829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fridge Raid

Monday night, about an hour before Sandy came to visit and turned 
out the lights.  We had some mahi mahi, clams, mussels, shrimp,
 zucchini, and mushrooms tossed with pho noodles and a rich shrimp
 broth that I started cooking early that morning, knowing this may 
be the last good meal we'd have until the power went back on.

Ten hours later, the lights returned, and we were of the few who 
barely suffered.  As late as today, there are still thousands who are
 at their wit's end, wondering when they'll be able to resume life as 
they once knew it.  It's unfathomable to me that there are those who
 are yet displaced and unsure of their futures.  We're really lucky. 

Fridge Raid

No quiz as promised.  Honey-maple ham and swiss, rolled 
around half-sour pickles, and topped with beet salad and basil.
A great idea for a holiday party passed hors d'oeuvre.  
Don't forget the napkin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fridge Raid

Have at it folks.  There are many ingredients involved in this late-
night munchy photo.  See how many you can name before I start 
tossing clues your way.  One of the white-colored components is
a dish taken from  OFD.  Some research may be necessary.

Monday, November 26, 2012

OFD 2012

I write lists.  Lists are essential if anything is going to get done.  And
OFD is no exception.  Had I not put this on the counter under my 
keys, we may never have had mussels in beer-basil butter, or 
skewered shrimp with curry-coconut sauce, or asian-flavored
rib-ends with shiitake mushrooms.  The gravy may not have been
as amazing as it turned out to be (but I'm sure it would have been
awesome regardless), and we would have had two less ice
creams to serve with the assortment of pies.  
But since I woke up way early on Thursday, with thoughts
buzzing in my head about what I was going to serve first once we
got to Mojo's, the list was but a formality.  

Two of my three Baywomen.  Photo taken during our annual visit
to Greenwich Cove, down the road from my cousin's, after hors
d'oeuvres and before dinner.  This whole foreground was well 
under water during Sandy, and at least halfway up the stairway 
to the porch of the house in the background.  I'm surprised
the dinghy racks are still there. 

On the rocks.

"I must say, though, that it is particularly heartwarming to see the 
passion of our next gen for this day that seems to grow even 
stronger by the year.  This flame will be passed along for many, 
many years.  In fact, Patti was saying to me this afternoon that 
even though she never met the man (Grandpop) who started it all,
 she could imagine how proud he would be to see his great 
grandchildren partaking so vigorously in the day's traditions.  
That got me picturing him with us on the manporch, 
puffing contentedly on a Dominican."

That was Mojo's reply to my lamenting email from Friday,
while at work, bumming out about working
 and looking ahead to being at work all weekend.  I'd
mentioned how I am always depressed the day after THXG, 
and how eventually I get over it, only after hours of self-pity.

The Man at the head of the table, who started this tradition.
This may be the earliest documentation of OFD, taken in
my grandparents' summer bungalow on the Metedeconk 
River, in Cedarcroft, NJ, the heart of the Jersey Shore.  
It was a varnished picnic table with a tablecloth, and two 
benches for the grown-ups.  The card table for the kids 
was usually behind the photographer (Uncle Don).  But the 
card table may not have been deployed at this early date;  
highchair trays were probably the platforms for most of us, 
on which the turkey and gravy were smeared.  Following
 is another of Mojo's commentaries:

"This is incredible!  I never knew (or forgot if told long ago) that
both sets of my grandparents dined together for Thanksgiving.
Clockwise, seated to Gigi's left, is the Detroit contingent of
Eleanor (given name Daisy) and Bill (given name Leon) Clarke,
with George next to Bill on the far end.  To his left is Bev, with a 
mystery space (Don, the photog!!), and then Dot and Jim
(nice buzz cut) on the near end.  If it's November '62, I was 4-1/2,
and you were 1-1/2; our clever parents had no doubt already
applied our Port rations, and we were napping soundly on the oval-
shaped cotton rag rug on the floor in front of the fireplace while
they dined.  Or not.  :-))"

Thursday was quite a peaceful day, especially compared to the
torrent that passed through here almost a month ago

Baydog and Mojo.
Mojo, would you move that freakin fat separator? 
And for anybody who was wondering about the item 'glasses'
on my list earlier, there they are hanging from my collar.
I can't do anything any more without them. 
BTW, that was only one of two turkeys that day...

Evidence of a great session on Mojo's manporch.  There were
many incriminating photos associated with this one, and the blogger
decided that it was in our family's best interest to exclude them.

Glass of 2012.  We spent the day in Connecticut, but we visited
France, California, Spain, and Portugal.  
I had severe jet-lag on Friday.

Update:  Doc Haagen Dazs had asked about the Wiener Dog.
The Ween doesn't play nicely with other dogs, even her cousins,
when we're present.  It seems to be a protection/territory issue.
The last two or three OFDs, she's spent the day in a crate in 
Mojo's laundry room, while everyone else milled about 
drinking and eating.  This THXG, she spent the day and night
with about a dozen assorted pooches, at a place that doesn't
have a problem giving insulin injections.  When I drop her off,
they meet us in the driveway so as not to cause a stir with the
rest of the guests, and she trots inside, never looking back.
It's a perfect solution to an otherwise uncomfortable situation.
Their nice back yard was way better than an indoor crate. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Two Be Missed

Me, with Grama and Uncle Don

Mojo sent out an email last week with a link to an article he read
in the New York Times.  In it, Jacques Pepin shared his 
feelings about Thanksgiving:

"I fell in love with Thanksgiving, and it has remained my 
favorite of all holidays- maybe because it makes no explicit
appeal to patriotism, politics, or a particular religion, and it's 
not centered on children, like the egg roll at Easter, or the
Santa Claus tradition, with its largess of Christmas presents.
There are no gifts to bestow on anyone, except the gift of 
being together and sharing nourishment."

