If the coming of September has made you start daydreaming about your next fabulous trip (I’m talking to you, Julia S.), here’s a little app to help feed your fantasies: the Paris Pastry Guide. Available on the iPhone App Store, it’s only $.99 (there’s even a limited free version). The descriptions will make you drool.
I’m not much of a pastry lover, but it includes chocolates and ice cream, so I’m there. You can search by category, top 25, or arrondissement. While I have no plans to go to Paris anytime soon, it’s a lovely way to pass the time.
The app was produced by David Lebovitz, a pastry chef, cookbook author and blogger who worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley for 12 years before bagging it and moving to Paris, where he seems to live the most charming life imaginable. His writing is very enjoyable, and his photography is also quite good (think David Sedaris without the snark). I’m becoming obsessed with his blog and want to try cooking all the pescovegetarian options.
During our recent trip to Barcelona, I was surprised to find that not all of the produce, including the tomatoes, was necessarily the best quality, most local available. I figured that an area that was famed for its fabulous food had to be obsessed with the best ingredients. Lebovitz has observed this phenomenon in France, even observing that on a recent road trip, the best option after searching nearly half an hour off the highway was, believe it or not, a McDonald’s. Apparently, eating great local food is challenging wherever you go.
His monthly newsletter just arrived in my inbox and included a link to his recipe for chermoula, which Wikipedia describes as a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking, often to flavor fish or seafood, but also used with meats or vegetables. I’ve never tried making this spicy North African herb sauce, but I’m interested in learning how to make interesting sauces that contain a lot of butter (this one does use a fair amount of olive oil), so I’m eager to give it a try.
That led to his recipe for preserved lemons , which, apparently, some people put in chermoula, but Lebovitz does not. Preserved lemons appear in a ton of recipes I look at and I’ve never figured out where to buy them, so I’m definitely going to try this, despite the incredibly high price of lemons these days.
So if you can’t make it to Paris, you may want to check out David Lebovitz’s app and blog. It may get you through some very uncharming days ahead.