many many years ago. And, the first time at our place. A short trip, an appetizer, with another longer one to follow.
This time I served:


Tri-color carrots, julienned, and dressed with lemon juice, chopped dill and parsley, and dry toasted mustard seeds. Divine! Inspired by Nigella Lawson.
Squash, cubed, tossed in a little olive oil and roasted, then dressed with a dried tomato puree--combine the dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, balsamic, sugar, and salt, then heat and let soak, before roughly pureeing in the food processor. Kabocha was lovely. The butternut did not have much flavor. Trick is to slightly undercook the squash so it is done but firm. Inspired by Nigella Lawson, minus the oil.


Fresh corn kernels with cream, fresh tomatoes, fresh mint and coriander, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and whole black peppercorns, green chile. Max's favorite. Inspired by Diana Kennedy's recipe for zucchini.
Red onions, roasted with balsamic, olive oil, brown sugar, and dried cranberries. Truly divine. Trick is to really roast the onions till they carmelize. Inspired by Nigella Lawson, with cranberries instead of cherries.
Black longevity rice, in the rice cooker, packed into a wet bowl and turned out in a perfect mound. Lovely foil for the corn.
Sliced raw beets, steamed, and dressed with pomegranate molasses and opal basil.

9.jpg The final course was cheese, but what cheese! Bobolink raw milk cheeses from grass-fed cows who wander around outside. I served these cheeses plus the Coach Farm white pyramid--a gold medal green peppercorn goat cheese--accompanied by thin slices of Sullivan Street Bakery bagette, walnuts, moutarde de benichon, which I brought back from Neuchatel, and a delicious fruit paste, actually a Curacao harosis that I made myself.

DSCN7315.jpg grw509_3b_e.jpg

And, Roxbury russet apples, which predate 1649: "First apple developed in America. Grown in Roxbury, Massachusetts, by Joseph Warren, who died in 1755 of a broken neck, after falling from a ladder while picking apples."

Posted by BKG at 12:24 AM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2004

Tangible Media for Joogles

A good time was had by all. Here is the menu in its final form:
Malaysian peanuts roasted in the shell, served in a Chinese steamer basket
Black glutinous longevity rice, a new Chinese rice, in the rice cooker
Corn mango salad, sliced Italian red onion, dressed with lime juice and fresh coriander (forgot to add the sliced blanched almonds!)
Imam bayaldi (The Sultan Fainted): Japanese long eggplant, stuffed with onions, tomatoes, pinenuts, currants, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, and garlic, and baked with bay leaves and garnished with fresh chopped parsely
Roasted little red onions, a real winner: peeled and quartered little red onions, tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar, plus dried cranberries, roasted till thick and syrupy
Greek potatoes: russet potatoes, scrubbed unpeeled, chunked, and roasted at 450 F with olive oil, whole heads of garlic, lemon juice, till crisp
Orange winter squash: Peeled and cubed kabocha and butternut squash, tossed in a little olive oil, and roasted till just tender. Tossed with steamed shelled edamame, pomegranate juice and rice wine vinegar (a gift from Cendrillon), and opal basil

lotusroot.jpg Lotus root: peeled and thinly sliced in acidulated water, rinsed to get rid of excess starch, and steamed till just cooked, but still crisp. Rinse in cold water and drain. Dressed with gingered vinegar. Meant to add lots of fresh chopped lemon grass.
Yard beans: Trimmed, cut into 2" lengths, steamed till tender. When cool, dressed in Lebanese pomegranate molasses, garnished with chopped Thai basil and a knot of whole long beans (blanched to make them less brittle so they will tie up nicely)
Beets: Peel and thinly slice raw beets, steam till cooked but still crisp, dress with Iranian pomegrante molasses (thinner and sweeter than the Lebanese). Forgot to add the fresh chopped dill.
Chinese tea eggs: lots of stick cinnamon, star anise, dried tangerine peel, black tea, and dark and light soy sauces. Cooked and then steeped for 24 hours
JABC Jade salad: purslane, lamb's quarters, sunflower sprouts, barely sprouted mung beans, diced Kirby cucumbers, diced green tomatoes, dressed with lime. Meant to add fresh ginger, green chiles, and mint--and J-E-W-I-S-H letters punched out of thin slices of carrot

Lavandula_dentata.jpg Meringues: expresso meringues (meant to dip into chocolate) and the big hit--fresh lavender and pinenut meringues. Needed to make them a day in advance and let them sit in a warm over for hours and hours to dry them out and make then hard as a rock. Found the lavender at the Greenmarket. Another shopper said to use it mainly for its fragrance, good in creme brulee. What better carrier than a meringue!

