|“Do you sing, too?” I asked, tickling his tweed elbow.|
I have a good friend who is fond of this phrase: “She was born with the words, ‘Please peel me a grape,’ on her lips.” That could very well have been said about spicy bon vivant Gael Greene (1933- ), this week’s number 46 on Gourmet Live’s List of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food. Greene, the 40-year New York Magazine restaurant critic and columnist, novelist, and philanthropist from Detroit, is best known for her erotic encounters with food, as well as with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley. Want details? It’s all (probably not) chronicled in Greene’s memoir, the infamous Insatiable : Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess (Grand Central, 2007.) And while I promise I’m not telling tales out of school, you can listen to her own description of Presley as appetizer here.
Lest we consider the ground-breaking critic light-weight or even shallow, life-long achiever Greene (still writing, appearing on “Top Chef,” and tweeting as I blog) has also spent a sizable portion of her adult life making sure New York’s elderly poor had food come weekends and holidays:
Marcia Stein: Citymeals began in 1981 when Gael Greene and Jim Beard, the founders, read that homebound elderly New Yorkers only got meals from the city Monday through Friday, and not on holidays. They were going very long periods of time without food. Especially over the holidays: at times when other people were over-eating, these people were alone and starving.
Gael and Jim called their friends in the industry; Gael called the city government and wrote about it. She was just as good at describing their situation as she is at describing food, and it made people aware. Checks started coming in, but you can’t just send a check to the government or the Department for the Aging. We had to create an organization that was a not-for-profit so we could receive the checks we were getting. So Citymeals started as a public/private partnership with the city’s meal delivery program.
We started feeding 6,000 homebound elderly, but the number has grown over time. Now we are feeding 18,000 every weekend and holiday.
We receive about 50,000 contributions a year to Citymeals. It’s a cause that New Yorkers have embraced. Six dollars a day can save a person’s life.
Read the entire interview with Marcia Stein, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels on starchefs.com
Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon serves 4
|A little bacon garnish might not go amiss. A nice grind of black pepper, too.|
While this soup is perfectly suited to late summer when the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, I managed to snare a few fresh? ears from our local grocer, who had Fed-exxed a little out of Florida. If you can’t find any corn, I think you could use vegetable broth (along with the clam broth) and frozen (cooked) corn kernels. You won’t have the same soup, but I think it would be tasty. Corn cooking tip here, though I just bring the water to boil, drop the corn in, let it come up to a boil again, and cover it for 10 minutes or so. The other great way is to microwave it or grill it right in the husks. Easy and maybe the tastiest version, but not possible for this recipe.
I did pepper and sugar – 1/2 tsp each- the corn-cooking water for this soup. Oh, summer…hurry up!
|My best sous and lunchtime taste tester.|
At first taste, my excellent taster wondered what all the shouting was about. By the second taste, he was hooked. The subtle heat left a gentle warm buzz in the mouth and the corn and scallops provided good contrast in texture. I had one small bowl leftover that I ran over to Paul, the owner of our two-doors down wine and beer shop, The Wine Thief and Ale Jail. Love living in the city do I.
|The Wine Thief and The Ale Jail|
I chose this recipe because I adored the idea of a mostly healthy (ok, there’s bacon) seafood soup that used only 6 scallops for four servings. I calculated about five bucks per serving, which is a less-expensive way to splurge on a little scallop action. The soup sounded like a luscious and light warm-weather meal that could easily be made outdoors utilizing a grill with a side burner. It might also serve as a small first-course offering for a special dinner. I liked a sip of a great big California Chardonnay with this soup.
I followed this recipe exactly. I was surprised that the color was not as bright as I had expected (sort of a dull yellow), and the texture was, well, corny. Pureeing the corn mixture did not make it creamy at all, as I could still feel the fibers of the corn kernels in my mouth. I decided to puree all of it, and then strain it, which yielded a something I would describe as a corn broth, great for poaching fish in or serving in shot glasses with some crispy shallots or scallops right on top.
Fyi I pureed three-quarters of the corn.
Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita -: http://beetleskitchen.com.
Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink