Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hate Mondays. Ok, hate is a strong word. I do get to volunteer at the Library on Mondays but that's all it has going for it. It means that John has to go back to work, that our weekend of exploring is over, and today it means rain. Boo. Boo on Mondays.

That being said, I'll tell you about the weekend! Saturday was spent at the vet's. Sadie was due for a check up and booster shots. Not so fun for her, but John and I got to look at a very very cute French bulldog puppy so it was fun for us! I think, if they were swimmers, we would have one. Oh, and if they didn't cost a million dollars.That's the real deciding factor.

To make up for her torturous Saturday, Sunday we went to a parc. Let me just say, I was not expecting much. French parcs are usually small and don't allow dogs. (Really? Makes no sense to me. Although, considering the fact that most dogs here are mean.. maybe it does make sense.) This parc was evidently an exception- or we just need to find more like this. It was HUGE- complete with a large walking path that went through a wooded area, fields, beside a marsh, over a couple of creeks, and had a few real roman ruins. (These are quickly becoming old news. Roman ruins are everywhere.) Sadie loved it and sniffed to her little heart's content. John and I loved it because it was a HUGE, OPEN space that is about 15 minutes from home. Open space is a very very valuable commodity here and you really learn to appreciate it. Oh, and did I mention that it was covered in cork trees? I don't have a picture, but when we go back, I will take some. Amazing looking trees.

I hope you all had just as awesome a weekend! And, here is a recipe that I tried out Saturday. Incredible.

Baked Shrimp in Tomato Feta Sauce Recipe


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds medium sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (can leave tails on), thaw if frozen
  • Pinch of salt, more to taste
  • Pinch black pepper, more to taste
  • 3 ounces feta cheese (about 2/3 cup, crumbled)


1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

2 Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the juices thicken a bit.

3 Remove from heat. Stir in the herbs, shrimp, feta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Place pan in oven and bake, uncovered, until shrimp are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

Serve immediately. Serve with crusty French or Italian loaf bread, pasta, or rice.

Recipe taken from here

Friday, January 22, 2010

6th post of the Month! Yeh Me!!

I am really a horrible blogger.. and it's not because I don't enjoy it, I do. Really. I just have such a hard time making myself sit down and write. This month, I am on a ROLL! 6 posts! I think that might be the most completed blogs in a 4 week span for me.
I have reached the end of my french recipe collection. If anyone has any suggestions, I am more than willing to try them out. The next project could possibly be creme brulee or a fondant cake. (Fondant as in the chocolate volcano cake, not the nasty cake icing.) As I have a major sweet tooth, I was trying to avoid the dessert recipes for as long as possible. Alas, they are calling my name. Yum!
There has been very little happening this week.. other than the wonderful weather. Oh, and the fact they are STILL working on our elevator. Buns of steel.. that's what you will all be calling me in March when we come home after walking up and down 5 flights of stairs everyday 4 or 5 times. I have to work off the creme brulee somehow, right?

I wish everyone a very happy weekend! May it be warm, sunny, and spent doing something fun!
5 weeks until we are in the land of Target, Mexican food, and people we love! Yeh!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This might be my favorite french recipe that we have tried- French onion soup. The flavor is fantastic. Be prepared and only make this on a weekend when you have time to sit around and wait for it to cook. Just caramelizing the onions takes about 45 minutes and then you still have to wait for it become soup. I promise, it is worth the wait!

French Onion Soup Recipe


  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese


1 In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.

2 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

3 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

** A couple of notes- I did not use white wine- we had red, so I used red. Tastes fantastic and the Gruyere cheese is worth trying to find. So tasty.

Enjoy Everyone!!

Recipe was found here

Friday, January 15, 2010

Recette Deux

This could be one of the easiest and most versatile french dishes. Crepes! For a sweet treat they are great with Nutella, fruit, jam, or just a little dash of sugar. If you prefer a more savory dish- try cheese, cook down some peppers and onions, add a little ham or turkey- dinner is done. And tasty!

