Sunday, January 20, 2013

Paris in the snow!

Snow alone is rare in Paris, and when it does snow it is extremely rare that it sticks. Therefore it is extremely exciting that this is what Paris currently looks like:

This is the small park near my house. The kids are out and playing!
Not having grown up in an area where there it snows, it is super exciting and fun for me to see a beautiful winter wonderland outside! I love it! I have mastered the stomp walk so as not to fall, and (so far) it has not failed me! Hooray! Some people have not been so lucky and have taken some very public tumbles (embarrassing!). It has gotten to the point now that there is quite a bit of snow on sidewalks and the road that has gotten packed and icy, so I am hoping the ever-graceful stomp walk does not fail me.

With love and snowflakes,


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Outdoor Markets of Paris

A very big thing in France is big outdoor markets where all different vendors, farmers, fishmongers, and butches come to sell their goods. There are over a hundred in Paris alone that occur weekly. One of the biggest and most famous is known as the Bastille market which is located in Place de la Bastille early on Sunday mornings. I have ventured over a few times now to do shopping. They are super lively, crowded events with vendors yelling, or even singing, about their products trying to lure you in to buy. It is always crowded, especially with little old French women wielding their shopping carts which they do not hesitate to hit you with if you get in the way of them and a nice piece of fish that's had it's price reduced.
These little demon shopping carts do in fact hurt when they hit you .
 I brought along my camera my first time at the market. Here are a few pictures to give you a feel of what the markets are like. (P.S. This was at the end of October, so the produce being sold now is drastically different. The food here really changes with the seasons. A total contrast to the United States).
Olives and dried beans 

The egg lady

Honey and beeswax items

Foie gras and other duck products


Breton (the region of Brittany, France) stand making the famed crepes and buckwheat galletes of the region

The region is also famous for their hard apple cider, salted caramel, butter, and pastry known as kouign amann

My bounty!
Something I have really noticed and appreciated in my time here is the fact that the stores, markets, even the chain supermarkets, really only carry what is in season in regards to produce. I have seen the products change multiple times since I have been here these last four months. Right now there are is a quince, pumpkin, persimmons, clementines, apples, chestnuts, dark leafy greens, currants, and turnips. It is impossible to find somethings we consider year-round staples like broccoli. It is nowhere to be found. It is a welcome change though, and makes it fun to cook with ingredients we don't typically use very often in the U.S. I really hope that we as a country can start heading back towards this type of approach to shopping. It is so much better for the environment, and ourselves as well by getting us to eat a greater variety of fruits and veggies.

With love,


I'm Back!

Hello All!

Happy New Year! I apologize for the long hiatus on blogging! I hope to update you on all of my adventures of recent in new posts in the next few days. To give you a quick update, I finished my first semester at the American University of Paris, and will be starting a new program with Boston University in Paris this upcoming Monday. I have gotten to visit a lot of great countries and cities (Italy, Budapest, Prague, Amsterdam, and Germany) which I will post about soon!

 Not being able to return home for the holidays, I was lucky enough to stay in Germany with my friend Lara who I met two and a half years ago volunteering in South Dakota at the Cheyenne River Youth Project. She later came and visited my home later that year, and now I went to visit her! We had an absolutely wonderful time traveling about Germany. We visited Munster, Paderborn, Cologne, and Hamburg in addition to her house in the small village of Brenken.

One of my favorite things we did while I visited was visit the Christmas markets which Germany is so famous for. The ones we visited were in the small city of Munster. There was a spectacular array of stands with all sorts of German holiday food specialties, bratwurst, gluhwein (hot spiced wine), and a lot of stands with different kinds of gifts. Here are some pictures to help you feel the holiday spirit one more time before the holiday season is totally over :)


Pretty birdhouses

These tools are made of chocolate!

Speck (similar to bacon) bread

Lara with a slim-jim type sausages we bought

Extra special version of gluhwein with rum in it.

A southern German dish of a flatbread topped with onion , white sauce, and speck 


Reibekuchen= potato pancakes

Reibekuchen with apvelmus (applesauce)


Gingerbread hearts

Lara and I

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday season! I sure did! I will add some new posts soon.

With love,


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Failed Mushroom Hunt

A few weeks ago, my housemate, Edwina, and I had been checking out this website she discovered called Meetup. It's a site where people in various cities create different interest groups and go on outings together. We were just seeing what was going on during the upcoming weekend, and there was a mushroom picking outing! Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a little bit obsessed with food, and naturally I got SUPER excited about this mushroom hunt. I was going. And I was taking Edwina with me. I finally got her excited about it after my rambling on about how fun it was going to be. We were both imagining coming home with bags and bags overflowing with mushrooms. I even researched recipes and went out and bought ingredients. I was pumped.

Of course the day before the outing I came down with a cold, and the next morning woke up with it being even worse, but I was determined. I WAS GOING TO COME HOME WITH MUSHROOMS! So out we went bright and early to catch a train to meet the group.

It started off badly.....the people were kind of weird and we ended up having to wait another hour for the next train because ONE person missed the train. That was a rough beginning, but I still was happy because I was going to be picking mushrooms soon.

