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Urban Homestead - Vancouver

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (2)
Rosa and Mr. Costa preparing the land to plant potatoes.  

I was invited to stay at my son's future in-laws home in Vancouver, British Colombia. Laura and Alfred Yeung live in the city, right across from Trout Lake. Vancouver is blessed with many beautiful gardens and parks.  During my visit, the Yeungs took me to the  maginificent gardens of Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and the Nitobe Japanese Garden of the University of British Colombia.  But what also inspired me while staying there was the garden of the Portuguse couple, the Costas, who live just next door to the Yeungs. I was so fascinated, I couldn't keep my eyes off of their
garden.



When the Yeungs moved to Trout Lake ten years ago, Rosa, Mr. Costa's wife, hardly spoke any English. But being the friendly person that she is, she introduced herself to Laura. "Hi, I am sexy and my husband is sexy, too," she said. Laura later figured out what Rosa really meant, which was "I am sixty and my husband is sixty two."  A bit of interpreting is always needed when they talk to each other but they became good neighbors.

 

The Yeungs get so many vegetables and fruit from them, they hardly have to go shopping.  Laura bakes bread and makes jams from the Costa's apple and fig tree and brings them over to the Costas.



The tilling is all done all by hand.   "Look at the color of their soil," a neighbor commented.  Laura tried to introduce me to the Costas but Mr. Costa was having lunch when Laura went inside their house to look for them. They never lock their doors. "This is Vancouver," Laura said to me for the reason.  Mr. Costa was eating his lunch upstairs. facing the garden and park. Rosa was busy serving him.  Noone disturbs Mr. Costa when he is eating so we decided to visit them later.

Homemade Bacalao hanging in the garage.


Mr. Costa's fishing boat and his wine making shed. It looks shabby but it's organized.  Laura said, "They waste nothing."  Feathers found at the park are tied to the poles to scare the birds.  Mr. Costa goes around the park collecting firewood.

The grape vines are just beginning to leaf. Mr. Costa reaches out from the second story to prune the vines. I tasted Mr. Costa's red wine.  It was really delicious. Plums, berries, mellow on the tongue.
 
I was hoping to say hello to him on Sunday but the Costas were at church.  They get all dressed up and look like different people.  Later in the afternoon, I saw Mr. Costa riding his bicycle.  I was afraid he might loose his balance but he was actually a good rider.



Copper Beech Tree in South Hampton

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM Comments 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

Earthquake in Japan - Santa Monica

Posted on March 16, 2011 at 10:12 PM Comments comments (2)



Stone Vase  with Poppies

My friends Keiko and Taku Shinomoto who own Tortoise in Venice are trying to help in their own way by donating s percentage of their sales this month to the eartthquake victums in Japan.  Keiko and Taku were both in Japan when the earthquake happened, and they are heading back to LA this week, if they can get on a plane.  

Sakai donated this stone vase to the cause.  I will make soba and do what I can to help in the relief effort.  Doing things for the people you love is a good thing in these challenging times.  

Tonight, Sakai and I met with our real estate agent and checked the inspection report of the hosue.  When this paper work is done, and escrow closes, our house will be sold.  After our meeting, I made pasta with left overs from my soba event - a medley of spring vegetables and shrimp.  The cat and dog were spread out on the coach like always.  We talked a lot about life after this house.  We are still not set on where to go next.  Sakai is looking at properties in the high dessert.  I am thinking about going back to Japan for awhile.      

Year of the Rabbit - Whittier

Posted on March 3, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (1)



You never know who you will meet.  I met this rabbit on an old property in Whittier today.  It was hopping around the weedy yard.  To see a real rabbit on the Year of the Rabbit felt like a good sign, especially when we are trying to make a big move - sell our house. Today, happened to be the day that the photographer came into photograph the house for the upcoming listing.  We've been clearing the house of all our stuff, mostly Sakai's stones and wood to a vacant lot that he rented in Frog town.  A few buyers were looking at the house too so that can be nerve wracking. We went to Whittier to look at properties.  This place where I saw the wild rabbit was a large lot with a rundown house but there was a good feeling about the place. It had big citrus trees bearing fruit.  There were other shady trees on the lot.  It had a ranch kind of feeling. I don't know if this rabbit belonged to anyone. It was on the property when we got there.   It was a pretty rabbit.  It hopped around the yard.  I followed the rabbit around for a few minutes and took this shot.



A walk in the snow - Sado Island

Posted on February 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM Comments comments (0)





Sculpture in Mohave dessert

Posted on January 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

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Happy New Year! Hang in there!





