November 30, 2012
The gentleman’s been watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy while home sick with the flu. Consequently, I can’t call these potatoes. I must call them po-ta-toes.
Here’s another option for the quintessential side, if you don’t want to, you know, “boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” Hasselback taters!
Potatoes get cut into thin slices, with just a bit of potato at the bottom holding them together. Then each slice gets a hug from from either side with butter or parmesan or garlic, then baked until the slices crisp up into delicate leaves. Excellent served with roasted chicken.
November 28, 2012
And just like that, I’m back in Paris.
I know, I had just arrived in Nice when I posted, and I had been intending to stay for at least another month. So what caused my precipitous departure from the French Riviera?
My apartment was robbed.
It happened while I was out at a café, leeching off their wifi and posting about salmon. I came home and saw that drawers were open and things seemed messier than how I’d left them… and the windows were all open… and the closets had been rifled through… and there were muddy boot prints leading from the tiny window in the bathroom, which I saw now had a broken latch.
On the one hand, I was grateful that I wasn’t home when the break-in happened. Intellectually, I knew that the last thing a robber wants is for residents to be home when he’s about his thievery. On the other hand, I was still scared. Scared that whomever it was would come back for more (since I’d taken almost all of my electronics — anything of decent value — with me), and this time I’d be around for them to hurt. I called the gentleman and the friend from whom I was renting the apartment, packed up my things, and found a hotel room. Only after I got into the room did I see that my mascara had run and I looked like the star of a bad 90′s music video featuring a pop star with a no-good cheating boyfriend.
I felt violated. I had started to make a home for myself there, albeit a temporary one, and good homes are extensions of ourselves. I had even roasted a chicken in the kitchen the day before. Is there anything more homey than roasting a chicken on an Sunday?
So now I’m back, sooner than expected, trying to create some normality around me. Maybe I’ll roast another chicken tomorrow.
November 26, 2012
This is the first meal I prepared after I arrived in Nice. One of the best things and worst things about moving is a new kitchen. Best: it’s so clean! Worst: there’s no food in it! So I ran to Monoprix and came back with the essentials (eggs, pasta, cheese, lemons, bacon, butter, and wine) and some stuff for dinner (salmon, broccoli, parsley). Because apparently, whenever I need to make a single-girl dinner, it ends up being salmon.
Like many of the recipes I share with you, this one tastes and sounds fancy, but is a total cinch to make. Just wrap up all the ingredients in a paper packet and bake; that’s it. I made it for a solo dinner, but I can see making this for guests too — baking off several packets at once and opening them all up at the table, puffs of lemon-scented steam escaping from the open packets.
You can use whatever herbs you like in the packet, and even mix it up by adding different oils, spices, and vegetables. I served my salmon with buttered pasta and steamed broccoli with parmesan, letting the juices from the packet run into the rest of the plate, imparting the pasta and vegetables with the flavors and lemon and brown butter.
cooking, mains |
Tags: bake, beurre noisette, brown butter, cooking, dinner, easy, fish, food, french, healthy, lemon, main dish, microwave, oven, parchment paper, poisson en papillote, salmon, salmon fillet, salmon in paper, salmon in parchment, saumon en papillote, single lady, single serving |
November 25, 2012
This week, a small group of us gathered at Dans les Landes to celebrate our friend Brad’s birthday.
It turned out to be an excellent choice; a Spanish/French tapas restaurant, Dans les Landes serves lots of shareable, creative small plates. Truffle risotto served in beef bones! Smoked duck and foie gras salad made into maki-like lettuce rolls! Mushroom “cappuccino” soup! Nothing pretentious, just good food and a convivial atmosphere.
Happy birthday, Bradley!
Dans Les Landes
119bis Rue Monge, 75005 (Censier – Daubenton)
01 45 87 06 00
And now I’m in Nice, writing from an American-style diner. I got here on Tuesday and the whole week has been a blur of trying to figure out the apartment and the town and realizing more and more that I’m irrevocably addicted to the internet.
November 24, 2012
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I wrote a blog post about tarte tatin a long time ago, before I started this blog. It was when I was in LA and considering the whole blogging thing, and I opened a free WordPress account, set the visibility to “private,” and wrote a little post about this French apple tart.
I guess it must not have been the right time. The writing felt stilted, and my photos were from my phone, and there wasn’t enough light in my kitchen, and the apples stuck to the pan. That one post hung there on the internet, lonely and unread, for a year or so until I deleted that account.
I thought it was time to revisit this recipe since this blog now seems to be alive and well. There are good reasons why I thought it would be a good idea to start with this dish on that long-ago blog — it’s fancy-sounding and pretty-looking, but ultimately simple to make, and most of all, it’s one of those desserts that I just crave. Sticky-sweet caramel encasing soft, warm apple pieces that collapse into sauce under your fork, all on top of buttery puff pastry.
Then there’s the flipping of the hot hot pan onto a plate since this is, in essence, and upside-down tart. Some apples will probably stick, but just scrape them off with a spoon and stick ‘em back on the tart. No one will care.
For an extra bit of decadence (and because the foie gras from that party was still around), I shaved a bit of the cold foie gras on top of the slices of tart. If the tart is still a little warm and the foie is very cold, the foie stands up in pretty curls for a few minutes before melting into a rich puddle on the apples. Heaven.
November 22, 2012
Say hello to one of my favorite French dishes.
I know it’s Thanksgiving and another piece of poultry is the last thing you want to think about, but this is special. This beautiful rosy piece of poultry is magret de canard, or duck breast. Traditionally, magret de canard is the breast from a duck raised for its liver, or foie gras, and it’s usually cooked like a steak — seared, finished with a few minutes in the oven, and served medium-rare. Making this recipe also leaves you with several big spoonfuls of sublime, thyme-and-orange scented duck fat to do with what you like.
It’s an impressive date-night dish, something that so terribly French but so very easy. I serve it with roasted veggies and sometimes mashed potatoes, but the bistro down the street serves theirs with fried plantains and a lightly dressed salad, and that is also heavenly.
November 21, 2012
Hello from Nice! I’m spending a few weeks here on the French Riviera to get away from the gloom and doom of Paris. Sad part? Spending Thanksgiving alone. That does feel a bit wrong, even if I did go to that awesome Friendsgiving party last week.
This is a dish I made a couple weeks ago, but I think it would be great to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck or, as in my case, to have as an alternative to a huge turkey (because turkey for one isn’t really plausible, is it?). It’s vegetarian but substantial, with the meaty texture of the mushrooms mixing with the crunch of the nuts. And sage mixed with nuts always tastes vaguely like sausage to me, so I don’t really miss the meat.
If you want extra credit, make this with my recipe for homemade pie crust, but it works just as well with store-bought. Since it’s a rustic galette, there’s no pinching and shaping of dough, just a pretty, lazy folding up of the sides.