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The most delicious French pastries

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So I was thinking that I often talk about all these tasty pastries and plates, but you know salads can be pretty tasty too! I do eat them, promise. Lol, and so I thought I would share one that I made this morning!  I also made a side mini grilled cheese sandwich. The salad is on the sweeter side, but it has a variety of textures and flavors, so I think you will enjoy!

Sweet Salmon Salad with Crispy Grilled Gruyère Sandwich

 Sweet Salmon Citrus Salad

Mise en place:

2 clementines

Some type of lettuce, not too bitter like mesclun… I think you want it more towards a mix of mostly spinach, and the less juicy parts of iceburg lettuce (I have been using a really good soft lettuce here that is kind of like spinach but lighter, but I don’t know the name… I think it’s just in France?)

Some variation of Gruyère cheese if not the real thing (with very similar texture (not a soft cheese!) , taste – maybe parmesan…) but the flavor should be mild, nutty and on the sweeter side. Comté cheese is the ideal =)

A little Honey

A little Apricot jam

1/4 of a sweet apple type (like Golden delicious, or pink lady, etc) something crisp though.

Cucumbers (not too much at all, and thinly sliced into quarters – I have them thinly sliced into halves on the picture but I think you need to taste even less of it with every bite, sorry cucumber :p)

Pecan pralines!! finely chopped. (not the same as pecans, if you reeeally don’t have pecan pralines (kind of like candied pecan bits, kind of…) then you could use… almonds? finely chopped… but they key is to get the candied/sugary and crunchy texture.

I know you see cherry tomatoes up there, but pretend you don’t =)  they actually don’t taste so great with the salad afterall.

Some sort of light oil, like walnut oil – just a little bit.

A small, fresh salmon filet

Some fresh pepper, salt

How we do it!:

So! we’ll start with the salmon, you can either marinate it in clementine juice (just use half a clementine) or you can just do this: Put a frying pan on medium heat (5-6) with a little bit of walnut or some kind of oil that doesn’t have too much flavor) and then clean the salmon filet (if it still has the skin on, don’t worry about taking it off, it should come off easily on its own after cooking it).  So then put the salmon filet in the oil, wet both sides with the oil, and place the skin side down. Lightly salt and pepper the filet. Take half of one clementine and squeeeeeze it all over the entire filet. Brush just a thin layer of apricot jam over the top of the salmon. Cover the pan and let it start to cook through the filet.

Woo onto the salad!  Clean the lettuce, dry it, and rip it into bite-sized pieces, place in a medium shallow bowl, or plate, whatever you personally eat salad out of… lol. Cut up the apples into matchsticks! Segment the other whole clementine, keep the other half of the first one you squeezed to the side. Cut the Comté or Gruyère into thin small chunks. Add the cucumbers, apples, and clementine segments(slices?) and then drizzle some walnut oil over top, then squeeze the rest of that first clementine all over the salad. Add some pepper, and toss that salad all ’round! K, then sprinkle the crushed/finely chopped pecan pralines/pralines over the salad and then the cheese. Toss just once.

So back to the salmon – test to see if they salmon meat is starting to flake off when you poke it with a fork (when it starts to, that means it’s almost ready) Drain the juices out of the pan and remove the skin if it comes off easily. Then put a pretty decent layer of honey over the top of the filet, and turn it upside down into the pan. I love doing this because the honey helps to brown the salmon really nicely and it tastes wooooonderful. So when the filet is cooked all the way through and the honeyed part is nicely golden browned, it’s ready! you can turn it over once to cook the bottom a little if you like, but other wise, lay that sucker on the salad!  As a finishing touch spread a thin layer of apricot jam and honey on top of the salmon if you so desire.

Gruyère and Basil Grilled Cheese Minis

Mise en place:

Some sort of bread with something special to it – what you like! could have bits of oats, hazelnuts, etc! =) Go crazy.

Gruyère cheese

Fresh Fresh Fresh Basil leaves

A lil butter

We Make it like this:

Slice the bread however thick you like! Then slice the cheese however thick you like! Put the pan on the stove, set to medium-high heat (6-7) and add butter (be careful not to burn it though). spread butter around the pan. K, so then place the cheese on one side of the bread, microwave the bread/cheese thingy until the cheese is slightly melted. Place the basil leaves onto the cheese, place other piece of bread on top. Then take it to the pan and put it in – it should sizzle, good sign. So keep checking it so see how brown it gets- depending on how you like it, turn it over and do the same!! So very tasty!! Enjoy! XD Add a sprig of basil for garnish if you wish!  ♥

 

Hellllllo there. So I have a looooot of catching up to do. A lot to say too! First things first. Pasta alla Carbonara. It’s only filled with butter, cream, eggs and back bacon(aka “lardons” in French), oh and pasta – so it is delicious. No seriously. It’s so worth it. Do whatever you need to do to “balance” it out – go for a jog, go row a boat on the lake, go hiking… you know what? Make it BEFORE you go do all that and take it WITH you. Yes, in the boat – eat it WHILE you are rowing. Yeah it’s possible, don’t question the logic. Seriously, give yourself an early Christmas present and go  look up the recipe, visit your nearest grocer and make it. Actually, I’ll make it one step easier – I’ll GIVE you the recipe. Like so:

Pasta Alla Carbonara

Mise en place:

8 Oz. uncooked Pasta of your choice – Personally, I like penne or farfalle =)

5 Oz. cubed/diced and smoked lardons/pancetta/back bacon(not the same as the crispy bacon you know) etc. Take your pick. ***However, if you can somehow get your hands on some guanciale – that’s the real thing. Wiki defines it as: Pork cheek rubbed with salt, ground black  or red pepper and cured for three weeks. Its flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate.

