Recipe: Salade Niçoise

I first encountered  Salade Niçoise in a most embarrassing way -- by reading about it in a cheap romance novel. The scene was typically evocative of a dime store read. A beautiful protagonist perched at a table under a striped umbrella on an immaculate beach in Cannes waiting for a murky character. The server brought her a bracing cold glass of Chablis and Salade Niçoise. At this point, the author abandoned the entire … [Read more...]

Vinaigrette Basics [video lesson]

Do you have so many bottles of vinaigrette in your fridge that when you open the door it sounds like wind chimes? Vinaigrette is one of the first things that any home cook should master for a couple of reasons. One, it's expensive to buy and tends to be loaded with ingredients. I did a survey of eight popular brands of "Italian-style" vinaigrette. They averaged 17 ingredients. The basic recipe below has six. Most people … [Read more...]

Recipe: Provencal tomato spread for Julia Child

This recipe first appeared in The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. It's loosely based on a dish that I learned to make while studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. During the heat of summer, I probably make this once a week and if I have to take something to a party, this is my go-to dish in the summer. You can use as it a spread for crackers or bruschetta, and also as a sauce for simple pan-seared fish or chicken. … [Read more...]

St. Germain Pitcher Cocktails

Originally posted by Lisa Simpson, updated June 2015 Summer doesn’t officially start for another month, but in Seattle, after our long grey blahdeblah winters we’re so hungry for sunshine that when we see it, and it’s warmer than 60, we consider it close enough. Since our sunshine is so hard to find and unpredictable, I have drink fixins on standby in my pantry. Last year I was all about Lillet, that French … [Read more...]

Summer Berry Tart with Whole Wheat Crust

Someone asked me recently why I didn't study pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu. The honest reason? I'm not keen on most sweets and I don't like chocolate. (Yes, you read that correctly.) If there's a choice of dessert or a cheese plate, I always go for the fromage. When I started to review restaurants back in the 1990s, I routinely left a report on desserts out of my reviews. I was working then with Tom Sietsema, now the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Coq au vin (chicken braised in wine)

Go ahead. Impress people. Tell them you're making coq au vin. It's just chicken... braised in wine, thus making it fabulous. In its original French inception, the coq referred to a rooster, typically mean old birds who have worn out their welcome in the hen house. The tough nature of their meat required a long simmer time to soften, aided by the sugar in the wine which helps to break it down. Classic recipes include … [Read more...]

Recipe: Homemade Finishing Butter

(Note: This was posted prior to the unfortunate collapse of Paula Deen's culinary empire - KF) Eater National reports that "midst of a weak attempt at rebranding herself as healthy," Food Network star Paula Deen launched a line of "finishing butters" for WalMart. So the woman who made famous doughnut, egg and bacon sandwiches and then came out of the medical closet to announce she had Type 2 Diabetes now has a line of … [Read more...]

How to Make an Omelet (video lesson)

One of my chefs at Le Cordon Bleu once said, "If you can make an omelet, you'll never be hungry." So true. An omelet is inexpensive, versatile and amazingly quick to prepare. While it's typically thought of as a breakfast dish, British food writer Elizabeth David wrote about an omelet with a glass of wine making a splendid lunch or dinner, too.  I love this video with Jamie because he's as passionate about omelets as I … [Read more...]