September 17, 2020

Some Exciting Cheese News!


I resisted. Boy did I resist!

The idea of going virtual with cheese "tastings," both during and after the lockdown in France, was completely overwhelming to me and I just didn't know how to make that transition. Several friends offered advice, but I was stubbornly closed to the idea.

Then something changed. 

Part of it was the positive reaction from the guest post I wrote listing my Top Ten French Cheeses for David Lebovitz's fabulous blog. Additionally, Context Travel, who I was about to start doing tours with back in March, asked if I would join them as their online cheese connoisseur.

So, I'll be going live on September 27 with a deep dive into all things cheese-y at From Camembert to Chèvre: An Exploration of French Cheese. Hope to see you there!

Cheese and Cherries

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August 14, 2020

August in Paris


August means stretches of long, hot days with bright skies, followed by days of heavy air and storms. We're finally at the end of a week-long heatwave and the last two evenings have given us spectacular sound and light shows over the city. 

Tuesday afternoon a photographer captured some incredible photos of lightning striking the Eiffel Tower. I wish I had witnessed that!

Our neighborhood, le 15ème, is mainly residential and always very quiet this time of year, as most of our neighbors have left for the month and the little mom-and-pop places have closed for their annual vacation.

I've ventured into the center of Paris a couple of times, near Notre-Dame and parts of Saint Germain, and both neighborhoods were devoid of the crush of tourists that this month usually sees. It's nice for those of us who have stayed in town, yet it does feel strangely deserted this summer.

Friends have told me how nice the museums are without the crowds, so I plan to take advantage of this peaceful time and go back to the Louvre, the Rodin Museum and possibly the Picasso Museum. 

Paris 15ème


Other than that, we're still mostly staying home.
Several of our friends tested positive for COVID-19, a couple of whom were hospitalized for over a month, which was very scary. Everyone has now recovered, thank heavens! I was quite sick in mid-March and found out in May that I also had the virus. Unfortunately that doesn't mean I can't get it again, so we continue to be extra careful. 

If you're on holiday, I hope you're having a wonderful time. If you're somewhere that has gone back into quarantine, I am thinking of you and hoping that it ends soon. 
Please wear your masks and stay safe, everyone!

Tables and Chairs

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May 15, 2020

5 Things

Popcorn and rosé

1) Apéro

Paris in the springtime

2) Spring green

Pommes 🍎

3) Homemade applesauce happened during confinement (along with banana bread and a lot of homemade yogurt!). Apples courtesy of a neighborhood shop called Paysan Vrac.

Sunset (no filter!)

4) No filter

Ham, spinach and onion tart with goat cheese. Made it up as I was going along. (it turned out great!)

5) Spinach, onion, ham and goat cheese tart

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April 26, 2020

5 (Covid Confinement) Things


1) We have a great fromagerie around the corner, so we're still able to enjoy French cheese. Phew!

The nuns were back again for another impromptu concert!

2) The nuns at the Catholic maternity clinic across from our apartment have been coming out on their roof terrace to join the 8pm applause for the health care workers, and then staying on to sing a couple of songs for the neighborhood. Complete with tambourines

Mio Enzo

3) Zonked out

Sunday has become homemade pizza day 🍕#covidcooking

4) Sunday is now pizza day! This one from last week was sautéed red onions, red peppers and Spanish chorizo

Flour and eggs! These were two difficult to find items at the beginning of the lockdown

5) There were flour, egg and sugar shortages at the beginning of the lockdown, so when I walked into our local G20 grocery store and spotted this, I felt like I'd won the lottery

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April 18, 2020

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tart - Day 34 of Confinement

Zucchini and goat cheese tart

As life has thrown us all a curve ball and we're advised to stay inside as much as possible, I'm heeding that advice. With that, I'm being extra conscious about not wasting food (something I will definitely be better at in the future!) and being creative with what has been lurking in my kitchen cupboards. I also, like so many others, have a lot of time on my hands to cook.

It's rare that I follow a recipe to the letter. When I cook I feel pretty comfortable swapping a minor ingredient or two if I don't have what the recipe calls for and if I don't think it will change the flavor of the final dish.

Last night I needed to use up some fresh goat cheese and zucchini, and after looking in my cookbooks and searching online, I found this tart recipe that looked interesting, but I still felt the urge to tweak it. I thought about swapping the walnuts for toasted almonds and omitting the honey entirely, but in the end I made it almost exactly as it was written (I used dried thyme instead of fresh - didn't have any - and fresh puff pastry instead of frozen) and was super happy with how it turned out!

Keep cooking, stay healthy and stay at home!

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