A Basic Crepe Recipe

1 cup AP Flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

I would recommend buying a crepe pan- they make life a lot easier! And, our favorite filling- blueberries, cooked down with a little bit of sugar. Bon

Thursday, January 14, 2010

French food!

Moving to France has been quite the culinary adventure. While there is the occasional super stinky cheese, snails, and random body parts of animals that shouldn't be eaten but are; most things that we have tried are fantastic. The vegetables are fresher, the fruits more juicy, the wall of cheese in the grocery store- yum.
Since we are on a tight budget, we can't eat out a lot but still want to try lots of new foods. So, John and I have started making one French dish a week. I must say, we are becoming quite the chefs. Over the next couple of days I am going to share a few of our new recipes.
The first recipe we tried was a quiche.

Bacon and Leek Quiche
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 1/2 stick(s) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup(s) ice water
  • 3 tablespoon(s) ice water
  • 1 pound(s) thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 8 ounce(s) cave-aged Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) heavy cream or half-and-half
  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the 2 1/2 cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the egg yolk and ice water and pulse until the pastry is moistened. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until smooth. Pat the pastry into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll 1 disk of the pastry to a 12-inch round. Ease the pastry into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom without stretching. Trim the excess and use it to patch any holes. Refrigerate the tart shell for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
  3. Line the tart shells with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shells for 30 minutes, just until dry. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake the crusts for about 15 minutes longer, until they are dry and golden. Transfer the tart pans to 2 sturdy baking sheets.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon, leaving 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the leeks and thyme to the skillet, season with salt and white pepper, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bacon and cheese.
  5. Divide the bacon-and-leek filling between the tart shells. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Pour the custard into the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through for even baking, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the quiches to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the rings, cut the quiches into wedges, and serve.
Enjoy! Ps- I don't make my own crust. Feel free to just buy one.

Recipe taken from here

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Elevator Music

There is a very interesting happening in our building. For the past week, we have been without an elevator. This wouldn't normally bother me, I don't really use it all that often during the week. The problem is that the elevator shaft is right beside our apartment. So, while they "fix the problem"- I get to listen to the lovely music. Drilling, beating, banging, shouting... ahhhhhhhh.. beautiful.

The irony of this is that last Monday and Tuesday, the elevator was down for a regular maintenance "check-up". Wednesday morning it was up and running again. But by that evening- it was off. They have been working on this thing for 5 business days. I am relatively sure they could have built a brand new one in that time. And, it makes me really nervous that I was riding in that elevator the day it broke.

So now, I just wait for the music to stop, the workmen to go home and allow the rest of the building to enjoy modern convenience.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year, New Blog

Hey! Look at me, actually writing a blog. It's only been... over a month?

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday season! John and I have been enjoying his time off. Unfortunately, that is all over now!
Well, first I will bring everyone up to speed on what has been happening over here! The hubby and I had a great Christmas which began with a tasty breakfast and ended with a tasty dinner. In between all of the eating, we opened presents, played with the dog, and went for a walk along the Sea. Wonderful. Even though we couldn't be with our families, it was still a really great day.

For New Year's we had a great dinner with new friends. (French friends) It is always fun to hang out with the french- just because you learn so much about their culture. These two are no exception and are just a lot of fun to be around.

On new year's day, we headed into the mountains. (The plan was to do this the day after Christmas. Unfortunately, the french post is just not that quick and John's GPS Christmas gift didn't arrive until 3 days after Christmas. Hurray for the lack of speed in this country!) With Sadie in tow, we drove for about an hour into the alps behind Nice. I am always amazed at the diversity of our area- right on the Sea, but an hour away there is 3 feet of snow. Playing in the snow was so fun and Sadie really loved it. She is such a snow dog. When we first arrived, John and I hopped out of the car just to take a few pictures. I didn't close my door because I was planning on going right back and letting Sadie out of the car. Sadie didn't want to wait- she saw the snow and bounced into the front seat and then outside. Can't really blame her- it was really beautiful.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn't know, John and I are coming home in March, just for a couple of weeks, but we are looking forward to it! Should be nice to see friends and family, eat at restaurants, shop cheaply, and stock up on peanut butter!