Saturday, April 04, 2020

Easy, Fast Lockdown Chicken Soup

In the past month I've made chicken soup 3 times and its the best and easiest I've made in my life. Every boucherie in Paris has a rotisserie setup out front offering made-daily ready-to-eat whole chickens and parts. Plus the chicken fat drips down onto cutup potatoes if you're so inclined. On March 13th (pre-lockdown) I spotted a nice organic COOKED rotisserie chicken in Monoprix. It was either buy an utterly delish but one-meal salmon sushi roll or the chicken. The chicken won. For reasons unbeknownst to me chicken soup is not the go-to 'panacea for all that ails ya' as it is in the US. La Grand Epicerie does not offer take-away ready-made chicken soup. Chinese takeout shops have shrimp ravioli noodle and Shanghanese(sp) soup(hot and sour) but no chicken soup. It is a mystere especially when it's been noted in some medical circles to clear the upper respiratory passages. In France you simply have to make it yourself. The first recipe to greet you on Google is Martha Stewart's of course.
Thank you Martha ! It works easy peasy.
The big change with a rotisserie/barbecue chicken is you won't  be skimming fat off the top. The fat already landed on those potatoes at the bottom. And you won't have to worry about flavor. And its already COOKED = big time-saver.
I added in a Monop soy sauce and preserved ginger packet for extra oomph (optional). I won't copy out the complete RECIPE here.
Basically add 7-8 cups of cold water + 3-4 smashed garlic CLOVES + a teaspoon of kosher/sea salt. And your cooked chicken. Voila. Put the lid on slightly ajar and let it come to a boil.
Meantime chop up your onions (or 1leek) + 6 carrots.
Add to the pot once the chicken has come to a boil and simmer till fork tender. Leave the lid slightly ajar.
Turn off the heat and let cool a bit before you start removing the meat from the bones PLEASE. Do not go moving a hot pot around either PLEASE. I'm not insured.
Return meat to the pot and serve. A very easy flavorful soup indeed. Bear 🐻liked it👍🏻 Here's my other frequent companion. Stay home please PBers. And MAKE A MASK if you can't buy one which you can't here. Xxx ❤️ PS I ran out of flat leaf parsley and added arugala as a green.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Franprix, jam jars, Paris Letters/Maps

This week went by in a state of unreality. While others were making no-knead bread  and redesigning their lives, I wrestled with a jam jar. The jam jar won. True I got a stiff calf early on from too many squats without warming up. I elevated, iced with a bag of frozen peas and rested (RICE). 

Sunday morning I went out again early At 9:15. No one out except tenacious runners. Parisians left the city Tuesday a week ago, gone to their country homes. Its 'August in Paris' except boulangeries are open and the weather is crisp and cold (34 feels like 28). 
It's good occasionally to get out in the fresh air (we are allowed out 1 hr  per day with documentation) away from information overload and the tragic daily numbers so hard to comprehend. My building is all but empty. No garbage to speak of - the tell tale sign. 
The shelves are well-stocked at Franprix except for pasta. Maybe cos Parisians are now picking berries dans la campagne
I've never understood French cleaning products. Cleaning is not one of my strong points. Evidently good ole soap and water are lethal to CV. Who previously appreciated a simple bar of soap? Now I want to bathe 24/7. Can we inhale soap bubbles? Did your mother ever wash your mouth out with soap and water? Please be kind to your grocery store worker. Marjorie Williams wrote a terrific post about finding good food from your local farmers.
I noticed the jam shelf was seriously decimated.
French people, in general, have a big slice of toast for breakfast slathered with gobs of butter and jam/confiture along with their coffee/tea. Forget eggs and bacon.
Most prefer to eat only jam home-made by relatives and eschew the store-bought stuff but when travel is restricted... I couldn't resist the last jar of orange/citron/ pamplemousse. The French refer to this combo as agrume, which sounds more romantic than citrus. Most of this week I tried to paint that jar. Finally, after buying some croissants (also painting subjects) I dug into the jam, combined it with Roquefort on the 🥐and went to town 😳.
I ❤️ this Spring Bonne Maman poster from the Metro pre-lockdown.
My haul from Franprix supermarché. Those red balls are granade/pomegranates. Another jar of anchovies, a jar of 'Provençal' French-style tomato sauce, bubbly water far left, dill in upper right, marinated artichoke hearts great in salads,a pretty yellow tin of tuna I hope to paint, grainy German bread,and the jam jar.
The Big News on 💌 Paris Letters is: They will be 'sent' out as emails until post-Lockdown when I can send actual letters💌.My local post office is closed and my copy shop/printer is closed. ALL IMAGES WILL BE RESENT AGAIN AFTER LOCKDOWN👍🏻 Please understand. Stay home, stay well PBers Xxx🙏🏻🥐☕️🐻❤️

