Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Barefoot in Paris: Croque Monsieur


I bet you know the Barefoot Contessa. I don't watch tv and I know the Barefoot Contessa. She is the sort of cook that seeks out the best ingredients, the best flavors, the best recipes, but also finds ways to solve the problems of recipes that take too much time or ask for odd ingredients. Her cookbooks are a joy to cook from. 

I found a copy of Barefoot in Paris for my Paris in July adventure this year, and I spent a lovely afternoon reading through the book and bookmarking recipes that look promising. 

And though my first choice to try was Lemon Chicken with Croutons, sadly I'm cooking during the pandemic, I am only doing grocery pickup every two weeks, and I don't have a nice roasting chicken right now. 

So instead I decided to try Croque Monsieur. 



I had an additional step, but it's one you certainly do not have to do. I made my own loaf of bread. The crust on this bread really added to the flavor of the Croque Monsieur.



Croque Monsieur



Ingredients


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.


Oh my goodness. The cheese.






For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Weekend Cooking was created by Beth Fish Reads and is now hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker). It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Authors I'd Urge You to Read Who Write About France

Goodreads says I have read 215 books set in France. Of all the authors I've read who write about France, these are the authors I'd urge you to read.



Irène Némirovsky. Stories that bring me to tears. Suite Française. Fire in the Blood.

Antoine Laurain. Slyly funny. The Red Notebook. The President's Hat. Vintage 1954. 

Émile Zola. Life in Paris among the poor. L'Assommoir.

Marcel Proust. 4,215 pages, if you read all seven volumes. À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).

Alexandre Dumas. Action. Adventure. "All for one, and one for all." The Three Musketeers.

Patrick Modiano. A modern writer and winner of the Nobel Prize. In the Café of Lost Youth.

M.F.K. Fisher. She writes about food. She writes fabulously about food. Serve It Forth.

Charles Perrault. Everyone needs to read these. Maybe you already have and didn't know it. French fairy tales. 

Victor Hugo. You must read Victor Hugo. You simply must. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Les Misérables. 

Ernest Hemingway. Yes, Hemingway can be a bit terse for some tastes. I like him though. Don't miss The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast.


Have you read any of these?
Are any of these favorites for you?
Any titles of these authors that you would recommend for me?




Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up: I Share a Little from My (Real) Trip to Paris This Year




Many of you are sad. You had planned a real trip to Paris this year, and your plans were canceled. 

I did go to Paris this year. For real. Last winter.

MY (REAL) TRIP TO PARIS IN 2020

My sister and I in Paris in January of 2020

My sister and I planned a trip to Paris. We planned this trip for the winter of 2020. We heard a little bit of talk about the coronavirus in January, but it did not sound worrisome. We left for Paris in late January. Our big plane to Paris only had 159 passengers. I had a whole row to myself. The row in front of me and behind me was empty, too. We never learned why. 


Do you see the children on their scooters in these pictures? 

We were gone for seventeen days. We met up with my sister's grandchildren and their parents in Paris. Every day we walked many miles. One day we walked 12 miles. The children rode on their scooters. 

    

I took a drawing book with me. Every day I wrote down a little about our day. I drew pictures. Sometimes I played Hangman with the children while we waited in the restaurants. The children drew in the book sometimes, too.


I brought one real book with me to Paris last winter. It was the perfect book for the trip. It is called Paris in Winter. I read it every morning with my coffee.

I'll share more about my trip to Paris next week.


BOOKS AND MOVIES THAT ARRIVED THIS WEEK


My Paris books and movies arrived for me from the library this week.


BOOKS I READ LAST WEEK DURING PARIS IN JULY


MOVIES I WATCHED LAST WEEK DURING PARIS IN JULY



I also shared a recipe from Dinner in French by Melissa Clark.

And I posted a list of New Books from France.



What went on in your part of the world?
How are things going for you?
I thank all of you who stop by and link up and share your thoughts.





I'm very happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. There are no requirements for linking up at Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Dinner in French: My Recipes By Way of France by Melissa Clark


"I can't really speak French, but I cook in French." That's Melissa Clark. It's the merging of French cuisine with the food she grew up eating in Brooklyn that Clark has mastered, and it's that merging that is the core of Clark's cookbook, Dinner in French.


