dimanche 30 septembre 2012

Pass me the Pastis ! Tarte aux figues au pastaga...

My dear, non French people,

Let me try to debunk another horrible prejudice that people usually have against us, the Francais.
No, we're not all obsessed with wine.
Some of us also enjoy a little glass of a stronger alcohol, from time to time.
Like Pastis for example.

This anise flavored-liquor is a must-have in any French cupboard. 
No apéritif without Pastis !

It's also deeply linked with South of France and Provence, and that's why I thought of it when I bought figs at the market this week.

Tarte aux figues au pastaga


1 Sablée Crust
(1,5 cup flour, 4,5 oz butter, 3 oz sugar, 2 oz almond flour, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon salt)

1 pound Figs

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 cup of Pastis

Preheat the ovent at 350 F

"Le petit jaune", le pastaga... 
 There are as many names for it as any imaginative drunkard would think of, but mostly, Pastis is synonym of Marseille.

Of spending hours on a café terrace on le Vieux port,

resting from a fiercful petanque party,

and fighting about the OM new avant-centre (centre-forward soccer player)
or the reason why Zidane really headbutted Materazzi on this infamous summer of 2006...

You usually drink it with a big splash of water,

or, if you want to sound a little bit more like a connoisseur, ask for a Mauresque: pastis and orgeat syrup, la classe!

Now, pour yourself a little glass "pour la route"
(for the road),

and let's bake...

Pour faire une tarte aux figues et au Pastis

Cut the figs in two and let them bathe in the Pastis for at least one hour.

Bake the the crust alone for 10 minutes
 (make some holes in it with a fork, and protect the dough with an aluminum foil, on which you spread heavy uncooked pasta or beans)

Then spread the fruits, skin on the crust.

Cut the butter in small slices and put it all over the fruits.
Spray the sugar.

Let in the oven for around 20 minutes, then let the pie in the oven for it to cool down slowly.

Serve with goat yogurt on the side.

Ok, it's not totally diet, but it's my duty to also tell you that many of my fellow countrymen think that Pastis is very good for your health, mostly your digestive system.

Oui, vraiment ! 

Now, if you've become a pastaga lover, feel free to make this other recipe, made into music by two crazy French southener bands, "Fabulos Trobadors" and "Massilia Sound System": l'omelette au Pastis...

Bon appétit les amis !!!

lundi 24 septembre 2012

Mango Sisters' Tatin !

My poor, dear, non French people,

I don't know how it works for your guys, but in my country, friendship is very important. 
French and Perfect women all have their own little gang, girls with whom they can redefine a better world, talk about Poetry and the last Vanessa Bruno Collection, and get wasted.

I've been living in LA for two years now, and have had the great chance to form my own precious perfect local gang.
But sometimes I get nostalgic, and think of my French BFFs. 
Most of them are journalists like me, and are scattered all over the world.

Like my friend Elsa for example.
She just moved to India with her whole family (two daughters and a boyfriend), and, whilst trying to edit a documentary and unvealing a new breaking news scandal, discovers the joy of warm warm warm weather, and of cooking abroad. "There are mangoes everywhere ! What can I do with them ?"

Well that's how I came up with the idea of this recipe.

Tatin de Mangues for my friends.


1 pâte brisée

2 or 3 mangoes

2,5 oz sugar

2,5 oz butter

You might have heard of the whole Tatin myth.
This upside down pie is called like this because of two sisters who ran a small auberge near a train station in Lamotte-Beuvron, a village not very far from mine, in Sologne.

They were called Tatin... They were sisters... So everybody called them les soeurs Tatin...  the Tatin Sisters.

The story goes that on a very busy day, one of the sister got stressed out by the sound of the train whistling in the station : people were coming and she had been chatting all morning with the neighbors !
She tried to do a last minute dessert so quickly that she didn't even realized she put the dough on the apples, and not under.

But what can you do when you can't do anything else ?

You do it !

They served it to the customers anyway, hoping they would already be drunk by too much Sancerre...

They loved it. 

So much that more than a century later, you still can find this made from scratch, messy, but incredibly good pie in any upscale restaurant and patisserie all over the world.

A very handsome Tatin fan
So much that there's even now a very serious tatin lovers guild, la confrérie des Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin.

They wear la biaude, the traditional outfit peasants would wear in this part of France, swear to follow very specific rules, and worship the amazing Sisters. 

(Of course being chosen to be part of this guild is one of my secret wish...)

I know this very high society would turn me down if they knew I use mangoes for my tatin. 
Who finds such exotic fruits in the green woods of Sologne? 

But what, Solognots are also adventurous.  

Like my great great great great uncle, Daniel Brottier

He was a missionary in Senegal, and gave his name to a mango he discovered there, la mangue Brottier. 
Now, he has been sanctified by the pope, a few years ago.

Incroyable, non  ? 

And what a beard !

 So anyhow, here is how it goes

Slice the mangoes and take out the skin.

Pour half of the sugar on a pie pan.      Add the mango slices, the butter in small pieces all over the fruits, and pour the rest of the sugar
Put the pie pan on a high set gas for 3 minutes, so that the sugar caramelize. 

Then place the pie crust on top of the mangoes. Tuck it in around the edges of the pan. 

Put in a 425 F preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Then let rest for 10 minutes before flipping the pie again with a platter...... 



So here we are. 

A tarte Tatin, direct from LA, baked just like home, for my Tatin sisters all over the world.

Miam !

Bon appétit les amies !

mardi 18 septembre 2012


My poor, dear, non French people,

I know you've been dreaming about this for hours...
Now here it is !

And please don't forget the main ingrédients


6 large tomatoes
1 pound of ground meat
1 onion,
Parsley, thyme
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup rice

Share the love !

