"Cook" is for all things savory.

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La Mamma And Her Braised Rabbit

That’s Mamma herself, giving me the very simple recipe for her famous Coniglio al Rossesse e Olive. How I got this footage was not so simple.

When everyone from Michelin starred chefs, world famous food writers, to even your lowly line cook friends on the Côtes d’Azur all tell you to go eat at the same place. You go, of course. One little problem: no one seems to know name of the place! Everyone refers to this little restaurant – in this tiny speck of a town, way away from the glitzy coast – Chez Mamma. Why? Because, as you see from the video, it’s the charming Mamma who is the force behind it.

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Pickled Chanterelles

Here’s a very simple recipe to use the glut of chanterelle mushrooms we picked the other day.  Since our chanterelle season is going on for a while yet, I have a feeling I’m going to be making this recipe quite a few times this year.  Happily, it’s really easy, and the resulting pickled chanterelles are really fantastic, tangy, earthy, spicy, and with just little sweetness from the raisins.  They are so versatile – you can eat them outright, toss in pasta, throw into omelettes, pile on top of steamed rice, use as condiment for a steak, all kinds of roasts or even a burger. The pickling liquid is sort of like a vinaigrette, so you could even toss a few spoonfuls with salad greens, perhaps add a bit more olive oil to freshen it up a bit.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from.  It’s one of those recipes that got pass along from one cook’s Moleskine notebook to the next, until the origin became a bit blurry.  I’ve heard it was from one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten books – but I don’t know for sure.  Well, if it indeed was, then consider this a credit and thanks to him.  Here’s the recipe, as adapted by me.

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Foraging for chanterelles on the California Central Coast

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This post is about foraging for chanterelle mushrooms, but frankly the word forage makes it sound way too hard.  We’re having such a great mushroom season around here, so wet and cold, that you could just go out to a good spot and call out “here…mushroom, mushroom” and the chanterelles practically leap into your open arms.  That’s how easy it was.  Not to mention plentiful – nearly 40lbs worth on one foraging trip alone.

Wait, what’s that I’m hearing?  Is that you, mumbling something under your breath about mushroom toxin and people dying each year from eating mushrooms they foraged?  It is scary, I know.  Really, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger coward than me when it came to that.  So, what was I doing foraging for mushrooms death-in-a-bite, you asked?  Well, that’s because there is help yet, even for the wimpiest of us.  I went hunting for chanterelles, you see?

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Roast Chicken, Christian Delouvrier’s way

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Recipes come to us in odd little ways.  I remember learning how to make truffle omelettes from a gigling, nearly toothless old lady in Southwest France.  Of course I took her seriously, she happened to be Marthe Delon, the famous truffle huntress who has been training a truffle-hunting pig a year for over 50 years.  She calls them all Kiki – couldn’t be bothered to remember a new name each year, she said.

This roast chicken recipe came to me from not so exotic a location but no less interesting a source.  The scene was the dining room at Manresa, the participants were Laurent Manrique, our dear friend and the famous chef of what I like to call the-dearly-departed-Aqua, his much-fairer-and-better-half Michelle, and yours truly.  We had just been served a deceptively simple truffle omelette.  Yes they certainly do omelettes at Manresa, hardly a greasy-countertop-diner-variety made from Nearly Eggless GooTM, but one comprised of Porcini puree, freshest farm eggs, and housemade salted butter, oh, yes, and a generous showering of white truffle at the table.  It’s the kind of dish that made us stopped in our tracks.  “Elle m’a mise sur le cul”, Laurent said of the dish, a French expression meaning something to the tune of being so gouud it knock’ ya on yur ass, hon. That got us talking about deceptively simple dishes that shocked us with their greatness.  That’s when Laurent brought up this roast chicken recipe he learned from Christian Delouvrier.

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The one about salade aux fines herbes and the veggie thief

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This was supposed to be a simple post about how to make salade aux fines herbes, the basic French salad with mixed herb dressing. 

It really is simple, just a basic vinaigrette with a mix of chopped parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon – about equal amount except for a tiny bit less of the pungent tarragon.  

So I was just setting up a shot of the salad greens and herbs I just picked from the garden.

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Then Miss Ella got a little interested and came to investigate.

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