Sunday, December 27, 2009

A bonus post about food...

I know, I know. I meant to stay quiet until the end of 2009, but I just had to post this. It's been a great culinary week. It started with seafood shopping and the amazing Chelsea Market (16th street and 9th avenue) for our Vigilia dinner. I made Lucille's favorite dish...zuppa di pesce (fish soup). We were so impressed with the quality of the seafood at the Chelsea Market. The zuppa di pesce was at the center of our Christmas dinner.
It is made in a few easy steps (see pics below). Prepare a fish stock (any fish bones and heads would do. I was given the remains of a striped bass by the fishmonger). Lightly steam the clams. Sautee garlic, onions and tomato paste. Add squid and octopus. Add Clams. Add tomato sauce (I used canned cherry tomatoes and San Marzano tomato puree). At the very end,  add the red mullets or any other fish and cook for just a few minutes. Season (very little salt, as fish is quite salty, pepper, and I like hot paprika and saffron stems)....add fresh parsley. That's it...pretty simple, eh? The best thing is that you can use almost any kind of fish and seafood.

And to add to the seafood feast, last night we went to an amazing restaurant called Sik Gaek in Flushing, NY. The 1-hour long commute was well worth it. The place specialize in Korean seafood and has become very popular since it was featured on the Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation show about the outer boroughs.  It has a really laid back and cool atmosphere, lots of drinks and most importantly amazing seafood. One of their specialty is a live octopus appetizer. It's cut while still live and it keeps moving and trying to run off the plate for about ten more minutes. It doesn't get much fresher than this... The suction action that the tentacles have while you chew is an experience.  You can see the video of the live octopus here.

The main dish was a seafood stew (this time a spicy Korean one, of course) that was just a feast for the eyes. Giant clams, mussels, octopus, squid, crabs, live lobster (yes, live, but not for long) and even abalone! Simply amazing! It was quite a shock to come out the restaurant and be in Flushing! We had felt as if we were in Korea during the whole meal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home till 2010

I will finally be home until the new year. After a year full of travels and wonderful places Lucille and I are planning a quiet holiday sitting on the couch, watching TV, eating, and hanging out with our close friends. It's been a great year, personally and musically speaking and I just feel once again so lucky to be doing what I love to do and hopefully getting every day closer and closer to my music.
My proudest 2009 moment? Racking up nearly 140,000 base miles on American Airlines, and qualifying for ExecPlat for the fourth year in a row...
Musically speaking there have been lots of rewarding moments, among them the release of Bach Transcribed and its reception. But honestly, it would be unfair to pick out single events as I luckily still feel that what I enjoy the most is the process of diving deeper and deeper in the music, day after day.
So, back to the couch for few minutes, with a nice espresso, then alas, my piano is awaiting. Lots of repertoire to learn as it feels a full year of performances is literally just around the corner, with my personal hope to start in January with renewed energy and more enthusiasm than ever.
Happy holidays and remember to eat well and that life is too short for bad wine...