Dinner in French shares recipes for soups, quiches, tarts, savory pies, fish and shellfish, salads, eggs, cheese, chicken and other meats, vegetables, and after-dinner treats. I was especially taken with the recipes for Jam-Filled Sables, Crispy Duck Legs with Satsumas, French Onion Soup with Grilled Gruyere Sandwiches, Truffled Mac and Cheese, and Meyer Lemon Tart with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel. I will make the Meyer Lemon Tart with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel. Soon.

But I decided to start by trying Clark's Roasted Pork Loin with Rosemary.




ROASTED PORK LOIN WITH ROSEMARY

5 garlic cloves, finely grated or very finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard, plus more for serving
1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 1/2-3 pound) boneless pork loin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Chopped fresh fennel fronds or parsley, for serving


1. In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the pork, cover, and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pat the pork dry and place it, fat-side down, in a large ovenproof skillet. Drizzle the roast with the oil. Roast for 25 minutes, then turn it over and roast until it reaches 135 degrees F on a meat thermometer, 15 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer the pork to a plate and tent it with foil.

3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and whisk in the sine, scraping up the browned bits. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute, then add any juices from the plate holding the roast. Whisk in the butter, a little at a time, until the sauce emulsifies; then simmer until it has thickened, 1 minute. Taste and add more salt if needed.

4. To serve, thinly slice the pork. Drizzle the slices with the sauce and top them with the fennel fronds or parsley. Serve with whole-grain mustard on the side. 




For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Weekend Cooking was created by Beth Fish Reads and is now hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker). It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New(ish) Books about France / New(ish) Books Set in France / New(ish) Books With any Connection to France







Cookbooks

Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local

In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy

A Parisian Bistro: Le Fontaine de Mars in 50 Recipes

Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Aperitifs, and Cafe Traditions of France, with Recipes by David Lebovitz



Novels

The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordan Taylor

The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans

The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

Paris on Repeat by Amy Bearce

The Paris Library: A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles

Waiting for Bojangles: A Novel by Olivier Bourdeaut

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay



Nonfiction

The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Paris in Stride: An Insider's Walking Guide

Paris on Air: A Memoir by Oliver Gee

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth in Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Buford




Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up: Off to Paris in July




I don't have much to say about my week. Life has been so bleak here in the US that I hope you will forgive me but I'm leaving to spend a month in Paris and I'm heading out early. Today, in fact.






What do I plan to do during my month (plus possibly a few extra weeks) in Paris?


LEARN FRENCH
I broke down and bought a lifetime subscription to all languages (24 to choose from) at Rosetta Stone this week, and I've been working on my French. I'm also listening to Learn French with Paul Noble (on Hoopla). I've enjoyed using both Rosetta Stone and Learn French with Paul Noble in the past.


COOK FRENCH
I have several French cookbooks here, and I'm already working on a pork loin from one of them for dinner tonight.



DRAW FRENCH
I've been drawing every day for a month or so. I plan to put a French spin on my drawings.


WATCH FRENCH MOVIES
I hope to check out some French movies from my library. I have access to Kanopy through my library also, and there are at least three classic French movies on Kanopy that I have never seen.

LISTEN TO FRENCH MUSIC
Ah, French music. Perfect for daily yoga, I think. 


PUT TOGETHER A FRENCH JIGSAW PUZZLE
Jigsaw puzzles have been a comfort during my homestay of late. How about a French jigsaw puzzle


GOING THROUGH MY PHOTOS FROM MY TRIP TO PARIS LAST WINTER
Looking through Paris photos is wonderfully uplifting. Visiting Paris last winter was a happy time. Before all of this.


READ FRENCH
My favorite part of Paris in July is always reading books set in France. What books have I requested? Nonfiction, including The Whole Fromage; The Age of Comfort; Bonjour, Happiness; The Seven Ages of Paris; Vanished Smile. Children's books, including Zarafa, the Giraffe Who Walked to the King; Paris-Chien; King Louie's Shoes; A Dash of Magic. A graphic novel called Pablo. Cookbooks, including Barefoot in Paris. Adult fiction including French Pastry Murder; French Exit; The Chocolate Touch. 


Come along with me, if you'd like. 
I'm not terribly sure I'm ever coming back home.
It's lovely here in Paris.

What have you been doing this week?



I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. There are no requirements for linking up at Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:
  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.