Paullette’s stuffed tomatoes – Tomates farcies

Ahhhh Paulette’s stuffed tomatoes. Nothing to do with the boiled crap they serve with steak (and a nasty attitude) in Paris restaurants. I am talking about delicious, juicy, caramelized balls of pure French heaven!!!

My Ricard flambées prawns

Every Mediterranean country has its own anise based alcoholic beverage. In Greece it’s Uzo, in France it’s Ricard. We call this type of drink “anisette”… It is very popular everywhere in France, but it is an absolute star in Provence! It is also perfect to “flambé” seafood. You can find it almost anywhere in the world.

Proper salade niçoise

I had so many things to say about the terrorist attack on Nice. I decided to share none of it here. Except maybe for this: THEY WILL NOT GET OUR JOIE DE VIVRE!
So vive la France, vive Nice and vive food and wine and sex and laughter and friendships…
I made salade niçoise for lunch today, following the original recipe from Escofier himself. It couldn’t be more simple and certainly shouldn’t be more complicated (or sophisticated). Provence is all about simple ingredients and authenticity!

One of the easiest, healthiest and most delicious family recipes I’ve ever shared…

After months of waiting, the bouchot mussels are back! Bouchot mussels are the best money can buy in France. They are not very big (about an inch) but they are VERY tasty. The name comes from the wooden posts (bouchots in French) they grow on. These posts are made of oak or chestnut and can be found all along the Atlantic coast. The largest production areas are the Mont Saint Michel Bay and l’Ile-de-ré. We all wait for this time of year to eat them. They are not available before the en or June. You may find some, but they’d be small and not very “full” inside.

My clafoutis aux cerises, courtesy of great grandma Manée

People make clafoutis with all sorts of fruits these days. The original is made with cherries! Clafoutis (also called millard) is a specialty of the Auvergne and Limousin regions of France. The name comes from an old Occitan word meaning “filling”.
The recipe is quite simple and is basically the “flan” recipe with cherries added. You are going to think I am obsessed with my grandmothers after so many posts that include their recipes, but this on comes from my great grandmother Manée (in the picture) who was even more of a foodie than me. She is quite a legend in our family.

We all need chocolate today!

They will never take away our humanity. If anything, they will make us stronger and teach us to be more kind to one another. That’s the way to victory! That’s my thinking anyway…
So God (or whoever is watching from above) bless America and God bless our brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community. We love you all very much!
Let’s find a way to make others feel a tiny bit better today. One way to achieve that is to make a lovely cake for everyone to enjoy this evening when they come back from work or school. Here is my recipe for a quick and easy (and delicious) chocolate cake:

The thanks I want to keep giving

You know I’m a big fan of friends and family reunions. Sadly Easter and Christmas are the last ones we really celebrate in France anymore. No one really cares about Bastille Day and we never even had Thanksgiving. Obviously. Oh how I wish we had Thanksgiving!!! I’d be planning and cooking for days…

The power of love, laughter and… persillade

I simply sear my scallops to a golden brown (about one minute on each side on medium to high heat) and then dump my persillade on top. I also like to add a bit of lemon juice to give it an extra kick. To die for!! Note that scallops are like calamari: they have to be cooked quickly so they don’t feel like rubber in your mouth. Some people slice them in half before cooking them. I don’t because they end up being thoroughly cooked before they have enough time to brown on the outside.

The simplest and fastest lamb recipe you’ll ever come across

Peter just started working on his very own vintage Bentley. All he has right now is a chassis, 4 wheels and the engine. I will document the whole process and post the photos on my car website. Peter’s shop is filled with Riley’s and Salmsons and Bentleys and all he plays in there is prewar music. Walking in there is like turning back time…

Of Bretagne, succulent lobsters and shiny new toys…

The food specialties of Bretagne are crêpes, salty caramel, apple cider and seafood. Eating lobster at sunset on the docks of some remote village, overlooking the ocean is one of my favorite things to do in my French heaven!

Amira Willighagen and the red cabbage salad

So, like only she would have the guts to do, Corrine contacted Amira Willighagen’s agent to get her to come down and sing. Amira is a 12 year old opera singer who won Holland’s got talent 2 years ago. Quite the little star in Europe right now!

My BBQ Shrimp recipe in a love letter to America

It’s the Brennan recipe for BBQ shrimp except for the amount of butter, the shallot and the type of beer I use. These variations came from a dear dear friend of mine. We worked together at the Ritz on Canal Street. She was a housekeeper, about 60 years old then, and a TRUE born and bred New Orlean. Her name was Miss Catherine. Did I not promise authenticity?!

Crème Vichyssoise: the French gazpacho – Eat like the Batman!

If potato leek soup wasn’t (even then) anything new, the French Chef of The Ritz-Carlton New York (the original one), woke up one day and decided he would serve it cold. His name was Louis Diat and the year was 1917. Louis was born near the town of Vichy in France. Soup is a feminine word in French “UNE soupe” and since ladies who live in Vichy are called Vichyssoises… there you go :0)

The awesome power of greed and gluttony… and story telling

It’s quite simple really, if you want the people you love to get together (come together), all you have to do is promise to give away presents and really good food. Loads of it. An orgy of food! You can cut through people’s ego and pride quite easily – “Oh, I don’t know if we…

Stéphane’s salmon and hash brown club

So, yes, smoked salmon was the main ingredient. I went for a salmon and potato club sandwich and it was every bit as delicious (in it’s own way of course) as any great Peking Duck I had ever had on Stockton Street or in Soho (London) :0)

Of eggs, black truffles and my family tree…

Pierre (my cheesemonger) and I were talking about truffles the other day. I was telling him that I wish I had access to fresh truffles year round. Indeed, truffles are harvested in December, January and February. After that, you can only get them in jars. They taste very good, but it is nothing like the fresh stuff. Pierre told me that he keeps a few for himself every year and freezes them.