Sunday, November 18, 2007


I just finished bringing these to temperature, except they were quince & Crimson Gold apple caramels. Thinking lots of my caramel-making grandfather. My mom would be proud, I used a fancy vat cultured butter from Sierra Nevada.

Plus a 16oz jar of poached quinces, two 24oz jars of poached Crimson Golds (o, the tarts!), and two 12oz jars of Crimson Gold jelly.


Several hours ago I got up to find the name of a knife company. i just sat down again to eat the fennel and squash soup occupying one of four burners on my stove. The others are quince quarters poaching in simple syrup, Crimson Gold tiny apples poaching in future jelly, and apple/ quince trimmings getting made into pectin. Name of knife company? No idea.

Mussels at Fritz.

Mussels, originally uploaded by ~Dezz~.

S and I had the most lovely date last night. I'm giddy about winter and Christmas, and went out in a green argyle sweater and red cable-knit scarf. We walked a few short blocks to the new Fritz. I've been to the new location three times. First for fries and wine after a draining day. Then Tuesday after dinner at L's I joined P & E, who I spotted in the posh window seat. I disappeared a Hoegarten and stole a few of their 'Delphi' mussels (feta, Kalamatas, garlic, oregano). S is working tons these days, so I'd been plotting a relaxing night. When I suggested mussels, he thought of a few lovely and schwank places to enjoy them. I was angling for the $11 mussels with $4.75 fries, enough for two to spilt.

When we arrived, the line was out the door. We zipped through it, so fast that we had to concur on which mussels and tasty fry dipping sauces at the register. We cozied up in the window on the white vinyl bed sofa, with a tray table across my lap. Fabulous people watching from our perch at the front. A large Fritz arrived with roasted pepper mayonnaise and wasabi mayonnaise, both of which could have been more flavored. We later returned for curry ketchup and Thai hot sauce ketchup. Spiennes Mussels came in Hoegarten (yay!) with fresh fennel, lemon zest, garlic and shallots. I drank a yummy white French wine which will remain unnamed, because it was too damn far away to read the name.

Eggs for Naya.

Soft scrambled eggs with perhaps Jarrahdale squash cubes, a bit of preserved Meyer lemon and carmelized onions with thyme and sage. Applewood smoked bacon, Ritual coffee N brought, after staving off the empty belly with walnut toast and strawberry jam made yesterday. We followed this with hours of drinking tea and knitting. A magnificent Saturday.

Eggs for Naya
3 very small onions, sliced (about 2/3 C.)
1 Tbs. butter
2 C. squash cubes, steamed
2 Tsp. minced preserved Meyer Lemon
6 eggs
1/4 C. cream
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Brown Cow lowfat)

Carmelize onions in butter, while steaming squash. Adding thyme, sage, preserved lemon, salt and pepper to onions at finish. Turn heat to low. Drink some coffee.
Fork-whisk eggs, add cream, add yogurt. Whisk more, but don't worry about evenly incorporating the yogurt. Add egg mixture to pan of squash and seasoned onions. Cook over very low heat, flipping the edges into the middle and stirring gently. Drink more coffee. While the still-a-bit-runny eggs are cooking, put a lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Relax. Cook the bacon. Then eat the perfect eggs. Adding yogurt does a cheesy trick that I still don't fully understand, but adore.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Hello Creme of My (Your) Name and JBS and ioerror. Lovely to hear from you all. Smooches and coddled eggs.


In Joigny I bought a secopnd and third bottle of Gris de Joigny at the farmers market from a cheese shop. I also bought a handfull of tiny thimbles of hard aged goat cheese. The were unforgettable. As in I think of them three times a day. So when I see California Crottins at the corner store, I always miss the thimbles, and apparently their "wrinkly, geotrichum candidum rinds." Last night S and I were walking home from the video store (Perfume and Black Tights) I stopped in to pick of packed lunch tidbits. I bought a gooey ripe Camellia, a soft goat cheese...overrripe by American standards.

I gooely cut it in two this morning, sending S away with half. Plus a pink lady apple, walnut bread, a hard boiled egg, tiny containers of salt and fresh ground pepper, a salad of arugula/ strawberries/Point Reyes blue, a tiny bottle of balsamic dressing, a clementine, and a tiny jar of Crimson Gold apple jelly. (I was regretting forgetting to pack a bar of Scarffenberger until I typed that list. What a lunch!) A linen napkin even, and rather nice cutlery like this. I took the other half of the cheese, a perfect pear and walnut bread.

I ate lunch first. The cheese was shockingly redolent of sweaty woman. Blink. Hooray for ripe cheese.

Black Tights.

