What could be more soothing and comforting than a warm apple tart lovingly baked by your own sweet maman? It is the French equivalent to still warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies served with a cold glass of milk. My maman had a natural talent for making delicious tarts and would bake them often. Everytime I eat one now it brings me back to my childhood. It’s like a warm embrace from my maman on a cold, dreary Portland afternoon. …
Pommes Anna, potato galette… that classical French preparation of sliced potatoes layered in a pan with butter, lots of butter, that I love so much. Yum. Browned on a burner, flipped over and finished in a 400 degree oven till brown and crispy. They bring back fond memories of my youth. I used to make 200 orders every single night, six days a week for six months. They harken back to a time when I believed in the dream. I love you Anna potatoes……
Epiphany : a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ
: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way – Merriam Webster Dictionary
Every French kid looks forward to January 6th as the day we get to eat a galette des rois, or King’s Cake, and perhaps be king or Queen for a day. Hidden among the warm rum scented layers of frangipane (almond cream) and puff pastry is a small ceramic figurine guaranteed to break your tooth if you aren’t careful. The figurine, also known as a feve, used to actually be a small bean but changed to figurines sometime in the late 1800’s. The cake celebrates the feast of Epiphany when the three kings brought gifts for sweet baby Jesus. Who ever finds the feve in the galette gets to wear a crown and be king or queen for the day!…
Sweet, delicious Dungeness crab is always a treat. – Tom Douglas
A lot of people asked what I did with my Dungeness crabs Patricia Edwards, from Linda Brand Crab, graciously gave me at the Portland Farmer’s Market last Saturday. I was in the mood for Asian flavors and decided upon doing a take on salt and pepper crab. It quickly escalated to a sizzling rice version done as a soup….
In her presence all castes dissolve. Rich and Poor are equal in appetite. And from the subtle depths of all past ages the scent of the gratinee is the incense of haves and have-nots together in the dark, together because of the dark. The early to bed know nothing of her. They are the sons of error and is certainty itself. – Robert Courtine, The Hundred Glories of French Cooking
French Onion Soup is the most classic and well-travelled of all French dishes. It has seduced and conquered more stomachs than even our beloved New England clam chowder. She is, as author Robert Courtine suggests, “a daughter of the streets. This daughter of the night and night’s pale dawns will always remain as elusive as those dawn’s themselves.” Her simplicity seduces us….
‘Stew’, from Middle French haricot, a deverbal derivation of Old French harigoter (“to shred, slice up, slice into pieces”), from Frankish *hariōn (“to ruin, lay waste, ravage, plunder, destroy”), from Proto-Germanic *harjōną (“to plunder, lay waste, harry”).
In the sense ‘bean’, etymology uncertain. Influenced in form by the ‘stew’ word, if not originally identical to it; in that case possibly from Mexican Spanish ayacotli, ayacote, or possibly from Calicut. – Wikitionary
I have been eagerly awaiting my 1950’s cassolle to arrive from Toulouse so I can bust out an old school French cassoulet before the cold snap permanently leaves us. Cassoulet is decidedly a cold weather dish, almost an antithesis to Spring’s light dishes punctuated by fresh morels and tender young artichokes. Over the past few days I have been pouring over several old books comparing cassoulets from different eras. Thirteen cookbooks later and I am left with almost as many questions of what constitutes an authentic cassoulet as the hapless person researching “real” bouillabaisse recipes in Marseille. …
A good friend asked for my recipe for Alsatian Onion Tart that I prepared on Christmas Day as a prelude to the Choucroute Extravaganza. Like I cautioned the guests at my table Christmas Day, do not be foolish and partake in cold beverages during this meal… You do not want the fat coagulating in your veins. Instead, drink a delicious Alsatian Gewurztraminer with a slight bit of residual sugar. Onion tarts make a fabulous easy to prepare lunch with a glass of wine and a green salad!…
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens
We are donating 15% of all sales of our books and gift sets to Feeding America from now till Christmas! Join in and help needy American families and children get a meal and receive a beautiful cookbook in the process! http://eattillyoubleed.com/product-category/books/
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
– Calvin Coolidge
Of all the culinary treats that grace the French Christmas table, nothing inspires more child-like joy than a rich, chocolate Bûche de Noël. Real yule logs, the kind from living trees, have had symbolic significance to the French for centuries. Until the late 1800’s, it was a widespread custom for extended families to gather under one roof, and burn a sacramonial log. In the soft glow of the embers, the family would drink vin cue, cooked wine and sing Christmas carols before attending midnight mass.
My family has been giving homemade Bûche de Noel’s to friends, families and our local community since I was a small child. This holiday season, I am sharing my favorite recipe so that you may start your own family tradition.
François, Beau and Lisa
Love is a fire of flaming brandy
Upon a crepe suzette
Crepes Suzette may be the most well travelled of all French desserts. It has achieved it’s status as a cliché much like New England Clam Chowder or Chicken a la King has. It has been said that crepes Suzette are served more often outside of France than actually in France. While the exact origins will never be known there are plenty of popular stories and some great theories….