Thanks to all for making the evening so convivial and for the lovely gifts of wine, apples, flowers, fresh herbs....

Posted by BKG at 9:04 AM

September 25, 2004

Menu shaping up

So, how is the menu now shaping up?
Black longevity rice
Squash salad, with edamame and black soybeans, dried tomato dressing
Green salad, with carrot alphabet
Jade salad: mung sprouts, cucumbers, purslane, diced green tomatoes, green pepper, jicama, daikon, young ginger, fresh fennel, and shiso
Imam bayaldi: stuffed eggplant Elizabeth David style
Roasted Greek potatoes
Lotus root salad, with lemon grass, lime, and ginger juice
Beets salad, with dill
Long beans with besan dumplings, with fresh coriander
Corn, mango, sliced almond salad, with lime and mint
Roasted red onions
Tea eggs
Meringues with pinenuts and fresh lavender

Posted by BKG at 4:15 PM

Back from Chinatown

Scored in Chinatown: mangos (nice and hard, for salad, with corn), lotus root, yard beans, starfruit, edamame, jicama, szechwan peppers (they were banned for a while), daikon, watercress, scallions, lemons and limes. I'm thinking now to make the meringues with pinenuts and lavender. Oh, and flat of eggs for the Chinese tea eggs: 2 1/2 dozen small eggs for $1.80. Can't beat Chinatown!
Pomelos, beautiful pomelos, everywhere, a special kind with the stem still attached. Chinatown was thronging. It is the moon festival season and moon cakes were everywhere and people were out shopping in droves. Also got my favorite Malaysian peanuts, those teeny nuts, in the shell, nice and hard and crisp, to have with drinks.

Posted by BKG at 4:10 PM

Back from the market

Back from the market and the roulette of the harvest. Will add fresh lavender to the corn salad, with mango and lime, not peaches or nectarines, as they are past their best. Got all kinds of beets--white, orange, red, and striped, and the technique of slicing them very thin and then steaming them till they are barely done, will be perfect to capture their differences. Russet potatoes for the roasted Greek potatoes, with lemon, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. And, many varieties of apples: russets, jonagold, ginger gold, golden delicious, mutsu, fuji, gala, empire, coutlands, macouns, macs, supreme goldens, and more. Also, quinces and ripe bartletts. Greens were good too: mizuma, purslane, lamb's quarters, oakleaf, radicchio, frisee, and sunflower seed sprouts. Tomatoes too: green, red, yellow, orange, heirloom, plums, and beefsteak. Got big beautiful squashes, $2.00 each: kabocha, butternut, and spaghetti. And, herbs: besides the lavender and rosemary, yard-long lemon grass, dill, flat parsley, thai basil, opal basil, mint, and coriander. Little red onions for roasting and a sweet Italian red onion for slicing. Three colors carrots: yellow, orange, and red, for the alphabet. I started the mung beans sprouting.
Off to Chinatown now for the eggplant, lotus root, yard beans, mangos, lemons and limes, edamame, ginger, and a few other things.
And, to Sunrise and the new version of Healthy Pleasures for shiso, chickpeas, and a few other things.

Posted by BKG at 1:56 PM

September 23, 2004


ACF237B.gif Our numbers are swelling and Sunday night promises to be great fun. My vegan plan will be slightly modified so that I can prepare some nice wheatless nondairy sweets. but I will need to use eggs. I think this time it will be meringues--almond, coconut, coffee, coffee with chocolate, and chocolate--rather than cakes. I need to practice wheatless baking to be sure I can make really nice cakes, so my favorites--German apple cake, 18th century American carrot cake, fresh ginger and molasses cake, parsnip cake, upside down pear cake--will just have to wait for an allergy-free occasion. But, at least, the meringues will make the low fat low cholesterol crowd happy. I do have wonderful Mexican double-strength vanilla, pinenuts, and lots of sliced almonds and grated coconut.
Once eggs are allowed in, I think I will make a big batch of Chinese tea eggs. But what will I do with all those egg yolks after the whites go into the meringues? Maybe I will freeze them and figure that out later.
I did have an inspired idea. When I was in Paris in July for the UNESCO meeting, I bought cutters that I think are intended for cookies, but might also work on thinly sliced carrots, namely, a complete set of alphabet cutters. This, I think, will be a big hit. Our Jews, Media, and Religion Working Group works not only on media in the sense of television, film, and radio, but also text. So, I will produce an edible text salad.

