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My earliest attempt at cookery began with the filleting of my sister's goldfish at age 2 and cooking my pet rabbits by age 7. Life has been downhill ever since.

How Not to Break a Tooth Eating This Dessert

Today is January 6th, the day every French kid (whether born in France or of French parents) looks forward to. The holidays have come and gone. Today is the day we get to eat Galette des Rois, or King’s Cake.

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As a sweetener, parents (or the pastry shop) hides a small figurine sandwiched among the warm rum scented layers of frangipane (almond cream) and puff pastry. The figurine, also known as a feve, used to be a small bean but changed to a ceramic figurine sometime in the late 1800s. The change guaranteed the chance to break your tooth if you weren’t careful. …

to make your Francophile bleus fade away

Damn it. I should be in France a second time since covid-19 quarantined the whole world back in March. Like many of you trapped in your homes around the world, I started letting my tastebuds take me on the ultimate staycations around the globe. Today I am sharing 5 of my favorite French breakfast/brunch dishes to remind me of life in a Parisian cafe watching the world pass by.

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1. Bostock (toasted almond brioche)

Learn how to make Bostock (or Bostok), or toasted almond brioche in English. In my recipe, the crunchy, golden-brown slices of rich brioche generously slathered with raspberry jam and velvety almond cream (frangipane) are topped with toasted almonds and fresh raspberries. Alternatively, you could smear with a spoonful of Nutella and top it with toasted hazelnuts. …

A Trio of Sweet and Savory Pascades Perfect for When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

I remember the very first time I tried what we recognize as Dutch Babies. I was a small boy on our annual summer trip to the South of France. It always began in Marseille and eventually would end up at my grandfather’s auberge in Périgord. The highlight of the seven-hour drive in between was stopping in Rodez, a small city in Aveyron, for a buttery pascade. For the uninitiated, pascades are thick pancakes that are baked in a heavily buttered pan until golden brown and puffed up. They were a complete delight for a young gourmand with an adventurous appetite.

Watch My Video Recipe…

An Easy to Make Christmas Classic

This easy to make, quick Christmas soup is packed full of flavor. You can garnish this versatile soup with either duck confit, shredded pork rillette, or even no meat at all. With a delightful sweet earthy flavor, this festive soup celebrates the chestnut which was introduced by ancient Romans to France centuries ago.

Watch the Video Recipe Here

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A lot of people have asked me what essential kitchen tools and seasonings I recommend. I prepared a list of my fundamental kitchen tools every serious home cook should have.

Buy Cooked chestnuts:

My List of Essential Kitchen Tools Makes Great Christmas Gifts

with a potato-chip like crunch to the skin

Does anyone else remember Melanie Dunea’s book ‘My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals’? The premise is simple. Melanie asked 50 notable chefs what they would eat for their last meals. The answers were varied and rich with elaborate depth. Who wouldn’t want to know where Alain Ducasse would like his supper to be? And who would prepare Daniel Boulud’s final meal? What would Anthony Bourdain’s guest list look like? As the clock ticked, what album would Gordon Ramsay be listening to?

psst: want to watch the video recipe?

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If you could pick your last meal — what would it be? For my last meal on Earth, I would select a dish that is both humble and classic. I would choose a duck confit. There is something utterly delicious about obscenely crisp duck skin mixed with succulent duck meat. It is a dish that my wife Lisa and I have shared commemorating many events. Duck confit is the very first solid food my son Beaumont ate. …

A Murderous Tale of Cranberry Beans and Pasta

I always say that I don’t believe I’m a chef. I try to be a storyteller.

José Andrés, chef, restaurateur, and founder of World Central Kitchen

I have always been attracted to whimsical recipe names and the stories that lay camouflaged within their ingredients. I’m talking about dishes like pets de nonne (literally nun’s farts), priest chokers (Strozzapreti), and the imam fainted (Imam bayildi). A dish is the intersection of provenance, history, and food.

To me, recipes are edible stories that capture the junctures of cultural development. They chronicle the moments of prosperity, poverty, invasion, conquer, exploration, and trade. A good story should not only educate and entertain but also connect us to our past. For diners, it can elevate a meal; possibly transforming it into a transcendental experience. For cooks, it can add reverence to an ingredient or a particular dish. …

To Ease Into Fall With

Fall had started in earnest; a cool, light mist was falling. My wife Lisa and I decided to take our dog for a long walk foraging wild cèpes (porcini). I built a roaring fire in our small wood stove, placed a daube of beef on top to braise slowly, then walked out into the dank Mendocino woods.

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We followed a narrow track that ran through the dense, overgrown pygmy forest collecting two shopping bags full of precious mushrooms before returning home to enjoy our simple feast.

Wood smoke commingled with the enticing aromas of slow-cooked meat that hung nose high in the clammy mist surrounding our cabin. With every step closer, the smells grew more ambrosial and inviting, causing us to quicken our pace. By the time we reached the cabin door, I was drooling uncontrollably and my stomach growled in bated anticipation. …

Smothered in bearnaise sauce

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Every year for my birthday, my wife asks me what I want for lunch and I always answer with the exact same response — steak frites smothered in béarnaise. To me, it is one of the world’s greatest dishes.

Sure, the rich, meaty flavor coupled with the crunch of fries contrasted by a sharp béarnaise sauce feels decadent. Some might even attribute this to my caveman's brain and say that eating meat is genetically hard-wired into us. But what I love most about steak frites is the strong emotional and cultural connection I feel when I eat it. …

Essential Seasonings for Everyday French Cooking

If someone asked me what I would take from my pantry if I knew I was going to be shipwrecked, I would probably answer just 3 things: sea salt, Espelette pepper, and herbes de Provence. Well, 4, if you include a glass of wine, which I personally consider central to French living and almost as important as any of the seasonings I listed above. For me, those three things are indispensable for everyday French home cooking. Though if my wife overheard this, she would promptly burst out laughing before opening my cabinets and exposing all my lies.

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Pantries are easily filled with items you only use for one recipe before relegating them to the back corners of your cabinet. So, I will start with the basics and provide hints where you could keep going if you were so inclined. …

The Infinite Versatility of Lemon Curd

I love the versatility of food. And I am not talking about the endless online articles expounding the virtues of instant ramen noodles. Did you know they can be used to create everything from a savory breakfast to the perfect chocolatey dessert?

Rather I am talking about how you can make one simple preparation and then use it for several other dishes. Thereby you intelligently reduce the amount of time you actually spend in the kitchen and add some serious curb appeal to your meals.

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Recently I wrote a post about Nun’s Farts and 4 other glorious uses for choux paste, or pâte à choux in French. Choux paste can make profiteroles, eclairs, gougeres, and even can be mixed with mashed potatoes to make pommes Dauphine or potato puffs. It takes barely any more time to make a single batch as it does a double batch. Try making a fun dessert with half then mix the other half with potatoes. …

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