Olive, Parmesan, & Speck Breadsticks

By Thursday, September 5, 2013 Permalink 0


Jamie Schler, Profile Photo, http://lifesafeast.blogspot.ch/Destination Dessert: Not a dessert, but delicious nonetheless: olive, Parmesan, & speck breadsticks

by Jamie Schler

I am terrified of heights. Put me on the top floor of a building looking down through glass panes or, worse yet, from the edge of a balcony, and my knees buckle as I grasp for a handhold. My heart pounds at the idea of funiculars or Ferris wheels and their anticipatory crawl up into the clouds. That glance down comes with the fear of knowing that when I finally reach the summit I will be staring into emptiness, a deep void, an near-endless drop only broken by the tiny ant-like beings down on safe, sturdy ground staring up at me, ogling, daring me to make the leap so they can break my fall.


Roller Coasters slowly, painfully inching their way up until a mere thread is holding me over a dizzying descent make my head spin as my breath comes out, barely, in short, quick gasps. Airplanes, those silver boxes offering me quick passage to my loved ones, have me in a panic when I think of the nothingness holding them up. My very pragmatic, scientific husband refers to this seemingly (or so he says) irrational fear of heights as Cosmic Vertigo, these images in my overactive imagination of climbing up and standing on the edge of a precipice only to be pushed off of solid ground and plunging into emptiness, the unknown. So I never climb onto a Ferris wheel, it is impossible to convince me to climb aboard a roller coaster; as we spin our way up the glass elevator in the Mole Antonelliana in Torino or wander around the top balcony of the Eiffel Tower my eyes stay firmly squeezed shut and I can’t even look through the eyepiece of a telescope, nor am I comfortable wearing 3-D glasses or watching the world spin on Google maps. Yes, I am terrified of heights.

Thoughts on Jamie Schler’s latest HuffPost article: You are What You Eat: a Food Blogger’s Dilemma

By Friday, March 16, 2012 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

Jamie Schler‘s latest article on the The Huffington Post, “You are What You Eat: a Food Blogger’s Dilemma,” is a must-read for any serious food blogger.

You might ask, “what is a serious food blogger?” One who has 2 million followers, one who gets a zillion hits a month, one with a goal in mind, such as a book or television show, or is it someone one who encourages healthy eating, who is interested in educating the public and sees it as almost a civic duty? That is a really good question in today’s topsy-turvy world, where famous is not necessarily good or good for you, and on the Internet, anything goes.

Image courtesy of CoffeeMuffins.com









Destination Dessert: Nectarine Crisp

By Monday, September 26, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler


I spend my days at the computer click-clacking across the keyboard, playing. You see, since I began my blog I have fallen in love with writing. Oh, I have always loved words, sentences, ideas, searching them out, chasing them, grabbing them as if they were butterflies and I was romping across fragrant, wind-tousled fields, butterfly net in hand. I have always been a great reader, spending most of my childhood, youth, adulthood curled up with a book. I love a great plot, fascinating characters, but not only. Mastery of language is a rare skill; making words dance in the reader’s head like music is a treasure rarely found. Many aspire to greatness, so few achieve it. But when they do, it is exceptional, stunning! Placing word after word, just the right ones in just the right order; it is magic and I have read such stories that simply the words chosen, the ideas created, the mastery of the language have taken my breath away. I must close the book, lay it gently beside me, shut my eyes and catch my breath as I savor the beauty.

Destination Dessert: Sweet Focaccia with Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Ganache

By Monday, July 18, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler


Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom
When the jungle shadows fall
Like the tick tick tock of the stately clock
As it stands against the wall
Like the drip drip drip of the raindrops
When the summer shower is through
So a voice within me keeps repeating you, you, you

Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me, or far
Its no matter darling where you are
I think of you
–Cole Porter

“Life is an adventure,” she said, no trace of cliché on her lips. He scooted down a little lower, snuggling deeper into his corner of the sofa. His eyes searched out her own, slightly pleading, slightly mocking, filled with the desire to believe her once again. She had just returned from Germany and stepped off of the airplane into a new life, one of risk and a daring adventure, one of complete togetherness. They were tossing caution to the wind in their great desire to grab at happiness and contentment, something so rare these days. And from here on out they would be together each and every day, all day and into the night.

