Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

I strive to master simple dishes. I don’t aspire to be a person of whom one says, “What an ambitious cook!” or “She should really open her own restaurant!”

No. I want to be someone who can be trusted to prepare a good, well-rounded, home-cooked meal. A meal that has personality, yes, but one that doesn’t try too hard, and relies chiefly on good taste and good technique.

This is why I had long been frustrated by my limited potato roasting skills. Oh, I’d roasted my share of potatoes, but I had never been able to make perfect roasted potatoes, golden and generously crusty on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.

By the time the chunks had developed enough of a crust, the flesh had begun to dry up inside, and I was left with something a bit cardboard-y. Not inedible — it takes considerable effort to render a potato inedible in my book — but not my platonic image of the roasted potato, either.

And then some years ago, my friend Pascale* shared the recipe she uses for pommes de terre rôties, which she learned from her British mother-in-law. I have blind kitchen faith in Pascale — she has never steered me wrong — and I was very excited about her technique, a classic in British cooking that was unknown to me at the time.

Here, let me show you in this video:

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13 Years of C&Z: 13 Lessons for Blogging and Life

Clotilde

Hey, you know what I did thirteen years ago, like, to the day? I went ahead and created a blog! About food! And I called it, wait for it, Chocolate & Zucchini. Because it had a nice ring to it, and I liked chocolate, and I liked zucchini (and fortunately still do).

It has been an utterly amazing thirteen-year ride, and most of my life’s blessings have stemmed directly or indirectly from that single decision.

Where and who would I be if I hadn’t created C&Z? It’s anyone’s guess and it makes me a little dizzy just thinking about it, but I can’t imagine how I could possibly have found a more fulfilling, happier life path. (It’s a pretty good feeling.)

I want to thank you, whether you’ve been reading for thirteen seconds, thirteen weeks, or thirteen years. None of this would make sense, or even be possible, if it wasn’t for your interest and your readership.

I will be organizing a Paris meet-up soon, to celebrate with those of you who happen to be in our fair city. (It will be free; the idea is just to get together for a drink and a chat.) If you’re interested, please fill out this form and we will notify you when we’ve arranged the details of date and venue.

I have done a lot of learning, thinking, and growing over the past thirteen years, and I want to pass on these thirteen lessons for blogging and life. I hope some of these resonate with you. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts if they do!

Basket of produce at the market

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Best of September

Golden sunset on the Moulin de la Galette.

Golden sunset on the Moulin de la Galette.

Who’s with me in the I heart September camp? I enjoy the summer so much, and love it when Paris empties out and we get the city all to ourselves. But this is all to set the stage for that magical month of September: the good resolutions, the exciting new projects, and the very best, most bountiful time for French produce.

I have been cooking up a tornado with my fab assistant Anne, developing and testing five to six new recipes each week for my upcoming book, Tasting Paris. It’s been a lot of fun, we have been eating really well, and I can’t wait to share with you. (In the meantime, you can follow along through my Instagram stories!)

Best Eats this September

Best of September 2016

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Best Eats in Lyon, From a Local

France is such a beautifully diverse country, I want to make sure you see and taste the best it has to offer! When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered, but there are many other cities with exciting and delicious things for you to experience. So I’ve asked a team of French bloggers from different cities to share their favorite spots, and I am offering them to you in this series.

QuentinIn Lyon, Quentin recommends…

Our guide to Lyon is Quentin Caillot. A lover of food and travel, Quentin created the blog Geek and Food, which focuses on culinary trends, dining recommendations, and urban agriculture. He is also the co-founder of a communication and culinary creation agency, and the first culinary coworking space in Lyon, La Food Factory.

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Flammekueche (Alsatian Pizza)

Flammekueche (Alsatian Pizza)

When we get to spend time at my parents’ vacation house in the Vosges, a mountain range in the Northeast of France, one of our favorite daytrips is to drive over to Colmar, a historic Alsatian town on the other side of the mountain.

We’ve been going for as long as my parents have had the house, a little over twenty years, and though Colmar is as gorgeous as Alsatian towns get (i.e. very), with paved streets, pretty canals, and amazing architecture, the capital-D Draw for me is the flammekueche we get for lunch.

Also known as tarte flambée, the flammekueche (pronounced flam-küsh*) can be described as the Alsatian pizza: a super thin round of dough topped with cream, finely sliced onions, bacon strips, and sometimes mushrooms (la forestière) and cheese (la gratinée), baked in a woodfire oven until the edges are golden brown and crisp.

Sitting at one of the outdoor tables outside our favorite restaurant in Colmar, we make conversation as we wait for our tartes flambées to arrive, and our collective joy vibrates through the air as the waitstaff brings them out, all hot and fragrant, on wooden boards.

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