Posted by BKG at 10:16 AM

September 9, 2004

Thinking food out loud

The year has begun and we look forward to visitors from New Zealand and gatherings of colleagues and friends. What will I cook? With maximum food restrictions: vegan, no wheat, low-fat (except for the accordian potatoes), no dairy, and gout friendly. Let me think out loud (inspired in part by Nigella Lawson):
Beets 2 ways: Grated raw beets (long, very thin threads, like bean thread, with dill dressing. Put dill, without stems, through blender, and add to beets with juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp olive oil. Heat mustard seeds in nonstick pan (I use cast iron) and add to beets with chopped flat leaf parsley and additional chopped dill. And/or: peel small beets and slice very thinly on mandoline, steam still just cooked but still crisp, cool, and dress with Lebanese pomegranate molasses (Iranian variety is thinner and sweeter). Garnish with: shavings of red onion and shiso, tarragon, dill, mint, holy basil or fresh coriander. Alternative dressing: lemon, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds. Option: carrots (orange, red, and yellow) instead of beets.
Edamame hummus and/or red kidney bean puree Armenian style and/or Bulgarian eggplant-red pepper puree with baked corn chips.
Malaysian peanuts: roasted, salted, in the shell and with a tiny crisp nut.
Pumpkin salad: Roast cubed orange winter squash (kabosha is ideal) in oil till done, but still very firm. Toss with 1 cup chickpeas (I germinate them before cooking) and finely shredded coriander or mint. Dressing: Heat 1/4 c red wine vinegar, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 c oil (I generally leave out the oil), 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper and soak 1/2 c/. sun-dried tomatoes in the mixture. When tomatoes are rehydrated, blend mixture coarsley in blender.
Roasted red onion wedges: Toss onions in oil, balsamic, dried sour cherries or cranberries (in which case decrease sugar and add balsamic), brown sugar, and bay leaves. Roast 30-40 minutes.
Watermelon salad : Toss small red onion thinly sliced, in half moons, juice of 2-4 limes, 1.5 kilo watermelon, 250 g feta, lots of pulled flat leaf parsley, lots of chopped fresh mint, 100 g pitted black olives, black pepper.
Slivered almond parsley salad: just what it sound like
Accordian potato: Slice small long potatoes at 1/4 inch intervals, across the width, but not all the way to the bottom. Do this by placing the potato in a soup spoon and slicing it while it is in the spoon. Saute cut side down in butter and oil in a hot pan, turn, spoon fat over the slices, salt, and backe 40-70 minutes, depending on quantity and size of the pan. Best to spread out in a large pan. Option: roast with garlic cloves and whole heads of garlic and sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Imam bayaldi (The Sultan Fainted): Elizabeth David's recipe for stuffed eggplant, always a winner.
Live/jade salad: barely germinated mung, lentil, and chick peas, purslane, diced green pepper, onion, lime, diced green tomato, diced daikon, grated fresh ginger, thinly sliced shiso (perilla leaves).
Other possibilities: heirloom tomatoes, chayote, Chinese broccoli with garlic and sesame oil, lotus root, yard beans with besan dumplings, black rice, radish salad (thinly sliced, 4 varieties), if corn still around and peaches not, a corn and mango salad, dressed with lime.
Dessert: Something very apple and pear--lots of varieties, with or without eggs, dairy, and wheat. Looking for hypoallergenic options that work well for a crowd. Maybe a compote: bosch pears stewed in red wine, with rosemary with a sweet biscuit of some kind. My great standby is Brenda's German apple cake, 18th century New York carrot cake, and new recipes for a parsnip cake, pear and ginger upsidedown cake, cashew and rosemary biscotti. Pears with blue cheese, apples with Coach Farm's prize winning green peppercorn goat pyramid.
Leafy salad: mixed lettuce, sorrel, purslane, sunflower sprouts, radish sprouts, onion, dressed with ginger juice, rice wine, mirin, oil. try following Josh DeChellis recipe for the dressing in NYTimes 9/9/04. Here it is:

