Monthly Archives: March 2013

Baking Class in Paris

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One thing I’ve been eager to do in Paris is take a cooking class. I wanted to learn how to use their metric system, and after my convection oven fiasco I desperately wanted to fill my baking void. Paying 90 euros to use a functioning oven was definitely worth it.

After consulting David Lebovitz’s blog (he really is my Paris spirit guide) I found baking classes in English.
The class at La Cuisine was incredibly informative and the perfect length. The end results were also impressive if I do say so myself. We made a dessert you can find in most Parisian restaurants, Cafe Gourmand. It features a trio of tiny desserts and a cappuccino, which I think is absolutely brilliant. I can never narrow it down to one dessert at the end of a meal, but this clever innovation lets you sample three desserts. What could be better? Our Cafe Gourmand consisted of creme brulee, a praline tart, lace cookies, and a chocolate pear crumble. I will post the recipes for all of this when I am back in the U.S. and able to try them in my own kitchen!
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Chocolate Strawberry Fudge

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Due to an incredibly hectic spring break I have been horrible about posting. Hopefully this week I can finally catch up and add all my new recipes and adventure throughout France!

I made this fudge a couple of weeks ago but haven’t had the chance to post about until now. Since I bought so much strawberry milk for my neapolitan fudge I wanted to put it to good use. To my surprise this fudge genuinely tasted like a chocolate dipped strawberry. And the crunch of the excessive sprinkles only adds to a great tasting creation.

  • 9 oz. white chocolate
  • 9 oz. milk chocolate
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  1. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides. Set aside.
  2. On a double boiler, melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and strawberry milk.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour in prepared pan. Wait ten minutes for it to begin setting and then top with sprinkles.
  5. Chill for 2 hours. Remove from pan. Cut into squares.

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Prague

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Prague really surprised me and has actually taken 1st place as my favorite city visited this semester. I mean… it’s no Paris but it actually a close second. I always argue with Glen about which city is better so shhhh don’t tell him how much I like Prague.

My favorite memories include sampling the delicious and creative cocktails at Black Angel, enjoying warm and hearty goulash from a local pub, and going to an ice bar. Obviously the most vivid memories I have from Prague are eating and drinking. The two things I do best.

Because of the landscape everywhere we went offered amazing views. We climbed the clock tour which was a great way to admire the architecture without suffering in the snow for too long. The John Lennon Wall and castle tour were also both very worth while.

I would also highly recommend going to Prague because the price is right. I am really missing the two dollar pints of Pilsner now that I’m back in the land of over priced wine. Plus 50 dollars is equal to 1000 korunas, so in Prague you constantly feel like a balllller with all of the thousands in your wallet.

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Barcelona

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One great thing about the American University of Paris is the two week long spring vacation. Even though I’m only taking three classes, so I’m not exactly desperate for a break. The week started strong as I left immediately to meet Glen in Barcelona. The first day we walked around La Rambla, soaked in the warm weather (a great contrast to grey Paris) and indulged in multiple cones of gelato. At night we went to the Barcelona soccer game which was definitely a great cultural experience, even though I’m not the biggest fan (I need high scoring games to stay interested… ADD much?)

However, that night our trip took an interesting turn. We went out to the famous beach club Opium to meet Glen’s study abroad friends. I don’t typically frequent clubs and I guess I didn’t realize how dark they are. I had just bought a 10 euro drink and my first step on to the dance floor I tripped on some stairs. I was so busy trying to product the expensive drink that I put far too much pressure on my thumb to catch myself. And although I toughed it up at the club that night, the next day the pain was unbearable. A few hours in the ER later and my thumb was determined broken. Now I get to be in a clunky cast for the next three weeks while my thumb heals… So I think it is safe to say that Barcelona officially kicked my ass.

Although we wasted a day in the hospital we crammed as many Gaudi tours and tapas restaurants into the next 24 hours as possible. The highlight of the trip was our two year anniversary dinner at Ciudad Condal. If I could recommend anything from the trip it would be this restaurant. Such authentic, interesting and flavorful Spanish delicacies. And if the food isn’t enough to get you there, the cava is only eight euro a bottle. The best/ only cure for a broken thumb.
The adventures progressed to Prague so for now my spring break is to be continued… More to come in a few days!

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Paris in the Sunshine

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After two months of cloudiness, snow and wearing the same puffy coat everywhere (I promise I wore different outfits each day, you just can’t tell in pictures) this past week of sunshine has been such a gift. I finally got to shed all my layers and go for walks in just a leather jacket. So satisfying. Because of the cold we haven’t always taken adventage of our prime location. We pretty much take the metro everywhere, even to Hotel De Ville which I recently found out is only five blocks from us. Whoops.

So with the weather in the fifties we are taking full advantage of our hot spot location, and I mean full advantage. We have resisted drinking so we don’t waste these perfect days wallowing in our beds with hangovers. It has taken a lot of self control but has been completely worth it.

On Tuesday Kate and I actually walked to the Pantheon. We saw the tombs of many famous people including Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. I haven’t included those pictures because pictures of tombs seems a little too morbid for a baking blog. We then got frites from a little Belgium frite stand a couple of block away. The frites were delicious and completely overflowing (that huge cone is yours for only 2.50 euro!!) so we decided to sit and eat them. We found the stairs where Owen Wilson waits for the car to pick him up in Midnight in Paris (right behind the Pantheon) which made the perfect picnic spot. A flawless Parisian day and I’m sure if the weather holds up there will be many more like it!

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Neapolitan Fudge

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So the title of this blog post is deceiving. It is not exactly neapolitan fudge because French grocery stores have one goal in life: to make my American recipes difficult. My theory is that because there is such a plethora of delicious treats in Paris, no one wants to take the time to bake. And also Parisian apartments are so damn tiny even a convection oven would take up the majority of the kitchen and the living room. So the grocery stores have no reason to  stock up on baking products, which makes it hard for me to even make fudge.

The first two layers of the fudge went according to plan. Chocolate bars and vanilla extract are even standard in the tiniest of French grocery stories. But when I attempted the last layer, the absolute only thing that was strawberry in the entire store was strawberry milk. I bought this but it turned out to be strawberry in taste but white in color. Which would not have photographed well. Thus, I just topped my fudge with a fresh strawberry and called it a day. I promise to revisit this recipe and create a real neapolitan fudge when I’m back to the land of artificial coloring (otherwise known as America).

 

Chocolate layer

  • 9 oz. dark chocolate
  • 9 oz. milk chocolate
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Vanilla layer

  • 18 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sliced fresh strawberries
  1. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides. Set aside.
  2. On a double boiler melt the chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and salt.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour in prepared pan and chill for 2 hours.
  5. After the first layer has solidified, begin cooking the vanilla layer.
  6. On a double boiler melt the broken up chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
  7. Remove from the heat and pour in the prepared pan.
  8. Chill for 2 more hours or until solid.
  9. Cut into squares and top with a strawberry!

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Mexican Chocolate Fudge

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So the fudge making continues in our oven-less household. This week I made salted cinnamon dark chocolate fudge. It would have been more authentic if I had added some cayenne pepper so if you’re being adventurous experiment with the spice level. If you have any suggestions for fudge flavors please shoot them my way. It’s by far the easiest thing to make without an oven, measuring cups or teaspoons, so expect a flavor of the week from now on!

 

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