14 Years of C&Z: 14 Lessons for Blogging and Life

Hey, you know what I did fourteen years ago, like, to the day? I went ahead and created a blog! About food! And I called it, wait for it, Chocolate & Zucchini. Because it had a nice ring to it, and I liked chocolate, and I liked zucchini (and fortunately still do).

It has been an utterly amazing fourteen-year ride, and most of my life’s blessings have come directly or indirectly from that single decision.

Where and who would I be if I hadn’t created C&Z? It’s anyone’s guess and it makes me a little dizzy just thinking about it, but I can’t imagine possibly finding a more fulfilling, happier life path. (It’s a good feeling.)

To celebrate, I’ve put together this little bonus for you:

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Best of September

Street art positivity.

Happy fall!

It’s been a wonderful month of September for me, full of exciting projects and bursting with fresh ideas. Here are some highlights.

• I have scheduled a full day of recording later this month, to capture the material needed to craft my pre-order bonus for Tasting Paris. Tasting Paris is my new cookbook that will come out in North America* on March 20, and to reward early buyers of the book, I am putting together an exclusive bonus that I think you will like very much.

(Anyone who orders the book before March 20 will get it, so you can pre-order it as soon as you like; you’ll just need to email the receipt to a dedicated address when I announce the pre-order bonus is ready.)

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Peanut Noodles with Kale and Mushrooms

Peanut Noodles with Kale and Mushrooms

If you’ve been feeling blah about the official arrival of fall this week, I have a lovely and easy recipe to make you feel every shade of happy about the shift of seasons and the new produce it brings.

{Related: Never sure what’s in season when? Grab my free seasonal produce calendar right this minute!}

Today’s recipe is a simple dish of noodles dressed in a peanut sauce, and tossed with garlicky kale and sautéed mushrooms.

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Minimalist Kit for the Beginner Cook

Minimalist Kit Header

The fall is near, students are going off to college, and young adults are moving into their first apartment.

Outfitting a kitchen for the first time can be daunting: there’s so much stuff available in cookware stores, what does one really need?

I have put together a selection of (what I consider to be) kitchen essentials for beginner cooks, allowing them to spread their wings and begin their cooking life on a solid foundation.

You will notice that I did not select the cheapest option for each item, but rather I picked models that will last a lifetime.

Certainly each cook will have to adapt the selection to their financial constraints and see what they can afford. But if you’re the parent, the big sister, or the older friend who wants to get them something nice as a housewarming present, this is what I would wholeheartedly recommend.

You’ll be giving them the gift of learning to cook with equipment they can trust, and these are pieces they’ll take with them from one apartment to the next.

They’ll hold that saucepan in their hand for decades, remembering the pasta days of their youth.

For the experienced cooks among you: is there anything you would add to my list? If you had to start again from an empty kitchen, what would you get?

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Super Easy Cold-Brew Coffee

Super Easy Cold-Brew Coffee

This is a strange time of year, when the universe conspires to tell me summer is over — Paris is again full of life and the kids are back in school — but I want to prolong the feeling of it for just a little while longer.

My favorite way to do this is to continue, for another couple of weeks or so, to sip cold-brew coffee that I prepare at home.

My earliest memory of iced coffee comes from making café frappé at my parents’ house in my late teens. We would make coffee from instant coffee granules, pour it with some ice cubes in a promotional plastic shaker we’d received from the brand of instant coffee, and shake shake shake, shake and shake some more. The sound of the shaking was at least as delicious as the beverage, and my sister and I felt very sophisticated.

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