Archives for posts with tag: cooking

Kale in Saint Lunaire & Dark Rye


Photo credit: Kevin German

Back in November, I spent four days with a production team from Austin, LA and Paris to film a mini-documentary about The Kale Project for Dark Rye Online Magazine. Dark Rye, funded by Whole Foods Market, does seasonal stories about food, health, sustainability, design and social enterprise. I was extremely honored to have The Kale Project be chosen for their spring “Revival” issue.


Photo Credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German


Photo Credit: Kevin German

As a former theatre person, I’ve never been camera shy but comfort in front of the lens only goes so far when you’re asked to dance with kale in the middle of Parisian streets or take action shots with kale at Trocadero. I kept reminding myself that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and to just enjoy it. The production team was incredible and we had a blast over the four days of filming. We hit up the Marché Batignolles, The Superfoods Café to make a few recipes, the streets of Paris and met up with Bruno Verjus at his restaurant Table to talk to him more about how he cooks with chou d’aigrette (another one of the beautiful names for kale in French!)




For me the most exciting part of the filming was our day excursion to Saint Malo to meet up with Kale Project Ambassador, Virginie and her AMAP (for readers in America, AMAP is the equivalent of Community Support Agriculture (CSA)) farmer, Anthony who farms in Saint Lunaire. Virginie first contacted me over a year ago with interest to work with Anthony to grow kale for her region. After a lot of back and forth, Anthony planted the seeds this past summer and the kale was ready just in time for the film.




I could not have been more excited to share this story with the team because it is how I always imagined the Project working out. I wanted to work with local, French farmers and then try to do more tastings and explanation at markets or AMAPs and that’s exactly what we did in Saint Lunaire. On a side note, this was also my first trip to Saint Malo and I can’t wait to return. Even with the cold, rainy, grey weather, the views and air were fantastic.



For those that live in the Saint Malo area and are interested in this AMAP, it was created in February 2009 and is 100% bio. Anthony is the sole farmer and provides almost 90 baskets of vegetables and fruit each week to members who come from Saint-Lunaire, Dinard, Saint-Briac and more towns in the surrounding area. Anthony’s farm, called “Saveurs des Champs”, spans about four hectares. He has one employee but also relies on help from the members of the AMAP who come pick potatoes, peas, plant zucchini or more. In fact his chou fields were behind Virginie’s house (talk about easy access to kale!) Each member of the AMAP also helps at distribution evenings, which take place under the covered market place of Saint-Lunaire across from the old 11th century church. And, in addition, Anthony has orchards and produces organic delicious apple juice. He hoped to have bees, but this has proven very difficult but he wants to keep trying.


Anthony does not stop with fruits and vegetables. He also has two traditional Brittany farming horses (Cheval de Trait Breton) which he is training to use in the fields, as well a vanishing breed of Brittany sheep (Moutons des Landes de Bretagne) which he is helping to bring back and sells for wool and meat. He sells his sheeps’ wool to a Brittany company that uses only wool from Brittany sheep. They make the clothes by hand and sell them in markets around the area. He also has a few Brittany goats (Chèvre des Fossés) to clear the brush from his fields.


To help with the sheep, Anthony uses a large guard dog from the Pyrenees (who lives with the sheep) and then a small sheep-herding dog also from the Pyrenees named Ilka. Ilka turned out to the star of the day, jumping around and devouring kale for the camera.

photo (20)

photo (21)

Everyone at the AMAP distribution was so friendly and excited to be a part of the film. And those coming to pick up their baskets were genuinely interested in learning about the lost cabbage and most of the responses to the kale chips were very positive. Honestly, my evening with everyone was by far one of my most memorable so far in France. I am so thankful to have worked with Virginie and Anthony and hope for more kale crops in the future.

To see the video click here.


This past weekend’s farmers market was filled with fresh figs and I couldn’t help purchasing some.  I’ve been wanting to make a cake recipe that I pulled out of Gourmet in 2009 (ok, so I’m a pack rat for recipes), but it calls for fig preserves, so I made the preserves, or in this case, jam and will use one for the cake.



I used a recipe from the blog, Kiss My Spatula (love the name!) for Fig Jam.  Here it is just getting underway above.

Her photographs are stunning…


My finished product wasn’t quite as dark as hers, but I used a different variety of fig.  I thought mine looked pretty tasty though, and you can definitely get the essence of lemon in the flavor, but not the Grand Marnier.



I can’t wait to make Frances O’Neal’s fig cake next!  This recipe link says that they adapted it, but the ingredients are identical to my original.



I realize that my photos DO NOT in any way do justice to the deliciousness that this Asian inspired Turkey Meatloaf was, but trust me, its one of the best dishes I have eaten in a long time, and the best part was that I came up with it!  Score!

Basically, I was trying to come up with a more healthy version of my go-to ‘Saucy Meatloaf’ (From Georgia on my Mind Cookbook).  I bought ground turkey, but then I was thinking about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Thai Chicken Burgers (I use turkey) from her “Its All Good” cookbook that I throw on the grill pretty often and I merged the two together, sort of.  The results were seriously spectacular, so flavorful and moist, and reasonably healthy too…you will love it!



