A Recipe From Paris’s Famous Poilâne Bakery

The following is brought to you (via me) by My Little Paris, a website that I’ve lately become addicted to for fun French musings on life, cooking and je ne sais quoi else.bakery1

3,451 miles. That’s how far Apollonia Poilâne used to go to get her bread every week.

Okay—technically, it was FedEx delivering the loaf from the Poilâne bakery in Paris to Apollonia’s mailbox in the US. But still. The woman clearly takes her bread seriously. She had to: when her parents died in a helicopter crash just months before she left France for college, 18-year-old Apollonia spent four years running the entire bakery from—no kidding—her Harvard dorm room. The following recipe is not for bread (it’s impossible to recreate a Poilâne loaf at home, trust us). But it’s one of Apollonia’s personal favorites, and involves chocolate, crushed butter cookies, and salted butter. Kind of hard to complain.

(Tip: they’re best made with Poilâne’s punition biscuits (which you can order here), but any old butter cookie will do.)
In Paris? Stop by Poilâne’s flagship bakery at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi for breakfast (or lunch, or both). Not in Paris and desperate for a loaf? FedEx yourself Poilâne’s famous 4.5lb sourdough here.

Drink: Matcha

I’m going green in more ways than one.

PHOTO: Bourbon and Honey

It’s that Spring cleaning time again.  I’m going to start with my body…by drinking more Matcha. As a matter of fact I just made myself a delicious matcha latte while sitting down to write this post.

With over 4,000 years of history that’s steeped in ancient Chinese and Japanese tradition, matcha is also an untapped beauty and health resource.  That’s why for all of its many beneficial factors I love to incorporate the powder into different facets of my diet.  I like the taste but don’t get me wrong I’m hoping it will make me more beautiful on the inside and help to keep me strong and healthy too (along with a slew of other ingestibles).

Here are A FEW REASONS why it’s so good according to the experts (and me)!

GLOWING SKIN: Matcha powdered green tea has 137 more antioxidants, or EGCGs, than regularly brewed green tea. These antioxidants help protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. They can even get rid of harmful free radicals that your body’s been holding onto. Additionally, they boost your blood flow, which can help give you that oh-so-coveted rosy, natural glow in your cheeks.

HELPS KEEP YOU RELAXED AND ALERT AT THE SAME TIME: Matcha is rich in L-theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being within your brain’s functionality. While stress can induce beta waves (which lead to an excited and agitated state), L-theanine creates alpha waves (which lead to a state of relaxed alertness). And while L-theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than your regular ol’ black and green varieties.

PHOTO: Sweet Sensations

IT HELPS YOU REMEMBER THINGS: The L-theanine in matcha also improves your memory (read: helps you remember where you put your cell phone and car keys). It can help you learn and perform better without all the usual negative side effects of caffeine. In fact, studies show that those drinking green tea filled with L-theanine were also less susceptible to “distracting information” that might hinder their tasks (i.e. less susceptible to scrolling through Instagram during the work day).

IT HELPS BOOST YOUR METABOLISM AND BURN FAT: the chemical components in matcha basically make up an internal gym for your body. Drinking matcha can help you burn more calories, while studies show it can also help you burn up to 25% more fat. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, matcha can kick your weight loss into high gear.

IT KEEPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY: ECGCs help keep sickness-inducing microbodies and oxidative stress in check. Matcha is also great for the type of inflammation that occurs when you have allergies or a sinus infection. Swap out your coffee for matcha during cold and flu season to reap the holistic benefits of catechins and theanine.

IT MAY SLOW DOWN THE AGEING PROCESS: Okinawa, Japan, is what scientists and nutritionists call a Blue Zone, otherwise known as a geographic area of the world where people live longer. Because one of the most common beverages among Okinawans is matcha, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution ($16), attributed such long life spans to the daily consumption of the beverage and its cancer-fighting free radicals.

IT MAY HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: along with keeping you focused, relaxed, improving your immune system, and increasing your blood flow, matcha helps relieve depression and anxiety. The polyphenols found in matcha can heal you from the inside out, and therefore can make you feel happier and less stressed. Polyphenols are powerful plant-based antioxidants and micronutrients found in a lot of foods that typically bring you joy (like wine and chocolate).

