Category: Sense

Pasta with chanterelle mushroom, twittered


[What if I’d twittered my dinner last night? Read on!]

(ok, if you didn’t know what Twitter was, just think of this post as that Seinfeld backwards episode, ok now?)

Phoenix is calling me photo-tagging demon. Must go defend my Facebook
honor. Pasta bowl in dishwasher and am going for another glass of
she-rooy-b...nevermind…. 8.40 PM January 20, 2008 from living room

Pasta is yum. Earthy and mushroomy. The wine plays nicely with
earthy mushroom and the slightly sweet edge from the
caramelized onions. Better than I thought, even if I still couldn’t
say the name. 8.24 PM January 20, 2008 from dining table

Carla Bruni is singing from my Bose iPod thingy. @Sophie laisse moi tranquille she’s gonna be your first lady not mine! 8.13 PM January 20, 2008 from dining table

Decided on a bottle of 2005 Geil Scheurebe Kabinett. Tried saying the
name three times but failed at the first. 8.12 PM January 20, 2008 from dining table

Picking wine. Am inspired from Terry Theise tasting the other day to drink something Austrian or German. 8.09 PM January 20, 2008 from the cellar

Just tasted the mushroom, yum. Pasta going in. Another splash of fresh olive oil. 8.07 PM January 20, 2008 from front of the cutting board

Pasta is done, drained and waiting. Chopping a tiny bit of parsley just for color and fun. 8.06 PM January 20, 2008 from sink

Mushrooms going in the pan, splashing a bit of vermouth, a big pinch of salt. The pan is sizzling nicely. 8.04 PM January 20, 2008 from stove

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Yellowtail ceviche and Punta Lobos revisited


This post could be called, à la Friends, The One In Which Pim Drives A Hummer And Bargains For Dead Fish.

Punta Lobos is a beach just south of Todos Santos, near the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where day-boat fishermen come in to sell their very freshly caught fish to local restaurants and villagers nearby. I’d been dreaming about getting back to Punta Lobos since Paolo took me there two years ago.

Day two of our Mexico trip, I was so itching to get to Punta Lobos to see what they’ve got but I just couldn’t seem to get any of the boys to drive me. David conveniently disappeared with his surfboard somewhere on the beach in front of the house we rented – ok, this was his annual surfing trip so I let him off. Our friend Daniel had his nose so far buried in a book he pretended not to hear my plea altogether. Not nice.

Nevermind, I thought. I knew this town well enough – been here like twice already – I was going to figure this out myself. The house we rented was just ten-fifteen minutes south of the town of Todos Santos, and I knew that Punta Lobos was somewhere between the house and town. How hard could that be? I just have to find the dirt road leading to that beach somewhere on the stretch of ten kilos between our house and the town. I’d figure it out somehow!

Then there was the problem with the car. Well, calling it – that thing we rented from the airport in Cabo – a car would have been an understatement – a monumental one. We rented a Hummer. Yes we did. Sorry mommy earth. We didn’t intend to, really. There were five of us, plus multiple bags and two surfboards. Basically all they had that would fit all of us and our stuff was that Hummer and a gawdawful-looking van that would fit twelve! So the Hummer it was. And it proved to be quite handy when we found that the road leading into the luxury house we rented wasn’t so much a road as a dried up riverbed, an arroyo as they call it down there.

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Porcini (cèpes), persillade butter, and fried egg – or the lunch that wasn’t


Freddy Fungus walks in the door..
No, no, this is not the beginning of a joke. There actually is a guy here called Freddy Fungus, he’s something of a legend in town. I don’t need to tell you what he does exactly, do I? His name alone is quite evident.

Well, Freddy didn’t actually walk through the door this time. Instead, we woke up one morning and found a box on the front porch, filled with gorgeous, plump porcini – cèpes as they are called in French. There’s a note inside, tiny scribbles declaring the value of the treasure within. This is Santa Cruz, the honor system still works here. Freddy will be by eventually to pick up his money. He clearly knows where we live.


What would I do with a box of porcini mushroom? I could think of a few things. Alas, the fungi – like many good things around here – were destined for the restaurant. I am feeling more like a step-child every day.

I managed to snatch one. Not the prettiest, but it would have to do.

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…..not!


I’d like to think I’m pretty handy around the kitchen – and perhaps elsewhere but that hardly concerns you. I’d like to believe that I could cook pretty much anything. I might have to try a few times, but eventually I would figure it out.

TreeunicloseupI guess I was wrong. There is at least one thing that failed me time and time again. Chestnuts. These pesky little nuts. I love eating them, but I am at a complete lost when it comes to cooking them.

When I was growing up in Thailand, I looked forward to these every winter. As soon as the weather got a bit cool, around this time of year, chestnut merchants in Bangkok’s Chinatown set up their stalls along Yaowarat road. It was quite a sight, scrawny merchants standing in front of their imposing woks – big enough to deep fry me at that age – filled with tiny pebbles, blackened with soots, and so hot they were nearly molten. Strewn in with the pebbles were plump chestnuts. Each merchant would stir their wok constantly, ensuring even heat to properly cook the chestnuts to perfection. Chestnuts cooked that way were amazing, you could almost pop them out of the shell by simply opening it. Your fingers tips – or your whole hands if you’re not careful – would turn black from the soot on the shells, but who could care when the morsels within were so delectable. I for one didn’t.

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Breakfast of champions

'hashbrown' lima beans

Ok, breakfast of this champion at least. What am I doing calling myself a champion, you asked? Hey, didn’t you hear, self-affirmation is good for you. Ha.

I should tell you first I’m not much of a savory-beans eater – when I grew up in Asia most beans were in desserts. I haven’t really been able to get over that childhood silliness. Not helping the matter is how most beans are hardly worth eating anyway – flavorless, old supermarket beans with a texture of decomposing bread, or Mexican refried beans as thick as cement paste.

Anyway, my friend Steve of Rancho Gordo gave me a bag of giant lima beans the other day. Before you jump on my case for taking and plugging freebies I should tell you I work for them beans! When Steve is alone at the Saturday farmers market – rare now that he’s got his gal pal Joan helping out – I would keep his stall for him while he takes a pee break! Plenty of people have seen me selling beans. There may have even been photographic evidence.

These lima beans are giant, and, despite what I’ve heard about lima beans, Steve assured me they are muy tasty. So I took them, and yesterday morning turned them into this crazy good breakfast.

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