Monthly Archives: August 2009

Un festin pour les yeux: une tartelette

I’d be lying if I said that today wasn’t a rough and overly emotional day.

So no words right now, just delicious pictures. Because nothing is more healing than food.

tartelette framboise

tartelette citron

blueberry_tarte1

tarte au citron meringue

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Salade Niçoise

Dinner tonight was supposed to be Salade de legumes au fromage de chevre. I’ve been meaning to make that darn recipe since Monday, I even made a special trip to the grocery store for the odds and ends that I didn’t already have in my pantry or refrigerator. I, with all of my heart, was intending on making that salad for dinner this evening…but no matter how much I tried to convince myself, it just was not mean to be.

I ended up with a poor (and lazy) girl’s salade niçoise. Not that it disappointed my stomach in any way, shape, or form.

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Salade niçoise d’un pauvre fille

  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon capers
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 6 briny black olives
  • 1 medium size tomato

Place tuna in a small to medium sized bowl along with mustard and olive oil; mix and season to taste with pepper

Cut tomato into bite size pieces and place in bowl, arranged around the tuna

Place capers, anchovies, and olives on top of tuna and tomatoes; serve immediately

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Cake or death?

re-raspb-choc-macaroons608

A few days ago, as I sat on my couch feeling utterlly despotic over my current, stagnant life, I took a plunge and signed up for a 3-day free trial of Match.com.

Yes, I signed up for Internet dating.

I know that thousands of women across the United States sign up for this sort of thing every day, but this was not one of my proudest moments. I think myself to be fairly cute, intelligent, and at least bearable to be around…and I always envisioned myself romantically meeting the man of my dreams in the grocery store, with both of our arms reaching for the last jar of Nutella.

Fat chance of that, I’m sure. Which is why, as I sweat profusely onto my couch and half listened to  Andrew Zimmern going on about some inerd that he is always eating on his show, I “winked” at a boy I thought was interesting and cute. What am I, 13 again?

But I digress. Cute wink boy and I have been emailing back and forth over these past 2 days. And now I have reached the end of my free trial (which will cease my message sending and receiving capabilities) as well as discovered an online shop that happily bakes and sends out macaroons made by French patissiers and therefore I have reached a dilemma: macaroons or romance?

Which is more worthly of my extremely limited student funds? Clearly, I am currently infatuated with macaroons.

This dilemma seems to me to be quite similar to Eddy Izzard’s “cake or death?” dilemma. I mean really, who in their right mind would turn down cake?! Not me surely. Which is why I am having the difficulty turning down the siren-song of premade, buttery, and delicious macarons available for Internet order. Yummy confections seem infinitely better than possible heartbreak. But shouldn’t I be hunting down prospective victims (errr…men) instead of drooling over photographs on an online bakeries? Shouldn’t I just bake my own gosh darn macaroons, which I could then share with said prospective man? How the heck do I find the prospective man? Should I just run out of the coffee shop that I am currently planted in and snatch the next attractive man that walks by? And what about my macaroons?!

And this, folks, is why I am single and currently dessert-less.

{On the menu for this evening: salade de legumes au fromage de chevre}

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Un festin pour les yieux: Un bon dessert

Today, as I was hiding out in my favorite coffee shop trying to wait out a storm, I had the priviledge of sitting at the table next to a couple of friends reminiscing over their very separate, but very eventful, road trips on the west coast of the United States. As I sat sipping on my coffee, I found myself getting jealous.

The combination of last night’s episode of No Reservations, eavesdropping over the memories of Voodoo Bakery, and browsing through French pastry recipes  has instilled me with a very serious sense of wanderlust. Or, to be more accurate, a very serious desire to travel around the world eating some kickass pastries.

Don’t get me wrong, I have access to a wide variety of tasty muffins and scones and cakes here in this little coffee shop. And it’s my home away from home, so far be it from me to belittle the food that I have been eating nearly every single day since moving here.

But I want something more exotic. Something that I can’t walk ten minutes for. Something that will make my taste buds dance with glee.

Enter my most current craving: The French macaroon.

 

Le macaron is different from other ‘varieties’ of macaroons in that a fairly unsweetened meringue is used (for example, an Italian macaroon uses a more sugary meringue). And, unlike the common American conception of a macaroon, is not a puff of coconut (not that there is anything wrong with a coconut macaroon, of course. Coconut is delish).

