Category Archives: Food

Yum

I made macarons

Yes I did.

Not only did i make macarons, I made macarons in Paris.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that equates to double the Brittany is a Parisienne points. N’est-ce pas? 

Ok, so technically we made french macarons in Paris using the Italian method, but that’s neither here nor there and you don’t care about that and neither do I. And that does NOT take away from my Brittany is a Parisienne points.

The making of the macarons:

A few weeks back, I found out about La Cuisine de Paris, a warm, welcoming, 100% ex-pat friendly cooking school, via none other than Sir David Lebovitz himself.

No, he hasn’t been knighted, but I kinda just knighted him there.. ish.. didn’t I. Henceforth known as Sir David.

No, scratch that. Master David. As in Jedi Master. As in my Jedi Master of Paris and all things food.

Woah woah woah, back to the point. So David was hosting a rendezvous, hot chocolate drinking, macaron-eating and book signing the following day at La Cuisine de Paris and he posted it on his bloggity.

Intrigued.

I did some interweb creepin’.

Turned out that La cuisine offers a full range of English taught cooking, pastry-making, and market perusing classes. I saw Macarons.

Done. Booked.

I know, I know. BRITT what are you doing.  You’re in France to learn French.  Get out of that damn english speaking cooking class and sign up for one of their (available!) French cooking classes, you weak-willed female.

My excuses: It was like, my second week here, chill.  Even listening to the explanations for the delays on the metro PA system stressed me out. Also, it’s a super great way to meet other expats in the same situation. Networking people. Networking. Oh yeah, finally, I actually wanted to know HOW to make the macarons.  Sure I’d be able to get the gist of it en Français, but guaranteed I would mis-interperet some extra important tip like wait for at least two days before you try to eat your macarons or else they will be dry and less awesome, for something wrong and similar like, don’t wait two days before eating the macarons or else they will be dry and not awesome. Heed the warning and avoid temptation for the first two days, believe you me.

How was the class you ask?

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Filed under Food, Paris, Travels

Still Recovering from St Valentin.

So I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I have so much that I could share, that I don’t know what to share first.

Which leads to me not sharing anything.

Which leads to me realizing that I don’t have enough blogging capacity to share everything that pops into my ever-moving-squirrel(now french squirrel)-brain.

Which leads to me trying to prioritize my sharing.

Which necessitates more thinking.

Which necessitates more procrastinating.

Meanwhile here I am.

Eating Chocolate. And bread. And cheese. And (drinking) wine. And having amusing eccentric little thoughts.

And nobody is hearing about it. That stresses me out.

At least stressed turned around is desserts, and I’m sure as heck not short on desserts. It was Valentine’s Day for crêpes sake. (Ha. ha. see what I did there.)

Let me tell you about Valentine’s Day in Paris. Actually you can probably figure it out your dang self. Just sit there and think about the most fabulously romantical, Valentines-y city possible that, if you could be, you would SO be visiting on February 14th with your significant other.

Me Helping You: Paris. Hi.

It is so true. No one could make up the amount of love diffused through the air in the cafés, parcs, boulangeries and even through the most pee-smelling of metro stations.  Guys, there was no escape.

I wake up to find a romantic poem waiting for my roommate, walk down the hall and bump into a man delivering a dozen roses to a friend of mine, snatch my vélib and head to the galleries lafayette to peruse the gourmet food section. Naturally, it’s Hell-a Heart-tastic too.

To be honest, I’m not too much of a rebel. I can’t fight the hearts and the romance.  Even if there’s no one waiting for me with a love-filled home-made dinner and a freaking cuddle (I would never ask this of you dear roommate).

I embraced the love. Just me… and Paris.

I couldn’t stop myself from buying a delicious coeur de neufchâtel. I totally cut my betteraves into romantic shapes for my own lunch.  I stuck my face against every chocolaterie window.  And occasionally I came out with something super.  And I even forced myself to not express disgust when I saw couples eating eachother’s faces at the corner brasserie. Or on the metro.  You have no idea how many times I faced this one.

