Category — EuroChicsta
My favorite crêpe restaurant in Delray Beach has sadly closed, so looks like I’ll be making crêpes to celebrate Chandeleur at home. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a new crêpe recipe to try by delia creates:
February 2 is the French holiday La Chandeleur, a Catholic feast honoring the Virgin Mary. Tradition says that the Pope offered crêpes to pilgrims who came to honor Mary. And the French have been eating them ever since.
Crêpes are a very large thin pancake with all types of fillings and rolled (like a sausage) or folded (like a blini) or stacked (like a cake) for serving. Crêpes are a popular dish through out France. Sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées) made with wheat flour are filled with fruits, preserves, or moi favorite nutella, and are served as a dessert or snack (not typically breakfast); and savory crêpes (crêpes salées ) are made with buckwheat and filled with vegetables, cheese, meats, seafood or eggs: sort of pizza-style!
But this year, I’ll be making a breakfast crêpe cake with lemon cream cheese filling between the layers, and garnished with fresh Florida strawberries. And if I’m super lazy, I may just buy a package of ready-made crêpes at Whole Foods, and just assemble!
Voila! Bon Appetit!
Lemon strawberry crêpe cake would make a great breakfast or dessert for Valentines Day! If you need more crepe tips and info on buying ready-made crepes, I talked about that last year.
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January 29, 2013 2 Comments
Always on the look-out for anything and everything French, we tried out a French spot in Boca Raton, Bakery of France.
croissant aux amandes: superb
Salade au chèvre chaud: perfection
Hard to find in a hidden strip mall, Bakery of France is worth the effort. A small interior cafe, we ate outside on the patio, sheltered by plants and a brick surround that minimized nearby traffic.
But the highlight of our visit: nutella cappuccino.
As a well-documented nutella-holic, why haven’t I made this at home? We make cappuccinos at home nearly every day, and there’s usually a jar of nutella in the cabinet ready for toast or crepes or pretzels sticks. National Nutella Day is Feb 5. Have a nutella cappuccino to celebrate!
Nutella Cappuccino Recipe
1 spoonful of nutella
Twirl, and serve!the details: Bakery of France 625 NE Spanish River Blvd Boca Raton, FL (561) 361-4490 8am-6pm Mon – Sat Bakery of France
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January 24, 2013 1 Comment
Every year right after Thanksgiving I tape the 2 hour Rick Steves’ European Christmas on PBS Channel 11 in Chicago.
Throughout the holidays when I’m working, baking, cleaning or involved with other activities that don’t involved actually watching TV, I like to play and replay the show on my TV.
With Rick, I celebrate Christmas in
- Paris and Burgundy, France
- Oslo, Norway
- Bath, England
- Rome, Italy
- German cities of Nürnberg, Salzburg, and Obendorf
I’ve visited all these cities during the Christmas holidays, and I enjoy revisiting these souvenirs of my earlier travels.
Of course I could just buy the DVD: but I prefer to DVR it during Channel 11′s Winter Pledge Drive, so I can support public television while enjoying one of my annual holiday traditions. Its an easy way to remind me to give, and what’s wrong with enjoying while I’m giving!
Rick Steves’ European Christmas: it makes me happy!
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December 6, 2012 2 Comments
Paris is well-known for it’s bread and pastries, but I lived there several years before I discovered croissants aux amandes: delicious croissants filled with almond paste and covered with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. This became my all-time pâtisserie favorite, even passing tarte citrone. My favorite pâtisserie was Paul, a high-quality chain with several locations in my neighborhood. When I left Paris, I looked in vain for similar almond croissants in the US: but they didn’t even come close. I thought living in NYC I’d find an almond croissant that was nearly as good as those in Paris, but every lead turned up tasteless.
Then, I was rewarded: Paris under the palm trees. Paul opened several locations in South Florida, the closest about 20 minutes from us. Well worth the drive. So leisurely mornings were spent in South Beach at the Lincoln Road Paul’s, in beautiful café chairs, with croissants aux amandes and café au lait. So far, Paul has added locations in the Washington DC area, although they keep telling me they have plans to expand in the US.
