EXPOLORING THE Q'EROS NATION OF PERU APRIL. 2-10 2016 REGISTRATION THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016

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EXPLORING THE Q'EROS NATION OF PERU APRIL 2-10 2016 REGISTRATION THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016

 

 

We’re launching our new workshop series, This is The Wanderlust, in the Andes Mountains of Peru! We’ll trek to the indigenous Q’eros Nation in collaboration with Hannah Rae Porst of Willka Yachay from April 2 to April 10. The Q’eros people are the wisdom keepers of the Andes. They are subsistence alpaca herders, potato farmers, weavers and musicians who live among the clouds in remote villages at 14,500 feet in the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota range, the highest mountain chain in Southeastern Peru. Considered to be the last Inkan community, the Q’eros strive to preserve their indigenous ethnic identity.

We’ll start our journey in Cusco, meeting at a beautiful colonial Bed and Breakfast to acclimate and introduce ourselves to one another before an evening meal. The next morning we’ll visit the markets, the bohemian art district and the spiritual center of the Inkan Empire. After a day of exploring, photographing and accustoming ourselves to the altitude and the sheer exuberance of the place, we’ll hit the streets for an evening photo demonstration. Cusco is luminous. We leave for Q’eros after breakfast. It’s a demanding, astounding and exhilarating journey. We’ll photograph along the way before stopping in a small village at the foot of sacred mountain Ausangate, where we’ll meet and photograph local weavers and participate in a Despacho offering by an Andean paqo. We’ll show you how to work with available light and a few improvised tools for location shooting and travel photography. We will take an early evening visit to local hot springs where you’ll have a chance to relax before an evening lecture and watching cloudscapes.

After leaving Apu Ausangate we ultimately make our way, led on horseback, to the remote hamlets of Q’eros, where we’ll stay with local villagers in cozy stone huts with thatched roofs. We’ll sleep on earth floors covered by llama and alpaca pelts, far removed from modern day amenities. One night we’ll camp out under the deep Peruvian night sky and try our hand at photographing more stars than we’ve ever seen before. Q’eros guides, cooks, wranglers and families will smooth our way, and share their lives and love.

Other photographic opportunities over the course of our time in the villages will include: trout fishing with nets, alpaca herding and shearing, a natural plant dye workshop, weaving demonstrations, earth oven cooking, gathering native medicinal plants, coca leaf readings, optional visits to Andean Paqo healers, and portrait photography with home visit families. We will also photograph hat making artisans and an intimate textile market where Peruvian weavers come together in the fields to display and sell their timeless work. This workshop will be a combination of photographic demonstrations as well as shooting with us side by side. We will teach a hands on holistic approach to travel photography, covering still life, reportage, landscape and portraiture. We will immerse ourselves in the culture of the mountains by connecting to the people as well as sharing creatively and learning with one another.

This workshop will be a creative reboot for those with a strong sense of adventure. This is a land of footpaths, far removed from the world as you know it. Lack of internet, roads and outside communication will only enhance our experience.

Workshop registration will be announced February 1st, 2016. This workshop is limited to 12 participants. Please see below to put your name on a mailing list to receive the announcement via email.

Most dietary preferences can be accommodated by our local cooks.

Hannah Rae Porst

Hannah Rae Porst, founder and director of Willka Yachay, has been living in Cusco and working with the indigenous people of the Q’eros Nation for five years. She founded Willka Yachay (Quechua for sacred knowledge) to develop education that enables young Q’eros to know their history and rights, preserve their culture and language, and develop their communities sustainably. Hannah has been leading mountain expeditions to Q’eros since 2012. She is a graduate of Bates College. @hannitarae

Willka Yachay

Willka Yachay is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping indigenous communities thrive in the modern world. We are empowering the next generation of the indigenous Q’eros Nation of Peru to become leaders who elevate their standard of living, guide their community toward sustainable modernity and revitalize their cultural identity. Together with the Q'eros, Willka Yachay builds and sustains culturally and ecologically based schools high in the Andes. Willka Yachay currently supports nine schools: three pre-k, four primary schools, one high school and one adult school. Willka Yachay collaborates with Q’eros parents and elders, acts as a school system administrator, creates and coordinates curriculum development, hires and supports culturally sensitive teachers, provides all supplies, nutritious food and educational national and international field trips. Willka Yachay also implements solar light, music and cultural preservation, food security, and mother and infant care projects, as well as the first health center and weaving cooperative in the Q’eros Nation.   

www.willkayachay.org, @willkayachay

WORKSHOP PRICE 5000 USD

THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016. IT IS CAPPED AT 12 PARTICIPANTS. ALL LODGING, MEALS, DEMONSTRATIONS AND GUIDES ARE INCLUDED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AN OPTIONAL SESSION WITH AN ANDEAN PAQO HEALER AND TRAVEL INSURANCE. AIRFARE TO AND FROM LIMA AND CUSCO IS NOT INCLUDED. FULL PAYMENT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS CLASS TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT. THIS WORKSHOP IS NON REFUNDABLE.

