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.

Egg Nest

Egg Nest

Egg Nest

More eggs, more rice & more good fast food today. I had very little time to cook but was craving comfy food after being Momyger for the weekend. When Miles (my younger son), gets to work as an actor I become half mom, half manager, that’s what a Momyger is! I am learning a lot about the job, thanks to the coaching  of Joseph (my older son). Miles’ latest role took us to Upstate New York, around the Poukheepsie area, for the shoot of some promo scenes of an horror movie called Muttnick by William Szarka. Miles (Joris-Peyrafitte) plays Muttnick a 17 year old boy who has been raised with dogs —and like one of them— until age 5. He has been rescued by Sam (D.J Hazard) whose life mission is to hunt down and kill people harming animal gratuitously. You can see more pix of the shoot here. Warning: some are bloody, so refrain if you are sensitive to gore. I never watch horror movies, I don’t like them at all, but I have to say, to observe the shoot was a lot of fun. It is amazing & often funny, to get to see the tricks that makes horror “looks real”.
So after a lot of fake blood, a lot of mosquitoes, a lot of driving, a lot of sandwiches (especially  for Miles who had to eat  about 10 of them for one scene!), too many danishes and way too much coffee, I got home Monday lunch time craving a tasty, comfy home cooked meal. The fridge  looked very  bare when I opened it. There was still 1 cup of cooked brown rice leftover from 5 days ago (good thing that it takes a while for cooked rice to go bad), the end of a kimchee jar, a couple of eggs and parsley. I could have made another version of Om-Riz, but what would I blog about! I opted for what I could call a Korean style fried rice and I  called it “Egg Nest”.  Another very fast, cheap and satisfying dish.

1 Tbsp of olive oil
about 1 cup of cooked brown rice
about 1/4 cup kimchee (I like Sunja’s natural kimchee, very flavorful and no MSG unlike many others)
1 egg (room temperature)
1/3 cup chopped parsley

Egg Nest in the wok
The “egg nest” in the pan

In a wok heat the olive oil. Add the rice and the kimchee under high heat. Make sure the mixture doesn’t stick in the pan. Let it fry for a few minutes.
Lower the heat under the wok. Make a well in the middle of the rice and add one whole egg delicately (see picture above). Cook  the egg until done to your liking.
Personally I like to make the bottom get a little bit crunchy, a sort of bottom crust.
Now comes the tricky moment —a non stick pan will make this procedure easier, but it is manageable  in the wok if you are careful— make sure you
slightly loosen the bottom of your mixture with a spatula. Slide the all thing onto a plate. Sprinkle with paprika garnish with plenty chopped parsley.
Voilà! To wrap up there is a few pix of the shoot. We had a great time, and I must say crew and actors worked super hard. I hope this turns into a feature because they sure deserve it. Good luck guys!

DJ HazardMuttnick ShootMuttnick Shoot
Full album here

Water Bottle Drift

Water Bottle Drift

verrazano bridge

I walk along the Verrazano Narrows on Shore Promenade several times a week. On Memorial Day Shore Promenade was busier than usual so I decided to “catwalk” next to the water on the other side of the fence. It was low tide and I wanted to look at what had drifted into the boulders. Between 68th street and the Verrazano bridge there was only one patch of sea shells, but many, many clusters of empty plastic bottles. There is of course other junk, but the litter is mostly made of individual plastic bottles.
I work seriously on decreasing my use of plastic bottles, bags and packaging in general. I do have a few individual bottles saved, I fill them up with water from my filter carafe, keep them in the fridge and take one along when I leave the house. If I forget, I try to find a water fountain but occasionally I do buy a water bottle. Paying close attention to this insane accumulation along The Narrows increased my awareness and I’ll sure try to avoid the occasional bottle purchase as much as possible.

I try to imagine how did this place looked like before Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed through it in 1524. The Italian explorer, who was at the service of the French crown, wrote his employer King Francois 1er that he believed he had found the opening to the Pacific Ocean, therefore a direct route to China. It is reported that while anchored between Staten Island & Brooklyn, Giovanni da Verrazzano “received a canoe party of Lenape people”  and he called what today is called  The Verrazano Narrows in his honor: New Angoulème. The Lenape where hunter gatherers, not by lack of equipment or sophistication but most likely because the natural resources were so plentiful that they didn’t have to worry about planting, growing  or attending crop. It was all right there available for hunting, fishing & picking  (read Anne Mendelson Chapter “The Lenape” in Gastropolis: Food and New York City).

It is so painful to witness the current destiny of this so unique water-based environment. What was an osmosis between man and nature has became its antonym. Today, despite being one of the major water highways of the world — flanked with litter — The Narrows’ commanding views still moves me deeply. This is the mouth of the Hudson River, and one can feel the incredible elemental forces; remember that the Ocean tide is felt all the way to Albany!

The native name for the Hudson River is Mahicanituck, which means: the river that flows two ways. It was very shortly after I took my first walk there that I wrote the song that was in my CD The Bi-Continental Chowder / La Garbure Transcontinentale. I was still living in Albany and the next day I took the train back and kept filming along the Hudson. The video and the song are part of the live performance of The Bi-Continental Chowder / La Garbure Transcontinentale. Below is the recording and the video:

Percussion: Danny Welchel, Voice over: Ben Chadabe, Text/voice/video: N.P.

Another good reason not to buy bottled water is that beverage companies often take water from municipal or underground local resources: you are probably aware that about 40 percent of bottle water comes from the tap! Other negative factors are: transporting the bottles uses energy, increases landfill and and emits toxic chemicals.

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.

Molokhia, Corète potagère, Corchorus Oilitorius,ملوخية

Molokhia, Corète potagère, Corchorus Oilitorius,ملوخية

It can be spelled Molokhia, Mulukhiya, Malukhiya, Molokia; A.k.a: Juteplante in Germany, Jew’s mallow in the UK, corète potagère or chanvre du bengale in France, Crain-Crain or Krin-Krin in francophone’s Africa, Corchorus Olitorius in Latinand finally, in Arabic, ملوخية. Until my trip to a Syrian grocery store yesterday in Bay Ridge, NY, I had never heard of it. It is a very well known Middle Eastern & African mucilaginous leave-vegetable that grows easily; it belongs to the family of the Tiliacea. It as been cultivated for century both in Africa and Asia, it is found wild on both continents.

Same family as jute (white jute is Corchorus capsularis and Tossa jute Corchorus olitorius). Raw jute was exported to the western world to make cordage, ropes and is better known in the USA as burlarp.

Once cooked the leaves produce a viscous or gooey texture similar to okra. I bought a frozen pack and since I knew nothing about it, I just followed the simple recipe on the package, just adding a few pickled chili pepper . Next time I will add a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

Molokhia soup

Molokhia Soup Recipe
Drop frozen molokhia in 2 cups of boiling water or broth.
Mix often until totally unfrozen.
In a sauce pan melt 1 tbsp of butter and lightly brown 6 finely chopped garlic cloves adding a pinch of coriander.
Add the molokhia, stir, adjust seasoning and serve.

So voilà! my dinner last night:  Molokhia soup and a batch of home made French fries. It was a quick, unusual and satisfying dinner.