Then, Valentine’s Day was over.  But it still felt like Valentine’s Day. By now, I’m pretty sure it’s just Paris.

Paris is like some wildly sappy twist on the classic Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day“.  But sappy in a way that you learn to love to live with.

Perpetual romance. Woah.

So the next day, I had red wine and a delicious cheese fondue with some new Swiss friends.  The next evening I shared a(n other) bottle of wine, a home cooked meal, and some excellent conversation with a new German friend.  The next morning I made decadent chocolate pancakes and went for my usual run around the fountains at the Jardin Luxembourg. Seule. Since then, I’ve gone ice skating at the hôtel de ville, followed by amorino gelato, wine-hopped through le Marais, shared cheeses, bread and snickerdoodles with a lovely international group of amies, shared variations of bitter dark chocolat chaud and chantilly at a viennese pastry shop, and pondered colours, brushstrokes, and insanity at the centre pompidou. (I also learned how to make macarons at a pastry school, but I will for real tell you about that in another post)

Romance is not just for two, and it’s certainly not just for a special occasion.

At least not here. I’m adjusting. These helped.

Yes I greased the pan with artisan french butter. duh.

Romantic Chocolate Pancakes. For One.

adaptedish from The First Mess

a word to the wise.. I have little to no means of measuring things.. and haven’t jumped fully into kitchen scale-ing… so these are all “ish” measurements

  • 1/2 ish cup milk (105g)
  • 1 teaspoon (or smallish spoon) vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 1/2 ish cup white spelt flour (55g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons (large-ish spoon in my case) cocoa powder (make it fair trade babe)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sweetener (I used molasses, tis all I had)
  • nubbin of a banana.. the size is photographed
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • butter for pan-greasing

Mix the almond milk and vinegar together in a small dish, or random residence cup, and let it set to become buttermilky.

Mix the dry ingredients (up to salt) together in a medium bowl.

Mash the banana in another bowl, and thoroughly combine with milk mixture and vanilla.  Add wet to dry and mix until just combined, and pancake it up on a lowish-medium heat frying pan!

Cover your pancakes with romance.  Or peanut butter and bananas.

p.s. I just bought a kilogram of the finest Valrhona chocolate available from G.Detou near Les Halles. Throw me rope. A life boat. A glass of water. A freaking bag of spinach. Throw me anything. Just not chocolate.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food, Paris, Travels

Days are dwindling – Pear Gingerbread Galette

Do you ever get that when something feels like it’s so far away that it’s never ever, ever ever going to actually happen, and then, ALLOFASUDDEN, it’s next week?

Well I do.  I’m not sure if it’s some sort of chronic denial disorder, but some plans, no matter how concrete, just seem surreal.

Next week I’m done with Ottawa. Done done. Not just like, “hey O-town, it’s been great, see you again next year.” It’s like, “hey O-town, it was nice knowin ya. for real.”

What looked like such an epic four year journey back in ’08, now feels like it’s been a coffee break. Or like, a grueling coffee break full of courses called Taxation, challenges like escaping the freshman fifteen, and friendships that I never thought I would build, but you get the whole metaphor thing.

I’m excited to wipe this fella off my mini pink dry-erase board, don’t get me wrong, but you know…. there are nerves. For definite. I’ve gotta be ready to tackle the globe you see, and it is…

rather gargantuan.

not unlike my love for kabocha squash.

(irrelevant and random)

I’ve got all of these plans.. and goals… and hopes.. and other big giant maybes… and now I’ve actually got to DO them. See I was just keeping them around because they sound nice. You know, like when the 87 millionth parent’s friend asks you what you’re going to do when you graduate? Oh I have a nice long list of potentials. And they’re also great for when you’re feeling all quarter-life crisis-y and trying to study the tax implications of a corporate wind-up and you start to ask yourself just what’s left to live for. That’s when all of that big-picture-magic-hopes-and-dreams mumbo jumbo comes into play.

