European-Style Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Once I was at Murray’s Cheese with David Lebovitz and he stopped to admire the butter from Vermont.

I’ll confess, up to that point, I hadn’t given butter that much thought. For years I’d been buying Breakstones–you know, the kind that comes in the red box–and using it pretty universally. But then, after David talked about baking with Vermont-style butter, I began to wonder: “What would happen if I switched up the butter in my baking? How would that change things?” It took a few more years before I put that question to the test.

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Food Book Giveaway: David Lebovitz’s “The Sweet Life”

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My friend David Lebovitz wrote a wonderful book about living in Paris called “The Sweet Life” (read my write-up about it here) and now that it’s out in paperback, his publisher has generously agreed to donate THREE copies to readers of The Amateur Gourmet. If you’d like to win a copy, make up a French dish that doesn’t really exist and describe it in the comments. The best three win.

UPDATE: The winners have been chosen! Click below to see them.

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Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

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Good people, I have returned to the land of the living. As I stated in today’s newsletter (my first since August (subscribe here)), half of my cookbook was due this past Friday and I turned it in with a great sense of accomplishment and relief. Now I have some time to breath while my editor reads it over. And that means more blogging, more newsletter writing, and more time to spend with a certain someone I’ve been ignoring too much lately: (said in a Hallmarky, dramatic voice) me.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

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Despite this month’s banner, one of my favorite dishes to serve in summer is an heirloom tomato salad. It’s a dish that does the work for you: just buy an array of quirkily beautiful heirloom tomatoes–as many colors and shapes as you can find at the farmer’s market–cut them into slices or wedges and serve them with torn-bread croutons, green basil (plus purple basil if you can find it) and some shaved ricotta salata on top. The finished plate looks something like this….

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White Lasagna

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When I get invited to dinner parties, these days, I pretty much make it a policy not to take pictures. This takes the pressure off the host or hostess, who may be nervous that their food blogging friend is scrutinizing every bite, preparing to skewer them for all the world to see on his food blog the next morning. Mostly, though it takes the pressure off me: by not taking pictures, there’s no expectation that I’m going to blog about it. So if you’re wondering why the sweet potato souffle you cooked for me didn’t make it on to the blog (that’s just a hypothetical) it’s most likely a function of my policy. Unless, of course, you cook me the lasagna in the photo above.

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Live with David Lebovitz

Last week’s BlogTalk Radio interview with Michael Ruhlman was such a hit, I’m going to try to do the show weekly, every Thursday at 12 PM, with a different surprise guest. And this week’s surprise guest is one that we all know and love, a recent author and beloved blogger, one Mr. David Lebovitz. David will join us tomorrow (Thursday, May 28th) from 12 PM to 12:30 PM EST. You can listen to the interview live right here on the player and if you want to call in with questions, just dial (347) 326-9874 and we’ll patch you in. If you’re too shy to call, ask some questions in the comments and I’ll try to ask those too. This should be a fun one, so make sure to tune in!

UPDATE: The interview’s over and so many things went wrong it’s pretty hilarious! For the first 6 minutes, I can’t get David on the line and then when I do I give out the wrong # for callers. But, if you skip ahead a bit, you’ll hear some good questions and a few callers who did get through. Sorry, David, for the chaos, but hope you had fun anyway! (You can listen to the archive of the podcast below.)

David’s Sweet Life

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Several years ago, when I went to Paris, I rode the Metro from my teensy hotel in the 80th arrondissement, to meet a food blogger I admired but had never met, Mr. David Lebovitz. As I came up the stairs (or was it an escalator?) I beheld a vision: there, standing before me, was a smiley man holding what looked to be the world’s largest picnic basket. David toured me around and I made a video, which you can watch here (sorry for the song choice! (what was I thinking??)):

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