The previous post showed how to clean squids while saving their precious ink to make the wonderful recipe Calamares in su Tinta, Calamars à l’Encre or Squid in their own Ink. But first let me share some sweet family history about this dish.
When we first moved to this country in 1987, my son Joseph was 6. When he started school we were told there was a cantina where the kids could buy their lunches. At first we were all eager to blend in so we decided to go with it. First day of school, and little Joseph comes home appalled reporting that there was no lunch served, only pizza and hot dogs! AND kids who brought their own lunches had peanut & jelly sandwiches —to this day I don’t think he would consider eating one unless truly starved. We then decided to pack him a real lunch, and that didn’t include sandwiches, that was picnic food, he was used to French public schools ,then family style, sit down three course meal! So I purchased a thermos box and packed him a hot lunch for many years. His favorite one was to take to school: squid in their own ink — needless to say not a popular item to trade lunch! It is still one of his favorite dishes and he actually did partake of this batch. Alors, voilà la recipe for Joseph Mastantuono and for poet Jonathan Skinner who asked for it.
Calamars à l’Encre
5 lbs of squids cleaned, ink sacks set aside
1 medium chopped onion
1 peeled & seeded tomato
4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1/2 bottle of red wine —French Languedoc or Spanish—
1/3 cup of Spanish Brandy
3 tablespoons Arrowroot flour ( or two of regular flour)
1/2 cup of chopped parsley for garnish
– Cut the cleaned and drained squid cones into rings — I don’t cut the tentacles though some people do and I cut the rings about 1 inch thick.
-Warm a skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions, cook gently until slightly golden.
-Meanwhile prepare your ink:
with a pestle (or the back of a spoon) apply pressure to the sacks to force the ink through the mesh of the strainer. Pour the red wine over the sacks in the strainer and keep working until you have extracted the ink from the bags. Save.
-Add the cut & dried squid to the skillet, mix well with the onions. Once the squid start getting opaque and stiffen add the Brandy and flambé safely (if you don’t flambé is not a big deal). Mix well.
– Add garlic, tomato & mix well.
-Add ink with wine, mix well.
-Sprinkle the three table spoons of arrowroot on top. Mix very well.
-Add more wine, if needed, so that liquid covers squid to 3/4.
-Bring to a gentle boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or so. Your squid have to be very tender.
I like serving it with saffron rice, but white rice is good too.
Bon Appétit! And please report if you make it.
Waiting for the day to break & still in the sleep/wake up zone, this morning I am trying to count how many times I moved. Probably about twenty times, some moves bigger that others. I will never catch up with Pierre who moved about thirty times. So, yes! We do have some experience in the field but still, I find the process gruesome. I never use this word but that’s the qualifier that comes up when I think of moving. Moving is believed to be one of the three highest stress related events —after the death of a relative and a divorce. No matter how many times you do it, the physical, mental & emotional demands are high. I am glad that I could keep up with my yoga routine in the early morning and avoided eating too much junk food while being without a functioning kitchen.
This time we hired movers and despite the one day delay due to the truck blowing a tire on it’s way to Albany it went rather well. Our crew from Dumbo movers was the most courteous, efficient, educated and eclectic bunch you can think of. The crew was lead by Vladimir, a Serbian engineer with a master in transportation, he was helped by Dan, an unemployed Wall Street banker with a master in Real Estate Banking and a real Tibetan monk who had to escape Tibet last summer after the riots. I really should have taken a picture of these guys, but by Friday morning I was fried and survived the last three hours while in a liminal mental & physical space. Not only was I overwhelmed by the unloading and arrival at the new place but the super was giving us a hard time because Friday July 3rd is considered a holiday, according to him! All this to say that I didn’t get to say properly goodbye to the team and tell them how great they were.
Anyhow, we are in the new place in Brooklyn and surrounded by boxes. Pierre’s 10000 books (yes! 4 0’s) are patiently waiting to find their place on the beautiful new shelves. The kitchen is functioning enough to make some food and I have started opening up some of my heirlooms. The first item I unpacked was my undated oil painting by Henri G. Cheval. I have had this painting since 1981 and no information on it, except for one internet entry that tells that Henri Cheval was friend with Doisneau, Antoine Blondin and that generation of French artists. It sounds very plausible, as this painting was given to me by André Bellut who was the chef and manager of the restaurant of the Paris paper “Le Parisien Libéré”. André Bellut, who was a close friend of the family, knew that crew of artist-writers pretty well. André was an amazing chef, every summer he would come to spend a few weeks at my family hotel. He was like an uncle, he would always take me around either to gather wild berries, visit the fountain salmon farm, eat crêpes at L’Hospice de France, and he always talked about food. André died in the mid 80’s and I am glad he gave me this piece to treasure these memories. I often find myself looking at the painting especially when searching for culinary inspiration, and it never fails me: one glance and ideas flow! Well that’s it for now, I must return to unpacking. More soon!
Oh! one more thing: we were greeted by 3 rainbows over Brooklyn! and there is 2 of them.
