Churro Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches

IMG_6011Hi! Trying to get back into the regular rhythm of posting over here, but in the meantime I wanted to share a bit of what I've been up to. In addition to my full-time job at a small food start-up, I've been doing some video recipe development and styling work at Sunset magazine! I've been a big fan of Sunset for a long time, so it's been amazing to work with them (and see their beautiful new offices and test kitchens in Oakland.) You can find the video and full recipe on their site.  

Travel: Nice, France

IMG_3124My first time in the south of France was when I was 16, on a trip to Arles with my family. I was immediately taken in by the pastel-colored buildings, the warm air (even in March) and the warm, friendly people (not to mention the delicious seafood.) We stayed with a delightful family in a small bed and breakfast, and spent the few days we were there exploring the Roman ruins, traveling around the region and eating (a lot.) IMG_4299This trip was a bit different. Ari and I didn't quite know what to expect, neither of us having been to Nice or the French Riviera before. (I was basically envisioning Casino Royale with more croissants.) We were immediately charmed by the gorgeous architecture and the incredible views of the Mediterranean, and one of my favorite moments was when we decided to walk up to the city Chateau and stumbled across a waterfall. We also had some incredible food--though we didn't get to go to Le Canon because I forgot to make a reservation, we still were able to eat at a number of wonderful restaurants.

IMG_4310.JPGLe Franchin Situated on a little side street, this traditional bistro served the best seafood bisque I've ever had. We actually went here after we learned that Le Canon was booked on a recommendation from the owner, and it didn't disappoint. A great spot for affordable wine and delicious fish--and the staff speaks English, so it's easy to communicate.

IMG_4318.JPGRestaurant Aphrodite The menu at this molecular gastronomy restaurant looks pretty crazy at first glance, but don't be afraid. Ari and I had two different tasting menus, and everything was wonderful--but we especially loved the asparagus dish with an egg and caviar, and the incredible edible forest, complete with tiny souffle "snails" and mushrooms. Chef David Faure and his wife were incredibly nice and friendly, and the staff explained everything about the menu in great detail.

IMG_3132Parcours Live Situated just outside Nice in the hilltop village of Falicon, Parcours Live is a Michelin-starred restaurant in an unassuming old farmhouse that just happens to have world-class views of the Riviera. When we got there it was already dark, but food more than made up for it. Chef Frederic Galland is clearly super talented, and the spacious dining room was very comfortable and quiet. I particularly loved the rabbit terrine and the red snapper with zucchini flowers.

IMG_3057Other notes: we stayed in two different hotels, Hotel La Perouse and the Hyatt Palais Mediteranee. Both quite different and equally lovely, but I loved the old world charm of Hotel La Perouse. Though they're both on the Promenade des Anglais, La Perouse is a bit more off the beaten track, and their roof deck has some of the best views of Nice.

IMG_4290We also enjoyed a delightful lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the Place Durandy, and we loved walking through the Promenade du Paillon, which was probably one of the best city parks I've ever seen. We didn't make it to any museums, but I've heard wonderful things about the Chagall museum and the modern art museum, should you be so inclined. As it was, we were very happy walking around the old city and having an aperitif or an ice cream cone when it suited us.

 

Some Thoughts

 

IMG_1845.JPG I don't often get very personal on here for a variety of reasons, the most obvious one being privacy. While I like sharing small things about my day (and more often, what I ate for dinner) I can't imagine that that many people want to know (or care, really) about what I wore, what I am coveting from Need Supply Co (which, incidentally, is an amazing store) and so on. Plus I don't really like posting pictures of my face. I've been doing some thinking lately about blogging and what a crazy industry it's become. With social media and new technologies being created every day, it's still kind of insane to me that people can now dream of being professional bloggers or social media managers – jobs that didn't exist even five years ago. I don't begrudge anyone who is able to blog as their full-time job, and I'm certainly guilty of being addicted to social media–but it was feeling like there were just so. many. blogs. And in a world where everyone has a website and personal brand, how do you stand out? How do you make sure that you're writing about what you want to write about, and not inadvertently just trying to get more "likes"?

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I was in Minnesota with my family last week and took the time to unplug a bit (no blogs, much less social media–although I was still on Instagram) and I think it was a much-needed break. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to continue posting the same kind of content here–while I have been cooking a fair amount this summer, I just don't always feel like photographing it (or at least, doing more than shooting a quick picture with my phone), so you may have to forgive me while I rethink things a bit. And I wanted to ask you: is there anything you would like to see here? Things I should do differently? Similar apathy about the blogging world?

I'll be back later this week with a great summer taco recipe, and if you're interested in further reading, I particularly enjoyed these two posts from Wit & Delight and Jojotastic.

Happy 4th of July!

