Results tagged eggs from David Lebovitz

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Darina Allen at Ballymaloe organic beetroot

When Darina Allen sat down to talk to us, a small group of food writers, it was just after her son and daughter in law, Rachel Allen. It was definitely nap time, and I put my camera in my bag along with my notepad, and contemplated having a little bit of a mental break while sit around in a kitchen, listening as Darina planned to tell us about her Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Well, that was the wrong idea. Because within seconds after Darina started talking, I scrambled around in my messenger bag for my notepad and pen because every word and phrase that came out of her mouth was note-worthy.

learn to cook squash

I’m not a reporter and can’t write very fast (thirty five years working in professional kitchens seem to be taking their toll), plus I’ll never be a journalist because I always get too involved in what I’m seeing or who I’m talking to rather than focusing on taking notes and zeroing in on facts and figures. But I tried to catch as much as I could as she spoke faster than I could jot things down.

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Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Flan

confiture de lait

It’s been a tough week. A while back I got it into my head to do some major upgrades on the site, which also involved moving the site to a new platform, which subsequently prompted (or I should say, “required”) a move to a dedicated place to park the site, rather than sharing a machine in a nameless office park, with a bunch of other sites like I did before. So after my relaxing week in the south, I returned a nearly blank space where my site used to be.

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Celery Root Remoulade (Céleri Rémoulade)

cerey root remoulade

I’ve never liked celery. To me, it’s like eating green water held together with a lot of stringy, indigestible fibers. Unless it’s filled with peanut butter or cream cheese, you can have it. The only time I ever buy a bunch is when I’m making stock, which is a shame, because I only just need a few stalks and usually the rest sits in my refrigerator until it wilts and dies and I have to throw it out. And I hate throwing food away. A lot of other people in France must feel the same way I do because at the markets, the vendors will gladly slice a bunch in half and sell you just part of one.

slicing celery root 2

Yes, I’ve seen those recipes for things like braised celery and boiled celery, which allegedly are the most wonderful ways to transform that ho-hum vegetable into something edible. I’ll have to take their word for it, because when I read through those recipes, no matter how excited the authors are about discovering a new way to prepare celery, the finished dish still sounds like it’s going to taste like rolled-up soggy newspaper. Until I’m proved wrong, for now I’ll stick with celery root, which is a whole ‘nother story.

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The Black Truffle Extravaganza

big-ass truffle

When I was in Cahors, I had dinner with a French woman who teaches English. She told me one of the biggest differences between English and French is that in English, we often use a lot of words to mean one thing. And not all of them make sense. I’ve never really thought about it all that much, but she was right; we do tend to use a lot of expressions and words where one, or a few, might suffice.

black, black truffles

“Hang a left”, “Hide the sausage”, and “Beat the rap” are a few phrases that come to mind because another day during my trip, someone was giving driving directions to a French driver, and he didn’t understand why one would “hang” a turn. (The other two phrases didn’t come up during the week, which was both good and unfortunate. And not necessarily in that order.)

But we Anglophones do have to use quite a few words to mean one thing. “That wooden tool that you use to spread crêpe batter on a griddle” is called, simply, a “râteau“.

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Sugar-Crusted Popovers

I’m not one to easily back down from an argument, especially when it comes to anything food-related. (Well, except about whether brownies should have nuts or not. That’s just something I just can’t get worked up about, as much as some people do.) Recently I was having a bit of a disagreement with someone particularly stubborn about the role of fat in cooking.

sugared popovers

I believe fat is fine, but should be used where it makes a difference. For example, milk is better in hot chocolate than cream, as the heavy richness of the cream overwhelms the taste of the bittersweet chocolate. And I don’t think anyone who tastes a scoop of my chocolate sorbet can tells me it doesn’t have the intense flavor of the deepest, darkest chocolate dessert. I dare ya.

But on the other hand, if you’re going to pan-fry potatoes, a spoonful of duck fat in the frying pan will produce crackly, crisp-browned potato cubes, and they’re going to be a life-changing experience. So I’m happy to use it there. If you still afraid to try it, and are too concerned about eating duck fat, walk to the gym the next time you go, instead of driving there.

Last year Amanda Hesser was reminiscing with me about Maida Heatter, when she asked me to recreate Maida’s popover recipe. For those that don’t know who Maida Heatter is, she’s responsible for writing some of the most amazing, luscious, scrumptiously adjective-worthy baking books over the last few decades. Known for carrying around cellophane-wrapped brownies in her purse, and distributing them freely, she was equally generous with recipes as she was with words.

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Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe

Every year I get a slew of requests from people looking for a recipe for Pumpkin Ice Cream. While in The Perfect Scoop I have a recipe for Sweet Potato Ice Cream studded with maple-glazed pecans, there’s something about the fall that makes people think of all-things pumpkin. I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes, personally, but old traditions die hard I suppose. And Pumpkin Ice Cream got put on my to-churn list.

pumpkinicecreamblog scooppumpkinicecream

As luck would have it, I was leafing through a copy of The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco, former pastry chef at Craft in New York City, and landed on a picture of Pumpkin Ice Cream. Quelle chance! So I thought I’d give her recipe a spin in my ice cream machine.

butternutsquash moresquashpuree

Karen uses canned pumpkin, which a lot of people like to use because it’s easy and consistent. But it’s not so easy to find in Paris. And even though I’m an outcast for using sweet potatoes, I’m still a bit old-fashioned and like to make my own puree. So there.

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French Pear & Almond Tart Recipe

french pear tart with cherries

I’ve been living in France for almost eight years and in all that time, I’ve yet to make even one of these classic French pear tarts. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a bakery that didn’t have wedges of this tart in little paper footings, ready to take out and be consumed right away. So I guess because I could always buy one, why make it? But since I had a kilo of almond paste that I bought for another project, a batch of poached pears on hand, and an unbaked tart shell waiting it’s turn in my freezer, I decided to give one a go.

This is a wonderful tart: pears fanned out in a golden-brown, buttery pastry shell that’s been spread with almond cream, then baked. And after I pulled this one out of the oven, I realized why it’s important to make this yourself; because it tastes amazing when still-warm from the oven, and you can use your own poached pears so you can vary the spices to your taste. (However you can use canned pear halves, which many of the French pastry shops do.)

Aside from the almond paste, I also had a jar of quick-candied sour cherries on hand from another baking project (if it seems like I have a lot of baking odds and ends on hand, welcome to my world…), so I used them as well, which is something I haven’t seen in any French bakery. I’m thinking of suggesting they use them on my next visit.

poached pears peartartb&w

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Sauce Gribiche, Au Pif

sauce gribiche ingredients

France is supposedly all about liberté, but in fact, everyone is really judged, and categorized, by one thing: the number on their license plate.

Paris is number 75, and if you drive anywhere else in France, aside from your black clothing, the chain-smoking, and the mad tapping on your iPhone, you’re pegged as a Parisian if your license plate ends with the oft-feared soixante-quinze.

fish

Parisians have a bit of a reputation in les autres départements and as we drove home from dinner one night when I was in the Poitou-Charente on vacation, a typical French family attempting to cross the street retracted when they saw our car approaching; “Il n’a rien vu les autres, le Parisien!” (“He doesn’t see others, the Parisian!”) shouted the father, frantically pushing his beloved a safe distance from les soixante-quinzes.

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