Posts from January 2013

3 Courses for 30 Dollars, San Luis Obispo Restaurant Month, Jan 2013, 8 Days Left

Being late to the party does not mean you cannot enjoy it.

Many of us on the East Coast would currently enjoy trading the big chill for a bit of California sun.

Add a little wine and food and things are almost perfect.

One way to combine Sun, Food and Wine is a visit to San Luis Obispo County.


Especially now since San Luis Obispo County picked January 2013 as its Restaurant Month.

3 courses, $30, 8 Days left.

Italy, the Slow Wine Way, 2003 Slow Wine Guide Evening Tasting, New York, January 28

Italy, the Slow Wine way makes 3 stops in the USA to celebrate the publication of Slow Wine Guide 2013.

Besides afternoon sessions for media and trade, general public has a chance to join in the fun with evening tastings at each stop.

The Slow Wine Guide 2013 tour opens in New York on January 28, followed by Miami on January 30 and San Francisco on February 4.


You can find details and reservation info on Slow Wine USA Tour 2013 page on Slow Food website.

Tickets for General Admission are $50 a piece and with purchase each attendee will get "a complimentary copy of The Slow Wine Guide 2nd edition (a $25 value) in addition to the opportunity to discover over 100 wines."

I plan to attend the New York evening tasting where walk around tasting will feature over 75 selected producers with 15 Italian regions represented.

In addition in New York, Slow Wine in collaboration with Vinitaly will offer this feature:

  • Masterclass*: "Call it Prosecco: only if it origins from the Prosecco area" (hosted by Susannah Gold) will begin at 6:45PM

(*Masterclass entry is complementary and on a first come, first serve basis)

Bigorneaux, Jellyfish, Mackerel, Blue Water Cafe’s Unsung Heroes Festival, Feb 1 – 28

You will not find Chilean Sea Bass on menu that Chef Frank Pabst of Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver has put together for his annual Unsung Heroes Festival that once again will feature the local fish and seafood catch.

2013 heroes include mackerel, jellyfish and periwinkles (small shellfish similar to snails known in my native Brittany as bigorneaux

The Unsung Heroes Festival is designed in collaboration with the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise program,.

"Chef Pabst’s objective is to avoid species that are over-fished, or harvested in ways that can damage ocean beds – and introduce diners to fresh experiences and new flavours."

Unsung heroes

Among dishes on meanu are Sea Urchin Scallop Mousse with Ponzu Jelly, Periwinkles poached in Kombu Dashi, and Jellyfish with Pork Jowl and Lotus Root.

Good deeds: 10% of proceeds will be donated to the Ocean Wise  sustainable seafood program.

Sea Snails on menu of Green Day # 239

Previously: Just in Time for the Holidays, Zero Waste Lifestyle, A Book by Amy Korst

Putting a Face on 'Diversity Destroyed', Berlin Before and after 1933', 2013 Theme for Berlin

What happened after the Nazis access to power will be documented throughout the year in Berlin.

City choose Diversity Destroyed, Berlin Before and After 1933 as its theme for 2013.

In a nutshell:

"To mark the 80th anniversary of the Nazis’ accession to power on January 30, 1933, and the 75th anniversary of the November Pogroms (Reichskristallnacht) in 1938, the city of Berlin in 2013 is organizing cornerstone events to actively remember and acknowledge the painful past. From January 30 until November 9, 2013 – the actual dates of the two somber anniversaries - the city will endeavor to document the sensitive nature of these infamous events, and at the same time highlight the modern, tolerant and culturally diverse metropolis Berlin has since become."

Diversity destroyed
Three major programs anchor this citywide reflection:

From January 30 until November 9, the I.M. Pei designed German Historical Museum guides through the activities and initiatives of the “Diversity Destroyed” theme, which can also be explored by walking tours of urban spaces and landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate, Kurfürstendamm and Anhalter Bahnhof station. The exhibition displays the vibrant, culturally diverse city and avant-garde society of the 1920s metropolis, which was soon after destroyed by the Nazi regime.

The open-air Portrait Exhibition and Urban Memorials will specifically show the human tragedy caused by the events between 1933 and 1938. Placed at historically relevant locations throughout the city, 120 pillars will depict these events, complemented by a 40-pillar portrait exhibition that focuses on the individual life stories and fate of more than 200 Berliners who represented the city’s cultural diversity in the 1930s.


On a lighter note, if you plan to visit Berlin, you might want to check Maybachufer Market on Friday, Treptow Park on River Spree, Yaam Bar, Berlin 10 Do's and Dont's which we published while in Europe last summer.

