Jessie Kanelos Weiner_design sponge_thefrancoflyI just shared one of my favorite family recipes on Design*Sponge!

Read more here.

Jessie Kanelos Weiner_design sponge_thefrancofly 2

Braised meatballs aux petits pois

For 6 servings


– 1 slice white bread, crust removed
– 1 lb (450 g) ground beef
– 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
– ½ teaspoon sea salt
– ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 pinch of each: cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg)
– ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
– Olive oil

Petits pois

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 medium yellow onion, diced
– 1 stalk of celery, diced
– 1 carrot, diced
– 1 medium tomato, chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 4 cups (600 g) shelled green peas or frozen sweet peas
– 2 ¼ cups (500 ml) vegetable broth
– 1 handful parsley leaves
– 1 bay leaf
– ½ teaspoon sea salt
– ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Soak bread in water for a few minutes. Using hands, squeeze water from bread. Break ground beef into small pieces in a large bowl, add bread and remaining ingredients. Using hands, quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Moisten hands with water, then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add meatballs, separating them so they are not touching. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and firm to the touch. Repeat till all the meatballs are cooked. Reserve.

For the peas, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring often, until caramelized. Add tomato and cook, stirring often, until the mixture begins to stick to the pot, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, peas, broth, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded and the broth has reduced, 25–30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add meatballs to peas and cook 10 minutes until heated through.

kale gimlet_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

A few weeks ago, I got to tell my long story about how I ended up in Paris on my favourite podcast Radio Cherry Bombe.  Although it really is like any other coming-of-age story set to a slightly soundstage-y backdrop, I talked about the moment where I finally decided I would move back to Paris for good and commit to the complicated life of being a professional illustrator.  And I would not look back, doing whatever  I could to manifest that dream.  Luckily Paris has introduced me to many other wonderful women who have moved to this difficult city and have created and pursued their own projects with great zeal and grace.

Kale gimlet how-to_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

My great friend Kristen Beddard of The Kale Project’s new book Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes (Sourcebooks) is a heartfelt story of starting over in a freakishly foreign place like Paris, sans job, sans projects.  The biggest cultural difference was she couldn’t even find her ideal comfort food, kale.  Kale in France had disappeared throughout the decades as it become an unpalatable taste of wartimes.  In the meantime, it had even become a decorative plant. When I moved to Paris 8 years ago, I chuckled seeing kale cozied in next to the pansies in my neighborhood flower garden.  (Foraging for Dummies, right up my ally!)  

kale gimlet_thefrancofly_Jessie KanelosI can truly say that Kristen was one of the courageous people who brought a new wave of eating to the French plate.  Three years ago, I tried and tried to pitch veggie-based cookbooks to editors and it was firmly always “too soon”.  But now there is cashew cream served in carnivorous restaurants, organic grocery stores outnumbering their contemporaries, a general curiosity about things like chia seeds and how to eat better to feel better.  And that’s no small feat in a country steeped in tradition like France.  Bonjour Kale_thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

In honor of the release of Bonjour Kale today, Kristen let me illustrate one of her favorite recipes from her book, a kale gimlet.  It’s a sweet and spicy ode to her single days before her monumental move to Paris.  

Order Bonjour Kale HERE.

Oh, and I also illustrated the cover, too!🙂


Kale and Tequila Gimlet (from Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard, Sourcebooks)

1/2 bunch kale
1/2-1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 1/2 shots lime juice
1 shot tequila
1/2 shot Grand Marnier
Agave syrup, to taste
1 handful cilantro
6 ice cubes

Juice the kale and ginger in a juicer. Measure out one shot of the juice. Pour the kale-ginger juice, lime juice, tequila, Grand Marnier, agave syrup and cilantro into a shaker with the ice. Shake vigorously. Pour and enjoy!

Yield: 1 drink

EP-how toYes, I published a coloring book, Edible Paradise: A Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables (Universe).  But what do I actually know about coloring?  To fully embrace the experience from black and white to color, I took on the looming task of coloring in 3 copies of my book (And they’re almost finished.  To be continued soon…)  I not only noted that the many ladybugs on each page begin to move around by the time I started the third copy, I also compiled 6 tips for effective and beautiful coloring.Cardinal_Jessie Kanelos Weiner

  1. Pick an engaging topic.  Coloring books are like relationships.  A good part of it just needs to click.  Since you’ll be spending an exorbitant amount of time getting to know your coloring book, pick an engaging topic that ignites your need to color.  Whether that’s Ryan Gosling,  4-letter words or seasonal fruits and veg,  hold out for the right one.  pencils_thefrancofly
  2. Know the paper and medium.  There’s nothing worse than opening the first page of a coloring book with “first-day-of-school” anticipation, only to find out that the markers you are using bleed through several pages at once. Try out your desired medium on the last page of the book.  The paper will cue you in if it will hold up to whatever you want to color with.thefrancofly_Jessie Kanelos Weiner_how to color_artichoke
  3. Think about light.  For a realistic final product, pick a direction from the where the imagined light source is coming from.  This will act as a global guide for the where the highlights and shadows will be placed.  This is especially important when coloring in my book Edible Paradise. Don’t be afraid to leave white on the page, a very important thing I learned using watercolors.  It gives the page volume and lightness.Edible Paradise_Jessie Kanelos Weiner_Illustration 3_thefrancofly
  4. Edit!  This is a lot like cooking.  Sure there is the execution and technique that transforms brut ingredients into a meal.  But it’s the drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, the pinch of sea salt and the touch of lemon zest that takes a dish from dinner to degustation.  The same goes for coloring, a lot comes out of the final touches.  Once I think I’m done with a page, I revisit it a few hours or days later.  If it looks flat, I’ll add more shadows and contrast.  If it is way overdone, I’ll consider using more white space in my next pages.  Fraise
  5. Use color as highlights.  Take a look at the example above.  Yes, a strawberry is identifiable just when in red, but when it has a slight touch of orange in the mix, it sings.  Don’t be afraid to mix colors.  Edible Paradise_Jessie Kanelos Weiner_Illustration 2
  6. Have fun!  Sure I just compiled some “rules” for coloring, but there shouldn’t be any.  Coloring is all about experience.  Sure, something may not work out mid-book, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to scrap the whole thing.  Don’t think about the subject so literally.  Pick a totally crazy color scheme and go nuts.  Or color in everything using opposite colors on the color wheel.  It’s all up to you!

Want to take on Edible Paradise as your next coloring adventure?  Order it here.