August 2009

I remember doing the dreaded Book Reports in school. Always on books no one wanted to read. Books that the teacher put on the list because she, of course, had no idea of what we liked, or what we didn’t. She, of course, hated us and wanted us to suffer. I swore that when I finished school I would never, Never, NEVER!! do another Book Report!!! So what is this post – IT’S A BOOK REPORT. Except we don’t call it that, we call it a Book Review. We don’t have to tell the premise of the book, we don’t have to discuss the meanings of the book or discuss what we THOUGHT the author was trying to say (and we NEVER interpreted it the same way as the Teacher!!) All we HAVE to do is give a review of how we liked it and why and maybe a little on the premise. Why, you ask are we doing this? Because of Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort. She says, “We are a group of bloggers from all across the globe who enjoy cooking and reading about food.” We read and review books about food or foodies FOR FUN!! (My 7th grade English teacher would soooo not believe that…)

So, here is my first Book Review for The Kitchen Reader.

    The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

lebovitz For right now lets ignore the fact that there are lots of David’s great recipes in the book – Chocolate Cake, Caramelized Apple Tart, Tomato and Sour Dough Bread Salad – and concentrate on the adventures he describes. This book reminded me a lot of Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”, Child’s “My Life in France“, and even a little of “A Thousand Days in Venice” by Marlena de Blasi. What all these have in common are the uncommon descriptions of Europe that most people don’t have acess to – everyday life.

How many ‘travelogues’ discuss doing laundry, buying shoe laces, working in a fish market, even how to dress to take out the trash? David does! With humor, sarcasm, and titillating descriptions of every day life in Paris.

Like waiting in line. It is ‘ one of the most endearing traits of Americans is our ability to be self-deprecating.” “…Forming nice little lines for service-oriented situations…” is one of those endearing traits. Americans are line waiters. We really don’t mind standing in line – if it’s not to long, or we have a little time, or we understand the checker is really busy. But the French, according to Lebovitz don’t like to wait.

    “In Paris, there are only two reasons you an cut in front of others waiting in line:

      1. Because you are old and frail, etc.
      2. Because YOU DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE BEHIND ANYBODY ELSE” (pg. 77). (Which is basically how we feel deep down inside but are toooo polite to do anything about it.)

So. We. Wait. I have never seen a guidebook which says it is almost expected that one should cut in line – it even has a word; risquillage which means ‘taking the risk’. We get extremely upset if someone cuts in line – but in Paris it is an art. And David’s descriptions of these little daily adventures will keep you chuckling all through the book.

Loved the book. Will read it again. And have lots of recipes marked to try. This was a great first pick for the Readers.



…but not for me. Sorry, not this time, not this week, not a lime fan. I knew no one would eat it, so this week I skipped TWD – sorry Linda of Tender Crumb! But please go visit the other bakers at TWD and see their scrumptious creations of Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie .

But I didn’t not bake!

There was a lot of tweeting about macarons this week, so I decided to try my hand. My first(yes, first….) attempt was a recipe from Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt – Pecan Macarons (courtesy of St. Joseph’s Plantation) – but something went horribly wrong. They look pretty, but they are HOLLOW!!! And very crispy!!!


The second batch came from David Lebovitz – Chocolate Macarons.


They came out just fine. I sandwiched them with Martha Stewart’s Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. Quite Tasty. But I’m not sure if I will make again – evidently macarons are not the cookie for me. Ah, well!! Such is life. But try them. Fun and challenging (to me) to make.

Can I tell you how much fun it is to be baking thru’ The Bread Baker’s Apprentice at a slower speed with a great bunch of bakers – and ‘tweeting’ thru’ it at the same time? Oh, Wait!! I think I just did! This week it was another ‘C’ – Cinnamon Rolls.DSC04041(and they came out sooo much better than last week’s Ciabatta.

I could not believe how easy these were to make. And they definitely gave my Mom-N-Law’s rolls a run for her money.

