About Kristin

I am from Colorado and moved to Paris in August 2009, with my husband, Michael, to go to pastry school. We are now staying in this beautiful city indefinitely.

Citizen`s Arrest

This is pretty awesome, I am writing a blog two days in a row. This is mainly because I have an exciting story to tell, but first, a picture:

Feed Me!

Michael and I went to Le Jardin d`Acclimitation last month. There are rides, lots of games for kids and farm animals. That is why I like it. In the Spring there are tons of baby sheep and goats and sometimes, if they come over to the fence, you can pet them, like this guy. However, the sheep don`t really like to be touched, just fed. The goats love to be pet, especially the adults.

Okay, well I will get back to the animals later, let this sheep photo wet your appetite.

Today is Monday. Sometimes I feel very un-enthused when I wake up on Monday morning. That was the case today. I wanted the weekend to continue. First I went next door to train Eve. Her husband Paul was playing James Brown. Elise was dancing, and it ended up being very fun. So, my lundi got better. Then I did a core workout and got ready for school. I was biking up the canal Saint Martin as usual. It is a beautiful sunny day today. I was about three quarters through my fifteen minute ride. I began to cross an intersection and pulled onto the bike path that runs along the canal still further North into the 18th arrondissement. I heard a yell and turned to look. A young man was sprinting away with an Iphone and headphones is his hand. The victim, a woman about 30 years old, had yelled at him, and then gave up, looking sadly at the ground. I don`t know what got into me, but I took off after him on my bike. He ran to the left running  along the canal. I stayed on the right, on the bike path. A long movie theatre MK3, was between us. At the end of the theater he came back towards me and I cut him off. He stopped right in front of me and I grabbed his arm and said, Donne-moi-la! (Give it to me) He said in French, “What did yous see?” I told him I saw him take the iphone from the woman. He took off again. I rode over the curb to chase him yelling, “Voleur! Voleur!” (Thief, Thief!) At this a couple men started to chase him. And then, his loosely tied black and white addidas sneaker fell off. I bent over and grabbed it. He stood staring at me, he thought, and then he gave me the iphone. I gave him his shoe and rode back as fast as I could to return the stolen item. When I got back to the crime scene, the woman was surrounded by a small group of people. She was sad and stared at me approaching her. I stopped my bike and handed her the iphone. The look on her face truly made my day. She was so surprised and happy. “Merci beaucoup!” she said. I was so full of what I took to be endorphins, I was shaking and could barely talk. “Je vous en prie.” I replied. She asked how I did it. I told her. A man in the group said, “Bravo!”, and clapped for me. Everyone was smiling. Then I rode into the sunset on my trusty Apache (my bike`s name). I felt like a real hero. I made it to class, ten minutes late. I was dripping sweat and I told the class what happened. My teacher, Patrick said I am wonder woman, and then he sang a song about Wonder Kristine. I`ve been smiling about this all day. It`s fun to be a superhero.

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Chausson aux poires et caramel

The weather has been mostly beautiful in Paris lately. I have been working hard training my clients, going to French class and studying to take my ACE exam in August to become a certified personal trainer. I finally get to visit the US in August. I will have not been there for two years by that time. I can hardly stand my excitement to see my family and friends. You may all expect that I will be very Parisian when I arrive in in the States, but I`m not, I haven`t been able to afford the clothes to become so.

Here is a photo of an noteworthy meal I made in March (I am a little behind with posting my pics.) This is Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch from the March 2011 Bon Apétit. It was very satisfying. I made it for a special occasion. Our friend David, who we met our first month in Paris was visiting from NY, unfortunately his wife and my good friend, Taryn could not make it. She is too busy in the city with her new macaron business, http://www.courslareine.com/. Way to go Taryn!

The picture below was taken from my apartment window on a lovely Spring morning at the end of March. You can see from the damp spots on my neighbors roof that it had been raining during the night. I love these neighbors across the street because they have so many beautiful plants on their balcony, making it peaceful to gaze out my window as I eat or study. They also have a son who looks to be about 10. Sometimes he climbs out those top windows onto the roof and runs back and forth between them with only his socks on his feet. Once he did this for so long that I became nervous that he would fall to his death so I yelled to him, “Ca c`est dangereux!” He ran inside and did not come back out until one day months later when his friend was over. I yelled at them again to go inside, causing them to disappear. After about five minutes they peeped their heads out of the sunroof to the left and held up a sign to me. I couldn`t read it and I told them so. They immediately dropped out of sight and I have not seen them on the roof since. The mother may never know that I possibly saved that boy`s life, and now I am the grouchy old lady across the street.

