What to do on a rainy Sunday in Paris? Well, it’s the first weekend of the month which means that the museums are free. That also mean that the museums are incredibly crowded….the lines at the Musee D’Orsay were hours long. Most shops are closed and you can only sit at a cafe drinking chocolat for so long. That is why we were pleased to encounter this crowd of people right on our very own Rue Bonaparte. There was an air of excitement and anticipation but no signage to indicate what was going on. Obviously we just had to stop and watch like everyone else.
Turns out that this was the Hermes Ready to Wear Fashion Show (Fall 2012 line) and we quite enjoyed watching the models, designers, and special guests arrive. I especially enjoyed watching the paparazzi, which, by the way, must be a very boring way to make a living 99.9 percent of the time.
So after a little Internet sleuthing, we found the schedule for the other designers’ shows and set out once more. This time we were looking for the Yves St Laurent show and all we knew is that it would be at the Jardin Des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement. It was dusk when we arrived via metro and since we didn’t have an address, we just started circling the perimeter of the park in search of clues. In case you are wondering how large this park is I have downloaded this lovely map below.
See…that’s a big park. We were about 3/4 of the way around, it’s was raining and cold and very dark by this point and we were considering heading back to the station when we the Mercedes and the Jaguars began to arrive. Then came the camera flashes and the rush of the paparazzi. We approached the crowd just in time to see Salma Hayak slip into the gates then stood for quite a while to do what Anna was there to do, which is to critique the wonderful dresses, coats, shoes and hair styles of the fashionistas.
Just as we were about to succumb to the elements and head for home we noticed that the photographers were beginning to chatter and jostle with each other in an even more noticeable fashion. The next car to pull up to to gate was instantly surrounded and a gentleman (a driver, I think) called Anna and me to step out into the street to watch.
So here it is, my first and last paparazzi shot. Good thing Katy Perry has blue hair or she might not have been so recognizable from our vantage point.
Have you heard of the love locks of Paris? This is how it works…the happy couple puts their initials on a padlock, clips it onto one of two bridges in Paris and throws the key into the Seine as a symbol of their undying love. This is the Pont des Arts, a nice little pedestrian bridge that connects the 6th arrondisement to the Palais du Louvre in the 1st. Supposedly, this is the bridge to which you affix your love lock if you are in a committed relationship. The other lock-festooned bridge is over by Notre Dame and is apparently designated for those lovers who may not be quite ready for the commitment bridge. I hear that that “lovers fling” bridge has many more locks on it than this one so we’ll have to check it out.
This lovely old lock caught my eye because the initials are those of my brother and father, neither of whom, I hope, traveled to Paris in 2009 with a certain LGB.
Greetings from Paris! I’ve decided to hijack my own blog for the next couple of months and use it as a way to keep in touch with friend and family during our sabbatical. First stop, Paris, where we have rented a delightful little apartment on the left bank. As much as I love the woodsy views of our home in North Carolina, it’s such a treat to have this beautiful city right on the other side of these charming, floor to ceiling casement windows.
Anna and I left home on leap day… a fitting date to start a journey, wouldn’t you say? We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, stiff legged and foggy brained, as are all who endure the ridiculously small seats of coach class for 8 hours. We were met at our apartment on Rue Bonaparte by the rental agent, a lovely young american from Maryland, who gave us the keys and a couple of instructions and was off. Too tired to search for a great lunch spot, we popped in the first cafe we saw and ended up with a somewhat forgettable meal and went straight back for a nap.
Now I hate jet lag as much as anyone and possibly more than most. But getting my daughter up after a 2 hour snooze was near to impossible. So, while Anna was comatose on the couch, I ran to the Monoprix to purchase our basic survival items…water, fruit, yogurt, coffee (for me) and chocolate (for her).
It was the promise of pizza that got Anna back on her feet that first evening and we found a wonderful little restaurant Pizzaria Positano (15 rue Cannettes, 6eme). The pizzas came straight out of the wood fired oven and had that wonderful crunchy yet chewy crust that we love.
So we are off to a great start! I’ll try to post a little something each day and possibly add some recipes if I ever get around to cooking again! Please send us hellos using the comment button below.
Here’s a wonderfully easy and extraordinarily tasty little bar recipe that I tried this week. I needed to use up some over-ripe bananas and was in the mood to try something different. Since I am traveling right now and not in possession of my collection of cookbooks, I moseyed on over to Tastespotting and searched for photos with the keyword “banana”. So… this recipe is comes courtesy of Cooking Classy and it is definitely a keeper! Enjoy!
Must be the festive holiday spirit in the air that compelled me to make this special dessert from Laurent Tourondel. I’m no pastry chef so many of the spectacular holiday cakes that I see in cookbooks and magazines intimidate me…. but I had a feeling that I could pull this one off.
This is definitely a chef’s recipe, and by that I mean it is a recipe that was written from a professional’s prospective instead of being geared to the average home cook like me. But it is actually very doable and I am going to try and be a bit more precise as I rewrite the directions. I will warn you that I used a lot of mixing bowls in this process. But you can make this dessert and run the dishwasher a good 36 hours before your guests walk in the door.
