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October 2020 Newsletter


Last month I updated the Salade Niçoise recipe on my blog. I like the revisit cookbooks in my library and two that I cherish, The Cuisine of the Sun and Cuisine Niçoise, are both considered classic guides to authentic Niçoise cooking. (Niçoise Cuisine was written by the former mayor of Nice, whose career was mired in scandal, to put it nicely, and The Cuisine of the Sun was written by a food writer who was born and raised in Nice.)

While the internet goes into a rage when some cuisines are fiddled with, like when peas are added to guacamole (and there was a kerfuffle on my Instagram post which someone saw a pair of chopsticks resting next to a bowl of Bibimbap), some people were unnerved to find out that cooked vegetables and potatoes, which they've been enjoying for years, aren't considered components of the classic Salade Niçoise.

I spent more than a little time fielding questions and messages from people who liked green beans on their Niçoise salads (a traditional Salade Niçoise isn't supposed to have any cooked vegetables, or grilled tuna, for that matter), letting them know it was absolutely a-ok to continue making and enjoying the salad as they wished, but it brought back memories of a Panzanella salad I posted maybe twelve years ago on the blog, which contained cubes of bread toasted with garlic.

Fortunately, it was before people got canceled - so I'm still around, but a few Italians expressed concern (to put it nicely...) about that being called a Panzanella even though it's how everyone seems to make it these days. So I decided to get to The Good Place when my time is up and present what's considered a true Panzanella, with crumbled stale bread, which soaks up the dressing more than crisp cubes of bread do.

Now I've got people telling me they don't like the version with moist hunks of bread. I'm hoping, someday, everyone will be happy. When someone knows that date, please share it! ; )

classic salade nicoise-9

At top of all that's going on in the food world: Green beans, bread cubes, and if I can post a picture of chopsticks next to Bibimbap, which, for the record, I normally eat with both a spoon and chopsticks - the spoon is good for the rice and smaller things, but bigger pieces get snared with les baguettes, as chopsticks are called in French.

It's probably time for all of us to take a collective breath - again - just like we did back in March and April, when the pandemic was first creeping up and everyone was in the "we're all in this together" mode...to now, when France and other countries are once again closing restaurants, bars, cafés, and schools.

Tangerine cocktail recipe-6

Speaking of coming and going, we had to say goodbye to strawberries and other summer fruits once and for all, and face the fact that apples and pears are here to stay. At least for a while. But there's also citrus to look forward to. And a windfall of apples from a spontaneous trip to Brittany yielded over 50-pounds (23kg) of apples from a mini-orchard behind our friend's home, where we drank cider, ate buckwheat galettes (crêpes), and happily dined on beautifully-fresh vegetables, seafood, and briny oysters from the local market.


While they're not summer berries, apples do make the most beautiful, rosy-colored Apple Jelly, and I've got ~18 jars of jelly to prove that. I have a few more pounds of apples to use, which I'd planned to bake with...but a sudden rainstorm last week provoked something inside of the walls of my apartment, which water has been cascading out of, aka: a Fuite d'eau. So instead of making cookies and brownies, I'm bailing water and on the phone with plumbers, insurance companies, neighbors, and assorted other characters in the new drama in my life.

Phew! That's the scoop for this month. Thanks for subscribing and reading the newsletter. It's always fun to let you know what's happening a little more than I do on the blog and on social media and it's nice to keep in touch with you here. I hope October (and November) brings us more pleasant news, and some surprises. Some of us could really use it!



PS: I was also thrilled to be interviewed by esteemed Paris food writer Alec Lobrano about Drinking French for this article titled French Toasts in the Prior Club newsletter.

And...thanks to those of you who've gotten a copy of the book, and those who've tagged #drinkingfrench on Instagram, so I can see your creations. And also a gazillion thanks to those of you who've also written such kind reviews on Amazon. So are so appreciated!

Lastly, while I know many of you (and I) shop on Amazon, it's nice to purchase books from small, independent booksellers, when we can. I have a list of some on my blog with links to where you can get the book from a variety of independent booksellers in the U.S. Bookshop also supports local bookstores and discounts books as well.

Oh, and lastly (again) today/tonight I'll be doing a live, online Zoom presentation and demonstration with the 92nd St Y at 1pm ET, 10am PT. It's $20 (proceeds go to the Y) and you can sign up here. The great cookbook store Kitchen Arts & Letters is selling copies of Drinking French in accordance with the event.


Recent Recipes and Posts on My Blog

Apple Jelly recipe-8

I (almost) overdosed on Apple Jelly when I made a few dozen jars of it. Then I realized my jam-eating machine, i.e.; Romain, will likely go through it by the end of the month...

Was thrilled to finally get my copy of Falastin and made author Sami Tamimi's mom's recipe for Buttermilk Fattoush, with the crunch of crumbled pita, lots of freshly chopped vegetables, and a tangy buttermilk dressing. Now that's my kind of salad.

The French apéritf with the funny name contains no beer, but the Byrrh-Cassis is a spot-on, low ABV, spritzy favorite apéritif that focuses on the lush, quinine-rich Byrrh as a base, with black currant liqueur to bolster the fruitiness and sparkling water for a little fizz.

A number of people were surprised to learn the classic Salade Niçoise has no cooked vegetables - nope, no potatoes or green beans. The salad has gone off in many directions (with potatoes, green beans...and even grilled tuna) but it was fun to revisit the original.

Paris cheese-expert Jennifer Greco gave us a list of the Top Ten Cheeses in France. Bookmark it for your next visit!

Oven-Roasted Plums are a great way to use the end-of-the-season orbs, which pair beautifully with ice cream and cake, although mine were perfectly paired with plain yogurt for breakfast.

There is something more Parisian than macarons, baguettes and croissants. And that's a Fuite d'eau or "water leak." Everyone in Paris has a story, and mine is on my blog...

Lastly, I changed servers last month so my blog should be loading much more quickly. Hope it makes reading it more fun, and faster for you!


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