Archive for French cuisine

What to do with all those bits of leftover cheese? Why, make Fromage Fort, of course!

Tidbits from the cheese drawer

Tidbits from the cheese drawer

I confess to being a bit of a hoarder. I have a large book collection that seems to grow larger all the time, even though I do have a Kindle e-reader. I have pots and pans galore because – pots and pans!

And I am a compulsive and inveterate collector of cheeses.

It’s nearly impossible for me to walk by a well-stocked cheese shop – or the well stocked cheese section of my favorite supermarkets – without buying something. Really – I mean, c’mon!! They’re just waiting for me, glistening and shimmering on the shelves.

And I know I want them.

If you’re French, you may well buy a nice fresh baguette each day, or perhaps every other day. You eat the baguette and all is well. Me, I buy a nice fresh baguette every few days and then eat some of it. Not all, but some.

This leaves a perfectly good baguette in the bread drawer, where it rapidly turns into a baguette-shaped brick.

Lately, I’ve been telling my wife – “Bread crumbs!! There is nothing like fresh ground bread crumbs.” Wordlessly, she points to the multiple containers of breadcrumbs already in the pantry. OK, so I do get a little bit carried away – but I’m in rescue mode!

You can imagine how cool it was to find that – like the bread crumb stratagem – there is a rescue – a delicious rescue – for the many bits and pieces of leftover cheese that are too nice to throw away.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Where Would We Be Without Our Friends? Pissaladiere Nicoise

Pissaladiere with rough cross-hatching of anchovies, Nicoise olives

Pissaladiere with rough cross-hatching of anchovies, Nicoise olives

Pissaladiere is a French pizza. Its crust is most similar to Neapolitan pizza crust – but it’s thin and more cracker-like rather than thin and chewy. It uses no red sauce – just caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies. Quite a few anchovies.

I’d always thought it was a little bit of a pain to make and so, in my carefree way, I Never. Made. It.

And yes, this was a huge mistake, OK? But with a little help, I was able to overcome my lazybones attitude. Call it Pissaladiere therapy.

Sometimes the best kind of therapy is just hearing a friend say “I did this – why don’t you try it?”

One day my friend Susie stopped by with – count ’em – not one but two Pissaladiere. They were steaming hot and so painfully delicious that we had a hard time thanking her around mouthfuls of crisp crust, gloriously sweet caramelized onions, tangy Nicoise olives, and anchovies, lots of anchovies!

“I was just making Pissaladiere and I thought you and Bonney would like some so I made a couple of extra pies.”

I wish all my friends were like that, don’t you!!?

“Susie, you shouldn’t have – thank you, they’re {Chew, Snorf, Swallow} amazing {Take second piece, inhale it}!! What a lot of work, though – wow!”

“Oh, they’re really not hard to make. It was just as easy to make enough for a couple more while I was making what I needed.”

Knowing Susie, she may well have knitted 3 scarves, a sweater and a doggie jacket while preparing the Pissaladiere, she is – amazing – that way, but I digress! The point is, she did it. Therefore, I could do it. And – by a leap of logic – you can do it!

Encouraged by Susie’s wild bound into mass production of Pissaladiere, I began making my own. I liked the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I liked Ina Garten’s recipes. I ended up with something that took a bit from both these remarkable sources, to whom I bow down in the evening before retiring. And – you know, it turned out to really be not too tough to make. Read on – in a little while, you will own this dish! Read the rest of this entry »

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