Pierre Jancou is one of my favorite cooks in Paris. He does the seemingly simple task of taking raw elements – such as a pan of root vegetables – and making them taste better than you thought that vegetables could taste. I first came across his cooking when he was the chef/owner of Racines. I’d ordered a simple pasta Bolognese, which isn’t something I would usually order unless I was…

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A few months ago, I was gifted a very large bag of farro, over five pounds of it. I never thought I could have enough farro, and sure enough, I’m almost at the end of it. Farro is popular in Italy, and nowadays, it’s available in the United States and elsewhere. It’s a particular strain of wheat, similar to wheat berries, or épautre, in France, known elsewhere as…

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In the winter, we often turn to the tropics to get our fruit fixes. Bananas are the most popular fruit in America, and they’re quite popular elsewhere, too. I’m happy with oranges, grapefruits, and chocolate (yup, cocoa beans are fruit – great news for fruit-lovers!) but sometimes it’s nice to throw something else in the mix, and I’ll grab a pineapple, some kiwifruits, a few…

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Moissonnier

Call me old-fashioned, but sometimes I like old-fashioned places. One place that does old-fashioned especially well is France. But I’m not the only one who feels that way; people come from around the world to visit the city, and bask in the à l’ancienne charm, which is sometimes derisively described as carte postale Paris. Like other cities, Paris is changing and isn’t a museum, per se, but…

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Kugelhopf

One thing that seems to cross international lines with success is baking. I never visit a country without sampling their baking. I visit bakeries, and enjoy everything from French croissants and hearty German breads, to Indian naan breads and bagels in Brooklyn, Montreal, and Jerusalem. Here in France, just after the new year, the windows of pastry shops are lined with all sizes of Galettes des Rois,…

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I recently came across this spot-on video by chef Jacques Pépin, which hit the nail squarely on the head regarding cooking and following recipes. I was particularly impressed by how he was able to explain what can go wrong when you do so. Most people who write recipes for a living spend a lot of time writing them as clearly and accurately as possible. Still, even the best recipe isn’t…

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Over the holidays, we were in the U.S. to spend time with my family (and – gulp – to see my editor…), and I made brisket for Romain. He doesn’t like bœuf bourguignon, because it he says it’s always “dry,” so decided for a treat, I’d make brisket, a beef dish that is anything but. Because I’m such a champ, I actually made it a few different times,…

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Many people tell me this is one of their favorite recipes from my cookbook, Ready For Dessert. In addition to these fantastic Coconut-Dipped Chocolate Macaroons in it, you’ll find the much-loved recipe for Fresh Ginger Cake, which makes a fantastic dessert served with sliced, juicy peaches or flavorful strawberries and raspberries in the summer, or tangy lemon cream in the winter, as well as my other most frequently…

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Sbrisolona

Like the recent recipe for Caramelized Almond Cake, I’ve been anxious to make Sbirolona, a crunchy Italian torta that sort of defies description. I don’t know any other dessert or pastry like it. The first time I had it, it was already broken into pieces, piled in a covered glass jar at a bakery. I didn’t know what to make of the craggy pieces I was nibbling…

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