Brittany Part Two

Church

Last October, I hiked a good part of the Sentier des Douaniers, the winding trail that traces the coast of Brittany.   Just last week I hiked another part of the trail, the eventual goal being to hike the entire Breton “peninsula”. The Sentier des Douaniers was once trod by customs agents on the alert […]

Confit of Peppers

peppers

Every year I make a batch of pepper confit (confit means to cook very slowly usually in oil or fat) with Doux des Landes (capsicum annum) grown in the fields of Criqueboeuf sur Seine, hardly considered pepper country.   Criqueboeuf-sur-Seine is just a few kilometers from my house in Normandy, the land of lettuce and leeks, […]

Salt Cod Goes Uptown

Cod in salt

Salt cod.  It’s not your every day ingredient, I know. But you can find it in most fish markets, often in neat little wood boxes labeled “Salt Cod – Skinless and Boneless fillets”.* The History of Salt Cod Cod has a fascinating, lucrative history.  Much of it has to do with its salted version.  Cod […]

Poached Eggs

What is more wonderful than a poached egg?  Many things, perhaps, but not when you’ve been traveling, or you’re in a hurry, or your child has a performance and you’ve got one hour to make and serve a decent meal.  Or really at any time at all when you want something delicious and fast. That […]

Sweet Praline Almonds

Ever since I tasted these praline almonds, made by my colleague and friend David Lebovitz once when he was visiting, I’ve loved them.  They’re a perfect, and perfectly surprising, amuse-bouche, or appetizer.   I make them often, we make them in classes, guests eat them like they were candy.  Which they sort of are, with […]

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Rhubarb

  Naturally, the French cook has a way with this fleeting gift of spring.  Typically, it is wrapped in buttery pastry, pureed and put under a meringue, atop ice cream, blended with cream, cooked in syrup.  Here, I’m inspired by the French fascination with sugar syrup to turn rhubarb into a sweet, zesty sauce for […]

Bear Garlic

Some years ago, I snitched a couple of l’ail des ours (bear garlic – allium ursinum) plants from the woods and planted them in my garden. They’ve got delicate, deep-green leaves and sweet, starburst-white flowers and they smell headily of garlic, making them lovely additions. More importantly, though, they’re  “witness” plants, telling me that soon the forest […]

Tuerie

There is something so very special about being an expatriate even though, occasionally, I long for the familiarity of the country where I was born. But just think: here, I am and always will be “the American.” Which gives me the advantage of the renegade. This creates advantages, one of which is that I can […]

Cooking with Ramps

Ramps, or what the French call l’ail des ours (bear garlic) has sprouted, flowered, and now is settling in as forest ground cover.  Soon its pungent leaves will fade to a pale yellow, and then it will offer no flavor. For now, though,  l’ail des ours is still ripe for the picking and eating. This season has been particularly abundant, […]

Nutmeg Logs

Its’ almost Christmas, but there is time for one last cookie recipe, and here it is. These little treasures are a tradition in my family and I’ve made them every year since I can remember. They’re quick and they fill the air with their nutmeg scent.  Waste no time – get into the kitchen so that, […]