Yet Another Parisian Kitchen

2 08 2011

Remember back in March, when I was on the hunt for an apartment with a reasonable kitchen?  Well, I did find one, thanks to this very blog, and am now happily living and cooking in Paris’ biggest arrondissement – the 15th.  It’s high time I took you on a tour of this new kitchen of mine, don’t you think?

When we first rented the place, the kitchen was as yet unfinished, but it already had lots of potential.

window and sink before travaux

It had a big sink, natural light, tiled backsplash, a few cupboards…

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Kitchens I Have Seen

27 03 2011

In case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks, apart from eating tacos, I’ve been looking for an apartment.  Again?  Yes.  I haven’t mentioned it here because I was kind of in denial, and then I hoped that if I just shut up and buckled down it would all be over faster, but that has unfortunately not been the case.  This has been, by far, the most painful and grueling of my Parisian apartment-hunts to date.  And it is ongoing.  As in, we still haven’t found a place that we both like and is willing to rent to a couple of itinerant immigrants steadily-employed thirtysomethings.  It is, quite frankly, baffling.  And extremely frustrating.  And a little scary, because we’re supposed to be out of this place in mid-April and are facing the very real possibility that we won’t find a place to rent before then and will have to put all our stuff in storage or sell it and sleep on someone’s couch until we find a place of our own.  It is an unsavory thought.*

From time to time I wonder if we’re being too picky.  But the conclusion I come to every time is no.  A kitchen meant to reheat soup and frozen dinners from Picard is not going to cut it.  An apartment that requires me to commute for an hour won’t either, because the Métro doesn’t run that early in the morning.  And is it really so much to ask, in this, the supposed culinary capital of the world, that the kitchen accommodate someone who likes to cook and entertain?  I think not.

Towards the end of our last apartment search, only a year ago, Nick suggested that it would have been interesting if I’d photographed the kitchens of the apartments we looked at to show people the gamut of Parisian apartment kitchens from the ghastly to the glorious.  (By glorious I mean containing cupboards and/or shelves for storage of cooking equipment and food, a stove, oven, and refrigerator, and a bit of counter space.  That is to say, a usable kitchen.)  It didn’t happen then, but this time I was prepared.  So without further ado, allow me to present to you the kitchens I’ve seen so far.

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Welcome to my New Kitchen

6 07 2010

Obviously, I’ve been cooking.  And it’s high time I delivered on my promise to give you a tour of the new digs.  The photos have joined the Flickr set, and you can go there to see them with detailed notes.  Alternatively, you can click each individual picture to see it up close.  So without further ado…

The view of the kitchen from the living room. Note the awesome hugeness of the fridge.

The oven rocks, but the stove sucks the life out of me. Induction schminduction. Sure it boils water in record time, but what good is that if I can't cook my eggs at the same time as the coffee? My rice at the same time as my steak? None, I tell you.

Besides the stove, I also really hate the sink. It's too small, hence impossible to wash dishes without splashing all over the nice wood countertop. I'm really glad we put in the knife magnet, though. Love that thing.

We put these shelves in on the kitchen side of the bar, because otherwise, we would have nowhere to store food. How I miss my root cellar.

Of course, we had to find a place for the cookbooks and liquor.

In retrospect, I really wish we’d gotten a before picture of this kitchen, because after several weekends spent measuring, shopping, transporting, and installing, it’s a completely different workspace.  It went from bachelor pad to pastry chef-avid home cook-food blogger’s haven.  Just imagine it with a tiny fridge where the oven is, no shelves, no spice racks, no hanging bars or hooks, and half-unpacked boxes everywhere.  We’d love to replace the sink and get a real, 4-burner gas stove, but as we’re probably only going to be living here another year, and the landlords refuse to pay for any improvements, it’s not worth the hassle.

So there it is, my new laboratory.  The increased counter space, bigger oven, and better fridge almost make up for the stove, sink, and storage frustrations.  I’ve been trying to focus on those positives, and so far, this new kitchen is serving me pretty well.

On this day in 2009: Eat Like an American.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Saying Goodbye to my Kitchen

9 04 2010

We move into our new place a week from tomorrow.  As of now, I don’t know how the new place will be equipped when I get there.  (I do know that it will be fully equipped at some point, but on moving day there may not be, for example, an oven or stove.  Or fridge.  Or dishwasher.  Or washing machine.  Ack.)  We’ve been making an effort, of late, to reduce the number of things we will have to move – finishing off jars of mustard, using up the last of the parchment, and so on.  But before the packing up begins in earnest, I wanted to share a few photos of what is pretty much the best kitchen I could hope for in a tiny parisian apartment.  I’ve tagged notable items in the photos on Flickr, so if you want to know more about what’s in the pictures, click them and you’ll go to my Flickr page.  You can also find all the photos here, in one set.

The view of the kitchen (including bar corner) from the couch.

 The shelves, as seen from inside the kitchen.  (Look in the back - there's the couch!)

Can’t get the captions to work on this one, but here are the shelves.  (Look, in the background – it’s the couch!)

Nick put these hooks in, and I love them! You wouldn't believe how much drawer space this freed up.

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Rentrée Blues

1 09 2009

Once again, it’s official.  La rentrée is upon us once more, and my days as la cheffe are up.  Having lost the responsibility is worse than never having had it, because now I have a better idea of how I would run things, and I find myself getting annoyed when le chef doesn’t do them that way.  But it’s not just in the kitchen.  All over Paris, people seem a bit down – it’s always hard going back to the routine after whiling away the long summer days on vacation.  Trust me, I know.  My rentrée was at the beginning of July.

Foodwise, the end of summer always heralded blueberries for me, growing up in the Pacific Northwest where berry season comes pretty late.  So when I saw piles of blueberries at the market a couple of weeks ago, I had to buy some.  And following a disaster (well, ok, not disaster, but less-than-satisfactory outcome) involving Ruhlman’s muffin ratio, I wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Hopie tagged mewith this surprisingly addictive game: find seven blue objects in your house (although I see no reason not to expand the field of view) and do a little show-and-tell.  Like Hope, I decided to focus on my kitchen, seeing as this is a food blog, but now that my eye is trained to scan for blue things, I can’t stop!  Everywhere I go, I’m looking for seven blue items!  Hopefully posting this will purge that impulse.

The very first thing that comes to mind when I ask myself, “what’s blue in my kitchen?” is my beloved Emile Henry ceramicware.

I am inordinately pleased that my dishes match.

From soufflé-type desserts, to custards, to portioning out peanuts for snacking, the ramekins certainly get a workout.  As does the oval gratin dish, especially in the colder months, with treats like tartiflette, ham-wrapped endives, stuffed cabbage, and even the occasional gratin benefiting from the large exposed surface to get browned and crisp.  Quiches, tarts, and sometimes casseroles keep the fluted round dish busy.

A peek into the fridge revealed this:

Yay for homemade dressing!  And reusing containers!

Homemade bleu cheese dressing, made with the end of a wedge of bleu d’Auvergne, a pot of yogurt, and some chopped green onions.

You can see from that last photo that I reused/repurposed the crème fraîche container.  Yes, I am a card-carrying tree-hugger, as evidenced by the next couple of blue things:

Why is the GREENpeace brochure blue? 

Time to take out the trash... er, recycling.

A brochure from Greenpeace about harmful fishing practices (honestly, though, I think a brochure about which fish I CAN eat is more useful than one outlining the ones I shouldn’t eat); and my (rather full, but since emptied) recycling bins.

Are we having fun yet?  There is still the matter of that muffin recipe…

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