Books & Cookbooks

My Very First Cookbook, Newly Released in French!

Do you read French? Are you a student of the language? If so, I have an important update for you!

I have just released Chocolate & Zucchini : Le Livre, a new e-book edition of my very first cookbook, translated into French by yours truly.

The French edition was first published by Hachette, but it’s been out of print for a while. That always made my heart sink: it’s a book into which I’ve poured all of my soul, and many of my cult recipes, the kind you make again and again, and pass on to your sister and your friends, who later tell you, “You know, that mustard chicken of yours? I make it ALL THE TIME!”

This is why I decided to bring it back to life as an e-book — after a thorough re-reading and re-formatting effort — and I am now offering it for 8€ ($9), for immediate download on Amazon or the secure platform e-junkie.

I want it!

Don’t read French? Get the original English-language edition of the book, complete with my soul and cult recipes! It’s called Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

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Edible Paradise: A Food Lover’s Coloring Book (Giveaway)

Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now, and deservedly so: with an increasing portion of our lives happening on screens and clouds, what could be more grounding than to sit down at the end of a long day with an actual paper coloring book in your lap and favorite pencils scattered around you?

Indeed, it’s an ideal activity to unplug and unwind: low-pressure (I mean, we can all color, right?), high-satisfaction (in just a few minutes, voilà, your page is all pretty and complete), and wonderfully meditative, as your fingers busy themselves and your mind is free to wander.

I have seen quite a few such books for sale in bookshops here in Paris, and I was thrilled when a talented Paris-based illustrator I know, Jessie Kanelos Weiner, released one of her own, titled Edible Paradise: An Adult Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables, celebrating the edible plant kingdom.

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Banana Pecan Cake with Maple Glaze

This banana pecan cake entered my life thanks to one of the countless blessings this blog has brought to my life, which is to have met and become friends with quite a few cookbook authors.

Cookbook authors are delicious people to be around, naturally, and if I manage to fox my way into their house they may actually cook for me, but the invaluable bonus is that, once I’ve come to know and trust them, once I’ve witnessed how exacting they are, and how much pressure they submit themselves to in order to produce bulletproof recipes, I feel I can use their cookbooks with blind faith. I know I’m in good hands, and things had better work out because I know where they live.

One of my cookbook-writing friends is Marianne Magnier-Moreno, whom I met almost years and years ago at Chocolate & Zucchini’s second anniversary party, and who wears many hats: recipe writer, journalist, translator, cheesecake maker, young mother, and significant other to a gifted painter.

The crumb is moist and fluffy, the flavors multi-dimensional, and the overall sweetness is moderate, which leaves ample room for the maple glaze to step in and do its thing.

Marianne has recently released (and received an award for) a book called Le Grand Manuel du cuisinier that could actually be seen as an epic follow-up to another wonderful one she had written years before, called Mon Cours de cuisine pâtissier, a baking manual that offers seventy recipes with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. Step-by-step photography is nothing new in the world of cookbooks, but I’ve always thought it could make a book look dull. Not so here, where the shot-from-the-sky visuals and tasteful styling make each double an aesthetic treat.

My dear friend’s banana pecan cake

Among the winning recipes in that book is one for banana pecan cake, which I often bake when I have über-ripe bananas to use, and top with a maple glaze that’s also one of Marianne’s recipes.

I actually do not make the cake quite as written: I substitute almond butter for part of the butter in the printed recipe, and maple syrup for part of the sugar. I also lower the amount of flour, and add a little amber rum, and use pecans in place of Marianne’s walnuts.

Now, I know I just stated that I wanted to feel I could follow a cookbook’s directions with my eyes closed, but let me explain: I like to bake and cook things my own way, but in order to tweak a recipe, I need it to be rock-solid, otherwise it might not hold up to the tweaking.

But this banana pecan cake does, and brilliantly so. The crumb is moist and fluffy, the flavors multi-dimensional, and the overall sweetness is moderate, which leaves ample room for the maple glaze to step in and do its thing.

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12th Anniversary Book Giveaway!

Chocolate & Zucchini turns 12 today!

This means I have been blogging for, oh, just about 4 383 days, and this particular anniversary actually marks the point where I have been blogging for a full third of my life. No wonder C&Z feels as familiar to me as my own limbs, and writing here as natural as breathing.

Creating this blog on an idle September day in 2003 is one of the top 3 most life-shaping decisions I have ever made (the other two would be: living in California in my early twenties, and having a child in my early thirties — what about you?).

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful beyond words for everything it has brought me. An incredibly fulfilling career, a rich network of like-minded cooks and real-life friends, a wealth of knowledge I would never have acquired otherwise, and my interactions with you, dear readers, who warm my heart, make me laugh, inspire, and teach me daily.

To thank you, I have partnered with my publishers to give away Five sets of my three latest books:

PreservingThere’s PRESERVING, the newest Ginette Mathiot tome that I’ve helped revise for its English-language edition, and has just been released by the good people at Phaidon. This one is all about conserving, salting, smoking, and pickling — in other words, capturing flavors at the height of the season, to enjoy later.

The French Market CookbookThen there’s THE FRENCH MARKET COOKBOOK, a book that celebrates the love story between French cuisine and vegetables, and contains 75 of my heaviest-rotation recipes for seasonal produce, such as my shocking pink pasta with a no-cook beet sauce, my Corsican turnovers garnished with squash, or my pear and chestnut cake.

Edible FrenchAnd finally there’s EDIBLE FRENCH, a lovely book of French food-related idioms that tell you so much about French culture, and come illustrated with whimsical watercolors by my friend Melina Josserand.

Five lucky winners will win a copy of each of these books, so three books total, which will be sent in the mail by their respective publishers.

You have until Sunday, October 11, 10pm EST to enter, using the Rafflecopter widget below: you’ll see you have different options to enter the giveaway, and you can use as many as you like to increase your chances of winning. The winners will be picked randomly and their names will be announced here on Monday, October 12. Good luck and thank you for participating!

We’ve got winners! I have drawn five entries using the Rafflecopter random picker, and the names of the winners are listed in the widget below. They have each received an email explaining the next steps; if you’re one of the winners and you haven’t heard from me, please get in touch!

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Veggivore: French Cookbook Release (+ Giveaway!)

I am delighted to announce that The French Market Cookbook, my book of French vegetarian recipes, is being released in France today under the title Veggivore.

Just like the original French Market Cookbook, Veggivore is a collection of original, colorful recipes to cook with vegetables according to the seasons, with lots of tips and stay-with-you ideas to eat tasty and healthful dishes daily. I have translated and adapted the texts for my French readers so that it is similar in spirit, but slightly different in tone and content.

Veggivore is a beautiful hard-cover book with a refreshing layout and inspiring photographs. It is now available from French bookstores and on Amazon France, and it is scheduled for release in Canada on March 11 (Amazon Canada has it on pre-order). If you have a French-speaking friend you think would enjoy it, please consider letting him/her know, and maybe even surprise him/her with a copy! (And if you still don’t have your own copy of The French Market Cookbook, you can read more about it here.)

Win a copy of Veggivore !

To celebrate the release, I have three copies of this French book to give away. To participate, head over to the French version of this post and leave a comment (in French or in English) telling me about your greatest challenge when cooking with vegetables. You have until Wednesday, February 11 midnight (Paris time); I will then draw three entries randomly and announce the winners. Good luck!

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