Chocolat et framboise macaron

 

 

And now I know what my next baking project will be…

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No Reservations: San Fran

bourdain

I’m not going to be bashful about this; I LOVE Anthony Bourdain and his seemingly no BS and unself-conscious (is that even a word?!) expression  of his views. And of course I love the fact that he travels the world eating. So when I (finally) got cable, his show was one of the things that I was most excited about getting to watch on a regular basis. In fact, I’m one of those weirdos who plants herself on the couch in front of the TV for upwards of hours watching a reruns marathon.

Tonight’s episode’s setting? San Francisco, California.

I’ve been to San Fran once, on a family vacation. My most memorable moment being Ghiradelli Square and the free piece of badass chocolate that I was handed as I walked out the door with my father and I joking that we could keep walking through the store collecting samples on our way out.

Other than that, I have no recollections of the food we ate; nothing stood out. I remember visiting a bakery and eating seafood but goodness gracious, I know there are so many gourmet and exciting places to eat in San Francisco. Granted, I was only a teenager and my sister was even younger so I’m assuming my parents did not want to risk taking us into a nicer restaurant only to find out that tonight was the night for hissy fits. At the time, the decision to stick to the touristy restaurants made sense. Thinking back on that trip, however, I am feeling slightly cheated. So many delicious restaurants, so much culture to explore…and I saw so little of it.

I was allowed to live vicariously through Mr. Bourdain for this one hour, though. And I loved every minute of it…almost more than his excursions to more exotic locales because I had visited there and, to some level, could connect with his experiences…from “crunchy granola to dirty martinis”.

And now I’m feeling the need to buy plane tickets.

Anthony Bourdain always does a wonderful job of exploring the ‘non-tourist-y’, gritty, and sometimes unglamorous parts of cities that most folks would typically be skeptical of visiting. He has a way with his words that can make any restaurant appear, at the very least, intriguing. This particular episode was no exception. The San Fran episode, which began with a curiously vegan bacon-flavored coffee, had me at vegan bacon-flavored coffee. And the juxtaposition of upscale steakhouses with the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood with the street food culture? Priceless.

No Reservations, indeed.

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It’s gettin’ hot in here

And don’t worry, I will attempt to refrain from taking off all my clothes.

Since it’s hot as the dickens outside, and therefore hot as the dickens x 10 inside my apartment, I am attempting to find oven (and preferably even stove) free recipes. Or hell, even recipes that do not require being hot to eat. Because just the thought of standing in my tiny kitchen in front of a heat producing unit has my sweat glands screaming for mercy.

So what’s on the chopping block for this week?

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Salade de legumes au fromage de chevre

asparagus

Asparagus vichyssoise with mint

red-potato

Potato Salad with Haricots Verts, Roquefort, and Walnuts (yes, I know it says roasted potatoes…but it just sounds so delectable)

As for when I will start my way through The French Market, that remains to be seen. When I moved, I left my cookbooks at my parents house and they are slowly being shipped down to me.

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Rerun

It is about 1000 degrees in my apartment. I am sitting here sweating more than I think should be possible when I am sitting still, on my couch, watching the Food Network. The heat, combined with the fact that I just realized how much money I am going to have to spend on textbooks, has me feeling slightly anxious and irritated.

I mean, what kind of professor would ask me to get two copies of the same book (one is a new edition of course, but still! I am not made of money, here)

heirloom_tomatoes

What this all means, of course, is that dinner was a rerun tonight. I cannot possibly say that I felt like hopping on my bike and riding to the store to buy ingredients to cook would be a good idea in 95 degree weather. And I was in the mood for some soul-filling, mouth-stuffing, summer eats; my bruschetta concoction from last night filled that description and, wow, I had some leftover heirloom tomatoes that were staring up at me from my pantry shelf shouting, “eat me! eat me!”.

So at my ritual dinner time of 6:00 (honestly, I’m hungry at 5:00 but I know that if I eat that early I’ll be starving by 6:00 so I just wait), I peeled my sweaty body off the couch and made my way into the kitchen. I had no idea that chopping tomatoes could be so therapeutic, but I’m sure my counter would disagree; it sure got a beating.

As did my toast. I live in an efficiency apartment so two tiny burned pieces created a strange wafting of smoke throughout my apartment until I frantically rushed to the fan switch, hoping that I wouldn’t set my fire alarm off.

Burned toast aside, the results were delicious. I added a smidge of olive oil to the tomato and onion mixture which, when spooned onto the bread, made for a party in my mouth. Adding the olive oil to the vegetables rather than the bread was a great decision on my part.

The frustration fueled shoveling of bread and tomatoes into my mouth wasn’t half bad either.

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