Today is my birthday! And the first day of Spring! And it also happens to be the ‘jour de macaron’! I was born on a good day. Free macarons! Thanks http://parisbymouth.com/ for sharing this. If you’ve never tried a macaron before, they are the semi-precious confectionary jewel of certain French patisseries. Crisp on the outside, unctuously intense on the inside. Although the macaron trend is going strong in the States, I’ve never wasted my time finding an American equivalent. (Have you found any good macarons in the USA yet?) So shortly after I started planning my trick-or-treat-style macaron conquest, I realized that France doesn’t follow the same ‘demand and supply’ criteria as Halloween or that happy, happy day when Ben & Jerry’s gives out a free scoop in the States. Eloquence is key to getting anything done in France. Everything needs to be stated precisely and efficiently. So I strutted into Dalloyau, a local participant. I inquired ever-so politely in my most proper French, “Good day, dear sir. Do you happen to be participating in this joyous day of macaron?” Pause. “Yes, in fact we are. If you happen to participate in a tasting, you are certainly welcome.” “Uhhh, yeeaah!…I mean, if you please. I will take a vanilla, kind sir” A little coercing for a small treat. I should have mentioned my birthday first thing.
Take advantage of the beautiful day. And a macaron too, if you please.
Even thought the winters in Paris are a moderate step up from the brutal winters I have known in Chicago and New York, there is still nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup. This is one of the things my mom always whipped up on weeknights when I was a kid. A leftover chicken would make a rich tortilla soup. Or a few pantry basics would inspire an avgolemono. Even if the soups were quick, she would always steal a few moments to make her famous cheese muffins. Turns out the trusty recipe was found in the recipe booklet of our avocado green blender. Or we would quickly whip up some baking powder biscuits together. My American friend Catherine just returned from the States gifting me with a jar of apple butter. This brought me back to the Midwestern winters of my childhood. With no further haste or nostalgia, I had to make biscuits and an accompanying soup.
C is convinced that soup is strictly an appetizer. But if I dress it up with some homemade quick bread, he doesn’t complain. I can see why he feels this way though; I’ve noticed that soup in France is usually pureed. We don’t have a blender, one of the wedding gifts that never transpired. So I have to dig back into my mental archives for other ideas. I never ate much lentils growing up. But when slowly stewed with leeks, celery, and garlic, they could have easily been in my mom’s soup repertoire. Recipe to come… Bisou!
Oh, carottes râpées! One of the few ways to eat raw vegetables in this crazy town. Other than an obligatory green salad, the French prefer their vegetables cooked to death. But when I need to eat something on the lighter side (meaning I have less than 2 weeks to slim down to the size of my vegan NYC days in which I bought my wedding gown. Lay off the fromage, Jessie!), this quick recipe is as satisfying as it is simple. I love carrots, but chewing them can be a bit tedious sometimes. So this is a happy medium between carrot sticks and carrot juice. Just grate fresh carrots on a box grater. Add salt and pepper to taste. Easy. I have tried dressing this up with glug of white wine vinegar, lemon juice, chopped garlic, or even maple syrup. But at the end of the day, if the carrots are fresh, there really is no need to dress them with anything. Maybe just a little bit of olive oil for some added sheen. Hmmm, this might not be a far-off plot to slim down like a French woman….