Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week and A walk along the Marne

Hello! Happy Monday. Yesterday proved to be the announcer of a week of Indian summer* here in Paris. The days are balmy (even hot this afternoon) and the sun has returned from its two weeks of hiding. I am starting to forget what season it is completely.

When we headed to the marché yesterday, my menu for the week had been constructed as the first of the year to truly start to embrace autumn. But when we got to our spot in line at our favorite stand, I spied an avalanche of eggplants, yellow peppers, zucchinis. “Summer isn’t over.” I said to R.

Not wanting to miss out on any chance to enjoy the end of the season’s bounty, I quickly reworked my whole plan while waiting for my turn. It was a busy hive behind the tables – the workers running back and forth grabbing green beans, holding up slices of squash “This size?”, reaching for sweet ‘fontaine’ onions – but one of the regulars caught my eye. “I have them!” she called to me, but I had forgotten. “The tomatoes!” she responded to my puzzled look. I had asked for them to bring me truly green tomatoes at the last market. One more meal was quickly scribbled and rewritten on my list.

potimarron (red kuri) squash

– eggs

– tamaris tomatoes

– yellow peppers

– onions

– green tamaris tomatoes

– shelling beans

– a Swiss hard cheese, cooked in wood smoke (we forgot the name!)

– eggplants

– romaine lettuces

– chervil

– leek

– celery

– samba potatoes

– ‘master’ bread

On the Menu:

Gnocchi & Roasted Tomato Sauce – Herb & Milk Poached Chicken with Roast Pumpkin – Chervil & Smoky Cheese Soufflés and Salad

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We just couldn’t stay inside with our original plans of shopping in Chinatown when we realized how very beautiful the day would be yesterday. So we ditched those plans, grabbed some bikes, and cycled out of the city to discover the paths along the Marne River. I was so excited when I found a tree that had burst into color. Exactly what I was craving that weekend but didn’t think I’d see. Here’s a little bit of what we discovered. (If only I could take pictures and peddle at the same time!)

~

And just because I love him:

xo,

A.

* The French call North American’s vibrant showing of autumnal color “Indian Summer” which I always thought was funny because, for us, an Indian summer is a period of unusual warmth in the autumn or early winter and has nothing to do with foliage. One day I got into a conversation with some French friends and a German friend about the term and, when we looked it up, we discovered its meaning hasn’t always been clear. So I’d love to know, what is Indian summer to you?

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Life

Some Loving for One Year with The Bug

On Tuesday we celebrated Albert’s fifth birthday. One year ago that day we adopted him from a shelter in the north of Paris. Of course, we don’t know his real birthday but he was estimated to be 4 years old when we adopted him and that day seemed like a perfect spot to create a day for celebration: the Bug’s birthday. We’ve learned a lot, all of us, over this past year and I cracked up when I found these first quick pictures we took of him the day after we brought him home when we didn’t even really know him yet. We sent these pictures to our family, so, of course you understand the need for them to have been clearly labeled. Ha!

Those first days of getting to know each other were a little tricky. When we first met him at the shelter we weren’t even allowed to hold him. We could pet him but that was it. The whole decision and paperwork was done and we were in the car in less then 15 minutes. What we didn’t know yet was that his lethargic attitude was just a cover for being unhappy in his little shelter cage. The first few days heard us remarking that he was, in R.’s words “More like the envelope of a cat.”  because he was so passive and we wondered if he was the right match for us. But his true colors started to peek through not long after when he started feeling comfortable in his new home, stealing tissues, and doing acrobatic air flips to catch balls of paper tossed into the air for him. I can see in the contrast with his personality now, how unhappy he was in the beginning.

We don’t know much about his first four years except that he started in a shelter in the south of France and somehow was transfered north. He lived in shelters for at least one year. It kind of breaks my heart to think of that, and of all the other animals that live through situations with no love.

This year has taught us that Albert loves his people, he wants to be with you. It saw his first outing with us (in that picture up there on the left) which clearly was not his first brush with the great outdoors because he knew just what to do: hunker down and nosh grass. It taught us about his unending love of boxes, that he has no fear of darting into the neighbors’ apartments to check things out for himself, and that we never have to worry about him stealing from the table. It has taught us other, difficult things too, perhaps relics from his past. But it is amazing to me to see how he has changed in these 12 months. He is more and more at ease and we are just starting to be able to rub his belly gently, even if only for a few seconds, now after a whole year.

So on his birthday he got his dinner, formed into a little cake, with 5 anchovies on top to celebrate. One year of getting to know each other and making him see that he is loved. He is a happy Bug. Here is to many more of those years.

If you’ll excuse me, someone needs their ball of brown paper tossed. Happy Weekend!

xo,

A. & A.

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Life

It’s too hot to work

But we did anyway. The end of last week and the weekend and the beginning of the week were the kind of days where you sweat sitting still and you keep the windows shut tight for fear of letting in waves of heat. The weekend was particularly bad. So, of course, we started a major home improvement project in the middle of last week. (Of course.)
Last year the apartment above us had an unnoticed flood (the owner doesn’t live in the apartment so it went unnoticed) which filtered down the walls and made our bathroom and living room walls lose big chunks of paint and plaster to reveal black mold polka dots underneath. It was lovely. When we called the agency that takes care of renting the apartment to us for the owner, they said call your insurance company and send us the bill. The insurance company said, “Do you want to do it yourselves? Here’s 600 euros”. We said, “Ok.”
Romain started by scraping the loose paint Wednesday and I spent all of Thursday and Friday spackling and sanding the walls and the ceiling to get it back to a flat surface. On Thursday, I thought I hated spackling the ceiling the most out of any activity in the world. Friday, I knew it was actually sanding the ceiling I hated most.
The point is after a final long day of finishing the work and cleaning up, we have a clean white bathroom. It is suddenly a spa and it may have been the delirium but at one point, I seriously thought there must have been a window added to the room (it is windowless). That’s how much brighter it is.
So that up there is just a glimpse. It hard to photograph since it is small and has no natural light but with a few finishing touches, I might just share the finished product. It has only taken me four years to get it close to how I’d like it to be!
This lovely piece is one of the finishing touches. I found a blurry photo of it on the French version of craigslist and saw the price 10€ and nearly hunted the seller down. I wasn’t sure what we would really find but it is so much lovelier than I could have hoped for the price!
Look at the detail! I kept peeking at it on the metro ride home. And Romain, who “didn’t really like it” from the photo was pleasantly surprised, “It looks steampunk!” Whatever you want, darlin’. I just have to wire it up and hang it (from the cement ceiling, ugh.). But I’m taking the finishing projects a little slower to recover from the heat and DIY marathon last weekend.
Some of us are taking the recovery process more seriously than others.
xo,
A.
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