Since Pierre‘s commute to Albany is a little brutal this semester, I try to alleviate it by packing him lunch. I always loved packing food to take away, and when I worked in Manhattan I packed my lunch everyday.
I also have very vivid memories from the time when I was a child and we were packing picnics for the hotel residents going on day trips. The family hotel being a 4-star establishment, you can imagine how elaborate that was. Prepackaged item didn’t exist, so for salt, pepper, sugar, mustard & cornichons, we would make cute little pockets out of parchment paper. The beautiful cuts of salami, jambon de pays (prosciutto), jambon blanc (cooked ham), roast beef, chicken, cheeses — yeah! lots of proteins— were carefully wrapped in parchment paper attached with butcher string. Seasonal fruits were added on top, a bottle of wine, bottle of mineral water and a fresh baguette stuck to the side of the basket.
I also remember my grandfather Joseph packing my picnic for the end of the year elementary school field trip. I requested sandwiches & Coca-Cola. Bon-Papa Joseph went along with the sandwiches but absolutely vetoed the Coca-Cola telling me that that stuff was so efficient in cleaning metal surfaces that he didn’t want my stomach to be subjected to the same treatment. Instead, he filled an empty bottle with some wine, water and sugar. I was around 9 or 10 years old and I remember like if it was yesterday that after eating lunch, my friend Françoise Gerdessus and I took a pedal boat ride and I felt pretty funny and happy… I was drunk! I lost my wallet that day and I never forgot that Françoise shared her pocket money with me. Anyhow, Pierre’s lunch made me travel back to childhood and my unconscious might be thinking of that crew of school friends that are going to gather soon for a school reunion that I will not make this year!
Voilà! Pierre’s lunch is a little more balanced:
Cold oven roasted chicken
Cuke salad (with no rice)
Apple sauce (Pierre’s ultimate comfort food)
2 slices of Amy’s bread
All packed in this cute lunch box my daughter in law got for us in Korea, where packing lunch is a serious affair… but no room for the bottle of wine!
THE DVD IS OUT!
On November 7, 2007, Joe Girardullo, Pierre Joris & myself had molto fun presenting Sax, Soup, Poetry & Voice a multimedia performance at the The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy N.Y. The original description of the show was:
A Harvest Celebration with multimedia artist Nicole Peyrafitte, saxophonist Joe Giardullo & poet Pierre Joris. The trio will celebrate, harvest, and gather together non linear momentum through their music, poetry, voice, visuals and yes, a soup! Nicole, who recently moved to Brooklyn, will cook an “Inner-State” soup that will be shared with the audience.
The quality of this recording is stunning. They made us look and sound really good! & you ou can almost taste the “Inner State Soup!”
This DVD series is not a commercial venture and The Sanctuary for Independent Media is eager to have it distributed widely. For that reason we offer it through Ta’wil Productions store for a modest $5 to cover shipping and handling. Spread the word & the DVD!
Please view video sample here
This DVD is part of a prestigious series (see below), however at this point we are only able to offer our DVD.
Our deepest thanks to the producers, crew & volunteers of the Sanctuary.
A Message from The Sanctuary of Independent Media:
Free Jazz from the Sanctuary Launched!
A 13-part series of jazz performance videos featuring some of the world’s most talented improvisers, recorded live in concert at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, is now available online–just click the links below! Each show is (or soon will be) available on DVD; details are available under each band entry.
The Free Jazz from the Sanctuary series will soon be available for non-commercial broadcast distribution.
Contact us for more information!
The Thirteenth Assembly
(Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson, Jessica Pavone)
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
(Kahil El’Zabar, Ernest Dawkins, Corey Wilkes)
Fay Victor Ensemble
(Ken Filiano, Anders Nilsson, Michael TA Thompson, Fay Victor)
From Between Trio
(Michel Doneda, Tatsuya Nakatani, Jack Wright)
Michael Vlatkovich Quartet
(Christopher Garcia, Jonathan Golove, David Mott, Michael Vlatkovich)
Sax Soup Poetry and Voice
(Joe Giardullo, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyrafitte)
(Sam Bardfeld, Ravish Momin, Brian Prunka)
The Ras Ensemble
(Clif Jackson, Dave Miller, Ras Moshe, Tor Yochai Snyder)
Empty Cage Quartet
(Ivan Johnson, Paul Kikuchi, Jason Mears, Kris Tiner)
Weasel Walter Trio
(Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson, Weasel Walter)
Splatto Festival Chorus
(Dave Barrett, Michael Bisio, Ed Mann, Todd Reynolds)
Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown
Free Jazz from the Sanctuary is a co-production of NY Media Alliance and the Arts Department at Rensselaer, made possible in part with support from the NYS Council on the Arts and the NYS Music Fund, established by the NYS Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers.
