Yogurt Scones

We had friends over for brunch on Sunday, and Maxence went out in the morning to the charcuterie shop, cheese shop, and bakery. He came back with a basketload of ready-to-eat goodies — bone-in ham and duck terrine and eggs in aspic and cheese and freshly baked bread — that we served with a simple green salad topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.

And for the sweet part of the brunch (there must be a sweet part to a brunch, otherwise it’s just lunch), I baked scones, using my favorite recipe, which is simple and quick, and calls for ingredients I always have on hand.

These scones are delicious plain, but you can add whichever flavoring you like:

  • spices, such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, roasted lemon zest powder, cardamom…
  • dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, or raisins (if using larger fruits such as apricots or figs, dice finely)
  • nuts, finely chopped, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts…
  • citrus zest, freshly and finely grated
  • orange flower water, not too much for a subtle, non-soapy flavor
  • chopped or grated chocolate

I baked the scones earlier that morning, and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to reheat before serving, with butter and creamy honey.

Yogurt Scones

Continue reading »

The Bun and the Oven, Take 2

Maxence, Milan and I are happy and proud to announce the arrival of our second son / baby brother, Mika, born in Paris ten days ago. I feel immensely grateful that things went perfectly smoothly. Mika is a healthy and beautiful little boy and we are all doing well.

I will be taking a little time off to rest and enjoy this longest shortest time, and I look forward to coming back with new ideas and recipes in a few weeks. In the meantime, I will republish a few seasonal favorites for you to discover or re-discover, and I hope they will provide inspiration for your daily meals.

Be well, eat well, and see you soon!

The gorgeous decorated loaf sent by Poilâne.

The gorgeous decorated loaf sent by Poilâne.

March 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 March is a picture of this crisp and flavorful paleo granola in my beloved granola scoop from Earlywood, which is actually sold as a coffee scoop but is the perfect shape and size for granola.

Instructions to get your calendar are below.

Continue reading »

How To Cut and Peel Hard Winter Squash

Winter squashes, with their wonderful range of shapes, colors, patterns and flavors, are definitely among the sweeter treats of the cold months. But the sweetness comes at a price: first, you have to roll up your sleeves and find some way to cut and peel the lovely beasts without losing a finger to the process.

Indeed, while some — especially in the early season — boast a thin rind easily peeled with a vegetable peeler, or even one that’s edible (cue love letter to the Hokkaido squash, potimarron in French), most secure their tender flesh underneath a tough outer shell that challenges even the sharpest chef’s knife. The task is made trickier by the shape of the squash, which is rarely stable enough that you can hack at it safely. And even if you do manage to cut your way through, working your paring knife along the grooves and ridges of the rind can be awkward and time-consuming.

Fortunately, there is an easier way, which I’ve recently adopted: it consists in par-cooking the squash for a very short time in a pan of simmering water to just soften the rind: after this treatment, only the very outside of the squash is cooked, which means you remain free to do with it as you please, whether you want to boil it, roast it, braise it, or stir-fry it (take your pick).

Here’s how to proceed:

Continue reading »

Light and Crisp Waffles

Every Sunday morning throughout my childhood, my father took my sister and me to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a charming amusement park for children with structures to climb, goats to feed, carousels and bumper cars. It was quite the SuperDad thing to do: my sister and I had a blast of course, and I imagine my mother treasured those hours of weekend tranquillity.

Between an Enchanted River boat ride (I will forever remember the unique smell of stagnant water and weeping willows) and a game of Whac-a-Mole (we called it boum-tap), we were allowed a treat at one of the park’s snack outlets.

Whatever the age, everyone loves the idea of a freshly made waffle, and gets wide-eyed like a child when the golden squares materialize from the iron.

And this is where I developed my taste for the kind of light waffles one finds at fun fairs in France: crisp on the outside, creamy soft on the inside, steaming hot in the cold winter morning air. All kinds of toppings were proffered — whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chestnut cream — but we favored the generous sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar that left the tips of our noses white.

I haven’t bought a waffle like this in years, though I have sometimes been tempted by the smell wafting from the stands on Paris’ Grands Boulevards, or the one propped up against the carousel where I take my own son now. But as I researched recipe ideas to use my spiffy waffle maker, I found this good-sounding formula on a blog written by food stylist and writer Isabelle Guerre.

Said recipe, along with the author’s helpful tips, has largely lived up to its promise. I’ve made it so many times since that I know it by heart, and it takes me barely ten minutes to whip up the batter. I enjoy making it when we have friends coming over in the afternoon: whatever the age, everyone loves a freshly made waffle, and gets wide-eyed like a child when the golden squares materialize from the iron.

(I’ll note that this kind of waffle batter is simply a thicker crêpe batter with leavening added, which means it can be cooked in the skillet to make pancake-ish crêpes if you have a child who, because he’s two and a half and opposition is his job, insists he wants a crêpe, not a waffle.)

Light and Crisp Waffles

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.