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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roasted white asparagus with browned butter (asperges blanches rôti au beurre noisette)

June 19th, 2012

roasted white asparagus with browned butter

roasted white asparagus with browned butter 
(asperges blanches rôti au beurre noisette)

serves 4-6

what you need:

4-6 large white asparagus (or 12 smaller asparagus)
olive oil (as needed)
kosher salt (as needed)
freshly ground white (or black) pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley Read the rest of this entry »

venez avec moi dans le 6ème

July 31st, 2011

venez avec moi dans le 6ème

venez avec moi dans le 6ème
vous êtes ici
(you are here)

an overview and the tourist points

The sixth arrondissement is located in central Paris on the rive gauche (the left bank). The area is popular with tourists because it is not only full of boutique hotels and quaint bistros but centrally located to many things that tourists come to Paris to see.   Read the rest of this entry »

goût de luxe: caviar taste. legume budget. perfect.

January 20th, 2011

goût de luxe:

caviar taste.  legume budget.  perfect.

Goût de luxe means “luxurious taste” or “taste of luxury.”   Sometimes you want to indulge your taste for luxury without paying the monetary price typically associated with it.   So what is easy to do that tastes expensive, but isn’t?  Beluga lentils and that is why a Beluga lentil hors-d’oeuvre is this week’s simple pleasure.

Lentils are a legume   (which is a fruit with edible seeds in a pod).  Other legumes include soybeans, green beans,  fava beans, garbanzo beans, and peanuts.  Legumes are full of dietary protein and fiber  (both soluble and insoluble) and are often used as a meat substitute.   Legumes are not only good for your health but a delight for your budget (compare one pound of organic aged beef which can cost around $22-24 per pound with a pound of heirloom beans for about $3-4).

When we think of lentils, generally most people think of the dark green Puy lentils from Velay, France (which admittedly are wonderful).  These green lentils are commonly prepared creamy-style or served in a salad (often with roasted red beets).  However, lentils come in a variety of sizes and colors, including red, orange, ivory, canary yellow, various shades of green and brown, and black.  The green, brown, and black varieties retain their shape better then the orange, red and canary colored varieties.  The orange, red and canary colored lentils are often found in Indian cuisine and take on a very creamy consistency when simmered.  Lentils (eaten out of the pod) do not need to be rehydrated and take only 20-30  minutes to simmer.

Beluga lentils look exactly like the famous caviar for which they are named.    They are shiny, dark black, small, and round.  Beluga lentils are delicate and mild-flavored.  They can be prepared al dente or simmered longer for a creamier texture.  They are wonderful additions to soups and salads and they pair well with fleshy white fish (i.e., Sea Bass or Cod) as well as with pork and game (including two of my favorites:  wild boar and crispy pork belly).   Beluga lentils are also good puréed.

This Beluga lentil hors -d’oeuvre is true to the caviar theme.  Beluga caviar is typically served with sour cream on top of halved boiled new potatoes (and accompanied by a bottle of ice-cold vodka encased in ice).  Here, instead of sour cream, we use crème fraîche with freshly grated horseradish.  Instead of potatoes or toast points, we use thinly sliced raw turnips.   Instead of water or vegetable stock (which is the typical fare in which to simmer lentils), we use white wine and fish stock, keeping with the caviar theme and giving the lentils a slightly salty, seafood boost.

This hors -d’oeuvre takes about 20 minutes active time.  It can be prepared in advance and tastes best when it has chilled overnight.  The crème fraîche and the turnips can also be prepared in advance.

So fancy, here is to your luxurious — budget and health conscious —  taste.   The chilled vodka is optional.

Je vous souhaite un bon appétit !


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marchés et tous les bons trucs (markets and all that stuff)

November 2nd, 2010

les marchés de Paris

As early as the 5th century, market life has been a part of Parisian culture.  Originally, all markets were “covered”, meaning they were stationary and had a roof.   However, early in the 20th century many of the covered markets closed and in their place arose open-air markets which could be disassembled at the end of the day.   Today the majority of markets are open-air.

Most markets (open-air and covered) carry organic as well as non-organic products.  There are three markets dedicated solely to organic products in the 6ème, 8ème, and 17ème  arrondissements.  In addition to fresh produce, you can find meat, poultry, seafood, and diary products at the markets.  Most have prepared (hot and cold) items available as for sale, including pâtés, sausages, paëlla, roast chickens, pastas, salads, and more complicated dishes such as tajines and boeuf bourguignon.  The markets vary in size.  Larger markets will carry everything from exotic spices to household items, kitchenware, and clothing.

The markets are named for the street or place upon which they are located. While the days and times vary, you can find a market in every arrondissement.   Covered markets are open every day except Monday and close early on Sundays.  They also   close for lunch.  The open-air markets are set up for about 5 to 6 hours.  Many of the markets (open-air and closed) stay open until 7 or 8 p.m.

Below is a list of the Paris markets (minus two) with their locations, days and times.  This list will be continually updated.  However,  if you are planning a trip to Paris, it is best to verify times and days with France Guide (us.franceguide.com) the official site of the French Government Tourist Office before you go as some of the markets’ locations have changed due to tram construction.  When in Paris you can also get a list of the markets from the mayor’s office.

Bonne courses !


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