Miso Glazed Flank Steak

I only ever buy meat from Mathieu, my butcher of choice at the organic greenmarket on Saturday mornings. I used […]

  • 50
  • April 8, 2015
Butterless Apple Crumble

It’s only recently that I’ve realized that the crumble topping of a fruit crumble doesn’t have to be made with […]

  • 81
  • March 24, 2015
Goat Cheese

A few reads and finds from the past month: ~ Not sure what to do with goat cheese? My suggestions […]

  • 2
  • March 30, 2015
Hot Cross Buns

To celebrate Easter this weekend, I made hot cross buns, the brioche-like spiced loaves the British bake and serve on […]

  • 49
  • Favorite
  • April 6, 2010
Braised Lamb Shoulder with Flageolet Beans

Epaule d’Agneau Confite et Flageolets Spring lamb is the traditional centerpiece of Easter Sunday menus in France: the agneau pascal […]

  • 23
  • Favorite
  • April 11, 2007
Ginger and Almond Chocolate Clusters

Bouchées croustillantes au chocolat, amandes et gingembre Lately I’ve had an insuppressible urge to declutter. I would chalk it up […]

  • 74
  • Favorite
  • March 16, 2010

Miso Glazed Flank Steak

I only ever buy meat from Mathieu, my butcher of choice at the organic greenmarket on Saturday mornings. I used to stop by every week and get enough for two meals or so, but the line is so long these days — word must have gotten out that his stuff is good — that I had to change my strategy: I go less frequently, buy a little more, and freeze the extra. (On the weeks that I don’t buy meat, I get eggs directly from Mathieu’s wife, Laure, who stands at the register, thus skipping the line. This is accepted practice and can be done without feeling wrathful gazes flare up your back.)

My favorite items to get are duck breasts, which I rub with spices and roast, pork tenderloin, boudins blancs, and andouillettes (chitterlings sausage), all of which freeze very well. And every once in a while, when I’m in the mood for red meat, I get slices of bavette (flank steak) or merlan (a lesser-known, tender cut from the inner thigh) to have for lunch when I get back from the market.

Because this is very flavorsome meat, I usually cook it in the simplest of ways, by just searing it in a grill pan. But the other day I decided to try something a little different and marinated the meat in a paste-like, miso-based marinade. It was so quickly assembled and yielded such savory results it may well become a Saturday lunch staple around here.

If you take a look at the ingredients’ list for the marinade, you’ll notice that I used fresh turmeric, found at the organic store. The skin was a little wrinkled, but it was the first time I’d seen any for sale, so I jumped at the opportunity anyway. As the young man who rung up my purchases remarked, the rhizomes look like cut fingers (he’s lucky it’s my kind of humor). They can be peeled, grated, and used much like ginger, and just like ginger, the fresh stuff has little to do with its dried and ground persona, which I’ve always thought tasted a bit musty. The one caveat is that fresh turmeric is a powerful tincture that will, if you’re not careful, stain your countertop, hands, sleeves, food processor, left cheek, and favorite napkin with highlighter yellow, near indelible blotches. Just thought you might like to know.

Fresh turmeric

Continue reading »

April 2015 Desktop Calendar

At the beginning of every month in 2015, I am offering a new wallpaper to apply on the desktop of your computer, with a food-related picture and a calendar of the current month.

The desktop calendar is available in two versions: a US-friendly version that features Sunday as the first day of the week, and a French version (shown above) that complies with international standards, featuring Monday as the first day of the week.

Our calendar for April is a photo of the gorgeous jumbo walnuts I bought in the Périgord last summer, which gave me an opportunity to learn how to open walnuts without a nutcracker (and prompted you to offer all kinds of alternative tips in the comments).

Instructions to get your calendar are below.

Continue reading »

March Favorites

A few reads and finds from the past month:

~ Not sure what to do with goat cheese? My suggestions in FRANCE Magazine.

~ Learn more about my kitchen staples and habits with this Kitchen Encounter in The Guardian.

~ Where to find the world’s best éclairs.

~ My 10 perfect food experiences to have in Paris.

