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David Lebovitz

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Everything posted by David Lebovitz

  1. If you had to choose one for dinner, with guests from out of town, which would it be? We're thinking casual with very good food and interesting wine list, but a notch above the normal bistro... Mon Vieil Ami, Les Ormes, Le Repaire de Cartouche, or Dominique Bouchet
  2. I checked my graduated measuring cups (Oxo, Pyrex, and Foley) and only the Foley was close to 140 gr, at around 138 gr (which to me, is close enough.) Another reason to go metric. I'm going to try the metric equivalents M. Fromartz gave since his bread looked the best of the lot. Still, I have to make the adjustments for the flour as well. Ok...on to batch #4...
  3. If you watch carefully, you can see him actually shaking the cup, which will pack the flour in even more tightly. In this case, 430 g is really about right. MelissaH ← Being ever-so-curious, I made two more batches. My first one would make a great candidate for a no-knead flatbread (...hmm, maybe I should wait a few years and get Mr. Bittman over here to make it for the Times once everyone's forgotten about this one.) Batch #1: I used US all-purpose flour, 3 cups exactly, (to 1 1/2 cups water) which made a nice, sticky, and 'together' dough. Batch #2: I used French 'bread' flour, starting with 3 cups, but adding a bit more, a tablespoon at a time, until I added an extra 1/4 cup (40 gr), until it looked close to Batch #1. Will bake them both tomorrow. I don't know what I'm going to do with all this bread. I guess I'll have some happy neighbors!
  4. 430g is actually pretty typical for 3C of AP flour measured by the method used in the video. ← Hmmm. In the video, he just stuck the cup in, filled it up, and pulled it out. He seems like a rather copious '1 cup' to me. My dough is very, very runny and I had to add flour after the first rising to get it to look like more than a sponge. So, I decided to try to find bread flour here in France, and after going to a grain shop (he didn't have it), and two supermarkets, I found something called Farine pour Pain de Campagne, which is a blend of wheat, whole-wheat, and rye, with something called 'levain de blé désactivé'. I presume it's a dried form of sourdough, added for flavor. Anyhow...so I measured AND weighed American all-purpose flour vs French all-purpose flour (organic, type 65) vs French bread flour. I compared the 'dip & sweep' method vs the 'spoon & level' method. The results were uniform across the board within a few grams, which for breadmaking, should not make much of a difference. (What did make a difference was stirring the flour first before measuring, as there was a 1/2 cup /50gr difference.) But even by using packed flour, I didn't get anywhere near 430 gr. Here's what I got: 1 cup flour=120-125grams (Edited later: Which may mean my Oxo measuring cup is off, since I normally find 1 cup flour=140 gr) So for 3 cups of US all-purpose flour, according to this, should be 360 gr (or 420 gr?) The metrics given in the NYTimes revision say 430 gr flour. The 345 gr water they called for roughly equals 1 1/2 cups (about 12 oz). Curiously, Clotidle from Chocolate&Zucchini noted she used 2 kinds of flour, (which she calls farine bise and farine semi-complète...which she described as 'semi-complete' or partially whole wheat, and am not sure what farine bise is.) Still, based on my measuring of 3 various types of flour; US all-purpose, French all-purpose (similar to US cake flour), and French bread flour, that's quite a difference.
  5. The metric conversions seems off that was printed. Anyone else have that problem? The original recipe says '3 cups flour', then in his revisted recipe, he calls for 430 grams of flour. When I weighed my 3 cups of flour, I got 370 grams. Although it's not necessary to be exact for breadmaking, I thought it curious to be different by 100 grams. (Note: I'm using French flour, which I bought from my boulanger. Regular French flour is similar to cake flour in the US, which I didn't want to try, so I asked for strong bread flour.) My dough was still rather wet, not as 'tight' as the dough in the NYTimes video. Will bake it tomorrow and see, but may head to the health food store for better flour options.
  6. Buerre-hardy pears are known as French Butter Pears in the US. Sally Small of Pettigrew Farms in Northern California was one of the first (if not the first) to introduce them at her farm near Sacramento. They're great, with the lush, fresh scent of a Comice and the relative firmness of a Bartlett, so they can be baked.