DESTINATION DESSERT: From America to France

By Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler

MON PETIT CHOU: A Love Affair with the Perfect Treat

Chou: cabbage

Chou: cream puff, a type of pastry

Chou: cute

Chouchou: teacher’s pet

Mon petit chou: my little sweetheart, darling

It’s funny how one single food ties my old, American childhood to my new adult life in France. This one food, the perfect choux, was a favorite, one my father would make, light and airy, crispy and golden on the outside, so ethereal on the inside. He would shape them into perfect, saucer-sized rounds, bake them until they were puffed up into pillows and lovingly fill each one with thick, creamy pudding, chocolate, vanilla or pistachio. The almost flavorless choux puff was the perfect casing for the flavorful filling, tempering the sweetness and adding texture to the smooth creaminess of the pudding, and quickly became my most loved sweet treat of all that my father baked for us. My dear old dad passed away a mere two months before I married my French sweetheart (mon petit chou) and as I prepared to join my soon-to-be husband, I pulled the carefully clipped recipe off the refrigerator in my parents’ house, my childhood home, where it had been taped for decades, words and image now faded with time and handling, and tucked it lovingly and ever so carefully amongst my few worldly possessions in my suitcase and carried it with me across the ocean to France.

Plate to Page Food Writing and Photography Workshop in Weimar, Germany

By Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Permalink 0

The From Plate to Page food photography and writing workshop will start on Friday, May 20, 2011, lasting until Monday, May 23, 2011, in Weimar, Germany.

Rambling Epicure contributor Meeta Khurana Wolff, a professional food photographer and stylist whose photos appear almost daily in the slider at the top of our home page, is one of the four professionals giving the workshop, along with another Rambling Epicure contributor, Jamie Schler, author of our Destination Dessert column.

From Plate to Page is an intensive hands-on food workshop aimed at food bloggers, writers and photographers looking to enhance and hone their photography and writing skills while finding their own unique style and voice, both for their blog and for professional work. This exciting, one-of-a-kind workshop will intended to pull food bloggers and photographers out of their creative ruts and start them on their way to a more professional style.

Rather than follow the style and program of traditional food blogging conferences, From Plate to Page is a workshop encouraging active participation by each attendee in the ultimate learning experience. Working alongside four of Europe’s most popular and respected food bloggers — each one of whom has turned her own blog into a springboard for a successful freelance writing or photography/styling career, participants will spend an extensive part of the weekend working on assignments designed specifically for the food blogger. All dedicated activities throughout the weekend will be the source of a writing or photography experience followed by analysis, critique and discussion.

Destination Dessert: Far Breton aux Pruneaux, Baked Flan with Prunes from Brittany

By Thursday, March 31, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler

Destination Dessert: Far Breton aux Pruneaux, Baked Flan with Prunes from Brittany

Wild, windy and awe-inspiring, Brittany is like nowhere else in her untamed beauty and her quaint villages, her fabulous seafood and her intriguing history; we stand perched atop the low cliffs, the wind whipping our hair, eyes squinting against the elements, and gaze in awe and wonder at the waves crashing onto the shore, battering the craggy heaps of rocks which form the uneven coastline. Gulls swirl overhead, dipping, diving and screeching at each other and us as they spot what could be food. Fishing boats in the distance bob on the choppy, midnight blue water amid the white-tipped peaks and our voices and laughter are snatched up and whisked out to sea. Only those born and raised in this part of the world, the true Bretons, dare strip down and dive in for a brisk swim in the chilly mid-summer as those less hardy huddle together, shivering, basking in the warmth of the occasional lull in the wind and ray of sunshine. The silence once back inside the car, the doors shut tight against the raging weather, is deafening. We drive back towards the beautiful port town of Le Conquet to meet the fishing boats as they come ashore at 5 o’clock every afternoon and wait impatiently as they display the catch of the day. Large, plump crabs and scoops of tiny bigorneaux are ours for the asking and we rush home to light the stove and make a festive meal of these simple treats.

