lundi 15 juin 2009

le fromage qui pue

at last.  

the most appropriate post has arrived to this blog.  

i can not take credit however, because the experience and the following recount belong to the lovely Amy Caren Mednick **:

**Amy and the cute curly-haired hubby Aron, took the "Harmony of Wine and Cheese" course at Murray's Cheese

First of all, they told us some rules for pairing wine and cheese. Here are the basic ones i took away: 
1.anything with bubbles (beer or sparkling wine) goes great with very soft creamy cheese. can and should usually eat the rind unless it's really hard.
3.goat cheese loves white wine.
4.cheese goes best with white wine, so if you have a red, it's good with really strong cheese (the acidity balances the strong flavor, such as garlic)

most importantly, THE CHEESES.
best cheese EVER EVER EVER: Ossau Iraty. It's made in the Basque Pyrenees of southwestern France-- that's right by you right Alki? You should stop reading this immediately and go get some. It's a sheep's milk cheese and is magically creamy and delicious.
Our other favorite was Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, which was cheddar but was crumbly like parm. And there was a pretty good goat cheese called st maure.

thanks amy for your extremely insightful (and savory) report!!! :-)  mmm...cheese.  i am all over st. maure but i don't know ossau iraty (i bet ingrid, remi, or vincent are probably laughing at me now).  i'm so so so excited to try it next time i'm at le fromagerie.  

two years ago, when i finished my business program and was deciding whether or not to stay in france, i said to myself "if i find a job at areva, i'll stay in france.  otherwise, i'll take two months and do a bike-cheese tour around france and then go back to the US".   i ended up getting a job with areva.  

and so i never did that tour.  

but-   i'd still really like to.  

jeudi 11 juin 2009

le relieur

ok two things.  

i just made a wicked sandwich :

first, i mixed some minced garlic with olive oil and salt and pepper, spread it onto my baguette, and stuck it in the oven for 10 minutes (also known as garlic bread).  

once i took the warm, garlic-y baguette out of the oven, i filled it with :

fresh chives (from the garden)
fresh basil (from the garden)
and balsamic vinaigrette.

yea, it was even more delicious than it sounds or looks. 

ok, so 2nd thing :

i live on the coolest street ever.  i'm embarrassed to say that i've lived here for almost a year, and never walked into the stores on my street.  first of all, there's this crazy bookstore, un regard moderne.  i really have no idea how to describe so instead, i will copy-paste a description i found with that amazing google thing, that i think does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the place. 

Graphic Art, Sado Masochist, Snoopy, American Satanism, Freak Designers, Japanese Bondage, Pop art, Extreme Performances, everything you may like or dislike is available at "Un regard Moderne" a tiny bookseller situated near Saint Michel boulevard. The first time you come into the shop you feel scared by the silence and the huge piles of book that create kind of temple columns. Then you quickly learn how to find the different thematic piles: A pile of books stands for Erotic fetishist photographies, another one for eccentric cartoons (Pierre Lapolice, Stéphane Blanquet), experimental movies, beatnik literature. If you're lucky enough you'll discover original William Burroughs recordings declaiming his "cut up poems".

"Un Regard Moderne" owns a modest gallery and organize previews and exihibitions to support the launch of limited edition books. Pierre Molinier and Gilles Berquet two famous erotic french photographers has elected this amazing bookseller whenever they need to present their new creations. Be aware of the price because most of the books sold there are unique and cost sometimes a lot.

oooh, i found some pretty good pictures of the place.

 awesome, huh?

the second place i discovered was "le relieur"  what is a relieur ?  yea, i had no clue either.  a relieur constructs, assembles, and/or restores books -- a "bookbinder".  there isn't a wiki page in english.  probably because it doesn't exist as a profession in culture-less anglophone countries!  hehe. 

anyway, andre MINOS is .. amazing !  (and his father is greek !)  i spent about 1/2 hour talking with him about what he does.  he literally uses a sewing machine to bind pages together !! (ok, maybe this doesn't seem shocking for some of you, but to me, it was completely foreign !)

he also told me about his surprisingly many japanese apprentices (the french and the japanese are quite similar when it comes to.. what is the word i'm looking for?  taste ? meticulous ?  refined ?  detail ?), his international clients, our neighbhorhood.... anyway, he lives right next to his workshop so he invited me over for lunch on his terrasse sometime.  i'm stoked.  

yup, that's all.  tasty sandwiches and the coolest street ever.  

