May 29, 2014

WORN IN PARIS // 01

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coat: Benetton • dress c/o Ever+Mi Crush • bag: Madewell • shoes: André • scarf: Penneys

That day we walked around all afternoon... 3rd and 4th arrondissements as always. I'm obsessed. I know it like the back of my hand. I really need to walk around new areas and discover new places... Paris is such a big city, god, it's exciting. I didn't quite take advantage of my first 10 years here. God dammit. Vx


May 26, 2014

COOKING IN PARIS: TARTE DE FIN DE SEMAINE

Hopefully you read last week's post in this new 'Cooking in Paris' series. I've had to slow down the cooking (especially baking) frenzy because I was making more than I could eat. If you follow me on instagram you may have seen that I made éclairs last week. They were absolutely delicious and I ate too many. I made a second batch that ended up being quite awful. The pâte à choux was too liquid and it would not rise. Some ended up being burnt and too crispy, some were soggy and undercooked... I thought I'd share the recipe this week but I need to make them once again and nail them before I share. I ended up having to freeze the ones that were left. Too many éclairs = muffin top + big belly. This week I have a simple breakfast, a savory tart, a typical french side dish or snack, and absolutely delicious pear frangipane tartlets. 

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Fromage frais with honey or jam

This is a really yummy and insanely simple breakfast. Like the recipe right after it, it requires very little. Sometimes that's just how you want your breakfast. The reason I share such an easy, almost non-recipe is because it's a breakfast that reminds me of being in France. There are a lot of breakfast foods in America that really require some cooking but I feel like the French are always on the run in the mornings. I never hear them talk about any special breakfast they have. I remember skipping breakfast quite a few times (but never ever anymore) like a lot of people here. Actually a yogurt with sugar is what most kids would eat for dessert at lunch. But I think honey is so much better. And I had never tried jam until a week and a half ago and it was delicious!
In the US there is such a hype about granola and oats and goji berries and chia seeds... I don't think it's really reached France – at least not with the same intensity. I still wonder how the French are so skinny. And I guess we all are ( 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 ). When I'm in the US, I go for granola, I love love love granola. I'll have way too big breakfasts that make me uncomfortably full. Here the portions are smaller. This is different too. It's not yogurt, it's fromage frais. In the yogurt aisles, you will also find fromage blanc. They are my favorite. Much creamier and more delicious than yogurt! Do these exist in the US?

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radishes with butter

Such a simple side dish that I've seen countless french people eat. It's not my favorite way to eat radishes but it's not that bad either. I've little to say about it. I experimented with the radishes, cutting them up in weird ways but honestly, don't bother. Just wash them, cut off the ends and dip them in salted butter and crunch crunch crunch. I also added herbs to the butter which I think is a nice touch.

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Tarte de fin de semaine

I had leftover bread dough from making the pissaladière and decided to throw together a bunch of ingredients and make a vegetable tart. I crossed my fingers it would turn out okay. I called this the "tarte de fin de semaine" because it's something I would imagine making with all the leftovers at the end of the week. No need for a recipe because you just use whatever is at hand. I had mushrooms, asparagus, leeks, cherry tomatoes, turnips, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, cheese... I didn't want to make something heavy so I added the cheese at the end just to give it a little something. It was really good. I cut up the leeks and let them get nice and soft on a pan for ten minutes; I also cooked the mushrooms in oil and balsamic vinegar for a bit. Then I steamed some asparagus for just 5 minutes. That's really all there is to it. Follow your preferred bread dough recipe (I used the one in this book). I put it all in the oven at 180˚C for 25 minutes and then added cherry tomatoes and goat cheese the minute it was out of the oven. Serve warm.

This reminds me of what I had for dinner last night. I literally took out all the leftovers, all the little things laying around in the fridge that I had to finish. It just wasn't as fancy. It was me, standing over the counter eating little bits of veggies and whatnot, watching Louie and trying to do the dishes. I am soon going to have to accept that this kitchen will never look great. It'll never be clean. Ever. God.

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Pear frangipane tartlet

This was a spur of the moment cooking endeavor. It was delicious. So delicious that I ate about a million little tartlets. I made some in a muffin mold and some in those ceramic pots that we get when we buy Saint Félicien cheese.

Five components: Pears, pastry (pâte sablée), frangipane, pastry cream (crème patissière), caramel
I think this kind of recipe can seem a little daunting. There are five different things going on at the same time. What! No, but you'll survive. Seriously. Just take things slow at first. Know what order to make things in and try to clean while you cook. This is one of the most important lessons I've learned. Making a mess is awful and can make things so difficult. If you keep your counters pretty clean while you cook, then... well, it'll probably be more fun, and I can 100% guarantee your food will taste better. No I can't. But trust me, okaaaay...


