ceF in vietnam – part 1

October 15th, 2010 · 32 Comments

 

see this? i like this… i like this so much that i had 3 of them. in a row. on a cathay pacific first class flight to hong kong. on my way to vietnam.

oh. wait. have i not told you? 

i just got to saigon this morning. i made a decision about a month ago that i needed to do this – and that i needed to go as soon as i could. ever since hearing bourdain go on and on about this country, i’ve felt drawn here. i’ve never had much of a desire to go to asia in the past. i’ve always been the europe girl. give me italy, spain, france (in that order)… over and over, and i am pretty damn content. but suddenly it was vietnam. i had to go and now i am here. and if you’re even the least bit surprised, well you’ve just no idea… 

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→ 32 CommentsTags: asian · travel

swordfish a la pardus
with summer squash carpaccio

August 19th, 2010 · 24 Comments

granted, not my best work with the new camera. but that night i was determined to eat hot food. an oft declared rarity for a food blogger. so instead of a well taken photo to entice you with, let me explain as best i can how to cook swordfish properly, as told to me by michael pardus, chef instructor at the culinary institute of america in hyde park.

you see, for me this is a big deal. for years swordfish had been low on my list of fish to eat, let alone cook. it was always kind of dry and uninteresting – flavorless if you will. and then michael cooked some up one evening and i was forever changed. it was moist, tender and flavorful which somehow in and of itself sounds a bit like an ad for cat food (and i do so wish i could have come up with better words) but believe me when i tell you, that these three words were never more true…

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→ 24 CommentsTags: fish · vegetables

riffing off of ruhlman

August 5th, 2010 · 27 Comments

the joke goes something like this: when it’s summer in nashville you need to lock your car doors when you go anywhere otherwise when you come back there will be a bushel of zucchini on your passenger seat.

and THEN what would you do? because sometimes zucchinis and yellow squash can be a little perplexing, if only due to the lack of excitement they tend to cause.

i was reading ruhlman’s last post and decided that a version of his sauteed zucchini recipe would be a perfect jumping off point for a pasta dinner with friends. it’s hot as hell out and i’m eating very lightly right now – paying for some recent past indulgences. i knew i owed you all a pasta dish and although there’s really no recipe here, i urge you to do what i did with ruhlman’s post and just get inspired and use up a few zucchini and squash from your csa haul or garden or local farmers market.

oh, so there’s that and i need to tell you about a gadget… because i use them on occasion and this one is kind of fun, as gadgets go…

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→ 27 CommentsTags: pasta · vegetables

a portrait and a cracker…

July 30th, 2010 · 20 Comments

‘woman reclining’ by sierra pardus, the most magical child on earth…

so it seems that just when i am finally back to blogging, i am also steering clear of the kitchen, living on somewhat plain fare. one of these days soon i will again balance this whole blogging, cooking and eating thing but right now i am focused primarily on the FRET which is not conducive to creativity in the kitchen, at least for me.

but regardless of any of that, in order to post i needed photographs to inspire me so the first order of business was to get a new camera as my old SLR had moved out. and then suddenly a beautiful nikon D40 landed so graciously in my hands. and i am growing to love it more every day, learning how to use it properly while coming to terms with the fact that it’s hard to focus on anything, when everything else is blurry…

i’ve decided that somehow this sculptural primary colored figure of a woman represents me, except i don’t really ever wear hats. and she is oh so painfully thin – and well, if nothing else, at least i’m on my way back down… but still she is me, reflecting on how she managed to get herself onto that hard surface in the first place and wondering what now to do… but dear readers, please know one very important detail about her, one that may be hard to discern being that her face is quite flushed. she is flashing a blazing smile. because she remains hopeful with an open heart…

and maybe she holds out hope because one of the best parts of life is that it’s full of all kinds of surprises. and as unlikely as this small one might sound, let me tell you about a cracker from vietnam…

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→ 20 CommentsTags: asian · not food

buddha and bradley

July 27th, 2010 · 24 Comments

 buddha contemplating the magnificence of this bradley tomato. no suffering here…

one of the pluses about living in the south in the summer is that i get tomatoes before all the other yankees do. by june we begin seeing a few beauties at the farmers market and by july, well it’s bounty season. (and yes, i’m well aware that there will be times when this very fact will give me little to no consolation, but right now i’m pretty happy about it.)

i’ve not been home much over the last months but now that i’m here my shopping is done exclusively at the farmers market with hardly a trip anywhere else to buy anything foodlike. i live mostly off of eggs, berries, melons, zucchini, corn, greens, tomatoes, some grass fed beef and pastured chickens and this one particular whole grain seedy bread that i’ve grown to love. between us, i’m trying to lay low on the pork right now out of the desperate need to fit back into my clothes AGAIN.

oh but how i digress… the tomatoes. they are delectable. nearly magical. sprinkled just barely with just some maldon salt, and i am entranced. add a rub of garlic to some toasted bread, a hit of olive oil and some basil and it’s dinner. some buffalo mozzarella and it’s pure decadence. then put all of that on a bowl of pasta and it could fall into ‘my last supper’ category.

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→ 24 CommentsTags: tomatoes

the ultimate egg salad

March 23rd, 2010 · 34 Comments

the back story to this salad is so incredibly bizarre that i’ve hesitated to even tell you about it. but i’ve never been much for keeping things on the down low, so let me share with you the abridged version. this was the audition for masterchef, a new reality show coming up with gordon ramsey. and it got me to the next round. which got me to the next round. which had me filling out the 30 page background check, shooting a home video, and writing the requested 3rd person bio. then came the call from the casting director, "claudia, it’s looking really good for you."

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→ 34 CommentsTags: eggs · salad

rosemary madeleines

March 10th, 2010 · 20 Comments

i’ve not been able to get into inner workings of my blog for awhile now. i’ve been somehow mysteriously locked out of wordpress and it’s been – well kind of bizarre. but i am temporarily ‘in’ so i thought at the very least i could give you these small and dainty sponge cakes that i made 2 weeks ago. i had seen these madeleines posted on james beard’s site and was drawn to them immediately. they come from chef nicolas elmi of le bec-fin in philadelphia.

i’ve only made madeleines once before. a browned butter and lemon version that were nothing short of spectacular, rich and fragrant. but – one needs the pan before one can make a madeleine, non?. and it took me awhile before i decided to take the plunge and make the commitment to baking madeleines on occasion. and so now i definitely think that you too should indulge in a madeleine pan and consider making these – right away.

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→ 20 CommentsTags: baking