Friday, July 25, 2008

cooking class

I was there at Joanne Weir's class, making the food pretty for an article documenting the process. 12 students( with 3 assistants) took over her kitchen, making a very elaborate meal that they would eat later, paired with wines explained by a sommelier. Here is a quote from my client" you were a sea of calm in the middle of a storm etc....." it was loud, chaotic,messy with a double sink filled to the rafters with dirty pots, plates, whisks,bowls..... I had to find a postage stamp corner to do my work: salad with stone fruits ( hey, we think alike !) and baked goat slab with toasted almonds, a spicy corn souflle ( that was a challenge that got me to the brink of sanity) and a Tuscan sandwich of a pork tenderloin baked in a baguette with a slather of herbs and olive oil and fennel pollen...) I loooove that fennel pollen.licorice lover that I am, it put me in ecstasy just by sniffing it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

overcast with bright sun

Sunday was a typical summer day in San Francisco.fog hanging hard over the Bay, northern winds that feel Alaskan bending branches and flipping hairstyles, a cool 13 Centigrade for my French readers.Otherwise a balmy 25 just a few hills away.
We were heading to the Legion of Honor Museum, high on a bluff overlooking a tempestuous Pacific. I do not know the whole history of this building, but you can see the traces left by my compatriots

.Add a copy of Rodin, and a tiny replica of the pyramid number deux of the Louvre, and you could see yourself crossing a Parisian courtyard, high heels ricocheting on the beige stones.

Surprise, a giant glass sun, try to warm the day.This amazing and typical sculpture by a artist named Chiluly beckoned like a single glow left after some grey and dreary nuclear disaster. It is bright, it is wild, it is astonishing, but it leaves me cold.That darn sun didn't manage to warm me a bit. We went to see and hear " la Boheme" in the sweet theater inside the museum. When I sat down, the pianist alone was playing some beautiful music and I wanted to record the moment.By the time I figured out settings on my camera, the famous and dear Donald Pippin was a ghost leaving his chair.

It was a glorious moment, tale of love,death, and the magic beauty of flowers: I cried.the voices carried the emotions to my heart. I was warm then.
The day ended at my friend C for a wonderful evening of delicious food, friends and the cosy glow of fire.That is your sweet payback for an overcast summer day in San Francisco.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

saturday lunch

I like saturday mornings a lot. It has its pleasurable predictable routine that I cherish. When I make that right turn around the corner on my bicycle heading to my 10:30 am yoga class, I invariably take a deep long breath and the stress is left behind, I am 13, riding my red bicycle through the wheat fields behind the little village outside of Paris where my family owned a house.I am on the way to the quaint bakery, avoiding the crowd of boys resting against the rusted gate, to get a candy bar, savouring it as I meander, free and independent, stopping at the end of a hillside to catch my breath and admiring the eglantines on a bush.
After the class, I head to the Farmers Market with my Monoprix bag,and my exquisitely made cash pouch created by Dot. The usual stops: bread at Morell's, produce at River Dog farm, Hudson fish to check their catch ( today: local white bass that I will cook tonight, poached with fennel, baby artichokes,wine, shallots).A woman caught my eye at the lettuce counter. She was picking a bunch of scallions and couldn't make up her mind,she would pick one up and hesitate and exchange it for another perfect one, all the same as they were. I hoped that her life was not so difficult.Then I pedal uphill , to arrive home, particularly hungry and ready for a good,hearty but simple meal.Often a sandwich, make that a salad if it is warm, but the one constant is that it will be eaten leisurely and with delicious pleasure.
So Today, I decided to revisit a dish already mentioned, but that I tweaked a bit, so it might be worth revisiting:egg salad sandwich ala pouke:
start with a jar of roasted piquillo peppers,cut in strips and drop in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, salt and pepper. cook your eggs the Julia Child way ( in cold water, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat off,leave for 10 mn), grill bread ( brushed with olive oil),cut up cooked eggs and mix with mayonnaise salt and pepper.rub the bread with a ripe tomato Spanish style. assemble and dust with paprika.
square bread is rice bread for gluten sensitive significant,sesame wheat country from Morell's for me.
Bon apetit !

Friday, July 18, 2008

figs and black pearls, wisdom

Last week , I spent a day with a friend that I have for, let's say , a fairly long time,and that I do no see very often since she moved to the East Coast. We met, sitting desk to desk in a communication class when I wanted to become a video editor.... She had been spending a decade in Amsterdam, following a wild lover that she had met laying next to in a hospital bed in India where she lived then. It was her boots then that I first flashed on : a royal blue leather number which looked very different from anything else around. She was single then, and I tried to play matchmaker once or twice, then unto marriage, kids when I had Dot, careers, relationships etc. We had many walks, back massages,and videotapes to replay both in our minds and our eyes what we have shared.Mostly emotions,and good pure, wise moments of friendship.
If you know our backyard, you know our dwarf fig tree.How did it produce such an extraordinary specimen is beyond my understanding. I give up, and thank such creation.

I have had this painting over my bed for over 2 months, it had a red stripe that never quite worked.This afternoon, finally half emerging from a whacked night of food poisoning, I got up from my bed, and decided that it had been too long already and painted a black line instead.It is called" fishing for black pearls in a polluted sea"

Friday, July 11, 2008


Would you eat this ? would you order it and have it delivered ? This is part of a business plan that I worked on this week .Healthy, seasonal, organic and mostly local food, composed by renowned chefs and brought to your door....pretty impressive vision.fairly difficult logistics to work with. good luck, guys !

I like this smoked paprika from Spain so much, I try to sneak it in as much as I can. It worked well with my caramelized pepper salad.( now raw in the pan)The colors make me sing a summer dream of fiesta ,chilled rose and siesta in the grass, crickets playing their staccato repetitive bows.

I thought these garden herbs from my back yard looked amazing in a big bowl of icy water to keep them fresh for their dressy act of garnish....

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4

22 years ago, Dot was supposed to come to this world on that day, but she couldn't wait any longer and arrived on July 2, a cutest muppet with hair that could be shampooed into a mohawk,2 hours after birth ! I was about to turn 22 when I met significant and that feels quite strange when I see Dot so young, so new still. In retrospect, I was a lump of unresolved dough, a hopeless romantic in search of true love ( lucky to have found it).
I am beat from my week, and this July 4 is a day of rest for me. But I am looking forward to cook and prepare a few favorites: sauteed pepper salad with garlic and parsley, mango and avocado salsa with home made chips, manchego with fruit cheese.... sounds like a party. Just need drinks and some music, sun and friends to stop by.
a couple of more snaps from my project:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

this week

Have been working on a book that involves alcohol in every shot. So, you can find me at 9:10 am shaking ice and pouring drinks.Of course, we all have to taste a tiny sip and mostly approve.Cookbooks make up in creativity what they do not do so well financially.But I am not complaining, I have been happy with the work and here are a couple of shots, sneaked in from behind.....