Saturday, February 27, 2010

spoons and glasses

I was thinking of new ways to cut my tortillas as chips for a ceviche dish I have to make next week.Inspired by Rae's post and her love of came to me: What if I try cutting them as spoons and forks? sprinkled with some chili powder, a little salt and a spray of oil,I think they are good to go. What do you think ? thanks Rae !

When it comes to breakfast, I have to have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.have to.So, I buy piles and piles of oranges each week, mostly valencia,but also blood oranges that have been in season now for the past couple of months.They have a faint raspberry scent and their color is so deep and rich, I cannot resist.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

a local chai

After stopping at Spun Sugar to load up on supplies for an upcoming cookbook ( gelatine sheets, micro caramel chips,star tips and small alphabet cutters) I met significant for an afternoon rendez vous at local 123, down in the part of Berkeley that used to be dicy but that is becoming hip and chic. The mumbai chai that I ordered was like a cup of super foamy milk with a strong cardamon taste and a wisp of sugar.I love chai, and I am getting an education of the different varieties.....was that a Mumbai style ? may be.It was good and rich, specially paired with a small oatmeal cookie, made on the premises, a tiny orb of perfect sweetness and crunch.The cafe is stylish, with some rotating good art and an area at the back where puters are not welcome.see the couch where we smooched ? my cup and his German organic fizzy drink bottle ? On warmer days, I can see the appeal of a lunch on the back patio, sitting pretty on fire red chairs. another rendez vous.....

yo yo

The weather around here has been dangling on the end of a yo yo thread.A few days ago, i was having an egg salad sandwich outside in the back yard, face in the sun,toasty warm.The first of the year, on a February day. but before and after that, it has been a dismal display of greys, frigid,wet,stormy skies.
and now, the sun is breaking through,reminding me of the South, the rich colors of summer that we tried to conjure up:

Monday, February 22, 2010

a french favorite

You cannot walk in front of a charcuterie and not spot, among piles of fresh garlic sausages, and golden crusted and pistachio studded pates, the bright piles of to go salads of beets, celery roots and the ubiquitous carrots.
I always crave salads, mostly green mounds of crunchy leaves with some seasonal fruit thrown in.But in winter, on a rainy day like yesterday, nothing beats a burst of color like this carrot salad made of a mix of regular orange carrots and those red ones that have become a favorite around this house.
I like a simple dressing of lemon and olive oil, it makes the sweet taste of the carrots shine through.

Monday, February 15, 2010

food and air

more good food and more spring like weather to delight in this week end.
a big family dinner celebrating a birthday was crowned once more by a panna cotta for desert. It is my new go to desert and it is interesting to note the differences, both in texture ( creamier, runnier, more gelatinous, sweeter,flavored, sauced with ) from the various restaurant kitchens. My favorite so far goes to the lemon panna with huckleberries sauce from dream farm in san anselmo, followed by the vanilla one with aged balsamic vinegar from 54 mint in san francisco, to finally the last one: hard,a film formed on top, bland, with only the blackberries as a redeeming aspect.I won't name the restaurant.
We headed to Point Reyes station for a double valentine date with good friends.Destination: Osteria stellina for lunch.A review posted at the door started by calling it " hyper local". The food was ..local,simply prepared and absolutely scrumptious,my favorite being the cardoon gratin, tasting faintly of a combination of artichoke and fennel with good olive oil and slight melt of gruyere cheese.....
then we strolled trough town, grabbing a chocolate chocolate almond cherry cookie at the bakery( they double the chocolate with choco chips as well as a chocolate truffle like batter) and sat in the blazing sun watching people enjoy this sunny february california day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

thé citron

Can I bother you with more tea stories ? Right now I have given my soul to Chai, but there was a time ( adolescence) where I thought that a darjeeling cup with a slice of lemon was the ticket to cool.Speaking of lemons, my friend L has a huge garden with many prolific lemons trees. her house is filled with the beautiful yellow orbs everywhere you turn your eyes: big branches in an oversized vase, artful piles on pedestals,or on trays,huges jars of preserved lemons, or lemonade....for tea, we had a bracingly delicious brew of ginger and lemon, which suited me just fine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

tea and marmalade

If you know me a bit or a lot, you would or should know that tea time is just about my favorite time of day. Time to exhale,put my feet up, and indulge in a hot cup that will instantly ( as in deeply into my genetic cells) soothe and replenish the depleted batteries of the busy rest of the day.Even at work, if at all possible, I might sneak a semblance of tea time, but without the indulgence of leisure,secrets sharing ,scones on an antique pedestal, tea out of hand made mugs,poured from hand made pourer,dog companionship,style and art surrounding,long talk into the dusky sky.....that was tea with R, last week, delicious moment.
Thick cut traditional seville orange marmalade is the perfect complement to tea, at least in my book.So, upon seeing sevilles at my local market, I finally decided to give it a go.
My recipe was modest, starting with only 6 oranges and a lemon.But, it took time and a lot of effort to cut the zests.pretty, though, but at a cost.

then, I did the 2 bit cooking, once in juice and water, then with sugar, but I handed up with mostly zests with too little juice.The flavor is bold and the zests chewy, but the proportions and the length of cooking will have to be improved next time.Now onto tea,crumpets and marmalade. at last.

Friday, February 5, 2010


From my past came V, coincidentally here for a week.Names resurfaced, places, houses came to mind, reminders of having gone to the same high school in Paris( old convent,beautiful gardens,all girls), of having taken pictures together.A parallel life that ,for her,took a turn back to an isolated cottage on a New Mexico mountaintop, making quilts, out of the grid.Daughters getting married, that I knew as toddlers,an ex-husband making art , felled down by a debilitating disease:spiritual photographic landscapes of his backyard that reminded me of Douanier Rousseau's paintings.
Blasted by light,debilitated by flash,I had "fun" working on some new images with L.

Monday, February 1, 2010

another sketch album

they come from the dark,sometimes they make me smile.Oh yeah! i guess that could be me....and Dot .. and significant.... I don't know why, but they have a life of their own, and now they want to speak.Next : cartoons.