March 2016 Newsletter Welcome March! I, for one, am glad the last couple of months are in the past. I survived knee surgery in February and am walki

       
6645671549 fa5338e2e2 o

March 2016 Newsletter

apples and cider

Welcome March!

I, for one, am glad the last couple of months are in the past. I survived knee surgery in February and am walking around again like a pro. Well, almost...I know I'll be there soon! I had a great doctor that specializes in knees, who knew exactly what to do - and he did it. And I had a great physical therapist who worked on my knee, while I worked on her English for an upcoming trip to the United States. I gave her a few tips while in San Francisco, including having a ginormous Pancho Villa burrito and a trip to the Ferry Plaza market, now that her English is nearly perfect. Well, she can at least name all the muscles and bones surrounding a knee, in English...

The only bummer was the meal I had in the medical clinic. It's wasn't quite up to the standards of la cuisine française. (Someone call Michael Moore and tell him!)

shakshuka

I am now better able to navigate the markets and hectic streets of Paris, although the métro was a challenge with all the stairs and people rushing at me. Fortunately I had my cane, which was like Moses parting the Red Sea, and people were extremely kind and considerate when they saw me carrying that. Needless to say, the doctor had to pry it out of my hands when he told me that I shouldn't use it anymore.

Although I now have a stack of paperwork to contend with (my doctor gave me another stack on my last visit, then gave me two pages of paperwork to explain how to deal with all the paperwork!) - but c'est comme ça, as they say. The French healthcare system, in spite of what some people who don't live in France say (and some of the paperwork), works very well for patients and my care was great. I wasn't nervous at all, although they did squirt something in my mouth that calmed me down remarkably just before wheeling me into surgery, that I'd like to get my hands on...

pics cheese and bread-3

The markets are full of apples and pears right now in Paris, although the pears are dwindling and will likely be replaced by rhubarb shortly. There is still plenty of citrus and I'm anticipating spring fruits any day now, although something in me tells me that winter isn't quite over for us yet in Paris, in spite of a few weeks of surprisingly mild weather. I also rediscovered Shakshuka, a warming egg dish, baked in spicy tomato sauce (above), that I made a few times when I wanted something warming and spicy.

Being up-and-about is great and I'm looking forward to doing more walking, exploring, baking, and cooking. However I'm woefully behind as I work toward a writing deadline, so I'm getting on that this month! : )

David

***

Coffee crème brûlée recipe

coffee creme brulee

Recently I was taping a television show in Paris and they asked me to make an iconic French dessert in my kitchen. Not sure there is anything more one could ask for in a dessert, except for one where the caramelizing of the sugar on top makes for a dramatic television segment. (But we'll see what they edit in, or out.)

No matter - after we shot the recipe we all dug into our own, individual custards, cracking through the brittle sugar topping and spooning up the creamy-smooth coffee custard underneath. Since I shared my custards with them, I thought I'd share them with you too.

Coffee Crème Brûlée
Four servings

Adapted from My Paris Kitchen

I used to infuse whole coffee beans to make coffee-flavored custards but many readers, rightly, were distraught at having to dispose of all those coffee beans when they were done. So now I use instant espresso powder which works really well, and saves on the grocery bills. Use a high-quality espresso powder, although I also found that Starbuck's Via coffee works well, too.

As I explain in the book, I bake these in shallow gratin dishes, French-style, similar to these. They allow for the perfect ratio of creamy custard to crackly topping.

1 1/3 cups (330ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (160ml) whole or lowfat milk
1/4 cup sugar (50g) plus more for caramelizing
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, or more to taste
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa

Preheat the oven to 300ºF/150ºC. Place 4 small (4 to 5-inches/12cm) au gratin dishes on a high rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan.


Warm the cream, milk, and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. In a bowl, stir together the egg yolks. When the cream is warm (not too hot), gradually pour it into the yolks, stirring constantly so the eggs don't scramble. Mix in the coffee powder, adding a little more if you want to dial up the flavor. Strain the mixture into a measuring cup and stir in the coffee liqueur.


Divide the mixture into the four gratin dishes. Put the baking sheet on the rack of the oven and carefully add hot water to the baking sheet until it reaches up halfway up the outsides of the gratin dishes.


Bake for about 20 minutes, until the custards just feel set - they should still be jiggly in the center. If not quite there, turn off the oven and let bake another 3 to 5 minutes.


Remove from oven (being very careful of that hot water!) and remove the custards from the water bath to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely then chill several hours or overnight.


To serve, sprinkle each custard with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar and wave a blowtorch over the top until the sugar melts and caramelizes.


Note: If you only have regular ramekins or custard cups, bake the custards in a 325ºF/160ºC oven, with hot water and the pan covered with foil, until set, about 30 to 35 minutes.

***

Follow Me on Snapchat

snapcode-300x300

I've become a fan of Snapchat. I share recipes and videos from my local market, trips to bakeries, dinners, and whatever, with the click of a button. It's more casual than Instagram and reminds me of the days when blogging was a looser medium. I'm hooked!

To use it, you'll need to download the app. After you do, I'm at davidlebovitz - there's a bit of a learning curve and you can check out tutorials on line. But basically, you create My Story, which is a series of pics and videos that are put into one "stream," which disappears after 24 hours.

Some interesting articles that might help are Snapchat and Facebook Live for Food Bloggers, The Beginners Guide to Snapchat, and Learning the Basics.

***

Recent Favorite Posts from My Blog

shallot marmalade jam recipe-2

Some favorite recipes and posts from last month:

-I've updated my post and recipe for shallot marmalade, a great condiment that goes well with pâté, roasted meats, and even vegetarian Faux Gras.

-A new bistro on the Paris scene, Ma Bourse et la Vie does the French classics right.

-"Refreshing" is the name of the game with this brilliantly colored (and flavored) Tangerine Sorbet.

-I'm almost over my losing streak with these tasty, simple to make Peanut Butter Granola bars from a favorite Brooklyn bakery.

-Like chocolate? I dialed up Chocolate Babka with a secret ingredient, and I spilled the (cocoa?) beans on it...

-An overload of watercress is never a bad thing. Especially when it gets put to such great use in a creamy-smooth (but no cream...) Watercress Soup, which was my soupe du jour for the few chilly days we had last month.

-"Spaghetti" and "pie" are two words you don't heat often together, especially in France. This incredible savory main course, Spaghetti Pie, with cheese and lots of black pepper, was one of the best things to have come out of my oven in a while.

A bientôt! (See you soon!)

My Paris Kitchen hi res
custom facebook flickr twitter vimeo
1px