October 31, 2012
My boss once said to me, “You know, you are probably the most outwardly normal-seeming person who is actually completely batshit insane.” He said something on this order once a month or so, usually because I had said something heavily nerdy, such as reciting the first few lines of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, or was eating something that he considered weird, such as raw corn on the cob or roasted bone marrow. Nothing like walking into the office and seeing your assistant chowing down on a hunk of cow bone.
Bone marrow is one of those divisive dishes. You either get it or you don’t. I’ve been trying to convert people to the gospel of marrow for years now, ever since I read about it in college and immediately went out to the local grocery store and to roast my own. “It’s like warm, gelatinous, beefy butter!” I would say. I would get weird looks.
Later, via Anthony Bourdain, I learned to pair my marrow with a parsley salad, dressed simply in lemon juice and shallots. Later still, I began experimenting with that salad and have landed on something a bit more peculiar, with a base of fig-infused white wine vinegar and minced preserved lemons for a citrusy kick. It cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the marrow perfectly.
October 30, 2012
The other day, I was waiting outside a restaurant in the Marais when I started to feel something I’d never felt before in Paris. My fingers and toes were starting to go numb.
I know I talk about the weather a lot here, and I know that must get incredibly boring, but there’s just so much weather here that I’ve never experienced before: grey, rainy springs, summer that lasts about two weeks, the first cold snap of fall. That last one is something we’re in this week. When we finally got inside the restaurant a few days ago, I kept my jacket on the whole time and my toes didn’t warm up until we got home and I put them up on one of the heaters for a few minutes.
The cold also drove me into my warm cozy kitchen to try something that’s been on my mind: what I’ve been thinking of as sweet risotto, but what the internet tells me is rice pudding. Short-grained arborio rice, toasted to a nutty brown with butter, enriched with vanilla-speckled milk until it’s creamy and soft.
October 29, 2012
Like Elaine from Seinfeld, I’ve always been something of a man’s woman. I have a lot of dude friends and not too many girlfriends. In fact, I remember in first grade that my two best friends were boys. I still talk to both of them on occasion. One is an expat in Vienna and other brews beer. Apparently first-grade me knew how to pick ‘em.
But I do crave female company a lot of the time, especially here where friends are precious and few. There’s nothing quite like girl talk. There’s that ineffable quality in women, especially in gossipy one-on-one sessions, that makes me open up a little more than I am usually wont.
Ariane is one of the first friends I met after moving to Paris. She’s an artist. I have never seen her without some kind of sketchbook in her bag or in her hand.
October 26, 2012
This is one of those recipes I had to make five times over before I posted it on the blog, because each time I made a batch I ate all of it before I got pictures.
You’d be surprised how quickly one smallish Asian girl can scarf down two apples’ worth of chips, especially if they’ve been baked to a caramelly brown and have the scent of pumpkin spice coming off of them.
Can you tell I’m obsessed? In fact, I’ve got another batch of them in the oven right now, making the apartment smell of apple pie heaven. I keep thinking I’m going to wrap them up all pretty and give them to friends as little gifts, but then I just eat them all again. I mean, it’s not like they’re deep fried or anything.