Pâte sablée
Recipe found here

crème frangipane
2 egg yolks
90g butter
100g sugar
130g almond powder
2 tsp dark rum

crème patissière
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
40g flour
1/4L milk

+ optional (but highly recommended) 
Caramel au beurre salé
Recipe found here or here

First make your pâte sablée. I followed the pastry recipe in the link above.

Make the crème patissière (this is one of many recipes I've seen. Here is a recipe with pictures. I used this for these tartlets, I use another for my éclairs, and when I get cornstarch, I'll have yet another recipe I can use...). Put the milk on the stove with half your sugar. Step away, breathe, here's the next step. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. While whisking, add the other half of the sugar. Now add the flour and mix, mix, mix. Once the milk is at a gentle boil, pour some of it into the bowl and whisk the egg mixture and milk. Bring the milk to a rolling simmer and pour the egg mixture into the milk. Mix until it's nice and thick. It shouldn't take too long, probably a minute. 

Now for the crème frangipane. Whisk the eggs with the melted butter and add the almond powder and rum. Once you have all that, add it to the crème patissière. Voilà! Add cut up pieces of pear. Roll out the pastry and cut into whatever you need for each mold. Pour in the mixture and cook at 200˚C for about 20 minutes. I kept checking and I feel like most of them were done around 20-25 minutes but it could depend on your oven. Leave them overnight because the frangipane filling is honestly better the next day when it's cool and set. Add the caramel if you want to lose complete control and gain 1000 pounds because it's too delicious to stop eating. This is a dangerous recipe... do it anyway.


May 25, 2014

SUNDAY LINKS

Sunday Links - Flowers
Tomorrow I will have another Cooking in Paris post up on the blog – I didn't find the time to write the whole thing this week! I finally got a weekly pass Navigo on Monday. It's amazing. I've been going out every single day and taking the metro and bus a lot. The metro is 1,70€ so I was always being so careful and always felt like I needed to make sure I knew what I was doing and where I was going. Now I can just hop on the métro at any station, even just for a short ride. Still walking loads, though. Yesterday was the start of Beer Week (it's on my last post) and it was a lot of fun. More on that later... 

Body & Soul


Interesting & Funny

  • FRIENDS is my favorite series ever...
  • This makes me so mad. 
  • This is a lovely read by Zosia Mamet
  • Older article about cast of FRIENDS. Makes my blood boil. Excuse me, "grey, fat, no job, forgettable roles, struggling..." Of course they have changed, the are twenty years older. And they are still beautiful people. Struggling? They each have more money that that shit writer will ever have.
  • I would like to go here!


May 23, 2014

PARIS TO DO :: MAY 24-31

Paris to do May 2014

This is my first time posting a list of things to do in Paris for the week. It took an insane amount of time to find worthwhile things to do and I'm not sure I'll be able to make it a weekly post... but from time to time, I will make these little lists of things to do in Paris! Cheers. Vx

Saturday 24


Sunday 25

  • Beer Week continues - Kady and I are thinking of going to La Cave a Bulle 
  • Last day of D'Days
  • Art Saint Germain des Près - go to all the galleries from 2:30 to 6:30PM!
  • 4eme salon du disque des puces – go buy some vinyl at le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
  • Open mic at Pop In (11th)
  • last day for the "Famous" exhibit at MEP

Monday 26


Tuesday 27


Wednesday 28


Thursday 29

  • open mic at Tennessee Jazz Bar (I'll probably be there)
  • not much to do... go to Candelaria for lunch!

Friday 30


Saturday 31



May 19, 2014

DEGUSTATION DE PATISSERIES // 01

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On Friday, my friend Kady and I went out for a walk in Paris. We got off at Saint Lazare so I could finally get my Navigo weekly pass.Then we went into Galerie LaFayette. Kady just wanted to find the bathroom so that was the closest place, but man were we glad we went in because on the second floor they have all these food stations – I had no idea! They had three or four different patisseries there! I recognized the names from places I wanted to try and the minute we saw those macarons... well, we just had to do a "dégustation de macarons!" So here are the three patisseries we tried and my thoughts...

