Monday, January 15, 2018

The Winter Blahs

Yesterday I asked sketcher JANE KLARES FROM THE TRAIN," So when is Noel finished in Paris??
Jane giggled and said,"Ah...La fête continue!"
If you're having the Winter Blahs as M. mentioned in an email, plus sub-zero temps and the flu
Hop on a plane for some Springtime relief like we had yesterday. All Paris was out and about.
True, we're having nightly rains causing la Seine to rise up precipitously. Its raining again today.
But Sunday was glorious.
No problem when Jane asked me to join Urban Sketchers Paris draw at the Petit Palais.
Jane's watercolor of the rotunda.
And my doodle.
Jane's sketch of la Belle Epoch stairway, one of many in the Petit Palais
We sketched outside too. That's Invalides across from Pont Alexandre III
There's a lovely tropical garden inside the Petit Palais just in front of their 'Lenotre' cafe.
I pulled up a chair to draw and was surrounded by fat French sparrows.
I ran inside and grabbed a mini croissant for them to nibble on. They were rather blasé...they must get Lenotre croissants daily. Hmmm...
Today, though the rain has returned I'm trying to capture them in watercolor. How'd I do? A fun way to get rid of the Winter Blahs no?
Thank you for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and your friends Paris letters, maps and watercolors

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Galette des rois researche

Every January since moving to Paris I write about the Epiphanie galette des rois. And every January I try again to paint those golden disks.
The king cake acts as an antidote to post-Christmas blues amd lasts till the end of the month.
I started this new year's research in Boulangerie Louvard, 431 rue Miromesnil 8eme
It can't hurt to begin with a previous prize winner and a neighborhood boulangerie to boot.
The almondy  aromas wafting from Paris' boulangeries in January can drive you nuts. Louvard's 'individual' galette was delightfully light, crunchy with perfect pâte d'almonde inside.
The high end couture patisseries play a different game of innovation and outlandishness. Still who doesn't love Jean-Paul Hevin's Eiffel tower couronne.
Sadaharu Aoki offers matcha and black sesame galettes.
Maison de la Truffe in Galeries Lafayette Gourmand has their galette infusing with a huge truffle under glass. Lift the dome and inhale.
Saturday morning starting at 9 am the annual La Galette du Coeur at Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres offers their top chef galettes for charity. I picked one up to take to Jane's Sunday Lunch.
Small bites for everyone
Plus galettes this year with foie gras as well as the usual almond frangipane.
Saturday night rue Montorgueil was full of galette hunters.
Maison Stohrer was mobbed
Every boulangerie had lines. "Let them eat cake"
This little tike will be tasting his first galette perhaps.
I love looking for the silly favors or feves hidden inside the galette. I found these chicken + egg in a boulangerie nearby. You can buy them individually for a mere 5€.
Louvard had tiny blackboards (ardoises). Not for sale.
At Jane's on Sunday we had two kings cakes. I met Jane on the train to Clermont-Ferrand.
She has quite a collection of feves. She is a 'fabophile'!
The white figures are antiques.
Coming home from Jane's I passed a gallery near rue Saint Paul with what looked like dancing feves on display. A perfect ending to an Epiphanie celebration. I hope you get to taste a galette des rois PBers. Thanks for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and others Paris letters, maps and watercolors in your mailbox. Cheers.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Knife skills class - La Cuisine Paris

A new year = new resolutions. Mine? Get over my fear of knives (aichmophobia) and aquire some knife skills.
No better place to go then La Cuisine Paris is a short walk from my house at 80, quai de l'Hotel de Ville. The course included: How to choose the correct knife for the right task. How to correctly hold, clean and maintain the knife with a honing steel. How to create classic French knife cuts, including: Batonnet, Chop, Julienne, Dice, Brunoise, Mince and Chiffonade. How to use specific techniques to make it easier to cut different items from herbs to tough rinds. How to peel produce using a knife. How to combine knife cuts in delicious recipes.
Our instructor Justin, formerly from Texas has lived in Paris 14 years. He is a terrifically experienced teacher. He also teaches at Ecole Ferandi and bakes at Boulangerie au Petit Versailles du Marais.
My calligraphy class with Eleanor Winters gave me the upper hand when it came time to sign our aprons.
First things first. How to hold your knife.
We start out practicing with the easiest veg to cut: champignons.
Move on to cucs, also easy for beginners. I was the only one scribbling copious notes. I was also the only one munching the leftover scraps...ahem.
We move on to more difficult veg: radis, choux, celeriac, herbs
Les carottes cut 5 ways: batonnet, julienne, dice, brunoise, mince, chiffonade. I need to practice. A lot.
Supreming an orange, chopping herbs the right way. Even garlic did not escape our nimble knives.
The fruits of our labor: salade des fruits en sirop.
More battonets in our Salade Provençal. We made 4 recipes.
Our Potage Cultivateur avec des croutons. You wanna be a French girl? Purée your soup! No one tells you this top secret.
Les croutons. Yes, we cut the baguettes.
Toute ensemble. Our well-deserved lunch after 3 hours of learning to cut, chop and mince.
You say you don't like veg?
Did you know you can get the legume collection at Macarons Gourmand, 62, rue de Seine.
Learning knife skills is a great way to start off the new year. I've become addicted to batonnets. More fun to eat than carotte rapé. I'm off to get a soup puree stick. Thanks for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and others Paris letters, maps and watercolors in your mailbox.
Happy New Year PBers!