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Byrrh Cassis Aperitif

We spent part of our summer vacation in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The region is famous for its wines, especially the reds and rosé (which we sampled – generously…), while it was once the most popular apéritif in the world, selling over 30 million bottles annually, Byrrh is also made in the region but nowadays less well-known. In fact, if you order a Byrrh in France, more…

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Citrus Risotto

I was joking with someone the other day, who was making Judy Rodgers’ Pickled Red Onions. Judy was the chef and owner of Zuni Café in San Francisco and published one of the best books on cooking that has ever been written: The Zuni Café Cookbook. Like a number of her recipes, the method for pickling her famous red onions they serve on the Zuni…

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Homemade Orange Bitters

Bitters are used in a number of cocktails. Even if you can’t strongly perceive them while you’re sipping your drink, like salt, lemon zest, and vanilla, bitters are used to balance the flavors in the glass, providing a gentle undernote to bolster or as a contrast to flavors, rather than domineering or taking center stage. When writing Drinking French* I kept in mind that most…

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Quick Mincemeat recipe

The word Mincemeat doesn’t quite inspire the same rapture that it does in England, most likely due to the name. Meat isn’t something normally associated with dessert in many places (although I had an interesting chocolate and beef pastry in Sicily), but traditional mincemeat is indeed, a wonderful addition to holiday desserts. To make it, one must get suet from a butcher, which posed a…

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Cranberry Auberge cocktail

I discovered this drink in The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth, a book I seem to reread every couple of years. Written by Roy Andries de Groot, it’s an ode to a charming auberge (inn), nestled in the French alps, where two women created magical meals for their guests. Like most meals in France, their menus began with an apéritif. One in the book was a…

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White Negroni

While my computer is still in the shop (it’s going on week three…) I’ve been eking out posts while praying to the gods, or technicians at Apple, that I get it back soon. In the meantime, it gave me a good excuse for a cocktail. It wasn’t just the frustration; as soon as I got 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in…

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Candied Grapefruit Peel

I found myself with several grapefruit rinds on my hands last week (or rather, on my kitchen counter) as a result of working on a recipe that called for their juice. I don’t like to toss things away, especially precious organic grapefruit peels. So I candied them.

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Echo Deli in Paris

I don’t get out for lunch as much as I used to, or want to, but a dizzying amount of cafés, restaurants, and pastry shops have opened while I was holed up writing books. One that was getting an inordinate amount of good word-of-mouth, from friends and other restaurant owners, was Echo Deli. Entering the restaurant late morning, I was startled by the amount of…

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