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September 21, 2022
My eight-hour flight to France made me feel like an aging sardine; dry, brittle, and salty. Also, awfully eager to slip into a tub of water. But by the next day, luxuriating in Cassis, well, I was on vacation. More, I was vacationing in a country where citizens get five weeks off of paid leave. And we Americans think we got it so good, boy, Anyway, here are some photos of my first few days in France.
September 16, 2022
For me, linzertorte lingers among my childhood memories. Recently after making some blueberry jam, I picked up a linzertorte recipe and decided to bake a batch using a a percentage of buckwheat flour in the dough. Suddenly I was back down memory lane, stepping into its toothy goodness.
September 07, 2022
Tasked with making a simple dinner that was primarily plant-based, I revisited a dish from one of my visits to Turkey. Actually, it was one of my creations, inspired while working in the kitchen of Dilara, my host when I visited Istanbul several summers ago. It was August. And Dilara challenged me to "make magic." As August is Turkey's eggplant season, I recreated my mother's Provencal studded gigot d'agneau with eggplant, and prepared similarly to another frequent Turkish dish, roasted lamb.
August 31, 2022
Krust & Krume
Kruste & Krume bakers Barbara van Melle and Simon Wöckl have a wonderful YouTube channel. Shot in their Viennese bakery (and spoken in German), their videos have had me wanting to attempt some of their bread formulas. Here's some of what I tried, Spelt. Emmer. 60/40 Roggenmischbrot. Toast bread and baguette.
August 24, 2022
Mac 'N Cheese
I am not sure why macaroni and cheese became entrenched as a deeply American dish. Someone once told me Thomas Jefferson might have introduced it, improvising on something he had discovered while ambassador to France. Since then this simple but lovely pleasure has gone through multiple iterations, including attempts for an easy-peasy version delivered in boxes and sold at our grocery stores.
Recently, me and my wife brought a young friend to the Museum of Modern Art. Besides great art, MOMA offers visitors the Terrace Cafe which serves wonderful food, including their own version of "mac'n'cheese." Our guest, a budding ballerina in the photo below, loves this dish. She even allowed me to interview about her strong feelings about mac'n'cheese, as you can hear in the video below.
August 06, 2022
Summer Plum Tarte
I always remember advice from my mother concerning food lingering in the fridge. She told me that before it dies forgotten on a shelf, gather it up to put to use, whether old fruit or scraps of dough. Recently I noticed some plums that were softening. So I proceeded to create a summer plum tarte. It reminded me of visits to my Swiss family's orchard summers past, and all the juicy plums I've enjoyed before.
July 30, 2022
While organizing some edibles for a late wine and snack summer social I was limited in prep time. I gathered up summer tomatoes, made a spelt dough inspired by my sister. This tarte being savory combined cheese, onions and mustard to tie into a quasi Provençal inspired Swiss tarte. It's all over the place, perhaps, but the results were fabulous!
July 25, 2022
Nougat is a chewy nut confection with roots back in the Roman Empire, only more likely first crafted in what is now Turkey and Greece rather than Italy. In my early days as a pastry cook, I remember wanting to master this challenging mixture of hot sugar and honey that bind nuts and fruit within its mortar-like consistency. The other night, I put my hand to it again, using excess egg whites from a seasonal panettone mix. Boiling sugar and honey, thermometer in hand, I added into the whipped egg whites and a mash of toasted nuts. Then I rolled and cut the nougat, and later when it cooled and hardened, I enjoyed the delicious chew.
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