Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Shifting into second gear while driving home and wiping sugary syrup from your chin is a challenge, but well worth it! I've been wanting to learn the secret of a LeNotre Kouglof for years and now is the time!
As you know, baking is all about chemistry. Well.......so is a cooking class! I've taught hands-on in my home for a few years now. I understand the 'chemistry' of a class. You've got shy ladies, new ladies, know-it-all's. It is up to the instructor to bring the class together, create a fun atmosphere for learning and when they leave, they feel like they've experienced something special. I always hope that they feel like they can tackle what I taught. I'm not complaining about this particular class I took, I learned the technique that was taught. The class was flat, if that makes any sense!
Armed with my recipes and yet another planned shopping trip to MORA for molds, I am still thrilled with the opportunity to learn the art of French Viennoiserie!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Lets talk about an idea I had last June, it came to fruition a week ago. And boy, was it fun to see it develop and execute! It was also received with excited feedback. It was called the Let Them Eat Cake Picnic!
I've been working with a gal out of Texas for a couple of years now. She runs a tour biz for ladies and it has been great watching her business grow! I got involved by teaching a cooking class for her clients. The successful format is a Hands-On Crepe class. This is a non-stop crepe fest with everybody flipping crepes and eating non-stop. I recently added a Professional Crepe machine and now they have a chance to test their skills on the Krampouz, just like the crepe makers on every street in Paris! The ladies seem to enjoy it and many times they are buying a crepe pan from Dehilleron.
The picnic idea grew out of the fact that the ladies take a tour of Versailles. They usually stop at the market and pick up some sandwiches and Cheryl would pull out a bottle of wine and a tablecloth out of her backpack.
I thought that it might be fun for them to have a real picnic. I would provide a boxed lunch, they would have the opportunity to sample a real quiche, chocolate mousse and my famous business-card sugar cookies!
Living about 10 minutes from the Petite Hamlet I thought I could drop off the lunches, let the ladies enjoy the food and wine and then they could continue on with the tour. I'd pick up the trash and meet them the next day for the Crepe Class. Yep, this was a great plan.
The Culinary gods were smiling down on me the morning of the picnic and the food came together without a hitch. We packed up the boxes and dropped them off in front of the Grand Trianon, I discovered that we could not set-up a picnic inside of the Hamlet or the grounds inside the Trianon. Not to worry, there were plenty of places to set up with ambiance. Friday, Saturday and Sundays there is Baroque Music piped in throughout the grounds and, even you, Can Eat Cake with the ghosts at Versailles!
Monday, August 06, 2007
We spent a week in the UK, I've been hitting my favorite cooking shops, Dinghams and Lakeland. I've also brought back some mature cheddar and my precious little red chillies for the freezer. I hit the Buy 2 get 1 Free sales that dot WH Smith and Waterstones. That is what kept me occupied for a while, but my guys got busy with their fly rods. Take a look at the July prize winner! 'Bearded Baby' was thrilled till somebody beat him out by 1 ounce!!
We usually bring a fish back to the hotel and ask the chef cook one of the trout for us. We decided to give them the 3 regular sized trout, one for us and the rest to put on the menu. The big daddy was given to a friend (although it was his wife who had to clean and prep the fish for the freezer). I love how they presented the fish for the evening meal on the menu.
The chef did a great job on our fish dinner. I can't remember tasting a fish that was so fresh! Lovely and juicy and a great little dill sauce napped on the side. This meal is etched in our memory for a long time to come!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Our tour ended about 2 hours later. I must admit, we weren't really listening to our guide but were enjoying manipulating the machine!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Even in Paris!!
When you live here as long as I have you start to live life and take this incredible city for granted. When I drive into Paris, I see the Eiffel come into view, and it still does take my breath away. I've often told my son that the tower is 'his' landmark, since he was born here. More often than naught, I'm jockeying traffic running to and from an errand and just forgetting that there might be something new 'in town'.
