The Secret Ingredient (Mango Chutney) Part III: “Tandoori” Mango Salmon

RECIPE: "Tandoori" Mango Salmon
"Tandoori" Mango Salmon

"Tandoori" Mango Salmon

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What I love about mango chutney, which is made from raw, green mangoes, is its balance of sweet and sour.  It tastes distinctly of both sugar and of vinegar.  I love the way the sweet caramelizes when cooked, and the way the sour cuts through fattiness.  Which makes it the perfect compliment to a simple broiled salmon–caramelized around the edges, with just that point of acidity to balance the salmon’s strong, oily flavor. Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient

Franglais: Carrot and Celeriac Slaw

RECIPE: Carrot and Celeriac Slaw
Carrot and Celeriac Slaw

Carrot and Celeriac Slaw

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

This recipe is a hardcover.  Which sounds a little bit strange without explanation.

A few months ago, I bought a Kindle.  And I buy Kindle books avidly.  But only the ones I want to read once.  The ones I don’t want to see cluttering the sagging shelves in my little apartment.  The ones that are all plot, all blood, all sex, all intrigue—and once the end is neatly tied in a bow, I will sigh, and maybe think a little while longer about it, and then never read it again.

But I still buy hardcovers: books by authors I love, new printings of books I cannot live without.  They are why my shelves are sagging.  Because every reading brings some new pleasure, like meeting an old friend after a time apart, and finding out another totally fantastic thing about them.

Carrot and celeriac slaw is a hardcover.  It’s a cross between the very traditional French céleri rémoulade, and an American cole slaw.  Céleri rémoulade is shredded celery root, or celeriac, tossed in a  mayonnaise-based sauce, usually flavored with a little bit of mustard and acid, like lemon juice or vinegar.  Similar to our American cole slaw, but without the sweetness of carrots or sugar or other sweet things that often find their ways in.  Plus, no need for the traditional celery salt—celeriac has that perfect faint, earthy, celery flavor, and crispy white flesh that doesn’t wilt like cabbage.  I whisk together a simple dressing of good French mayonnaise, spicy Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar.  I toss in the shredded carrot, for that touch of American sweetness, and celery root, for that phenomenal why-don’t-we-eat-more-of-this-in-the-States flavor, and let it wilt, until the vegetables bends a touch, but are still crunchy as a chip.

I’ve been writing these posts from France the last couple of weeks, and I have made this slaw every other day, using the gorgeous pre-shredded carrots and celery root from Carrefour (I’m telling you—they’re really good!), good French mayonnaise, and a Dijon mustard slightly spicier than our usual.  I eat it with lunch and dinner, and leftovers are even better the next day.  Every time I take it off my nearly-sagging refrigerator shelf, I look at it like an old friend, and discover I love it even more than I did yesterday.  Bon app.

Carrot and Celeriac Slaw
serves 4 to 6

Carrot and Celeriac SlawINGREDIENTS

  • 5 tablespoons good mayonnaise

  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 pound finely shredded carrot

  • 1/2 pound finely shredded celery root


In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Toss with the carrots and celery root, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.  Serve slightly cold.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Franglais, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Loving French Fast Food…and Toilets

Quick Boursin Balls

Cheesy, Herby, Garlicky Boursin Balls at Quick

There’s something to be said for a sit-down meal at a fancy French restaurant.  Now’s not the time to say it.  I’ve been on the road, and I’ve been eating street food.  And it’s the funnest thing about eating in France.

NICE Quick

The Quick at the Nice Airport

Quick Frites

The All-Important Point of Comparison: The Frites at Quick

Quick Frites No Salt

Quick frites are not salted after cooking--an interesting contrast

Quick Fish Sticks

Cheesy Poisson-Shaped Fondue-Stuffed Quick Fish Sticks

In the Nice airport, I went to my first Quick–the French answer to McDonald’s (although, don’t tell anyone I said it that way).  I’m obsessed with eating strange things off of foreign McDonald’s menus, and that’s always kept me busy enough to keep me away from Quick.  But, they are truly the French fast food joint.  We had such oddities as fish-shaped fish sticks filled with cheese fondue.  Actually seriously good.  And Boursin balls–the French answer to the mozzarella stick, made from little rounds of melty garlic and herb cheese, breaded, and fried, in a box.  Those went quickly.  They had beignets, but I didn’t get that far.  Some fries and a side salad topped with shredded beets (only in France), and I was up to my ears in French fast food.

