En Route to Idaho — Day 3 : Des Moines – North Platte

Day #3  Des Moines, Iowa – North Platte, Nebraska: 400 Miles 644Kms
We left Des Moines a little after 9AM since we opted for a lighter driving day . It was 19ºF /-7ºc when we left Iowa. The light fog wrapping the windmills was beautifully quixotic. The fog had cleared by the time we reached Nebraska and clear skies accompanied us to North Platte.

We filled up the car & had breakfast before leaving so we stopped only for lunch. No rest stop extravaganza today, au contraire we opted to lunch at the Mormon Island State Recreation Area conveniently located off I-80. Named for the winter stopover used by Mormon emigrants heading westward we enjoyed lunching by the frozen lake and watching some locals ice fishing.

We then headed to North Platte where we had a blast visiting the Buffalo Bill residence’s outdoors grounds since the location is closed for the winter. On this Sunday afternoon North Platte was a pretty empty town and very few of its 24 000 inhabitants were visible. But the world’s largest Rail Yard sure was! After spotting the longest train we had ever seen going through town, we decided to visit the train yard and got there right on time to climb to the top of the The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center & what an amazing view!

This location was chosen because of its close proximity to the Platte river and to Grand Island. Nebraska’s been a railroad center since the Union Pacific Railroad first reached here in July 1866 & that first train rolled through what was known at the time as “Hell on Wheels” town. Today Bailey Yard, named for former Union Pacific president Edd H. Bailey, is the world’s largest train yard. Covering a massive 2,850 acres, each day Bailey Yard manages 10,000 railroad cars. Of those, 3,000 are sorted to make sure the cargo reaches its final destination. We sure did see some action from the Golden Spike Tower. We watched a gorgeous sunset and went to find our motel for the night.

Again we were able to make our lunch, dinner, coffees & teas. Lunch was a tuna fish salad into which I mixed the last of the grains — faro, rye & oats mixture — diced daikon, carrot, celery, red pepper, dressed w/ PJ’s Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Pierre had cheddar I had goat cheese with bran crackers,nuts & a clementine. For tonight’s dinner we finished the lentils as a soup, made a salad & used the last of PJ’s dressing, Blue Iowa Maytag plus apples & walnuts for dessert. Tomorrow a longer ride: trying to get to Rock Spring Wyoming!

And now if you have travel so far with us you might want to watch a freight train passing by for almost 3 minutes — and that is not even the full train. Mesmerizing!

En Route to Idaho — Day 1 : Brooklyn – Maumee

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January 1 2016

Nice first day on the road to Idaho. Smooth ride with with very little traffic . We left Bayridge, Brooklyn  at 7:56 & got to Maumee, Ohio 5:58PM. We drove 566 miles (910 kms) out of 2475 miles (3983 kms) to get to Boise Idaho. We crossed New-Jersey, Pennsylvania & two third of Ohio.
We made our coffees, teas, lunch (Braised d’Artagnan Berkshire Pork; Lentil Salad; Greens, Goat Yogurt w/ Cinammon/Stevia & Roasted Seeds) & dinner (Red Miso Soup with Oats,Rye & Farro; Pumpernickel Buttered Bread; Hard Boiled Egg, Carrot & Celery, Cheddar w/ Apples & Cashew Nuts.
We listened to France Culture, NPR, John Coltrane, Matthew Ship, Michael Bisio & Cheikha Rimitti.
Below is the photo reportage, stay tuned!

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Pennsylvania

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Happy New Year!

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Have a great 2014 & looking forward to see you TODAY at
The 41st Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading
Thursday, January 1, 2015 2:00 pm to Friday, January 2, 2015 2:00 am
I will be performing between 2-3pm with the great Michael Bisio & stop by for crêpes & soup in the back!