Photographs of the show: Sax, Soup, Poetry & Voice by Jon Flanders (11/07/07)
Waiting for the day to break & still in the sleep/wake up zone, this morning I am trying to count how many times I moved. Probably about twenty times, some moves bigger that others. I will never catch up with Pierre who moved about thirty times. So, yes! We do have some experience in the field but still, I find the process gruesome. I never use this word but that’s the qualifier that comes up when I think of moving. Moving is believed to be one of the three highest stress related events —after the death of a relative and a divorce. No matter how many times you do it, the physical, mental & emotional demands are high. I am glad that I could keep up with my yoga routine in the early morning and avoided eating too much junk food while being without a functioning kitchen.
This time we hired movers and despite the one day delay due to the truck blowing a tire on it’s way to Albany it went rather well. Our crew from Dumbo movers was the most courteous, efficient, educated and eclectic bunch you can think of. The crew was lead by Vladimir, a Serbian engineer with a master in transportation, he was helped by Dan, an unemployed Wall Street banker with a master in Real Estate Banking and a real Tibetan monk who had to escape Tibet last summer after the riots. I really should have taken a picture of these guys, but by Friday morning I was fried and survived the last three hours while in a liminal mental & physical space. Not only was I overwhelmed by the unloading and arrival at the new place but the super was giving us a hard time because Friday July 3rd is considered a holiday, according to him! All this to say that I didn’t get to say properly goodbye to the team and tell them how great they were.
Anyhow, we are in the new place in Brooklyn and surrounded by boxes. Pierre’s 10000 books (yes! 4 0’s) are patiently waiting to find their place on the beautiful new shelves. The kitchen is functioning enough to make some food and I have started opening up some of my heirlooms. The first item I unpacked was my undated oil painting by Henri G. Cheval. I have had this painting since 1981 and no information on it, except for one internet entry that tells that Henri Cheval was friend with Doisneau, Antoine Blondin and that generation of French artists. It sounds very plausible, as this painting was given to me by André Bellut who was the chef and manager of the restaurant of the Paris paper “Le Parisien Libéré”. André Bellut, who was a close friend of the family, knew that crew of artist-writers pretty well. André was an amazing chef, every summer he would come to spend a few weeks at my family hotel. He was like an uncle, he would always take me around either to gather wild berries, visit the fountain salmon farm, eat crêpes at L’Hospice de France, and he always talked about food. André died in the mid 80’s and I am glad he gave me this piece to treasure these memories. I often find myself looking at the painting especially when searching for culinary inspiration, and it never fails me: one glance and ideas flow! Well that’s it for now, I must return to unpacking. More soon!
Oh! one more thing: we were greeted by 3 rainbows over Brooklyn! and there is 2 of them.
I am in Albany packing our house for our definitive move to Brooklyn. As I was packing my archives I found a batch of old menus from my family hotel that my mother had sent me a few years back. Coincidentally there was one for April 20th 1954. On the left my mother wrote a note: “Reception for the Harrogate St. Cecilia Choir”. I called my parents to inquire how the Consommé Madrilène was served and stirred up a family disagreement, as my father and mother remembered it differently. My dad insisted that a raw egg yoke was place in the cup of cold clear broth, my mother remembered delicate strips of cold crepes as a garnish on top. Most likely they are both right and it was served one way and/or the other. I will investigate further, to try and locate the Consommé Madrilène *ur* recipe, once I am reunited with my cookbooks. I will also post the recipes for Truites aux amandes soon. This was one of my grand father signature dishes and that will give me the opportunity to try the Union Square Greenmarket fresh trout stand. I have already posted here the Canard à l’orange recipe. The bavarois is a custard base (crème anglaise) cream with whipped cream and sometimes gelatine added. More details to come, but meanwhile, herewith a translation of the menu:
Cold clear broth Madrilène style
Trout in almond sauce
Duck with orange sauce
Asparagus with mayonnaise
Bavarois (vanilla custard)
I am very excited to announce the release of “Whisk! Don’t Churn!” my new cd with Michael Bisio. Correct me if I am wrong but I think this is the first recording that feature a duo for Crème Chantilly (whipped cream) and Double bass!
