Monday, June 30, 2014

French Eats: Je Thé Me

Je Thé Me, it's a play on words meant to sound like "Je T'aime" (I love you). It's also a delicious restaurant that is a must-go if you're ever in Paris. This was another Anthony Bourdain recommendation and it was another big winner. I definitely appreciated his foodie advice since this was our last dinner; our final hurrah, if you will.
Je Thé Me is a cute little place in the 15th. You can make reservations from La Fourchette (The Fork in French). I made a reservation, except I accidentally made it for the wrong day so we were seated in the little upstairs area. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to have a bit more interaction with the chef and owner, but we got to talk a bit with his wife, who was the kindest lady ever.

We hopped on the Metro and got off at the Vaugirard station. Just around the corner, we saw this green awning and practically ran inside.

Friday, June 27, 2014

French Eats: Les Cocottes

Our dinner at Les Cocottes was probably the cutest dining experience of my life. I found out about Les Cocottes through the show No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. As the show title implies, Les Cocottes does not accept reservations (though I know that Tony has been to restaurants that do accept reservations but that's for him to discuss, not me).
It's just a short jaunt from the Eiffel Tower so you can go have a tourist moment before and/or after dinner.

Check me out!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

This recipe is dedicated to my sister. As a kid, she loved picking out the marshmallows in her bowl of Lucky Charms. So, when I was grocery shopping a few weekends ago and I saw Lucky Charms on sale, I thought, hm, maybe I could make cereal ice cream.
Ingredients:
3 cups light cream
1 cup Lucky Charms cereal, no marshmallows
¼ cup + ¾ cup Lucky Charms marshmallows
½ cup sugar
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup regular marshmallows
1 teaspoon butter

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3 Summer Mojitos

I bought my first cocktail shaker from Ikea. It was back during my freshman year of college and I thought I was the bee's knees. It sat on my dorm room dresser for a while and then I probably made three or four cocktails with that thing before getting completely obsessed with mojitos. Mojitos are fizzy so you can't shake them in a cocktail shaker so it just became a decorative piece. I think the Stella's blueberry mojito was the mascot cocktail of my apartment our senior year. But, since college students can't always afford to down two or three $9 mojitos every night, I did my best to remember to buy mint, limes, and tonic water during every Wegmans run for a cheaper homemade alternative.

Traditionally, mojitos are made with mint, sugar, lime, rum, and sparkling water. I always preferred using tonic water just because it was already sweetened. We were an apartment full of self-conscious girls so we would buy diet tonic water, omit the sugar completely, and feel better about our bodies. Feeling happy about your body is important, right? Anyway, to this day, I prefer using tonic water over sparkling water. I like how you can add sweetness and bubbles in one go; two birds, one stone. Plus, you aren't left with any gritty undissolved sugar at the bottom of the glass; three birds, one stone.
I'm sharing three cheeky, yummy, and summery mojito varieties today. I did the tiniest bit of brainstorming, checked what we had in the fridge, and chucked these together. Even without any of my usual meticulous recipe developing, these turned out quite delicious. And after my morning of mixing and sipping all three of these cocktails, I realized that setting up a little make-your-own mojito station would be rather fun for a party.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

French Eats: Le Relais de L'Entrecôte

Guys, I made a huge mistake. I started writing this blog post on an empty stomach and now it's growling and whining so hard. So, if you're hungry, you might want to step away from the computer. Or, maybe you like surfing food porn on an empty stomach, in which case, stick around!

If you're ever in Paris, I strongly suggest you go to Le Relais. There are several locations, two in the 6th and one in the 8th; I happen to prefer the Saint Germain one. What's so special about Le Relais? Well, there's only one thing on the menu: steak frites and they do it so well.
We spent the afternoon walking around, sightseeing at Notre Dame and the Louvre so it was an easy walk to Rue Saint-Benoît.