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Goodbye 2010

Posted on December 31, 2010 at 11:52 AM Comments comments (0)
2010 was a year of exploration and discovery.

I close with two of my favorite sunsets.


Agrigento, Sicily


Basin City, Washington


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Pumpkins, Rochester, NY

Posted on November 18, 2010 at 11:52 PM Comments comments (0)





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Pumpkins in a Blue Bucket, Rochester, NY

Posted on November 14, 2010 at 11:56 PM Comments comments (0)






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Quince Jelly - In Caroline's kitchen-London

Posted on November 12, 2010 at 10:02 AM Comments comments (0)
A wedding in Sicily brings me to Paris and London for a few days.  This is what I love about traveling in Europe. Everything is close.  I took the Eurostar from Paris to London, then a tube ride to Baron's Court where my friend Caroline Lives.





I was in London in less than 3 hours despite warnings of a tube strike, which was due to start in London that evening.  My big suitcase stayed in Paris. I love traveling light for a change.   



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.






Basin City, WA

Posted on October 28, 2010 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (0)

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Soba: Looking for buckwheat

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 11:57 PM Comments comments (0)
I have been on the road talking to farmers and millers about buckwheat.  Any artisanal soba maker's goal is to work with the freshest, premium grade buckwheat flour on a regular basis.  We learned a lot from the people who grow and mill it.  My dream is to find good buckwheat flour in the US.  Here is story that came out from Tri-City Herald (here is the link- a Washington paper that covers  Basin City, WA.  
      

  
Buckwheat flour - freshness test
Photo by Tri-City Herald



Harvested buckwheat field - standing with Darrel Ottman, Buchwheat producer

Point Mugu - Fall Camping - Soba Noodle Salad

Posted on September 26, 2010 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)


  Joe's fish kebabs on the bbq
Shrimp with mushrooms and red pepper.


Every year we go camping in the fall.  It's a tradition that's lasted for more than twenty years.  Some years we've skipped but our hardcore camper friends Ed, Rick and Terry never do. The camping site is not far from LA.  We go either to  Pt. Mugu (Sycamore Canyon) or Leo Carrillo Beach.  They are both north of Malibu, just an hour drive from Santa Monica so we don't even need to spend the night if we don't want to, and can still call it camping.  Love it.  Last year was Leo Carrillo (here is the l link last's year's camping experience).  This year we chose Pt. Mugu.  You have to book about six months in advance to get a camping spot.  They are that popular with campers.

Happy campers

I  don't like sleeping in tents. I've suffered through enough sleepless nights so after my son Sakae left for college,  I became a once-a-year day camper.  But I am sure in this modern age, camping has improved, as far as comfort is concerned. Maybe no more stiff backs when you get up in the morning.  Near our campsite, we saw a restored vintage tear drop camper. It was bright as a lemon. beautiful design.  Terry was talking about getting one. I would spend the night in something cool like that.  
 
The moon was still nearly full. There were a couple of sweet news - Rick and Terry's daughter Alexis got engaged to a young man from Lompoc.  Ed's daughter Kimberly had a healthy baby son.
 It was a lovely night with old friends!


Terry's guacamole   

This year Ed said we are doing fish.  Annie and I protested because we have always done tri-tip (Check out our tri tip from last's year camping trip - here is the link). But Ed kept saying not this year. So we gave up and went lean.  Annie brought her famous enchiladas (the picture came out blurry so it didn't make the blog but it was delicious!).  Terri made guacamole and stir fried snow peas. Rick made his special chocolate chip cookies.  Ed asked me to bring a salad and dessert but he ended up bringing a big fruit tart too, so we duplicated our effort. Still, we had no trouble finishing the desserts.  I made a tart tatin but have no pictures to show you.  I used the recipe in Zester Daily.  It was not too sweet nor heavy. The granny smith apples fell apart but they still tasted good .The crust was perfect. 

I am not a big fan of soba salad but I decided that I should give it another chance. Many soba salads use soy sesame based dressings, which is fine if you are using dried soba noodles. But if you make them fresh, like I do, sesame seed oil overwhelms and masks the flavor and aroma of the soba. I find that a light extra virgin olive oil or canola oil works better. I made a citrus salad dressing, using Yuzu juice.  The soba salad needed more salt... but noone brought salt to the campsite.  Can you believe it? Ed thought he had picked up some when he stopped by at McDonald's earlier.  McDonalds!  Any salt would have done the job but we did fine without it. 

