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.

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.

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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

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.

 

 

Food: Bill’s Wild Food

If you recall a while back I wrote about my BFF (best foraging friend) Bill.billwild1

And he’s still my only foraging friend.  He gathers, smokes (not cigarettes or cigars), condenses, dries, dehydrates, bakes, liquifies, juices, turns fruit into leather and fills jars full of delectable delights of things you will most likely never find anywhere else.  At least not done with the same amount of know-how, zest and love for foraging from start to finish.

It began as a hobby (Bill is a Foodie and a superb cook) but now his stuff is in demand in Vancouver Island local markets and other food suppliers.  Not surprising since everything is made from scratch, in small batches and with the utmost attention to detail.

He was going to collaborate with monthly posts on this blog sharing stories of adventures from the wild world of foraging.  Instead he’s just been way too busy picking, harvesting and filling orders, etc. so we’ll have to wait.  But in the meantime to whet your appetite or curiosity I’ll share a few things I recently purchased after having tasted them.forage3We might as well refer to it as Bill’s Wild West Coastforage2

Sampling:

Descriptions by Bill

Saanich Peninsula Medlar Jelly – a rare and delicious jelly produced from Medlar’s planted in the 40’s and 50’s in North Saanich, BC.

Wallace Road Sloe Berry Jelly -these fall berries are members of the plum family and produce a tart jelly, great for serving with turkey, bbq chicken and the like.

Willis Point Arbutus Berry Jam -I only recently discovered that those pretty red berries on magnificent Arbutus are edible. I harvested those within reach and wished I could get higher for more.

Fernwood *Goumi berry Jam  – this super-food Asian berry was growing in a hedge in town. A forager friend called me… I answered her call.

Oldfield Road Kiwi Jam  – I had never seen Kiwi Fruit growing before and I had never heard of Kiwi Jam. I was given access to these super sweet ones in January and it is a really great interesting jam. Mosi (a fantastic bakery) used it in their Danish pastries for a few months.

Okanagan Syrah Grape Jelly  – A friend from my time in the wine industry gave me access to Syrah Grapes in the Le Vieux Pin Vineyard. It is a delicious jelly that is less sweet, with a touch of that pepperiness that is characteristic of Syrah wine.

Wild Red Huckleberry Jam – These are tasty little explosions of flavor wonderful sweetness… but they are really small and take hours to pick! These are from the new growth areas between Shirley and Jordan River.

Elderberry Jam (or jelly – the writing was blurry) soaked in single malt scotch.

Willis Point Road Rosehip Jelly – Rosehips are very plentiful around here but they are a lot of work to process. This jelly was viewed as a golden treasure by some of my Instagram forager friends back East.

Oregon Grape Jelly with Lavender  – Before I moved to the coast I had never heard of these tangy berries. I harvested these near Munn Road before the effects of the drought dries them up. This is very good with cheeses and cold cuts.

Oldfield Road Italian Plum Jam -This is a very good jam on toast, but also served with cheeses.

Oldfield Road Brandied Cherries – I was given access to several cherry trees with both dark red and golden varieties, some of which I have had soaking in fine cognac since June. $15.00 per 500ml jar

Cowichan Bay Sweet Cherry Chutney – I had access to so many cherries, and they were ripening so fast… I found this recipe for sweet cherry chutney and gave it a whirl.      $14.00 per 500 ml jar

Including:

Winter Chanterelle Powder        $ 20.00 per 25 mg.

Dried Golden Chanterelles          $ 8.00 per packet (13 to 15 g)

Dried Lobster Mushrooms          $ 18.00 per packet (30 to 35 g)

Dried Hickory Plums, Dried Hickory Pears & Dried Cherries    $6.00 – $ 8.00 (per 75g package)

Hawthorn Hazelnut Candy      $3.00  (sold out)

Hickory Syrup  (sold out – also great as a glaze for salmon).

Spruce Tip Infused Honey – $5.00 per 125 ml jar

General Prices for jams and jellies (depending on demand) runs anywhere from  $5.00 – $7.50 per 125 ml jar up to $12.50 per 250 ml jar

*Darn; I thought he said gummy berries!  I would definitely be out there foraging for gummies.

It was so hard to choose from because everything was so good…..so I bought them all!

Basket of Goodies

Basket of Goodies

Entertainment/Food: Encore

Everybody appreciates a good ENCORE

Yes please!