The reasons listed are good enough for me to keep up this habit.  At the very least it’s nice and warming. But remember you will get the most benefits out of drinking pure matcha. But you have to be careful; you don’t want to be downing matcha lattes made with added sugar, so it’s best to either make it yourself so you know what’s in it or always ask. Just because something has “matcha” in it does not guarantee it is healthy.

Matcha la Vista baby!

New and nutritious: “pharmacy in a fruit”  

Cupuaçu

Have you heard of it?  

When I lived in Brazil I was introduced to an abundance of new (to me) super foods like Açaí, Guarana, Mangosteen & Acerola.  I was blending up these seeds and berries to make delicious smoothies long before they became known and popular in North America. As a matter of fact I never felt healthier than during the year I lived in Brazil. Now there’s a new fruit hitting the market.  It’s called Cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) and grows in the Amazon Rainforest drainage basin in northern parts of Brazil.

Some of the Benefits

Cupuacu contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 (niacin) fatty and amino acids, and at least nine antioxidants including vitamin A and C and minerals such as calcium, selenium and others.

Cupuacu’s primary health benefit is stimulating the immune system thus supporting the body’s ability to fight disease. Cupuacu has an energetic effect, but does not contain caffeine. It is one of the few cocoa relatives that does not.

Cupuacu’s benefits are synergistic. For example, the energy-boosting effect mentioned is a result of the fruit’s heightening of the immune system, lowering of blood pressure and the overall body-boosting effects of the fast-acting nutrients and vitamins from the fruit. Unlike most energy drinks or caffeine, though, there is no tired feeling afterwards.

Other synergistic effects include healthier skin and hair, lowered cholesterol levels and improved libido. In addition, many of the fruits nutrients are boosters for the gastro-intestinal system and the cardiovascular system.

Cupuaçu is wildly popular in Brazil as well as other parts of South America. For centuries, natives of the rainforest have used the fruit of the cupuaçu tree as a main source of food and it continues to be a delicacy in the more populated towns of South America.

Today, cupuaçu pulp is often used for making juice, ice cream, smoothies, mousse, jellies, chocolates called “cupualte” (the seeds used for producing this product have similar characteristics to chocolate, but contains nutritional value and is healthier.

The pulp of the fruit is frequently used in the cosmetic industry for shampoos, soaps, lotions and creams due to it being highly hydrating with its emollient power giving similar effects to your body as cocoa butter. I noticed it listed as one of the main ingredients in the jar of Suzanne Organics (by Suzanne Somers) body butter which by the way is amazing in itself.

Other common traditional uses for cupuaçu include:

  • To lower blood pressure
  • Healthy hair
  • To lower cholesterol levels
  • For Increasing libido
  • To improve brain functions
  • To boost gastro-intestinal (GI) systems
  • To stimulate skin rejuvenation
  • To achieve weight loss
  • For combating diabetes
  • To increase energy

The Amazon is so vast with its wealth of  flora and fauna that in time I’m sure we’ll be acquainted with many more amazing edibles to come.

Source: amafruits.com

 

Food: the forgotton few

Two things I picked up recently at the supermarket: Sunchokes & Watercress.I haven’t had watercress in ages mostly because I rarely find it other than farmers markets.  I almost forgot the nice peppery taste and how great it goes in salads either as the main leafy green or added to a mix of others.

Watercress Salad

One time in Jamaica I swam across an area of the wild cruciferous plant so I snapped off a bunch of the leaves and took it back and made watercress sandwiches (with thinly sliced onion on the advice of someone who swore how delicious & nutritious it was). It used to be a staple of the working class diet in England. It comes with good recommendation. The ancient green is said to have also been a staple in the diet of Roman soldiers with a long history of benefits like immunity boosting properties, a cancer preventative and support for thyroid. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used watercress to treat his patients. What was good enough for the Romans & Hippocrates is good enough for me.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes are a different matter.

They are a vegetable formerly known as “Jerusalem Artichokes” and are neither from Jerusalem nor are they related to artichokes.  They are originally cultivated by Native Americans. I guess that’s all the history I’m getting or giving for now.  They look like large pieces of ginger but taste a bit nutty and sweet at the same time. It’s pretty weird sounding.

I am neither used to seeing them or cooking with them but since I’m always up for trying something new, I bought a package. I asked a supermarket employee in the vegetable department what to do with them.  He said “cook em up like you would a potatoe.  Peel, leave skin on, mash, bake or boil – they’re delish!” I decided to slice them fairly thin with skin on, drizzle olive oil over top, a little sea salt & fresh dill and bake them in the oven.  They baked in very little time and were quite yummy with more of a root vegetable taste.

