Solstice Delight

chocolat

It seems to me that the most à propos food to take in on this solstice night is : Theobroma cacao—”food of the gods.”
I don’t know if the Mayans got their calendar from the Olmecs too, but it looks like they got they got the Kakawa, that is chocolate, from Olmec.

“The Maya derived a lot of their high culture from the Olmec,” said Coe, also professor emeritus of anthropology at Yale. “Even the word ‘cacao’ is not a native Maya word—it’s Olmec.” The Olmec lived in the southern Gulf of Mexico between 1500 and 500 B.C., and their influence extended to Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.

“The new find is hard chemical evidence that the Mayans were drinking chocolate in 500 B.C.,” said Coe, suggesting that people were cultivating the cacao tree long before the Maya civilization, which flourished in southern Mexico, the Yucatán, and the highlands of Belize between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1500. source

& this is how I made our heavenly solstice Xocalatl —the original hot chocolate in Aztec culture:

1/2 bar of  organic 80% cacao
1 cup of home made almond milk
1 tbsp arrowroot
Raw agave nectar to taste
1 cup of whole milk

Melt cocoa with almond milk, add arrowroot & bring to a boil & whisk. It will thicken, add the milk, bring to a boil again. Whisk again. Strain and serve.
Happy Solstice everyone!

 

 

Sangría Brava!

In order to fully support Spain during the The World Cup Final I decided to make sangría. It was very  à propos as we were invited to the home of Spanish friends and neighbors. They had made a delicious buffet of empanadas, calamari, arroz negro (black rice, made with sepia ink), chorizo, queso manchego. They had decorated their entire living room red & gold & I think my sangría matched the intensity of the event!

Most sangría recipes call for sweetening ingredients—sugar, honey, ginger ale, seven up…etc. These ingredients are the main reason why sangría hang-overs are dreadful. I worked out a recipe that requires none of the above and and will save you from a terrible headache. I usually drink the first round straight, then I add a few ice cubes and if I sense it is going to be a long drinking stretch I cut it with  seltzer  — always in my glass never in the main container. Needless to say,  this is a sangría con conjones! —meaning strong— so use in moderation, not like I did, though no headache this morning!

Recipe:
4 bottles of wine (Tempranillo)
1 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup Spiced rum (I add a vanilla bean to the bottle)
1/2 cup Spanish brandy
3 oranges
1 Lemon
2  apples
4 peaches
Marinate overnight in the fridge

I marinate the fruits overnight which means that they will loose they original color but will have flavored the wine that much more! Salud!

Viva España & congrats to “La Roja” for a beautiful World Cup!


Charles Bernstein Poetic Birthday Buffet

This month is taken over, not to say consumed, by my dear 19th century comrade, Augustus Saint Gaudens. The deadline for the French project is due in a few weeks  — thus very little time to do anything else.  Fortunately our good friend Charles Bernstein had an important birthday, so I got to take a break and travel to Philadelphia where on 8 April the Kelly Writers House at UPenn had a superb party for the occasion.  The readings were great and you can read & hear more about it on Pierre Joris’ blog and except for the performance by Felix Bernstein and Sherry Bernstein I focused on the food, are you surprised?

They are complete foodies at the KWH and it was splendid! Program Coordinator Erin Gautsche has her own food blog, Veggicurious.com, and  director Al Filreis looks like a gourmand to me! I wanted to record a very nice detail about the party: All the dishes on the buffet were references to Charles Bernstein poems! As noticed by the director, Charles’ poetry doesn’t include a lot of food elements so it wasn’t easy. They dug deep enough into the poems of All the Whiskey in Heaven to create a beautiful, festive, delicious & poetic buffet! See for yourself and click on the photo to enlarge.  Sorry for the poor quality of the video recording.

Healthy Martini!

Healthy Martini

I don’t really complain about the weather, except maybe in the summer when it is really hot and humid  — and that’s when I escape to my native Pyrenees where it’s mosquito free & cool. I like cold weather, I like the snow, I like the rain, I’m scared of the wind but love it, I even like the fog —but not when I have to drive, &  like everybody else I like the sunshine! I think we get the weather we deserve, and we can’t change the weather… I have but it is hard!

Today was definitely a day I was happy not to have to leave the house. It was stormy on the Narrows and it would have taken a serious effort to stay dry and warm outside — and too big of an undertaking to try to change it! I stayed home, got some reading done for the Augustus Saint Gaudens project, cooked food — I will report on that later — watch the “try-less” Six Nation Rugby game between Scotland & England (13-13) and helped Pierre fight the nasty cold that had been attacking him. We did a lot of homeopathic remedies and at around 6pm it was time to get him a good dose of vitamin C since he forgot to take them this morning…that is when I though of an healthy martini!

The first time I had a vodka martini with fresh grape fruit juice was at the Algonquin Hotel lounge where I was hoping to see Matilda the famous resident cat.  “The Hemingway” ($18):  Ketel One, Fresh Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit, Simple Syrup, Sugar Rim (good, but too sweet for my taste.) I sipped it very slowly ($18!)  waiting for the cat to grace me with an appearance but she didn’t. Maybe she was dinning on premium scraps? something like wild salmon or foie gras left overs? Anyway, next time I will try to email her first, as her email are read to her on a daily basis.

All that to say that today was the day to make my version of “The Hemingway” and give it another name — please no offense to the Hemingway aficionados— I call it “Healthy Martini”: 1/2 Stoli, 1/2 Fresh Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit, a dash of Cointreau, in the shaker. So good, so satisfying, so healthy, it brings instant sunshine, inside and outside, guaranteed! Try it.