My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

4.5 7
by David Lebovitz

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A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and

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A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes. 
     In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest work, Lebovitz, a professional cook, baker (he spent 13 years as pastry chef at the famed Chez Panisse), author (he’s written both cookbooks and a memoir), and food blogger brings readers a delightful slice of France. Lebovitz showcases how Parisians cook and eat today—“there is a brigade of younger chefs in Paris quietly rebranding French cuisine and, paradoxically, updating it by taking it back to its humbler roots—to le cuisine du Marché (market cuisine). To start, there’s a lovely mix of traditional French dishes, such as eggplant caviar, onion tart, as well as spiced meatballs with Sriracha sauce, and Egyptian spiced nut mix. This kind of diversity continues throughout the following chapters. Appetizers include tabbouleh; duck terrine with figs; and a grated carrot salad. For “Plats,” or main dishes, the author gives us Chicken with Mustard; counterfeit duck confit (less fuss and no mess); caramel pork ribs; and a cassoulet. Desserts—a warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, and a bay leaf pound cake with orange glaze—will tempt even the most reluctant baker. A lovely volume, with the perfect combination of unexpected and expected dishes, French food personalized and demystified for the home cook in the best way. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“David Lebovitz is a rare specimen: both a terrific storyteller and a brilliant, uncompromising recipe writer. His lighthearted, almost satirical style is combined with far-reaching knowledge of food and its context. I’d follow him blindfolded on this journey to the City of Light.” 
-Yotam Ottolenghi, coauthor of Jerusalem
“David Lebovitz is a chef who can write better than most food writers, a writer who can hold his own in any restaurant kitchen in the world, and, most of all, a guy who simply rejoices in food and cooking. This may be his most personal cookbook, describing all facets of his cooking life in Paris, with great stories, information, and recipes. I need two copies of this book: one for the kitchen and another by my reading chair.” 
-Michael Ruhlman, author of Ruhlman’s Twenty
“Opening this beautiful book is like opening the door to David’s Paris. Of course, you get great recipes, but you also get to wander the world’s most delicious city with a friend who knows it well and is excited to share it with you. A treat for those of us who love French home cooking, Paris, and David’s take on it all.” 
-Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table
“David Lebovitz is the ultimate American in Paris and this book is the ultimate insight into his beautiful and delicious world. I am beyond jealous!” 
-Suzanne Goin, author of The A.O.C. Cookbook

 In My Paris Kitchen, Lebovitz weaves together inviting and insightful tales about his adopted city with a collection of smart, fun recipes. Some of these are total French classics—think oeufs mayo and green lentil salad—while others give a nod to the ethnic diversity in the city. In a nod to his pastry background, Lebovitz includes a substantial dessert section, but it's clear from the breadth of the book that his Paris kitchen is filled with so much more than sweets. Here is a cookbook to take to a comfy chair and read cover to cover.
-Serious Eats

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Read an Excerpt

Black Olive Tapenade
Tapenade Noire

Serves 6 to 8

This was the first tapenade I ever made, and it is still my go-to recipe. The best olives to use are the slightly wrinkled black olives from Nyons; or, if you have the patience for pitting teensy Niçoise olives, they’re marvelously oily and are the base for a wonderful bowl of tapenade. Other olives work well, too, but if they’re very salty, rinse them in cold water and pat them dry before using them.

One way to pit olives is to squish them under your thumb or use the side of a broad knife blade, with the blade held parallel to the table (i.e., not facing up), and rap it down briskly to release the pit from the olive meat. Be sure to wear a dark shirt or kitchen apron since the pits like to celebrate their liberté in a very “far-reaching” way.
Tapenade can be spread on Herbed goat cheese toasts. Pastis is the classic accompaniment, although I never developed a taste for the anise-scented elixir that mysteriously turns cloudy when water is added to dilute its high-test taste and strength. I opt for chilled rosé.
1-1/2 cups (210g) black olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed  lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt (optional)
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the olives, garlic, capers, thyme, anchovies, lemon juice, and mustard a few times to start breaking them down.

