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Have You Ever Dry Brined a Turkey?

Hmm maybe a little late in the game, but I'm interested in dry brining this year. However, I just picked up the bird this morning from the farmer (he's only at the market here on Wednesdays..) and I'm wondering if it is too late to just do a dry brine? I was thinking of salting it (1TBS/5lbs as indicated) and then leaving it to dry immeadiately. Would this work?

Favorite take on hummus?

I use the cook's illustrated recipe too as my jumping off point, soak my chick peas overnight and cook in my pressure cooker. Usually end up adding a bit more lemon, tahini, garlic and salt if I'm making it just for me because I looooove those flavors.

Got some good ideas from this post - thanks for posting it ell.victor! I've been interested in sprouted hummous but seems like a LOT of steps.. is it worth it?

Annoying Lunch Habits of Coworkers

When I was teaching, I worked at a school where half the faculty were crazy diet ladies. Pretty annoying when they are alternating between clucking about their diets, fiercely eyeballing my plate, or analysing the fat content/calories of what everyone else is eating. Once the weather was nice, I started taking a walk on my lunch break and eating my lunch in a nearby park.

Labels and Logos

This post made me think of the 2010 animated short film winner of the oscars Logorama. If you haven't yet seen it, I highly recommend it! Really well done and amusing almost to recognize all the logos and branding that surrounds us day-to-day..

Bad Restaurant Reviews

Its easy to like something, but when a restuarant (or anything with a negative review) is bad, I wanna know the details.

Is It Worth It? (Part 2)

Yeah, I agree with the general consensus - worth it only if you live womewhere where bagels suck or are very hard to find (true in both cases here in France...) However, I've gotta stick up for the midwest and say that there are some pretty good bagels there or at least, in Cincinnati and Columbus where I grew up.

The Pits

Just heard about steeping cherry pits in balsamic vinegar on the Splendid Table podcast to imbue the vinegar with a woody-cherry flavor.. Sounded like a delicious idea.

Are You a Food Blog Addict?

Addicted, though less so than a couple months ago. And google reader only enables the addiction!

What's the Best Picnic You've Ever Had?

Oooh Kenji, you lucky man! Love all these picnic stories too! I really think picnicking is one of the best things to do when you come to France, or Europe or anywhere!

My frenchman here teases me for my adoration of picnics. Can't decide between two picnics though - one high up in the Pyrénées, fruit, tomatoes, cured meats, camembert and pain de compagne (the staples!) and some cherry brandy (just a few nips) after a long high-altitude hike up to the peak and a icy cold swim in a tiny lake of melted snow. For dessert? As many mountain blueberries as you could find and eat on the way down!

The other, last summer, after a long bike ride along the Canal du Midi with two of my best friends, settled into the perfect spot beside the canal and nibbled all sorts of cheese, rillets d'oie, cornichons, radis, perfect peaches and polished of a couple bottles of rosé in the 3-4 hours we lingered there. The bike ride home was a lot of fun ;)

Snapshots from Dijon: Torsade Flammande from Boulangerie Paul

I gotta say that I too was a bit shocked about Kenji raving about PAUL. I lived in Dijon for several months and the best bakery in town (locally, independantly owned) is less than a minutes walk away and a hell of a lot more charming. But I know that SE doesn't hate on the chains/fast food. Their bread is decent, but if you've been here a while you quickly find its faults. For me the trahison is that this Paul place is nudging local, independant operations out of business and factors into a much larger phenomenon of this sort of thing happening in France. My beef with Paul is that you are never going to find lovely local recipes there for local pastries or anything else that seems original. They specialize in the big classics (yes, I too bought many a baguette au pavot in my day...) and fast lunch options, but your options at Paul in Dijon are no different than those in Toulouse. To the French people I know here that are up in arms about places like Paul taking over, its a question of the art of breadmaking falling by the wayside and good real estate being bought up by big chains and rendering it impossible for small businesses to come in after them.

