C.S.A & Sour Cherry Sangria

C.S.A & Sour Cherry Sangria


Most of you probably know about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. This is how it works: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically a share consists of a box of vegetables, though other farm products may be included: as you can see above there are fruits. This year the Bay Ridge CSA program offered fruit shares. The consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a weekly offering of seasonal produce throughout the farming season. “Our” farm is Hearty Roots Community Farm in Tivoli NY. I have not yet met the farmers personally, nor have I visited the farm, but so far I like their produce and the variety. I also like the way we get it; instead of getting the traditional prepacked individual box, we are instructed what to take and we get to pack our own from the bulk crates (except for the fruit, but that is from another farm anyway). C.S.A arrangement creates many rewards for both the farmer and the consumer, if you want to read more on the subject click here. I do share a share with my older son’s family and this is what we got this week.

Veggie Share:
8 scallions
1 head of lettuce
2lb of zucchinis
1 red cabbage
1 lb of japanese turnip
1 lb of Chioggia beets
1 bunch of basil

Fruit Share:
1/2 pint mulberries
1 pint sour  cherries
1 pint blueberries


I boiled the beets until tender and dressed them with fresh scallions, sprinkled with olived oil, salt & pepper. I saved the beets greens and mixed them with sautéed potatoes. What I really like is to discover what I am getting and I can’t wait to get home and start processing my new bounty.


The sour cherries were a little disappointing. They didn’t have much taste raw, not really sour enough to make an interesting sauce — I used to make a wild salmon with sour cherry sauce.  As they were very pretty, I had the vision that they might enhance a not so great white wine I had sitting in the fridge. Bingo! This made a great summery aperitif! Let’s call is Sour Cherry Sangria! I crushed the cherries in the wine, added one dash of maple syrup plus one serious dash of grappa. Let it is sit for a few hours in the fridge. Strain and serve in small glasses with a fresh sour cherry at the bottom! Enjoy the summer — and the next post should be from my dear Pyrenean mountains. Adishatz!

Summery Garlicky Beans

Summery Garlicky Beans


As blogged last week, this past Friday I set up my kitchen/stage at 5C Café in Manhattan. I  want to thank Michael Bisio who delighted us on bass, Pierre Joris, Yuko Otomo & Steve Dalashinky who read fun & beautiful food & Paris poems, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte who took  the photographs and helped set up/clean up, Adrien Aquilina for his  assistance on waiting tables, as well as Bruce,  Trudy  & the volunteers at 5C  for their graceful hospitality & for giving me the opportunity to cook and sing. Many thanks also to a sophisticated, warm & engaging audience. Please feel free to post comments about the evening if you were there. If you were not there: the menu, the recipe of the main course, & Miles’ photographs are below.
But first let me tell you about my next performance coming up this Thursday with Peter Knoll on electric guitar. No food this time, but singing 3 French songs. I am really excited to be part of the Mongrel Vaudeville, and looking forward to the various & extravagant performances.
Mongrel Vaudeville
“Blue Moon in June”
What: Performance
Host: Julian of Nowherr
Start Time: Thursday, June 25 at 8:00pm
End Time: Thursday, June 25 at 10:00pm
Where: thru the swingin doors at Freddy’s Bar & Backroom
485 Dean Street Brooklyn, NY 11215
That’s the corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Now Friday’s menu:

Sardine Paté w/ pink peppercorns (see Sardine Tartine blog ; all I added were the pink peppercorns)
Syrian Cheese served with green spicy Turkish and black Moroccan lemon olives

Main Course:

Summery Garlicky Beans & Kale
(Thank you d’Artagnan for the coco Tarbais beans)


Strawberry short cake w/ live whipped cream!
(Thank you Pierre Landet for the pan and the strawberries)

Photographs by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte

Summery Garlicky Beans & Kale Recipe

I don’t have exact proportions, and it is really up to you to make it the way you like. Though as a rough indication here are the ingredients and the proportional ratio.
Soak beans over night:  2/3 white (coco tarbais)   for 1/3 red beans (dark red pinto beans).
Cook your beans separately and reserve.
—in duck fat, or olive oil— enough diced onions  to cover the bottom of the skillet in which you will cook your dish.
Add a few ribs of diced celery and diced red pepper. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add the purple kale, about half the pot, sauté until wilted.
Add the green garlic cloves. Make sure you buy them with the green stalk attached. Use about 1/2 a head per person. Green fresh garlic is very mild, do not be afraid.

