How to Tempt the Scrooges, or, Christmas, the Cooking Season

I love Christmas. Yes, I really do. For I see Christmas as a time that allows us – in these rather sterile, rigid United States, anyway – to cut loose and string up gaudy gee-gaws all over the house. To transcend the daily. To feel the seasonal and mythic cycles of past times. To celebrate … More How to Tempt the Scrooges, or, Christmas, the Cooking Season

Un Petit Départ, Un Petit “Au Revoir”, or, Helping Père Noël and Saint Nicolas

During this Christmas season,  Gherkins & Tomatoes / Cornichons & Tomates will be in a state of flux, assisting Père Noël and St. Nicolas with the festivities here, as well as hibernating and storing up fat (information) for future posts. Needless to say, posting may become sporadic until January 6 (Epiphany). I wish you all a … More Un Petit Départ, Un Petit “Au Revoir”, or, Helping Père Noël and Saint Nicolas

The Provençal Thirteen: Fennel- and Cumin-Scented Sablés

In France, you’ll find sablés,  buttery cookies that originated in Normandy. (You know they had all that butter to get rid of there.) Most sablés are sweet. But in Provence, for the famous Thirteen Desserts of Christmas Eve, cooks prefer savory little disks perfumed with fennel and cumin. Cumin? How did cumin get into mix? … More The Provençal Thirteen: Fennel- and Cumin-Scented Sablés

Nougat Noir, or Black Nougat, Another of the Thirteen Desserts

A Provençal gros souper (Christmas Eve dinner) would not be correct without some nougat noir to challenge the skill of your dentist and possibly lay waste to your dental work. In other words, nougat noir can be a bête [bite!] noire*, if you’re not careful. For nougat noir is a hard candy, not the pillowy stuff … More Nougat Noir, or Black Nougat, Another of the Thirteen Desserts