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!

 

En Route to Idaho — Day 2 : Maumee – Des Moines

En Route to Idaho — Day 2 : Maumee – Des Moines

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Day #2  Maumee, Ohio – Des Moines, Iowa: 558 Miles or 898 Kms

After drinking Pierre’s prepared cup of warm water with lemon & cayenne pepper water & our travelling green magic juice we hopped in the car at 7:50am to resume our journey West on I-80.

When we stopped for gas in Greenfield, Indiana we were reminded that if we wanted a soda, we should ask for “pop”! The lady at the Hardee’s was eager to take our order but we had our solid breakfast of pumpernickel bread, butter & cheese & we made coffee in the car.


Second stop was in Morris, Illinois & the R-Place Restaurant with its collection of antique toy displays, including a wonderful puppet show kept me busy filming & photographing for a while. I did ask for 4 quarters to play the puppet show. The clerk was proud to tell me that the puppet show grossed $80 per month, that was 320 plays.

Again we didn’t get any food though I considered the Strawberry Pillows for a solid minute — but by looking at the thing intensely I could almost taste it & that was enough to feel the sugar rush!

We left Illinois, crossed the Mississippi, & drove into Iowa.

I had noticed on the Waze app that the World’s Largest Truckstop was coming up on I-80 at the Walcott Exit. We stopped there & lunched on Romaine lettuce with carrots, celery, left-over pork roast, sardines, cheddar dressed with Pierre’s delicious Meyer lemon & olive oil vinaigrette & concluded with our usual plain yogurt with cinnamon, stevia & grilled seeds.

Then we had molto fun visiting the amazing World’s Largest Truckstop. We didn’t make it to the adjacent truck museum but we had a lovely time talking to several truckers who were trying new truck seats. Pierre joined them for a tryout of new-fangled special rubber seating. We exchanged our destinations & they advised us that road conditions between Cheyenne & Idaho can be very bad & told us to make sure to have a full tank of gas when starting this portion of the trip. Another trucker & his wife from New Orleans gave us the price of some of the chromes on display. “A $1000 for that apron. I’m gonna put some on my truck soon”. The sword & knife window display was open & a family was deciding what kind of knife to buy; a lady bought a mini gun. Pierre checked out the library section & considered buying a Louis L’amour Western audio book but since we had just started listening to the Lewis & Clark journal diaries  available free here,  we decided to pass.

Settled into our comfy Sterling Hotel suite —with terrible internet, after a quick trip to the Wholefood to pick up a salad & some cheese (a chunk of excellent! Iowa Maytag Blue — same family making blue cheese since 1941!) we had dinner, i.e. yesterday’s lentil salad turned into a stew to which I added some grains (farro & oats), followed by apples, nuts & cheese — the Iowa maytag, of course. & now some zzzz before heading to Wyoming. From here on out the route is new, for Pierre too who had driven this part of I-80 only to turn south here in Des Moines to visit with Ken Irby in Lawrence, Kansas. But that was in 1987, & this is today. Onwards! Let the wagons roll…

 

 

Our Inauguration LG Extravaganzas

Our Inauguration LG Extravaganzas

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Celebrating the second inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, requires some festive foods. Our menu might not be as lavish as the Inaugural Luncheon but I am not about to loose focus from our low glycemic diet.

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No, we didn’t start the day with dessert, as the heading picture might suggest, but by a healthy juice inspired by Dr. Ali’s breakfast protocole. Juicing is now part of our daily routine & due to a low glycemic diet I rarely include fruits; but today being a festive day I included a red grapefruit —25 on GI scale when banana scores 45 & watermelon 76— accompanied by bok choy, celery, parsley, fresh turmeric & ginger roots, dandelions. And after our 5K walk the Tasty Pearl Barley Pabulum hit the spot:

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1 cup of cooked barley
1/4 green apple
cinnamon, roasted pumpkin seeds
moisten with home made almond milk.
Almond Milk:
Don’t get put off by homemade almond milk, it is actually quite simple & will serve two purpose here. To make the milk, soak 1/2 lb of organic almond in filtered water overnight. In the morning pour out the water, rinse almonds until the water runs clear. Add 1 quart of filtered water to the almond then process one ladle full of almonds & water at a time into the top of the juicer —I use a Vert VRT350 Juice & I am pretty happy with it. Reserve in bottle and save in the fridge. I do save  the meal that comes out on the other side. I dry it and use for many other recipe.

