Posts from December 2013

Paprika Butter Crust Gives Orange Glow to Savory Pies

Seems like Mango Meringue Pie from Pie Love (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, October 2013) by Warren Brown is only recipe I managed to share.

Let's get crusty this time.

Paprika Butter Crust

This dough takes on a fabulous red-orange color that suggests it will be fiery hot, but it’s a nice, mild flavor that holds up beautifully with the Chicken Pot Pie filling (page 175).

Makes 24 ounces, enough for one double-crust deep-dish pot pie

3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 teaspoons flaxseeds, whole
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks), unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons ice water


1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the flour, paprika, salt, nutmeg, and flaxseeds to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to thoroughly combine. Stop and add the butter all at once. Pulse to blend it in until the mixture sticks together when lightly pinched.

2 Pulse in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together

3 Gather the dough into a ball, remove one third, and wrap it in plastic film. If your pie will not have a top crust, hold this piece in the refrigerator or freezer for another use. Shape the remaining dough into a disk, place it between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll it out into a round about 12 inches across and ⅛ inch thick.

4 Gently fit the dough round into a 9- to 10-inch pie pan. Chill the crust for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if you are making a double-crust pie, roll out the reserved dough between two sheets of parchment to a round approximately 10 inches across. Set it aside, keeping it between the parchment sheets to prevent it from drying out.

5 Crimp the edges of the bottom crust and weight it with a circle of parchment paper cut to size and a disposable pie pan resting gently above the crust to prevent it from puffing up while baking. Blind bake the crust for 5 to 7 minutes. Allow it to cool before pouring in the filling and proceeding as your recipe directs.

(* Recipe reproduced from Pie Love by Warren Brown -Stewart, Tabori & Chang...October 2013- photography by Joshua Cogan, all rights reserved)

Kentucky Bourbon, Apple Cider and Spices, Mix for Perfect Cold Winter Day Drink

There is no way I will catch up on all the books from 2013 that I yet have to mention before Midnight on December 31st.

To make a small amend, here's a Kentucky bourbon, apple cider and spices recipe from Pickles, Pigs and Whisky (Andrews McMeel, October 203) by John Currence from Oxford, Mississippi to warm up your blood on a cold day.

Instead of pairing each recipe with a drink, John shows his flawless musical taste by matching them with a song, in this case 'Kentucky Rain' by Elvis Presley.

Spiced Cider

Serves 8 to 10

I am not sure who the bartender was at City Grocery about 15 years ago who commandeered a Farmer Brothers’ glass coffeepot and started making the City Grocery Spiced Cider, but I do know I want to kiss him. There is very little on this earth better on a cold night than combining warm apple cider and bourbon with a blend of exotic spices. The smell fills the room, and more than a couple of these will put you on your ass. Believe . . .

4 cups apple cider
Peel of ½ medium orange
Peel of 1 lemon
1 stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
3 allspice berries
2 cups W. G. Weller bourbon
Lemon twists, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

19Spiced Cider

Combine the cider, orange and lemon peels, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice berries in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a coffeepot, discard the solids, and add the bourbon. Serve warm in coffee mugs with a twist of lemon and grated nutmeg. 

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey' by John Currence -October 2013- published by Andrews McMeel- all rights reserved, Photography by Angie Mosier)

Revolution Flatbread, Leaf Peeping, Echo Lake Aquarium, 10 Do's, No Don'ts of Burlington Vermont by Tracey Medeiros

After a stop in New Delhi earlier this month, last 10 do's and don'ts of 2013 takes us to Burlington (Vermont) courtesy of Tracey Medeiros whose most recent book is The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook (Countryman Press, May 2013).

Tracey wanted to keep it positive so she only offered do's.


Don’t Miss:


At American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, the emphasis is on “quality and integrity.” Look for flatbreads like the Revolution, with caramelized onions and mushrooms and the New Vermont Sausage, with nitrate-free maple-fennel sausage and sundried tomatoes.

115 Saint Paul Street

American flabread


What L’Amante Ristorante offers is a seasonal menu showcasing the simple, straightforward creations of traditional Italian fare at its best. The flavorful Grilled N.Y. Strip and the succulent Roasted Duck entrees reflect Chef and co-owner Kevin Cleary’s no-fuss philosophy of allowing the ingredients and simple preparation to shine through.

