progress

I have been up to lots of good lately. I have been working on my goals. Cullinary, fitness, well-being, and languages. It is definitley a challenge to fit all this in, but I am doing my best.

Maple Walnut BarI picked out this recipe to make from Saveur March 2011, but my friend Katie made it, because as usual when I throw parties, I am short on time. She helps me out often, in lots of ways. This dessert was one of the best bars I have ever had. Top Five.

Anne Gael at tapas partyAnne Gael brought shrimp to the tapas party, which I prepared with dried shallots, dried garlic and butter. Delicious.

Strawberry SauceI made this strawberry sauce to go with a packaged chocolate cake (yes, I made a packaged cake. Someone brought it to my tapas party. It was actually quite tasty.)

Poached Pears

My friend/client Vivien had me over for Raclette, a classic French dish consisting of melted cheese, potatoes, and cold cuts. The dessert was delectable.

So now you have seen much evidence of progress in my culinary goals. As far as fitness and my business, well-being, and languages, I will have to give you further evidence later. I must go to bed so I can train Viv at 7am!

 

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I love onion soup in Paris in the Springtime.

Oh how I have been loving Spring so far. It isn`t even officially here yet. But in Paris, le printemps has arrived, and with it, happiness! January and February have generally been difficult months for me mood wise, but especially since I move to, “the city of light”, which is not at all a proper name for Paris during the winter, during which it should be reffered to as, “the city of dreary wet darkness”. Throughout the past three long months, I sometimes forgot that the sun existed because the sky was a never-ending blanket of grey and smog. Not anymore! The skies are blue! (Not today, but much more often lately.) Here I am, celebrating the change in weather with Elise.

Elise and I in the loft which is where our bed is

Outside Clare`s apartment

It still looks very gray out in the above photo, but this was early, about 8.15am yesterday, as I was leaving Clare`s apartment, my first client of the day.

Avenue d`Italie, spring leaves

Avenue d`Italie, spring leaves

I`m still on the left bank at this point. In the next photo I am crossing the Seine to the right bank, where I live.

Boat in the Seine

In this photo you can see my street. It`s the one in the background, that looks like a little hill. In fact, my street is a hill, starting at the bottom of the hill and ending at the bottom on the other side. My building is at the top of the hill, so I can look down both ways out my window.

Still on my way home from Clare`s I saw a man in construction clothes on my street, sawing a mettle tube in half. I asked him if I took take a picture of what he was doing. He proceeded to explain to me that he was sawing something to make a silencer for his car. He showed me how these two parts go together.

Silencer for a car

Even the worker uniforms are different from in the US. More stylish perhaps?

Yesterday evening I completed the second of my culinary goals for the week, Onion Soup, from Bon Apétit March 2010.

Carmelising Onions

Flavors melding between Veg broth and caremelized onions

Onion soup, faux filet, asparagus with herb encrusted chèvre

This was a satisfying dinner. I recommend the soup for a dinner party. It is a bit labor intensive, but worth it. As Julia says, Happy Cooking!

 

 

Culinary Goals

Today`s blog is a bit different than my previous entries. I decided it would be a good idea to post my goals, possibly weekly for all to see. I hope that in this way I accomplish them more efficiently. Since I don`t have pictures of my goals, I will spice things up with photos of my life since Sunday.

Dishes to do

up close shot of dishes to do

First set of goals- Culinary

I am going to make the following items this week for fun and to practice my skills:

1. The best baked spinach from the Blog, Smitten Kitchen. I already made this last night. Pics are coming up.

2. Feuilletage Viennois- a recipe from the book I used at culinary school. I will turn this dough into-

3. Galettes au feuilletage  viennois-also a recipe from my school book

4. Kale and Pecorino Crostini-for the tapas party happening at Michael and my place this Saturday. Everyone is bringing a tapas and a drink. Or they are bringing one of the specific liquors I requested to make this-

5. Mike Romanoff– a cocktail with vodka, Grand Marnier, apricot liqueur, and lime juice

6.  Onion Soup with sage, brown butter, croutons, and grated lemon peel-for dinner some night this week

Wow, I am very ambitious this week. We will see how it goes.

