Wandering the streets of Lille, you begin to wonder how this small French city sustains a patisserie on virtually every corner. Are the locals required to eat in a patisserie as least once daily? Or is it because the window displays look so good that it is impossible to resist the treats within?? Or is it that Lille is the home of Paul, the famous French pastry shop? Or is it the colorful and ubiquitous macaron that weakens ones resolve?? Continue reading
Category Archives: France
A Science Project — Mocha Devil’s Food Cake and Oh-So-Easy Ganache
Regular readers may be wondering why, until now, I didn’t have ANY desserts posted.
No, I don’t hate sweets. I love a good creamy bowl of ice cream, a fluffy cake, a nice soufflé or a crisp cookie. But I do have one hang-up with making desserts. I can’t resist turning them into extended science projects. Continue reading
Do-Ahead Party for a Crowd – Easy Appetizer Menu (Part 1 of 3)
When our son Alex, who lives in New York City, asked for help with his upcoming “house-warming” party, I was delighted.
ME: Would you like me to fly out and help? The party sounds like fun!
ALEX: Well, I hate to trouble you. If you could just send me some ideas, that would be nice. I was especially interested in the recipe for those Asian rolls.
ME: Oh, I’m shocked. You don’t want your parents to attend your first big party?? 🙂
Needless to say, the end result was not a trip to New York – Continue reading
Do-Ahead Dinner for Eight — and a Tart Celebrating the Glorious Parsnip
When I host a sit-down dinner, most of my friends expect: 1) to be recruited to the kitchen to help with last-minute preparations or 2) to watch me tossing things to and fro in the kitchen while they eat and drink. I think it is part of the joy of cooking — to make it a relaxing group experience. Continue reading
Vinaigrette: The Whys and Wherefores of a Kitchen Basic
Vinaigrette, as the word suggests, comes to us from the French. According to famed French chef, Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who documented the essentials of French cooking for us, this simple “cold sauce” should be used to accompany “calf’s head or feet”. Auguste might be surprised to know that, while the vinaigrette has endured to grace our tables more than a century after his writings, his recommended application is no longer a common use. I must admit that I prefer my vinaigrette on something other than calf’s feet. Continue reading
The Red Wine Sauce That Wasn’t
The red wine sauce started as usual — slice shallots into those cute little rings (don’t you love the way they fall apart into just the right size?); caramelize them in butter; add good (it doesn’t need to be great, just good) red wine, some beef stock (home-made preferred), a sprig of rosemary and a bit of sugar. Just when you thought you were on your way to a standard wine reduction Continue reading