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David Lebovitz

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Everything posted by David Lebovitz

  1. There's a great looking recipe presently on Heidi's blog, http://www.101cookbooks.com for a spiced popcorn that looks great. It's caramelized but with lots of spices.
  2. Frozen Hot Chocolate.... You can try making the recipe for Seredipity's Hot Chocolate which calls for leftover 'chocolates'... http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/109560
  3. There is currently an exhibition of the Jews in the Marais in Paris right now (until August) at the Hotel de Ville on the rue de Rivoli. It seems interesting and worth checking out as well. Perhaps there is details at http://www.paris.fr
  4. Cuisinart is coming out with a self-contained ice cream maker with a compressor in it, as well as a machine especially made for 'gelato', which churns slower than their other machine.
  5. In ther covered indoor market, at the Marché d'Aligre in the 12th (M: Faidherbe-Chaligny) I saw some early 'heirloom-style' tomatoes for sale this past week. It's a bit soon for the season, though. There was just a few varieties.
  6. My web master installed blogging software which allowed me to post as I wished. I'm using MovableType, which involves me having to learn some HTML. It took a major re-upload of the site to do it, which was a bit of work for him, I think.
  7. I agree with Tana; it's important if you want your blog to stand out: the blog (and the photography) should be done. However since the setting up a blog is now free, it's a wonderful opportunity to work on your writing skills and finding that elusive 'voice'. Now that I can post whenever I want, I am realizing that it's a different ballgame and trying to work on themes that would be of interest to readers...enough to want to visit several times a week.
  8. I just turned my web site into a blog. I started my site in '99 posting diary-like entries which I had to laboriously send to my web master to post, then check, etc... Since I am a cookbook author, it's interesting that very few of my books get sold (via Amazon) direectly from my site, and I get a lot of hits, but my web master (whose mother is a cookbook author and editor as well) said many people don't buy the book on the first 'look'. The main reason to do a blog is to promote something, although I would not count on the blog generating much income for the amount of work you put into it. I write cookbooks for a living, and if I posted recipes everyday I suspect less people would buy my books (and in spite of my being very generous, I still need to pay my rent...) So hopefully those people are liking my writing and eventually do buy a book. I also lead culinary tours so I do get guests through the site, which is a big plus. Blogging is harder than I thought. It's take me a very long time and many hours trying to figure it out, even though I had the help of my web master. And we're still working on getting all the graphics up. I think with things like Blogger.com, it's easier (there was a great article about food blogs in the SF Chronicle Food Section a few weeks ago, with info about setting one up, http://www.sfgate.com). I am using Movable Type, which has taken me a while to figure out, as well as Photoshop for pictures. Still, it takes a lot of time and if you're just doing it for fun, I would go for the easiest solution. Sites like Zucchini&Chocolate are interesting and she got a cookbook contract, but I do wonder how many of those people who are getting recipes for free will spend the money on her book when it comes out? She has a lot of recipes on her site and is a very good writer, so she's gotten articles published (However, free travel tips and sites on the internet killed the travel guidebook business, or at least they've had to adapt and put more content on the net to survive). I recently read some Parisian restaurant reviews on a blog from an eGullet member that were far better than anything I've read in food magazines or newspapers too. David Lebovitz
  9. I read this in R.W.Apple's article in yesterday's NY Times and found it relevant to this discussion. <With many New Orleans restaurants, including some of the most famous ones, relying these days on frozen crawfish tails and frozen soft-shell crabs and on shrimp and crabmeat imported from Thailand or China, Uglesich's stands out more than ever. "Look," Mr. Uglesich said, peering through wire-rimmed glasses, "90 percent of the shrimp eaten in this country is imported. Local crawfish costs me $7 a pound, compared with $2.50 imported. People in restaurants here know they can get away with things. But I'd pay $10 for Louisiana crawfish, if that's what it takes. Otherwise, what's going to happen to our local fishermen? When we're gone, I don't know.">
  10. As someone who writes cookbooks and does cooking demonstrations, companies will often give me free products, samples, or even in some cases, appliances. Good friends of mine own a chocolate company. I love their chocolate and so I recommend it (as well as others). Another chocolate company sent me a big case of their chocolate, which I didn't like, so I don't recommend it. To bottom line to me is that if I like a product, I'll recommend it. If not, I don't. A pastry chef I know calls for specific brands in his books, most are obvious placements since a chef of his caliber would not use those products. I've been approached by companies wanting me to use their products in my books. I only will call for a specific product if there is nothing else like it, or it is particularly appropriate for a recipe, items such as ScharffenBerger cocoa nibs or Boyajian Lemon Oil. I like both products and each companies 'mission' seems to be similar to mine; to produce healthy, pure products that improve the flavor and quality of baked goods. My editor wouldn't let me use a specific product that was obviously for commercial reasons. If a company that I liked and/or used their products asked me to do some promotional work for them, I'd be happy to do it. I've done promotional work for companies that don't compensate me (except with products) and