A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to Lynne Rosetto Kasper on Splendid Table, and the subject was one of my favorite recipes: Beef on a String. Lynne was especially interested in it because the dish involves poaching, a technique we turn to all of the time for chicken and fish, but rarely for beef. And it's a shame. When you've got a full-flavored, aromatic and scorchingly hot bouillon, poaching a filet or rumpsteak for a crowd takes just 15 minutes and there's no fussing about who wants their meat rare, medium or well - the beef comes out of the pot very rare and you can change the degree of doneness by just pouring over some of the hot broth. It's kind of a ritzy pot-au-feu and, like pot-au-feu, you get the meat, the broth, the vegetables and the pleasure of dressing up your own plate with mustard or pickles or pepper or horseradish or anything else you like. As you'll read, this is the dish I make for New Year's Eve in Paris. Guests love it and I love that I get the broth to serve as soup the following day and plenty of leftover beef to turn into sandwiches, hachis parmentier (shepherd's pie) or my favorite beef salad, the one with capers, chopped up pickles and lots of black pepper.
The dish is basic and can be made to work very nicely with a whole chicken. Lose the beef bones and go for lots of vegetables and herbs and, if you want to be like most French cooks, a chicken bouillon cube! Tie up the chicken and poach it gently until done. If you'd like to get earthier still, stuff the chicken with bread and herbs, plenty of garlic and maybe some sausage meat.
Since it somehow got to be October; since the weather has cooled; and therefore, since the official It's-Time-To-Get-Back-Into-The-Kitchen-And-Cook-Like-Mad season has begun, I thought I'd get a headstart on this year's list of books by friends.
This is just a start so, dear friends, if I've missed one of your books, forgive me -- I'll catch you later. And if you have favorite books of the season, please tell me. I don't have a lot of room on these shelves, but I'm willing to sacrifice a fish or a tea set for another great cookbook.
A charmer from start to finish. Aran Goyoaga, the creator of Canelle et Vanille, is such a talented photographer that her pictures make you dream. Her food is gluten-free, a tremendous plus for anyone wtih a wheat intolerance, but a treat for everyone who wants to serve full-flavored beautiful food every day.
Where was Weelicious and the fabulous Catherine McCord when I needed her? When The Kid was such a picky eater (yes, I took it personally) and I was ready to pull out what little hair I had in frustration as I tried to make him happy and keep him healthy. Aaargh! Everything turned out just fine, but wouldn't it have been more fun to have Catherine in the kitchen with me? Yup.
...Continue reading Cookbooks by Friends: Books to start the cooking season off right
The other day a journalist asked me, “Do you think Julia would like what’s going on in food today?”
It was a question I couldn’t really answer since there’s so much going on in food that Julia, like all of us, would probably like some things and not others. But there’s one thing that’s happening now that I’m sure Julia would love and that’s the TWD group that’s working its way through Baking with Julia! She would adore knowing that so many people are so happy baking at home.
Some time during the summer of 1995, when I was in Cambridge working with Julia on the Baking with Julia TV series, she threw her long arm over my shoulder and said, “We make such a good team because we’re really just a pair of home bakers.”
For all of Julia’s training (and she had excellent training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and then countless ‘lessons’ at the elbows of the world’s best chefs) and for all of her years of serious study and experience, Julia referred to herself as a home cook and a home baker and she did so with pride.
It was a great joy for Julia to cook at home – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone happier in the kitchen than Julia – but it was an even greater joy for her to know that others were cooking at home. And if people were cooking and baking at home from her recipes and her books, it was just that much jollier.
Julia set herself on a mission to encourage people to cook at home, to take pleasure in what they were doing and to share what they had made.
If Julia could see what the members of TWD bake at home every week she would be filled with joy. I know I am.
Happy Birthday, dear Julia!
PS: I'll be writing about this book more later, but Julia's birthday is the best time to mention Dearie, The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz. I missed my subway stop yesterday because of it!
Ugh and aarrgh. This is the year I missed the James Beard Awards and this is the year that so many friends won. I would have loved to have been there to hug them all, but because I couldn't, I'm doing the next best thing: sending virtual love.
The entire roster of winners was pretty swell this year -- you can find it here -- but I want to give a shout out to some faves, most friends and some people whose work I know so well and admire so much that I almost feel as though I know them.
Here, in order of how they appear on the press release, you have my annotated list.
Best Baking and Dessert : Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home. I've never met Jeni Britton Bauer, the founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and the author of this just about perfect book, but Joshua "The Kid" Greenspan and I reviewed it for the Food 52 Piglet and we haven't stopped making and eating her ice cream yet. And I don't think we ever will. Nor will I stop using her techniques. I think of this book as the model of what a single-subject cookbook should be -- it's long on passion and just as long on instruction, and every recipe I made was a winner!
Beverage: Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, With Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas. Bitters are all the rage now, but Brad Thomas Parsons was crazy about them pre-rage and his enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject shine in this book. This book, which, by the way, I've read but haven't gotten a chance to use because the instant I put it down, Josh snatched it away. (Memo to Joshua -- click on the link above and buy your own copy. Please.)
General Cooking: Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto. That Michael Ruhlman's book won in the General Cooking category (the one I think is toughest, along with single subject) seems only natural, since this is really a book about cooking in general, a volume that teaches you what you need to know about 20 general cooking techniques. A book for experienced and noviced cooks, it makes a great engagement or wedding gift.
Focus on Health: Super Natural Every Day: Well Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen. I love Heidi Swanson. I know, I know, join the club. I met Heidi several years ago at the Food Writer's Symposium and was struck by her intelligence, creativity, generosity and charm. Years later, I'm only more struck. This is a book I have given to many friends, some interested in natural foods, most not, and all have become fans of Heidi's recipes. One friend makes Heidi's oatmeal every morning for her kids before they head off to school. The kids know they love it; what they don't know is how lucky they are.
International: The Food of Morocco. No one is better at uncovering recipes from exotic places and bringing them to us, their authenticity intact, than Paula Wolfert. Generations of cooks have traveled the world through her recipes and generations of cookbook authors have learned from her writing. If you don't know Paula's work, then in an odd way I envy you because you've got a a delicious discovery ahead of you.
Single Subject: All About Roasting. After bowling us over with All About Braising, Molly Stevens, a born teacher, turned out another tour de force. If the phrase 'everything you ever wanted to know ... ' hadn't become a cliche, she could have used it as the subtitle of this book, since everything you'll ever need to know about roasting is bound between the book's covers.
