Archive for the ‘Food and Sense Development’ Category

Cooking in 10 Minutes.

Cooking in 10 Minutes. Cover of 1994 US Edition.

  Cooking in Ten Minutes by Edouard de Pomaine.

“Do not imagine that ten-minute cooking is going to condemn you to an eternal round of       beef-steak without any of the frills of finer cookery.

Your gas stove has two burners, if not three.  What is to prevent you cooking slices of ox kidney saute’ in butter on the one, while you make a sauce bearnaise on the other?

During the same ten minutes you can prepare both the kidneys and the sauce.  The result is delicious.  I have done it time and again.  Thanks to the sauce the ordinary ox kidneys, despised by the fastidious, assume an aristocratic manner.

You can always prepare meat and a sauce, but are there many rapidly prepared sauces? That all depends on the liveliness of your imagination.  Invent the sauces.  The great thing is to prepare them quickly, and for this you must follow the advice which I shall give you for the preparation of some standard sauces.”


Here’s what Elizabeth David wrote about Pomaine in her book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine.  [pp. 175-182]

“In the days when Pomaine was writing, chefs did not dream of braising vegetables – lettuces, leeks, Belgian endives, for example – without a preliminary blanching.  That rule was immutable, and woe betide anyone who disregarded it.  Dr. de Pomaine bypassed it, and I adopted his method, particularly his recipe for cooling Belgian endives in butter and entirely without a prior water baptism.  That sort of unorthodoxy got one into trouble. …

Doctor Edouard de Pomaine’s real name was Edouard Pozerski.  He was of purely Polish origin, the son of emigres who had fled Poland and settled in Paris after the Revolution of 1863.  …

De Pomaine was the first writer to propound such happenings as the fusion of egg yolks and olive oil in a mayonnaise, the sizzling of a potato chip when plunged into fat for deep-frying, in language so straightforward, so graphic, that even the least scientifically minded could grasp the principles instead of simply learning the rules.  In cooking, the possibility of muffing a dish is always with us.  Nobody can eliminate that.  What de Pomaine did by explaining the cause, was to banish the fear of failure.

Adored by his public and his pupils, feared by the phoney, derided by the reactionary, de Pomaine’s irreverent attitude to established tradition, his independence of mind backed up by scientific training, earned him the reputation of being something of a Candide, a provocative rebel disturbing the grave conclaves of French gastronnomes, questioning the hold rites of the ‘white-vestured officiating priests’ of classical French cookery.

Of a dish from the Swiss mountains, Dr. de Pomaine observes that it is ‘a peasant dish, rustic and vigorous.  It is not everybody’s taste.  But one can improve upon it.  Let us get to work.’ … ”


10 Minute French Cooking Blog

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Salmon grilled with Juniper, food and photo by LP O'Neil

Miso Pine Salmon



The original version of  this recipe appeared in Edible Ojai, Fall 2006 issue.  As all cooks do, I have modified it.

I first served it November 4, 2006 to honor adventure traveler Don Schlief who was heading out for several months in India.

The recipe was given by Kobun Chino Roshi, a Zen teacher and friend of the family at Blue Heron Ranch.

Here’s how I prepare this spectacularly simple delicious salmon.

Place in a large baking dish:

Fresh salmon — 2 or more pounds.

Score the skin side of the fish crosswise on a grid with cuts about 1/4 inch deep.

Mix and spread over the fish:

2 tbsp or more white/yellow miso paste mixed with a little water.

Turn fish skin side up and spread on more white/yellow miso paste.

Sprinkle with about 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or white wine) over the fish.

Cut a fresh pine branch and place it on top of the fish.

Cook at 500 degrees F for about 15 min.  Monitor during cooking to prevent the pine branch from catching fire.  Remove pine before serving.


The original version of this recipe appeared August 6, 2008 in the award winning Washington Post Food Section, as part of writer Stephanie Witt Sedgwick’s excellent series on preparing meals using ingredients from a week’s CSA delivery.  

CSA is community supported agriculture, a system where members buy shares early in the growing season when food growers need support and the growers deliver produce each week through the season.

 I’ve changed the recipe several times to accommodate seasonal produce and to use leftovers.  Sometimes I slice the squash, especially the zuccini, on the long side to simulate slabs of lasagna.  If using mature eggplant, “milk” the slices first in salt.  Substitute cooked leftover rice or bulgar for the bread crumbs. Substitute a mixture of cheese — whatever is on hand that doesn’t conflict with flavour.  Crumble blue or feta cheese with the parmesano.  If focused on a Mediterranean theme, increase the quantity and variety of fresh herbs.  Consider a layer of chopped olives, a tapenade with olive oil.  The key is to alternate “dry” layers such as the squash, with “wet” layers such as sliced tomatoes.  






Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

On Starch:  An excerpt from The Physiology of Taste, Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, translated by M.F.K. Fisher, The Heritage Press, New York, 1949


“Starch is a perfect food especially when it is least mixed with foreign matter.  By this starch is meant the flour or dust which comes from cereal grains, from legumes such as beans, and from many root vegetables, among which the potato at this moment holds first place.

Starch is the base of bread, of cakes, and of thick soups of all kinds, and for this reason forms a very great part of almost every person’s nourishment.

It has been observed that such a diet softens a man’s flesh and even his courage.  For proof one can cite the Indians, who live almost exclusively on rice and who are the prey of almost anyone who wishes to conquer them.

Almost all domestic animals will eat starch with avidity, and they are, in contrast, unusually strengthened by it, because it is a more substantial nourishment than the fresh or dry leaves which are their habitual fodder.

Sugar is no less negligible, either as a food or as a medicine.”


Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was born in Belley, in the Ain, in France, on the first day of April, 1755.  He lived and died a lawyer, like the other men of his family.  As Mayor of Belley he resisted the blood revolutionists in 1793, and was forced to flee his country, first to Switzerland and then to America.  He spent some two years in New York, giving language lessons and playing his violin in a theatre orchestra.  In 1796 he returned to France, and although he had lost almost everything, including his fine little vineyard, he was reinstated as an honorable citizen.  In 1825 he published at his own expense The Physiology of Taste, on which he had been working with amusement and pleasure for some three decades.  He died on February 2, 1826.  p. 23, (The Translator’s Glosses, M.F.K. Fisher).

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