Our first CD concert release is this coming Thursday at Justin’s on Lark in Albany NY, where it was recorded live on November 20th 2008. We will perform material from the CD but also some new pieces. For more info on the CD click here. There will also be a New York City release at the Bowery Poetry Club Saturday May 16th 6PM.
Drawing by NP from a series inspired by Henri Michaux. A poem by Henri Michaux is included in the CD.
A toothache plus a little too much sweets and rich food over the holidays prompted this menu. My mouth is healing really well thanks to the care of Jerome Pindell, our family homeopath for 15 years and his referral to Sandra Senzon, a real Tooth Fairy, who is taking me on the path to save seven of my teeth from extraction! After the time to feast, voilà the time to nurture! Life is a question of balance, isn’t it? This dinner is very satisfying and tasty, not austere at all & it might even fit macrobiotic requirements!
Vegetable Soupe with Miso & Seaweed
Brown Rice & Kim Chee
Baked Apples with Cinnamon & Maple Syrup
Vegetable Soup with Miso & Seaweeds
1 Small Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
1 1/2 Cup of Cabbage
1 little piece of Ginger
1/2 cup of seaweed (like wakame, soaked and cut small)
All veggies are chopped very small
2 Tablespoons of Tamari
Do not add miso until ready to serve. (Miso looses it’s power when overheated/boiled)
1 Tablespoon of Miso (I like hatcho or red miso)
Coat a pan and sauté the onions & the carrots. When the onions are translucent add the cabbage, the garlic & the ginger. Sauté for a few minutes. Add 4 cups of filtered water, add the seaweed & the tamari. Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots & cabbage are soft but not mooshy. When you are ready to serve, mix in the miso and make sure you don’t leave any lumps.
Serve with a cup of steamed brown rice and some kimchi.
Baked Apples with Cinnamon & Maple Syrup
Core the apples, place them in a baking dish with a little water on the bottom. Pour 2 tablespoons of maple syrup on top. Bake for 20/30 minutes depending the kind of apple you get. I had forgotten how good these are! (for another occasion you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!)
Cap it all with a good Green Tea & good health to you!
This is a festive winter dinner menu I made several time. I wrote it many years ago for a series of cooking classes untitled “The Demystification of French Cuisine” that I taught at the Café Capriccio Cooking School in Albany N.Y — someday I will retrieve my notes on that topic and will share them with you. Meanwhile here are the recipes for this menu. I think you will agree that it is a well balanced, not heavy, fun to cook & fun to eat menu! So try it and let me know. I have also included some historical background for dinner conversation!
Les Croquettes de Morue sur un Lit de Verdure
Salt-cod cakes served with greens
Morue, a.k.a. baccalaú or salt-cod, is my favorite fish. I like the texture, the taste, the convenience, the flexibility. The use of cod can be traced as far back as the Upper-Paleolithic. And closer to us there is evidence that Basque fishermen came to the coast of Newfoundland to fish for cod way before Columbus had set foot on the American continent. Their first motivation had been to catch whales, but then they switched to fishing cod. It was safer and more lucrative.
There are many different ways to accommodate salt-cod; today we will make croquettes. This is a basic recipe that you will be able to reuse with other ingredients.
I like to serve the “croquettes” with a tossed mixed green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette. (see my famous simple salad)
1 small chopped red pepper
1/2 chopped Jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
3 cloves of garlic
1 whole medium onion
1 chopped medium onion
2 grated (raw) big russet potatoes
1 tablespoon saffron
salt and pepper to taste
The day before:
Rinse the filets and soak in plenty of cold water for about 12 hours, changing water three or four times.
The next day:
Place desalted cod, one onion and one bay leaf in a stock pot with plenty of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and discard onion and bay leaf.
