Places that change your life are like lovers. When a connection is first discovered, the following infatuation becomes almost addictive. Dopamine surges and it can become, for the moment, the only thing you want to experience forever. Paris was zero exception to this: it was my first city romance — the second we met I know there was something I could not deny.
But, as with many lovers, that initial infatuation inevitably morphs, how you subconsciously knew it would in the beginning but didn’t want to remove that rose-like curtain because you know the trip will be worth it one way or the other.
Paris was love at first sight, and a 4-year total richness that continues to impact my life in the way I visualize the world to the way I cook to the way I even speak. There’s always a thread of French shadowing every English word I speak or write.
Hello! Well, this has been a long time since you’ve received something in your inbox from your friendly allergy-free chef and I’m happy to say we’re back in action. These past few months have been exceptional and full of travels and finishing an album and filming music videos… so culmination of all the above left me with little time to actually put together the many many inspirations I’ve had lately. But now it’s starting. With a little musing from my trip to Tokyo.
Tokyo is a fascinating place. Of course upon return to California I cannot tell you how many times I was, and rightfully so, asked how I “liked” Tokyo. Well, I liked it a lot, but it was not at all what I was expecting it to be!
One of the best things about the place, for me, was the food. This is probably a typical thing for me to think, as I am frequently ruled by my belly, but in a very very specific and phenomenal way I was feeling complete food tourism this time. Their flavors are so refined, simple, yet contagiously different from Western ones. Everything, from simple cooked eggs to cheesecakes, tasted, just “Japanese”. Since I do have a formally trained palate now at this point, it was fascinating to pick up pourquoi. And a lot of the savory flavors came from, well, dried seafood.
I did something that I never thought I’d ever do: I breaded chicken with Cheerios. Might sound unconventional, but again, when have dishes on my channel been too “normal”? And I guess it’s a sacrifice of what’s typical for taste. …which is not a sacrifice at all in my book.
Cheerios are now gluten-free, as you may have seen from my last recipe post and video, and I am delighted to partner with them for these two recipes. When I was contemplating what recipes to do I knew I wanted one to be savory… to use the sweetness of the oats from Cheerios in a main dish to add some crispiness and warm flavors. Turns out they make a mean breading.
Like, terribly good.
The breading recipe is pretty darn easy and I accompanied it with a dairy-free roasted poblano cream sauce. This sauce is inspired from when I cooked at Mextiza, a James Beard award-winning Mexican restaurant in Portland, OR. The chef would have us roast the poblano peppers directly over the fire of the burners until black all over, put them in a covered bowl to make the skins easier to remove, wipe off the skins, and then slice them into thin strips before reducing them with cream and epazote.
I’m sitting inside a cozy warm apartment on a cold Paris winter day. It’s not too bad with some Kurt Vile streaming into my ears, using space to create movement, engaging a certain monotony that is both appeasing and tense.
As someone who loves creating, finding joy in this repetition is after all the hardest art. To break the unwritten laws that spontaneity is a one-off, that improvisation cannot be planned, that’s where some true pleasure seeps in.
I hosted a gluten-free cooking class in Paris the other day and a gal from California asked me what my “go-to” weeknight meal would be. I kinda laughed to myself, as I said out loud, “I don’t like making the same thing twice,” meaning, there was no one set of meal that I had on repeat. I don’t use recipes when I cook or bake – moreover inspirations from previous dishes to prompt a new creation that will resemble, certainly, a new one to come.