Cookbook Club

I joined an online cookbook club via food52.

Each month the communinty cooks from a certain cookbook.  July's book was My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz .  He's one of my favorite food bloggers and cookbook writers.  I think I discovered him years ago when he published an ice cream cookbook, The Perfect Scoop.  (Do yourself a favor and check it out while it's still summer.  I just made frozen strawberry yogurt and Vietnamese coffee ice cream last week.)

I have a autographed copy of My Paris Kitchen.  While living in San Francisco, I would visit Omnivore Books, a neighborhood bookstore dedicated to cookbooks.  Various chefs and food writers popped in on their book tours.  I headed over there when Lebovitz stopped by in 2014.

He used to live and work in nearby Oakland, then moved to Paris.  As a lover of food, SF and wine country, and Paris, you can understand why I follow this guy. 


I discovered the online cookbook club late in July, so I made three recipes last weekend.  I had everything I needed for a few vegetable side dishes:

A French lentil salad that has been a tasty lunch the last few days.


A simple, but delicious green bean dish (garlic-centric!).


Roasted root vegetables.  Still the best way to prepare and eat any vegetable, hands down.



I'd never made a pasta with brie so I decided to try this recipe from food52.  This dish has some of my favorite things:  summer tomatoes, fresh basil, lots of garlic and melty cheese.

The biggest challenge I had was making sure G didn't just eat the tomatoes while they sat on the table all day getting happy.



In the Fridge

In this week's version of In the Fridge, I have some brie sitting in there that needs attention.

What should I make with it?

First of all, when I google brie, Brie Larson pops up. Um, no, not that Brie.  (My apologies for still not seeing Room.)

My brie making options include:

Good ol' fashioned baked brie, topped with fruit, nuts, and/or honey.  Or brie wrapped in puff pastry or phyllo dough (in France, en croute). 

In scrambled eggs or an omelet.

Grilled because, summertime.

On a sandwich.

In pasta.


My pal, Oscar

Today marks the start of one of my favorite weekends of the year.  Oscar weekend.

Oscar and I go way back.

When I was a kid, I would anxiously await the hour-long special where Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert wore tuxes and stood behind podiums to announce their own Oscar picks.

In college, I would camp out in the TV room around 4PM and "save" the TV for Oscar night.

In my thirties, I started to watch the televised red carpet with my fashionable friend, Sarika.  We still do that to this day via texts, both admiring and snarky.

My loved ones have known for years that I am unavailable on Oscar Sunday.  Talk to me on Monday.

So this year I've done the requisite homework as I've done for most of my adult life.  Started collecting the results of the critics' awards in early December.  Watched the Golden Globe awards.  The SAG awards.  Tomorrow I'll watch the Independent Spirit Awards and then it's time for the Big Day.

I've seen five of this year's nine Best Picture nominees.  One of my favorite Oscar memories is when G and I attended an Oscar Showcase Day at AMC Theaters where we watched the best picture nominees from 2009:  Slumdog Millionaire; Frost/Nixon; The Reader; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Milk.  I was in heaven.  That was the last year the Academy chose only five nominees so we could watch all the films in one glorious day.

We live in Naples, FL now and the closest participating theater is an hour and half away.  I am bummed but I think G is secretly relieved.

G has picked up the bubbly.  I'm in charge of snacks.

I usually make some popcorn.  Obviously a great pairing for night about the movies, but also a favorite pairing of ours with sparkling wine.

I make a couple deviled eggs topped with bacon and chives for myself.  Not G's thing.

The current trend in the Nichols' kitchen is looking at what's in the pantry, fridge, and freezer and creating something on the fly.  I have some shrimp in the freezer and some dumpling wrappers so I think potstickers will make an appearance on our Oscar menu.

If I feel ambitious on Sunday, I'll throw together some stuffed mushrooms as well.  My mom had a fanastic recipe for stuffed mushrooms that she only made at Christmas or New Year's so I associate them with major festivities.  You know, like Oscar Night.

Here's a fun link for your own Oscar snacks: epicurious




Apple Speculoos Crumble

Dorie Greenspan is one of my favorite cookbook authors.  If you've read my blog in the past, you know that I've cooked from her Around My French Table quite a bit.  Last week, I found Tuesdays with Dorie, a site that continues to follow and sample Dorie's more recent cookbooks.  I jumped on that bandwagon immediately.

From Baking Chez Moi, I tried the recipe for Apple Speculoos Crumble.  Spec-u-what?  Speculoos are these little digestive cookies popular in Europe.  A quick search on Amazon and voila!  I had a 3-pack arrive at my doorstep.  G immediately tore into them.  Cinnamon and brown sugar?  Um, speculoos and G speak the same language.

Dorie perfectly describes the aroma and taste of these cookies as:  "...Christmas...-just-around-the-corner..."


Continue reading "Apple Speculoos Crumble" »