Mix all raw ingredients in a bowl, shred the cod in it. Mix it well. Shape the mixture into little cakes, use a ramekin if texture is too loose, and fry in a hot pan in olive oil about 5 minutes on each side (but that is going to depend on the thickness of the croquettes. I usually eat the first one to check texture and seasoning, and to judge the doneness).
Le Chapon de Noêl aux Marrons
Stuffed Christmas Capon with Chestnuts
Les “Racines” d’Hiver Braisées
Braised Winter Root Vegetables
Our main course is going to be a capon stuffed with chestnuts, sausage and all kinds of delicacies. Capon is such exquisite poultry that it is saved for special occasions. Good, real capons are rare and difficult to raise and therefore difficult to get. Capons are a very ancient tradition: the creature came to us via the Romans, and the Romans learned how to fatten chickens from the Island of Kos in Greece — were Hippocrates (460-377 BC) lived and worked. The people from Kos, unlike the Romans, kept their chickens inside and gave them only selected grains and milk so they were getting fat quickly and their flesh incredibly delicate. Everybody in Rome started doing the same, keeping their chickens inside and so on, but it got to the point where so many people were doing this that Consul Caius Favius was obliged to pass a decree forbidding this practice for sanitary reasons. So now all the chickens were put back in the streets where they were easily distracted and didn’t focus on eating anymore, so they were not getting fat. Along came a veterinarian who had the idea to castrate the chicks so they would get bigger — and it worked!
Today we will serve the capon with winter root vegetables — they are delicious though much neglected and I also believe in using seasonal produce.
Le Chapon de Noêl aux Marrons
Stuffed Christmas Capon with Chestnuts
(You can find capon at the very fine purveyor D’Artagnan. A 12 pounds Capon will feed about 12 people.)
1/2 stick Butter
1 LB very good Bacon (no nitrates)
1 LB thin Sausage (plain)
1/2 LB ground veal
1 LB Mushrooms
25 Chestnuts cooked and peeled
2 medium onions diced
1/2 cup Armagnac (or cognac)
1/2 cup chopped Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lightly sauté onions, then add mushrooms, then bacon, then sausage, then 1/2 of the chestnuts. Flambé with the Armagnac. Place in a bowl, add the ground veal, the parsley, the eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well and stuff the Capon and saw it back.
Preheat Oven to 450 º
Butter or oil the roasting pan, place the capon in the oven and roast at this heat for 30 minutes. In a sauce pan melt 1/2 stick of butter and let it cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325º, baste the capon with pan juices, and drape it with a piece of cheesecloth, soaked in the melted butter. Roast the bird, lifting the cheesecloth and basting every 20 minutes for about 2 1/2 hours or until thermometer registers 180ºF and when juices run clear when thighs are pierced with a skewer. Then remove from oven and from pan and let stand while you make your “jus.”
1/2 cup Armagnac (or cognac)
2 cup chicken broth
2 finely chopped Shallots
Remove all fat and burned pieces (if any) from roasting pan. Put the pan on top of a warm burner. Spread shallots in the pan and move around quickly. Flambé with 1/2 cup of Armagnac (make sure the fan is off when you flambé). Add the two cups of chicken broth, make sure all the caramelized juices are lifted off the bottom of the pan then add the chestnuts. Let simmer gently for a few minutes. Carve the Capon, display on a nice dish with the stuffing. Transfer the sauce to a dish, and serve!
Les “Racines” d’Hiver Braisées
Braised Winter Root Vegetables
This is a very simple dish that will enhance the flavor of your capon.
When I want to be fancy I “turn” the vegetable into olive shapes. Otherwise I cut them into 1/2 inch dice.
Use carrots, turnips or rutabagas, and parsnips -celery root is also an option. Put all your roots in a roasting pan with a little butter and water, salt and pepper, and braise at 300º in the oven until tender but not mushy!
La Crème Paysanne
Les Pescajous du Luchonnais
Do you still have a little room for dessert? Sorry, but I will skip the bûche de Noël —
I am not very found of it, I find it too sweet after such a meal. The pescajous will probably remind you of fried dough, they literally mean “little fishes.” This delicacy is unheard of beyond a 25 mile radius of my home town. Pescajous are served on all religious holidays. The biggest challenge about them is to be able to fill up a basket before anybody sees you making them. If just one person sees you, believe me, it will take you a long, long time to fill up that basket! Unless you can convince the little scavengers to wait for the crème paysanne to dunk them in!
