Voilà! Live Cooking Videos – while confined

Voilà!  Live Cooking Videos – while confined

Friday April 24th was the finale of season #1 of our Voilà Lunchtime livecast adventure!
First and foremost THANK YOU to all the viewers, & a very special thank you to all the regulars from literally all around the globe. During these 24 daily livecast rendez-vous, you provided sustained warm & joyful support which gave me a some sense of purpose in these trying times while we are all confined, waiting for the virus to pass.
By now, sadly most of us know someone who has succumbed to the coronavirus, and we are also all watching — or no longer watching in order to stay sane — the ineffective & disgusting political debacle. Even if most of us are safely at home, and in a somehow privileged situation — I sure feel mine is that — we still all go through the emotional roller coaster, so if the show helped make your ride smoother, I am super happy. You need to know that it sure eased mine tremendously, so gratitude to you all for watching & cheering! I really know that I also learned a lot from the whole process.
Do not hesitate to reach out via messenger at any point if you have cooking questions of just want to keep in touch; I would love that!
Meanwhile, stay healthy, take great great care & eat the best you can.
Much much love from the two of us.

 

P.s. The videos of all 24 shows are available, clickable, watchable further down on this page, & they all have notes & links with useful information..


A little background:

Once upon a time I was a cook! I never liked the term chef, though I did run kitchens & was called one! I never really missed the restaurant business, but never stopped cooking. In the early years of this blog I posted more recipes & articles on food, I taught cooking & went as far as taping a demo cooking show, and filming several recipes.  My aim has always been to empower people in the kitchen, not to impress them. I appreciate sophisticated techniques & truly enjoys highly skilled chefs but I was never into that kind of cooking.  My background is in French regional Southwestern food but I have been in the US since 1987 and learned so much about food here. Getting together with Pierre Joris (here producer/dishwasher/husband) in 1989 was crucial for my artistic future but also for my cooking experience: it is through Pierre that I met Diane Rothenberg & Margie Byrd who are my mentors in many ways. Both are great cooks and had open tables for many years. Diane, an anthropologist, tremendously expanded my perspectives on the history of food; Margie taught me many American staples — the best corn bread ever! & then there is my childhood friend Ariane Daguin from d’Artagnan who is an inspiration has been incredibly supportive of my food related performance work. She was an early supporter of La Garbure Transcontinentale/The Bi-Continental Chowder, a performance that included texts, videos, cooking and sharing the result with the audience. Pierre & I went on doing more of these performance & a memorable one was at the Jardin des Cinq Sens et des Formes Premières in Provence; this performance included the making of a Primordial Soup, readings, vidéos, music by Denis Brun and a Karstic-Action Painting. Here are some pix.

But my cooking debut were really early! I was born in Luchon (French Pyrenees) into the 5th generation of a family of hoteliers-restaurateurs (Hotel Poste et Golf) & my very early cooking training started when I was 6 years old with my grand-father chef Joseph Peyrafitte (whose father Louis was also a chef). Later, when I took over the family kitchen, I went to intern at award winning restaurants in France –1982: Restaurant Vanel, Toulouse, 1991: Hotel de France, Auch. Both places had 2 stars at the Michelin Guide  — then I got a few awards myself!

Anyway! forwarding to today: like everyone else we are trying to make the best of this imposed confinement & I always find solace in cooking & eating well.  So Pierre & I decided to share the prepping of our simple & healthy home cooking live. We are live both on Facebook & Instagram Monday-Friday from 12 to 12:30 —sometimes a bit longer.  Sharing & live-casting our cooking is really in line with our Domopoetic* practice.

What do we eat/cook & why?
A few years back for serious health reasons we switched to healthier, low glycemic foods & adopted the 16/8 intermittent fasting method that involves eating only during an 8-hour window & fasting for the remaining 16 hours. So we eat a variety of foods but avoid pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, processed flour & we favor veggies, legumes, eggs, healthy whole grains, & responsibly raised meat, poultry, & seafood, some fruits…Well, you get the idea & you will discover the details in the videos below. We will keep adding them as we go. Never hesitate to ask questions or request foods recipes you would like to see demonstrated or talked about.

