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post 44 // paris, first look

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bonjour mes amis!!! greetings from paris. i made it! today was my first full day in this city and i am a wonderful combination of jet lagged and excited at the moment. i’m writing to you from my host family’s apartment in the 15th arrondissement, a neighborhood situated in the southern part of paris. i got lost finding the apartment yesterday with all my luggage in hand but one taxi and two mobile stores later, i found them! #immersion #frenchinprogress

for those of you wondering why the heck i am in france — i’ve just moved here! i’ll be in paris for the next year attending le cordon bleu, a culinary school here. while i get some cooking and baking skills, i’ll be living with a french family, learning the language, figuring out paris, and eventually working at a bakery or restaurant here as an extern. woot woot!!

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upon arriving yesterday, my host family greeted me with a homemade lunch of quiche lorraine, a warm baguette from the neighborhood boulangerie, and a simple green salad. it was so quintessentially french. and the good food didn’t stop there — from the milk that i poured on my cereal to the croissant that i ate at orientation this morning, everything has tasted both delicious and wholesome.

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my orientation was just a half day so that left me with the entire afternoon to do whatever i wanted. so i walked! i explored my neighborhood, the neighborhood around le cordon bleu, and beyond. the eiffel tower is just down the street from school so i headed that way first. even on a gloomy day, paris looks beautiful!

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during my walk, i found a great bakery called boulangerie le moulin de la vierge (translated: the mill of the virgin lol). i wasn’t familiar with it as i still have yet to sift through my list of bakery recommendations — that will be this weekend!  — but it was a true french boulangerie and a great place to stop if you find yourself in paris. they have locations in both the 7th arrondissement where i was today, as well as across the seine river in the 1st arrondissement. i tried their croissant and it rivaled what i had at le cordon bleu this morning. buttery, flaky, just as it should be!

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the boulangerie also offered fresh jams. i’ll have to pick one up the next time i stop by!

the rest of the afternoon was spent feeling camera happy. evidence below 👇

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i’d say it’s a photogenic city.

 

last night my host mom, martine, whipped up some tasty crêpes. i watched her and helped a bit, realizing as she went through the motions that sarah dadson’s crêpe recipe, which i shared on foodstuffs a month back, is almost a clone. bravo to sarah! i’m including her recipe below so that you can make them yourself!


and in this week’s other stuff…

i haven’t taken this denim jacket off since i bought it two weeks ago

my cousin greg and his new bride victoria (aka my new cuz!) stepped out to this song on their wedding night and everything was perfect

questions from me to you: what are your favorite things to do and see in paris? and eat? please comment so that i can do all the things!

goodnight! (bonne nuit!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!

post 38 // french crêpes

good morning to you! or afternoon, or evening — just the time of the day you happen to be reading this. you’re in luck because whatever time it is, it’s time for a crêpe.

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crêpes have never been a routine meal of mine. i’m usually eating their cousins (a.k.a. pancakes and dutch babies), which i have more confidence in cooking. my memories of crêpes are special though, associated with château montebello, a hotel in quebec that my family used to drive 12 hours to each new years eve. the endless hot chocolates and crêpes at the hotel made up for the “when are we there yet” and often nauseating car rides for my brothers and i. year after year, crêpes with maple syrup were reason enough to go back.

since those days at montebello, i haven’t spent much time eating crêpes. until now! just two months ago i was invited over to my friend stella’s apartment, which she shares with her sister sarah. sarah is a francophile and has lived in france on-and-off over the years. she has a wonderful host mother from paris, who was visiting new york at the time. given my impending move to france for the year, the sisters thought that i should meet sarah’s host mum and experience a true french crêpe.

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aside from learning so much about paris, i learned how to make (and eat) many french crêpes that night. fast forward two months and sarah is now living with my family for the summer in washington, d.c. (her own american homestay of sorts!). within her first week here, crêpe ingredients were added to our grocery list.

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crêpes are an anytime meal. while we made these ham, egg, and cheese crêpes for dinner, they could just as well be your breakfast or lunch. the batter itself is simple, as sarah says, “think 4-4-2: four eggs, four cups of milk, and 2 cups of flour.” a bit of salt and vegetable oil added complete the batter and next is just the fillings. both sarah and sofie, her parisian host mum, cooked off the entire crêpe batter, kept the cakes warm, and then prepared the fillings right before serving. this is the best way to ensure your crêpe comes out hot. the batter will be much thinner than a normal pancake batter, so don’t be afraid if it looks runny! sarah describes that the consistency is best when it coats a wooden spoon upon lifting, but still drips back into the batter bowl.

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once you’ve cooked off all your crêpe batter and have a stack of eager cakes waiting to be filled, it’s time to load on the toppings. a couple good tips for fillings are to keep them thinly sliced so that they don’t overwhelm the crêpe, another being to spread your crêpe with sour cream (for flavor!) before adding the fillings. if working with uncooked eggs, cover your pan so that the egg can cook off while the rest of the toppings are melting together.

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folding the crêpe together at the end is a simple envelope fold. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal. by this time, your egg yolk will have burst and it is seriously time to sit down and eat your crêpe.

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very soon, i’m sure you’ll be reading about all the different types of crêpes i’ll be trying in france. until then, i’ll be working on my own crêpe-making skills.

au revoir!

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p.s. this week’s other stuff!!!

i’ll admit to singing this with the windows down very loudly this past weekend. one of my favorites

obsessed with this account and their shop in greenpoint, bk

the drink of my summer (recipe comin’ soon to foodstuffs!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!