Do you know about the bucket list, also called life list? The idea is to list all the things you […]

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  • March 23, 2017

As I was putting together the chapter openings for my upcoming cookbook Tasting Paris, I was inspired to illustrate each […]

  • 11
  • March 21, 2017

Have you ever visited the Périgord, that gorgeous region in the south-west of France? It is where Maxence’s grandfather lives, […]

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  • March 14, 2017

Last week my dear friend Florence tweeted a link to Nadya Andreeva’s ayurvedic blog Spinach and Yoga*, and her recipe […]

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  • March 11, 2014

We had friends over for brunch on Sunday, and Maxence went out in the morning to the charcuterie shop, cheese […]

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  • March 10, 2015

I have a special fondness for the winter market. Oh, sure, I have to bundle up, wear a woolen cap […]

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  • March 17, 2015

A Bucket List for Cooks : 50 Accomplishments For a Lifetime of Kitchen Joy

Gorgeous stove photo courtesy of La Cornue.

Do you know about the bucket list, also called life list? The idea is to list all the things you would like to accomplish in life*.

It’s an amazing exercise to do — on your own, as a couple, or with friends — because it says a lot about your deep desires and ambitions. It’s important to banish all the “yes, but’s” and allow yourself to dream big, without limiting yourself to what you think is realistic or acceptable. You can keep the list somewhere on a notebook and computer, and add to it as you think of new ideas.

My personal life list includes, among other items, getting a tattoo (I have a pretty good idea of the design) (Oh, hi Mom!), speaking Japanese, going on a meditation retreat, and sleeping in an igloo. An ideal scenario would be getting a tattoo on a meditation retreat held in an igloo in Japan; I have to see if the format exists.

I love the idea so much I’ve imagines a bucket list for cooks with 50 kitchen accomplishments to aspire to. I’ve included things from easy to difficult, in terms of technique, opportunity, and organization.

You’ll find the list below. Tell us in the comments how many you’ve already accomplished, and which you would add for yourself.

To help you do this, you can download your free printable bucket list; such a fun thing to do during an evening with like-minded friends! (If you want to slip it into your bujo, print it to 65% of the original format.)

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25 Best French Songs about Paris, Old & New

Photography by Anne Elder.

As I was putting together the chapter openings for my upcoming cookbook Tasting Paris, I was inspired to illustrate each with a few lines from a beautiful French song about Paris. (I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty pleased with this idea; I hope my editor keeps it in.)

Wanting to expand beyond my own knowledge of Paris-inspired songs, I asked my Facebook friends — such a clever, resourceful bunch — to suggest their own favorites. The resulting collection was so uplifting and brought me so much joy I couldn’t keep it to myself, so here it is, for your enjoyment.

You can listen to the songs individually, or play the whole bunch using this YouTube playlist or
Spotify playlist I created for you (and for me).

Do you have one you love that’s not included here? (Note: I decided to stick to French-language songs as a theme here, but feel free to submit songs in other languages!)

Classic Songs about Paris

“J’ai deux amours”, Josephine Baker

“Les Prénoms de Paris”, Jacques Brel

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Your Top 10 Recipes from 2016

I love that you, my dear readers, keep me on my toes. I share posts and recipes that I hope will interest you, but I can never predict how they’ll be received. Just like with love, a little mystery keeps the passion alive.

But after the fact, there’s Google Analytics, and I can look and see what resonated with you the most. I’m a little late in offering this — this new book thing! so exciting! so time-consuming! — but I did want to share with you the 10 most popular recipes I published on Chocolate & Zucchini in 2016.

Did you try any? Is there one you loved that isn’t listed here?

Fun to compare and contrast with:
• The Top 10 recipes for 2016 on the French version of C&Z (not the same! fascinating!),
• Your Top 10 Recipes in 2015,
• Your Top 10 favorites of all time.

Side note: My food photography improved quite a bit, no? I credit The Food Photography School and Food Blogger Pro (see my Food Blogger Pro review if you’re a food blogger wanting to up your game).

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Potatoes Sarladaises

Have you ever visited the Périgord, that gorgeous region in the south-west of France?

It is where Maxence’s grandfather lives, and we have visited many times over the years. We are drawn back again and again, not just by the adorable stories Grand-Père tells of Maxence as a child, but also by the heart-stopping beauty of the landscape, the vertiginous cliff-side villages, the fascinating natural caves with subterranean river rides, and, well, the food.

Périgord is particularly known for its truffles, walnuts, strawberries, ceps, chestnuts, goat cheese (the one and only Rocamadour), and duck products, foie gras and duck confit most famously.

La Roque-Gageac

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The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage

Did you know that France produces more than 350 types of cheese? Each variety is the unique result of a specific production method and aging process, requiring both technical skill and intuition.

Jonathan DeitchWe talk about cheese a lot on Chocolate & Zucchini: we’ve covered how to shop for cheese and the notion of cheese terroir, and today I am happy to present a guest post by Jonathan Deitch, a.k.a. Monsieur Fromage, a fellow bilingual blogger and passionate explorer of all things cheese.

Jonathan is an American who’s lived in France since 2009. He recently attended an intensive two-week professional workshop at Académie Opus Caseus, the cheese industry’s center for education. He has generously offered to walk us through the process of making and aging cheese, with lots of quirky details for us cheese geeks to lap up.

Please visit the M. Fromage blog, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you Jonathan!

Part Magic, Part Biochemistry

Goat cheeses sampled on Cheese Day in Paris, in January 2016. Note the blueing on the rind.

My recent two-week professional training with the Académie Opus Caseus was an eye-opening introduction to affinage, the process of aging cheese. The principles and techniques are simple to understand, yet they take a lifetime to master. They also serve as a good reminder of the importance of environment and tradition, and the value of patience, honest labor, and passion.

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