TOULOUSE Hot Dog Cart 1TOULOUSE Hot Dog Cart 2Then, driving around Toulouse, we stopped at a gas station.  I laughed out loud.  Outside of the little mini mart, was a New York style hot dog cart, selling hot dogs in a bun with mustard or pickle relish for 3 whole Euros.  The dogs looked a little gray, but I had to smile at the American bun, the squeezy condiments, the hot dog hot tub, and of course, the signs that read: Manhattan’s Hot-Dog, Hot-Dog New Yorkais.  Being New Yorkaise myself, I ate it up.

Villeroy & Boch Toilet


And can I just make one note about bathrooms, which probably shouldn’t be on a food blog: is it only in France where highway rest stops has Villeroy & Boch toilets?!  Roll it up with the Mercedes taxi cabs.  The highways and byways are the real culinary adventure out here!

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Categories: Provence, Toulouse, Voyages

French in a Flash: Simple Carrot Salad with Mustard and Walnuts

Carrot Salad

Carrot Salad with Spicy Dijon Mustard and Walnuts

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A reader on my blog wrote that her favorite dish in Paris was a simple carrot salad.  And I knew just the kind she was talking about.  In France, they sell pre-shredded carrots in the grocery store, grated so fine it is a kind of carrot floss.  I often see it piled on one side of a salade composée, or served in a small dish.  And I thought, since I am writing this column from France at the moment, it was time to create my own.

A simple dressing of walnut oil, olive oil, hot Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar is light, nutty, and a touch spicy.  I toss the threads of carrot with the dressing and chopped walnuts (French walnuts are amazing), cover it, and let it wilt slightly in the fridge for at least two hours.  Overnight is best.  Then, I serve it, still crunchy, a touch sweet, but also savory, as a slaw with a sandwich, or along with a big salade verte.  Perfectly simple and healthy and delicious.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Soup, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian

French Finds: Special K, Feuilles de Chocolat Noir

RECIPE: My Must-Have Shopping Stops in France
Special K Feuilles de Chocolat Noir Flakes

A scientific close-up of the best cereal ever.

Eating out in France is definitely something to write home (or blog) about.  But I get even more excited when I’m here about buying “my products”.  That includes orange flower Le Petit Marseillais body wash, spray bottles of organic argon oil, extra fine BIC Cristal pens (really–I bought 30 this week), Monoprix reusable shopping bags (I bought hot pink this week!), Carrefour coolers, and LU Petit Ecolier cookies that I can buy anywhere but only buy when I’m in France, because that’s how I justify the calories.  I have to stop in Princesse tam.tam (best bathing suits ever–Emma Stone is wearing one in Vanity Fair), Petit Bateau (where I get half my striped tees), and Aigle (which I think is fair because they either don’t exist outside of France, or are much cheaper here–I’ve been to all three in Nice and in Aix and Toulouse).  But, I admit, my travel companions may be family, but my French shopping obsessions try their patience, which may be beginning to wear thin.

Special K Feuilles de Chocolat Noir Bag

It's in the bag.

Another thing I MUST GET (I got the extra large box!) is my favorite cereal OF ALL TIME: Special K Feuilles de Chocolat Noir.  Now don’t go rolling your eyes at me that Special K is Special K.  This is different!

Special K Feuille de Chocolat Noir Box

This is the box to find, and buy!