BUT NOW I ACTUALLY DO THESE?! Not real.

Okay real. I’m excited.  I just really need to pack up my kitchen supplies.. because for serious… there’s a knife set, many pots, some spatulas, and a whoooole lotta linens between me and my hopes and dreams. And four exams. But whatever.  One week… to tie it all up.

The hardest part? Mi amigas.  Real goodbyes suck.   I think my strategy is just to not let them happen.

I’ll see them all again. No doubt.  That.. or I invite a whole whack of good ones over for a dinner party and make sure they’re all so full after the entree that:

1) We cannot possibly think of things other than our bulbous mid-sections, and therefore I cannot be sad or acknowledge that this could possibly be a real goodbye.

2) They can’t stomach dessert.  This will result in a delicious Pear Galette with a Gingerbread crust to devour primarily yourself over the course of the next week-ish.

It was good. Christmas-type good. Winter-type good.  Holiday-Spice good.  That’s my favourite type of good.  It’s what gets me through the whole “abandoning an entire stage of my life” thing. Christmas-liciousness.

It was also pretty.

If you’re trying to avoid facing life stuff and would rather have a dinner party and stuff your face with wintry goodness? Make this Pear Galette. The crust is gingerbread. Come on now.

Pear Galette with a Gingerbread Crust

Crust:

Adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted organic butter, cut into bits
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses

Filling:

  • 3-ish medium (organic) pears, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice (I’m sure concentrated would work)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • extra course sugar for sprinkling

To prepare crust, whisk together the sugar and other dry ingredients (up to and including salt) in a large bowl, then cut in butter with knifes or a pastry cutter until it resembles a coarse meal.  If you don’t have the proper tools, dontcha worry, just crumble the mixture together with your hands. Nobody will die.  In a separate small bowl whisk together molasses and egg yolk (you can reserve the white for a wash later), then knead or mix egg mixture into the dry mixture until a dough forms, if it’s still a bit crumbly this is fine, just pack it into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine all of the filling ingredients (except extra course sugar) in a bowl and let sit until your crust is prepared.

Once your dough is chilled, Preheat your oven to around 375°F. Roll out your dough into an approximate circle on a lightly floured surface, or directly onto a sheet of parchment until it is nearly an 1/8 of an inch thick.  Arrange your marinated pear slices in some super artistic form ontop of your crust, leaving a margin around the outside to fold over in a cute rustic way.  Once your edges are folder over, brush the crust with egg white if you wish, then sprinkle the entire galette with course sugar.  Put in the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for between 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown.  Serve warm or cool with whipped cream.

Eat it when you should be eating square meals because you filled your guests too full to eat it for you the previous weekend.

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Filed under Dessert, Food

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

I go for long runs on weekends.

I am majorly thankful for these long runs.

I really love food, so I am majorly, majorly thankful for these long runs.

You know who I mostly thank for these long runs?

Nansen.

Nansen drives me out to the park for these long runs. Nansen is NOT a chauffeur. Nansen is just a nice dude. Don’t call him a chauffeur.  He’s not a chauffeur.

You see, you can’t pay a chauffeur in cookies, but you can sometimes pay a Nansen with cookies. If they’re good cookies.

These fit the bill.

They were particularly good as fuel when running to this fire tower.

This is Nansen at the fire tower, no doubt talking about how he wishes he had flannel lined jeans … and about how flannel has become “very advanced” these days. Hell, it’s chilly. I’d wear flannel lined jeans…

Ok, depending on the tight-fittedness of said jeans. I mean come on, tight, flannel-lined girl jeans? Sounds like constrained sweatiness.

Boop. Cookies.

Oh Right, the run.

It was many hours. Like 3 or something. Long.

But super pretty.

