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Archive for December, 2009

Grandma’s Soup!

Did I ever tell you I am in love with my crockpot???

I know it sounds pretty lame but I am truly obsessed with that thing! There is nothing better than coming home late in the evening and smell the wonderful aromas of a home cooked meal…. that was prepared while you were gone! I was so excited when the box arrived, and I’ve been using it at least once a week since then!

My favorite thing to make in the crockpot is SOUP!!!

And one of my favorite soup is Grandma’s soup, from my sweet grandma herself. It is so healthy and nutritious. Full of delicious veggies and protein. A full meal by itself!

Here are the ingredients:

  • A bunch of carrots
  • 2-3 big turnips or 5-6 small ones
  • 3 or 4 small zuchinnis
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • A few stalk of celery
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 onion or several scallions
  • 1 lb lean beef

The beauty about this soup is that it really doesn’t matter the exact amount of each vegetable, it will taste great anyway!!!

Coarsly chop veggies and add to pot. Don’t worry too much about how the veggies look, since you’ll blend everything in the end. Add water and cook on low for 8 hours (you want the veggies to be totally smooshy). Go to work and let the magic happen….

8 hours or more later (my crockpot has an automatic keep wam setting), come back from work. Use a hand-held blender to blend your soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and Voilà!

Served in my favorite mexican bowls, toped with shaves of parmigiano cheese! Travis declared it his favorite soup ever!

Hope you’ll want to try this.

NB: If you don’t have a crockpot, you can of course make this using a dutch oven (Le Creuset are my favorites) or a normal deep pot.

Good night, y’all!

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Last day of vacation :(

Well, the fun is over. Today was the last day of vacation or should I say, stay-cation. Christmas was fun but it is time to get back to work and there is a lot for me to do this week.

My hospital work is going to be lighter than normal due to some of our beds being closed until the end of the week. But I have a lot on my plate on the research front.

Anyway, today was a very pleasant day. Like every day this week, good eats were the highlight of my day.  It started with a couple toast with natural PB and half a banana. I then went to run some errands and had a facial (yay!) while the husband was still sleeping. I came home as he woke up and was ready for lunch.

This included half a whole wheat muffin with lox, a fried egg and a giant salad. Along with a smoking hot pot of tea (gotta hydrate myself after all that wine and champagne!)

Took a little nap (woke up way to early this morning), read a little, watch some episodes of the Office, went on a walk with Travis, talked to some friends. But soon enough, the kitchen called my name again and I found myself cutting up the veggies I have planned to throw in the crockpot tomorrow morning to make soup.

Meanwhile, dinner was cooking in the oven: roasted eggplant, zucchini and brussel sprouts. Topped it with a mini turkey burger, more veggies in the form of a tunisian salad called Mekbouba that I had prepared yesterday and some fresh goat cheese. Pretty good!

Mekbouba is a jewish tunisian dish made of stewed bell peppers. It can be eaten warm or cold and can be served a side, a salad, a dip…. It is delicious and so easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cut bell peppers in large ribbons and tomatoes in large cubes. Place in a saucepan with garlic cut in small pieces,  salt and olive oil. Cover halfway with water.
  • Cover and cook over very low heat until peppers are very tender and the water has eveporated.
  • Cool down and serve cold.

Serves 4.

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Christmas Recap….

Hello everyone…..

What a week!!!!! I can’t believe that Christmas is already over. There is so much to say about the past few days. We’ve had such a great time….

Let me just start with a few pics of The Champs Elysées to show you some of the great street decorations of Paris.

Wednesday’s pre-Christmas dinner with Fanny:

For us, the festivities started early this week. On wednesday night, we had our friend and neighbor Fanny over for a nice little dinner.

Started with Foie Gras served with sweet bread and candied chestnut bread:

And Escargots!!! mmmm……

Have a look at these little guys right out of the shell:

Rest of the meal included a homemade risotto with sautéed scallops and Fanny’s famous endive salad:

We had our little gift exchange. Travis was spoiled: he received 3 liters of distilled water for his new computer cooling system. This is a rare find in France. Travis was really desperate (we had called several places to find it with no luck) but thanks to Fanny, who had to pull a few strings and litteraly beg several research labs at our hospital, he is now a happy man!