  7. You can indeed get sweet potatoes at any ethnic market. But you can get those wedges of pumpkin at any market, which are quite good and can be used in place. They are somewhat moister, but can be oven-roasted. Sometimes you can find butternut squash, which, unfortunately, is not as available in Paris as it deserves to be! Perhaps in the countryside they're more available. Ocean Spray has set up operations in France, and you can get their juice at most supermarkets now. It comes in a box, or tall plastic bottle. You can get unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate at Detou, but be prepared to pay for it. This is the first time I'm going to order a whole turkey, although I might just get a big capon (which tastes better, in my opinion as well) but we Americans just have to have a big 'ol turkey...you can take the boy out of the country... Last year I went to a dinner that the hostess purchased at Thanksgiving, for 29 euros per person, which was okay, but made me long for a homemade meal this year instead.
  8. I'll second that. Although he seems to have gotten lost to today's generation, perhaps since he wasn't a grinning presence on television (nor did he have a hot bustline...) his books are great, and some of the best food writing ever.
  9. You are indeed 'divine'! Love reading your posts as well, and you're photos make me feel like I'm back there with you...at the Mercado Centrale and beyond...great to read you here on eGullet!
  10. There's a nice place to eat, Le Saprien in Sauternes. The food is good and if the weather's nice, you can sit outside and watch the grapes rotting on the vines (which is a lot more appealing than it sounds!) More info here:http://www.fra.webcity.fr/restaurants_bordeaux/restaurant-saprien_100281/Profil-Lieu. If visiting the area, it's fun to visit Lillet in Podensac and have a aperitif, which is right on the road from Bordeaux to Sauternes, too.
  11. Glad you liked that crêperie. It's perhaps the most authentic, and best, in Paris. The Vietnamese place, Paris-Hanoi, is okay, but not worth waiting in line for, and once you get in, it's kinda chaotic and the floor staff always seems like it's their first night waiting tables.
  12. I've used the Revolation and the Sinsation and they work well. As others mentioned, it doesn't hold all that much but for a home cook or small restaurant, it'd be fine. You can rent one here before you make the leap here at Chocolateman (although you need to be in Seattle...but if you're planning a visit...)) If you use palets or pistoles in those machines, the disks climb up and pop out as the machine turns, so it's better to use a big chunk of chocolate.
  13. I actually had quite a few conversations with Melissa when she was making her gelati. If you read her post, she mostly whipped hers with an electric mixer (if my memory serves me correctly) rather than turning it in an ice cream machine, and had mixed results, according to her. The recipe in Room For Dessert was one I made when Marcella Hazan came to eat in our restaurant. It's adapted from her recipe, and it's the best chocolate gelato I've ever had.
  14. You might want to check out Ecole Chocolate, which is an online chocolate program. I've met several of the graduates, and a few friends took the course and were happy with what they learned. Aside from the chocolate work, I think there's business-plan materials as well. It may be a good place to start.
  15. I am trying to make a change for the better. I am doing all my recipes in cups and metrics now, leaving it up to the cook to decide which to do. I did it in my last book as well as the current one I'm working on. If people feel strongly that recipes should all be in metrics, support cookbooks and publishers (and newspapers and magazines) that do that. Write a letter to the editor (sorry Russ...). If enough people request it, authors and editors are more likely respond and include them. I did.
  16. I can't tell you how many Europeans ask me why Americans don't measure ingredients by weight. As a cookbook author, it makes things so much easier. I've seen people mis-measure (to the extreme), and I once saw a chef (actually, the chef) in a restaurant pushing flour into a measuring cup until it reached the quantity he needed. I've started writing recipes for both, but it does clutter the page and that's my biggest fear. Recipes must be re-tested as well...how many of us have books that have been translated, but no one bothered to re-test the recipes? Perhaps they just sat down with a calculator, which doesn't work.
  17. The city of Paris is taking a survey relating to banning smoking in public places. Paris Smoking Survey (Unfortunately they don't ask you about what you think of someone chain-smoking at the adjacent table at Villaret when you're trying to drink a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and they won't take a pause.)
