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marsprincess's Profile

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Paris Food Map

Hi thimes - what a nice map you have done! I am heading to Paris this afternoon for a two day business trip and wanted to find a restaurant walking distance from my hotel. Seems that Josephine Chez Dumont is the best choice. Thank you.

Jun 14, 2011
marsprincess in France

Food foreigners take back home when they visit America.

Corn tortillas, pinto beans, dried chilies, and natural style peanut butter - all the things I miss the most in Switzerland.

Jun 08, 2011
marsprincess in General Topics

Ecole Gregoire Ferrandi in Paris

I found this fantastic review online from Girl Cook in Paris

and upon a little more research I have found that CAP and SUP programmes are offered all over France - not as prestigious, but available. Granted, the vast majority are targeted at teenagers who are at the beginning of their careers and want to get the credentials.

I was looking more for a stage than the full-blown course so probably won't go for this.

May 30, 2011
marsprincess in France

Can you substitute physalis (cape gooseberry) for tomatillos?

Thanks bushwickgirl for your response. I actually tried green tomatoes once as a replacement and it did not really fit the bill - and gave me a stomach ache to boot. (which I should have known would happen as fried green tomatoes always gave me stomach aches as a kid - but I really loved them and would always try them again anyway! Lucky for me, people here have no idea what they are so they never crop up and tempt me anymore.)

As soon as the cape gooseberries (physalis in my world) are ripe I am going to see if I can replicate a decent tomatillo-style salsa out of them. Watch this space...

My chutney recipe is really very simple - and pretty much changes every time I make it (some times I add fresh cranberries or toss in a few sliced kumquats or a combination of all three)

For my chutney recipe I finely chop 2 large shallots and sauté them in a bit of light oil until soft. I then add around 2 cups of cape gooseberries, a good splash of fresh orange juice, around 1/3 cup sugar (sometimes more will be needed if too tart), 2 - 3 tablespoons of cider or rice wine vinegar and if I am not using kumquats I might add a small bit of finely grated orange zest. Pinch of salt and maybe a bit of cardamom or ginger if the mood strikes me. Cook until the gooseberries pop and the chutney thickens - about 10 mins.

I serve this with foie gras and warm pain d'epices. It is a very nice combination and goes down oh so well with a chilled Monbazillac or champagne.

May 19, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Salmon Recipes for Tonight?

I made salmon last night and as I was in the mood for an Asian flavor created a new marinade.

I used a thumb sized portion of ginger (peeled), 3 lemon grass stalks (rough outer leaves removed) 3 fresh garlic cloves, about 1/2 cup tamarind paste, a good swig of fish sauce (which I adjusted to taste) about a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, the juice of one lime and a handful of cilantro leaves and stalks.

I whizzed all of this up in my mini food processor to make a paste and then smeared it on the salmon and let it sit for about an hour. (I did reserve a small portion to use once the salmon was cooked).

I then grilled the salmon on my weber - or your could roast it in the oven.

Served this with a mango chutney (mango, scallions, jalapeño pepper, lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves) and quinoa pilaf.

Will definitely be making this again.

May 18, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Can you substitute physalis (cape gooseberry) for tomatillos?

Has anyone ever tried to substitute physalis (I see on Wikipedia they are also called cape gooseberry but I have always known them as physalis) for tomatillos in a recipe? What is interesting is that, again according to wikipedia, tomatillos are in the same family.

I love tomatillo salsa but as they are not available where I live I have long gone without. I am keen to give this a try, but before I concoct my own recipe thought I would see if anyone else has given it a go.

I have often used physalis to make chutneys for my foie gras and like the tart and sweetness they provide, so I am hopeful that this could be a new discovery and that shoulders of pork simmered in a physalis salsa are in my future...

May 18, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Share your make-ahead weeknight dinners

I have recently been putting together tagine in the mornings (browning the meat, sauté the veg and adding the liquid) and then leaving it in the fridge until I get home to cook. I think the flavors come out even better. So far the lamb was the family's preference.

Did the same trick with a jambalaya (added the rice just before putting in the oven) and it too worked a treat.

May 18, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

I dry-brined my nice chicken overnight but...

I agree with darrentran87 and cook my exactly the same .

