poire / poireaux

© photo David Bonnier-style Jessie Kanelos Weiner
© photo David Bonnier, style Jessie Kanelos Weiner

Perhaps it is the food stylist in me. I have spent a good hour “casting” prepackaged ham slices at the supermarket.  I block rush hour traffic captivated by Subway sandwich ads in the Metro.  And worst of all, I have taken an admiration to the compost bin, a deconstructed wink at what is on the table.  I pitched the idea to my friend David at Studio B.  And behold, a crazy idea transformed into something I find crazy beautiful.  It’s the ultimate before and after.  Bon app’!


poire / poireaux soup with frizzled leeks and pickled pears

For soup: 3 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, cut into 1/2 inch rounds -1 pear, peeled and cubed – 1 bay leaf  4 tablespoons olive oil – 70 cl vegetable stock – Salt & pepper

For frizzled leeks:1 leek, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced into1 mm strips – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

For pickled pear: 1 pear, peeled and cut into matchsticks – 1 tablespoon rice vinegar – 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar

1.)  Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.  Spread leeks and pear on baking sheet.  Add bay leaf, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Mix until all well coated in olive oil.  Roast for 40-45 minutes until leeks and pear are golden and tender.  Discard bay leaf.

2.) To make pickled pears, in large bowl, mix pears with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Cover with water, adjusting seasoning to taste.  Marinate for up to two days.

3.) For frizzled leeks, heat oil in a saucepan over high heat.  Fry leeks until crunchy and golden, paying close attention not to overcook.  Drain on paper towel.

4.) In a blender, mix roasted vegetables and vegetable stock until smooth, adjusting seasoning to taste.  Reheat as necessary.  Serve soup with pickled pears and frizzled leaks.

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Trim a branch, strike a pose.

One of the major differences between New York and Paris is the pockets of greenery scattered about Paris.  Once getting past heavy, Haussmanian doors with ubiquitous door codes (the right of passage to reach any French person, place or thing), the majority of apartment buildings hide a small garden, most likely amidst parked bicycles and garbage cans.

When I met my husband, I was instantly taken by his own private petit jardin. (“He’s got a car, an accent and a garden!  Instant upgrade!”, exclaimed my 2009 self).  Living on the ground floor, it fills our apartment with clean air and a terrific breeze from the nearby forest, the Bois de Vincennes.  And it allows me to indulge in an urban impossibility, compost.  As of late, it is a bit unkempt.  Case in point, winter rolled around before we had the chance to cut the grass.  Ideally, I would love to plant sweet pea seedlings.  However, as any photographer/stylist duo, we utilize gardening simply for impromptu photo shoots.  In my one-track mind, dress-up always trumps gardening.  Trim a branch, strike a pose.

What’s your gardening philosophy?