Petit Diner Rapide (Fast Food II)

Petit Diner Rapide (Fast Food II)

petit diner

Still not much time to cook due to the last crunch on my next cd with Michael Bisio (title: “Whisk! Don’t Churn”) scheduled to be released on March 12 at Justin’s in Albany where it was recorded live November 20th 2008, remember?
We still had to eat and I must say I like the challenge of having to make something really quick with whatever is available or brought to me. Pierre went shopping; he strolled down to our favorite local store, Aunt Halime’s Halal Meat on 3rd Avenue and Ovinton, and brought back a beautiful rack of lamb, a bag of frozen artichoke bottoms (unusual to find artichokes bottoms, it is usually hearts) and got a nice bottle of Cahors at the local wine store.

artichoke bottoms

We decided that it was too much to make the entire rack for the two of us. I cut out 6 small chops and he took the rest up to Albany. The artichokes bottoms where a great accompaniments to the simply pan fried chops. I was also impressed by their quality; they were firm & flavorful, grown in Egypt and imported via Beirut, Lebanon. Of course I had to go visit the website, and the Alwadi company doesn’t look like a mom and pop’s business, but more like the Goya of Middle Eastern food. Still I can’t complain about the artichoke, au contraire, and they didn’t list any preservatives, which is rare for frozen artichokes. Though I will not use them too often as I am trying to be mindful of my carbon footprint!


This is how I prepared them:
I steamed artichokes for few minutes. I added olive oil & a dollop of butter to the same pan I had fried the lamb chops in, sautéed the bottoms cut an half for few minutes, adding 2 cloves of garlic. Before serving, add chopped parsley. C’est tout!

We shared the bottle of Cahors with the help of my son Joseph who stopped by for a drink and then we returned to our cd designing happy and satisfied!




Pour John & Wayne

The sun has set too fast today.
Can a water lily show me the way?
An impression by Claude Monet
Let Giverny bridge Albany.
Wet paint into wet paint
Emphasizes your qualities.
The perception of your movements
Belongs to les effets de soir.
Your blue shadow is a landscape
Your reflection a guide.
Like a painting by Claude Monet
“Impression, Sunrise”
Impression, soleil levant

Bay Ridge -Sunday, October 26, 2008
Bass: Michael Bisio
Photo/Voice/Text: Nicole Peyrafitte
Recorded Live at Justin’s in Albany N.Y by Sten Isachsen -Bender Studio-November 20, 2008

Cooking Demo @ Bay Ridge Farmers Market

Cooking Demo @ Bay Ridge Farmers Market

Since October 5th we have a farmers market in Brooklyn Bay Ridge. It is held every Saturday from 8am-5pm  at the corner of Third Ave and 95th Street, in parking lot of the defunct Key Food. This location is temporary, a Walgreen pharmacy (another pharmacy?!) is schedule to open in the Spring 2009.

Merci à Marie Dudoy pour la photo!

So, yesterday at 8:30am I strolled down windy Third Avenue carrying a light folding table and pushing my red rolling cart filled with pans, plates, bowls, portable stove, knives and a few groceries that were not going to be available at the southernmost New York Greenmarket. I decided to make omelets because they are very versatile and I could filled them with most of any produce the market manager would like to promote. For the first course Stacey, the market director, and I gathered swiss chards, buffalo salami, buffalo cheese, garlic, scallions from the vendors and this collectage became:

The Bay Ridge Omelet
(for 2)

4 eggs
2 Tbsp of Milk
2 cups of Swiss Chards
10 slices of Buffalo Salami (or 4 slices of bacon)
1 small Garlic clove
1/4 cup of Buffalo Cheese (can be substitute for any cheese you like)
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Rince the chards and remove the toughest part of the stalk. Chop it small.
Meanwhile heat a skillet with 1 Tbsp of oil and sauté the salami or the bacon.
If you used bacon chances are that you have more fat in the pan that you begin with, that’s ok, just use it to cook the chards, if you use the buffalo salami (which is very lean) add enough oil or butter to have about 2 Tbsp of fat in the pan and then add your Swiss chards.
Add finely chopped Garlic clove and cook until chards are soft. Reserve them.

Warm a skillet (non stick is easier if you are a beginner) with 2 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of Oil.
Meanwhile beat the eggs, milk, salt & pepper in a bowl with a fork (do not use a wisk) until foamy.
Add the cheese.

Pour into the very hot skillet (but don’t let the butter take color or burn). Move it around with a wooden spoon or much better by jerking the pan very quickly with a good wrist action. Once you have a very loose scramble egg consistency add your veggies in the middle. Move it around, flip it once, let it set, and flip it onto the plate.

My grand father use to say: “Before hiring a cook ask him (at that time there was no her in the kitchen!) to make an omelet”. He would not tolerate the use of any utensil once the egg mixture was poured into the pan; it had all to be done by wrist action. The omelet had to remain soft in the middle and just coagulated in the outside, never golden, always pale. Yes! a serious “tour de main” or know how is required! The picture of my omelet above is golden, it would approve of it, but that is the way like it!

For the second demo Suzan, who works with Glenn Vickelman of American Seafood, brought me a dozen of plum & shiny “dry packed” sea scallops. Scallops that are without any additives are called “dry packed” while scallops that are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) are called “wet packed”. I personally never eat “wet packed” scallops; I’m not a big fan of STP, I don’t eat stuff that also goes into cleaning product! Do you?