(* Map of Urban Memorials above from Kulturprojekte Berlin site)

Walnut Spice Sticky Cake For Brunch Sunday, 'Vegan Eats World' Recipe

After sharing Pumpkin Black Bean Posole recipe from Vegan Eats World '300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet' (Da Capo Lifelong Books, October 2012) by Terry Hope Romero, the Vegan Latina who calls Queens home, here's a sweet treat with greek origins.

Walnut Spice Sticky Cake

makes one 9 x 13-inch sheet cake

A wholesome, sticky cake bursting with some of the most popular flavors in Greek sweets: walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, and even olive oil. Enjoy this rustic cake as a homestyle dessert or as an aromatic coffee cake at brunch. Barley flour is a common sight in Greek baked goods and, though a wholegrain flour, it gives this cake a delicate crumb and nutty flavor; nutritious whole spelt flour can also be used. With any cake, but especially ones made with whole-grain flour, mix the batter just long enough to moisten; mixing by hand is the best way to avoid overmixing.

The orange juice syrup topping gives the cake a pretty sheen and makes it soft and tender. It also
helps keep the cake fresh longer.

1 1/4 cups barley flour or spelt flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
one 6-ounce cup vanilla or lemon soy yogurt (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2/3 cup plain or vanilla soy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
finely grated zest from one organic orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts

orange syrup
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves

Walnut Spice Sticky Cake

1. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch metal baking pan or a

9-inch springform pan, place it on the bottom, and spray the insides of the pan generously with olive
oil. Preheat an oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl sift together barley or spelt flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, all of the ground spices, and salt and form a well in the center.

2. In another bowl whisk together until smooth the soy yogurt, soy milk, flaxseeds, orange zest,
orange juice, olive oil, vanilla, and sugar. Pour this liquid mixture into the center of the dry ingredients
and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold the dry ingredients into the wet only long enough to
moisten; don’t overmix. Fold in 1 cup of the chopped walnuts, spread the batter into the pan (no need to spread into the corners of the pan; it expands during baking), and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts on top of the batter. Bake for 36 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay).

3. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a vigorous boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. The syrup should be thin (not thick like pancake syrup). Remove from heat to cool.

4. When syrup has cooled down slightly, remove cloves and cinnamon stick, then pour syrup evenly over the cake while it’s hot. When cake is completely cool use a thin, sharp serrated knife to slice into wedges. Store cake tightly covered at room temperature.

(* Recipe reproduced from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero- October 2012- by permission of publisher Da Capo Lifelong Books)

Dali Show, Moustache Included, on iPad, Android or Live at Centre Pompidou, Paris, Until March 25th

He pushed the boundaries of what a painter is expected to do by appearing in chocolate commercial Je suis fou du Chocolat Lanvin with his famous moustache making a splash on the screen.

I guess for Salvador Dali it was part of being a provocateur.

He is currently celebrated with a  retrospective called Dali at Centre Pompidou in Paris.


If you cannot visit Paris before exhibit closes on March 25, 2013, no worry.

Some of that Dali magic can appear on your iPad or Android device in a matter of minutes thanks to publisher Gallimard.

(* Image above from Centre Pompidou Facebook Page)

Vivid Colors of Peruvian Food on Full Display at Lima in London

A number of years ago, I met a lawyer and epicurean from Ecuator who confessed that in his opinion the richest cuisine in South America could be found in Peru.

He attributed that to its melting pot from native Indians to European and Asian transplants and also to its abundance of fresh seafood, produce and potatoes of all kinds.

A relative newcomer to the London restaurant scene, Lima, proves all that.


Vivid colors of Peruvian food are on full display, art too.

In Year of the Snake, Celebrate Oshogatsu at Morikami Museum, Delray Beach, Jan 13

2013 is Year of the Snake and Oshogatsu, Japan's New Year's Celebrations are taking place on Sunday, January 13 at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida.

This is Morikami' "35thannual New Year’s celebration with the tastes, sights, smells and sounds that define the traditional Japanese New Year as well as our own" and an invitation to "celebrate the Year of the Snake for those born on 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013!" 


A few things on the program:

  • DIY Daruma Wall
  • Introducing Oshogatsu
  • New Year’s Storytelling
  • Open Air Koto & Calligraphy Demos

Oshogatsu on the menu for Tokyo Thursdays # 248

Previously: Poems and Card Games, 100 Wakas, Japanese New Year Traditions

(* Illustration from 'Oshogatsu' program pages on Morikami Museum site)

Worth Crossing the Hudson, Cucharamama Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Alfajores, from Gran Cocina Latina

On October 25th, i shared the Andean Hominy and Pumpkin Seed Soup recipe from Gran Cocina Latina (WW Norton, October 2012)  and had every intention to meet the book's author, Maricel Presilla, then Sandy happened followed by busy holiday season. 