We then watched the “Lemon Tree”, a movie from Eran Riklis, an israeli director. This movie exposes the legal journey of a middle aged palestinian widow against the Israeli minister of defense who plans to destroy her lemontree grove for “security reasons”. This movie is about the real political madness that surrounds even simple matters that could be resolved if people forgot their fears and just talked to each other. It is also about the wordless bond that can exist between 2 women (the palestinian widow and the Minister’s wife) despite the deep border between them. I loved it!

Movie time was followed by a chocolate-nut layered cake that sadly was unphotographed.

Christmas’ Eve:

Christmas eve was quite an ordeal for Travis and I. After a couple days of compulsive christmas shopping, we spent several hours putting together my mom’s present. We scanned, printed and framed many childhood pics of my sister and I, as well as more recent pictures. It took a loooonnnnng time but we were quite happy with the results.

I then had to quickly run some errands before my family got here. By 8pm, everything was ready and Taliah and I set the table.

Here is what we ate:

  • Marinated swedish salmon (Gravlax)
  • Wild alaskan smoked salmon
  • Another thick piece of cured salmon fillet (yes, we love salmon!!!)
  • 48 raw Oysters with shallot vinegar
  • Foie gras with Sichuan Pepper and Piment d’Espelette. It was extremely flavorful, maybe a little too much, hiding the taste of the Foie Gras itself)
  • 8 different cheeses: Brie, Camembert au Calvados, Munster with cumin, Rocamadour, St Paulin, Comté, Mont d’Or, Epoisse.
  • 6 sorts of breads: baguette, cereal and seeds baguette, hazelnut/apricot bread, walnut bread, cocoa bread and blinis.
  • 2 bottles of champagne and 1 bottle of red wine (no kidding!)

Stefan thought he could have all the Foie Gras for himself…  But we caught it from him on time!

Surprisingly enough, nobody was hungry for desserts 😉

Boys and girls then split. The guys decided to go on a video game marathon and played until 10 in the morning!!!!!!! They fueled on cokes and energy drinks. Meanwhile us girls settled in the living room, watched a couple movies. Between our new couch and our air mattress, we can now sleep 4 people there (had to say that just in case some of you want to come visit us in France!!!!):


Lots of presents under the christmas tree!!!!

Christmas’ Day:

Christmas day started late due to the late night the day before (especially for the guys who woke up at 2pm!). While the guys were still sleeping Taliah, my mom and I started our Christmas Gumbo!

Ingredients:

Then making the Roux (1/2 cup of canola oil and 1/2 cup of flour):

Keep stirring….

Then add the celery, bell pepper and onions:

When soft, add the garlic and the okras (did you know that the french name for okra is actually “gumbo”!!!):

When the okra are cooked enough to look less stringy, we added some scalions, parsley and sausage. Then 8 cups of chicken broth and we let everything simmer on low for several hours while we were all opening presents (!!!). The shrimps were added towards the end since they were already cooked.

And here is the final product:

Well, I am aware it looks pretty bad in the pot like that. And I should have taken a picture of it served over white rice. But I am just happy and proud that I have made Gumbo for the first time ever! Couldn’t have done it without Taliah though! Great team work!

Opening all the presents literaly  took hours! It was so much fun. Again I was spoiled! Sorry I don’t have any pictures 😦

For dinner, we ate our gumbo while watching Appaloosa (which I got for Travis), and sipping on red wine. The movie was awesome and the food pretty good too (even Travis said so!). No leftovers!

Once again the guys abandoned us to go play some games. Once again, they had a sleepless night…

Boxing Day:

It was another late morning. We had a pretty interesting brunch of leftover cheeses, foie gras along with some eggs and chocolate chip cookies that I made from scratch. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures.

Around 5, my mom, my sister and Stefan went back home and Travis and I sat lazily all evening watching some episodes of the Office. We are so excited about the season 5, which we received from Santa and Mrs Claus!

