post61 // open this valentine! (psssst, it’s filled with chocolate)

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heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

hellooooo! greetings from my chocolate-filled valentine! since i’m far away from many friends and loved ones on this valentine’s day 2018, i’ve decided to send you a virtual valentine with chocolate creations like the stuff of dreams.

this valentine’s day landed perfectly in the middle of my pastry trimester, which is focused on chocolate work. well done, le cordon bleu scheduling! from chocolate glazes to tempered chocolate to chocolate mousse to chocolate crunch, i’ve been working with a lot (!!) of chocolate this trimester. talk about keeping my uniform supremely white while doing it — the toughest job of them all.

below you can find four chocolately creations that i’ve made in my pastry classes. i’ve listed their core components so that you (yes, you!) can go and make one for yourself!

dark chocolate choux pastry choux au chocolat noir 

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this chocolate choux pastry is filled with chocolate pastry cream and a crispy praline insert. outside, you see a chocolate crunch topping, finished with a dark chocolate glaze.

to get started, check out this recipe for chocolate choux pastry. you’ll quickly see how easy it is!

chocolates (muscadine, praline) chocolats (muscadine, praliné)

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these two types of chocolates are called pralines (the square) and muscadines (the baton). the muscadine is filled with a creamy praline, chocolate, cointreau paste while the praline is filled with a simple chocolate and praline paste. i dipped both in tempered chocolate and rolled the muscadine in icing sugar directly after. to make the “professional” decoration on top, simply use a fork to lightly mark the chocolate 10-20 seconds after dipping, just before the chocolate has set.

don’t have space or a big marble slab to temper chocolate at home? follow this guide for a quick microwave-tempering! thermometer required.

heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

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this three-tier cake is quite the showstopper. the base is a hazelnut dacquoise filled with a praline crunch paste, topped with two layers of chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate rounds. the decoration on top was made with cookie cutters and tempered chocolate.

never heard of a dacquoise? it’s a cake base that’s very popular here in france, made from egg whites and nuts. bonus: it’s gluten free! start this cake by making your first dacquoise with food network’s recipe.

opera opéra

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of all the pastries seen here, you may be most familiar with the opera cake, a parisian classic! this cake alternates between layers of biscuit sponge and coffee buttercream, with a layer of chocolate ganache smack in the middle. on top is a chocolate glaze and the traditional opera writing (my first attempt at writing on cakes!).

you might be able to find this one in a high-end french bakery. but if not, Joe Pastry blog has a great tutorial that matches the authenticity of my recipe from cordon bleu.


just in case you’re wondering

while i’d love to be sharing all my cordon bleu recipes with you, they’re under copywrite. *but* i look forward to testing many of them once i’m out of school and sharing renditions that can be cooked in your home oven. stay tuned on this for next year!


in this week’s other stuff !

a hot new restaurant i’ll be trying in paris this weekend. reviews have been a+++++

books as decor is popping up everywhere (even in my house here in paris!). definitely digging this style trend

wardrobe goals


andddd that’s all for this week, folks! wishing you a very lovely valentine’s day!💖

 

 

post60 // paris in white

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square de la place du commerce, 7 january 1017 8:49am

as i sit here typing, more snow is falling in paris! given that this is a bit of a rarity here, i’ve decided to share some of my favorite images from the week. (all shot by me!)

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rue des 4 frères peignot, 6 january 2017 7:06pm

according to my parisian family, there hasn’t been significant snow in paris in 3 years! i am truly lucky that the sky decided this was the year.

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commerce metro, 7 january 2017 8:52am

to celebrate the occasion, i took to the streets wednesday morning and started photographing. the city was the quietest i’ve ever heard it, reminding me of new york city in the snow.

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already, paris is beautiful. topped with a fluffy cushion of white, it’s just enchanting.

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rue des presles, 7 january 2017 9:17am

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avenue de suffren, 7 january 2017 9:20am

since i live close(ish) to the eiffel tower, i headed over to champ de mars, the huge green space in front of the tower, to get some images of the snow-crusted landmark.

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am

the snow had just stopped and it was early enough that the white blanket was still intact!

