Modern nomads want connection and authentic experiences…
Have you ever been snowed in? It’s a mixed feeling of disappointment and excitement all at once.
I can’t go anywhere, look at those huge wet flakes! The roads will be impossible. So much for that appointment… I get to stay home, make a fire and do that writing I wanted to do in between stages of spring cleaning.
But then what happens? You become ravenous. I wasn’t craving cookies. A fire was made and with over a foot of snow on the ground and still coming down, I thought of a warm, aromatic roast chicken — French style with 40 cloves of garlic. [Read more…]
Check out this sexy Spanish dessert. This is a wonderful and easy sweet to accompany any meal, but certainly one of Moroccan or Spanish origin. We include it in one of our cooking classes during our Feast for the Senses program in Marrakech, Morocco. But we love southern Spain so much, that we have added a Culinary Adventure in Seville.
Chef Amar focused on his flaming spinach dish, while master chef Choti Lal executes.
Chef Amar, former chef of the king of Udaipur, has been at the Lake Palace for 15 years. Chef Choti Lal for 23.
I love these chefs and their wood fired kitchen. They only have two gas flames, two tandoori ovens and several small hand painted terra cotta clay ovens for the Neel Kamal, the Taj Lake Palace’s fine dining room.
Eating with ones hands is a sensual, connected, primitive delight.
The mix of flavors and one-on-one contact of fingers and food to the mouth is nothing short of nurturing yourself on a deep level. Skin to skin contact happens with the first suckle. From there we naturally learn to eat and to be fed.
In many cultures, the mothers then feed their children solid food by hand, not by spoon. The nurturing quality of being fed by the mother creates a bond and a trust that grows as natural confidence until the child can feed himself independently.
To eat with ones hand’s as adults is awkward until you get the hang of it. When you do, it’s sublime.
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Walking the small lanes of Varanasi, we passed old tea shops, paneer venders, bead sellers and so forth and stumbled upon a lassi shop popular with travelers. Our favorite was pomegranate and pistachio.
A lassi wallah sits in the window with his legs crossed and blends fruits into different flavored lassis by hand in a big silver bowl with a wooden pestle. Afterwards, he sprinkles the poms, having peeled them on the spot.
My favorite part? They are served in terra cotta.. then crushed afterwards.
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Italy, in many ways, has taught me to love. In Tuscany, I think of chefs like Fabio Picchi, who radiates an eccentricity and passion for everything he touches. Or Giorgio, my favorite farmer at the Sant’Ambrogio Market, cupping a fresh artichoke in his dirt-covered hands, bundling up a bouquet of fresh herbs for me to take home along with my vegetables. I think of laundry strung above the alleyways and the texture of old stone and crumbling plaster as I walk through the narrow streets of Florence, which open up to wide piazzas filled with swooping swallows.
We all have places like this, and discover new ones each time we travel. Places that remind us to fall in love with our own lives.
Spices, ingredients and recipes are adventurous travelers. They may originate somewhere and then you would be surprised how far they can get. This is one of those wandering recipes: featuring figs, olives and capers, this recipe could be at home in Morocco, Sicily or Spain — or all three!
Easy and fast, this tapenade is wonderful served with manchego or a soft goat cheese on crostini. Or even over grilled chicken or fish.
These are trips I put together based on people I meet and things I like to do. I design adventures, not unlike a designer creates clothing or an architect makes buildings, or a potter makes pots. I follow my intuition and explore with curiosity. I am an artisan and this is what I do — take people on trips.
I have a particular style. It’s personal and a bit like improvisational theatre. If you by a ticket, I’ll ask you to participate, get your hands in the food, smell real smells like saffron, cumin and taste fresh and exciting flavors. I know what I am doing and where I am going and we meet a lot of nice people along the way. Some I have known for a very long time and some are new. A friend of a friend has always paved the way, therefore, the loop is familial. It’s personal, perhaps unusual. [Read more…]