Featuring: Adam Fitzgerald, Adeena Karasick, Alan Felsenthal, Alan Gilbert, Alan Licht, Alex Cuff, Ali Power, Alli Warren, Andrew Durbin, Anne Tardos, Anne Waldman w/ Fast Speaking Music, Anselm Berrigan, Ariel Goldberg, Arlo Quint, Avram Fefer, Beth Gill, Bill Kushner, Billy Cancel, Bob Rosenthal, Brandon Brown, Brendan Lorber, Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers, CAConrad, Callers, Charity Coleman, Charles Bernstein, Christine Kelly, Cliff Fyman, Cori Kresge, Dan Owen, Danniel Schoonebeek, David Berrigan, David Henderson, David Vogen, Dia Felix, Diana Rickard, Don Yorty, Dorothy Friedman August, Dorthea Lasky, Douglas Rothchild, E. Tracy Grinnell, Ed Friedman, Edgar Oliver, Edmund Berrigan, Eileen Myles, Elinor Nauen, Elizabeth Willis, Erica Hunt & Marty Ehrlich, erica kaufman & Matt Longabucco & Nicole Eisenman, Ernie Brooks, Peter Zummo & Bill Ruyle with Walter Baker & Billy Fica, Evan Kennedy, Farnoosh Fathi, Filip Marinovich, Foamola, Georgia Faust, Gina Myers, Grey Vild, Ian Spencer Bell, Iris Cushing, Jackie Wang, Janet Hamill & Lost Ceilings, Jason Hwang, JD Samson, Jennifer Bartlett, Jess Fiorini, Jim Behrle, Joanna Koetze, Joel Lewis, John Coletti, John Giorno, John Kruth, John Priest, John S. Hall, Jonas Mekas, Joseph Keckler, Justin Vivian Bond, Karen Weiser, Karinne Keithley Syers, Katy Bohinc, Katy Lederer, Kiely Sweatt, Kim Rosenfield, Kristin Prevallet, Laura Henriksen, Lee Ann Brown, Lenny Kaye, luciana achugar, Marcella Durand, Maria Acconci, Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Martha King, Maryam Parhizkar, Matthew Shipp, Mel Elberg, Mike DeCapite, Miriam Atkin, Mónica de la Torre, Morgan Parker, Morgan Vo, Murat Nemet-Nejat, Nat Otting, Nick Hallett, Nicole Peyrafitte, Nicole Wallace, Niv Acosta, Norman MacAfee, Patricia Spears Jones, Penny Arcade, Peter Bogart Johnson, Philip Glass, Pierre Joris, R. Erica Doyle, Rachel Levitksy, Rachel Tractenburg, Ray Brown, Rob Fitterman, Samita Sinha, Sara Jane Stoner, Simon Pettet, Simone White, Siobhan Burke, Steve Dalachinsky, Steve Earle, Steven Taylor, Susan Bee, Tammy Faye Starlite with Steve Earle, Ted Dodson, Thom Donovan, Thomas Sayer Ellis & James Brandon Lewis, Todd Colby, Tom Savage, Tommy Pico, Tony Towle, Tonya Foster, Tracey McTague, Ursula Eagly, Vito Acconci, Will Edmiston, Xena Semjonova, Yoshiko Chuma, Yuko Otomo, Yvonne Meier and others TBA.

The Poetry Project is extremely grateful for the support and generosity of the following donors – who contributed food, beverages, books, and tons of terrific raffle prizes to this year’s Marathon!:

Food: Bob Rosenthal & Don Yorty, Nicole Peyrafitte, Gillian McCain, Tonya Foster, Porto Rico Coffee, S’MAC, Two Boots, Veselka and Grandaisy.

Books: Belladonna*, BlazeVox, BookThug, Brooklyn Arts, Burning Deck, City Lights, Coconut, Coffee House Press, Compline Editions, Cuneiform, Edge, Fewer & Further Press, Granary Books, Hanging Loose Press, Least Weasel, Pressed Wafer, Straw Gate, Susan Mills Artist Books, Tender Buttons, Ugly Duckling Presse, United Artists, Wave, and Wonder.

Raffle Prizes: Anthology Film Archive, BAM, Brooklyn Brainery, Danspace, JACK, Spectacle, Strand Books Store, and Unnameable Books.

The New Year’s Day Marathon is the Project’s central fundraiser and provides income to support what we do best – serve as a public venue for the substantial presentation of innovative writing! For more information on the event see the Marathon section our website, complete with a section called “HOW THE MARATHON IS ORGANIZED.”

A “Restaurant” with Healing Paste

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Food for health is not a new trend; after all the name “restaurant” comes from the verb “to restore.” At the beginning of the 16th century the word was used to describe a meat fortifying broth sold in small Paris shops. Then, by the mid 18th century the word became the name for places where restoring soups where served.

If you feel “under the weather,” something most of us have experienced these past few months, this soup will give you a lift! This is how I proceeded but there is a lot of flexibility in the recipe. If you are vegetarian or vegan just make a rich veggie broth.