However, once in the forest, it became obvious pretty quickly that there were no mushrooms. None. My mood dropped as the minutes passed. After about half an hour Edwina and I were ready to call it quits and head home. I still had a cold and Edwina had a headache, but the problem was we had no idea where we were. Only our "guide" did. There was no escape. What began as a mushroom hunt turned into a 5 hour 20km+ (12+ mile) hike. I was dying by the end, and let me tell you, I was not the only one. The older, out of shape people (most people there), had not realized this was going to be a never-ending hike either. We were not a happy bunch of travelers.

Positive Note:
We did see a 13th century old mansion that was bombed by Germans as they left France at the end of World War II which was a neat thing to see.

The next day, I went to the a produce shop and bought mushrooms and just pretended I picked them. It made me feel better.

With Love,

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Butcher Adventure

Last Wednesday, I had a plan. I had no class, so I was going to go shopping early and make a big batch of slow cooked bolognaise sauce that I could have for dinner, and have frozen for future meals. I had bought almost all of my ingredients at the local Franprix. My last stop was the butcher shop on my favorite food shop lined street, rue Cadet. I walked over to the shop practicing in my mind how exactly I was going to order this meat which they grind for you on the spot.

When I got to the shop they were closing up for lunch. Nooo! I started looking all around on that street. There HAD to be at least one other butcher on this street that I had missed on all my walks on it. I turned around, and there was a very small one right behind me. Perfect. I ran in, looked in the very small meat case, and told the woman what I wanted. She told me in broken English that it wasn't beef, it was "cheval". For the life of me, I could not remember what this word meant. I knew that I knew it, but it just would not come to me. I looked at her with a squinty-eyed, bewildered look on my face, and she said "ox". Oh! Well that's close enough to beef I thought, and the woman next to me told me it was good, so I went ahead with my purchase and began the walk home.

As I was walking, I finally remembered what cheval meant. Horse. I nearly stopped in my tracks. No, that can't be right I thought. As soon as I got home, I pulled up good ol' Google Translate and put it in. Sure enough, horse was the translation. Well shoot. I had already bought it....and the horse was already dead.....and in a pasta sauce I might not really taste I figured I might as well go ahead and cook it up.

The first bite was tough. All I could think of was little ponies prancing about in a field. In all reality as a whole, it wasn't bad. A little irony tasting, but edible. Not something I would want to eat again really, more because of the mental taboo than anything, but as a result of that big batch of sauce I made, I still have a freezer full of it!
The finished sauce

The day after making the sauce, I went back over to where the shop was and looked at the sign outside. It says "Boucherie Chevaline" = Horse Butcher....and they have little horse sculptures at the top. No wonder they couldn't give me beef!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Dinner Party


As I write this I write this, I am trying to get into the French mindset. Therefore, I am drinking an nice cup of tea and enjoying a slice of tarte aux poires (pear tart) while listening to a great playlist on 8tracks . I suggest you do the same (at least listen to the playlist!)!

Anyways, on to the dinner party! This past Tuesday my landlady, Madame D., was throwing a dinner party at the house to which myself and my lovely housemate, Edwina, were invited to attend.  It turned out to be quite the affair (Please forgive the lack of pictures... I was often too distracted by the food that I forgot!). 

We began in the sitting area for appetizers and sparkling rosé. We then moved to the dining table to enjoy the first course.

For the first course, we had a seafood aspic. I will admit... I was a little frightened (Yes, I realize I am supposed to be the foodie willing to face anything, but it was seafood in gelatin! Seafood Jello! We don't eat that in the U.S. Ever.). A torrent of images of myself forcing each bite down my throat, gagging, in front of everyone were filling my mind. Once I put that first bite in my mouth though, a flood of relief filled me. It wasn't bad! In fact... I liked it!  So much so that I finished the entire thing! I was quite proud of myself!  
The lovely seafood aspic

For the second course, we dined on a very Fall inspired dish:  Veal with a mushroom sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted pears, and roast plums. This was accompanied with a nice red wine.

The third course was the fromage course with three different types of cheese served with slices of fresh baguette. 
Next was the dessert. It is Madame D's absolute favorite from a shop called Aux Mervilleux du Fred. They are famous for these meringues that are then covered in and filled with chocolate whipped cream, and then covered in chocolate shavings. Heavenly. I failed to take a picture at the time, but here is a picture of them from the Aux Mervilleux website: 

Following the dessert, we enjoyed some of the famous Pierre Hermé macarons that one of the guests brought as a gift for Madame D. So beautiful! 
I later discovered the one I picked out turned out to be Orange-Carrot. Interesting to be
sure! I never would have guessed that flavor, but it was good.

After all this, Madame D brought out the hard liquor. I passed on that, and moved onto tea. By the time we were finished it was past midnight. On a Tuesday night. Only in France will 70+ year old women have dinner parties go until the early hours of the morning. All of us young'uns were falling asleep, but she could have kept going for a few more hours! 

Great food, good wine, nice company. What a night!

With Love,