I have driven by the Musee Branly for years. I've been going to the same guy to get my haircut since I've moved to France and glanced over at the building that was going up to and from his shop. I remember when the garden was planted in the facade of the building, my interest was really piqued! The opening of the museum came and went and the Musee Branly went on my 'to do' list. It is a long list.
Now that 'bearded baby' is back in town, I do like to blast some booty out of the chairs for a family day 'in town'. Next time you visit, you MUST spend some time at this place. It is such a beautiful museum, so modern, well lit, very comfortable. I can imagine cold rainy days spent exploring, there is so much to see. They have a great web-site and I noticed that they have two restaurants. One downstairs and the other upstairs called the Ombres. Well, it was time to splurge and start the summer out right. I got reservations (a must), but not a window seat. No matter, every seat has a view and it is magnificent!
The service was very pleasant and served correctly! Food was great as well! We had the 37euro menu which was good value. I absolutely fell in love with the china. They did serve wine in the trendy Riedel stemless "O" glasses. But the china was Raynaud, from the Thomas Keller collection. Don't you just love those espresso cups? So cool!
I'm sure no matter where you are living there is something that you have not taken the time to visit. It is time to blast your booty up and get out. I need to get the guide books back out and re-appreciate this glorious city I am lucky enough to reside in!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Blogging Events are fun! I have participated in a few. I had big idea's for this one, but my photo focus skills were off, and then life events take over and quick trips to the US needed to be made.
Lindy of Toast fame got a great idea for an event. Home-Made Take Out food! She was nice enough to extend the deadline, she had life events of her own to deal with!
Although I don't work (formally), we love to picnic, and my son will be going to work this summer! I happen to think that wraps make a wonderful take along lunch! Filled with flavored mayo or pesto, this becomes a delicious and healthy lunch. Wrapped up in a flour tortilla or some rice paper, the sky is the limit!
Another way to make a take-along hand held lunch is to wrap a filling up in pastry! I just happened to have some puff-pastry in the fridge. NO, not my home made puff dough. The plumber was working on a major problem in our rent house and I needed to create something quick for the family while he was out of the kitchen. Turns out the plumber loves to cook as well, and he watched me put together this 'on the fly' creation!
I had some of my favorite Sacla red pepper mozzarella pesto spread.
I had some Mozzarella slices (new to the grocery store!). Ham & rocket leaves got thrown on for a bit of green. This got wrapped up packet style, scored and baked.
The puff pastry is a bit fragile, but it was wolfed down with three thumbs up! I hate to say, but there was none left for the plumber to sample when he got back after his lunch break!
Thinking of packing this to go? Let this cool before you place in a ziplock or better yet, a Tupperware container. This will be delicious room temp and I bet your friends will be asking you to make more to share next time!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Having just returned from a quick trip to the US.....I did manage to get a little shopping done. I found these cute little cake pans and thought they'd be perfect for summer 'puddings'! You know the drill, fresh fruit, a little coulis splashed about. Along with some whipped cream added in for the cellulite factor. I bought 8 pans.
Since this was a quick trip, we did not take our normal (big) suitcases where I usually throw in a duffel bag or two just in case I buy too much. A couple of last minute purchases later and I had run out of room. The cake pans got thrown into the carry-on bag.
You have to really think ahead these days as to what goes in the carry-on bag. Gone are the days when I'd throw in a package of Italian Sausage to bring across the ocean, sausage might be in the dangerous category these days!
I remember one Thanksgiving, many-many years ago when my Dad was alive, he wanted to a Butterball Turkey for our Thanksgiving meal during his visit to France. Well, the rock-hard frozen Turkey in the carry-on bag got dropped. No squished toes, no broken tiles.....but good for a big laugh, we cooked up that bird and my dad was a happy man. (not that anything is wrong with a French bird!)
Ok, back to my cake molds, we were online in security, I had already been asked to remove my jean jacket, which I kept saying was a shirt and 'they really didn't want me to take off my shirt'!! Then I noticed that after I went through, the line had stopped. A group of men had formed around the x-ray of my bag. I just couldn't remember what could be causing such concern, then they called for 'BAG CHECK'. Yikes!
