Archive Spotlight

Archive Spotlight

In the five months since the birth of Chocolate & Zucchini, I have written approximately one hundred and fifty entries, among which roughly half are recipes. Not all of you have read all of them of course, and even I sometimes forget what I have written about, so I thought it would be nice to have a way to make use of these archives.

On the left navigation bar, a new section called “Archive Spotlight” now randomly selects a post from the Chocolate & Zucchini archives, dusts it off and displays it for your reading pleasure…

The Double Chocolate Crisp Quest

IKEA-Style Oat Crisps

UPDATE: I have now found a great recipe for IKEA-style havreflarn!

And today, it is with a plea for help that I come to you, a call to your infinite wisdom and collective knowledge.

Last time I did something of the kind, you proved to me that you were as generous with your advice and insight as I had hoped, and although I have yet to make another attempt at poaching an egg – I never seem to feel like it until the eggs I have can’t, in all honesty, be considered at their peak of freshness anymore – your precious tips will accompany me on my next foray, and you will be the first to hear about its relative or absolute success.

The matter at hand today is no less important than last time, for it involves chocolate: I am looking for a recipe to reproduce those Swedish Double Chocolate Crisps, made of two thin crispy buttery rolled oats cookies, sandwiched together by a layer of dark chocolate.

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L’Etoile d’Or

L'Etoile d'Or

L’Etoile d’Or is a little candy store in the rue Fontaine, sprung right out of a fairy tale.

It is but a ten-minute walk from where I live, so I find it charmingly ironic that I owe its discovery to my Bay Area blog-friend, Derrick, who mentioned it to me in a recent email : he and his wife Melissa have taken several trips to Paris, and food lovers that they are, they have excellent finds to share.

And so it is that just a few days ago, following Derrick’s advice, I set off towards the Moulin Rouge to hunt for this little boutique, in the maze of narrow streets lined with cabarets and bars which have seen better days – days when they were all risqué and glamorous and shady, days come and gone, leaving them touchingly derelict. The very picture of a woman, way past her prime, with a tight leather top and too much makeup.

But I find L’Etoile d’Or easily in the midst of this, surrounded as it seems to be by a golden glow, showering down on me beneath the awning. The pleasant impression is confirmed when I push the door open to the ring of a bell, and step inside the store, all glass cases and mirrors and golden shelves and candy, candy everywhere, as far as the eye can see. I find myself alone inside, a little intimidated, a little Goldilocks.

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Is My Blog Burning? The Tartine Edition

Is My Blog Burning? The Tartine Edition

Feeling very bad about not finding the time to make soup for the first Is My Blog Burning? event, I told Alberto that I would be more than happy to host the second edition, to be held on Sunday March 7th, 2004.

For those of you not yet familiar with the concept, IMBB? is a distributed food blogging event, brought to us by Alberto : a date and a theme are set, each participating blogger cooks something following that theme, and posts about his creation on that particular day.

For the second edition, the theme I would like to propose is “Tartine“. A tartine is a popular Parisian dish, in which different ingredients are arranged and served on a slice of bread – a sort of open-faced sandwich if you will – usually on a bed of greens. Like the soup theme, this should leave the door wide open for you to express your culinary creativity!

And you can refer to the post I wrote a little while ago about The Wonderful World of Tartines for more tartine info and ideas, and a sample recipe.

The basic rules follow:

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Broccoli Mimolette Soup

Soupe Broccoli Mimolette

[Broccoli Mimolette Soup]

This soup has to be the best broccoli soup I’ve ever had – and without a doubt the best one I’ve ever made. The really cool thing about it, besides being really really good, is that it is infused with flavor from two ingredients that usually get thrown out without batting an eyelash : the rind from a firm and sharp cheese, and the stems from a bunch of fresh herbs.

From now on I vow to always throw these in the freezer for later use : the flavor of cheese is very concentrated in the rind, and the stems of herbs are no less fragrant than the leaves, but they usually get discarded because they don’t look too nice as a garnish.

Having read in a few places about the use of these poor disaffectioned ingredients in soups (and you know how I feel about poor disaffectioned ingredients), I had frozen the stems from a bunch of parsley a little while ago, as well as the rind of a large hunk of mimolette extra-vieille. Mimolette is a bright orange cheese from the North of France, called “extra-old” when aged for a long time until brittle and very sharp. In its young and unaged version, mimolette has a more mellow flavor but is also excellent : it’s a favorite among French kids, its cheerful color playing a big part I’m sure. Some say it was also Charles de Gaulle‘s preferred choice of cheese (and I mean the President, not the airport).

Note that any other type of herb would work in place of the parsley, and you can use another type of cheese too (or even several), as long as it’s a firm cheese (fromage à pâte ferme), with a strong and sharp flavor – parmesan would be a great substitution, for instance.

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