November 2006 archives

‘Tis

‘Tis The Season Again For Xmas in Frisco

‘Tis the absolute best thing about this time of year, the annual return of Xmas in Frisko.

SomaFM independent internet radio
(Warning: Not for the easily offended.)

New Mailing List

The new mailing list ’tis up-and-running, thanks to all your feedback.

If you’re not on the list, you’re a loser.

Sign up to the right, in the sidebar, and be a winner.

‘Nuf said.

Paris Bites Back

The Independent newspaper of London has a very good article, Paris Bites Back with five very famous people. And me.
‘Tis a discussion on the state of French food.

Continue Reading ‘Tis…

A Menu For Hope III

Here on the site, we talk about food. A lot.

Especially when it comes to Chocolate Rum Cake.

But seriously, I was fortunate to be born in a country with lots of food. And living in Paris, I’m doubly-lucky and there’s plenty around for me to eat whenever I want. And believe me, I do.

Unfortunately that’s a priviledge that I take for granted.
Like many of us do.

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But each year ten million people die from hunger and hunger-related disease. Ten million!

So for this year’s Menu For Hope III the charity organization will be the UN World Food Programme. Last year a whopping $17,000 was raised during the auction. Once again, this year Pim has organized our third annual auction, and this year promises to be bigger than ever, with some top-name food celebrities and food bloggers worldwide offering items.

So, what can you do?

Continue Reading A Menu For Hope III…

Banana Loaf Cake Recipe

I had planned to write up my post-Thanksgiving report, but I decided to wait until the smoke cleared before I tell ‘The Tale’ of what really happened that night…which involved a high-speed car chase through Paris, a few hypodermic needles, and a couple of user-unfriendly hors.

In the meantime, I thought I’d write a bit about what’s been baking around here, which I assure you will be just as exciting.

I’ve been cooking my way through Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Light Desserts which I featured in a recent interview, and have had a great time making many of the recipes from, including this towering chocolate cake I made for the first Thanksgiving I had.
(Yes, we celebrate twice here.)

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Not Banana Cake…but a super-rich Chocolate Rum Cake

Since I’ve been on the subject of leftovers around here, I confess much of this baking was due to a surplus of applesauce I’d made from an apple-picking I did when my friends who live in the countryside complained they had too many apples and didn’t know what to do with them all.

So I thought I would be a very good person, and help them out.

Continue Reading Banana Loaf Cake Recipe…

Lasagna Culture

While most of you are probably scrambling around looking for ways to use up the leftovers from Thanksgiving, I am slightly jealous, since I have nothing here to use up. Unlike some American holidays, which have been modestly successful in France, Thanksgiving is still uniquely American and it’s hard to explain the appeal of a day committed to overeating mediocre food that’s often, frankly, a bit weird looking at it from this side of the Atlantic.

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Lots of Freshly-Shaved Black Truffle Slices

So we had an anti-Thanksgiving, which involved lots of French pleasures, including an enormous, fragrant black truffle, lots and lots of icy flutes of Champagne, and a giant lobe of foie gras as well. But curiously, most of the Thanksgiving dinners here happen on Saturday night, since everyone works on Thursday.

Plus, if you invite a Parisian to any sort of dinner that starts before 8pm, they think you’re out of your mind.

In addition, I do derive a certain amount of pleasure out of explaining the day, and our traditional feast, to Parisians. A bit of gastronomic torture, if you will. For some reason I take a perverse delight in seeing their faces gradually change from curiosity, contorting into disbelieve as I describe mashed sweet potatoes covered with gooey, blackened marshmallows, or chopping up fresh, briny oysters and cramming them into a bird and cooking them for hours and hours.

So while everyone out there is thinking of ways to use up leftover turkey, which I don’t have (and there was no leftover truffles of foie gras), I’ve been thinking of ways this weekend to finally, once-and-of-all, use up another leftover around here.

About three years back, I sublet my apartment to a nice, young couple, one Australian and her Italian boyfriend. After a few months of travel, I returned to my apartment to find they’d left something behind, in a shiny blue box.

Continue Reading Lasagna Culture…

No Thanks?

Don’t be a turkey!
(Or a pig…)

Be sure to give thanks—no matter what you’re stuck with…

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

(More to come…)

Paris Restaurant Round-Up

I got a very cute message lately from a couple who had come to Paris and followed some of my restaurant suggestions. But it got to the point one evening here they were undecided where to go one night, and her husband said, “I don’t care. Let’s just go anywhere that chocolate-guy says to go!”

I was glad to be of service, but I like being known as ‘that chocolate-guy’ just as much.

But frankly, I don’t go out as much as most folks imagine. I love going to my market, talking to the vendors, and coming home with something new that I’ve never tried before, like the chervil roots I bought the other day, which involved a rather detailed, lengthy conversation with the vendor.

I mostly cooking all the fine things I find here and learn about. So when I do go out, I want it to be good…no, I want it to be great…and I find the best food in Paris is classic French cuisine; confit de canard, steak frites, and coq au vin. When you find a good version, I don’t think there’s anything more satisfying. Especially if it’s accompanied by good friends.

And, of course, a few obligatory glasses of vin rouge.

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So here’s a round-up of places I’ve eaten lately.
There’s a few you might to want to bookmark for your next visit, as well as one or two you might want to avoid.

Continue Reading Paris Restaurant Round-Up…

Fishing For Favors

One of the fundamental differences between here (France) and there (the US) is that here, they don’t have to help you.

It’s not that there’s no customer service, but unlike the US where they’re supposed to (and expected to) be nice and helpful to customers, the onus here is on the salesperson, or the person behind the desk: They alone can decide if they want to help you. Or not.

And you’re job is to convince them to help you, any way you can. So the decision is yours.

How are you going to get them to help you?

This is baffling to many American visitors, who stare at me with wide-eyed disbelief, that there are really people out beyond their borders that don’t care if they make money or not, which is what ‘helping the customer’ is presumably all about. That the almighty dollar is worth a lot less than they think (and going down every time I look.)

I explain that this is not a capitalist country or culture, which perhaps explains why the economy here is a tad lackluster right now. But for many of us Americans, we have a really hard time understanding that other cultures are different than ours.

So here’s what you need to get with the program:

Continue Reading Fishing For Favors…

Lentilles du Puy: French Green Lentil Salad Recipe

What f I told you that there was a caviar you can buy for around 3 bucks per pound?

You might say, “David, you’re crazy!”

Well call me fou…(which wouldn’t be the first time) but lentilles du Puy, the French green lentils from the Auvergne, are not called ‘the caviar of lentils’ for nothing.

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I’m sure many of your out there might lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling, thinking, “Gee, I wonder if David’s right and there really is a different between ordinary green French lentils and lentilles du Puy?”

Continue Reading Lentilles du Puy: French Green Lentil Salad Recipe…