Monday, March 30, 2009

on roasting beets

For a long time, I thought it was a burdensome step.Why not throw them in a pot of boiling water and call it done. In France, beets are sold always pre-cooked, little wrinkled black shrinking heads piled up high on the side of limy green butter lettuces and tarragon branches. Let's say that they are not pretty like that and probably that counts a lot on their ending up ( or not)in the shopping bag and on a plate.I had never seen a beet leaf before coming to California. I wonder what they do with all the greens then...
So, I would boil my beets and make o.k salads, but I would also grate them for cold borsch with a little lemon, dill, dash of sherry vinegar and for that, boiling seemed fine.
The burden is worth it.The house smells like chocolate as beets crack their skins under the unrelenting high heat of the oven and the olive oil baste. they release their sugar that caramelizes wonderfully. The red beets are more pungent, the golden beets more subtle.A glorious salad they made with arugula, walnuts, and Point Reyes Blue cheese.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

garnish or not ?

As I was saying about shoulder pads and strobe or sun shadows, fads come and go, style dictate our buying decisions,and new replaces the old that replaced the new.... When I started food styling, it was all about the pretty garnish. I would spend hours scouring farmers' markets, obscure ethic stores,and public gardens in search of the unique, the freshest, the required zucchini blossoms, fruits on the branch or borage was a lot for the lushness of the look and the newness of ingredients, some,suddenly rediscovered. I wondered often how easy it was to find these things for the average consumer .....Now, we are in a no garnish phase.Food as is, as you would cook it for your own diner: appetizing,yes, but straightforward,honest,simple and a bit messy.
But then, there are times where simplicity screams for bold details, like a scarf around a purse handles,or a thick lemon slice that will bring a different color to a plate and make it mouth watering. Which brings me to this shot of a simple green soup of leek and peas with..garnish. so garnish or not ?

Friday, March 20, 2009

at the end of the day

it is always amazing how the eye can change. I loved the whole shoulder pad look back then,the silhouette seemed taller, more defiant, more powerful. Then when it went out of style, I learned to despise that look " what was I thinking ?" out went the pads, even from tea shirts or silky robes. Apparently the pads are back in the fashions shows....
I now love the shadows in food images, shadows that used to be erased at all cost for softer, prettier, painterly look.
It is the end of the day at work, the sun is low and I love the new look.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

in bloom

The jasmine bushes are flowering outside my bedroom window.After lunch the other day, I felt like a soothing hot drink...jasmine tea ! plucked a few flowers and buds and I had a delicious cup.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

delicious day

I had today to look forward to.
The air was on the cold side but the sun was bright and after a morning of pulling out plants and weeds, I was ready for an alfresco lunch with C. You see, I am getting ready to plant my herbs for my micro enterprise of French influenced herbal teas. I am starting with three herbs and they will be beautiful to look at , an experience to sip, and a moment to give yourself to the simple healing powers of such plants.
I had some pretty fennel that I was keeping for bright green feathery garnish, but it was time for it to go.We munched on it with some baba ganoush.Fennel is one of my favorite vegetable, always, relentlessly in France paired with fish. It is a vegetable of Provence, and its licorice sweet flavor goes well with the acidity of lemon slices and the mellow flavor of a wild dorade caught in the Mediterraneum. Once I made a cream of fennnel soup that was amazingly delicious.But again, there are two camps in this world: the licorice hater or the licorice lover, no middle ground . I am in the lover group, hopelessly addicted .
The group show at Eclectrix gallery called "eat it" was fun. First we picked up Dot who offered me a beautiful yellow cala (" for the artiste" she said) and we headed for dinner at one of my faves:Picante, been there for years, always consistent,great margaritas, love their rajas, outdoor patio under heat lamp it was, when Dot pointed out a group sitting close by. The woman who had taken care of Dot at 2, while raising her own two sons, and helped me through my years of free lance work, with a young child. Now, the sons are men, handsome and articulate and Dot is a woman, now all in charge of their destiny.
Dot took the portrait with the painting and on the way back, claimed that she had a book to give us, could we wait outside her place a minute.. she came out carrying the beautiful bouquet of apple blossoms and yellow calas.the single flower had been a ruse, the bouquet was the deal.The deal of the day, of the delicious day of beauty, love and gratitude.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

late winter

two weeks in Paris, doesn't that sounds heavenly ? the culture, the food, the trendy neighborhoods,the buildings, the art,the fashion on the street, well yes it is all that.But for me, these days, it is a sad nursing of an elderly mother who, from vibrant and concerned, has become indifferent and lost.So, here I am, in the land of cheese and tarragon,of earthy pleasures and love, running to meet civil servants, electricians, home helpers,corner bankers and the like.This time, no time for friends, just a sense of dread and panic, feeling sucked in and exhausted by the responsibility. But I had to breathe, so I ran out, walked around and snapped a few.

dusk, it was starting to drizzle, I had to rush back.