September 8, 2004
Straight From the Rabbit's Mouth
I've never liked salad dressing because I love the flavors of different lettuces too much," Josh DeChellis said, slicing two tomatoes into eighths with a chef's knife. "So many dressings mask the salad."
Mr. DeChellis had just arrived by skateboard at Sumile in the West Village, where he is chef, bearing snow peas, English peas, pea sprouts, and an impressive mix of local leaves from the Union Square Greenmarket. He was making Sumile's house salad: julienned snow peas, lettuces and sprouts. This he would toss with his solution to the loud dressing problem, a refined radish-based "water," inspired by an early memory of a white rabbit eating a path through his mother's garden in Clinton, N.J.
"Instead of weighing the lettuces down with dressing," he said, "I coat them with what might grow near them in the garden: radishes, peas and tomatoes."
A very Alice-in-Wonderland air hovers over this dressing, which includes the essences of four vegetables and one herb. "The tomato water is for acidity, so underripe ones are fine," he said, liquefying two in a blender. He then strained the juice.
Mr. DeChellis sliced the green tops from a bunch of scallions and cut them into two-inch lengths. They went into a saut pan slicked with hot grapeseed oil. "You're not sauteing these, just breaking them down a bit," he said.
He tossed the snow peas in lightly salted boiling water: "I cook them until they're easy to chew, but still snappy," he said. With a slotted spoon, he transferred the snow peas to an ice bath. He returned the water they had blanched in to a boil and added a cup of shelled fresh peas.
"Standard frozen peas are fine, and generally better than fresh except for these few weeks out of the year," he said.
He stripped the leaves from three lush sprigs of tarragon, threw them in the water and cut the flame. Again employing a slotted spoon, he removed the peas and the tarragon, reserving the cooking water, which had taken on the slightly anise aroma of the herb. He pured the peas and tarragon with a splash of the cooking water in the blender, and passed them through his fine mesh sieve. He then pulsed the scallions and oil into an oily, chunky pure.
He assembled his greens, providing a running commentary on each:
"I hate frise talk about an overwhelming texture. But sorrel is an awesome way to add brightness, almost a citrus flavor, to salad without dousing it in lemon juice."
"Purslane I love because it's small, yet meaty," he said. "It's just about balancing."
"Radish sprouts are spicy, they'll amplify the daikon flavor, but always taste before you add these are downright hot."
He added julienned snow peas and torn basil leaves to the bowl. "Don't chop your herbs, tear them by hand," he said. "They have got to have an impact."
He produced a maroon-colored myoga, a variety of ginger sold in Asian markets for about $2 a bulb. It crunched like celery but was understated and sweet, without ginger's heat.
"Myoga's so expensive," Mr. DeChellis said, slicing the bulb thinly and reserving it for garnish. "But it's way worth it, dude."
To finish the dressing, he ground the thick top of a peeled daikon radish against a microplane grater. "As you grate it, really rip it apart and let the water come out," he said. "This is the base of the dressing, and gives it just the right amount of body."
When he had one-third of a cup of radish water and pulp in the bowl, Mr. DeChellis added spoonfuls from his palette of small bowls: tomato water, pea-tarragon pure, scallion pure. Before every addition, he tasted the dressing. "See what it needs," he said. "You've got all these great elements to work with, and you're in total control."
He added a spoonful of brine from a tub of ginger-pickled shallots, one of the salad's garnishes.
"I love having these pickled shallots around," he said. "I throw them in everything beef tartare, fish tartare and they're so easy. You take standard shallot, slice it really thin and marinate it in ginger juice, rice vinegar and mirin."
He smacked spoonfuls of the dressing against the side of the bowl, and with his hand nudged the salad into the bowl as he turned it, so that the greens took on the lightest glaze. He mounded the salad in a fluffy pyramid on a plate and dropped a few of the pickled shallots and the myoga slices on top: a salad fit for the king of rabbits.
It tasted like summer, like the smell of tomato stems, the bite of a raw radish and the air after hot rain. It was the most painstakingly prepared green salad we had ever eaten.
But it was way worth it. Dude.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Posted by BKG at 11:27 AM