Other "tip" I would pass on is to pre-heat the pan in the oven (I use a cast iron grill pan from IKEA that works a charm - no rack needed because of the ridges). Also the bird should fit snuggly into the pan. In general I heat the oven and pan at 220 C and turn it down to 180 C when the bird goes in. I also always rest the bird when it comes out for about 15 mins.

This method gives you a crispy skin and very moist bird.

Good luck!

May 17, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Soup from leftover pork shoulder?

I would use it to make ribollita out of it - sauté carrots, onions and garlic in olive oil and butter and then add your chicken stock, a can of crushed tomatoes and cooked beans along with the pork shoulder. Simmer for about 30 mins. remove the bone, take off the pork and add it back to the soup if it still tastes good. Add chopped cabbage and cook until tender. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve soup over toasted bread rubbed with garlic (place at bottom of bowl). I like to add grated parmigiano reggiano and a swirl of olive oil infused with rosemary on top (nice touch from the Il Fornaio cookbook).

May 16, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Lunch in Nice

I agree with menton1 - you might want to narrow down your itinerary a bit and if you are there in the high season count on traffic. The train from Monaco to Nice is definitely easier than a car but that being said, a drive along the coast and up to Eze is very beautiful (when not stuck in bumper to bumper traffic).

Another place that might fit the bill is the Le Cabanon on the Cap d'ail. Very casual, amazing views and fantastic, fun service. Reservations are a must. Simple food, but a very good representation of what is best on the Med.

Have fun!

May 15, 2011
marsprincess in France

Ecole Gregoire Ferrandi in Paris

Has anyone taken any courses or have any feedback on the EGF in Paris? I found a class I would really like to take but I am not a professional chef - just someone who knows her way around the kitchen.

This school came up when I was doing a bit of online research, but if anyone can recommend a serious cooking school in France (does not have to be Paris) where one could do a stage for a week to one month I would be very grateful.


May 15, 2011
marsprincess in France

Enameled steel paella pan with gas burner

I just received a gigantic enameled steel paella pan with gas burner as a gift and before I give it a go wanted to see if anyone had some wise words to share with me before I inaugurate it.

Obviously excited about making paella in it but am equally interested in trying risottos and other dishes. It should be fun to bring it outside in the garden and cook outside. Any ideas for other dishes along with your tips are appreciated.

May 14, 2011
marsprincess in Cookware

A question I am afraid to ask...

This is the same combo I wrote about above - it is deadly and oh so good. Don't try it, you can't stop at a few spoonfuls! Be warned....

May 14, 2011
marsprincess in France

The Best Hard Cheese in France, is GASP, from Switzerland [moved from France]

Thank you - Switzerland really is a bit of a fairy tale. I have lived here for 20 years and still am in love with the beauty of this country. David Lebovitz has been coming to my town, Lausanne a lot lately and really captures some of the best part of this area on his blog posts:

May 12, 2011
marsprincess in General Topics

The Best Hard Cheese in France, is GASP, from Switzerland [moved from France]

I need to be in Paris in June for a meeting, so maybe we can organize a cheese drop-off. Not the same as importing it I know, but you could still get a little taste of the Alps from Valais heaven. :-)

May 09, 2011
marsprincess in General Topics

The Best Hard Cheese in France, is GASP, from Switzerland [moved from France]

One of my children's favorite summer outings when they were little was to hike up to the dairy farm in the Ovrannaz mountains in Valais (where their father and grandparents are from and where their great-grandmother herded the cows as little girl before the war). They would help stir the fresh raw milk in the giant copper vat with the sound of cow bells ringing out. The old farmer would let them choose a round, mark it with our family name, and put it on a shelf to age. He would then give each of the children a portion of serac (a fresh whey cheese) that we would distribute with our pic-nic lunch later in the day.

We would go up at the end of the summer when the cows were being brought down from the mountain to retrieve our marked cheese and have half of it that night served as raclette with our close friends. We would eat in the garden if it was still warm enough or in the carnotzet (a room in the cellar for drinking wine and eating cheese) if it was a bit frosty. This was always my favorite raclette of the year - you could taste the goodness of summer in each melty bite.

I do love the Gruyère d'alpage, but my heart rests with the raclette from Valais. Delucacheesemonger you should seek this out as well if you have not tried it as it too is very different from the raclette cheese you normally find.