In Chicago, I found several bakeries that made a decent almond croissant: Alliance Bakery on Division and on Julius Meinl on Southport – a short walk from us. Both serve Parisian-style croissants aux amandes, and both have great coffee…and outdoor seating, always welcome when we’re walking Mignette.
Then, the Trader Joe’s flyer arrived in the mail and announced: frozen almond croissants: 4 for $3.99! 5 minute walk, always in the freezer. I got my coat.
1. 5 minute walk + $3.99 = 4 frozen almond croissants
2. Thaw over night: they will double in size.
3. Bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
5. Bon Appetit!
Croissants aux amandes and Trader Joe’s: it makes me happy!
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November 1, 2012 2 Comments
Do you shop online? I do. I think everyone does: my 80+ year old mother just bought something on Etsy!
Burberry, Cartier, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Tom Ford, Tory Burch, YSL, Mont Blanc: do I have your attention yet?
I take time out of every day – sometimes out of every hour – to see what’s on sale online. I subscribe to way too many deal websites, emails, twitter accounts, even text alerts: and have gotten some great deals: a fabulous bed retailing for almost $2000 for less than $300, 2-for-1 photography tours of the Everglades, dinner for 2 at a very chic restaurant at family-style prices, pilates classes, half-price frozen yogurt, ZipCar annual membership: I see the item and know it’s something I’ve been wanting, or that would make a great gift. Done. Happy customer.But I can never spend my money on designer luxury flash sales: yes, I see things I’m interested in, and sometimes even shopping for: but rather than spurring me to whip out my credit card, the ticking flash sale countdown clock makes me wait… and miss out. But I keep on looking.
I’m a regular customer on HaveDeals, a coupon code site I use to buy everything from groceries to printer ink to flowers to dog food to bath towels to hotels to personalized M&Ms. But I never thought of HaveDeals as a luxury site: just to buy every day necessities and gifts. Then I was clicking the New tab and discovered TrendsBazar. This site has designer clothes, accessories and housewares at discount prices: with no time limit. You can shop for as long as the product is available, not just until the sale ends. And with HaveDeals I not only get the site’s discount prices, I also get HaveDeals’ TrendsBazar promo code, and get an extra discount!
Is there anything worth buying on TrendsBazar? I scoped the accessories: purses, sunglasses and shoes. And belts. There they were, my current belt obsession: Hermès reversible H Constance belts. The classic. You seen them on TV: Kyle Richards wears hers regularly on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Giada Delaurentiis recently wore one on Rachel Ray, and Khloe Kardashian and Kelly Rowland are photographed frequently in the H belt.
I have one H belt I purchased in Paris at the bi-annual Hermès sale, in classic black and tan and a gold H. And I’ve been craving another, preferably in red. But I no longer live in Paris, and I’m not willing to spend the retail price. I even recently pinned my craving for a red H belt on Pinterest.
And there’s a whole selection of Hermès H Constance belts on TrendBazar. Assorted colors and sizes. Far cheaper than retail. Free shipping. Plus an additional discount from HaveDeals. Best part of the deal: I can take my time and decide which color I really want: there’s no timer blinking at me.
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August 8, 2012 1 Comment
I have a favorite white Furla bag I use throughout the summer… which since I commute between SoFlo and Chicago, means I use it year-round. This bag is a special souvenir purchased 2 years ago on Paris’ Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, on a trip with a favorite fairy-godchild who was born in Paris 10 years earlier. It replaced a similar version which I had retired immediately after a 3 week trip to India. Note to self: don’t take a white purse to India.
In addition to the memories, why do I love my Furla bag?
- its a soft, fold-able, smooth leather that weighs practically nothing
- its large enough to hold everything and anything, but when empty hangs smoothly and compactly
- the shoulder strap fits easily over my arm or a coat shoulder
So what’s the problem? In the past few weeks both moi husband and daughter have said repeatedly: That bag is filthy. You need to retire it. I hate to think what everyone else was too polite to say!
So, I grabbed a bottle of leather conditioner/cleaner and a soft rag, then scrubbed and scrubbed. A few days later: Retire that bag!
Next brilliant idea: searching for a leather cleaner who could return my purse’s creamy white color. No such luck.
Then, my brilliant husband did what I typically do: he Googled it.
