Crisp fried cauliflower. A soft creamy purée. The toothsome crunch of toasted seeds.
Choo chee is the Thai phrase that describes the sound of sizzling, like the noise you hear when you order a plate of fajitas. I’ve always had a soft spot for choo chee curry -instead of being a soupy curry, it’s a thick, creamy sauce that is simmered in the pan until it pops and sizzles and is then poured over any kind of seafood (baked salmon is my favorite). As a bonus, you can make the whole dish using one pan.
Herbed goat cheese and spicy, salty chorizo on bread needs little introduction, but you may be wondering about the honey. While it may seem odd, the sweetness of the honey brings this toast together in a very fortunate way: sweet, spicy, savory, and addictive.
There are a lot of really excellent jams, marmalades, and preserves made in France, but a jar of gingham-capped Bonne Maman apricot preserves is the ultimate equalizer. You’ll find them everywhere: the corner shop, hotel breakfast buffets, my ex-girlfriend’s grandmother’s kitchen. You’ll also find them at most American grocery stores. Not just for toast, they can and should be used in sweet applications - see (My First) French (Girlfriend’s) Apple Tart - as well as savory.
This is a substantial, creamy peanut stew with plenty of spice from a good dollop of curry paste. Use your favorite brand of curry, a homemade paste, or even the ubiquitous Thai Kitchen brand. Canned crushed tomatoes are easy to find (and good here!), but this soup gains extra depth of flavor with canned fire-roasted tomatoes. I thought about making the miso optional, because, really, it is. But it’s a nice addition, lending extra body, flavor, and dimension.
“Your favorite beer will lend that particular flavor to the dish complimenting sweet mussels and spicy sausage. A pint of chilled ale would be delicious on the side.” - Sybille van Kempen
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
This is a dish from a farm in the Dordogne, where the walnuts are sweet, fat, and buttery tasting, and they make a perfect complement to poultry. This is the kind of dish that you settle down to with comfort and anticipation, because it’s got all the right elements, from cloves of garlic bursting with their sweet flavor to the golden chicken and walnuts and the tang of lemon that lifts the dish out of the ordinary. Serve this with a lovely Chardonnay.