Monday, January 29, 2007

A Blog Come True

As someone new to blogging I am envious of those who have an archive filled with posts, comments, links and cross-references. 101 Cookbooks, She Who Eats, Grub Street, Diner's Journal... they're all on my weekly reading list. The first food blog I really enjoyed and began regularly reading is Chocolate & Zucchini. C&Z is written by an adorable 27-year-old French woman, Clotilde Dusoulier, who lives in Montmartre, Paris. I'm sure her location in my favorite city has something to do with why I love the blog so much. But Clotilde, who wasn't trained as a chef, is also an ideal host: a curious home cook, self-deprecating, unpretentious, and with a delicious sense of humor. I follow her as she writes about her culinary triumphs and failures, and the many meals that fall in between, as well as meals in restaurants in Paris and elsewhere.

As an avid reader of C&Z I was delighted to learn in late 2005 that she had landed a book deal with Broadway Books. So imagine my excitement when I spotted the advance galley for her book on one of the overflowing book carts in my office. There she was, Mlle. C&Z, grinning with a little basket of magnificent Parisian strawberries in her hand! I immediately requested to interview Clotilde and within a half-hour I had an interview set up. Lucky me, she's going to be in New York in mid-February, and we're set to chat over coffee. Maybe my day job isn't so bad eh?

The book will be published in May. Meanwhile, in preparation for the interview, I've set out to test recipes from the book. So far I've tried two: Navettes a la Fleur d'Oranger (Orange Flower Shuttle Cookies) and Caviar d'Aubergine (Eggplant Caviar). A cookie and a savory spread, both quintessentially C&Z in their simplicity and Frenchness. The cookies reminded me of Italian biscotti (the kind my family makes, not the chocolate-dipped, very hard kind Starbucks sells). Orange-scented and not too sweet, they were ideal with tea or coffee. They went over well at a family dinner, where my grandfather in particular enjoyed them.

The spread, on the other hand, was totally different from anything I'd had before. Made of the roasted eggplant flesh (the purple skin discarded), garlic, olive oil, balsamic, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, toasted cumin seeds, salt, pepper and chili powder, it made a fine appetizer (or mid-day snack, as I consumed it), with crackers or pitas.

More to come, as I prepare for my Feb. 13 rendezvous with Clotilde.--S

UPDATE: (3/19/07)
Read the interview with Clotilde here!

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