Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pain perdu & moules frites

French toast aka pain perdu, as with French fries, isn't necessarily French, but it's unarguably tasty. Though traditionally made with day old brioche, I've found that it's even better if you use a day old buttery croissant. The sous-chef at work also advised me to toast the brioche/croissant first so its sure to soak up extra egg and milk batter, and thus allowing you to 'reclaim' the 'lost' bread. Unfortunately I was out of croissants this past weekend, so brioche had to suffice. I like my pain perdu with cinnamon, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and maple syrup.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who you callin' chicken?

There's nothing better than putting a roast on, on a lazy Sunday when you've nothing better to do and it's still too freezing to go outside even if you had something to do. Pot roasts, roasted chicken, pork loin, meat loaf, or even lasagna; I love anything you can throw in the oven and semi-forget about, and then be reminded of as the aromas fill your kitchen and home.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving on up

So I'm moving up in the world! No, I haven't been promoted to head slave stagiaire if that's what you're wondering. I'm no longer "fille" aka girl. CM has started referring to me as "miss". It beats fille any day.

Maybe he's realized that I'm American and miss is more suitable. Maybe it has come to his attention that I'm closer to his age then his own sous-chef. Maybe I'm just giving him too much credit. We'll see if this keeps up. Who knows tomorrow I might be back to being fille. Well in any case, it sure beats "hey guy", which I've had shouted in my direction.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Picard encore!

So last week I sampled some Picard frozen pizza at a friend's place, and forgot to take pictures. In fact I didn't know it was from Picard until after the meal was done.

On this week's Picard menu: xiu mai, sweedish meetbals, eggplant gratin, and salted butter caramel ice cream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vietnamese home cooking

Whats so great about cooking at home? You always know what goes in it. No MSG or artificial flavorings, lean meats, and fresh produce. Whats not to like? Well, when it comes to Vietnamese food, a lot of the dishes that I grew up with can't be found in restaurants. Also, recipes vary from family to family, and of course even though my aunt makes the same things, I'm biased to how my parents cook.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Because I can't bring a camera...

...into the pastry lab, and the Internet is a very useful tool, I figured I'd share some of the things I work(ed) on. Of course credits go to the sites where I found them!

Stuff from ADPA:

Coupe de Fraise and some macarons in the background. I swear if I ever see another fraise du bois again....

Image from http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com

Hello Kitty!

Did I ever mention that I like Hello Kitty? Not in an insane obsessed fanatical way some people are, as seen here. I think it's because Hello Kitty reminds me of my childhood going to Sanrio stores and convincing my mom to buy me a surprise grab bag that usually ended up having some crap in it, like a pencil.

Well there's plenty of Hello Kitty in Paris. Probably not as 1/10,000th times as in Japan, but hey... this is France. I've got my keen eye out for the pink feline especially since I have a friend who seems to be allergic to Hello Kitty, which of course makes me want to snatch up Hello Kitty pink sandwich cookies or Hello Kitty jelly beans as quickly as I can. Of course I'll spare you all the pain of posting pictures of all the things I find around Paris, but I couldn't help but snap a photo of the most awesomest Vespa ever!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3 stars

So today is officially longest day known to man. And no, I'm not talking about solstices or whatnot, and no, no falling down stairs, but as I'm writing in the present tense, naturally I'm in the middle of my work day. Also, since I didn't get to bed past 1 AM last night, I apologize in advance if this post is riddled with spelling and gramatical mistakes.

Working gastro service is hard. Really hard. And what do you get when you work at ADPA? Thursdays and Fridays with two restaurant services. That means the patissiers and cuisiners start around 9AM and work well past midnight. That also means this lowly staigaire also has to work those hours. Oh how I miss the central patisserie. Leaving around 5:30/6 sounds like a dream! We do get a mini break during the day (hence how I'm able to write this post since 1) I don't have a smartphone and 2) it wouldn't be wise to be writing a post while in the lab). Needless to say, I hold all of you who work in gastronomical restaurants in high regard. When it comes to these hours, I'll have to relinquish my paper toque.

Yesterday the gastros celebrated retaining ADPA's three Michelin stars. Lucky me, I got to see Mr. AD himself, and sip on a flute of Dom Perignon. Though that lasted about five minutes before I had to run back into the pastry lab. Well, I need to survive through one more service and then its a three day weekend for me.

Oh and on a positive note I did make friends with the ADPA head pastry chef. I think we bonded over stories of falling down stairs as he insisted I take the elevator from now on and even offered to help me find a stage after this one is finished. But more on that later...

Monday, March 8, 2010

First service at ADPA

So I've always been curious why the French are so obsessed with spiral staircases. After asking someone, the reason is that they don't take up a lot of space, and real estate in Paris is quite pricey.

Well in my opinion, it's not wise to have anything of spiraling nature in a kitchen where there's grease and water. So, I guess you can imagine how I started my day working with the gastro patisserie chefs of ADPA. Yup. I fell down the stairs. Not once, people... twice. Yes, I'm just THAT challenged when it comes to walking down stairs properly.

Overall it was a long day; noon til midnight with just a 20 minute pause. I only got yelled at by the chef a couple times, but its worth it to see the things that are plated up. We made a couple wild strawberry desserts, a vacharin, baba, chocolate cake, a citrus tart, some other ice cream dessert, as well as a bunch of mignardises, chocolates, caramels, and marshmallows. Its a lot of work, but I'm glad (though sore) that I can see what goes on in the gastro kitchen. At least now I know why I never see the gastro patisserie chefs making anything - there's a separate small pastry lab located in the main gastro kitchen.

Hopefully today I'll get the hang of things, and at least not fall down the stairs again.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Next week I start working with the ADPA pastry chefs. Yes folks, that's the Alain Ducasse à Plaza Athénée guys. Well, it's just going to be for a week since they're short-staffed and requested a stagiaire to help out.

My hours will be a little different; starting at noon instead of 7:30AM and finishing at who knows when! It will be interesting to see the plated desserts. Working in the lab until the early evening, we never get a glimpse at what the ADPA pastry chefs make. They always seem to be doing mise en place, preparing caramels, poached pears, and other elements of desserts to be finished later on.

So stay tuned! I've got an exciting, yet potentially disastrous week ahead of me!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Funny things from Ikea

I love Ikea. Absolutely LOVE. And though their furniture is only as sturdy and good as the person who puts it together, they do sell good linens, plants, and the best garlic press known to man.

Wandering around Ikea makes me think of home; they carry just about the same stuff that we do back in the states! I was able to find some interesting foods in their marketplace that I'm not sure would fly with Americans.

Reindeer. Yes kids.. that's Rudolph's leg I'll be snacking on.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cheesecake and burgers

The other night les filles from school came over for some good ole American cooking. I figured we could share our trials and tribulations from our stages over a plate of burgers and fries. Though apple pie is really American, I really wanted to make some cheesecake.