The latest concept in entertainment/club dining is at Rogers Arena.  I was lucky to be a guest last Friday night for Stevie Nicks, the legendary Fairy Godmother of ROCK on her 

24 KARAT GOLD TOUR stop in Vancouver.

I knew I was invited to the show but never expected the space to be so impressive.  And it’s a really good thing I didn’t have dinner beforehand because they said there would be food but…they never mentioned there would be so much. The new large room suite is only one month old. It is a complete renovation, redesign and upgrade of the former “Centre Ice Grill” with premium service and all the fine touches exclusive membership has to offer. Such as:

Our sushi chef

Our sushi chef

Our wine

Our wine at the well lit bar

platters

a few of the available platters

encore5

Picture this – you’re sitting in the comfort of a wide-back chair with a plate of food and a glass of wine in front of you while watching and listening to the best entertainment to pass through Vancouver, B.C.  It really doesn’t get much better!

dessert table

dessert table

The area has comfy leather sofas to lounge on, walled fireplaces, tables overlooking the arena and four chef attended stations offering an abundance of mouth-watering dishes.  The club is open for monthly/yearly membership and included in the exclusive fee package is fresh & exquisite rotating menus.  Wine & Liquor is extra.

Oh wait…as an added bonus to an otherwise perfect evening the Pretenders opened up for Stevie Nicks.  I forgot about how many great songs they have.  And Chrissie Hynde’s voice is a good as ever – love her voice!

Come again? Encore is the perfect name for the watering hole because once you come here you definitely want to repeat the experience. It’s the rock concert equivalent of flying First Class.  Once you experience it you cannot don’t want to ever go back.

The thing about music is that it evokes so many memories and the thing about all the other stuff is:foodart1

stevie1Now I’m ruined for all other concerts.

Her ENCORE (following Rhiannon) is one of my favourite songs “LANDSLIDE“.  And she, as beautiful as ever.  (If you want to see a video clip please visit my Instagram feed @ https://www.instagram.com/girlwhowouldbeking/

Inspiring Cooks

Last night I was in a room full of intriguing people to celebrate a season of sharing, hope and inspiration at *Inspire Health’s inaugural gala. Everyone was there to support those living with Cancer.
inspiregala6

The perfect evening marked an important milestone with the launch of a gorgeous cookbook entitled “Inspired Cooking” featuring 21 of Canada’s finest chefs.  Four of the featured chefs were on hand to take everyone on an amazing culinary experience, as we sipped on some of the best wines BC has to offer from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association.inspiregala2

While guests perused the desirable silent auction items during reception, servers  were floating around the room with the most delicious canapés from local Meinhardt (one of the sponsors).

There was live entertainment along with some moving testimonies of patients who have contributed their stories to the book, with the hopes that it will inspire change for others.

Each of the four courses were excellent in taste and presentation but my two standouts were:
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Entrée: Slow Cooked salmon, ginger scented sweet potato, black garlic, tomato and shitake dashi Chef Warren Barr, The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Tofino Paired with Church and State – Coyote Bowl Syrahinspiregala3

Dessert: (picture did not serve it justice) Frozen lemon, turmeric pudding with coconut cream and chia seeds *As featured in Inspired Cooking Baker Jackie Kai Ellis, Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Vancouver.  Paired with Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery – Dry Rock Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay

foodart2

Some of the live auction items were amazing.  Here’s a sample of something I wanted to bid on but unfortunately someone else beat me to it.

A weekend to Tofino in 5-star luxury Flights for two to spectacular Tofino compliments of Orca Air, with two nights at the Wickaninnish Inn in a deluxe suite, with fireplace, soaker tub and balcony offering a forested beach view looking out at the ocean. Then enjoy a 3-course dinner at the Point Restaurant, home of refined west coast cuisine, where Chef Warren Bar and his culinary team offer to you their most innovative creations.
inspiregala1

*Inspire Health was founded by two medical doctors in 1997 with the intention of providing person-centred care to support health and well-being for people living with cancer and their families.  They provide patients with knowledge, tools and services to support their overall health, during and after standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and medications.  All of their recommendations and programs are safely integrated with a person’s standard treatments.

They’re an amazing group of people. Each year they support a minimum of 3,000 new patients, conduct 2,000 classes and provide over 25,000 clinical visits.

The support of the evening will allow Inspire Health to continue to offer evidence-based, patient centered supportive cancer care.

They certainly inspire me to do better.  Plus I cannot wait to attempt some of the recipes (including nearly 60 whole food ones) found in the book.

Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love. – Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’

Photos: d. king