vendredi 31 août 2012

Plum plum plum plum

My poor non French people,

Let me share with you today the perfect French dessert of this end of summer.
It’s simple, tasty and a little wonder to a melancholic heart.

La tarte aux prunes (de mamie Laurence)


A pate brisée / Pie crust
2 pounds of plums

Preheat oven at 400°F

This pie is something like a fountain of youth.
Each bite you have takes you back directly to your childhood and helps you forget about, you know… Time (the one that always goes by, brings lines on your forehead and never make things better)

At least that’s how it works for me.
Mainly because I always have one for my birthday, as a souvenir of the tarte my grand-mère Laurence always baked for me on that day.

C'est Mamie Laurence.
She would go to the end of the farm's garden, pick some reine-claudes, and magically bake the best gâteau d'anniversaire.

C'est le prunier de Mamie Laurence
My mamie’s recipes notebook was lost when she got old, which is one of my personal tiny disasters. 

But fortunately my mom knew her little secret, and gave it to me : it’s the semolina, les amis !

Spray a small layer of semolina on the crust, 

Mix it with a little bit of sugar if you want.


Cut the plums in 4 and lay them one by one on the crust, skin facing the sky.

Lay them around the edge of the pan first, and on to the center.

Spray with one or two spoons of sugar (vanilla sugar is even better)

Put it in a preheated 400°F oven for 35 minutes 
(15 minutes upper part of the oven, 15 minutes down)

The juice of the plums will soak in the semolina, and you are going to feel young again.
Trust me.

Bon appétit !

PS :
I can't help but think of this incredible classic French song "Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes". Litteraly, Brunettes are not counting like plums. 
It's an hymn to non-blond women, something like "gentlemen prefers blondes but brunettes are just best". 
I think my grand-mother would have dug that.

lundi 27 août 2012

How green was my tomate...

My dear non French people,

Let me confess.
Last week, at the supermarket, I fell in love.
They were standing in front of me, big, confident, and generous… And, I must say, so sexy.
Really, don’t you adore those amazing green tomatoes ?

What could I do with them ?


As I went back to my car, of course I thought of Fried Green Tomatoes (specially the "parking lot Madness" scene, my favorite part of the movie)

Mais quoi… I can't lower myself to cook an american recipe !

Then it came back to my mind. 

A perfect end-of-summer day like this, a few years ago.
Somewhere in Lubéron.
One of my best culinary souvenir.

The day I tasted  Confiture de tomates vertes


2 pounds of Green Tomatoes

20 oz of Sugar (I used raw)

Zest of an orange or a pomelo

I was a reporter for French TV and was assigned to do a segment about Edouard Loubet, a promising young chef.

I could tell you for hours of the walk he took us to, in the hills of Luberon, as he usually does to collect the strange herbs and wild flowers he uses in his cuisine.

Or of the unforgetable goat cheeses of Gianni, his shepherd friend (and the moutain dried ham he cut for us, mon Dieu !)

Or of the ecstatic face of my friend, sound engineer Michel, in the kitchen of the restaurant, facing an amount of black truffles he had never ever seen or imagined (oh, the parfum ! I couldn’t focus for the interview !)

But my best souvenir is the dinner the chef cooked for us. 
And this simple, but incroyable condiment he used : la Confiture de tomates vertes

Dice the tomatoes and mix them with the sugar and the zest.
Marinate for 24 h
Heat it in a pot (copper is best, but I used my good old cast iron), 

First on low, then on high, to 220 F, for 16 minutes.

Pour carefully in the pots.
Close them and let them rest upside down for a day.

The best way to enjoy this confiture is as I tested it there : with Foie Gras.

But now that we, in California, are banned from heaven, I suggest a replacement : a good tartine of fresh goat cheese.

Or just fly, as soon as you can, to Lourmarin. 
Say hello to the chef for me !
He now has two Michelin Stars and was just appointed Best chef of the year. Not bad !

Bon appétit !

mercredi 22 août 2012


My poor non French people,

Would you please do me a favor and stop calling us "Froggies" ?
It always remind us, French and perfect women, how rare it is now to eat frog legs: you find them very scarcely at the marché, almost as rarely as fresh vegetables in an American student's fridge. 

And anyhow, frog is not the only strange meat we have. We also love calf's brains, beef tongue, horse (Heart of horse, my favorite comfy food!), and lapin. Yes, rabbit.

Lapin is a very healthy food: it's full of protein, very low in fat AND environmentally friendly.
So what are you waiting for ?

Cook a perfect "Lapin en Cocotte"


A rabbit, preferably cut by the butcher

1 onion

4 carrots
1 fennel
 4 tomatoes (or a can of diced organic tomatoes)

1 cup of Chicken Broth

Half a cup of white wine

Salt, Pepper, Thyme, and love

I cook this lapin as my amazing uncle Bernard teached me. 
He's a chef and the best bar-storyteller you can find in Paris ( Trust me and go to his bar, the Alex's

All you need is a cast iron pot, a rabbit, vegetables, and time (most important ingrédient)

Brown the sliced oinion in some olive oil

Then add the rabbit

Then the sliced vegetables

Carrots are perfect for the last trip of a nice bunny of course... 
I added Fennel and tomatoes...

