I love a big salad, especially in the summer. Actually, a big bowl of greens, one that includes lots of crunchy things, is one of my favorite things at any time of the year. My default dressing is a French vinaigrette, which is sometimes slightly creamy, courtesy of a large dollop of Dijon mustard, but it’s fun to swap out another dressing from time-to-time for decidedly different results.

Buttermilk dressing isn’t something one finds on menus in France, although buttermilk (lait ribot and lait fermenté) are available in most supermarkets and in épiceries that sell Middle Eastern foods. It’s popular in Brittany where it’s served in bowls alongside crêpes and buckwheat galettes, similar to café au lait, which is also served in a bowl. The coffee is meant to be sipped from the rim of the bowl (unless I’m doing it wrong…) although I’m never sure when I’m at a crêperie, if I’m supposed to lift the bowl of buttermilk up and drink it right from the bowl, or use the spoon provided?

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I’ve been thinking about Banana Bread lately, mostly due to an assortment of bananas that are taking up valuable real estate in my freezer. Another issue that’s taken up (valuable) space in my brain has been trying to understand the difference between Banana Bread and Banana Cake. I’ve been trying to come up with an explanation but just can’t think of one. Could just be the shape? But we don’t…

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We find ourselves eating in, rather than going out, more than not. For one thing, the food is often better, or just simpler. Maybe I’m getting grouchy, but after a recipe trip where I ate our every meal, all I wanted was a plate of grilled fish or roasted chicken, and some vegetables. Or just a simple salad with some bread and cheese. Another is…

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Hawaii

It’s not every day, or every year (or every decade, unfortunately) that I get to spend some time with my family in Los Angeles. So I was excited by the chance to join them, not in L.A., but in Hawaii. Europeans don’t generally go to Hawaii because of the distance, I suspect, and because there are other tropical islands closer to home that don’t require…

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I took a break for some quality family time, which, by happy coincidence, included a dose of beach time as well. Now I’m back and figuring out the best way to keep my tan (which I rarely get) so I can look as sporty as the Parisians, who seem to be perennially bronzed and beautiful. I’m hoping to put together a post about the trip,…

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I used to wonder why someone didn’t open a bistro in Paris serving classic French food, a bouillion, if you will, a word used to describe a place known for serving lots of food, in generous quantities, in a convivial, and almost communal setting. A place where you wouldn’t feel out of place if you struck up a conversation with your neighbors, which be inevitable…

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There are a lot of ways to do the same thing, just as there are a variety of ways to get to the same place. Which is why it’s always fun for me to give a go at another recipe, maybe one that I’m (very) familiar with – like chocolate ice cream – but made in an unfamiliar way. Since I got my hands on…

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There’s a certain ease and simplicity to free-form tarts like this. Sometimes they’re called a crostata, sometimes a galette. You can call it whatever you want, but I call it a fast way to use great fruit when it’s in season, without a lot of fuss. At the beginning of summer, when rhubarb is still lingering around, and strawberries are elbowing their way forward, it’s a…

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I recently found myself with too much fine polenta on my hands that I’d gathered for some recipe testing. Grocery stores in France carry polenta (usually instant), and corn flour can be found at natural foods stores, but there are not many things made with cornmeal in the canon of French cuisine. So when I want to make a recipe that calls for cornmeal, I buy semoule…

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