May 09, 2011
marsprincess in General Topics


I would second Brasserie Georges. I love that you can choose what type of fat your fries are cooked in (I always go for duck) and the steaks are fantastic.

That being said, I do think my favorite place for steak in all of Brussels is Meet Meat

Another top destination for me is Bon Bon - but tough to get a reservation. For a really top class meal this is my go to place.

May 06, 2011
marsprincess in Europe

Pasta Vongole - fresh or dried pasta best?

Another vote for dry pasta.

May 05, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Paris market news

During my last trip to the Gers I learned how to make demoiselle and it was one of the funnest meals I have ever eaten. We went to one of the local foie gras producers and ordered the demoiselles - which is basically the carcase of the duck with the aiguillettes attached and a bit of the foie left inside. You simply build a roaring fire and then roast the demoiselle in the fire. We ate ours with some of the first asparagus of the season, steamed potatoes and crusty bread to dip in the cavity where the bits of foie gras were left. A real caveman type of feast! Can't wait to do it again. Funny thing, this was a very cheap meal. I think I paid less than €5 per duck.

May 05, 2011
marsprincess in France

Switzerland - Lucerne and Wengen

In Lucerne I highly recommend lunch at the Montana hotel - on the terrasse if it is sunny. Spectacular view and nice food.
If you do go there make sure to take the funicular up to the hotel - it is a nice little trip and free if I remember correctly.

May 03, 2011
marsprincess in Europe

Gourmet excursion in Gascony staying at a lovely château - would it interest you?

I have recently been offered an opportunity to run a conference center that has been created out of the old distillery that sits on the property of a lovely château in the South West of France in the heart of the Gers. This is the land of fois gras, Armagnac, and the Three Muscateers not to mention a "famous" town called Condom where (for those of you who speak French) the river Baïse runs through (chuckle, chuckle).

The owner wants me to organize conferences for exclusive executive retreats on the property which also breeds race horses, has a swimming pool, tennis court, racquetball, pètanque, small gym and roaming grounds to explore. Dinners will be organized in the stunning dining room of the château or in the Orangerie.

In addition to the executive retreats (which they currently run) he is also willing to allow me to run cooking classes and gourmet excursions (visit the top Armagnac producers, trips to the farms producing fois gras, excursions to the local markets, outings to his second château that also has wonderful vineyards and hunting grounds). Both the Distillery and the Orangerie have professional kitchens that the cooking classes could take place in. He knew this would be the hook for me.

I am in the process of putting together the business plan to see if I will take the leap and accept this challenge but it is a tough call. I currently have a job with a sports rights holder that is not only exciting but also pays the bills. This opportunity would financially be - well a bad decision. BUT it is a dream job in a beautiful part of the world. A beautiful part of the world that is not extremely well known - one of the key risks that I have pointed out.

So - now to why I have posted this topic. I know a lot of Americans who travel to France read this board and you would be one of my key target markets. How many of you would consider a detour to the South West France - easy TGV ride or Easy Jet flight to Toulouse for an outing like this? My current pricing strategy for 4 days / 3 nights which would include breakfast each morning, 3 lunches and 3 dinners as well as excursions would cost around $900 - $1000 per person (depending on double or single occupancy). The distillery has 16 double rooms but I would try to keep the groups to 20 - 25 people.

This is market research folks. I work in marketing and one thing I have learned over the years is that marketers don't know much - the market knows it all.

If you read the wiki entry for the Gers - you will see why it is a must stop for foodies in France:

Thank you all in advance for your insights. I hope this post is allowed to stay as it is not promoting a business - it is researching a maybe future endeavor!

Apr 12, 2011
marsprincess in France

Artichokes as starter

I love to fry the artichoke hearts and serve in tossed salad. Trim completely and take away the beard and then cut in paper thin slices. Put this into water with lemon until you are ready to go. I fry mine in olive oil until tender (about 1 - 2 min) and then toss with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice on top. Toss baby lettuces with a light tangy vinegarette and pop artichokes on top and thin slices of parmigiano reggiano. A dollop of home-made mayo on the side is nice.

Apr 08, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Artichokes as starter

I read in an old cookbook somewhere a recipe where you boil the artichokes with salt, olive oil, lemon juice and bay leaf. I have really liked the way they come out - trick is to get the timing right and not overcook them.

