Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That Much for Shoes?

Just wondering if these people are waiting to actually buy some Christian Louboutin shoes, or if they are just window shoppers.  Personally I can't imagine paying that much for very uncomfortable looking shoes.  However if someday I pass by and there's no line I might just have to take a look inside.  See how the other half live.  The really rich other half with feet that really hurt.
By the way, the French don't say "window shopping," they say "lèche-vitrines," or "window licking."  I like that.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pasta Carbonara - My Way

(I should point out that this was my second helping.)

This is The Girl's favorite meal.  Ever.  My second child, who has been mostly a vegetarian her entire life, LOVES bacon.  And in the US I was able to buy meat without nitrates or nitrites, so while I know bacon is loaded with heart killing saturated fat, I was glad I wasn't pumping her with known cancer causing additives.  Here in Paris I have been very unlucky in my search for nitrate and nitrite-free meat, and even the Bio (Organic) options here seem to contain nitrates.  I was very excited to find Bio Smoked Pork Belly, only to read the fine print (after I had purchased it) that told me nitrates were used for preservation.  Come on people!  Get rid of this stuff!  Unless I can find bacon without nitrates this will be the last time I make Pasta Carbonara.  Don't tell The Girl, she might cry.

Pasta Carbonara - My Way

1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine 
14 ounces Thick Cut Nitrate Free Bacon, Slab Bacon or Pork Belly
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Yes, this recipe is heavy on the bacon, plus The Girl likes it crispy, so it's a little bit different from the standard preparation.  But it's her favorite, and I'm a weenie when it comes to making my kids their favorite foods.  (Minus those darn nitrates!)

If you are using sliced bacon, slice it into lardon, or dice if you prefer.  If you are using slab bacon or pork belly, and you plan on hanging around the house for 2 hours prior to dinner, prepare your home to smell like heaven.  Preheat your oven to 200˚ F.  Slice your slab bacon or pork belly into 1/4 inch strips and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for two hours, turning once.  Allow to cool, discard any rind that is too hard, and slice into lardon, or dice.  

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, heavy cream and cheese.

Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large enough skillet to handle the cooked pasta later.  Add the bacon or precooked slab bacon or pork belly to the skillet and cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered.  I do this low and slow to get the crispest bacon possible.  Bacon fat is delicious, I know, but I do think you can go overboard.  I usually spoon out most of the rendered fat leaving only about 2 tablespoons.  Do what you like.  

Once the bacon is almost at the level of crispiness you desire, bring a pot of well salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  I suggest checking for the perfect al dente at about 2 minutes before the end of the recommended cooking time.

A minute before the pasta is done toss the chopped garlic in with the bacon, and sauté for just a minute or two to soften.  

Before draining the pasta reserve 1 cup of the pasta water to thin the sauce as needed.  Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, tossing it well with the bacon fat.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in the reserved egg, cream and cheese mixture, tossing everything together.  Add pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until the sauce reaches a nice creamy consistency.  Season the mixture with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt.  Mound into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese to those who love it super cheesy.  Try hard not to come back for seconds.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Found Champagne

Our Gardienne's husband found this champagne in their cave, and for some unknown reason gave my husband two bottles.  Not that I'm complaining!  Anyone know anything about Veuve Olivier or Pol Demart?  Off to Google.

I'm Baaaaack! Moving and Broken Stuff.

Not having internet was a big pain in the patootie.  No phone and no TV I was living with, but I like the internet.  A lot.  And with no smart phone, I forgot there was a world outside of Paris.  Which in and of itself is not always a bad thing.

I have been waiting patiently, and will join the eight million other people buying the iPhone4S on the 14th of October.  (Think I'll have to wait in line long?)  If anyone else is planning on getting one at the Carrousel du Louvre Apple Store let me know.  We can camp out together.  

Once we were in the new place we could get the neighbors signal for a few hours a day, but it was never consistent.  Needless to say I did a lot of reading.  And unpacking of many boxes.  I knew we had a lot of crap, but wow.  Anyone need a shower organizer that doesn't fit on our French shower heads?  Still has the tags on it from The Container Store.  (Dear goodness I miss that place.)

Speaking of moving, on moving day we showed up and there were nice moving men from Belgium, but no truck.  Just lots of cars parked where the truck should be, right next to the signs telling people not to park there because a really big truck needed to park there.  Here is the nice tow truck man helping those nice people learn a valuable lesson about reading signs.
I'd heard they were going to use a lift to get all of our things into the new place, but it was more impressive than I'd thought.  
Please oh please oh please don't drop any of my stuff 4 floors down.
Most impressive was their 10 minute struggle to get the King Size mattress through the window.  There was a point I thought it wouldn't make it.  Thank goodness it fit!
You can do it!  Mama needs a good nights sleep!

Notice those tall boxes on the right?  Those are IKEA bookcases.  I end up buying new ones every time we move as inevitably they get destroyed.  Glad I bought them in the states preemptively as sure enough the old ones were broken, and I saved a ton of euros as IKEA France is much more expensive.  I figure I can use that money to buy the matching bag for these boots.  OK.  Back from dreamland.

Then came the boxes.  Oh lord there were a lot of boxes.  And bins of toys.  And books.  Lots and lots of books.  And more broken stuff.
This was the biggest loss since these chairs have been
discontinued.  Be wary if I invite you over
for dinner.  Just kidding!  It's now the official, "I don't
feel like hanging up my clothes" chair in the bedroom.
So much for the worlds most expensive trash can.
I still plan on using it.  I can't imagine throwing a
trash can away when all I'm going to use it for is trash.
(And you better believe I brought a Costco sized
box of Cheez-It's with me to Paris!  Don't judge,
they're like crack.  )

And just in case you didn't notice the gorgeous hardwood floors, the landlord did refinish the nasty floors after all.  This is what they used to look like, yuck, and here they are now.  

We were shocked.  The whole apartment looks brighter, and now I don't have to buy wall to wall carpet!  Hooray!  

All is well friends.  Now off to cook!