September 4, 2004

Roger and Shirley harvest dinner

c2482.jpg What a pleasure, always, to have Shirley and Roger visit from New Zealand. They immersed themselves in the political protests surrounding the GOP convention. Roger read everything he could find about the current political situation and we had a rousing conversation. In their honor, another late summer Greenmarket feast. Here is what we had:

* corn and peach salad (seasoned with lime juice and chopped parsley--mint is also nice--and garnished with slivered almonds);
* beet salad dressed with pomegranate molasses: Peel raw beets and slice them as thinly as you can on a mandoline, then quickly steam, remove from heat while still crisp, and dress with pomegrante molasses. Garnish with thinly sliced red onions. Chopped cilantro or mint optional.
* Korean festive rice, which I pressed into my 1/3 cup measuring cup and then knocked out onto the big platter, so there were nicely formed individual mounds--dip the stainless steel measure into cold water so rice will slip out easily when you knock the bottom of the measure with the handle of a knife);
* jade salad: sprouted chick peas and lentils, diced purple pepper, diced green tomato, diced cucumbers, grated ginger, lime or lemon, and chopped mint, cilantro, or holy basil. Served with wedges of hierloom tomatoes and sliced avocado on trevisio leaves.
* green salad, with colorful carrot ribbons: romaine, wild watercress, and lambs quarters, thinly sliced (on mandoline) ribbons of red carrots and yellow carrots and large red radishes, dressed with dark fruity olive oil and raw organic apple cider vinegar. Check out the World Carrot Museum!
* Mexican zucchini (Diana Kennedy): dice 1.5 lbs of zucchini or yellow summer squash and place in pot with 1/2 c heavy cream, 3/4 lb chopped tomatoes, cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, 6 whole black peppercorns, fresh coriander and fresh mint sprigs, whole fresh serano chile, salt. Simmer, covered, for 1/2 hour, stirring to prevent sticking. If squash released too much liquid, drain it off, place in a separate pan, reduce until thick, and add to the squash.
I had hoped to make oyster and enoki mushrooms and butternut squash, but never got to them. Lovely bottle of Liberty School cabernet sauvignon, 2002, California. Just beautiful. Here's the profile: "blackberry brambles and layers of dark cherry, chocolate and cassis, combine in a way typical of Cabernet Sauvignon in its most pure expression. On the palate, initial softness amplifies into a warm, supple firmness."

Posted by BKG at 9:32 AM

Rodney and Hilly Dutch still life dinner

VanDijk-small.jpg Rodney and Hilly were in New York, as part of a whirlwind tour of cities that might take a major exhibition about Pacific voyages that he has organized. Our August feast, a celebration of the Union Square Greenmarket, was a Dutch still life in deference to Hilly's Netherlandish heritage and Rodney's art historical speciality. Max brought back wonderful big ceramic platters that he made in New Zealand. They were an inspiration. Here is the menu. Here are the photos.

Posted by BKG at 9:31 AM

May 30, 2004

Dinner with Tom, Chris, and Barbara

House is full of flowers--peonies from Rima, lilies from Barbara, stasia from Jeremy and Danielle, flowering chive-like stalks from Jeffrey, mixed bouquet from Joan, and a rose-like flower from Renee and Melanie. And, wine, jam, and other love gifts of food from the IHP reunion and Friday and Saturday dinners. Dishes and pots and pans all washed and put away. New Zealand in less than a week. Lots of great leftovers for the week and cherries--mutant doubles, little Siamese twins--from Chinatown, a huge papaya, mangoes, and persimmons.
Last night, we were regaled with Chris's army stories and Tom's start writing art criticism in Houston, Barbara on gin rummy and Max and Chris on playing poker and the importance of cards in their families.
Beautiful day, breezy with warm cones of sun, as I headed out with the little red shopping cart to Chinatown to fill in a few gaps for dinner.
This time:
* With drinks, edamame in the shell with coarse salt and edamame "guacamole" with baked tortilla chips
* Black rice and coconut milk
* Chinese greens with oyster sauce
* Plantains (not successful, too starchy), with papaya, lime. cilantro
salsa (should have added chopped fresh green chili pepper)
* Tamarind eggplant with Thai holy basil
* Salad--watercress, amaranth, yellow carrot planes, daikon disks, lotus root
* Sprouted mung bean salad
* Long bean adobo, with soy sauce, Filipino black vinegar, whacked ginger, garlic, bay leaf, and long beans cut into 3 inch lengths
* Cauliflower, from Julie Sahni, steamed whole, stuffed and smeared with a paste of sauteed onion, garlic, coriander, fennel, chili, almonds, flour and water, and roasted in the over till surface is crisp and brown. Serve with tomato and cilantro sauce.
* Dessert was sticky rice in banana leaves, steamed, fresh mango and persimmons. Max insisted on breaking out the dark chocolate and candied orange peel I brought back from Marseilles, what little there was left, and the almond stuffed figs that Nelia brought from Lisbon to Marseilles as a gift. I surprised them with the cookies that Grace baked and left on my desk as thanks in connection with her wok project.
Cooked till time ran out, as is my way. So, never got to prepare the salsify, turnip and rutabagas, and lotus as dish in itself. Will do that this week.