I like to stuff them with a mixture of chopped tomato, chives, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, maybe some flat leaf parsley and then tossed with garlic croutons just before stuffing into the artichoke. Very nice and not nearly as heavy as mayo.

Apr 07, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

What do you do with your soup chicken...

The old 90's standby - Chinese Chicken Salad. Enchiladas. Pizza topping with feta and spinach and pine nuts is nice.

Apr 07, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

what is your best 'prepare the night before, then shove in the oven' recipe.

I don't know if this is my best - but I did this last week on accident really as something came up last minute and we were not home for dinner. I made jambalaya preparing everything in advance except for adding the rice. I like to cook mine in a dutch oven. I browned the meat and vegetables and added chicken broth, a good slug of white wine and a can of chopped tomatoes and then the seasoning and stuck it all in the refrigerator for the kids to stir in the rice and pop into the oven so dinner would be ready when I got home. However, we ended up eating the next night instead and I think it tasted even better than normal....

Apr 06, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Advice on a wedding gift?

Why not pre-order a case of your favorite Bordeaux. 2011 might not prove to be an amazing year, but as long as you go with a top Château you should be fine. You can lay them down to be ready for your 10 year anniversary!

Apr 06, 2011
marsprincess in Not About Food

Whats your top 5 herbs?

Flat leaf parsley

but I also love sage, laurel, thyme, oregano, dill, chevril, chives and mint of all kinds. Oops... guess that is a few more than 5!

Mar 25, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

What's your favorite Spring time Dish?

Spring! Yeah!

Asparagus - just like everyone else is saying. I love it grilled, steamed with a vinegarette, in risotto, with eggs, any way at all

new potatoes - steamed and then served warm with a vinegarette and arugula

fresh garlic and garlic shoots

dandelion salads

and seeing the sun again after the long dark winter!

Mar 24, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking

Restaurant Le Mimosa in Languedoc - open again

I just received an email from the Le Mimosa that they have decided to open again! This was by far our favorite restaurant in the Languedoc area and well worth the drive into the middle of nowhere to get there.

We stayed at the Le Hôtel du Mimosa and it was nice - not too expensive and a clean room with ok bed. It was maybe a bit far away from the restaurant after champagne and a bottle of wine between two, but only one of us had a digestif (the one not driving!).

Guess that means we need to plan a trip down south soon!

Mar 22, 2011
marsprincess in France

Single Serving Quick Meals for Gal who likes it fresh and vegetarian

Hi dunim,

When I was in university and a vegetarian one of my favorite brown bag lunches was quesadillas. I would buy whole wheat tortillas and vegetarian refried beans. In the morning I would fire up the pan, add a tiny bit of olive oil and smear the beans between two tortillas and then toast both sides until crispy and the beans were warmed through. I would make a side of chopped tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, olive oil and a bit of lime juice, salt and pepper. This I would put in a small empty jar. Wrap the quesadillas up in foil and you will see that it stays almost warm just until lunch.

I also loved baked potatoes topped with steamed broccoli and maybe a bit of sour cream and chives.

Ribollita was also a big favorite of mine and is very easy to make for one. Often you can find veggies already cut up so just add to this to a sautéed onion and a can of drained beans and some chopped nappa cabbage at the end with either enough water or veggie stock to barely cover. My "secret" ingredient is to infuse fresh rosemary in a bit of olive oil and then drizzle on top just before serving. I also put a piece of toasted french bread rubbed with garlic at the bottom of the bowl before ladling in the soup.

buy cherry tomatoes, red peppers and a sweet red onion. Sauté together and toss with pasta and fresh basil at the end. Quick, easy and yummy.

Miso soup with fresh peas and scallions was another fast meal for me.

Hummus takes seconds to make - open can of chic peas, drain, whiz up in a food processor with olive oil, garlic, lemon and salt and pepper. Goes great with a salad and some fresh bread and radishes.

pesto - super easy and super fast. You will see loads of threads on this site for pesto and it is a great lunch at room temp.

roasted eggplant - prick and roast whole in the oven with a bit of drizzled olive oil and salt. I usually add garlic cloves and rosemary to further enhance the flavor. When soft, scope out the flesh add a bit more olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and puree. Good with roasted peppers and caramelized onions on crustini.

So - just a few quick ideas. Hope this helps!

Mar 21, 2011
marsprincess in Home Cooking