A while back, there was a spate of books about how to ‘sneak’ ingredients that are ‘healthy’ into food for your kids, to trick them into eating better. (Raymond Sokolov wrote an excellent rebuttal to that.) And recently there have been a few books written about how kids in France eat, and behave, better than their counterparts elsewhere. I can’t really comment on them in-depth because I haven’t read the books, but I do know two things from my own observations.
Results tagged eggs from David Lebovitz
While they’re working on my kitchen, I had no idea how much I would miss cooking. It’s not just because cooking and baking are what I do work-wise, but the ritual of going to the market in Paris and buying whatever catches my eye has become an integral part of my life. When I see lemons from Provence with their leaves attached or the first shiny-crimson strawberries of spring, it’s hard to not stop and buy some when I know I could (or should) be at home making a tangy lemon tart or fixing myself a nice bowl of berries for breakfast in the morning.
Since I don’t even have a whisk at the moment (even though I have about ten stored somewhere in all my boxes…) I went out and bought one just to make something, because I was going a little berserk. Proving that you don’t need an arsenal of fancy equipment – or even a whole bunch of hard-to-get ingredients – I decided to whip up a batch of frothy sabayon to spoon over some strawberries I picked up at the Barbès market.
I’ve come to realize that I’m not very good at ‘watching’. When I worked in the restaurant business, one of my cohorts said to me one day – “There are two types of chefs: doers and watchers.” Meaning that some chefs got right into the cooking with the line cooks, while others like to stand there and watch. I, myself, could be classified as a doer because I’m like I’m a shark: If I don’t keep moving, I’ll wither away.
I’ve kind of had my fill of watching and waiting, so instead of continuing to wither away, I decided to take matters into my own hands and deal with what I could control. This week the weather took a turn for the better in Paris; it’s always one day when the bleak weather suddenly changes and we revel in the hope that the cold snap of winter is behind us.
Everyone on the sidewalks of Paris is a little stunned to see the sunlight, almost walking around in a daze (including the number of people who refused to get out of my way when I was struggling to carry an iron pipe down the sidewalk and as a consequence, almost walked right into the butt of a massive metal pipe) but within a few hours, all the café terraces are packed – and not just with the usual fumeurs – but everyone craning their necks, trying to catch a little wedge of sunshine.
I’ve wanted to talk to you about Isot for a long time, but the little packet I opened sat on my counter for a few weeks, waiting to go into something else. But it wasn’t until I found myself with an overload of eggs, and an odd craving for an egg salad sandwich (something I haven’t had for years) that I found a way to feature this curiously delicious pepper, which has fruity and spicy nuances happening at the same time.
Isot is also known as Urfa Biber, and is a deep-purplish ground pepper. Whereas pomegranate molasses was all the rage a few years ago, Isot kind of got overlooked. And because I’m constantly asked “What’s the next food trend?” whenever I get interviewed, I’d like to propose Isot. It was given to me as part of a Turkish care package by Cenk, when he came to visit from Istanbul. And ever since I ripped open the curious little packet of pepper, which is the color of burnished eggplant skin, I’ve been intrigued by the thought of putting it in – or on – something else.
I have to admit, I’ve gotten a bit slack and have been buying dried pasta for the past few years. There’s nothing wrong with store-bought pasta – I’ve become fond of the whole wheat pasta spirals I get at my natural foods store, tossed with greens, garlic, and olive oil – but I was recently at the home of a friend and while we were talking over wine, he pulled out a disk of dough, quickly rolled it, and put together a simple lasagna with those just-made noodles. It was so good, and made me realize that I’d forgotten how good fresh pasta is. And it’s not difficult at all to make.
Unlike pastry and bread doughs, pasta dough isn’t very fussy. You don’t really need a machine to shape the pasta, but a pasta roller really helps and it’s one of life’s great pleasure when you pull that final cut of the pasta strands out of the machine and drop them into a pot of boiling water. I have an attachment for my stand mixer, although the small hand-cranked machines are inexpensive and do a good job, too. You can handroll pasta with a rolling pin, but be prepared for a bit of a challenge if you want the dough really thin.
It’s that time of year, when I evaluate a variety of things in my life (not all necessarily food-related…), including the contents of my refrigerator and pantry, and go through all the corners and crannies, and clear things out. When I visited the Barbès market a while back, I got an amazing deal on dates, so good that I had no choice but to buy a few kilos of them. Because one doesn’t really want to eat a lot of dates all at once, I put some in a jar with some dark rum and let them sit in the back of my refrigerator. Where, of course, I promptly forgot about them.
When I was in Australia, a couple of interesting things happened while I scooting around Sydney. One was that I went on the hunt for Lamingtons, and a number of people offered to send me recipes, but didn’t. And two, I got quite a few messages from people asking if I was coming to Melbourne. Then a food festival there rolled around and even though I woke up at all hours, checking my messages night and day, an invite to that city never landed in my Inbox.
But instead of being tough and bitter, I decided to dive into something tender and sweet, and was compelled to whip up my own recipe for Lamingtons. (And it’s hard to remain mad at anyone in Australia because, truly, everyone was exceptionally nice to me during my visit to Sydney.) I did call upon one of those nice folks, the master of the Lamington, Matt Rothman, when deciding whether to go with a cocoa powder icing or one made with chocolate. And he responded that he makes either, depending on whether he wanted the glaze to soak in to the cake a little (cocoa powder) or for it to be more of a thicker icing (chocolate).
Yes, Switzerland has a reputation for neutrality, but the food in Switzerland is often an international mix. There are some wonderful local specialties but a good number of other dishes are influenced by its neighbors; namely Germany, Italy, and France. So it seems only fitting that the most wonderful department store in the country is named Globus, because its name seem to incorporate a philosophy of not just looking within the borders of Switzerland, but outside of them as well, in search of all things good to eat. And that certainly seems true of the grand food hall in the branch of their store in Lausanne.
Many department stores in cities around the world have entire floors dedicated to foodstuffs and are good places to make a whirlwind food tour, which I did with my tour group recently. But even on my own, I usually make it a point to hit one when I travel, such as the KaDeWe in Berlin, Marks & Spencer in London, or the Grand Épicerie in Paris. But whereas KaDeWe is super orderly and La Grand Épicerie can feel like a train station at rush hour, the food halls of Globus have an air of calm and comfort. And yes, even when you’re in the presence of – *gulp* – my tentacled nemesis: octopus made into sausage.