Just about any occasion sends me to the kitchen to create. My pots and pans are my culinary canvas. I cook dinners for friends' birthdays, for holidays, and three times a day for my family.
My hope is that my descriptions and photos will inspire you to get out to the farmers markets or down an aisle at the grocery store that intimidates you, try some new ingredients, and get crazy with the herbs and spices!
2 T butter 1 bunch French breakfast (or any kind of) radishes, cleaned, greens removed, halved lengthwise freshly ground black pepper 1 t raw honey
1/2 C water Italian flat-leaf parsley olive oil
Use a pan large enough to hold the radishes without crowding. Melt the butter over medium heat; let it brown slightly. Add the radishes, honey, and water. Stir to combine. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes or so. Uncover, increase the heat to high and bring back to a boil. Cook for another few minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Toss with chopped parsley and a splash of olive oil.
I served these lovelies on top of mixed greens tossed with a hazelnut oil-vinaigrette.
Paella has always been something I've wanted to make at home. For my 40th birthday I received a gift certificate - from one of my best friends - to a local kitchen store with a note attached: "For your paella pan...". Sweet! So, I headed over there and picked up a paella pan large enough to serve 10. It hasn't left the shopping bag yet.
Then, yesterday, at the Maker Faire, I saw the huge pans of paella goodness at the Gerard's Paella booth. We ordered two huge plates for lunch!
All signs are pointing to: Paella. From my kitchen. Stat.
Now I just need a good, traditional (or not traditional) recipe. Any suggestions, dear readers? I'm all ears. Comment below or email me directly at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com. Many thanks.
'Se prendre pour un bûcheron.' The phrase just popped into my head when I saw this cheese. He thought he was a lumberjack. What?! Where did that come from?
Sort of like when I had Jake listening to Italian CDs before our trip in 2001. I remember he sat straight up in bed one night and said - with perfect pronunciation, I might add - 'Dove posso parcheggiare la macchina?" I burst out laughing when he asked, "What did I say?!" So the CDs were sort of working. But since he wasn't going to be driving while we were there, asking where he could park the car wasn't really a useful phrase to know.
'Bûche' means log in French and is the root word for the name of this log-shaped French goat cheese. Bûcheron is a lumberjack, I think. My French is rusty. It's made near Sevre et Belle in the Loire Valley of France.
Each slice provides a glimpse into the ripening process for this
soft cheese. In the center, the crumbly, chalky interior tastes lemony. As the log ages, it turns creamy, but more pungent.
I spread a baguette slice with Bacon-Fennel Jam and smeared it with bûcheron.
The boys all thought it was a little barnyard-y. Oh, well. More for me!
Less than a week ago, I lost someone I knew. I saw on Facebook that Matt Schuler had died. At first I thought it was a joke. A sick joke. Then a few more posts and a couple of emails later, I realized that it was true. And it launched me down a nostalgic, wistful road.
Matt and I were part of the original 13 - thirteen students
who began their high school careers at York School in Monterey a year early, as
eighth graders. By the time we graduated five years later, our class had
swelled to 32 with a few kids drifting in and out through the years. For the
most part, it didn't matter who had arrived in eighth grade, ninth grade, or
even transferred in as a junior. What it meant to me was that Matt and I shared
many, many classes. From English to Physics and Chemistry to Choir, he was
there. Most memorably, he and I were the only two in our class who slogged
through five years of Latin when only two were required. By the fifth year, we
began to bicker about what we should read. He wanted to read Pliny's war
histories while I longed to read Ovid's love poetry; our teacher, Mr. Sturch,
brokered a truce: two days a week I would read Ovid, two days a week Matt would
read Pliny, and one day a week we would read whatever Mr. Sturch wanted us to
read. Sounded reasonable.
Over the twenty years that have gone by since high school,
Matt and I lost touch. But as many of us have, we reconnected through social
media. And my family and I had the pleasure of brunching with Matt and his
girlfriend Kim when they were in town for a family function. Since then, Matt
followed my kitchen blog and commented on my recipes or my libation creations.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I penned a blogpost about National Absinthe Day and
the bottle I had picked up on my way home from work. "I think the St
George is close to the best American absinthe," he wrote. I wondered which
one he would have deemed the best, but I didn't ask. I should have because now
I'll never know.
