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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ladurée comes to New York City!

Photograph by Stephen Carlile
One of Paris’ oldest and most famous pastry shops is opening its first U.S. outpost in New York this month. Ladurée, founded in 1862 and celebrated for its macarons (those ethereally light meringue-like cookies made with egg whites, ground almonds, and sugar), is due to open, according to its website, on August 27th at 864 Madison Avenue. Ladurée shops span the globe now and can be found in England, Japan, Turkey, Italy Ireland, and other distant locales.

Photograph by suziedepingu
A longtime fan of their elegant Parisian boutiques with the pastel-colored walls and exquisite packaging, I adore not only their macarons, but their other confections as well. Now I can indulge on this side of the Atlantic. Laduree is credited with inventing the double decker macaron available in a variety of tempting flavors and sandwiched together with ganache or butter cream. You’ll find their chocolates, pastries, and cakes just as tempting. (I once bought a lime- and ginger-scented mille feuille at their store on the rue Bonaparte in Paris and spent weeks in vain trying to figure out how to reproduce it!)  

At the beginning of this week, I went by the Madison Avenue store hoping that it might have opened early. There was still a lot of work to be finished, so I’d recommend checking their website before making a trip. (Please note that the site is in French. Cick on "Les Maisons Ladurée" on top tab, then on "Dans le Monde," and finally on "Etats-unis," and you'll see the date in French which is easy to read.) I definitely plan to go back on my next visit to the Big Apple this fall.

864 Madison Avenue (between 70th and 71st)
New York, New York  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Great Lobster Debate

Perfectly steamed lobsters ready to be devoured.
Though lobster is one of my favorite foods, I’m not an expert at cooking this crustacean.  A transplant to New England, I grew up in the South far from the shore and spent many years in the land-locked Midwest. So last week, when Catherine, a good friend who had been in Maine for the summer, offered to bring a cache of fresh lobsters for an overnight visit, I called my pal, Karen, a life-long Cape Codder, for cooking directions. (I also decided to use a recipe from my new book as a sauce for the lobsters.)

Without missing a beat, the Cape cook rattled off the number of minutes for lobsters from 1 1/4 to 3 pounds. She was adamant that I steam, not boil, the critters. “Use a large pot with a lid, fill it with 4 inches of water, and bring it to a boil,” she explained. Most important, though, she told me to grab each lobster by the back and hold it head down over the pot for several seconds until it stopped flapping and the tail relaxed. Then you drop it in; when all have been added, cover the pot. For 1 1/2-pounders the steaming time was to be 18 minutes.

Catherine holding a lobster above the pot to relax it!
Well, that was my plan, until our houseguest arrived.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Roasts has arrived!

I can't believe I'm holding two copies of Sunday Roasts in my hands. It's my 9th book, my 5th with the wonderful people at Chronicle, and I love the way it turned out.

Susie Cushner did the gorgeous photos, Maggie Ruggiero was the talented food stylist who made all those roasts so tempting, and Randi Brookman Harris provided the exquisite props for the pictures.

When my assistant, Diana, arrived last week, the first thing I did was to tell her about the early publicity for Sunday Roasts in the September issue of Country Living! Check out the digital edition or pick up a copy at your newsstand.

Editor's note, October 2, 2011:

I'll be signing copies of this new book in October and November here, or you find copies at Amazon!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Show Stopper Salad for Warm Summer Days

Salads are quintessential summer fare, but they don’t have to be the predictable mixed greens drizzled with oil and vinegar or the ubiquitous Caesar. With some imagination and a small amount of extra effort, you can definitely make this course the star of your menu.

Take the Haricots Verts and Chorizo Salad that follows. I created this colorful and robustly flavored mélange of tender blanched green beans topped with sautéed chorizo and sieved hard-boiled eggs while in France last summer. Tossed in a mustard dressing made with sherry vinegar and shallots, it was the pièce de résistance at a dinner for friends in Paris. When I included this recipe at my annual salads class here in New England, its popularity was confirmed again when my students voted it their favorite.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Philou – A New Paris Bistro Boasts Delectable Food with Reasonable Prices

When in Paris, I am always on the lookout for bistros where the food is inventive, seasonal, and reasonably priced. I didn’t have to look very hard this June when I was in the City of Light. I had read glowing reviews by both French and American critics about Philou, a fairly new restaurant only steps from the Canal St Martin in the increasingly trendy 10th arrondissement.
My spouse and I and two friends, who live in Paris, arrived on a hot summer evening and were seated outdoors on the small terrace.  From a portable black board menu, we quickly made our selections. For starters I ordered a delectable cold plate that included flaked smoked haddock combined with sliced cucumbers and little “grenaille” potatoes. This was garnished with a green salad and a room temperature poached egg. Sublime!  Others had grilled pork belly with a slice of cantaloupe (the cooling melon a perfect foil for the rich pork) and another loved a perfectly seasoned pâté accompanied by a seasonal salad and cornichons. Mains included duck breast served with honey and balsamic-glazed roasted eggplant and a roasted cod fillet set atop a bowl of colorful ratatouille. This latter dish was so good that I reproduced it at home!