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photos by gluttonforlife

2.22.11 Kishu? I Don't Even Know You!

I come from a very linguistically focused family where all sorts of word games (not to mention mind games) were the order of the day. I'm very into language and its limitless possibilities for manipulation, including the humblest pun. Never can resist. Ingredients are sort of like words, able to be tossed together in seemingly infinite combinations, so that cooking becomes a kind of jazzy poetry (rap?!) or improvised narrative. The kishu is a sweet little grace note, an ampersand between clementines and satsumas. This tiny mandarin, only slightly bigger than a jawbreaker, originated in China and arrived in Japan around the 17th century, where it is known as mukaku-kishi. Mukaku means seedless, which they are. They have a super-short season and are not that easy to come across. I got mine through Local Harvest, a locavore network that helps you find farmers' markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, and through which you can buy produce, grass-fed meats and other coveted items. My kishus came from Churchill Orchard, a small organic farm in Ojai, California.
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kishus are a bright spot in winter

Tagged — Alex Raij
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photos by george billard

7.19.10 The Ask: Chef Alex Raij

Alex Raij is the chef and co-owner of Txikito, a wonderful restaurant in Manhattan with its own uniquely personal take on Basque cuisine. I have eaten there on many occasions—on my own or with a friend for lunch, with groups big and small for dinner—and she has never failed to impress me with her imaginative and delicious cooking. El Quinto Pino, a more traditional tapas bar, is also part of her empire, which I'm sure will continue to diversify and grow in popularity. Chef Alex was kind enough to agree to an interview and submitted to a quick photo session with G. She even passed along a recipe for the basil pomada served at El Quinto Pino (I've done my best to adapt it faithfully). The result is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews on gluttonforlife.
Tagged — Alex Raij