Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting ready to go

We are indeed in the home stretch of the Countdown to France that has been going on since August 25.  Today four of the girlies and I decided we needed to practice.  Doing what you ask?  Conjugating verbs?  Mais non! I respond.  I grabbed the keys to a mini-bus and we decided to go to Guglhupf, a tasty little place just right down the road from school. 

We practiced eating!  Une bonne idée, n'est-ce pas?  And here's what we sampled...

We were a little thirsty, so we sipped this
We sat outside and discussed the menu at the Café du Commerce, where we will have dinner our last night in Paris, the weather forecast for Paris and Provence, what to pack, what Eugene, our ACIS tour manager, will be like, the pyjama party the girls plan to have one night at the hotel, you know, just girl stuff.  Hmmm... wonder what we will be doing this time next week??

Bon appétit, girlies!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bull City Burger and Brewery

Here is my friend, Seth Gross, hanging out with the bull in downtown Durham near the site of his soon-to-open restaurant at 107 E. Parrish Street.  The opening is slated for March 21.  I can't wait to bite into one of his pasture-raised beef burgers and try his beer!.
Read my interview with Seth in today's Durham Herald-Sun.

And check out the restaurant's website for more information.

Find out about the Golden Bulls...

Bon appétit, Seth!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My young chefs

 (artwork by Piera)

My students love to eat.  I am encouraging them to learn to cook.  I've blogged about this before, but I haven't posted photos of their creations in a while.  I am very proud of all of them.  (Some even find recipes here at The Sabbatical Chef!)  From Nicolas' pains au chocolat to Sophie's blueberry tart, to all the macarons and madeleines in between, I love it when they bring in their creations.  Some of them start off very apologetic, in case a classmate doesn't like what they've made.  I cut that off quickly.  Julia Child said that we should never apologize for what we cook.  I am completely with her on that.  We all agree to try what is served to us unless we are allergic to something in the recipe.
Here are some of the treats we've experienced so far this year--
(The coffee is mine...)

The easiest recipe (and probably their favorite one, truth be told) is for pain au chocolat.


Pillsbury crescent rolls
Chocolate, milk or dark (bar, chips, pieces)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375F.
Pop open the can and unroll the dough.  You can bake them as triangles, the shape the dough comes in or make rectangles by pinching two rectangles together (this is the shape for the pastry in French bakeries).
Place the chocolate in the middle of the dough and roll up.
Brush the tops with the beaten egg white.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
(Best when eaten warm!)

Bon appétit, mes élèves!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made cupcakes to take to my advisees tomorrow for Valentine's Day.  Teaching middle schoolers on Valentine's Day should earn us a medal of honor or a purple heart.  Sugar highs and longing for a sweetheart (or whatever they call it these days!).  But I admit, I love the holiday.  It goes back to the days of Valentine bags in elementary school and reading them over and over and over at the end of the day.  
High school-age son took his girlfriend to dinner tonight at Vin Rouge, a French bistro here in town.  He ate steak-frites.  That's my boy!  He gave her perfume, Ralph Lauren's Romance (with mom's help, of course).
I have little surprises for my men tomorrow.  Chocolate, of course!

Bon appétit, Valentines and sweethearts every where!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Une photo de moi!!

For the first time in my life I am sorta kinda a model!!  Oui, that's little old moi in the back row grinning from oreille à oreille because I am standing on the balcony of the Opéra Garnier in Paris and the sun is shining on a beautiful January day.  Yesterday I got an email from ACIS, the travel company who has put together a fabulous trip for my 14 eighth grade angels, our art teacher (known previously in this blog as the Arles Lucy), and me.  When I opened the email, I didn't really even look at the photo-- you know the drill, you don't look because you don't think you know who anyone is anyway-- just read the email.  Then right before I closed the email, I glanced back at the top of the page and gave a little shout (while proctoring the after school study hall, no less)  "That's me!!  I am famous!"  Normally, I hate photos of me.  I usually look confused or my mouth is open (between eating and talking, two of my favorite activities, it is usually open).  This one I like, though.  What's not to like about standing in the Paris sunshine?
And in exactly three weeks, we will be on our way to France.  

Bon appétit, Paris!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Irons in the fire

"You have too many irons in the fire, Teresa," my mom often says to me.  Well, she does whenever I start complaining about how much I have to do.  I don't complain to her very often anymore.  I miss those mother/daughter moments... and her sayings.  I just don't talk to her or see her often enough.  I need to change that.
I just got these two books from Amazon--  Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French by Stephen Clarke and Pardon My French:  Unleash Your Inner Gaul by Charles Timoney.  And I do not have any spare time in my days right now to read them.  Too many irons in the fire.  Too much to do.
I have read Clarke's Merde series of books.  He is a very funny Brit who lives in France.  I admit that I already peaked at the chapter entitled Thou Shalt Be Polite (and simultaneously rude)   "... The French are geniuses at being polite while simultaneously insulting you.  You've never been put down until you've been put down by a Frenchman.  And they do it with such aplomb.  They can wish you a good day, call you an idiot and send you sprawling into the verbal gutter before you even open your mouth to reply."  That reminds me of a warm September day while living in Arles.  I had been to the Saturday market (I only shopped there and at Monoprix) and bought a cute, I thought, tie-dyed green and white cotton dress.  I decided to wear it for drinks one warm, sunny afternoon.  I thought I looked rather cute.  I had even done my hair and put on lipstick and earrings, for goodness sake.  We met up with friends, men and women I had come to know fairly well during the 3 months I had been living there.  One woman, though, looked me up and down and said something along the lines of "That's a pretty color and it would look very nice in the spring."  I realized I had made a fashion faux pas rating somewhere up there with wearing white shoes after Labor Day in the South.  And this coming from a heavyset woman with orange hair.  I really liked her and my feelings towards her didn't change, but believe me, I did not wear that dress again until April.  I am just not a self-confident dresser in France.  I agonize over what to pack every single time I go.  Silly Américaine.
Charles Timoney is also a Brit, married to a French woman and living in France.  The purpose of his book is to teach us non-native French speakers useful everyday expressions that we are not taught in our French classes (and, I am sure, expressions that I am probably NOT teaching my 6th, 7th and 8th graders).  The first chapter has to do with food and drink.  A very nice way to begin, n'est-ce pas?  Et très important since for some people eating and drinking is the only reason they go to the country formerly known as Gaul.  I look forward to practicing my new expressions when I am back in France next month.  That is if I find time to read my new books. There is always the 7 hour flight over with my 14 charges...

Bon appétit to all mamans et filles!
My thoughts are with the BFF and her mommy, Helen.