Week 30: Cookbook Meals: The Little Paris Kitchen

I went Parisian this week with The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. I’ve cooked out of this a few times before (for crêpes and quiche) but I was excited to try some classic French meals. Also, to be noted, I cooked mostly out of the “Everyday Cooking” and “Snacks” section of the book, so these meals wouldn’t be classical dinners in France per say, but they are classically French!

Had in kitchen: Red wine (I had to get really into the spirit!), Dijon mustard, milk, butter, eggs, arugula, berry jam, olive oil, red wine vinegar, half a lemon, salt, pepper, nutmeg

Bought: Pain au chocolat, and 1 loaf of fresh bread of the local bakery, Gruyere cheese, 1/4 pound sliced ham, heavy cream, 5 lb bag russet potatoes (I only needed 2 lb but it was on sale), buckwheat flour, 2 pears, 1 avocado, 1 grapefruit, 1 onion, 1 bunch thyme, 1 eggplant, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 5 roma tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1 loaf white bread

Spent: $47 (aka $9.40/day for 3 meals per day)

Daily Breakfast: Pain Au Chocolat from the local bakery or a slice of fresh bread toasted with butter and jam

Comments from Claire: By far, my favorite part of the Parisian experience (besides drinking red wine every night) was getting a nice carb-y start to my day. I picked up a fresh pain au chocolat (which everyone just calls a chocolate croissant here) at my local “boulangerie,” or toasted my fresh bread and served with some butter and jam as a breakfast tartine. It added a sweet start to my day, and felt like such a treat that it instantly put me in a better mood.

MONDAY

Lunch: Leftover from the weekend

Dinner: Ratatouille 

Comments from Claire: I made this in the beginning of the week since I figured I could use the leftovers in other meals (in or on the side of my crêpes, on the tartines, on the side with my potatoes, etc.). It was basically a tray of roasted vegetables, but since the recipe required sauteing some beforehand, then slow-roasting at a low temp and then broiling so there’s caramelization on top, the simplicity still led to great flavor. That’s something I noticed about French cooking throughout the week…

TUESDAY

Lunch: Ratatouille

Dinner: Savory Crepes

Claire’s Quips: Okay, this was definitely a fail. I have made crêpes from this recipe before (and I don’t have a crêpe pan, so I just use a frying pan) and besides the inevitability of a few breaking apart, they’ve come out pretty good. In the book she has a recipe for sweet crêpes using white flour (which is the one I’ve made), and another for savory using buckwheat flour. This is where I went wrong. Literally every crêpe except one or two fell apart in the pan, and for the couple that came out, I was reminded that I hate the taste of buckwheat flour. Notes for next time!

WEDNESDAY

Lunch: Crepes

Dinner: Trio of Savory Tartines

Comments from Claire: I think this was my favorite recipe because they were so simple, but delightfully pretty. And that just helps the eating experience, doesn’t it? It basically entails slicing pieces of bread and toasting them, and then topping with whatever you want. I followed hers from the book which were: ham + pear (I added a drizzle of honey to mine); butter + radish; and avocado + grapefruit. I added a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to all of mine. I also went out for drinks this night, and this was so easy to make when I got back!

THURSDAY

Lunch: Tartines

Dinner: Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise and Arugula Salad with Vinaigrette

Comments from Claire: I was looking forward to trying this recipe–and was slightly intimidated–because I had seen families cook it on The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix (when everyone was getting into The Great British Bake Off I got into this show for some reason lol). I knew they were tricky (I think the judge critiqued them because the potatoes were cut unevenly and cooked at different times, but luckily that’s not a issue in my kitchen), but I actually found them simple to make and they were quite delicious. Of course not the healthiest, but when not eaten in ginormous portions it’s not too bad! A trick of the French. I served it with an arugula salad with one of her vinaigrettes from the book.

FRIDAY

Lunch: Potatoes and Salad

Dinner: Croque Madame “Muffins”

Comments from Claire: I loved getting the classic Croque Monsieurs or Madames when I’ve visited Paris, so I was excited to try Khoo’s more modern take on them, in muffin form! It was also fun to learn how to make a bechamel sauce since that’s kind of a culinary classic.

Oh – and I had to get a trio of tartes! Dessert is very important to the French as well 🙂

See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden

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