May 13, 2013
There are some restaurants that do just one thing, and do it so well that every person who visits the town it graces is compelled to visit.
You see that plate of langoustines? €22. For serious. And they were head-sucking, finger-licking good. Simply grilled with some mystery herbs and seasonings, served with a big pile of hot fries.
I mean, there are other things on the menu. These mussels were good, too. But every single person in that fully-booked restaurant was there for one thing.
February 9, 2013
I’ve been going out to eat a lot lately. I feel like I’m finally starting to figure out this Paris thing, and a big part of that is hanging out with friends at good restaurants… which means that I’m not cooking as much.
There’s this thing that happens when I eat a lot of restaurant food, though, where I start to crave the kind of thing that restaurants don’t tend to serve. Long-simmered, inexpensive cuts of meat. Saucy brown stuff. The kind of food that isn’t pretty on a plate, but sticks to your ribs.
This is what I want today, after several nights of restaurant food. Fork tender pork meets a nutty, buttery, oniony sauce that’s rendered rich and complex by a cajun-style, chestnut-colored roux. Plus pajamas, plus Netflix, plus beer, equals perfect night in.
January 15, 2013
I’m back from California to dreary, rainy Paris.
I know. I have no right to complain. But my two-and-a-half weeks in LA really highlighted the differences between my two cities, and what I had taken for granted while living in Santa Monica. Also what I have been missing here, more than 70° weather in January.
And but so I’ve decided (not resolved; I don’t do that) to do more things like this: invite a friend over for a simple lunch of roasted chicken, perhaps pepped up a bit with spice. Because what I’ve been missing here more than anything else is a sense of community. The kinds of friends who you don’t have to make elaborate dinner plans to see. Just come over. We’ll watch some things on YouTube and drink wine and eat too much.
December 13, 2012
This is one of the most versatile dinners I know. Basically, it follows the concept of “slather it in béchamel sauce and/or top it with pie crust and it’ll probably be delicious.”
Originally, I was going to call this “leftover pot pie,” because I took these photos around Thanksgiving when leftovers were all everyone was talking about. And honestly, the way I usually make it is with a mess of leftovers, but leftovers pot pie doesn’t sound that appetizing.
My point is that you can make this pie with pretty much any kind of vegetables or protein in the filling. Got some leftover chicken from that one you roasted earlier this week? It’ll work perfectly. A few herby carrot sticks that you didn’t finish from today’s afternoon snack? Chop ‘em up and chuck ‘em in. Some garlicky greens hanging out in your fridge? Naturally. You can also make this in almost any oven-safe vessel: a deep dish pie pan is traditional, but feel free to mess with individual mini-pies (like I did), 8-inch square baking pans, or cast-iron skillets.
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 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.