Vive le France!

“I need to eat more French food,” my wife, who has lived in both the Alps and Paris, announced the other day.

As it so happened, the day after she made this proclamation was Bastille Day. And always good for an occasion to build a theme meal around, I pulled out what is and will always be the best French cookbook of all — Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry.”

The master at work

The master at work

I don’t use cookbooks so much for recipes as for inspiration. I had picked up three plump soft shell crabs a few days before, and wanted to see if any of Keller’s preparations caught my eye. Sure enough, there was a Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab “Sandwich” — the quotation marks being Keller’s and indicating that the recipe was a playful riff on something you might be familiar with. More

Advertisements

My Goose is Cooked!

The other day at my local supermarket, I caused quite the stir when I purchased a frozen goose.

Canada goose, John J. Audubon, 1838

“Is that a goose??” said the gal at the check-out counter, causing all the other shoppers waiting in nearby lanes to crane their necks as the frozen beast made its way forward on the conveyer belt. In California, you’re hard-pressed to find anything goose-related amidst the quinoa, skinless chicken breasts and tempeh. “Hey Esmerelda, look — a goose!”

More

A Guerrilla in Skinny Girl Country

If you’re going to spend an afternoon with a guerrilla, what better occasion than Bastille Day — a holiday celebrating the storming of a symbol of monarchal oppression by the common man.

The “guerrilla” we would spend Bastille Day with would not be a camouflaged, gun-toting, beret-crowned rebel, but rather our family wine, Wine Guerrilla — and my mother’s long-time partner, Bruce, producer of the wine and himself often referred to as, “The Wine Guerrilla.” More

Confit

In the old days before refrigeration, all those trendy rustic preserved things you see on menus these days — cured meats, preserves, terrines, rillettes, all foods pickled and/or fermented — were a matter of necessity. With the fall harvest came too much of everything. And with the desolation of winter around the corner, you figured out ways to preserve all the extra meats and fruits and veggies and grains.

Chicken confit in the Dutch oven

Fast forward to the era of refrigeration, microwave cooking and frozen entrees, and these foodstuffs became quaint reminders of a more difficult epoch. Perhaps it was nostalgia or the recognition of the enduring deliciousness inherent in many preserved… but as the pace of life grew ever quicker, preserves made a roaring comeback, trailing their salty sour tails like comets into the modern era. And that’s a really good thing. More

Soupe de Poisson

Bonjour!

While browsing the fish aisle at my favorite Japanese market the other day, I spotted a package of fish bones. Always one to be attracted to the stranger items in the refrigerated section, I added it to my basket.

There really aren’t that many things you can do with a package of fish bones. The most obvious is a French-style fish soup. And since my father was coming for lunch a couple days later to celebrate his 87th birthday and French fish soup is one of his favorite things, that’s what I decided to do! More

Previous Older Entries