Healthy Martini!

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.

March, march, march…

March, march, march…

MARCH—collage/drawing from N.P.  Calendar Series

Yeap! We are in March and I saw some crocuses “piercing” the ground on 71st street yesterday. It cheered me up. The general mood has been down with all the international and national events, catastrophes, health care mess… Even my hometown, Luchon, was seriously affected by a storm coming from the Southwest with winds at 200km/h. It killed one man, pulled out thousands of ancient trees, lifting roofs, and closing bars for one day! No one remembers seeing or hearing about such an event in a place that is so naturally sheltered from the wind. Who says there is no global warming? The same idiots who feel threatened by universal health care? The same idiots who worship a god that knows neither nature nor health. We need D.A Bennett  The Truth Seeker all over again, I just read that book and it is amazing how the problem of religion in politics has remained the same for two century ago and is far from being solved.

Anyhow, life must go on and I have been busy. The “d’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Show” at The World Bar is still on. Works by French painter Michel Calvet and 3 large collage/paintings of mine are on display.  The World Bar serves delicious cocktails and their $8 happy hour special is totally worth it. I had a “peace cocktail” concocted by the excellent (1/2 french) mixologist Jonathan, all fresh juices and premium liquors — a real treat! We will have another event there soon as the opening was affected by the storm. So don’t feel bad if you couldn’t make it; D’Artagan has agreed to provide us with more patés and saucisson for another event, so stay tune!

Below you will find my detailed calendar of events for March, four events still coming up, it is all exciting especially the Umami festival one, which is leading me into fascinating research about yeast and beer in Mesopotamian time. As a result of all this action the fridge as been consistently empty and home made Miso soup (see recipe here)and rice has become a staple.

Breakfast Rice

I cook two cups of brown rice twice a week and eat it in different forms. The breakfast version is becoming a house favorite and even Pierre who is not a brown rice aficionado really likes this one:

-Warm up some rice milk in a bottom of sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup of cooked rice per person, one small apple cut into small pieces, 1/2 banana, raisins, cranberries, goji berries, maple syrup. Just warm it up. Before serving add chopped roasted almonds, pistachios, walnuts. That’s a tasty healthy breakfast!


When we finally made it to the coop a few days ago we got the making for a chicken soup. I had been craving it since Dawn Clements (now showing an amazing piece at the Whitney Biennial click here) served me the most delicious one at her studio in early February.  That recipe is also very easy:  throw it all in the pot and let it happen while the smell of the broth takes over the house. This is what I threw in the pot of cold water:
-1 organic chicken (with feet!)
-3 celery ribs
-3 carrots peeled and cut
-2 “fanned” leeks
-1 onion with 3 cloves planted in it
– 1 spice/herb bag with: fresh parsley, thyme, laurel leave, 1 cardamon pod, 6 blk pepper corn.
– Sea salt.
Then you can either delicately lift some of the meat and eat it separately or debone  the whole thing and return it in the pot. You will have to add some salt and pepper to taste and you can of course add some pasta or rice or potatoes. I just had a bowl and this is ever so restauring and satisfying.

Now the schedule and if I don’t see you there, please stay in touch!

Sunday March 7th
Sunday Best Reading Series
4PM $7
The Lounge, Hudson View Gardens
Pinehurst Avenue and 183rd Street
183rd & Pinehurst Avenue
New York City

Friday March 12th
UMAMI Festival
Featuring Sarah Klein, Murray’s Cheese, Tom Cat Bakery, Ithaca Beer Company
& NP w/ Rosie Hertlein ( violin)
click here for
Astor Center for Food and Wine
399 Lafayette (at 4th Street)

Sunday March 21
NP & Pierre Joris, Nick Flynn, Major Jackson, Douglas Unger
Poets for Peace at Erika’s
85-101 N. 3rd St # 508
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between wythe and berry
and it is the bedford stop on the L train)

Monday March 29th
NP w/ Pierre Joris & Michael Bisio (bass)

269 E Houston Street NYC

Ongoing until Agust 2010
D’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Show
Michel Calvet / Nicole Peyrafitte / Jean-Pierre Rives
The World Bar /The Trump Tower
845 United Nation Plaza
New York NY 10017

