Tag Archives: Travel

Frenchie and a Memorable Year

23 Dec

Farewell to a memorable year.

2014 is closing its doors soon and the time to look back at a year’s worth of pictures, recipes, family, colors, friends and food has come.

Ending the year feeling thankful.

Thankful for the people met along the way, the friendships that became stronger, the food and joys of cooking shared with many, the family visits and trips that continue to make me look at the world in a different way.

But also ending the year on a fun note with the interview Lindsey at Lost in Cheeseland wrote last month about Frenchie and the Yankee as part of her Franco File Friday column. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read the interview here.

Lindsey is an incredibly talented blogger and a wonderful friend. I wish we lived in the same city so we could eat chocolate regularly over tea and coffee.

And lastly, the fun assignment to work on an exclusive Thanksgiving recipe last month for the November issue of the Charlotte Observer/South Park Magazine team.

To tell you the truth, I could see myself making this recipe during the Holiday Season as well so I included it below.

A happy and merry end of 2014 to all.

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

<Note to the readers outside of the U.S.: I wrote the recipe for an American magazine and did not include the conversions as I usually do on the blog. Please email me for details.>

Bourbon-flavored Cranberry Clafoutis

for a 9″ round 1-quart shallow baking dish

1⅓ cup (6 oz.) fresh cranberries, divided into 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) and ⅓ cup (1 oz.)

½ cup (2.5 oz.) dried cranberries

⅔ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Bourbon

½ cup Grand Marnier

2 tsp. vanilla extract

unsalted butter, for the mold

½ cup natural cane sugar plus 2 Tbsp., for the mold

4 Tbsp. quinoa flour

2 Tbsp. almond meal

2 Tbsp. finely ground tapioca flour

½ tsp. sea salt

finely grated zest of ½ organic orange

3 eggs

⅔ cup whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

½ Tbsp. turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Bring 1 heaping cup (5 oz.) of the fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, ⅔ cup of the Bourbon, Grand Marnier and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract to a boil in an 11″ sauté pan. When boiling, continue to simmer over medium to low heat for 8-10 min stirring often or until the juice is reduced to about 1 Tbsp. Transfer in a small bowl and set aside to let the cranberries and juice cool.

Generously butter the baking dish and sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of the sugar all over the bottom and sides. Tap the excess out.

In a bowl, combine ½ cup of the sugar, quinoa flour, almond meal, tapioca flour, sea salt and orange zest. Beat in the eggs until well combined. Add and stir in the milk, heavy cream, 1 Tbsp. of the Bourbon, and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Pour the cooked cranberries and the remaining juice into the baking dish. Arrange them to cover the bottom. Pour the batter on top. Scatter the ⅓ cup (1 oz.) of fresh uncooked cranberries evenly on top. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake the clafoutis for 35-40 min until the center is set and the top is golden brown.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

Frenchie and Amsterdam

20 Nov

How is it even possible I’ve never traveled to Amsterdam before?

I am in love!

And I am still thinking about this trip and our time walking around the canals last month when it was still 65-70 degrees outside.

A mere 3 hours away from Paris by train – it is beyond me I have never thought about spending some time in Holland before.

But I should really thank my friends from the Midwest for moving to Amsterdam and giving me this opportunity to stroll through the city and absorb as much as possible le temps d’un week-end.

By bike, by boat, by feet and by tram, we went around and around like mice in a maze of bridges, picturesque water views, tiny streets and cool cafés.

And Paris should definitely be scared because when it comes to cafés Amsterdam is in my opinion winning.

A few of my favorites and best discoveries are listed below.

– Café van Leeuwen – a lunch outside sitting at the terrace with views of the canal? Yes please! And you cannot go wrong with their spicy butternut squash soup with a kale salad and a local beer.

– De Koffie Salon on Utrechtsestraat – drinking a tea or coffee upstairs with oversized pictures of old European movie stars make you feel like you are in a black and white movie. And eating a blackcurrant pastry with Sophia Loren watching over you is my definition of indulging.

– Museum Van Loon – a private maison bourgeoise to visit while picturing a time when rich merchants ruled the city and the canals. Time capsule Amsterdam style.