~ Food bloggers name their most anticipated new cookbook. Find out what mine is!

~ 57 tips to be a better cook.

~ What Ira Glass’s work routine looks like.

~ I want to make these cornbread waffles.

~ My top 10 foods to try in Paris.

~ Tempted to make this apple, lime and chia smoothies.

~ These funky chocolates illustrate Japanese words for texture, from poki-poki to zaku-zaku.

Butterless Apple Crumble

It’s only recently that I’ve realized that the crumble topping of a fruit crumble doesn’t have to be made with butter to be crisp and delicious.

Did you know? Am I the last person to find out?

The epiphany came from my intensive granola-making activities: after all, isn’t granola a second cousin to the crumble topping? And if I make granola with oil, not butter, why not try that in a crumble?

And so, for the past few months — since the beginning of this year’s apple season, really — I have gone butterless with all of my apple crumbles. (And I’ve made quite a few.)

There are several benefits. First, the crumble topping is considerably faster to mix: measure the ingredients, combine in a bowl, stir with a fork, and that’s it, you’re done. No dicing of butter, and no rubbing either. It takes five minutes tops, including the time to put all the ingredients and utensils back where they belong and wipe down the counter if you’ve spilled a little flour, which no recipe prep time in the world accounts for.

I like to half-peel the apples in alternating strips. Not because I’m half-lazy, though maybe I am, but because I like the rustic touch a bit of apple skin provides.

Second, I find that the absence of butter shifts the balance of flavor so that the (good unrefined) sugars that you use, the spices, and of course the apples themselves, sing through with a more subtle complexity.

And third, those who avoid dairy for whatever reason will be grateful for an apple crumble they can eat, especially one that can stand proudly on its own, without the crutch of crème fraîche or ice cream that seems to be automatically tacked on.

One more note about my apple crumbles of late: I like to half-peel the apples in alternating strips. Not because I’m half-lazy, though maybe I am, but because I like the rustic touch of finding a few pieces of apple skin in my crumble, and half-peeled apples deliver just the right amount. I also pick a mix of apple varieties — like I do for my apple tarts — to get as vivacious an apple taste as possible.

I hope you’ll give it a try. But for the die-hard butter lovers out there who simply must have it in their apple desserts, I recommend this rather outstanding brown butter spiced crisp.

Continue reading »

Brussels Sprouts with Onions and Squash Seeds

I have a special fondness for the winter market.

Oh, sure, I have to bundle up, wear a woolen cap and good gloves, and by the time I lock my bike to the street sign I’ve claimed as mine, few of my fingers are available for immediate use. But when I get to my favorite produce stall and the vendors greet me, their jolly smiles clearly say, “thanks for braving the cold!” and I always feel humble imagining what it must be like for them, who have loaded the truck long before dawn and will be standing on the drafty sidewalk for a few more hours.

And that is essentially what I was thinking on Saturday morning, waiting in line, tapping my feet, and politely declining the orange segment I was offered to sample — I find the taste of citrus repulsive when I’ve just brushed my teeth –, when I spotted the crate of brussels sprouts.

Pistachio green, tightly furled, and no larger than the big marbles French kids call calots, they fit the ideal profile perfectly. When you’re shopping for brussels sprouts, this is the kind you should look for: the smaller the better, firm, fresh-looking, and roughly all the same size so they’ll cook evenly.

Like most lovers of brussels sprouts, I am a late-blooming one. As a child, I was subjected to the vile boiled stuff on occasion, at school or at summer camp (as if I wasn’t miserable enough as it was), but when I started to cook, I quickly surmised that there was more to them than that.

And certainly, there is, provided they are cooked to your taste. The trick for me is twofold: 1- to sear or bake them so they’re cooked through and browned in places, but not at all mushy, and 2- to pair them with something sweet, something smoky, and/or something crunchy, to defuse any bitter tendency.

This recipe is a fine example of that trick: softened onions, smoked paprika, and toasted squash seeds help cast a flattering light on these much-defamed, miniature cabbages. We had them as a side to the cured filets of duck my butcher prepares and sells, and which are the most tender and flavorsome I’ve ever had.

Continue reading »

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.