jeudi 24 janvier 2013

Un bonjour de Lyon: Salad for you my friends!

My dear, poor, non French people, 

Ever thought there could be magic in a salad? 
I mean not in that terrible all-washed no-cheese no-croutons no-life "Iceberg" you've been looking at every day at noon, now that you've decided you are going to lose the few pounds that separate you from being "the real you" (or may I say, the real boring you?).

I'm talking vraie salade.
I myself used to hate it. As a kid we would only eat salad after the entree, with a lot of vinegar, and I really didn't care for this sour sour sour moment.

And then I discovered the Salade Lyonnaise

La Salade Lyonnaise


1 salad. Mâche. Dandelions. Frisee. Or even Aragula.

1 egg per person

8 oz sliced bacon (lardons)

3 slices of bread (the older the best)

Mustard. Organic Canola Oil.
Red Vinegar

I hope you poor non-French people know that Lyon, this great French city in the South East of France, is a great place for food. It's by many considered as the capital of gastronomy... 

That's where the French pope of gastronomy lives, Paul Bocuse. An incredible chef who was at the head of a French Revolution: La Nouvelle Cuisine, in the 60's. A real "bon-vivant", who very proudly tells how he's been living with three women at the same time for years... Oh la la, le coq français! But a great chef avant tout. As I'm writing, the best chefs of the world are competing in Lyon to get the best award in the world: le Bocuse d'Or.

I've lived and studied (well tried to) in Lyon, and the least I can say is that it's not only a place for high-end pricey restaurants. It's just a place of amazing food.
The market in itself is "une tuerie" (a killing... like it kills you because it's so good). And the little traditional restaurants "les bouchons" are to die for.

My favorite bouchon, le Café des fédérations

Charcuterie, (Yes, Jesus is a sausage in Lyon), Cheese (St Marcellin je t'aime), and amazing dishes: Quenelles de brochet (pike fish dumplings), Tablier de sapeur (soldier's apron, an amazing dish with tripes), or Cervelle de Canut
(litteraly "Silk workers brains"... actually fromage blanc with shallots and chives)... Aïe Aïe Aïe!

I learned to live and to cook in Lyon. My boyfriend at the time was coming from a family of restaurateurs, and I will always remember his step-father, the moustachy-grumpy-but-friendly Bruno, complaining about how "people didn't know how to make a proper Salade Lyonnaise" any more.
Well I don't know if Bruno would aprove of this one, but this is how I make it.

La recette

Slice the bacon into lardons
(just as I explain in the video)
Cut the bread in small croutons, of about the same size as the lardons.
On a very very hot and non-sticky pan, pour the lardons. When they begin to sweat, add the croutons. 
Let them dance together for as long as they need to caramelize.
Meanwhile put a pan of water to a boil
Add red winegar
Break your egg in a bowl, and gently slide it in the boiling water.
Use your spoon to gather  all the white around the egg, and cook them all for 3 minutes.
Make a vinaigrette (1tsp mustard +1 tsp red wine vinegar + salt + pepper+ 2 tbsp oil)

Mix it with the frisee (or whatever salad you have), add the lardons and the croutons, then the egg...

Et voila!

Bon appétit les amis!!


Promise I'll give you a list of my favorite places in Lyon if you happen to go there! 
Working on a brand new French and perfect website for bientôt!

mardi 15 janvier 2013

A good year and a good soup!

My dear, poor, non French people

Comment ça va?
I'm so happy to write to you again after these terrible Christmas holidays. 
Oh, don't misunderstand me, I have loved going back to France to see my family and friends. But excusez-moi, there's too much good food there! After days and hours of family banquets, foie-gras get-togethers, chocolate éclairs snacks and other "you definitely should take the vol-au-vent AND the tête-de-veau: after all you never get it there", I am so glad to be back THERE, in California! Finies les tentations! 

That's when I get to tell you about the most important Holiday tradition in France. 
It's not Bûche de Noël, it's not marrons glacés nor Chapon roti... (Although all these great dishes are compulsory in any Christmas dinner or NYE Reveillon).

It is crise de foie.
Crise de foie, or litterary "liver crisis" is another part of the French paradox. 
No other country or culture IN THE WORLD suffers from this sickness which only appears once in the year.
Tv news and newspapers make their headlines with it every premier de l'an, the first day of the year... And you can be sure that it's the first thing your butcher or your pharmacist would want to know when you come back from the holidays: "Vous l'avez eue?

So what is it about crise de foie?
It's not a stomachache, it's not a hangover, it's both and it's none... 
Thousands of doctors have tried to convince the French people that it actually doesn't really exist... It's just that we ate and drunk too much during the holiday season. 

But you know how we are. 
We French people like to stand for what we believe.
So we may have a little crise de foi (faith crisis, disbelief) from time to time,  but will always believe in crise de foie
(how strange my mother tongue is... Foie is liver and foi is faith...)
Anyhow, I just wanted to give you my little tip to get better after too much stomach pleasure...
It's not "detox" or raw or anything, it's just good and soothing.

La soupe au chou-fleur


1 cauliflower
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 star anise pod
1 tbsp Tumeric and or Curry

 Wash the cauliflower, cut the green parts
Put in in a pan with the chicken broth and the water
Add the star anise pod.
Put to a boil, and then let it gently cook (on medium) for at least 20 minutes
When the vegetable seems soft (and cooked) enough, mix it
Add the turmeric and/or curry.

Et voilà!

A soup very light in calories but full of récomfort, just for you and your crise de foie les amis!

Bonne année! et Bon appétit!

PS: it's not Cauliflower soup, but you should know that Cabbage soup is a huge pop-culture thing in France... A hit movie from the 70's pretended that the smell of it was able to attract aliens and their UFO's...
La soupe aux choux, with Louis de Funes and Jacques Villeret