Omelette filling

Omelette filling

This afternoon when Fiona walked into the kitchen she  said “Mom, I got scared. I thought you were making that sausage and tomato dish again.”  She was referring to Rougail, which is a recipe for my new book.  “We, like, ate it, like, three times in one week and I don’t think I could eat it again,” she said with all her fifteen year old honesty.  She was so relieved when she found out that, instead, I was making a potato and bacon omelette.

Fiona has been a very constant and lovely companion as I test recipes for my new book.  As have many of my friends, willing to sit at the table and see what I put in front of them. Anyone who has ever written a cookbook and tested the recipes will sympathize, or is it empathize, with the keen pleasure of seeing a dish come together after much planning, chopping, slicing, dicing, and cooking, then sitting down to it and realizing that there is just something missing.  This happened with the Rougail, and again with the Lemon Tagine.  It will happen with others, too.

It’s not a disaster when it happens. It just means you have to make the dish again, even if your daughter says “Mo-o-om,”  then offers to go  get  “kebabs” from the Turkish place down the street, for a change.

Today, though, was a great testing day. It began with chaussons aux pommes, apple slippers.  “Mom, no one will mind that they look a little exploded, they’re delicious,” she said, pressing up little crumbs of puff pastry from her plate.


First try chausson aux pommes - apple slippers

First try chausson aux pommes – apple slippers


Poached egg on salad with lardons, bacon.

Poached egg on salad with lardons, bacon.


First try pain viennois

First try pain viennois

We moved on to the omelette for lunch (“Really good, mom,” she said as she ran out the door to go meet her friend.).  Dinner was a crisp salad made with a blend of iceberg (yes, it’s amazingly delicious straight from the farm), and a new, sweet lettuce called craquerel, tossed with a hot bacon dressing, and topped with a poached egg (“Yum!”), and a tender white loaf called pain viennois.  “Do you think you could make it a little less dry?” Fiona asked.  

Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

We both enjoyed the creme caramel. “But I loved the one you made the other day, too,” she said.  “What is the difference?”

When I answered “Five minutes,” she looked perplexed until I explained about double-checking the cooking time, then she went back to sewing the last seam of a project she’s working on.

And now it’s late.  I’m going through testing results and making notes, planning my recipes for tomorrow, re-reading pieces of text.    I love this moment.  It’s quiet, except for the gentle patter of spring rain outside.  The candles in my office – constant companions – are burning.  It has been a great day!



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22 Responses to At The End of the Day

  1. Kathy Bull says:

    What a great day! Your recipes sound delicious. I hope to one day be in one of your cooking classes. I know it would be wonderful.

  2. Kathryn Gore says:

    I can smell the aromas now. How I wish I was there to sit at the tasting table! Is Fiona really 15?! How the time does fly! Hope all is well on Rue Tatin.

  3. Oh my, everything looks amazing. Especially those apple slippers! That Creme Caramel is pure perfection. I can’t wait to make them. When is your book coming out?

  4. Barbara Murchie says:

    I can see your kitchen and even your office now. Fond memories. Best of luck with your new book. Barb

  5. Eve Fox says:

    What a lucky girl and mom to have each other!

  6. Laura in Texas says:

    I agree with Fiona, the chausson aux pommes look delicious and I can see my boys capturing the escaping filling when my back is turned! Hope tomorrow is another great day.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, exactly how it happens. The “fixed” ones won’t explode. I’ve got it figured out, just have to try them.

  7. Susan Kupferman says:

    I think everything looks yummy! Would love the recipe for the Creme caramel since I found a wonderful treasure of a French caramel pot in a thrift shop and I am anxious to try it out. Love the salad with the poached egg! ThAt will be my next lunch that I will make for my friends.

  8. Susan Kupferman says:

    Not mean,just smart!! Ah!Ah!… Ok I guess I will have to wait……always for something GOOD!!! Everything looks fabulous , let us know when your book is out, in the meantime I always enjoy your e- mails with exciting new finds. Have a great day..

  9. Peggy Bradley says:

    Cannot wait for your next book! Looked for the French Farmhouse one for a wedding gift, but it is out-of-print!

    • Susan says:


      Thanks! The French Farmhouse book is out of print, sadly, but you still should find it on amazon. Just had former students buy a copy last week. Go take a look. Also, might be on Abe Books. Good luck!

  10. lmcbride2 says:

    Well I’ve eaten many a chausson aux pommes in patisseries, but I’ve never seen any that gorgeous. Don’t have the courage to tackle that pastry, though–may have to cheat with a pre-made pâte. You made all that in one day, phew! And how lucky you are to have such a good recipe taster!

    • Susan says:

      Well, here is my dirty little secret…I did NOT make the pastry. I ordered it from the local baker. If you have really good pastry that you can get, just buy it. Or try ordering it from your local French bakery. It is worth a try! (the night before you need it!). Happy baking!

  11. Faith Richardson says:

    I can’t wait for your new cookbook. Everything looks fabulous as always.

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