Orange roughy with asian marinade, steamed broccoli & baked sunchokes.   Image: d. king

I will make them again and try different ways of serving them.

Have you tried them?

 

Food: Fish Tacos

Making fish tacos is the closest I feel to being at the beach in Mexico. 

fishtacos1 Because some of my best food memories is eating fish tacos on the beach in Mexico.

Somebody said that it’s not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.

But I never follow a set recipe for tacos because there are so many variations.  These are closest to typical baja style with a little twist and without the sauce. Okay, maybe they’re just my own version.

Buy small street tortillas (they’re easily found in many supermarkets now – I prefer corn to flour) and make pico de gallo from scratch.

Pico de Gallofishtacos2

  • Chopped fresh red + yellow grape tomatoes, jalapeño, sweet maui onion, handful of cilantro, sea salt + squeeze of fresh key lime.
  • Sprinkle chili/lime seasoning blend on both sides of fish (I used Mexican seabass but you can substitute any white fish). Grill until done – a couple minutes per side. Divide fish among warmed tortillas and add pico de gallo, shredded purple cabbage, extra salsa if you like, top with more cilantro, sliced avocado, squeeze of lime & fold in half.  Add a side of chopped mango for added sweetness.

Buen apetito!

They’re fairly fast and fun to make and definitely delish!

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

nutritious morning meals made easy

These no-brainer but well planned ideas came about while glamping.

Vintage Trailer Show - Modernism Week

Have Wheels, Will Travel! Vintage Trailer Show – Modernism Week

Since becoming a glamping expert I try to make healthy balanced breakfasts incorporating a variety of food groups for a wholesome start to the day that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort.  They’re equally good for non-glamping types too.

Avocado Toast with Feta

Avocado Toast with Feta

A few ideas:

Avocado toast is nothing new but try adding feta cheese over avocado to a piece of whole grain or sourdough toast drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  It’s delicious!glamping9

Just a bowl of organic cereal with berries, unsweetened coconut flakes & almond milk (califiafarms toasted coconut is my favourite) is not just a bowl of cereal.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Steel-cut Oatmeal made with unsweetened coconut or almond milk, half a smashed banana, raisins, topped with fresh berries & drizzled with a little pure maple syrup, honey or in this case specialty balsamic vinegars (honey ginger and/or coconut for something different).  Each time it varies but tastes equally good and good for you.

Frittata: put a little butter in a skillet, sauté some veggies in it, crack some eggs over top, cook away until done.

Frittata with leftover mashed potatoes (a surprise idea) instead of homefries.

Frittata in individual cast iron pan with leftover mashed potatoes (a surprise idea) instead of homefries.

Huevos Rancheros are fun to make because you get to put them overtop a warm tortilla.  I prefer the smaller ones and versions like 100% whole wheat.  Eggs over-easy, a little refried beans, salsa & cilantro and you’re pretty much done – gringa style.

Oatmeal topped with berries & two new balsamic toppings

Oatmeal topped with berries & two new flavorful balsamic toppings

glamping2

glamping3

Lunchtime Lentil Soup using free-range organic chicken broth, italian chopped tomatoes & olive oil.

Lunchtime 12-bean Lentil Soup using free-range organic chicken broth, italian chopped tomatoes & olive oil.

Jack enjoying the firepit (again).

Jack enjoying the firepit again.

The View

The View at Sunrise

 Glamping:  think cocktail tumbler instead of canteen, mood light instead of fashlight, sleeping oasis instead of sleeping bag.  Basically all the comforts of home…but with wheels so you can take it with you.

Photos (except for trailers) d. king.

 

 

Food: FARM

What can be more comforting than having a savoury crêpe on a country-chic flower decked patio that makes you feel like you’re in Provence, France?farm4 Even though the secluded setting is located behind retail shops in “La Plaza” a Spanish style center off Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

farm2

Farm serves locally sourced, French & Spanish-inspired fare.  It was built in the 1930’s as studio residences to house local workers.

The waiter told me Farm restaurant comes with a story…and I always love a good story. Along with a white picket fence.farm3

The story:

Liz Ostoich, owner of Farm Restaurant, told us that La Plaza was developed by the wealthy Julia Carnell, of the National Cash Register Company. The story goes that she was friends with Palm Springs pioneer Nellie Coffman, who built the Desert Inn and invited Carnell to visit.

