Posts from April 2013

Las Vegas 'Lotus of Siam' chef Saipin Chutima treats NY to 'Saipin's Siam Supper' on May 1st

Las Vegas Lotus of Siam chef Saipin Chutima treats New Yorkers to 'Saipin's Siam Supper' on May 1st for New York installment of Lucky Rice 2013 with 2 seatings, one at 6 pm, second at 9 pm, both sold out.

On the menu (according to 'Lucky Rice program)

FIRST COURSE Tom Kha Khai: Mushroom Soup


THIRD COURSE Tuna Tartare 

FOURTH COURSE Short Rib Khao Soi 

FIFTH COURSE Northern Larb 

DESSERT Mango and Sweet Sticky Rice


Tickets are still available for Grand Feast at Mandarin Oriental on May 3rd (7 to 10 PM) for $150 a piece and for Dim Sum Mahjong Bloody Mary Brunch on May 5th for more plebeian $88. Price for both includes food and drinks.

I wonder what Fuchsia Dunlop thinks of events like Lucky Rice.

('Eat, Drink, Get Lucky image from 'Lucky Rice' Facebook page).

Vacant Lot Turned Vegetable Garden, Newark, 8th Street and 11th Avenue

On my Monday run, I was going down 8th Street towards Central Avenue in Newark and noticed that a formerly garbage strewn vacant lot on corner of 8th Street and 11th Avenue had become a vegetable garden.


City farming for Green Day # 249

Previously: Organic Grappa, Vino Santo and Olive Oil from Cavalierino near Montepulciano

Exploring Deliciousness of Insects, Canapes and Sold Out Talk, April 30- May 1, Wellcome Collection

Over the months of April and May 2013, the Wellcome Collection in London tries to answer the question Who's the Pest, with combination of Free and Paid events.

Program notes intertwined existence of man and bug:

"From their first bite to the fact they eat us when we die, insects will always be part of our lives. Explore the entwined, co-dependent and timeless love story between humans and insects and answer the burning question… who is more of a pest?"

DeliciousinsectsApril 30 and May 1st)

On April 30 and May 1st, sold out evening program (7:30 pm to 10:00 pm) will ask attendees to explore the Deliciousness of Insects... 

The Menu

 “How do you take something perceived as ‘inedible’, and create the paradigm shift to bring it into the category of the edible?” This is the challenge embraced by Nordic Food Lab. “We hope to show the diversity of deliciousness, by exploring insects as undervalued yet striking ingredients in the Nordic kitchen and beyond.”

"Come to this stimulating evening where Nordic Food Lab's Director Michael BomFrøst and Head of Culinary Research and Development Benedict Reade join Professor Marcel Dicke, ambassador for insects and TED speaker, to show you the possibilities offered by entomophagy (eating insects). Immerse yourself in insect cookery with live commentary and have delicious insect canapés bought to your table."

One a the Free events is Insects au Gratin :

"Insects Au Gratin focuses on the future of food, and shows the potential of insects as a sustainable food source. Enter the near future of food: experience for yourself the sensory world of harvesting mini-livestock and witness table-top 3D printing demos of possible novel insect foods that could be on our plates sooner than we think."

This is an installation created by Susana Soares in collaboration with Steak Studio. It runs until May 5th.

Apple and Calvados Crumble Choux Buns from 'Patisserie at Home' by Will Torrent

Here's a second helping from Patisserie at Home (Ryland Peters & Small, April 2013) by Heston Blumenthal alumni, UK pastry chef Will Torrent,a book full of luscious classic desserts.