that's fine, since I believe in their products and want to support them. It's not always about the money. I guess what it boils down to is: what are we in this for? I have no problem with people going commercial and making money. That's their decision. If someone wants to recommend melting Snickers Bars in their chocolate cakes, that's fine. (Um, actually, that sounds kinda good...come to think of it.) So they get a show on Food Network and travel to at all the food and wine festivals. That's great. There's so few opportunities to make money in this business, if you can do it and feel happy with yourself and what you're doing, that's terrific. I just could not publish a recipe with ingredients that I was not proud of, or that I wouldn't normally use, with my name on it. That's not why I do what I do. I assume when the public sees an ad, they know that the person is compensated for it. I also assume (and maybe I'm naive in thinking) that Charlie Trotter really does enjoy Fuji water and in spite of getting paid to promote it, he actually does like the product and is happy to lend his mug to their ads. David Lebovitz
  11. There are some good points being brought up here. I personally would never endorse a product that I didn't use or like. If giving a demonstration, if asked about the quality of something or why I use it (or not) I'm always very honest. Most endorsers are not doing anything dangerous (although suggesting people eat fast-food is dubious, in my opinion.) Rick Bayless' rebuttal was that Burger King was trying to something good, and healthy, and he was supporting their efforts. Still, I wonder if that was his original intention. When I worked at Chez Panisse, many years ago Alice Waters did an AT+T commercial with Wolfgang Puck and was criticized for selling-out (uh...who doesn't use a phone company?) Similarly Emeril was roundly criticized for his sitcom, but if anyone in the world was offered their own sitcom on NBC, I'm sure they would take it in a second. Steve brings up a good point; there are few opportunities to make decent money in this business (although I hope he is well-paid, since the desserts I had at the restaurant in Arlington, VA last year were outstanding.) Although I prefer fine-quality chocolate I don't have any problems with Hershey's and the like ( I love M & M's for example). It's not like these products are full of chemicals. However, a magazine I once wrote for substituted non-dairy non-fat whipped topping in one of my recipes, which is not something I approve of and I was upset that people would think I use, ever. For me, I will only recommend products that I personally use, and like, regardless of whether or not anyone is paying me to do so. And I tell them products I don't like as well.
  12. Ok, after spending a semi-sleepless night worrying about imperfect financiers (pastry people are obsessed, aren't we?) I went to Dehilleron and bought some metal financier molds to try again. I had asked Nick Malgieri what he thought and he mentioned that it may be the fault of the Flexipans. I asked the salesclerk at Dehilleron and he told me that many people had problems with the Flexipans as well. Grrrr. So I tried one last batch. Waited until they emerged from my oven, flipped one out and... ....air pockets! Oh well, can't say I didn't try. Here's the recipe I finally came up with. Thanks for all your helpful suggestions. Chocolate Financiers Makes about 15 one-inch financiers 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/90 gr) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 cup (90 gr) sliced almonds 3 tablespoons (20 gr) Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder 1 (10 gr) flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (90 gr) powdered sugar 1/3 cup egg whites (about 2 whites from extra-large eggs) 1/4 teaspoon almond extract Preheat the oven to 425º F (220º C). Lightly grease financier molds, or ungreased Flexipan, and place on sturdy baking sheet. 1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside until room temperature. 2. In a food processor or blender, grind the almond with the cocoa, flour, salt and powdered sugar. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. 3. Stir the egg whites in the ground almond mixture, then gradually stir in the melted butter until incorporated and smooth. 4. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them 3/4’s full. 5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly puffed and springy to the touch. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from molds. 6. Fill any air bubbles in the bottom with ganache (...just kidding!)
  13. That's the bottom you're looking at. I flipped them over for the photo. (The tops looked great.) The big test was last night, I had some French people try them all (all 9 batches) and they loved them, the taste, that is. So I think I will live with the holes and be happy with the flavor. Like the Italian cookies, 'Brutti Ma Buoni'... "Ugly, but Good"
  14. Okay, thanks all for the suggestions. I made 3 more batches, trying recipes other than mine, not greasing or buttering the molds, and tapping the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles, and still holes. I think what I should do is make some madeleines (with the hump), fit 'em together, and call it a day! Dave's final batch, Click: Holy Financiers
  15. Here's a picture. It sure looks like air was trapped in the bottom...but I made sure there wasn't. But thanks for the tips, all. I did whack the pan on the counter to make sure there were no air bubbles as well. I will try again tomorrow, a batch without buttering or greasing the Fleximolds. Since I live out of the US, you can't get 'Pam' style non-stick spray from pure vegetable oil. You can buy the professional non-stick spray, but it's full of icky stuff. (At Europain this week, I saw the new Matfer firm polycarbonate [i think] plastic baking pans, they look great.) David's Financiers
  16. hmmm. I am lightly buttering the pans (perhaps the water in the butter is steaming them up?) but even with the small amt of butter, there is some sticking. I never trust the term 'non-stick' since I've had too many disasters as a result.