Our Dessert Destination is Brittany, rugged and spectacular, proud of her heritage and culture. This is a region of hardy, good, generous people who still live a relatively simple, humble life. Ancient towns and even earlier remains, Brittany is a fascinating part of France, a land of legends and wondrous tales, the great northwest, that reaches back beyond Ancient Gaul, a rich history traced all the way back to Neolithic times. Celtic tribes ruled this country before Romans arrived, and both cultures have left their mark not only in the monuments and chateaux still found standing throughout the region, but in her music, language, arts and culture as well. Throughout their embattled, turbulent history, the tug-of-war between Britain and France, the back and forth of independence mixed with years of revolt and years of suppression, the Bretons have held tightly onto their culture, their language and their pride, and even today there still exists a separatist movement fighting for her independence.

We’ve spent many a holiday in Brittany and each time I wander over her landscape, I am awestruck by her savage beauty, the craggy landscape and the rustic towns. We’ve boated out to the tiny uninhabited isles out in the ocean waters and wandered the sandy coastlines. We’ve touched mysterious menhirs and dolmens scattered over this region, still standing, and listened to the moving, emotional chant of the bagpipes and harp or tapped our feet to the wild, joyous music of the violins and drums, the same music and spirit played, sung and danced to generation after generation, a constant flow of festivals, concerts and fairs keeping this dynamic culture alive. Brittany’s seafaring culture has given birth to and guided their commerce, crafts and music. And their cuisine.

The cuisine of Brittany is truly rustic and familial, hearty yet so simple. And, of course, one of the sea: crabs and lobsters, sea scallops, mussels, clams and of course oysters, are served simply, eaten raw, steamed or simmered in wine. The seafood platter or huge bowlfuls of steaming mussels cooked in wine are gastronomic standards. La Cotriade, a type of fish and seafood stew, is the perfect way to warm up a blustery winter day. Or how about kig-ha-farz, a type of pot-au-feu based on lard, pork and hearty, earthy vegetables like potatoes, onions, rutabagas, carrots and cabbage. Yes, Brittany pork is an appreciated local specialty and is often eaten in the form of Andouille de Guémené, Breton pork sausage. Or how about a classic galette, a savory crêpe made of local buckwheat flour, filled with almost anything you please but more often than not, something with a seafood or pork twist to it. And all of it washed down with cider, the favored drink of this region.

But while much of their cooking is rather simple, the desserts of this region are much more decadent and butter-rich. Most of us are familiar with the crêpe filled with cooked apples, jam or jelly or even caramel au beurre salé, salted butter caramel. But once you spend a bit of time in the region, you learn about the other traditional favorites like the Kouign Amann, a cake made of butter and sugar-infused bread dough covered with a fine layer of puff pastry. Once cooked, this treat becomes a meltingly sweet, dense, caramelized treat. And the Farz Buan, a quick dessert somewhere between a flan and a crêpe, or the palet, Brittany’s own butter cookie. And never forget that all desserts from this coastal region are made with salted butter!

Today’s dessert is one of Brittany’s secret gems, a delicious local specialty, Far Breton aux Pruneaux. Far Breton is a dense, oven-baked, custard-like flan only creamier, lighter than the one most of us are familiar with, and it is usually studded with sweet prunes macerated in rum. The first written mention of Far was in the 18th century when there was both a savory and a sweet version. Like the Breton crêpes, the savory version was made with local buckwheat flour and eaten as a side dish with meat, while the sweet Far was made with regular wheat flour. But while the savory version seems to have faded from the Breton culinary repertoire, the sweet dessert is still a much-loved mainstay.