And very Nansen-picture-filled. But that’s not a new thing.

Also you have to be really strong to partake in this run. That’s important. (look there’s me!)

These cookies were both the fuel to make me strong and manly and the currency to get my arse into the little silver Ford that drove us out to the hills.

YUM. Make these cookies. They look advanced, like they have secrets.

“HOW DID YOU GET THE PEANUT BUTTER INTO THE CHOCOLATE!?!” many have asked.

“Ah,” I said, “You roll the peanut butter filling into a ball and wrap it in chocolate dough.”

Enough said. I used this recipe. Use it too.

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Filed under Cookies, Food, Traipsing Outdoors

Cho-Coconut Luna Bars

I told you these would happen.

Well, they had to happen.. I made them over a week ago.  Ugh… there are so many pretty photographed things that I’ve made way longer than a week ago that have yet to see the light of “blog”.  I never really know what to do when that happens.

Most of my recipes have anecdotes, meanings, jokes, stories… but when I made the food a month ago… all of those memories that usually cling to things that I make.. fade.

Because I’m sixty. And I can’t remember before October.

Ok not true. I can.  But I’d have to sit on the comfy couch covered with purple blankets for a really long time making a really hard thinking-face that my roommates might mistake for something else and tell me to get off the couch right now.

More proof that I’m sixty.  Also I can’t hear.  It makes for good misinterpretations by me always.  I’d love to share them with you but, duh, I can’t remember them right now.

Sixty.

Right, moral of the story… I think I have to abandon those recipes that didn’t have time to make it to the blog and just move on forward.  The emotional connections… they’re gone.  I’ll make new ones.

These babies are super fresh in my mind. YUM.

I don’t know if you guys have had Luna bars.  They occupy a pretty special place in my heart/mind/thing.

1) I was an athlete kid, sports nutrition bars were exciting and seemed super necessary for me to be a super powerful athlete.

2) Luna bars were made for GIRLS.  Woah, special.

3) Chocolatey-Crispy-Gooey goodness that I got to pretend was a health food.

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Today is special – mini vanilla coconut cream scones

It’s Coralie’s birthday.  She’s a best friend.

For sure.

I want to tell you about the 52Xinfinity different reasons why she is one of THE MOST awesome individuals ever to be synthesized from the genetic material of two other individuals ever, but I’m kinda sorta studying right now. I am. I will be.  I am.

I’ll be succinct. (which is one of my best words by the way)

If you ever get the chance to be friends with Coralie Ullyett, take it. Run with it.  Don’t look back.

It’s like you invested in apple in the 80’s.  And you’re freakin rich now.

That’s how I feel.

Best. Return. On. Investment. Ever. (see, I’m studying)

She makes friendships.  I don’t mean like she makes friends, but like she makes the friendship.  You must know what I mean, you must have come across one of these friends before.

I hope you kept them.

They’re the kind of friend who always makes you feel all loved n junk. Like somehow, even though you know their life is busy because they’re probably off saving the world (or environment), they always take time to think about you. And they find a way let you know.  Sometimes it’s a text, an email, a phone call, or even a freaking postcard. Postcards are the bee’s knees.

Magic, these friends.

They’re the ones who teach their friends how to be friends.

I’m both jealous of their friendbilities, and crippling-ly grateful that I wound up on the receiving end. Yes, gratefulness can be crippling. And crippling can be manipulated into the word “crippling-ly”. You saw it.

I’m working on spreading more of this friend magic myself.

Coralie, be prepared. There will be text messages. There will be tweets. There will likely be some random facebook links on your wall.

And there will be birthday scones.

She loves Coconut.

I love (mostly) everything, SO, coconut it is.

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Lighten the Mood – chocolate chip cookie war

I need a post to get me outta this funk.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, I have a funk.

Or I’m in a funk. whatever.  The funk is called five weeks of being ill. It stinks.