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am

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champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:31am

one of the best parts of this snowfall was watching other people experience it. i have classmates at school who walked through snow for the first time this week. as we butchered a chicken on wednesday in class, my friend saw his first snowflakes! talk about ideal 😜.

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rue violet, 7 january 2017 9:02am

the toddlers from the preschool next to my house excitedly played in the snow all wednesday, most of them seeing snow for the first time! i dodged snowballs on the way home from school tuesday night.

the whole event has made me feel like a true kid, the way only snow can.

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rue des entrepreneurs, 7 january 2017 9:57am

and i couldn’t resist a foodie pic in the snow. are we surprised??

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rue de javel, 8 january 2017 2:54pm

to end: the less glamorous side of parisian snow. somehow, i still think it’s beautiful!


i’m currently working on a valentine’s day post that features many of the chocolates i’ve been making in pastry this trimester. tune into the blog this sunday for the feature!

happy weekend everyone. xx


all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs.

post59 // foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris

hey there guys and gals! how’s your friday? if it isn’t the best friday of your life, i’m just out here trying to make it better, by way of baguettes (lots of them).

i had so much fun filming my bakery crawl last month that i decided to bring these filming efforts to paris! this week i compared and contrasted 4 different baguettes from local bread bakeries in my neighborhood. boulangerie is the term for a french bakery that sells bread and you can find them at nearly every corner here in paris. so come ride along with me as i show you the insides of these shops, complete with handles shaped like croissants, and get into the nitty gritty of what makes a traditional french baguette.


foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris (15arr)

 


  1. le fournil sainte lucie (15arr) corner of rue de javel and rue sainte-lucie, 75015 paris, open 715am-730pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  2. maison koneth (15arr) 141 rue de la croix-nivert, 75015 paris, open 7am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  3. borissou (15arr) 93 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 730am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  4. eric kayser(15arr) 79 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 645am-830pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition

and in this week’s other stuff!

quite possibly the coolest dessert i’ve ever seen

these jeans fit so. good.

a quote in honor of the late paul bocuse, “classic or modern, there is only one cuisine… the good.” — paul bocuse, french chef (1926-2018)


what french storefronts do you want to see next?? charcuteries (meat shops)? fromageries (cheese shops)? comment below and i’ll take you there!

post58 // roasted winter citrus

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wahoo!!!! it’s friday. time to weekend a.k.a. sleep and eat and do all the fun things.

it may not feel very bright outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the brightest, sweetest, best-looking part of the winter blues: winter citrus!! last week my french host mom, martine, brought home a gigantic grapefruit. seriously, the biggest grapefruit i’d ever seen! it reminded me how tasty our citrus is this time of year and that this ingredient needs to be recipe-fied.

enter roasted winter citrus. sound weird to you? it isn’t. roasted citrus is one of the best desserts to eat right now and luckily it checks all the boxes for your dry january/whole30/diet efforts/lol i’m actually out here eating cakes every day lifestyle!

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i modeled this recipe off an easy one martine puts together with roasted apples in place of citrus. above, you can see all the citrus i used! lemon, clementine, orange, blood orange, and grapefruit. i found that those with a tarter taste (lemon, blood orange, grapefruit) had an even tangier taste after roasting. brushed with a blend of melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and honey, these slices will fulfill all your wildest sweet and sour dreams.

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and you may notice that foodstuffs has a brand new look this week! the lovely sarah ku, cousin of the equally as lovely eunice choi (my former colleague at food52), helped me get one of her beautiful banners up on my website this week. along with martine’s apple recipe, the colorfully fruity banner helped inspire my recipe for this week! that’s what i like to call a win, win.

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i served my citrus slices with just a light topping of honey, but there are many other options! some sweet ideas: serve alongside uncooked slices for a contrast of flavors, with a sprinkling of fresh herbs (e.g. basil), or with yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. some savory ideas: a sprinkling of herbier herbs like rosemary and thyme or as a garnish for a main dish cooked with citrus elements (e.g. veal or pork chop). you really can’t go wrong here.

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anddd in this week’s other stuff!

a beautiful quote shared by a certain butterfly in my life

i’m on the overall bandwagon (has anyone else been seeing them everywhere?!)

you should dance to this throwback song all weekend

that’s all for this week folks. short and sweet (and sour)!


roasted winter citrus

serves 4

fixings

4-5 medium pieces of fruit, be it oranges, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, clementine, etc.