2. Add the olive oil and run the food processor until the mixture forms a slightly chunky paste. The tapenade shouldn’t need any salt, but taste and add a sprinkle if necessary. The tapenade will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

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My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Emsy-VanWyck More than 1 year ago
Transports you to France without the plane ride! My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz arrived on my doorstep yesterday and transported me, virtually, to Paris. As much as I was looking forward to discovering the recipes, Lebovitz's stories about Paris, the markets, the fast food craze, the olive vendor, the search for the perfect kitchen sink mesmerized me. I couldn't stop reading, and, funnily enough, began translating what I read into French. Well, it's been a while since I dreamed in French, but hadn't backward translated a book in a much longer time. But the sense that Lebovitz provides of actually experiencing Paris and France through is truly remarkable. The photographs by Ed Anderson are gorgeous and seamlessly flow throughout the book. If you want every dish photographed, this isn't the book for you. These aren't recipes to slavishly follow, but should be created, as Lebovitz notes in his forward, "au pif" or "by the nose." With that explanation, Lebovitz gained a fan for life, as that's how I remember learning to cook in France. Watching, chopping, stirring, tasting, throwing in dashes of this or that, but it was the entire process that was important, and was never broken down detail by detail as we tend to do. Oh, I'm in my own Normandy dream world right now recollecting the baguettes, brioche, and croissants delivered every morning; galvanized tin pails of milk and eggs gathered from the farm next door; cheeses, fish, and vegetables purchased at the market in Dieppe; herbs harvested from the circle garden for ratatouille, mayonnaise; searching out the wicker covered cheese platter from the root cellar (only certain cheeses were refrigerated); the wonder of deboning my first Dover sole, freshly caught that morning; fishing for crevettes to boil for the afternoon meal; conversation, laughter, and joy at the family table. Yes, reading David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen sent me back a bit in time to a wonderful place! If you've never been to Paris or France, but desire to journey there some time, read this book. Even if you're not interested in cooking, this is a remarkable collection of essays about French culture as it is experienced by a very astute observer. Love to cook? Well, you will be in seventh heaven with the variety and scope of recipes that Lebovitz shares from his kitchen. As a strong proponent of the farm-to-table movement, it's not surprising that seasonal produce is celebrated. The apricot crumble tart is calling to me, but I may just need to substitute fresh peaches (as this year, our Hudson Valley apricot crop is not as plentiful due to the harsh winter). But that's okay as I'm still working "au pif." Since it's a rainy, cool, August day, the French onion soup is quite hard to resist. In fact, the photo and recipe are calling to me. Loudly. This is probably the best recipe I've seen to recreate the true French soup that I learned to make by observation only years ago. Lebovitz's recipe for Cassoulet almost makes me want to try creating it again this winter. I might. But I don't think I'll ever match the taste of the cassoulet my French "mother" would purchase from one Parisian purveyor. The "only" one to buy from, as she would say. It was truly a luxury, as much as the foie gros that we had had the evening before. It's funny to think that Parisians needed an American to introduce them to a leafy green, but, yes, David Lebovitz confirms it took Kristen Beddard and her Kale Project to make this trendy green popular in the French markets. I would have sworn that was one of those greens I learned to like during my pre-Kale Project stay in France (sautéed in butter with a dash of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper). I know Swiss Chard (la blette) was a green I avoided before living in France and am surprised that Lebovitz doesn't feature a recipe or two with it. I hadn't realized what it was when I was served it during a summer midday meal, but found myself asking each day if I could watch the cook prepare this delicious green dish. When she finally agreed and I saw, in fact, that this was the almost-despised chard, I started to giggle. But it was that moment that made me appreciate how small things (sautéing the chopped stem in butter then cooking that with the chopped leafy bit in stock) made something rather boring into something wonderful. Ah, the French way of cooking is really magical simplicity. Ah, yes, butter. I adore David Lebovitz's explanation of the debate between using salted or unsalted butter. Read it and understand the nuances of taste and, dream a bit, of the wonderful French farm butters. That's one thing that we still don't find here, though we are catching up, finally, with Farmers' Markets, locally sourced meats and poultry, as well as a much deeper appreciation of how supporting the farm-to-table movement not only benefits farmers and consumers, but the earth itself. Ironically, the saddest part of the book was reading that the French are moving away from their farm-to-table markets toward the Supermarche and fast food experience. Yes, we now have our slow cooking movement and the French are searching out fast food. Talk about irony. I can't imagine living in Paris and not shopping in the outdoor markets that feature countryside farmers, purchasing bread at the bakery, going to the favorite butcher for the perfect roast. I think I shopped at a supermarket once while I lived in Paris and never in the countryside. Everything was always purchased form the small purveyors. But it seems that trend has changed over the past ten