Some pix and comments from the events mentioned in the blog “busy week“.
April 27-28 I played Claudine in The Cry, a vignette film, part of James Mehr’s project Veritas that will be on line soon.
on May 1st I had a great time performing Voyage dans la Lune at the Neo-Benchi and Experimental Video Night at Dixon Place. I enjoyed watching the brilliant pieces by: Sharon Mesmer, David Larsen, Linh Dinh, Brandon Downing, Abigail Child & Nada Gordon, Konrad Steiner, Julian Brolaski. Nada Gordon posted capsule reviews on her blog and I totally agree with her and Drew Gardner: Yes! moonmen being smashed into powder is a “colonialist” attitude! Thank you Pierre Joris for a great narration, Peter Knoll for the beautiful guitar soundscapes, Chiaki for the pictures, & Brandon Downing for putting the event together.
On Saturday May 2nd was the much anticipated Brooklyn Food Conference. I didn’t see much of it as I spent from 12-9:30 pm in the kitchen along with a wonderful crew of people, mostly women, preparing and serving lunch and the banquet dinner for the conference. Though I did attended the panel Gastropolis: Food and New York City while the kitchen was having a little downtime between lunch and dinner. This panel was moderated by Annie Hauck-Lawson, co-editor of the book of the same name, and I was delighted to hear the speakers whose names I have known for a while but whom I’d never seen in person: Cara De Silva, Jonathan Deutsh, Mark Russ Federman, Anne Mendelson, and last but certainly not least Annie Lanzilotto. The presenters mostly read from their essays in Gastropolis: Food and New York City. The book is about New York City’s rich food heritage, & explores the personal and historical relationship between New Yorkers and food. I can’t wait to read it.
Hundreds showed up for the Brooklyn Food Conference
And to cap the week, yesterday May 3rd was the 5th Annual d’Artagan Duckatlon, a culinary competition where top city chefs present their best team in costume to compete in a series of challenges throughout the meat packing district. Restaurant Annisa came in first place after a most elegant and brilliant performance; second place went to Tribeca Grill with a very motivated and gracious team; third and sweetest was Jacques Torres. Last year’s winner Cercle Rouge won best costume and gave very entertaining and smokey performances throughout the afternoon.
I will post the video as soon as Joseph Mastantuono is done editing it — he is already working on it. I can already tell you that there were some really funny moments! Meanwhile more pix here.
LAST MINUTE NOTE:
We just found out that the short film Counting to Infinity directed by Derek Morse, in which Miles Joris-Peyrafitte played Seth (lead role) has been selected in the Cannes Festival Short Film Corner!
Les semaines se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas
or in English:
Week follows week; none are alike.
Here’s the one coming up for me, and wow, is it busy!
First, this weekend I am preparing for the shoot of a short independent movie “The Cry” by talented young director James Mehr. I will play the lead, her name is Claudine, a very dramatic French woman (contre emploi total!). The project is shot in super 16mm and I am really excited to get back into acting.
Then on Friday May 1st I will participate in one of the 2 movie nights extravaganza of Neo-Banchi and experimental videos at Dixon Place in Manhattan. Accompanied by Peter Knoll on electric guitar, we will perform an *enhanced* version of “Voyage dans la Lune,” a “Trip to the Moon”, the George Mélies 1902 sci-fi movie. A detailed program can be found on Brandon Downing’s blog; among the presenters are Bruce Andrew, Nada Gordon, Linh Dinh, Julian Brolaski, Edwin Torres…and more
MAY 1 & 2, 2009 8PM
A Mini-Festival of Live Interactives, Musical Attacks,
Neo-Benshi, Experimental Video and other damages
to the World’s Cinematic Legacy
A Benefit for Dixon Place
Advance Tickets: $12/show ($15 at the door) Both nights: $20
Advance Tickets Available (and highly recommended) at www.dixonplace.org
Saturday May 2nd is the very anticipated First Brooklyn Food Conference. I will be part of the evening banquet crew and will be working in the kitchen the night of the event and a few days ahead.
While the Brooklyn Food Conference is a FREE event, we would also like to invite you to join us for an evening of fine dining and dance at the end of the conference. The spring menu will be prepared by professional chefs using sustainable foods produced by local farmers and producers. Seating is limited. Wine and beer not included in the $20 ticket. Free childcare and a low-cost child’s meal will be available. Casual attire. Purchase tickets here
And last but not least, I will need to be in great shape for Sunday May 3rd, to assist Joseph Mastantuono in filming & documenting the D’Artagnan 5th Duckathlon. This yearly happening is a culinary competition where top city chefs present their best team to compete in a series of challenges in costume, throughout the meat packing district. Last year was GREAT FUN — see for yourself: below is the video shot and edited by Joseph.
Voilà, I will collect pictures, stories, recipes and more — and will report as soon as I can. Have a good week!
But before I go, save the date: Saturday May 16 at 6 p.m. @ Bowery Poetry Club for the concert release of “WHISK! DON’T CHURN” — my new CD with Michael Bisio