Apparently Carnell loved the village, but lamented that shopping, entertainment and dining was too spread out. So she built La Plaza in the center of town that encompassed not only shops, a theater, probably a restaurant, but also housing for those working in the shops. Automobiles could park in the cobble-stone plaza near the shops; La Plaza was actually the first “strip mall” in California, if not the country.

“The idea of combined residential and retail units [is] not new,” said Ostoich. “Carnell built the plaza for $2 million, which during the Depression was a lot of money.”

Fresh squeezed watermelon mimosa

Fresh squeezed watermelon mimosa

selfie

fresh selfie

The vibe

For Ostoich, travels in the south of France gave her an appreciation for farm-fresh cuisine and French country living. La Plaza’s human-scale Spanish architecture is reminiscent of European country sides where hand-built farmhouses seem to spring from the ground like the plants around them.

A white picket fence and gate encloses Farm’s outdoor garden dining areas and a worn pavement path leads to the patio covered by a tangle of vines and bougainvillea. The patio bisects two adjoining bungalows on either side; two are the dining rooms, two are now the kitchen.

Les chiens

Jack's birthday is today - he turns 7!

Jack’s birthday is today – he turns 7!

Jia Jia will be 14 on February 14th

Jia Jia will be 14 on February 14th

Did I mention they’re dog friendly?

The fare

As the kitchen is small without a microwave or freezer, Ostoich’s Provencal-style breakfast and lunch menu is simple but flexible, based on artisanal meats, local produce and organic eggs. Dishes are made to order with great attention to detail.

My Crêpe: Chicken. Mushrooms. Crème Fraiche. Herbs. White Wine.

My Crêpe: Chicken. Mushrooms. Crème Fraiche. Herbs. White Wine. Salad.

Farm Restaurant

6 Plaza, Palm Springs (760) 322-2724  www.farmpalmsprings.com

Source for story: Pamela Bieri “The Desert Sun”

Photos: d. king

Inside

Inside

Food: the versatile rice bowl

I’ve rekindled my love for rice bowls.  Not only nutritious & delicious but easy to make.

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

It’s a good way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Energize your meal with protein: chicken, salmon or steak. Substitute quinoa or noodles instead of rice as a base and play with a variety of different veggies and dressings to turn it Mexican, Indian, Asian+ for endless possibilities.

Let’s try unlikely combos.  Let’s eat things that are good.  Let’s eat things that make us feel good.

Vegetarian Coconut Rice Bowl Recipe

Yield: 4  bowls

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
* 1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
* 2 limes
* 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 1/2 cup frozen edamame
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the rinsed rice in a rice cooker. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk to the cooker, and 1 1/4 cup water & cook.

When the rice is done, add the juice of half a lime along with 1/2 cup cilantro. Stir.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become tender and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for about another minute.

Now add the remaining coconut milk, edamame, remaining cilantro, scallions & another good squeeze of lime juice. Let it simmer 3 minutes, or until the edamame warms through.

Serve over coconut rice garnished with more scallions and fresh lime wedges.

Here’s a growing fast food chain I really like:

Freshii is a (fairly new to Vancouver) fast food restaurant chain that specializes in healthy rice bowls, salads, juices and smoothies.  I recently stumbled upon it when I was hangry (that place when you’re really hungry, bordering on the verge of cranky anger) and enjoyed the *Oaxaca bowl very much.  I wondered why there were not more fast food places like it. The story behind it is interesting blending fashion & food.

Matthew Corrin is the founder & CEO of Freshii.  While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Matthew was inspired by “mom-and-pop” delis with fresh food but lackluster branding & service. He sought to “add magic to the fresh food business” & brand the commodity of fresh food not unlike Starbucks branded the coffee bean. He’s a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals Restaurateur of the Year. In 2005, he founded Freshii.

Oaxaca Bowl

my Oaxaca Bowl

*brown rice & kale, avocado, beet slaw, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, crispy wontons, lime wedge, spicy yogurt sauce (1927 W. 4th in Kits).

