Weekend Links & Holiday Recipes

Winter is just about here. And no, it doesn’t have to suck. True, there’s not much – if any – snow in Paris – which is something I miss. (When we’ve had it, it makes Paris more luminous and pretty.) But there’s no shortage of cold. In addition to being the time to unpack all one’s winter gear, and sadly pack up the t-shirts and sandals, it’s also time to use all those bitter greens, like Belgian endive, chicory, and radicchio, at the markets.

You can make salads out of them, you can roll them up with ham and cheese for a gratin, you can wilt chicorée rouge de trévise (shown above) and toss the leaves with whole wheat pasta, red pepper flakes, garlic, olive oil, and bacon, and you can make risotto with bacon and radicchio or simmer radicchio with farro. Escarole leaves can be the base of an Italian-style soup with beans and meatballs. And by some miracle of nature, they go perfectly well with winter fruits, like oranges, tangerines, and pears. Romain was pretty skeptical when he saw me tossing tangerine segments in a salad of escarole, chives, and Roquefort recently, but the bright-tasting fruits went spectacularly well with the crunchy leaves and creamy/tangy fromage, and now he’s doing it, too.

Otherwise, I’ve been holed up indoors, catching up on Stranger Things; Season 3 is terrific, but I had to abandon Russian Doll after episode 5 since I couldn’t tell where it was going, except around and around. (In spite of my affection for actress/writer Natasha Lyonne.) I’m also reading Stand Facing the Stove, a methodically researched book about Irma Rombauer and her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, who wrote the Joy of Cooking with hardly any experience under their apron belts. It’s a pretty deep-dive, documenting the turbulent times the cookbook has been through, so I’m alternating it with reading things on the internet. Here are some of the most interesting things I’ve read recently…

-Dream of working in a Parisian bakery? Sain boulangerie offers three days of classes. Mitigating factor: Classes start at…4:30 am. (I presume coffee is included) (Atelier de Sens)

-Are truffles really worth the adulation? (Thrillist)

-Behind-the-scenes where Dr. Bronner’s soap is made (San Diego Tribune)

-Happy to be included although with these winners of the 2019 Saveur Food Blog Awards (Saveur)

-Hold on to your wallet! Pickpocketing up 74% on Paris métros (Travel+Leisure, via Le Parisien)

-The problem with Paula (Deen) (Eater)

-A Korean chef sues Michelin for including him in their guide (CNN)

-How long-ago lava flows affect St-Nectaire, one of the great French cheeses (Atlas Obscura)

-This lofty Cheese Soufflé looks like the perfect dinner for one (Smith Bites)

-Cheeseboards are the internet’s Jell-o molds (Jezebel)

Camping out for 7 1/2 hours (overnight) for a pastry in Paris (Yahoo!)

Groovy Cookbook Covers (The Groovy Archives)

-Ever wonder how your Italian moka coffee pot works? (How It Works Daily)

-Paris gets a billion-dollar shopping mall (Bloomberg)

-Can climate change kill the red apple? (BBC)

-Andy Ricker shares how to make his famous Pok Pok fish sauce chicken wings…and yes, they’re as incredible as they look… (The Oregonian, YouTube)

And if you’re looking for some winter-friendly, holiday recipes, here are a few from the blog…

Traditional Mincemeat

Orange-Glazed Polenta Cake

Cranberry-Raisin Pie

Cinnamon Ice Cream

French Apple Tart

Parisian Hot Chocolate


Holiday Snack Mix

Cheese Ball and Fromage Fort

Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Eggnog

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

-And I discovered on a recent trip to Cinncinati, and Kentucky, that I like bourbon Manhattans too. So if you’re mixing one (or more) up for the holidays, maybe give it a try?







Weekend Links & Holiday Recipes

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  • Sandra Castro
    December 6, 2019 5:32pm

    I did not receive December Newsletter,hasn’t happened before so I think I signed up again..

