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!

Petit Lunch Rapide (Fast Food I)

Petit Lunch Rapide (Fast Food I)

petit lunch rapide

Not much time for lunch today and not much food in the fridge either. Though I was craving for some fresh healthy food so I had to dig into the emergency reserve . The only canned goods I store are:
– Albacore tuna in water and with not preservatives.
– Sardines in water with no salt and preferably the small ones.
– Organic tomatoes crushed, puréed or whole (
I buy a can or two of whatever is on sale )
– Organic chick peas.
I debated whether to make a tuna salad or some hummus. Chick peas sounded a better choice, Pierre is coming to town this weekend and animal protein will be plentiful.
Another thing I always have in my fridge are carrots and onions. It took me 15 little minutes to make

Petit lunch rapide:
Hummus (with my can of chick peas),
Julienned carrot & turnip salad,
Turkish olives
Toasted rye bread

I made it “a visto de nas” as we say in Gascon or “off the cuff” & without consulting any recipe. I rinced the garbanzos (chick peas) & dumped the entire can into the food processor with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil ( I didn’t have any tahini), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 lemon juice, salt, 1 teaspoon of cumin. I think that’s it.

carrot & turnip salad
Photo Pierre Joris

Carrot & Turnip Salad:
I am not trying to show off my knife skills, I just don’t have a mandoline here in Bay Ridge but I must admit that I also enjoy cutting veggies this size and shape. I used 3 small carrots and 1 turnip ( it had gotten lost in the fridge, I forgot to put it into the Pot of Feu last week). I dressed them with rice vinegar, olive oil, grated ginger, salt & pepper and wished I had parsley, but I didn’t.
Serve with spicy olives and some good bread -toasted or not. If you have to leave the house, make yourself a sandwich: hummus on the bottom, veggies on top. Voilà! This is my idea of fast food. It is filling, satisfying, cheap &


“The Hopeless Poem” now in English!

“The Hopeless Poem” now in English!

#6 ©Nicole Peyrafitte

While I was in France this summer I posted a new poem in French called “L’Espoir Tue”. A couple of weeks ago, while sharing pierogies and carrot cake at the Stage Dinner in the East Village with our dear friend Stash, the conversation came about *hope* & I told him about my poem. Though we still disagree about hope, Stash was willing to help translate it into English. Stash Luczkiw is a journalist/editor for Cartier Magazine and a poet originally from New York who has been in leaving in Milan for over 10 years.

Hope Kills

(after an article by Dr. Fogarty)

Hope is an inescapable and very hard-to-cure disease
Hope is a mirror that offers a blurry and idealized reflection of my desires
Hope—like daylilies—invades and depletes my essential resources for sustainable growth
Hope is a toxic fantasy of the future
Hope fills the necessary voids with synthetic satisfaction
Hope prevents neither death nor suffering
Hope could be
should be
maybe will be
but is not

And oh, yes! Hope inspires calm
it promises abundance to the rich as well as to the poor

Without hope the love of happiness detaches itself
to make way for an inevitable and uncomfortable reality

But it is there
stripped of all artifice
without prestige
without seduction
without escape—
and with much less consumption
that the quest begins
Life opens

Nicole Peyrafitte
Original Title in French : L’Espoir Tue
Assistance to English Translation: Stash Luczkiw

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!

Soupe, Chorba, Çorba, Suppa, Soup, Sopa…..

Soupe, Chorba, Çorba, Suppa, Soup, Sopa…..

Pierre Joris' Chorba

Soups are made everywhere in the world with all kinds of ingredients. Many appealing adjectives can describe them: healthy, earthy, cheap, restorative, easy to make, filling, convenient, the list is infinite. First lets clarify some terminology:
At the beginning the “soupe” was the bread dunked into the broth. This tradition remains ­– think for example of how in this country crackers or bread are inseparable from a bowl of soup.

If you are a beginner cook, soups are great to experiment with as it is rather difficult to ruin a soup.
Though all soups aren’t born equal and here are a few examples from the fanciest to simplest:
Consommé: a clarified meat or fish broth.
Bisque: puréed shellfish with cream soup.
Velouté or Crème: vegetable or meat based thickened with eggs yolks, butter and cream
Potage: falls somewhere in between velouté & soup texture and thickness.
Soup: refers to a thick, earthy chunky melange; think of French Onion soup, Bouillabaisse (fish stew soup), and last but not least the Garbure! also the title of my performance The Garbure Transcontinentale/The Bi-Continental Chowder where I cook this original recipe on stage, mirror the ingredients with songs and then share the soup with the audience. I am including the 10-minute video at the end of this post.

Today I will pass on a North African soup or chorba recipe that my partner Pierre Joris learned while living in Constantine, Algeria. This is one of our favorite winter dinners and we always eat it as a “plat unique”, or only course, and eat several plates. Follow it with a salad of fresh oranges with cinnamon, mint and chopped almonds for dessert.La Chorba de Pierre
Ingredients :

for 8 people

2 lbs of Lamb – shoulder cut into small pies & save bones
1 big Onion, finely chopped
1 heaped spoon of sweet Paprika

1 big bunch of Fresh Cilantro/coriander; 1/2 cup finely chopped. The rest of the bunch divided in half. The first half will be tied and dropped in the pot once all the other ingredients and the water will be in. Second half chopped and served as garnish at the table
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2 quarts of Water
1 diced fresh Tomato in summer; or 1/2 cup of canned organic diced tomato in winter
1 Cup of washed Freekeh (green wheat available at middle eastern markets and some health food stores, Bulgur can be substituted, but will not have as rich and complex a taste)
: 1 tube or can (a North African hot red sauce or paste made from chili peppers, garlic, coriander and caraway or cumin. It may also contain tomatoes.You can get Harrissa du Cap Bon by clicking on the link or you can make your own.)
Lemon (2): quartered to serve at the table as garnish


Generously coat a large sauce pan with olive oil –the Le Creuset 7 1/4-Quart Round French Oven is the one we do prefer, a once in a life time investment!– when oil is warm, sauté the onions until translucent. Add the meat and bones, sauté thoroughly. While the meat is browning, add the Paprika, Salt, fresh ground Pepper and the 1/4 cup of Fresh Cilantro, mix well and keep sautéing for a few minutes. When nicely browned add the water and the tied bunch of Cilantro, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hour.
At that point remove the Cilantro bunch and the bones (if you wish). Add the cup of Freekeh and the chopped tomato. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 1/2 hour or until Freekeh is cooked.
Bring garnishes (Lemon, Harrissa, Chopped Fresh Coriander/Cilantro) & Chorba at the table. Each person fills a plate, adds their desired amount of Harrissa (I use 1/2 a teaspoon but be careful you can always add some but it is difficult to take it out!)

Enjoy: it will warm the cockles of your heart!

La Garbure Trancontinentale-The Bi-Continental Chowder
a performance written, cooked, filmed and sung by Nicole Peyrafitte.
Video Elizabeth Germa