Friday, October 1, 2010

Starved in Paris + Newlywed Pizzas

Hello Vanilla-beaners!

Oh! Its been a while!  Sorry I've been absent for so so long. I was planning my wedding and I wasn't cooking much at all! It was Mc Donald's  or Pizza or St-Hubert...I was so stressed.

My wedding was one of the most wonderful days of my life. I couldn't have even dreamed that up!

Then I went to Paris for my honeymoon. It was absolutely breathtaking, wonderful and romantic- especially at night. Ooh-la-la.

On the other hand, our food experience there was not good. You're surprised...I know..
They say breakfast isn't their thing..Its a croissant and that's it.  Well, lunch isn't their thing either apparently. Supper is sometimes their thing, if you're lucky enough to discover the right place.
We found that you had to pay big bucks to eat as well as we do here. We were going crazy- there was no variety. There were a whole lot of crepe restaurants and food stands that's for sure,  which is wonderful but I can't eat that all the time..My husband didn't even want to eat ONE!  Guys don't eat crepes apparently:)  We had a pizza at a Bistro on Champs D'elysses but it was oddly soggy. We affectionately call it our puddle pizza.
Also, It seemed that every single place which served food, served "Croque Monsieur" or "Croque Madame". This is basically a baked ham sandwhich with melted cheese on top. Croque madame is the equivalent , but with an egg on top. I know, you're thinking..."That's not so bad"- but it was bizarre...these things were EVERYWHERE! As a result, we had it one too many times. Its been a running joke for me and my husband...Even on the boat ride on the Seine river, guess what they were serving as an onboard snack?  We went to one place, late in the day. We were dead tired and starving! There were a few "ok" things on the menu, so I tried to order a salad with ham in it (they freakin' looove ham too)....the waiter replied with his finger pointed to the menu items " We don't have this, this, nor this - Il nous reste seulement le Croque Monsieur et le Croque Madame". lol.. I just stared at him for a few moments and said,  "D'accord...un Croque Monsieur s'il vous plait". 

I was in the Twilight Zone.

No wonder people are slim there.
pfft...Don't even get me started on the coffee! It was bad. Cafe Americano, Cafe regulier avec lait froid, lait chaud, espresso, cappucino....It didn't matter what it was called! They all tasted the same.

Ah, we had to live on love...(just kidding)..we lived on random snacks and held out for supper time.

I'm sure that when we went for drinks before dinner at our hotel bar, the barman noticed that we savagely devoured those little cheese sticks, olives and nuts that were served as an accompanying snack.
"Who are deez animalzz" lol 

 (Seriously, we did discover a few restaurants worth mentionning. There's a gem of a restaurant called La Societ√©, a weird one called Le Derriere..(I call it the Michael Sera restaurant because of the mismatched decor and ping pong table in the center of the restaurant - Random!) and we there was a super snob, super-chic one too called L'Ambroisie.)

This is Michael Sera: 

For lovers of France...Don't be offended, I know that outside of Paris life is very different and so is the food. I'm know its wonderful and on my next trip, I will go exploring outside of the city.

Anyway, I came back wanting to go to every restaurant we know I also wanted to cook again!

So, now I'm settled and relaxed in my new beautiful life and I can cook my heart out!

I was looking through my faithful cookbooks to see what recipe was going to inspire me this week. Pizza is one of my weaknesses. So, in my Maria Loggia cookbook, I found a recipe for basic pizza dough and a recipe for a calzone stuffed with Swiss Chard (Bietole), olives..and other tasty things..(see next post for this recipe)

I usually buy my dough from the bakery but I don't have to anymore. This recipe is easy, feels like you can't fail at it. It browns nicely and is super elastic-y.

 Basic Pizza Dough
- 1+1/3 cup of warm water. (max 115 F or 45 C)
- 1tsp of active dry yeast
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of salt
- About 3 +3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour. ( I used a bit of "00" flour mixed with the all purpose)

In a measuring cup  blend water , yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy (5 min).
Stir in the oil and salt. Put 3 cups of the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Mix the yeast mixture and and stir to blend (dough will be sticky)

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking (5-8 minutes) (you may not need all of the flour)
Form into a ball.
Oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning it once to coat the ball
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size. (1hr to 1hr1/2)

Once risen, punch down the dough, knead into a ball and return to the same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise again for another 45 min.

Yeild: 2 calzoni or 4 small pizzas.

Read my next post: It is a recipe for a Calzone stuffed with Swiss Chard, olives, cheese, and more, - it was mouthwatering.

Side note:
I made a white pizza with sausage and potato, olives, a tiny bit of minced anchovy, hot pepper and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

The cheese browned too much - but it was darn good!

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised how FLAVORFUL the dough was! :)