There are three different places where I buy eggs: one is the egg lady at Vaison's famous Provençal Tuesday market, the other the egg and poultry vendor at our Saturday Farmer's market and then there is my friend Berthe who has a cleaning lady who has chicken and sells their eggs to a chosen few. When there are eggs aplenty I am lucky enough to be one of them. These are actually the very best eggs since her chicken have the run of the garden and surrounding vineyard and pick at whatever they like best plus a few kitchen scraps. When I went Tuesday to get my Easter eggs to colour them the egg lady was also selling quail's eggs. Usually I buy those to hardboil, peel and serve them for aperitif dipped a a bit of hickory smoked salt. But don't they look just beautiful turned into little Easter Jewels?
All set to cook! This is the still life that will greet my first guests of the season when they will arrive in about half an hour. The season for my cooking classes Cuisine de Provence starts today and we have Mousseline de Courgettes (a creamy zucchini soup) on the menu. We will then make a Tapenade of black and green olives and sundried tomatoes, an olive bread, "petits farcies" (vegetable, couscous and sausage meat filled bell peppers), and a mousse au chocolat for dessert. Can't wait to get started!
Whenever I am travelling I try to get a feeling for the local cuisine, go to the markets, scout out delis and supermarkets. In some cities (like Istanbul or Rome) you can't help but stumble over culinary discoveries pretty much everywhere you go. Other places don't offer their treasures all that easily. So when we visited Manhattan last week I had to rely on old memories and very gracefully offered insider tips to discover the incredible diversity of New York City's food scene.
Dragon Fruit in Chinatown
Fresh Garlic Sprouts
Another incredible Chinatown Fruit and Vegetable stall
Pak Choi and Kohlrabi
Mediterraenean diet in NYC? No problem thanks to Chelsea Market
Fresh Root Vegetables
Any salad you could ever want to buy
Horn of Plenty or what?
Just a quick peak into the fruit section of the Food Market Hall at Grand Central Station
It doesn't come any fresher than this...
But best of all was this wonderful feast my American brother Robert and sister Susan treated us to. More years ago than I care to remember I was an exchange student and lived for a year with the wonderful Gaul family in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio. My American "brother" Robert is now a very sucessful architectural designer in New York and my "sister" Susan flew in from Ohio and together they cooked the most unbelievably delicious and feather light ricotta gnocchi and a fantastic salmon in a very light tomato sauce sprinkled with Jalapeno peppers. Not only because of the food - this was the most memorable, fun and just plain wonderful evening we had in NYC!
With my American sister and brother Susan and Robert
The Manhattan foodie adresses I liked best:
The Grand Central Food Market at Grand Central Train Station
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue - between 15th and 16th Street