Sunday, September 25, 2011

LA in september

aaaaaaand we are back. in the southland that is. sylla has opened a new store, my book is about to come out, school started again so we are both slightly busy.

i drove down from oregon with my mother and ate a lot of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (the optimal road trip food if you ask me - we should write something on this topic), and also had surprisingly decent sushi in redding, calif. REDDING. it was our stop-over for the night, and while i did not have time to discover any other charms of that city, i did have a very nice dinner there. this, unlike PB&J, is a rare occurrence on a road trip.

LA greeted us with heat and humidity, ornery people on campus, and wonderful food. we had dinner at the bar at mozza, where we sampled 5 pasta dishes. i will be working that one off for days. we had breakfast on the terrace of the pain quotidien and saw some actor or another sipping coffee at urth café. we had sushi at my local favorite place (ajisai) and felt almost at home.

today the city was split in two because the triathlon course stretched from the beach to downtown, and tomorrow my neighborhood will become a mad-house because Barack Obama will be at a fundraiser at a restaurant down my street.

LA baby, LA.

Monday, August 8, 2011

welcome to the middle of summer

here we are, in the dog days of summer. summer weather has finally reached oregon and i am in mexico city, where we await summer rains in the afternoon. in oregon and mexico all is green and opulent, and there as here i look forward to languid meals with friends and family.
simple pleasures for complicated times (hello debt rating downgrades, sudan, syria, looting in london and tea-party advances towards 2012) - as the world seems to be spinning off its axis, need a little break from the madness and will focus on tacos al pastor, cold beers and tequila. provided i don't indulge too much in the latter, there will be more posts this week.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

welcome to the beginning of Spring

Another season, another quarter. I am teaching a class on the history of food in Latin America. The title of the class? FEED ME! It's about time I taught to my mundane interests, rather than the interest posted on my department profile. And what better way to teach student that economics really does matter than to trace the history of the potato, or measure the effect of the fall in the price of coffee on social transformation in Brazil. Of course, there will be presentations on the regional variations in pupusa fillings, and the centrality of the cacao bean to everything from pre-columbian trade to Upper-East Side hostess gifts.
On the issue of potatoes, above a picture of yours truly, enjoying the Belgian miracle of frites on the Place Jourdan in Brussels last week. These are, by far, the best frites in Brussels. The Best.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And now, for an entirely new year.

It's 2011. I am already exhausted. Am back in LA, have about a zillion students in one class, a new dog, and 8 deadlines that I need to meet by the end of the month. I also have veggies in the fridge, coconut milk and red curry paste, and if I find keffir leaves on my way back tonite, there might be home made vegetable curry for dinner...
I get very lazy in the kitchen when I am in LA. For one, the markets just are not what I have become used to in Oregon - I'm sorry Hollywood Farmer's Market, I am just not that into you. The second issue is that I mainly cook for myself here - the flat is hardly set up for dinner parties, and in LA, people eat out, a lot. And there's good reason to - amazing Ethiopian, Mexican, Japanese - sushi, robata, you name it, the list is long, and so many of these places are within walking distance.
All this to say, it's most likely that there'll be restaurant reviews of sorts and reports on scrumptious foods eaten for a while and few, if any, cooking experiences.
But, in case you missed this from the first paragraph, and without further ado - let me introduce you to my favorite hot-dog!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

seasonal shifts

Above is what I saw as I was driving home from this year's almost last Thursday Farmer's Market. And below is what I did directly upon getting home. Early fall tomatoes roasting with sweet red peppers and loads of garlic. The house smells delicious, and the soup will keep us warm during what will probably be a rainy evening.

Thank you McMinnville Farmer's market and see you next year.

Early fall tomato soup:
loads of roma/plum/san marzano tomatoes
a head of garlic - crush the cloves
sweet peppers/ purple peppers - or none if you don't like peppers
olive oil
vegetable broth or water

halve the tomatoes
cut the peppers in manageable sizes
spread it all out on a roasting pan, throw the garlic in, salt generously
adda pprox 1/2 cup of olive oil and make sure everything is well covered
roast at 400degrees for 30-45 minutes

when the tomatoes are disintegrating, the peppers are soft and the garlic is getting blond, take out of the oven and let cool
combine with 3-4 cups of broth or water (or more depending on how liquid you like your soups)
blend it all using an immersion blender

serve with a nice glass of wine and crusty french bread. maybe watch the rain and definitely cuddle up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

wearing thin

It's been rather thin on the posting here, hasn't it? A million apologies. We've had very good reasons to be lazy here, largely because we have not been lazy elsewhere. For my part, I sent a book off to press, submitted a paper, commented on another one and am fulfilling a series of other obligations too tedious to share. S, for her part, expanded her bookstore and got her nails done. So there.
The pictorial essay of things I did (and ate) this summer is sprinkled all over this post because I still don't know how to control the placement of pics in posts.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

i promise, i deliver, sort of

The pot in the front = the most luscious black bean soup I ever had. Served with fried tortilla strips, fried pasilla chile, avocado cubes and queso fresco. It defies descrition - unctuous, savory, a little sweet, a bit smoky and spicy, tremendously soothing.
Left pot = chiles rellenos - these poblanos were stuffed with picadillo - an Spanish inheritance, itself redolent of Moorish influence: ground meat cooked with sliced almonds, raisin, peas and carrots, spiced with cumin and maybe a touch of cinnamon. The chiles were spicy, the stuffing was sweet and the tomato sauce was tart - it all balanced out perfectly.
In the back = white rice. But white rice a la mexicana - the raw rice is fried in oil with onions and a jalapeño, then cooked slowly with chicken stock. Divine.

The are no pictures of the lovely birthay table with the white cotton Puebla tablecloth, because we were too busy eating. But above (bc I still don't know how to control the placing of pictures in blogger!) is a picture of the gorgeous talavera dishes the soup was eventually poured into.

This morning I had spicy green tomato chilaquiles - day old tortillas cut into pieces and cooked in tomatillo and chili sauce, then covered in manchego and roasted in the oven until the cheese melted. Spciy, tart and nutritious (right?). Breakfast of champions!