My dear virtual friend and blogger extraordinaire Celia started the series In My Kitchen years ago, and I try to participate as often as possible, because it’s so much fun! Due to the increasing popularity of the event, participants now have to publish their posts before the 10th day of each month, so I hope I can still squeeze this post in her April’s round-up…
In our kitchen…
From my friend Cindy, who evidently knows me very well, a collection of gifts in one of my favorite colors, shocking red! Aren’t these containers super cool? And how about the baking paper cups?
If that was not red enough, Cindy also gave me a bag of French-style flour, with a bright red label on it! I am going to use it in some very special bread, still trying to choose the perfect recipe to showcase my gift!
From Phil, a surprise gift he managed to sneak in the luggage while we were in Paris. A cookbook from Christian Constant, the chef behind several great restaurants in the 7th arrondisement of Paris, including Les Cocottes de Constant, literally three steps from our hotel. He gave me the book after we arrived home, it was nice to have a souvenir from our short week in the City of Lights. I might as well include a couple of photos of our dinner at Les Cocottes.
We both ordered the “cocotte du jour“, which happened to be a chicken with potatoes. Delicious! But the best was probably the dessert we shared, “La Fabuleuse Tarte au Chocolat de Constant“. Outstanding. We learned from the waiter that one of Constant’s cookbooks for sale at the restaurant (and that I would later receive as a gift) has a recipe for tarte au chocolat, but guess what? The recipe in the book is NOT the same used for “La Fabuleuse” we enjoyed that evening. Constant tweaked that recipe up. Oh, well… better know the truth than be disappointed. Non? :-)
In our kitchen….
A gift from last Christmas that somehow escaped my previous IMK post.
This is a container to hold the waste from espresso machines. It works very well, you just bang the espresso thingie holder against the central bar, and the used coffee drops in the container. Plus, the fact that it is black makes it look less messy. Before having it, we accumulated our coffee waste in an empty yogurt plastic tub until we had enough to dispose in the compost pile. Let’s say it was not a beautiful sight. ;-) If you are interested, amazon.com carries it. Ours was a gift from one of Phil’s sons.
In our kitchen..
A few things we brought from Paris…
(click to enlarge)
Macarons… I fell hopelessly in love with the caramel fleur de sel… oh, my… but we brought a small assortment of flavors like coffee, chocolate, blackberries, pistachios, raspberries… I am now obsessed with making macarons at home. Seems like a very brave project to attempt. Not sure I am up to the challenge, especially after reading a recent post from Joanne, in which she mentions that her first batch didn’t meet the expectations. She is an amazing baker, so… doing my own personal math, I am not optimistic (sigh).
Terrine of duck with green peppercorns… no, not foie gras, we went a little more wallet-friendly. This is waiting for a good opportunity to come out and play, possibly in a future dinner party.
A bag of chestnut flour, bought near our hotel in France, following the suggestion of Farine, the Bread Baking Queen of All Queens… As a sneak preview to my readers, my first adventure with this unique flour. Stay tuned for a full blog about it.
Free advice: when you place the proofed loaves in the oven, avoid turning the empty banneton over your countertop. It can get a little messy, and you might need some help cleaning it up… ;-)
Some paper napkins from Paris with a drawing of our beloved Eiffel Tower… a bit cheesy, maybe, but I love it! Look at all those red dots, I could not leave them behind…
In our kitchen….
No, I am not completely crazy and obsessed with plastic wraps, but this is it. No more. This dispenser is so cool that I probably wasted a couple of meters just rolling out, cutting and aahhing and ooohing… Awesome. If you want to order it, click here. Best gadget ever. Ever. I am naming it Neo. You know, The One.
Because life is not only about food, allow me to share two passions of mine…
and bar soaps…
Love them. Cannot resist trying – daring? ;-) – a new color of nail polish, or bringing a new bar soap home. Every time we go to Brazil I get some of my favorites, nothing fancy, stuff that you can buy at the grocery store. But, they have so many fragrances available: passion fruit, mint, lemon, honey, orchid, jasmine… In the US, I often get scented soaps at stores like Ross.
Back to nail polish for a second, a tip for the ladies who do their own manicure: get a product called “Seche Vite“. I like to do my nails mid-week very early in the morning, right before leaving to work. Plus, once in the lab I often have to put gloves on, so Seche Vite is a life saver. The nail polish dries in 5 minutes tops. If you cannot find it in a beauty store in your town, amazon.com is your best friend. ;-)
As usual, I close this post with messages from our pets. They are always anxious to share some of what is happening in their lives…
Chief was a bit unsure about cleaning the mess Mom made in the kitchen while preparing her chestnut sourdough bread… his short-term memory is a bit shot, but he still remembers the scalding he and his late brother got in the past….
Oscar won’t have anything to do with flour, he rather steal kisses from his Mom. She better move fast, or else a dog French kiss will be on its way!
Oscar and Buck react to some of their favorite words in the English language…
Buck’s ear goes as high as it can possibly go before he goes crazy running in circles…
ONE YEAR AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach
TWO YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress
THREE YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade
FOUR YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis (and my Dad)