Saturday, March 24, 2007

Got a Buzz?

I'm talkin' about Caffeine here, folks!

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

This can't be Spring!

Imagine waking up to snow & a blinking orange light on your modem! This is no way to greet the day before spring! I've been bragging about putting in my geraniums and herbs in early....I guess the 'frogs' read the almanac! I hope my plants are strong!
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!

Before this whole snow and modem thing happened, I hosted the Paris Cooking Gals in my home, remember when it was warm and sunny last week? I worked with 2 other girls and we came up with a menu that everyone helps to prepare. One of the girls wanted to do Moroccan food.....low and behold I taught a Moroccan Food class a few years back. I just happen to have a couple/three tajines and a 'brazier' to do the outdoor version on. This was going to be fun!
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!

This was the aubergine, tomato, garlic and cilantro Tajine (Harissa to taste!). Part of the Mezze that we served. During the final stage of cooking you throw in some chopped feta cheese and devour with some Pita Crisps.

Now, lets close our eyes and wish for Spring. Tomorrow, ok!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Here's to your Health!

Take a look at those lentils! Bright orange and so good for you! I've had those babies in my larder for a while, in fact it was getting close to the 'sell-by' date! I had to find an interesting recipe for them and low and behold, I found one in an old 'Olive' magazine.
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

Grandpa's Pan

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 would really love to be a fly on the wall while the TSA guys open up my bag and wonder what the heck I have packed this time!

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!!!