Sunday, January 24, 2010


...of the very most delicious kind!

I had the divine pleasure of starting my day off today in Soho at the International Culinary Center (it's super cool and affiliated with the French Culinary Institute)! Thanks to my internship at Restaurant Business Magazine, I was able to go to the Celebration of Japanese Cuisines lecture series this weekend as am "associate editor" (check that out!). I could only make it to the chef demo this afternoon, but that was more than amazing! This is Josh DeChellis, executive chef of La Fonda Del Sol, which is a fancy Park Ave. restaurant;

He lead a lovely demo, featuring a few interesting Japanese ingredients, and he is not fancy pants at all. I learned a lot-- the way that the nagaimo cream-i-fied when microplaned totally blew my mind-- but the best part was of course tasting!

First, cold, silky somen noodles tossed with uni puree and topped with arare (puffed rice thingys) and a bit of nori (seaweed). It was refreshing and delicately of the ocean, like seafoam maybe- a kiss of the sea.

Secondly, a super complicated process for a beautifully clean finished product. Nagaimo pureed with lovely scallops from Hokkaido, then foamed with a whipped cream cannister. Then the foam is dolloped into simmering dashi to poach. Finally, the little foamy pillows are placed in a bit of Dargeeling-smoked unagi (eel) broth. Somehow, it was perfect. SuperUmami!

Chef DeChellis calls them "Clouds over Kyoto", which he was quick to admit is kind of hokey. Sometimes true sentiment is hokey and cheesy and there's just nothing to be done about it. They were cloud-like, ethereal and very beautiful so I think it's only right they should have a beautiful name.

Phew. All in a days work. Life is tough. Did I mention winter in New York is treating me quite well? Sun, sun, sun, all the time. As though the city weren't already spoiling me enough...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Staples. Everyone should have them, they're super handy. I had none back in August, but slowly over the course of the semester, I seem to have acquired some! This is one of ours, I especially like to break it out when I feel the pinch of the so-called "student budget". I hate that thing.

But I love this thing, and you will too.

Ta da! It's ...

Super Tasty Tuna Pasta

1 big can of tuna
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 can black olives (or any olives you have around, these are kind of optional)
1 anchovy
2 tablespoons of olive oil
your favorite pasta

(optional additions; a droplet of truffle oil, sun dried tomato, artichoke hearts, various types of olives, hearts of palm, anything in your fridge that could be deemed even vaguely Mediterranean.)

Warm the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and anchovy and let the onions sweat and the 'chovy melt. This is a good time to drop pasta in some boiling water.

Open the can,drain the water and sprinkle a good dose of adobo and a good (very good) dose of cayenne right into the can on top of the tuna. If you're adding the droplet of truffle oil, this is the time for it.

When the onions and anchovy are nice and melty, dump the tuna in and give it all a good mix. At this point, I usually add a bit more oil, but it can be your call.

When the sauce is warmed through,add the black olives, kind of breaking them in half as you go. Stir, and add more oil. (I was probably up to about a 1/4 a cup of oil by the time everything was said and done. Obviously if you used tuna packed in oil, use a little less.)

With tongs or something similar, move finished pasta from the boiling water to the sauce pan. Toss everything together and shave lots of parmesean into it. Serve in lovely generous portions and top with more cheese and, you guessed it, another drizzle of olive oil!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010, off to a promising start!

A whole new decade! Wow. Pretty wild, huh? I spent the midnight moments at work, but as it happened there was no where else I would rather have been.

I arrived at 11am, ready for a loooong day, dressed in my NYC finest! Preparations for the evening began almost at once, balloons were everywhere!

Marcos, the fantabulous lunchtime Maitre d', was working lunch and also getting ready to be the musical entertainment for the night. He's kind of a powerhouse.

Raffaelle-- known as Raffa-- and Patrick busied themselves in the absence of ANY lunchtime customers, with tying the party balloons to Marcos belt loops without his knowledge. Thought I knew I should object, I have to say it was just a little bit funny to watch Marcos frantically setting up his equipment whilst dragging silver and gold balloons around. Nonetheless, I told Raffa he should probably sit in the corner for a bit and think about what he'd done. Being the only girl in a room full of boys gives you a surprising amount of clout. I try not to let it go to my head. Sort of.

Little by little things came together. Musicians arrived. Check out this guitar;

And the party was going at last!

Everyone was seated by 10:30, at which point the owner, Lumi and I began to toast the occasion, joining the waiters in a little (ok, a LOT) of Prosecco at midnight! Europeans really know how its done, I must say.

Even David joined the fun!

No place I'd rather have been. Throughout the evening, a feeling of complete happiness filled me up, as though I was with a family of sorts. A mis-matched, haphazard group of displaced people who have all come together in the same place at the same time, far from home, to celebrate together.

Some of us took the celebrations very seriously;

Some of us were a bit silly about it;

Some were just happy the dinner rush was over;

The strength and meaning of the connections that have been forged between me and these crazy Euro-goofballs over the past few months hit me like a ton of bricks. I love these people, and I feel so lucky to be a part of their world. This is a special time and I'm happy to be sharing it with them.

May 2010 bring you all the things you hope and more!