|Posted on May 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM||comments (2)|
|Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM||comments (2)|
The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty. Consider living creatures -
none lives so long as man. The Man fly waits for the evening, the summer
cicada knows neither spring nor autumn. What a wonderfully unhurried feeling
it is to live even a single year in perfect serinity.
- Kenko from Essays in Idleness
|Posted on March 16, 2011 at 10:12 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted on March 3, 2011 at 10:50 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on January 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on December 31, 2010 at 11:52 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 18, 2010 at 11:52 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 12, 2010 at 10:02 AM||comments (0)|
Caroline's kitchen shelf. A cook's collection of kitchen essentials
When I am London I find myself hanging out in Caroline's kitchen for hours at a time, catching up with Caroline and Tyler, her son, my step son, and watching her cook. She updates me on their lives, her travels, and the latest cookbook she is working from. She is a wonderful cook. Her cookbook collection is so large, it's like being in a library. This time, Tyler was away in Turkey working so I didn't see him but I got to meet his girlfriend Emmalina. That was a treat.
Hazelnuts from Becavin hanging on the wall
Even though Baron's Court is in London, I feel like I can be in the country when I am at Caroline's house. It is very rustic - like an extension of her country house in Brittany. In the hallway leading to the kitchen, there is a row of jars full jams that Caroline made with Quince, Medlar, and Plum trees from her garden. "I have so many I don't know what to do with them. "Take some home," Caroline offers. I am eyeing for the quince. My favorite. We had the quince jam with cheeses I brought back from Sicily, and again with toast the next morning. I have never cooked with Quince before but when I get home, I am going to try this Quince jelly recipe that Caroline gave me.
Caroline's homemade bread. Our mutual friend, Fred, called it Hippie bread. It's whole grain.
Recipe for Quince Jelly:
* 2 lbs of quinces
* 1 lemon (just the juice, sieved)
* white granulated sugar
* water to cover Method:
1. Wash and roughly chop the quinces (no need to peel, decore or depip) and place in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Barely cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on until soft. If the quinces are very firm this could take several hours. Check it every now and then and add more water if necessary.
3. Pour the cooked fruit through sterilised muslin into a large clean bucket or bowl The muslin is often referred to as a “jelly bag”. We use tall buckets to catch the drips from the jelly bags. Rather than hang the bags (conventional method-between the legs of an upturned stool) I find it easier to line a large plastic sieve with the muslin. This clips neatly onto the top of a clean bucket. The sieve is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies.
4. Leave the jelly bag to drip overnight (or about 12 hours).
5. Measure the juice the next day.
6. Pour the juice into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan and add 1lb/454g of white granulated sugar for each 1pt/570ml of juice.
7. Add the lemon juice.
8. Heat the juice and sugar gently stirring from time to time, so as to make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil.
9. Continue to boil for about 10 minutes before testing for a set. This is called a rolling boil. Test every 3 to 5 minutes until setting point is reached. (What is testing for a set? See tips and tricks below). Tossing in a nugget of butter towards the end will reduce the frothing that can occur.
|Posted on October 25, 2010 at 11:57 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on September 26, 2010 at 12:30 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on May 18, 2010 at 9:04 PM||comments (0)|
Le Train Bleu
Gare de Lyon 1er Place Louis Armand ,75012
|Posted on May 11, 2010 at 11:44 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on December 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on October 7, 2009 at 12:13 PM||comments (4)|
I haven't had a chance to tell you what else I did to slow down after Sakai's art opening last weekend besides taking some old cookbooks out of storage. I went camping! Don't say the season is over for that because it never really is in Southern California. Just drive an hour North on Pacific Coast Highway and you will find Leo Carrillo Beach State Park. It is a local campsite that offers both the sea and easy trails to hike. We had perfect fall weather and a gorgeous full moon night on Saturday.
Every year, our friend Edward, books the campsite, e-mails everybody, and sets up camp before the rest of us arrive. This year Edward booked a little late but we still made it. It's good to have a dependable self-designated camp leader like Edward. Back when we started camping together twenty years ago, we all had our kids around so it meant a lot to get them out of the city and be in nature. But what you realize is that even after the kids have left the nest, there is still a good reason to go camping. To get out of the city and be in nature. What's great about going to Leo Carillo is that it's not a very big commitment to drive out there. If you don't like to spend the night on a hard and dusty surface, you can go home. I admit, I have become one of those light weight campers who prefers the comfort of my own bed. But we have become forgiving in our middle age. You do what you can. You bring the food, some wine and enjoy each other's company. I made a Beef tri-tip with salsa. The soy-ginger-lime marinade invention worked! It came out very tender and flavorful.