to fifteen years. I may just keep my memories wrapped up safely and hope when I return that the purveyors, or their children, are still there. Some other recipes that I can't wait to try are the Hummus and tapenade, the ham, blue cheese, and pear quiche (this is a flavor profile I want to test out now, not wait for pears to ripen in a few weeks), the fried ham and cheese sandwich (the ubiquitous croque-monsieur that is my personal favorite), a butternut squash crumble in the fall and winter months. Oh so many wonderful recipes to read over, plan to create, and dream about. Sheer heaven. Lebovitz also dispenses advice that everyone should follow. His essay, "Honesty, My Best Policy," about his initial interview with Alice Waters is a life lesson for all of us. What have I taken away from reading My Paris Kitchen? Recipes I'll treasure. Stories that will let me dream. And a bookish friendship with and admiration for a very talented and astute observer of people and culture. Yes, my dream dinner party is growing and I'd love to sit down with David Lebovitz and his partner someday and just discuss - anything! Now, what books might I pair with this cookbook. Quite simply any of Laura Florand's Amour et Chocolat titles and Cara Black's Aimée Leduc mysteries. In conclusion, I highly, highly recommend My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz. This is a book that will be long-treasured, not only for the recipes but for the wonderful stories and sense of place that Lebovitz evokes, effortlessly. (I received this book from Blogging for Books and NetGalley for this review.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book based on the reviews and I was not disappointed. I tend to cook more Italian then French. However, after getting this book I think I will do some French cooking. The recipes are not complicated and ingredients are also not difficult to find. If you like cookbook reading, definitely get this book.
paso57 More than 1 year ago
David's latest book is outstanding! With the same delightful humor found in his blog, he provides not only great recipes but the geographic and social context that makes them far more than well designed and tested instructions.
tiffanya94 More than 1 year ago
All I think I need to say about this book is, take me to Paris. I absolutely loved every single inch of this book. It is probably the best book I have ever reviewed. I just can’t say enough good words about this book. My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz is rather unique. David used to live here in the United States but moved to Paris, France. He has lived there about 10 years and he brings you French recipes as well as stories and pictures. Now, I know the French have a reputation as being gourmet but that’s not the case in this cookbook. All recipes call for ingredients that the average person would have in their pantry. Most of all the recipes are French which I love because it’s unique and not just like any other cookbook. The recipes titles are wrote in English but he also gives it to you in French. Every recipe is accompanied with a story about Paris and how people there do things differently than in the United States. For example, Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich recipe has a story about how French people eat sandwiches, they eat it with forks not with their hands like we do. I find all the Paris facts to be super interesting. I absolutely love the pictures featured in this book. They are so beautiful and truly showcase Paris. Just about every recipe has a picture of the food being talked about. As you can see on the picture of the cover, the food looks amazing. I can only imagine how wonderful his food taste. This book boasts 345 pages with 100 recipes. As you know by now I love my hardcovers and this book is! The cover feels so silky; I could just touch it all day long. This cookbook is just so elegant and super professional quality. I am beyond happy that I got my hands on this book. I would give this book 100 stars! Anyone from a home cook to a chef would find something to appreciate in this cookbook. If you especially love Paris and cooking, you will fall in love with this book like I did. It’s amazing! I received this book for free from Blogging For Books Program in exchange for my honest review.
JudithCEvans More than 1 year ago
If you love to read about food and international cultures, you'll want to have My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz on your bookshelf. The photographs and entertaining stories alone make the book worth the read. Whether he is recalling his job interview with Alice Waters or listing tools and ingredients for a Paris Kitchen, Lebovitz offers an engaging  and useful book. The recipes themselves, such as "Scalloped Potatoes with Bleu Cheese and Roasted Garlic" and "Chocolate-Dulce De Leche Tart" are downright mouthwatering. Dishes range from first to main courses as well as sides and desserts. As I leaf through the book, I edit my shopping list to include the ingredients to a few of these dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning about food and culture. When you're not using the recipes, you'll enjoy reading the stories and wisdom from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. I received my copy of this book free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions in this review are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice cookbook. I liked the Dorie Greenspan book better which I read when we came back from france. I bought this as the third book in my french book series (the first was What is that on the Menu? A Simple Guide to French Food Words which was invaluable in those french bistros) and the Dorie Greenspan book was second and this was third. It is not my favorite, but there are some nice recipes in there. I like the way Dorie Greenspan writes, but this one is good too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book and the pictures are exceptional.