Category Archives: travel

Listen to Ithaka

myrtosIt’s the journey, not the destination – channeling Odysseus in C.P. Cavafy’s poem “Ithaca” – a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  But the translated Greek verse sounds so much better with a Scottish accent.

Sean Connery reads Ithaka


Remembering Paris

What better way to be lost than walking the streets of Paris in September. Elaine Sciolino’s article in the New York Times – Paris, One Step At A Time –   gave me a name for my wanderings this Fall – a flâneuse. 

 And yes, the title is respectable – a Parisian walker and sometime writer. George Sand and France’s Trollope may have been the first. But Sciolino used the term for ordinary mortals who enjoy walking and absorbing.


Proceed with Caution

If you’ve ever tried to cross a street in Italy, you will relate:

“Soccer in Italy is not unlike driving. Laws are treated merely as suggestions.”
…Jere Longman, New York Times

Cherry-Mustard Chicken Legs with Parmesan Zucchini

Inspired to cook, after an amazing meal at French Laundry, I found this recipe in the San Francisco Chronicle – easy and tastes like gourmet…

All ovens are different, so check – it may take shorter than the recipe suggests.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 chicken thighs (I used boneless)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 3 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch coins
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place one rack on top third of oven, and one rack in bottom third.  Rub chicken thighs with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on lightly oiled sheet pan, and then place in oven on top rack for 40-45 minutes.
Make the glaze by whisking together the mustard, preserves, and butter.  About 25 minutes into the chicken cooking time, toss the zucchini with rest of olive oil and spread out in a sheet pan. Season, and place on bottom rack of the oven.
In the last 10 minutes of chicken cooking time, brush the glaze a few times over the chicken.  Brush again five minutes later, and again before removing from oven.
Three minutes before the chicken and zucchini are done, shake the zucchini pan and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Switch the two pans, so the zucchini is on top and the cheese can melt.
Remove from oven, and serve with any remaining glaze on the side for dipping.
For dessert, have some fresh cherries.

Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I ate one from the Bouchard Bakery in Yountville; this cookie is huge and has an amazing taste.   I may try the recipe, or short cut it by buying the mix .

Recipe: Chocolate chunk cookies  – Thomas Keller


  •       1/2 pound butter
  •       1 cup dark brown sugar
  •       2/3 cup sugar
  •       1 tbsp molasses
  •       2 eggs
  •       1/2 tsp salt
  •       1/2 tsp baking soda
  •       3 cups all-purpose flour
  •       1 cup 72 percent chocolate chunks
  •       1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Mix the butter on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl again.

Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl. Beat again for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape bowl again.

Slowly stream in eggs, one at a time, while mixer is on low speed. Once all eggs are incorporated, whip on medium speed for 2 minutes, scrape halfway through, and scrape when done.

Add dry ingredients on low speed, scrape halfway, and scrape when all the dry ingredients have been added.

Add chocolate and scrape again.

Scoop onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake at 325 for approximately 15 minutes