I will be meeting Maricel as soon as we find a time and day that works for both of us.

While these details get worked out, here's a sinfully tasty second recipe from 'Gran Cocina Latina'.

Cucharamama Dulce de Leche Ice Cream 

Helado de Dulce de Leche 

This is the dulce de leche ice cream I serve at Cucharamama

It is a favorite there, and with reason. It is smooth, creamy, and not too sweet, and it has that marvelous depth of flavor that comes from the slow cooking of the custard. Many a customer has crossed the Hudson just to eat this ice cream. 

Makes about 2 quarts 

1¼ cups dulce de leche, homemade (page 809) or store-bought (preferably Dulce de Leche

Gandara, La Estancia, or Los Nieticos)

Two 12-ounce cans evaporated milk

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of salt

8 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cacao nibs, for garnish 


▶ Place the dulce de leche, evaporated milk, and whole milk in a medium saucepan with the salt and bring to a gentle boil while stirring. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 40 minutes. 

Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat at medium speed until thick, fluffy, and pale yellow. Remove the milk from the heat and add the eggs gradually while beating with a wire whisk. Return to the burner, add the vanilla, and cook over medium-low heat until thickened into a light custard. 

Pour the custard into a medium heatproof bowl set over a larger bowl filled with cracked ice and water to stop the cooking. When cool, pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions for about 1 hour. Scoop into a stainless steel or plastic container and place in the freezer to harden. 

Serving: Serve 3 scoops in a serving bowl and garnish with cacao nibs. Or serve a dollop of ice cream with warm Squash Bread Pudding with Prunes and Pisco (page 832), or scoop into serving bowls or margarita glasses garnished with Chilean Pumpkin Fritters (page 855) shaped like stars or birds. Pour a tablespoon of warm orange chancaca syrup (page 806) over the dessert just before serving. It is also delicious with a couple of Argentinean alfajores (page 837).

(* Recipe from 'Gran Cocina Latina' by Maricel Presilla- WW Norton, October 2012- reproduced with permission of the publisher)

Bread Makes the Sandwich, Roberto Santibanez 'Torta de Carnitas' from Nick Malgieri 'Bread'

What would become of sandwiches without bread?

Here's a taste of Mexico with a recipe by Roberto Santibanez from  Bread, 'Over 60 Breads, Rolls and Cakes Plus Delicious Recipes Using Them' (Kyle Books, October 2012) by Nick Malgieri...


Possibly the most interesting sandwiches in the world, Mexican tortas combine boldly seasoned elements in a way that achieves both complexity and a certain delicacy. A torta is usually constructed on a telera roll, but there are dozens of regional variations on the bread. This recipe is from my very dear friend Roberto Santibañez, chef/owner of Fonda in the East Village in Manhattan and in Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York.

Friendship aside, my critical side knows that he cooks the best Mexican food outside Mexico, bar none.

Makes 4 tortas 

4 Teleras, page 82, or other rolls of your choice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to

spreading consistency

1/2 cup refried black beans, see below

Half the Carnitas, see below, warm but not red hot

4 paper-thin slices white or red onion, peeled but

left intact

4 slices pickled jalapeños, or more or less to taste,

see Note below

1 ripe Haas avocado, quartered, peeled, and each

quarter cut across into 1/2-inch slices

2 tablespoons mayonnaise, Mexican crema, or crème fraiche 


1. Split the rolls and butter. Lightly toast the buttered sides on a griddle, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, or under the broiler.

2. Spread the bottom halves of each roll with 2 tablespoons refried beans. Spread a quarter of the carnitas on each. Top with the slices of onion, the pickled jalapeños, and the avocado.

3. Spread the top halves of each roll with mayonnaise or crema and press lightly on the torta to adhere. Tortas are not usually cut in half before being served but this gringo recommends you do so to make eating a little easier. Serve immediately. 

NOTE: The pickled jalapeños can be replaced with 1 tablespoon chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Pulse the whole can of chiles and sauce in a food processor, pack into a plastic container, press plastic wrap against the surface, and refrigerate. 


Combine 1 tablespoon olive or mild vegetable oil, such as safflower or canola, 1 tablespoon finely grated white onion (it’s okay if it’s mainly liquid), and 1/2 small clove garlic, finely grated, in a medium saucepan. Set over low heat and cook until the aroma of the garlic is evident and the onion and garlic are starting to color a little. Off heat, stir in one 15-ounce can black beans and their liquid. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground toasted chipotle chile or other ground hot pepper and 1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican. Increase the heat slightly to bring to a boil, then decrease again and start using a potato masher to turn the beans to a purée. Regulate the heat so that the beans simmer gently and cook, stirring frequently, until they thicken slightly.

