Thursday, April 21, 2016

Finding time

In the hustle and bustle of my everyday life, I fuss enormously about not having enough time.  Time to take long walks with my BFF. Time to try a new recipe.  Time to blog more often.  Time to read. Don't get me wrong.  I can burn daylight, fritter away time, pass the time, dillydally, piddle, dawdle, while away the time, lollygag, and goof off with the best of them if left to my own devices. Checking in with friends and family on Facebook. Reading Sean Dietrich every morning as I wait for the coffee to brew. Thumbing through magazines. Playing Word Welder or 7 Mots on my iPad. Watching Hallmark movies.  Googling whatever or whomever. You get the picture. I am not yet ready to count the days until the final school bell of the year rings, but I am getting close. (If any of my students are reading this-- oui, we teachers do that, too. Quelle surprise, n'est-ce pas?  Pas vraiment?

And when I am in the mood to daydream, I wonder what it would be like to live in Paris and while away the hours. Roam around the city. Visit little or lesser known museums. Sit on a bench in every park and green space. Taste the treats in the best bakeries and ask for recipes or tips. Sip wine and write at a table, inside or out, in a café, Report back to the world on what I am up to on any given day. I would walk on every street in the city eventually. Taste every flavor of macaron that Pierre Hermé offers up. Then move on to every flavor of Berthillon ice cream on the Ile Saint Louis. Find out where the best café crème and croissants are served. Stroll through every little passage couvert tucked away between the busy boulevards. Take photos in the early morning light and at dusk of every single bridge, all 37 of them, that spans the Seine. Check out the houseboats and barges docked at l'Arsenal. Rummage through the treasures found in the bouquiniste stalls. Walk through la Ville Lumière in the warm summer rain not caring if my hair gets wet. Light a candle in the memory of Mme Buchanan, my high school French teacher, in every church found within the périphérique. Get off at every métro station mentioned in Métronome and see if I too can find a scrap of forgotten history. Get to know the best vendor or two at each outdoor food market. Get lost in every arrondissement and stop to have lunch at a café in order to try the menu du jour. Stumble over the same paving stones as Napoléon and Joséphine, Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Victor Hugo, Vincent and Théo Van Gogh, Camille Claudel, Auguste Rodin, Gustave Eiffel, Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marie Curie, Charles de Gaulle, Cole Porter, Coco Chanel.  You get the picture.

Is there a book deal out there for The Sabbatical Chef?  Anyone want to listen to my pitch?  The Sabbatical Chef Does Paris. Or how about Lollygagging in Paris with The Sabbatical Chef. Maybe Burning Daylight in The City of Light. Time Well-Wasted ? Recipes, photos, and addresses included.

Carol Gillott of Paris Breakfasts lives a life similar to my dream life only she is an artist.  I've lived vicariously through her for a while now. She is celebrating her blog's 10th anniversary this week. I received my first Paris Maps from her on Saturday. Just opening my mailbox and seeing a Paris postmark on the envelope makes my heart beat faster. The first one features macarons and Pierre Hermé.  Carol even stuck in a cute little original macaron watercolor. A true treasure.

And speaking of macarons, while in Paris with the kiddies in March, we took a macaron-making class with Audrey at L'Atelier des Gâteaux near Bon Marché department store.  Thirteen of us had so much fun beating eggs whites, macaronner-ing (yes, there is a verb for this action!), mixing, piping, filling, sandwiching, and tasting these beautiful treats. 

(photos taken by I. Strauss using my iPhone 6) 

The chocolate one was made by moi!

The ingredients are listed in grams. The measurements are more exact this way.  I have a small scale that measures either in ounces or grams. Not expensive and very useful when baking.

Macaron Recipe

L'Atelier des Gâteaux
23 rue de l'abbé Grégoire
75006 Paris

Ingrédients for cookies:

- 125 gr almond powder
- 225 gr confectioner sugar
- 20g cocoa powder (optional- only if you want chocolate cookies) 

- 3 egg whites
- 30 gr sugar
- powdered food coloring (this works better than liquid)

Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
With a spatula add the almond powder and the confectioner sugar in 3 or 4 increments.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 15 minutes.
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
Vous pouvez garnir les macarons avec un petit peu de ganache, de confiture ou appareil citron. Les parfums des macarons sont infinis.  
You can garnish the macarons with a little bit of ganache, jam, or lemon curd.  The flavors are limitless.

Suggested fillings

Chocolat ganache

250g chocolat 

250g heavy cream, heated but not quite boiling

Pour cream over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth. Let cool, stirring often.

Mascarpone cream

200g whipping cream
100g mascarpone
30g sugar

Quelques gouttes d’arôme, de la pâte de spéculoos, de la confiture... 
Several drops of flavoring, Speculoos, jam...

In a mixer, place the cream, the mascarpone and the sugar and whisk until peaks form. Place in the refrigerator until use.

Sauce au caramel beurre salé

80 g sugar
40 g salted butter 

10 cl heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel color forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream and butter. Let the caramel cool to room temperature. 

Bon appétit to all dreamers out there!  Dream on.

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