Upcoming Events – Live and Online!

Leaning into the world of live, online presentations, chats, and interviews, I’ve got several lined up in the next few weeks. Some are free and others are ticketed. Please check the time zones where you live and confirm with the websites or venues to confirm times (because it’s a challenge for me to keep track of multiple time zones), and you’re welcome to contact the…

Leaning into the world of live, online presentations, chats, and interviews, I’ve got several lined up in the next few weeks. Some are free and others are ticketed. Please check the time zones where you live and confirm with the websites or venues to confirm times (because it’s a challenge for me to keep track of multiple time zones), and you’re welcome to contact the venues for additional information or registration assistance. Looking forward to seeing you!

April

April 17 (tomorrow!): I’ll be in conversation with my friend Reem Kassis about her new book, The Arabesque Table from 2-3pm ET. I made the Halvah from Reem’s new book (which was amazing) and I’m looking forward to delving deeper into the subject of the book with her. To register for this free chat, click here.

April 19: One of my favorite guests from Instagram Live Apéro Hour is back! Join us as she makes one of my very favorite cocktails from her bar in Paris at 6pm CET/Paris time (Noon ET, 9am PT)

April 20: I’m back with the San Francisco Baker’s Dozen, from my old stomping ground, with an online baking demo taking place 9:45am PT. It’s free for members. Register here.

April 26: Join me for a live seminar on French Apéritifs: History, Context, and Culture online with Context Conversations, 5pm ET. Register Slope Cellars talking about French apéritifs and spirits. He’ll also share one of his favorite cocktail recipes. 4pm ET.

[Context is offering a special link that will give first-time customers Upcoming Events – Live and Online!...

The Hemingway Daiquiri

I became engrossed with author Ernest Hemingway watching the documentary, Hemingway by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway is one of those legends whose name we all know, but most of us don’t know all that much about him. The documentary takes an unflinching look at him, and his legacy, thanks to contemporary writers, literary scholars, and historians, who filled in much of the…

I became engrossed with author Ernest Hemingway watching the documentary, Hemingway by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway is one of those legends whose name we all know, but most of us don’t know all that much about him. The documentary takes an unflinching look at him, and his legacy, thanks to contemporary writers, literary scholars, and historians, who filled in much of the biographical information that accompanied his history, which wasn’t always rosy.

Some books of his were big hits while others fell flat. Some consider The Old Man and the Sea a great novel while others described it in unflattering terms. He had a penchant for falling in love madly in love with women, which usually took a turn for the worse…which is being kind. (Although discussed and implied, the relationships sounded harrowing.) He swore at his mother in writings and later, he got an earful in turn from his son, who sent him a letter calling The Old Man and the Sea “sentimental slop.” He married multiple times, suffered debilitating war injuries, drank too much, had affairs, survived two plane crashes, and lived in Cuba, Paris, Key West, before finally settling at the end of his life in Ketchum, Idaho.

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Blueberry Muffin Cake

Zoë François is the author of Zoë Bakes Cakes and even though her name is French, she’s an American cake baker. Known for a series of books on making Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, as well as books that continue that theme for making pizza, flatbread, holidays breads, and gluten-free breads, Zoë has finally turned her talents as a pastry chef to cakes….

Zoë François is the author of Zoë Bakes Cakes and even though her name is French, she’s an American cake baker. Known for a series of books on making Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, as well as books that continue that theme for making pizza, flatbread, holidays breads, and gluten-free breads, Zoë has finally turned her talents as a pastry chef to cakes. After growing up in a commune where the closest she got to sugar was a raisin, Zoë discovered Twinkies, which awakened her to the wonderful world of sweets and started selling homemade cookies from a cart in college, which eventually led to a job decorating cakes at Ben & Jerry’s, since she admitted to me on an Instagram Live video I did with her, that she didn’t excel at scooping ice cream.

I had a similar job scooping ice cream at a very busy shop while in college. Challenges included a persistent stressed muscle near my upper arm, which didn’t get better the more ice cream I scooped. There were customers who’d order one scoop, but ask me to make it “one really big scoop” because they didn’t want to pay the extra 50¢ for two scoops. And people paying for a $1.30 cone of ice cream with a hundred and thirty pennies, maybe with a few very thin dimes tossed in, which they’d line up on the stainless steel counter between us, which were nearly impossible to pick up with wet, sticky hands.

(You tell me if I was a brat by holding their ice cream cone in the other hand, while they cooled their heels waiting for me to pick up each individual coin, one-by-one, with the other – finally handing their cone over only after the last coin was pried off the counter and put in the register, which the owner monitored like a hawk. Another employee, if people were rude to her, would carefully balance – but not pack – the ice cream scoop delicately on top of the cone, so when they went outside to lick it, it would topple off. The moral of the story, as I often advise, is to be nice to people serving you food.)

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Halvah

A few years ago, tahini took its place in the spotlight. People discovered the sesame paste, usually used in hummus, could be used in cookies, cakes, salad dressings, sauces as well as in other places. Soon halvah also had its day, becoming a star ingredient in tart doughs and rugelach. But halvah is a wonderful treat on its own. During my childhood, I’d only been…

A few years ago, tahini took its place in the spotlight. People discovered the sesame paste, usually used in hummus, could be used in cookies, cakes, salad dressings, sauces as well as in other places. Soon halvah also had its day, becoming a star ingredient in tart doughs and rugelach. But halvah is a wonderful treat on its own.