In my case I had the carcass of a Guinea fowl we had roasted a couple of days ago (chicken or any meat bones would do, though beef and lamb will have to cook longer). The carcass went into a large stock pot. I added a few green cabbage leaves; 1 onion with 3 cloves stuck in it; 1 carrot; 1 leek; 2 laurel leaves tied together with a small bouquet of parsley; 2 branches of celery; a few grains of black pepper; 1/2 lemon; a little piece of ginger that was lingering around; and a couple of garlic cloves. I simmered it for a couple of hours. Meanwhile I prepared the healing paste.

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In a food processor I mixed 8 cloves of garlic, 2 pieces of fresh turmeric, 2 pieces of fresh ginger, 1 tsp 1/2 of cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup of sesame oil (I use all organic ingredients). Once all is well blended, it is ready to be used and can be kept in the fridge in a glass bowl — I pour a thin layer of sesame oil on top to keep it moist. I got the idea of the paste by reading an article by Dr. Majid Ali. I simply followed his idea for Poly-spice therapy. Dr. Ali considers ginger, turmeric & cayenne pepper the most important healing spices. Here is a quote from an abstract of his article you can find the full version here:

Principles of Spice Medicine 
In closing this first of my series of article on the spice medicine and oxygen, I briefly state the following important aspects of such therapies that may be considered the principles of spice medicine:

1. Mono-spice therapy in large doses but for short periods of time can be very effective for acute conditions. To cite one example, large doses of ginger are often helpful in controlling motion sickness and pregnancy- related nausea. However, continuous mono-spice therapy for extended periods of time should be avoided. 

2. Poly-spice therapy — the concurrent use of spices with empirically- recognized complementary roles — is generally more beneficial for controlling acute infectious and inflammatory processes. For instance, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cayenne (when tolerated well) can be combined for better results.

3. For chronic inflammatory and infectious disorders, mono-spice therapy should be avoided. Poly-spice therapy for such disorders yields superior results when combined with direct oxystatic therapies, such as hygrogen peroxide foot soaks (done with one part 3% peroxide and 30 parts of water with a pich of salt added).

The discussions of the therapeutic benefits of specific spices are presented in other articles of this series.

Returning to the cooled soup. I poured 1 1/2 quart of the broth into a sauce pan, added the meat I picked off the carcass and the cooked veggies — discarding the bones and skin and removing the parsley & laurel leaves. I warmed the soup again, added some soy sauce, & once the soup was hot I added country style miso (never boil miso, it looses it’s potency), & finished it with 1 tbsp of the healing paste (or more if you like the heat of the cayenne.) Serve garnished with parsley and lemon. Bon appétit & bonne santé!

healing paste

 

 

RSVP NYC HOME SALON a New Interview Reading Series

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If you RSVP’d to the March 15th Salon via email [email protected] ( that is before Sunday March 9th)
PLEASE DO IT AGAIN! because I didn’t get your message since
I made a mistake when I set up the gmail address.
the correct address is:
[email protected] 
Sorry for the inconvenience.


RSVP NYC 

(an interview/reading)
HOME SALON
To provide a space for conversation and
create a more meaningful feeling of community
Free events at rotating homes 

RSVP #1:
SATURDAY MARCH 15th
at the home of Pierre Joris  & Nicole Peyrafitte
Gathering 5PM/Reading 6PM

SERVING & GRILLING: 


JEAN PORTANTE

Poet from Luxembourg ( see bio below)
SOUP & SALAD

You CAN BRING:
Drinks/cheese/dessert/bread/crackers/hors d’oeuvres
Let us know what you’ll bring when you RSVP. 

You MUST RSVP to:
[email protected]
 (no exception)

Space limited to the first 25 people – first come first serve basis
Address & direction will be given to you when with your RSVP confirmation: [email protected] 

 

If you are interested in volunteering to help or host please email us at

 Jean Portante was born in Differdange (Luxembourg) in 1950. He is of Italian origin. He lives in Paris. He has written more than fifty books, including poetry, novels, stories, plays, essays, and translations, and has been widely translated. His books have been published in Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec, Ireland, Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Germany, Slovakia, Serbia, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Great-Britain, etc. He translated to the French poets like Juan Gelman, Jerome Rothenberg, Pierre Joris, John Deane, Gonzalo Rojas, Edoardo Sanguineti, Valerio Magrelli, Durs Grünbein, etc.

In 2003 his book L’Etrange langue was awarded the Prix Mallarme in France, and the same year Portante was awarded the Grand Prix d’Automne de la Societe des Gens de Lettres for his entire work. In 2005, French editor Le Castor Astral published a personal anthology, La Cendre des mots, containing a selection of his work from 1989 to 2005.