Boil 4 cups of whole milk then flavored with vanilla and rum.
In a bowl, separate 12 egg yolks from the whites. Reserve the egg whites and put the yolks in a bowl with 1 1/2 cup of sugar; whisk until it forms a ruban. Gradually add the warm milk. Mix well, keeping the pan on a very low heat and stirring continuously -making a figure 8- with a wooden spoon until the cream coats the spoon. Let cool off, and keep it in the refrigerator; cover to avoid skin formation.
Pescajous du Luchonnais
4 cups of flour
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoon Yeast
3 Eggs ( yolks separated and whites will be beaten)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup Milk
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla and Rum
Put flour, salt, sugar in a bowl.
Proof the yeast in a little bowl.
Beat the egg white.
Mix egg yolks, vanilla, rum, butter and proofed yeast. Mix this into the flour mixture and add the beaten egg whites slowly.
Let the dough rest and rise for a couple of hours.
When ready to cook, heat 1 quart of oil (safflower or peanut oil) in a wok.
Turn the dough onto a generously floured surface, cut small pieces with a knife and shape by hand into 2 inch squares, 1/8 inch thick, and dip them into the hot oil fry them until golden (a few minutes are sufficient). Fry no more than 4 or 5 at a time and you will get best result if you keep moving then around in the oil with a skimmer. Take them out and place on an absorbent paper towel to remove excess oil and start piling them up in a basket; Sprinkle caster sugar as you go along; they are better warm, and do not forget to dunk them in the crème paysanne!
Pour John & Wayne
The sun has set too fast today.
Can a water lily show me the way?
An impression by Claude Monet
Let Giverny bridge Albany.
Wet paint into wet paint
Emphasizes your qualities.
The perception of your movements
Belongs to les effets de soir.
Your blue shadow is a landscape
Your reflection a guide.
Like a painting by Claude Monet
Impression, soleil levant
Bay Ridge -Sunday, October 26, 2008
Bass: Michael Bisio
Photo/Voice/Text: Nicole Peyrafitte
Recorded Live at Justin’s in Albany N.Y by Sten Isachsen -Bender Studio-November 20, 2008
Wow! my last post was over a week ago and I didn’t get a chance to write anything since then. So let’s go back in time a little bit:
The gig with Mike Bisio at Justin’s in Albany N.Y was a lot of fun and we couldn’t have had a better audience. If you were there: thank you so much for your undivided attention. Pierre Joris produced a live recording of the concert and and it looks like we might have enough material to cut a live album; Sten Isachen from Bender Studio in Delmar, NY did a great job recording us.
If you wish you had been there or want to listen to our very first song of the night, you can! Click to hear arrivé ici (though be aware that this is a very rough and not yet “mastered” mix). Arrivé ici or Come here is a poem by Pierre Joris from “hjr” published by OtherWind Press. Do not hesitate to let me know what you think.
Monday I rushed back from Albany to make sure to get an organic turkey from the Park Slope Food Coop and get all the my Thanksgiving food shopping done as Tuesday and Wednesday were going to be taken up by work. Below you can see the photo reportage —mostly photographed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte— of the preparation, but first let me give you our collaborative family menu:
Pumpkin & Passilla Chili Potage topped w/ crema, cilantro & chopped fresh jalapeño
Served with Marge’s Corn Bread
Stuffed Turkey *My Way*
This stuffing is closer to the one for French Dinde de Noêl or X-mas Turkey. Ingredients are ground pork, shitake mushrooms, onions, celery & carrot (very little), garlic, parsley, brandy, lots of freshly ground pepper, salt — and finish with eggs to bind. The turkey was in a brine for 48 hours.
Haricots Verts (Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Oyster Dressing (Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Roasted Celeriac, Carrots & Shallots with bits of Bacon
Simple Cranberry Sauce
Orange & Shallot Gravy
Plum Tort (Dawn Clements)
Mousse au Chocolat (Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Sweet Potato Pie
Cranberry & Orange & Peanut Butter Pie
Also, I wanted to forward an interesting op-ed New York Times ( I swear it was in the *real* New York Times!) article that has us thinking of a totally different menu for next year. Cocorico!