Bon appétit les amis

dimanche 16 septembre 2012

Une petite surprise for my friends

My dear, poor, non French people,

I want to help you so much that I must admit I have spent the last days working on a little surprise for you guys.
I hope you'll love it, and suggest that you follow me on this new page


As it's a surprise, of course I cannot tell you exactly what it is...

Just know that it involves tomatoes and something around Jean Luc Godard.

Well, you'll see !

A bientôt les amis !

samedi 15 septembre 2012

Be a good pâte ! Bake a French and perfect Pâte brisée !

My dear, poor, non French people,

Today I decided to be bonne pâte

I guess you strange English speaking people would say I’ve decided to « be a good sport », which sums up well our cultural gap : when we think of somebody being nice, we compare him or her to a tasty baking dough. Not to a weird and tiring hobby.

Anyhow, let me give you my French and Perfect recipes for a good pie dough.

Pâte Brisée


2 cups Flour

4 oz Butter

1 Egg Yolk

1/8 cup Chilled water or milk


Pâte brisée is the basic pie dough.

Literally, brisée means shattered, but I’ve never really understood why. 
The other strange thing is that there are as many different recipes for that dough as there are roundabouts and cheeses in my country : maaaaaaaaany.

I guess you could say that a pâte brisée is any dough that is not sablée or feuilletée, but I'll talk about them in a next blog.

If you're using a Stand Mixer, first pour the butter. 

Mix it until it looks like a cream.

Then add the salt. 
The flour. (little by little)

At the end, 
Add the egg yolk 
and the water or the milk.

Briefly knead the dough by hand,

Cover it with plastic wrap and let chill at least 30 minutes, better 2 hours, or why not, a night.

If you're doing it with your own original hands, you should follow the steps shown there by Anne-Sophie Pic.

This blog is a little treasure, given by a French grande dame.

Anne-Sophie Pic is the heiress of a cuisine dynasty: her grand-father, and then her father, were 3 Michelin stars restaurateurs for years.

Growing up, she didn't want to follow their steps, and chose to get an MBA instead. But when her dad suddenly died, she decided to learn it all, and take in charge the family's restaurant.

Et voilà, a few months later, she was (and still is) the only woman to be a 3 stars chef.

Sometimes, I promise, you and I will go to Valence and taste her Collection Pic Menu… Or go to her new restaurant in
Paris, la dame de Pic...

But meanwhile, let’s enjoy the tips she give us on the web, like her recipe for a sweet pâte brisée.
La Pâte brisée sucrée :


6,3 oz flour
2,5 oz powdered sugar
2 eggs yolks
2,6 oz butter


Mix the ingredients in the same way as the savory recipe of pate brisée.
Wrap it and let it rest in the fridge for more than 30 minutes before you use it.

Now you can use both those recipes for the tarte aux prunes and the quiche aux courgettes.

 And don't forget to add a little French touch to it, by building nice sidewalks ! (Or trottoirs)

That's how we call the side of the crust, trottoirs, as the sidewalk of the tasty road that a pie would be.

There's this big debate on wether one should eat it or not.
I'm in the pro-crust team on this one, especially whent the side of the crust is done as my friend Eric told me : by pinching it all around, just like that.

Voila !

Bonne cuisine, 
et Bon appétit !

jeudi 6 septembre 2012

Don't be chicken ! Cook some poulet basquaise !

My dear non French people,

I hear from time to time that people outside of my wonderful country think that we French and perfect people are proud and arrogant.
Well, why wouldn't we ? Didn't we invent the Camembert and the chateau de Versailles ?
And anyhow, this is nothing compared to the wonderful strong and proud character of the Basque people.
Thousands of people in white and red in the streets... That's what the Basques call a small party !

They live in the South West of France and the Northern part of Spain, and you might have heard that they have been fighting for decades to be reunited in a single Basque country.
You don't mess with the Basques, and with their cuisine either : c'est trop bon !

That's why I thought I should teach you how to cook
Poulet Basquaise


4 Chicken Legs
1 Onion
1 Bell Pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes
White wine
Piment d'Espelette
Piment d'Espelette
Piment d'Espelette
First you have to know that Euskal Herria, the Basque country, is the second best place in the world for cuisine (just after my kitchen and Michel Bras’s Restaurant, that means).

Pinxos (Basque tapas) are fabuleux, gateau basque is to die for... And there's the magie of Piment d’Espelette.

This special Pepper is grown exclusively in the Basque country, in the small village of… Espelette.
There the houses are all covered with those gorgeous red peppers, where they dry to become the best spice I can think of.
Piment d’espelette is amazing in a chocolate mousse, with braised vegetables… and… in Chicken Basquaise.

Brown the diced onion with some olive oil in a non sticky pan (a cast iron pot is always better).

Add the diced pepper. 

Let them make love slowly, and add the chicken legs. They should change colour on each side.

Sprinkle two spoons of piment d'Espelette, 
Close your eyes, 



enjoy the Basque touch...

Add the tomatoes.

Cover with a cup or two of white wine.
Cover everything with chicken broth.
Add Salt, pepper

Bring to a boil
Let it sim for at least an hour.

This Poulet basquaise is best served with some white rice, and a nice glass of Irouleguy.

If you can't find piment d'Espelette, you can use paprika, but please don't tell a Basque I told you so !
Or you can go straight to Espelette. The next Fete du piment is on October the 22nd. 
Please go to the Restaurant Euskadi and order pork ears for me. Yes. It's so bon.

Meanwhile I'll be in LA wearing the wonderful earings my mom bought me there for my birthday 

C'est mes oreilles, not the pork ears, merci

Espelette everywhere, I tell you les amis !

Egizu bazkari!
(Bon appetit!)