A giant sandwich for my village

At the Montalvo Arts Center, the Culinary Fellow is the only artist in residence with a year long stay.  What this means is that I enjoy the privilege (and even the wistfulness) of meeting, being charmed and influenced by, and bidding goodbye to many fabulous, creative people on a regular basis.  And I will experience the richness of this cycle again and again, throughout the year, as I explore my own ideas around creativity, sustainability and the meaningful making and sharing of food.

Wapke and Iwan preparing non-alcoholic beverages at their cocktail bar

If anything, the sheer ridiculousness of serving a giant deli-style sandwich before a screening of the myvillages.org film, “The Pantry”, allowed me time and energy to enjoy last night’s party of 45 and a moment or two to commune with Antje, Thomas, Wapke and Iwan in a genuine way  in the hours leading up to their departure.

However, I should also point out that the muffaletta is a food from “my village” as it, too, is of Sicilian descent.

30 March 2012


salami, mortadella and olive salad sandwich with preserved peppers and  Eden’s greens



chocolate crinkle cookies, mixed nut biscotti and coconut macaroons

Very special thanks to Wapke, Antje, Thomas, Iwan, Steven and Thanh for cookie making, pepper slicing and for the pitting and chopping of all the olives, vegetables and herbs for the muffaletta’s olive salad

Wapke, Antje and Iwan roll chocolate crinkle cookies while Thomas sets up the projector for the viewing of their film, "The Pantry", in the adjoining room

Das gute leben

29 March 2012

leeks from the griddle with beets, radishes, aioli and Eden’s micro greens

paella with spot prawns, Manila clams and Dungeness crab

Special thanks to Loida, Wapke, Thanh and Steven for kitchen assistance and generosity of spirit

I’ve left you some soup on the stove.

Throwing caution to the wind, I made a vegetarian borsht using pink beets, their greens, potato, purple cabbage and red onion.

Because they would give a meaty flavor to the broth, even the shitake and wood ear mushrooms that remained from Andrew’s Laotian/Vietnamese dinner made their way into the soup pot.

It was easily the ugliest soup I’ve ever made — as it never received the forced, elegant stain of uniformity offered by the red beet.

Certainly, one would never see this soup in a restaurant.  

But it tasted exactly like a proper beet soup…

and that was important.

27 March 2012

rye bread and butter

ugly borsht with thick yogurt and dill

spinach salad with mustard vinaigrette

A taste of his travels

Last night the author, Andrew X. Pham, and his writer’s assistant, Thanh Tran, prepared dishes from Andrew’s upcoming cookbook, A Culinary Odyssey: My Cookbook Diary of Travels, Flavors and Memories of Southeast Asia.


26 March 2012

beef and fish laap

Laotian meat salads flavored with fish sauce and lime, eaten in lettuce leaves

bun cha gio

Vietnamese minced pork rolls with rice vermicelli, cucumbers, lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, shiso, cilantro and nuoc mam pha (fish sauce seasoned with sugar, lime and chili)