Le Beaujolais Nouveau Is Here!

A lot of people will be celebrating tonight the release of Beaujolais Nouveau

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…and coincidentally, a lot of people will be waking up with headaches tomorrow.

Myself included.

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Complimentary dégustations through Saturday at:

Aux Caves d’Aligre
3, place d’Aligre
12th
Tél: 01 43 43 34 26

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Sunday Dining in Paris

French Menu Translation

Cooking On Rue Tatin: Part 2

Since man, and woman, cannot live by chocolate alone (although wouldn’t it be nice if we could?), our group spent the rest of our time slaving away putting together sumptuous meals, and learning about wine the hard way: by tasting it.

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One of my favorite snacks of the class On Rue Tatin turned out to be these golden-brown, eggy gougères enriched with gruyère cheese and a dusting of freshly-toasted, fragrant cumin powder.

While it was a bit chilly to sit out in the garden overlooking the cathedral, enjoying our apéritifs and goûtes, we had plenty things to cook up indoors…

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Continue Reading Cooking On Rue Tatin: Part 2…

Baking Class On Rue Tatin: Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Cups

What do you get when you take eight dedicated bakers, put them in a country kitchen (one that’s professionally equipped), and put them to work for three days of cooking and baking with chocolate?

You get a whole lotta chocolate!

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If you didn’t come along on my three-day cooking class with Susan Loomis at her home On Rue Tatin, here’s a run-down of our week…

Continue Reading Baking Class On Rue Tatin: Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Cups…

Now You’re Really Going To Get It

Since I posted about putting your name on my mailing list, I was miffed that so many of you weren’t receiving it (and it really is worth receiving) after all the hard work that goes into it. So I’ve scrapped the previous mailing list provider and switched to a super-duper, ultra-responsive, hi-tech, rock ‘n roll version that has amazing capabilities to do whatever I want, whenever I want it, with the touch of a button.

(Now if I could only find a partner with those qualities as well.)

If you didn’t get the previous fun-filled, slightly scandalous newsletter I sent out, you can re-enter your email address in the Subcriber Form to the right. If you’re not sure if you’re on the list, simply enter your email address and if you’re already in the database, you’ll get a message of confirmation. Please note that I send out between 4-6 newsletters annually, so you won’t be innundated by emails from me.

And your email address is not shared or used for any other purpose.

(Unless you’re that person that possesses the qualities I’ve listed above—then we can talk.)

So why not sign up now?
That way you’ll be sure to be the first to learn about my upcoming Paris chocolate tours, special culinary events, my upcoming book release party, and a whole lot more.

Money In Paris

When I started my career as a global warrior, way-back-when, arriving everywhere lugging an overstuffed backpack with a ridiculously-cheap bottle of red wine and a stinky, smashed wedge of brie inside, the only thing one needed to make sure one had were traveler’s checks, which were easy-to-buy and widely accepted no matter where one went. You’d simply waltz up to any change booth (well, maybe not waltz, since you’d get a funny look doing that on a sidewalk in Paris), cash ‘em (after paying a commission), then walk away with a wallet-full of the local currency. But times have changed and the advent of ATM machines, where you can access money directly from your bank account back home, have changed everything. And credit cards, which most of us migrated to, which offered the best exchange rate, are now socking people with large fees, so they do have their drawbacks too.

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So here’s my tips for getting money when visiting in Paris.

Continue Reading Money In Paris…

Interview: Baker Nick Malgieri

Since I’m on an Italian fling here, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to interview Nick Malgieri, whose fabulous recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies I recently featured on the site. Nick is one of the most knowledgeable bakers in the world, frequently hobnobbing with such luminaries as Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan, swapping recipes and baking techniques. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from Nick’s books myself, which range from the ultimate treatise on cookies, to one of the most beautiful books on chocolate in my vast collection.

Continue Reading Interview: Baker Nick Malgieri…

Did You Get It?

“What did I get?” you’re perhaps asking yourself.

