Friday, July 18, 2014

Triscuit with Pea and Feta Spread Topped with Whole Grain Mustard by Jesse Bluma

Triscuit with Pea and Feta Spread Topped with Whole Grain Mustard

Peas & Triscuit Recipe

Triscuits topped with a layer of toasted walnuts, pea and feta spread, whole grain dijon mustard,and dill to garnish. These crunchy and slightly tangy treats are sure to please at your next party, event, or beach picnic.

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

The Spotlight Campaign: Great Leadership by Jesse Bluma

The Spotlight Campaign:  Great Leadership


Our ideas, our creations, our spirit, and our great actions have always been key.  I know what it’s like to create something, the hard work it takes to accomplish goals, and to stand with others.  I know with my readers we share an elevated approach to food, information, and inspiration.  Liberating food and taste is the mission.  It is a holistic approach to living well and freeing our taste in food and much more.  Pointe Viven reflects my spirit and its clients.  It is a dynamic community of liberating food and taste.

 Over the years is has been terrific to meet, spotlight, and feature creators, doers, and inspirational figures.  I know no matter where I am, where I visit, and with whom I meet I will learn something and be re-energized by their endeavors.  Each month join me in spotlighting the famous, the not so famous, the local celebrities, and those you believe have earned a thank you, a congratulations, and the recognition.

Each month a new theme will be chosen, so be thinking of those people you know exhibit the traits.  Often the trait is something not so measurable, rather it is shown through the mundane, certain instances, and moments that surprise you.  This is your opportunity to join me and take part in the campaign.

In June we celebrated wisdom.  Those that exhibit bold thinking, desire, and powerful decision making.  Individuals making great strides in liberating their lives and the lives of others through wisdom.  

July:  This month we are spotlighting great leadership.  We are looking for those that exhibit a good sense of vision, those that inspire others, stand out of the way when needed, and have good values.  The power of a great leader, of great leadership in business, schools, foundations, homes, sports, etc., is diverse.  Leadership is demonstrated economically, through organization, communication, attitude, and more.  

Personal leadership requires us to shape our own lives, to have good emotional health, good thinking skills, and to master certain skills in all fields of life--personally, in relationships, career, spiritual, and more.  We may all be able to point to examples of these skills in our own lives and the lives of those we know or have read about.  Skill is essential to leadership.  Often life requires us to pause, reflect, and then to act.  To respond in a thoughtful way.  Not merely to react.  This habit requires mindfulness, good values, practice, and the ability to imagine the possibilities.  A good leader imagines the infinite possibilities, wants, desires, legacy, safety, and health of others.  These decision points require consideration of what is at stake in events and options.    

Great leaders are those that learn, encourage learning and growth, and use their brains.  This means using their skills, talents, and gifts to create a better life and lifestyle for themselves and others.  Patience and joy are also good attributes of leaders.  The patience and enjoyment that comes in watching themselves and others develop and grow.  The mindfulness to make wise, healthy choices, and the desire to be proactive.  

As James I, King of Scots in the early 1400s noted, “I do acknowledge, that the special and greatest point of difference that is between a rightful king and an usurping tyrant is in this:  That whereas the proud and ambitious tyrant does think his kingdom and people are only ordained for satisfaction of his desires and unreasonable appetites; The righteous and just king does by the contrary acknowledge himself to be ordained for the procuring of the wealth and prosperity of his people, and that his greatest and principal worldly felicity must consist in their prosperity.”

John Winthrop, one of the founders of New England in the early 1600s explained, “we must be knit together, in this work, as one man.  We must entertain each other in brotherly affection.  We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others' necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality.  We must delight in each other; make others' conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body.”

Our recognition of great leaders takes a key attribute into consideration.  Great leaders are those with relationships based on good values.  Popularity, fame, or infamy is out of bounds.  President Reagan explained in his inaugural address of 1981 that “[i]t is time for us to realize that we're too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we're in the right place at the right time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond.”  

Examples abound of this kind of leadership.  In the 400s B.C. the Roman military was under assault and a farmer, named Cincinnatus, stepped up to ensure the Roman Republic did not fall to the Aequi--a tribe in northern Italy.  This devotion and life risking move was similar to that of the first president of the United States, George Washington.  His custodianship of the infant county, his military efforts and treaties with European forces made him the father of a country.  

The past, present, and future are made by people who have made a difference.  Many have explored and discovered new lands, new ideas, new commodities, and new people.  The people of the past have certainly influenced our lives and shaped our identities, from religion to government, to art and technology, to business and philosophy.  What will our world in the future look like?   The present and future is an extension of the past, history teaches us that these matters are typical, common, and vital to our existence and security.  The answers to these questions depend a lot upon the people of the present.  The leadership required is possible through the desire and pursuit of knowledge. 