  18. Good points, I forget that because I'm not a student, rather on the other end. How do I know if a student is more "serious"? They tell me and show me. It is true, outgoing, energetic, etc helps a lot. Congratulations Christine! Now here's a bag of potatoes. ← When I was a student at Lenotre, on the last day of class, my instructor (who knew my French back then was lousy so I wasn't able to understand as much as the other students, but made up for it by being enthusiastic) grabbed my hand and took me on a two-hour tour of the bakery and factory. Just me. It was an amazing experience. So Chef Zadi are Christine are right-you get what you put into it. When I was a working chef, I saw some 'unmotivated' interns. One was peeling apples, and complained to me, "This is boring." I hated to tell her this, but Martha, Wolfgang, and Thomas peeled a lot of apples (or potatoes) to get where they are.
  19. I took classes at Lenotre and they were great, but they were week-long classes and geared towards professionals who already had a pretty good knowledge of what they were doing. They were specialized classes (like confectionary) and were taught only in French, which was intended to weed-out people who weren't professionals. But if you don't speak French, you get much less out of the classes. You do need to stay out in Plaisir, or take the early train there from Paris to get there. The instructors were mostly MOF's and really nice. Touring their factory, where everything is still made by hand, is also incredible and I hope is still part of the training. You should check the archives of Food Migration (from Fall of 2006). Cindy just went through the coursework at Le Cordon Bleu and wrote about it extensively on her site & blog.
  20. It was the Jean-Paul Hévin shop on the avenue de la Motte Picquet.
  21. Yes, my French friends always tell me to get what you want, you need to raise your voice and cause a scene, but I (perhaps foolishly) figure that a reasonable, civil conversation should be all that's necessary. Unfortunately, writing a letter here or complaining (as John noted) is basically a waste of time, since I am 100% certain that no one cares. It's why so many people hear dream of a career in civil service; they can't be fired. Fortunately, I was able to delete the large amount of space that I devoted to Hèvin in an upcoming article I'm writing for a major airline magazine on gastronomic addresses in Paris, with a circulation of 2 million readers. ...touché!
  22. The kicker was we all just came from Michel Chaudun, who spent about 45 minutes with us, tasting, chatting, and being as kind as anyone could possibly be. My guests bought lots of chocolate (one spent over 400 euros!) Everyone at Hèvin was planning to buy chocolate as well, and had chocolates picked out ready to buy. But after the salesperson (who I was later told was the manager) told me no pics w/out purchase, then started arguing with me and saying "it's the same everywhere in the world"... I advised everyone against buying and we split. If there's a no-photo policy, fine. If there's a yes-photo policy, fine. I don't care either way, it's their perogative. Why not just say, "We're sorry, but we don't allow photos." (Like Ladurée, Le Grand Epicerie, Whole Foods, etc...) But to make it conditional on a purchase is really a new one on me.
  23. I went into Jean-Paul Hèvin in Paris yesterday with a group of guests, shopping for chocolate. One asked me if she could take a photo, so I politely asked the salesclerk, who replied, "You can only take a photo after you buy something." I couldn't believe that was their policy and she told me that was the policy "...at stores everywhere in the world." Really? I'd never heard that one and I've been to a lot of places. I was rather stunned, since normally it's either "oui" or "non"...either of which is fine with me. I understand if they do or don't want photos taken in the store, but to make it conditional upon buying something is just so tacky. I had my guest put down all the chocolates they were going to buy (which was a rather large quantity, btw) and we left. It was pretty amazing and I will never go back.
  24. You can buy professional-grade plastic film in 300m rolls at the Paris Supermarket, a Chinese 'hypermarché' (as they call themselves) on the ave d'Ivry, just down the street from Tang Frères. It's on the second floor, and costs about 6 euros for a very large roll. Mine lasts me at least a year. I bring dried sour cherries back from Trader Joe's from the US to French friends (and myself) who adore them. I suspect they'll be more widely available here in the future. I also bring back California dried apricots, which are tangy and delicious, unlike the sweet Turkish ones (yes, I know, some people prefer them...but I don't.) Dried cranberries are more common here since Ocean Spray set up distribution channels in France. The hazelnuts I buy in Paris are invariably rancid, no matter where I get them. The excellent Italian ones, sold to professional in large tins, still elude me...they seem to be unavailable anywhere.
  25. What happened to the no-smoking resolution that the Parliament started to discuss this fall (then put aside)...Is it scheduled to come up again? (I just spent an evening drinking really lovely wine at Villaret, surrounded by an unfortunate cloud of smoke.)
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