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1. Jean-Paul Hévin

First off, we saw the Jean-Paul Hévin station and all the pretty macarons. Above are the two macarons we chose. I got vanilla and Kady got cassis-basilic. While you may wonder (or not at all) why I got a "boring" flavor compared to Kady's, well, let me tell you. Pierre Hermé (whose flavors change all the time, I don't quite know their schedule) has the most amazing vanilla macaron in the entire world. If I were on my deathbed, I would request the "infiniment vanille" macaron from Pierre Hermé. It is my absolute favorite. I haven't gone back to Pierre Hermé since January but I was told they wouldn't have the vanilla flavor at this time, so I'm looking for any other patisseries with a similar looking/tasting vanilla macaron. Well this Jean-Paul Hévin was pretty darn good as well! The inside was creamier and not as dense, and it didn't melt in your mouth like Pierre Hermé but it was amazing nonetheless. Now for Kady's... oh, wow. Here is a picture of what it looked like on its side (much more interesting). It was really good and so interesting. And I don't mean the kind of "interesting" you say when something is bad but you're afraid to hurt the person's feelings. No, Mr. Hévin, your macarons were absolutely delicious. I recommend them. Next time I'd like to try the crème brulée flavor, the chocolate flavor and the coffee flavor. I've read this is also a good place to get chocolate. 

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2. Dalloyau

Right in front of Jean-Paul Hévin was Dalloyau. I definitely hadn't read anything about them but we saw some pretty damn interesting macarons. I got the cognac/champagne macaron and Kady got the thé Bergamote. We loved the cognac/champagne macaron. It was very flavorful and just so delicious! The macarons at Dalloyau are a lot chewier but still good. The Thé Bergamote was also good but just very simple and a bit too sweet and sugary without the intense flavors we were looking for. I'd like to try their other flavors to see if they all have the chewy texture and if maybe the other flavors are more intense than the Bergamot one. 

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Here we couldn't resist all the different flavors. It's official: this is one of my new favorite patisseries. Sadaharu Aoki is a Japanese patissier who has made it in the French pastry world big time – and it's obvious why. His macarons were perfect; everything you could possibly want in a macaron. There are loads of strange flavors and I wanted to try them all but we stuck to matcha, yuzu, black sesame and wasabi. I would never had tried the wasabi but Kady asked for it so I went along... it ended up being one of our favorites! Then again, I'm not sure we were able to pick a definite favorite. They were all so good. I'm not big into fruity flavors in macarons but the citrus yuzu macaron was to die for. So much better than any other lemon macaron I've tried. I cannot recommend these macarons enough! 

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May 18, 2014

SUNDAY LINKS

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Another week flew by and 86% of my time was spent cooking, 4% sleeping, 9% procrastinating, 1% worrying about the future. Here are some articles and links to click on if you are spending a lazy sunday afternoon at home recharging for a new week. Don't forget to breathe, be happy and know that everything always works out! Have fun, that's why you're alive. Vx

Interesting & Useful


Body & Mind


Funny & Pretty


May 17, 2014

LATELY ON INSTAGRAM

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dégustation de macarons avec Kady // centre Pompidou // memories of Morocco // fresh savory tart // about to make squid salad // too many pastries, need to work out // delicious beet & goat cheese salad 

Follow me on instagram for more pictures of life in Paris!

May 16, 2014

30 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF SNACKING

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This is another post in the "Health & Fitness" category. I don't write too much in it anymore. I don't know what I could really add these days seeing as I've made nothing but French pastries ever since I got back to Paris. Okay, I exaggerate. Okay, not really! yesterday I had sangria and éclairs for dinner. I know – I am so healthy right now. I'm sure my body is loving it! 

Not so much here, but when I'm at Smith, I have a pretty bad snacking problem. I don't have the best relationship with Smith food. I don't know what happens but I always want to snack. So I needed a list. A list of things to do instead of mindlessly snacking. 

1. meditate
2. go for a walk (even a quick 5 minute walk can help with cravings!)
3. make a list of reasons why you want to lose weight (or stay healthy)
4. call a friend, call your mom...
5. check your to do list – bet it's long
6. take a nap or just lay down for aminute
7. brush your teeth (it helps, really!)
8. take a shower and give yourself a face mask 
9. look for fitness inspo on Pinterest
10. write in your journal (remind yourself why you want to lose weight)
11. turn on a fun Pandora station and dance! (i love the Merengue and Salsa ones)
12. give yourself a foot massage
13. thoroughly organize one room in your house (or one cluttered drawer)
14. declutter! go through your closet and get rid of 5 things 
15. drink a glass of water or tea
16. look at old pictures 
17. hand wash some clothes
18. wash your hands, even
19. write a letter to someone
20. go visit a friend
21. put your pictures in an album
22. volunteer
23. experiment with make up or put together outfits
24. study a foreign language
25. do a puzzle or play a board game
26. draw or paint
27. learn to play an instrument
28. read a book
29. remind yourself that you're bored, not actually hungry
30. read positive affirmations and tell yourself you are amazing! laugh it off


May 12, 2014

COOKING IN PARIS :: PISSALADIERE


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Why hello there! I am excited. Truly. I have been waiting for this moment for the past three weeks. I always get genius ideas in the most mundane moments. I got this one in class. Right before finals, no less. I needed to focus all my attention on the school work I had been neglecting all semester; it was hard. Thank god finals are over and I'm able to dive head first into this project. Here it is, finally, my genius idea – the new series on the blog called Cooking in Paris. What you'll find in this series is everything and anything about traditional French cuisine. I'll be cooking a lot more than I usually do. I will post not only typical French recipes but also the "normal" meals I have seen time and time again during the last ten years. I've gone to so many friends' houses for dinner, and there are little things that maybe wouldn't be included in French cookbooks because they're not particularly fancy or don't seem French enough to share. I'll share it all. Expect a lot.

