Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini
I know this isn't design, but given our common Southern upbringing, I just couldn't be a guest at design*sponge without bringing a small gift for Grace. Grace loves Clotilde at Chocolate&Zucchini, and reads her blog regularly. I think Clotilde is great and I love her blog, too! Who doesn't? The recipes are great and the photography amazing. Clotilde was nice enough, instead of making a sketch, to include a recipe, which I thought would be a good thing to try out over the weekend... (photo of Clotilde by Maxence Bernard, food photography and styling by Clotilde Dusoulier)
Name: Clotilde Dusoulier
Birthplace: Paris, France
Formal culinary preparation: Most of my culinary education comes from observing my mother and teaching myself, but I have taken a few cooking classes here and there.
Profession/how long you've been there: I have been working as a food writer for three years: two years part-time (in addition to my day job as a software engineer) and one year full-time.
Left handed or Right handed: I am right-handed, but I try to teach my left hand a few tricks (brush teeth, spread butter on baguette) so I’ll be prepared if I ever break my right wrist.
Favorite dessert: My mother’s strawberry tart – edible spring.
Describe your strongest food memory from your childhood
Going on vacation to Brittany with my family each spring, and having dinner at a crêperie every. single. night. I would usually order a tomato and cheese crêpe, followed by a lemon juice and sugar crêpe.
Dish/dessert you wish you had invented and why?
Michel Bras’ biscuit au chocolat coulant (molten chocolate cake) – probably the most copied recipe in the world.
The aspect of your work you never tire of?
Certainly the fact that so much of it doesn’t feel like work at all: playing in the kitchen, going out to restaurants, hunting for quirky ingredients, meeting chefs…
One food/spice we’ll never see in your recipe repertoire.
I have a visceral dislike for aniseed and liquorice, so you’ll never find these flavors in my cooking.
You’ll know you’ve made it when…
No master plan for this girl: I’m just taking it a day at a time and enjoying the journey.
Clotilde's book, Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen,
Clotilde's book, Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen,is scheduled for publication by Broadway Books on May 15, 2007 both in North America and the UK.
Macarons à la semoule de maïs
- 100 grams (1 cup) almond meal (see note below)
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 50 grams (1/3 cup) flour
- 50 grams (1/3 cup) stone-ground cornmeal
- 3 medium egg whites
Flavoring: 2 teaspoons finely chopped citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange...) plus an optional pinch of cayenne or freshly ground black pepper; or 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; or 2 drops violet extract.
Makes 30 macaroons.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the almond meal, sugar, flour, and cornmeal in a medium mixing-bowl and whisk to remove any lump. Form a well in the center, add in the egg whites and flavoring of your choice, and whisk again, starting from the center, until combined. The batter will be thick. (This can be prepared up to a day ahead: place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the batter, cover, and refrigerate.)
Using two teaspoons, shape one-inch balls of batter and drop them on the baking sheet, spacing them by about an inch. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. The macaroons will keep in a cookie jar for up to a week.
Note: Almond meal, sometimes sold as ground almonds or powdered almonds, can be found at natural foods stores. If you can't find it, substitute 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole blanched almonds. Combine them with the sugar in a food processor and process in short pulses until finely ground.
Some of Clotilde's props...