Thursday, December 31, 2009

chante( the praise of the)relles

A friend biking through the Berkeley hills found these amazing specimens of the delicious chanterelles mushrooms( the big ones are 6 inches across). Very generously he dropped a bag full ( about 2lb !) of them.Pretty and delicately scented, they might go into quesadillas, after being sauteed in butter and shallots, yes Julia, I am with you on that one, no substitute.Or a risotto, or a soup, or all 3 since there is so much of them.thanks N !
Happy new year. Do not know about you, but cannot wait until 2010.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

diving in

A lot has been said about chocolate. It has been a long time since Marie Antoinette drank hers , dark and foamy, for both pleasure and for curative purposes , as it was then the fashion . The cups were small, more like espresso shots and the spicy brew ( often sprinkled with pepper) would invigorate.
Since then, a crop of chocolatiers have open shops to the cries of pleasure from all of us. I can pinpoint the beginning of the trend to the early 80"s when Alice Medrich served the best truffles west of the left bank in her store Cocolat. Her truffles were traditional and delicious. Since then, artisans have explored various fillings and 'couvertures"( I think that is the term), to a point of Dalinian madness and genius. After all ,who could come up with a truffle filled with a black olive ganache?
Well, who but the brain behind a Toronto candy and chocolate store, adjacent to his spanish influenced restaurant, Cava.
I love the clean design of the box, as well as of the labels.The extraordinary truffles play a quite game of elegant checkers.
The olive truffle was astonishing, the salted caramel unmentionably divine.
So , when in Toronto, run there, otherwise, order may be.....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

lunch from a truck

We went to visit Dot at work today. She works in east Oakland, where you can find many Taco trucks parked in the corner of open lots at busy intersections. The customers are mostly locals, mexican families on their way to a sunday outings, or neighbors yearning for a cheap and fresh authentic taste. A few daring gringos make up the rest of the crowd lining up at the tiny window to place their order and waiting in their car to be called.
I go for the fish taco ( not on the menu) served on corn tortillas, under a pile of just made bracing salsa with sliced radishes and pickled jalapeno peppers.juicy, light , with just the right amount of heat. Significant had the lingua taco ( photographed here) which is his favorite, bringing back childhood memories of homemade braised tongue.
We went back to a patio, back at her work, the sun was shining, and she dressed the unkempt table with a paper cloth.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

flour and flowers

Winter light through my bedroom window.

It is officially winter. Even though here in California, we can have it pretty easy.We get some rain, the occasional freeze lasting one or two nights, and then blossoms will start popping come February first. Today, Christmas eve, it is sunny, with a bright optimistic blue sky. Lately and luckily, there has been a lot of Dot time. we have made for the first time a fabulously rum soaked fruitcake together. It took about 5 cups of fruits and various raisins, when Dot announced that she hated raisins and reminded me of the dreaded red boxes of her childhood.But a fruitcake has to be different ! no ?! specially rum soaked ?!

There has been an interesting kind of ikebana spirit around our house lately.One bouquet is from Dot, delivered this morning, and the other is from Significant who , also so generously, brought this gift home, carefully and creatively picked. Can you tell which is which ?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cold front

It has been gloves, goose feathers and soup . Some plants have frozen, the deck was icy and slippery.In the car, the heat is turned to high, and the sky is an uncut bolt of dove grey silk.