And, while I'm here, hugs and kisses to other friends who won journalism awards that night:
...Continue reading James Beard Cookbook Awards: A toast to talented friends
AND THE WINNER IS: The contest closed March1 at midnight ET and the random number generator came up with 167, which makes Samantha the winner. Congratulations Samantha and THANK YOU all for your wonderful comments. Reading your thoughts on the word 'bistro' was as lovely as reading French Bistro Seasonal Recipes. Merci encore - xoDorie
Note: All (of the amazing) photographs in this post are by Christian Sarramon. They are from French Bistro, Seasonal Recipes, by Bertrand Auboyneau and Francois Simon (Flammarion, 2011) and used by permission.
...Continue reading French Bistro: A Great Cookbook, A Great Giveaway
Virtual Valentine's Day Party + The Newlywed Cookbook Giveaway + The Recipe For Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies
AND THE WINNER IS ... The contest ended at midnight last night and the random-number generator spun out #18. BETS left comment number 18 and so she'll be getting a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook. I know she'll enjoy it, since she wrote that she and her husband (of 15 years) enjoy cooking together. Thank you all so much for joining in on the fun - I loved reading your (love) stories.
When wonderful, talented Sarah Copeland asked me to participate in a virtual Valentine’s Day Party in celebration of her first book, The Newlywed Cookbook, of course I said ‘yes’ – who’d ever say ‘no’ to Sarah? – but I also told her, just in case she’d forgotten, that I’m not a newlywed: I was a teenager when I got married and I’m still married to the same guy! “It doesn’t matter,” she said, “it’s not about years of being married or even about being married at all – it’s just about love.”
Love! I can get behind that.
When I told The Kid about the newlywed part, he said, “Well, you can be an inspiration to those just starting out.” We were on the phone, so while I could tell that his voice was straight, I didn’t have a clue about his face.
And, because I’m not a newly-mom, I bit my tongue and didn’t say, “If we’re so inspiring, why aren’t you married????” Whoever’s keeping score, I hope you’ve given me an “A” for restraint.
Back to Valentine’s Day, The Newlywed Cookbook, treats and giveaways.
Just to sweeten the invitation, Sarah sent me the recipe for her terrific Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here’s what I’ve got to say about them: Anyone who doesn’t want to be your Valentine after the first bite, isn’t anyone you want to hang with.
So, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, here are the presents Sarah and I have for you ...
As many of you know, I'm a curator on Open Sky, where I get to share lots of my favorite things, lots of them French. This week's a bonanza -- what I've got is not just French, it's sweet: Honey! You can take a look at the three honeys -- chestnut, orange and mixed flower -- but I want to give you a recipe for a nice way to use orange or mixed flower honey. (I'd save the chestnut for something with spice, or even something simple like a honey poundcake or yogurt cake).
From Baking From My Home to Yours (Dorie Greenspan)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of the wheat germ (you’ll use the other 1/2 cup right before baking), the baking powder and the salt and keep nearby.
...Continue reading Honey + Honey-Wheat Cookies = A Cozy Afternoon
If I ever passed a bake sale without buying something, it could only been because I didn’t see it. I love bake sales and I love them pretty much indiscriminately, although I love them most when there are kids involved, as there almost are.
...Continue reading Paris Bake Sale/New York City Dreams
While the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers have finished every recipe in Baking From My Home to Yours, news of their accomplishments goes on. First, there was the story in the Washington Post, and then yesterday the online baking group was the topic of my conversation with Neal Conan, host of one of my favorite NPR programs, Talk of the Nation.
When what you do is considered the 'talk of the nation', you know you've accomplished something! Congratulations -- again and again -- Laurie Woodward, TWD's founder, and Julie Schaeffer and every baker who joined the group. And thank you Neal and your producers for recognizing the extraordinary nature of the group, its accomplishments and the communtiy it created.
You can listen to the segment or download it from Talk of the Nation. You'll also find the recipe for my Prune-Amagnac Cake, also know as The Cake That Got Me Fired.
For those of you who missed the fun of baking along with the TWD community, you've got another chance:
...Continue reading NPR's Talk of the Nation: Tuesdays with Dorie, A Community in the Kitchen
I was walking through Le Bon Marche, the only real department store on Paris's Left Bank, and was struck by the crazy number of books on the shelf about whoopie pies. Yes, yes, there are many books about madeleines and macarons -- so many, many books on macarons -- and other completely French cakes and sweets, but whoopie-pie books were getting a hefty hunk of real estate.
This isn't brand new news -- I saw (and posted about) Whoopie Pies and whoopie-pie books in Paris this spring. What's interesting today, is that the number of books has grown and the whoopie pie is still around. When the French like something, they like it for a while.
Here's the latest batch of Whoopie Pies from La Grande Epicerie (the specialty supermarket that's part of Le Bon Marche): Whoopies de Noel. Whoopie Pies have never been at the top of my must-have list, but these are awfully tempting ...
I was beating myself up for being so late on this list, thinking it would have been so much more helpful to you if I'd gotten this up earlier. And then my husband chimed in: "You haven't done a single thing about holiday shopping (sad, but true), so maybe your readers are in the same spot." Hmmm. Maybe you are.
Whether you're all over the shopping thing, just getting started or even just thinking of getting started, here's my annual list of cookbooks and books (and now apps) related to food that my amazingly talented friends have produced this year.
After you've finished my list, take a look at my friend David Lebovitz's list - it's a really good one.
As always, this is a round-up of books by friends, so it's not comprehensive. That said, I can't believe the number of books my friends have written this year. A think the mathematical term for the quantity is: a lot!
And now, in no particular order, but the one in which I jotted them down, the 2011 List:
...Continue reading Cookbooks by Friends: The 2011 Collection
Thank you for joining with so many other people to vote for Gretchen Holt. Because of you, Gretchen, the founder of Cookies For Kids Cancer and the author of The Best Bakesale Cookbook, earned an extra $25,000 from the L'Oreal Women of Worth project.
I just got the news and I cried ... of course. And then Gretchen wrote to say that she cried ... of course.
Again, thanks to all of you who clicked and all of you who contribute during the year to Cookies For Kids Cancer. The holiday season just got a whole lot happier.
Don't these two books look nice together? Well this is the way you'll be seeing them on Amazon for the holidays (yes you can still buy them separately) and tomorrow, November 24, 2011, from 11am to 3 pm Eastern Time (8 am to noon Pacific Time), you'll be seeing them at the best price ever. Amazon will be running a flash sale then and I wanted to get the word to you in time for you to take advantage of it. I don't know the price yet -- that's the suspense of a flash sale -- but I'm told it will be good, very good. So, before you tuck into the turkey, think about tucking into the sale. Remember, it's the official start of gift-giving season. (Not that there should ever be a season for giving gifts, but I'll hold that discussion for another time..)
