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Buttermilk Fattoush

One of my very favorite salads is Fattoush. There are various versions of the salad, whose name comes from fatta, which refers to the crumbled or torn pieces of flatbread in the salad. But I’ve never had Fattoush with buttermilk dressing, so was intrigued when I saw a recipe for it in Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, a book which eloquently…

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Farro Risotto (Farrotto) with Radicchio and Bacon

This dish came together rather serendipitously on a Sunday afternoon. I was up to my elbows testing recipes and was looking for something savory for dinner that didn’t require too much prep, or dishes afterward. I’d brought home some colorful radicchio from the market, I had some bacon (don’t I always?), and there was a packet dried mushrooms in a kitchen drawer. So I gathered…

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Chicken Mango Slaw

During the summer months, when the temperature in Paris shoots up to nearly unbelievable heights, it turns my up-on-the-rooftop apartment into a furnace, and many nights dinner will be enjoyed on the roof, overlooking the city, watching the rest of it cool down after a broiling day. Somehow, my apartment doesn’t enjoy the same cool-down period, perhaps its the price I pay for being closer…

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Fresh Tomato and Shelling Bean Salad

When I applied for my job at Chez Panisse, I’d just left a restaurant where the chef was, what we call in the business, a “screamer.” One of those chefs who flips out in the kitchen and yells indiscriminately. Contrary to what television might lead you to think, this isn’t a new phenomenon. I didn’t really yell all that much when I was a chef. But whenever…

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Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Salad Dressing

When I was a newbie, someone in the cookbook biz once told me that if a cookbook has one great recipe in it, it’s totally worth it. And I agree with that. I have a mountain of cookbooks, and most have plenty of tempting recipes but I’ve only made one thing from many of them. But those that do make the cut become standards—or what…

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How much is “a handful”?

I recently read The Pedant in the Kitchen, which Michael Ruhlman also wrote up, and while I found it an enjoyable rant, one vexing thought that stuck in the author’s craw was recipe instructions that call for “a handful” of something. He didn’t know what that meant and wondered why recipes couldn’t be more precise. Writing a recipe that’s acceptable to absolutely everyone can be…

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