Voila! According to Google, the best things to clean a dirty leather purse are:
- saddle soap: tried
- Dove soap: tried
- Nivea lotion: tried
- window cleaner: No way! did they see My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
- rubbing alcohol: no
- nail polish remover: NO WAY!!!
- Mr Clean Magic Eraser
Whoa! I love Mr Clean Magic Erasers, and I’ve talked about them with you before. But for leather purses??? Hmmm, what have I got to loose? And I have a new box under the sink.
1 hour later, I have a fairly clean while leather Furla bag. I’m going to clean the bag with Magic Erasers again next week. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think I’ll get any more mean comments from family members. And I have some time to search for another perfect white leather purse.
Mr Clean Magic Erasers safely clean leather. Who Knew?
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July 29, 2012 5 Comments
What’s a beertail? Beer and a mixer: the perfect light summer cooler! We developed our love of beer cocktails summering on the French Riviera. Yes, the oh-so-chic French love beer cocktails: especially panaché.
Our 1st visit to St Tropez, sitting under the umbrellas at le café, we ordered what the table next to us was drinking: panaché. When the pale yellow tall cold drinks arrived and we took our first sip, who knew: the French love beer and lemonade mixed! Since that 1st beertail, we’ve enjoyed many more throughout Europe, and now back in the States, we enjoy making this light refreshing low-cal cocktail for long hot summer days. Of course we cheat and use easily found American ingredients: we could buy 1664 bier or bubbling limonade, but it’s summertime and the living must be easy!
Voila! Here are a few French beer cocktail recipes to get you started. Santé!
Panaché (aka Shandy in the UK and Radler in Germany or Champú in Spain) You can even buy bottles of panaché pre-mixed at la marche!
- 1 bottle light beer: your preference
- 12 oz Crystal Light lemonade: keeps the calories low
- Mix, enjoy! Makes 2
Monaco (aka Potsdamer in Germany)
- Panaché with a touch or grenandine ( abt 1/4 tsp per glass)
- beer and grenadine
Be creative! Throughout Europe, South America and the Caribbean beer is commonly mixed with other non-alcoholic drinks including
- coke (a Diesel or Mazout in Germany),
- cider (Diesel in the UK)
- ginger ale (Shandygaf in Japan)
- orange juice (Brass Monkey: its American!)
Grenadine used to be made from pomegranate juice (and in fact is based on the French word for pomegranate: grenade). Now grenadine is primarily made from artificial colors and flavors. Personally, I don’t stock it. So for any recipe calling for grenadine I substitute pomegranate juice: there’s always a bottle of Pom in moi fridge. Cheers!
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July 15, 2012 No Comments
Today, February 2, is the national holiday La Chandeleur in France, a Catholic feast honoring the Virgin Mary. Tradition says that the Pope offered crêpes to pilgrims who came to honor Mary. And the French have been eating them ever since. Today all of France is dining on crêpes, the very thin rolled pancakes with delicious sweet or savory fillings. Crêpes are easy to make at home – and even easier with the ready-made crêpes I shared with you last year – but this year I’m introducing you to Moi new favorite neighborhood crêperie, La Crêperie.
To be totally honest, TBG and I passed this resto countless times before finally going in…we just assumed it wouldn’t be what we wanted. Were we ever wrong: its exactly the type of neighborhood restaurant everyone wants to have:
- easy walking distance
- casual authentic food
- inexpensive menu with a good variety of options
- and, its a French!
Living in Paris we were always lucky to have a crêperie within a few footsteps, plus outdoor crêpe stands are easily found in many Paris neighborhoods. Living in St. Louis, we walked to City Coffee and Crêperie, and then in NYC we literally lived above Artopolis, featuring crêpes and gelato! I guess we thought it too good to be true: but once again, a charming and authentic crêperie right in our neighborhood.