This is a screen shot of my iPad App Baking with Dorie, but now you can get more than that for FREE! CulinApp has just released a Free sample of the app: you get the app's complete treatment of All-in-One-Holiday Bundt Cake -- step-by-step video (the app has sooooooo much video), shopping list, introduction and the four different views of the recipe: cookbook, step-by-step, spinview and the flowchart, CulinView. You also get to see the intros to all the other recipes. Like what you see and you can buy the full app with a tap (and the full app is on sale for the hols: $7.99). I love the idea that we're a click away from being in your kitchen together.
And, there's more ... some fabulous Revol pots on sale ...
...Continue reading Flash Sales + A Free App: The holiday season begins
I seem to always be racing and today's no different, but there are two quick things I want to tell you -- both super-helpful for Thanksgiving.
First, I'm going to be on Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving Hotline today with Sandy Gluck between 11 and 12 Eastern Time. Here's the call-in number: 866-675-6675 And good news: even if you're not a subscriber to Sirius Radio, you can listen to the Hotline free; read about it on Martha's Radio Blog.
Also -- and also for free -- you can download Martha's Thanksgiving Hotline Recipes 2011. I did and it's a really terrific cookbook with recipes from great chefs.
More soon. Off to get ready for the Hotline. Hope I'll get to talk turkey -- and sides and desserts, of course -- with you.
Remember when I told you about the Best Bakesale Cookbook? The one written by my friend Gretchen Holt-Witt to raise money for Cookies For Kids' Cancer? Well today I'd like you to meet Gretchen and help her help more children.
Gretchen was just named a Woman of Worth by L'Oreal for creating Cookies For Kids' Cancer. Gretchen started the foundation when her beautiful baby, Liam, was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer, a form so rare that research to cure it wasn't being conducted. Liam died this year before his seventh birthday (I can't even write these words without clutching my heart), but Gretchen's work continues with the determination that other children and their parents will not have to know this indescribable pain.
L'Oreal will make a gift of $10,000 gift to Cookies For Kids' Cancer to honor Gretchen. BUT if enough of us vote for Gretchen, Cookies will receive an addition $25,000.
This is important, very important, so please Vote Here.
And PLEASE, tell others to vote.
And if you have children within reach, hug them now.
Gretchen Holt-Witt is now a cookbook author. But that’s just her latest title. Before this truly important and thoroughly delightful book was published, Gretchen was the director of public relations at Oxo (the Good Grips people), a wife, a mother and a force of nature. When Gretchen’s 2 1/2-year-old son, Liam, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, Gretchen came to quickly understand that unless there was money for research, real money, this disease was never going to get attention. And so Gretchen launched Cookies For Kids Cancer, a group that started with a small bake sale – a group of professional pastry chefs auctioned off cookies in pretty packages – and grew to be a movement. There have been (and continue to be) bake sales across the country, the biggest, one that Gretchen dreamed up, dreamed of and made real, sold 96,000 cookies, there is a Cookies For Kids Cancer website, where you can order cookies as gifts – good, delicious cookies. And now there is this book, this wonderful book, all profits from which go to Cookies For Kids Cancer.
...Continue reading Cookies For Kids Cancer: A Cookbook for a Cause + A Recipe for a Smile
Anyone who’d made a beautiful blueberry pie would smile as broadly as Chris Howard is in this picture, but Chris has a bunch of extra reasons to smile – if not crow – about this pie. And so do I. This may look like an old-fashioned blueberry pie to you, but to us it’s a technological breakthrough: Chris, a first-time pie maker, crafted this beauty from start to finish following the step-by-step video instructions in our soon-to-be-released iPad App: Baking with Dorie.
This may not look like the prettiest picture you've ever seen, but to me it's almost as good as a Van Gogh. What you're looking at is the heading at the top of my Glossary Page (see it up there on the bar?) and I'm so glad it's now settled into its cozy home in cyberspace.
The Glossary, with searchable entries that go from 'a la minute' to 'zest', is a story of a labor of love lost. When I began working on Around My French Table (AMFT), I knew I wanted it to have a glossary, just as Baking From My Home to Yours has. And so, every time I'd do something that seemed glossary-worthy, I'd jot it down. Ditto every time I'd write something that looked like it needed a little glossaryized explanation. And then, at the end of writing AMFT, I sat down to write the glossary and I just wrote and wrote and wrote and ended up turning in 44 pages of entries for terms and ingredients, equipment and techniques.
What I hadn't realized when I submitted my glossary was that AMFT was already much bigger than either the publisher or I had thought it would be and, instead of adding 44 pages, I was going to have to subtract a few. In the end, thanks to my editor's patience, everything managed to go into the book ... except the glossary.
And so, here it is, at last and hooray. Even though many of the entries are tagged to specific pages in Around My French Table, with or without AMFT, I think you'll find it a handy tool, kind of like a cooking primer.
Let me know what you think. And let me know if you think I'm missing an term. Now that the Glossary is online, I can grow it. I love this century.
From the minute I picked up Marie Simmons new book, Fresh & Fast Vegetarian, I knew that the first thing I'd make would be this Shredded Tuscan Kale Salad. What I didn't know was that I'd make it, then make it again, and then again and again. Let's just call it my new favorite salad and be done with it, 'kay?
What attracted me at first -- aside from the fact that I love kale and am always on the lookout for new ways to use it -- was the technique for mixing the kale with the dressing: you do it with your hands. As Marie explains in the introduction to her recipe, rubbing the raw kale in your hands with the lime juice softens the kale and gives it just the texture you want -- firm, but not tough -- in a salad.
The salad's got a southwestern twang -- nice after my week in Austin -- and the kinds of flavors and ingredients people all over the place like. The kale's seasoned with lime juice, olive oil and salt, and then topped with avocado, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, grated garlic and more lime juice and oil. It's a vegan dish and it's great on its own, but I've had it with steaks off the grill, fried chicken and sauteed shrimp and thought it was terrific each time.
I just got to Paris this morning and I'm planning to make this tomorrow for friends. I know I'll have a hard time finding jalapenos, but I'll get another spicy pepper and keep going. This strikes me as the kind of salad that welcomes playing around. If you decide to play around, let me know what you do.
In the meantime, here's the recipe, with thanks and hats off to Marie Simmons:
...Continue reading A New Favorite: Marie Simmons' Shredded Tuscan Kale Salad
As some of you may know, CookieBar was born in the same place as my partner/son, Joshua "The Kid" Greenspan, New York City. But CookieBar's latest incarnation got its start on a ranch outside of Houston. Thanks to Bob Huntley, a founder of CulinApp -- the fabulous group that's creating my Baking with Dorie App for the iPad (more, lots more soon) -- CookieBar took a road trip and it took it in style in a super hip and absolutely adorable Airstream trailer designed in haute Jetson by Chris Deam. Here it is on the Flying MMM Ranch before hitting the road to Austin, where it arrived safe and sound, sans the longhorn escorts.