Add about 1 to 2 garlic scapes per person (see last blog for info on scapes). Make sure they are very tender, if not peel them and cut them like green beans.
Salt & freshly ground pepper.
Add stock or water to just cover your vegetables & legumes.
Cook for about 40/60 minutes depending how big your pot.
Just before serving add one tablespoon of a pesto —my “pesto” had only  basil/regular garlic & olive oil, but nothing prevents you to add pignoles and cheese. I just wanted to keep it light as the appetizer had cheese and the dessert, whipped cream.
Make it soon because the garlic ain’t gone be fresh for much longer.

Very Healthy Dinner

Very Healthy Dinner

A toothache plus a little too much sweets and rich food over the holidays prompted this menu. My mouth is healing really well thanks to the care of Jerome Pindell, our family homeopath for 15 years and his referral to Sandra Senzon, a real Tooth Fairy, who is taking me on the path to save seven of my teeth from extraction! After the time to feast, voilà the time to nurture! Life is a question of balance, isn’t it? This dinner is very satisfying and tasty, not austere at all & it might even fit macrobiotic requirements!

Vegetable Soupe with Miso & Seaweed
Brown Rice & Kim Chee
Baked Apples with Cinnamon & Maple Syrup

Green Tea

Vegetable Soup with Miso & Seaweeds
1 Small Onion
1 Carrot
1 Clove of Garlic
1 1/2 Cup of Cabbage
1 little piece of Ginger
1/2 cup of seaweed (like wakame, soaked and cut small)
All veggies are chopped very small
2 Tablespoons of Tamari
Do not add miso until ready to serve. (Miso looses it’s power when overheated/boiled)
1 Tablespoon of Miso (I like hatcho or red miso)

Coat a pan and sauté the onions & the carrots. When the onions are translucent add the cabbage, the garlic & the ginger. Sauté for a few minutes. Add 4 cups of filtered water, add the seaweed & the tamari. Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots & cabbage are soft but not mooshy. When you are ready to serve, mix in the miso and make sure you don’t leave any lumps.
Serve with a cup of steamed brown rice and some kimchi.

Baked Apples with Cinnamon & Maple Syrup
Core the apples, place them in a baking dish with a little water on the bottom. Pour 2 tablespoons of maple syrup on top. Bake for 20/30 minutes depending the kind of apple you get. I had forgotten how good these are! (for another occasion you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!)

Cap it all with a good Green Tea & good health to you!

A Winner for the Winter (II) : Cabbage Roll

A Winner for the Winter (II) : Cabbage Roll
Cabbage Roll with Ginko Nuts
Cabbage Roll with Gingko Nuts

“Chose promise, chose due”, voilà the cabbage rolls with ginkgo nuts recipe. I have had stuffed cabbage or chou farci in many ways but the *japanese* cabbage roll became one of my favorite versions. I suspect this dish being part of the yoshuku tradition, but I haven’t yet found much info on it, even in the very good book by Katarzyna J. Cwiertka “Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food Power & National Identity”. This book was recommended by one of the members of the ASFS list server (Association for the Study of Food & Society). I have posted a new inquiry to the list server about cabbage rolls in Japanese cooking and about ginkgo nuts.

On that topic: I have been instructed by my daughter-in-law‘s mother not to eat more than 4/6 ginkgo nuts a day. When I asked why, the answer was: “That’s the way it is”. I insisted and was told that I should just accept it. Moi!? Curious as I am? Though this made me think that I too grew up with similar beliefs that I never questioned and do apply all the time! Among them, passed on by my grand mother, grand father & mother:
“Pèle la poire à ton ami, pèle la pêche à ton ennemi.”
“Peel a pear for your friend, peel a peach for your foe”.
L’Orange le matin c’est de l’or, à midi de l’agent et le soir du bronze”
“Orange in the morning: gold; mid-day: silver; evening: bronze”
I do peel my pears and rarely eat oranges after 3pm! That will join the list “to be investigated”.