During my childhood, I’d only been exposed to halvah sold in bars by the cash register in delis, but when I went to Jerusalem, I was wowed at the market to see towering rounds of halvah at places like Halvah Kingdom, which were topped (and studded or swirled) with various ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, cocoa, coffee beans, and chocolate amongst the reported one hundred varieties that they make. The halvah was like nothing I’d ever put in my mouth; you could taste the quality of the sesame seeds used in every crumbly bite. (If you want a taste of outstanding halvah in the U.S., check out Seed & Mill.)

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Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s a lot of “stuffed” stuff that goes viral online and it wasn’t my intention to do a caramel-stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Yet there I was, faced with a few batches of caramels leftover from recipe testing that didn&#821…

There’s a lot of “stuffed” stuff that goes viral online and it wasn’t my intention to do a caramel-stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Yet there I was, faced with a few batches of caramels leftover from recipe testing that didn’t quite make the cut, and wanted to put the caramels to good use. So why not?

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Let’s Eat France!

Of all the books I own on French cuisine, Let’s Eat France is one of my favorites. First up, the book is huge. I don’t mean in terms of scope, which it is. But physically the book is enormous. Think the size of the tablet listing five of the ten commandments, and just as heavy. The book is 13+ inches (33cm) tall and clocks in…

Of all the books I own on French cuisine, Let’s Eat France is one of my favorites. First up, the book is huge. I don’t mean in terms of scope, which it is. But physically the book is enormous. Think the size of the tablet listing five of the ten commandments, and just as heavy. The book is 13+ inches (33cm) tall and clocks in at 5 1/2 pounds (2,5kg). Let’s Eat France certainly merits the heft; each page is crammed with interesting information, well laid out for reading, with plenty of places on the 431 pages for sidebars, anecdotes, photos, charts, asides, maps, and recipes.

You don’t often come across books on French foods that are this much fun. The French certainly have a jovial attitude about food, but usually in the written world, there’s more reverence than irreverence. There’s a lot of like about French food it’s fun to see someone like François-Régis Gaudry, and his friends who contributed material, have fun with the topic.

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Chocoflan

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes. Chocoflan has always…

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes.

Chocoflan has always fascinated me and over eleven years ago, I posted this recipe, based on one by my friend Fany Gerson in her terrific book My Sweet Mexico. When I got her book, I was wowed by it immediately. I was so taken with her book that I asked the same photographer, Ed Anderson, to shoot my next book, which was My Paris Kitchen. I’m happy the pastries of Mexico have been adequately explored in a whole book, with recipes from a notable pastry chef to boot.

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Where to Get Fresh Tortillas in Paris

Who knew that one of my most FAQs would be “Where can I find fresh tortillas in Paris?” Yes, there’s no shortage of bread in Paris, with over 1200 bakeries in the city baking it fresh daily, but with a burgeoning interest in Mexican food, and a number of residents from the Americans (and elsewhere) who enjoy and crave tortillas, there are several places where…

Who knew that one of my most FAQs would be “Where can I find fresh tortillas in Paris?”

Yes, there’s no shortage of bread in Paris, with over 1200 bakeries in the city baking it fresh daily, but with a burgeoning interest in Mexican food, and a number of residents from the Americans (and elsewhere) who enjoy and crave tortillas, there are several places where you can find them fresh.

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Tuna Melt

It’s funny some of the dos and don’ts that people have come up with around food. Things like that you shouldn’t wash button mushrooms, that you should drink red wine with cheese, and that you shouldn’t let soap anywhere near your cast iron skillet. Nope, nope, and nope. Not sure where these things get started, but people grab the ball and run with it without…

It’s funny some of the dos and don’ts that people have come up with around food. Things like that you shouldn’t wash button mushrooms, that you should drink red wine with cheese, and that you shouldn’t let soap anywhere near your cast iron skillet. Nope, nope, and nope. Not sure where these things get started, but people grab the ball and run with it without turning around to realize they are completely off the field.

Another thing you hear a lot is that fish doesn’t go with cheese. In addition to Moules au Roquefort (mussels with Roquefort) in France, Shrimp Saganaki (with feta) from Greece, and Machas a la parmesana (clams with Parmesan) from Chile, the Tuna Melt is a popular sandwich in the States. However, I do draw the line at les sushis restaurants and decline the bœuf fromage brochette that comes with yakitori assortment plates in France, and ask if they can swap it for a second roasted duck. I love melted cheese, and I like sushi. I’m not sure I want them in the same meal, but à chacun son goût…to each their own taste.

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Brined, Roast Pork

I’m often asked what my favorite cookbooks are and invariably I pull out a copy of The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. It’s one of those rare books where you learn something from every sentence on every page, and in every recipe that you make from it. Judy was an amazing cook and whatever she made was unusually good, in spite of its (seemingly)…

I’m often asked what my favorite cookbooks are and invariably I pull out a copy of The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. It’s one of those rare books where you learn something from every sentence on every page, and in every recipe that you make from it. Judy was an amazing cook and whatever she made was unusually good, in spite of its (seemingly) relative simplicity, ranging from the lightest ricotta gnocchi you’ll ever have to the legendary Zuni roast chicken, which was worth the one-hour wait after you ordered it at the restaurant. It gave you plenty of time to have a margarita, a pile of shoestring fries, and a classic Caesar Salad. (Fun fact: I worked at Zuni Cafe when I first moved to San Francisco and made a lot of Caesar Salads, which, if I may be so bold, were excellent and the recipe is in the book.)

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