Inaugural Dunch

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Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast with Organic NYS Red Merlot Beans

Preheat the oven to 320°.  Grate 2 cloves of garlic, add olive oil, salt & pepper. Rub this paste thoroughly all over the turkey breast. Put a ramequin of water into the oven; it will keep the meat moist. Roast the turkey breast in the oven until thermometer reaches 160°.

To mirror the many New York State items on the Inaugural Luncheon I cooked NYS Red Merlot beans —available at the Park Slope foodcoop. These wonderful beans have a thin skin, are creamy though stay firm throughout. 

1/2 lb of  Org. NYS Merlot beans (or other red bean) soaked over night, then brought to a  boil in fresh water once and let sit for one hour before using in stew (for some reason I think it makes them more digestible).

1 onion finely chopped, goldened in the pan with olive oil
2 ribs celery
Lightly toast pumpkin & cumin seeds in a cast iron pan, then grind in a coffee grinder — I have one that I use only for spices —& add to the beans .

Add 1 seeded jalapeño pepper & 2 cloves of chopped garlic
Salt & Pepper
Bring to a gentle boil, turn it down & let simmer for 2/3 hours.

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse with Coconut Almond cookies

The cookies are essentiel to make this tart, festive, deconstructed Low Glycemic cheesecake work.
The custard:
Ben’s Cream cheese
Warm the juice of 2 lemon (Meyer if possible) in a pan
add 1/2 packet plain gelatine
Stevia to taste
Blend cream cheese,  juice w/ melted gelatin/ stevia

The cookies:
1 1/2 cup of almond meal —saved form several batches of making almond milk
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
Stevia to taste.
Mix, make the paste in a roll. Cut & bake  at 300° for about 25 minutes .


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 Supper Time:

And while watching —& dancing to— the Presidential Inauguration Ball, we had Pierre’s delicious Belgium endive salad with Humbolt Fog goat creamy cheese & walnuts, dressed with a light mustard & olive oil vinaigrette.  And to finish on a sweet note we had a small serving of goat cheese yogurt with fresh ginger, walnut, stevia & a few blueberries. Now, if we did our calculation right it looks like our glycemic load for the day is about 52 —under 55 considered low. But please correct me if I am wrong, I am still in training!

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Fresh Turmeric has Arrived

Fresh Turmeric has Arrived

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The Fresh Organic Turmeric from Pinner Creek Organics in Hawaï has arrived! It is beautiful.
I previous posted several blogs on Turmeric & it is a good time to refresh your memory -& mine!

General info plus Miso Turmeric Soup Recipe : here
Turmeric Synchronicity: The Case of the Antioxidant Curcumin: here
Bright Yellow Yummy Pears:  here
A Refreshing Turmeric Beverage: here

More recipe to come. But meanwhile enjoy & Thank you Pinner Creek family!

Solstice Delight

Solstice Delight

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It seems to me that the most à propos food to take in on this solstice night is : Theobroma cacao—”food of the gods.”
I don’t know if the Mayans got their calendar from the Olmecs too, but it looks like they got they got the Kakawa, that is chocolate, from Olmec.

“The Maya derived a lot of their high culture from the Olmec,” said Coe, also professor emeritus of anthropology at Yale. “Even the word ‘cacao’ is not a native Maya word—it’s Olmec.” The Olmec lived in the southern Gulf of Mexico between 1500 and 500 B.C., and their influence extended to Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.

“The new find is hard chemical evidence that the Mayans were drinking chocolate in 500 B.C.,” said Coe, suggesting that people were cultivating the cacao tree long before the Maya civilization, which flourished in southern Mexico, the Yucatán, and the highlands of Belize between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1500. source

& this is how I made our heavenly solstice Xocalatl —the original hot chocolate in Aztec culture:

1/2 bar of  organic 80% cacao
1 cup of home made almond milk
1 tbsp arrowroot
Raw agave nectar to taste
1 cup of whole milk

Melt cocoa with almond milk, add arrowroot & bring to a boil & whisk. It will thicken, add the milk, bring to a boil again. Whisk again. Strain and serve.
Happy Solstice everyone!

 

 

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