2 tablespoon butter (1/4 stick)

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

the lowdown

  1. heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, 180 degrees celsius.
  2. wash fruit well and slice to medium thickness, 1-2cm worth.
  3. heat butter in a small saucepan. once melted, add honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. mix to combine.
  4. brush each slice with butter blend on both sides and place on baking sheet.
  5. roast for 20-25 minutes! once out of oven, brush with butter blend one more time to give some shine. top with a bit of honey to serve.

post57 // culinary school, first look

bonjour mes amis! [hello my friends!]

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15th arrondissement, my neighborhood here

greetings from parisland, where i’m back again after a long american holiday! it feels wonderful and exciting to be back in this foreign city that feels every bit less foreign and more like home by the second.

tomorrow i head back to le cordon bleu where i’m enrolled in their grand diplôme program. this program runs for 9 months and upon completion, students receive superior certificates in both pastry and cuisine.

while home, i was asked the following questions countless times, #1: what is a typical day at cordon bleu? and #2 what is your favorite dish to make? so for this week’s post, i’m serving up answers on a hot plate for you! (just in case you didn’t get to hear them in person).

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pithivier

a day at cordon bleu

6am. wake up!!! most of my days begin with an early call time for class so i’m up and at ’em. to keep me full through the morning, i eat this muesli (a cereal-like breakfast made from rolled oats, grains, and dried fruits) almost every day. i do *sometimes* splurge for a croissant or pain aux raisins like the ones below…c’est la vie!

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pain au chocolat, croissant, pain aux raisins

7am. en route to school! i chose to live with a french host family while staying here to help improve my french and lucky enough, they live within walking distance from the school. once i get into the institute, i put on my uniform: pants, chef’s jacket, neckerchief, and shoes (i use dansko’s).

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crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

7:45am-11am. class starts! at school, there are two types of classes i can have: demonstrations or practicals. in demonstrations, i sit in a large lecture room where the chef prepares the dishes i’ll be making that day in practical class. while i receive the ingredient list, no recipe instructions are provided by the school so i take a bigillion notes during these demo classes to make sure i don’t miss a thing! at the end of each demonstration, team leaders (a sort of group captain for the week) passes around a tasting portion of the dish. above you can see my very first cuisine tasting at cordon blue, a crudité salad that employed many, many knife skills!

11am-11:45am. lunch! time to scarf something down that will hold me ’til half past six. i’m usually munching on something that i made in a practical class the day before.

11:45am-3pm. class again! pastry instead of cuisine this time.

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macarons

pastry demonstrations function the same as cuisine demonstrations and sometimes the chef will make a dish for fun on the side, like these heart macaroons! too sweet.

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macarons

in this particular demonstration, the chef used macaroons from prior classes that week to model how much food coloring we should be putting in our meringue batters. super helpful! (see below to see how mine turned out.)

3:15pm-6:30pm. practical class! recognize the colorful vegetables below from the tasting dish earlier? this was my recreation of the chef’s crudité platter, complete with cabbage, radish, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber, all specified to different types of cuts. plus a deviled egg! my knife skills have been on a major learning curve since i step foot in this school.

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crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

practical classes are different from demonstrations in that i show up in full uniform (apron, hat, and tea towel included), and cook for 2-3 hours. most chefs require dishes to be served on a hot plate within 2 1/2 hours of start time, leaving the final 30 minutes for cleaning. every student has their own workstation, oven, and stovetop, and is required to produce the same dish. it’s pretty intense! the stuff of tv shows.

looking back, the crudité platter was easy compared to some of these other dishes…

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braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes

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salmon paupiettes, genevoise sauce, crunchy cabbage with ginger

you can see that the salmon paupiettes above have been broken into. in each cuisine practical, chef will taste my dish. this is the ultimate test! during tasting, chef will also take note of my personal hygiene (no apron stains!), how i operated throughout the practical, and how warm my plate is. fun fact: this salmon dish showed up on my final exam!

6:30pm-6:45pm. try and shovel dinner or a snack in before running to the next class!