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lockdown Update

Friday morning I ventured outside early. At 8:15 the French are sleeping in. Almost no one is out except the usual addicted runners and a dad biking with his son. Come on along. 
A lone empty bus crosses my bridge, Pont Sully.
The Seine is receding little by little.
I'm kitted up in a fairly useless paper paint mask and blue plastic gloves.
The Île St.Louis pharmacie has zip but I needed a working thermometer.
I'm wearing my house keys, my hand-copied document 'Attestation de Deplacement de Derogatoire' (my reason for leaving the house, dated and signed). And my lucky horseshoe given me on Christmas Eve by 
DIPTYQUEI don't go anywhere without it these days
First food stop is 
Boulanger de la Tour for a loaf of their Scandie grainy, brown bread.
I browse their lovely desserts. I am the only one in the shop.
My main haul is from the mini-branch Carrefour on the island and Monop. Smaller stores are well stocked with fresh fruit and veg, lait crus cheeses. Monop had a pile of tiny hand sanitizers I couldn't resist. My 1st ever bottle. FYI Mavrommatis' Greek yogurt comes from Greek cows and is wildly luscious. 

I could have made a tomato tarte from the cherry tomatos but I forgot to get crust. Next time. Instead I season them with Z'atar, and a splash of balsamic and flavored oil from the sun-dried tomato jar.
I can't bring myself to binge-watch endless serials. Instead I watch and sketch old mysteries on Youtube like Poirot's Third Girl.Try it
Its nice to come home to our pocket garden in the courtyard - good for a bit of marching around, though clearly our concierge thinks I'm nuts. Every night at 8 pm Parisians come on their balconies making a great din showing their appreciation for French medical teams working day and night. Please STAY home PBers, and stay well 🙏🏻🐻💋

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Update on Bear In Paris

"The whole worl's in a terrible state o' chassis.” ...Juno says from Sean O'Casey's Juno and the PaycockOne simply does not know what to make of it all.
One tiny nugget of good news is the March Paris letter went out to you last Tuesday. I used a different post office who chose not to return any envelopes, though they were definitely over the 21 gram limit. Merci dieu🙏🏻 I was inspired by Atelier des Lumieres 'Monet, Renoir...Chagall wonderful light show.
And this photo of Monet water lilly painting.
Last week I went to the new Turner retrospective at musee Jacquemart-Andre. I'll report on it soon and other shows I've seen recently. They are all closed now, but waiting in the wings for better times 🙏🏻
The Seine has receded a bit. Another merci dieu🙏🏻
Do you watch France24 in English? It will keep you up to date on what's going on in Paris, like the ridiculous madness last Sunday when Parisians flooded parks picnicking and socializing after Saturday's closure of restaurants, cafes, pools, museums. Its hard not to binge watch the news now.
For a sane, calm voice out there, Dr. John Campbell, a British nurse, offers 
daily reports on the virus world-wide. His hand washing demo changed me forever. I've gone through bars of soap like popcorn. And I watch MedCam for a deep dive into microbiology. Its fascinating. Today at noon Lockdown was instituted.
I ran last minute to the marché, the bank and for last food items for the Lockdown larder.
Paris boulangeries will stay open along with supermarkets, banks, some post offices.
If you want to leave the house a printed document is required stating your reasons. Who has a printer? On verra bien🙏🏻
This morning I was so tempted to stock up on cookies and French jam but I resisted.
Instead I 
got frozen pineapple and black cherries. Coming home with loaded shopping bags I passed Diptyque and a huge waft of lovely perfume enveloped me. A moment to forget "The whole worl's in a terrible state o' chassis.” Please use SOCIAL DISTANCE as much as you can PBers. Stay Home🙏🏻 Please take good care of yourselves. You belong to me❤️🐻

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Betty Catroux, Yves St. Laurent, Feminine Singular

Yesterday I saw the BETTY CATROUX, Feminine Singular exhibit at MUSEE YSL.There are so many fashion exhibit around Paris it ain't easy to keep up.
Louboutin is waiting in the wings to be posted and maybe I'll hit Harpers Bazaar at MAD tomorrow fingers crossed 🤞🏼I get my Paris envelopes 💌 addressed.
When Yves St.Laurent met  Betty by chance at night club, New Jimmy's in the 60's fashion history was made.
Her severe mannish style suited him to a T. Plus their personalities meshed like twins.
He asked for her number, asked her to model for him. They became good friends forever. Especially at night.
So many YSL classic originated with their friendship: the endless versions of 'le smoking' and the iconic safari jacket.
The show was curated by current YSL designer, Antony Vaccarello with Betty consulting.
She's now 75 and still does jazz dance 5 times a week. Catroux recently gave back hundreds of pieces (some unique runway prototypes) Yves gave her to the museum's collection.
There are both video and audio interviews with her throughout the exhibit. She's as outspoken and singular as she ever was.
If you want more quotes read the NYTime's 19 Things about Betty Catroux.
For even more inside gossip read Alice Drake's The Beautiful Fall is full of wild details of the Paris 3-ring fashion circus in the wild 60's. 
A nice plus, at the end of the exhibit you get to see Yves St. Laurent's studio without booking a separate visit as I did previously. I love this last pix of Catroux blowing bubbles at a fancy dress gala. I finally got around to doing some Chanel watercolors now on ETSY. Keep washing those hands PBers. XXX Carol and 🐻 in Paris, where the sun is shining and the Seine is overflowing its banks.