Archive for the ‘French Food’ Category

5-Star food on a 2-Star Budget

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Our Guest Blogger Lisa and her brother in front of Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert

 

Paris may be the city of light, but it is also arguably the cuisine capital of the world. Of course, with the incredible edibles also comes the unbelievable price tag. While restaurants like Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, Guy Savoy near the Champs Élysées, or Restaurant Lasserre may serve up some of the best food, the prices put them far out of reach of mere mortals.

Years ago, my mother came across a gem of Parisian cuisine that at first sounds too good to be true, but after a taste of their lobster mac n’ cheese a few years ago I can tell you that it does indeed exist. Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert is one of Paris’ best-kept culinary secrets.

Right around the corner from Michele Rostang, one of Paris’ priciest spots, the Bistrot sits in quiet obscurity. Those who choose to forgo the golden doors of Michele Rostang and instead venture into Bistrot D’Acote, owned by the same family, are in for an experience like no other. The charmingly small bistro, with its collection of beer steins and Michelin Tire Co. artifacts (a nod to the coveted restaurant grading system), is the last place you would expect to have a mind-blowing dinner.  Yet, the fact that the Bistrot shares its kitchen with Michele Rostang is a good indicator of what is to come.

Between their Gratin de Penne et Crème de Homard (my favorite) and their rotisserie veal for two, you’ll be lucky if you have room for their out-of-this-world Petits Pots De Crème. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the meal, however, is the after-dinner stroll down the block to see the posted menu of Michele Rostang, and noticing your 30 Eur. Entrée et Plat would barely get you a glass of wine there.

The Bistrot was recently featured as a set in the movie “Sarah’s Key”, but on our last visit still seemed blissfully undiscovered. Even so, reservations here are a must on the weekends, and the Bistrot is only open certain days during the week for lunch or dinner, so be sure to check before you go! Reservations can be made through opentable.com or by visiting the restaurant’s website: http://www.bistrotflaubert.com/

Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert

10 Rue Gustave Flaubert

75017 Paris, France

Lisa Gabrielson is a current undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Before attending college, she spent a gap year abroad as an Au Pair and fell in love with Paris. When she’s not in the classroom or daydreaming about the city of light, she can be found sailing for the university sailing team or working as President of her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau. You can find Lisa on Twitter @Lisa790

 

Recipe: Crepes

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

This summer, we have been hosting a French foreign exchange student.  Although she is pretty shy and her English is about as good as my French, she knows her way around a kitchen.  This morning she taught us how to make crepes.  And, OH MY!!!!  They were heaven!!!  I think there are three reasons that they turned out so good.

1.  We have a very nice crepe pan that we bought at William Sonoma

2.  We made the batter the night before.  This allows all of the air bubbles to dissipate, leaving us with a smooth batter.

3.  A real French girl gave us the recipe.

This morning we served them with butter, sugar, bananas and Nutella.  You can also serve them with savory toppings.  In my opinion, they are best served and eaten pretty quick.  I can’t see storing them for any length of time.  We would love to see how you served yours.  Send us a picture! Community@CobbleStay.com Here is the recipe:

CREPES

1 cup cold water

1 cup cold milk (full fat)

4 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups of flour

4 Tbs. melted butter

Put liquids, eggs and salt into a blender.  Cover and blend for one minute.  Scrape down sides of blender.  Blend again for 2-3 seconds.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum but best overnight.  Take out the of the refrigerator about 2 hours before you are going to make crepes to bring to room temp.   To cook: follow instructions on your crepes pan of choice OR using a crepe pan, take some melted butter and brush all over pan.  Pour a small amount onto the pan and swirl around to cover.  Flip gently.  Repeat process.

EAT THEM!

Escargot. Yes or No?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Saveur Magazine

We think that this picture will get most of your mouths watering.  We just posted it on Facebook and the comments immediately started coming in.  We posed the question, “escargot…yes or no?”  You all love escargot!  Here are a few ways to get your escargot fix.

Learn About It!

Not all species of snails are edible.  Make sure you choose the right ones.

Make It!

There were many recipes to choose from but the easiest we found was this one from AllRecipes.com

Buy It!

You can find escargot and the shells at gourmet food shops but we like the variety on sale from iGourmet.com

Watch Other People Eating It!

There really isn’t a graceful way to eat escargot.

 Share It!

 What are your favorite restaurants in Paris that serve escargot?  Send us an email at community@cobblestay.com.

Craving This Right Now!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Nougat

Where to buy nougat in Paris:

Appellations d’origine, l’epicerie du terroir
26, rue Lepic
Paris 75018

La Boutique du Labo
4 Place du marché Sainte-Catherine
75004 Paris

Fauchon 
26 Place de la Madeleine
75008, Paris

La Pistacherie
67 rue Rambuteau, 4th

Maybe you want to make your own nougat?  Here is a recipe.  Make sure to send us a slab!