THERE IS A THREE DAY MACHU + PICCHU SACRED VALLEY EXTENSION WITH HANNAH RAE PORST APRIL. 10-13 COST + 1400 USD PARTICIPANTS INTERESTED IN THE 3 DAY EXTENSION CAN EMAIL HANNAH DIRECTLY AT hannah@willkayachay.org

 DUE TO THE REMOTE NATURE OF THIS WORKSHOP WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THEAT EACH PARTICIPANT OBTAIN THIER OWN TRAVELER'S INSURANCE.  FURTHER INFORMATION ON TRAVEL INSURANCE WILL BE IN THE INTRODUCTORY PACKAGE. ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN A LIABILITY WAIVER.

THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2015

We are pleased to announce our upcoming photographic workshop in Andean Mountains of Peru through our newly launched workshop series This Is The Wanderlust in collaboration with Hannah Rae Porst of the Willka Yachay Organization in the beautiful Q’eros Valley. The expedition will take place2-10 April 2016.

 

ABOUT THE Q'EROS

The Q’eros people are the wisdom keepers of the Andes. They are subsistence alpaca herders, potato farmers, weavers and musicians who live among the clouds in remote villages at 14,500 feet in the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota range, the highest mountain chain in southeastern Peru.Considered to be the last Inkan community, the Q’eros strive to preserve their indigenous ethnic identity. Q’eros live a hardworking life at one with nature. They perform offerings to Pacha Mama, Mother Earth, and to the Apus, mountain spirits. Worldview concepts of ayni, the importance of reciprocal sharing, and animu, awareness of an animated essence in all things, shape their interactions with each other and their environment. Those who are invited to travel to their out-of-this world beautiful valley and meet them carry luminous images home.

THE JOURNEY

 We will start our journey in Cusco, meeting at our Colonial Bed and Breakfast to acclimate and introduce ourselves to one another before the evening meal.The next morning we will explore the markets, the bohemian art district and the spiritual center of the Incan Empire. After a day ofexploring, photographing and acclimatizing we will hit the streets for an evening photo demonstration. The next morning after breakfast, we will make our way towards Q’eros, photographing along the way before stopping for the night in a small village at the foot of the sacred mountain Ausangate where will we participate in a Despacho offering and visit and photograph local weavers. We will show you how to work with available light and a few improvised tools for location shooting and travel photography. We will take an early evening visit to local hot springs where you will have a chance to relax before an evening lecture.

After leaving the sacred mountain we will make our way, led on horseback, to the remote hamlets of Q’eros, where workshop participants will pair off to have home stays will local villagers in centuries old cozy homes. You will sleep on the earthen floor on llama and Alpaca Pelts far removed form modern day amenities. We will camp out all together one evening under the vast Peruvian night sky and try our hand at photographing the stars. Other photographic opportunities over the course of the next few days will include: trout fishing with nets,natural plant dye workshop, alpaca herding and shearing, earth oven cooking, optional visit to Andean Paqo healer, portrait photography with home visit families and gathering native medicinal plants. We will photograph hat making and artisans and a visit to an intimate textile market where Peruvian families come together in the open fields for you to peruse and purchase their beautiful work.

This workshop will be a combination of photographic demonstrations as well as shooting with us side by side. We will teach a hands on holistic approach to travel photography, covering still life, reportage, landscape and portraiture. We will immerse ourselves in the culture of the mountains by connecting to the people as well as sharing creatively and learning with one another.

 

This workshop will be a creative reboot for those with a strong sense of adventure.This is a land of footpaths, far removed form the world as you know it. Lack of internet, roads and outside communication will only enhance our experience. 

Workshop registration will be announced February,1st. 2015. This workshop is limited to 12 participants.  Please visit www.thisisthewanderlust.com to subscribe and get your name on a mailing list to receive the announcement via email.

 

*Dietary restrictions can be accommodated by our local cooks. 

rome part 1. for condé nast traveler

Where has the time gone? I am not going to make excuses for my absence; I am just going to pick up where I left off... editing today I came across these images from Rome and suddenly got very hungry looking at this pasta . This might be dinner tonight. 

Last October we spent a few quick days on the ground in the eternal city, it was divine. 

