My breakfast consists of two cappuccinos and maybe a toasted English muffin, and that’s pretty much it for me unless I decide to go a little more upscale, and then I’ll have scrambled eggs. Right now, everything food-wise for me is focused on my son, Callum, who’s turning one later this month. I just got a double boiler, so I’ve been experimenting with using that to make scrambled eggs, which is great for Callum because babies need good protein and full fat. I’ve been putting the eggs in there with some butter and trying to get it right. I’m like a short-order cook! Every morning I have to come up with a menu for him—is it going to be oatmeal or muesli or toast with a little bit of yogurt on it? So I’m really just an afterthought.
I’ve got a real nice Rancilio machine here in New York, not as powerful as my La Marzocco in L.A. It was recommended to me by Thomas Reese at Walla Walla Roastery. And I still have the old Gaggia grinder that I’ve had since Blue Velvet back in ’86. Whenever I order coffee, I just ask Thomas to send me different blends. It’s such good coffee. Anyway, I’m not that hungry in the morning. Sometimes I’ll take an apple, something I can grab or chop up, trying to be semi-healthy. Breakfast can start anywhere between 8 and 11.
Lunch usually happens early afternoon, and it can be whatever I can find in the refrigerator. It’s kind of like those shows where they get the chef into the pantry and give him four ingredients and see what he comes up with. Yesterday I had some steak in there from the Strip House. I made a salad of spinach and cherry tomatoes and the put the steak on there. And then I toasted up some almonds and sprinkled them on, too. I did a dressing I like to make, a honey-mustard and balsamic vinaigrette that my wife, Desiree, loves. She always says, “Why don’t you sell this?” I’m threatening Eric Dunham at Dunham Cellars that we’ll sell it in the little boutique next to winery out there. He says, “Let’s just stick with wine.”
I don’t usually drink at lunch, so I might have a Pellegrino with Pom juice and maybe an espresso afterwards. Yesterday I had some peaches from Whole Foods. Store-bought peaches can be so dry and desiccated—and it’s hard because I grew up in Yakima, which is produce country. But these were pretty good, and I made this peach purée for Callum. I put a little of that in my Pellegrino for a Virgin Bellini. But I don’t drink at lunch. It makes me too tired. I save my drinking for dinner.
Last night I roasted some root vegetables for Callum. They came out of the oven at 4:30, so I picked on those before dinner. Sometimes for an afternoon snack, I’ll get some tortilla chips and half an avocado and I’ll just eat that like guacamole. I have an avocado tree at my place in Los Angeles—it’s the smoother-skinned one, which tends to be a little stringy. Often the birds or raccoons get the avocados before I can harvest them. I have figs, too, which are great with prosciutto, of course. I have limes and lemons, which I use to make lemonade. Here in New York, I just have palm- and fern-like things that are barely hanging in there.
I like to pour a glass of red wine while I’m cooking. I probably cook a little more in L.A., but I’ve been cooking a lot here in New York with Callum. Desiree doesn’t cook quite as much, so she relies on me. Fortunately, she likes what I cook, so we make a good team. That’s the thing I’m finding with cooking for Callum—it’s not so inspiring to cook for oneself, but it’s inspiring to cook for Callum or Desiree or someone else. When I was a kid, my dad was really involved in the cooking process, so maybe I get some of this from him. He was really into the Galloping Gourmet—remember Graham Kerr? I have a feeling he got the same kick out of cooking for me and my two brothers.
Okay, so back to last night. I love to make broth after roasting a chicken—using the carcass from the night before. Sometimes I use it to make lentils for Callum, for some extra fat and protein and flavor. So that’s what I had last night—a Mexican-style chicken soup, with some tortillas and avocados mixed in. If I’d had cilantro I would have put that in, too, but I didn’t have it. What I was really missing was Sriracha, which in that soup is just fantastic. I love that stuff. Because Desiree had to go out, it was just me and Callum. I made some pasta for him. I made a cherry-tomato sauté with some garlic and some of that stock and a little cream and basil, and then I pureed it and tossed it with the noodles. He couldn’t get it into his mouth fast enough!
Let’s see, I had one glass of white, the Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot ’06, which I picked up at Burgundy Wine Company right around the corner here. I just put a wine refrigerator in the apartment, which is nice to have. I don’t really have a favorite wine, but I like to keep the receipt from the wine store and keep track as I go through it. I just got two cases of Pursued by Bear sent out. I don’t drink it that often, mostly just to see how it’s doing, to see if it’s still drinking well. I can’t drink too much of it—I’m trying to sell it.
Sometimes I’ll have another espresso at night. I can sleep okay, so I guess I’ve built up an immunity to caffeine. That’s the trick: You just gotta keep drinking! Today it was back to the regular routine: two coffees and an apple. I spent the morning making a parsnip-carrot-potato thing with spinach and cheese, kind of a medley, which I’m going to try on Callum for lunch today. It’s amazing to think of the nutritional responsibility you have in cooking for a kid, which then makes you wonder if you’re getting enough yourself. With Callum around, I’ve been experimenting with so much more variety. I’m buying lots of rutabagas and parsnips, which I didn’t eat so much as a kid and always kind of avoided in the grocery store. It’s been a real mind expander.