The video above features my cornichon poem written for the occasion and set to the music of the well know composer and famous gastronome Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868). The title of the composition is: Hors d’Oeuvres III : Les Cornichons — and this is not a joke. Quatre Hors d’Oeuvres et Quatre Mendiants are part of Rossini’s last sets of compositions called “Dernier Pêché Mortel, de Vieillesse” or in English: “Sins of Old Age”. These unpublished late compositions (1857-1868), now compiled in 14 volumes, were meant to be performed at private occasions in the composer’s drawing room. Below are the details of Volume/ Book 4:
Quatre (4) Hors d’Oeuvres: [The Hors d’Oeuvres here refer to appetizers]
I- Les Radis – radishes
II- Les Anchois – anchovies
III- Les Cornichons- gherkins
IV- Le Beurre – butter
The Quatre (4) Mendiants: [Mendiants refer to dried fruits and one of the Thirteen desserts of the Noel Provençal. Each fruit is supposed to represent the robe color of four monk orders] Les Figues sèches – dry figs — Carmel order
Les Amandes – almonds —Dominican order
Les Raisins- raisins —Franciscan order
Les Noisettes – hazelnuts — Capuchins order
This occasion lead me to reconnect with the marvelous Franco-Italian singer-song writer Nino Ferrer (1934-1998). I learned his “Les Cornichons” and even if you don’t know French, do listen to it. Nino Ferrer was a very interesting artist who had quite a successful carrier. His background included studying anthropology with André Leroy Gourhan and accompanying jazz musicians like Richard Bennett & Bill Coleman. Voilà — and merci beaucoup to Françoise Bevy for the photos. Enjoy!
We sure started the year “en fanfare”…that is: not so discretely! Our new year’s eve adventures started at 6:30pm for hors d’oeuvres & cocktails at the house of good friends. Thanks god I passed on the very tempting Campari martinis and settled for white white. The tasty and nurturing Zabar’s appetizers (great chicken liver paté), provided the healthy layer for the boisterous night to come!
Next stop was Pocha 32 —32th street in Manhattan— a quite exotic Korean drinking establishment decorated with fish nets and soju bottle caps. Soju is the Korean national drink. The main ingredient of soju is rice, almost always in combination with other ingredients such as wheat, barley, or sweet potatoes. Soju is clear-colored and typically varies in alcohol content from 10% to 25% proof. It was first known to have been distilled around 1300 A.D and believed to have been brought over to Korea by the Mongol invasion. I have a serious problems with Soju: I have a tendency of drinking it at the same pace as wine and forgetting the alcohol content!
Fishnets and Soju bottle-caps decorations at Pocha 32(32nd street NYC)
Expertly counseled by our daughter in law we also tasted a very refreshing —and treacherous— beverage: Mak Gul Li (막걸리). This traditional fermented, unfiltered & milky looking liquor is brought to the table in a tin tea kettle and served in bowls. We tried two kinds: one was made with rice and the other with millet. The rice one looked, and tasted, like carbonated fermented sweet rice milk. The intense yellow/green millet one was a touch more bitter, richer with a more complex finish.
What can be better than spicy tripe and octopus dishes to enhance these potions? Maybe more soup? I got a taste of the fish cake soup (어묵탕), then came Seafood Pah jun (해물파전), spicy stir fried tripes (소곱창 볶음) , followed by spicy baby octopus with pork belly (쭈꾸미 삼겹살 볶음). Overall the food was decent but as I was in a party mood I might have missed some subtleties—though I did noticed the horrible mushy over cooked rice!
After a few hours of jolly time at Pocha, we felt the need to move and one of us had heard of a rooftop bar next near by. We had no trouble finding it and that is were we comfortably settled to toast the new year. The 14th Floor Roof Top bar of the La Quinta Hotel looks up to the Empire State Building —for which I wrote and recorded the French audio tour, and last I heard it is still on! To our surprise the place was not crowded at all but boasted the kind of eclectic bunch of people only New York City can bring together. So it was with a motley crew of Puertoricans, Mexicans, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, French, Germans —and even a young man from Luxembourg, to Pierre’s astonishment! — that we celebrated well into the night with bubbly clear fermented grape!
It was hard to wake up the next day, and our stomachs felt a little unsettled, but we showed up right on time to set up my crêpes station at St. Mark Church for the 36th Annual Marathon Reading. Pierre read first and didn’t get my act together to film him —sorry!— The crêpes got sold out pretty quickly. It was really nice to have blog readers stop by say hello —Merci! The place was packed through out the day and despite much of my time spent in the back I got to listen to some very nice reading and music. Voilà! and let’s start the year with a touch of Gascon language:
Bona annada, plan granada, e de hèra d’autas accompanhada!
THE DVD IS OUT!
On November 7, 2007, Joe Girardullo, Pierre Joris & myself had molto fun presenting Sax, Soup, Poetry & Voice a multimedia performance at the The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy N.Y. The original description of the show was:
A Harvest Celebration with multimedia artist Nicole Peyrafitte, saxophonist Joe Giardullo & poet Pierre Joris. The trio will celebrate, harvest, and gather together non linear momentum through their music, poetry, voice, visuals and yes, a soup! Nicole, who recently moved to Brooklyn, will cook an “Inner-State” soup that will be shared with the audience.
The quality of this recording is stunning. They made us look and sound really good! & you ou can almost taste the “Inner State Soup!”
This DVD series is not a commercial venture and The Sanctuary for Independent Media is eager to have it distributed widely. For that reason we offer it through Ta’wil Productions store for a modest $5 to cover shipping and handling. Spread the word & the DVD!
Free Jazz from the Sanctuary Launched! A 13-part series of jazz performance videos featuring some of the world’s most talented improvisers, recorded live in concert at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, is now available online–just click the links below! Each show is (or soon will be) available on DVD; details are available under each band entry.
The Free Jazz from the Sanctuary series will soon be available for non-commercial broadcast distribution.
Contact us for more information!
Free Jazz from the Sanctuary is a co-production of NY Media Alliance and the Arts Department at Rensselaer, made possible in part with support from the NYS Council on the Arts and the NYS Music Fund, established by the NYS Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers.
Photographs of the show: Sax, Soup, Poetry & Voice by Jon Flanders (11/07/07)
Only once in a blue moon do you get to have so much fun — and that was last night at the Mongrel Vaudeville, Blue Moon in June! , an event masterminded and organized by the fabulous multitasking poet performer Julian of Nowherr (Julian Brolaski). I am thrilled to have been part of:
“Brooklyn’s newest, queerest variety show, starring hot divas, sideshow freaks and musical sundries!
Last night’s performers were: Jasper James: Host
Country music outfit The Low and the Lonesome Pop-rap phenom Badboss Magician Gary the Great Kyle Peterson, El Juglar / the Brooklyn Juggler Queer diva provocateur JZ Bich Escape artist, sideshow performer and contortionist Jared the Conjuror Performance artist Nicole Peyrafitte w/ Peter Knoll
Electro-drag cabaret singer / shamanist Yozmit R&B sensation Colin Steele
I was accompanied on guitar by Peter Knoll and we performed two deconstructed Edith Piaf songs, L’Accordéoniste & La Vie en Rose. Below, the video (by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte w/my small camera) of L’Accordéoniste and below the video more photographs courtesy of Stacy Szymaszek.
As blogged last week, this past FridayI 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 arebelow.
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. Program:
Mongrel Vaudeville“Blue Moon in June”
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
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.
Sauté —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.