Picture of the March picture of my owl calendar

Just so you know, before I moved to Paris, my sister Kimberly, and I both got owl tattoos on our feet. Our owls are very different from one another, just like us, but they are both owls.

I will share more goals with you tomorrow. For now, here is the baked spinach:

Baked Spinach

I used really huge leaves of spinach because that is what they had at 7pm  at the only produce stand still open on Saint Denis. The cheese is Emmenthal. This was an amazing dish! Michael and I finished the whole thing except one quarter cup of it. We had it with a fried egg and quinoa on the side.

Beautiful!

We enjoyed our spinach while watching a film by the famous French director, Louis Malle: Atlantic City.  I enjoyed the film, but not as much as the spinach!

Across the ocean

Well, as I`m sure you have all noticed, I`m not doing very well with this daily blogging thing. Maybe I will get better at it, maybe not. But I just hope I keep it up. So Let me tell you about last week.

At one point I made falafel from Bon Apétit March 2010. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Falafel-with-Hummus-357351 Wow, it was excellent.

Falafel balls before frying

Frying in vegetable oil

Falafel with arugula, hummus and corn tortilla

I bought some red plumbs from Africa. I had never seen these before and they were sweet and juicy. I finished that last two this morning.

African Plumbs

The weather is getting much nicer and a lot sunnier. It`s amazing how much better I feel psychologically when it isn`t dark and rainy all the time. The courtyard of our apartment building looks pretty with the plants that are turning green.

My courtyard

On the way home from my bank I noticed a man very carefully painting the word Café on a new restaurant. This struck me as very Parisian. I don`t remember ever seeing someone hand painting words on a restaurant in the US. I`m sure it happens, but this is an example of the French love of and respect for detail and beauty. C`est beaux ca.

Getting ready to open a new café

Finally blue skies

Michael`s tower

Paul, Eve and Elise are back from NY city. While Michael was babysitting he built a tower. Most toddlers would have knocked this down before it got this big. But Elise is mature for her age. Once the tower was completed Michael put a coat on Elise to protect her before she knocked it down.

On Friday I had a delicious lunch while hanging out with Elise and Michael at our place. We listened to a Paul Simon Album, The Rhythm of The Saints, to which we all danced. I like when the three of us hang out, I feel like it is a glimpse of our future with our own children.

Curry, ginger pumpkin soup, tuna salad, bread with chèvre and a delicious pinot gris from Alsace

Elise cooking

Now it`s Sunday and I have an entire day to relax. It feels good. I love Sundays, except, they are the times when I am usually the most homesick. Even though I love living in Paris, and I am truly going after my dreams, it is a real sacrifice to be so far away from my family and beautiful Boulder, all the things I grew up with that comfort me. I miss and love you guys!

Chèvre, Lemon-drops, and Rodin

It`s Thursday morning and I`m eating a bowl of oatmeal to which I added raisins, peanut butter, cinnamon, milk and honey. It is exquisite. I have school later today, from 11 to 1pm. It`s my first week at this school, CampusLangues. It`s more layed back than the Sorbonne, which is good for me because I need to have plenty of time to build my personal training business. I want to tell you about last weekend, which Michael started off by eating some chips out of a mug with a spoon.

This is a Michael classic

We went to a party Saturday night. The theme was, Anti-Capitalist Transatlantic. I made a caramel sauce that was meant to go with a apple cocktail. The mixture did not work out at all. So I ended up making lemon drop martinis, which people loved.

Before the party, I had two trainings. I rode the metro.

Some stations have these automatically closing and opening doors to enter the train.

After my last training I went to pick up some cheese at a nice dairy shop in the 19th.

Chevre with herbs

I came home on the train and snacked on this delicious cheese and ciabatta bread from one of my favorite Boulangeries, Eric Kayser, while making the caramel sauce.

So delicious

Michael and I rode the train back to the 19th for the party, where I failed to take any pictures because I was busy bar-tending. Also, I was very tired and didn`t feel like talking to people. I just wanted to hide out in the kitchen. I wasn`t a great party person that night, but I still had fun. Thank you Katie and Céline! They had a very nice buffet spread. My favorite part were Katie`s brownies. Oh my gosh, perfectly moist. I ate three.

The next morning Michael and I continued our Sunday tradition of pancakes. I made coconut buttermilk flapjacks. They were extremely fluffy and filling.