Pour the wine
Then the broth

Add spices and herbs
Put to a boil, then when the bubbles appear, set on the lowest you can. 

Sim sim sim

Let the lapin hangout with his friends for at least an hour.
Actually the longer, the better... 

As most of the stews, it tastes even better on the next day.

Well my dear non French people, I hope you enjoy your lapin !

Bon appétit !

PS : If by any chance you're cooking for a French gentleman, first, let me hope that he won't lay you a rabbit. (Poser un lapin : to stand someone up)

Then let me warn you that he will most certainlbly sing you this ridiculous song. 

It's about a rabbit who shot a huntsman. 

Yes, that's what our French and perfect kids sing at school. 

lundi 20 août 2012

Beet it ! Rave it ! Have some Betterave !

My poor non French people,

It's time for me to tell you about the French jewel of our earth : Beets.

They are a basics of our daily culinary bliss, and even saved us from the evil Britts when Napoleon discovered that sugar could be produced out of it. 
Yes, that's how we survived from the wicked blocade imposed by those tea-drinkers and almost didn't lose at Waterloo. Merci Napo !

For me la betterave is above all the smell of my grand-mothers's kitchen in autumn. 
She roasted them for hours, and the whole farm would be full of a smocky sugary perfume.

Now here is a summer recipe I treasure.
Cold Beets soup and French feta.


A bunch of raw beets
(or presteamed 8 oz Trader Joes Beets)

1 cup of chicken broth

Rice Vinegar

4 oz of feta

Boil the beets for an hour on low in vinegary water. 
(only if they're uncooked, of course)

Peel them, and Mix them with the chicken broth

Add a spoon of rice vinegar

Put in the fridge for 3 hours
Just before you serve, add the feta that you cut into small pieces.

Voilà !

The color is amazing, pink and bloody and even fluorescent.
And the taste is incredible.
And it's diet ! (low calory veg AND low calory cheese, anti oxydant, rich of flavnoids... par-fait !)
And it's so refreshing !
And it's so French and Parfait !

Ah, vraiment, how could you live without me before...

Bon appétit !

jeudi 16 août 2012

Forget mustard : you must try moutarde !

My poor non French people,

Sometimes I feel so sorry for you. 
Is that true that American kids believe that French dressing is a sugary  kind of sauce (Ketchup and Worcestershire in it, really ?) ? 
Or that you really think that this awful yellow bottle of French's is actually French mustard ?

I tell you, the mustard climbs to my nose just thinking of it. (This is a French expression to explain incredible anger, something like what your green friend Hulk would express)

Now, let me show you how to enjoy REAL moutarde, on a summer night for example.
La tarte aux tomates et à la moutarde


1 Pate Brisée Crust. Or any salty crust
6 tomatoes
1 pot of Moutarde. Amora or Maille, I find mine at Ralph's... 
Thyme, Oregano, Fines herbes

This recipe was awfully trendy in the summer 1994 in Saint Laurent des eaux, Loir-et-Cher, France. (my French and perfect hometown btw)
I remember tasting it at my BFF Melanie's house, where her mom tried it for the first time.
Moutarde et tomates ! So simple !
It was magic, better than a pizza !

Pre-cook the crust for 10 minutes in a 400° F heated oven
(use a foil of aluminum, spread some uncooked pasta on it, so the crust doesnt inflate)

Then dive into yellow spicy delight, and spread a thick layer of moutard onto the crust

Slice the tomatoes

Lay them tenderly on their confortable mustard bed

Spray with pepper, salt, and the herbs

Put in the oven (400° F)

15 minutes in the upper part of the oven, 15 minutes down

Until you see that...

Et voilà !

Enjoy the real moutarde... and spread the love.

Bon appétit !

dimanche 12 août 2012

Eat your wine, have some fraises !

My dear poor non French people,

This blog is a great opportunity for me to tell the world what we Français are about, and to put an end to too many outrageous prejudices.

Non, we're not spending our days with a glass of wine in the hand.
Sometimes, when it's very hot like today in Los Angeles, we also have it in our plate.

So allow me to share with you one of my grand mother's recipes :
Les Fraises au vin.


1 pound of Strawberries
1/2 a bottle of Red Wine (any, even Californian)
2 cloves
2 cardamon
2 star anise
Some vanilla
Some ginger
1/4 a cup of sugar (or Stevia)
1 lemon

On a very hot day like that, like during the moisson, the harvest, people would come back to the farm very tired and thirsty.
Ice cream and ice cubes and AC were something like a dream in a place where you felt lucky when you owned a frigidaire...

So my grand mother would go to the garden, pick up some strawberries, and open a bottle of rouge.

Simmer the wine with the spices and the sugar for at least 10 minutes

Let it rest and cool.

Cut the strawberries and splash them with lemon.

When the wine is cooler, add it to the strawberries.

Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

You can also add some mint at the end.

I remember seeing my grand father enjoying his fraises while telling us again one of his many stories of his captivity in Germany during WWII, the only time he left his village.

