When I started working at Chez Panisse, there was something called crème anglaise on the menu…and my job was to make it. Of course, I had no idea what crème anglaise was – other than something with a funny name that I got in trouble for pronouncing wrong on several occasions. But I pretended I knew what it was when everyone was talking about making it to go with the desserts. And luckily for my career, after a few years, I probably made at least one batch everyday for the next thirteen years, and stirring up a batch of crème anglaise became second nature to me.
Results tagged dessert from David Lebovitz
I was teaching recently in Texas at Central Market, and I’d have to say after spending a week there, it’s the best supermarket in the world. I was using the marvelous citrus fruits they foraged from around the United States, including fresh yuzu, limequats, jumbo pomelos, bergamots, Seville oranges, citrons (which I’ve been trying to find in Paris—anyone know where I can find one?), and Meyer lemons.
(One of those lemons made it home with me, by accident. If it wasn’t so enormous, I would have tucked a citron in my carry-on…on purpose.)
When I was in Nice a few months ago with my friends Adam and Matt, I wanted to show them some of the more unusual local specialties, ones you wouldn’t come across unless you were actually in a certain region. French cooking is very regional, which is why you won’t find bouillabaisse in Paris or all that many macarons in Nice. And a lot of people visiting a certain town or city might not be familiar with some of the more unusual things that are only available there, like Socca or Panisses, simply because no one would think about eating them outside of the area where they originated.
In case you’re wondering, you can’t make a Tourte de blettes without Swiss chard (blettes). For one thing, if you did, then it wouldn’t be Swiss chard tart. So get that notion out of your head right now. And believe me, if you can’t find chard, I feel your pain. One fine morning at the market, I bought my big, beautiful bunch of chard from a big pile at the market to make this tart.
I’m not sure if I just returned from lunch, or if I was privy to a top-secret breeding ground for a race of super attractive people, that also happen to be amazing cooks. When I walked into the home of Rachel Allen, who’d invited a few of us traveling through Ireland for lunch, I was stunned by A) The stunning kitchen, b) The stunning view, and C) The stunning people.
Panna cotta is incredibly easy to make, and if it takes you more than five minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong. I’d made them before, but never realized what a fool-proof dessert it was until I saw my friend Judy Witts make them at one of her cooking classes in Florence.
Sometimes we Americans have a way of overdramatizing things, and make things harder than they actually are. But I saw Judy quickly put together this Panna Cotta at the beginning of her cooking class in no time flat, to be served a few hours later.
After we ate the fabulous meal which we’d all made together, she effortlessly unmolded them into bowls, and there was our dessert. I was pretty impressed.
It’s annoying to come across a recipe raving about the taste or beauty of something exotic or unattainable. You can’t please everyone (no matter how hard I try…) and although not everyone can find quince in their local market, they’re not necessarily all that hard to track down. Heck, sometimes they’re right in your own back yard.
Yet even if you do scope some out, the bummer is that quince aren’t all that easy to prepare. But like most things that we so desperately want, they take time and patience, and they take work. If not, all us men would be walking around with abs like Daniel Craig. No matter how hard some of us try.
Although I’ve often been critical of the French trend towards putting food in silly little glasses, called verrines, once again, I find myself eating my words around here.
On a recent trip to Ikea (I know…I know what I said…) I saw these great little glass candle holders and thought they’d be perfect for servings of something…like, say…individual portions of Tiramisu. Which are great for those of you, if you’re anything like me, who will forage around their apartment all all hours, desperately searching for something to eat. I am like an aspirateur for food and will eat anything, but have a strong preference lately for this chocolate spread I bought in Nice with bits of caramelized pears in it, crunchy organic peanut butter, and Chex party mix.
(Oh great, another thing I need to add to my ever-expanding shopping list for my trip to the states next week…)
But if something is individually-portioned, it keeps how much I’m going to eat in check.
The other great thing about individual portions is that there are no serving “issues”.
I had big plans for this cake. I bought these gorgeous apricots, packed them up to take out to the country last weekend to make a cake. I planned to pick some rose geranium leaves to flavor the batter, and I was going to bake it and serve it proudly forth.
Except someone decided to use my perfectly-ripe apricots to make some jam, and the Hooters-worthy neighbor who promised me rose geranium leaves, actually brought me regular geranium leaves, which I was certain would kill us all if we ate them. So I had to make some last-minute adjustments.