December 2005 archives

Santa Monica Farmer’s Market

cauliflower.jpg

Tiny little heads of cauliflower, no bigger than a dolls-head. These were the most colorful I’d ever seen in magnificent shades of vivid purple and deep orange.

babycarrots.jpg

Although America is known as the land of HUGE food, these tiny baby carrots are tender and very sweet. My first week as a cook at Chez Panisse, I spent a few hours peeling a case of them…only to discover later they were going to be blended up and made into soup!

carrotssantamonica.jpg

The actresses (and wannabes) trolling around Hollywood aren’t the only things nicely stacked in LA…

potatoes.jpg

Potatoes

improvedmeyerlemons.jpg

These are Improved Meyer lemons. The original Meyer lemons were disease-prone so they were re-hybridized, hence the name Improved Meyer lemon. They’re often mistakenly called a cross between an orange and a Eureka lemon since they’re as sweet, juicy, and aromatic as an orange, but with a lemony tang. But they’re not.

squash.jpg

Beautiful winter squash

nettles.jpg
Stinging Nettles, which have lots of tiny prickers…ne touchez pas!

For more information on the market, visit the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market web site.

An Open Apology

sharpiesboundforparis.jpg

To Whoever This May Concern:

I apologize for stealing your Sharpie® during my current book tour. As you can see, I couldn’t help it.

It started with the one I borrowed when booksigning in Virginia. But somewhere between there, and San Francisco, my obsession went horribly wrong.

But you see, we don’t get Sharpies® in France. And I just couldn’t resist yours.

Your Sharpie® was so new and so very alluring with that perfectly tapered ink-filled tip.

So round.
So firm.
So plump.

Yes, I kept promising myself, “David…make this the last one!”

But one thing led to another. And another Sharpie® found its way into my pocket.

Then another.

But I will make sure that your Sharpie® has a nice, cozy, and safe place in Paris.
I apologize for an inconvenience this may have caused you.

Thank you for your understanding.

Yours truly,

David Lebovitz

Winter in SoCal

surferdude.jpg

Sonoma County

goldengate.jpg

Just a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Sonoma County is a gorgeous winemaking region about an hour north (unless you’re me and have a horrible sense of direction and get lost…then it will take longer.)
But once you arrive, you’ll find that Sonoma boasts world-class cheesemakers like Ig Vella who makes Sonoma Dry Jack, a hard grating cheese whose exterior is rubbed with cocoa powder for ripening. There’s Craig Ponsford’s Artisan Bakery too, which won the Best Baguette in, gulp, Paris…of all places.
As you can imagine, that was quite an upset!

persimmonontree.jpg

The last of the persimmons, barely hanging on the tree.

caesarsalad.jpg

It isn’t California without Caesar Salad. But bread and butter alongside? Trés americain!

frenchtaffy.jpg

This is ‘French’?
I’ve never seen taffy in France…or a goofy mug like that either.

sonomaolives.jpg

Just-harvested olives, to be pressed into California extra-virgin olive oil.

cocoamulch.jpg

Lucky plants…
Even they get chocolate too!

Menu For Hope

My other girlfriend Pim has organized a wonderful auction to raise money for victims in Pakistan and India of the recent natural disaster. As the chilly winter approaches, international aid is necessary and vital to the people of these regions.

menuforhopelogo.gif

Visit Chez Pim for more details. Just a $5 donation buys you a chance for such wonderful gifts as having tea with Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini, a chance to appear in a video (although he didn’t say what kind, I’m sure it’s PG 13) with Adam, the Amateur Gourmet, and Sam of Becks Posh and Nosh has put together not one, not two…but three super food-related hampers of culinary gifts and cookbooks!

For my donation, the winner will get a personally autographed copy of The Great Book of Chocolate, and I’ll take the winner to Berthillon in Paris for ice cream!

The prizes just keep coming and coming and coming…

You can donate here to have your chance to win one of these amazing prizes.

UPDATE: The auction is over. Thanks everyone for participating!

sweetlifeinparisbooks.jpg

Seattle, con’t…

In case you’d like to read a first person account of my Holiday Chocolate Baking class in Seattle, Gluten-Free Girl came by to visit and posted about it at her site

And Sam posted about my class (and proposal) at Becks & Posh in San Francisco as well.

Seems like I’m leaving a few broken hearts in my wake!

The Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe

chocolate

I have to admit that this is my “Little Black Dress” that many women…and perhaps a few men (since I’m from San Francisco), consider their multi-purpose, never-fail-to-impress sexy black number hanging in their closet. I’m normally wary of recipes that call themselves “The Best” since often you make them, and they ain’t all that.

But of all the chocolate sauce recipes I’ve tasted over the years, this is the absolute favorite in my repertoire. I came up with it years ago when I was compelled to create a chocolate sauce that was rich, thick, glossy, and not loaded with butter or cream—this sauce has neither!)

chocolate cake

From golden profiteroles filled with vanilla ice cream, to a warm wedge of tender chocolate cake, I can’t imagine any chocolate dessert that wouldn’t be improved by being doused with a nice drizzle of this. I keep a container of chocolate sauce on hand, especially during the holidays, to dress up a simple dish of ice cream after an impromptu dinner or for a little treat in the afternoon when I crave something very chocolaty.

But often I just sneak a spoonful direct from the container.

The Best Chocolate Sauce
About 2 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or glucose
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • 2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup (or agave or glucose), and cocoa powder.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it’s just begun to simmer and boil, remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.

Serving: You should let the Chocolate Sauce stand for a few hours before serving, which will give it time to thicken a bit.

Storage: Store the chocolate sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rewarm before serving.

(For those of you who have asked, the chocolate cake is the Gâteau Racines, from Ready for Dessert.)

Related Recipes and Links:

Chocolate FAQs

Cocoa Powder FAQs

Ingredients for American Baking in Paris

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

Chocolate Biscotti

Very Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Scotcheroos

Coconut-Chocolate Macaroons

Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch

Chocolate-Dipped Florentines

Seattle

seattleblog.jpg