A farmhouse in the Perche

The best thing about doing work that you love is that you never have to come home from a vacation […]

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  • August 30, 2016
picnic

I am now back in Paris after a couple of weeks’ traveling and visiting family, and I am happy that […]

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  • August 23, 2016
Chocolate Madeleines

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  • August 3, 2016
Onigiri

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Baked Cucumbers and Pink Turnips

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Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

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Best of August

A farmhouse in the Perche

The best thing about doing work that you love is that you never have to come home from a vacation feeling down. Instead, you get to sit back down at your desk refreshed, full of energy and ideas, ready to dive back in with renewed focus.

In my case, I am hitting the ground running to work on my new book, tentatively called TASTING PARIS, which will convey the flavors of Paris through one hundred fabulous dishes. I am just finalizing the master list of recipes with my editor, and I am so. excited.

This, however, does not prevent me from still savoring the best moments of our vacation, and I wanted to share the following edibles with you.

Best of August 2016

Amazing crêpes cooked in old-fashioned cast iron pans balanced over a wood fire at a medieval festival in Montmirail in the Perche. We got them sprinkled with sugar — always the best choice in my book — and the lightly smoky flavor was unforgettable. Downed with glasses of caramel pear juice, this was an ideal afternoon treat on a hot, hot summer day. (See also: my French crêpe recipe.)

• The Salade du Parc was the perfect lunch salad to enjoy out in the gardens of the Manoir de Courboyer. Topped with rolls of cured ham and grilled toasts of local goat cheese, it was full-flavored and satisfying. (See also: my happiest salads.)

• We bought these freshly laid eggs at the wonderful countryside restaurant Vincent Cuisinier de Campagne in the heart of the Bourgueil wine country. It’s a gorgeous place with a vegetable patch in the back and lots of happy chickens running around. When we cooked the eggs the next day, one had a double yolk. A sign of good luck for sure! (See also: there’s many ways to cook an egg.)

• This exquisite little loaf of multi-seed artisan bread is from L’Angenardière, a “boulanger-paysan” operation where they grow their own heritage grain, mill their own flour, and bake their own sourdough bread in a century-old woodfire oven, all on the same farm.

You can buy the bread at the farm on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, or from their stand at the Nogent-Le-Rotrou farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. (See also: my multigrain bread recipe.)

Find me on Instagram to see many more food shots and recommendations in Paris and beyond!

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Loving this right now

  1. These crazy good lentil chips with chili pepper. They taste like vegan pork crackling.
  2. This neon pink bra. Who says underwear has to be understated?
  3. Brooke Castillo’s life-changing podcast. Start from episode one and prepare to have your mind blown.
  4. Kurt Vile’s Pretty Pimpin.
  5. This knife bread, which I’ve now gifted to three different friends.

5 Cool Links

  1. I was a guest on the Learning with Leslie podcast, and talked about how to build a blog that stands the test of time.
  2. Are there recipe steps that you always skip?
  3. We can never have too many ideas for quick main courses.
  4. How to “eat clean”.
  5. Let me show you how I make the simplest, quickest tomato sauce ever.

Follow me on Twitter and like the C&Z Page on Facebook for many more links throughout the month!

My Best Picnic Recipes

picnic

I am now back in Paris after a couple of weeks’ traveling and visiting family, and I am happy that it still feels very much like summer here in the city, as bronzed Parisians gradually return and many shops and restaurants are still shuttered.

French kids won’t be back in school until early September, and to prolong that summertime feeling, there’s nothing like getting together with friends to find a grassy spot in a park, spread out a big blanket, and ready your plates for a little picnic.

This list highlights my best picnic recipes, favorites from my repertoire that are portable and easy to share. Want to share your own go-to provisions or tips for picnics?

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Best Eats in Nantes, From a Local

Daniel Buren et Patrick Bouchain, Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles, Nantes, création pérenne Estuaire 2007 © Martin Argyroglo/LVAN

Daniel Buren et Patrick Bouchain, Les Anneaux, Quai des Antilles, Nantes, création pérenne Estuaire 2007 © Martin Argyroglo/LVAN

Travel season is upon us, and I want to make sure you see and taste the best France has to offer! When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered, but there are many other cities with exciting and delicious things for you to experience. So I’ve asked a team of French bloggers from different cities to share their favorite spots, and I am offering them to you in this new series.

In Nantes, Stef and Cha recommend…

Stef et Cha Les Ptits BonheursI am delighted to introduce you to our guides to Nantes, locals Stef and Cha. They love Nantes and share their enthusiasm on their blog, Les Ptits Bonheurs à Nantes. The blog is filled with tips, local happenings, and hidden spots in Nantes, which they say illuminates life — small moments of happiness (“petits bonheurs” in French) are essential to daily life!

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Modern Potluck: A Giveaway!

Modern Potluck

Have you ever been invited to a summer potluck and found yourself with a bad case of the cook’s block and no idea what to bring?

Former Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly has just released a cookbook for that very situation: in Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food To Share, she highlights perfectly shareable meals sure to impress at your next gathering.

Continue reading »

Chocolate Madeleines

Chocolate Madeleines

In French food culture, kids aren’t offered snacks at all hours of the day. This is often pointed out as a plus when comparing food habits between French and American children.

(I will note that I never go out of the house with my sons without taking something to eat for them. Newsflash: French kids are not immune to low-blood-sugar meltdowns. My go-to snacks then are dried figs or dried apricots, these crackers, and/or almond butter sandwiches.)

As a nation however, we are religiously attached to the mid-afternoon mini-meal we refer to as le goûter. This is our chance to share homemade treats, and it is the happy outlet for most of my baking endeavors.

Perfect chocolate madeleines

On weekends, when my sons have friends over to play, I jump at the chance to whip up a batch of these chocolate madeleines, which are perfect to me. They have a deep chocolate-y flavor, a nice “bump” that everyone loves to bite off first, and they’re just the right level of sweetness for kids and grownups to appreciate them.

The recipe is adapted from these perfect madeleines from Blé Sucré pastry chef Fabrice Le Bourdat. I’ve added melted chocolate and cacao powder to the batter, and adjusted the sugar and butter amounts accordingly.

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