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Should You Remove the Green Germ from Garlic?

Garlic

Garlic has a season, and depending on where you live, that season is usually spring through mid-summer. In France, we get ail nouveau, which are heads of garlic that are very plump and slightly soft, whose moist skin is tinged with a bit of pink. As it ages, the garlic becomes more rosy in color, and there is even a special “rose” garlic in France called ail rose de Lautrec, whose status is certified by the French government. As the months progress, garlic season ends and the remaining heads go into storage.

Garlic

In France, garlic that has been kept is often referred to as ail sec, or dried garlic. And in many cases, during storage, those cloves of garlic will develop a green germ inside that is said to be bitter and should be removed. I know, because I’ve said that myself. But I’ve never really put it to the test. So when a friend, who worked closely with Marcella Hazan (an expert on Italian cuisine) told me that Marcella never removed the green germ (her reasoning being that since it was new garlic in the making, it was tender and not bitter), I figured it would be interesting to see – and taste – if removing it really did make a difference.

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Judy Rodgers

I was deeply saddened when I heard that someone who happens to have been a culinary icon (and hero) of mine, and who I was fortunate enough to work with in the kitchen, is no longer standing behind her stove. This morning I learned that Judy Rodgers the chef-owner of Zuni Café, had passed. I was fortunate the work with Judy for a few years on and off at Chez Panisse. Judy was incredibly dynamic as a person; so much so that I think even she had trouble dealing with all her energy! She was also a dynamic cook. And like the best cooks, her food wasn’t ever about her: It was about the food.

The roast chicken with bread salad at Zuni was the most iconic dish she made and was always worth waiting for. (Although once we drank too many martinis from the bar while we waited for it, and when I got home, I realized that I’d skipped out on the bill! – which I did go back and pay the next day.) The Caesar Salad at the restaurant was the best you could get, as were the pillow-light ricotta gnocchi and the excellent hamburger, which was perfect in every way. Whatever Judy made, was the best. In fact, one of the best things I ever ate in my entire life was a simple salad she’d handed to me one night at Chez Panisse, composed of escarole, rabbit loin, potatoes, and garlic confit smeared on toasts, all tumbled together with a warm, mustardy-dressing. I never dreamed a simple salad could taste so good, and I still remember the exact moment when I put the first forkful in my mouth – it was so, so good, and I still think about it nearly twenty-five years later.

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San Francisco Booksigning at Omnivore Books

Hey! I’ll be doing a booksigning at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on Sunday, December 8th.

ready-for-dessert

The shop is located at 3885 Cesar Chavez Street (at Church) and I’ll be there from 3 to 4pm. Copies of The Sweet Life in Paris, The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert and The Great Book of Chocolate will be on available.

Stop by and get books signed for holiday gifts, or for yourself. And if you can’t make it, or live elsewhere, you can order a signed book to be sent to you. Contact Omnivore Books to make arrangements.

The Sweet Life in Paris (hi res)


La pause

chèvre

To catch up on a bunch of stuff around here (starting with the stack of dishes in the sink, then on to finishing Mad Men, before tackling a formidable stack of papers, etc. piled up), I’m taking a brief pause.

Thanks…will be back shortly! -David


Blog Notes

Google Reader

A number of you use Google Reader to visit and read the blog through the RSS feed, which allows you to subscribe to the site using a “reader.” Unfortunately Google Reader is going away at the end of this month. But don’t fret – there are other reader options, which include Feedly (which allows you to migrate your data and feeds easily), Newsfire, Blog Lovin’ (thanks, deb), and The Old Reader (thanks, commenters.) If you’re on an iPad or other tablet or mobile device, Flipboard is pretty nifty, too.

Another option is to have blog posts/entries e-mailed to you, which you can do by filling out the form at the bottom of this post in that gray box that says “Never Miss a Post.” Your e-mail address is never shared from there and it’s only used to send you blog posts, which you can cancel at any time. But why the heck would you want to? ; )

Twitter

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Booksigning and Meet-Up This Sunday in Paris

the sweet life in paris paperback

This Sunday, June 9th – I’ll be at La Cuisine cooking school from 2 to 4 pm signing books and hanging out.

The venue is located at 80, quai de l’Hôtel de Ville (map) and you’re welcome to stop by and say hi! There will be copies of The Sweet Life in Paris, The Perfect Scoop and Ready for Dessert in the US and UK editions.

La Cuisine Logo

Parked alongside will be Henri from Glazed, with his ice cream truck, scooping up his intriguing and fabulous flavors.

wide-glace-glazed

More information is at the Facebook Event Page, and you are welcome to RSVP there – although not necessary. See you on Sunday!

Blog & Misc Notes

paris - winter

We’ve had a spate of nice weather here. A friend just told me that we’ve had the grayest winter in ten years. I’m not so sure, but it has been overcast since, well – October? September? … I actually haven’t minded it so much since I seem to have succumbed to the tristesse (sadness) of Paris that sweeps across the city in winter. We had a lovely snowstorm which for me was all-too-brief. But I’ve been keeping busy indoors and not minding the chilly winter as much as others have.

Today it was beautiful, with blue skies highlighting the buildings of Paris and silhouetting the still-barren trees. I went to lunch at a friend’s place that has two balconies, and it was nice to breathe in some fresh, cool air, rather than being coincé (trapped) inside. Afterward I took a pleasant walk along the canal Saint-Martin, then headed home to make dinner for some visiting friends. (Yikes, two big meals in one day?)

As always, it’s lot of fun having the blog and it’s great to interact with everyone. Thanks for reading it! Since spring is here, I’ve got a few general announcements and thoughts to pass on. Hope that for all of you the weather is cooperating and you’re taking some time to bask in the sunshine, or the snow – or whatever, wherever you are.

-Aside from a few goofs here and there, I’ve kept my word about issuing a monthly newsletter. Here’s the March issue. If you want to signup, you can do so here. Note that it’s an opt-in system and you will get an e-mail that will prompt you to confirm that you want to get it. You won’t get anything other than the newsletter, which will come once a month.

-A number of folks access the site on mobile devices. If you’re one of them, there is a mobile-friendly version of the site with a nifty icon for your phone. On your smartphone, when you point your browser to the site, on an iPhone, tap the icon with the little arrow in the box that will prompt you to “Add to Home Screen.” Then, voilà – you’ll have an icon on your phone. (I don’t have another smartphone because I can only afford one, and I am already surrounded by too much technology as it is. But I am sure there is some way to add it to other devices in a similar manner.)

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Paris Booksigning and Get-Together

It’s that time of the year, folks. (No, not when I crawl out of my hibernation hole.) It’s the holiday season in Paris and I’m having a booksigning and get-together at La Cuisine cooking school. If you’re in town, stop in say hi!

There will be copies of Ready for Dessert, The Perfect Scoop, and The Sweet Life in Paris for sale, which I’m happy to personalize for you or for holiday gift-giving. Certain titles may be in limited supply, and you’re welcome to bring copies of books you already own.

I’ll be at the school Saturday, December 1st, from 4 to 6pm, which is located at 80, quai de l’Hôtel de Ville. Treats and so forth will be provided by the fine folks at La Cuisine.

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