As we look for those with great leadership we are looking for those that recognize their own strengths, weaknesses, and personality, as well as those of others.  Those with purpose, important, valuable, and exciting tasks to do.  We are looking for those whose learning, discoveries, and adventures are guided by some basic principles.  Leadership requires assertiveness, firmness, not aggressiveness, not passivity.  It is about individuals that know when they and others act, think, and work they begin to believe they can achieve, which builds confidence.  Those that challenge their minds and the minds of others to see that they Can!

Great leaders are good friends, mentors, family members, colleagues, and neighbors.  One reason these individuals are successful is because of excellent communication skills.  Often great leaders can tell awesome stories, express themselves, and listen more to you than they talk about themselves.  In other words, great leaders are helpers, serve, and demonstrate a willingness to give.  That does not mean in unhealthy, unethical, or immoral ways.  Fighting off temptations, applying their skills, and serving their purpose is the key.  Great leadership is not something that is a title or a job description.  Whether at home, school, in the community, or workplace, great leadership is about relationships.  Earning trust, which develops synergy and respect.  

Ultimately, great leadership originates from a value of oneself and of others.  There is authenticity, integrity, and the taking of appropriate actions.  Excellent leadership requires us to see our own roles, what we were hired to do, or what we think we are to do, and contrast that to what others see and need our roles to be.  We may see ourselves as needing to fulfill our job orders as having to organize endless meetings, while others may need us to simply serve, support, focus, and fuse the work and initiatives in the environment.  In a family, workplace, on a committee, or on a team, good leadership is a challenge.  That is why we are looking to celebrate and honor this trait.

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

sign-up for email updates. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Triscuit Berry Cornucopia ‪‎by Jesse Bluma

Triscuit Berry Cornucopia

Mixed Berries & Triscuit Recipe 

 Triscuits topped with a layer of homemade raspberry jam with balsamic vinegar, macerated blueberries, diced red Anjou pear, green apple, grapefruit, and sage to garnish. So good you have to have more! 

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

sign-up for email updates.      

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bridge of Life: Education Outreach Event

Bridge of Life: Education Outreach Event

Join us in providing educational materials and mentorship to children in Kenya, Africa. The Bridge of Life Foundation is a non-profit organization providing support, services, and activities to youth in Nairobi that lack homes, healthy environments, and schooling. Our staff, volunteers, and mentors work with the street youth and the community at large to advocate for their education, safety, and health. Almost 95% of the street youth we are reaching have no housing. They are either sleeping on the streets or in the market. Your donation will allow us to purchase school supplies, books, and other materials. 

Click here to donate

Also, please join our movement online. 

Thank you, 

Jesse Bluma
Bridge of Life Foundation, president

Hearts of Palm Ceviche by Jesse Bluma

Hearts of Palm Ceviche

Enjoy this light, tart infused ceviche during the summer holiday.  Ceviche is popular, usually prepared with seafood, along the coast of Central and South America.  A citrus marinade, leche de tigre or tiger's milk, flavors the dish and adds brightness to the ingredients.  My recipe does not call for seafood, making it more friendly to vegetarians and those concerned about uncooked fish.  Serve on its own, with homemade tortilla chips, in salad wraps, or your own variation.  This recipe may also be scaled up to serve more people.


10 ounces hearts of palm
1 teaspoon lime zest (organic)
2 lemons (organic)
1 Mexican onion
2 yellow chili peppers (Hungarian peppers)
1 small shallot
2 yellow mangoes (Ata├║lfo--baby mangoes) (organic)
1 Hass avocado
1/2 cup cilantro


Wash the lemons and lime.

Juice the lemons into a large bowl.

Zest the lime into the bowl with lemon juice.

Peel and wash the Mexican onion.
Thinly slice the green top of the onion. 
Dice the white bulb.  
Place the sliced and diced onion into the bowl.

Wash yellow chili peppers.
Thinly dice the yellow chili peppers, then remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers.
Place the diced peppers into the bowl.

Peel and thinly dice the shallot.
Place the diced shallot into the bowl.

Wash and cut the mangoes into thin wedges--holding the mango upright cut off each side or cheek, parallel to the seed.
Squeeze lemon juice over the mango wedges and reserve the wedges to the side.

Slice the avocado in half, lengthwise.
Remove the avocado pit.
Place the avocado halves on a cutting board, use a smaller knife to cut the flesh into diced segments with a cross-hatch pattern, keeping the avocado on the cutting board, spoon out the flesh into the bowl.
Gently mix with the lemon juice in the bowl.

Wash the orange bell pepper.  
Remove the stem from the bell pepper, then thinly slice.
Remove the seed and ribs of the bell pepper.
Set the sliced bell pepper to the side.

Chop the hearts of palm into 1/2 inch pieces.
Set the chopped hearts of palm to the side.