Source for vegetarian recipe: bevcooks.com

Food + such: a Cupcake ATM machine in Beverly Hills

This is the exact opposite of my last food post but important nonetheless

Have you heard about The World’s First Cupcake ATM that dispenses freshly baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7?sprinkles1

Sprinkles is sprinkling cupcake dust on the angels (or Angelenos) who live in and around Beverly Hills. Oh; as if they don’t already have it all!  You can get cash & cupcakes at the same time…Dreams really do come true! Now they’re available in other lucky locations.

Everybody loves Cupcakes

Everybody loves Cupcakes

For Sprinkles addicts on the go, the ATM  conveniently nestled between Sprinkles Cupcakes and the brand new Sprinkles Ice Cream, is continuously restocked day and night with a variety of freshly baked cupcakes and cookies!  How sweet!

WATCH THIS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTZWlxW2wG4&index=1&list=PLBC9880171E43B315

However, for those of you who are not close to Beverly Hills or to one of the other Sprinkles locations sprinkled here and there in cities like New York, Disney (it’s a world onto itself), Dallas, Vegas (ATM across from Caesar’s Palace)  or Nashville then boy do I have a recipe for YOU!

This is the delightfully famous Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake recipe which I made last week and will probably never (in this case the phrase “never say never” means exactly that) make again.  Maybe I didn’t have a bowl deep enough to keep the mixture from flying all over the kitchen or maybe it’s just that the color “red” is not the best to remove from a white counter.  Hownever, they were a delectably delicious hit and I have leftover icing in the freezer.  So…I’ll just go to the closest ATM next time I drive through Beverly Hills.

For those of you brave enough to attempt it – here it is:

I didn't bother to fancy it up any more on top - they were soooo good.

I didn’t bother to fancy it up on top – they were already soooo good.

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields 12 insanely delicious cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold*
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp red food coloring (food grade of course – it’s safe)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, firm but not cold (if using unsalted add 1/8 tsp salt)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, cold (I recommend using Philadelphia brand in this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, with an electric hand mixer on medium speed, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time stirring after each addition. (Now stand back and change out of any nice shirt you have on and) Add red food coloring and vanilla extract and mix until combine. In a small mixing bowl (or in the measuring cup you used to measure milk), combine milk and 1 tsp vinegar. Add milk mixture and flour mixture to cupcake mixture, alternating in two separate batches, mixing until combine after each addition. Divide batter evenly among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven 18-21 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 2 minutes in muffin tin, then transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container to cool completely (this just helps them retain more moisture). Once cooled completely, spread generously with Cream Cheese Frosting (just as sprinkles does, lots of frosting!).
  • 9635 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
  • Phone:(310) 274-8765

You’re welcome!

Healthy Snack: Harvest Fruit and Vegetable Strips

My food posts have been in remission since I’ve been traveling. fruitstrip1Which means I haven’t been cooking as much as I normally do.  It’s hard when you move around from place to place and while it’s great to eat out I do prefer to make most of my meals at home.  I just started cooking again and trying to incorporate some wholesome meals.  But what about snacks and something sweet?  I love chips, chocolate, gummies, ice cream, popcorn……etc.  Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

Speaking of sweets I’m laughing to myself right now because I just received a text from a friend who read my Palm Springs post and asked “did you really buy a pied-à-terre or was it a Pomme de Terre?” Funny.

Thought I’d re-start my food post with something simple, tasty and with fewer ingredients that are cleaner than most store-bought varieties.  This version taken from Vista Magazine includes vegetables, which don’t really affect the taste but add an extra punch of nutrition.fruitstrip3

Ingredients:

4 medium sized apples, peeled and roughly chopped (galas are perfect for their sweetness)

1 small beet, peeled and sliced

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup chopped kale leaves

2 Tbsp. honey

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 200F and line a 12”x18” rimmed baking tray with a Silpat (silicone) baking sheet or parchment paper.
  • Put the apples, blueberries, beet, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium sized lidded pot and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples and beet have softened. Stir occasionally to make sure the fruit doesn’t start to burn on the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the cooked fruit and veggies in a blender with the kale and honey and blend until smooth.
  • Pour mixture onto your prepared tray and spread evenly. Giving the whole tray a gentle jiggle can help.  (It will look quite thick at this stage but thickness will decrease once it’s dried.)
  • Bake in the oven for 5-6 hours, until dry to the touch.
  • Allow to cool on the tray, then cut into 2 inch wide strips.
  • Roll up the strips and keep in a sealed container at room temperature. They will keep for at least one month.  Makes 6.

Hope you like it.  Your feedback is always appreciated.