Voilà! Bon Appétit, stay home & healthy!

“Voilà Lunchtime” were daily live-casted on FB & IG from March 24 -April 24 2023 M-F 12:00 EST

* Domopoetics is our collaborative attempt to think, feel & make us respons/able to this/our world & it responsive to us. We do this via our private lives & public actions & performances that meander dialogically between Nicole Peyrafitte’s drawings & videos, voice-, textual & cooking work & Pierre Joris’ poems, translations & essayistic thinking.

Memorabilia:

Sitting next to a chaud-froid de volaille at the hotel Kitchen
Hotel Poste & Golf Bagnères-de-Luchon (here circa 1965)
My grand-pa Chef Joseph Peyrafitte
San-Diego 1990 : Nicole, Pierre Franey, Ariane Daguin
Award 1981
Award 1982

Burning Lamb & Bands : TreeFort 2016

Burning Lamb & Bands : TreeFort 2016

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Dear Boise,

Are you for real? Or will I find out one day I was dreaming? Many things have charmed me about you & just to name a few: the kindness of your people, the basques, who have a special place in my heart, your dry & mild winter, your mountains, your deserts, the variety & quality of your state grown food — & I am not talking of the potatoes —,  your foodcoop, your restaurants, your cleanliness…& now your Treefort Festival!?

I love you, Boise!

NP

It’s spring break & I was looking forward to stay put here in Boise & catch up with my pile of to do’s. But the Treefort in in town! The five-day, indie rock festival started in 2012. Today the emphasis is still on the music with about 400 bands playing from Thursday through Sunday, while another full schedule of events organized in “Forts” happens simultaneously. I attended FilmFort, FoodFort & StoryFort. This is what Treefort says about itself & I witnessed it:

We see Treefort as a celebration what makes Boise great – whether it’s Boise’s local breweries, homegrown food, skatepark, lively downtown core or simply its strong spirit of collaboration and love of the outdoors. Boise has something for everyone, no matter their age, and we hope that Treefort is an example of that.
In 2015, Treefort was named the City of Boise’s Cultural Ambassador for being an event that genuinely reflects the energy across mediums that is happening in the Boise community and cultural scene, and for the vision of connecting Boise and its creatives with other communities around the region, the country and around the world. The Cultural Ambassador title runs through 2017.

Private venues take advantage of the Treefort momentum to organise events of their own. On Saturday afternoon, as I was heading to the Foodfort to taste some of the local chefs’ dishes, Basque friends tell me that whole lambs are being roasted outside The Modern Hotel. Not surprising, since the owner is Basque & her family owned a Basque boarding house accommodating shepherds in Nampa, ID. “The Modern” is one of Boise’s artsy cultural hubs where locals gather at the bar for cocktails & tasty morsels. I rushed to the Modern & there the scene was unreal. On both sides of Grove Street Band Dialogue III was rehearsing. This recurring event, led by Seth Olinsky, features a dozen bands with their respective instrumental kits lined up &  generating shifting walls of sound…& next to it a lamb was quietly being roasted, hand cranked by the helpers of the Ansotegui’s Family. Watch the video to get a sense of the scene & hear about the Ansotegui’s family history & recipes. I hope to visit them soon again at Epi’s Restaurant in Meridien.

 

& now for the sake of keeping record, this is the list of what I did:
Wednesday March 23 :
Filmfort
Idaho’s Forgotten War : great doc about the Kootenay people. In 1974, tribe leader Amy Trice declares & wins war on the United States government to save her people. Then stayed on for the screenings of FunnelSMOKE + Q&ACarbon + Q&A

Thursday March 24
Filmfort :

Outstanding  afternoon of screenings. Different genres but totally inspiring works & Q&A
A Band Called Death  Q&A + Skype discussion with filmmakers
Everyone in Between
Genderations
The last two docs must be shown widely to get great insights & understanding of the —hopefully soon to be dead— gender labelizations.
Music:
Wolvserpent, Mamiffer, Chelsea Wolve (the last one was my favorite)

Friday March 25
FoodFort:
Grains in the Gem State :  Panel about new grains being grown in Idaho, Teff being one of them (can’t wait to try KIBROM’S, the local Ethiopian & Eritrean restaurant.) 
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Music:

Naked Giants: Very talented & very young boys band from Seattle that really cracked me up —felt very nostalgic for the Skinnybones years! (Jake Williams & our son Miles Joris-Peyrafitte band from a few years back)

Filmfort:
Janis: Little Girl Blue (which Pierre, the old hippie, liked more than I did.)