Having lived in Cuba for many years Portante is very much at home in Latin America, and a prominent translator of Latin American poetry. Politically, he remains a combative spokesman for the Left in his columns for Le Jeudi, and is highly regarded for his representation of Italian immigrant experience in Luxembourg as described in his autobiographically-inspired novel Mrs Haroy ou la mémoire de la baleine.

In English he has published: Point. Eraising, The Daedalus Press, 2003 and In Reality, Seren Books, June 2013.

As a novelist, Jean Portante published, among others, Mrs Haroy ou la memoire de la baleine, which has been translated into many languages. He is also the author of a biographical essay on Allen Ginsberg: Allen Ginsberg. L’autre Amerique. Le Castor Astral, 1999.

Since 2006, Jean Portante is member of the Academie Mallarme, based in Paris. In 2008, he founded, in France, with the French poet Jacques Darras, the poetry magazine Inuits dans la jungle. In Luxembourg he is at the head of the literary magazine Transkrit.

In 2011 he was awarded the National Literature Award of Luxembourg for his entire work.

About:

In Reality: Selected Poems

Jean Portante

Zoë Skoulding (trans.)

Jean Portante is a lyric poet, and also one who has something to say to an international audience. As a Francophone Luxemburger of Italian descent, his poetry works at the spaces between European cultures and is concerned with themes of identity, politics, language, Europe, the divide between politics and everyday life. This dual language edition collects work from the last 20 years, including poems from his 2013 collection, Après le tremblement, which addresses an earthquake in his ancestral Italian village.

Rich in imagery, and addressing themes like memory and forgetting, Portante’s poetry moves discursively to a telling conclusion, which engages readers in whatever language they encounter him. The poems are presented in dual text.

Pierre Joris wrote of this book: “In reality, reality is ghosted by a multiplicity of forms of energy & energies of form it is the poet’s job to reveal & hide in the double play of his languages’ hide & seek. Jean Portante is a master at just that chassé-croisé of language & meaning, of real ghosts & ghostly realities. One ‘In Reality’ can (& does) hide another. Read on & in.”

 

Tourin or Quick Open Fire Soup

 

The night before I left for a workshop with rhythm master Bernard Lubat in Uzeste, I made a tourin in our fire place. This soup of humble origin is mostly known as tourin à l’ailsopa de ajo in Spanish or garlic soup in English. Many variations are possible & in this case I used the ingredients available in the house: 1 tomato, 1 head of garlic, 1 onion, old bread & goose fat.


In a cast iron dutch oven I thoroughly sauteed the thinly sliced onion in goose fat. Meanwhile I crushed 3 cloves of garlic & a sprig of fresh rosemary in the mortar. After adding them to the pot, I removed the latter from the heat to avoid bitterness — over-sauteed garlic becomes bitter. I crushed the tomato in the mortar & added it to the onion garlic mixture. With no stock available, I added plain water to obtain the desired consistency. Coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper & a dash of piment d’Espelette are added for seasoning & then the pot is returned to the open fire for about 15/ 30 minutes.

With thick slices of old country-style bread rubbed with garlic & drizzled with goose fat lining the bottom of the plate, hot soup is poured in et voilà! le tour est joué & you get a magnificent & most satisfying soup. A beaten egg is often added before serving; this is especially enriching if you have only garlic to make the soup. Whoever needed canned soup? Pas moi!


Photos Pierre Joris & N.P

Gratinée or French Onion Soup

My dad always calls it a gratinée, but it is generally called une soupe à l’oignon, here in the USA it is mostly known under the name “French onion soup.” Whatever you call it, it is a delicious and incredibly restorative soup.  Actually they used to serve it at my dad’s night club at the wee hours when many customers would have it to soak up the booze and line their stomach for more drinking. I used to make it on New Years eve when we had a party at the house and serve is at 1 or 2 am. It really makes a difference in the quality of your hangover — trust me!
Well, this time it was not about a hang over but about the carcass of a roasted chicken that had been picked clean of all its meat and was sitting in the fridge. I threw it in a pot, covered it with water, 1 onion, 1 carrot , 1 bouquet garni. When it came to a boil, I let it simmer for 1 hour, then strained the broth and let it cool. This type of broth can be used as a base for many soups or sauces, but tonight as we were waiting for another snow storm I was craving my onion soup. (You can substitute the homemade broth for some store bought stock & if you are vegetarian you can use an Organic Mushroom Broth)

Recipe for two:

In a soup pot melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Meanwhile slice 2 large sweet onions very thin.
Cook the onions over moderate heat until they are golden & almost caramelized. At this point some recipes call for sprinkling a tablespoon of flour to give the soup a thicker consistency. I don’t, because I like my onion soup lighter, plus I feel that the bread that will be on top provides plenty of thickness & starch once you mix it in with the soup, but I though I’d mention it as so many recipe do.
Add about 2 1/2 cup of broth, 2 teaspoons of brandy or white wine —that is my secret!
Season with salt, fresh ground pepper  and let simmer for about 1/2 hour.