It cracks me up that this is called “Mom’s Chocolate Cake”! No wonder this guy became a chef….growing up with a mom who whips up cakes like this!
I am so happy to finally know how to make beautiful chocolate curls. Of course I had to do a little online research to find a technique. See what I mean about “chef’s recipes”? They say things like, “decorate with chocolate curls” just assuming that we all know how to do that. But now I do know how to do that so thank you Chef Tourondel for inspiring me to figure it out.
Adapted from Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking by Laurent Tourondel and Michele Scicolone. Here is the basic idea: you make a yummy chocolate mousse, layer it with lady fingers dipped in syrup then let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Then you make a vanilla creme anglaise, let it chill a couple of hours, pour it on top of the cake and chill again for a bit. Decorate with chocolate curls and serve. I’ve made the cake a little less boozy cause I like my liquor on the side rather than in my dessert. In my version the liquor just heightens the flavor but it won’t come through on its own. As for the chocolate curls, I turned to The Pioneer Woman to get a photo demonstration to show me the way. (I used chocolate chips) Here’s a link: Chocolate Curls
3. Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the whites.
Isn’t is ironic that insomnia is so common in 40 something gals like me? I have no exams to pull an all-nighter for, no babies to feed every 2 hours, absolutely no reason to be productive at 2 am, and yet I find myself wide awake at that ungodly hour.
I suppose I could try one of the popular sleep aids, or as The New York Times called them last Sunday, “mother’s little helper of the new millennium“. But I am entirely convinced that I would be the one out of a thousand people who would fall victim to the dreaded SRED (sleep related eating disorder). I can see it now…. my jeans start to feel tight so I hook up a web cam in the kitchen and am horrified to discover that every night I creep into the kitchen and stand at the open refrigerator in a trance, eating whole packages of cookie dough and chugging half and half from the carton. When they invent a sleep aid that has the potential side effort of causing sleep-running on treadmills, I’ll be all over it.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Another wonderful recipe from Glamour’s Gourmet on the Run. It’s a collection that never fails me. I usually end up with 11 muffins instead of 12 because I like to fill the cups at least 3/4 full.
Meanwhile, maybe I’ll just use these photographs of my sweet children and their amazing capacity for peaceful slumber as inspiration. On the other hand, I think I’ll just pop into the kitchen and get the ingredients together for these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins….they will be a lovely treat to wake up to.
Balsamic- Braised Brussels Spouts with Bacon
Wild Rice and Toasted Pecan Pilaf
1 cup pecan halves, chopped coarse
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin lengthwise
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1.4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups wild rice, (about 1 pound) rinsed well in several changes of water and drained
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small baking pan toss the pecans with the butter, the thyme and the salt until they are coated well and roast them in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and fragrant.
In a flameproof casserole, cook the onion and the bell pepper in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring for 5 minutes, or until they are just softened, and with a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl. Add the rice to the casserole and cook it, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, Stir in the broth, heated to boiling, and salt and pepper to taste and bring the mixture to a boil. Bake the mixture, covered in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. Stir in the onion mixture, bake the pilaf , covered, for 30 minutes more, or until the rice is tender and the broth has been absorbed, and stir in the pecans. Serves 8.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Nutmeg and Sour Cream
I love sweet potatoes but I don’t want them to taste like dessert, which is why I love this recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
Peanut Butter Nutella and Rice Krispie Roll Ups
And now….the #1 reason that we always have flour tortillas in our refrigerator. Tortilla pizzas have been a staple lunch item in our home for years. I found that it was worthwhile to purchase a set of small perforated pizza baking sheets. This helps the bottom of the pizza get crispy and I can easily fit 6 or 8 of them in the oven at one time. The key to a good crispy tortilla pizza however, is to make sure that all of the toppings are sliced very thinly and scattered evenly over the surface. If you go crazy piling on the topping, you will have to eat it with a knife and fork, although it will still taste great, I imagine. We like to use thin slices of fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. This also helps keep the pizza light and crispy. The possibilities are endless, but here is the recipe for the tortilla pizza pictured.
1 flour tortilla
thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
thinly sliced Vidalia onion
shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced pepperoni, cut into slivers
grated parmesan cheese
coarse ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Place a flour tortilla on a pizza baking sheet and brush topside lightly with olive oil. Scatter tomatoes and onions evenly over tortilla then top with a light layer of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with pepperoni and parmesan and season with black pepper. Bake until golden brown and crispy, 8-10 minutes. Serves one.
If you’ve never made Julia Child’s Beef Burgundy, I want to convince you to add it to your repertoire this very minute. It is absolutely the perfect make ahead dinner party recipe.
The only way you can possibly screw up it is if you place it on the stove to reheat while you run upstairs to change and get ready for your guests and take too long deciding what to wear and scorch the pan so badly that the whole dish tastes horribly burnt through and through and you actually have to throw away not only the stew but also the pan because it is ruined beyond repair and then you have to go get take out for twelve people from the Italian place down the street.
But believe me….that will only happen once and the zillions of times that you prepare this dish, from that day forward, will all be smashing successes!