Recipe: Salad Nicoise

Monday, May 21st, 2012

 

It is my favorite time of the year!  The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer and the food gets lighter.  I am a salad girl.  I am a BIG salad girl.  Salad Nicoise is the perfect dish to kick off the warm days of summer.  Even though the recipe was developed in Nice, I always feel very Parisienne when I prepare it.  I think it has to do with using the freshest vegetables and that a true Nicoise is as visually appealing as it is tasty.  The salad Nicoise is considered a “composed” salad.  This means that the ingredients are arranged neatly on the plate instead of tossed together in a bowl.  If I know that I will be serving this, I always try to cook some of the vegetables the night before to make it a little easier.  Bon appétit!

INGREDIENTS

Vinaigrette

    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot, minced
    • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
    • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

      • 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
      • hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
      • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
      • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
      • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
      • 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
      • 1/4 cup niçoise olives
      • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

METHOD

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

We’d love to see your pictures of your pretty, composed salad; send them to us at Community@CobbleStay.com.  Have you signed up to become a “Paris Insider” yet?  Click the box below! 

Book Review: Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Image from: Sourcebooks

I first found “Paris My Sweet, A Year in the City of Light” by Amy Thomas on Twitter (I get great tips there).  I follow Ms. Thomas’ account and she was talking about the launch of the book.  When I read what it was going to be about, it moved to the top of my reading list!

Paris My Sweet” is one part autobiography and one part guide book.   Ms. Thomas moves from New York City to Paris to work in advertising for Louis Vuitton.  Okay, let’s stop right there.  Hello???  Dream job/dream city???  And, she is a dessert lover.   Raise your hand if you aren’t.  I thought the story was going to be all discounted Speedy bags and calorie free macarons, but like so many books written by Americans that move to Paris, it was about how Ms. Thomas never really felt like she fit in and never felt truly accepted by the locals.  She touches on just about everything that makes living in Paris hard: the language barriers, missing family and friends at home and the unfamiliarity of a new city.  So many people write about this.  But, when you think about it, these are things that would happen whether you moved to Paris or Australia or Russia.  Moving away from what you know is always going to be scary and difficult.

Now let’s talk sweets!  This is where the book shines.  Not only does Ms. Thomas describe is mouth-watering detail the fabulous desserts that she finds in Paris; she gives you a lot of history about them, too.  Throughout the book, she weaves tales of wonderful sweets not only in Paris but in New York City, as well.  What I find to be priceless are the last 16 pages of the book; her “address book” to all of the bakeries, restaurants and patisseries that she writes about in the book.  I actually tore these out and I’m taking them with me on my next trip (so many of them are near our Paris vacation rentals).

“Paris My Sweet” carried me away to Paris and gave me a tiny taste of Louis Vuitton.  I won’t divulge how many bags she bought or how large her discount was.  And, since I read the book at night, in bed, I dreamt of all things Parisian sweet (which happen to be calorie free).

It is Macaron Day!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

 Salted Caramel

Seven years ago, Pierre Herme Paris and the Association Relais Deserts  coined the first day of spring, “Macaron Day” and nothing makes us more happy!  You can read all about it here: Jour du Macaron 

To honor this very important day, we give you some of our favorite pictures of Macarons (translated to “the buttons” in English) and some sources on how to make these fabulous treats in your own kitchen.  Enjoy!

Recipes for Macaron:

David Lebovitz French Chocolate Macaron

Tartlette’s Red Berry Macaron

Serious Eats, “How to Make Macarons” 

Videos on How to Make Macarons:

Joanna Chang

Laura in The Kitchen

How to Make Macarons

And, one last yummy photo…..

Tips From a Paris Insider: Stephanie Frasco

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Stephanie Frasco

We love passing on great tips from Paris Insiders!  Meet Stephanie Frasco.  Stephanie is a Social Media Consultant and as the Community Manager for Dashlane, she just returned from living in Paris for the winter.  She recommends:

1. Massage 

Book a massage for the day you get in.  It helps to rid your jet lag.  Not only will it melt your airplane kinks away but you will leave feeling fresh and ready to walk your heart out!

