holiday chocolate tree

December 6th, 2012

holiday tree of chocolate (sapin de Noël au chocolat)

celebrating the season with chocolate


holiday tree of chocolate
(sapin de Noël au chocolat)

I could not believe my eyes when I saw holiday decor in the Los Angeles stores before Halloween. While I understand the excitement, that two month vendor jump on the holidays does not exist in Paris. In Paris, the holiday decor does not go up until the first week in December (with the exception of certain tourist streets such as the Champs Élysées) and it stays up until the Epiphany (January 6). This week the pine trees have arrived. There are no Christmas tree “lots.” Instead, the corner florists and grocery stores sell them and the decorated trees are beginning to embellish store fronts, hotels, and apartment buliding lobbies. The gardienne for our apartment building put our lobby pine tree up yesterday. Covered in white flocking with white ornaments, it is a welcome sight and smell coming in from the 40 degree (Fahrenheit) chill and it was the inspiration for this (very) simple pleasure: holiday tree of chocolate (sapin de Noël au chocolat).

paris christmas trees

paris christmas trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

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chocolate holiday tree (sapin de Noël au chocolat)

December 6th, 2012

chocolate christmas tree

chocolate holiday tree 
(sapin de Noël au chocolat)

 makes one 1 tree

what you need:

1 pound bittersweet chocolate (or milk chocolate)
4 cups cereal (corn flakes or puffed rice) 
~ 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (as needed)
powdered sugar (as needed) Read the rest of this entry »

falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate

November 30th, 2012

 

paris fall leaves man with dog

falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate:
scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

I have only seen it snow once in Paris and the snow didn’t stick. This year while Paris has seen a couple rainy and “see your breath” chilly days, overall it has been beautiful and 5 or 6 degrees Celsius warmer than usual for late November. Parisians have been out in droves, profiting from the gift of warmer weather. Although the holidays are approaching, right now it is not holiday decor which covers the city, but blankets of golden leaves. Watching Parisians play in the leaves (and the city workers haul mounds of the leaves to compost piles) I thought of the poem Gathering Leaves by Robert Frost where he talks about the lightness and the “harvest” of falling leaves. I wanted to “harvest” leaves. In particular, I wanted to capture  the color scheme and lightness of these golden leaves and the flavors of autumn and put it on a plate in a simply way. That thought inspired this week’s simple pleasure: seared scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and fresh thyme. 

scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

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seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme

November 30th, 2012

 seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme



seared scallop macarons with chanterelles and thyme

serves 4

what you need:

sauté
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
 cups sliced chanterelles and champignons de Paris (or white mushrooms) 
½ teaspoon fresh French thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh Italian parsley
⅛ cup dry white wine (or Grappa)
kosher salt (as needed)
freshly ground black pepper as needed

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comfort food perfect for the season: spaghetti squash à la carbonara

November 21st, 2012

 spaghetti squash carbonara

from a special cheese to a brasserie on Saint Dominque, 
comfort food perfect for the season:
spaghetti squash à la carbonara  

I held in my hand a beautiful ewe’s (sheep) milk Italian cheese, Pecorino Rustico Pepato, I got from Norbert (The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills). The cheese, spiked with black pepper, reminded me carbonara. Eager to use the cheese but hesitant to use it on routine spaghetti pasta with little nutritional value, a basket full of winter squash caught my eye. Inspiration for this week’s simple pleasure was found: spaghetti squash à la carbonara. 

spaghetti squash

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seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out

August 20th, 2012

 Pont de L’Archêveché bridge paris 

seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out: 
melon and honey-ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis)

It is the combination of a famous bridge in Paris and a honey bee crashing our dinner party which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: melon and honey – ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis). Also this week, peach and tarragon clafoutis. Both recipes make the most of summer’s end. 

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when you just cannot give away a sandwich: pan bagnat au cadeau

July 2nd, 2012

French Sandwich in a Box

when you just cannot give away a sandwich:
pan bagnat au cadeau 

On a few occasions, despite my most sincere intentions, the execution of that intention goes completely awry (usually ending in funny story). It is the recall of two such incidents, both involving the gifting of a sandwich, that inspired this week’s simple pleasure: pan bagnat au cadeau (sandwich in a giftbox). Read the rest of this entry »

a one year anniversary and life is just peachy: summer peach mousse with crushed almonds and rose biscuits

June 25th, 2012

 

Chef morgan red shoes and Eiffel tower

a one year anniversary and life is just peachy:
summer peach mousse with crushed almonds and rose biscuits

Paris is historical, inspirational, and romantic. For many people, it is bon goût (good taste) in all meanings of the word – gastronomically, artistically, architecturally, in fashion – to name a few. For me, my red chef shoes bring me here time and time again and the magic never dulls. One year ago I finally found an  apartment in this city which I fell in love with so many years ago. It is this anniversary which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: summer peach mousse with crushed almonds and rose biscuits.

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white asparagus as large as logs and lighting your fire: roasted white asparagus with browned butter

June 19th, 2012

white asparagus as large as logs

white asparagus as large as logs and lighting your fire:
roasted white asparagus with browned butter
(asperges blanches rôti au beurre noisette)

Greetings from Paris where it is raining off and on but quiet as the tourists have not yet arrived and the children are still in school. The calm before the storm. It is business as usual and joyfully I am left to pick up where I left off and nothing here – the daily urban Paris life that I so love  – has changed except for the market displays. Every market, from the neighborhood and open air markets to the Casinos (grocery stores), is prominently displaying end of the season white asparagus. They cannot be ignored. It is a combination of these hand-picked treasures and a cover of a Door’s song which inspired this week’s (very) simple pleasure: roasted white asparagus with browned butter (asperges blanches rôti au beurre noisette).

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Catacombs in Paris (Halloween special 2013)

October 31st, 2011

catacomb chef morgan

Halloween 2013
<< Catacombs>>

For those of you who have ever been curious about the Catacombs in Paris, this Halloween post may satisfy that curiosity until you get there in person. I want to warn you that the following photographs are graphic and for mature audiences only. Do not look for a recipe at the end of this post because that in my opinion would be in poor taste in more ways than one (and you have already made your Halloween preparations). When Halloween is over, this post will be removed from the home page and “buried” in the France section of this blog. Recipes and French travel sites, above ground, to resume comme d’habitude (as usual) thereafter.

For this Halloween day, let’s venture out of the kitchen. Venez avec moi (come with me) to the Catacombs in Paris (which, by the way, is now considered a museum).

Happy Halloween (and “bone” appétit) !

LM

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