I`m cooking these, while Michael reads the hobbit outloud.

We had scheduled a date for Sunday, to go to the Rodin Museum because it is free the first Sunday of the month. It was sunny and mild outside. We started out on our walk to the Musée.

Cute Café on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed walking that day. Michael is the best Parisian tourguide I know. He walks so much that he always take me on interesting streets.

Crossing to the left bank

At one point I made eye contact with a little dog, (a King Spaniel or something?) he looked at me so sweetly, I couldn`t resist him. I walked up to the man holding the leash, and said, Est-ce que je peux caresser ton chien?” He said I could pet him if I wanted to. The puppy`s name is Lou-lou and he is one-year-old.

He doesn`t really want me to hold him, but I insist, for the photo.

Come on Lou-lou, look at the camera

Good Boy Lou-lou! Lou-lou- " Aide-moi Papa."

We saw many amazing sculptures at the Museum. Everything there is Rodin`s work.

Done in bronze, Child with Young Mother, or something like that

Art people think this was inspried by Michelangelo`s "Sleeping Slave"

I liked this one, Michael thought it was strange looking.

Yoga?

Michael told me to take this one for Kim because she is such a beautiful dancer.

This is called fish woman

The Thinker lives in the Museum`s garden

On the way home we saw an interesting translation of the title of the American film, No Strings Attached

Street Art on the way home that I really like

It was a nice weekend together.

International Potluck

Last Thursday was very fun, especially that night, because I had a potluck at my place with some of my new and older friends. In the early afternoon I had an appointment at the Préfecture de Police to renew my carte de séjour. This process entails showing them lots of paperwork. They look it over, then, in my case, generally tell me the paperwork is not sufficient and I need some other papers, (despite the fact that the papers I have were perfectly fine for their standards three months ago.) But I don`t get upset about it anymore, I just expect to have to come back multiple times. So, they rescheduled me for March 24th.

Next I went running. I was lookin good. Got lots of attention from homeless drunk men, and some not homeless men.

Later that afternoon I went shopping at Les Enfants Rouges, a chic covered market in my hood.

Little shop at the market

After buying the potluck ingredients I hopped on the metro with my chariot (rolling cart that carries my groceries. Mine is camouflage!) to go train a group of three lovely ladies on the left bank.

I really like this statue outside of Arts et Métiers metro entrance

I was so excited to finish the training and get home for the potluck. Around 7pm I started making African curry soup. The guests arrived at 8pm. We ate next door at Paul and Eve`s since they are out of town. I don`t think they would mind, otherwise I wouldn`t publish this. Love you guys!

À Table

We had some bread made by a Turkish woman that I bought that morning. The woman was on the street next to a large sidewalk market. She had two kinds of bread, fluffy and flat. We had the fluffy.

Katie, Michael, Natacha

Beautiful Anne-Gael

It was very fun. I look forward to our next meal together. Sometimes I feel like I live for dinner parties.

Nature in Paris

I got a cold on Tuesday, but thankfully it wasn`t a very bad one. I felt half way better by Wednesday.

I had a cold on Tuesday.

Breakfast-cornflakes with almonds and bananas

Lunch-Tofu, mushrooms, broccoli and quinoa

I had lunch and breakfast. Then Michael and I got ready to go on a walk up the Canal Saint Martin, one of my favorite places to exercise in Paris. It was sunny and chilly.

Along the canal

Café by the canal

Cute baby clothes boutique

Stalingrad

Le Sacre Coeur seen from Stalingrad in the 19 ème

Flower blossoms are starting to appear in the city

Contrast

I took the shot above during our walk. At this point we were close to the periphery of Paris, much of which is an eyesore. When I am in parts of Paris like this, I long for nature.

I would like to see many more gardens like this one, spread all over Paris. In a couple months this plot will be brimming with life.

We reached our destination which was a large community center in the 19ème. The following is a large carousel hand crafted by Parisian artists.

Wild Carousel

insects and a bull

This community center is called centquatre. Inside we found lots of people preparing for a large culinary exposition that would be starting the next day. There were hundreds of cookbooks in all different languages. The cover of this one is a photo of France that I`ve been seeing since I was a kid. It made me want to come to France.