The D’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Show

The D’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Show

Wow! Since I returned from Chicago I have not had a chance to post to the blog. It has been insanely busy:

There is the ongoing work on Augustus Saint Gaudens with the documentary script writing advancing slowly but steadily.  I am trying  to clarify some aspects of his father’s life —Bernard Saint-Gaudens— in their early years in NYC. It is quite fascinating to dig into the history of this period and  discover that there was a lot of French political immigrants in NYC. They all mingled at a German tavern called Pfaff’s. I found some evidence that Bernard was among the patrons. A famous client of Pfaff’s was Walt Whitman! Chances are the two men crossed paths. Now that is exciting to me! But this week I had to put Augustus and Bernard on the back burner as I prepared to hang a painting show for the D’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Show.

Ariane Daguin, president of D’Artagan, is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of her company and it is quite a grand affair. 200 native Gascons have flown over the Atlantic to assist in the celebration.  It all started by a beret toss contest on 14th street an 9th Ave on Thursday at noon. The passersby had never seen such an event. Two festive bands —we call them bandas in the south of France— animated the competition. I was proud to participate and tossed my beret really far …we all took gold, silver and bronze and that was a glass of delicious and crisp Colombelle white wine, tasty Saucisson & hearty paté — provided by d’Artagnan, of course! Ariane and her company have brought a whole new line of food products to the American table. In many ways she is a role model both as a friend and as an entrepreneur.

Photo 1: Nicole tossing the beret.
Photo 2: Ariane Daguin directing the strict contest sponsored by Saint Mont Wine

I can’t really get into the details of all the events, but the one I am most involved with is the art show. I am honored to be one of the Three Gascon Musketeers of Art picked by Ariane. I am also honored to show in the company of celebrated sculptor and rugby player Jean-Pierre Rives and famous Toulousain painter Michel Calvet.  I will show large canvases that have never been exhibited in the US before. I  hope to see you at the public opening on Tuesday February 23rd from 5-7 pm at:

The Musketeers Are Coming!
D’Artagnan 25th Anniversary Art Exhibition

You are cordially invited to a reception with the Gascon artists
Michel Calvet Nicole Peyrafitte Jean-Pierre Rives

5:00 PM until 7:00 PM
THE WORLD BAR (reception)

Complementary appetizers by d’Artagnan & Cash bar

845 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

47th Street and Second Avenue, South East Corner

Michel Calvet
Nicole Peyrafitte
Jean-Pierre Rives


Abstractions & Voyage

Abstractions & Voyage

Georgia O’Keeffe, Series I—No. I, 1918. Oil on composition board, 19 3/4 × 16 in. (50.2 × 40.6 cm). Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Purchase with assistance from the Anne Burnett Tandy Accessions Fund 1995.8. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Pierre and I are en route to Chicago. We will take the train tomorrow and we have reserved a “roomette”, that is a sleeping car for two with all meals included.  It is our 2oth anniversary and as we  both have work to do in Chicago (see the announcement for Pierre Joris’ reading at the end of the post) we decided that 40 hours of confinement —that is if there are no delays— will be  ideal to enjoy…or test our relationship!
More recipes and food reports will come soon. Meanwhile I am leaving you with a poem I wrote after a very inspiring visit to the Georgia O’Keefe: Abstraction show at the Whitney Museum. The piece was written using some titles of the paintings and a few lines from the Sarabeth’s advertisement brochure I had picked up at the coat check and used as a note pad. I read it at the Bowery Poetry Club on Sunday and you can read and hear it below. Voilà for now and off to the windy city!