126 College Street


With Leaf Peeper don’t miss autumn foliage in Vermont!


Located in the heart of the city at City Hall Park, the Burlington Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday, starting from Mother’s Day weekend through the last Saturday in October. The Burlington Winter Farmers’ Market is held at the Memorial Auditorium, near the corner of Main and South Union streets, the third Saturday of the month, January to April, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm,

City Hall Park


Shop and get useful tips like how to create a Pennywise Pantry (on January 7, 2014) at City Market, Onion River Co-op, is downtown Burlington’s consumer cooperative grocery store. If you are looking to take a little slice of Vermont back home with you, there is a wonderful selection of local, natural, and conventional foods.

82 South Winooski Avenue

Citymarket coop



The Vermont Cheese Council has organized artisanal cheese makers onto a Vermont Cheese Trail map. Many of the farms are only open seasonally to the general public; it is highly recommended to call ahead.



A 36,00 square foot, award-winning LEED-certified facility, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is a great place to take children to see over 70 species of fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles plus interactive exhibits and science education programs. Echo is open year round, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.

1 College Street



Headquartered in Burlington Vermont, Frog Hollow, a nonprofit arts organization represents over 200 Vermont artisans and is honored as the nation’s first Sates Craft Center in the nation.

85 Church Street


Take in a local theater show at Flynn Center for the performing arts. They are part of First Night Burlington on December 31, 2013.

153 Main Street

Enjoy breakfast at:


Located just off Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, the Penny Cluse Café has been serving breakfast and lunch since 1988. The menu is eclectic, and will happily satisfy a wide range of tastes. Noteworthy plates are Mama Cruz’s Huevos Rancheros and Chorizo & Egg Tacos.

169 Cherry Street

I hope you discovered as many new spots as i did in these 10 do's (no don'ts) of Burlington, Vermont thanks to Tracey Medeiros.

( Photo and illustration credits: American Flabread 'Brewfest' pic from their Twitter page, City Market Coop from their Facebook album, Vermont Cheese Trail 2011 map from Vermont Cheese Council site, Echo Lake Aquarium from their Facebook page...)

Between Christmas and New Year's Feasts, Simple Warm French Lentil Salad from 'One Good Dish'

Between Christmas and New Year's feasts there is room for simple fare like this recipe from One Good Dish, 'the pleasures of a simple meal' (Artisan Books, October 2013) by David Tanis.

Warm French Lentil Salad

Serves 4 to 6

In cold weather, there’s something completely pleasurable about a warm, savory French lentil salad. And when I say French, I don’t just mean in the French manner (though this salad is)—you really need to use French lentils. They keep their shape when cooked, and their firm, nutty texture holds up to the acid in an assertive dressing. Ordinary brown supermarket lentils are fine for soup, but for a good lentil salad, you want those beautiful little imported gray-green lentilles du Puy. They cook in about 30 minutes.
Dress the warm lentils with the garlicky mustard vinaigrette, add thick slices of smoked pork belly and boiled fingerling potatoes, and sprinkle with lots of chopped scallions and parsley. A magnificent meal. 

¾ pound smoked pork belly or good-quality slab bacon, 1½ to 2 inches thick
1 large onion, halved and each half stuck with a clove
4 thyme branches
1 small carrot, peeled
1 cup small green French lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound fingerling or other small potatoes, rinsed

for the vinaigrette
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup fruity olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons or other sour gherkins
½ cup chopped parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
¼ cup chopped scallions, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish

151_Warm French Lentil Salad

1. Put the pork belly in a small pot with 1 of the onion halves, 2 of the thyme branches, and the carrot. Add water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep warm in the liquid.

2. Meanwhile, put the lentils in a saucepan and add the other onion half, the 2 remaining thyme branches, and the bay leaf. Add 4 cups water and a little salt, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the lentils are firm-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain (discard the onion, thyme, and bay leaf) and keep warm.

3. Cook the potatoes in their skins in well-salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and keep warm.

4. To make the vinaigrette, macerate the shallot in the red wine vinegar in a small bowl for 5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the mustard to the shallot, then whisk in the olive oil to make a thick dressing. Stir in the chopped capers and cornichons. Just before serving, stir in the ½ cup parsley and ¼ cup scallions.

