Vernal Cabaret – Gershwin Hotel – NYC

Vernal Cabaret – Gershwin Hotel – NYC

Saturday night I was among the 20 performers celebrating the Nesenkeag Coop Farm & the New Framer Development Project in NY. With Mike Bisio on bass we performed the following program:
– Aqueros Montanhos
– Pasejade au Col de Pierefitte
– O Toulouse
– La Vie en Rose
– Mahicanituck
and the premiere of our lastest composition :
Duo for Crème Chantilly (whipped cream) and Double Bass.
You can have a virtual taste of the event with 2 videos below. Stay tuned for the family easter lunch full report!

Chips (2)

Chips (2)
HOME MADE CHIPS
1- Peel potatoes. I made 2 batches. For the first batch I used 1 Russet potatoe and for the second batch 1 Yukon. The Yukon is tastier. To cut the potatoes really thin I used the potato peeler ($1) and let them soak in cold water for 10 minutes.

Home Chips

2- I drained the potatoes in a colander & dried them really
well.

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3- In my small wok I poured the whole 16 Fl.OZ bottle of safflower
oil and turn the heat high.

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4- I test the heat of the oil by carefully holding the end of one chip into the oil. If the chip “fries” then it is hot enough & I can gently slide my dry potatoes in.

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5- When the chips are golden I remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel.

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6- Salt & pepper to taste. Set on a plate and it is ready to serve. I
hate the first batch while I made the second! I repeated the steps to fry
the second batch making sure I removed all the small bits & pieces form
the oil. Also I did let the oil return to high temperature before frying the
rest.

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7- The oil can be reused a few times. I waited for it to cool and then strained it back into the bottle that I label and save in the fridge.

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8- My chips were delicious — though I have to confess that they are not exactly like my grandfather’s, mostly because we had professional deep fryers at the hotel so that make much crispier chips.

Voilà et Bon Appetit!

Chips (1)

Chips (1)

When I walked from 25th Street in Manhattan to Park Slope a few weeks ago, I came across this store on Greenwich Street. I have seen chips displays before at grocery stores, but never as a display window facing the street. It looked like some art installation:
chips
chipschips

Chips, chips & chips & more chips. Two big windows full of chips! I don’t
eat chips. One: I don’t snack, two: I rarely eat sandwiches or hamburgers, so
not many occasion to find them on my plate. But I actually decline them when
they are offered, unless I know they are homemade. Commercial ones are always
too salty and I don’t like their taste.
But this display brought back some nostalgic memories of my grandfather Joseph Peyrafitte (1891-1973):

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Bon Papa Joseph, as we always called him, presided over the family hotel-restaurant kitchen in Luchon, French Pyrenees, all his life — except when he went to England as a French apprenti cuisinier (I am trying to find out more about this part of his life, because it was the time when Escoffier was there too! Though my grandfather is younger, I always wondered if he ever met him) and when he went for his 4 years of military service, followed by 4 years of war. So, the potato chip display brought me back in time; below is a scan of a page taken from one of his many menu notebooks (merci Pierre!). This one is dated May 31, 1965, and the P. Chip or Potato Chips are served as an accompaniment to Cailles
sur Canapé:

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The Wikipedia‘s entry for potato chip informs us they were invented by George Crumb in 1853 in Saratoga. Well, I don’t want to take any credit away from Chef Crumb because I really like the story. But anyone with potatoes and enough oil could cook some! Anyhow, there is no entry in my first edition of the Dictionnaire Universel de la Cuisine (1890’s), but the Wikipedia site tells us that Alexis Soyer published a recipe in “Shilling Cookery for the People” in 1845. I did find an entry in my grandfather’s Escoffier (2nd edition, 1907):

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So this is it for today. The next post will feature the making of potato chips at home. I made some tonight, but it is too late to keep doing this blogging thing! I rode my bike 14miles/22kms — see the map below — plus a pretty intense yoga class… I need to sleep!

Happy St Patrick’s day and looking forward to Saint Joseph’s day on March 19th!

Spätzle & Côtelettes

Spätzle & Côtelettes

Spätzle, Lamb Chop & Salad

Spätzle? Oui, oui… and I love them. Alright, not very French, but who’s French here? Pyrenean Gascon mountain girl comes first! So that works for the lamb…Humm! what about the Spätzle? I certainly never had them in the Pyrenees.
I acquired then via more Luxembourgish and Germanic influences. There are simple, delicious, nutritious & cheap to make.

This recipe fed me two meals:

First meal: spätzle with sautéed bacon and lots of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Second meal: with pan fried lamb chop cut in from my local Turkish butcher.


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Batter: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white unbleached flour –i could have used only white flour–
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Salt/pepper/nutmeg/parsley/1 egg/ 1/4 cup of water or enough to dilute it to a paste, and voilà the batter is ready
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My set up at the stove
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How to do it: I dump small amounts of dough in boiling water
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Once they come up to the surface, they are cooked! I drained and reserved them
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I sauteed some onions & bacon
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Returned the drained spätzle to the pan, mixed them in and also added a little water to loosen up all stuck juices at the bottom of the pan…I really didn’t want to loose these “sucs” (not suck, i will have to explain “sucs” another time, remind me if i forget or if you really want to know, send a comment!)

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Served with generous fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper

But the best was two days later:

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I reheated the left over over Spätzle in the cast iron pan in which I pan fried 3 delicious lamb shops. I complemented it with my favorite –and famous– simple green salad. The video for the green salad is available at:http://www.nicolepeyrafitte.com/cooking/cookingmemorabilia.html. It’s a segment of the cooking show: “Voilà Nicole!” (Producers Joseph Mastantuono & Nicole Peyrafitte). More info on that will be available very soon at: http://voilanicole.com/

Voilà pour aujourd’hui! Please send comments.