IMG_3348
Saturday Mach 26

StoryFort:
Eileen Myles:  loved the activating & sharp reading & Q&A.
MixedFort: (I made that one up!)
Basque Lamb & Bands: see Burning Lamb & Bands
Music
Would have liked to hear CocoRosie but was sold out.
So back to more of the Naked Giants, followed by Dude York featuring — what I liked best about the band, bassist/vocalist Claire England.
Sunday March 27
StoryFort:
As soon as I post this I will be heading to Paige Ackerson-Keely, Kerri Webster & Janet Holmes readings & then back on track to teach tomorrow!

Merci Les Bois!

Boisen Euskal Bizitza or Basque Life Style in Boise

Boisen Euskal Bizitza or  Basque Life Style in Boise

March 19th, 2016: St. Joseph’s day. I am not christian, but still a special day for me since it is was my beloved grand-father’s name after whom I named my older son.  On that day Pierre & I were very honored to be invited by Argia Beristain & Chef Jesus Alcelay to the monthly Basque dinner at the Boise Basque Center. Three hundred diners are scheduled to attend. We arrive a little early & wait at the bar before filing into the banquet room.  I look around &, without the sound track surrounding me I could be anywhere in the Pyrenees, with the sound track anywhere in the Basque country. The conversations are mostly in Basque & there is almost nothing to remind me that I am in Boise, Idaho. Not only are the conversations in Basque, but most of the faces look familiar. It is clear that Pyrenean people share the same ancestry. Native Pyreneans are Vascons, a people of ancient Iberia & undoubtedly facial as well as cultural features remain & I definitely belong to this tribe.  A few years back I had my DNA tested & besides having a high percentile of Neanderthal variants — I am not kidding: I am more Neanderthal than 89% of 23andMe customers, & have 307 variants when 400 is the max!  I am also 70% Southern European, with 60% Iberian…. Thus not so French, & it delights me to feel the cave ladies of the Pyrenees in me!

Even the aromas escaping from the downstairs kitchen are familiar. Argia invites me to sneak down to say hello to Chef Jesus Alcelay. We are just in time to capture Jesus in full action before the dishes are hoisted up to the dinning hall. We catch him putting the finishing touches to the Oriotorra, a technique I must say I have never done in this order, but will try soon. See Jesus demonstrating:

Here is the delicious, copious & generous menu, served buffet style:
Oriotarra — Cod the way they make it in the town of Orio — see video
Tripacallos — Honeycomb beef tripe in tomato sauce
Arroza Txirlekin — Clams & Rice (same as the one Jesus made for our class on Monday)
Txingarretan Saiheskiak — Slowly roasted garlicky ribs
Green Salad & Cake

So, yes! being in Boise is great on many accounts, but the history, gastronomy & solidarity of the Basque that impregnate the town helped me feel at home right away.
Both my Food & Culture classes celebrated Basque culture in Boise. Chef Jesus Alcelay hosted the Monday night class & on Friday basque scholar Argia Beristain shared her family recipe—see details here.

We sat we Argia & her husband Keenan. To my right, two families of first generation immigrants who both came as shepherds, & one told me that he was the last shepherd to have come from the Basque country. It was moving to hear their stories. As I said on this blog, I read John Bieter’s (B.S.U History Professor) & Mark Bieter’s excellent book :  An Enduring Legacy : The History of basque in Idaho, but hearing stories first hand is very special. I wish I had written down their names to thank them for their hospitality & sharing. Please contact to me if you read this blog so I can add your names.  (Addendum: Thank you Argia! to my right Miguel Angel Azpitarte)

. Voilà! meanwhile here is video to give you a taste & a sound bite of the evening. A happy Saint Joseph’s day & a heart felt eskerrik asko!