Meanwhile lets make the promised rolls with the right amount of gingko nuts!
(My recipe is a variation from this internet recipe)
8 to 10 savoy cabbage leaves
1 lb ground pork
about 40 ginkgo nuts
4 to 8 shitake mushrooms
1 small onion
1 carrot
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups chicken or beef or veal stock

1 tbsp soy sauce

Remove core of cabbage leave and parboil the leaves for a few minutes in simmering water. Drain and reserve.

Roast the gingko nuts in a medium hot a skillet until skin detaches. Let cool and rub off the skin.

Dice onions, shitake mushrooms & grate carrot.

Mix all the ingredients with the ground pork. Salt & pepper to taste.

Divide stuffing for 8 or 10 leaves and fold carefully into each leave.

Warm up stock and soy sauce in pan, place the rolls and simmer gently until cooked (20/30mn).
Serve with brown or white rice & poor some broth over. This makes a light, delicious, heart warming dish that freezes well. If you make it
let me know.
Bon Appetit!

Cabbage: a Winner for the Winter! (I)

Cabbage: a Winner for the Winter! (I)
Brassica capitata alba
“Brassica capitata alba”

The culinary & healing possibilities of cabbage are endless, and they are not a new trend!
The Greeks and Romans were using cabbage mainly as medicine rather than food. Greek doctors like Hippocrates (who lived circa 460 BC. and is considered the father of medicine ), and Roman doctors like Pliny the Elder praised cabbage very highly. Hippocrates recommended cabbage for kidney diseases, dysentery as well as increasing the amount of milk in nursing mothers. Pliny, who lived in the first century AD and wrote a 37-volume Natural History mentions cabbage as an ingredient in 87 remedies.

The ancestor of our cabbage is believed to be what is called today sea kale (crambe maritima) also called “wild cabbage” or “sea cabbage.” It resembles a loose-leafed cabbage with an extensive core bearing very small leaves. This theory can be supported by the findings of Judith Hiatt in her book Cabbage: Cures To Cuisine; she suggests that cabbage didn’t form a head until after the time of Charlemagne, i.e. the 9th century AD. Until then it was more like kale and collards. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi belong to the same specie, Brassica oleracea. The different plants evolved by encouraging the development of elements already present in the original plant.

“Medicinal workings of cabbage rely on the balance of all its nutrients and the way they interact with each other in the body,” says Judith Hiatt. Cabbage contains vitamins A, B-1, 2, 6, C, K, U and very valuable minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium. One cup of raw shredded cabbage contains 43 mg of vitamin C, or 100% of the RDA for children. In the 80s the virtues of cabbage and its family were finally being rediscovered by the medical scientists. An article published in 1982 analyzes the result of studies which show that cabbage and its related family could prevent certain kinds of cancer:

“The committee believes that there is sufficient epidemiological evidence to suggest that consumption of certain vegetables, especially carotene-rich (i.e., dark green and deep yellow) vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), is associated with a reduction in the incidence of cancer at several sites in humans. A number of non nutritive compounds that are present in these vegetables also inhibit carcinogenesis in laboratory animals.” (extract of a study compiled by the National Academy of Sciences entitled Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. 1982. National Academy Press, Washington DC)

I personally do use cabbage as a medicine often. For burns, I immediately slightly crush a leaf of cabbage take the core off and roll the leaf around the burnt area, attach it with kitchen string if possible. It relieves the pain and heals the burn really fast. At the beginning change the leaf often, you will notice that the leaf does absorbs the heat. I have wrapped cabbage leaves around my neck when I had sore throat or around limbs for rashes. Now, that might become trendy to walk into your office or job with cabbage around your neck!

The benefits of cabbage can most of all be experienced through our every day diet & there is so many different ways of eating cabbage and related members of its family.
As the first of a series of cabbage recipe I choose an American favorite: Cole slaw . Cole slaw came into the New World with the Dutch settlers and was then known as Kool Sla, meaning cabbage salad in Dutch. It is important to note that for maximum health benefits, cabbage should be eaten raw as vitamins C and U do not survive the heat. So voilà for today and stay tuned for my incredible Cabbage Roll with Ginkgo nuts recipe!

Ni-Cole Slaw
4 servings
1/2 Cabbage or the heart of a small cabbage
1 Carrot
1 small white Onion or 2 or 3 Scallions
1 tender Celery rib
1 small tart Apple
1/4 cup of Walnuts
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Fresh minced Parsley

1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs Apple Cider vinegar

1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
salt, pepper