i'm waiting to hear back from amy and aron about their wine and cheese class (sue's and my wedding present!) for my next post........ :-)

samedi 6 juin 2009

flavored coffee

i was lying in bed this morning, thinking about my impending supermarket trip and creating a mental shopping list.  flavored coffee.  mmm.  

unfortunately... FLAVORED COFFEE DOESN'T EXIST IN PARIS.  isn't that sad ?  so then, i started making a mental list of all the culinary delights i miss from my beloved united states : 

(and then proceeded to cry) 

- flavored coffee.
- bagels bagels bagels.  i have never eaten a bagel in paris.  NEVER.  i know i could go to bagels and brownies, this cute little shop near st. placide or a jewish bakery in the marais, but it hasn't happened.  there's just not the same bagel reflex here as there is in the US.  someone at work asked me once, "if you have something to celebrate, what is the 'croissant' equivalent in the US of treats to bring everyone at work?"... good question, huh.  i was hesitating between donuts and bagels.  personally, i would go with bagels.  mmm.  with chives cream cheese.  and sprouts and cucumbers. ohhh ok, alki stop.  
- anna's taqueria.  i will enlarge that to quick, cheap, and tasty mexican food.  don't get me wrong, i've searched and there's some decent mexican options (el sol y la luna , la perla , anahuacalli <-- awesome expensive mexican food option by the way !!  oh the margaritas .... shoutout to penny and james.) but let's just say that there is a huge business opportunity for taquerias in paris.  
- interesting sandwiches. the french concept of a sandwich ("jambon beurre", for example) is a baguette smeared with a bit of butter and 3 pieces of ham in it.  maybe a little pickle too.  that's it.  disappointing, right ?  i know.  where is the surprise ??

the avocado spread??  the sprouts ??  the honey-roasted turkey??  the pesto spread ?? the tapenade??  ohh, how i long for a turkey sub from bruno's right now.  there's cosi (different from the new york one) that is pretty awesome and has killer crumble, and in searching for the address of bagels and brownies, i found this blog article :

i'm totally going to check out all those places, especially LA FERME.

but in any case, let's just say that the frenchies are pretty oblivious to the magical possibilities of a sandwich. 

what else....

- trader joe's.
new york style pizza.
cheetos.  and cheezits for that matter.  
- kashi cereal. 

that's all i can think of right now.  i'm sure there's more.  i did miss greasy american breakfasts for a while but that longing is easily satisfied by breakfast in america (beth, how many times did you go there in a span of 2 weeks?  was it four ? haha).  

share you cravings!!  we can get through this ... together!  maybe we can open a diner that serves mexican food, huge pizzas, cheetos, awesome sandwiches, and flavored coffee.  oooh.  i like it.  we're on to something here.  

and finally, just a small update on my garden.  it's been approximately one week.  and the chives/tomatoes/basil/mint are in good shape.  and as for the radish/roquette batch, there's these cute little flowers (ok, maybe otherwise known as weeds, that are sprouting !).  all in all, things are looking a-ok.  and my morning eggs have been incredibly tasty lately.   

lundi 1 juin 2009

eggplant : a meat substitute?

this will be a short one, i promise.  

so.  i went to melik's house yesterday and he was making thai red curry - i was first astounded to see a french person add hot chili peppers to a paste that was already quite spicy (the french are generally quite wimpy when it comes to spicy food!).  spicy for me, is obviously a-ok. mmm....

then, melik apologized that it would be a meatless curry, which again for me, was perfectly fine. 

what i didn't know however, was that he had soaked his eggplant(aubergine) in salt water for 24 hours in order to "degager" the water in the eggplant and make it cook better. 

when i sunk my teeth into the pieces of eggplant in the curry, it had an incredible fleshy texture that i almost felt like i was eating meat.  it was so succulent and delicious.  

i'm still incredulous that the eggplant's meaty texture was due it being stored in water with some salt in it.  

moral of the story - if you want to cook eggplant, soak it in salt water.  at least for an hour before you cook.  

eggplant is definitely one of my favorite vegetables.  and it's so pretty !!

speaking of pretty food, check out my groceries.  

and while i'm at it, i did a bit of "gardening" this weekend.  ok, i cheated and bought the basil, chives, cherry tomatoes, and mint, already sprouted... but i'm gonna keep 'em alive !  (can you sense the hesitation in my writing?)  i also got seeds to grow radishes and rocket lettuce which i'm pretty sure are both doomed already.  i'll keep you posted on the progress of the window ledge garden.

sign off.