meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Truffle Scrambled Eggs

All this internet chit-chat about murder, theft and French truffles has made me hungry for one of my favorite winter dishes. Just thinking about these creamy scrambled eggs infused with truffle makes my toes curl with happiness.

Nothing says New Years Day brunch like Truffle scrambled eggs and Champagne

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Terrific (mostly FREE) things to do in Paris between Now and New Years

Christmas in Paris. Has a certain ring, doesn't it? Visions of twinkling lights, romantic walks, gently falling snow and delicious meals fill your mind... and then what?

Here is a short list of things I like to do during the holiday season. Nothing on this list takes all day or will break the bank. You will however, feel like an insider and look like a local.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

David's Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting

I love the internet.  The other night a friend called me from Cincinnati...
"Hey! You going to that book signing at La Cuisine Paris?"  
"What book signing" I asked.
"The one with David Leibowitz and Alexander Lobrano... jeez."
So, I went. After all, Christmas is around the corner and autographed books make such great gifts.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lavender for Christmas

Every winter Paris sprouts entire villages of small cabins (meant to look like quaint chalets) filled with all sorts of stuff destined to become someones gift under the tree.  There are hot wine vendors to fend off the cold (and presumably any purchasing inhibitions one might have) who also serve up the 13 traditional Christmas desserts from Provence for the curious. There is also more stuff from China than you can shake a stick at.  I generally avoid these sorts of markets, though I must admit that the lights and colors do have a certain charm from a distance.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Seafood Chowder

Cold weather and snow have arrived in Paris. All I can think about is comforting foods that fill my kitchen with good smells, warm you up from head to toe and don’t take all day to make. Sure, France is full of satisfying dishes that take hours of simmering on the stove, and I like some of them a lot, but that’s not what I have in mind. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude and Thanks

last year's Parisian turkey
Millions of people in America (and around the world) are celebrating Thanksgiving today.  Some in their homes, some with family, others in shelters and soup kitchens. I am in Paris. My daughter is at school, there is no holiday to celebrate and no turkey roasting in the oven. We will gather with friends on Sunday to celebrate this one day of the whole year when loved ones join together and take a moment to think about all they have to be grateful for. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Late Harvest Tomato Soup

Carmel by the Sea is my home town, it sits between the ocean and fertile valleys where vintners, farmers and equestrians share the sunshine. Every time I return home, I'm impressed all over again by the majesty and sheer beauty of this place Steinbeck called The Pastures of Heaven.
Most of my friends here are food obsessed... and it's no small wonder given the year round  abundance and variety available to anyone with a hankering to garden, forage and/or trade. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pépe's Marché Popincourt

It has been years since I've retraced the steps, once so familiar with my grandfather, down the Rue Oberkampf to the market where he did his shopping. So it was with great anticipation that I made a pilgrimage to the 11th arrondissement where my love of the marché and seasonal eating began. 


Walking the Rue Oberkamf was, well, if not exactly surprising, just a little shocking since my memories of that street, and what I saw, were literally worlds  apart

Thursday, September 30, 2010

'Antiques & Ham' on Impressionist Island

A tradition since the middle ages, this foire (fair) has spent the last 600 years morphing into the huge, week long event that happens twice a year on the Island of Chatou (also known as Impressionnist Island) outside of Paris. 
What began as an annual pre-Christmas pork fair in front of Notre Dame, has turned into one of the largest, most well attended, antique flea markets in France.
For the last 40 years, more than 800 vendors have set up shop for a full week on a wedge of land in the middle of the Seine. Some have permanent stores in other villages, others  are part of the 'Brocantes' circuit operating across France.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paris XIeme - Where It All Began

My grandfather, Leon Briet, lived in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris in a large, rambling apartment.  This was the same apartment in which my mother and her two brothers grew up. He and my grandmother, Marie, had lived there since shortly after they were married at the end of WWI.  It was a large flat with an unusually large kitchen; lots of cooking took place in that kitchen not to mention the eating and laughing in the dining room across the hall.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

It's hard for me to believe that four months have passed since my last post, well, it has been a very busy four months and there was the 'computer incident',  but that's all behind me now. In that action packed time, there has been a 'plan B' holiday to Tuscany due to the Icelandic Volcano (remember THAT?).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Marché at the Plaza Athénée, Paris 8eme

'Le tout Paris' came out to see the displays and to chat with the farmers and producers who provision Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée. Okay. Well, maybe not 'le tout Paris' but certainly many of the food obsessed were there. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rialto Market, Venice - Italy

For over a week, I have been trying to get to Venice for lunch and a visit to the farmers market. This was a plan I'd cooked up some months ago, and while it does seem a bit over the top, I was determined.  Easy Jet and Mother Nature had other plans however, so it took several false starts before actually set foot on the Rialto where everything was in full swing at 9:15am.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marché St. Eustache-les-Halles

