Dear Milk Streeter,

I just interviewed David Lebovitz, the ex-pat Parisian blogger (he worked at Chez Panisse for years before moving to France in 2004) who recently bought and renovated an apartment in Paris. A Year in Provence was a cakewalk compared to the plumbing, electrical and bureaucratic nightmares that were visited upon this unsuspecting American foodie. As he points out, the French have a T-shirt that reads: “I love nothing, I am Parisian.”

Our cooks at Milk Street have taken to making quick pickles to serve with summer fare. The recipe is simple enough: 1 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt brought to a simmer until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over vegetables of your choice (we like sliced jalapenos, radishes and garlic cloves), allow to steep at room temperature until cool, then refrigerate for up to a week.

I recently did a video on refurbishing a badly encrusted cast-iron pan. The secret is to heat vegetable oil with about ½ cup kosher salt, then use the mixture to scrub the pan gently off heat. I used oven mitts and a scrubby pad, all of which either dissolved or became sodden with hot oil. A better solution is to use a Cuisinart Power Scour Grill Brush to (gently) clean. Your hands are at a safe distance and a light touch will not damage the pan.

Our editorial director, J.M. Hirsch, just got back from a week in Tunisia during Ramadan, scouting recipes for Milk Street. It was often 113°F, but the people, the food and the country were wonderful, safe and hospitable. His video of a chicha bar (tobacco smoked through a hookah) at 1 a.m. is memorable. The most interesting street food? Fricassee, a deep-fried bun filled with harissa, tuna, boiled potatoes, chilies, olives and hard-cooked egg. Here’s a photo!

Am headed out on the road this fall for a Milk Street Live tour. Hope to meet some of you then. Our first cookbook is also being published on September 12. You can pre-order your copy today. Our TV show launches this September as well. Will update you with local airing times later this summer.

Am headed to Japan and Spain this fall and, hopefully, a quick trip to Senegal as well.



Christopher Kimball

Dates in Tunisia
Dates drying on the stem are sold at stands throughout Tunisia, particularly during Ramadan. Muslims generally fast from sun up to sun down during Ramadan, then break the fast in the evening by eating a date.
The Sidi Okba Mosque in Kairouan, Tunisia, is one of the oldest places of worship in the Muslim world.