 

The Boise Report

The Boise Report

Very much enjoying our stay in Boise, Idaho.
On Saturday I was invited to give a short performance at The Cabin, a Center for writers, readers — & performance, since the event was called: GHOSTS & PROJECTORS presents: The Poetry Speakeasy.

Otherwise, incredibly busy teaching / cooking / performing 3 classes to remarquable, attentive & generous students. My courses are 2 sections of a food & culture course for the Boise State Honors College: 

What Do We Eat? Why Do We Eat It? Where Does It Come From? How Do We Cook It?
While eating is the most common shared need of humankind, the great varieties of foods and cuisines serve not only our biological survival but also help to identify ourselves culturally. This course explores historical, economic, and ritual aspects of food, and looks at the role of cooking and eating in the context of the transformations of the world food system due to globalization, new technologies & migrations. Through lectures, demonstrations, films and hands-on preparation, students will learn to analyze their own food heritage while exploring local, national and international ingredients and their use. This very interactive —and tasty seminar— will also give you the basic skills to cook simple, healthy and affordable meals. You will learn knife skills, soup making, how to prepare party foods like crêpes or simple hors d’oeuvres, and how to plan menus for yourself and/or the family.

& one workshop for the English department —where Pierre is visiting writer in residence:

P P P : Practice Performance Poetry
As Jacques Roubaud writes: “Just about anything may be encountered in the guise of ‘performance poetry’: music, declamation, theatrical bits, acrobatics, ‘primal screams,’ and so on.” We will indeed explore the full range of poetry-in-action both theoretically & practically. Your active participation will be the key that will open the space for an experimental individual & collective heuristic practice. 
Our workshop type class emphasis is on practice. You will be making work in class & are expected to perform it. Be prepared to be immersed in the art of the act of doing from the moment you walk into class on day one. Practice will include working on skills that will help you connect with your voice & body as the instruments they are.
Through breathing techniques, voice warm-up, light stretches you will learn to develop & expand your creative & delivery powers, to trust & stretch your performative skills.
To substantiate this practice we will investigate a range of manifestos, movements and cultural contexts from paleolithic art to today’s performance art.

Life is on a slower pace here. The weather mild & dry, people extremely kind —& surprisingly liberal, food exquisite & to give it the perfect flavor a huge Basque community —some say about 20 000! ( see pictures below) So chorizo, pimiento, lamb dishes permeate many restaurant menus!
We were graced by Jerome & Diane Rothenberg visit. They came to talk to our classes & Jerome gave a wonderful reading —Video to be uploaded soon!

Méchoui or Whole Lamb on a Spit

Méchoui or Whole Lamb on a Spit

Cooking on a spit was the theme of Pierre’s 65th birthday. After the cake on the spit (see previous blog here),  voilà the lamb on the spit a.k.a méchoui! According to the Robert historique de la langue Française the origin of the word méchoui is: “Borrowed (1912) from the Arabic maghrebien mešwi “roasted, grilled; lamb roasted on a spit”, past participle of šawa (شوى ), to roast, to grill”.   This dish is very popular in North Africa where  Pierre lived several years.

As we still are in the village of Bourg d’Oueil, in the heart of the French Pyrenees, the lamb will be  provided by no one else than our neighbors & friends, the Jamme family.  The 17 kgs (37,5 lbs) lamb, fetched from the nearby mountains a few days before, is “un broutard” or a “grazer”; that is a lamb that had passed the nursing stage and is already grazing. And now the photo log of an another amazing communal food experience:


The day before our friend André brought very dry wood he had split for the occasion & the spit that Marc had fetched from Yves the butcher. In the late afternoon I went to the Jamme’s house to rub the lamb with a thick marinade of olive oil, garlic, wild thyme, salt & piment d’Espelette (chili pepper from the basque country); then we returned the lamb to rest overnight in the walk-in cooler.

