Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Cuisine Spontané" with a View - Doing Lunch in Dolores Park

"Cuisine Spontané" is just a fancy French term for wandering around a market, without any preconceived plans, grabbing whatever looks enticing, and then heading back to the kitchen to create a meal in a sort of culinary stream of consciousness. It’s a really fun way to cook. By the way, I’m sure there are a few soccer moms out there reading this right now thinking, “wow, I do that like 5 times a week…so that’s what it’s called!” And you thought you were just rushing through the grocery store throwing things in the basket.

For my wife Michele and I, this "Cuisine Spontané" approach was applied quite deliciously to a recent picnic lunch we enjoyed in beautiful Dolores Park. It ended up being a two-course meal. The elements were picked up on 24th Street in Noe Valley, on the same walk I wrote about in the Farmers Market post.

The first course was spicy chicken served in heart of romaine lettuce cups with fresh cilantro. We bought a pint container of some wonderful stewed chicken at a small Taqueria. It was falling-apart-tender and cooked with onions and peppers in a light, but fiery, tomato and chili sauce. This location also served as the source for our plastic silverware, napkins, and a small plastic cup of chopped fresh cilantro.

We finished this two-course meal with some ‘fresh out of the oven’ walnut bread, topped with creamy Mozzarella Di Bufala Campana (Italian Buffalo Mozzarella cheese) and slices of perfectly ripe peaches from Farmer's Market. The sweet, juicy, golden peach with the snow-white, slightly tangy cheese, on the dense, nutty bread was truly amazing.

It would have been a great picnic lunch without the view, but eating with the San Francisco skyline as our backdrop just made everything taste that much better.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

How funny, the part about the soccer moms! Looks very tasty. Haven't you gone to see The Simpsons Movie yet, or the Kwik-E-Mart? The Kwik-E-MArts are only until the end of August. Chances are that if you have a 7-11 they are now Kwik-E-Marts. :)

Chef John said...

I havent been to the movie or the Q-mart yet! Hopefully soon. Thanks

Anonymous said...

you lucky bastard! ;)

Scott - Boston said...

I have many friends in San Fran and have been there a dozen times. Hands down my favorite city outside of my own.

Dolores Park... I always forget the name of that park... I hear Jerry Seinfeld had the same problem...

Scott - Boston

Chef John said...

LOL at the Seinfeld joke! Very nicely done. Strangely enough the park's original name was Mulva Park.

AP said...

What a fantastic blog you have created - really commendable! I have been cooking Indian food (me Indian et al) for years and seldom venture out of my comfort zone. I just prefer to eat out or order in when it comes to other cuisines. Your site certainly gives me the impetus to get out of my Indian shell. Best...

P.S. did not notice any of your favorite roisotto demonstrations...any on this blog?

Chef John said...

Thanks! No risotto demos yet. Its a lots of stirring and simmering and Ive away been afraid it would be a bit boring for a video clip. Maybe Ill give it a try anyway.

jonknee said...

According to Mario Batali you really don't have to stir a risotto much. I believe him, but I still stir a little more than he does (if I remember correctly he only stirred a couple times). He's got a video demo up on the NY Times site.

It still makes a pretty boring demo, but it's a good skill to have.

Chef John said...

would I have to wear shorts??

Connie said...

The peaches on the bread look so good. Makes me hungry. Peaches are good in vanilla yogurt too.

kellypea said...

Mmmm...have you tried it with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey? A squirt of lime? Goodness, I need a snack!

sarah said...

This is an amazing little snack. Ate up one loaf this way by myself, and had to buy another loaf to share with my roommates. I bought some lovely, fruity olive oil from O&CO on Fillmore - do you have a favorite olive oil Chef John? Keep your unusual salads and appetizers coming!

Chef John said...

Im glad you enjoyed it so much (twice!) No, I dont have a favorite oil, I use them all, from cheap safeway to crazy expensive Italian estate bottled. Thanks.