That said, GOOD boulangeries are indeed very tricky to find here - even for the French. Many mom 'n pop joints are now selling "chain" breads that are sub par and in some cities, the best baked breads can be found in the supermarket. You can't take anything at surface value; you have to try around.

But initially, all Americans (north or south) find ANY bread here amaaazing and its not because the bread here is good, its because France has higher standards, and thus even their junky food seems better to us at first. I've only been living here for four years, but my expectations about food quality have vastly changed - and I was considered a snobby eater at home before any of this. Now, going home to see my folks, I never cease to be amazed at how bland and poor quality American food has become.

Oof, my apologies for the rant, but bread really is important here and I've been sucked in!

Dear Orangina: Please Bring These Flavors To Me.

So glad you've shared that ad, I always love passing it along to my friends. The new ad series has really taken it a step up though! You should check those out too!

But I highly doubt Orangina will bring their spinoff flavors to the states where it has stayed in a niche market of foodies and europhiles. It's too "classic" in the US. Here its just another junk food and has to keep up with the competition to appeal to youthful consumers.

Personally, I find that the longer I drink Orangina here in France, the more I notice a very artificial, chemical taste to it and less of the fresh orangey taste I originally loved it for. If I have to drink a soft drink here, I'm a fan of the Schwepps Agrums or Citron. (At least there is no masquerade there as far as natural vs. chemical tastes go.) Also Schwepps is trying to go risqué with their ads too, but its just not their thing!

French in a Flash: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Looove beet salad, but I have to disagree you on one little thing! The raw garlic adds a lovely zing if in moderation and finely minced.

Why did I even bother asking?

+1 for bring the veggies, do a nice dip. Next time, if I were you, I'd pose the question like this "Can I bring anything? I'd love to share this recipe with you guys..." I'm with CatBoy, you can be gently assertive in this situation I think.

creative salads

A salad I ripped off from a sweet little empanada place : about a cup cubed roasted beets nested on top of some mesclun, topped with lots of toasted sesame seeds, and a vinaigrette of soy sauce, sesame oil, champagne vinegar and a tiny bit of olive oil. Pretty easy to throw together and super tasty.

Cooking with Kohlrabi - any suggestions?!

I love it just raw as a crudité - maybe give it a shot in its most simple state before doing anything fancy with it if you've never tried it before.

Capers- Yes or No?

Mmm.. Another yes vote! Capers are lovely.

Huitlacoche, aka corn smut

I've never cooked with it personally, but my favorite mexican place here does an awesome stuffed chicken breast with lots of cheese and huitlacoche and peppers. It's amazing. I believe it is considered a delicacy in Mexican cuisine but the flavor is not truffle like - just very earthy/mushroomy as everyone else has been saying.

Cook the Book: Arepas de Queso

Any chance that fine ground cornmeal could replace the masarepa? That ingredient will be impossible to procure here in Toulouse...

Pickapeppa Sauce, How do you use it?

pickapeppa mixed in with the yolk of fried eggs = childhood breakfast favorite

Suggestions for vegetarian weeknight dinners?

We eat mostly meat free all the time. My favorites to whip up regularly: dals, risottos, frittate, polenta+sautéed greens and an egg, savory bread puddings, savory soufflés.

Kitchen Scale for baking -- really a necessity?

@agoodcooker, haha my boyfriend does that somestimes too if its just sitting out still. "EQUALITY!!"

its easy to get geeky with a scale. but i bet thats a great tool to use with battling siblings... :)

Kitchen Scale for baking -- really a necessity?

I never used a scale when I lived in the US and baked all my bread (can't stand bad bread!) and never had any problems either.

Nevertheless, I got a scale after living in France a couple years - I swtich back and forth between american and international recipes, so it has be come very helpful when baking.

And though it makes me feel like a silly dieter, I do tend to use it to measure our portions of pasta and other things... So no, not necessary, but I really like it.

What to do with an embarrassment of parsley?

Persillade with lots of garlic and butter. I like a little lemon zest/juice in there too. Frozen in the ice cube tray. Perfect to serve on grilled fish/meats/vegetables this summer.