Not that we were in Austin without escorts. Amy Sherman, she of BlackBoard Eats San Francisco and her own great blog, snapped this picture and wrote that she found it hysterical that I travel with a security team! Of course, I don't. The friendly, cookie-loving police protection came from the city of Austin and they were there to keep the peace, which itself is pretty funny, since when has a gathering of cookie-eaters ever been anything but peaceful?
...Continue reading CookieBar at Home on the Range and in Austin, Too (where AMFT takes the cake)
Sometimes writers get hung-up trying to find words and that's the spot I'm in now: Wordless. Oh, and deeply, deeply touched and more than a little overwhelmed, too. The May issue of O Magazine (the 'O' stands for Oprah) has a 3-page story by the terrific writer, Howie Kahn, all about the online groups that have formed around Baking From My Home to Yours and Around My French Table.
The groups -- wonderful, fabulous groups -- are Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) and French Fridays with Dorie (FFWD) and they were both started by LAURIE WOODWARD, an amazing, very busy woman, who you'd think would have enough to do tending to three little boys that she might not want to tend a flock of almost 2,000 bloggers who love cooking and baking as much as she does.
From the start -- and it was four years ago that Laurie, whom I've never met, wrote to ask if she could form a group to bake its way through Baking From My Home to Yours -- I thought Laurie was remarkable and I loved the idea. I loved that people would be baking 'together' each week and I loved that we would be learning from each other. I had no idea that there would be thousands of people in the community -- and Laurie didn't either: She thought that she and a couple of other friends would be the only ones baking!
When you read the story, you'll meet Laurie, and Joel Brown -- that's his cupcake in the picture -- and Mary Dodd, and Nancy Ewing, and Tracey Wilhemsen, and hear about what the groups, baking and cooking mean to them. And you'll find recipes from Joel Brown, Caitlin Pierce and Shari Goodman, all wonderful variations of my original recipes.
...Continue reading O Magazine: Bonding Through Baking + The Recipe for French Yogurt Cake
As she's done in so many of her other books, my friend Patricia Wells makes us re-think our ideas about food we love and thought we knew. Here it's Salad As A Meal. Salads for every season and salads of every kind. The book is a Valentine to what's fresh and good and beautiful and the next, most logical step after her book, Vegetables At The Center of The Plate.
Patricia includes simple salads -- like the Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Bacon and Roquefort that follows -- and salads, like the Spring Beef Salad with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, and Asparagus - that are truly meals.
And if the salad isn't hearty enough to make the meal, there are recipes for soups and breads, croutons and crackers and lots of little add-ins, like Pickled Garlic, Figs in Vinegar, Marinated Artichokes or homemade Cornichons.
Here's the recipe for the Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Bacon and Roquefort.
...Continue reading Salad As A Meal:Patricia Wells's New Book
In France, you have until Epiphany, January 6, to send your ‘wishes’ (your voeux) for Christmas and the New Year, so by French standards I’m almost early. Actually, by Julia Child’s standards, I’d be even earlier, since she gave up on Christmas and New Year’s cards and sent all her voeux on Valentine’s Day.
...Continue reading Paris: New Year's Eve with No Main Course and a Mousse+Pudding Mash-up
...Continue reading Books by Friends: Savory Cookbooks + A Few Extras
Every year about this time, I marvel at what wonderful books my talented friends have written and every year about this time, I tell you about them. Once again, the list is overwhelming, so I think what I might do this year is, instead of listing them as I have in the past, I’ll highlight a few of them at a time. And then, if I run out of time (as I seem to with most things these days), I’ll make sure to list the remaining titles so you won’t miss them.
And, in the meantime, I hope you’ll write and tell all of us what books you’ve loved this year. And, if one of those books is your own, please, please pipe up!
Let’s start with some baking books. I’ve already told you about Sarabeth's Bakery; here are others that I think you’ll like as much as I do.
FLOUR: I feel as though I’ve watched Joanne Chang grow up, which is not in the least true, but having met her when she worked in Francois Payard’s kitchen more than a decade ago, you can see why I’d feel like that. She’s come a long way, but anyone who watched her work could have predicted she’d be a great success – she’s very talented! That she turns out to be as talented a cookbook author and teacher as she is a pastry chef and baker just doubles the pleasure. Joanne opened her own bakery, Flour, ten years ago, after having worked with some of the best pastry chefs in New York and Boston, her current home. But despite her pedigree (let’s not even mention the degree from Harvard), her sweets are down-to-earth, many grown-up versions of the sugary sweets of our childhood dreams. Pop Tarts, anyone? Clearly written and beautifully photographed, Flour is a baker’s treat.
READY FOR DESSERT: I know I don’t have to introduce you to my Paris friend, David, but I do want to make sure you know about his latest book, which came out this spring. He says that it contains his ‘best recipes’ and it does – or at least it contains his best recipes up until the moment his editor said it was deadline time and he had to stop inventing new ones. As those of his who love his blog know, David never stops creating new sweets. By the time you work your way through this volume, maybe there’ll be a new one to enjoy. One can only hope....
CLASSIC HOME DESSERTS: I was deeply honored and so flatter when I was asked to write the forward to this new edition of Richard Sax’s masterwork. As I wrote, I can remember so clearly when Richard’s book was published: it was an event! I read it from cover to cover, put it down and thought, “I wish I had written this.” Yes, there was a tinge of envy. But here’s the truth: Only Richard could have written this remarkable book. He’d been collecting and perfecting the recipes for this book for years; it was the work he was meant to do. Even if you don’t bake – but I know you do – you could spend weeks just reading this book; and if you bake, you, like so many before you, will find recipes that will become favorites. It’s exciting to think that a new generation of bakers will be making Richard’s Chocolate Cloud Cake.
...Continue reading Books by Friends: Baking Cookbooks
If you’d asked me if my mom was superstitious, I’d have said no without hesitation. And had you asked if I were, I’d have said no just as definitively. Yet, over the past few days I’ve had to rethink this and realize that mom was just a little superstitious, me too, and that we were both superstitious about the same things, things I’m not sure I know how to describe.
Yes, she’d knock on wood and I do too. My grandmother would have knocked on wood and said ‘pooh, pooh, pooh’ at the same time. I think the triple poohs were a little all-purpose prayer, in some cases meant to keep what was good good, and in others to ward off bad things.
For example, when our son was born, my mother insisted that we tie a red ribbon around one of the bars of his crib, put one on his stroller and pin one to his clothes. Asked why, she said it's what her mother did and that it was a way to protect the little one. But it seemed mostly to do with not tempting the fates: If someone were to say “Oh, what a beautiful baby,” the red ribbon would keep him safe from those so envious they'd wish him evil. (If only Sleeping Beauty had had a red ribbon!)