Yowzers. Cyd Charisse in Black Tights. I need more vertically striped corsets. They'd look great with my kitchen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You want food porn?

Watch Julia make sausage in The French Chef with Julia Child: Disc 2, episode 4 (or 10, depending on how you're counting) "To Stuff a Sausage." She's as hands on as usual.

It's thoughtfully followed with the cold shower that is Tripes a la Mode. Ever see a whole cow's stomach? Large.

Winter rain salad.

I recieve a magical box every other week. This week, I vowed to eat the most perishable things immediately--big red radishes and a funny bag of 4" assorted lettuce leaves. The dressing was a discovery.

Winter Dressing
1/4 cup Point Reyes Blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Brown Cow low fat)
Dash habanero hot sauce
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Once, there was the most magical dinner.

The crew of the Saint Vallerie staked in and tied down to a scandalously central bank in Auxerre, France at sunset. Seven of the crew disembarked to explore, and S and I sauteed aboard to transform cassoulet for two or three into dinner for nine. El Capitan suggested dining ashore. S surveyed the resources from the increasingly delightful foredeck.
We trundled the tables and every chair across to shore, pulled up the gangplanks, replaced them farther forward, and carried everything to the foredeck. Deeply short on chairs, we improvised benches out of gangplanks balanced on chairs. A sheet became the table cloth as I madly quartered and steamed strategically filling artichokes as a starter. Pressure-cooked haricots blancs had already power stewed in the pressure cooker with a mildly outrageous quantity of multicolored Joigny farmers market carrots and our meagre looking two legs/thighs of duck confit. The concoction was bubbling away in out one glass casserole in the tiny boat oven, crispy duck fatted crumbs toasting on top.
The dueling cathedrals created an unforgettable scene as the rest of the crew trouped home to steaming artichokes and white Burgundy. An utter victory. And in striped shirts.


After 10 years of owning assorted Le Creuset, Dansk, etc. enamel pans, I've finally hurt one. My red Dansk saucepan with lovely wooden handle now has a crackled and cracked bottom, with bits flaking off everywhere. Replacable. The thinnker Dansk enamel is perhaps less tough than the Le Creuset?

Creme de Pissenlits, or Bridey Soup

Bridey, Erin, S and I filled our bike baskets with greens from the edge of the canal, never picking more than one third of the leaves from a plant, per Bridey's foraging ethics.

Creme de Pissenlits(Cream of Dandelion Soup)
Modified from Madeleine Kamman's When French Women Cook (Ten Speed Press, 2002) to be made without blenders or strainers, and on a boat that had lots of carrots.
2 lbs. dandelion greens, trimmed, and washed
8 tbsp. butter
1 cup rich chicken stock
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 small carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
¼ cup flour
4 cups milk, hot
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 strips bacon, chopped and cooked crispily
Butter soaked, garlicky herbed croutons for garnish.

1. If using young dandelion greens, chop them and set aside. If using older, tougher greens, blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water, then cool them in a bowl of ice water. Drain them, squeezing out excess moisture, chop, and set aside.
2. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add dandelion greens and cook, stirring often, until moisture has evaporated, 15-20 minutes. Add stock and simmer, stirring often, until it has almost completely evaporated, about 15 minutes.
3. Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually whisk in hot milk. Return pan to medium-low heat and cook sauce, stirring constantly, until thick, 25-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Combine cream and mustard, then stir into soup. Heat soup over medium-low heat until hot (do not let soup boil; it will curdle). Crumble bacon into soup and adjust seasonings. Serve soup garnished with garlicky croutons.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hark, the appled pies are singing.

The winter, she is upon us. When first back from France, S bought me a dozen of the cutest tiny apples. I made them into two tiny tarts. Newly invented, the candied apple pie, in a larger version:

Candied Apple Pie
2 lbs. tiny apples (I used Crimson Golds, 1.5-2" in diameter)
2 cups white sugar
2 cups water
1 recipe pate sucre

Halve and seed the tiny apples, leaving the peels on. Boil in saucepan with sugar and water, mixing gently to insure all apples are candied. Do not burn or carmelize. Cook until the apples are cooked through but not mushy, ~20 minutes on medium heat.

Prepare the pate sucre in a short tart pan, 8-'10". The dough can just be pressed in, not rolled. Arrange the tiny apples on end in concentric circles. Drizzle 2 Tsp of the cooking liquid over the tart. Reserve the rest. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely toasted and the tops of rosy apples are lightly burnt, all French like. Serve with whipped cream.

The cooking liquid will be reduced to about 1 cup, and is likelt to magically transform into a luscious jelly. If not jelling properly, get out your candy thermometer and adjust.

Photo Credit:
the lure of the ice storm and the journey through st. cloud, Many Fires