Plate the ingredients--spoon the bowl ingredients on to a platter, then top with the mango, bell pepper, and hearts of palm.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Gently wash and snip the cilantro with scissors, then use to garnish the ceviche. 

Serves 4

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

sign-up for email updates.      

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Black and White Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Filling by Jesse Bluma

Black and White Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Filling

These cookies are deliciously perfect for formal affairs.  Each is created with two crisp cookies on the outside, a creamy lemon filling on the inside, and then dipped in quality chocolate.  Order several dozen of these elegant treats to make a sophisticated tablescape for your next party or event. 

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

sign-up for email updates.      

Friday, June 27, 2014

Triumph of the Artisan by Jesse Bluma

The revival of piece work and artisan products is exciting.  We can point to baked 
goods by local bakers, vintage products, and custom furniture items.  It is remarkable to see the craftsmanship, the work ethic, and entrepreneurship across the globe.  A look at farmers’ markets, online stores, trade shows, business networks, events, food trucks, and pop-ups demonstrate a renewed interest and appreciation for the homemade, the need, and desire to economically progress.  Etsy, for instance, “is a marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items, and supplies for making. Our community is made up of independent creative businesses from around the globe.”

The flourishing market of artisans and piece work is not new.  Networks of trade and manufactured goods is centuries old, from Africa to Asia, to Europe, to the Americas.  Money is an important theme in this story.  Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister in France during the 1600s, sought to create more trade.  His ideas and policies supported monopolies, promoted manufacturing, and mercantilism.  This centralized the economy with close government oversight and expanded trade oversees with exports to India, North America, and the West Indies.  

Contemporary artisans and small business owners also parallel some other movements throughout time.  Adam Smith promulgated what is called “free enterprise” during the 1700s.  This system centers upon individual freedom to conduct business.  Workers, investors, owners, and consumers benefit from the laws of supply and demand.  This system was a shift for many away from mercantilism.  Smith promoted self-regulation, self-interest, and sympathy “for the help of brethren” in The Wealth of Nations.   Smith’s view is in keeping with the “natural laws” of competition.  

There are several challenges and influences artisans, craftsmen, and business owners have always faced.  Profit, power, and religion are further themes in this story.  In England for example, religious persecution, growing numbers of wealthy, and risk makers spurred on migration to the New World.  Thousands of people immigrated to New England, forever planting European cultures, religions, laws, and commercialism in the New World.  As the The Ottoman Empire declined in the 1600s, European expansion and progress was in gear.  Commercial and financial expansion to lands overseas outpaced that of the Ottomans.  This historical tale demonstrates the power of money coffers and the making the governments and leaders as significant stakeholders in the world.  In contemporary times and times past we see economic expansion affects, influences, improves, and can decimate the lives of artisans.  The eternal spirit of great artisans is a triumph.  

Population growth, decline, risk-making, and pure sweat equity are also key in this story.  The amalgamation of freedom, great participation by the populace, big and little actions, and excitement lead to synergy within trades, professions, and businesses.  We are left with much to ponder.  What forces are important to us?  How should and do artisans and craftsmen respond?   National identities, securities, insecurities, developments, and alliances are forged through dramatic events like imperialism and expansion.  Other factors include human tendencies toward violence, curiosity, competition, power, and security, and superiority.  For example, discoveries and exploration for gold, spices, and other goods were made possible by enhancement in ships and navigation.  The Portuguese made a name for themselves in ship building, designs that allowed them to sail the globe.  These advancements helped traders from Portugal compete with the Ottomans.  Today craftsmen utilize computers, websites, and various applications to meet demand and become sustainable.   

Great cooks, tinkerers, designers, and engineers rely on education and training.  The current excitement around local businesses would not be possible if something did not occur before production, distribution, and marketing.  Throughout time and time to come education is key.  Etsy, social networking, apprenticeships, schooling, independent practice, and formal training is needed to become an authority and develop skills.  Etsy and other networks provide a guild system, offering classes and authorities to improve mastery of skills.  Similar to the guilds and divisions of labor popular throughout Europe in the 1500s.  These private associations of merchants, such as butchers, goldsmiths, vintners, and plumbers, provided instruction, legal aid, and standards.  

We see many reasons contemporary artisans and craft makers enter the marketplace.  For some, it is the expression of their personality and art that drives them to work.  For others it is the expression of their personality preferences and desire for economic freedom.  Necessity is also a key factor.  One must work for survival.  Still others have a calling.  For those such as Martin Luther, work is a form of service.  For those such as John Calvin, work is the will of God.  This Protestant Work Ethic, this work with a calling, enhances and elevates vocations and provides a dignity and equality of value.  The break from traditional work, doing as your parents did, as supported by Calvin and others spawned more interest in other fields and capitalistic endeavors.  From ancient to modern times it is these desires from a multitude of backgrounds, values, and ideas that forge new relationships and inspire others.  As Milton Friedman explained, “The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together is through the free market”.

