Food & Recipes, Life

The Day the Tomatoes Came Back

The First Tomatoes | egg & dart blog

The First Tomatoes | egg & dart blog

I’ve been planning during the quiet of naptime and dreaming in between. But today I am going against the rationalist that says I should have more prepared before I jump in this lake, that I should know where I’m headed. The little one has already woken from his nap and is telling himself stories in his crib. The minutes have ticked by and it’s getting so close to the end of the day. But I’m jumping in this lake. I’m throwing caution to the wind. Because today is the day that I walked into the marché and couldn’t help grinning at everyone. Today was that day, like at the turn of every season, that the newness on the farmer’s table makes my mind bubble with things I want to make, to taste! Today is the day the tomatoes came back.

(Just like the feeling of seeing that table brimming with the first signs of the new season, I am so excited to hit ‘publish’! I’ll be back soon with a little bit about what I’ve been up to.)

xo,

A.

Standard
Food & Recipes, Life

Marché Photo for a New Year

Marché Photo | egg & dart

Hello! Two thousand and thirteen is gradually making itself at home in our little corner of Paris and I feel the same mix of excitement for the fresh start and bafflement that it could cruise along to almost mid-January already that I’m sure everyone is feeling. So many ideas and thoughts are spinning around and I’m hoping to be able to grab onto as many as I can and love every minute of this year. The end of twenty twelve throw me for a loop with two big jobs that I pushed everything else aside to focus on. It carried through the holidays and left me feeling frustrated to not be able to really soak up the season but I wrapped up that chapter last week and now I can come back to this space and work on a better plan to keep my momentum through both busy and slow. I’ve missed it here!

So where better to start than the marché? This past weekend was our second trip there of the new year and almost all the stands are back in their reserved spots, a full landscape after the previous weeks’ patchy scene of empty spaces where sellers were on vacation. The new year is fully here.

We’ve been a bit obsessed with Brussels sprouts and they have been popping up in almost all of our weekend warm salads for lunches. At the marché, they often top up the brown paper bag of sprouts with a bit more than you asked for. “C’est trop?” Too much? they ask. “Non.” we say, Anyway, it won’t go to waste! Things really aren’t that different in the winter than they are in the summer, it turns out.

– Arianne apples

– salmon

– potimarron / red kuri squash

– orange, yellow, and purple carrots

– a little lemon

– radicchio

– celery

– pears

– leeks

– endives

-Brussels sprouts

– green cabbage

– parsely

– arugula

– thyme

– sage

– potatoes

– farmhouse bread

Which will be used for:

Cabbage & Vegetable Soup with Parmesan toasts – Salmon with Soba Noodles and Mirin Dressing – Potimarron, Pancetta, and Sage Risotto

~

Winter in Belgium | egg & dart

Winter in Belgium | egg & dart

And just a couple little glimpses of Belgium in the winter. We did manage to escape Paris for a short holiday with family in Belgium. I had to bring my work with me but one short walk through the garden was, of course, an obligation. My Maine heart can never get over the vivid green of winter in the middle of Europe!

xo,

A.

Standard
Food & Recipes, Life, Paris, Visiting France

Wednesday Market

This week I wanted to share just a couple glimpses of what a trip to the marché can look like. I have an appointment Wednesday mornings that takes me right past this one and I’m lucky to have a couple minutes to grab some mid-week provisions. Dive in!

The vendors at my produce stand were all encouraging me to come early, early on a Saturday when “the boss stacks everything to the sky!”. I’ll have to do a proper shoot for that. But for now, I want to wish everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving the warmest of holidays tomorrow! Much love and lots of family and friends for everyone. And thank you for reading, it truly makes me feel over the moon when I hear you’re enjoying what I share. Happy Thanksgiving!

xo,

A.