All one needs to make a fabulous Far Breton is the best quality eggs, butter, salted of course, sugar, flour and whole milk along with prunes and a splash or two of rum. Preparing the batter is as easy as and similar to making batter for crêpes and while it is resting just toss a cup of prunes with rum and let the fruit macerate as you wait. Then just bake. Nothing is easier, nor can you find a tastier, homier dessert than the Far Breton!

My good friend Isabelle, Bretonne born and bred, offered me her own recipe for Far. But like all great French home cooks, my husband and his mother included, they cook “au pif”, by intuition, following their better instincts and feel rather than follow precise recipes or measurements. So I fiddled around with Isabelle’s recipe and second try was the charm! This recipe makes a perfect Far Breton, creamy and smooth and even chilled it never gets too firm or dense like a flan. And I added a bit more sugar than Isabelle because I thought my first try had no sweetness at all. With just one more tablespoon of sugar it is lightly sweet, yet nowhere near sugary. Just perfect! And the prunes? Well, what can I say? Gorgeous!

Continue Reading…

Destination Dessert: Chocolate Cherry Pound Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

By Monday, February 14, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler

Jamie’s blog Blogger’s Choice Awards 2011 has been nominated for Best Food Blog 2011 on
. If you like her recipes, please vote for her!

I’ve got a crush on you, sweetie pie
All the day and night time, hear me sigh
I never had the least notion
That I could fall with such emotion

Could you coo, could you care
For the cottage, we two could share
The world will pardon my mush
Because I’ve got a crush on you
– George Gershwin, 1930

The Rambling Epicure Voices

By Monday, February 7, 2011 Permalink 0

Food writer, Culinary Chemistry, The Rambling EpicureJenn Oliver writes our column Culinary Chemistry. She has a Ph.D. in science, where she explains the scientific aspects of what really goes on when you cook (the next Harold McGee?). She’s been running a gluten-free blog, Jenn Cuisine, since 2008 and her kitchen is more like a laboratory than a kitchen. She’s focuses her chemical calculations and experiments on figuring out how to make traditionally glutinous food gluten-free.

Esmaa Self writes the Wild Woman on Feral Acres column. She lives on a small farm in Colorado where she employs organic and sustainable methods to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, raise chickens, bees and fish and where she routinely turns out imaginative, healthy, guilt-free meals from scratch. One of her numerous blogs recounts her farming adventures: Backyard Eggs. She also writes novels and contributes to numerous organic farming and green publications, and runs a sustainable living site, Homeostasis.

Simon de Swaan is Food and Beverage Director at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has an incredible collection of antique cookbooks and books about food and eating, from which he often posts interesting and unusual quotes. In his column Simon Says, he gives us daily food quotes from his tomes.

Jean-Philippe de Tonnac is an essayist, editor and journalist. He directed the special editions of the Nouvel Observateur for almost ten years and and has published twenty books. As preparation for publication of his Universal Dictionary of Bread (Dictionnaire universel du pain, Bouquins Laffont, 2010), he obtained a baker’s certificate (CAP) at the Ecole de Boulangerie et Pâtisserie de Paris in 2007, and traveled worldwide to countries where bread held a particular cultural significance.

Destination Dessert: Italian Pinolata, or Pine Nut Tart

By Monday, January 24, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jamie Schler

The Italian Pine Nut Tart

I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine the perfect woman:  subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert.  Delicately made up, not highly rouged.  Holding back, not exposing everything and, of course, with a flavor that lasts.–Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet

When we speak of dessert we invariably pepper the conversation with such words as sinful, decadent, guilty pleasure, hints of gluttony and naughtiness behind hands pressed to mouths, stifling schoolgirl giggles. We see someone succumb to the temptation and share a knowing look as if having caught him or her in a compromising position, albeit a tad envious of the other’s daring in delving into some tempting, tantalizing, uncontrollable urge.

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