My mother’s cooking gene was unfairly split among me and my sibling. I got it and sadly my sister Anne got my father’s genes. I find it fascinating that we both grew up in the same French household, with the same food-centric lifestyle.
My mother was a free-spirited natural in the kitchen who cooked like great jazz musicians riff. It was edible poetry in constant motion. She had a bold and fearless style that was inspired by what she found that day at the market.
My father, on the other hand, could have authored ‘75 ways to boil everything in…
My apple trees are completely covered with ripe fruit ready to pick. As I started pulling a few off I began thinking about how to best use them. When I was a small child my mother use to make a really simple dessert that I adored. She would peel and core an apple then roll it in cinnamon sugar, stuff it with sweetened butter, wrap it in a thin skin of pie pastry, and bake it. It had all the great characteristics we love about apple pies but was quicker to make.
It was only later in life that I…
Confession Time. I planted way too many tomatoes this year and I was looking for the best, most tasty way to use them. I ended up making a Provençale Vegetable Tian — which is sort of a super healthy vegetable casserole.
You may remember the hit 2007 movie ‘Ratatouille” about a rat who yearns to be a renowned chef. In the best scene, Remy the Rat serves a vegetable tian (mistakenly called ratatouille by Disney) to the harsh restaurant critic Anton Ego.
The word, tian, confusingly has two meanings: it is both an earthenware dish and whatever you are preparing…
One of my favorite cookbook authors is Geraldene Holt. She wrote the seminal classic on country cooking called ‘French Country Kitchen’. This is a variation of her recipe for white beans in tomato sauce.
Chickpeas stewed in tomato sauce is a popular flavor combination in Provence. I added chunks of homemade espelette sausages I had leftover from a sausage-making experiment. You could use spicy Italian sausages or even Moroccan merguez.
PREP: 10 minutes | COOK: 1 hour 50 minutes | SERVES: 4
cooking chickpeas (see notes)
It’s Sunday — Are you looking for a quick and easy dessert that will surely brighten your day? Do you like moist easy to bake cakes? The good news is you probably already have all the ingredients sitting in your cupboards. One of the things I love most about this cake is it is extremely forgiving and adaptable. I have swapped out peaches for blueberries, yogurt for milk, added this, removed that — and it still comes out perfectly moist.
Olive Oil Cake
PREP: 15 minutes | COOK: 50 minutes | MAKES: 10 servings
· 2 large eggs
A few years ago my wife, son, and I visited my cousins Andre and Lolo at their beautiful home in Six-Fours-les-Plages along the Mediterranean coast of France. I love slowing the pace of my normal life down to appreciate simple things like the sounds of cicadas chirping or trying to figure out whether it is hot enough to drop an ice cube into my pastis.
The highlight of the visit was when my cousin Lolo made her famous olive bread. This kind of olive bread is also called cake salé, or savory cakes. Think of a savory coffee cake. …
Poulet au Vinaigre, or chicken in vinegar, is a classic French preparation that you will find braising in homes as readily in restaurants. At the onset, it sounds kind of overpowering and maybe even unappetizing. Chicken in vinegar? Rarely do we think of vinegar as an ingredient other than maybe used lightly in a vinaigrette.
But when you try this poulet en vinaigre recipe for the first time, you realize your error and start thinking about vinegar in a brand new light.
The shallots cook down and act as the perfect sweet balance to the acidity found in the…
Though I know you will never read this letter I want to thank you for everything you have ever done for me. Your passion for life, food, and wine (though not necessarily always in that order) has inspired me my entire life.
You taught me the valuable lessons that helped shape the person standing here today. You demonstrated that through hard work and perseverance anything is possible. No dream is too big to realize. Though I feel it’s imperative to add that a very healthy dose of French stubbornness is important too. …
Learn how to easily make French sausages at home. They are not much different than Italian sausages other than the flavorings. In France, these sausages are called saucisses de Campagne or country sausages. They are coarse cut with a highly seasoned filling. Perfect for outdoor eating and grilling. As an added bonus, I cook the sausages with potatoes lyonnaise (pommes lyonnaise), a classic French potato preparation that is delicious and easy to make at home.
When I was a young boy I used to ‘steal’ my mother’s cookbooks and read them late into the night. The dishes took me to far-off exotic places. One of my favorite authors was Paula Wolfert. Her 1973 classic cookbook, “Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco” would captivate me like no other. Her words taught me the awesome power that food has to transport people somewhere else — to tell stories and share distant cultures. In a large way, she is responsible for my relationship with food and helped shape my career as a chef.
Paula Wolfert’s books are…