Stir in salt to taste— they shouldn’t be too salty. Cool the beans and scrape them into a plastic container for storage. Bring to room temperature before using. 


Combine 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder with some fat on the meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, with 3 cups water, 1 cup thinly sliced white onion, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 8 peeled cloves garlic, 3 medium bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, crumbled, and fine sea salt in a 3- to 4-quart enameled iron Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming as necessary, then decrease the heat to an active simmer. Cook until the water evaporates, the pork is very tender, and it starts to fry in its rendered fat, about 1 and 1/2 hours. Transfer to a gratin dish or other baking dish and bake the pork and fat at 450˚F until it colors deeply, about 20 minutes. Cool to just warm. For advance preparation, cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat and cool to lukewarm before using. 


TORTA DE ALBÓNDIGAS: For a single sandwich, after spreading the bottom half of the telera with the beans, top with 2 of the albondigas and some of their sauce on page 34—they should be warm but not hot. Sprinkle with cilantro, onion, and cheese as in the albóndigas recipe. Top with avocado if you wish, then spread the top half of the roll with mayonnaise or crema. 

TORTA DE PECHUGA: For a single sandwich, cook a chicken breast as in Rosemary Chicken Sandwiches, page 71. Slice if you wish, but in Mexico it would be used whole.

Assemble the sandwich as at left, but sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of crumbled queso fresco. 

TORTA DE MILANESA: Bread and fry in vegetable oil some thin 3-ounce pork or chicken cutlets as in Wiener Schnitzel, page 42. Assemble like the Torta de Pechuga, above. 

p.82: Mexican sandwich rolls 

Makes 8 rolls

11/2 cups/340 grams cool tap water, about 70°F

21/4 teaspoons/7 grams fine granulated active dry or instant yeast

1 cup/225 grams whole milk, scalded and cooled

6 cups/800 grams unbleached bread flour (spoon into a dry-measure cup and level off)

2 tablespoons/30 grams sugar

3 teaspoons/18 grams fine sea salt

Cornmeal for the pan

One heavy cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan sprinkled with cornmeal, plus a spray bottle filled with

warm water, and one 1/2-inch-diameter dowel 

These are the rolls that tortas, Mexican sandwiches, are made on.

They’re split and reheated in the oven, or split and the cut sides buttered and quickly toasted on a griddle. Their light texture and thin crust make it easier to bite through the large amounts of filling common in tortas. 

1. Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk in the cooled milk. Add the flour and sugar and stir. Place the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook attachment and beat on the lowest speed until a rough dough forms, about 3 minutes, then let the dough rest for 15 minutes. 

2. Sprinkle in the salt and beat the dough on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. 

3. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it with a piece of oiled plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise until it’s more than doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. 

4. Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Flour the dough and your hands and flatten the dough to a disk. Fold the two sides in to overlap at the middle, then roll the top toward you all the way to the end, jelly-roll style. Invert, flatten, and repeat; scrape it back into the bowl. Cover the dough and let it rest another 30 minutes. 

5. Flour the work surface and use a scraper to invert and move the dough onto it. Gently ease the dough, without deflating it too much, into an 8-inch square. Use an oiled scraper to cut the square into 8 equal pieces, each about 120 grams. Round each piece of dough (see step 6, page 80), placing it upside down on a flour-dusted towel. If the dough is very sticky, flour the palm of your hand, not the dough. Cover with another towel or oiled or sprayed plastic wrap and let the rolls rest for 10 minutes. 

6. To form the teleras, place a piece of dough rounded side upward on a lightly floured surface and use the palm of your hand to gently flatten it. Generously flour the surface of the roll and use a 1/2-inch diameter dowel to mark 2 parallel lines in the top of the roll in its length. Each line should be a little less than one third of the way in from the side. Use the dowel to roll back and forth and make a 1/4-inch wide trench in each of the marked places.

Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Arrange 4 rolls on each of the prepared pans, spacing them well apart, and cover them again. Let the rolls proof until they’re about 50% larger than their original size.

Once the teleras have started to puff, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450˚F. 

7. Once the rolls have fully risen, place the pans in the oven and decrease the heat to 400˚F. Bake until well risen and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Once the rolls are fully risen and starting to color, about halfway through the baking time, turn the pans back to front and move the pan on the upper rack to the lower one and vice versa.

8. Cool the rolls on a rack and use them the day they are baked, or wrap, bag, and freeze for longer storage. Reheat the defrosted rolls at 350˚F for 3 minutes and cool before serving.

(* Recipe excepted from 'Bread' by Nick Malgieri-published by Kyle Books, October 2012- photography by Romulo Yanes, all rights reserved)