French Potager - egg & dart blog
Life, outside

The Edge of a New Season -Yvonne’s Garden

French Potager - egg & dart blog

The seasons are turning. But I guess I should start with Hello! How have you been? It always feels overwhelming how much there is to catch up on but let’s say that here we have been busy loving a bright baby boy turned toddler, spending time with loved ones and friends, and just generally working at the great balancing act of life. Ya know?

French Potager - egg & dart blog

But the seasons are turning now, outside and at home. My little love has started his first year of preschool. He is a bit past 2 1/2 years old and that feels oh so very young to me but now, in the third (fourth? I’m forgetting already!) week I am finally picking up a smiling boy at lunchtime instead of a devastated one. It feels both amazing (chunks of free time to get things done!) and heart-wrenching (my baby-who-will-always-be-my-baby, isn’t a baby anymore).

French Potager - egg & dart blog

But these new free mornings! Oh do I have big plans.  I am nothing if not overambitious with my to-do lists. And I can’t wait to share more on those plans very soon. First, though, I wanted to share my dusk walk through my mother-in-law’s garden, one of the first of many more moments to come I hope of re-tending that creative spark.

French Potager - egg & dart blog

Motherhood brings so many things into sharp focus (and others are thrown out of field), perhaps none of these being more evident to me now than my absolute need for the natural world. To see it, to study it, to be near it, to be inspired by it. I need nothing more than 5 minutes and my camera in the garden to let my mind go and my creative instinct out. So here’s to more inspiration, and passions, and adventures coming up! Enjoy a little peek into the potager.

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

20160926egg_dart_yvonnes_garden03

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

French Potager - egg & dart blog

xo,

A.

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Friday Postcard

Friday Postcard

Radishes | egg & dart blog

It’s a sunny, warm Friday here and another week has melted into a long holiday weekend here in France (three in the month of May!). I’m feeling buoyed by a clear head and small victories (and the pieces of sweet strawberries Élie is feeding me) after a number of false starts yesterday. Choosing joy today! And so I’m looking forward to trying out a simple pickled radish recipe with these radishes this weekend, as you may have seen on instagram already. I anticipate pickled radishes on everything for a while!

So I’m wishing you a good Friday and a lovely weekend. What will you be up to?

xo,

A.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Food & Recipes

Bursts of Living and a Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Tart with Herb Salad

I crave interesting flavor. I think I always have because I was the kid that didn’t buy lunch at school and came with a bag packed with such exotic things as tabbouleh and who loved lobster before she could walk. (Actually, that last one may be because I am a Mainer, but still.) There are days when I just need something that is complex but not fussy, something that you taste and know that you are alive. Those little bursts of flavor, of living.

Herbs do that for me. Amazing little leaves with such a wide variety of character. And I use them everywhere I can. In the herbed gnudi with parsley, dill, and chives below, in pureed soups of chervil, or tarragon, basil, and mint mixed into a quinoa, tomato, and feta salad. Mixing them in unexpected combinations makes the possibilities endless and I find that leafy herbs play nicely together and woody herbs, likewise, play nicely together. Of course, you wan always taste them before adding.

One of my go-to recipes for summer is a wonderful tart of tomatoes and goat cheese in a flaky pastry. It’s always refreshing and never disappoints. When the weather went into an end of summer hot streak, I pulled the fresh summer vegetables we had from the fridge and roasted them simply. I knew they’d be a perfect variation on that summer favorite. But I wanted it to stand out even more and served it with a lightly dressed salad of fresh herbs on top. It was perfect. Everyone can help themselves to how ever much of the salad they like, if they are adventurous and want a lot like me, or if they want a little less like R. This is exuberant summer in a tart.

Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Tart with Herb Salad

Serves 6

For the Pastry:

1 1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary or chives

8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into smaller pieces

4-5 tbsp. ice water

  1. Place the butter, flour, salt, and minced herb in a bowl and cut the ingredients together with a pastry cutter or with the tips of your fingers. Work until just combined and add the ice water one tbsp at a time, mixing gently with a fork, until the mixture comes together and doesn’t crumble when you pinch a piece together between thumb and index finger. Gather gently into a ball and flatten into a disk. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

For the Filling:

1 small eggplant, washed and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices

1 small zucchini, washed and sliced into 14/” thick slices

1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded, and sliced into 6 pieces lengthwise

2 small heirloom tomatoes, washed and sliced in half lengthwise

3 tbsp. olive oil

200 g / 7 oz. fresh soft goat cheese

 sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Place the vegetables , tomatoes cut side up, on a roasting pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, using more if necessary but don’t drench the eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven until them are golden and soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Turn the oven heat down to 375°F/190°C. Remove pastry from the fridge and set onto a well floured work surface. With a rolling pin, roll pastry into a circle about 1/4″ thick. Gently fold the dough in half and lay over half of a 9″ removable bottom tart pan. Unfold the dough to cover the pan, fit the dough down into the pan, and trim off any excess around the edges. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese into the tart crust, making sure to distribute it evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake the tart shell in the oven until golden, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  5. Arrange the roasted vegetables over the top of the tart shell.

For the Herb Salad:

1 1/2 c. mixed fresh herbs, such as chervil, dill, and chives, washed

1 tbsp. olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Prepare the herbs but chopping to large pieces, the size of baby lettuce leaves. Place them in a bowl and lightly dress with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, tossing gently with you fingertips to coat the herbs.
  2. Pile the salad in the center of the roasted vegetable tart and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

xo,

A.

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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://i1.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.

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