January 2006 archives

Americans often wonder how French people some know we’re American before we even say one word. It used to be our sneakers; they were the dead giveaway. Nowadays, wearing sneakers, or les baskets, is as French as carrying a baguette. The other way they can tell us-from-them is that Americans tend to smile. A lot. We are a rather happy tribe. And Americans tend to…

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It’s perhaps not much of a secret anymore that some of the best places to eat in Paris are the wine bars. Unlike some of the ‘wine bars’ in the US (where that glass of oaky California Chardonnay will run you $14…not including tax and tip), Paris’ wine bars are gathering places, where people might stop in the morning after the market for a friendly…

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Last year I read about a pastry chef-turned-candymaker in Los Angeles. She was becoming known around those parts for her tender caramels, blended with wisps of sel de mer (sea salt.) Inspired by the amazing CBS, caramel-beurre-salé caramels produced by the master himself, Henri LeRoux, Christine Moore’s caramels are indeed the best I’ve had in the US. A friend drove me out to the Silverlake…

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Winter Fruits

Pears Good pears are in danger of disappearing. The best-tasting varieties (Comice, Bartlett, and French Butter) become easily bruised as they ripen, so large stores are reluctant to carry them. So what can you do? Buy them when you see them. Don’t be afraid to purchase rock-hard pears of these varieties: unlike most other fruits, pears don’t ripen well on the tree and should be…

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There’s always much debate over when it’s okay to telephone someone at home. How late is too later? How early is okay to call? Are they friends, or family? When I moved to Paris, a friend told me, “Never call anyone before noon on Sunday.” I made that mistake once, and that was all it took. So I’m sound asleep at 8am this Saturday morning…

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Jean-Charles Rochoux has perhaps the tiniest chocolate shop in Paris, located on an unassuming side street off the Rue de Rennes. It’s hard to see and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But what causes most passers-by to stop are the window displays, filled with intricately-sculpted statues and figures, crafted entirely of chocolate. M. Rochoux spent many years in the workshop of…

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On a recent radio interview that I did, the producer wrote immediately afterward that they were inundated with requests for my recipe for Cocoa Nib Sausage, which I use to top my Chocolate Pizza Dough from Chocolate Pizza Dough, rolled out onto baking sheets 1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil and the minced garlic. Set aside. 2. Heat remaining olive…

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