Posted by BKG at 10:29 AM

May 29, 2004

Friday night dinner

What a festive evening! In deference to Jonathan, I lit Sabbath candles, but consistent with our work all year in the Working Group on Jews, Media, and Religion, I used the tiny ones that Habad hands out in Washington Square Park in their effort to convert Jews to Judaism. Max made the most heartfelt and beautiful toast to Jonathan on the occasion of his new distinguished chair. Jonah, a brilliant 18-year old came, which pleased us no end, as did Elissa. Tamar came from the furthest away, so it was a rare treat to have her in New York. Jeremy and Danielle, whom we so enjoyed having here this year, are about to leave. Jeffrey, my partner in crime, regaled us with his stories.
It was pouring sheets of rain when I went out to shop for dinner, so I donned the rubber raincoat I bought in the market in Tepoztlan last August, a head-to-toe black pancho, and braved the downpour looking like the grim reaper. Took my little red shopping cart and headed for Chinatown. Wearing my pedometer, I logged 4 miles yesterday.
Here's what I finally served:
* Edamame "guacamole": Plunge frozen edamame into boiling water, drain, puree in the food processor (with lots of fresh lime juice and salt to taste) until smooth and creamy. Add fresh green chile and cilantro. Pulse a few times just to integrate. Serve with baked tortilla chips. Nice with drinks.
* Edamame in the pod: Plunge into boiling water just to heat through, as they have been boiled before they were frozen. Drain well. Serve in a Chinese steamer basket with coarse salt. Nice with drinks.
* Chinese broccoli: Blanch, drain well, and slice into 3 inch lengths. Fry lots of garlic in a little oil till golden. Add the greens and toss quickly till hot. Do not overcook. The broccoli should be bright emerald green and crunchy. Dress with little sesame oil and light soy. Delicious!
* Lotus root: I could only find washed, not muddy, lotus root, which means it was pinkish, instead of creamy white, inside. Peel, thinly slice, plunge into acidulated boiling water, remove while still crisp, but cooked through, and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and remove the starch. I had meant to dress the lotus root with fresh lemon grass and tarragon rice vinegar, but ran out of time, so I tossed a few slices into the second batch of salad.
* Water cress and fresh amaranth salad: Add long thin planings of yellow carrot (I ran the whole carrot, in the length, through the mandoline). The colors were glorious. Dress with dark green Greek olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar and sprinkle with fresh dill.
* Thai black glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. Made earlier and reheated in the rice cooker.
* Long beans, thinly sliced, with besan nuggets (from Julie Sahni's vegetarian Indian cookbook): In my variation, add lots of chopped fresh dill to the besan batter.
* Cauliflower with dried fenugreek leaves (from Juli Sahni's Indian cookbook): This is one of my favorite recipes, with urad dal, black mustard seeds, and turmeric, and lots of thinly sliced scallions (three bunches for a medium cauliflower).
* Sprouted mung bean salad: A cup of mung beans, barely sprouted (they developed their tiny tail in less than 24 hours and continue to grow slowly in the refrigerator), a cup of quartered grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup finely diced celery, chopped flowering chives, chopped fresh mint, a handful of shredded coconut, and lots of fresh lemon juice. Diced English cucumber is very nice too.
* Eggplant with tamarind and jaggery: Long Japanese egglants, quartered in the length, and cut on the diagonal into finger lengths, simmered in a sauteed puree of onion, garlic, turmeric, and paprika, together with tamarind and jaggery, and served with chopped fresh holy basil.
* Dessert was Filipino sticky rice in banana leaves, which I defrosted and steamed in my pressure cooker and served with fresh sliced mango, dressed with fresh peppermint that Elissa brought from her window sill garden. I also served sliced persimmons and a bowl of cherries that Tamar brought. Everyone brought wine and flowers and little food gifts. Spring has arrived.