Click here to hear the recording

January 7th, 2010 —
For & W/ Georgia O’Keeffe
By Nicole Peyrafitte

Inside a clam shell
In the evening
Clam shell again
Painted and pungent
Red Black & Night

Black place #1
Black place #2
Black place #3

A wonderful redefinition
Of yellow sweet peas
An impressive wave
In the pool
In the woods
In lake George
Pink & green

Alligator pears
Shipped to Alaska
Red & pink
Ballet skirt or
Electric light
We will not be responsible
For black abstraction

At the rodeo
Music pink & blue #2
On Wednesdays only
A train
At night
In the desert
Black white & blues

The touchstone; a portrait
Or jack in the pulpit
A piece of wood
Sandwiches, snacks, pastries, muffins
Coffee and desserts
All above the clouds in 1963
Very special

Special #8
Special #12
Special #17

A tent door
At night
Everything she created
Blue & green
Though pelvis series
Red & yellow
Watch for the opening
My last door
Black door
With red
Yolk like
Ever morphing feelings
Cosmic walk
Untitled red wave
Eggshell abstraction with


For your information:
Pierre Joris’ reading in Chicago :
Chi Reading
Fri Jan 29 5:30pm


Joan Flasch Artists Book Center on the SAIC ‘campus,’
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
37 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL –
(312) 899-5170

Voilà 2010!

Voilà 2010!

We sure started the year “en fanfare”…that is: not so discretely! Our new year’s eve  adventures started at 6:30pm for hors d’oeuvres & cocktails at the house of good friends. Thanks god I passed on the very tempting Campari martinis and settled for white white.  The tasty and nurturing Zabar’s appetizers (great chicken liver paté), provided the healthy layer for the boisterous night to come!
Next stop was Pocha 32 —32th street in Manhattan— a quite exotic Korean drinking establishment decorated with fish nets and soju bottle caps. Soju is the Korean national drink. The main ingredient of soju is rice, almost always in combination with other ingredients such as wheat, barley, or sweet potatoes. Soju is clear-colored and typically varies in alcohol content from 10% to 25% proof. It was first known to have been distilled around 1300 A.D and believed to have been brought over to Korea by the Mongol invasion.  I have  a serious problems with Soju:  I have a tendency of drinking it at the same pace as wine and forgetting the alcohol content!

Fishnets and Soju bottle-caps decorations at Pocha 32 (32nd street NYC)

Expertly counseled by our daughter in law we also tasted a very refreshing —and treacherous— beverage: Mak Gul Li (막걸리). This traditional fermented, unfiltered & milky looking liquor is brought to the table in a tin tea kettle and served in bowls. We tried two kinds: one was made with rice and the other  with millet. The rice one looked, and tasted, like carbonated fermented sweet rice milk. The intense yellow/green millet one was a touch more bitter, richer with a more complex finish.

What can be better than spicy tripe and octopus dishes to enhance these potions? Maybe more soup? I got a taste of the fish cake soup (어묵탕), then came Seafood Pah jun (해물파전), spicy stir fried tripes (소곱창 볶음) , followed by spicy baby octopus with pork belly (쭈꾸미 삼겹살 볶음). Overall the food was decent but as I was in a party mood I might have missed some subtleties—though I did noticed the horrible mushy over cooked rice!

After a few hours of jolly time at Pocha, we felt the need to move and one of us had heard of a rooftop bar next near by. We had no trouble finding it and that is were we comfortably settled to toast the new year. The 14th Floor Roof Top bar of the La Quinta Hotel looks up to the Empire State Building —for which I wrote and recorded the French audio tour, and last I heard it is still on! To our surprise the place was not crowded at all but boasted the kind of eclectic bunch of people  only New York City can bring together. So it was with a motley crew of Puertoricans, Mexicans, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, French, Germans —and even a young man from Luxembourg,  to Pierre’s astonishment! — that we celebrated well into the night with bubbly clear fermented grape!

It was hard to wake up the next day,  and our stomachs felt a little unsettled, but we showed up right on time to set up my crêpes station at St. Mark Church for the 36th Annual Marathon Reading. Pierre read first and didn’t get my act together to film him —sorry!— The crêpes got sold out pretty quickly. It was really nice to have blog readers stop by say hello —Merci! The place was packed through out the day and despite much of my time spent in the back I got to listen to some very nice reading and music. Voilà! and let’s start the year with a touch of  Gascon language:

Bona annada, plan granada, e de hèra d’autas accompanhada!

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