October 2015 Newsletter Autumn has arrived in France, and we went south for the last weekend of September, staying with friends who have a huge organ

       
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October 2015 Newsletter

The Beast barbecue Paris-3

Autumn has arrived in France, and we went south for the last weekend of September, staying with friends who have a huge organic garden out in the countryside for a long-ish weekend, or le week-end, as they would say in France. It's about a 5 hour drive and to break up the trip - and because I'm am a little insane - we made a few stops at different dêpot-ventes (antique stores), thrift stores and even a few flea markets that my eagle-eyes spotted while we were en route.

I don't lack for things, as I pointed out in my post about My French Pottery, but the idea of finding something great, like an unused orange-enameled gratin dish for €5 (yes!), or a generous stack of thick, sturdy white bistro plates tucked away on a shelf in a thrift store for 20 centimes each, is too much to resist.

For visitors, I wrote a post about how to find thrift stores and flea markets in and around Paris, but the ones in the French countryside and in smaller towns are great because few dealers are prowling around, as they are in Paris, and it's easier to find things. Items like earthenware terrines (for making pâté), white café au lait bowls, and old fishmonger knives, whose handles and blades are worn down from years of use, which makes me love them even more, are donated to thrift stores, and I am happy to give them all a new home.

The Beast barbecue Paris-4

While I don't "need" anything else, when something is reasonable, it's hard to turn it down and we kept going. Hence our packed station wagon on the ride home! At some point, I keep saying to myself, I'm going to do an online sale of all the French pottery, cookware, kitchen utensils, linens, and other things that I find, but need to find someone who will bravely take over the posting, packing, and shipping part : )

After returning to Paris, I tackled a bunch of things which seem to pile up whenever I take off (which included figuring out where to put all my latest arrivals) - and got around to updating some recipe posts from way-back-when, as in, 2005 or 2008, which in internet years, is an eternity. One was the recipe for Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee, which I got to just in time for holiday baking. It's pretty easy to make with ingredients that you likely have on hand. And makes a perfect treat for a holiday buffet or gift-giving.

chocolate almond buttercrunch toffee candy recipe-2

I also got around the using the last of the mirabelles, tiny golden-sweet French plums in a mirabelle jam. I only made one jar because I was too busy to conserve a whole lug, but that jar was much-appreciated, and is now gone.

So now I'm looking forward to using the mounds of apples, pears, grapes and quince that are appearing at the outdoor markets in Paris. With the chilly weather blowing through town, it's clear that summer is behind us and I'm bundling up to do my shopping as October brings with it cooler temperatures.

mirabelle plums

Speaking of Paris, when people ask when is the best time to come for a visit, I always say "October and May." While it's true that those are the "on strike" months (like on October 8th, when the French train employees go on strike), it's when the weather is at its best. (And people wonder why people strike during those months?)

October is a particularly lovely month in Paris as people have wound down from their summer breaks and the markets are filling up with fall fruits, as well as root vegetables, and eventually briny oysters from Brittany and sips of Beaujolais Nouveau are not far in the future. The fresh red wine isn't to everyone's taste, but is certainly a reminder that wine-harvesting is part of the season.

I'll be around town for a while, working on a book, scheduled to be released in 2017. It seems pretty far away, but is keeping me firmly attached to my keyboard...and to my kitchen, too. Still, I am finding time to take a few trips, too. (And not just the kind where I pick up more vintage cookware!) More in the newsletter, below! - dl

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Upcoming Appearances in San Francisco

American baking ingredients in Paris France-2

Even though my publisher told me I wasn't allowed to go anywhere while I stay home and write (and cook), and have installed one of those electronic ankle bracelets to keep me working, they sent me the key to take it off for a week at the end of this month.

During my release, I'll be in San Francisco, stocking up on Rancho Gordo beans (above), eating Chinese dumplings, and participating in a chat with one of my favorite cookbook authors, restaurant owner Yotam Ottolenghi while he's on tour for his newest book, Nopi, which features recipes from his London restaurant. I'm also going to be doing a booksigning on another date as well. Here's the scoop:

October 24: Omnivore Books. I'll be doing a chat and booksigning from 2 to 3pm. Due to the size of the space, it may not be possible for everyone to gather in the shop, but there will be delicious chocolates provided by Charles Chocolates to snack on during the event. I'll be signing copies of my books (and eating chocolates, too), and it's a good chance to get a jump on holiday gift shopping.

(If you can't make it to the event and would like a book, you can contact the shop at the link above and order a personalized copy to be sent to you.)

October 28: Join me in conversation with Yotam Ottolenghi, moderated by Jessica Battilana at 7:30pm at City Arts and Lectures. Note that this is a ticketed event and you can get one at the link.

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Cranzac Cookie Recipe

American baking ingredients in Paris France

Every since I pulled the first batch of these Cranzac Cookies out of my oven and took a bite, I sighed with happiness. Adapted from the classic Anzac Biscuits, popular in New Zealand and Australia, I took them a step further and added some all-American dried cranberries, and reduced the fat, so you can enjoy a few more of these cookies than one otherwise might think prudent.

9781607743651

This recipe is from my book Ready for Dessert, a compendium of my all-time favorite dessert recipes. The recipe does include golden syrup, which you can buy online or in specialty food stores. It's pretty yummy stuff and worth keeping on hand so you can make these simple cookies whenever the mood strikes. Which - trust me - you will! If you can't find it, use a mild-flavored honey.

1 cup (95g) rolled oats
1 cup (215g) packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (175g) all purpose flour
1 cup (90g) dried unsweetened coconut (sometimes called desiccated coconut)
1/2 cup (60g) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (45ml) water
4 tablespoons (60g) melted butter, salted or unsalted
1/4 cup (60ml) Golden syrup, such as Lyle's

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, flour, coconut, cranberries, baking soda and salt. Be sure to break up any lumps of sugar with your fingers.
3. Mix in the water, butter and Golden syrup, using your hands, until everything is moistened and the dough holds together. (The dough can be chilled up to this point for up to five days. It can also be frozen.) If the dough feels very dry, dampen your hands with a little water and continue to mix it.
4. Shape the dough into 1 1/4-inch (3cm) rounds and put them on the baking sheets, evenly spaced apart, flattening them so they are about 2-inches (5cm) round.
5. Bake the cookies, rotating and turning the sheets midway during baking, until the cookies are light brown across the top, about 12 minutes. Cool. The cookies are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be stored for up to 4 days but are best the first and second day.

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Favorite Posts from My Blog


I pleated and folded up my own Shrimp and Chive Potstickers.

My love was professed for Amora French Dijon mustard.

I baked up a low-sugar Monkey Bread.

The Beast barbecue in Paris hit the (smoky) spot.

And the last of the summer corn became Vaghareli Makai, a spicy Indian dish that would even go well with frozen kernels, for a great winter dish, too!

See you next month!

- David

My Paris Kitchen hi res
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