Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Very Lucky Girl Indeed

It's been almost six years since I
moved from New York to Los Angeles. About a year after I moved one of my best girls, Nai, came west and moved to Napa. Since her arrival I have driven the 6 hours from my home to hers many times. Nai knows how to ply a girl with cheese, shrimp, and saucisson. Not that there's much convincing to do when you live where she lives.

On my last visit we shopped for her wedding gown in San Francisco.(The first one she tried was the perfect one!) Then the next day along with my darling friend Darlene, a girl who has herself inspired many a trip, we visited one of the most spectacular places I've been to in a long time, Kuleto Estate, a winery in St. Helena.

It was there where after taking a few pictures, including some tipsy self-portraits in the bathroom mirror, I decided that a) I needed to take a Napa trip with my dad and b) I needed to start the blog I'd been thinking about. Notebooks and gluesticks writings on food and other things I love.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

To me new year's resolutions are more a list of things I want to do in the coming year than attempts at lifestyle change. Some years I've made them on my birthday others on January 1st. I love making lists so really it's more an excuse to make a great, big list of activities and wishes.

New Years Resolution #3: learn to shuck oysters

Since the very first one it was love at first slurp. There was something about their salty-sea, creamy-sweetness that was just so lovely. For years I tried eating oysters whenever possible and often thought how wonderful it would be to have a dozen every day for lunch. That is, until the time I got horribly sick after eating just six during a spring-break trip to London my junior year in college. After that I didn't touch them for years. Then I was taken to Nobu on my 28th birthday. Nobu. Omakase. Oysters. Enough said. The flames in my heart were fanned once again.

Last year after a particularly delicious afternoon with Fig at The Hungry Cat I decided I needed to learn how to shuck my expensive habit. My only attempt, when I was 22, had been a complete disaster. Four oysters, bought at Dean & Deluca on my art school budget, to go with a bottle of champagne that my dearest friend, Karenin, had given me on my birthday. After taking first a screwdriver and then a hammer to them I abandoned the oysters in the kitchen sink and opened the champagne. In one last wishful, futile attempt I came back to the kitchen, half way through the bubbly, and banged the oysters against the floor.

Yesterday, I learned that opening oysters is actually a lot easier than that experience. What I didn't know then but know now is that banging the oysters will make them shut tight. Instead of trying to crack them open I should have scrubbed them clean with a brush. Then one by one, held steady and flat side up with a kitchen towel, taken an oyster knife on a diagonal at their hinge. Turning the knife like a key until the shells popped open. Now thanks to Corina, the chef and one of the owners of the restaurant where I work, I know.

In what can only be described as oyster heaven I stood with Corina in her brother's beautiful sunny kitchen shucking close to two-hundred oysters with two other friends. Passing out dozens in ice filled plates with a mignonette made of shallots, pepper, and prosecco at a rowdy pool party .

It was so simple and the best part, eating breaks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Watermelon Lemonade

5 cups watermelon juice (from 1 non-spray seedless melon)
1 cup lemon juice (about 10 lemons, depending in size)
1/2 cup agave

Cut the melon into 2" to 3" pieces. Puree in a food processor. Pour the pureed melon through a sieve. Keep cold.
Squeeze lemons. In a pitcher combine the melon and lemon juice with the agave.
Pour 1 part vodka over ice to 3 parts lemonade.