2 Large eggs plus 2 extra yolks (room temperature)

1 Tablespoon Olive oil for cooking the lardons/pancetta/guanciale

1 clove of garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons grated parmesan and pecorino romano cheese and add more after if you wish!

4 Tablespoons double cream (room temperature)

2 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)

1 Teaspoon Fresh black pepper

Salt for pasta

And this is how we make it!:

  1. So remember to leave the eggs, cream and butter out so they become room temperature. If the butter isn’t soft enough, warm it up manually juuuust a little more. Mince the garlic and set aside. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water according to the instructions on the box, or make al dente – just keep testing it until it’s tender enough for your taste. =)
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté/frying pan over low heat. Add the minced garlic, black pepper and the guanciale/tasty fat of your choice. Slow-roast it, do not crispify it (aka burnt :p) Keep covered so it stays warm.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, yolks, cream, butter, pepper to taste, grated parmesan and pecorino – set aside.
  4. Once the pasta is done, drain the water out and add the pasta to the pan with the guanciale. Add the egg/cream mixture to the pasta in the pot and toss around. Don’t worry you won’t get salmonella poisoning. The key is that the warmth of the pasta cooks the eggs just enough when mixed. =)  Add more cheese if you so desire and serve!!! Enjoy!

♣  If you would like to see a true Italian teach you how to cook it, his recipe is a bit different but you might like it more!! I haven’t tried it yet, but he claims his is the “real” carbonara – and in all honesty it prolly is the closest thing. Give it a try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iERZIRQEIJk

And of course, I already devoured the one I made today before I got a picture of it, so I have included one that I found!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Carrefour is best described as a giant Wegmans and a Walmart put together. But French, very French. They have many imported and special products and a glorious amount of delicious food, but they also have an electronics department for TV’s, etc and clothing and shoes, jewelry, etc. Then what makes it French is perhaps its three rows of cheese. Ok well to be fair, it’s like when you go down an aisle at a grocery store and you have the two sides, thats two rows, and then they have another half a row, and a longer counter for special and imported cheeses – by the wheel, by the morsel, you name it. The fresh produce section is amazing… I found my figs. I highly contemplated a title for this post something to do with “OMG FIGS!” but I believe a predicament I ran into later on merits the title I chose. But figs… so beautiful… for those who don’t know I recently tasted a fresh fig at Ironbridge before I left the states and fell in love. So was my quest to find fresh figs abroad. And found them I did. Some are disguised under different names, but they could not hide for long… and I have added them to my miniature fruit collection in the fridge. I had them with another fruit I just found out about in France called mirabelle plums (about the size of one of those huge red grapes, but a light yellow-orange in colour) a slice of pancetta (this is actually really tasty – I had wanted some meat, realized that they do not believe in roast beef here and decided to try pancetta because I had heard of it from various cookbooks but never tried it) and some soft cow’s milk cheese all on a slice of campagne bread. It looks amazing and tastes even better- I will include a picture when I am able to use my roommate’s camera. Back to the French side of Carrefour: there is the Boulangerie where you can get all sorts of freshly baked bread. The Patisserie, where you will find all your tasty pastries. The Charcuterie, where you can have a butcher slice and dice all your meaty needs. It’s pretty sweet-looking because it’s got ham legs and sausages hanging from the ceiling. Oh oh oh and best of all, they have a huge section for fruits de mer (means literally fruits of the sea!) as in, seafood! and they just had a whole aisle of fish on ice, squid on ice, strange things I have never seen before on ice, and …. sharks. Looking at you with their dead eyes. Now I say this… that way because it caught me by surprise and it was actually a little disturbing… I felt bad for the poor creature… and it had really black, dead eyes… yup. So basically you tell the seafood people what you want and they bag it and weigh it and price it for you and you are good to go – they are dressed in ponchos because there is a light mist spraying over the seafood. So finally, I checked out – or tried to. The guy tried to explain to me that I had to go weigh my fruit first- while I was in line with people behind me. Finally I got what he was saying and sort of walk/ran back to find a guy who sits there in his chair with three scales in front of him and you put down your items, bag by bag and he prints out stickers and flicks them onto the bags. So I get that done, and run back to the line where the guy behind me had waited so patiently and was very sweet and understanding – he even got me bags for my items! Whoever said the French were rude? They prolly meant Parisians. Watch that come around to bite me in the ass.

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