Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Sweet Life in Paris.

I literally just finished reading David Lebovitz' memoir of living in Paris, The Sweet Life in Paris. Once a pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Lebovitz moved to Paris and chronicles the ups and downs of acclimating to the Parisian lifestyle. Witty, clever, and laugh-out-loud moments pull you into this "slice of life" vacation from your worries and woes. It's in the number one destination slot for me (followed by Spain) and this memoir only cements my desire to travel there sooner rather than later. In addition to entertaining reading, David includes some to-die-for recipes (if your mouth doesn't water or if you don't drool after perusing the recipes, perhaps you should be committed for psychiatric evaluation. If you enjoy a foodie/travel memoir, you are sure to enjoy this one. You should visit his blog too (Link is above) to check out more of his adventures while living Paris.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Green Kitchen

Last night, I came upon, a fabulous internet series, created by Alice Waters, called The Green Kitchen. I wanted to share the link with you all as I think the mission and purpose of this short series is something worth sharing, especially, for learning basic culinary skills! Many well known chefs are featured in these less than 10 minute episodes, sharing how to make a simple viniagrette to making salsas, and the basics of roasting a chicken. I encourage everyone to watch a few episodes, you will definitely learn something new, if, not brush up on a few everday skills! And pass the link on to your friends and family.

Friday, September 11, 2009

cake rituals.

One of the things I love about cooking and food is the relationship between certain foods and our memories. My stepdad fondly remembered his grandmother in Oklahoma baking him a certain chocolate caked called Gertrude Armstrong Cake. Now I'm not quite sure the evolution of its name, but having a fondness for baking, when I met my stepdad, I decided to do some research and find a recipe for his favorite childhood sweet treat.

Everytime I spend time with my mom and stepdad in Washington (and when they lived in Utah) I have to make this cake ( I feel guilty if I don't), and sometimes I've been known to make 2 cakes during my visit. When I visited them the first week of September, I made him one cake with its traditional uber sweet (thanks to powdered sugar) frosting. The second go round, I made it with a chocolate ganache frosting - which is pictured above (my personal favorite).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I have often ranted and raved about one of my favorite foodie bloggers, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. I spent last week visiting my mom and stepdad in Seattle (they live on Whidbey Island) and had the distinct pleasure of dining at Delancey with my mom.

When Molly's book, A Handmade Life, was released earlier this year, I eagerly awaited her appearance at a book signing in the midwest, but she didn't quite make it that far....and so I asked (begged and pleaded, sorta) my mom to attend a book signing in Seattle and have my book signed. Much to my mother's surprise, she had a splendid time at the event and read the book at a much needed getaway to Arch Cape, Oregon.

While planning our trip, I made it clear, WE MUST GO TO DELANCEY. And alas this past Thursday, after spending a lovely (and FREE) afternoon at the Seattle Art Museum, soaking in the rays of glorious modern art, we headed over to the Seattle suburb of Ballard to grab a seat at Delancey.

Luck would have it when we arrived, the wait for a table was 45-60 minutes but there were two seats at the bar, and so we dove for them. It really was a special treat to sit there, we got to watch Brandon, Molly and their crew, prepare pizzas, etc. The bar is literally where all the action is. In fact, had we not sat at the bar, we wouldn't have met our chatty diner, Matt (who has frequented Delancey two to three times a week since it has opened) and we wouldn't have had the chance to meet and chat with Molly.

To start we split a salad with grana padano, thinly sliced radishes and a red wine viniagrette. Simple and fresh. Matt convinced us to order the "Padron", a wood fired pizza topped with padron chiles, grana padano, aged and mozzarella. Honestly, it didn't take much convincing, both my mother and I are "spicy" indeed, and I'm not just talking about chiles! :) Watching Brandon monitor the wood fire oven's temperature constantly, you could tell he's serious about HEAT. The pizzas nearly take two to three minutes to bake. It's that HOT. And in my humble opinion, I would've waited half an hour for a pizza that good. The crust was delicate and puffy pockets of air filled special crevices that melted in your mouth. Heaven, we were in heaven.........which leads to us to dessert.
Two choices, we had to indulge with both - Molly's famous chocolate chip cookies with grey salt and an organic blackberry yogurt popsicle. Every adult and child's favorites, cookies and ice cream. All that was missing was a chilled glass of 2% milk to accompany them both. The cookie was delicious, chewy and crunchy all at the same time. The grey salt brought out the chocolate chips, made them sing, in fact. The blackberry popsicle was savory and sweet. There wasn't an ounce of guilt for eating such delicious treats.

Between our chatty conversations with other foodies and taking in the pleasures of simple food, prepared with heart and soul, it was meal to be remembered. Thank you Molly and Brandon, thank you.