August 31, 2012
This recipe came to me in a dream. I am not even kidding you.
I’ve had a problem with having a consistent sleep schedule since I was a little kid. I remember staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning reading under my blanket with only a little night-light (possibly contributing to my horrendous eyesight as well as my degree in literature). With the Paris summer, during which the sun didn’t set until 10pm sometimes, and the fact that neither the gentleman nor I have to be in an office at 9am daily, I think it’s understandable that sometimes we don’t go to bed until the wee hours.
It’s worse when the gentleman is away. He at least feels a little guilt about being vaguely nocturnal; I don’t. Which is why I have sometimes found myself, in the last week, napping at strange hours, with the sun fully in my face.
August 30, 2012
This is the kind of dish that completely depends on high quality ingredients: fresh, gorgeous tomatoes and excellent butter.
I first encountered Cœur de Bœuf tomatoes, a cousin of the American beefsteak tomato, at Ô Chateau in a lovely salad preparation. Its uneven ridges create very small pockets of seeds inside the fruit, so the flesh is not nearly as watery as other tomato varieties. Substantial and fleshy, this variety is perfect for slicing thick and eating raw.
I can’t get over how pretty these slices are, arranged on a big plate — like big tomato flowers.
August 29, 2012
The other day, David Lebovitz posted a picture of part of his ramekin collection on Instagram. Stacks of variously-sized glazed white porcelain bowls, filling an entire sink. I covet this collection from the depths of my baker-heart.
What is a girl to do but start her own collection of baking vessels? For me, though, it started with tart pans. Pretty little fluted pans in a myriad variety of sizes for a million different uses. Cupcakes? Who needs cupcakes when you can make such daintily ruffled berry-studded tea cakes?
August 28, 2012
Because really, the problem with food blogging is that sometimes you don’t want to write about cooking. Sometimes you want to bring home a kilogram of green plums and eat them all in one day and make yourself sick. Well, maybe you don’t want to do that last part.
I discovered Reines-Claudes plums at the Bastille market last week, and have been getting way too many at a time because, jesus, they’re so cheap. It’s hard to tell with that glowing green skin, but these are the sweetest plums I’ve ever tasted, without a hint of that shocking acidity just under the skin that their larger, redder and purpler cousins have.
That thing with eating all of them and getting sick? Yeah, I did that. But then I went back and got more because they’re just that good. Now I’m trying them out in recipes so I’m forced to use them instead of just inhaling them.
August 27, 2012
I have an extremely un-classy thing to compare these muffins to. Okay. Here goes.
Did you ever go to El Torito Grill? It’s this Mexican restaurant chain, mostly found on the west coast. I remember going on a lot of dates there in high school because, you know, it was high school. We had low standards and were low on pocket change.
Anyway. There was this corn cake thing that accompanied a lot of the dishes. Not cornbread, but this wet, doughy corn mash, partly whole corn kernels and partly cornbread. It was kind of sweet and I was addicted to the stuff. I would always order extra.
- August 26, 2012
August 24, 2012
After a two-week heat wave, it’s starting to cool down in Paris this week. At the Thursday Bastille market, there were yellow and orange leaves littering the ground, and the strawberries were not as numerous or quite as bright and juicy-looking as they were earlier in the summer. I know it’s only August, but as soon as the strawberries start going out, it feels like fall is on its way. What’s say we make a few lovely sun-drenched cakes to stretch out the summer a little longer, hmm?
I’ve made a version of this cake every summer since I moved into my first apartment in college. I don’t remember where that first recipe came from — possibly one of the cookbooks that my roommates brought with them — but this recipe from Martha Stewart by way of Smitten Kitchen is my favorite so far. The milk in the recipe allows the cake to stay moist throughout the long bake time, while the strawberries soften and roast into dimpled puddles of sweet jamminess. The way the strawberries make the batter buckle and puff make it look vaguely quilted. Lovely for company or for afternoon snacking.