Posted by BKG at 10:48 AM

May 24, 2004

Food restrictions

Friday night we celebrate Jeremy and Danielle, who leave New York for Toronto after Jeremy's year as a research fellow in our Working Group on Jews, Religion, and Media at NYU's Center for Religion and Media. We toast Jonathan Boyarin, who is about to accept a distinguished chair in Jewish Studies. And, we are joined by our friends and colleagues Jeff, with whom I have had the pleasure of collaborating all year, Stuart, whom we adore, and Tamar, a dear colleague who is visiting from Israel.
I love cooking for guests with food restrictions and Friday night presents a nice challenge: gout, allergies (dairy and wheat), vegetarians, and kashruth. I'm following new guidelines regarding foods to avoid if you have gout. No problem eliminating such high purine foods as hearts, herring, mussels, yeast, smelt, sardines, sweetbreads, brains, anchovies, grouse, pheasant, partridge, liver, and bacon. Mostly the lists say what not to eat and those lists are very long. Among the good foods are black cherries and celery, not exactly foods to build a menu around. And, foods high in vitamin C, which takes us straight into my favorite territory, vegetables and fruits. Surprisingly, refined grains are better for gout than whole grains.
So, here are my preliminary thoughts (much will change once I see what is available at the Union Square Greenmarket and in Chinatown):
* Dessert is set as I brought 60 packets of Filipino sweet sticky rice in banana leaves from Toronto and will serve them, steamed, with fresh ripe mango.
* Chinese broccoli, blanched and sauteed with garlic and ginger
* Steamed black rice in coconut milk
* Edamame hummus with baked tortilla chips, adapted from this recipe
* Grilled semi-ripe plantains with a papaya-lime-cilantro salsa
* Fresh fava beans in the shell, sliced shell and all, and sauteed with herbes de Provence, Algerian style, as I learned from Joelle
* Lotus root, thinly sliced, quickly poached, and served with fresh lemon grass and lime
* Sprouted mung bean salad, Indian style
* Fresh corn salad, poached in white wine, with whole peppercorns, scallions, and lots of lemon juice
* Fresh flat-leaf parsley and slivered almond salad
* Long eggplant, steamed and dressed with a little dark sesame oil and black Chinese vinegar
* Inabraw, with Indian bitter melon
* Moroccan carrots
I'm cooking again for Saturday night--two guests specified an antipathy to eggplant, one to octopus, and another to rich food--so will draw from this list for them too.

Posted by BKG at 4:26 PM

May 15, 2004

The Banquet

DSCN5461-small.jpgLast night's banquet was a hit. Winston, Reyna's fianc�, drove us to T&T at Promenade Mall in Thornhill, way up where Pinki lives. We forgot the shopping list, but miraculously remembered everything on it. As we moved through the produce section, Reyna noted that there is a nice dish to be made with oyster mushrooms and ridged gourd or luffah squash, so we decided to add this to our menu. Doris waited in the van with Winston.
We arrived home in good order and set about cooking. I had hoped to do more of the cooking but Dora required my attention and Pinki's much anticipated phone call from France came with the detailed blow-by-blow, so Rayna cooked away, stashing pots of food, as they were completed, into the oven to make room on the stove for what remained to be cooked.
We turned the dining room table around to accomodate our ten guests: Marv, Shawna, Lisa and Corey, Margaret and Caryn, who recently married, Danny, Rayna, Dora, and myself.



DSCN5509-small.jpg DSCN5510-small.jpg


All but two of the dishes were completely vegetarian, which made Shawna and Margaret very happy. And, everyone agreed the food was wonderful, even if they had never heard of many of the ingredients.

Posted by BKG at 10:05 AM