 

 

Espresso at the newly opened J.K.Place. 

Espresso at the newly opened J.K.Place. 

 For my inner Borgia, the Vatican.

 For my inner Borgia, the Vatican.

Favorite neighborhood to get lost in. Monti.

Favorite neighborhood to get lost in. Monti.

The Colloseum.

The Colloseum.

 View of the city from Gianicolo. 

 View of the city from Gianicolo. 

 I funghi. Mercato Testaccio. 

 I funghi. Mercato Testaccio. 

Artichokes and Buccatini Amatriciana from Sora Marguerita in The Jewish quarter.

Artichokes and Buccatini Amatriciana from Sora Marguerita in The Jewish quarter.

tofu part 2.

I know some of you asked where to buy a tofu mold. Williams Sonoma sells a nice one here, complete with non GMO soy beans.Here is another source for a tofu making kit and nigari, the natural coagulant we used to make our tofu.

Below is part two of our Tofu post complete with Camilles's  recipe notes. Part one is here.

Tofu Skins

follow below recipe from previous post until you reach the part pertaining to the Tofu Skins

TOFU

11.2.13

1 ½ cups of high-grade soybeans

14 cups total spring or filtered water, room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons dry nigari

Tools:

Blender

Large heavy bottomed pot

Muslin

Large strainer or colander

-Soak soybeans in 5 cups water for at least 12 hours. 

-Heat 6 cups of water in a heavy bottom pot.   In a blender, puree beans and their soaking liquid in 3 batches for 2 minutes each time, you may risk burning out your blender if you puree it all in one shot.   Add the puree in batches to the hot water and mix thoroughly after each time.  Allow to come up to an almost boil on a medium-low setting.  Stir frequently to avoid soybean pulp sticking to the bottom and scorching.  Keep your eyes on the mixture making sure it doesn’t boil over.  Remove from heat, cover and leave to cool for ½ hour.

-Make sure mixture is cooled enough to handle then strain using a muslin lined strainer or colander.  Grab corners of the muslin and twist to press out all the soymilk.  The leftover parched pulp is called okara and in Japan it is often times cooked with vegetables.  Clean muslin out of all the pulp well, we will be using it again.

-Rinse pot out well and add the drained soymilk to it.  Warm gently on low till the temperature reaches 175 degrees this process will take about an hour. 

Tofu Skins

 Yuba, the skin that forms on the surface of hot soy milk is a favorite amongst the Japanese.  These  thin, egg-like sheets are delicious served simply with a dashi or soy sauce and wasabi.

-Warm soy milk gently on low till the temperature reaches 175 degrees this process will take about an hour.  You will see the skin form as the soy milk reaches desired temperature. 

-Using chopsticks gently pull out the yuba and roll it on a plate.  Once you remove the skin another one will soon form.

The tofu skins or Yuba are served room temperature. They have the consistency of a super thin omelet. It takes some time to accumulate enough yuba for a few people to eat. We added some micro greens  and herbs on top of the Yuba for a bit of crunch and hit it with some soy. You can add a  little gomasio if you would like.. The tofu skins can be made ahead of time and stacked between pieces of parchment paper.

Seaweed +Sesame  Gomasio

2 tablespoons toasted sesame

1 tablespoon toasted seaweed

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Hemp Seed Gomasio

2 tablespoons toasted hemp seeds 

1 tablespoon toasted seaweed

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

-In a mortar add the ingredients and pound till desired coarseness.


Tofu Custards

2 cups freshly made soy milk, chilled

3/4 teaspoon dry nigari

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Dissolve the nigari into 1/2 cup filtered water.

-In a large measuring cup stir together the soy milk with the nigari solution and pour it into ramekins (we used 8 ramekins that held approximately 2 ounces). 

-Place the filled ramekins in baking pan and fill the pan with room temperature water, enough so that the water comes half way up the ramekins.  Cover with foil and steam in oven for 15 minutes or until the tofu is set to the consistency of a creme brulee, depending on the heat, type of nigari and the concentration in the soy milk this may take longer than the 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool until just warm and serve.  Can also be served at room temperature or cool and topped with sweet topping.  Will stay in the fridge for up to two days.

Mushroom Broth

4 cups filtered water

1 1/2 cup dried shitaki

soy sauce, to taste

-Boil water and pour over the mushrooms.  Allow to steep overnight.

-Strain and heat to a simmer.

-Add soy sauce to your desired preference.

We added some soba noodles and steamed pumpkin to our both along with a cube of fresh soft tofu. We garnished it with some cilantro and a bit of chili oil.

thank you April and Camille. awesome collaboration.

gascony france. the butcher. the baker and the armagnac maker.

