Recently I’ve been thinking a bit about pistachios for a couple of reasons. Pistachios are wonderful and tasty nuts that not so long ago were considered unusual and exotic. Now they’ve become rather common and are easily available. When I was a little boy, my Syrian grandfather used to always have on hand big 5-poundsacks of pistachio nuts, sometimes vividly-colored red (am I the only…

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Perhaps it’s wrong to blame the cheese. But cheese doesn’t have any feelings, it’s just exists for our pleasure. So for once I don’t have to worry about offending anyone on my blog. Now that’s a relief. A friend of mine came for dinner the other night who’s on le regime, a diet. While shopping at the supermarket I spotted this reduced-fat cheese, checked out…

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One of my favorite lunch treats is from Au Levain du Marais, their warm Anchovy Tart with soft-baked tomatoes and oil-cured olives, all baked in a buttery puff-pastry crust. I try to stop in at least once a week for a quick bite, and if I’m lucky, I get to the bakery just when they’re fresh from the oven. A perfect lunch! Au Levain du…

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One thing that does seem to cross international lines successfully is baking. I never visit a country without sampling their baking. I visit bakeries and want to try everything, from Mexico’s delicious tortillas served warm with butter, to Indian naan breads just from a tandoori oven. Here in France during the winter, the windows of pastry shops are lined with all sizes of Galettes de…

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The Book Tour

Do you know what this is? It’s my almost-empty peanut butter jar, which means I’m just about due for a trip back to the United States of America…I’ll be on The Book Tour! The good part of The Book Tour is that I get to meet lots of people who bake from my books and read my blog. This is what I’ll be doing the…

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When the winter chill comes to Paris, one of the great pleasures is sipping a cup of rich hot chocolate, le chocolat chaud, in a cozy café. But no matter where you live, you can easily make and enjoy the chocolatey taste of Paris at home. Contrary to popular belief, Parisian hot chocolate is often made with milk rather than cream, and get its luxurious…

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We all use vanilla frequently in our baking, and vanilla is reputedly the world’s most popular flavor. But many of us who use vanilla know little about it, except that it smells and tastes great…and sometimes seems outrageously expensive for such a tiny bottle. Fortunately a little goes a long way. I keep several bottles on hand, using vanilla from Madagascar and Mexico (the real…

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Le macaron truffle blanche The White truffle Macaron from Pierre Hermé, is part of his fall collection of désires. From the first bite, this little cookie of almond-enriched meringue reveals sweet and reassuring buttercream…then the disconcerting jolt of musky, earthy white truffles. Nestled inside is a dry-roasted nugget of crunchy Piedmontese hazelnut, whose flavor provokes you into realizing that this combination of sweet and savory…

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At my local marché this week… Grown in Brittany, one of the weirdest vegetables found in France is Romanesco, a relative of broccoli. It’s cooked the same way, a la vapeur, simply steamed and tossed with a pad of rich French butter. Sand-grown carrots are sweeter (and dirtier) than ordinary carrots. French (and American) cooks can find lots of thyme at the markets, which is…

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