“The crab that walks too far, falls into the pot”
Dungeness Crabs are to Thanksgiving menus in the Pacific Northwest what turkeys are to everyone else’s in America. They are the harbinger of late Fall, signalling that Thanksgiving is upon us. Crab bibs are dusted off and pounds of sweet cream butter melted in anticipation of feasts to come. National news reports of large, toxic algae blooms earlier in the year weighed heavy on the minds of locals much like a forecast of a snowless late December haunts the minds of small children facing a Santa-less Christmas. Thanksgiving is here and I started to craving sweet, briny Dungeness crab. I was troubled by recent news stories that there may not be a crab season at all. Rumors were spreading like wildfire that all crabs nationwide, even in Alaska, had been affected with abnormally high levels of a toxin called domoic acid. My heart sunk and I felt heavy and listless. Frozen crab can be found all year long but I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh Winter crabs….
I tell a student that the most important class you can take is technique. A great chef is first a great technician. ‘If you are a jeweler, or a surgeon or a cook, you have to know the trade in your hand. You have to learn the process. You learn it through endless repetition until it belongs to you.Jacques Pepin
Many years ago, in fact decades ago, I was a young culinary student at the New England Culinary Institute. In between classes us young guys and gals liked to pretend we knew more than we did. Over beers, we would boast about how many pans we could control at once in the saute station or how many crepes we could flip. None of of us knew shit. The ignorance of youth. Sometimes it takes real experience to learn how little you actually know. All of us consulted Jacques Pepin’s book “La Technique” as if it were the bible. I still cherish my original copy that has been splattered with chicken fat and lobster juices over the course of it’s 30 year life. It was the bible for us.
Fall had started in earnest and we decided to go for a long walk foraging for wild cèpes. I built a huge fire in our wood burning stove and placed a daube of beef to slow cook on top. We opened a bottle of wine to decant and walked out into the cool, misty day heady with pine scents. ~ from my upcoming cookbook, Cuisine of the Sun.
I just returned from a long walk with my wife Lisa and son Beau enjoying Oregon’s fall colors in the rain. I started making a daube of bison in honor of my maman who loves her bee-sohn like no other. Soon my house filled with the warming smells of slow cooked beef. It reminded me of when we first lived in Mendocino, California in small, off the grid hippie cabin. The following excerpt is edited from my forthcoming book which is available on this site….
“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.” – Richard Louv
Cèpes persillade is a near mythical dish in my family. Over the years phone conversations with my mother always centered on food. Eventually every call got to the point of discussing the joys of eating cèpes persillade and the merits of a true rabbit civet properly thickened with fresh rabbit blood. Cèpes are more commonly known by their Italian name, porcinis. I fondly remember eating them often as a child, usually when visiting favorite relatives. Mushroom persillade became my rite of passage from child to epicure. …
It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.
I apologize dear mother, for I have not had time to keep up with my misplaced food ramblings. I apologize because, though my page lists 66 lost souls, I mean subscribers, I seriously doubt any are left beyond my dear mother due to the wide chasm of time that has separated this post from the last. In my defence, I have been hard at work crafting the pages of my forth coming cookbook ‘Cuisine of the Sun’. The book is finally at the publishers actually being printed. Torrey Douglass, of Lemon Fresh Design, spent several weeks giving it a make-over, making me look like an absolute hero with her dream-like designs. I only hope I haven’t sent her to the same fate I returned to. I know her husband Alan, so perhaps I should apologize to him as well. Writing has been the same brutal assault on my body and mind I thought I left behind when I walked out of my last professional kitchen. Oh how completely wrong and naive I was. I have adopted the Edward Abbey style of writing. I embrace loads of alcohol, nondescript pharmaceutical drugs and lengthy hours like a newly born babe takes to his mother’s breast anticipating the first swallow. I find words flow more freely slightly imbibed, ok, three sheets to the wind. With the ink barely dry on the last page of my book, I felt I better attempt to salvage my dwindling viewership with a very short and sweet seasonal ode to pumpkins in the guise of a recipe.
Since getting backed on my kickstarter cookbook project I have been in full panic mode. I have so much work to do to finish the book in time to get it to Torrey Douglass, our phenomenal book designer, to get it to our publisher, to get it to those of you who graciously bought copies and backed my project. A rather shameless plug for my book is right here:bit.ly/KickstartSunshine. You are encouraged to still back my kickstarter campaign as we have set a stretch goal to cover a possible book tour. Many thanks….
“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”
Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
I have been so buried trying to finish writing/photographing my Provencal cookbook on classic and reimagined dishes from the South of France. The amount of work required is staggering and sometimes stifles my creativity. I usually head out to the Farmer’s Market in Portland (PDX) for a much needed break and some edible inspiration. Walking through the various farms offerings I was so happy to encounter a plethora of interesting peppers including a mound of fresh Espelettes. It reminded me to add one of my favorite dishes, roasted peppers stuffed with goat cheese and topped with Anchoiade. This is a photographic rich post with few words as they all seem to be saved for my book. More information on my book can be found at: bit.ly/KickstartSunshine…
The lines between sanity and insanity are starting to get blurred. It’s getting hard for me to distinguish what is and what isn’t anymore. Ghosts from my culinary past are coming back to life in my waking visions. Between working full time and getting up at 3 am to have a few uninterrupted hours on my kickstarter campaign I am starting to lose it. Sure, last nights Michael Franti concert coupled with a seriously strong rum drinks at Rum Club did not help. Tonight I found myself back at Old Drovers Inn, yelling for a pick up on table 16 while ripping a line cook a new one for dropping a plate during a rush. My four year old’s wide opened eyes, too scared to react or move, told me I had finally crossed the line.