Garlic butter

Meanwhile make parsley & garlic butter. In a food processor add 1/2 stick of butter, 2 cloves of garlic, blend well and add 1 cup of chopped parsley, mix it in for just a few seconds, do not over  blend once the parsley is in. Fill a little ramekin and save in the fridge. Cut a few slices of good country french bread, butter generously with the parsley & garlic butter. Fill two individual soup tureens with the onion soup, place the buttered bread on top, & top generously with grated —in order of preference— Gruyère, Emmental or Swiss cheese. Place the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with a few pink pepper corn and a spring of parsley and Bon Appetit!


Three Sisters Soup

I am back from a wonderful trip to the Pyrenees and a short visit to Paris. I arrived just in time to dive into the kitchen to prepare our Thanksgiving dinner. Husband, older son & daughter in law had been very efficient on getting all the necessary ingredients. They also took charge of brining & smoking our 14 lbs organic turkey — it turned out delicious. Joseph —the older son— made the best oyster dressing he ever made for us; he has been improving the recipe we have used for a few years and I will pass it on one of these days. I will not get into all the details of our dinner as I have a few deadlines coming up, but the one thing I will share from our  2010 menu is our Three Sisters Soup. There are many ways of making this soup, and I have made it many times, but I do think this year’s version is the best so far.

First, a little light on the origin of the name. The soup is named after the Native American technique of growing maize, beans & squash together:

Three Sisters (agriculture)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans (typically tepary beans or common beans).

In one technique known as companion planting, the three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops. Each mound is about 30 cm (1 ft) high and 50 cm (20 in) wide, and several maize seeds are planted close together in the center of each mound. In parts of the Atlantic Northeast, rotten fish or eel are buried in the mound with the maize seeds, to act as additional fertilizer where the soil is poor.[1][2] When the maize is 15 cm (6 inches) tall, beans and squash are planted around the maize, alternating between beans and squash. Milpas are farms or gardens that employ companion planting on a larger scale.[3]

The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a “living mulch“, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.

Native Americans throughout North America are known for growing variations of three sisters gardens. The Anasazi are known for adopting this garden design in a more xeric environment. The Tewa and other Southwest tribes often included a “fourth sister” known as “Rocky Mountain bee plant” (Cleome serrulata), which attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash.[4]


2009 Native American dollar reverse with Three Sisters on it

In the past I made three different soups and served them together. This year I decided to make only the back bean and the butternut squash soups and serve the corn as a garnish on top. This added a pleasant texture to the dish.

Black Bean Soup:
I had some cooked black beans in my freezer. I sauteed one diced onion, added one jalapeno, salt, and a dash of Melinda sauce (for the chipotle pepper taste), added the beans and water. Let it cook for one hour.  Then I blended it with cooking liquid. The consistency should be a little thinner than a smoothie.

Butternut Squash Soup:
I peeled a butternut squash and cooked it in salted water. Meanwhile I prepared a bechamel sauce:

Béchamel sauce
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk

Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy sauce pan. Add all the flour, move away from heat and stir briskly until smooth. Add the milk & put back on the stove, stir continually with a wire whisk to prevent any lumps —this is a basic sauce that you can use for many other recipes like macaroni and cheese, or any other gratins, lasagnas etc.

Once the squash is cooked, blend it in a food processor with enough cooking liquid to obtain a  thick consistency. Return to a pan and add as much bechamel as you like. Season with salt & pepper.

Corn kernels:
In a pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 2 cups of corn kernels, salt & pepper. Glaze them until golden and a little crunchy.

Keep your soups and the corn warm — I do keep everything in a chef pan double boiler mode— prepare the other garnish: cilantro, whipped cream & finely chopped jalapenos for the people who can handle it.
Once you are ready to sit down to dinner set up your plates.

1- Pour the butternut squash soup first.
2- The bean soup in the middle of the squash soup
3- Add a dolop of whipped cream, cilantro, chopped jalapeno and voilà!  & bon appetit!