"Pantry" is for ingredients, tricks, tools and all things cool.

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Soupe de Potimarron au beurre noisette (pumpkin soup with sage brown butter)


*This is an old post from the Chez Pim archives.  I’m a little bit overwhelmed at the moment, so hopefully this season-appropriate post from last year can keep you occupied for a bit until I’m back here chez moi.*

This is a pumpkin with many names.  It’s called Potimarron in French, or Hokkaido Squash in English, or Kuri Pumpkin (from Uchiki Kuri in Japanese), I’ve also heard it referred to as Chestnut Pumpkin, or even Red-skin Kabocha.  I first encountered it in France, where the name Potimarron combined the two words Potiron, for pumpkin, and Marron, for chestnut, which are the two characteristic flavors of this particular pumpkin.  Or is it a squash?  I never can tell the difference.  Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

Potimarron –which, yes, by any other name would be as delicious- makes a perfect bowl of soup.  The cooked flesh is sweet but much less so than its cousin Kabocha, making it perfect for a savory soup, and the chestnut flavor adds an unexpected complexity to the simple soup.  It’s also so very easy to make, using just a few ingredients, and doesn’t require any tool more sophisticated than a hand blender or a normal blender to make a perfectly smooth soup. 

You could also puree it with a tiny amount of cream, like we did when in Mougins last year.  The puree was perfectly silky without needing a few passes through the Chinois.  We paired the gorgeous orange purée with just as gorgeous seared foie gras.

This time, I made the simple soup to warm a cool day and garnished with a handful of croutons and a few drops of sage brown butter.  How simple, and how delicious.

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What plant is this?

What is this?

Do you know what this is? I’ll give you a clue, it’s edible, delicious even.

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A wife-saving kitchen, anyone?


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Auto Vacuum Freezer Ice Cream, anyone?


I’ve stumbled on an old copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book from 1923, by none other than Fannie Merritt Farmer of that revered classic. Besides the interesting content, which I’ll be writing about later I’m sure, the book is a treasure trove of old food ads. I’m going to be posting a few of them in the coming days. (I’ve got a bit of a computer issue at the moment so no long posts from me for a few more days.)

This one, for example, is an ad for a contraption to make ice cream. I wonder what it’s all about. Something perhaps related to using liquid nitrogen which, strangely enough, is hardly new at all.

I’ve tried to find more information about this particular contraption on the web, but so far my search has turned up nothing. Has anyone heard of this company? Do you know what this Vacuum Freezer thing is exactly?

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On Horse Fat, Fries, and Harold McGee


Last week I wrote a little post about one of our cooking adventures while in the South of France last year, where we cooked our first batch of fries in horse fat, which our friend Mikael sourced from one of the horse butchers in Nice. Jeffrey Steingarten who is one of my favorite food writers –I have a soft spot for grumpy old men, especially the pedantic ones- also wrote about horse fat fries in one of his columns in Vogue magazine a while back.

Quite a few of you left comments and emails, asking what about the horse fat that makes it such a great medium for fried potatoes. Alas I had no idea. I could only tell you what I tasted. Frankly, I was quite curious about it myself.

And so I thought who’d be better to ask than Harold McGee? So I did. I fired off and email to Harold, who promptly wrote back:

Can you describe how the fries were different, or especially good? Horse fat is actually sort of intermediate between solid animal fats and liquid vegetable oils. It’s harder (more saturated) than the latter, but softer than tallow or lard, not too different from chicken or duck or goose fat. So I wonder whether it was maybe a difference in the flavor more than the texture? Because I don’t see how the consistency of the fat itself would make a distinctive difference in the texture of the fries. Tell me what you remember about them, and I’ll see how good of a rationalization I can come up with!

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