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

 

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

Sugared Rosemary-Lemon Scones – {the} Lost Kitchen

May 11th, 2017

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

These are not ordinary scones.  First of all the flavor; lots of lemon flavor from grated lemon zest and a subtle undertone of finely chopped rosemary.  The texture is both crumbly and crisp.  Secondly the method of preparation; the dough is rolled into a long log, stored in the refrigerator and sliced and baked when you are ready.  This is perfect to have on hand for fresh scones for breakfast without the prep and clean-up.

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

The recipe came from a source new to me.  There is a small 40 seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine named {the} Lost Kitchen run by an intrepid strong woman named Erin French.  She had previously run a Secret Supper Club from her apartment.  These “pop-up” dining places have become popular.  Witness the seasonal pop-up that Mimi Thorisson established in her rural home in France.  Erin’s Pop-up restaurant and cooking garnered such enthusiasm that she eventually opened a restaurant in Belfast, Maine.  But after two years and much soul searching, plus a divorce, she eventually lost the restaurant.  Erin worked her way back, first by outfitting an Airstream trailer for cooking (bought in my neighborhood of Bat Cave by the way), and then by finding an old mill that she turned into a restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine.

The Lost Kitchen

I would love to eat there some day.  The restaurant is opened from May 1st until New Years Eve.  Reservations open on April 1st of each year.  This year on April 1st the phone rang so often that 10,000 people called for reservations. Needless to say, the staff was overwhelmed and the waiting list is long for a 40 seat establishment.  You can hear Erin’s story in this  James Beard Award Winning Video.

 

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

All I can say about Erin’s recipe for scones is that I will be making them again and using her idea of forming a log from the dough so that I can bake them in my own time.  The flavor of these scones is amazing, but be sure to use lots of lemon zest.  I tried to hide them so I could keep them to myself, but David was not to be outdone. Even though bread is not in his diet, he managed to eat several.  They are delicious. Just imagine how many combinations you can come up with. I am planning another batch. Erin French is my new hero.  If I were younger I would want to be her.  I wish her the best.Lost Kitchen You will not be sorry to own this beautiful cookbook.  Buy it on Amazon.

SUGARED ROSEMARY-LEMON SCONES ( Erin French from Food & Wine Magazine )

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon ( Use a large lemon or two small ones)
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

    1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the 1/3 cup of sugar, the rosemary, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-size pieces of butter still visible. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of cream until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead just until it comes together. Gently roll the dough into a 14-inch log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the log into 8 rounds and transfer to the baking sheet. I sliced them into 10 rounds.  Brush the scones with cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the scones are golden. Let cool slightly before serving.

Printable Recipe

Easter Bread

April 12th, 2017

Easter Bread

We will be spending Easter with out family in Cary, NC.  There are so many memories in my mind of growing up with Easter traditions. The cute dress accessorized with hat and gloves, the Easter egg hunt, and the clove spiked ham on the table.  Things have changed somewhat from my 50’s memories.  Now we can attend church in whatever suites us; no gloves, no hat necessary. But this year I did buy a polished cotton flowered dress with coordinating sweater to celebrate the season.  At my age, I even might add a jaunty hat.  Our kids are on a trip right before the weekend, so I am not sure what our Easter dinner will entail. We may be eating out.  But I had to contribute something.  This bread came about because I had some leftover King Arthur baker’s cinnamon filling mix.  But don’t worry if you don’t have the mix.  You can get the same results with 1/2 cup softened butter mixed with 1 cup of brown sugar and 4 to 5 tablespoons of cinnamon.

Easter Bread

The bread looks complicated, but following the very simple directions you end up with a layered yeast bread with cinnamon swirls, bananas and dried pineapple.  The bananas and dried pineapple work well in this bread.  It is amazing toasted with the warm banana chunks and pineapple melting in your mouth.

Easter Bread

Whatever you have planned for your Easter holiday, I wish you well and encourage you to try this lovely bread from King Arthur Flour.  Have a great Easter weekend.

EASTER BREAD (King Arthur Flour)

This unusual sweet bread is stuffed with bananas and pineapple, plus rich cinnamon filling. The concept comes to us courtesy of Ricardo Neves Gonzalez, one of our Brazilian readers, who makes it at his bakery. Thanks, Ricardo!

Dough

  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup lukewarm water*
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved for topping
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

Filling

  • 3/4 cup Baker’s Cinnamon Filling ( Or recipe in post using 3/4 cups.  No water)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2/3 cup diced dried pineapple

Topping

Directions

  1. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
  4. Pat and roll the dough into a rectangle about 18″ x 14″.
  5. Make the cinnamon filling: Mix the Baker’s Cinnamon Filling and water to make a smooth paste.
  6. Looking at the dough horizontally (so it’s 18″ long), spread half the filling down the center third of the dough
  7. Slice each banana into about 12 rounds. Space the slices atop the filling.
  8. Fold one of the end pieces into the center to cover the bananas and filling.
  9. Spread the remaining filling atop the piece of dough you’ve just folded into the center, and distribute the dried pineapple evenly atop the filling.
  10. Fold the other side of the dough over the filling to cover it. Pull the long side seam underneath, and tuck each end underneath, too. You should have a long, flat log with no filling showing.
  11. Use a sharp knife to cut 4 diagonal slashes atop the loaf, cutting through both layers of dough; this will allow steam to escape.
  12. Brush with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the coarse or Demerara sugar.
  13. Cover the loaf gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 1 hour. It won’t rise much, if at all. Towards the end of the resting period, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  14. Bake the loaf in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Tent with foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till it’s golden brown and a sharp knife poked into the center doesn’t reveal any raw dough.
  15. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  16. Yield: 1 large loaf, about 16 servings.

Printable Recipe

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