Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Midtown windows

An evening foray out of our East Village home base, braving the crowds on 5th Ave, catching the gorgeous windows at Bergdorff's. Wouldn't I loved to have created one of those!
Crazy animals, swimming fish and decorated cupcakes, charlottes and wedding cakes.
Loving the Obama effect with brown models at posh Fendi's. Stock up, girls.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Octopus agrodolce

My high quality midwife sister catches homebirthed babies in NYC, leaving a trail of touched, happy parents around town. One of them is a chef at Aliseo, a great little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn.
We dropped in after an afternoon of checking out Dumbo, trend-city under the Manhatten Bridge. Missed Olafur Eliassons waterfall installation, though. It was under the bridge this summer and fall. The salt water mist seemingly killed a lot of the local River Cafe's plants. Oops. Would have liked to see it, though.
At Aliseo we had real food and good wine with roots in Le Marche. Part of this trip is about Food Agency inspiration, this is definitely some.

Home cured salumi, white anchovies in a lemon dressing, scallops in pancetta with great grilled cabbage, braised goat, gnocchi, panna cotta with a super anis sauce, and a winner - Crispy octopus agrodolce. I got a kind of a recipe from the chef:

Boil the octopus tender in water, wine, salt and 'some spices'. Pan fry it crispy and toss with agrodolce. Hmm... Maybe we'll have a try with the monster in my Dad's freezer.

We drank a luscious Rosso Conero from Garofoli. Big producers, still craftsmen.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

China street

Kathrine's happy guy
Redfish... lots of fish
Boy with ducks on hooks
Pretzels from the hippo panda
The ultimate golden gulls.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Latkes - the Chanukah worm says mazel tov!

In the best Chanukah spirit, we spent Christmas Eve with an old friend making latkes, enjoying her childhood tradition of eating them fresh from the pan. The ingredients are:

4 lbs. - ca. 1,5 kg - baking potatoes
1 big onion
2 tbsp/spsk matzoh meal, wheat flour is fine, too
2 eggs
salt and peper
The potatoes were peeled and grated along with the onions on the Acme Special Safety Grater. We took turns. Dangerous tool, I was sure somebody'd get bloody knuckles. But no...
Remove some of the water with a few paper towels. Then mix the egg, flour, salt and pepper with the grated potatoes.
Heat up 1 1/2 inches of oil. Drop spoonfulls of the potato mixture into the hot oil and flatten the cakes. Turn them over when they're nicely browned on the first side. When they're finished drain them on some paper towels to absorb some of the fat.

Latkes are best right from the pan. If they make it to a plate, they're good with applesauce. Mott's is a classic, I'd rather have my mom's.

The latkes were delicious, much better - more delicate - than the ones I traveled uptown to get at Zabar's last time I was in this mecca-city of Jewish cuisine. Secrets are minimal amounts of egg and matzoh meal, flattening the cakes when they get on the pan and having the right temperature oil.
Happy Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blue Christmas

'Why don't you stay home today, we'll help out at the bakery tomorrow'. Decorating a big custom order of smurf blue and white snowflake shortbread cookies sounded like a breeze Sunday evening with Barbera in the nose. After hours of diligent piping with The Nutcracker on replay in the background we were definitely in the Christmas spirit.OMG, you actually licked that pastry bag...???

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kind of perfect

Pre-Christmas dinner, we went wild at Wegman's. Irma x 50 plus some well stocked veg, cheese, fish, meat, bakery and take-out departments. Lots of organic. Quali, quali.

Scallop ceviche with lime, horseradish and chives. Beef tenderloin - I was in scaloppini mode, but the available veal is raised nastily, so it's on the boycott list. Mushrooms, green beans, potatoes in phyllo packs. And the wine...

From Sparrow's Fine Wines. I wanted a light red with a smell that does the same thing for me as good pinot noir. David, the owner, gave me a bottle of Barbera d'Asti. Montetusa, 1997 from A. Bertelli. Didn't cost much, I would have paid it for the nose. Uhhh, well... Drank it with the tenderloin. Mami. Food and wine heaven with super company with great palates.

Certain sacrifices

Staying with a high quality baker of a sister, it's easy to get sucked into having to eat her homebaked croissants for breakfast. A couple with discreetly sweetened almond paste. A few plain. And pain au chocolat, one of my all time favorites when they're good.Needless to say...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I've had tears in my eyes plenty of times during the night. One of them was when April Lorraine Young said on TV2 early this morning, that this is the first time the USA really feels like her country. Her tears. My tears. That old wound is in me, too. Something that has been terribly wrong has shifted to something more right. Somewhere deep inside I relaxed, the change is almost imperceptible and yet profound.I laughed when I asked my local pastry chef to decorate the bakery's delicious French chocolate cake with a picture of Obama. Had the pleasure of eating it with a couple of good friends, aware of the history of the moment. Accompanied by... tears... and a nice, red dessert wine - Arturo's Passito di Terre verdiane. Congratulations to us all!