Monday, August 26, 2013

Chaussons aux Pommes

Sunday mornings in Paris were the best. Despite the fact that I had to wake up at 5 am for work, they were definitely my favorite day. I loved spending time at work with my amazing co-workers and I knew a nice long run awaited me in the afternoon but one little treat I would indulge in were these wonderful Chaussons aux Pommes. 

Usually only made on the weekends around the city, these light, delicate, buttery, apple filled pastries are the perfect breakfast treat. A nice change up from your traditional croissant and beautiful to look at.
I really enjoy making these little guys and get so excited when they turn out nicely. I actually have a batch of these baking in my oven riiight now. Give these a try for your next weekend brunch. Your friends will love you for it!

Chaussons aux Pommes

Pâte feuilletage inverse (puff pastry)

Butter block
400g Butter
130g Flour

In your mixer, combine butter and flour until smooth and homogenous. Form this into a cube and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

270g Flour
10g salt
40g water

In your mixer, combine all ingredients to create a firm detrempe (read:dough). Kneed using the dough hook or by hand until the dough is elastic and pushed back when poked. This is a French culinary term for the first stage in the process of making puff pastry, which requires only flour and water. After, form into another smaller cube, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.Onto a floured surface, roll out your butter dough in a rectangle just enough so that you can wrap the detrempe inside of it. Place the detrempe in the bottom half of the butter dough and fold the butter over the detrempe to enclose it with the butter. Note: don't be afraid to use flour on the counter and the top of the dough, butter is easily melted and sticky so you will need to use flour to prevent the sticking and if the dough gets too warm and soft stick it in the refrigerator to firm up again. 

Press together the ends of the butter to close everything up. Place the dough with the longest seam to your left, as if it is a book (an upside down one). Roll the dough out to about 10 cm x 35 cm long. Now you will give the dough its first "turn". Visually divide the dough into thirds. Fold the top third down and fold the bottom third up.

Repeat this three more times to total four turns keeping the long seam to the left. Remember, if the dough gets too warm and starts sticking to your table wrap it and refrigerate it until firm again (15 mins-30 mins).

Compote de Pomme

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
8 apples
150g apple sauce

peel apples and cut them into small cubes (separate 5 into one bowl, 3 into another)
brown your butter in a saucepan
add 5 of the diced apples and your sugar and mix until everything is covered with butter and sugar
top with a lid and let simmer on low heat until apples are very soft
take off the heat and mix your cooked apples with your apple sauce and then add the remaining chopped apples
refrigerate until ready to use.


Roll out your dough until it is 1cm  in thickness. 
Use an oval cookie cutter about 5-6'' at its longest point
scoop a spoonful of compote in the center of one half of the oval (so you can fold it over and enclose it)
make an egg wash and brush around the edge of the dough and fold the empty half of the dough over the compote and lightly press the edges together to seal them.
turn upside down on your baking sheet and egg wash them twice.
using a knife, score a design into the dough.

bake at 350 until golden brown and puffy (about 30-45 mins) and let cool before eating (don't let those apples burn your tongue!)

*these can be frozen and kept up to three months!*

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What is Paris?

When you think of Paris, chances are that the first things to come to your mind is the Eiffel Tower or maybe the Notre Dame, Louvre, Jardin du Tuileries or Luxembourg or crepes, maybe? While all those things are a part of Paris, the city is about SO much more than that.

When I find myself reminiscing about my beautiful city [yes, my city ;)] I find my mind wandering to all the little details and experiences that really make Paris what it is. 

The smell of croissants filling the air on my way to work in the dark, early morning. 
The lines outside the boulangeries at 5 pm for the nightly baguette. 
The way the light reflects off the building along the Seine at the end of the day. 
The early morning/late night crepe complete walking home after a fun night with friends. 
Sunday mornings at the market.
Drinking cheap wine and eating bread and cheese on the Seine while the day changes to night.
Afternoon runs through the city and into the Jardin des Plantes and Sunday morning runs along the Seine.
Walking 45 minutes home instead of taking the metro because you just want to be in the city and take it all in.

Exploring an exciting new restaurant or wine bar with friends. 
Savoring the foie gras while standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers at l'Avant Comptior. 
Making French bread pizzas on weekday nights with Coco. 
Catching the Eiffel sparkling on your walk home at night while the moon and the city lights reflect on the Seine.
Racing to try to catch the metro only to be shut out at the last second.
Finding inspiration on every corner. Zesting for life.
Watching all the French girls be so sophisticated and trying to capture a sixteenth of their chic-ness. 
Walking around aimlessly and just feeling such bliss and awe that you are lucky enough to call a place like Paris your home.

I miss Paris and my friends and everything about it all the time. It still catches me off guard when I realize how long ago I left. Its already been 8 months? I can't believe that. The truth is that living and truly experiencing a place like Paris changes you. It stays with you forever and a part of your heart will always live in the city of lights until you return again.

Have you ever felt this way about a place you've been? 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Friendship around the globe

4 days until I get to see one of the most amazing people I know. My best friend and "little" Erin is coming to visit me! Sometimes there are people who come into your life that you know were just meant to be there. 

We met back in college when she rushed Gamma Phi back in 2006. Funny thing is that I went to high school with her brother and he was the one who said "look for the girl who looks like me with long hair" and well, ya he was right. Spotted her instantly.

college- it was love from the start
celebrating me going French
celebrating Erin's 21st in Vegas

Since then we have been the closest of friends. We've been there through some of the scariest, trying and heartbreaking times of our lives - loss of friends, near death experiences (and recovery time spent watching "Accepted" on repeat) and some of the best times - celebrations, birthdays and traveling.