Anne’s Asian (Turkey) Meatloaf

*1 pkg. ground turkey 1-1 1/2 lbs. *1/2 onion, chopped fine *2 large scallions, sliced *1 T. grated ginger *1 small grated carrot *1 T. Sesame oil *1 T. SWEET soy sauce *1-2 minced jalapeños, seeded *2 beaten eggs *scant cup of Japanese Panko crumbs or Gluten Free bread crumbs

Glaze: *1/4c. dark brown sugar  *2-3 T. ketchup (you can substitute Sriracha if you like it hotter *1 T. sesame oil *1 T. SWEET soy sauce *1 T. Thai Fish sauce

Mix all the ingredients for the meatloaf together and put into a greased loaf pan.  Mix glaze ingredients together and top meatloaf with all the sauce.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Now for the UNHEALTHY DECADENT part of the week.  My daughter had some friends over so I whipped up this Green Tea Honeysuckle Cake from Southern Living.  With 3, count ’em, 3 sticks of butter, it is not for the faint of heart.



I used more matcha powder than the recipe called for and didn’t swirl it because I wanted a GREEN cake.  It’s a lovely appetizing pale green, not a scary gooey one…



Well, this picture makes it look chartreuse yellow, but you get the idea…my photography skills could be WAY better, I know.  Its a moist cake packed with flavor…enjoy!

The Salt of the Earth.

So the other day I was making my (world-famous) penne alla vodka, homemade of course.  Don’t ever buy those jars in the store!!  What a rip off, especially when its so darn easy to make it at home, and quickly, I might add.

The recipe is from a Bon Appetit so long ago I couldn’t find it, but as luck would have it, another blogger like me has been using the recipe FOREVER and saved me from retyping the whole thing.

Now, my man has got to have meat at every meal (what man doesn’t?) and normally, I throw some yummy sausages on the grill, but this particular night I didn’t have any.  I was getting ready to run out to the store and he said “why don’t you just throw the leftover chicken in it?” to which I immediately got defensive and turned up my nose…chicken in penne alla vodka??  Ew!!!  Then I was like, why not?


The resulting dish was not only good, it was great, and even better the next day.  While I am not advocating the bastardization of classic dishes, which I did with this one anyway, since I used rigatoni (gasp!), this pasta retained its classic flavor, and was only enhanced through the addition of protein.

Footnote: I used chicken that had been boiled with celery, carrot, onion etc for stock and hand-stripped from the bone.  What a money saver.  You end up with 1) tasty chicken stock for future risotto 2) enough chicken for (in this case) 3 meals of chicken salad and chicken for penne.



Normally I am not a fan of Rachel Ray, but this dish rocks!  It is a vaguely greek inspired grilled chicken with romaine, tomato, cukes, kalamata olives and feta. There is a very light lemony oregano dressing on it.  I forego the red onions because I don’t care for them, and I use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders.  Seriously, who wants to pay $5.99 for the privilege of only a portion of a chicken breast instead of $1.99 for the whole butcher’s cut?  I planned for leftovers so that the next night I made (leftover) chicken and spinach risotto.



Now, if you’re scared of making risotto because the directions seem bewildering (soffrito, brodo, condiment, riso), let me start by saying not to let the fancy phraseology scare you from trying what I consider to be the most insanely wonderful Italian comfort foods on the planet (and its gluten free, since its rice, not pasta).

Let me break it down for you…

1.Soffritto…just saute chopped up onions in butter or butter/olive oil

2. Riso…Then add the arborio rice, usually 1-1 1/2 cups for 4 people and stir in thoroughly to coat the grains.

3. Brodo…first add about 1/2 cup white wine, then have a pot of simmering broth (I always use homemade chicken stock) and add a ladle at a time, as the liquid soaks into the rice.

4.  This is the most important tip…KEEP STIRRING and DO NOT walk away from the stove for 18-20 minutes while doing #3 over and over until the risotto has a soft, but not mushy bite (taste after about 15-16 minutes).  I have a glass of wine already poured for me during this phase of the recipe.

5. Condimenti…at the very end, add whatever you like into the risotto, like my chicken and spinach (right from the bag is fine).  I recently made a ground beef and carrot version that I blogged about which was lovely.  My other fav is ham and pea.  There are umpteen iterations to try…use your imagination.  Just make sure whatever you add is already cooked (like chicken, beef, etc. BEFORE you add it to the risotto).

6.  To finish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, a splash of cream and freshly ground pepper.

You will thank me…


The world’s first ever WikiBar opens in Paris

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Another gem from WGSN…

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has designed the interior of the first ever WikiBar, in Paris. On the menu is a range of innovative food and drink under the name of WikiCells, for the French natives, or WikiPearls for the English speakers.

Created by Harvard professor David Edwards and French designer François Azambourgin 2012, these Wiki Foods mimic the natural principle of grapes: a sphere of food protected by an edible coating. The idea behind the project is to offer ecologically responsible nourishment that will reduce the pollution directly linked to packaging.

The concept has been adapted to drinks and ice cream, all available at the WikiBar. Lehanneur’s decor makes a geometrical reference to the molecular structure of the foods.
A mobile and pop-up WikiBar are already on the horizon, while the next permanent one is already being designed in the forthcoming Lab Cambridge, the American version of Le Laboratoire initiated by David Edwards.
The WikiBar is situated at Le Laboratoire, 4 rue du Bouloi, 75001 Paris.

Homebuildlife subscribers can read about more innovations in food packaging here, and about another innovative Le Laboratoire concept, The Olfactive Project, here.