Diet Food, My Way

25 08 2011

This week has not gone as planned on the blogging front.  I have a bunch of posts just dying to have their chance in the spotlight, one I even had to stop working to jot down this morning.  But of course I left that notebook at work.  Fortunately, I’ve got one of these “One Meal, One Photo, One Sentence” pictures up my sleeve.


Roasted salmon, risotto made with shrimp stock and roasted zucchini.  This is what I make when I’m trying to eat lighter.  Really.

On this day in 2009: The Land of Chocolate (includes my recipe for premium chocolate ice cream)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.


For The Father Who Has Everything

20 06 2009

I was lucky enough to spend some time with my Dad this week.  I’ll admit that Father’s Day didn’t really enter into it when we were making our vacation plans, but it worked out that both Nick and I get to see our fathers this June.  Father’s Day gifts can be difficult – you know your Dad probably doesn’t need any more stuff, but you want to commemorate the day and a card somehow doesn’t seem like enough.  But what do you get for the Dad Who Has Everything?

Piping and poaching Parisian Gnocchi

A huge mess in his kitchen.  I mean dinner.  A heartfelt, home-cooked meal is a surefire winner.  Everyone needs to eat, right?  So this year, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  For my Dad, whose honorary Father’s Day was on Wednesday, I drew up a menu consisting of Parisian gnocchi (pictured above – can you guess what I’m doing?), grilled salmon and zucchini (harvested from my parents’ garden), and lemon profiteroles for dessert.  I printed up some cute little menus on plain card stock and put my Mom in charge of setting the table on the back patio.  The meal was a hit and my Dad was surprised and impressed.

Gnocchi Parisienne

This was my first ever attempt at making Parisian gnocchi, but it won’t be my last.  These things are basically poached savory choux pastry (the very same dough used for the cheesy poofs, in fact, only seasoned with black pepper instead of mustard and chili powder) and they are so delightfully light and easy compared to their potato-based Italian counterparts.  Instead of piping out bite-size puffs, I pinched bits of the dough into simmering water and cooked them until they floated.  I spooned them out onto a sheet pan lined with a clean dishtowel until I was ready to finish cooking.  Inspired by a recipe from Ratioby Michael Ruhlman, I sauteed the poached gnocchi in bacon fat and tossed them with bacon, peas, and grilled corn.

Parisian Gnocchi with Bacon, Peas, and Grilled Corn

Next time, I will be sure to do this in a nonstick pan, as the gnocchi stuck to the stainless steel one I was using.  No problem, I just added a little more bacon fat and turned the heat up, but I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning that pan later.  I made the same amount of choux pastry as I made for cheesy poofs, combined with four or five strips of bacon (chopped) two ears of corn and about 2/3 of a cup of peas, and it served five of us as a substantial appetizer (it could definitely feed two as a main course).  A note on the flour: if you can’t find pastry flour, a mixture of half cake flour and half unbleached all-purpose flour is an indistinguishable substitute.

On to the main course…

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Le Marcab

24 11 2008

A table at Le Marcab

I found a new restaurant!  Or, to be more accurate, Nick found it.  Not far from Pierre Hermé’s boutique in the quiet 15th arrondissement, Le Marcab opened for business a little over a week ago.  Upon viewing the menu posted outside, and the chic décor inside, Nick thought it might be worth checking out. 

The tempting menu posted outside Le Marcab

So when we found ourselves in the neighborhood on a recent weeknight, we wanted to see if this place would live up to its potential.

Like sitting on a giant gold couch.

Stylishly decorated in tones of gray and gold, the dining room feels opulent yet welcoming.  The banquette, which takes up one entire wall of the restaurant, whimsically evokes an oversized, baroque couch.  Since Le Marcab had only opened a few days before, we were the only people there, but we didn’t let that daunt us.  The service was as polite and timely as any of my better dining experiences in Paris, and the restaurant, on the whole, shows the kind of attention to detail you would see in any top-tier establishment.

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The Other Café

8 04 2008

Literally translated, this is the name of the place Nick and I supped on Friday night.  We found L’autre Café after being turned away from the restaurant in which we had planned on dining.  On our way there, we had noticed a side street that seemed to be packed to the gills with restaurants, bars, and cafés, so we headed back in that direction.  We ambled down the street for a couple of blocks and determined that there were enough worthwhile-looking places on this single street (rue J.P. Timbaud) to keep us occupied for the evening, if not the month.  After perusing the menus of several restaurants, we ended up at L’autre Café, a fairly large establishment with cozy upstairs seating and a lively bar scene.

The menu had quite a few tasty-sounding options, and we noticed several tables with cheese and charcuterie platters – always good for a hearty snack or appetizer.  But we wanted something a little more adventurous, and the os à moelle fit the bill.

Os à Moelle

That’s right, marrow bones.  We got four large marrow bones full of buttery marrow goodness, with a side of coarse sea salt and some toasted bread.  This was not nearly enough bread for the amount of marrow contained in those bones, so we dove into the bread basket as well.  The bread basket itself had a lot of room for improvement – the sliced baguette was definitely sub-par – but slathered in delicious marrow, who cares?  This could easily feed 3 or 4 people as an appetizer, especially if one of them is a little squeamish.

For the main course, we both chose lighter fare, given the lavishness of our first course.  I got the pan-seared salmon with spring vegetables, and Nick had the chicken brochettes.

Salmon and Veggies

The salmon was nicely cooked, with a crisp brown exterior and moist interior.  The vegetables included broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, mushroom, zucchini, and probably a few more.  They were not, as the custom tends to be around here, way overcooked.  The salmon and vegetables were napped in a mild butter sauce.  All in all, pretty enjoyable (and left me feeling healthy rather than gluttonous, as opposed to the aforementioned marrow bones).

Chicken Brochettes

Nick’s dinner (This picture didn’t turn out as well as the others, but hey, it’s a camera phone), chosen at least as much for the potatoes as for the glazed chicken, was also a success.  The potatoes, which I’ll admit I dug into almost as soon as the plate arrived, had great olive oil flavor and a pleasingly rustic texture.  (Well, rustic for France, where the norm for mashed potatoes is an unctuously smooth purée.)  The chicken was well-cooked, by which I mean juicy and tender, and the not-too-sweet glaze complemented it nicely.

We were pleased to note that this place is open every day (even Sunday!) and serves food continuously (i.e. no break in the afternoon) until midnight.  Good to know.

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