Though I wouldn't characterize my relationship with Matt as
a close friendship, we were more than acquaintances. We were two people who had
shared five years at a very small school; shared tables over meals, both as
adolescents and adults; and shared a passion about good food and great drinks.
Reading through the remembrances written by Matt's friends, I see a picture of
a man who was giving and loving - one who constantly challenged the people
around him to be better, to learn more, and to seize the day.
One of the stories another friend posted - Three Philosophers by Paul Berry - introduced me to a new beer. Leave it to Matt to introduce me to a winning brew even after he's gone. When I was standing in front of the cooler at WholeFoods after my run, there it was. Three Philosophers. So, I bought it.
And I came home, cracked the bottle, told Jake the story that Paul had shared, and poured it. "Slowly so as not to disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the sumptuous bouquet," instructed the label. Sounded like something Matt would say.
The verdict: this reminded me of the richness of Samichlaus but a little lighter - perfect for summertime.
Thanks, Matt. As usual, your recommendations are spot-on. Cheers...wherever you are. You are missed.
Bol Renverse (translated as Upside Down Bowl) is a popular
Mauritian dish with Chinese roots. It's really versatile. You can add any vegetables you want and you can use any meat that you want. I found recipes that used cabbage; I had chard. And the boys were reading about the religious breakdown of Mauritius and noted that Hindus don't eat beef while Muslims don't eat pork. So, we went with chicken.
2 C cooked sticky rice
3 chicken thighs, deboned, deskinned, and thinly sliced
1 Spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
4-5 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bunch of chard, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into coins
1 egg per person
Cooking: (1) Make a stir-fry with all of the ingredients except the rice and eggs. Season with soy sauce and thicken, if desired, with a little bit of flour or cornstarch. (2) Beat the eggs with a splash of water or milk and cook into a flat omelette.
Now here's the fun part: assembling your bol...
1. In a small serving bowl, lay down a piece of fried egg.
2. Spoon in a couple of tablespoons of your stir-fry.
3. Cover the mixture with rice. And gently press into the bowl to form a mold.
4. Cover with a flat dish and invert onto the serving dish.
My only stumbling point was 'khoa.' I had no idea what that was, but one site suggested it was similar to ricotta, so I went with that. Also, I subbed almond paste for her cashew paste and butter for ghee. I know, I know, purists are rolling their eyes, thinking that I should have gone to the store. But it was the end of a long and trying week. I was going for easy. And it turned out great.
1 C shredded beets
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1/2 C ricotta cheese
2 T almond paste
4 T butter
1 t ground cardamom
sliced almonds, for garnish
Place all of the ingredients in a large flat bottom-pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is well-blended and warmed through. Spoon into individual serving dishes and let cool slightly.
We have been stalled in our Cooking Around the World adventure. I guess the more accurate thing to say would be that I have been stalled. The countries coming up on the list just didn't have exciting recipes that I was dying to try. But it's time. Time to get going on this list again.
Mauritania is a country in north
Africa that shares its borders with Algeria, Western Sahara, Senegal
and Mali. The official name of the country is ‘Islamic Republic of Mauritania’
and it has a population of about 3.3 million people. It used to be a
French colony until it gained its independent in 1960.
The most striking feature
in Mauritania is what some refer to as ‘The Eye of Africa’. It's actually a
Richat structure and looks like an enormous bull's eye from a distance. The
feature is about 30 miles in diameter and is
believed to be formed by the simultaneous lifting of the underlying
Click on the recipe names to go to the recipe post.
Enjoy my tabletop travels. Join me in whipping up a dish or two. If you do cook something from one of these countries, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to comment on the posts themselves or email me at constantmotioncamilla at gmail dot com. This Knight of the Global Table Adventure is signing off for now. We're off to Mauritius next.