Mix!! Rise!! Roll!! Fill!! Bake!! DEVOUR!!!!

Now, the recipe called for plain cinnamon/sugar filling, but Nancy mentioned she was going to use Brown Sugar and Cinnamon, so I did 1/2 and 1/2. The brown sugar really deepened the flavor quite a bit. Really, Really Tasty. Thanks for the idea, Nancy.

I have to admit to you, I didn’t really care for the White Fondant Glaze, which I realized AFTER I put the glaze on ALL the rolls. Remember the glaze we put on the Applesauce Sauce Bars (TWD), well I had some left over, so I used that as another layer of Glaze on the rolls. So. Much. Better!!! DSC04045

I had two pans of rolls, so one became cinnamon rolls and the other became Sticky Buns.

DSC04046Just a regular caramel with slivered almonds, but so good.


      …their sails are in sight.”

    (SHRIMP BOATS (Paul Mason Howard / Paul Weston) (1951)

In Louisiana that means fresh shrimp in the summer months. Along the roads you will find individuals selling shrimp out of the backs of their trucks. Lugging huge freezers from the gulf to towns that are 2 to 5 hours away. And since they are regulated much better now the shrimp are usually fresh. If you are smart you load up during the summer so you can have ‘fresh’ shrimp all year.

Shrimp etouffe, shrimp creole, shrimp bisque, shrimp kababs… (I’m starting to sound like Bubba in “Forrest Gump“)seasonal-shrimp_small But there is a lot you can do with shrimp besides shrimp cockail.

    Shrimp Monica

      1 lb shrimp (or lump crabmeat or crawfish or oysters, drained and quartered)
      1 stick butter, melted
      1 pint half and half
      1 good sized bunch green onions chopped, including tops
      3 – 10 cloves garlic (I usually use 5 good sized cloves)
      Creole season to taste (Zatarains, Tony’s, etc.)
      1 lb cooked fresh pasta (or bagged will do, but….)

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, drain again.
    Melt butter in a large saucepan. DSC03985
    Add and saute onions and garlic.
    Add seafood and saute additional 2 minutes.
    Add half and half and then Creole seasoning to taste.
    Cook 5 – 10 minutes over medium heat until sauce thickens.
    Add pasta “(or serve over pasta)
    Toss and let sit over low heat for about 10 minutes.
    Serve immediately.

    with toasted ciabatta

    with toasted ciabatta

    The recipe is from Gumbo Pages.


… are a little reminder that Fall IS just around the corner. They are cakey, spicy, full of apples and sweet with a caramel sauce topping that is hard not to eat by the spoonful.


And with a small scoop of Dorie’s Vanilla Ice Cream – it is the perfect dessert without a lot of fuss.

I only made three small changes in Dorie’s recipe:

    (1) Doubled the spices because I like to taste the cinnamon,etc., and
    (2) I subbed out the pecans for walnuts, and
    (3) I used Dried Cranberries instead of raisins,

      No good reason, just don’t like raisins and walnuts are cheaper.

Thanks to Karen of Something Sweet for this week’s TWD pick. It was yummy!!!

…happened when I became a Tweeter; I found some great conversation, helpful hints, and new baking challenges from foodies whose blogs I had been reading for several months including a chance to bake ‘together’ like we did this week when several of us made Garden Tomato Bread DSC04007 as suggested by Nancy from The Corner Loaf (where you can find the link for the recipe) which used lots of great flavors from the garden like tomatoes, and other great tastes like sunflower seeds, sage, thyme, etc. but if you go to the recipe you can see what was in this great bread.DSC04005

that can be served over pasta, wrapped in a tortilla, or served alone is the question that was answered by making Sonoma Chicken (The Good Carb Cookbook by Sandra Woodruff) which is not only Lo-Carb (nutrition included) but delicious and open to flexibility when adding/subtracting certain elements (adding sliced eggplant, leaving out rosemary and mushrooms [cause hubby doesn’t like] and using veggie broth instead of chicken).DSC03998


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