If you come from Alsace, choucroute garnie probably tastes like home. For the rest of us, this French dish is all about warmth, comfort and abundance: sauerkraut simmered with wine and juniper berries and studded with various cuts of pork, piled high on a platter and surrounded by a ring of boiled potatoes. Have you ever tried making it at home?
Raise your hand if you've ever actually made a soufflé. Yeah, me neither. Not until, that is, I took a class with Paule Caillat in Paris and realized what a cozy, simple, weeknight dish a soufflé can be. It's really perfect for a fall night: an immensely satisfying dish of cheese and eggs, whipped into a melting cloud that sighs on your tongue. And it's easy — not fussy, not so elusively French as I had supposed it to be. Here's how to make a soufflé — why not whip one up tonight?
Last Tuesday afternoon, a craving for Coq au Vin (chicken stewed in wine) hit me out of nowhere. I didn't have time to luxuriate over dinner preparations, but I happened to have ingredients that would pass for a classic Coq au Vin — chicken thighs, dried porcini mushrooms, a red onion, pancetta, and red wine.
With the days growing shorter and cooler, I often feel like cozying up in the evenings with a glass of something contemplative and warming. Some of my picks for this time of year are smoky single-malt scotches, well-aged tequilas - and a new favorite around my house, Armagnac.
When I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago I visited the Musée des Arts et Métiers, the museum of arts and trades. (Really one of the most interesting museums I've ever been to!) And while I was there I saw many things of interest to cooks, but especially this: The Marmite de Papin. Do you know what it is?
I have to confess that until recently I did not understand all the fuss over soufflés. They seemed finicky, a lot of work, and not terribly appealing. Why not just have a nice frittata — it's so easy. Well, that opinion changed last week when I had a tender, melting cloud of creamy cheese and egg — the perfect marriage of dairy. Here's one more takeaway from my class and tour with Paule Caillat in Paris: Paule's 3-fromage soufflé recipe.
Over the years we've collected quite a passel of French recipes in our archives. Some of them have been more classics in our households for years while others have long "French-ish" names that we can only hope to someday pronounce. Either way, they all look amazing and could be on your table for dinner tonight!
The Mouli grater is a classic, old-school French kitchen tool. Its basic concept is a rotary grater that you turn with one hand whilst pressing the food to be grated (usually cheese) with the other using a hinged handle. The original model by Moulinex is no longer in production, although there are many new knock-off versions to be found in cookware shops. Or you could just pick up a lovely vintage model like the one above, either online or at your local flea market.
After several seasons of "Top Chef" and its spin-offs, it is easy to forget that there is a long tradition in France of real-life cooking competitions, grueling kitchen marathons that chefs spend years preparing for. “Kings of Pastry” is a new documentary which follows chefs competing in the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, a tournament of perfect pastry and serious skills, blissfully free of any mention of the Glad family of products.