My Parisian Restaurant Map

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ingredient Brainstorm's what came out of my last trip to the market. Any creative thoughts people?

-canellini beans
-kidney beans
-an eggplant
-canned san marzano tomatoes
-herby chipolata sausages

Judging by the colors represented here, it hasn't been the healthiest shopping I've ever done.

My only idea so far is a backward version of a bolognese....taking the sausages out of their casings, and using the meat as a kind of mince. Stir fried eggplants, sausage mince, canned tomatoes, loads of fresh basil, lots of Parmesan, over penne

I'm really in an eggplant mood, although I don't even think they re in season. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Being a Bum in Paris

Ok, so I know two posts in one day is a little absurd, but hey, I'm unemployed :)

Just wanted to thank everyone for the positive feedback on the blog, and share the fact that I'm sitting in my kitchen, drinking a glass of red wine, listening to the birds singing in my little parisian garden (yes, I have a garden!), while my Greek 'fasolakia' dish simmers away at its own leisure.

Cheers guys

Ingredient Brainstorm

Heres a quick thought: 
an ingredient brainstorm.

These are the ingredients that I have just bought from the newly discovered Marche de Passy.

I had an interesting little overture with the veggie man, who told me I have a 'belle souris', and as far as I know, 'souris' means 'rat.' Confusion entailed, and some English was used to clarify that the word he used was actually 'sourire' which means 'smile.'

Exasperated sigh.

Anyway these are the things I picked up, and I'm wondering what creative concoctions might be spawned from them.

  1. 2 celery stalks
  2. 2 carrots
  3. 1 heirloom tomato
  4. 3 roma tomatoes
  5. fresh parsley
  6. 2 onions
  7. feta
  8. humus
  9. red wine

  10. Any ideas.....?

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Gitanjali's Tasty Tidbits

    The problem with this column is that it makes me fat. Writing about food always manages to wet my appetite, which means that every time I sit down to write, the scrumptious chocolate souffl├ęs and delightful dark cherry pies I’m writing about start dancing around in front of my head, commanding me to go eat them. The result is a rather unfortunate side-effect on my waistline.

    This week, I’d like to warn all vegetarians to stop reading now and turn the page while I tell you about something that we should all have the privilege, and the budget, to eat at least once a month. Decadence is the word when it comes to foie gras. French for “fat liver,” making this delicacy requires animal cruelty at its finest. And as we all know, nothing is ever too barbaric for the French. For those unfamiliar with the process, and I’m willing to bet money on the fact that the average American has never heard of it, it involves force feeding a duck or goose until its liver is on the brink of bursting. The liver is then removed, and ready for devouring. The rich, velvety texture of foie gras comes from the fat that accumulates around the liver during the force feeding process. And to ensure the liver is extra fatty, the birds are fed corn boiled in, yup, you guessed it, fat.

    Surprisingly, I think it’s the Hungarians that go all out when they cook foie gras. Not only do they fry their foie gras, but they fry it in goose fat. It’s fat fried in fat, topped with, surprise, a goose fat dressing. A miraculous, artery-raping concoction which deserves a round of applause. They may have just topped the French when it comes to gorging on animal fat. Bravo.

    The only problem I have with this delightful dish is the duck version of it. It’s too strong, too chunky, and definitely too grainy. The flavor is almost a bit pungent, reminding you that the liver’s function is indeed to filter toxins, some of which may have ended up in your nostrils. But the goose foie gras, or as the French call it, foie gras d’ oia, is a melt-in-your-mouth, culinary orgasm. I do not exaggerate when I say this; spread it on toast and your life is complete. And if you’re feeling particularly decadent, or rather particularly French, you should eat it for breakfast, accompanied by a glass of champagne. C’est la vie, you only live once.

    If the only thing stopping you from buying some this instant is the concern over your waistline, I can assure you, this food falls under the French Paradox category; in other words, not only will it not make you fat, but it will make you live longer too.

    In the time it has taken me to write this article, I have gorged myself on one loaf of baguette, and half a jar of foie gras. (Bon Apetit.)

    Tuesday, March 3, 2009

    Paris-baguettes and chouquettes

    Alas, many things have changed in a very short time. 

    I have moved to Paris, following both love and my stomach. I needed to stave off the dull palatte that too many years in Holland was giving me.

    So I decided to postpone the Masters since I couldn't afford it anyway, and move to one of Europe's foremost culinary capitals (I will not say THE culinary capital, as my Italian step father might chop my head off).

    Arriving in Paris and being unemployed is not an easy thing. Especially when one is surrounded by the most tantalizing and seductive patisseries, brasseries, boulangeries, bistros, and restos. It's times like these when one suddenly realizes that, to be a successful gourmand, you have to have money. (A conclusion which worries me a little, seeing as my dream of being a food writer may result in my starvation; and the two don't seem to go hand in hand)

    So I started off enjoying the simple things in life. Sampling different types of baguettes, for example. The ones to be found in the supermarket can't nearly compare to the bakery I frequent around the corner from my house, needless to say. But even other bakeries don't seem to measure up to mine. Bias, perhaps? Or just convenience that what I consider to be the best baguette in Paris is being made one block away from my house?

    After the baguettes came the chouquettes. Although they're a little pricey at my bakery (in fact, much more pricey than at any other bakery Ive been to) they are little puffs of sugary heaven. In principle, they're the baby girl of the mommy cream puff, minus the cream. (see image above)
    To be bought by the 100 grams or the kilo, and not the piece, these little bundles of joy are usually placed in a small basket, hidden discretely next to the cash register. Sometimes they aren't even visible; instead, you have to ask behind the counter if they have them, and then theyll probably be unearthed from some obscure hiding place.

     I often find myself wondering why such an amazing feat of bakery isn't being displayed in a matter more fitting to its nature. Why isnt it being flaunted, advertised, framed, or publicly fondled? It seems to be an accepted part of French nature that some good things don't need be talked about, advertised, or shoved right in front of your nose. Some good things, which are so simple, and yet so elegant, are simply there, waiting to be discovered; it's like they're too good for the non locals to enjoy. They won't be given the privelege.