Many of you know during Aspen’s summer season I’m a volunteer USFS Ranger decked out in the required uniform and official paraphernalia. When on a mountain trail patrol, if I see a tourist who is lost, separated from their hiking group or panicky, I know what to do.
Currently I am an American in Paris, a visitor, a guest. The best word to describe me is “careful.” That’s why when I spotted a little guy, about four-years-old, opening the gate at Square Jean XXIII park near Notre Dame Cathédrale last Sunday, it gave me pause. I looked around, saw no parents but did see a busy crowded boulevard, cars, and the Seine.
I slowly approached him, remembering the verb for “lost” and asked if he was. He didn’t respond but ‘about to cry’ means, “Yes.” As he wandered around the park, a young woman asked me if he was lost. Realizing he was, she said, “I’ll stay with you until he finds his parents.”
We didn’t touch him nor hold his hand nor say a word to him. We just kept him safe until we heard an obviously embarrassed Dad and worried Grandpa waving, hollering and thanking us. The entire incident took only ten to fifteen minutes but in that time the little tyke could have walked out the gate.
When I leave Paris, will that be the incident I remember most? Not likely. What I will remember is that I am one of at least 23 million tourists who visit a city that 2.2 million Parisians call home. It’s their turf and I’m cautious.
That being said, every day in Paris is like starting over ….. and, that’s a beautiful thing.* Here’s what my second week here looked like.
MACRON, MACARON, MACAROON, MACARONI
Oui, it’s confusing! Today we’re only dealing with macarons, that small, round almond cake/cookie with a meringue-like consistency made from almond flour, powdered sugar and egg whites. Two of those little darlings are “glued” together with a delicious, creamy filling. They can be made in a rainbow of colors with plain to exotic fillings.
I signed up for what was a fabulous three-hour macaron class at LaCuisine Paris, a well-regarded cooking school. Under the watchful eye of our talented chef, Ségolène, eight of us learned two different meringue methods, four classic fillings and many macaron baking tips. We made 20 dozen cookies (10 dozen macarons)!
PARIS HAS, COUNT ‘EM, 130 MUSEUMS
This week I visited two new-to-me museums, Le Musée de la Chasse de la Nature (The Museum of Hunting and Nature), housed in the grand Hôtel de Guénégaud, circa 1651, and The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, a Museum of Arts and Civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Both museums were quite dazzling, with their own personalities and well worth my time. See their websites listed below.
COOKTHEBOOKFRIDAYS – EVERYDAY DORIE, THE WAY I COOK
Our recipe choice this week is Dorie Greenspan’s POTATO TOURTE. Using the same method as pie-baking but by exchanging store-bought puff pastry for pie crust, you’ll understand what this is about. Another French twist are the ingredients, potatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, butter and heavy cream. Those last two are shockers, right?
After slicing and dicing, layer everything except the cream into your pie or tart container like a composed salad. Save the butter for the top. Salt, pepper. Bake at 400 degrees and, mid-baking, slowly pour the cream through the X vent of your top crust.
This tourte is as tasty as it is eye-appealing. The genius of Dorie is her skillfulness in walking you through her recipes. For those of you, like me, who aren’t pro’s, she tends to answer a question just as you’re wanting to ask it. This dish works for lunch with a salad, for dinner as a side or as a snack, note the crème fraîche.
As I said, I made today’s recipe in my tiny one-counter kitchen. Although I love, love, love my flat here in Paris, when I return to Aspen and my 940 sq. foot condo, it will seem like a mansion. (More photos of it in next week’s blog.)
Bonsoir from Paris.
La Cuisine Paris https://lacuisineparis.com/
Museum of Hunting & Nature, https://www.chassenature.org/
Museum de Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, http://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/expositions-evenements/au-musee/expositions/