The inquisitive pig at Dominique Chapolard's farm in Gascony, France.

The inquisitive pig at Dominique Chapolard's farm in Gascony, France.

Magestic Sunflowern in Moncault, Gascony,France. 

Magestic Sunflowern in Moncault, Gascony,France. 

Amazing summer fruits from the local market in Laverdac, Gascony France.

Amazing summer fruits from the local market in Laverdac, Gascony France.

  Famed Armagnac maker Alexandre Ladevèze.

 Famed Armagnac maker Alexandre Ladevèze.

Charcuterie from Dominique Chapolard with local wild peaches.    

Charcuterie from Dominique Chapolard with local wild peaches.

 

Dominique Chapolard, the butcher and master of  charcuterie.

Dominique Chapolard, the butcher and master of  charcuterie.

 Quiet town of Vianne, Gascony France.

 Quiet town of Vianne, Gascony France.

Laundry lines, Gascony, France.

Laundry lines, Gascony, France.

 Cecile Berthollet, Baker. Gascony, France.    The Berthellots, who proudly call themselves paysans-boulangers, or "peasant bakers," grow 250 varieties of wheat on their farm for their home-baked bread.

 Cecile Berthollet, Baker. Gascony, France.

The Berthellots, who proudly call themselves paysans-boulangers, or "peasant bakers," grow 250 varieties of wheat on their farm for their home-baked bread.

 Felix King at Camont.

 Felix King at Camont.

 Melons. Market Nerac .

 Melons. Market Nerac.

   The most exquisite Chasselas grapes from the Laverdac market, Gascony, France.

   The most exquisite Chasselas grapes from the Laverdac market, Gascony, France.

Peeping through the keyhole at the church.

Peeping through the keyhole at the church.

 Kate Hill's glorious pantry at Camont. Gascony, France.

 Kate Hill's glorious pantry at Camont. Gascony, France.

Fields of Sunflowers in Montcault

Fields of Sunflowers in Montcault

Last summer Condé Nast Traveler sent us to Gascony France to cover a food intensive story for their July 2013 food issue. I wanted to share a few of the photos we took for them. You can see a more extensive story at Condé Nast Traveler.com, both in the magazine and on the tablet. This story was dream to cover. We roamed the countryside with expatriate Kate Hill and her sisterStephanie  as our guides while they showed us an insiders view to Gascony. We photographed the butcher, the baker and the Armagnac maker and needless to say we ate and drank like kings. 

Kate runs a cooking school in Ste-Colombe-en-Bruihois  which she calls The Kitchen At Camont

Michael Ruhlman shares his picks  http://www.cntraveler.com/food/2013/07/french-culinary-vacation-travel-guide

out west. part one.

Greetings from Sunny California. Lula and I are having a girls week out West. We started our trip at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and day tripped to the desert and Joshua Tree from there. Today we head to the Integratron for a crystal sound bath (trippy)  then on to 29 Palms and later to Hope Springs. It is a mini break from what seems like a long winter in the North. 

Here are a few photos from along the way. More deatails of places to eat and visit in part two.

Have a lovely day.

xx

 Yucca Valley Joshua Tree National Park

 Yucca Valley Joshua Tree National Park

Lula photographing at Keys View Joshua Tree National Park. View of entire Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, San Andreas Fault all the way to The Salton Sea.

Lula photographing at Keys View Joshua Tree National Park. View of entire Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, San Andreas Fault all the way to The Salton Sea.

 Lula Joshua Tree National Park.

 Lula Joshua Tree National Park.

Desert Veg.

Desert Veg.

where the wild things are. no. 11. wild mushroom miso broth

Last week while in San Francisco I had a strange stomach bug. I realized I was in trouble as I sat at Burma Superstar with the tea leaf salad and rainbow salad before me unable to take a bite! I didn't even venture to Mission Chinese... and was unable to finish a Nettle and pecorino pizza at Pizzaiolo; it was so sad! I started to feel better towards the end of the week as we headed up North after copious amounts of ginger drops and not a lot to eat. When I got back to New York I still felt a little under the weather and was craving something clean and healthy. I decided to delve into my stash of dried wild mushrooms to make a miso mushroom broth and to add all my favorite greens. It was kind of like making a faux Pho. I soaked a handful of dried mushrooms over night in three cups of water. In the morning I had a clear brown mushroom broth. On it's own it tasted a little forest floor, so I decided to add 4 big tablespoons of organic light Japanese Miso paste. To that I added a handful of beautiful little Beech Mushrooms and heated the broth to a simmer. I added a dash of Bhutanese red pepper (you can use any red pepper flakes you have on hand).

