All week long, The Early Show is having favorite chefs and cookbook authors visit to whip up their favorite summer recipes in its "Culinary Inspiration" series.
And Wednesday, famous third-generation pastry chef Francois Payard stopped by, sharing dessert recipes for the season from his two New York City restaurants, Payard's Patisserie and Bistro, and In Tent.
Lemongrass: Fresh lemongrass stalks are the palest green in color and have a subtle lemon scent. If using in a stock, cut into lengths, then bruise or crush to release the flavor. Otherwise, use only the bulb-like 4- to 6-inch section at the base, after trimming off the top and a layer of tough outer leaves. Slice extra finely if using fresh in a salad; for pastes, slice finely before pounding with a mortar and pestle.
Saffron: Saffron deserves special notice, since it's the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is actually the stigma of the crocus flower and is harvested by hand. There are three stigmas per flower, and it takes about 14,000 of them to make one ounce of saffron. Not only does saffron give an exotic flavor, but it colors food bright yellow. It has been used through the ages as a dye for fabric as well as for medicinal purposes.
Go to Page 2 for Payard's recipes.