6. To serve, dress the lentils with half the vinaigrette, then transfer to a platter or serving bowl. Slice the pork belly (or bacon) crosswise into ¼-inch slices (save the broth for soup) and arrange over the lentils. Cut the potatoes lengthwise in half and arrange cut side up around the pork. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the sliced meat and potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each scallions and parsley.

Note: This vinaigrette is also great with boiled or roasted beef, hot or cold, as well as with boiled or steamed vegetables, like leeks. 

“Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers."

Wall to Ceiling Dinosaurs on Exhibit at Museum in Toulouse

Want to see wall to ceiling dinosaurs on display, Museum, the natural history museum in Toulouse can be proud of its offerings.

All my pics 3712

Current featured exhibit (until June 2014) is Ours, Myths et Realites (Bears, myths and realities)

(* Captured in Toulouse, Summer 2012)

Honey Sweetened Star Gingerbread Cookies, Lebkuchen 'Baking Bible' Recipe

There is still time in some parts of the world to hang cookies in the Christmas tree before Santa shows up.

Here's a honey sweetened gingerbread cookies recipe from Annie Bell's Baking Bible (Kyle Books USA, Fall 2013) that fits the bill.


This is the classic honey-sweetened gingerbread of Germany and Austria, which appears in so many different forms there—from the shell of your gingerbread house to the cookies that hang on the tree.

The spices can be varied, and a pinch of ground cardamom, cloves or nutmeg can be included, too, but ginger and cinnamon are a must.

This is a great recipe for involving children, the more dexterous can make the cookies, and the more artistic (for which read young) can decorate them. A kit of cookies, icing and ribbon, also makes a good present for any friends’ children, nephews or nieces.

Makes 18 – 20 stars

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup superfine sugar

¼ cup honey

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 large egg


Plastic wrap

2 nonstick baking sheets

4-inch star-shaped or other cutter


Offset spatula

Wire rack


Vegetable oil for greasing

All-purpose flour for dusting

White writing icing

Ribbon for hanging


Slowly heat the butter, sugar, and honey together in a small saucepan, stirring until melted and smooth. Working off the heat, add the dry ingredients and stir until crumbly, then add the egg and work to a dough. If the mixture seems very sticky, you can add a little more flour. Tip out onto a work surface, bring it into a ball, and then pat it between your palms until you have a pleasingly smooth and shiny dough. Wrap in plastic wrap, leave to cool, and then chill for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300°F convection oven/350°F conventional oven, and brush a couple of nonstick baking sheets with vegetable oil. Thinly roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut out 4-inch stars. A cookie cutter is the quickest route here, but you could also make a template from cardboard and cut around that. Roll the dough twice and arrange the cookies on the baking sheets—they don’t spread much, so you can place them quite close together. If you are planning on hanging them, make a hole at the base of one of the points of the star using a skewer.

Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes until golden. The holes will have closed up slightly in the oven, so make them a bit larger using a skewer. Loosen the cookies straight away with an offset spatula before they harden and become brittle, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Ice them as you wish and leave this to set for an hour or two.

(* Recipe from Annie Bell's Baking Bible -Kyle Books USA, Fall 2013- reproduced with permission, Photography by Con Poulos)

One for Apollinaire, Absinthe Eggnog Christmas Cocktail Recipe from Tipsy Texan

Poets like Apollinaire were consumed by Absinthe.

You will not have to step on a 'bateau ivre' like Apollinaire to enjoy this holiday recipe from Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State (Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 2013) by David Alan.

Absinthe Eggnog

I first discovered absinthe eggnog while attending the annual Fête de Absinthe in tiny Boveresse,  Switzerland, near the French-Swiss border. It was a flavor combination so beguiling that I was immediately smitten. The prevailing absinthe in Switzerland is a clear style known as blanche or la bleue, and that is what I’ve recommended here. I advise trying the single cocktail first before committing to the full batch—the flavor profile of absinthe is not for everyone.

1 ½ ounces Tenneyson Absinthe Royale or other blanche absinthe
1 ½ ounces heavy cream
¾ ounce Raw Sugar Syrup (page 135) or Pecan Syrup (page 166)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg


Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and shake for a moment without ice (alternatively, use a handheld milk frother to emulsify the ingredients). Add ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a punch cup. You can also make this in a blender by blending all the ingredients with a scant handful of ice until thoroughly emulsified.