They opened my bag and immediately pulled out my cake molds, I explained that I was going to be cooking mini-angel food cakes for my son who was flying back from college. Then we started sharing angel food cake recipes!! During the next stop, I decided to tell security in advance that those weird looking things that they would be looking at were cake molds.....I sailed through this time.
All in all, the mold made it back, I found some ancient Cream of Tarter in my spice rack and my little bearded angel had cake!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
His first year of college was a great success! And I'm a happy mom that my son is home for the summer!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
In March, I hosted a Hands-On Wreath Making Class. What fun! Selfishly, I get to see how something is done, then I get to cook for an appreciative bunch.
There was a lot of creativity from the gals. Lunch was a little starter of shrimp and a terrific Green Goddess sauce, Baked Risotto and a sticky toffee 'pud' with homemade ice cream!!
Everyone took home a Spring Wreath. A great start to Spring!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The menu was Bisque de Langoustines, Pintade aux Choux and Profiteroles Glaces with sauce Chocolat Chaud. The Bisque was a bit too complicated for me to tackle, back then. I didn't really appreciate a good Pintade, back than either! But I did indeed love a Profiterole dripping in a warmed Chocolate Sauce!
I bought my Phillips Ice Cream Maker a few weeks before, to make an Orange Sorbet I had sampled with a Chocolate Cake at the CB. This simple machine got more use, and it is still in service today, although I bought a Simac machine back in 2003, a machine I love!
My Choux pastry was a bit loose. I veered from my original CB
recipe. I made the water, butter and flour mix on the stove,
then brought the Kitchen Aid into service to incorporate the eggs.
Yep, I'll try this recipe again. Practice makes perfect!
Just another bit of trivia.....the last time I made this complete recipe was for the 'boss'. Before 'the old man' took over the yoke of the airplane. The recipe worked without a hitch and I thought I was a pretty good cook back then.
Friday, April 27, 2007
The recipe was a Ricotta and Orange Tart. What really interested me was the use of an Orange flavored pastry. Yum! I've blogged about flavored pastry before. I even teach hands-on classes on Pastry dough. I just love my dough, as you know!
Although you really can't see, there is orange zest and some orange juice in this lovely dough.
The dough handled very nicely under the rolling pin. And to my delight, not much shrinkage
This doesn't look like the photo in the magazine......but it did make the 'old man' smile!Such a light and lovely result. Not heavy after the meal. I will make this one again!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I've been thinking about items for a healthy lunch. Lunch is where I fall down on the job. There are things in the fridge for lunch, but this is a meal I might skip or just graze the fridge for lunch.
I bought some rice paper, shrimps and prepared to find a recipe. As luck would have it, I turned to Diva Cooking. I knew these gals would come up with something delicious with a modern twist. Check this book out, lots of fun!
Daikon, carrots and rocket, plus the proverbial shrimp filled the wrapper. The sauce was great, a 'take' on a Satay sauce.......this could have been thinned down a little, (speak for yourself, you say??). The thick sauce was too much for the delicate flavors of the Spring Roll, but has potential for other dishes! Next time I'll find a little soy based dipping sauce.
I'm sure the Rice Paper will last forever and be great for summer lunches.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Ok, back to food!! I recently attended the first session of a 4-session cooking class/lecture. This was given by a gal who I have known in the expat community for many, many years. To be honest, she and I are poles apart in our cooking ways. But, again, to be honest, she is doing something right!
I went to her class out of curiosity, and tempted by the prospect of healthy cooking. I wanted to take 'bits' from the class, you know, a little of this and a little of that! I wanted to inflict some 'extreme health' into my cream and butter filled diet! There is a balance, isn't there!
Yes, that is Tofu to the left.......Kombu (kelp) and dried shrimp. When Mary started her Miso Soup I didn't think I could eat it. Seaweed and dried up shrimp.....rubbery white cubes??? I do like Miso though!