    • December 6, 2019 5:51pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for your comment, Sandra. I did check and you are on the newsletter mailing list, so if you didn’t get one, check your spam folder as sometimes they go in there. If you’d like the read the December newsletter, it’s here.

  • Sharon Feather
    December 6, 2019 6:13pm

    I have a recipe to recommend to you, surprisingly (to me) from NordicWare. I bought their Halloween tombstone baking plaque, and was planning to use my own recipe, but looked at theirs (on their website with the plaque) for quantity estimates, then made theirs. With the sole change of brandy for good Kentucky bourbon, the recipe is delightful, and holds up to the shaping. Obviously delete, return to brandy, or sub non-alcohol when baking for kids, as the bourbon flavor is somewhat pronounced.

    • December 7, 2019 10:12am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. What recipe is that for?

  • Patsy Stewart
    December 6, 2019 6:16pm

    Thanks for the links, David—my weekend reading is now conveniently mapped out for me.

  • December 6, 2019 6:54pm

    We’ll be in Paris for a long weekend in January. We’re trying, again, to get into Septime, but assuming we won’t, as usual, what would you recommend? We’ve often gone to Semilla, but would like to try something different and really good (but not too fancy).

    • December 7, 2019 10:14am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Judith: I don’t make specific restaurant recommendations because everyone has different needs, food likes (traditional vs. contemporary, etc), neighborhoods they want to be in, budget, and more. But I’ve compiled a list of Favorite Restaurants in Paris which are on the top menu bar of this page. You should be able to find one there.

  • Connie K
    December 6, 2019 8:09pm

    David, love your blog and appreciate the shout outs you give to the talented chefs here in Portland, Oregon…Andy Ricker, Pok Pok, Jeffrey Morgenthaller, Clyde Commons, and others. We’re very blessed to have such a vibrant food community. My question for you is when will we have the pleasure of introducing, or reintroducing, you to Portland’s food life in person and hearing more of your takes on dishes we love here.

    • December 7, 2019 10:15am
      David Lebovitz

      I will be on book tour but there is a budget with the publisher so they are determining how many cities I can visit and which ones. Since Jeffrey is featured in my book (how could I not?) I hope to get to Portland this spring.

      In other Portland news, sad that Pearl bakery is closing. I loved that place.

      • Connie K
        December 7, 2019 6:23pm

        Great to hear. I will definitely look for you. I didn’t know about Pearl Bakery…sad indeed…but we have so many other wonderful ones. Ken Forkish bakery and pizzeria is a favorite of mine and his bread book is my standby for homemade bread. Thanks for all you do!

      • Theresa from Sacramento
        December 12, 2019 2:28am

        Congrats. You deserve this award. I anxiously await the Saveur blog awards every fall and always learn so much from others. I’ve read your blog for so long I don’t recall how I found you. I haven’t missed a newsletter since. I agree with Saveur you are the best!

  • Pam from Cape Cod
    December 6, 2019 8:52pm

    From Saveur:

    “As far as we’re concerned, there couldn’t be a better person to honor for Blog of the Decade.”

    I couldn’t agree more! Congratulations on a well deserved honor.

  • Laura Maneschi
    December 6, 2019 9:12pm

    Hey David,
    Your winter greens got me thinking. One of our favorite recipes is the Neapolitan Pizza Escarole. Crust is a buttery egg pie crust and filling is escarole, garlic, capers, olives and raisins and a touch of hot pepper and as crazy as it sounds it is fabulous. One of those Italian dishes that Can be eaten at room temperature and lasts (and tastes better) a day or so after prepared.
    My favorite English version is found in Arthur Schwartz’s cookbook “Naples at Table” Napoli a tavola. An oldie but goldie.
    Give it a try if you find yourself with extra escarole!

  • SCW
    December 6, 2019 9:14pm

    Try a Maker’s Mark manhattan…you will love it.

  • Margaret
    December 6, 2019 10:00pm

    Congrats on your Saveur Award — I couldn’t have said it better as a reader for the past 15 years. I’ve learned
    so much from you about Paris and French food, culture — thank you, David!