Hello from California! If you have been following along on Instagram, you probably know that I have been traveling around a bit and eating A LOT. Highlights include an incredible dinner at Animal in LA, amazing lunch from Sqirl, and of course, so many tacos (we may or may not have stopped in an old west-style town along highway 1 to eat leftover carnitas tacos. At 9 a.m.)

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We're heading up to Napa today to attend a friend's wedding, but I hope that whatever your Independence Day plans are, they include plenty of food being eaten outside, friends and family, and fireworks. Happy 4th of July!
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Peach Cake Tatin

_MG_5093 _MG_5076As you probably have noticed, I'm kind of obsessed with peaches. How many desserts can you really come up with that contain them, you might ask? Well, if you're me, a lot. Most of the time, I buy a dozen and eat them plain, but every now and then I like to do a little something special with them. This cake, from the inimitable Barefoot Contessa, combines two of my favorite dessert ideas -- a "tatin", which involves cooking the fruit in a rich caramel sauce until they are juicy and golden and delicious, and a lemony cake recipe which nicely offsets the fruit. Though I love traditional Tarte Tatin and will probably be making it sometime in the next few months, it takes a bit more work and fiddling to make a more complicated caramel and roll out tart dough. This cake, on the other hand, comes together in half an hour and is the perfect way to use up those end-of-season stone fruits -- you could also try it with plums, nectarines, apples, or pears if you are embracing fall produce._MG_5084

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It definitely doesn't feel like summer any more in New York, but as long as there are still a few peaches and tomatoes at the market, I'm going to enjoy it for as long as I can._MG_5124

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Peach Cake Tatin (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish 4-5 yellow or white peaches, pitted and quartered 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 1/3 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Crème fraîche (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch cake pan and arrange the peaches in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the peaches.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the peaches and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Creamy Curried Celery Root & Apple Soup

Celery root is not a vegetable you would pick up immediately. Its gnarled and knotty surface doesn't look like much, but when you cut off the ugly exterior, inside lies a crisp, parsnip-like root, with just a hint of celery's strong taste. I found this recipe in the New York Times Dining Section, and it is a perfect antidote to a chilly November evening. It's a little more interesting than plain old potato soup, and the curry adds warmth and flavor to the celery root's mellow creaminess. Creamy Curried Celery Root & Apple Soup (Adapted from the New York Times)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 1 small onion, chopped 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin Salt and black pepper 1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks 3 apples peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water 1/2 to 1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the celery root and apples, and coat with the spices, then add the water or stock and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until celery root is tender and soft, about 20 minutes.

Cool slightly and pour into a blender. Purée in batches. When it has all been puréed, return soup to the pan and mix in the cream or milk, and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Ladurée

I am a little embarrassed to say this. I'm not a very patient person, so I don't particularly like waiting in lines, whether it's at the bank or to get into a bar. However, I waited in line, in the cold, for 20 minutes to buy macarons. Yes, those little French cookies that seem to be made of air and butter and goodness.I first heard about Ladurée when I was visiting friends in Paris during my semester abroad during college. We couldn't afford many dinners out, but all of us could afford a cappuccino and an exquisite little cake at Ladurée, one of the oldest pâtisseries in Paris and the inventor of the macaron as we know it. They now have several locations, but the one we went to felt like stepping back into a 19th century salon. You almost expected women in bustled gowns and men with top hats to step through the doors at any moment. I don't remember what I ordered, but I know it was some combination of hazelnut and chocolate deliciousness. We left feeling incredibly elegant and sophisticated, proud that even we, on college student's budgets, could afford some of the luxuries of Paris. Imagine my excitement when I heard that Ladurée was opening its first American outpost right here in New York over the summer. Being that the Upper East Side is a very long ways from Brooklyn, and the lines were around the block, I stayed away for months. However, on Friday I gave into my longings and ventured up to Madison Avenue and waited in line. It was cold, but everyone who was waiting was so excited just to get inside the pastel-colored shop. The macarons were artfully arranged by flavor, and you have the option to buy exquisite boxes by the dozen. I decided on six flavors -- cinnamon-raisin, sea-salt caramel, vanilla, lemon, coconut, and raspberry. To be honest, I was still a little hesitant since the macarons are flown in from Paris every day, which seems slightly excessive. However, after the first bite of sea-salt and caramel, all of my doubts melted away. I have had macarons before, but this was entriely different. The cookie was soft but with a lovely crunch to the outside, and the filling was pure caramel -- spiked with a hint of salt to keep it from being overly sweet. The following flavors were just as wonderful. It's not something I could spring for every day, but it's nice to know that there is a little slice of Paris in New York.

New day, new blog

Hello all! in light of some recent changes in my life (new-ish job, new apartment), I have decided to change things up a little and start my bog anew on the lovely wordpress site. I will continue to write about food, restaurants, and wine (and hopefully I will be a little more consistent about it this time). You can still check out my old posts at intrepidcook.blogspot.com, but from now on this is where I will be posting.

Looking forward to sharing my culinary adventures with you!