French Up Your Weekend: March 14, 2014

Bonjour, mes amis!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on ways to “French Up Your Life,” but I’ve accumulated a few tidbits to share. Here goes!

1. Again with the Braiser!

It’s not quite spring, so in my mind, it’s not yet time to put away my braiser. Still, the whiff of warmth in the air makes me crave something a little brighter out of the braising pot.

Ca tombe bien! What great timing. My recipe for  Jeweler’s Chicken (Poulet Bijoutière) was recently posted (with this great photo) by Sam Hoffer at My Carolina Kitchen. Sam shares great recipes from all over, but fracophiles will especially love her photos, recipes, and musings from the South of France.

Here’s the recipe—another great option for your braiser (though you can use another pot if you wish). PS: This one is not in my Braiser Cookbook—consider it a bonus recipe.

2. Read “The Paris Wife,” by Paula McClain

Yes. I’m a little late to this party.

I put off reading this  fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage; I didn’t think I’d like it. After all, why read fiction when there’s biography aplenty—A Moveable Feast is as good as it gets. And if I want to read about the anomie of the lost generation as they drink their way through the fiesta in Pamplona, The Sun Also Rises can’t be beat.

And yet, the book is engrossing and addicting and infinitely smarter than I would have imagined. What comes through is the local/historical color you love when reading books about Paris in the 20s. (The author is also a poet, so the descriptions are precise and evocative. Go figure).

And then there’s the pull of the personal. You get a sense Hadley’s fish-out-of-water status (and pain): There she was, in the midst of 1920s Paris, where anything as ordinary as loving your own husband and child just didn’t fit into the Jazz Age ethos.

Frankly, I love it when everyday love is the hero of a story.

Did you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought. Post below or on my facebook page. I’m truly curious what others thought!

3. Season Your Salad like a French Chef

I’ve had the great luck to collaborate with David Baruthio, a chef from Alsace who now has three restaurants in Amerique

Chicken-Comté Salad. Even better now that I’ve learned to season it like a pro.

Profonde. I’m in the midst of writing a story for highlighting a few of the things I’ve gleaned from him, but here’s a preview:

Rather than adding the majority of a salad’s salt to your dressing (as I always did), go sparingly in the dressing. Then, add salt to taste as you toss the salad with the dressing. “Ca chatouille,” he says. Indeed, it tickles the taste buds a bit, adding a little texture to the leaves and heightening the flavor of everything, as only well-placed salt can do.

Look for the full article on I’ll post a link as soon as its published.

4. Season Your Salad like It’s Spring

In-season tomatoes and cucumbers may be a long way off, but blood oranges, mangos, clementines, and other goodies are in season right now. They’re the makings of some marvelous salads in my kitchen, as I demonstrate in this video, as seen on KCWI-23 “Great Day.” I host a food segment every Friday morning for this local morning show.

5. Make “Cafe Gourmand” (Cheater’s Version)

If you’ve been to France in the past couple of years, you know that the “it” dessert is Café Gourmand. This platter of mini-desserts veers of the long-established French path of having coffee after dessert. Instead, the idea is to have coffee with dessert—or, I should say, desserts. The little espresso comes surrounded by some lovely mini desserts that are just too cute.

The “It” Dessert in France: Café Gourmand. An espresso, surrounded by mini-desserts of all kinds. I’d seen this here and there over the years, but this year, it was everywhere. No complaints there!

Fortunately, it doesn’t mean you have to make five separate desserts (who has time?) Instead, “make some/buy some.” And don’t feel inauthentic for doing so…..after all, if you’ve ever been to a French grocery store, you’ll have an idea of just how many ready-mades French cooks use, too.

Here’s my article on Food Riot that shows you how to bring one of these great desserts to your table….without a lot of fuss.

Cheers! As always, I’d love it if you’d follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter…because I love hearing from everyone. À bientôt.


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6 comments to French Up Your Weekend: March 14, 2014

  • I adored The Paris Wife. In fact, I liked it so much that I just bought a copy this week at our library book sale so I could share it with someone.

    • Wini

      Thanks, Deanna. I just loved the book. As I mentioned elsewhere, I thought it was going to be a bit cheesy in that bio-pic/Hallmark Channel kind of way. I could NOT sit through the biopic of the Hemmingway/Martha Gelhorn movie, even though Nicole Kidman (whom I admire greatly) was in it. I thought this book would be just as annoying. But it was so smart and sensitive and satisfying.

      Thanks for commenting, Deanna.

  • I was over at Sam’s yesterday to see she had made your chicken. She is such a good cook. I will be making your chicken. As for dessert I think I could eat all of those desserts.

  • Wini, I am so honored that you included my post on your Jeweler’s Chicken in “French Up Your Weekend.” It is such a fantastic recipe and so pretty too. I enjoyed The Paris Wife as well and loved all of the history of Paris at the time. I think he may have made a mistake by letting Hadley get away. When we were in Provence, we saw quite a few mini desserts being served and thought it was such a great idea. A few bites of sweets is a perfect way to end a meal. Great tip on the salt in a vinaigrette too.

    • Wini

      Thanks again for posting my recipe on your lovely blog! I’m so glad we’ve connected. It sounds like I’ve found a like-minded soul out there! XXOO.

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