Red radishes for the salad

Keep slicing! 

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables
Serves 8

1 lbs soba noodles, fresh or dried, cooked and shocked in cold water
2 Persian cucumbers, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 yellow pepper, julienned
1 box assorted cherry tomatoes
1 cup sweet peas, deveined and blanched
 Chopped herbs such as dil, chives, cilantro

Dressing:
1 yuzu,  lemon or lime
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger juice
1 tbls miso paste
1 tsp sugar or honey
1/3 cup canola oil or light olive oil
1 tsp light sesame oil (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Ground cracked red pepper (optional)
Salt to taste

Make the salad dressing. Squeeze the lemon or limes ot make juice. Combine all the ingredients to make the dressing. Adjust taste to your liking.

Prepare the vegetables. 

Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water, until al dente.  Drain and shock in cold ice water.
Drain well.

In a large bowl, gently toss the soba noodles with the vegetables and 1/ 4 cup of the dressing.  Add the remaining dressing. Garnish with herbs.

Didn't have time to take a picture of the soba salad except
what's left in this bowl!  



Point Mugu


Tunnel to beach, Point Mugu


  Catch me if you can


Ana watching the waves

Time to get back to the campsite.

Le Train Bleu - Gare de Lyon - Paris

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 9:04 PM Comments comments (0)


The main dining room

I have been to the Gare de Lyon many times but this is the first time I learned about Le Train Bleu. It's easy to miss even though the sign and the stairs leading up to the restaurant are huge. I had only been paying attention to the cafe bar on the ground floor until my friend Pablo asked me to meet him there.  Le Train Bleu was built in the 1900 on the occasion of the Universal Exposition. It is one of the best preserved buildings of that period.  If you are not in a rush, I recommend you check out the place. It's like a palace.
 
There is a full service restaurant but if you walk further down to your left, there is a narrow hallway where they serve coffee and sweets. Its furnished with comfortable leather chairs . that make you feel like you're in a first class cabin from the old times.  I sat there with Pablo and had coffee before we caught our train to Fontainbleu. Many famous personalities hung out here, including  Luis Bunuel and more recently, Willem Dafoe, one travel guide said. I found that amusing.  


Le Train Bleu

Gare de Lyon 1er Place Louis Armand ,75012

Website: http://www.le-train-bleu.com/uk/navigation.htm




Paris - Rue de Bac

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 8:57 PM Comments comments (0)






Early Summer Lunch in Fointeanbleu - France

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 11:44 AM Comments comments (0)




One of my favorite people to visit when I am in France are my friends Rudy and Brian. They live near the forest of  Fontainebleu, about 45 minutes from Paris by train.  I visited them with my friend Pablo.

Brian and Rudy are both very good cooks.  Brian cooked a big plate of white asparagus. The French ones are particularly fat and tasty.  You can eat them plain. Pablo brought back a souenir from his recent trip to Barcelona where he is from. "Rudy loves ham," Brain said.   It was Jamon Iberico de Bellota, the finest of Spanish hams.  We ate everything.



The main dish was cod served with a soury sorrell sauce.  Brian picked the sorrel from her garden and cooked it with creme fraiche.  She said, it was the easiest sauce in the world.  I never tasted sorrel before.  It is slightly sour but very nice with the fish.  Brian went through the sorrel sauce recipe, which I jot down in my head.  It would be nice to make it at home but I am not sure if I will be able to find such good creme fraiche or fresh sorrel, unless I grow it.




I found a beautiful chocolatier in the St. German de Pres called Hugo and Victor.  Their design is modern, their flavors extoic.  I tried the yellow ball, which turned out to be mango flavor.  Very good.  I always have an adventure with chocolates when I am in Paris.  A box of chocolate can cost as much as 30 euros, as did this little box. But most of the time, it's worth it.

Sculpture in Mohave Desert

Posted on December 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM Comments comments (0)

Sakae takes a picture of the sculpture.

Fall Camping - Leo Carrillo Beach

Posted on October 7, 2009 at 12:13 PM Comments 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

matches everything.   


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

new house


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

happy.



BEEF TRI-TIP IN A SOY LIME MARINADE 

I served this tri-tip with a salsa (see below)


RECIPE


Serves 6


2 Lbs -2.5 Lbs Beef tri-tip


Marinade:

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.


Salsa


RECIPE 


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.



Oxnard - A trip to bountiful

Posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:18 PM Comments 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.


 

A Quebecois Lunch - Montreal

Posted on September 17, 2009 at 1:23 PM Comments 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!