I recommend Institut Thai Rachawadee -  in the 5th  thai-rachawadee.fr

 

2.  Food 

It should come as no surprise that eating your way through Paris can be worth the trip itself.  Of course the French food is spectacular, but Paris is filled with ethnic restaurants that might surprise you.  Eat everything that calls your name!  You will be happy you did.  Some of my favorite restaurants in Paris (ethnic and French) 

L’Office – (contemporary)  - http://hungryforparis.squarespace.com/blog/2011/11/16/loffice-good-eating-in-this-in-box-b.html 

Dans les Landes (small plates) - http://hungryforparis.squarespace.com/blog/2011/5/5/dans-les-landes-southwestern-french-tapas-and-a-really-good.html 

Hyang-Ly - (Korean BBQ)http://www.yelp.com/biz/hyang-ly-paris

 

3.  Flea markets and food markets -

Paris is filled with Flea markets and food markets selling everything from fresh cheeses at the food markets to vintage Chanel bags and Victorian Era furniture at the antique markets.  Hopping from stall to stall and market to market is a great way to spend an afternoon.  If you find yourself in Paris during the warmer months, make sure you take your bounty (from the food stalls) and head to one of the many public parks for an enjoyable picnic.  If you happen to be in Paris in the winter don’t forget to check out the Christmas Markets.  

Favorites: Rue Monge market & Christmas Market at La Défense

 

For more about Stephanie, you can go to her website: http://www.stephaniefrasco.com

You can also follow her on Twitter @StephanieFrasco

 

3 Things that Inspire me to Cook French Food

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Photo Credit: Saveur Magazine, Christopher Hirsheimer

Each time I go to Paris, I get super inspired to come home and be the best French cook in town.  I am not sure if it is the daily trips to the fresh markets, the ultra-chic kitchen in the apartment or the fact that despite eating everything in sight, I never gain weight (French women don’t get fat, right?).    Like wearing a scarf everyday, I usually give up 2-3 weeks after my return.  After my last visit, I decided to find some things to support my new French lifestyle and cooking endeavors and guess what?  They actually helped!  I am a much better French cook, I am trying new recipes with regularity AND they actually taste good….even if I am not wearing a scarf.

Saveur Magazine was an easy remedy to finding new recipes.  The recipes may seem difficult but their writers do an awesome job at breaking down the steps and making them easier to understand.  There are often times whole French menus for different holidays and sometimes there are recipes from famous places in Paris.  I have had great results from their recipes.  I also love it because they do stories on things that might be happening in Paris or on small food shops or tucked away bistros.  It is a great resource for any Francophile.

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

Oh Julia, how you inspire the French cook in all of us!  I have talked about this book before, it is my go to cookbook for fresh, simple and most of the time easy French cooking.   This book contains 127 pages of recipes and cooking advice written so well that I can hear Julia telling me the sequence of each step in her unique voice.  I usually grab this off the shelf within the first week back from a trip.

Last, I have to mention one of my favorite food blogs.  I can’t remember how long ago I stumbled onto Lost in Cheeseland but I visit it pretty frequently.  I don’t go on for recipes but more for just day to day Paris inspiration.  Lindsey talks about life in Paris, restaurants,  food and her life.  She also is a GREAT photography and her pictures of Paris are lovely.  Reading her blog transports me back to Paris and reminds me of how much I love the city.  I think you will love it.

I would love to know what you are cooking these days and where you are finding your great recipes.  Drop me a line at community@cobblestay.com or tweet me on Twitter @CobbleStay.

Recipe: EASY Pain au Chocolat

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Photo credit: Baker Lady

As many of you have read, I have been more than a little obsessed with Pinterest.  Besides fabulous pictures of Paris, I have been pinning many pictures of food.  When I showed my husband my “French Food” board, he asked if I was ever going to make any of the things that I had pinned.  All right, I may have issues with collecting cookbooks that I have never even attempted a recipe from but this was going to be different.  I am going to actually MAKE something that I had pinned.  Coincidentally, I had read a recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Nili Stevens Inspired Living and pinned a picture of a homemade pain au chocolat at about the same time.  I took this as a clue that it should be the first attempt at making a Pinterest recipe.  Both websites offered their easy recipes and I combined them to make my version.  My little creations were SO good.  They were gobbled up in mere minutes.  If we closed our eyes, we were transported to our apartment in Paris.  They were so easy to make, I almost feel guilty.  Really!  You MUST try it.

So easy I feel guilty Pain au Chocolat with raspberry

One package of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I bought mine at Trader Joes)

One bar of really good dark chocolate

Raspberry preserves

1 egg, beaten

Powdered sugar

Let your puff pastry thaw out.  Once out of the package, lay it flat on a cutting board and cut it into 4 squares.  Break off a a chunk of dark chocolate and put on the edge of a square of pastry and put one tablespoon of raspberry preserves on top of the chocolate.  Fold the square of pastry over to make a triangle (kind of like a bandana).  Take a fork and “close” the edges by pressing down on them.  Brush each triangle with the egg wash.  Take a sharp knife and cut a little slit on the top of each triangle.  Place each triangle on a baking sheet (I line mine with a Silpat mat) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Once out of the oven, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!