The restaurant opens at 7PM for dinner but I suggest you get there at 6:30 because a line will form quickly. It was raining when we got there so there were only a handful of us there at 6:30 but around 6:45, a long queue of people appeared all of a sudden.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pear Sorbet

We had some bangin' pear sorbet in Nice (at Fenocchio's) so when I got back to the States, I wanted to make my own. Turns out, sorbet isn't too complicated. You just need simple syrup and some pureed fruit. And luckily for me, there were some lovely super gorgeous pears in the store.
Ingredients:
4 pears
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1" knob of ginger, sliced
10 to 12 mint leaves
pinch of salt

Friday, June 20, 2014

French Eats: La Roustide

Our meal at La Roustide was maybe the best of our whole trip. The menu is super small and changes seasonally, because they take care to make each item as carefully and best they can, so there's that. The chef is super into truffles, so there's that. The decor makes you feel like you're sitting in someone's home, so there's that.
It's a relatively unassuming restaurant in a kind of residential area. Reservations can be made right from the restaurant website. FYI, the link for reservations will take you to La Fourchette (The Fork) which is France's version of OpenTable.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cucumber Kimchi (2)

I'm trying to mix in lots of summery recipes with my French Eats updates. My previous cucumber kimchi post is a quick version that's ready to eat in minutes. Today's is one meant to sit in the fridge for at least a day before eating. Both versions are yummy but this one's got a bit more of a pickled taste so take your pick(le). Anyway, for me, growing up in a Korean household, cucumber kimchi really made summer feel like summer so I think mid-June is a great time to share this recipe.
Ingredients:
2 lbs. mini english cucumbers
3 tablespoons sea salt
½ sweet onion or red onion, sliced
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of chives or scallions
3 to 5 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru; depending on your spice preference)
2 tablespoons fish sauce

+ julienned carrots
+ julienned apple or pear
+ sliced hot peppers
+ sesame seeds

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

French Eats: Bistro Saint Louis

We had two dinners scheduled in Nice; the first of which was at Bistro Saint Louis. When we were checking into our hotel, the front desk clerk handed us a map, circled some interesting sights, and then asked us if we had any questions. We told him we were having dinner at Bistro Saint Louis that night and could he mark that on the map. He said we'd made a v. good choice and that it was a great restaurant so we had some high hopes.
And we were not disappointed! Bistro Saint Louis is located just a few minutes north of the Vielle Ville. I made reservations right through their website, nice and easy.

It's a modern looking, sleek and clean restaurant.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sparkling Watermelon Agua Fresca

Let's take another break from my French Eats posts for another super summery recipe. I mean, what screams "summer!" more than delicious sweet watermelon? Maybe that plastic smell of a freshly unwrapped beachball? That's pretty summery. But you can't eat that so I'm not blogging about it. Anyway, back to watermelon; I have a mild melon allergy but I love watermelon so much that I fight through the itchy throat to enjoy its yumminess.

If you've never had agua fresca before, you're in for a refreshing treat! If you've got any Spanish or Portuguese skills, you'll know that agua fresca translates to "fresh water" but despite that simple name, it's a little more complicated than that. Traditionally, agua frescas are made with fruits, flowers, and/or seeds blended with sugar and fresh water. They're just the most delicious way to hydrate.
Ingredients [yields approximately 3 liters]:
½ regular-sized watermelon or 1 whole baby melon (chilled)
1 L sparkling lime seltzer water (chilled), or any flavor of your choosing
limes and mint leaves for garnish

Monday, June 16, 2014

French Eats: Brasserie Européens

Sundays in Annecy are somewhat unpredicable in terms of dinner. Several of the most popular restaurants are not open. The way our trip was planned out (planned out my me actually) had us spending our time in Annecy on a Sunday. What's a girl to do? Food is super important to me so I wanted to make sure we had a yummy place to eat dinner!
I emailed our hotel who directed me to a handful of restaurants that might be open. Brasserie des Européens was on the list so I contacted them and they told us to come on by whenever.

We spent the morning at the old town market and walking around the lake. For lunch, we feasted on amazingly fresh bread, jambon de pays, and 18-month aged gruyere from the market. It was awesome. After a quick nap, we did a little more sightseeing and then wandered over to the restaurant. Brasserie Européens is located right across the street from Hôtel de Ville.

Friday, June 13, 2014

French Eats: Brasserie Georges

My first dinner in Lyon was just baby sister and me because my cousin and her hubs were flying from Texas and they came into Lyon a few hours after us. My second dinner in Lyon included all four of us. I'd set up a reservation at Brasserie Georges (via their contact page). Brasserie Georges is the oldest brasserie in Lyon and among the biggest in Europe. Brasserie is French for brewery which is v. appropriate because Brasserie Georges brews their own beer and that's one of their most charming (and well-known) traits.
We hopped on the tram to the Perrache stop and made our way to the lovely restaurant.