Now we went to the village hall multipurpose room to set up the tables. The meal will be inside, since we knew the weather was not going to be warm enough. As no rain was forecast, so the aperitif will be served outside. With Sylvia Gorelick —who made all the bouquets with wild flowers she had gathered in the fields near by— Marie Jeanne Jamm, — who brought additional sheets to cover the tables— Maïté & Michou — Pierre’s sister — set up a beautiful banquet table for 50 people. The event was becoming more elaborate as I had planned.  As we got closer to the date the eating of the birthday lamb as a casual outdoor buffet turning into an elaborate banquet.

On d-day: I am up at 7:30 am to set up for the méchoui. My neighbors Robi & farmer Roland Jamme (remember him from the cake) arrived shortly thereafter. Together we start the fire, strategize and go get the lamb prepped as best as we can to avoid any complication during cooking.

That’s it! it is 9:45am the beast is on the spit, as we have a manual spit, it is going to be crucial to have someone monitoring, turning & basting —w/the same marinade as above— the lamb & adding coals to the fire. Robi & Roland have set up a second fire next to the méchoui were they burn logs to turn them into charcoal, which they add under our lamb in order to keep an even fire.


I had nothing to worry about as Robi, Roland & now Pierre were fully in charge of the lamb. Accompanied by the same crew as last night we are setting up for cocktail hour & hors d’oeuvres. Joseph Garcès, who was Maitre d’H at the family hôtel for 14 years, came right on time to slice the magnificent bellota ham —acorn fed pig—  shipped to us by my nephew Vincent from a small Spanish farm. I had also prepared salads of heirloom tomatoes and organic haricots-vert that we set up on the table along with the ham. The fragrant cantaloupe from the Gers will be passed around once people are seated.

 It is around 12pm and guests are filling in. They are “appetizing” on cherry tomatoes, patés, salamis, radishes —here my 89 year old father is particularly enjoying them— while sipping the pleasant Marquisette, a cocktail make by Maïté & Robi — wine, vanilla bean, lime & seltzer, served by Marie-Jeanne Peyroulan an old time friend who came from a near valley with her son Teo who played a lot of “Quiller” —an ancient version of bowling— with my adorable niece Lou.


It is now 1 pm and the lamb is cooked! My brother Jean-Louis will assist Roland, Robi & Marc for the carving while my nieces Mag & Isa will pass the cut meat to the guests. To serve with the lamb, my friend Paulette made the most tasty Pistache Luchonnaise ever—a white bean & lamb stew with pork rind — a specialty of the Comminges region— Paulette’s Pistache almost stole the show from the Méchoui and the cóca! Unfortunately no pictures were taken as every body was too busy eating. We had seconds & some had thirds. We took a little break and had a cheese course. Not any kind of cheese, no, a Poubeau cheese if you please! Read about it here. It was a perfectly aged one; Joseph Garcès is on a “cheese plan”; that is that he reserves a full wheel six months in advance and lets it age in the cheese maker’s cave. Joseph offered his reserved wheel to Pierre for his birthday party!


It is now about 4pm and about time to present the birthday boy with his very special cake. After singing Happy Birthday, we serve the cake with crème anglaise, all the details about the incredible ancient cake are here. More singing was done by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Sylvia Gorelick, and a special tribute to Pierre by Joan-Francès Tisner & family who had come all the way from the Béarn. After coffee, Armagnac & Mirabelle —Thank you Michou & Julien for bringing the real stuff from Luxembourg! — it was about 6pm when the last guest left!

All of this could not have happend without the  amazing help of the family & a tight community of friends. Special thanks to the Jamme Family, Joseph Garcès & Paulette, Robi Castebrunet & Maïté, Conso, Michou, Marie-Jeanne, Domenja, Marie-Jo,  my parents Jean & Renée Peyrafitte, the Toucouère family, André, Marc & my brothers: Jean-Louis for his carving assistance and Pierre for the pix, Miles, Sylvia, all the wonderful guests & last but not least to Pierre whose birthday gave me a great opportunity to throw a party. MERCI!

Photo credit: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & Nicole Peyrafitte

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