Have you been to Maison Kayser in Manhattan? Financiers and pastries for Eid

pistachio, chocolate and almond financiers

pistachio, chocolate and almond financiers

Food & Wine called the financier “God’s Perfect Cookie” (moist, small, fragrant and hopelessly addictive).

the pistachio financier

At Maison Kayser in New York, the financiers  on the upper east side are just as perfect as they are in their original Parisian bakery!  I first read about the perfect pistachio financier from David Lebovitz. He explains, “If you’ve never had financiers before, prepare yourself for a treat. But even if you’ve had them, you’ve likely never had financiers from Kayser bakery. Each little moist button is the perfect taste of ground almonds and French butter.” They could be mistaken for madeleines, but are denser, moister and just much more delicious!

Run, don’t walk, past the Laduree  to Maison Kayser.  Laduree might be a more beautiful shop, but the eclairs, financiers and bread at Kayser should not be missed!

Eric Kayser in Paris

Eric Kayser in Paris

Maison Kayser had a strict no photography policy  so I didn’t take photos on this trip to NYC, but posted a few that I took on my first trip to Paris.  If you can’t make it to the upper east side, anytime soon, Saveur published the pistachio financier recipe last year which emphasized how the egg whites and almond flour contribute to why, “despite its unassuming look, the financier is a small vessel of joy”.   I’m also on the hunt for the recipe for a chocolate financier which is also dark, decadent, and moist.

Only second to the Maison Kayser financiers are the ones at  Colson in Brooklyn.

I sent some to my niece this summer who   preferred them to Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate wafers!  So someone special is getting a delivery of Eric Kayser financiers for Eid.  Eid Mubarak!

More financiers please at Eric Kayser in Paris.

More financiers please at Eric Kayser in Paris.


Tastes like fall: curried delicata squash and chick peas

One of the many wonderful things about upstate New York is seasons, and my  season is fall!

I can’t wait for squash stews, pumpkin pies and the vibrant colors of autumn leaves.

Delicata squash  might be my favorite squash because it doesn’t require peeling.

This is what I made with the first delivery of squash from our CSA.

curried delicata squash and chicke peas
Roasted Delicata squash and chick peas
• 2 squash (delicata or acorn)
• Chick peas – 1 cup
• Garlic- 2 cloves chopped finely
• Oil – 3 T (vegetable or olive oil)
• Cumin (I like whole) – 2 tsp
• Fresh chopped onion – 1 small.
• Turmeric – 1 tsp
• Coriander – 1/2 tsp (optional)
• Salt – 2 tsp
• Parsley or Cilantro – optional garnish
1) Halve the squash and, with a spoon, carve out and discard the seeds. Slice into inch chunks.
2) Toss together with chick peas, garlic, olive oil, coriander and cumin and place it on a baking tray.
3) Cook the squash and chick peas in a 400 degree oven for about half an hour until it is tender and golden.
4) Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
• ***Serve over rice with raita, or toss with room temperature kale for a main salad.

Taste like fall!

Taste like fall!

Are sables just cookies or much more?


Are sables just cookies or much more? This past week I baked sables also known as French shortbread. I didn’t think much of it at the time. We were having a friend visiting from San Francisco and I was in my second week of teaching diversity in the city (a course that explores diversity in Paris through culture, immigration, religion, fashion and lastly food).

I had put aside a few to give Lesley Porcelli, the food writer and baker, and upon eating the rest she emailed me “I was really, really smitten with those plain cookies! They were total perfection” (as opposed to the chocolate sables I usually bake). Then three days later she texted, “my father-in-law wants your shortbread recipe. We all love it”.

These cookies are a variation of Dorie Greenspan’s cornmeal shortbread, but the difference was that I didn’t use lemon zest or vanilla, and substituted lemon extract for both.

I didn’t think these cookies were blog worthy until I realized sables are much more than a cookie…they are symbolic of my first trip to Paris from 2009 when I discovered French pastries and and financiers (my other favorite french treat). And now that I am taking my students to Paris in January, I think it’s time I share the sables with my class as well.

Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies
(recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (I used lemon extract)
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted, room temperature butter (use Kate’s butter if you can find it)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract (remember I skipped this and used lemon extract)

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the cornmeal, and set the mixture aside.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and extract to the bowl and, using either your stand mixers paddle attachment or whisk, or a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until the mixture is very smooth (about 3 minutes).
Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour streaks have disappeared into the dough (do not over-mix).
Roll the dough into two logs of dough, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or freeze for one).

Getting ready to bake:
Preheat the oven to 350F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats.
Place one of the rolls of dough onto a cutting board and slice about a 1/2 inch apart.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 300F. Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. The cookies should just slightly golden.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Sables...much more than a cookie?

Sables…much more than a cookie?

My students in SOC 399/Diversity in Paris will be sampling more Parisian French, Lebanese French and Moroccan French treats when we travel there this January. Check back for more of our culinary adventures. Currently they are exploring how contemporary diversity in Paris is changing its culture, art and culinary landscape.

Pie for brunch


This was a bit of an end of the semester celebration for me! My grades were finally submitted on Friday, and I went to Pascales for lunch and treats, and I ended up taking this peach treat to go. I didn’t realize I would end up with such a delicious piece of summer. The cobbler is more like a tart with a pie crust on bottom and a crumble top. And isn’t cobbler for brunch a wonderful thing?


If you can’t get to www.pascalebakehouse.com in Syracuse, consider baking your own with this simple recipe http://www.ruthreichl.com/2010/08/warm-peach-cobbler-.html that was recommended by the wonderful Lesley Porcelli at http://uglybutgood.wordpress.com/2012/08/

North Star in Ithaca

North Star in Ithaca

My favorite black bean and mushroom burger at Northstar in Ithaca, NY.

I love this locavore gastropub Northstar in Ithaca not only because the food is fresh and fabulous, they are committed to local food. I am quite the carnivore but this is one of the few places I am more than delighted to have a vegetarian meal because of all the local tasty options. At dinner on Thursday I had the buffalo tofu wings, the basket of fries,the black bean and portobello burger with local cheddar cheese and I finished my meal off with espresso creme caramel. It was all delicious. I always have a hard time deciding because I also love the garlic beef burger and and the bread pudding.I hope to be back later this summer for brunch!

fries and dipping sauces

Northstar has a commitment to local meat and produce within 100 miles.


If you can’t get to Northstar and Ithaca, and are craving a bean burger, do try

brunch in Burlington

brunch in Burlington

Florentine benedict

We’ll be headed to Burlington, VT in June 2014 for the Association of the Study of Food and Society conference next summer. This picture reminds that Burlington is only a 5-hour drive from Syracuse and how many great places to brunch there are in Burlington, VT including Shelburne Farms. Along the way we always stop in Saratoga Springs, NY for Hattie’s fried chicken and waffles and pastries from Mrs. Londons. More on the history of eggs benedict and brunch to come soon in my forthcoming book, Brunch: A global and social history.