Friday, July 9, 2010

happy hours

The" happy hour "signs are mushrooming in Paris.Except that this one time, I saw written in bold letters on a cafe window: happy hours......indeed ! first of all logical, and in other ways you might say more enticing.....
this little summer cocktail will provide, I assure you more than one happy hour.
It is pretty, seasonal, fruity but not too much and it has quite a kick. if you need it ! If you find it too strong, just pour a little more rose wine into the mix, since a little more rose has never hurt anyone ....

for 3
1 1/4 cup dry rose wine
1 white nectarine diced
1 tbsp meyer lemon and mint syrup ( from June Taylor)
1/4 cup cointreau
1/4 cup vodka
Put it all in a pitcher. refrigerate for one hour at least if you can wait !

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

sandwich culture

I did not grow up eating sandwiches, therefore, it took time and effort ( on my part mostly) to get to like sandwiches. But I still get my mouth watering when I remember the hot dog stand at the Bon Marche ( before renovation, it already had a food court) which was my afternoon gouter of choice after a shopping spree with Mom.But then again, it was a crispy baguette cut in half with a delicious smoky francfort sausage, a dab of dijon and that was it.simple, good but few ingredients.always a winning combo.Then, as a student, I discovered the pleasure of the Pan Bagnat, a convenient to go alternative to a nicoise salad ,on a bun.Of course it had some of my favorite elements: egg, tuna,olives,cayenne. I was warming to the idea by then. But what sold me were the Italian bruschettas and the Spanish bocadillos or tapas. They were so simple it was amazing ( pan con tomate.... a grilled slice of bread, good bread of course with a nice crust) with a summer ripe tomato scrubbed over it. voila ! as they say.

Current favorite sandwich

2 slices of grilled bread
1 tbsp of green tapenade ( store bought from LuLU)
1 leave of butter lettuce
1tbsp of mayonnaise
1 slice of red onion
1 hard boiled egg,mushed with salt, cayenne and 1 tbsp of mayonnaise
1 good anchovy in oil ( I like Ortiz brand)

fold, put it on a pretty plate, take it to a quiet place and slowly devour.

Friday, February 12, 2010

my French onion soup

Through its history and up until its demise in the 70"s, les HALLES, in the middle of Paris served as the main wholesale market of produce, dairy, meat and fish for Paris and its surrounding area. The word "halles" origin may be from the English:" hall"( or may be it is the other way around...),since it was a huge architectural complex of many halls for the products shipped from all over France.The neighborhood was its own village , with cafes and restaurants opened during" les Halles" odd hours, which were mostly at night until the early morning, catering to all the workers. As a child, I never experienced that world, but it I remember hearing of the tradition for parisians to treck at least once in their life, to one of the open bistrots, and have the hearty ,cheesy onion soup around midnight , on a cold winter night.. in the area what was called then " the belly of Paris".As for me, much later, I dragged significant , on an early date, to one of the few remaining restaurants in the quartier, whose specialty was: breaded pigs feet, which he very daringly tried but that is another story....
So, today, on another winter night ( it is almost spring here, but the nights are always cold), I want to make a rich,fragrant,home transporting, brazenly good soup with just a few ingredients:butter ( it is the french part of the recipe),onions,thyme, broth,gruyere, and bread, that will take me back to a noisy bistrot with paper tablecloth and a red wine carafe and with the natives cheering,loudly as the steaming cheese crusted bowl of soups emerge from the kitchen.

recipe:( for 2-3)

you will need:
4 onions
2tbsp butter
2tbsp thyme
1tbsp brown sugar
1 can organic broth ( vegetable, chicken or beef, the traditional one is with beef)
1 cup water( or more to taste)
1/4 cup of madeira wine
2 slices of bread
1/4 cup grated cheese ( gruyere is preferred)
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

saute your onions rings in the melted butter in a wide pan so that the onions are not too crowded and can brown nicely. sprinkle with the sugar and thyme.keep the heat on low.
occasionally turn them until they get a nice caramel color.( up to 45 minutes)
transfer them to a soup pot and add the broth, water ,wine and let the flavors meld on medium heat for 30 minutes.
toast your bread, rub the slices with the raw garlic clove, and spread the cheese on top. broil to melt.serve the soup, drop the bread on top, scatter some fresh thyme and extra pepper.The bread will get soggy with the hearty juice and you can break it up as you
slurp the soup,