We must also understand relationships to better understand our story of contemporary artisans.  For instance, European expansion ignited internal and external changes within the continent and across the Atlantic, into China, and Japan.  A major consequence was the intertwining of economies, politics, interests, and personal lives.  Interactions varied and led to different results.  Accordingly, Japan was more isolated than other civilizations.  This geographical characteristic reflected their response to those that landed on their shores.  From Myron in ancient Greece to Michelangelo in Italy, Talbot and photography, to Thomas Keller in the culinary world, relationships, struggles, interests, and culture have shaped and been shaped by the artisan. 

The contemporary and historical story of artisans is one of change, triumphs, strategy, disasters, migration, society, priorities, resources, and security.  The breadth and depth of the topic leaves us with an immense amount to think about.  An interesting cast of characters is always in the mix, from the elite, to non-elite, kings, and queens, peasants, Pilgrims, bakers, jewelers, and gadget makers.  It is exciting to see spirited business owners of all forms be at their best and work on becoming their best despite the obstacles.  Over time, with internal and external challenges, power shifts, and various perceptions, we see concepts such as collaboratives, capitalism, market economies, socialism, cottage industries, mercantilism take shape, be reshaped, and rise and fall out of favor.  Never going extinct.  Only melding and shifting locations.  There is always an international mix, a context, for artisans and skilled masters to overcome and enjoy.

Ultimately, as Robert Putnam explained in Bowling Alone, “[t]o build bridging social capital requires that we transcend our social and political and professional identities to connect with people unlike ourselves”.  Great artists, workers, and professionals are key to building that social capital.  Those rich benefits that can only be supported through education, farmers’ markets, online stores such as Etsy, trade shows, business networks, food trucks, and pop-ups.  The good of those in business, their patrons, and supporters is fundamental to continuing the legacy of the arts, crafts, trades, and financial health of everyone.  This revival of piece work and artisan products is compelling.

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

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Credits: and

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ecco Pizzeria and Bar Review by Jesse Bluma

Ecco Pizzeria and Bar Review

“A passion for soulful Italian food and an obsession with true Neapolitan pizza.  Ecco serves fresh yet soulful Italian cuisine using locally farmed ingredients, traditional and modern cooking techniques delivered in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  To serve simple, Italian-inspired dishes that bring out the best of what nature has already put in – nothing experimental or overworked; just pure, flavorful ingredients with an emphasis on organically grown and locally sourced ingredients delivered to your table.”  

Ecco is open late night making it perfect for after the movies, drinks, or travel.  Pizzas are made in their wood fire oven and the menu at Ecco changes depending upon the season and availability of ingredients.  Pizzas are created Neapolitan style, when baked have a thin and crusty crust.  

Ecco is owned and managed by Gilad Ganish of Blackwood Real Estate, Brett Lawrence of Element night club, Loni Hayes president of The Beau Monde Group, Mike Smith of Locale Magazine, and Daniel Reyes of the former Hush Restaurant.

My Recommendations

1.  Ecco is located at 2937 Bristol Street, A103 Costa Mesa California 92626 in The Camp, a small hub of shops, eateries, and special events.  If parking is a concern, you may wish park on and to take a short walk from Randolph Avenue and Baker Street.

2.  Peak times occur during week days and nights, especially weekend nights.  You may wish to visit for brunch or lunch as soon as they open on a weekend.  It is always good to keep in mind restauranteurs work hard and it can be challenging at peak hours.  

3.  I enjoyed the bistro seating between the bar area and table seats.  

4.  The menu has a good variety and flavorful sounding dishes.  The pizza stood out to me.  

Sausage Pizza – crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, olives, oregano (San Marzano tomatoes have a thinner skin and originated in the America, making their way from Peru to Naples.)

5.  The booze menu also has an excellent selection of cocktails, brews, and drinks, such as Negroni, Templeton Rye, and blood orange mimosa.  

The Moscow Mule, served in a copper mug, is refreshing and a must for me.  I am glad to see after so long of ordering these drinks more and more establishments know what they are and how to make them. 

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

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Ecco Pizzeria & Bar on Urbanspoon


Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Deep Dish Cookie Event by Jesse Bluma

Enjoy these ample size cookies with the ones you love for holidays, your celebrations, and events.  These artisanal goods are lightly sweetened and natural ingredients are utilized, with inspiration from California, Central, and South America.  My cookie recipes utilize quality ingredients, organics, and flavorful combinations--chocolate, caramel, raspberry, and more.

Artisanal treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
using organic ingredients and inspiration
from California, Central, and South America.

Order online or contact me for catering.

Join the Pointe Viven circle

sign-up for email updates.      

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