TwoForJoy – and who wouldn’t want another pastry from a place where people sit outside and drink their coffees while playing cards or focusing on a coloring book?

Vinnies – the space is what attracted me first. An old piano next to a refurbished Louis XIV style sofa on painted white wood boards. And the organic mint tea to soothe an aching body from walking too much in the city.

Ibericus – it is not often I get to stop on the side of the road, dismount my Gazelle Dutch bike, and walk into a place to order jamón ibérico to go. This place has it all!

De Taart van m’n Tante – like stepping inside a doll house or your worst kitsch nightmare, the colors will surprise you, the fake flowers will make you smile, but the appeltaart will make you want to have a second piece.

Sama Sebo – when in Amsterdam, eat Indonesian food! And when it’s rijsttafel night, make sure to come hungry.

Frenchie and a Colorful Adventure

23 Oct

I feel lucky!

Lucky to have amazing family and friends who took care of me for 3 weeks.

Lucky the weather smiled at me throughout the trip with warm temperatures and a bright golden sun.

Lucky to still discover unknown streets and areas – nooks and crannies to stumble upon.

Lucky to have readers who push me to share more of my experiences, tips and addresses.

Some of you asked me to include new addresses I’ve noted along the way, which I have done in the past but apparently not enough.

So without further ado, my Top 10 list in no particular order of my recent French trip.

1. Lunch at Buvette to share small plates, a slice of pâté, a glass of rosé, a tartinette and a pastry. Little, cosy and rustic. And if you cannot make it to Paris, there is a location in the West Village in New York City.

2. La campagne à Paris in the 20th. A small parcel of land with plant-covered houses, small gardens and picket fences – in Paris! A quick magical instant resembling more la province than the capital we all know (rue Irénée Blanc, rue Paul Strauss).

3. Tucked away in the 1st is Verjus with a tasting menu that would most likely thrill the pickiest eaters. French in spirit but American to the core, it is a unique experience.

4. Did you know that 55 minutes by train from Paris there is a town where the old city is so well preserved that the Roman wall surrounding it is still partly standing and dates back to the 3rd century? How could I not encourage friends visiting France to spend a day or two in Le Mans. It is picture perfect for anyone looking to snap pictures of a cathedral built between the 11th and 15th centuries and to walk the tiny narrow streets where the oldest houses are from the 14th century and the newest from the 15-16th centuries with people still living in them.

5. My friend Lindsey took me to La Pulperia one night for a meal I won’t forget anytime soon. And dragging this Rive Gauche boy to the other side of the world in the 11th is not easy, trust me!

6. If there is one thing that I absolutely love about Paris is the small non-touristy streets with lots of plants, colors and charm. Rue des Thermopyles in the 14th, Villa Santos Dumont in the 15th, la Cité Florale in the 13th (rue des Iris, rue des Glycines), and the stunning rue Crémieux in the 13th where Notting Hill meets Paris – truly a feast for the eyes.

7. Is there a prettiest name for a hotel than Hôtel Amour? The courtyard in the back is a must-see, especially before winter and before the leaves fall and disappear from the trees, for a goûter or an apéritif with friends. A peaceful serene greenhouse-like ambiance away from the hustle and bustle.

8. While I mentioned this bakery several times already, it is always a stop for me when I am in town – Au Petit Versailles du Marais. And I decided to mention them again because they won 2nd place in the baguette tradition competition this year. First place next year? I hope! Even if you’re not hungry when you walk by it, the Belle Époque ceiling, the tiles and the mirrors will give you a stiff neck from looking around, up and down.

9. Even though I only had a kir there during their happy hour, I was fascinated by the space at Le Jules in the Carreau du Temple. Truly creative and impressed by the renovation they did of that space. Very spacious and modern, yet chic and warm with a voluminous design soothed by the wooded light framework. Bravo!

10. If you like the New York High Line, you will like the Paris Coulée Verte. They are still working on it as I am writing this so don’t expect the same length of green path through the city. However, the Petite Ceinture in another area of town also offers a walkable green promenade.

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