Apple and Calvados crumble choux buns

These choux buns have a surprise inside (apple compote and Calvados cream) and on top (crumble crust) – delightful in summer or autumn! 

icing/confectioners’ sugar, to dust

Crumble topping

80 g/5 tablespoons butter, softened

100 g/1/2 cup light brown sugar

100 g/3/4 cup plain/all-purpose flour

Pâte à choux

125 ml/1/2 cup water

125 ml/1/2 cup milk

100 g/61/2 tablespoons butter

a pinch of salt

a pinch of sugar

140 g/1 cup plus 11/2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour

approximately 6 eggs

Crème diplomate

250 ml/1 cup whipping cream

250 ml/1 cup double/heavy cream

500 g/2 cups storebought crème pâtissière

2 tablespoons Calvados

Apple compote

500 g/18 oz. Bramley apples

2 tablespoons butter

50 g/1/4 cup light brown sugar

juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

piping bags, plain nozzle/tip and star-shaped nozzle/tip

baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper

Makes 12–16 small buns 

ChouxPatisserie at Home

For the crumble topping

Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or in a bowl with an electric whisk just until well combined. Add the flour and bring together into a dough with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, top with another sheet and flatten with a rolling pin until about 3 mm thick. Freeze for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas 4.

For the choux pastry

Put the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a silicone or wooden spoon so that the sugar doesn’t burn and cause the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan.

When it comes to the boil, quickly stir in the flour and mix together. Beat the dough vigorously until it cleanly leaves the sides of the saucepan – this can take up to 5 minutes, depending on the heat.

Transfer the dough to a stand mixer or mixing bowl (using an electric whisk) and beat in the eggs, one at a time. You might not need all 6 eggs – flour and eggs behave differently no matter how many times you make the same recipe, so the number of eggs needed can vary.

As you add the eggs and beat them in, watch the dough and when it is soft and smooth and drops off a spoon leaving behind a ‘V’ shape, it is ready.

Take the piping bag and fit it with the plain nozzle/tip. Fill the bag with the choux pastry and pipe 12–16 buns on the prepared baking sheet. Take the crumble topping out of the freezer, remove the top sheet of paper and stamp out 2.5-cm/1-inch rounds from the frozen dough – use a cookie cutter or cut around a bottle top. Cut out the same number as there are buns and place a round on top of each bun. (A)

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through, puffed up and golden, then turn the oven off and leave the buns inside to cool completely and dry out.

For the apple compote

Peel, core and chop the apples. Put them in a saucepan with the butter, sugar and lemon juice and zest. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir, raise the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until you get a chunky ‘compote’. Allow to cool completely.

For the crème diplomate

Put the whipping cream and double/heavy cream in a stand mixer or use a mixing bowl and an electric whisk. Beat until soft, billowing peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip it otherwise it will become thick and grainy and it will split when mixed in with the crème pâtissière. 

Gently fold the whipped cream, in stages, into the crème pâtissière until smooth and irresistible, then fold in the Calvados.

Cut each chou bun in half horizontally and spoon some of the compote in the bottom. (B)

Fill the piping bag with crème diplomate. Pipe a generous mound on top of the compote. (C)

Sandwich with the other half of the bun. Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar, to serve.

(* Recipe from 'Patisserie at Home' by Will Torrent- Ryland Peters & Small, April 2013- photography by Jonathan Gregson-all rights reserved)

Chance of Cannubi Hill Walk and Invitation to Tour Fratelli Borgogno Cellar

Two weeks from today, the Grandi Langhe DOCG 2013 event near Alba will be in its second day.

I had planned to attend yet sponsor for my visit changed its mind so it's doubtful I will spend 3 to 4 days in Italy to start May 2013.

Registering for the event means that invitations to meet winemakers, visit cellars and do some barrel tasting have started to fall in my inbox.


Last one is from Emanuela Borgogno of Fratelli Borgogno who invited me to visit their cellar.

It would be great to take a walk on Cannubi hill.

(* Photo of Emanueala Borgogno above from Fratelli Borgogno site)

Showstopper for your Taste Buds, Passion Fruit Delice from Patisserie at Home

With Patisserie at Home (Ryland Peters & Small, April 2013) by Heston Blumenthal alumni, UK pastry chef Will Torrent, you are in happy land of choux a la creme, babas au rhum, mille feuilles and other luscious classic desserts, not to forget madeleines and macarons.

