Jacques Torres is a true artist when it comes to his chocolate truffles. They are 'ta die fawh' as is his lightly spiced hot chocolate. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting his kitchen and store in Brooklyn, New York.
Another genius chocolatier, Joel Durand, has his culinary workshop in St. Remy de Provence. His work surpasses even the remarkable Torres. I had the good fortune of making regular visits to Durand's shop while living near by in Aix-en-Provence. Both can be located on the Culinary Compass Map.
This is a short video of Monsieur Torres taking you on a tour of his kitchen. A must watch for any of you who are chocolate lovers. Below the video are photos I took on my recent visit.
I had the pleasure of meeting this man, Yashka Ginzberg, while at Katz's Delicatessen in New York City. We talked about pastrami, Schwartz's Delicatessen, Montreal's best deli, and his Hungarian and Israeli roots. I'm sure you will also enjoy seeing him in action in the video.
Yashka says his favorite delicatessen when he is not at Katz's is hanging at his hometown delicatessen famous for its smoked meat, Schwartz's!
Marc's Simple Sour Pickles (Inspired by Sando Katz)
In summer cukes are most abundant but any time of year you can make sour pickles. Basically transforming a cuke into a pickle means fermentation. That means things do go wrong. Just try and see what happens. Then try again...and again! Also it is fun to experiment. Add some hot peppers or cauliflower. Maybe a little less salt.
- A large glass or ceramic bowl - A plate that you will put on top of the pickles and brine - A weight to hold the plate down so the pickles stay in the brine - A dish towel that you'll put over the bowl - A few pounds of unwaxed cucumbers - A half cup of sea salt & half-gallon water - A bunch or two of fresh dill or a couple Tbs. dried and/or 1 Tbs. seeds - In summer also add a few heads of flowering dill and a couple fresh grape leaves if you can - A half-dozen or so black peppercorns - A handful of peeled garlic cloves. You can put in a lot more than that if you like pikled garlic.
The steps are:
1. Make your brine by stirring your sea salt into the half gallon of water 2. Rinse the cukes and let them sit in water for an hour 3. Dump everything in the bowl 4. Pour in the brine and put the plate on top of the floating pickles 5. Put the weight on the plate to keep the pickles in the brine 6. Put the dish towel over the top of the bowl 7. Tuck the jar away in a cool spot 8. After a couple days you'll notice the water getting cloudy and maybe a little bubbling. Don't worry. Take off the towel, weight and plate. If there is any mold on top of the brine just skim it off and wash the plate. Taste one of your pickles and decide if you want them more sour. If so then just put the plate, weight and towel back on and check it again every day or two. Keep repeating this process till the pickles are sour enough. 9. When they are ready place the pickles in jar and store in your fridge.
Below are pictures to give you a sense of what things should look like.
My favorite February holiday isn't Valentines Day but the Fete du Citron in Menton, France. The annual 2 week long festival celebrates all things citrus. This press kit is filled with great information about the festival. Seriously, if you are a foodie you'll really enjoy browsing through it. And of course scroll down to see some of my pictures from the event. My favorite part of the press kit share the ledgend of how the lemon tree first took root in Menton.
"Expelled from the Garden of Eden along with Adam, Eve took with her a golden fruit. Adam, fearing divine wrath, begged her to throw the fruit away. She agreed, but on the condition that she leave it in the place of her choosing. They crossed mountains, valleys and plains, but nowhere pleased her. Suddenly, the Bay of Garavan, in Menton, appeared before them. The beauty of the bay, the mild climate and the luxuriant vegetation: everything reminded them of paradise. Eve buried the lemon in the ground, and this is where the town of Menton later sprang up…"
How cheezy is that! Here are some scenes from the...
OK, I'll admit it. Every so often I find myself on YouTube for more than an hour watching silly videos. Sometimes I even watch the same video over and over and over again. The one below is an example but I have an excuse. It covers two of my favorite topics. Dogs and bacon.
Once you're finished watching check out the news from a new spot, The Baconery. I haven't been there yet but it's on my hit list.
The Baconery - A little bit from the owner. "“My name is Wesley Klein and I’m a breakfast and dessert kind of guy.
One day I was at breakfast and I used my thick-cut bacon to sop up the
last remaining drops of maple syrup from my plate and it hit me like a
ton of bricks. I eat breakfast for the delicious salty goodness of the
bacon. I love dessert for the sugary experience of warm chocolate chip
cookies, brownies, syrup on french toast, and more. It only made sense
to marry the two together so the world could enjoy it’s long-awaited
911 Columbus Avenue, between 104th and 105th Streets, New York, NY
The Baconery's January Special. I expect more specials coming soon.
How lucky am I to share a kitchen with the wonderful, spicy, confident and talented 12 year old chef in the video below? It took just an hour to film and edit the video but the memory will in fact last a lifetime ... and the 2 minute lesson is really helpful.
Ohhhhhh yeah, she is also my daughter, rises and falls with me when the New York Rangers win or lose and takes no prisoners when she decides she wants something.