She made 'her' version which included some Chinese Cabbage. I must say, it was delicious! I felt inspired to make some changes after I left the class. I ran off to the local 'BIO' store for some provisions. Then off to MIDO the Japanese/Korean store, where I now take a written list instead of asking where things are. My accent speaking french to two Japanese girls just doesn't cut it. They take my list and cruise the tiny store.....I write the check and hit the Autoroute homebound!
So.....armed with whole-brown rice, whole wheat pasta and good intentions we are going to eat differently......babysteps---not Boot Camp!!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Tradionally, we do a lamb of some kind, but now that the nest is empty I thought I should plan something different. Way back when, when I first started my blog, it started off with a New Year Eve Paella prepared by my two favorite men!
We dug out and dusted off the old pan, shopped for the shrimp, mussels, chorizo etc. We were good to go. The forecast was perfect.
The cooking of the Paella went off without a hitch! Our little neighborhood was just filled with the lovely aroma. The 'old man' said that this was a must for the 'bearded baby' when he comes home from college! I'm already planning the menus for the summer!
Monday, April 09, 2007
My Tete's aren't perfect.....but they were delicious and tender! The other half of the dough turned into a giant Cinnamon pull-apart roll. It didn't sit on the warming rack long before it was pulled apart and eaten!
The exciting news is that I signed up for a class at Le Notre this week. Guess what I'll be learning! Yep, Brioche. Can't wait......check the blog for a post.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
We have owned a Nespresso Coffee maker for a few years now. I bought it as a Christmas gift for the 'old man'. Since he works at home, when he is home, I thought he'd enjoy coming downstairs for a quick coffee. We've been pleased and have just learned to warm our cup in advance before making the coffee. I didn't buy the most expensive model, which could be the problem!
I can't say enough about Nespresso's on-line ordering service either. I was on-line yesterday afternoon about 3:00 and I had my capsules in the mailbox by 10:00 this morning. WOW, that is service!
They introduced the Aeroccino last year, I watched the demo and was sold! This little gadget is so cool.....I tried to order one in 110v for my mom in the 'states' and they hadn't tackled the US market yet. I just saw on Amazon that they are making them and promptly shipped one off to mom! She is going to love the thick, frothy milk that it makes! This stuff stands up like whipped cream in your cup and will make any Barista jealous!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Then the blinking orange modem light, well, this means I slam down 2 cups of strong coffee before dazzling some young techie with my linguistic skills! Needless to say, the dude hung up on me! I guess he doesn't drink coffee! Sometimes I dazzle and sometimes I don't!
Of course I have lived here long enough to know that if at first you don't
succeed......hit redial! I now have a new-generation modem on it's way, fingers crossed this old one will limp along!
Paris is a real melting pot of culture, you can find most ingredients or unusual & authentic cooking vessels if you are willing to explore! Right up the street from the Flea Market of Clignancourt, you'll find the African and North African section. It is best if I'm not the driver because my driving skills are distracted by all the great shops and people watching.
On the rue de la Charbonniere you'll find a fantastic little shop with all the spices and Tajines that you might need! The prices are dirt cheap and the fellows that work in there are extremely nice! In other words, you don't need to spend a heap of money on a Le Crueset Tajine (unless you want too, of course). You almost feel like you are in 'the souk' if only the weather was a little warmer!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
The recipe was simple, but I needed to embellish (what's new!). The recipe called for baby spinach and chickpeas. Well, I went digging and found some white beans and a quick trip to the farm netted some lovely Chard.
The mix cooked down a bit more and the lentils lost that bright color, but I was feeling rather smug in that powerful combination! I think that Greek Yogurt might have taken the edge off my smug healthy feeling, but it tasted great paired up with some grilled lamb chops!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
I'm in possession of Grandpa's Pan. My mom flew over with it a few years back. My first piece of cooking equipment from Gramps was a Corn Stick Pan. What is so important about these two treasured items are that Gramps made these pans!