(* Recipe from Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State by David Alan- Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 2013- reproduced with permission of publisher)

Put Some Sweet and Spicy Thai in your Fruit Salad with Som Tam Phonlamai from 'Pok Pok'

Put some sweet and spicy Thai in your fruit salad offerings this holiday season with this recipe from Pok PokFood and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2013) by Andy Ricker of Pok Pok restaurant with J.J. Goode.

Som Tam Phonlamai,Thai Fruit Salad 

Just one of many examples of som tam that has nothing to do with green papaya (I do like to add some for this rendition, but you could certainly leave it out) and almost everything to do with the method of preparation: made in a clay mortar, the salad requires the same gentle pounding that aims to bruise but not smash the main ingredients, allowing some of the sweet-tart dressing to pervade. Use any fruit you want, even if it’s just one or two kinds. Be sure to choose fruit that strikes a good balance between sweetness and tartness. If the fruit is very sweet, you’ll want to scale back on the sugar and perhaps bump up the lime juice. 

Flavor Profile: Sweet, spicy, tart, slightly salty

Try It With: Plaa Neung Si Ew (Steamed whole fish with soy sauce), page 79, or Kai Yaang (Whole roasted young chicken), page 135, and coconut rice (page 193). 


A papaya shredder (or mandoline or large knife)

A Thai clay mortar

A wooden pestle 

Serves 2 to 6 as part of a meal; you can double the recipe in a large clay mortar 

1 generous tablespoon medium-size dried shrimp, rinsed and patted dry

1 ounce palm sugar

1/4 teaspoon water

1 small lime (preferably a Key lime), halved through the stem

3 grams fresh Thai chiles (about 2), preferably red

1 tablespoon lime juice (preferably from Key limes or spiked with a small squeeze of Meyer lemon juice)

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 ounce peeled, shredded green papaya (about 1/2 cup, lightly packed)

14 grams peeled carrot, cut into long (about 3-inch), thin (about 1/8-inch) strips (about   1/4 cup, lightly packed)

8 ounces mixed crunchy, sweet, and tart fruit (such apple, pear, pineapple, green mango, and persimmon), any inedible skin peeled, cut into irregular 1-inch chunks

8 to 10 grapes, halved

2 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 4), halved, or quartered if very large

2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts 

Som Tam Phonlamaay (thai fruit salad


Heat a small dry pan or wok over medium heat, add the dried shrimp, and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re dry all the way through and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Set them aside in a small bowl to cool. They’ll keep covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. 

Put the palm sugar in a small microwavable bowl, sprinkle on the 1/4 teaspoon of water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and microwave on low just until the sugar has softened (not liquefied), 10 to 30 seconds. Pound the mixture in a mortar (or mash it in the bowl) until you have a smooth paste. Covered, it will keep soft for up to 2 days. 


Cut one of the lime halves lengthwise into thirds, then cut the thirds in half crosswise. Set aside 2 of the pieces (reserve the remaining lime for another purpose). 

Combine the chiles and 1 heaping teaspoon (or less if the fruit is very sweet) of the softened palm sugar in a large clay mortar and pound just until you have a chunky sludge with medium pieces of chile, 5 to 10 seconds. 

Add the 2 lime wedges and pound very lightly and briefly, just to release the juice, then add the shrimp and pound lightly just to release their flavor (don’t smash or pulverize them). 

Add the lime juice, fish sauce, papaya, and carrot. The next step is easy but subtle. You want to use the pestle to barely bruise the papaya (lightly pounding at a slight angle, not directly up-and-down) for about 10 seconds, while simultaneously using a large spoon to scoop up from the bottom of the mortar, essentially tossing the papaya, palm sugar mixture, and the other ingredients as you pound. Do not smash the papaya. It should remain crisp. 

Add the fruit, including the grapes, and pound the same way you did the papaya, barely bruising the fruit and definitely not smashing it. 

Add the tomatoes and pound lightly, just to release the juice. Taste the salad and if necessary, season with additional lime juice and fish sauce to achieve a salad that’s, in descending order of prominence, sweet from the fruit, spicy, sour, and a little salty. 

Finally, add the peanuts and mix well with the spoon. Transfer to a plate, liquid and all, in a low mound, and serve. 

(* Reprinted with permission from Pok Pok by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc, Photography: Austin Bush © 2013)