  • Margaret
    December 6, 2019 10:07pm

    PS, I’m surprised you didn’t include your cheeseball in the holiday links. I made it for friends and family when you first posted it and now they request I bring it when they’re having a party. People cluster around and it always causes a stir. Ditto your French apple tart (which you posted) and gougeres.

    • December 7, 2019 10:16am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks + glad you’ve been enjoying the blog!

      I added the cheese ball, and it’s French cousin, Fromage Fort to the list : )

  • Megan
    December 7, 2019 12:41am

    I love these lists–a curated stroll around the internet is a much nicer way to spend time on the internet! Thanks for the suggestions.

  • rose
    December 7, 2019 2:56am

    For some reason your all your links always open and replace your page, instead of in a new tab – can you please reconfigure your links to open in a new tab? Nothing I do on my end changes it (settings are already set to open links in new tab – but your site does not). Thank you!

    • December 7, 2019 10:21am
      David Lebovitz

      It’s considered “bad form” to make links open in a new tab, rather than in the same window, for reasons described here. It seems to be the most common sentiment on how to handle links. There’s another article here that discussed why a majority of the people don’t prefer that. It’s a challenge to get everything right on a website/blog, that meets everyone’s needs, so I follow what the majority of people seem to want :)

  • Carol Diamond
    December 7, 2019 3:03am

    David, your modesty is very becoming! Blog of the decade, and no bragging! You do deserve it. I have been following you for longer than that, and always had my eye on your guided trip to Paris, knowing full well I would never go. But it WOULD have been fabulous! So love everything you write about, and the way you convey the sixth sense about good food. Keep going for many more decades!

    • December 7, 2019 10:25am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks Carol! When I went to the event in Cincinnati, they asked me to say a few words and I especially was thankful to Saveur magazine for opening up another side of the food world to us. Back when they started, rather than taking a more literary approach to food (and food writing), they focused on things like food fairs, street markets, and food that looked like you’d make it at home, not heavily styled. Also, people who wrote for them were not necessarily staff writers with writing pedigrees, which made the articles relatable.

      Those ideas have become the norm but Saveur really pioneered it. So I was particularly honored that they gave me this award because blogging also opened up the gate for other voices to be heard, not just mine, but others.

    December 7, 2019 4:07am

    David! CONGRATULATIONS! What a terrific and infinitely deserved accolade from Saveur! Your blog is simply the best I have ever read. Thanks for everything!

  • Phyllis Bregman
    December 7, 2019 5:50am

    I only drink Manhattans with Bourbon, and I’m from NYC. Thrilled you discovered.

  • Virginia H.
    December 8, 2019 12:43am

    Hello, David: I have a question about the amount of butter called for in your Orange-Glazed Polenta Cake. Is it 1 cup of butter or 2 cups of butter? The weight(s) given do not match the volume stated. Please clarify–the cake sounds delicious. Thank you for your amazing generosity in sharing so many recipes. PS your Winter Salad with Pears, Pecans & Gorgonzla has become a New Year’s tradition in our household. Thank you!!!

    • December 9, 2019 6:38am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention. The recipe was written in both systems of measurement (actually…three! When will we all decide on one?) My friend Elizabeth Karmel makes it using 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) of butter, when she included it in her book, Steak and Cake, but I use 8 ounces. I removed one of the extraneous systems of measurement from the recipe. Enjoy the cake!

  • m'liss
    December 8, 2019 5:47pm

    “Included” in Saveur Food Blog Awards? You are the star! And rightly so. Yours’ was the first blogs I ever read, many years ago. Where others have come & go, you have consistently provided delicious, wonderful & humorous writing that has kept us all wanting more. Well done & thank you.

  • Russ
    December 17, 2019 8:58pm

    I made the chocolate-almond toffee, only I subbed in hazelnuts. Great recipe – super easy – and a nice gift when put in a candy box or something similar. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Karen
    January 4, 2020 6:58pm

    Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition by Saveur. As a looooong time reader, thank you for your influences in my own kitchen and outlook!