6:45pm-10pm. pastry practical!

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how’d i do on the macarons? judging from the chef’s macaron gradient, i could’ve used a bit less food coloring. and when piping the macarons out, it’s best not to flick the tip of your pastry bag too far upwards. that’s what makes these guys look a *little* busty.

pastry practicals are a bit different from cuisine as i’m usually on a clock with shorter sprints. for example, the dacquoise cake below required the meringue layers to be baked before i began assembling the buttercream filling or marzipan rose. in my practical for this cake, chef only allowed a specific time frame to bake the meringue layers. if my meringue hadn’t been piped within that time, you wouldn’t be seeing this pretty cake in pictures!

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dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

bringing me to the next difference between cuisine and pastry practicals: chefs typically do not taste student’s pastry dishes. why? in most of the pastries, a chef can determine whether an ingredient was missing just by looking at it.

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dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

10pm-11pm. get out of my uniform, and head home! after a long day like this, it typically takes me a couple hours to unwind. i head home and eat a late dinner, catch up on some texts, and get to sleep asap. there’s more work to be done in the morning!

my favorite dish to make

bread! i still can’t quit it. after spending the summer before culinary school rolling out baguettes and mixing sourdough starters, i feel even more connected to the bread products i make in school now. my first pain au chocolat was a big hit and i can’t wait to make more!

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in the cuisine realm of things, i enjoy making quiches and stews. the most delicious dish i’ve made in school so far has to be the braised beef cheek dish. see the fancy portrait of that dish above, in contrast with the “how-i-eat-this-at-home” image below. (with a glass of vin rouge of course!)

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braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes


while every day at cordon bleu isn’t as jam-packed as the day i described above, that schedule is typical of at least half my week. on lighter days, i try my best to catch up on sleep, exercise, blogging, and exploring this city!

and because you made it so far in this article, here’s me (hairnet and all) at my final pastry practical in november! i guess sleep deprivation will make you think anything looks cute.

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springtime charlotte with ladyfingers, almond bavarian cream, fruit mousse, and fresh berries


in this week’s other stuff:

to get back in the french spirit, i’ve got sidney bechet’s si tu vois ma mère on repeat. fun fact! it’s the opening song to midnight in paris.

speaking of food gradients, check out the queen: wright kitchen

west elm is getting trendier by the second

french soulcycle, my latest obsession

post56 // corgi spice cookies

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merry merry! how’s everyone feeling this holiday weekend? lots of elf-ing to get done before now in christmas morning? i hear you.

just in case you’re interested in a *bit* more elf-ing, i’ve got a pretty stellar recipe for you to impress all your corgi-loving frands and family. inspired by the lovely adrianna from a cozy kitchen and stephanie from i am a food blog, i made my very first corgi cookies! i’ve been eyeing the two of their recipes for a while now and it was about time i finally let a corgi cookie cutter into my kitchen.

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i’ll be very honest with you: this recipe is a toughie. you’re good through the cookie dough and cookie cutting, all the way until the royal icing. make sure your icing is runny enough! this video gives a great tutorial for what your consistency should be.

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you can see in the image below that i changed my icing consistency — the top two cookies on the right have a thicker consistency while the bottom i thinned out by mixing in a bit more water. i made one batch of this royal icing and divided it into thirds: white, brown, and black. in order to get the café brown color, i combined brown and golden yellow food gels from wilton to my desired color brownness.

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i first outlined the bottom white part of the corgis, filled that in, and then filled in the top sections (ears, head, and top fur) wth the brown icing.

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it’s a corgi cookie parade!

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so pull out your best small-motor skills and start decorating! these corgi cookies are a true showstopper, conversation starter, and lovely decoration for your christmas table. hey, maybe you’ll even need to get a corgi to match! (see below.)