Hint: It’s not something that’s gonna make you itch.
It’s my newsletter, which is sent out infrequently to subscribers. The latest one contained lots of info about my upcoming giant Paris book party, an astonishingly long list of strikes happening in France this month, news of exciting chocolate tours, and references to folks wearing short shorts sans slip.

“How do I get this exciting and sometimes tawdry newsletter?” you’re probably asking yourself.

It’s simple.
Just enter your email address in the green box to the right and you’ll be the first to get my seasonal updates as well as news and tips. You won’t be innundated by email (unless you’re Matt) and your address is never, ever shared.

Nick Malgieri’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

Recently I bought a sack of delightfully-crispy Boskop apples, my favorite of all French apple varieties.

After a quick rinse, I eagerly took a bite, my teeth breaking through the tight skin, anticipating the cool, crisp-tart flesh of a just-harvested apple.

But instead I spit it out: the flesh had gone soft and my precious apple was completely inedible.

Now any normal person would have tossed the rest of that apple in the garbage and grabbed another one. But not me. Since I am my mother’s son, I can’t throw anything away, no matter how trivial. But being quick-witted, I thought I would combine my frugal nature with my amazing generosity and the need to present a recipe here on the site, which is something I haven’t been able to do in a while due to my travels and travails.

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I’ve been working on an interview with master baker Nick Malgieri, who just came out with a new book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving (whew!). Look for that interview here, which became so lengthy and interesting that I’m still working on it, and will appear in the next week or so here on the site. I’ll talk to Nick about teaching, being the pastry chef at Window’s On The World, why he steals recipes from me, and what it’s like to write cookbooks.

Because the recipes in his latest book have less-calories than regular desserts, several recipes use applesauce as a base. So like the abnormal person I’ve become living alone in my Parisian garret, a reclusive phantom of le gâteau Opera, I made The World’s Tiniest Batch of Applesauce, but managed to turn it into two baking sheets of Nick’s exceptionally chewy, dense, and delicious oatmeal cookies.

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Here’s my adaptation of the recipe from Nick’s book. Although he calls for raisins, I didn’t have any, so instead of actually leaving my apartment, I dug deep into my valuable expat stash for the benefit of my readers (yeah, right…) and substituted tart, bright-red dried cranberries instead. But you could use any diced dried fruit that you want.
I didn’t have any oatmeal on hand either. So I used tofu.

Ok, just kidding (that was for all the ‘substitution’ people…and you know who you are!)
I used a mixture called cinq céréales, a blend of rolled oats, wheat, rye and other rolled grains that I stock up on at Naturalia, which is Paris’ health-food store chain and a great place to explore, and see how ‘healthy’ Parisians eats. (If you’re expecting to see Birkenstocks and draw-string pants, though, you going to be disappointed.) And although I’ve become un pea Parisian, I guess you can take the boy out of America, you can’t take America out of the boy, and I supersized them, making my cookies bigger using about 2 tablespoons of the batter per cookie. I got 16 cookies, which were gone in a flash, since I bribed…uh, I mean…brought them to vendors at my local market who had no idea what an oatmeal cookie was. Needless to say, I got a few more stranger looks than usual yesterday, handing out cookies from a sack, but no one seemed to mind. The French are pushovers for anything delicious, which has made my life a whole lot easier around here, let me tell you.

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Unfortunately, though, I ate quite a bit of the dough before it could be baked. How could I resist? It was like the most delicious, yummiest ‘bowl of’ oatmeal I’ve ever tasted, all bound together with a touch of French butter and golden brown sugar. And although my tinkering with the size probably screwed up the calorie guidelines, they were delicious and I figure I’ll just have one less glass of wine this month to make up for it.
Really.

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Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
About 36 cookies

Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs (HarperCollins).

  • 1 cup flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins (or dried cranberries)

2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, foil, or silicone mats

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the egg, applesauce, and vanilla.

4. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.

5. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.

6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they “look dull on the surface but are moist and soft”, according to Nick. Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.

(I made mine bigger, so whatever size you make them, just bake them until they look as directed by Nick.)

Storage: Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.