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May 25, 2009
Can you see the guy in the green shirt all the way at the back of the crowd? The one who's surrounded by people hanging on to his every word? That's my friend, David Lebovitz, and this is the best picture I could get of him, and I only got it by standing on my tip-toes and shooting with my zoom lens. Even though I got to WH Smith, the Paris bookstore where David was reading from his new book, The Sweet Life in Paris, 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start, I couldn't get any closer. The place was jammed! And I couldn't have been happier for David, who made his entrance by sweeping down the grand staircase like a movie star. Fitting, I thought, since David is one of the shiniest stars in the blogosphere and a rightfully trusted cookbook author (keep reading for one of his recipes).
The new book brings these two parts of David's world together: it's got the stories his blog readers have come to love and the recipes home bakers cherish. It is a funny, sly, quirky, completely Davidish read. It's a collection of short stories, vignettes, anecdotes and observances that many who don't know Paris will find laugh-out-loud funny and delightfully absurd, while many who do know the city will find the stories laugh-out-loud funny, delightfully absurd and very, very Parisian.
David is a sharp observer and he picks on the parts of French life that make the French who are they are and, in many ways, so endearing. As a part-time Parisian, I didn't find it odd that David got himself all dolled up to toss out the trash - having seen my neighbors at the garbage bins in their Sunday best, I do the same (or better yet, delegate the job to my husband) - but I certainly was glad that he, not I, bumped into the dentist's assistant sunbathing bare-breasted by the Seine. David guides you from the lines at the markets - and the people who cut them - to what Parisians really mean when they say 'no', and makes you laugh all along the way.
You don't have to be in Paris, plan to be in Paris or even like Paris to put this book on your must-have list, but it would be good if you wanted to cook and bake. Even without the cache of stories, the 50 recipes in The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious -- and Perplexing -- City are reason enough to own the book. Whether you think of The Sweet Life in Paris as a memoir or a cookbook, you're in for a treat.
BOUCHEES CHOCOLAT AU YAOURT/ Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris, by David Lebovitz
Makes 12 individual cakes
7 ounces (200g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125ml) unflavored vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup (125ml) plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups (180g) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a muffin tin with 12 indentations with paper cupcake liners, or lightly butter them.
2. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup (60ml) of the oil. Once melted and smooth, remove from heat.
3. In another bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup (65ml) of oil with the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and almond extracts.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yogurt mixture. Stir lightly a couple of times, then add the melted chocolate, and stir until just smooth.
6. Divide the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cakes feel barely set in the middle.
7. Remove from oven and cool before serving.
Tags: Bouchees chocolat au yaourt
, Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
, David Lebovitz
, The Sweet Life in Paris
, WH Smith
Out and About in Paris
Restaurants, Chefs, & Artisans
| May 25, 2009 11:37 AM
Hi Dorie, thank you for posting this. I was all set to go, but then got sick that day. The last time I was in WH Smith, I wondered where they had room for a bookreading. Now I know; in front of the staircase!
| May 25, 2009 12:21 PM
What a fab review. Well done David. Sounds as though it was highly successful. Thanx so much for the recipe Dorie. Hugs from Cape Town xxx
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| May 25, 2009 12:30 PM
Fantastic write-up. I hope to have that book in my hands as soon as possible! I'm sure I'll have a hard time picking what to bake FIRST from it. As I always have a hard time choosing what to bake NEXT from yours!
Oh, and how were his scones ?! I read that you were the lucky recipient of a visit from David on his bike with scones! :)
| May 25, 2009 10:45 PM
I just ordered his book, and can't wait to read it! Thank you for the wonderful recommendation.
Charles (Cat Boy)
| May 25, 2009 11:14 PM
Appropriately enough, I made the grapefruit champagne sorbet from his ice cream book this weekend. The book is just excellent, as was the sorbet.
I'm liking the sound of these cakes as well.
| May 26, 2009 12:29 AM
I'm so excited to get David's new cookbook. His blog is one of my favourite ones to read, as he always has such hilarious and insightful stories. I don't get much Parisian culture in Fairmont, WV, so it's wonderful to read his and your blog. Thanks!
| May 26, 2009 6:28 AM
My book should be coming any day now and I can't wait. Sounds like it's the best of both worlds filled with his stories & recipes!
| May 26, 2009 10:44 AM
Oh wow! I am really looking forward to getting and reading this book!!! :-)
Thanks for the tip!
| May 26, 2009 1:43 PM
Almost as good as being there! I can't wait to get my hands on the book and make this recipe.
Eileen @ Passions to Paris
| May 27, 2009 9:10 AM
You have convinced me I need to purchase this book today. I've been putting it off because I know that reading it will really make me miss Paris. Very silly reason not to read a book that sounds fabulous.
| May 27, 2009 1:40 PM
It was great to meet you at David's book signing! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
I, too, love the book. I finished it in a couple of days, and flagged several recipes to try. I couldn't agree more with your rave review! :)
| May 29, 2009 9:14 PM
Dorie, I just finished The Sweet Life and had some good laughs.
I made the fig olive tapenade from the book and we loved it! Tommorow I will try the choc yogurt cakes.
Julia @ MÃ©langer
| May 29, 2009 11:46 PM
Thanks for the recommendation, Dorie. I definitely would like to get this book. I have so many on my list sometimes it's hard to choose. But David is such a great story teller so I think it's a must have.
| May 30, 2009 12:23 PM
You and David are my favorite Paris-based bloggers! My birthday is in a few weeks, and I've asked for David's book as a gift. I've visited Paris a few times and hope to have the chance to live there some day, so for now I'll stay entertained with these types of Paris stories told from a food-loving perspective :)
| June 3, 2009 5:24 PM
I think only more thing would be better. Dorie, David and Nick all at one reading. I am such a groupie!
| June 3, 2009 8:08 PM
I was supposed to be there too and only remembered after climbing the 6 flights back to my aerie.
To have one's book at W.H.Smith...what a dream...
| June 11, 2009 7:28 AM
how great for David! I do love how he writes his blog, his stories are so funny! Thanks for posting this recipe too, I will have to search out the book : )
Thanks for stopping by my blog today, it is always a pleasure reading your comments! :)
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