Lobio (a Georgian Bean Salad)

One of my favorite things about living in St. Petersburg was walking into the Haymarket, one of the large open-air markets in the city. The abundance and color, honey vendors from Altai bragging loudly, tempting you with sample spoons, piles of melons trucked up from Azerbaijan, dried fruit from Uzbekistan, pickled everything—mushrooms, cabbage, garlic, cucumbers. Best were the tables and overfilled buckets of spices and teas from everywhere. Golden heaps of marigold from Georgia, in petals and powder, tart European barberry, crushed or whole, and blue fenugreek. You are encouraged to taste everything. Much as the Dutch have rice tables,

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The Basque Beignet

Sonhos, beignets, pet de nonne — whatever you want to call them, well-made they are ethereally light, and addictive to eat. The batter is a pȃte à choux — a versatile egg and flour preparation that takes very little effort and can also be baked into an éclair, a cream puff or a savory gougère.  My first experience making choux was from a ragged copy of Larousse Gatronomique in a tiny shotgun kitchen in Hoboken in the early 1980s. At the time, Larousse was like an invitation into another world, that I had only glimpsed as a child in New York

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The True Ease of Making Soufflé

When you get down to basics, soufflés really are a very straight-forward preparation. A simple béchamel, the addition of savory or sweet ingredients to the base and stiffly-beaten egg whites — and Jacques Pepin subverts even that notion with his Maman’s  Soufflé , which simply beats whole eggs into the mix. The recipes and techniques are endless and a bit overwhelming when trying to choose, and that, ultimately, is a great thing.  Back in 2000, New York Times Food editor, Amanda Hesser, wrote a wonderfully comprehensive article, The Modern Soufflé: Bastion of Strength. She goes into terrific detail demystifying the

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A Roll, a Roll, a Sausage Roll!

Set in 1750, in the fictitious German Grand Duchy of Pfennig-Halbpfennig, Gilbert and Sullivan’s conspirators in the comic opera The Grand Duke, ate sausage rolls as a secret sign of their collusion against the parsimonious Duke Rudolph.   You must eat a sausage-roll, a sausage roll, A roll, a roll, a roll, a roll, a roll, a sausage roll!A roll, a roll, a sausage roll! A sausage roll! And you must! For that extra sheet of puff pastry, on a busy weekday, Gilbert and Sullivan conspirator or not, these are perfect. A 30 minute stove top sauté — a mirepoix of

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The Rustic Apple Tart

There is little easier, more sophisticated or a delicious than this basic apple tart. And with apple season at hand, here’s a sweet that is nearly foolproof and can be made in 20 minutes, from rolling out thawed frozen dough, slicing apples, sprinkling sugar and dotting butter–it’s in the oven, done. At Scott’s Yankee on the Post Road in East Lyme, I picked up a half peck of Honey Crisp apples, a can’t-miss variety that’s in season in September, but most any other pie apple will do. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be adapted to

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Candied Violets from the Lawn

It’s Spring, it’s Jackie, it’s Venus in a rage, it’s Carême and croquembouche,Crème Violette. Flower-filled cravats of dissolute color, Huysman and Proust in Parma, in lust.It’s Napoleon and Josephine, violets in your hair, violets, violets everywhere. Grab your snips and head out to the lawn — Viola Sororia with freckles or without — as many as you like or have the ambition to dandify. They take far less time than you might imagine. Hang yourself a horizontal wire, and have on hand one beaten egg white, superfine sugar — you can blitz your caster in a cuisinart if you haven’t

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