Standard
Food & Recipes, Life

Marché Photo of the Week

 

Between colds and travel and rain it feels like ages since I got to the marché on Sunday! Sometimes I can do a quick trip to another on Wednesdays on my way back from a morning appointment but it’s definitely not the same and I miss the atmosphere of our favorite Sunday spot. This week I headed out on my own as R. had some work to do and look the long way home (I spy egg & dart on that column!) with full bags of fresh goods on my back because the sun was glorious. Here’s what I came back with:

pancetta

coppa

(tart, crisp, pineapple-y) apples (!)

potimarron

pears

rustic bread

boule d’or turnips

tallegio cheese

shallots

fresh sage

fennel

parsley

leek

celery

eggplant

garlic

endives

baby salad

And here’s where some of those wonders will go:

Coppa, Apple, and Cheddar Tartines* – Autumn Panzanella – Turnip and Pancetta Ravioli with Crispy Sage –  Chard, Pear, & Gruyère Tart

~

I always use the lazy weekend mornings to plan the week’s menu; I’m not good at planning on the fly every day of the week or running through the grocery store with no list. Besides not having to worry about it each evening, I love looking forward to the meal planned for the end of the day when we slow down (in theory) and find each other again at the dinner table. What are your plans for the week? I’d love to ‘peek’ in at your week’s menu!

xo,

A.

Standard
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

~

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?

Standard
Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

It was a busy weekend around these parts! Full of housework, errands, friends, deadly French desserts, and suburb exploring. We rolled out of bed Sunday with just barely enough time to make it to the marché, and in truth we probably could have gone without because I’m still trying to clean out the fridge and freezer but I just enjoy going so much. So this week’s caddy wasn’t very full. Here’s what I came home with:

– radishes

– cress

– heirloom tomatoes (called ‘rustic’ but I clearly wasn’t awake yet and asked for ‘old’ tomatoes which no one understood)

– rosemary

– sweet little apples

– campari tomatoes

– baguette

– beautiful stripped eggplants

-a demi polka bread

And here is where some of these things will go:

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Soup with Grilled Bacon and Cheese Sandwiches – Taco Bar – Savory Little Tarts & Cress Salad

~

And check out this fun character in front of our favorite bread stand (that’s the baker in the background with the white sleeves). He was very good and everyone was having a great time listening to him play all the classics (read: La Vie en Rose and Amelie). Maybe he’ll show up again some weekend!

So, what’s on your menu for this week? I’d love to know!

xo,

A.

Standard
Food & Recipes, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

It’s finally fully taken hold and Fall in the marchés. The stalls are filling up with squash and apples and the last tomatoes. I was excited to find one of my farmers with a whole pile of butternut squash (a rarity, still haven’t found acorn squash that wasn’t being sold as decoration from a florist shop.) and spotted a few green tomatoes which I had a hard time getting them to put in my bag. I love green tomatoes, especially for this, but I don’t think the French have figured out what to do with green tomatoes yet because they can’t seem to believe I’d want them! In the end, I could only get some that were partially green. Maybe next week! So here’s what we picked up and which is adding some Autumn to our menu this week:

-land cress

– basil

-red onions

– sweet red peppers

– butternut squash!

– bleu d’Auvergne (a mild bleu recommended for those, like me, who didn’t like blue cheese)

– cucumber

– green-ish heirloom tomatoes

– Reinette apples

– sage

– campari tomatoes

– eggplants

– sorrel

-purslane

– ‘master’ bread

And here are a few meals those goodies will go into:

Cress salad with Turkey Breast, Roasted plums, and Bleu – Macaroni & Cheese with Butternut Squash and Sage – Lemon  Eggplant Soup

I’ll also be using some things to stock up on summer flavor for the winter, like the basil to make pesto to freeze.

~

Last weekend was very busy and included a wonderful visit with a high school friend of mine and one of the famous boat rides up the Seine to see Paris by night. I may not be in love with Paris, but seeing it from this unusual perspective, I can see how I could love it. Time will tell!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new favorite recipe for cooler weekend mornings!

xo,

A.

