Motivated By My Tiny Parisian Kitchen
I like to cook. A lot. I find the repetition of certain tasks relaxing, the smells intoxicating and in the end, I have something to show for my effort. Unfortunately, I haven't always been consistent in the kitchen.
While living in LA, I would only be motivated to cook something delicious when I knew Steve was driving down for the weekend. I'd find something online (Smitten Kitchen is my go-to). I would spend Friday evening prepping for dinner. My roommates would pull up a stool, watch me chop, mix and sauté. We'd chat and drink glass of wine, awaiting Steve's arrival. When he finally walked in the door, we'd all dig in.
During all of the other nights of the week, I didn't have the same kind of patience for cooking. I was making food for myself, so I'd whip something up random - eggs, pasta + sauce, something in a tortilla, a (usually) boring salad. I hated cooking for myself and couldn't wait to cook for more on a regular basis.
Fast forward: now that Steve and I actually live together, there is a lot of cooking to be done. Especially with a budget to stick to. Since I am the one without a job, I have the time to shop and cook. It makes sense, but can feel like a chore.
During the first month, I started to resent the fact that I had to cook every day. It was tricky to come up with ideas. And with the French way of food shopping, I had to repeat the same routine: each afternoon, I would head out to the market with a vague idea of what to make for dinner, hoping to be inspired.
It all changed about two weeks ago. Thank goodness. I would credit a few things for reinvigorating my love of cooking and baking.
- Moving. we moved out of our tiny box and into a lovely new apartment. The kitchen is small, but feels more well-rounded than the one we were previously in.
- My brand new miniature oven. full-fledged ovens are hard to come by in Parisian apartments. I didn't see it as a deal breaker, as long as I could buy a small portable oven. I'm in love...
- Julia Child's My Life in Paris. her descriptions of what I am seeing and tasting on a daily basis have made me feel privileged. It's helped me appreciate and embrace what I would usually think of as mundane. (thank you for the book, Amber!)
- My new neighborhood. My new neighborhood has a plethora of shops, colorful markets and interesting people. While I love to wander around Marché des Enfants Rouges, the markets in République and Bastille are a short bike ride away.
I'm about to get serious in my little kitchen. I plan to tackle difficult recipes, especially French ones. I want to buy previously untasted vegetables, fruits and more at the market. And with the holidays coming up, I will be baking. Especially cookies, we must have Christmas cookies.
Here is a smattering of what our kitchen has produced thus far:
This pretty little salad was made with all the random things in our fridge. The addition of baguette and rosé made it parfait.
This meal came about on a whim. Steve loves seafood and picked up a small bag of cockles on the way home from work. We transformed it into a pasta dish. Amazing flavor combo.
I made this last night by sautéing garlic, onion, mushrooms & spinach together before popping it in the oven with fresh eggs. I'm still learning my oven's temperament, as the eggs were a little overdone for our taste.
Tonight, I'm going to make pizza with a homemade dough; it is currently rising on my kitchen counter (thanks again, SK).
If you have any recipe or food shopping suggestions, send them my way! I love new ideas, especially challenges. =)
Vocab for today:
- cuisiner -to cook
- four - oven
- mini-four - mini oven (this is what you have to search for when buying on amazon)
- les épinards - spinach
- le champignon - mushroom
- l'oeuf - egg
- le beurre - butter