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^hi sandi!!


and in this week’s other stuff!!

must-see exhibit in nyc

fell in love with this dress. fingers crossed for some major sale to fall upon it!

what i’m cooking with my dad this christmas dinner


corgi spice cookies (adapted slightly from iamafoodblog’s)

makes 30 corgi cookies

fixings

cookies:

3 cups ap flour / 380 grams

3/4 teaspoon baking powder / 3 grams

3/4 teaspoon baking soda / 3 grams

1 1/3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced / 5.5 grams

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, minced or microplaned / 2 grams

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon / 6 grams

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves / 3 grams

1/2 teaspoon cayenne / 2 grams

1/2 teaspoon all-spice / 2 grams

1/2 teaspoon salt / 2 grams

3/4 cup butter / 170 grams

3/4 cup sugar / 170 grams

3/4 cup molasses / 170 grams

1 1/2 large egg yolks / 30 grams

icing recipe

the lowdown

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. combine all dry ingredients [all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne, salt] together in a mixing bowl (the smaller of your two).
  3. in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar. once creamed, add molasses and egg yolks. in order to get half an egg yolk, just whisk together the egg yolks and put 3/4 total mixture in.
  4. add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in thirds on a low speed. this ensures a smooth and incorporated batter!
  5. bake cookies for 9 minutes — they should brown to a dark golden, nothing past that. once done cooking, cool on wire racks.
  6. combine icing ingredients together and follow directions written here. divide icing in thirds and add in brown and yellow food coloring to desired corgi browness for one third. keep another third white and add black food coloring to another third.
  7. once cookies are completely cool (preferably overnight), outline corgi cookies with white frosting and then follow with brown on top. the 5th image gives a good idea of what this should look like.
  8. refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes to cool white and brown frostings. then add black frosting for nose and eyes and return to fridge to cool for 30 minutes. you can leave them in there for up to 3 days.

post55 // foodstuffs bakery crawl: manhattan

hello people!! i write to you this week with a very exciting post: my first ever bakery crawl!

what’s a bakery crawl you may ask? well for those of you familiar with its drunken cousin, the pub crawl, a bakery crawl functions similarly as an extended time spent hopping around to different bakeries.

on my very first bakery crawl, i visited 10 bakeries. in 1 day. so you better be hungry, because you’re about to watch a whole lot of sweets!


video time! foodstuffs bakery crawl: manhattan


  1. arcade bakery (tribeca) 220 church st, new york, ny 10013, open 8am-4pm mon-fri
    • what i bought: seeded laminated baguette, and lemon sugar brioche
  2. maman (tribeca) 211 w broadway, new york, ny 10013, open 7am-6pm mon-fri and 8am-6pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: chocolate pistachio croissant
  3. dominique ansel bakery (soho) 189 spring st, new york, ny 10012, open 8am-7pm mon-sat and 9am-7pm sun
    • what i bought: dka (dominique’s kouign amann)
  4. mah-ze-dahr (west village) 28 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011, open 7am-6pm mon-fri and 8am-6pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: sadly mah-ze-dahr was closed for a private event but i have tasted their chocolate chip cookie and ice cream before, both delicious!
  5. aux merveilleux de fred (meatpacking) 37 8th ave, new york, ny 10014, open 8am-7:30pm everyday
    • what i bought: “the incredible” a speculoos meringue, covered in whipped cream and white chocolate shavings, and “the wonderful” a meringue with chocolate whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings
  6. momofuku milk bar (chelsea) 220 8th ave, new york, ny 10011, open 8am-11pm mon-thurs and 8am-12am fri-sun
    • what i bought: b’day cake truffles
  7. sullivan street bakery (chelsea) 236 9th ave, new york, ny 10011, open 7am-4pm mon-fri and 8am-4pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: garlic stretchy
  8. breads bakery (union square) 18 east 16th st, new york, ny 10003, open 6:30am-9pm mon-sat and 7:30am-8pm sun
    • what i bought: reverse chocolate chip cookie
  9. zucker bakery (east village) 433 east 9th st, new york, ny 10009, open 8am-6pm mon-fri and 9am-7pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: yin-yang black and white cookie
  10. supermoon bakehouse (lower east side) 120 rivington st, new york, ny 10002, open 8am-5pm everyday
    • what i bought: eggnog cruffin
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breads bakery

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breads bakery

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supermoon bakehouse

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aux merveilleux de fred

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maman

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aux merveilleux de fred

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dominique ansel bakery


and in this week’s other stuff:

my jacket from the video

a stellar west village restaurant you need to try, duck fat tots and all

christmas spiriting!!

that’s all friends! have a happy weekend!