The table setting is usually a funky miss match.
I decided to bring china and cloth napkins since there was
only seven of us this year. Edward's apple print vinyl
table cloth he got from a garage sale coincidentally
Annie brought Turkey Enchilada Casserole - a recipe
she got from Sunset magazine. Usually she does beans and corn but
we decided on a Mexican theme this year because Edward
bought a house in San Miguel de Allende. We wanted to show
him we could all cook Mexican food so he will invite us to his
Terry made frijoles and shrimp ceviche. Her friholes
are cooking or shall I say burning in hell.
She got up and started stirring the beans. No problema.
An assortment of drinks. It's a hit or miss but no one complains.
There is more in the ice box.
Ana guarding the Tri-tip. She got a little piece. Everyone was
BEEF TRI-TIP IN A SOY LIME MARINADE
I served this tri-tip with a salsa (see below)
2 Lbs -2.5 Lbs Beef tri-tip
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sake
2 tbls frshly grated ginger
2 tbls honey
1 bls crushed red chili peppers
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Marinate trip-tip for up to 24 hours in the fridge.
Remove from marinade and bring to room temperature. Barbecue the tri-tip over hot coals and sear both sides. Then move Tri-tip where heat is lower and cook 15 minutes per side for rare or until desired doneness. Before slicing, let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes. Then slice thinly, about 1/4-inch thick across the grain and serve with the salsa (recipe below).
Beautiful 2 lbs beef tri-tip.
I wanted to use up these key limes that were sitting around
waiting to be used in a Key Lime Pie. Never made it so I used them
all up for the marinade.
I marinated the tri-tip over night. Spread the grated ginger
on the tri-tip.
After I seared the trip tip over hot coals.
I moved it to the side where the heat was lower.
4 -6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 lime juices
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients except the avocado and let stand for 2-3 hours. Just before serving, add the diced avocado.
MENU SUGGESTIONS: Shrimp ceviche, Beef Tri-Tip, Salsa, Friholes, Tortillas.
|Posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:18 PM||comments (4)|
A whimsical display
It's good to have a reason to leave the city once in awhile, even if it is to deliver some boxes to put in storage. Our storage is out in Oxnard, an one hour drive on the Ventura Freeway from Santa Monica. We've made the trip countless times. It is a long drive just to go and store things but today, I am enjoying this trip. Who knows, I might find something I want to take out.
Open sesame. Lots of stuff in there. As the old Japanese saying goes, dust collects and turns into a mountain. But among the dust, there are some interesting things. Boxes of Sakae's toys and baby kimonos, my grandmother's tea table that needs repair, an old mosquito net. Half of the space is taken up by family stuff, the other half is Sakai's sculptures and paintings from another time, which I'd like to see out in the open air. But where do we put them? It's good to look through old things. I found a box marked "Old Cookbooks." I decided to take that back with me. I wanted to see what cookbooks I put away.
Before leaving Oxnard, we looked for a farmstand to buy some fresh produce. Oxnard is mostly known for their strawberries fields. Shortly after my family moved to LA from Tokyo in the early seventies, my parents took us to visit a strawberry farm that was owned by a Japanese American family in this area. I could not believe the sheer size of the farm. They let us pick as many strawberries as we wanted. Where we came from, strawberries were very expensive. We only got strawberries on top of our birthday cake when we were lucky. Most of the time, we had canned peaches instead. But here in America, it was strawberry fields forever. That seemed incredibly promising.
We found several farm stands, selling the last strawberry crop of the season. The berries were still sweet and juicy. I bought a boxful for $15. The box was marked Fraises de Californie but these strawberries aren't going to France.
Besides strawberries, they had some beautiful pumpkins. The owner had her foot in a cast but she got up to help me pick out a pumpkin.
When we got home, I opened the box of old cookbooks and found a couple that belonged to my mother. That made me happy. I am cooking out of one tonight.
The Oxnard pumpkin now sits at our doorstep. Soon it will get a face.
|Posted on September 17, 2009 at 1:23 PM||comments (0)|
My Quebecois friend Renne was just returning from her three weeks holiday in St. Irenee in Charlevois but when she heard that I was coming to Montreal, she invited me to stay with her. It felt like the tail end of summer in Montreal but the leaves were starting to change colors. I saw many Quebecois in sandles and t-shirts during the day. Though by early evening, it got nippy enough to wear the light coat I had brought from LA.
