Monday, December 9, 2013

French Kitchen Teaches a Thing or Two to Brooklyn D-I-Y-er

The Brooklyn D-I-Y craze has been my ethos long before porkpie hats and soul patches were required to live here (sometimes, yes, on the women, too).

I have a sourdough starter, I always make cakes and pie crusts from scratch and I infuse my cocktails with herbs from my garden.

But one thing long eluded me: puff pastry.

In a classic go-around, I just avoided recipes that called for it. Store bought dough in my homemade creations? Forget it.

Then I got The French Kitchen Cookbook, by Patricia Wells. There Is a recipe for a ‘blitz puff pastry’ that takes 2 hours to make, but most of that time is letting the dough rest in the refrigerator. While the dough recuperates, you can pickle a few artisanal carrots, or master the foam design on your milk froth-er.

Or, of course, you can explore the other hundreds of pages of recipes, including some that don’t seem particularly French – mixed nuts with kaffir lime dust (am incredibly simple stunner, once you find the kaffir leaves). Or the sautéed dates with fennel.

There are a number of vegetarian dishes, including a pear endive salad, eggplant with mint and fish sauce and some lovely fish dishes.

But I was mainly drawn to things like a homemade curry paste, and a hoisin sauce that dances circles around the commercial varieties.