Search is over if you are looking for a showstopper and palate pleaser for your next dinner party with this first excerpt from 'Patisserie at Home'.

Passionfruit Délice

This is a sure showstopper, not only for its appearance, but also for your taste buds. Passionfruit is one of my favourite flavours as it works amazingly well with other ingredients but also stands well on its own. This is a celebration of passionfruit, great for special occasions, but you could make small versions for individual indulgent moments! 

20-cm/8-in. storebought flan base

Passionfruit mousse

3 leaves of gelatine

250 ml/1 cup whipping cream

125 ml/1⁄2 cup passionfruit purée

125 g/1⁄2 cup passionfruit yogurt

3 tablespoons lime vodka

1 large egg white

21⁄2 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar

Passionfruit jelly

2 leaves of gelatine

100 ml/1⁄3 cup fresh orange juice

11⁄2 tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla bean, split

100 ml/1⁄2 cup passionfruit purée

seeds of 1 passionfruit

Swiss/jelly roll pan, lined with greaseproof paper

deep, 20-cm/8-in. round springform cake pan


Serves 6–8

Start the recipe the day before you want to serve the cake.

Put the flan base inside the cake pan and set aside.

For the passionfruit mousse

Put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften; put the cream in a bowl and beat until soft peaks start to form, then refrigerate.

Put the passionfruit purée in a small saucepan over low heat until hot. Add the softened gelatine, squeezed of excess water, and stir until it has dissolved. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the yogurt and vodka.

Put the egg white in a stand mixer or in a bowl using an electric whisk and whisk until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until well incorporated and glossy.

Now line up all 3 bowls. Add a little meringue to the yogurt mixture and beat in with a spatula or balloon whisk. Fold in the remaining meringue very gently so as not to knock all the air out. Fold in the whipped cream in the same way.

Allow to cool completely, then spoon into the cake pan on top of the flan base, leaving a little gap at the top for the jelly. Refrigerate overnight.

For the passionfruit jelly

The next day, put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften.

Put the orange juice, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan over low heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatine, squeezed of excess water, and stir until it has dissolved. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the passionfruit purée and seeds. Allow to cool slightly.

Pour the cooled jelly on top of the frozen mousse in the cake pan. Allow to set in the fridge for about 2 hours before releasing the cake from the pan and enjoying this tangy dessert. Cut into slices using a hot, sharp knife.


Add pomegranate seeds to the jelly for an extra splash of colour.

(* Recipe from 'Patisserie at Home' by Will Torrent- Ryland Peters & Small, April 2013- photography by Jonathan Gregson-all rights reserved)

Pianocktail, Toasting the April 24 Release of Mood Indigo, L'Ecume des Jours Movie

To the chagrin of my professeur de francais, L'ecume des jours (Mood Indigo) by Boris Vian was one of my favorite books in middle school.

He was more into poets Ronsard and du Bellais.

I am looking forward to see how Michel Gondry's film version of Mood Indigo brings to life the Pianocktail, a key element of the book.

In Pianocktail (October 2008), Florica Vlad describes this pianotender as "a piano that mixes drinks based on the combination of keys played. Each key corresponds to a different spirit or liquor and cocktails are produced appropriate to the mood of the song played so that the concerto can be internalized and the music can be drank in addition to being heard."


Florica also shares image (above) of Pianocktail created by Géraldine and Nicolas Schenkel.

You can find more about it on their Piano Coktail site (French only).

There are also a couple of videos of Geraldine playing-mixing the Pianocktail including this one fron 2007.

Movie is scheduled for release in France on April 24,2013.