Grandpa had to quit school at 6th grade. He needed to help out at home. Eventually he owned a foundry. A pretty rough life indeed. He made a set of pans for me when I was a little girl. I wish I still had those today!
This pan was modeled after a Le Creuset pan that my Grandma had. My mom still has this pan, a very pale blue color, no lid. Grandma broke the lid and was about to throw out the pan when Gramps said he would take it to work and make a replacement lid. Guess he made a pan too!
This pan is known in my family, as the 'Chicken Fryer'! I do use it to fry chicken, but also to make an old family favorite, Swiss Steak! Below you'll find a cut of beef known as the Bavette, a nice stringy piece that should make a good Swiss Steak. The tool was bought at Target this past summer. You know how I love to peruse the aisles and find new toys to bring back to France! You run this little tool up and down a piece of meat to tenderize it.
I slow cooked these pieces of beef, starting with the 'trilogy' and some tomato sauce. Threw in some wine, for good measure, herbs from the garden. Really turned out nice. I grew up with this served with Mashed Potatoes, but the 'old man' had a yen for pasta.
Guess who is coming home for 'spring break'?? Yip-eee!!!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I don't own a bread machine and thought this flour was a specific brand just for the bread machine. I finally had time and dug deep in my purse for my reading specs and read the instructions.......low and behold.....this stuff is for regular bakers and bread machine enthusiasts alike!
The brand is Moulins de Versailles.......I figure I would give it a try. Check out the web-site! Not to far from the 'homestead' I wonder if they give tours and perhaps even a demo. I know a whole bunch of 'bread heads' that might be interested, if not about flour, just improving their French!
Monday, February 19, 2007
Of course, we were in the mood to grill! I thought a simple butterflied (spatchcocked) chicken that was marinated in fresh lemon juice, olive oil and herbs was a great way to celebrate the weather! The result was a juicy and moist bird, even on that blazing inferno of a fire!
My neighbors even decided to have their Sunday lunch out on the patio! I think everybody was feeling good this past weekend!
Having said all of that, my son just sent me pictures of the latest
snowfall from around the campus! He did say he was looking
forward to winter! Click on that photo to enjoy the snow!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The prep involves making lots of dough for the students to shape and bake. 'PlayDough', so to speak!!
This photo is a great(dark) example of a yeasted-laminated dough and the many layers. There are approximately, 943, but who is counting!!
A good couple of days work, and two batches of dough left in the fridge......Trust Me.....I won't be making Croissants for a long time. Call me if you are looking to play with some of my extra dough! I'll deliver in the Paris area!! hehe!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I have been touting my Stovetop Smoker for a couple of years now. I thought it was a great tool for those expats who live in the city center of Paris and can't grill out anymore!
I've even taught a couple of classes through the years extolling the wonders! You might remember my Tea-Smoked Duck post back in September?
I was perusing the NYTimes Dining & Wine section and there was a great article on the Smoker, along with some fantastic recipes I can't wait to try! I urge you city-folks, order your Stove Top Smoker today!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Anyway, we are trying to get back to our empty nest again. It is lonely, to say the least.
I am cooking, but not as enthusiastically! The 'old man' and myself weren't much into the mood for going out, so I thought I'd whip up a pizza dough. Pizza.....it really isn't cooking dinner is it? I threw the dough together in my sleep and boy did it turn out lovely! Sometimes when you turn on the 'auto-pilot', and something turns out great, that is the day you wish you had invited friends over OR were teaching a class!!
I wanted to experiment a little and remember I had bookmarked a blog entry a while ago for stuffed pizza. Interesting idea, huh! A take on a deep dish pizza with a lid!
I coaxed the dough into the springform pan, had some spinach on hand, there was some feta ready to use, cheddar and a mozzarella ball. I threw this concoction into the pan and topped it with a thin piece of dough. Baked for about 35 minutes and well, it was very good. Check out in this link for a look at the mini version. They are so cute, plus the stuffing ideas are endless! It is a fun way of cooking up a pizza!