Archive for May, 2010

Some Spring Menu Highlights

May 30, 2010

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Kitchen Basics

May 29, 2010

I’m not a big fan of gadgets, you give me a piece of tinfoil and a bic lighter and I can cook you up something. Having said that, there are some tools that do improve your cooking and make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. I’m guessing that somewhere in your kitchen there is a whole drawer of egg yolk separators, laser thermometers, mayonnaise cutters, steam buckets and left-handed ladles. I purged our junk drawer  and came up with this list of the essentials.

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Francesco’s sugo al pomodoro

May 14, 2010

We poured flour onto the wooden counter and formed a well in the center. We cracked three eggs into the middle of the well and scrambled the eggs with a fork. We then kneaded the flour and eggs for 10 minutes into a smooth dough, and wrapped the ball of dough in plastic wrap to rest for 30 minutes. It occurred to me that this was the perfect time to ask Francesco, a true Italian, why Italian’s refer to this pasta making process as “like making love to a woman”? He looked at me, somewhat surprised, and said in his deep Italian accented English “well, I think it’s obvious.”

Francesco’s Italian eatery, Olio Pane Vino, has been open for a few years now. In the dozens of times we have eaten there, the daily chalkboard menu has listed the same pasta dish only three or four times. “Did you learn to cook from your grandmother?” I asked him once. “No, I left my home in Sicily when I was very young”, he recalled. “I was broke and had to learn to cook whatever I could afford, whatever I could find.” Now Francesco spends his time finding and importing to France great Italian products. Recently I had an Amatriciana type sauce made with a spicy sausage from Sicily. “The guy makes it in Sicily then drives around Italy in his tiny van selling it.” “I convinced him to come to Paris so I could buy some.” The sauce was delicious, smokey and spicy with hints of paprika.

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I 2nd that emotion.*

May 9, 2010

*This is part of a series where we highlight a full day of eating and activities in each arrondissement of Paris. Also check out our picks from the 1st and 3rd.

The 2nd is the Bermuda trapazoid of Paris. For being so close to the center, it’s an amazingly difficult place to locate. Most maps of Paris bleed this crooked rectangle into the 1st and 9th. GPS navigators seem to spin out of control once you cross Petits Champs. Other than the well explored Montorgueil, unless you have a J-O-B here in Paris, chances are you have missed a lot in the 2nd.

Of all the people we have met in Paris, only our friends Christine and Dan actually live in the 2nd. Dan spends his day merging and acquiring companies at his office in the 8th, while Christine left her job in Manhattan with a restaurant PR firm to pursue a career in child education services. Today she took time off from dealing with the whims of screaming children and the concerns of parents to show me the best people watching, passages and good eats of her hood.

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Menu: May 9th 2010

May 9, 2010

Amuse

Spring Vegetable Stuffed Butter Cracker w
Fava Bean Hummus & Poached Quail Egg

Semolina Linguini w
Radish Leaf Pesto, Roasted Asparagus
& Ricotta Salata

Sauteed Salmon w Fingerling Potatoes,
Pickled White Asparagus and
Hibiscus Bay Leaf Sauce

Palate Cleanser

Chicken Liver Ravioli w
Braised Artichokes, Preserved Lemon Coulis
& Spring Onion Salad

Grilled Flank Steak w
Skillet Polenta, Caramelized Onion Puree,
Sweet Peas and Daikon Cress

Cannelloni Beans w
Spring Herbs, White Balsamic, Roasted Shallot
Vinaigrette and Dehydrated Beets

Strawberry Shiso Sorbet w
Puff Pastry, Shiso Cream & Rhubarb Sauce

Coffee & Doughnuts