Summer Tisane

Summer Tisane


We are in the process of moving and boy! do we need restorative teas.  I like making my own brews and this is my latest concoction. It is very refreshing and soothing & it sure beats any store bought fancy ice teas. The healing qualities of the ingredients are a plus: turmeric is an antioxidant —see previous blog, star anis (badiane) will help with gastric conditions, ginger with nasal congestion & digestive problems,  and sage soothes upset stomachs, quiets the nerves, and helps with upper respiratory infections.

For one big teapot this is what I used:
1 finger of ginger
1 finger of turmeric
2 branches of sage
2 star anis
Boil water and pour over ingredients. Let it sit all night and the next morning strain it and put it in the fridge.
Alright, let me dive back into the packing madness — I might not blog for a few days, but soon I will be in my brand new kitchen! I am really excited about that.


Ze Cheese!

Ze Cheese!


A few weeks ago I raved about the Jean-Louis Cheese from Bobolink Dairy but didn’t get to take pictures. For my grand joy, I reconnected with Jonathan White, cheese maker and owner of Bobolink Dairy at the D’Artagnan Duckathlon. Jonathan was leading the cheese challenge; the contestants had to rank the cheeses by age, and for that he brought a selection of  Baudolinos:
“The “Brie of Barbarossa”, this soft-ripened wheel celebrates the pasture. Strong, fruity, and yeasty, this cheese is profoundly satisfying”.

Oh! yeah! all true and more.  I did make several trips to the cheese station, and my reward was to take home of piece of Jean-Louis, which is their star cheese named in memory of chef Jean-Louis Palladin & made from New Jersey raw cow milk . We shared it with our friend  Peter Cockelbergh, a writer, scholar and gourmand from Belgium who was blown away. I am telling you again, you can & should try it too! For a list of farmers markets and online sales for Bobolink click here. Jean-Louis Palladin couldn’t have hoped for a better homage; who cares about having a street, a park or a building named  after yourself, but cheese of that dimension? That is pungent!

Creamy & Cheesy Potatoe Gnocchi

Creamy & Cheesy Potatoe Gnocchi


My grandfather, Joseph Peyrafitte, would always make Gnoki à la Romaine —French 20th century spelling— which are made with semolina. It was later in life that I discovered potato gnocchi and I love them. Below is the recipe I use, it is quite simple and though I served it here with with bacon & Parmesan cream sauce, you can use any sauce you like (for example tomato sauce). It is a very filling and soul comforting dish that will please many.

For 2:
2 lbs of potatoes (russet)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups flour
salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 shallot
4 slices of thick bacon
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
(I didn’t have fresh sage that day, but I used some in an earlier version and it is very tasty, just make sure not to put too much, sage can be overwhelming)

Boil the potatoes; when thoroughly cooked, drain them very well.  Put them through the potato ricer. Add the flour, the beaten egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix the ingredients until you have a nice flexible ball of dough (gets a little messy but it is fun!).

Dust flour on a flat clean dry surface, take one piece of dough at a time  and using the palms of your hands make each piece into a thin long roll. Then cut roll into small pieces.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water, let them simmer for a minute. Do not crowd them, cook them in batches, they need to “swim” comfortably in the water.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon.

Sauté the (cut) bacon in a skillet, add the shallot, and sauté until translucent. Remove excess of fat. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce until it thickens. Reduce heat, add grated Parmesan, mix well, adjust seasoning, dump cooked gnocchis in the sauce and serve.

Bright Yellow Yummy Pears

Bright Yellow Yummy Pears


While I was cutting my pear, the bright turmeric (see turmeric blog) yellow stain on the cutting board retained my attention and then an association of visual and cooking ideas occurred: “I have to try to poach pears with turmeric they must become bright yellow”. I was obsessed all day with what else to poach the pears with. Looking good what not enough it had to taste delicious and voilà! to my taste this is a very satisfying and beautiful result.

Bright Yellow Yummy Pears
2 firm pears
1/4 cup of honey
1 long lemon mayer zest (other lemon untreated will work)
2 star anis
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of freshly grounded nutmeg
1 small finger of fresh turmeric (curcuma), peeled and cut into pieces
1 or 2 tbsp of St Germain liquor (elderberry liquor)
a few dried Turkish unsweetened yellow prunes
enough water to cover the pears


Peel the pears, keep the stem on, core it from bottom the best you can without damaging it -personally I do skip that step. In a sauce pan deep enough, so the pears can be immersed, place all the ingredients, lay the pears and add enough water to cover them. Bring liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes or until pears are tender but not too soft. Let the pear cool in their juices overnight.
Remove pears from the pan. Save the lemon zest and star anis for decoration, though you will eat the lemon zest, but NOT the star anis. Strain the liquid into a smaller sauce pan, bring it to a boil and let it reduce to about one cup of liquid -about 20 minutes-.
Serve chilled or warm. I like it both way depending of the weather or the time of the day. Can also be served with ice cream, a bed of custard, or brown rice for a healthy breakfast and that was my choice today.


Chili or not Chili?

Chili or not Chili?

Chili or not chili?

Well, it might be disappointing to you but I will not enter the polemic of what is a “real” chili and what is not. Beans? no beans? If you are a purist just reading now!
This *chili* has beans, Korean black/purple beans. My Korean daughter-in-law’s mother send a shipment of this year’s crop. Called
Suh Ree Pae (서리패), these purple/black beans –with purple flesh- were harvested at a family farm. I was presented with a couple of pounds and I am very thankful to my Korean family. Their chestnut flavor and their buttery texture is exquisite. My daughter-in-law mixes them often with rice. I had no more rice in the house (don’t let the in-laws know that) but a pound of ground beef that needed to be cooked, so I decided to make a bean stew, sometimes called a *chili*. It turned out to be one of the best chilis I had –besides Pierre Joris‘ venison chili.

Suh Ree Pae 서리패

This recipe is very simple & quick. Leftovers can be brought to work for lunch or can be frozen.One thing though, I like to reheat my beans in a double boiler. The microwave dry them up, I don’t like microwaves oven anyway and at this point I don’t even have one.

(for 2 with leftovers)
1 lb Korean black beans(available at Korean Markets, but you can substitute for any kind of black beans)
1 large onion,
2 diced carrots
1 lb grass fed ground beef
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 or 2 tablespoons of Korean chili flakes (any chili powder can be used, I just wanted to stay in the Korean mode)
Salt to taste
Scallions for garnish

Soak your beans overnight. Cook them al dente and reserve.Coat a skillet with olive oil or duck fat under medium heat ( I still have some duck fat leftover from the Lovy Ducky ) .
Sauté the onions and the carrots. Add the ground beef and sauté thoroughly until the meat has rendered its moisture. Add the chili flakes, salt, beans and mix well.
Add a little water, but remember: your beans are almost cooked so they will not absorb much water. I put just enough to loosen up the ingredients, until the consistency is that of a very thick soup.
Simmer over low flame for 1 hours.
Serve with rice or homemade tortilla chips. That’s what I did; I fried the dough of the tortilla in peanut oil.