France: The Week in Paris

October 15th, 2017

Garlic-Rosemary-Baguette-2v
There is no better way to start a blog post on Paris than with French bread.  Baguettes are available in every Boulangerie in France and it seems that every other person that you see on the street has one tucked under his/her arm.  This was my attempt at duplicating it a while back.  You can find the recipe here.  We are back from our two week trip to France and are slowly easing back into our normal time zone.

Place Vendome

On a drizzly day in Paris, we walked from our apartment near Notre Dame Cathedral in the 5th Arrondissement to the Place Vendome in the 1st Arrondissement.  We were with our French friends Laurent and Carole.  Place Vendome is home to the Paris Ritz Carlton where Lady Diana was staying before her unfortunate accident.  The Ritz is temporarily closed for renovations.  All of the high end jewelry stores are also on the square.

Palais Royal

We also visited the Palais Royal.  The inner courtyard was transformed in 1986 by a controversial art installation known as Les Colonnes De Buren.  The artist, Daniel Buren, envisioned a conceptual grid of varying heights of black and white striped columns.  Many thought that the whimsical columns clashed with the classical architecture surrounding them.  But today it appears that people are enjoying the whimsy.  There was even a bride and groom posing for their photographer on two of the taller columns.

Carole Palais Royal

Our French friend Carole also posed.  I couldn’t enhance the previous picture because it was on another camera, but this was from Instagram on my iPhone.  Love the options for enhancement on Instagram. Love Carole’s French elan.

Luxembourg GardensOn a sunnier Fall day we spent some time in the Luxembourg Gardens.  The Luxembourg Palace was commissioned by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of  Henry IV.  She designed the gardens to conform to designs from her native Florence.

Notre Dame Cathedral

David got up early one morning and walked the several blocks to Notre Dame with the intention of climbing to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral to commune with the gargoyles.  I am pleased to report that he made it to the top.

David at Notre Dame

The 400 steps winding upward were a challenge but he was proud that he made it.  Not bad for a 70 something guy.  The views of Paris were awesome.

Shakespeare and Company

We enjoyed visiting the iconic Shakespeare and Company.  This bookstore has been around for decades and was a hang out for some of our most illustrious American authors.  Browsing the books was enjoyable and we also appreciated the staff who Googled information for us.  It is such a friendly place.

Paris Flower Market

After leaving Shakespeare and Co. we crossed the bridge to the island of Ile de Cite to walk through the Flower and Bird Market.  It is always a tranquil place in the busy city.

Eiffel Tower

We ended a day with a river cruise on the Seine.  J’aime Paris.  There will be more about restaurants in my next post.

Pain D’Epices – French Spice Bread

September 23rd, 2017

Pain D'Epices

We leave for France on Tuesday.  It has been a long time in the planning.  In honor of our upcoming trip, I made Mimi Thorisson’s Pain D’Epices.  It is a humble spice bread that is good in so many ways.  Serve it warm smeared with butter, top it with hummus for an appetizer, or spoon on your favorite jam. It can be anything that you want it to be. It is both sweet and savory. The following are some of the places that I am considering visiting in Paris.

Le Petit Chatelet

We will be staying in the Latin Quarter on this trip.  We previously stayed in the 7th Arrondissement near the Eiffel tower. I am very familiar with that area of Paris.  The Latin Quarter is in the 5th Arrondissement on the Left Bank.  There are so many historical points of interest there. Our apartment is a block from the Sorbonne, the famous Paris University specializing in the arts, humanities, and languages.  But it is also close to Shakespeare and Company. The original bookstore was opened in 1919 and was a refuge for many early American writers like Hemingway and Ezra Pound. The current location is close to The Notre Dame Cathedral.  Le Petit Châtelet is next door to Shakespeare and Company.  Even though it is in a touristy area, the restaurant is authentic and charming with a delightful view of the cathedral.

le-caveau-du-palais-salle-cote-bar-place-dauphine-341ab

Le Caveau du Palais is in a quiet pocket on Ile de Cite.  The restaurant is what the French call charme fou, utterly and incredibly charming.  It is on Place Dauphine, a tranquil triangular park. Outside seating is a pleasant option while watching elderly men playing Pétanque in the adjacent park.

Le Caveau du PalaisIt would be a pleasant place for lunch.

RobertetLouise_RibSteaksintheFireplace

With Gingham curtains at the windows and the smell of wood smoke in the interior, Robert et Louise has been a Marais destination for generations.  Specializing in steaks cooked over a wood fire, it would be a good choice on a cool evening for French comfort food.

chez-la-vieille

But for our special night out, we have chosen Chez la Vieille.  “La Vielle” literally means old woman.  The restaurant was started by French cook Adrienne Biasin who had a strong French temperament.  When it closed in 2012, Chicago born chef Daniel Rose (of the popular Paris “Spring” restaurant) decided to re-open it.  It has been redesigned but retains many of the old school dishes like blanquette de veau.

I will try to post to the blog while we are traveling.  But I will definitely be posting pictures to my Instagram account.  Hope you follow me there.  Au Revoir.

PAIN D’EPICES (Mimi Thorisson)

5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup almonds finely chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup lavender honey
1 large egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan with butter

In a large bowl, combine the flours, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.  Add the honey, melted butter, and egg yolk and mix well.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Unmold and let cool at least slightly before serving.  This is good at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

 

Fig Jam

September 1st, 2017

Figs

It is fig season.  When figs are ripe they must be used quickly as they do not have a long shelf life after picking.  One of my neighbors here in Lake Lure has a fig tree and she generously shares with several people.  I am glad to be one of them.  Last year I made a Fig and Almond Cake and a Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tart.  This year I had little time so I decided to turn my bounty into fig jam.  It couldn’t be easier.