For our family, it's also an opportunity to reminisce about
Thanksgivings past, and remember loved ones who are
no longer with us.  It is always a great day, and the one
we call ourfavorite.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The basis by which all gravies are measured should be
the stock used to form the body of the sauce.  You can
 thicken wine with roux and call it gravy, but you're 
missing the point. Gravy needs to possess the flavors 
extracted from the meat that was cooked in the first place.
Usually, you remove the meat from the saute or roasting
pan, and then you de-glaze that pan (remove any 
caramelized bits left from the cooked meat) with some 
kind of wine, vinegar, stock, or even water.  This creates 
the start of the pan-sauce, or gravy.  Once reduced 
somewhat, it's time to add the broth or stock, usually
derived from the same type of animal, although these days
most stocks are interchangeable with their service to the
main course, even with many fish items.  (I love seafood 
with a meat glaze, but that's just me.)  

Then comes the thickening part.  If you're a purist, which
I am most of the time, cooking down, or reducing the sauce,
is the best way to concentrate the flavors.  When you've
used bones in your stock that contain gelatin, you can 
achieve a certain natural glossiness from that stock after
it's been boiled for some time.  The gelatin concentrates 
and naturally makes the stock more viscous, eliminating the 
need for thickening agents.

2 quarts of turkey stock.  Next stop, the Nutmeg State.
The pickins will be the foundation of dinner on Tuesday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Last Hurrah

#20 Princeton University upset #14 Brown 10-7 today, in the first
round of the CWPA Eastern Championship, being held this 
weekend at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.  It was the only game I was 
able to attend this fall, and my nephew Tim made sure it was a 
memorable one for me.  The win places Princeton against Bucknell

on Saturday in the semi-finals.  This weekend's champ goes to the
Final Four, and hopefully it will be Princeton's third trip
in four years to that celestial plateau.

Tim has been my connection to P.U. for the past four years, and I
find myself having some separation anxiety just thinking about his
impending graduation and my sudden dis connection from this local
venerable institution. Let's see, which niece, nephew, or daughter
is worthy of carrying on his legacy......

Post-game interview with Tim

Tim grew up in California playing water polo, in the state well-known 
for producing the best water polo players.  To me, he's become the
quintessential collegiate student-athlete.   He visited Princeton
while still a high schooler, and stopped in to the restaurant to see me
and get a free meal. I knew he would choose to play here, and I also
knew that he knew that being so close to us, he'd have the 
opportunity to come visit once in a while for some 
wine and a home-cooked meal.  

It's already November 16th, and he has yet to swing by our place this 
fall. That's okay....Thursday's OFD, and we'll catch up then.  
Meanwhile, go get 'em Tigers tomorrow.  I'll be watching from work.  
Hopefully we can talk about the upcoming Final Four 
on Thursday, over cigars and port.  

Final game for Seniors at Princeton

Update:  After losing in the final minute of the game against Bucknell
7-6, the Tigers bounced back and beat Mercyhurst on Sunday for
the bronze.  A bittersweet moment for Tim and all of us.  We'll still
hash it out on the manporch sometime late Thursday.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Photo Quiz

1.  Who's the Skipper and wife?
2. Where was the photo taken?
3. What class of boat?
4.  What was the hull/sail number?

BTW:  Two years ago today, the Grand Dame of
the Princeton culinary scene closed her doors, after 
ninety-one years of serving the masses the best French
 and American cuisine in Central Jersey. 
Don't think for a second that I forgot about this date.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vino Toscana

I had this one time, and that's all I probably will ever deserve.

Chicken Francaise

Google image.

My image.  After posting that photo of an inviting chicken francaise,
I was inspired and cooked chicken with onions, capers, garlic, basil, 
white wine, lemon juice, and whole butter.  More Piccata than 
Francaise.  I like this one better.  You would too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Next?

And it's still coming down.

I understand there are some locusts coming our way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jersey Strong

Some moving pictures are worth a thousand words.  Thanks
Charley, for posting this.  I'm re-posting with your presumed 
approval. Now I need to find the Kleenex tissues again. 

More From The Shore

No more new inlet.  

Peter Hurley came across the bay to survey the damage in the wake 
of Sandy. His Dad's house is but a few blocks south of  Betty Wagner's
 and the Mantoloking bridge.  The footage of Rt. 35 in this clip is
 hard to process; there's never not been a steady flow of traffic
 on this ocean road, as far as I can remember. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo Quiz

1. What is this?
2. Where is this?
3. Why was I there?

Sjogin Floats!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Massachusetts High School Futbol

My nephew Alex, tearing it up on the pitch.

A Long Row To Hoe

Not living down here, I won't notice so much the snail's pace at 
which this reconstruction will take place.  As for the residents, it will 
be an agonizing few years until traffic flows smoothly, detour signs 
cease to exist, and a normal groove falls into place in this otherwise
very quiet couple of blocks bordering one of the busiest corridors of
 summer commerce on the entire East Coast of the U.S. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time For Some Levity

Sailing in control is so overrated.  I just wonder 
what made crew feel as though he needed to tie
his shoe at that particular moment......

My Favorite Boat Yard