Love in the Time of Coriander

Thoughts on food & more.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


What else can you call it? I met Jen G for breakfast and a wedding photo swap at Tartine. The photos came out beautifully! I am impressed and delighted by the quality of what she took for us! The only problem, clearly not her fault, is that my rotund belly shows through in the reception gown. Cute? Or just too many visits to bakeries in the Bay Area?

I know I'm low on willpower, but I also know that I have a ceiling that I can hit, where it no longer feels comfortable to be a chub. I'm there right now again, feeling the need to move my body again. Giving up the treats, though, is tough. Maybe impossible. So, I had a gougere, lighter than the ham croissant I'd intended to get. Jen G ordered a shiitake croque monsieur, and I helped myself to a tiny bite.

A few years back, when Tartine was a fledging, a friend of mine worked there as a baker. I confessed my infatuation with gougeres, and she gave me a tip. "Check out Linda Dannenberg's Paris Boulangerie Patisserie," she said. "That's where they get most of the recipes." I paid $75 for a second hand copy of this book. It was out of print at the time, but I noticed that it's back in print and available for a very reasonable $25. Flipping through the book makes me salivate profusely. Recipes for all sorts of French pastries, sweet and savory, are contained in the pages. I've tried my hand at the gougeres, which are easy and turn out excellently. I'm still mustering up courage to tackle a croissant!

I still can't believe that I used to live only two blocks from Tartine. Even harder to fathom is my move! I guess soaring housing prices had something to do with our new neighborhood dense with fruit trees (lemon, apple, plum, fig, persimmon, avocado, to name a few). Despite our misgivings, we are now only a 1/2 mile from the best produce on earth: Monterrey Market. Those of you who are loyal to Berkeley Bowl might contest this, but I stick to my statement. Monterrey Market has less selection (and less traffic), but it's a farce to say that in the face of the many horrible supermarkets in the world stocked with iceberg lettuce and a few stalks of celery, that Monterrey Market is lacking.

E and I shopped today for a small dinner for friends tomorrow. We were both moved by the sheer abundance of gorgeous produce. Several varieties of peaches, nectarines, and berries bursting out of their containers. And, of course, figs! And melons! And tomatoes! So much produce, so little time.

Inspired by my recent pilgrimage to Tartine, I had come with the intent to make an apricot tart from Paris Boulangerie Patisserie, but mysteriously, there were no apricots today. I wonder if the window has closed already or if there will be another batch soon. In any case, I picked up some yellow peaches instead and paid homage to the fruits of summer.


At 11:44 AM, Blogger Molly said...

I am SO excited to learn about Dannenberg's book! As a fellow fan of Tartine, I'd love to be able to make their gougeres, not to mention any number of their other pastries and goodies. And since my next visit to SF is no doubt at least a few months off, in the meantime I'll have to get Dannenberg's book and try to bring Tartine to my own little apartment in Seattle...

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