Brasserie Georges has this awesome art-deco vibe. It has this old-timey elegance and yet, it's comfortable and kind of casual. It's hard to explain; I guess you'll just have to go there. There's a live band, which adds another layer of Roaring 20s ambiance. They played Pharrell's 'Happy' at one point, which was really cute.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Garden Update 2

The following photos were taken just before my France trip, just afterwards, and then this past weekend.
{grapes}

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

French Eats: Sebastien Bouillet

If you're looking for a Willy Wonka-style experience in Lyon, head over to Chokola. If you're looking for a gorgeous bakery snack, head over to Henri Bouillet. Both are owned by Sebastien Bouillet, a sexy French chocolatier and pastry chef.
I read about Chef Bouillet a little before we'd gotten to Lyon but his shops were even lovelier and magical than I could have imagined.

If you want to hit up both Chocolat and Henri, you're in luck because they're just around the corner from each other. You can do like we did and take the Metro to the Croix-Rousse stop. There's a little square there with benches and trees, a perfect spot to enjoy your treats, if you can't wait.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

French Eats: Crock 'n' Roll

Another day, another meal in Lyon to share.
For breakfast, we gorged on fresh strawberries, croissants, cheese samples, and macarons at the Marché Saint Antoine. We did some sightseeing and then unfortunately, my cousin-in-law, E, wasn't feeling well so he and my cousin went back to the hotel. By then, baby sister and I were feeling somewhat peckish. We didn't want to push dinner back too late because we wanted to be nice and ravenous for dinner so we decided to grab a bite. We were hanging out by the Opera House and had passed by a group of people eating some cheesy looking munchies so we headed back in that direction.

Turns out, there's a cute little chain restaurant in Lyon called Crock 'n' Roll that serves several versions of the classic French sandwich, the croque monsieur. It just took us a second of looking at the menu to decide on what we wanted. Definitely jambon, delicious French ham, and emmenthal because cheese please. Then we found out you can get a sweet little combo deal with a drink and a dessert. Score x 1000.

Monday, June 9, 2014

French Eats: Cafe des Federations

Oh boy! So I've sorted through about 80% of the photos we took in France and I'm finally starting to blog about it! I've got a travel-related post over on my travel blog (duh) and I've got a food related post right here. I contemplated calling this "FrencheeFrenchh Eats" HA! But I didn't. It's just too long of a title and let's face it, it's just too lame. Just to warn you, I'm going to have a few weeks' worth of French eats on here. I'll do my best to mix in a regular recipe post here and there, but since I'm still working in North Dakota anyway, I'm not cooking much these days.

If you were unaware, I went to France on holiday for 10 days and visited Lyon, Annecy, Nice, and Paris. I've been to Paris before but that was before I even started this blog so I haven't been able to share some of my favorite places yet. I did a decent amount of research on the best places to eat before I even hopped on the plane. I made a bunch dinner reservations - basically I had every dinner of the trip planned out - and it paid off. There wasn't one meal we didn't enjoy.

I'll be sharing my meals (mostly dinners) in chronological order so we're starting off with Lyon. The biggest reason I wanted to visit Lyon was for the food. Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital and rightly so. There are amazing fresh markets, countless eateries, and an amazing number of famous French chefs are from Lyon. I had some high expectations for our meals in Lyon and I was not disappointed.
My sister and I landed in Paris around lunch time and we ate our snack of homemade kimbap while we waited for our train to Lyon. Once we got in and checked into our hotel, it was almost time for dinner. We walked about a mile from our hotel (which was right by the Lyon Part Dieu train station) right to our first French meal of the trip at Cafe des Federations. I booked my table right from the website.

The walk to the restaurant was so sweet. I think Lyon is the perfect combination of city and suburb. If you're looking for a more down-to-earth French city to visit (you know, instead of heading straight to Paris like everyone else, including myself) then Lyon is the place for you!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Coconut & Honey Bread

I know it's summer and it's not really my cup of tea to fire up the oven to bake something when it's hot outside. But, if having the oven on for 45 minutes meant I could enjoy fresh baked coconut & honey bread, I'd do it.