Writing this makes it all sound rather foolish, but last week when Around My French Table debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List (I can barely look at the words without gasping), and then Amazon picked it as the #1 cookbook, I discovered that I might be even more superstitious than my mother was. It was days before I told even my best friends about the Bestseller List! It's certainly not that I was worried about evil; I think it was more about blinking and discovering it wasn’t true – that’s how surprised I was.
I can't write much because I've got to go run out and bake cookies for tomorrow's event (more below), but I just wanted to tell you that today's the day that I'll be making Hachis Parmentier (braised beef topped with mashed potatoes and cheese; a kind of French shepherd's pie) with Michele Norris, host of NPR's All Things Considered, and a swell cook. As some of you may know, Michele and I have been baking in her kitchen for four years, ever since Baking From My Home to Yours was published. Now we've moved to the savory side of the kitchen, as we cook from Around My French Table. It's always a big, big treat when I can spend time with Michele, but this cooking session was even more special because Michele took a break from her own book tour to do it. If you haven't read Michele Norris's memoir, The Grace of Silence, you are missing an exquisitely written book and a story that will touch your heart.
And now off to bake my butter sables for a party to celebrate the publication of two great cookbooks: Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and Melissa Clark's In The Kitchen With a Good Appetite. The party will be at The Chelsea Market in New York -- in fact, the wonderful Sarabeth Levine, who herself has a fabulous new cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery, From My Hands to Yours, is letting me bake in a corner of her kitchen -- and a bunch of New York City's best chefs will be on hand with recipes they've chosen from the books, among them Dan Barber (Blue Hill). Michael White (Marea), Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern), Karen DeMasco (Locanda Verde) and more, more, more. Tickets -- which benefit Wellness In The Schools program, a New York City community based organization that works to improve the environment, nutrition, and fitness in NYC public schools -- are still available.
The event starts at 7pm. From 7 to 8, Josh Greenspan, my son and partner in CookieBar, and I will be serving our sugar-topped sable.s And at 8pm, Amanda, Melissa and I will be signing our new books. Hope to see you there.
French Fridays with Dorie: Marie-Helene's Apple Cake and Hachis Parmentier Too (on All Things Considered)
I used to think of myself as a selfish writer because I wrote only about what I liked and, when it came to recipes, included only those I loved. I still think I'm selfish, but now I prefer to call the selfishness "point of view" (sounds better, no?). In reality, I think every cookbook author is selfish in this way because, if she's creating recipes, she's creating ones that taste good to her. (I can't even figure out how I'd create something that I didn't like.) And I think every cookbook author hopes to find readers who share her tastes and enjoy her style of food. The flip of this is that every author who gathers recipes from friends and chefs, as I often do, hopes to find some that match her taste. When I found Marie-Helene's Apple Cake (recipe is reprinted here; picture is by Alan Richardson), I found a dessert that mirrored my taste and style perfectly -- it's an easy-going, unpretentious cake with inviting looks, deeply satisfying flavor, a soft, appealing texture and, as a bonus, it requires no special skill to make.
Skipping around the web and seeing the cakes that the members of French Fridays with Dorie made -- this was the recipe-of-the-week -- I think the cake matches their style, too. I love that so many people were as happy with the cake as I was.
As I write in the introduction to the recipe in Around My French Table, Marie-Helene couldn't really give me the recipe. She could tick off the ingredients, but it was impossible for her to give me exact measurements because she'd never written them down and she just made the recipe au pif, or by instinct -- she's that kind of good cook.
My husband often teases me for going around saying, "I'm so lucky!" But you know what? I really, really am lucky. Lucky because I have so many wonderful friends. And yes, I'm talking to you.
Today is my birthday, an occasion I don't normally like to acknowledge. But today is shaping up to be one of those days that I'll never forget. This morning, I woke up in Dallas (I'm on the last leg of my whirlwind tour for Around My French Table), flipped on my computer and found a message from Laurie Woodward, the creator of both Tuesdays with Dorie and French Fridays with Dorie. It included this picture above, a shot of the cake she made in honor of my birthday (it's a quatre-quarts from Around My French Table) and a message that told me to visit Holly at Phe.Mom.enon and I'd find a surprise!
One click and a short scroll down the page and I was in tears. What Laurie and Holly and members of TWD and FFwD did was to throw me a Virtual Surprise Birthday Party! A huge potluck dinner that includes dishes from every chapter of Around My French Table. It's fabulous!
Click over and this is what you'll find:
...Continue reading A Virtual Surprise Party and A Million Real Thanks
Laurie Woodward, the founder of Tuesdays with Dorie and the creator of French Fridays with Dorie, a group that will cook its way through Around My French Table, wrote last night, knowing that the new group's more than 700 members would start posting today, and said: "I'm so excited -- it's like Christmas." And, indeed, skipping around the web and seeing everyone's pictures of gougeres and reading the posts about first adventures is like opening hundreds of Christmas presents.
Welcome all! I am beyond thrilled that we'll be cooking and baking together every week for years to come.
For those of you who don't know about French Fridays with Dorie, click over here to read about it, and click over here to join. And don't forget that there's also a Facebook page for the group. (And, while I'm mentioning Facebook - I'm closing my personal page and hope you'll all pack up and move over to my new page.)
Now on to gougeres! Since you'll be seeing hundreds of gougeres in posts today, I thought I'd take you behind the scenes and tell you a little bit about how that beautiful photograph on page 4 of Around My French Table was shot.
That's the fabulously talented Alan Richardson behind the camera, taking a look at the preliminary set-up for the gougeres. We're in my combo kitchen-office-dining room in Connecticut. You can't see food stylist Karen Tack, Alan's partner in cupcakedom, Deb Donahue, who set up a prop shop in the basement, or me -- we're working away in the kitchen part of the room, baking the gougeres. You can see me spooning them out on page 1 of the book.
And here they are (my snapshot), almost ready for their Alan Richardson close-up.
CORRECTIONS!!! In my excitement to tell you where I was heading, I made a few mistakes on my calendar. The actual dates seem to be fine, but I messed up with the days (for example, I'll be in Chicago October 14, but that's a Thursday, which isn't what I wrote). I'm sorry. I think I've got it all cleared up now, but the best thing is to check with the venues -- for sure they'll be more organized than I am at this point.
Shhh, please don’t breathe a word of this to the good people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They think they’re sending me around the country to promote my new book, but I’ve got a different take on it. I think my month-long road trip has only one purpose: to meet you! You and all the other people I’ve known for years in cyberspace, but have never had the chance to meet face-to-face.
I’m posting my schedule below, but it’s a work in progress, so I’ll try to let you know as things are added. There’s more information, including venue addresses and links to events at BookTour.