Tucked in the shadows of the ancient and impressive Eglise St. Eustache (it's considered one of the most beautiful religious monuments of Paris) sits this tiny marché at the heart of the oldest, and most historic neighborhood of Paris.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marché Saxe-Breteuil , Paris 7eme

How could you not love an outdoor market with the Eiffel Tower as a mascot?  
Located in the well-heeled 7th Arrondissement, surrounded by beautiful Haussmanian buildings, the Saxe-Breteuil market is well known for it’s excellent quality.  Growers, producers, fish mongers, bakers and florists travel from as far away as Brittany, Normandy and the Limousin to sell their wares. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Another World

For the past three weeks, I have been in California.  More precisely, Carmel by the Sea - the gateway to Big Sur.   It's a quaint little town sprung from a 1920's artist colony on the beautiful and wild coast of the Monterey Peninsula.  Carmel is my home town.

For those of you who have never been, Carmel proper has no street numbers, no street lights, and other than ‘down town’, no sidewalks. Giving directions sounds something like this: “Go west on Ocean Avenue, then left on San Carlos, down 2 blocks to the 3rd house from the corner, we’re the little cottage with the green gate across the street from the house called ‘Jay’s Roost’ - can’t miss it!’


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Apples of Nouveu Verger

The line is long and her stand overflows with apples, pears and a variety of products lovingly handmade at homes.  The 'Apple Lady', Eveleine, is actually quite shy and blushes when spoken to... unless she is being asked for advise about which apple is best for a tarte, or tatin, apple sauce or just plain eating.

Friday, February 19, 2010

15 Vendors Likely To Be At A French Market

Not all markets are created equal.  Some are more interesting than others, some more Organic, more ethnic or more 'flea market' than food. There are, however, certain types of vendors you can count on at most every market from the center of Paris to the little square of the teeniest village in France.  This list  explains the 15 vendors you are sure to find at most markets - though not in any particular order.

1) The Cheese Vendor: Traditionally, there were some 300 regional cheeses made in France.  Now the number is well over 1000.  Many are protected by the AOC designation (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) meaning that  they have a specific French geographical origin. (This tradition BTW, dates back to the 15th century and began with Roquefort cheese)  Some cheese stands are exclusively French, while others have branched out to Italian and English. Keep your eyes open for the small producers too. These fellows generally feature one type of cheese - say goat - made from the milk of their own flock. There is plenty to choose from, you can ask for a taste, so don't be shy! 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good to know: Free wifi in Paris

France is a country that prides itself on relationship building over a four course meal and regional wines.
While the French may spend more time eating than any other nation on the planet, they also recognize the value of free internet access for all.



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Marché Grenelle and a Roast Chicken


The Marché Grenelle is one of the biggest of Parisian markets. It also happens to be a few blocks up the street from my home. Every Sunday and Wednesday, with red cart in tow, I make my way to the market without fail - rain, shine or snow!


The stands sit protected from the weather under the metro tracks between La Motte Piquet Grenelle and Dupleix, making it the perfect place to shop in any weather.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Paris Markets by Arrondissements

I was wrong! There are not 65 markets in 18 arrondissements, nope. There are 65 outdoor markets and 13 covered markets in 20 arrondissements!  That isn't even counting the multiple 'Puces' (antique markets) bird, flower or old book and paper markets.  Amazing what a little digging can uncover. I even found this nifty map of Paris with every market on it's teeny illegible streets. Cool.  This should keep me busy for the next year, or two!






Things I've Been Eating Lately - Thursday, Jan. 28

Woman does not live by market maven-ing alone, that being said, today was a great food day!  It all started with a trip to Kunitoraya on the Rue Saint Anne.   The place is tiny and if you don't get there early, like  we did,  guaranteed there will be a line.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter in Paris

It is 7:30 am and still the sun has not risen. Winter in Paris is cold and dark. Yet out there in the obscurity, there are farmers and merchants busy setting up their stalls for the discerning and hungry people who will soon descend upon the fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken and cheese, beautifully laid out for sale.


While the dead of winter is hardly the romantic, visually riotous, delicious time to be leasurly wandering outdoor markets in search of dinner (or lunch) it is a good time to see what Parisians like to eat. People are bundled up and in a hurry to get their shopping done... none of the lingering of the summer months. Still, there is so much choice - who knew winter vegetables could be so varied and so lush?


The choice of potatoes (not to mention oysters) is staggering, and people buy! If you are late in arriving, or a dawdler (like me) 1:30 comes along and half the merchants are packing up what little remains of their once full to the brim stands.

Each market is different, representing the taste of the surrounding neighborhood and it's inhabitants. There are stands with hand made breads, artisanal cheeses from small farms and hot prepared foods from around the world.

So begins an adventure in Paris, exploring the 65 markets in 18 arrondissements. From the typically parisian to the ethnic neighborhoods, the weekly open air and the more permanent covered markets to the shopping streets, Paris is filled with food... glorious food!