I actually made this bread the day I was leaving for France. I had made a big batch of kimbap to bring as our airplane snack (since airplane food doesn't exactly give us happy feelings) and I thought we could also use something sweet. I was craving something cakey but not overly sweet. We had a bear full of honey that was starting to crystallize that was asking to be used and a brand new bag of coconut flakes just hanging out in the pantry and that's how this bread was born. And honey, I am just cuckoo and nuts about this bread.
Ingredients [yields 2 mini loaves]:

1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup almond milk
¼ cup butter
⅓ cup honey
+ raw sugar (optional)
+ butter for greasing
+ 2 mini loaf pans

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Soft Boiled Egg with Soldiers

One of my best friends from college told me a story about herself when she was a kid. Her mom made her an egg sandwich. A peer saw her eating the sandwich and teased her about the yolk dripping from her sandwich. The teasing got to a point where she could no longer enjoy her food. G is one of the sweetest people ever so when you hear her tell the story, it breaks your heart! To be honest, it also makes you laugh a little too. Anyway, she was just trying to enjoy her meal and some dumbo kid ruined it for her.

Now that we're all grown ups, I think most of us can appreciate the beauty of a runny yolk. There's a richness and a creaminess that makes me really happy. I've shared my fair share of drippy, gorgeously yellow yolks on my blog already but I'm adding to the pile. Today, it's soft boiled eggs with crispy bread soldiers, which are perfect for dipping into the runny yolk.
Ingredients [for 1]:
1 egg
slice of bread
butter
salt & pepper

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Korean-Style Kimchi Pancake | Kimchi Jun (김치전)

My sister has whined to me several times that my old kimchi jun post is inaccurate. She said the ratio of flour to liquid was off and when she tried to make them, they came out really chunky. So, I'm here to redo the post. I made these recently and used a measuring cup to make sure I could give some accurate measurements.
Ingredients:
½ cup chopped kimchi
1 long hot pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons hot pepper paste
pinch of salt
¾ to 1 cup flour
1 egg
¼ cup water
oil for frying

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Spicy Basil Chicken

I miss Thai food. I mean, I have access to a few amazing Thai restaurants but in college, I had access to three delicious Thai restaurants, all within walking distance of my apartment. Taste of Thai has the best pineapple fried rice with tons of cashews and bits of Chinese sausage. Asian Noodle House has awesome spicy basil fried rice. And Little Thai House has this really good spicy soft tofu. I miss that.

Anyway, one of the reasons that I love Thai food is because of the ingredient, Thai basil. Thai basil is so fragrant and delicious and adds so much to Thai dishes. Thai basil and sweet basil are not interchangeable, in my opinion. Sweet basil - a.k.a. the stuff you put in caprese salads - has a sweet, anise-y, tarragon-y, almost licorice-y flavor (but in a good way because licorice itself sucks). Thai basil has purple stems and has a sweet, spicy, minty flavor and it releases so much flavor when it's heated up. Unfortunately, my local grocery store rarely has Thai basil in stock so I've had to resort to substituting in some sweet basil and mint, which is yummy but just not the same thing. That being said, if you don't have access to Thai basil and you want to make this recipe, you can use sweet basil and mint.

Today's recipe features plenty of Thai basil. It's my take on pad krapow, which is a spicy basil dish made with a variety of proteins - in this case, I went with chicken. We actually went and bought a little Thai basil plant and it's sitting happily in our indoor herb garden. I plan on keeping that thing alive forever, just so I can make yummy Thai food forever.
Ingredients:
hot chilis (thai chili, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, etc.) - use fewer for less spice, more for more
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, sliced
4 baby bell peppers, chopped (or 1 regular sized bell pepper)
1 package oyster mushrooms
bunch of Thai basil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
+ 1 lb. chicken or protein of your choice, e.g. turkey, beef, pork, shrimp, scallop, or if you want to go vegetarian, you can use tofu or seitan
+ jasmine rice

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pound Cake

Pound cake might be one of the most boring cakes, I think. It's just a loaf cake with no frills, but its boringness might be its most charming trait. You can eat it with coffee, you can dress it up with a pile of whipped cream and berries, you can toast it in butter - toasted in butter is the my favorite. So, I take it back! I'm sorry pound cake! You are not boring. You are cool.

Pound cake got its name from the ratio of ingredients. It was literally a pound each of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. When you use that quantity though, you end up with a ton four pounds of cake so I reduce the recipe to yield just one mini loaf, which happens to weigh one pound, so we're still on that pound theme, which is pretty cool, right?
By the way, while I was making this cake, all I could think about was an episode of Arthur (the aardvark, formerly an anteater) where he makes a pound cake with his younger sister, D.W. He's reading the recipe and says, "One lub flour. What's a lub?"

Ingredients [yields one mini loaf]:
1 stick of butter (4 oz.)
½ cup sugar (4 oz.)
2 large eggs (4 oz.)
1 cup flour (4 oz.)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
+ mini loaf pan
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