Bistrot du Paradou is simply not a restaurant for everyone. In fact, let me discourage you entirely from eating here – you will hate it. It is an unpretentious, no-frills eatery with no colored gel dots festooning plates or even bizarre culinary fusions poetically listed on a whimsical menu. Actually, there isn’t even a menu; all you get is whatever the chef decides to cook for that day and that’s it. There are no fancy linens, no Riedel stemware, nor imposing sommeliers; there really isn’t even a wine list, just a single open bottle lay waiting on every table. And you had better make reservations or risk not getting a table. …
Last weekend I took home an incredible eight-pound wild steelhead trout caught by the local Quinault Indian tribe on the Quinault River and was looking for inspiration in how to cook it. It was a rather large fish for my family of three, so I decided to try a few variations. I combed through old cookbooks, new cookbooks, and deep into the internet before deciding on these three dishes. The first and the subject of today was a classic French preparation usually made with sole called ‘Wild Steelhead Trout à la Dugléré’. The other two were a sauteed Moroccan Steelhead with Green Charmoula on Cauliflower Couscous inspired by chef Mourad in San Francisco; and a Chinese Clay Pot wild Steelhead dish with Bok Choy, Shiitake Mushrooms, Ginger, and Fermented Black Beans. …
Every New Year’s Eve, I host a gastronomic party to celebrate the passing of one year and the birth of the next. It usually progresses (regresses) into a Bacchanalian celebration. The table laid with the finest china and silver, our stomachs tempted with turbot, black truffles, caviar and foie gras, and too many bottles of Champagne to count.
The better the ingredient, the simpler the preparation should be. Simple and pure pairings, like roast chicken and white Burgundy or older Barolos drank with white truffles, are timeless combinations that should never be improved upon. Likewise, a simple caviar preparation is always best and preferred.
Prepare yourselves for the roaring voice of the God of Joy! – Eurides, The Bacchae
A quieter, more contemplative life, one punctuated only by the scraping of chairs after a leisurely lunch and the wind rustling through the lavender fields… Sara Clemence
We have a lot of fun changes coming to our blog in the next few weeks, and we sincerely hope all of you will join us at the table for great conversations, recipes and more. Some of the more astute may have already noticed that our name has evolved from ‘Eat Till You Bleed’ to ‘Pistou and Pastis’. Pistou and Pastis perfectly captures our life at the moment, and reflects the impossible to fight gravitational pull of all things southern France for us. As I grow older, my desire to slow life down, enjoy the simpler moments and sip pastis in the golden sunshine, nibbling on tapenades with good friends is what truly sparks me.
To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean. Elizabeth David
A few days ago, Lisa and I returned from an all too short vacation in France. We started up north in Puligny Montrachet then worked our way south to the golden sunshine of my family’s beloved Provence. When we arrived at our home in Cagnes sur Mer, near Nice (France), I only wanted to drink roses, pastis and red Bandols and eat Provencal food. The idea was solidified after I returned from the local farmer’s market armed with a beautiful wild sea bass caught that very morning and a basket of perfectly ripe figs….
It seemed like only yesterday that the ink was drying on my last post and I had to start the next one. This project may very well end up killing me. I am a slow writer with a busy schedule and a small child. Anyone who does not have a child will never fully understand what the word “busy” actually means. I laugh out loud when younger, single friends tell me how busy they are with all the bars they have to go to and tv shows they need to watch. Try weaving in the curve balls parenthood throws you from time to time.
Portland’s week long ice storm ended as abruptly as it started and spring emerged victorious. With the demise of winter, so ended the season of heavy eating punctuated by the artery clogging big guns of French cooking and all the holiday classics. It’s fortunate because my belt did not have a wider notch to go to. My next move would have been similar to Homer Simpsons when he bought a mumu and decided to embrace obesity. My palate was looking forward to spring and a rebirth of lightness punctuated with bright, colorful splashes of flavor.
Shake Shake Shake, Shake Shake Shake, Shake Your Shuka – KC and the Sunshine Band
This week’s post, actually it should have been last week’s but i got busy, is going to be quick and dirty. I won’t make excuses. I promised a simple weekly post about what we were eating and here it is week two, and I already screwed up. We had planned a weekend away from Vancouver’s snowmageddon, visiting family in Poulsbo, Washington then a leisurely drive down the coast to Astoria, Oregon in search of the Goonies. Everything was so rushed to get on the road that I forgot my sole New Year’s resolution. I did not have a lot of time to think so I reached for a dish that was quick and packed a lot of spicy, comforting flavors. The kind of dish you would probably make hurriedly after finding out your friends, whom you had forgotten that you drunkenly invited over for brunch three weeks ago, were going to be only a few minutes late. Shakshuka is one of those dishes that crosses all cultural boundaries and in the process, has become as ubiquitous on menus worldwide as New England Clam Chowder is in the United States. Shakshuka is piperade on spicy steroids. The word itself translates to “mixture” and generally implies an egg dish with a tomato and chili sauce. It is as much a culinary chameleon as pistou is in Provencal cuisine. You can add whatever you have on hand and still call it shakshuka, baby. I have friends who told me of adding chorizo, goose, fried sweet potatoes or eggplant, but I like a simpler version.
