summer caponata

July 17th, 2014


a successful vacation (by Oscar Wilde)

summer caponata

Vacation. Actually, it is more like this VACATION ! 

This year I thought I would try something new: take a vacation and NOT work. You know get out of the kitchen, enjoy the cooking of others (often), step out of my routine, and detach from my computer. So far so good. Oscar Wilde said that “moderation is a fatal thing [and] nothing succeeds like excess.” By Mr. Wilde’s standard, I have been highly successful in my vacation thus far. Read the rest of this entry »

Salade Niçoise (à ma façon)

May 18th, 2014

nicoise 3
a dream kitchen, a village in Provence, and a favorite salad  

Salade Niçoise (à ma façon)
(salad Niçoise my may)

There was a photograph of a kitchen on Instagram which gathered several “likes” and one person commented, “my dream kitchen.” It made me think. What is my “dream” kitchen?” Do I have one? What would be in it?  The topic is hardly unique. Elizabeth David wrote an article about the same thing but I believe the discussion was prompted by magazine competitions, not an Instagram photo. Times are different but the question is still fun.

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summer vegetable tart à la Provençal

July 12th, 2013

 chef morgan 1

a good summer’s day
summer vegetable tart à la Provençal

Some days everything just seems to go right. The weather is perfect. I did not step in a gift from a neighbor’s dog nor did I walk a piece of furniture down the rue to my apartment. The children are not fighting. Beyond the domestic bliss and no more juin gloom, the little things that in France I have come to expect to test my patience actually fell into place. I felt this moment should be recorded. 

chef morgan Read the rest of this entry »

venez avec moi à Gordes

July 10th, 2012


Chef Morgan Gordes

 picking cherries in the valley of the Gods: venez avec moi à Gordes 

 It is 9:30 p.m. and the sun is setting, but not so quickly. The sun is taking its time; everyone is. It is difficult to put an end to a day filled with Provençal sun, the calming smell of lavender, and the song of the complacent cicadas. As I write, I see expansive green valleys filled with cherry trees below me. The sound of pea-gravel crunching under the waiter’s feet (as he brings me a Châteauneuf-du-Pape and something warm for my shoulders) is only a momentary distraction from the twenty birds swirling above my head trying to get in their last flight before heading to bed. I am in Luberon. I have eaten and explored my way through the day: jambon with truffles; cherries I picked off the trees;  fougasse lush with salty olives and olive oil; wild boar sausage; fresh chèvre bathed in crushed lavender and honey, aïoli with perfectly steamed vegetables; rosés from nearby vineyards; hearty and robust reds from nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I think I found the land of the Gods and perhaps that is why the Romans had once claimed it as their own centuries ago. It am in Gordes and it is Gordes which inspired this week’s simple pleasure, cherries poached in fresh lavender and thyme. However, before you go there, come with me to one of the Luberon’s most beautiful villages: venez avec moi à Gordes. 

Chef Morgan Gordes Sunset

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Family Tradition of Summers in Provence: Pissaladière à ma façon

June 2nd, 2012


Nice France on the water by chef Morgan  

family traditions of easy summers in Provence:
Pissaladière à ma façon

Every summer I travel with my daughters to the southeast of France. We stay in the same quaint port village, about 15 minutes from Nice. Year after year we celebrate summer with the same families. The children catch little fish and crabs in the clear blue ocean and chase one another in the fields of wild herbs and lavender. The adults gather over a bottle of Provençal rosé produced nearby and discuss what has gone on throughout the last year. We pick up where we left off and not much changes except the height of the children. It has become a family tradition. Summer is just around the corner and we will be in back in France very soon. However, my head and palate are already there and as I was sitting in the never-ending Los Angeles traffic, I was whimsically thinking of  Provence and that morning daydream  inspired this week’s simple pleasure: Pissaladière (à ma façon). Read the rest of this entry »

Pissaladière (à ma façon)

June 2nd, 2012

 Pissaladière (à ma façon) french pizza

Pissaladière (à ma façon)

 makes one 9” tart

what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
20 ounces sweet onions (i.e., Vidalia), sliced ¼” width
1 fresh sprig of thyme, stripped
2 pinches kosher salt
⅓ cup Muscat, Sauterine or Verjus 
14 olives noires de Nice (or black oil-cured olives with the pits removed and olives halved)
12 anchovy fillets packed in oil (optional to rinse) 
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted Read the rest of this entry »

oh honey . . . bees should not have all of the fun: apricots, miel de lavande and fromage blanc

August 18th, 2011


oh honey . . . bees should not have all of the fun:
apricots, miel de lavande and fromage blanc

It is the little things that make the difference. This week it is the delicious detail of miel de lavande (lavender honey) inspired by my recent stay in Provence where neither my children nor the bees could get enough of the lavender fields that cover the landscape. With Provence in mind, grilled apricots and lavender honey over fromage blanc is this week’s simple pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

summer provençal tian: more than a dish

August 3rd, 2011

Eggplant, zucchini and squash

summer provençal tian: more than a dish

In Provence there is a regional speciality simply known as “tian.” The name actually refers to the dish the food is cooked in rather than the food itself  (a “tian” is a shallow baking dish). This week we are modifying the classic tian but staying true to the flavors of provence and a provençal tian is this week’s simple pleasureRead the rest of this entry »