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More - Sugar in the Milk: A Parsi Kitchen Story  

Chez Panisse Parsi New Years Announcements
designed especially each year by Sylvan Brackett





David Kings describes the chalk stencil designs made with rice flour that will decorate the stairs up to the restaurant, in the tradition of Parsi New Year.
  The menus for the New Years dinner are designed and illustrated by David each year. The vibrant yellow orange spice turmeric is often incorporated into the design.  
  More Kitchen Collaborations  
  Niloufer is known for a variety of kitchen collaborations all over town.  With Gilbert Pilgram, who is from a chocolate family from Mexico, and who managed Chez Panisse for a more than a decade, and is now co-owner with of Zuni Café. Niloufer and Gilbert get together each Christmas and make Rompope, "a Mexican eggnog with mojo" is how Gilbert describes it.  They make vast quantities of it in a big pot, and then bottle it beautifully and give it away to all their friends.    

“ We eat at Niloufers often, says Gilbert, her food is gorgeous and unpretentious, like street food or food you would get at a corner restaurant. There was one time when we were eating the hors d’oeuvres and my boyfriend Richard says" You know Niloufer, the hors d’oeuvres are just not up to snuff".   Niloufer said, "Well, that's because you're eating the bird's food.

The bird is Ordle, a Red Lord Amazon Parrot who is actually green. "We saved him from a life of Green Slavery" says Niloufer.  He was stashed in the back of a pet store as a breeder when they discovered him. They got him as a used bird at age 11. He's now 26 and he's the boss. He named himself. One day he started saying "Hello, Ordle, Hello, Ordle" and we finally got the hint and we said "Hello Ordle back. Then he stopped. "Of course he didn't tell us how to spell it." 

"We brought Ordle back to life and health with Bird Stew after a stroke and a heart infection.  It took a three month long war of nerves to switch him over from his former disastrous diet of sunflower seeds and peanuts. Now he gets impatient while his breakfast is being made."
In this photo you see Ordle with Niloufer and a freshly made pot of Niloufer's Bird Stew of legumes, grains and vegetables. For the recipe click here.
For Parsis, Niloufer writes in her book, panir is fresh cheese made from the milk of cows or buffalos. Panir, she says it's easy to make at home.  It's one of India's disappearing food treasures, topli nu panir, or "basket panir, "made by dripping milk coagulated with rennet derived from dried chicken gizzard through individual flower pot-shaped baskets. (Seems James Hemmings had some of these same techniques in his recipe for Snow Eggs in our last Hidden Kitchen story about black slave chefs cooking for the Presidents).  The result is a wobbly basket-marked cylinder of custardy consistency, slightly tart and delicious.  In Bombay about the only way you can now get topli nu panir is to have it brought to the door.  Niloufer says, “A panir walla's phone number is as prized as that of a good pedicurist, haircutter, or electrician.  My mother seldom made panir, thought, because the very best was just a phone call away.”  

Niloufer's Panir, an Indian creamy cheese, is also a local legend, made in collaboration with Cowgirl Creamery.

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