Oeuf Cocotte : Take 2

Oeuf Cocotte : Take 2

Admittedly, the picture looks like somebody’s idea of a volcanic eruption, but this is really the Oeuf Cocotte I made myself the other night.

This recipe, as described in an earlier post, is a dream of versatility. This time, I made it with strips of ham, a spoonful of sweet confiture d’oignon (onion jam) and a spoonful of crème fraîche, with salt and pepper. As per Jackie‘s advice, I made sure to pour very hot water around the ramequin, and this shortened the cooking time. When I took my little jewel of a dinner out, the yolk’s top half was beginning to harden a little, and this proved very enjoyable.

I ate this along with a tomato (note to self : just because they still sell tomatoes in January doesn’t mean you should buy them), dipping organic oatcakes in the egg. Mmmmh.

Truffle Hazelnut Boudin Blanc, Two Mashes

Boudin Blanc, Deux Pommes en Purée

[Truffle Hazelnut Boudin Blanc, Two Mashes]

Boudin blanc is a soft sausage, made with white meat (usually chicken or veal) enriched with pork or veal fat, cream, eggs, flour and mie de pain (the inside of a bread loaf), finely mixed and well seasoned. It is traditionally a Christmas dish, but in Paris you can pretty much find it in charcuteries year round. For my greatest pleasure, as it has to be one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. It has a very mild taste, a little sweet and a little peppery, and a soft texture underneath the thin casing, making it a sure kid pleaser.

The other day, while out food-shopping, Maxence and I stepped into a small charcuterie in the rue Lepic, in which we had never been before – for no apparent reason. It turned out to have a really appetizing selection of pâtés and sausages and traditional prepared dishes. Among these, their Boudin Blanc Truffé aux Noisettes caught my eye, a variation on boudin blanc that included truffles and hazelnuts. Sunday lunch menu : check!

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Coconut and White Chocolate Cake

Gâteau Noix de Coco et Chocolat Blanc

[Coconut and White Chocolate Cake]

As you know, yesterday was Maxence’s birthday : I treated him to a nice dinner out on Friday (review on the way), and we celebrated again yesterday night with a group of friends, in a bar just a block from our apartment – which we more or less took over. This bar is a small place and we were on friendly terms with the owners, so I had decided to bake a cake and share it with our friends there. And since coconut and white chocolate are two of Maxence’s favorite things, I twisted my favorite coffeecake recipe yet again to make a version around this combo, with flaked coconut in the batter, and a white chocolate and coconut frosting.

The birthday cake ceremony was duly held, with the lights off and the song and the clapping and the candles and the blow-them-out-in-one-breath challenge (successfully met). We served the cake on the paper plates we had brought, and I was showered with compliments about it, much to my glee. The cake, as pleasantly moist as ever, has a great coconut flavor and the frosting works really well, making it sweet and rich but not overly so.

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Picture Gallery

Picture Gallery

New feature on Chocolate & Zucchini! I have created a picture gallery to showcase the photos I take to illustrate the entries. It also serves as a visual archive index, as clicking on each picture will take you to the corresponding post. A link has been added in the “About” section on the left nav bar.

The digital camera I use for my pics, as I have been asked a few times, is a Nikon Coolpix 950. We bought it in 2000 and this model is not sold anymore, but I recommend the Nikon brand wholeheartedly.

On an unrelated joyous note, Maxence turns 25 today! I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him a very happy birthday. Joyeux anniversaire petit chou! :)

How the Fuck Do I Prepare Eggplant? and Other Search Phrases

How the Fuck Do I Prepare Eggplant? and Other Search Phrases

Thanks to Maxence’s excellent home-hosting skills, Chocolate & Zucchini lives on a server in our apartment, cuddling up against muCommander. I like knowing it’s safe and warm, purring when I walk by it in the corridor.

The added bonus of home-hosting, beyond the thrill of DIY and autarky, is that we have full access to the logs, which makes for endlessly mesmerizing stats. My favorite part is the section that tells me which search phrases have led people to C&Z (mostly through Google). I don’t know why it fascinates me so much, but it certainly goes right in with my passion for overheard conversations and glimpses of people caught through windows when I walk down the street.

Happily, most of the search phrases are right to the point : people looking for recipes, information on food or techniques (zucchinis, persimmons, and blow-torching being particularly popular), or restaurant reviews (La Famille and Rose Bakery win the day).

My favorite, hands down, is the deliciously straightforward “how the fuck do i prepare eggplant?”, but here is a little florilège, a selection of the best search phrases so far.

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