I don't curse on my blog, but I've been tempted to last month. Of course, the drab, cold weather we've been having in Paris since October was one of t

   
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pizza

I don't curse on my blog, but I've been tempted to last month. Of course, the drab, cold weather we've been having in Paris since October was one of the reasons. Another was a lunch I had at Le Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, which required me to brave a rainstorm so powerful that the water was moving horizontally. And lastly, being in the homestretch of a major remodel has certainly had, um, its moments.

(Now I see these amazing kitchens on Pinterest, and after my experience, I think, "How did they find someone to build that?")

In better news, the weather has improved dramatically in Paris, reminding us all why we live here. And in other good news, I was able to have some friends over for dinner in my somewhat-ready kitchen. Granted we had take-out pizza and rosé, which is likely the first dinner most people have in their new kitchens, but it was fun chomping down on chorizo slices with friends and drinking a little too-much (and much-needed) wine together. Good food is important, but having great friends is even better. I'm sure having a kitchen is the best of all, and once I have one, my life will be complete.

pizza dinner

And another thing that reminded me of what's to love about Paris are chocolatiers like my friend Jacques Genin. Although I probably shouldn't call him a "friend" since he tried to strangle me once. But when you make caramels as good as he does, well, what's a little asphyxiation between friends?

Plus he makes the most amazing pastries and I'm going to posting a story about them on my site shortly. Also coming up are stories about chocolate oysters (!), something sinfully spoon-tastic – which isn't a word but I'm going with it, and I may get around to rewriting a story that I wrote and stored on a memory stick. Although for the life of me, I can't find that darned memory stick, which is a cruel paradox.

So aside from trying out the new Chipotle restaurant in Paris (¡Ay, caramba!), my Paris-Lausanne Chocolate and Gastronomy Tour, and a trip to somewhere I've always wanted to go, I've got my hands full for the month of June. I hope that you're all winding down from a bleary winter, and gearing up for a lovely summer, wherever you are.

Well, unless you live in Australia or New Zealand, where winter is approaching...but folks from down under don't complain, so cheers to you all. And hope to get back to see you soon.

jacques genin pate de fruits

Pâtes des fruits from Jacques Genin

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Some Favorite Blog Posts from May

-I had an unusual Chinese lunch which included some outstanding wines - and, gulp, squid! It's been a few weeks and I'm still regretting not polishing off my neighbor's glasses of untouched Château d'Yquem.

-People keep asking me what I eat, so I answered.

-I tackled the Turkey Melon. And I think I've got my Thanksgiving all wrapped up, for next year.

-There may be a crisis in Greece, but they loaned me their Tzatziki, made with cool cucumbers, yogurt, and a generous handful of fresh herbs. Perfect for upcoming picnics by the Canal Saint-Martin!

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Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down

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I haven't had too much time to read, but I did pick up a copy of Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down. It's a rather engaging book, lighthearted, and written in a staccato style so it reads like a skimming stone, hitting on various topics regarding Paris and Parisians, then rapidly moving on to the next story. Author Rosecrans Baldwin came to Paris to work at an advertising agency, with little knowledge of French but a desire to live in Paris. There's some interesting observations about French habits – some positive, other negative – because like any city, Paris has it's good and bad points.

Monsieur Baldwin didn't spend his time floating from one Left Bank address to another or floating in the pool at the Ritz, but spent his time scratching his head over constantly being served frozen food appetizers, wondering why everyone supported the strikers when they inconvenienced everyone, and tolerating (very) politically incorrect office humor used in everyday conversation, without a second thought.

Those of us who have lived here can certainly relate to some of his gaffes and on-target observations. The book moved quickly, which makes it a good summer read if you need something that you can take with your on a trip or on vacation. I enjoyed it, although like Paris, it may not be everyone's glass of vin rouge.

***
spring vegetables at Vivant

Spring Vegetables at Vivant

Summer Recipes

Well, that's it for now. I hope you all enjoy the great stone fruits and berries that are hopefully sprouting up at your markets. I am looking forward to baking with apricots from Provence, the abundance of ripe cherries, and big, fat, juicy nectarines.

Here's a few recipes from my site for using the incoming bounty of summer… Bon appétit!

Upside Down Cake: Use this batter to create a wonderful summertime treat, baked right in the skillet.
Apricot Jam: Too many apricots? Make this tart, tangy jam.
Quick-Candied Cherries: A great way to preserve the spring/summer harvest of ripe cherries. Spoon over vanilla ice cream, or alongside a chocolate cake.
Plum-Rhubarb Crisp: These two flavors pair beautifully in this recipe from Rachel Allen.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt: If you like frozen yogurt, you'll love this fruity concoction.
No-Recipe Cherry Jam: I know, I know. Scary as it sounds to make jam without a recipe, here's an easy way to do it.
Rhubarb-Berry Jam: Another jam, this one uses stalks of rhubarb, paired with luscious berries.
Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze: A keeper of a cake, with a tart, crunchy lemon glaze. (Ignore my forearm in the background...)
Goat Cheese Custard with Strawberries in Red Wine Syrup: Goat cheese, for dessert? Yes! Think cheesecake-like custard...and strawberries macerated in rich red wine, spooned on top.
Polenta Crisp: Polenta puts the crisp back in crisp topping!

Happy baking...

-David

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