  17. I've been experimenting with various Flexipans and am making chocolate financiers, and each time I get these huge 'air pockets' on the bottom. It's as if there was an air pocket under each to begin with which expands as they're baked (but there isn't, since I made sure there were no air pockets before baking.) The finished financiers end up with a giant air bubble underneath them. (See photos in later post.) I've never used Flexipans for cakes, since I like the 'crusts' and heft of metal pans but these seems much more practical for small cakes. Any suggestions? -David
  18. I do recommend that you pick up a copy of 'French Cheeses' (a BK Eyewitness Handbook) which is a terrific reference. Steven Jenkin's Cheese Primer is full of great information, but too heavy to carry and a bit opinionated (although his opinions are usually good.) You can get very good Comté and Beaufort cheeses. Brie de Meaux is right in season now, as the cows are eating mustard, giving the cheese a rich aroma. Many of the brebis cheeses from the Basque region are fabulous, especially with some dark cherry jam that many fromageries carry. And in spite of how silly you may feel, most cheese shops are happy to sell you a small amount of cheese (like 100 gr/4 ounces) if you want to try it. And usually it's fine to ask (and take) their advice as they know what they're doing. They won't steer you wrong, since they're more interested (in general) in you getting the right cheese, than selling you as much as they can quickly and getting to the next customer. (Coming from the US, that was a pleasant change and a good lesson for me.) Avoid buying cheese at Auchan. In spite of the slightly better prices, if people begin buying their cheeses there, small fromageries will eventually diminish and artisan cheeses (which require much more care than industrial cheeses) will become more scarce, as stores like Auchan will no longer want to bother to carry them. With EU regulations threatening artisianal cheese production, it's important to continue to support handcrafted cheese and the people who make them. David
  19. There's a fellow in Brittany who's an expert confectioner (his shop is Le Roux, in Quiberon, http://www.chocolatleroux.com ) and he makes chocolates flavored with hops. I suspect he steeps hops in cream before making the ganache. They're really good (and his C.B.S. or 'caramel-butter-salt' caramels are incredible.) David L. I edited your post to correct your link. W.D.
  20. The most up-to-date guide is the Time Out Guide to Eating and Dining, Paris (2005). They used to have an office in Paris, although they still seem to be present here by keeping their listings current. Although I don't often agree with their suggestions, it's best to use guidebooks as 'recommendations' and not as bibles. Time Out has a good variation of styles of places to eat, from Budget to Brasserie. Another interesting book is Gourmet Paris by Emmanuel Rubin, which has listings based on dishes; Couscous, Coq au Vin, Frites, etc....I've actually gone to some of the places recommended and found the descriptions accurate. David L.
  21. A few tricks for keeping sorbets from getting too hard... -Add alcohol to your mixture: since alcohol doesn't freeze, adding a tablespoon of vodka, Grand Marnier, or champagne helps keeps it from getting too hard. -Substitute corn syrup (or glucose, or honey) for some of the sugar. These are slightly sweeter than sugar, but in general, it's okay to substitute them 1 for 1 in sorbets, in my experience. -Soften about 1 teaspoon of powdered or a leaf of sheet gelatin in some of the citrus juice, warm it, then add it to the sorbet mixture before freezing. This renders your dessert un-vegan and un-Kosher, however. David Lebovitz
  22. The water in Paris is full of calcium. Handwashed glassware has white chaulky streaks; you need to add Calgon (which I'm told is bad for the environment) into your laundry to soften the water and 'sel' in your dishwasher as well (some people staying in my apartment didn't use sel and my glasses got a serious white calcium build-up that was not remedied by washing them in vinegar, or salt, or Calgon), and once a year I need to get my system flushed in my apartment since the calcium build-up gets really bad and decreases water pressure. So I wonder what all that calcium in our systems from the tap water is doing? A friend's doctor here diagnosed him with a calcium build-up in his, um, internal system and told him to drink Vichy water (ick!) to break it up. While I do order tap water often in restaurants, I use a Brita filter at home and drink Badoit. But I would love one of those carafes! David L.
  23. Lyon: Lyon is the perfect day trip from Paris. Although not much is open until 10am, if you decide to go early, get off at Parte Deux train station (there are 2 stations in Lyon and all trains stop at both) and find Les Halles, which is one of the most amazing indoor food markets anywhere. It's a bit hidden in a concrete building. I also recommend you get your train tickets in advance at http://www.sncf.fr, since you can get tickets to Lyon from Paris for 20€ each way if you buy them online. There is also a terrific outdoor market on the riverbanks, just across from the old city, some days during the week. Lyon has an excellent and easy-to-use metro and tram system that is fast and reasonable. You should definately go to Bernachon, who makes their own chocolate for their amazing chocolate palets d'or as well as their bars. Stock up, since you can't get them anywhere else (try Kalouga, filled with salted caramel, and Moka, blended with ground coffee beans). Thay have a cafe where you can have a light breakfast or lunch. Visit Bernard Dufour as well, as he makes his own chocolate too. Cafe des Federations (Cafe des Fedes) is a great 'bouchon'. It's great fun and the food is hearty (as is all of Lyon.). A great dinner place is Brasserie Georges right next to the train station. It's a big, old restaurant with all the Lyon classics.
  24. Take a look at Nancy Silverton's book from La Brea bakery. They have the moistest bran muffins I've ever had, and if I recall, she uses something like raisin syrup in her recipe. They are really great. David
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