I cooked the buckwheat noodles separately according to the instructions, drained them and rinsed under cold water and set them aside. In the meantime I prepped mint leaves,  scallion, cilantro, basil and micro radish greens. I washed the greens and sliced the scallion.

When I was done with the greens I reheated the whole soup quickly to a rolling boil, then threw in the noodles to heat quickly and then turned it off.  I immediately ladled the soup and the noodles into two warmed bowls (I kept them in the oven on 200).

I topped it with all my favorite things... baby cilantro, coriander basil, mint, pea shoots and micro radish greens, hit it with the juice of half a lime and a hit of black pepper.

Totally healing and completely deliscious.

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best coast picnic

Last week I was out on the West Coast and visited with some friends in Albion, in Northern California near Mendocino. The drive up Highway 1 from San Francisco is absolutely stunning no matter what time of the day you choose to do it. Before heading up North we stopped at Bi-Rite Market to pick up some provisions. Bi-Rite is at the center of the food frenzy happening around 18th Street and Guerrero. (Tartine Bakery, Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria and Bi-Rite Creamery all share the block and now very near is a Freeman's Barber Shop) Bi-Rite is the sweetest little market busting at the seams with gorgeous produce, citrus, meats and cheeses. We picked up some Anna's Daughter's Rye Crackers (there seems to be a major cracker scene happening out West) and some Cowgirl Creamery Inverness cheese, both, which are not available on the East Coast. The Inverness cheese is pure Jersey cream heaven and was perfectly paired with the thin rye crackers. We also picked up some Satsuma oranges and some smoked salmon. Then we hit the road, crossed the red bridge and started our adventure North. The Cow Girl Inverness cheese barely made it past Bolinas before we had devoured it entirely. It was tempting to open the second one we had picked up for our friends but we stayed strong. While in Albion, we decided to go for a picnic near the Mendocino Headlands. It was gorgeously foggy day. We stopped to pick wild watercress, which we spotted in the fresh water trickling towards the cliffs. Even though it was a foggy day, the picnic was brilliant! We did of course have some Mast Brother's chocolate to share with our friends so we could give Brooklyn a little love. We traveled with chocolate and Bellocq Tea to share with West Coast friends.

On the way back through San Francisco, we made sure to leave time to run to Bi-Rite to pick up those provisions once again to share with family in New York. We grabbed our last Tartine croissant, ran into our friends Gemma and Andy in line at Tartine and had a quite a laugh as we ran into them in Stockholm last summer! We see them more around the world than in Brooklyn. (They were just honored in PDN's 30) We then headed to the airport and said goodbye to San Francisco and headed home, cheese in hand. Last Sunday we had a best coast picnic right here on Broome Street, the only thing missing was the fog.




where the wild things are no. 10. juniper pickled onions.

Strangely, I have been craving juniper this past year. It started late last Summer, upstate, with a series of wild cocktails and juniper stuffed trout. I have since experimented with a number of recipes and drinks, to which my friends can attest, as I have plied them with many a juniper tipped cocktail.  I had never really incorporated juniper into my cooking in the past but now, I don't think I could live without it!  It should really have come as no surprise to me that I would like it this much. I do, after all, love gin, that brilliant aromatic spirit, spiced with juniper and other aromatic herbs and spices. I discovered gin in my early twenties.(Right now my two favorites are Hendricks and Breuckelen  Gin.) Juniper smells both medicinal and like the darkest forest floor. It is very complex. I have many Juniper recipes to share but for now I will post my current obsession; juniper pickled onions! Once you try them, there is no turning back.

 

Juniper Pickled Onions 

 

 (I added a few shallots to this recipe)

3 cups Japanese Apple Cider vinegar

(you can use Bragg's Raw Cider Vinegar if you want, I used what I had on hand)

1 tablespoon dried Juniper berries

1/2 tablespoon crushed Juniper berries (crush with mortar and pestle)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon black pepper corns

3 tablespoons sugar

 

 To make the brine:

Add the spices and sugar to the 3 cups of vinegar

Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot

Turn off and allow to steep for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse

In the mean time, thinly slice 2 medium  red onions

 

After 20 minutes, heat the brine to a slow simmer.

Divide the onions into thirds and drop into the brine for 20 seconds.

Remove after 20 seconds with a slotted spoon and set aside.

The onions will turn a brilliant pink.

When all the onions have been run through the brine, turn it off an allow it to cool.

When cool put the onions in a Weck or Ball jar or some other airtight storage container and pour the remaining brine over the onions.

The pickled onions will last for a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.