December 2016 Newsletter November has been a tumultuous month seemingly everywhere, but especially in the U.S., where I was visiting my family and wo

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December 2016 Newsletter

Baked Apples with Ginger

November has been a tumultuous month seemingly everywhere, but especially in the U.S., where I was visiting my family and working. A lot happened and by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I think everyone was ready for some pecan pie (especially one with bourbon in it!) and overloaded plates of turkey, gravy, and sauce canneberge. Romain, my French partner, was with me for dinner and although the French don't have any connection to the holiday – or the foods associated with it – once he discovered stuffing, he was hooked.

My mother was a good cook and I don't know how she made hers. My sister can't find her recipe card file after moving houses a few years ago, so next year, I'm going to come a day early and help her find it! (There's also a great potato salad recipe in there, too. Maybe I need to go to a psychic to find it?)

Fortunately everyone in my family is on the same side, so we talked mostly about food. And Romain was surprised when we were home by 8pm. Most French dinner parties end at 1:30am, so I think I'm more American than I thought...because I was happy to be in bed by 9:30pm. And I must be a good (or bad) influence, because he was too.

Pumpkin Maple Flan-6

One thing that struck me this fall was how much information was passed around on social media. The New York Times did a great story about how fake news became popular, and profitable. I recommend reading the article. In addition to the fake news that I saw in my Facebook Timeline, there were plenty of conversations about social and political issues. So I read, some I scrolled past.

There are those who say to people in the food business, "Stick to food!" Whatever your political leanings are, one of the beautiful things about the United States is that we have freedom of speech, which many countries don't have. (Some places people can't vote, drive, and aren't allowed to even talk about certain subjects.) You don't have to listen, and I, too, am guilty of not reading all points of view, which is a problem for those of us who don't read physical newspapers and magazines: We tend to click on headlines of articles that are interesting to us, or reflect points of view that we already agree with.

(I even read those articles about how effortlessly chic Parisian women are, even though I know there are plenty of regular women in Paris, who - yup - look, act, and eat, like you or I do.)

The owner of a highly regarded spice company made a statement in his newsletter and some were up in arms. There were calls for cinnamon boycotts, etc... But no matter where one stands, we all know there's going be a seismic political and sociological shift in terms of most of the "-isms", immigration, health care, along with challenges to our Constitution and rethinking of how America relates to the rest of the world - and what American stands for. France is on the cusp of making a similar decision.

Whatever the message, it's especially important these days to be engaged and informed. It's easy online to bicker, and bully, and block. I consider myself fortunate because I very, very rarely have to block or remove comments from my blog because my readers are especially considerate to each other, which I'm super thankful for. (So if you leave comments on my blog, and elsewhere, that add to the conversation - thanks!) It's interesting because I have people from various cultures and sensibilities reading my blog and social media and I try to keep an open mind, as do they. So let's continue to keep talking...and do some listening, and reading.

In other news, I was delighted to do a video with Melissa Clark of the New York Times, making my ultra-chocolate Idiot Cake (or Orbit Cake), that uses only 4 ingredients and keeps well, for frantic holiday bakers.

I also made a video for the fine folks at Food52, making my Individual Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cakes from My Paris Kitchen.

For December, I'm diving into my book edits, which means I go over things word-for-word, then I do it again, and again, and again. In between trying to figure out if I should use the word "astonishing" versus "exciting" when I'm writing something, I'm going to be engaging in some more holiday baking, and am looking forward to sharing some recipes - and a few Paris addresses - on my site this month.

- David

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Links I'm Liking

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I just finished reading Toast by Nigel Slater. What an amazing memoir. A beautifully written story of his boyhood in England, which revolved around food (likes and dislikes) and family. Moving and brilliant.

Coming to Paris at Christmas? Paris by Mouth has put together a list of places for Christmas Dining and New Year's Dining. In my FAQs, I have some tips for dining over the holidays in Paris as well.

The Unappetizing Origins of Food Words - including les baguettes.

A good comparison guide to cocoa powders, from natural to dark...and beyond.

I've fallen - hard - for my Nest thermostat.

Long read on The Making of a Cookbook, from start to finish.

My absolute favorite Spiced Nut and Pretzel mix. Great for holiday entertaining!

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Recent Recipes on My Blog

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The amazing Pumpkin Flan with Maple Caramel (above) from Ina Garten was a huge hit around my house.

The Manhattan cocktail goes dark with a dose of amaro.

Nope. No boring baked apples for me! My Baked Apples with Ginger have the zip of fresh ginger and dried fruits in the filling.

A visit to La Newyorkina, a terrific Mexican ice cream and sweets shop.

Fall apples and buttery caramel pair up in this beautiful Apple-Date Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze.

Warm, Spiced Lamb with Hummus is one of my favorite new dips!

Skillet-sized cookies? Sounds good to me. These giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies could get cut into bars (or, you can wolf down the whole round...), and are packed with everything, including big, generous chocolate chips.

- dl

My Paris Kitchen hi res
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