My only New Year’s resolution this year is to document what we eat “en famille” for the next 52 weekends and produce a short weekly post about it. Consider it part writing/photo assignment, part chronicle, and part a serious interest in recording my family’s diet. “En famille” suggests a nostalgic look into old France where families still gather together to share a weekly meal, usually held on Sunday afternoons. Occasionally extended families would get together in restaurants, but usually it is held at a family member’s home. These meals are leisurely affairs, often lasting several hours withCoq au Vin recipe
lots of great conversation, bonding and comforting home cooked food. It is a time to relax, reconnect and reset the clock for the week ahead. It is an important tradition we keep even living thousands of miles away in the Pacific Northwest.
Time just passes by too quickly. Maybe I am getting too old. One season is gone and another arrives before I am fully ready for it. It seemed like only yesterday I was sauteing spring’s flowering kales and broccoli rabes with chili flakes, garlic slivers and olive oil. Now summer is here. For many parts of the country, the first perfect tomato eaten warm with salt in your your or that impossibly juicy peach signifies summer’s presence. In the Pacific Northwest it is July’s arrival of wild huckleberries. Extremely juicy and reminiscent of a blueberry except with a more intense sweet, tart flavor. They are hand picked high in the Cascade mountains and can range from a deep bluish black to purple to a bright firetruck red. A very versatile fruit used both in savory dishes and a wide range of desserts like clafoutis, cobbler, milkshakes and pancakes. You can eat them raw, pickled or cooked. Of all the ways, I like them baked in a traditional clafoutis which is somewhere between a pudding and a custard. They are quick and simple to make. Baking them in France is like making cobbler….
It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.
I apologize dear mother, for I have not had time to keep up with my misplaced food ramblings. I apologize because, though my page lists 66 lost souls, I mean subscribers, I seriously doubt any are left beyond my dear mother due to the wide chasm of time that has separated this post from the last. In my defence, I have been hard at work crafting the pages of my forth coming cookbook ‘Cuisine of the Sun’. The book is finally at the publishers actually being printed. Torrey Douglass, of Lemon Fresh Design, spent several weeks giving it a make-over, making me look like an absolute hero with her dream-like designs. I only hope I haven’t sent her to the same fate I returned to. I know her husband Alan, so perhaps I should apologize to him as well. Writing has been the same brutal assault on my body and mind I thought I left behind when I walked out of my last professional kitchen. Oh how completely wrong and naive I was. I have adopted the Edward Abbey style of writing. I embrace loads of alcohol, nondescript pharmaceutical drugs and lengthy hours like a newly born babe takes to his mother’s breast anticipating the first swallow. I find words flow more freely slightly imbibed, ok, three sheets to the wind. With the ink barely dry on the last page of my book, I felt I better attempt to salvage my dwindling viewership with a very short and sweet seasonal ode to pumpkins in the guise of a recipe.
WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart, nor any vegans who may not have fully understood the title of my blog page and it’s full implications. Good Ramen is serious porky business.
I start my blog with a confession. I have been a confirmed ramen addict for several decades now. The disease shows no signs of slowing even though, for the most part, I have stopped eating gluten and pork. The addiction began in earnest as a small child left to fend for himself and forage the near empty cupboards of 1970’s America. Instant ramen noodles seemed the perfect cost effective solution for parents of constantly hungry adolescents. Any child with half a brain could boil a cup of water, open the tin foil flavor packet, drop the waxed noodles in and eat. It progressed, or degressed depending on your point of view, to high school where I put the high in high school and had the munchies that needed constant tending. Ramen was the perfect solution….
an emotionally unstable pint sized dictator with the uncanny ability to know exactly how far to push you to utter insanity before reverting to a lovable cuddle-monster.
I nervously laughed when I read those words aloud. Actually I wanted to cry, but people were standing near and I felt I had to keep my appearances up. This definition of toddler completely encapsulates what life with a four year old means in our household. One day varies so greatly from the next, leaving Lisa and I to wonder which son we will have each morning.
Mères Lyonnaises: The Female Superstar Chefs
I have written and rewritten this post so many times I am starting to see cross eyed. What started a simple post celebrating a classic French dish, Volaille Demi Deuil, or Chicken in Half Mourning has become an ever expanding education into an important and often untold chapter in the annals of great cooking.
This post is dedicated to all the great women Chefs and cooks, especially my mother, that I have been fortunate to share the ranges with. This story belongs to them, it’s their story….
Two eggs, side by each, both facing the sun with an orange glass of juice
A Cautionary Fairy Tale of a Life Dedicated to Overindulgence and Excess
There comes a time in all our lives where we need to come to grips and embrace who we are and what we’ve become. Some are forged out of experiencing life changing traumatic events while others reluctantly accept the path they were born into. A bird is a bird and eventually it must fly, to deny the bird flight is is to deny it’s very existence. After 50 years of life on this planet I finally am coming to grips with whom I was born….
BE GREAT, BE ALI
I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
Today while power walking through the Desert I started contemplating my life and where I want it to go with it. I always found the solitude of walking with only the Desert winds answering me to be my way of connecting to (insert your favorite deity)… for lack of a better word, GOD. I focus my thoughts on my positive goals and aspirations, goals like being a better husband to Lisa, being a better father to Beaumont, being a better Chef professionally, being a better friend, being a better citizen on Earth. We must challenge and push ourselves to the extremes to be the greatest. One year ago I had the great fortune of being one of five Chefs cooking for Muhammad Ali on his 70th Birthday. I first met Ali when I was a small child. I grew up in his neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. The man was a force to be reckoned with. I look at the picture above and it is filled with words and phrases like: inspire, break the mold, spirit, believe, hope, embrace, give time, unwavering, passion, take action, give. Words we all should meditate on and incorporate into our lives. Words I should live my life by.
A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.