Dec 30, 2008

a fresh start. yogurt and fruit.

i have been encouraging the kids to prepare breakfast in the morning, even on special days, like christmas. a stroke of genius on my part. the kids love it, and excitedly put the whole thing together, busily washing, slicing, setting out, choosing dishes, while r and i relax, sip our tea, and feel spoiled. a key to this is having lots of fresh fruit on hand. one child eats only tropical fruits like passion fruit and starfruit. oh my. anyway. the rest of us love a bit of plain yogurt, maybe some toasted oats, a drizzle of honey, lots of ripe juicy berries, apples, anything that looks delicious at the grocers. they have also perfected their own hot chocolate, with a mix of chocolate, cocoa and milk they prepare themselves, a little bit different each time, their own special blend.

Dec 25, 2008

happy holidays

wishing everyone the very happiest of holidays with lots of good cheer today and in the coming year. xo g

Dec 22, 2008

what's good for the goose

what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for me. on the bright side we had a lovely snowstorm. a whole lot of fun. on the down side i started shopping for our christmas feast today. lots of grumbling at the grocers. not much good cheer out there this morning. and worse. my dear whole foods isn't even selling goose this year. no christmas goose, not any. bother. stopped at balducci's. yay, they had one, a beautiful 14 pounder from d'artagnan, my very favorite butcher shop/fine meats purveyor and more, in all of new york city (and there are so very many great ones). sadly for me, (though i am sure the goose is quite happy about all this) this goose had a price tag unlike i have ever seen. i have always thought goose was expensive, running around $70, maybe $80, but this goose was more than twice that. hence, my goose is cooked (as in no goose for my pot). instead we are having a lovely and (perfectly reasonably priced) d'artagnan rack of lamb. we so rarely eat red meat. it will be delicious i am sure, with a salty-crispy crust and a juicy interior. and much easier to cook than a goose. the whole thing will be done in 30 minutes. yah, more time for family and playing with new presents. also bought some lovely d'artagnan foie gras pate for christmas starters. to my mind, their pate is the best you can find outside of france. anyway, off to plan a new menu. now i am listening to some lovely handel and posting this photo from the snowstorm, just as it was starting. fresh and lovely holiday snow, full of good cheer.

Dec 20, 2008


the kids had a snow day yesterday. we have about 8 or 9 inches of white fluffy snow. not too cold not too wet. our driveway is long and steep. it has been a speedy blur of wintery fun.

Dec 17, 2008

holiday menu planning

been thinking about our christmas holdiay menus this year. pictured above is last year's lobster dinner for christmas eve. it was fun to do the whole newspaper thing. we were celebrating a few days early and about to get on a plane to san francisco, so we kept things simple and a bit slapdash. for (our early) christmas eve we had the steamed lobster with vietnamese dipping sauce, which turned out to be a huge favorite, steamed rice, and mixed salad with tomatoes and avocados, vietnamese inspired citrusy dressing. it was great. living in new england, as we do now, with great little lobster shacks scattered liberally on long island sound, it is just too easy to get. we ate it a lot last summer. and now the kids are tired of fighting to get the meat out of their food (poor little darlings). so we need a new idea. suggestions please! luckily, christmas day menu ideas are plentiful, here's what i am thinking so far:

christmas 2008 menu
foie gras pate and toasts
cheeses, dried fruit, nuts, cracker assortment

lightly browned brussel sprouts
roasted tiny red potatoes
roast goose
mache salad with pommegranate seeds, apple slivers, leeks with pommegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil dressing

profiteroles, vanilla ice cream and warm gooey chocolate sauce

that all sounds well and good. but i've still no idea what i could serve christmas eve. oysters and wild rice casserole with caesar salad, crusty bread and white wine, like my mom every year? i love oysters, but my kids hate oysters, but they love wild rice....hmmm.... maybe something simple like cambodian rice porridge, an earlier post. so fresh and light. not very holidayish though. maybe with a cleverly decorated table and candlelight it doesn't matter so much what you eat, more the mood and experience, as long as it is all done with care and good cheer. clearly i must ruminate on this a while longer. 7 days and counting...