And I’ve got this idea that I’m really excited about, but that I haven’t quite worked out yet. In addition to the events I’m posting, I’ve got bunches of interviews to do in each city, so the days are pretty packed, but there’s always an open hour somewhere in the sched and I’d like to try to use that hour to meet some of you informally. I’m thinking of these get-togethers as a combination of the old-fashioned coffee-klatches and the very-now Tweet-ups.
Since I’m not sure when and exactly where these get-togethers will happen, what I’m going to try to do is announce them on Twitter. I’m hoping to know a day in advance where I’ll be and when I’ll be there – if any of you know a great coffee bar in any of my tour cities that I can hang in and that you come visit me in, please let me know.
I really, really hope we’ll get to see one another at a Tweet-up and at the events below.
Can’t wait to meet you!
...Continue reading I'm Taking Around My French Table on the Road: Hope to See You
I’ve been swamped with get-ready-for-book tour stuff – all very good stuff, but a lot for a one-woman-band, which would be me. But just because I can’t seem to find my desk (or even my keys for that matter) doesn’t mean that I haven’t taken breaks to cook and bake and have friends in. Not that making these nibblers gives you much of a break – they’re just about instant.
- It’s startingly easy, almost embarrassingly easy, but chic and, of course, delicious;
- It requires only 3 ingredients – puff pastry, mustard and egg for the glaze – and you can keep them all on hand; in fact, you might already have them;
- It’s easily play-aroundable, so that you can make it your own;
- You can make the batons ahead and stick them in the freezer, so they’re ready to bake ‘on demand’ in small or large quantities; and
- It’s so very much in keeping with today’s style of French home cooking: it’s a dish that’s elegant but easy, unfussy but good looking, and one that’s fun to eat: it’s finger food of the kind that invites après-eating finger licking. And any time you can lick your fingers in polite company is a good time.
...Continue reading French Made Easy: Mustard Batons from Around My French Table
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION(posted September 11): YOU DON'T NEED TO HAVE A BLOG TO JOIN! Since I posted this (see below) and since the news of this new group has gone out on Twitter and Facebook, I've received several messages asking if it's necessary to have a blog to join FFwD. Today I got the definitive answer: No! When you go to register, it will ask for your URL, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, put in the URL that appears on your page. If not, just put in www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com Do this, and when the fun begins, you'll be part of it and you can post your pictures and comments on Twitter, Facebook or the FFwD site. As of yesterday, there were already 350 members. Now that you know this, you might want to know what FFwD is -- read on!
My book editor, Rux Martin, is forever teasing me because I’m always saying I’m lucky. Well, I am. I’m lucky that Rux was my editor on Baking From My Home to Yours and on my new book, Around My French Table. I’m lucky that Alan Richardson and Karen Tack, the team behind What’s New Cupcake, and Deb Donahue, a great prop stylist, worked on the books’ pictures. And I’m lucky that Laurie Woodward and her big band of merry bakers came into my life when she started Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD).
Well, Laurie’s back. And this time she’s back with my good friend Joel Brown (I wish I’d introduced them, but they found each other on Twitter!) and Joel’s friend, the talented illustrator Rachel Alvarez. Together they’ve created French Fridays with Dorie (FFwD), an online club to cook through Around My French Table.
FFwD will officially start rattling their pots and pans on October 1, but you can register now – and I hope you will. For more information, and to hear what people are saying about the new group, jump over to TWD.
I can’t wait to cook along with the group. It’s going to be a great adventure for all of us.
Around My French Table is Here, Enfin! Heads-Up: There's an Erratum (correct/corrected recipe below)
Well, according to Amazon, Around My French Table is officially out in the world! It’s a surprise to me, since I thought the book wasn’t going to be available until October 8, but it’s a great surprise – I’m thrilled it’s arrived. And oh how I hope you will like it!
The book is filled with my favorite recipes (more than 300 of them) for what I think of as ‘elbows on the table’ food from France. It’s the unfussy, delicious food that my friends and I make in France. This is not a by-the-rules book on French food. It’s not Mastering the Art of French Cooking (what else could be?). And it’s not a book of traditional French food (a Basque tortilla made with potato chips is hardly traditional), although it's got its share of time-honored recipes – I can’t wait for you to try the Cheese-Topped Onion Soup! Instead, it’s my personal take on the bright, fresh, simple food that’s being cooked today in the country of my heart. Oh, and there are lots of stories and lots of gorgeous, gorgeous pictures by Alan Richardson.
There’s also a mistake! A serious one! So here’s an important heads-up: When you get your copy of Around My French Table, open the book carefully, look for the little white ERRATUM paper and tuck it into the recipe for Speculoos on page 406. The recipe is missing a vital ingredient: 1 large egg, which should be beaten into the butter and sugar mixture. (The correct/corrected recipe is below.)
Lots of you may know my friend Susan Herrmann Loomis from her many books, among them On Rue Tatin and her brand-brand new one, Nuts in the Kitchen. Some of you may have been lucky enough to take cooking classes with her in her wonderful house in Normandy. (I can still taste the potatoes we got from the market the morning I was there.) Well, since Susan started No Take Out we can all cook with her.
Susan created the website with two friends, both dads who cook when they come home from their day jobs, and while their mission is to make meals manageable, they've also made them efficient. Every recipe is broken down really sensibly. There's the shopping list, the pantry list and the list of tools. There are suggestions (and recipes) for other dishes to fill out the meal and very good wine suggestions. And then there's the 3-Step Game Plan:
...Continue reading Susan Herrmann Loomis+No Take Out=Great Recipes and Good Tips
I'm as proud as a new mom! The baby won't be out until October 8, 2010, but here's a picture of my new book's cover. The dish on the cover is Chicken in a Pot, it's a chicken that's been browned in a skillet, then tucked into a Dutch oven with white wine, chicken broth, herbs, root vegetables, preserved lemon (citron confit) and lots and lots and lots more garlic. The rim of the pot is lined with dough -- either a plain flour-and-water dough or, as in the picture, a strip of storebought dough -- the cover is clapped on (the dough creates a perfect seal so that not a drop of flavorful juice escapes) and the pot is slid into the oven. When everything is beautifully cooked (a matter of an hour), you can open the pot and cut the chicken in the kitchen, or you can bring it to the dining room, as we did here, and break the seal with a bit of drama so that everyone around the table gets a whiff of that first deeply fragrant puff of steam.
