Yotam Ottolenghi seems to be everyone’s favorite cookbook author. After meeting him, he became mine, too. (But if I could stay in your top ten, that’d be appreciated.) His previous books focused on the savory side of Middle Eastern cooking, but Yotam was a pastry chef prior to being a restaurant co-owner (with Sami Tamimi) and cookbook author, and anyone who’s walked into one of his restaurants or cafés in London is wowed by the stunning cakes and sweets lined up on the counters.

This time, he shares the spotlight with Australian pastry chef Helen Goh, who met Yotam long before he became well-known, and their decade of collaborating resulted in Sweet, a baking book filled with exciting and sometimes unexpected ingredients used in brownies, cakes, and cookies. Which is why when I hit page 130, I stopped turning the pages, and headed into my kitchen.

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I was a sucker for soft-serve ice cream when I was a kid. The machine that made those swirly cones at Carvel mesmerized me, as well as on the Mister Softee truck, although they didn’t drive around our neighborhood when I was a kid. (Those were the days of the Good Humor truck.) That was how I discovered sprinkles, which we called jimmies in New…

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While visiting friends in the countryside toward the end of the summer (…is it over already?), I met a woman who grew the most lovely little lettuces, which she sold at the local market. Which was basically a table with several baskets of her stunning greens sitting on it. If you haven’t had eaten lettuce just a few minutes (or even hours) out of the…

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Abruptly, it’s fall. The weather turned brisk this week, and I’m starting to wonder which box my scarves and gloves are in? When I lived in San Francisco, where the weather is notoriously fickle, the joke was that the only way to tell what season it is, is to hit the market. True, not everybody is concerned with seasonality. I was recently asked during a…

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A stalwart of the “old guard” of classic Paris bistros has been revived. The reliable Rôtisserie du Beaujolais, across the street from the Seine, had been remodeled and refreshed as Rôtisserie d’Argent, the new name giving a nod to its famous cousin just across the street, the Tour d’Argent. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a few centuries old, and it’s evolved into a mini-empire, composed of…

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It’s been a goofy month. I don’t know if the word “goofy” exists or translates into French, but c’est comme ça, as they say, or “that’s how it is.” It seems like everything got discombobulated; even my vacation plans were thwarted by a server outage and a nasty jellyfish sting, whose only upside was that it was on my thigh – near, but not on, my…

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One great thing about France is you can drive around, stop in any number of small towns, from the Jura to Normandy, and check out regional specialties. People often come to Paris and ask about where they can get a good cassoulet, or bouillabaisse, and they look positively crestfallen when I tell them they really need to go to Gascony or Marseille, respectively, if they…

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It’s a great day when a new bakery opens up in your neighborhood. I don’t mean to brag, but there are six bakeries in my neighborhood. One of those “great days” was when a particularly lame bakery closed, and a really good one opened up in its place. And although I don’t like seeing people go out of business, another bakery that was, for lack…

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News of a favorite classic French restaurant, Moissonnier, closing from a reader (thanks for the tip, Annette) reminded me of the challenges of running a good restaurant. The food was traditional French, done right, prepared with care by the chef/owner, with his wife tending to the details in the dining room. A drive-by location, and a younger generation not as interested in quenelles in cream sauce…

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