Dec 16, 2008

holiday trees of tokyo

a visual treat. tokyo is a gorgeous city. so clean. so efficient. and plenty of artistry and beauty. the holiday trees were mostly really inventive. i wish i could show them all. now that we've had our second snow, it is starting to look festive around here. heading into the city later this week. will be on the look out for festive displays there as well, it will give me something to do while i try not to spend money this year. new york is singularly effective at taking my money. thank god i don't go in every day like r does. could spell serious trouble for the family budget.

Dec 15, 2008

tofu cuisine

my apologies. i realize this first food photo is quite blurry. i'm not sure but i think it was that i could not contain my excitement when the food began to arrive. you see the course contained yuba, a soy milk delicacy that i adore and crave. it is a special food of kyoto and i am only able to find it every 5 years or so. anyway. this was lunch at an amazing tofu restaurant in ginza. japanese cuisine is so inventive. most of the incredibly varied and delicious dishes are predominantly bean curd.

the restaurant is umenohana and goes down as one of my favorite meals. as you can see it was a lot of food, and though we were full, we felt fabulous when the meal was done, energized even. amazing in every way. indescribably delicious. beautiful private rooms dotted along an indoor river bed made of stone with gorgeous bridges and lanterns inside the restaurant. someday i hope to return.

Dec 11, 2008

tokyo: french food underground

when r and i first visited Tokyo back in 1992, we were thrilled to find creme puffs on (nearly) every corner. it was the very first reason i fell madly, passionately, in love with japan. on subsequent trips, we were happy to find that the treat shopping had only gotten better. this time, creme puffs, eclairs, petit chou, even japanese apricot liqueur, creme brulee and french butter cookies, underground. Tokyo metro Ginza line. and i can tell you, with some authority, all of the highest quality. (we sampled more than a few). with underground food this good, you should not be at all surprised michelin awarded so very many stars in tokyo. it is an epic food town.

Dec 10, 2008

ice cream flavors

plastic display food can be really beautiful in japan. and often the food for sale is as delicious as the display suggests. this ice cream was no exception. such intriguing flavors. if you click on this photo you should be able to read the labels in english. black sesame sounds really good, and i really wanted to try unpolished rice, and i always love green tea, but check out the last one. hmmm. r says they clearly meant rum raisin. unable to imagine meat ice cream, even with raisin, i think he may be right. anyway, this was from a shop in the very crowded, some might say claustrophobic, asakusa section of tokyo. the traditional section of town, a lovely pagoda and beautiful temples are there. and it is also a great place for handmade bean cakes, mochi, rice crackers, and traditional items like dolls and iron chimes, handmade wooden combs, etc. we loved the ice cream, very delicious. just the sort of energy boost needed to power you through the crowd and incense-perfumed air outside the sensoji temple. if you really love plastic food, there is a street near here that has shops and shops selling the rather expensive plastic food for restaurant supply. it can be quite expensive.

Dec 9, 2008

Tsukiji Fish Market

as you approach the market rather early in the morning, it is still quite dark. it is around 5:45 am. you are a bit jet-lagged and wobbly-legged. but WAKEUP because you are in for a bit of a wild ride.

it is dark, cold. there are vegetables. pickles. japanese rolled omelets, all manner of shellfish and mollusks for sale. WATCHOUT for the fast moving carts that seem to want to crush your legs...

gruff men with boots. frowns at tourists, shoulder to shoulder in the small tuna auction viewing area. cameras snapping away. men with long stick hooks to move the fish. even deeply frozen, tail-less, the large tuna manage to flop and get away as they are being moved and stacked by the men. hence the hooks. it is the genius of the tuna's extremely well-adapted shape. r and i got back to our hotel by 7 am, too sympathetic with the lovely fishes to have the traditional sushi breakfast. a nice breakfast of yogurt and exotic fruits with some nice hot green tea. more of an antidote really. i used to love sushi, until this visit to Tsukiji. not so much right now. ask me in a month.

Dec 8, 2008


so magical this place was. shuzenji is a town in the mountains of the izu penninsula. with volcanic hot springs. with a beautiful temple built in 804. with a beautiful dragon. with a bamboo forest. with a rushing river. with a beautiful koi pond at the arai ryokan where we stayed. with maple leaves a bright bright red. we took a shinkansen or bullet train to mishima and then a commuter train a bit further. fuji-san was shrouded in clouds and mist so we couldnt get a glimpse. it didn't matter. we will come another day. we have to.