The chickens are laying! That means the hens are getting more sunshine.
I was in San Francisco this past month. California is a refreshing burst of energy for me this time of year. The first morning, I wandered down to the Ferry building and took in all the vendors beginning their day, setting up their stalls, and the commuters arriving from across the bay. It’s a hustle bustle, not unlike Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. I was mostly in San Francisco for the Women’s Chef Conference, but I managed to get to Inverness to walk along the beach and eat crabs and oysters with dear friends. I wrote about my haunts if San Francisco is one of your future destinations.
I was also in Washington D.C. for Sips and Suppers, which is an annual two-day event given by Joan Nathan, Alice Waters and Jose Andre. This time of year is perfect for fish stew. I helped prepare a meal and Fish Fumet was on the menu. I inherited a box of fish carcasses and immediately thought of making a Bouillabaisse, which is a Provençal fish soup.
It’s imperative that one begins with a whole fish carcass (ask your fishmonger for a light fish, bass or fluke). It wasn’t that long ago that one could get whole fish bones for free. Now, you have to call days ahead and I am sure this all related to the fact that fresh fish is not arriving whole. It is coming in often times already trimmed and filleted. How sad and disappointing! A whole fish carcass is necessary for a great fumet. A fumet is a fish stock that has been strained and reduced down for a rich deep flavor. I actually use a fumet for all my seafood recipes like New England chowder, paella, seafood risotto, etc. I also use mussel or wild shrimp shells along with typical stock flavor enhancers (mirepoix): roasted carrots, celery, onions and garlic. I like to roast these first as it really makes for a richer flavor. This rich stock is added to a safrito of garlic, saffron, olive oil and tomatoes for a Bouillabaisse or Paella recipe.
When I attended graduate school at Lesley College in Cambridge, I lived right across the street from Julia Child. Every day I saw her walk down the road to Savenor’s grocery market with her husband. I went out and bought her double volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and asked her if she would sign it. The first recipe I made out of that book was the four-page recipe for bouillabaisse. I think of the variations this has taken on over the years. Depending on where I am, what wine I am serving or what is available at the moment, I may make any one of these variations: Bouillabaisse (French), Aldeirada (Portuguese), Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican), Cioppino (American), Maeuntang (Korean), Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican), Kakavia (Greek), Chowder (New England). Like many of the recipes from different regions, it’s a dish that was created by fishermen using the catches of the day.
John Bagnulo and I are are planning our Metabolic Boot Camp in April. Please join us!
We have had a few folks write in asking if they would benefit from the week. I GUARANTEE it! Here is one question and the response:
Q: I just learned I have osteoporosis and I am wondering if this metabolic boot camp would be good for me?
A: The metabolic boot camp is probably the single best immersion program you could experience to change bone/skeletal health.
This program is all about changing all of the various components to metabolism. Most people think of metabolism as how it relates to weight and energy, when in fact a big part of metabolism is how the body maintains balance in a variety of systems. The acid-alkaline balance is the single most important as how it relates to bone health.
You will learn an incredible amount of info on how you can maintain good pH balance, how you can increase bone mineralization, how much vitamin D is needed to improve bone health etc. In addition, the program is completely alkaline based for several days so it is a good example of what and how it feels to regain balance. ~ John Bagnulo
Cold and snowy on the Vineyard this week. Someone said to me this week "it's almost Spring!" and I thought "now there is an optimist! Spring might be a few months off, but at least we are getting longer days and sunshine and loads of eggs!
Photo of Jan by Eli Dagostino Photography