The Bay Ridge Scallop Tapas:
6 Fresh “dry packed” Scallops
Dice one small onion
Dice one red pepper very small
Dice some fresh tomatoes (yeaah, it is end of the season.)
Finely chopped garlic & fresh basil( that too!)

Heat some oil, with or w/o butter in a skillet.
Sauté onions until translucent, add red pepper. When they are soft add the tomatoes and let stew until most of the moisture is gone, add basil + garlic + salt & pepper, let is stew for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile toast slices of country or sourdough bread.

Heat another pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter. When medium hot place delicately your scallops in the pan and sear them for about 3 minutes or so per side -it will depend how thick they are. Do not overcook them.

Spread some of the veggies on the bread and place your scallops on top. You can cut the scallop an a half, if you have more people that scallops! garnish with a few of thin sliced scallions or chives.

I have purchased clams, muscles, scallops and haddock from Glenn Vickelman of American Seafood and so far it was all outstanding. A real pleasure to eat seafood again.

Bon, voilà for today! For a complete list of the Bay Ridge GreenMarket vendors click here and for a list of New York City GreenMarkets click here.

Llanera @ Bay Ridge 3rd Ave. Festival

Llanera @ Bay Ridge 3rd Ave. Festival

Bay Ridge is the most Southwestern neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The area got its moment of fame in the late 1970’s with the movie Saturday Night Fever. The tip of our neighborhood displays the commending Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. I moved there a year ago and truly enjoys the area despite the long commute to Manhattan.

Two Sundays ago was the yearly 3rd Avenue Festival that stretches from 68th street to about 94th. From 10-6pm local bands, choirs, food and the usual all kinds of vendors, take over the avenue. It is fun and crowded. What made my day was a Llanera barbecue next to my house. I had never seen any and I got really curious.

LLanera Vendor

As you can see the banner reads (under the name of the restaurant, that is in Paterson, N.J.): ” Carne a la llanera , sabor y tradicion a su alcance”; which I would translate by ” Meat flat plain style. Taste & tradition at your reach”. The lady chef was Columbian from Los Llanos meaning the flat plains situated at the east Andes in Northwestern Colombia & Venezuela. The name Llanos applies to both sides of the border. Since colonial time this region is famous for herding millions of heads of cattle. Their cowboys are called los llaneros. The specificity of the region is also a folkloric music: el Canto LLanero (see the youtube video below).

Llanera bbqllanera Bbq

I believe the technique used above is made up to suit the vendor’s needs for street cooking situation. In rural settings it looks like a fire is made on the ground. Then large pieces -the picture shows 1/4 side of beef- skewered to a large stick that gets planted in the ground. I am assuming that the stick is planted deep enough so it can be turned to allow meat to cook all sides.

photo linked from:

We bought 3 servings and fed 8 people! The order included roasted potatoes, plantains & a spicy salsa/coleslaw type raw condiment. We got a few side orders of cheese filled arepas –fried corn pancakes– and a few grilled ears of corn. The meat was maybe a tiny bit over cooked for me, but it was really tender and flavorful. llanera bbqFrom what I could observed from the meat hanging on the sides, it didn’t look like the meat had been marinated, but it could have been brushed with some marinade for the last cooking step, when the slab is taken out from cooking hanging on the sides and placed flat on the grill. It was delicious! We wash it down with a few bottles of Tempranillo, and what a feast we had. Save the date for next year for the 3rd Ave. Festival, it is usually the last week end in September! See you then if not before. Also keep an eye for this vendor, I heard that they participate to many street fairs in the city.

Short Ribs & 콩나물국 (kong namul guk)

Short Ribs & 콩나물국 (kong namul guk)

Last night we were invited to dinner at the home of Joseph & Yoori. Joseph Mastantuono is my older son, and two years ago he and Yoori Kang got married. I am so blessed to have such an incredible daughter (don’t like to say in law, daughter in love would be better!). Yoori came from Korea to study art about 10 years ago; she is a very accomplished cook and I must say that she enchants me with the flavors of Korean food. Joseph and I immigrated from France in 1987. He learned how to cook very young from being with me in restaurant kitchens, It feels like Joseph always knew how to cook, and when he went off to college he cooked for himself very competently and economically. When Joseph and Yoori invite us for dinner usually she or he cooks, but last night it was a combination of both their cooking.

Joseph made Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets (Gourmet, 1992), a recipe handed on by his good friend Pedro. They were excellent, the sweet & sour marinade & the perfect crispy broiling make for almost addictive morsels: you can’t stop eating them! The contrasting texture of Yoori’s rice & beans opened the palate to subtlety of the ribs. I noticed that the black beans where unusual, Yoori told me that they came from a family farm in Korea, and were sent by her mother. Their Korean name is: 서리페 (suh ree pae). I am curious to find out more about these beans that have a black skin, are greenish inside and have a chestnut like taste.

But what upgraded this meal from excellent to brilliant was 콩나물국 (kong namul guk), a fish & vegetable broth with julienned bean sprouts served cold. A little sip of broth between mouthful of the ribs & rice allowed th palate to reset & refresh for the next one, an experience similar to the concept of pickled ginger between sushi or sashimi.

I ate the salad at the very end as I was so enraptured with the ribs, the rice and the broth. But I do like the salad before desert, this is a French way of having it. For dessert Yoori cut up some nice & crunchy watermelon and while the guys had Armagnac I had green tea.

Merci Joseph et 감사합니다 Yoori for a blissful evening.

PS: Joseph is an online editor and a post-production manager also one of the 4 editors of funnybookbabylon an online podcast on comic books.