When friendships are this amazing you make time for each other despite the fact that - this girl lives in Madrid, Spain!

She is being an awesome children's teacher there and loving every minute. I've never known another person with such a zest for life than Erin. She will literally make you laugh and smile no matter what is going on in her own life. Selfless, beautiful, hilarious, caring, spirited...she is one incredible friend.

best welcome sign ever

In the past year we have been to Paris, Madrid, Cali and soon to be Colorado together. We celebrated our birthdays in Paris and made our first (failed) attempt at making a Thanksgiving turkey in Madrid, celebrated Christmas in Cali and we are about to explore the summer in Colorado. 
I love this girl more than life itself and can't wait to see her. 

 birthday dinner in Paris
 rainy day at Eiffel

 Xmas in Cali

 out in Madrid with Jaime!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Too much fun to pass up - Greek life flashback

Some fun girls in the blog world have made a link up for today talking about an experience you had being in the sorority/fraternity world and after reading some of their posts I decided I just had to join in.

As most of you probably already know, reminiscing about college is nothing but fun. Truly the best four years...ever! I loved my college experience and a lot of that had to do with Gamma Phi Beta. *Beta Lambda*

 ^our last formal together - i love my fall05^
 ^presenting our new baby members^
^ freshman year awkwardness 

I came SO close to ditching recruitment and saying I wasn't interested in Greek life but thanks to my persistent recruitment director, I showed up and a week later I was standing there on bid day with 55 new girls I had never met before plus the existing 100+ older girls...intimidating to say the least.

 ^my little sis and best friend^
 ^fall '05's finally being at the top - seniors!^
^these girls will forever be a part of my most cherished memories ^

Despite all the negative views people have regarding the Greek system, I can honestly say it was one of the best things I've ever done. Not only did I have a blast at all the events, formals, rush week, big sis/litte sis, etc. but it gave me life long friends that give my life such meaning and it also taught me a lot about dealing with people, being able to talk to anyone (pocket questions?), enduring crowds, time management, friendship, trust, dedication and commitment. I would not trade Gamma Phi, the memories or the people that have come into my life through the Greek system for anything.

PS- looking through all these old photos makes me miss it even more!! ah! <3

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Brown Butter Glazed Madeleines

These French tea cakes are the perfect addition to your daily cup of tea or coffee. I always loved having breakfast at Blê Sucrê in Paris or grabbing a bag of them before dropping down into the metro for a midday snack. 

They are dainty but satisfying. Lightly crisp on the crust then buttery, moist and airy on the inside. The brown butter glaze just takes it to the next level. I also recommend trying a citrus glaze if you are looking for something a little lighter and brighter. Or go with the classic and just enjoy them sans glaze.

yields 30 tea cakes
butter and flour your scalloped madeleine molds
preheat oven to 430 degrees F/220c with baking stone in the oven (if you don't have a baking stone - like me! - heat up a baking sheet in the oven and use it as a baking stone)

200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
150g (3) eggs
125g (1/2 cup) milk, warm
275 (2 cups plus 1 tbs) flour*, sifted
10g (1 tbsp) baking powder
125g (9.5 tbsps) butter, melted
1/2 lemon zest
2g (1 tsp) vanilla extract

sift flour and baking powder
cream butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy
add the tempered milk, mix to incorporate
add the sifted flour and baking powder, mix to incorporate
while mixing, slowing add in the melted butter, stirring constantly
add the lemon zest and vanilla, mix to combine

cover with plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes

fill your buttered/floured pans 2/3 of the way
bake on your baking stone (or sheet tray) for 5 minutes at 430f/220c
then turned down your oven to 390f/200c and finish baking until lightly golden brown and springy (about ten minutes)
unmold immediately and let cool on a cooling rack

200g (1 cup) powdered sugar
70g (5 tbs) browned butter
pinch of salt

whisk to combine
dip your cooled madeleines hump side down and let cool

you can adjust the thickness of your glaze by addding more sugar to thicken it or more butter to thin it out

*I suggest using unbleached and unbromated (if you can find it) flour in all recipes

 Bon Apetit!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Napa Trip: Part 3

After the wedding, Mike and I headed off to Sonoma with his parents, sister and frenchies. We had a fun and relaxing two days together. It started out with a fun breakfast at the Fremont Diner where we met up with Mike's uncles and other family members who live in the area. It was my first time meeting some of them (after 11 years!) so it was really nice. Then we went wine tasting at Benzinger vineyards and Chateau Saint Jean, relaxed at the pool and had a lovely dinner. 

 Chateau Saint Jean
 Mike's parents at their favorite winery Chateau St. Jean

The next morning we had an awesome breakfast (and a perfect cappuccino) at the Sunflower Cafe and visited the delicious Vella cheese store where I happily bought some cheese and butter to take home with us (its amazing!). 

 Benzinger vineyards

The trip was perfect and I can't wait to go back and spend some more time up in California wine country. We headed to the airport and then continued to wait 5 hours at the airport since we were delayed 3 hours on the way home. Clearly, Frontier did not want to make it easy on us this trip.

Either way, still worth the 5 hours of total flight delays. Have you ever been to Sonoma or Napa? What are your experiences and recommendations?