Pretty morning light

Same morning out my window to the left

The following pictures are from one of my favorite boulangerie/patisserie in Paris, Eric Kayser. I go there often because it is on the way home from two of my clients homes. It`s great getting to work all over the city because that way I get to sample pastries, breads and other delicacies from all different neighborhoods. The photos were taken right before Easter. I like the French variations on the chocolate bunny.

French Golfer

Chocolate Ducks, and Small Bunnies in dark or milk chocolate

Little cakes, chocolate eggs, macarons and eclairs

This is what I bought at Eric Kayser, a puff pastry pocket coated in sugar and filled with cooked pears and caramel sauce. I have tried almost every type of pastry on can have in Paris since we made almost all of them at my Pastry School, Ferrandi, so much so that I rarely purchase them anymore because so many turn out to be mediocore, but not this. I could tell from the moment I saw it behind the glass at the top of display case that it would be exceptional. It was difficult to wait to try it until I got home, but I did, and enjoyed it with a cup of black tea with milk. It was perfect.

Chausson aux caramel et poires

It looks kind of alive with an old cramugin mouth. But it sure didn`t taste that way.

Beauty

Can`t you just taste the buttery caramely goodness?

I hope that every single one of you who reads this blog, if you have not yet done so, and even if you have, will come visit me in Paris. We can go to Eric Kayser together.

Shout out to my siblings: Kimberly, Visit her blog. Walter, I can`t wait till you come and visit! And Natalie, visit her blog.



Paris in Blossom

A couple of weekends ago, I started my Sunday with French Toast.I admired the pansies on my windowsill, a gift from my friend and client Vivien.

Then Michael and I started on a walk to see our friend Katie who was staying in the 5ème, cat sitting. It was overcast, but the city was still bursting with life and color.

In front of Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

Notre Dame

Flower shop on rue Monge

Now that is is May, most of the blossoms are gone, but have been replaced by lush greenery lining the streets of Paris.

Culinary delights, friends and children writing on walls

Well, it`s only been a million years since my last post. I hope you all haven`t given up on Fire-cakes. To tell you the truth, blogging is VERY challenging for me. I am not sure how to fit it in my schedule. But I do love sharing my life with everyone who is interested, especially my family. I hope to improve in my time management skills so I will blog more.

A lot has happened since my last post about the delicious Maple Walnut Bars that Katie made at the Tapas party. For example, I have eaten grilled cheese numerous times.

So good.

I`ve made Michael pose for picture with me.

Escargot Praliné

I`ve eaten many pastries from Du Pain et des Idées, a fantastic and rustic boulangerie in my neighborhood.

Dinner Chez Katie

Katie and her room-mate Céline had us over for Enchiladas and a wine lesson.

Cigarettes

Céline`s friend brought her a pack of cigarettes with Ché Guevarra on the front. Fumer tue=Smoking kills.

Who does this kid think he is?

There is lots of interesting street art is Paris. I love this one.

One of many

The warmer the weather gets, the more salads I make.

Pineapples are in season. I learned how to properly butcher them in pastry school, but you will get the same results by watching a you tube video.

These peppers were really hot, so they decided to take a swim.

Katie brought these Ancho and Arbol dried chiles to me from Boston because they are close to impossible to find in Paris. I rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes.

This rice and beans with pineapple salsa was particularly satisfying.

Katie and Andreas

We were lucky enough to have a visit from Michael`s Swedish friend Andreas. He is one of the funniest people ever and kept me laughing all day. Michael and I spent most of the time making fun of Swedes and Sweden because they are so pure, innocent and sheltered from the hardships of the world. Andreas countered this by showing us a youtube video of a clip from a show called wife swap, in which a chubby  eight-year-old southern boy tries to convince his new “mom” that bacon is good for him. Then he runs away to his grandmother`s house so he can get some chicken nuggets. I guess we all have our cultural flaws.

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!

 

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!