July 1, 2013
I’ve been promising my friends to post the recipe for this frittata since that first picnic on the Seine. Well after nearly two months, and many more picnics, here it is.
This frittata is the ultimate picnic main dish. It’s substantial enough to stand in for dinner, it’s transportable, and it’s great hot, warm, or room-temperature. It’s not as fussy as a quiche. It has a ton of beautiful vegetables in it, which will make you feel virtuous, but has a bit of ham and cheese for smoke and salt.
January 20, 2013
It’s story time with Miss Diane! Gather ’round kids.
Once there was a little girl who was a very picky eater. She didn’t like spicy foods, she didn’t like foods that were “too green,” and was generally scared of foods she’d never tried before. Eventually, the little girl grew up to be a college student who, while still being a picky eater, loved to eat.
One day, the girl had a realization. If I get over my pickiness, she thought, I can eat more food! Maybe I don’t actually hate the things I don’t think I like… maybe I never gave them a proper chance.
And so she started with mushrooms. She took some plump, pretty mushrooms, and stuffed them with everything she liked: bacon, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic…
If I don’t like them stuffed with all these good things, she thought, then I probably actually hate them. She took a fat, juicy stuffed mushroom between her fingers and took a bite. She’s been loving mushrooms ever since.
November 13, 2012
This is one of the appetizers (besides the copious charcuterie and cheese) that I served at our last little get-together.
It’s simple, seasonal, and extremely flavorful — the sweet butternuts squash is accentuated by the chile-infused honey and the crispiness of the puff pastry is mirrored by that of the sage. When I made it, I used an entire bird’s-eye chile and found it a bit too spicy — I’ve scaled that down to 1/2 a chile here to rein it in a bit.
October 16, 2012
Chestnuts are making their way back to the street vendors. Sometimes, stepping out of a metro stop, I smell the familiar smoky charcoal smell of the roasters and almost stop to buy a handful.
But invariably, whenever I do buy some, they’re nearly impossible to peel. That’s why I’ve taken to roasting them at home — I can cut huge slits in the peels before roasting them, and they nearly fall off after being roasted.
I’ve also found what seems to be the perfect dipping sauce for chestnuts: chestnut honey, or miel de châtaignier, mixed with a good amount of coarse-ground pepper. The tongue-coating quality of the honey helps to mitigate the tendency of fresh-roasted chestnuts of being a little dry, and the pepper cuts through their creaminess with some spice. And I must admit, pairing honey made from chestnut flowers with the nuts that those trees eventually produced is pleasingly recursive.