Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Little Parisian Cafe Dinner Party

Bonjour! C'est vrai, I'm going to be that guy. I'm going to Eat, Pray, Love about the time I spent in Paris last Spring. Reader beware, this issue contains boring vacation photos. Paris is the most charming place on earth no matter where you find yourself economically. Cue the accordion music. Food has such a strong effect on my memory, I think most people eat to live, I live to eat. (My mom has pointed that out to me, a lot). Some of the best things I ate in France were inexpensive delectables from little stands and markets. It seems like even the McDonalds' there were like bistro quality. One of my favorite food related memories takes place just outside Notre-Dame cathedral. I had finally gotten my long awaited Croque Monsieur from a street cafe. As I carelessly savored every morsel, butter most likely dribbling down my face, I felt a wet, warm pile plop onto my pants. Parisian pigeons don't care. 

Exhibit A. 

It's been just over a year since that deliciously mortifying experience and I'm jonezing this simple sandwich and a cup of authentic French onion soup. Spring time always makes me long to do home repairs, like giving my kitchen some cafe flair with a few quick ideas.  

Croque Mouse-ieur

Literally translating to "Mr. Crunch" or "Croque McDo," for years I've had French teachers rattle off about this classic street treat. Paris has so many fairly clean little street cafes, which are a cheap way to eat authentic french food while catching up on some faux soul-searching and touristy people-watching. These were everything I had hoped for and more. So, I tried them at home, not bad, not bad at all! 

You Will Need the Following: 
1 stolen loaf of bread
lots of butter
thick sliced deli ham
2 c shredded greyere cheese

Cover both sides of the bread with butter and set on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 375. 

Frere Jacques' Onion Soup

I love anything with broiled cheese, bread and onions. This is another thing that's good at every cafe in Paris and usually quite cheap. This is a great side because it'll help you use up the bread and cheese you bought for the sandwiches. 

You Will Need the Following: 
3 mixed onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
t tsp sugar
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 c stock
1/4 c white wine
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper 
5-6 slices of bread
1 c shredded gruyere

Step 1: Roast garlic in foil while onions simmer for 30 minutes in oil. Coat with sugar in the last 10 minutes or until browned but not crunchy. 

Step 2: Meanwhile, stir together stock, wine, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add roasted garlic and slightly warm. 

Step 3: Transfer onions to soup. Simmer 30 minutes. 

Step 4: Put into fire proof dishes. Float bread and cheese on top. Broil 10 minutes or less. 

Au revoir! 

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