Dolmas

 

Dolmas with hummus, pickles, beets, hard-boiled eggs, molded shredded kohlrabi and carrots, and a green salad…

When the heat kicks in ’round these parts, Ionah’s response, lately, has been — along with sipping San Pellegrino water on ice with a splash of coconut vinegar and a lime wedge — to browse the internet for real estate listings in Maine. A beautiful country in the summer. Cheaper than Colorado, but those massive wood piles out back scare the Charlies out of me. My response is to take a leaf from the Greeks, who know their heat, and make a batch of dolmas — stuffed grape leaves. Continue reading “Dolmas”

Sardine Pâté

If you’re squeamish in the slightest about sardines—if a high omega 3 content, a healthy dose of vitamin D and a minuscule mercury level don’t persuade you— you could make this sardine pâté, which is milder by far, than eating them straight from the can.

Everyone, if you probe deeply enough, has a sardine story, and they’re not all pretty. Maybe yours is the time you opened a can for your father in law and the oil spurted down his new trousers.  You packed a can in your luggage on a flight and it burst open and soiled your only pair of clean underwear. The pull clip came off and you had to smash the can open with a rock. But there are good tales too and here’s mine. Continue reading “Sardine Pâté”

Make Offal Great Again!

Any fool can whip up a jar or two of chicken liver pâté. Growing up, it was a staple around the house, usually taken with a glass of sherry on Sundays after Mass, and from the age of ten or so, I was allowed a sip, just enough to wet my lips, enough to feel how it was to be a grown up.The combination of dry sherry with chicken liver pâté, taken on an empty stomach, after Mass or not, still sits in my inside pocket pleasure bank of memories, and still, to this day, generates interest and groovy salivations. In fact it’s one of the most pleasant memories I have of being a kid, along with the mischievous pleasure of stealing cigarettes from Sunday visitors, as my parents were strict non-smokers. Mother thought it a fearful habit. Continue reading “Make Offal Great Again!”

Brodo

Spring time is when we tend to lighten our diet. We say goodbye to the comforting foods of winter and welcome again spring onions, asparagus, dandelion greens, radishes and hardy survivor shoots of greens. But spring, as we all know, brings its share of bluster. An untrustworthy, capricious season cut with unstable, schizoid days. A mad time. Continue reading “Brodo”

Pipian Verde

 

author photo: Ionah DeFreitas…

When Greens Cafe opened in the mid eighties, one of our signature dishes was grilled chicken breasts with tomatillo sauce. We made the sauce by chopping onions, tomatillos and cilantro, which we blitzed with cumin, salt and chicken stock. It was good and tasty, but, I later realized, a little one-dimensional.

blacken tomatillos and onion on a hot comal…
chiles blistering on an open flame…
suffocate them in their own steam in a plastic or paper bag to loosen the skins…
removing the charred skins…

Years later, while traveling in the Yucatán, Ionah and I had a memorable Sunday lunch in Mérida, in a grand but crumbling old colonial hotel, with toucans and giant palms in the dining room, which was a kind of exotic bird house open to the sky. I kept my hat on and she wore a colorful scarf. Continue reading “Pipian Verde”

Mint pesto with Asparagus, parmigiano-reggiano and a poached egg…

 

Spring time in Denver can be a precarious time, especially if you happen to be a sensitive flower. If someone planted you within the last couple of weeks, during the recent tee-shirt and sandal spell, you would now be a wilted thing and sadly, out of luck: destined to be turned over and forked under the cold, soaked soil, because we just had a late mother of a snow storm. Continue reading “Mint pesto with Asparagus, parmigiano-reggiano and a poached egg…”

On Duck and Wine

duck confit with potatoes and green cabbage salad…

They say the most long lived of the French are those lucky enough to live in Gascony in the south-west. There was a piece on Gascony in The New York Times recently, by David McAninch. His book, “Duck Season: Eating, Drinking and other Misadventures in Gascony, France’s Last Best Place,” just came out. In the article he wrote about what these folks eat and what they drink, which, along with a jovial approach to daily living, seems to affect their longevity. Continue reading “On Duck and Wine”