The photographs for Around My French Table, were taken by Alan (What's New Cupcake) Richardson, who shot Baking From My Home to Yours. Also making a return appearance were food stylist, Karen (What's New Cupcake) Tack, and prop stylist, Deb Donahue. In other words, the dream team was back. Here's a quick shot of Alan getting ready to shoot the gougeres:
...Continue reading Ta Da: Around My French Table's Cover and a Few Shots From Behind-the-Scenes
It's wonderful when good news arrives as a BIG surprise. I came back from meetings today to find my inbox crammed with congratulatory messages. It turns out that The James Beard Foundation just published its list of 13 essential baking books and Baking From My Home to Yours is on it. And it's in the company of all my heroes -- all of whom's books I have on my shelves.
In 2007, The James Beard Foundation published its original Core Collection: 20 Essential Books to Build Your Culinary Library. That list included two baking books: The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion and my all-time favorite, Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts.
The new list, Essential Baking Books, includes:
...Continue reading A Baker's Dozen of Essential Baking Books: The James Beard Foundation Picks
They're back and they're more adorable and more fun than ever. The 'they' are my friends Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, the cleverest cupcakers on the planet. I figure that's a statement of truth (as opposed to a crazy exaggeration) because their first book, Hello,Cupcake! was on The New York Times Best Seller List for a long while. Smart money's on this new one grabbing a piece of that precious real estate as well.
What's New, Cupcake? finds the duo up to even zanier tricks, starting with the book's publication date: -April's Fool's Day! So perfect -- especially when you see their fool-you faux food cupcakes. Pizza, anyone?
...Continue reading What's New, Cupcake?
I'm so annoyed with myself. I wanted to get this list to you weeks ago, but I've been swamped with work on my next cookbook. I also wanted to write a bunch about each book, but it doesn't look as though that's going to happen either. Now I'm hoping that, late as I am, just getting the list to you will be all that will count. Next year ...
This has been a great, great year for baking books! There are always a lot of baking books published, but this year the crop seems particularly sweet. Since it's impossible for me to do a run-down of all the good baking and dessert books that have come out in 2009, I'm just going to mention the really good books that my friends have written. I may have forgotten a few -- I probably have and I'm sorry already -- but I'll try to mention them as soon as they come to mind (and after I've clopped myself on the head for the lapse). For now, here they are.
I met Melissa Gray in 2006, when Baking from My Home to Yours was published and she invited me to come to National Public Radio's studios in Washington, DC to talk baking with All Things Considered's host Michele Norris. When I turned up there were cakes and cookies and muffins, all from my book and all from Melissa's kitchen. Melissa was just starting out on what would be become a great baking adventure for her, a treat for everyone in the NPR offices and a wonderful, wonderful book for all of us. All Cakes Considered includes a year's worth of cakes that Melissa brought to the NPR offices every Monday. The recipes are terrific, ditto the stories. Melissa's knows storytelling, she knows writing and she knows baking. It's an unbeatable trifecta.
...Continue reading Books by Friends: 2009 Baking Edition
Boy, this was a long time coming, but here it is: The first Baking with Julia DVD - enfin, at last and hooray!
The Baking with Julia series, which aired on PBS starting in 1996, was a groundbreaker. At that time, the only television program devoted to baking (at least the only one that I can recall) was Mrs. Fields' show on the then-fledgling Food Network. Certainly there wasn't - hadn't been and still really isn't, I don't think - a show like the one hosted by Julia Child. It was, as Julia liked to say, "A show for serious bakers, not for fluffies!"
...Continue reading Giveaway: The New Baking with Julia DVD
I was delighted to be asked to be part of the virtual dinner party heralding today's publication of Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations: Entertaining at Home with New York's Savviest Hostesses for so many reasons: 1) I've known its co-author, Florence Fabricant, for years and, for as long as I've known her, I've admired her work in The New York Times and in cookbooks; 2) I love that the profits from this book benefit The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, a charitable and service organization for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a research and treatment hospital, as did Florence's first Park Avenue Potluck book; 3) it tickles me that Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef, who asked me to join the party, worked on the first Park Avenue Potluck book when she was on staff at The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering and that it inspired her to start her blog and a new career in food; and 4) I got another great cookie recipe.
The cookies are called Mary's House Oatmeal Cookies (recipe below) and, while the name might not mean much to you now, after you bake a batch you'll understand completely: it would be easy to have these sweets become the 'house cookie' in any house.
This week, Katye of Grandma's Kitchen Table got to choose the recipe that the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers would make and post on their blogs today. It's a big responsibility to be the chooser and when you read Katye's post, you'll see that she not only took it very seriously, she added a bunch more responsibilities to the task, including finding a recipe that would be "kid-friendly" and one that "would make the house smell like fall or get one in the mood for the upcoming holiday season."
With her list of must-haves, she chose the Allspice Crumb Muffins (you can find the recipe on Katye's blog or on page 16 of Baking From My Home to Yours) and loved them (phew!) and, judging from what I've seen as I've whizzed around the web checking bakers' posts, so did lots of other TWDers.
It always thrills me when the TWD bakers like the recipes they make, but that they like this recipe makes me particularly happy, since I think allspice is a flavor that deserves a little more love and attention than it normally gets.
...Continue reading Tuesdays with Dorie: Allspice Crumb Muffins
If you haven't heard about Monica Bhide's new cookbook, Modern Spice, you will - here, in a second, on Monica's site, tomorrow, and everywhere else pretty soon. Monica, whose work you might know from her earlier book, The Everything Indian Cookbook, from her frequent articles in the Washington Post or from just being a person interested in food, food, food, takes the spices, ancient cuisine and traditions she grew up with in India and, as she says in the introduction to her book, 'translates them for our generation'. And, since 'our generation' lives a good part of our lives online, Monica has created what I think might be a first: A Virtual Dinner Party. The party kicks off June 22 on Monica's site and we're all invited.
Actually, Monica's party is a potluck and I've been asked to 'bring' dessert, so here's a sneak peek: Monica's Saffron-Coconut Macaroons (and a confession).
I can't remember when it was, maybe 12 or 15 years ago, that New york chef, Daniel Boulud, called me and said "I've got wonderful white asparagus from the Loire Valley and I want you to taste them. Come have dinner!" It was an invitation I didn't refuse and it was a dinner I've never forgotten. In fact, it's one I think of every year at this time, particularly if I'm in Paris, where a dinner like Daniel's would be considered a tour de force, but it wouldn't be so very unusual: When it's asparagus season in France, everyone celebrates!
This is the time of year when you can be sure that your friends will be serving asparagus when you come for dinner and that every restaurant you go to will have at least one asparagus special. The asparagus in the photo were a special at one of my favorite Paris restaurants, Le Bistrot Paul Bert. They were served just warm with a sauce gribiche - about more, further on.
...Continue reading Asparagus: Now's the Moment
To kick off the official start of summer (forget the calendar), Parade magazine published great hamburger recipes from great chefs: There's a terrific burger from Emeril that includes a recipe for Orange Habanero Ketchup; a quirky take on a pork burger from Mario; a thin comforting burger from Katie Lee Joel, the queen of comfort; and a bunch of burger recipes and tips from Bobby Flay, who just wrote the book on burgers.