The flakes are different–really multigrain and hearty.  And then there’s the chocolate.  I started eating this cereal I think about 13 years ago, before chocolate became healthy in the States.  I thought it was so cool that you could buy a healthy chocolate cereal.  Feuille de chocolat means “leaves of chocolate,” and it’s like some took a vegetable peeler to a block of good dark chocolate and dropped millions of chocolate curls in among the flakes.  They melt on contact with your tongue.  They are just sweet enough.  I thought when our American Special K Chocolaty Delight came out, it might be a new name for the same thing.  Do NOT be fooled.  Different flakes.  Different chocolate.  On the whole, inferior.  Feuilles de chocolat is where it’s at, and it’s being 8:46 in the morning Toulouse time, I believe I will go pour myself a bowl.

You have to your hands on this stuff!

Note: I just suggested the cereal to Mr. English, and he said “Cereal?!  I can have cereal in London.”  That’s what he thinks.  Let him have his French bread.  Is the word “ignoramus” too harsh?  He approves ignoramus.  More for me!

My Must-Have Shopping Stops in France

Petit Bateau

for striped tees and nightgowns

Princesse tam.tam

for bathing suits and pajamas (the summer sales are killer here)


for fashionable rain boots and sportswear


for little household goods, reusable "green" bags in cute pouches, for great pears and eggplant caviar, for my organic argan oil spray bottles


Because it's the Target of French supermarkets.  I buy neon cooler bags, BIC pens, Petit Marseillais body wash, and, of course, my Dark Chocolate Special K.  And a million other things!

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Categories: Côte d'Azur, Finds, Paris, Provence, Voyages

Macarons Au Naturale in Aix

AIX Natural Macarons 2

Plain Giant Macarons in Aix

I swear to you, this is going to be the next big thing.  I’ve seen them in Paris in an outdoor market on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, and in Aix-en-Provence at the outdoor market, and in shops.  “Rustic” macarons.  Not dyed pretty pastel Marie Antoinette colors.  Not flavored with anything obscure.  Just simple, handmade, almondy macarons.  Most are flavored with nothing–just two shells pressed together, tasting slightly of marzipan, a bit chewier than the Ladurée counterpart.  I’ve seen simple, regional flavors like lavender or lemon.  But a few days ago, in Aix, I saw a patisserie taking the rustic macaron to new levels, stuffing the homespun shells with little creams and ganaches, in flavors like pistachio and rose.  My favorite was the chocolate-raspberry, the almond shells spiked with cocoa, stuffed with a very strong, fruity raspberry cream.  But my favorite is still “nature”–or plain.

AIX Natural Macarons 1

The macarons aren't handled with gloves--just kept in candy jars.

Crisp on the outside, and chewy, but substantial within, they taste like sweet almond in a farmhouse way.  I love that something so elevated is getting back to its roots.  I hope these will follow Ladurée over to the states.  As beautiful as the fancy macarons are in their Easter egg hues, so these are beautiful in their simplicity.  As fanciful as the macaron flavors can be, so these are lovely in their unassuming regional best.  They are sort of what we all aspire to with the French–effortless, artful, natural beauty and style.  Looking like there is no diet, no makeup, no effort.  When in reality, there is a master at work.

AIX Natural Macarons 3

On the same subject: Snapshots from the South of France: Rustic Macarons

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Categories: Provence, Restaurants, Voyages

Extra! Extra! Ladurée to open in New York!

Laduree Box CartoonAfter years of pining, and wishing, and hoping, it’s finally happening.  Vogue reports in its August 2011 issue (page 147) that Ladurée is opening in New York.  Ladurée is my favorite purveyor of Parisian macarons, and hot chocolate, and other gorgeous, pastel, delicately flavored pastries.  They make fantastic, crisp, sweet, giant palmiers.  And beautiful floral flavors, like the violet religieuse and orange flower macaron.  Vogue reports the new store will be opening this summer, at 864 Madison Avenue (between 70th and 71st).  The Ladurée website makes no mention of the upcoming opening, and from the Vogue article, it is unclear as to the range of pastries the NYC shop will be selling.  But macarons are definitely on the list, with the signature “cinnamon raisin” flavor created especially for New York.  We’ll see which others made the American list.  I can’t.  Hardly.  Wait.

Laduree Macarons

Pistachio, Lily of the Valley, and Granny Smith Apple Macarons at Ladurée in Paris this Spring

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Categories: Uncategorized