At the end, he used to take a loaf of bread "pour saucer" : in France, when a dish is good, you sometimes use your bread and soak it with what's left on your plate. It's rude, but it's good !

We French and perfect brats had the kid version of it, "la trempée au lait" : toasted bread that you dunk in very cold milk.

So let me tell you, thoses fraises are one of my Madeleines de Proust.

Bon appétit !

jeudi 9 août 2012

Don't be Crude ! Eat your Crudités

My poor non French people,

It's with deep sadness that I must announce you that once again, you American people have it all wrong about food.
Non, the Raw diet is not a Californian invention. It was discovered centuries ago by us, the Français.
Eh oui !
That's what we call les Crudités.

A proper lunch in a French and perfect household could never happen unless Crudités are first served.
It's usually based on fresh vegetables and amazing vinaigrette. 
The best example is the carottes râpées.


6 carrots
1 lemon
Salt, pepper, Olive oil.

First, you have to know that French people are raised in the love of Carotts. 
Kids are always told two basic truths : 
  • Carrots make you aimable (they turn you into a nice and pleasant person)
  • AND Carrots help you have a pink derrière. Yes, that's how we teach our French and perfect kids to eat their veggies : by telling them it will help them have a nice bottom. Take that, Jlo and Kim K.

So now you know the secret of French beauty and legendary politenesse, take you carrots and go for it.

Peel the Carrots

Grate them, one by one.

Add the juice of the lemon


Salt and Pepper

A dash of olive oil.

Fresh Parsley.

Et voilà !

I know, that's almost too easy.
But you know what... C'est si bon...

mardi 7 août 2012


My poor non French people,

On this hot and summery day in California, let me save you again with this gorgeous and healthy and (almost) vegan classic : la Ratatouille.


Non, you don't have to be a rat chef from Hollywood to master it... It's actually one of the easiest dish to do. Even men cuisine it sometimes, alors...


4 zucchinis
1 Bell pepper
1 eggplant
1 can diced peeled tomatoes
7 ounces of bacon
1 onion
1 garlic clove, salt and pepper

I was given the secret of the Parfaite Ratatouille when I was young and beautiful as I still am although it was several decades ago.
My roommate at the time was coming from Aix en Provence, and had me swear on her grand-mother's cookbook that I'll never give it to anyone else.
Well, she was a crazy person who ended up locking me in the appartment and distroying my voicemail messages whenever she could, so I think I can decide that this oath is no longer valid.

So here we go.

Cut the bacon into slices. (You can also use pancetta by the way. Or lardons, which is the real thing)

In a cast iron pot, brown the sliced onion and the bacon. You don't need much olive oil for it, the fat of the bacon is almost enough.

Meanwhile, cut all the vegetables into very tiny pieces. I would say as large as your thumb. Like this

First add the Bell Pepper.
Then the Eggplant.
And the Zucchinis.
And the diced tomatoes

Now your goal is for them to marry together.
Let them fall in love slowly by adding some  salt, pepper, thyme, herbes de provence. 
Mix them, shut the cover, put on low, the lowest you can, and go for a sieste.

You have exactly 2 hours to do nothing.

So close your eyes, listen to the cicadas, smell the lavender fields near the hundred-years-old olive trees, put the rosé wine in the fridge. 

Yes, you're in Provence, thanks to your perfect French friend.

PS : Unlike many things in life and love, it's even better on the next morning. Ice cold, with a toasted slice of bread. And an Oeuf au plat cooked by your fiancé. You know, sometimes, guys have to feel they can be useful.

dimanche 5 août 2012

Be a tart, cook a quiche !

My poor non French people,
It's Sunday here in LA, sun is shining as always, and the Catholic-raised that stays in me is of course feeling guilty : I'm having such a perfect Dimanche, I need to do something for the non perfect like you...

So here is my Bonne Action : 
Share the recipe of the Parfaite Quiche aux Courgettes with you.

Look at her.
She's as blond and Sexy as a (young) Catherine Deneuve.


A pate brisée
(Broken Crust, best pie crust ever, recipe here)
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup Crema Mexicana or Creme Fraiche
2 zucchinis
3,5 oz fresh goat cheese
minced garlic clove
bunch of mint, nutmeg, salt, pepper

Preheat the oven at 400° F

Cut the zucchinis in very small pieces and cook them for 5 or 10 minutes in a big pan, with a dash of olive oil. 

Mix the eggs with a spoon of flour. 
Add the milk and the cream.
Salt and Pepper, Nutmeg for everybody please.

Spread the crust, make some small holes with your fork, and scatter the goat cheese on it.
Add the Zucchinis, the minced garlic and the minced mint.

Pour the egg/milk/cream.
Pepper all over.

Put in the oven, 20 minutes on the upper part of the oven, 
then 20 minutes down.  

Then stop the oven and let the quiche in it.

Voila !
C'est Parfait !

PS : Just to add up on the perfection, I threw in a little salade de ma conception, with a mustard shallot mint vinaigrette. My boyfriend almost died.

Don't thank me. As I always say, saving people is something like a calling for me.

Bon appétit !