With all this grilling going on, who was thinking about dessert? Me! Because that's what I always think about. And the only dessert I could imagine that would hold its own against juicy, mile-high burgers, was a fabulous ice cream sundae. In fact, what I thought of was three fabulous sundaes: Banana Split, Strawberry Shortcake and Caramel Affogato!
...Continue reading Ice Cream Sundaes: The Perfect Apres-Burger Dessert
Can you see the guy in the green shirt all the way at the back of the crowd? The one who's surrounded by people hanging on to his every word? That's my friend, David Lebovitz, and this is the best picture I could get of him, and I only got it by standing on my tip-toes and shooting with my zoom lens. Even though I got to WH Smith, the Paris bookstore where David was reading from his new book, The Sweet Life in Paris, 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start, I couldn't get any closer. The place was jammed! And I couldn't have been happier for David, who made his entrance by sweeping down the grand staircase like a movie star. Fitting, I thought, since David is one of the shiniest stars in the blogosphere and a rightfully trusted cookbook author (keep reading for one of his recipes).
...Continue reading David Lebovitz's Sweet Life in Paris: The Book (A Recipe, Too)
When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes say, "Do as I say, not as I do." And even as a kid, the line, which came to feel like an adage, didn't seem right to me. In fact, I thought it branded my wonderful mother as a hypocrite and, in a mental note to self, I instructed myself to never say that. That I ended up saying it last night, and that I directed the line to myself, is proof that one should never say never.
Sometime around 7:30 last night, The Kid and I decided that it would be fun to make scallion pancakes, something neither of us had ever done. That it was late and that one of us (it turned out to be me) would have to go out to buy sesame oil, scallions and just about everything else that was needed for the noodle salad we thought should go with it, didn't daunt us.
...Continue reading Scallion Pancakes and The Impatient Cook
You've heard me say this before, but I consider myself very lucky to have friends who are very talented. And when I returned to New York last week and found this stack of new cookbooks -- all by friends -- on my desk, I realized yet again both how lucky I am and how extraordinarily talented my friends are.
Fall is when publishers often send out their best baking books and this time I think they've outdone themselves. Here are five books worth putting in your letter to Santa.
...Continue reading Baking Books by Baking Friends
After writing about my experience filetting sardines and using them to make an escabeche, I got an email from my friend Russ Parsons, food and wine writer for the Los Angeles Times, and the author of How To Pick a Peach (a fascinating read).
Russ is a certified fan of sardines and, when writing about them for the Times, described his way of dealing with the bones:
The flesh of the sardine is so tender and soft that you could probably do all of the cleaning using a butter knife. But in the interest of time and a neater piece of fish, you'll probably want to use a paring knife.
...Continue reading The Last Word (for now) on Sardines - Russ Parsons Has It
I remember when Patricia Wells left New York for Paris in the 1980s. (Of course Walter went, too -- actually, it was because of Walter that they skipped Gotham -- but I didn't know him or even of him in those days.)Â She'd beenÂ writing for the "Living" section of The New York Times (several incarnations later, today it's the Dining section) and, when I heard she was moving to Paris, I had to beat backÂ more thanÂ theÂ occasionalÂ sting of jealousy.Â How lucky could one person be?Â And how come she was getting to live my dream?
...Continue reading Patricia and Walter Wells: They've Always Had Paris ... And Provence
The only thing wrong with Alec Lobrano's new book, Hungry for Paris, is that, after 418 pages and 102 stories (and solid information) about restaurants, you're starved for more.Â Read the book like a novel - the writing is superb and each restaurant "review" is more short story than traditional critique - and when you reach the end, you might want to start all over again.Â For sure, you'll want to go to Paris, follow in Alec's footsteps and eat your way through the city.Â The book is a little gem.
...Continue reading Hungry For Paris
Just when you thought cupcakes couldn't get any cuter, in march these penguins! And, along with them, a passel of pandas
...Continue reading Hello, Cupcake! Hello, Fun!
Last week the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) sent out their list of nominees for this year's cookbook awards and this morning, at the Beard House (see photo), the nominees for James Beard Awards for journalism, books, chefs and restaurants were announced.Â
Since there are way too many nominees for me to list -- and since you can go to the sites and see them for yourself -- I'm just going to say CONGRATULATIONS to all the nominees and tell you who the nominees are in the book category for baking and dessert, since my guess is that's one of the categories that you, like I,Â are really interested in.
...Continue reading So Many Nominees, Such Great Work
I know this won't surprise you, but I've got a lot of cookbooks.Â I mean not just a lot, but a lot-a lot, as in lots going into the several hundreds.Â (Actually, my husband says there are over a thousand weighing down the shelves we thought would be unbendable and he's better at numbers than I am.)Â As soon as I got married, I started buying cookbooks.Â I bought them then because I needed them: I'd hardly scrambled an egg before our marriage.Â But, as soon as I started cooking, I started buying books for the pleasure of them - the discovery of new dishes, new worlds, new voices - and I've never stopped.
...Continue reading 2007 Cookbooks by Friends - What a Great Lot!
Here, in Paris, the supermarket shelves are already filled with bags of Christmas candy and the holiday lights have been strung from the trees along the Champs Elysee, so it's not surprising that stores are showing off their new crop of gift books -- not that these boxes offer even a hint that there are books within.
...Continue reading A New Crop of French Cookbooks; An American One, Too
This week marked the tenth anniversary of Read to Grow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving literacy in Connecticut by starting early - as soon as a baby is born!
Every mom who gives birth to a child in a participating hospital gets a visit from a Read to Grow volunteer and a goody bag containing a pamphlet detailing the importance of reading to children and a brand-new book, so moms can start reading to their little ones immediately.
...Continue reading Read to Grow - Rabbit's Bedtime and Cookbooks, Too
Last year, I sat next to Joyce Lock at the IACP awards dinner in Seattle and she was all excited about a food game she was creating. This week it landed on my desk: FOODIE FIGHT! It's a version of Trivial Pursuit for foodlovers and it's a great idea and great fun to play.
...Continue reading Foodie Fight! Something to get your mitts on
Because I try to be the best friend possible, when people ask me if I'll eat a macaroon for them when I'm in Paris - and people ask all the time - I always say "yes" and I'm always good to my word.
These are the kinds of macaroons I'm expected to sacrifice my girlish figure for. (The picture is from Pierre Herme's window)
...Continue reading French Macaroons: A Tale of Three Cities
If hearing about these places makes you think of some of your favorites, I'd love to know about them - unless, of course, you think they're too confidential.