my France

Paris weekend getaway: Venice, Italy

October 6th, 2013

chef morgan Venice
 “Big” Venice with a little sole (à la menuière)

I had an inside tip. It was an inside tip on a Paris apartment and not just any apartment, an apartment in a beautiful building on avenue Georges Mandel. My friend’s mother told her that if I acted fast, I could preview the apartment before it was officially on the market. Was I interested? Bien sûr ! (of course). Good apartments in Paris are far and few in between and they are taken immediately. The tip was better than chocolate praline from Patrick Roger.

As luck would have it I registered to run a marathon in Venice, Italy in a week. Everything seems to be a quick plane ride from Paris so I made an appointment to preview the apartment before I headed to Venice. It would be a tight schedule: three countries; four days. This week I want to take you there. Venez avec moi (come with me) à Venice, Italy with a Paris stop, a marathon detour, and a favorite fish recipe: sole à la meuienere.

Allez y (let’s go) !!!


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tartare de daurade (sea bream tartare)

September 5th, 2013

chef morgan tartare

La Rentrée, l’art du cru, and what Parisens really eat

 recipe: tartare de daurade (sea bream tartare) 

If you have traveled to France in the month of August you know that the country really comes to a halt. As a friend aptly noted, “Ah… grandes vacances, where everyone is out and out of it.” C’est vrai (it is true).

For the month of August (although it is creeping into July as well) there is a customary and societal expectation of absenteeism. Everyone takes time to re-charge their battery and spend time with their family. This uniform expectation of doing nothing and getting nothing “accomplished”  I have grown to love as there seems to be no downtime due to texts and emails sent to your portable phone. When you accept that nothing — nothing — will just get done in August, it is very liberating (although as an American it took me some time to come to terms with the notion). You plan around it and guess what? Everything still gets done. French time.

chef morgan train


 My daughter took this photograph on the train returning to Paris from Nice. I like it because to me it says “au revoir” (bye, see you again) to the summer. 

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Paris day trip: Château de Fontainebleau

August 30th, 2013

chef morgan

Paris day trip: Château de Fontainebleau 

emperors, strawberries, and a canoe on carp lake

recipe: summer strawberries with lime sugar and fresh mint 

Not far from Paris is a château rich in history. Yes, there are many. However, this particular château was inhabited for seven centuries by the royal and imperial French elite (most famously by  Napoleon I and Josephine). Surrounded by breathtaking courtyards, fountains, canal, gardens, a park, and a lake, it is a perfect Paris day trip. It is the Château de Fontainebleau and this week’s recipe, summer strawberries with lime sugar and fresh mint, was inspired by a visit to this château. So until you get there in person – venez avec moi (come with me)à la Château de Fontainebleau. 

Allez -y (let’s go) !


chef morgan strawberries 2

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A.O.C. olives, a castle, and a beautiful village

August 17th, 2013

chef morgan

Les Baux-de-Provence

green olive tapenade (with steamed cod)

Provence is full of olive trees but there is only one area in Provence where the olives and olive oil are certified “A.O.C.”  It is the  Vallée des Les Baux de Provence. When I discovered this piece of culinary trivia, the day trip was planned. The olives seduced me, but the history and culture kept me there. So come with me – venez avec moi – à Les Baux-de-Provence (which inspired this week’s recipe: green olive tapenade with steamed cod).

Allez-y  (let’s go) !

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oven-roasted pork tenderloin with herb-caper salsa

August 8th, 2013


chef morgan pork 1

this little piggy

oven-roasted pork tenderloin with 
herb-caper salsa


This week’s post is inspired by a visit to 6 Paul Bert in the middle of a three day French visa adventure (which I will tell you about). My meal at 6 Paul Bert was definitely the highlight and I nearly licked my plate clean, which is why I call this post “this little piggy” (as well as the fact that the subject of this week’s recipe is pork). This week we are making oven-roasted pork tenderloin with herb-caper salsa. 

 à table ! 

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Venez avec moi: Monet’s Giverny

July 26th, 2013

chef morgan GIverny

I am often asked for recommendations of what to do and where to eat while in France. When I am asked about day trips outside Paris my first suggestion is always the same: go to Monet’s home in Giverny. It is an easy train ride to a magical place that is beyond peaceful and beautiful. It was restored to it’s prior appearance (designed and planned by the artist himself). A visit to Monet’s Giverny is like stepping into one of the artist’s paintings. Until you can get there in person, let me take you there via post. Venez avec moi à Monet’s Giverny (La Maison de Claude Monet en Giverny).  Read the rest of this entry »

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Paris day trip: Versailles and le potage du roi

July 19th, 2013

chef morgan


Paris Day Trip: Versailles et Le Potage du Roi

white peach and haricots verts salad with fresh chives  

My quest to see a kitchen garden built for a king and my daughters’ desire to see where Marie Antoinette lived led us to Versailles. We came home with white peaches and our day trip inspired this week’s post and the recipe: white peach and haricots verts salad with fresh chives.

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cheeseburger in paradise

May 17th, 2013

chef morgan camion 2

cheeseburger in paradise

In the twenty plus years I have come and gone to France, I have never eaten a hamburger in France. Until now. I heard about Le Camion qui Fume (the truck who smokes) several times and for several reasons.  Le Camion qui Fume made history because it was the first “food truck” in Paris. This adventure was pioneered by Kristin Frederick, a fellow American who coincidentally is also from California. Based upon my experiences in France, let’s just say that I cannot even imagine the French paperwork (nor the taxes….sigh) involved in the undertaking; however, it did not deter Frederick who brought her concept of “French-i-fied” American food — burgers and fries on the go — to the City of Light. And, of course, this Californian included a “double-double” (double boeuf, double fromage) on the menu. Read the rest of this entry »

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lentil and Brie soup with bacon and chives

April 22nd, 2013

chef morgan lentil and Brie soup

Terrior Parisien® and a little Alléno in your bowl:

 lentil and Brie soup with bacon and chives

The favorable buzz was more than I could bear. It proved to be well-deserved. This week we are visiting Yannick Alléno’s bistro Terroir Parisien® and our weekly simple pleasure is an adaption of his cream of lentil and Brie soup with bacon and chives. Read the rest of this entry »

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venez avec moi à Banon

July 18th, 2012

Chef Morgan banonChef Morgan Banonchef morgan village in Provence: Banon

venez avec moi à Banon:
a carefully wrapped chèvre, fennel confit, 
and fleshy balsamic-drenched fig jam 

You may have heard of a French cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves and that this cheese is typically served with fig jam. The rumors are true and the cheese is from an actual village in Provence: Banon.

Running in Provence, I was thinking about both the cheese and the jam (which I had enjoyed the night before); however, there was a problem which my grandfather would have referred as “skinny.” No, he did not use the word to describe a person but an undesirable thin consistency of a gravy or jam. Grandpa would have said that the fig jam is skinny and he would have been right. Figs are lush. It is a shame to reduce them to a seedy consistency, losing all of that fleshy texture. It is akin to a peck on the check when you could get a full kiss on the lips. I do not think anyone would choose the former if you could have the latter. My Millay fleshy fig/lip thought was only interrupted by the fennel growing wild on the side of the road and the thought of  Apt’s candied fruit. It was the culmination of these thoughts — fleshy figs, creamy cheese, candied fruit, wild fennel, and that Millay sonnet — which inspired this week’s (regional) simple pleasure: Banon de Banon A.O.C. with fleshy fig jam and fennel confit. However, before you go there, venez avec moi  à Banon (come with me to Banon)Read the rest of this entry »

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