Take Your Fish by the Collar, Buri Kama, Charcoal-Grilled Yellowtail Collar from Japanese Farm Food

Since I have not yet finished editing my interview with Nancy Singleton Hachisu (shame on me), I have to make up for it in a small way with a third recipe from her book Japanese Farm Food (Andrews McMeel Publishing, Fall 2012).

Charcoal-Grilled Yellowtail Collar
Buri Kama

Serves 4

In Berkeley, for the 2010 Soba Dinner preparations, one morning Kanchan, Christopher (my eldest), and Sylvan Brackett from Chez Panisse (and Peko-Peko Catering) all trouped across the Bay Bridge to check out the freshly caught fish at Monterey Fish. It was an early mission (very early), so Andrew and I chose to stay in bed. When we finally hooked up back at Sylvan’s cooking studio in Oakland, Kanchan regaled us with his tale of grabbing out fish guts (liver and eggs, to be precise) and yellowtail collars from the refuse pile due to be jettisoned.
He cackled with glee at his “finds” and shook his head over the American waste. While he did not serve those orphan parts at the Chez Panisse dinner, the cooks were the lucky recipients later that night. Kanchan simmered the eggs and livers in soy sauce- and mirin-flavored dashi. The texture was slightly crunchy on the tongue and mildly sweet in the mouth—lovely. And the boldly fatty yellowtail collars, broiled, were meaty and succulent. Good in the oven, these are even better on the barbecue.

1 yellowtail collar (9 ounces/260 g)
Sea salt
Grated daikon
Soy sauce


Prepare a barbecue using hardwood charcoal (the fire needs to burn down, so do this a good 45 minutes before cooking). The collar sputters a bit from its natural fish oils, so cook over low heat.

Lay the yellowtail collar on a small clean grate and set directly over the fire. Sprinkle lightly with salt from a foot (30 cm) above the fish (tatejio) and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Flip carefully and salt the other side. Flip every 10 minutes or so and cook for a total of 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness and the heat.

Alternatively, broil slowly on a rack set over a foil-lined broiler pan in the third position from the top of the oven. Check after 5 minutes to gauge the broiler heat. If the collar is browning too quickly, move the rack to a lower position. Turn several times for even cooking and browning.
Depending on the broiler, this will take from 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the collar from the grill to an attractive plate. Squeeze a few spoonfuls of grated daikon in your fist to remove excess liquid, mound on the plate next to the collar, and drizzle the center of the mound with soy sauce. Let people dig in with chopsticks as a convivial first course or snack with drinks before dinner.

Variation: Substitute the collar for a similar fatty fish such as salmon.

Taking fish by the collar for Tokyo Thursdays # 255

Previously: Butterfly, Kansuke Yamamoto's Surrealist Take, Hiroshi Hamaya's Documentary Style, Photo Exhibit, Getty Museum

(* Recipe from Japanese Farm Food-Fall 2012- by Nancy Singleton Hachisu reproduced with permission of publisher Andrews McMeel, photographs by Kenji Miura, all rights reserved)

4 Reasons Why American Wine Professionals Should Attend Vinexpo 2013, 4 Numbers from Recent Study

With Vinexpo 2013 barely 2 months away, the event newsletter 'Vinexpo News' offers 4 Reasons Why American Wine Professionals Should Attend Vinexpo 2013 with 4 numbers culled from recent study.

"1) +55% : Projected increase in premium wine sales (above $10 a bottle) in the US between 2011 and 2016 
2) 100 million: number ofcases of imported wine forecasted to be consumed in the US in 2016 (an 11.5% increase over 2012) 
3) +25%: Projected increase in sparkling wine consumptionin the US between 2012 and 2016 
4) $26.8 billion: projected retail sales of still wines in the US in 2016 (an 11.4% increase vs. 2012)"

VINEXPO_13 VISUEL web calques_1

((Source: 11th Global Study on Current Trends in the International Wine & Spirits Markets AND Outlook to 2016; Vinexpo/The IWSR; January, 2013). The complete study is available for purchase.)