Standard
Art, Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

Everyone was so happy at the marché this weekend! One of those visits when you think “This is why I love coming to this marché.” You see, we don’t go to the easiest market to get to. There is one just a block up the boulevard and another just past the grocery store that both stretch on for ages. And they are fine but we once went to the marché just on the other side of the périphérique, the boundary between Paris and suburb which, after all, is very close to your apartment, and it hooked us. There we found our vegetable guy who is the farmer himself. There is my herb lady who always has the best herbs and micro and baby greens and the other farmer who has the heirloom varieties and the different colors of carrots, radishes, and tomatoes. The Italian stand with the pancetta with bits of peppercorn throughout and the baker and family with the best bread we have found in the whole city. Now we go every weekend we can and always come home saying how strange it is to go 10 minutes and be in what feels like a smaller village, not Paris. Here’s what we got this week:

– Cresson de Terre (Perhaps American or Land Cress in English? Anyone know?)

– Unpasteurized Buffalo Mozzerella

– Beets

– Celery

– Little Yellow Onions

– Cucumber

– Zucchini

– Eggplant

– Campari Tomatoes

– Sage

– Red and Green Sweet Peppers

– ‘Master’ Bread

– Thyme

– Felino Sausage

– Mint

And here are some of the dishes all that will go into:

Eggplant & Tomato Tartines with Mozzarella – Lieu sur Lit de Cresson – Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Manchago & Herbed Croutons

~

The weekend was as beautiful as the weather people predicted and we tried to take advantage of Paris Design Week and Les Journées du Patrimoine as much as we could. I loved these colorful ladies we found on a back wall near Arts et Métiers.

How was your weekend? And what is on your menu this week?

xo,

A.

Standard
Food & Recipes, Life

Marché Photo of the Week

Summer’s marchés are hard to resist. Of course, fall and winter, and even spring offer favorite fruits, vegetables, and even cheese that we covet when they arrive, but summer is seductive for it’s sheer variety of goodies. And that’s why I tend to get ahead of myself. I routinely buy more than we need and often more than I can use in the week. The possibilities and low prices are hard to resist. So it happens that some weekends I haven’t really bought much of anything at the marché because I’m trying to catch up with the goodness still in my fridge. It’s happened one or two times that we arrive at the marché Sunday morning and I realize my list may have been a bit to small to warrant the trip but it’ s a weekend ritual we must carry out none the less.

This week I am back to a sort of equilibrium. The fridge is looking emptier and the freezer too since I’m pushing to make space there that I just want to fill again with summer produce preserved for winter. So, what I’m trying to say, is that I finally have a marché picture to share after several weeks without one. Here’s what we came home with for the week:

– radishes

– 2 pounds of tomatoes to eat every time we walk past the bowl on the counter (addictive) and 4.5 lbs (not pictured) to roast and freeze because they were being sold for 50 cents a pound and how can I walk away from that?

– yellow and purple carrots

– demi polka loaf

– green kohlrabi

– eggplant

– cucumber

– red sweet peppers

– potatoes

– “fontaine” onion

– zucchini

– dill

– parsley

And here are some dishes they will go into:

Stir fried Vegetables with Mediterranean Flavors and Sesame Quinoa Pilaf (from) – Summer Quesadillas – Insalata de Pomodori, Finocchi, e Seppie – Pizza – Roasted Vegetable Tart with Chevre and Herb Salad (coming soon)

~

Also this past weekend, we had an adventure picking up two klismos chairs from a lady selling them on the other side of Paris (one hour away on public transport, 10 minutes if we had a car. ugh.).

https://i0.wp.com/distilleryimage11.s3.amazonaws.com/0e84b804f9ce11e1aee522000a1e8a5f_7.jpg

Here is the picture I posted on instagram while we were waiting for the tram. I can’t wait to strip the chairs and redo them completely! I’ll share when they are done. They came as a pair for a great price but for the moment I only need one at my desk and I love it already. If you want to see other little bits like this, find me over on twitter or on instagram (abigaillabranche).

One other quick note: I had a request on the Facebook page for a little tomato roasting guidance so I’ve edited last Friday’s post with some tips for roasting and freezing them. Check it out.

So, how was your weekend? Any great finds?

xo,

A.

Standard