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

“It is delicious.” — Iwan

28 March 2012

pasta e fagioli

tubetti with tiny white beans, rosemary, chili oil and Parmigiano Reggiano

Eden’s escarole. curly endive and radicchio with anchovy, lemon and croutons


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)

From the Sunday market

A buffet lunch for the Los Altos Art Docents

23 March 2012

castelvetrano olives marinated with lemon, fennel seed, cayenne and bay

prosciutto and coppa

Eden’s chard and roasted cauliflower  toasts with green garlic, lemon and egg

potato, cabbage and chickpea soup with chile oil and Parmigiano Reggiano


bowls of strawberries

hazenut, pistachio and pine nut biscotti

Loida makes "ham flowers".

When dinner for five precedes lunch for thirty-eight…

22 March 2012

baked ricotta with parsley and mint, carrot ribbons, radishes and baby red mustard from the yard

chicken saltimbocca

chicken breast with sage and proscuitto

sliced potatoes and watercress

Special thanks to Thanh for kitchen assistance and enthusiasm

“We are made one with what we touch and see.” — Oscar Wilde

21 March 2012

almonds with rosemary

sorrel, egg and anchovy toasts

maiale al latte

pork shoulder cooked in milk with green garlic, lemon and sage

spinach, asparagus and leeks

Eden’s lettuces


“The cool new thing is to compromise.” — Wapke Feenstra

I asked Wapke to elaborate on this and her answer is below.


“Because, if you do not compromise, you have to exclude a lot of people and their ideas and their influence on you.  So, as an artist I learned that it’s good to compromise, to work together with people; to just step from your sure parts.  And the other one, to meet them where you meet them — it’s always a compromise — and that makes life actually rich and not that you get lost.

So, what I think at the moment:

We know a lot of things, you know.  It’s not about society that has things to know, it’s just more about sharing at the moment and about learning things and about compromising.

So that’s why it’s the new thing and it’s cool.”  — Wapke Feenstra

20 March 2012

antipasto of prosciutto, marinated castelvetrano olives and radishes

fried eggs with crispy leeks, chanterelles and Parmigiano Reggiano with asparagus and a garlic rubbed toast

first of the season strawberries

Special thanks to Thanh for kitchen assistance

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