Renne's house is like an artist palatte. Her warm personality is reflected in the house. She is a very talented artist and custome designer with whom I worked on my last film Blindness. We shot in several locations including Montevideo, San Paulo, Gwelth and Toronto - moving from one hemisphere to another. The film was finished two years ago but we have remained good friends ever since.
I didn't know Renne and I had a similar passion for pottery. Her collection of old kitchen mixing bowls is magnificent. She has one stacked on top of another which made me slightly nervous coming from earthquake prone city like LA and Tokyo but here in Montreal, the ground is as hard as rock, she doesn't have to worry. Renne has broken and chipped a few pots here and there but she doesn't let that bother her too much. I feel the same way. My mother was someone who used old china to serve food in which made me appreciate and pay attention to the china when I was handling them. When one broke by accident, she would say, "Well, it was made from clay and now it has gone back to earth." She didn't make a big fuss about it.
WALKING AROUND OUTREMONT
On this visit, Renne played my Montreal tour guide. I had already explored the old city during my previous trips to the city so we stayed in the Outremont area. The first call in the morning was to visit the local bakery that makes the best croissants in town. "It's the butter," Renne, said. True. Lots of it. My hands felt greasy after the first bite. I could have easilly eaten two but I knew lunch was right around the corner so I stopped after one. The bakery also makes marzipan and other sweet desserts that looked very tempting.
Cute marzipan sweets
After the bakery, we checked out another bakery that Montreal is known for - bagels. They are thin and chewy, and generously coated with toasted sesame seeds. A lot of the flavor is picked up in the wood burning oven. I find they taste better than New York bagels. I bought a half a dozen to take home to LA along with some local cream cheese.
Much of the work is done by hand.
The big wood burning oven
We also made a stop at the Cheese Shop - La Maison du Cheddar(here is the link) where we tried local Quebecois cheeses. There is a map on the wall of the shop that shows 67 Quebecois dairy farms that produce cheeses. I picked five varieties of cheddar cheeses for a Quebecois cheese tasting night I am going to do with my friends back in LA. After I paid the bill, the shop owner treated us to some fresh cheese curds which were made that morning. He had plain, pesto and tomato pesto. Renne and I loved the curd with pesto.
Chandelier with Cheese theme
Owner of Maison Du Cheddar - letting us try a piece of cheddar
He advised that I leave the cheeses out for an hour in room
temperature before serving.
The final shop we visited was an award winning cookware shop called Les Touilleurs (here is the Link).It is one of the finest cookware shops in Canada and for that matter in North America. They have elegant pots and pans, kitchen towels, containers, and utencils. Mostly European but they also carry handmade wooden utencils made by an artisan who is based in Quebec. I own two of his spatulas. I use them all the time. This shop is defnitely worth a visit.
THE QUEBECOIS LUNCH
We headed home for lunch at Renne's house. She had brought back some smoked trout from Charlevois. Renne's brother-in-law had gone fly fishing and caught these indigenous brook trout in the Malbaie River. The Quebecois call this trout Truite Mauchete.
They were about 6 inches in size. Not too big. Renne said the smoked trout was smelly but it didn't bother me at all. We could not figure out what kind of wood chips were used but that was part of the flavor. Mesquite? Here is a picture of the trout.
Renne and I, we can talk for ever. "It's like I just saw you yesterday," she said. We talked about the racoon that comes to visit her house and the possum that lives in my neighborhood to films and our lives. We each have a son, the same age, pursuing the same profession in law. I always enjoy hearing her talk about her son, Simon. It puts a bright smile on her face. We mothers love our children.
The tomatoes came from a farm stand in Charlevois and I picked the basil from Renne's balcony. Even though Renne was seven months away from home working, she has good neighbors downstairs that kept her garden alive.
Renne warned me that the trout was a bit on the bony side but being Japanese, it
didn't bother me a bit. If it was a smaller fish, I would eat it from head to tail.
A 4 year old Cheddar cheese was served with the Montreal bagels. I gobbled the bagels in no time. They were so good, you don't even need to toast them.
As with all French meals, we had a nice French Burgandy to go with the lunch and some grapes to nibble on at the end to clear our palate. This was one of the loveliest and most relaxing end of summer lunches I had or shall I say first lunch of the Fall. Either way, I felt blessed. Thanks to my Quebecois friend and Montreal. Next time I want to meet the rancoon. A bientot!