Water Bottle Drift

Water Bottle Drift

verrazano bridge

I walk along the Verrazano Narrows on Shore Promenade several times a week. On Memorial Day Shore Promenade was busier than usual so I decided to “catwalk” next to the water on the other side of the fence. It was low tide and I wanted to look at what had drifted into the boulders. Between 68th street and the Verrazano bridge there was only one patch of sea shells, but many, many clusters of empty plastic bottles. There is of course other junk, but the litter is mostly made of individual plastic bottles.
I work seriously on decreasing my use of plastic bottles, bags and packaging in general. I do have a few individual bottles saved, I fill them up with water from my filter carafe, keep them in the fridge and take one along when I leave the house. If I forget, I try to find a water fountain but occasionally I do buy a water bottle. Paying close attention to this insane accumulation along The Narrows increased my awareness and I’ll sure try to avoid the occasional bottle purchase as much as possible.

I try to imagine how did this place looked like before Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed through it in 1524. The Italian explorer, who was at the service of the French crown, wrote his employer King Francois 1er that he believed he had found the opening to the Pacific Ocean, therefore a direct route to China. It is reported that while anchored between Staten Island & Brooklyn, Giovanni da Verrazzano “received a canoe party of Lenape people”  and he called what today is called  The Verrazano Narrows in his honor: New Angoulème. The Lenape where hunter gatherers, not by lack of equipment or sophistication but most likely because the natural resources were so plentiful that they didn’t have to worry about planting, growing  or attending crop. It was all right there available for hunting, fishing & picking  (read Anne Mendelson Chapter “The Lenape” in Gastropolis: Food and New York City).

It is so painful to witness the current destiny of this so unique water-based environment. What was an osmosis between man and nature has became its antonym. Today, despite being one of the major water highways of the world — flanked with litter — The Narrows’ commanding views still moves me deeply. This is the mouth of the Hudson River, and one can feel the incredible elemental forces; remember that the Ocean tide is felt all the way to Albany!

The native name for the Hudson River is Mahicanituck, which means: the river that flows two ways. It was very shortly after I took my first walk there that I wrote the song that was in my CD The Bi-Continental Chowder / La Garbure Transcontinentale. I was still living in Albany and the next day I took the train back and kept filming along the Hudson. The video and the song are part of the live performance of The Bi-Continental Chowder / La Garbure Transcontinentale. Below is the recording and the video:


Percussion: Danny Welchel, Voice over: Ben Chadabe, Text/voice/video: N.P.

Another good reason not to buy bottled water is that beverage companies often take water from municipal or underground local resources: you are probably aware that about 40 percent of bottle water comes from the tap! Other negative factors are: transporting the bottles uses energy, increases landfill and and emits toxic chemicals.

Whisk! Don’t Churn at Bowery Poetry Club

Whisk! Don’t Churn at Bowery Poetry Club

THIS COMING SATURDAY:


Saturday May 16 2009
6:00pm -7:30pm

Concert CD release of:
“Whisk! Don’t Churn!”
Nicole Peyrafitte
(voice, video, electronics, whisk & sweets!)
Michael Bisio
(double bass)
&
with guest poet & producer
Pierre Joris
$8
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
New York, NY 10012
(212) 614-0505

CD Details: here
Read  reviews: here
Get the CD: here (though if you come to the release party Saturday the CD will be available on donation)

And you can always find out more about my works on:
Cooking Parties
Nicole’s Website

Creamy & Cheesy Potatoe Gnocchi

Creamy & Cheesy Potatoe Gnocchi

dscn2765

My grandfather, Joseph Peyrafitte, would always make Gnoki à la Romaine —French 20th century spelling— which are made with semolina. It was later in life that I discovered potato gnocchi and I love them. Below is the recipe I use, it is quite simple and though I served it here with with bacon & Parmesan cream sauce, you can use any sauce you like (for example tomato sauce). It is a very filling and soul comforting dish that will please many.

For 2:
2 lbs of potatoes (russet)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 shallot
4 slices of thick bacon
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
(I didn’t have fresh sage that day, but I used some in an earlier version and it is very tasty, just make sure not to put too much, sage can be overwhelming)

Boil the potatoes; when thoroughly cooked, drain them very well.  Put them through the potato ricer. Add the flour, the beaten egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix the ingredients until you have a nice flexible ball of dough (gets a little messy but it is fun!).

Dust flour on a flat clean dry surface, take one piece of dough at a time  and using the palms of your hands make each piece into a thin long roll. Then cut roll into small pieces.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water, let them simmer for a minute. Do not crowd them, cook them in batches, they need to “swim” comfortably in the water.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon.

Sauce:
Sauté the (cut) bacon in a skillet, add the shallot, and sauté until translucent. Remove excess of fat. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce until it thickens. Reduce heat, add grated Parmesan, mix well, adjust seasoning, dump cooked gnocchis in the sauce and serve.


“Whisk! Don’t Churn!”

“Whisk! Don’t Churn!”

whiskcoverweb


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.

nppainting

Drawing by NP from a series inspired by Henri Michaux. A poem by Henri Michaux is included in the CD.