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The First Espresso in Paris

The first espresso-Tiny Global Kitchen

Cafe

I was anxious when landing in Paris. Why? Curious isn’t it? My heart was pounding. Probably because I’d longed to be here for so long. In my mind I’d wandered the streets, sat in cafes, taken photos down narrow alleyways. But now, I felt nervous. Like it wouldn’t meet my expectations. Like I didn’t deserve to be here. Would I be able to communicate? Would they be rude? Did I pack the right clothes? Do we have enough time? We landed and breezed through customs. Not one question. We collected our bags and met the taxi station. All the women are so fluid. Words spill out of their mouths like a vinyasa flow. The cab driver greets us with a hearty bonjour. He struggles to communicate with us in English but he’s trying. A heartfelt kind of communication, using body language and warm smiles. He turns on the AC and I silently praise him. The 11-hour flight has left me drained and unemotional. We drive into the city in silence and I hold my breathe waiting for a stirring, a feeling of expected excitement. I see industrial buildings and wonder what’s around the next bend. The traffic flows, no honks, motorbikes, Audis, Peugots, and sleek Mercedes all around. I catch a glimpse of Sacre Couer. It’s smaller than I imagined but perched on a hill watching the city. The tip of the Eiffel tower shows itself and my mouth pops open. We exit the freeway into the Arc De Triomph. The driver tries to explain that we’re staying on a ‘very good street.’ We pull up at 33 Avenue Foch. A sleek apartment building surrounded by a long park and the widest avenue in France. He graciously thanks us and we arrive into our temporary home of the music promoter we haven’t even met yet. How trusting.

It’s warm. We open the windows to try to get a cross breeze. It’s quaint. A modern couch, a vintage couch, sueded walls. Wood floors and a beautiful view from the kitchen. We are so tired. We have a few drinks and collapse for a nap, guiltily. All I can think is, Sarah- you’re in your dream city for not even three full days and you want to sleep…yes. I awoke from a nap to the sun shining over the buildings. It’s 5pm. I wake J up and tell him the evening light is amazing. That’s enough to rouse him up.

We wander down and find a cafe called Cafe Victor Hugo and find a table outside. Our first meal. We order a filet of beef with béarnaise, fries, and a glass of rose. After dinner, we order an espresso. It arrives with a perfectly rich caramel crema. We people watch, the woman walking in her ballet flats, chewing the end of a baguette, the slim tailored suits of the French businessmen with their pointy shoes. We talk about the future and slowly savor our coffee. Afterwards we walk down the avenue, stop in for some Perrier to go. We take photos of the Arc De Triomph, and watch the insane circular traffic nightmare, then back up Avenue Foch, taking photos of old doors, Embassies, rich Parisians houses, and collapse on the couch back in our apartment. What is the feeling of the first day? A curiosity, an overall feeling hoping people will be nice. I feel a hesitation with not knowing enough French. It’s so easy to just speak english. But are they silently cursing me, a disdainful look or answering in French. It’s different than I expected, but very much the same as things I’ve read. I’m waiting for goosebumps, for those serendipitous moments of wandering down just the right street, a life changing meal, the magic that I’ve been told about. Until then, it is time for sleep. Or maybe one more espresso…

French Recipe Tiny Kitchen

Blue cheese soufflé cures the blues

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It’s the bad news everywhere, it’s the incessant rain, my partner being in Chicago for a month, it’s [insert anything here.] Many things can make a girl have the Sunday blues these days. In an effort to keep “ing” (do-ing, cook-ing, runn-ing… you get the picture) I decided to attempt an infamous recipe, the soufflé.

I’ve heard the hype, seen the movie Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina, but thought, why not? If I screw this up, at least there’s a new day tomorrow.

I found my Barefoot Contessa in Paris cookbook and turned a sticky page 50. As a self taught cook herself, when she claims it is really truly easy, I can believe her. (Or I’m a big sucker.)

I started off by prepping everything in advance and reading all the way through the recipe, so there’s *hopefully* no surprises.

Then, wow! Nothing compares to pulling a beautifully puffed soufflé out of the oven. I mean it. Gasp, success! I hate to admit that I actually enjoyed it more than finishing a week long work project. It really is the little things in life.

Here’s the recipe, maybe you can enjoy a little of the blues-curing Blue cheese… it really is easy. Be sure to enjoy while listening to a little French music, I suggest the Amelie soundtrack.

Blue Cheese Soufflé – Ina Garten/Barefoot in Paris. Buy here, it’s a great cookbook.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
  • 5 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter x 3 1/4 inches deep and sprinkle evely with Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 mintues. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisky attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.