Dinner was Chicken Noodle Soup:

Made in the Crockpot, with farm raised organic chicken (gotta make sure my chicken wasn’t fed beef or one of his fellow chicken friends….). I also made my own chicken broth (was inspired by cousin Paul and the wonderful advice he gave me last year).

Hope yall had a great Christmas!

Lots of love!!!!

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Awesome weekend!

I couldn’t wait to leave work on Friday. I was so excited about the weekend to come and believe me I was not disappointed!!!!

Friday:

The weekend started with the most awesome surprise from my friend Fanny. She took me to the Opera Bastille to see “Andrea Chenier”, a historical opera from the italian composer Umberto Giordano. It was such an amazing experience. We had fantastic seats on the third row and could almost hear the singers breathe.

Saturday:

Saturday was a lazy day, allright. Woke up late, headed to brunch late. But considering the line in front of B.I. A (Breakfast in America) we were not the only ones coming in for a mid afternoon brunch:

But it was worth the long wait, believe me…. I heart this place. It is so small, so packed. But truly american, and the only place in Paris where Travis can have his French Toast fix:

I had the Special of the day: Steakham, cheddar and egg bagel sandwich. So yummy…

We stayed for ever, fueling on bottomless mugs of coffee….It was fun….

Sunday, Christmas tree day:

We finally got our christmas tree! Actually, we turned sunday into a christmas tree party! We first helped Fanny put up hers. The little guy was bought at a local florist and brought all the way home in Travis’ arms:

Yep! Going all the way to the 5th floor!!!

A quick trip in the elevator!!!

And home, ready to be dissected by our friend!

Before:

And after:

We then moved to our own place to take care of our christmas forest. We first installed our big tree:

Champagne!!!

Then took care of the Hannukah Bush and our other mini tree:

We had a blast! Finally setting up our tree and listening to Christmas carols got me super excited for the Holidays. We have a few days off around Christmas and have a lot planned. It is going to be great!

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Snow in Paris!

Good morning yall!

These past couple of days have been incredible! It started by waking up on thursday morning and discover snow falling outside. Everything was white.

This is the view from our bedroom window:

And from our living room window:

It was even more impressive when I came down an hour later.

I finally  arrived at work. This is the Neurology building.

It kept snowing all day. And when we came out, my friend Fanny and I were so surprised to see fresh untouched snow all over the place. We had a lot of fun. Starting with a snow ball fight. Then we decided to write messages in the snow. Our first attempt was the word L.O.V.E. But after writing the letter L, Fanny fell head first in the snow. She literally fell in L.O.V.E.

We still manages to complete our first project:

Then moved on to something more complicated (YES WE CAN, very american of us!):

We sure had a lot of fun. After a long, packed subway ride, exhausted, frozen but childlishly happy, I finally made it home to hot bowl of soup:

This was made with 1 big slice of pumpkin, 2 parsnips, 4 small jerusalem artichoke, and a bunch of carrots, cooked in the crockpot with 6 cups of vegetable broth, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Travis really enjoyed it but I was a little disappointed. I was expected something a little less tangy and more creamy. I probably should have added some sweet potatoes. It is time for my famous winter soup or some of Grandma’s soup (recipes to come soon, stay tuned).

Hope yall have a great day today! Travis and I are planning to go have a late brunch (we woke up so late) at “Breakfast in America” and then finally get some Christmas shopping done.

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Champignons de Paris

Hi yall!

I had decided to take my camera to work and show you around the hospital but I was a busy bee yesterday and the photo shoot didn’t happen. I only managed to take one pic when I left and as you can see it was pitch black out there:

On the way home I often find myself thinking about what I will make for dinner. Not that I am obsessed with food but kind of (and if you don’t like reading about food, you might want to stop reading this blog right now). Tonight’s highlight was “Champignons de Paris” (Parisian mushrooms). I bet you didn’t know Paris was known for its mushrooms, huh? Well, it is… And they are delicious too, especially when bought directly from the farm at our local market. You also can find Shiitake or Portobella but they are expensive and IMPORTED! Boo….

