Happy New Year! I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas presents: “My Paris Kitchen” by David Lebovitz. I have been a fan of David’s blog for a couple of years, but did not, until now, own any of his cookbooks. This cookbook is a wonderful combination of story-telling (like his blog) and recipes which do not seem full of outrageous ingredients that normal people would never be able to find. I am already inserting little bookmarks to mark the recipes that I want to try first and will post the results when that happens, but in the meantime, check out his blog at www.davidlebovitz.com and see if you find his writing style as disarming and charming as I do.
Let’s hope his recipes themselves turn out to be as much to my taste as his writing style!
I can’t physically be in Paris nearly as often as I’d like, so I love it when I find things that give me that “warm and fuzzy” feeling of being there, even when I’m still sitting at home. Sharon O’Connor has done that for me with her packet of French Cafe music and recipes:
This was given to me as a gift and it is a boxed set of simple recipes, each from a specific cafe in Paris. They are generally very simple, reflecting the more traditional meals that you can get at most corner cafes. For example, there is one for an Omelette with Fresh Herbs, one for Sole with Lemon Brown Butter and Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and one for a Nicoise Salad. Each recipe is from a particular cafe that she has visited and each card not only describes the recipe, in simple detail that is easy to follow, but also a description of the Cafe it came from. My husband and I made the omelettes using the recipe the other night, and truly, they were delicious! It comes with a CD of cafe music as well, very upbeat and totally French.
We enjoyed that so much that we bought a second collection from her, this time of her Bistro music and recipes:
These recipes are in an actual cookbook, rather than on individual cards, but they look just as easy to follow. I’m looking forward to trying the Steak Frites recipe, for example!. This time the music is instrumental rather than the fun vocals from the first one, so I admit I didn’t care for the music quite as much, but I still found it fun to listen to, especially because they often feature accordion which always reminds me of Paris and the buskers in the metro. I strongly recommend them both!
This is the notebook I had when I lived in Paris my junior year. I kept track of my budget in it (movie- Sonate D’Automne 10 francs, crepe, 2,50 francs, lunch, 24 francs) and I wrote recipes in it. The tradition in my family’s house was that the formal meal on Sunday was at about 2:00 and that evening we would make crepes for our dinner. They were a light, simple meal. Everyone had to cook their own and we took turns using the pan. The choices for your “dinner” crepe were egg, cheese and ham, for dessert, lemon and sugar, or butter and sugar. It was fun because it was much more casual than normal meals- someone was always jumping up to cook their crepe and conversation was lively. I have great memories of those evenings- the warm, lit kitchen, the scuffed table that we all sat around, the smell of the crepes, the cheese as it cooked, the sugar as it melted.
The recipe is on the recipe page. You CAN do it yourself, it’s not tough, and it does NOT require a special pan. ENJOY!
The first recipe is for French Yogurt Cake. I was told, when I lived in France my junior year, that it’s a staple in French households and one of the first things everyone is taught to cook. I love it and it’s incredibly easy. I figured I’d create a recipes page so it’s separate from other blog entries and easy to find (you can see the link to it next to the Home link). In this version of the recipe, I’ve used lemon, which I love, but my French mother sometimes substituted coconut in hers and that’s delicious too. If you use something else and love the results, let me know!