On our 1st visit to La Crêperie we took niece Rachel, who was a little reluctant to go to an “authentic” crêperie: we’d taken her to Artopolis, and she loved the more creative pizza crêpe. Inside, La Creperie is dark and crowded (everyone in the neighborhood discovered it before us!) but charming and reminiscent of a 3rd or 4th generation crêperie in Brittany. She was a little skeptical of the menu, but TBG and I were enthusiastically discussing the beer, wine and cider menu: this crêperie was the real thing! After explaining that fromage crêpe was basically toasted cheese on a pancake Rachel chose that, while I decided to order the soup a l’onion gratinee and “share” Rachel’s fromage crêpe and TBG’s jambon et fromage – and a HUGE platter of pommes frites.
OohLaLa! Accompanied by un verre rouge and un bol cidre – and a diet Pepsi for the child – we were very happy indeed. But saved a little room to share a Banana Sara for dessert: oozing with banana, chocolate, caramel and vanilla ice cream.
the detailsLa Crêperie 2845 N. Clark, Chicago 773.528.9050 http://www.lacreperieusa.com
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February 1, 2012 1 Comment
Most ex-expat Parisians moan their loss of French cheeses, many still practically unheard of in the US. Personally, while j’adore le fromage Francais, I find the cheeses at specialty stores – such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other gourmet shops – and the cheeses from my local farmer’s markets do a pretty good job of satisfying my craving for fresh, rich, indulgent cheese.
Until recently, the same couldn’t be said of yogurts. While many Americans jump off the plane and head straight to a Parisian street market or the local fromagerie, I headed straight to the Inno or Monoprix refrigerated section to indulge in richy, creamy, tangy French yogurt. While I would readily have risked confiscation by smuggling yogurt into my luggage, I sadly feared 9 hours on the plane (plus 2 hours waiting for my luggage to bump down the belt) would curdle or liquify the yogurt.
Why French yogurt? I’ve always been a yogurt lover, but prior to my 1st trip to Paris I thought yogurt was overly-sweet, bright blue or red, lumpy, and pudding-like. More like a snack or dessert: good but not a meal. Back in the day I even bought myself a yogurt maker, and with a little plain yogurt starter I made my own plain yogurt and sweetened it with honey, fruit preserves and wheat germ (who’d heard of granola back then???) But lack of time (and counter space) due to family, job, house and dogs eventually buried the yogurt maker.
But now, Greek yogurt is firmly ensconced in the US and my craving for rich tangy yogurt is satisfied. Chez Moi I’m a huge fan of Fage, and TBG prefers the slightly sweeter Chobani. But this week, TBG made a grocery run and as usual, he didn’t stick to the shopping list.
And brought home Cabot Greek Yogurt. We were familiar with Cabot Cheeses: we love the American brand, always buy their cheddar. But I didn’t know they’re now making greek-style yogurt. Its rich, creamy, tart and a little sweet. Perfect with my morning berries and granola.
Yes, I’ll still buy Fage. But when I find only Cabot Greek Yogurt in the fridge I’ll be looking for a spoon, not my car keys.
Bon Appétit!the details:
- Fage Greek 0% Yogurt: 17.6 oz $6.99
- Cabot Greek-Style Plain Yogurt: 2lbs $5.99
- Chobani Fat-Free Greek Yogurt: 32 oz $5.99
NOTE: Dairy prices vary widely by region. I’m in SoFlo now, so your prices may differ. For the best price, try Target or Costco.
Greek yogurt: it makes me happy!
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January 25, 2012 4 Comments
I spent last week in Berlin shopping, eating and just generally relaxing with my friend The Antiques Diva. Since I’ve been to Berlin many times already sightseeing was not on our must-do list (although our 3rd travel friend Stacey is pretty confident I never have been sightseeing in Berlin, or I’ve just forgotten every monument and historic sight we passed). As we visited in late November I was lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful city of Berlin all dressed up for the holiday season. And as my photography skills never seem to improve, I was lucky that The Antiques Diva shared her photos with me…and now with you.
Of course we visited Berlin’s glamorous department store KaDeWe, not once but twice
Stores were dressed for the season
And though the famous Berlin Christkindlmarkts didn’t officially open until the day we left Berlin, we were fortunate to visit a Christmas market at Potsdamer Plotz that didn’t read the official holiday calendar, with plenty of wurst and sauerkraut, glühwein, potato pancakes and stollen (I carried a stollen home with me to Chicago for our Thanksgiving brunch!)
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November 25, 2011 3 Comments