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My dad has a lot of cookbooks – though sadly he rarely cooks anymore – and most of them are Italian. We used to make pizza when I was just a kid. There are videos of me as a six-year-old putting mushrooms on a homemade pizza. I didn't know it yet, but a few years later I would grow tired of cooking and may have been slightly influenced by Gilmore Girls into eating pop tarts and fooled into believing I had their magical metabolism. And then a few years after that, I'd fall in love with cooking again! I love looking up recipes. My pinterest boards are full of recipes I'm dying to try. I also just have so much love for food and everything that can be done. I also want to be healthy. I'm not vegan, gluten-free, or on any specific diet but I am always exploring what the right portions are and what makes my body happy. I am most definitely a dessert person so I'm trying to incorporate everything I love into – what I'd like to be – a very healthy lifestyle.

Gougere 1

Gougères

Makes 20 (54 kcal each)

125ml water
50g salted butter
75g plain flour
2 eggs
75g gruyère
dash of nutmeg
pinch of salt & pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. 

In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil then add the flour while stirring quickly. Take off the heat. Add the eggs to the batter which is pretty thick. Add them slowly, one by one. Stir, stir, stir... Now your batter should be smooth and you can add the cheese. Don't forget to season it. 

Use a pastry bag to pipe out small pretty mounds onto a baking try lined with parchment paper, or spoon and shape them like I did if you're too lazy to put the batter in a pastry bag. You know, like I was. Leave some space in between each one. I made mine quite big to be honest. Maybe I made 15 in all. Again, if you're not too lazy, glaze each one with the egg yolk and sprinkle with cheese and rosemary. Now bake for 20 to 25 minutes (try to not open the oven door before then!) and serve while they're nice and warm. 

Gougere 1-2 Gougere 3 Pissaladiere 1

Pissaladière

Serves 6 (225 calories per portion)

bread dough*
3 tbsp olive oil
5 red onions
3 garlic cloves
1 tomato
anchovies to taste
many black olives (Nyons, pitted and halved preferably)
thyme
salt & pepper to taste

This Pissaladière came out so delicious and amazing, even the morning after. What it is is an Onion, Anchovy, and Black Olive Tart. I love it because you can adjust it to your liking. Me? Not a big anchovy person. I added a few bits of anchovy, probably three in all. However I love caramelized onions and olives so I went overboard on those.

Preheat the oven to 230˚C.

After you've stopped crying from cutting those five onions, heat oil over medium-low heat in one gigantic skillet. Add the onions, thyme and garlic. Cover for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. After about 15 minutes, add the tomato. 

Sprinkle some flour over your kitchen surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle. The recipe said 28 x 35 cm but I don't keep a ruler in the kitchen so I said, eh this looks about right. It all worked out just fine. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and cover it for 15 minutes. Don't forget to cover it! I did. Oops... Then, spread the onion mixture that smells so heavenly over the bread dough. Don't leave edges, cover the whole damn thing, it's gonna be amazing. Arrange the anchovies (if you choose to add them) and sprinkle the black olives on top. Put all that deliciousness in the oven and wait 15-20 minutes, until the crust is nice and crispy. Serve warm. Eat the rest in the morning... because just like pizza, it's really delicious cold the next morning.

* I used the basic bread dough from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. I recommend you look up "basic bread dough" online as it is a very basic recipe and easy to find. I looked online as well, and they are all very similar to the recipe I followed. I went with the one I had on hand. I do recommend not forgetting to add a teaspoon of salt. Mine could have used a bit more salt. 

Pissaladiere 2 Pissaladiere 3 Pissaladiere 4
Creme

Crème de marrons + crème fraîche

Serves one :: 95 calories

1 tbsp crème fraîche
2/3 tbsp crème de marrons

I don't know if we invented this but when we just arrived in France, this was our dessert of choice. It couldn't be more simple. Two ingredients. No real measuring – what I wanted to show above is that I think it's better if you add a tiny bit less crème de marrons than you do crème fraîche. But maybe you want it sweeter, so go ahead and do the same amount of each! Whatever tastes better. These are two fatty-sugary ingredients so I wouldn't serve more than a tablespoon of each per person. That makes it a good, guilt-free dessert in my book.

Creme 2 Creme 3

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