There are some Tuesday dinners when all you want to eat is chocolate cake. Thank goodness, then, for David Lebovitz and his chocolate idiot cake, made of only four ingredients, which you can whip together in less time than it takes to heat the oven.
If you read blogs and love Paris, David’s food blog about Paris has probably made you lick your computer screen. A former Chez Panisse pastry chef, he also creates recipes, writes cookbooks, renovates kitchens (or, at least, a kitchen) and develops i-Phone pastry apps — activities that keep him very busy indeed. Today, he shares his tips for fast meals and cooking and baking for friends without stress.
On his regular Tuesday schedule: My outdoor market is on Tuesday so I hit that first thing in the morning, before the throngs arrive. Dinner is likely something from the market — maybe a big salad with cheese and bread on the side, a pan-roasted pork chop fried with thyme and olive oil, or perhaps some baked fresh sardines with garlicky breadcrumbs enriched with hazelnuts.
And when he doesn’t feel like cooking: Well, I do like pizza and have been known to indulge in the great Parisian sport of getting a pie to go (however I’m a little more selective than some of them, and skip Domino’s and le Speed Rabbit). But generally I make something myself, like pasta with toasted garlic and olive oil. Or else I pick up a roast chicken at the butcher, which are better than anything you can make at home.
On easy entertaining: I’ll often get appetizers from a local épicerie, including cured ham and olives, then concentrate on the main course and, of course, dessert. Being in France, it’s pretty easy to find things like charcuterie and cheeses, even in supermarkets — even though I prefer to get them at the market or at specialty shops.
In David’s fridge and pantry:
–Fresh goat cheese is great since it can be folded into an omelette, crumbled in a salad, or strewn over hot pasta, where it melts into its own sauce.
–I keep a can of chickpeas so I can make a quick batch of hummus, without having to wait for the chickpeas to soften and cook.
–Sausages are quick to cook up in a skillet and filling, and I can pair them with a salad for a quick meal.
On saving time in the kitchen: I buy things in bulk, like chocolate and nuts, so I’m not always running to the store. Having a big bin of broken up pieces of dark chocolate on hand means that, in addition to having something to snack on 24/7, I can make something like a batch of brownies or chocolate idiot cake very easily.
On every home cook’s best friend: I’m a big fan of leftovers. Every so often a cookbook comes out about cooking for one or two, which is fine, but if I’m going to get a few pots and pans out, I like t0 have enough for leftovers the next day for lunch.
Like cassoulet: I was in the Lot and came home and wanted to put one together. It was a bit of work (especially cleaning up all that duck fat) but it was good for three meals, so it paid off.
David’s chocolate idiot cake has only four ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar and chocolate. If you eat it cooled from the oven, it’s smooth and soft, like pudding. But if you chill it, pull it from the fridge, and bring it almost to room temperature, it becomes satiny and luscious, like the finest chocolate ganache. Curious? You can find the recipe here on his blog, or in his fantastic cookbook, Ready for Dessert (now out in paperback!).
(Photos of hummus and Monsieur Lebovitz, courtesy of David Lebovitz.)
P.S. Here’s more Tuesday dinner.