At least one day a week, I make breakfast for dinner. It is cheap, tasty and quick. Most of the time it involves some sort of egg dish. On rare naughty occasions, I make pancakes ;). But tonight was eggs, Scrambled eggs with champignons de Paris and feta cheese to be specific.

I started by sautéing the mushrooms:

Then added 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs. Some low fat feta cheese, salt and pepper and Voilà!

So easy and so yummy!

Well that was it for the night! I fell asleep with a full belly and decided to take it easy this morning. That is why I’m still home with my coffee, writing this post at 9 am. Today will be busy too, though. Have to check on some patients with my residents, then a staff meeting at lunch time, and finally a full afternoon at the clinic. I might try to squeeze in a little workout at the hospital gym. And tonight, we are going to a friend’s house for dinner.

Hopefully my next post will be more interesting. I’d like to show you where I work and tell you more about what I do.

See yall soon!

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First post ever!

Hi Family and Friends!

This is my first post ever and I know you are already asking yourself: Why this blog? Why “cupcakes in Paris?”… Well…. First, I’ve talked about starting my own blog for a while now and after procrastinating for so long I decided it was finally time. Second, I know a lot of you wonder what our life is about here in Paris. Do we eat snails every day and walk around with our berets on our heads? Well, you’ll be surprised that we don’t! But life sure is different here and I would love to share some of our daily adventures with yall.

Why “cupcakes in Paris”? I actually just need one photo to answer this question.

Yes, it only took a few minutes (sitting on our couch as shown above) of name brainstorming with Travis for him to come up with this one!!

Today has been a great day and I am so sad it is over already. It started with a trip to our local market. I love this market. I shop there every week for fresh fruits and veggies, organic eggs and cheeses.

I try my best to buy mostly local products so I start with my favorite guys:

We then moved to the cheese stall. Their fresh goat cheese is to die for!!

Then had to get some multigrain bread from this lady:

And finally we walked to the egg stall and were surprised to discover these HUGE goose eggs.

I had never seen one before and Travis said we HAD to buy them. So we did! And decided to have them for brunch today. Upon our return at home, I was glad to be in the kitchen mostly to be near the stove and get warm after all that shopping in the freezing outdoors of Paris. I first laid out our “catch of the weekend”:

We’ve got loads of veggies (carrots, turnips, parsnips, pumpkin, squash, celeri, zucchini, romaine, avocados), fruits (apples, bananas and clementines), goat cheese, 2 loafs of bread, countless packages of cereal (Travis was indeed hungry when we hit the organic food store yesterday) and chocolate covered almonds and coffee beans. You may wonder how we are going to eat it all? But believe me we will. Veggies will be turned into a nice winter soup sometime this week, bread and cheese will contribute to the lunches we bring to work (no more cafeteria food for us!) and don’t ask me about the chocolates;)

So to continue our story, I decided to start cooking the goose eggs. Well these “little” guys are quite hard to break. But I managed to finally fry them nicely (in butter, what else!):

The consistency is different from normal eggs: the yolk is creamier and the white a little more dense. They were delicious! And we’ll definitely be buying them again. The brunch was completed by toasts, goat cheese and currant jelly, while re-watching season two of “The Office” (LOVE that show):

The rest of the day included some writing (trying to finish the article about my thesis research) at my desk:

And more episodes of “The Office” at dinnertime while enjoying the Chicken tortilla soup (minus the tortilla) that was simmering all day in my crockpot. I served it with a little homemade corn muffin that was a tad too bland for me (was out of jalapenos):

Here is the recipe that I used:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green chili pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1, 5 lbs chicken breast
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-14 1/2 oz cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can corn
  • 1 14 1/2 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • Salt

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (well that was hard, wasn’t it!).
  • Remove chicken from pot and on a plate use two forks to shred it. Return to pot.
  • Chop tomatoes in the pot with a spoon.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Serve in bowl toped with fresh cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

Well… It is time to say good night. But I hope you appreciated this first post. I’ll be back soon and I hope you’ll have fun following our adventures.

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