Figs in pot

It is just a matter of chopping up the washed figs and adding them to a pot with sugar and lemon juice and cooking until thickened.  Stir occasionally while you are occupied elsewhere.  Jam making is such a virtuous pursuit.

Figs in Jars

Looking at the jewel-like contents of the jars makes me feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile.

Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins

To thank Donna for all of the figs, I made her these Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins from Jamie Schler’s new cookbook Orange Appeal. The orange flavor is intense in these muffins due to the addition of puréed orange pulp. I am enjoying all of Jamie’s recipes so much.  Orange Appeal is a worthy addition to your culinary collection.

FIG JAM

2 pounds of figs, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Place the figs and sugar in a large pot.  Stir and let sit for about 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved.  Add lemon juice and water and bring to a boil while stirring to combine.

Turn burner to medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 25 minutes until fruit is soft and the sauce has thickened.

Place jam in sterilized canning jars with lids.  Jam will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.

Printable Recipe

Eclipse Weekend

August 23rd, 2017

Orange Cake

Our family rented a house in Highlands, NC to watch the total eclipse of the sun.  It was one of the locations along a narrow track that would experience totality. We were excited to be there.  It was also our DIL’s birthday.  As part of the four day event, I made this Orange and Brown Sugar Glazed Cake from Jamie Schler for the celebration.  Her new cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet, has just been released.  It is a gorgeous book that showcases oranges in many ways.  I have been following her blog, Life’s a Feast for years.

Orange Cake

The orange flecked cake is drizzled with an orange glaze.  Because it was a birthday cake for Kristen, I added a brickle topping and extra orange zest.  I served it with Jamie’s orange flavored whipped cream. I will be making this cake often.  I will also be ordering Orange Appeal from Amazon.  I am anxious to try the Beef in Bourbon Sauce and her Chocolate Orange Marmalade Brownies.

Sweet Potato Salsa

Kristen was in charge of breakfast one morning.  One of the components to her Eggs Benedict dish was this Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa from Foster’s Market.  The smell of roasting sweet potatoes with Balsamic vinegar and cumin drew everyone into the kitchen.  This is such a versatile recipe.  Serve it with a steak, add it to tacos or serve it with eggs as we did.

Eggs Benedict

Kristen layered the English muffins with guacamole, cheddar cheese, sweet potato salsa, poached eggs and a crema sauce made from milk thinned sour cream.

Eggs Benedict

This was a unique take on traditional Eggs Benedict and we loved it.

Eclipse Group with glasses

After breakfast we were ready for the eclipse.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  Clouds rolled in to block our beautiful view.  In spite of that, it was awesome.  Darkness descended quickly, the crickets began chirping, birds flew to their nests, the temperature dropped, and for a brief moment the total eclipse came into view, with a flash of the aurora.  The kids will remember it always.

ORANGE AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CAKE WITH ORANGE-FLECKED WHIPPED CREAM
(As printed in Fine Cooking Magazine by Jamie Schler)

For the Cake:
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
12 oz. (scant 3 cups) unbleached cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled
1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tbs zest from the oranges.  Juice one of the oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
In three additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles, and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake may have a few crumbs clinging to it.) Check the cake during the last 10 minutes of baking; if it’s browning too much, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slice a knife around the edge to release the cake, if necessary.  Remove the side of the pan, and using a large cake spatula, transfer the cake from thee pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool.

Glaze the cake:
Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick in 3/4-inch intervals.
Combine the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides.  (The cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days before serving.)

Make the whipped cream and serve:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl using a hand mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more.  Serve the cake with the whipped cream.

FOSTER’S MARKET ROASTED SWEET POTATO SALSA

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 scallions, minced (green and white part)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
juice and zest of 1 large lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder and cumin and spread in one layer on a large, rimmed baking pan.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are golden brown and soft.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, place the tomato, red pepper, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice and zest with the sweet potatoes; toss until combined.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with eggs, tostadas, grilled steak or chicken.

Printable Recipe Orange Cake

Printable Recipe Sweet Potato Salsa

Garlic Confit Toast

July 14th, 2017

Garlic Confit Bread

We all love garlic bread.  I have made many versions over the years. But I have to say that this recipe is the most amazing I have ever made.  Brought to the internet by Bon Appetit, I couldn’t resist making it.  It helps that my weight-conscious husband is on a motorcycle trip and I can eat anything that I want for dinner.  Last night it was bread and wine with a very small helping of cole slaw and pork.Garlic Confit Bread

Usually a confit refers to the method of cooking duck or goose in their own fats.  But in this case, whole cloves of garlic are cooked in butter until they are golden brown.  the mixture is then mashed together with Parmesan cheese, oregano, lemon zest and red pepper flakes.

Garlic Confit Bread

The mixture is spread on a sliced baguette and broiled. Be very watchful of the bread because it can burn easily.  Not sure what I will do with the leftovers, but I will worry about that later.  I thoroughly enjoyed my indulgence.  My, oh my.  This was good.

GARLIC CONFIT TOAST

  •  head garlic, cloves peeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 baguette

Cook garlic in butter in a small covered saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and very soft, 15−20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.

Add Parmesan, oregano, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes to garlic and mash to a paste; season with kosher salt.

Heat broiler. Slice baguette in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Broil, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet until golden brown, about 2 minutes (watch carefully). Let cool slightly, then spread cut side with garlic paste. Broil until cheese is golden and bubbling, about 2 minutes. (Mine took only 1 1/2 minutes) Slice.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.