Entrees, French, Recipes

Lemon and Lavender Chicken

When I first received The Little Paris Kitchen in the mail, I spent a good hour just sitting on the couch and flipping through the pages. All those photos of bistros, Parisian markets, dinner parties on adorable little all sounds so cliché, but I thisclose to booking a plane ticket to Paris. (That's the power of photography!)

And then there are the recipes: very simple, nonfussy French comfort food, pretty much food I crave everyday.

Over the weekend I made the lemon and lavender chicken, a nice twist on the simple roast chicken. What could be more spring-like than lavender? If I can't jet off to Paris and drive down to the lavender fields of Provence, at the very least I can roast some chicken. 

Appetizers, French, Recipes, Vegetarian

Provencal Chickpea Dip

When you’re gearing up for the launch of your first cookbook, and trying to work on two blogs while planning a book launch party, weekdays can get a bit hectic. Sit-down lunches start becoming a luxury. Heck, lunch becomes a luxury. Or at least, lunch that doesn’t involve grabbing a slice of pizza on the go.

Last week, after lecturing to myself that I really did need something healthier, I decided to whip up a batch of Provencal chickpea dip  that could last for several days. And pair it with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pita bread, everything that could be picked up quickly from the neighborhood market. This super easy recipe comes from Anne Willan’s wonderful and beautifully photographed The Country Cooking of FrancePoischichade is a Provencal version of hummus and baba ganoush, and has an intense smoky flavor from the roasted red peppers and ground cumin.

Entrees, French, Recipes

Coq au Riesling

In college, about a decade ago, I briefly toyed with the idea of being a French major. I had studied the language for about 7 years and had romantic but vague ideas about moving to Europe and working there. Very vague ideas. Something to do with foreign relations/ journalism/translation/nannying…or really, anything. In reality, I just really wanted to move to Paris and was looking for a way to live there legitimately.

That, of course, never happened. I ended up majoring in art history, working at a book store for a year after graduation, then moving to New York for culinary school. Though I never ended up living in France, I did become very familiar with classical French cooking.

Cake, Desserts, French, Recipes

French Yogurt and Olive Oil Cake

Yesterday I wanted to bake a cake. Sure, it was a Monday, but since finding out over the weekend that my cookbook was now available for pre-order on Amazon (!!!), I wanted an excuse to celebrate. Or more accurately, I wanted an excuse to eat cake.

But not a cake with frosting or layers or anything that required more effort than a Monday evening calls for. Then I remembered a recipe for French-style yogurt cake in Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life that I had bookmarked a while back but hadn’t had time to try yet. It’s an old-fashioned dessert that home bakers used to make by measuring ingredients in a yogurt jar. (Dorie Greenspan has also said this was one of the few desserts that French women actually make at home, given that in France amazing pastry shops are pretty much everywhere.)

A delicious-sounding cake that didn’t take much effort? Sold.

Appetizers, French, Recipes, Vegetarian

Tomatoes Provencales

January, the unofficial month in America for diets and cleanses and general low-fat eating, might seem like an odd time to cook a bunch of recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Especially if you’re someone who, for example, ate an average of 6 to 8 cookies at day for the last two weeks. (But who’s keeping exact count?)

Contrary to some beliefs, not ever recipe in MTAOFC involves tons of butter, heavy cream, or fatty meats. You just have to dig a bit to find the recipes from Provence, where olive oil is used more profusely. Soup au pistou, one of the quintessential Provençal soup, is pretty much all vegetables and beans. Ratatouille is another all-vegetarian dish using olive oil, and you can really use half the oil that Julia Child calls for. Or salade niçoise, or bouillabaisse, or saffron-scented garlic soup.

Beef, Entrees, French, Recipes

Carbonnades à la Flamande (Belgian Beef and Onion Stew)

For the past year, I've used my wok more than any other cookware, mainly because of the Chinese cookbook I was working on and blogging for my other website, Appetite for China. The beautiful shiny red Dutch oven I received for Christmas last year sat in the corner for months, boxed up from my last move. As much as I loved stir-frying with the wok, I missed the lovely braised dishes that came out of the gorgeous ruby cocotte. And I missed, compared with the wok, how little space it took up on my narrow apartment-sized stove. It was time for the Dutch oven to see daylight again (well, fluorescent kitchen light...)

I recently looked at the list I made for all the dishes from old cookbooks I wanted to try for this site, and roughly half of them are braises and stews. Maybe it's because we're deep in the throes of winter. Maybe it's because stews are so economical, in terms of both money and time, and a braise that took 2 hours and $15 worth of ingredients to make can last the next few nights. Or maybe it's just I frequently daydream about meltingly tender cuts of meat.