Summer in motion!


There are two types of Americans in Paris.  Those who go home the month of August and those who stay.  Although I secretly envy those who can binge on a month-long ice cream headache of Americana, my summers are a more local affair, doing a mini Tour de France of friends’ vacation homes throughout this fine country.

I’m pondering what France’s summer traditions are, but I’m blanking.  Oh, yeah the month of August not at home, fleeing to everywhere but here?  Merguez on the grill? Spritz on a terrace? Summer reading and late dinners?  A bottle of chilled rosé on ice?

Ok, these new traditions work just fine for my developing adult tastes.  But I still can’t help but miss those sticky childhood summers at home in Chicago: the twinkling bell of the paletas guy selling my favorite ice pop arroz con leche, shucking the golden husks off sweet corn hot off the Weber grill, the self-inflicted pain of watching daytime tv all day long and the call of arms when the ice cream truck roll through the neighborhood.Although I come from the Klondikian school of frozen treats, the Magnum bar is my good-to Euro replacement.  I quickly learned last summer that “A Magnum-a-day keeps the bikini bod at bay”. But every now and then, it’s the only thing that will do the trick.  Happy Summer!

Braised meatballs aux petits pois

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.