I’m a healthy person. Honest. Really healthy.  I’m so not that girl who catches a cold every time she goes out in chilly weather without socks. Definitely not that girl.  TOMS don’t need socks.  But yeah, point is, I do what I can to keep my immune system off-the-hook.  By that I mean as unsusceptible to viruses as my Macbook (That was a shout out Mr.Jobs, your awesomeness lives on).

Well lately, it hasn’t been so hot.

More like hot and bothered.

But more bothered than hot.

So I kinda got fed up.  I’ve been doing so darn good.  Eating as much wicked produce as possible.  Keepin all my macronutrients in check.  You know the deal.  Drinking water.  Just being good. I really am.  Which is why I’m even more bothered. Why don’t bacteria take the goodness of your soul and your awesome intentions into account when they decide whether or not to infest your sinuses? They should. Bunch of arses.

So to rebel against the evil head infection, I’m depriving the bacteria of sugar for the time being.  I heard they like sugar.  So they can’t have it.

Unfortunately, desugarification is kind of a bum.  So I figure now’s as good a time as any to relive my glory days. From a month ago.

When I had a vegan chocolate-chip cookie face-off.

With myself.

You see, two mad cool bloggers came up with two different vegan chocolate chip cookies recipes within days of eachother. I needed both.

Right-a-freakin-way.

One works it’s magic with a little bit o’ banana (right), that’s from Daily Garnish (who is super going to pop any day now, check her blog), the other (left), by Oh She Glows (who hangs in the same province that I currently inhabit) sneaks in some flax and molasses Whaaat?!

Yeah.

Flax and molasses.

Power couple if there ever was one.  Is that weird? That I put flax and molasses up there with Brangelina… ?

NO.

It’s how we roll in the not-so-average 20 somethin household.

Onward, the recipes.

Cookie Numero Uno

1 dozen via Daily Garnish (slight adaptations)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan buttah4
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet. Prepare for a sErious event.  Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Cream together butterishthing and sugars with whatever mixing device you have.  I had a wooden spoon.  Add the banana, vanilla, and milk, nd mix until fluffy.  Slowly add the dry to the wet and then fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop about 1 dozen cookies onto your sheet.  I got to use a cookie scoop, you could use a heaping Tbs.  Flatten them a bit. Bake for 10-ish mins or until the bottoms are a lil golden.  Cool and taste test.

Cookie Number Dos

via Oh She Glows

  • 7 tbsp Earth Balance + 1 tbsp  oil (or 1/2 cup Earth Balance if not worried about crisp edges)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 flax egg: (1 tbsp ground flaxed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water and left until gummy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used whole wheat, then white pastry flour)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp molasses (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet.  Mix your flax egg and leave er there.  In a bowl (or stand mixer, fancypants) cream the butterishness alone until fluffy, then mix in both sugars until creamed, then the flax egg.  Beat in all of the remaining ingredients and fold in the chocochips.  Scoop these out onto your sheet like the previous ones, though I think this made more than a dozen for me. Bake for 10-12 mins, don’t over do it!  Cool and taste test.

Findings:

Cookie Uno had some nice buttery banana-y flavour to it, and it felt lighter.. it’s also the mucho healthier option.  I was also surprised at how non-cakey it was given that it was made with a bananer.  HOWEVER, it didn’t have the “perfect chewy dense center type deal” that you can get with the best non vegan choco-chip cookies, I could still feel a lil cakiness. Just a lil

Cookie Dos was… super. Wouldn’t have thunk it was vegan.  It had the super chewy with crisp edges texture spot on. I want to make them again now. Riiight now. At 10:34 pm. Only my bum’s will to stay glued to the couch is stopping me.  I think we have a winner.

Ange, you did it again.  Keep rockin my kitchen with your vega-liciousness.  That was not suggestive. Please don’t think it was suggestive. Yikes.

Wish me luck with maintaining my desugarification while I still produce more snot than David Guetta does Remixes.

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