lapetitecalfornienne.com blog: La Petite Californienne is a former L.A. girl turned (somewhat) Parisian. She writes about her interesting cultural exchanges/clashes in the City of Light. In this blog, you'll discover adventures in Paris and L.A., French recipes, French beauty tips, philosophical thoughts on the weather, and je ne sais quoi. If you really want to be Parisian, the first step is to master the look of death on the metro. The next step is to learn how to enjoy an entire bottle of red wine by the Seine. Read on for more...
Homesick and hungry for the sun, my light therapy lamp isn't cutting it these days. It's bitterly cold in Paris and we finally have that icy winter we've been waiting for. Nevertheless, I've been focusing on cooking foods that inspire a little sunshine in my life. Even though tomatoes are technically out of season, I need them. I'm being a bit of a hypocrite here to buy them for this recipe, but it's an emergency purchase.
This recipe is so easy, you can whip it up in 30 minutes. Even less if you've got a great helper (ahem... Mon Fiancé)! It's deliciously complex and secretly simple.
Every time I go to the farmer's market, there's always a deal on King Prawns. I know that they have a particular season when they're more abundant, but I can't help wanting to take these little critters home with me every time I see them. They're very different than the normal shrimp I usually have back home... with a nice juiciness I've never experienced before. Mon Fiancé can eat this entire thing of pasta. I won't lie... I can eat the entire dish by myself too.
These amazing packed tomatoes aren't 100% healthy but you can make them so. Usually, the French recipe calls for chair or farce, which is ground up pork sausage with breadcrumbs, herbs, and seasoning. While pork isn't the best for your health, you can totally use turkey or even tempeh to make this recipe lean (or vegetarian). For now, I'll write about the traditional pork version with tips on how to incorporate ground turkey instead.
Like many things French, this cake gets better with age. I wouldn't put it in a cupboard for three months, but one or two days after cooking, this little chocolate cake gets even more intense and moist.
This summer, I had the pleasure of making a clafoutis for the first time. My taste-testers were Petit Copain's family! I'm pretty sure they loved it, because it didn't last more than 24 hours. Everyone had a bite. I'll take that as a compliment!
This recipe is very flexible. Traditionally, it's made with cherries, but you can also use apricots, nectarines, and other fruits with pits. Though remember to take out the pits before baking.
V uses the term "pesto" loosely. It's more of a tapenade made with lots of delicious greens, nuts, seeds, oil, and salt and pepper. You can add a few different spices too... or even a jalapeño. Basil (or basilic) is very easy to come by at any market you go to in France. It's especially fresh at the farmer's market. For the mesclun (a mix of salad with some dandelion greens, arugula, and I'm guessing collard greens?), I found that from my favorite producteur (farmer) from the Marché Bastille as well.
Lavender isn’t usually used in French cooking. Traditionally, it’s more of a medicinal/aromatic plant. You do have lavender honey, though, which is very a very fine prize to have in the summer. It’s all about timing, as French lavender fields are in full bloom around mid-July to late August. This gives bees a short time to exclusively harvest their nectar from the lavender fields. The honey from these fields is quite magical.
A story about French doctors, Paris Plage, and delicious clams.
Lately, there have been good prices on clams and other coquillage, so I thought it was a good idea to steam some for a summer dinner meal. Using fresh herbs, garlic, Breton butter, and lemon slices, these manila clams are a delicious treat. You can pair them up with some pasta or frites (French fries). I love opening up the pot to check when the clams have opened up, ready to be devoured.
A short story about traveling from the airport this tourist season, the Paris floods, and most importantly, a recipe for a candied Blood Orange olive oil cake!
Before sharing this recipe with you, I had baked five of these babies already. But let me tell you, the first attempt was a ridiculous disaster. The cake rises a lot so make sure you have a lot of room in the cake pan (at least 2 or 3 inches) to let the batter rise. Otherwise, you’ll get a bunch of burnt batter on the bottom of your oven and a nasty smokey taste lingering over your cake.
Spring has officially started, but it's still a moody grey here. However, we've noticed the ambience in Paris is a little more cheery, the sun shines brightly on some days, and we're all getting ready for warmer weather. Try this Osso Bucco recipe to get your spirits up during the early, cold Spring days.
We enjoyed an unusually warm autumn. There was even one or two days in early November where you didn’t even have to put a coat on. Suddenly, it got very cold during the last few weeks, and I’m back in heavy coats and hats. C’est dommage! Luckily, I've got a great stuffed quail recipe for you to try. A great way to fill your belly and give you some of that festive warmth.
Exploring the beautiful home of Monet in Giverny. Just 40 minutes outside of Paris, this is an easy getaway for those who'd like to experience a taste outside of Paris. Because as you know, Paris n'est pas la France. Monet's kitchen also inspired me to cook a beautiful roasted chicken, so be prepared for travel tips and delicious food pictures.
Since I’m always cold, I crave a lot of tea and soup. Soup is very different in France than it is in the States. Soups are usually made of pureed vegetables and never contain anything chunky like noodles or rice. I wasn’t such a big fan of these vegetable soups until I discovered potimarron, or red kuri squash. This bright deep orange squash can be prepared either savory or sweet. I’ve actually baked potimarron into a successful pumpkin pie! But in France, you will often find potimarron only in soup form.
Endives are bitter, leafy vegetables. In the States, you see them often in gourmet magazines but never really on the table (at least for my Asian immigrant family). My kind of salad was iceberg or the occasional kale. Imagine my surprise when I started eating more greens with flavor. While endives aren’t extremely bitter, my first taste welcomed a slight kick in the back of my mouth. It was a little off putting. Yet I got used to the taste, addicted even, in that first bowl of endive salad. The amazing woman who I worked for at the time had cut up the leaves into little half circles, doused them with light cream and coarse salt, and tossed them with cubes of avocado. The fatty sweetness of the avocado as well as the sweetness of the cream did not curb the bitterness of the endives, but complemented it very well.