Alright guys, I know it's only Tuesday but this has been a busy, exciting week so far. The summer theatre camp I work with just started and I am rapidly eating my way through France on my Tour de Food!
The best thing about starting this blog is that I am having a kickass time doing things that I know I can write about! Maybe 100 people will read it or maybe only 1 (Hi mom again!) but who cares! This is F.U.N.
The best part of making food is enjoying cooking it with friends! One thing Europeans do way more than Americans is spend quality time with people they care about. Often times, it is easy here in America to live fast-paced, go-go-go, not realizing that we are missing important parts of life.
I made these two dishes last night with my really good friend Sara, and it was really important to have some company with this one because it took quite a bit of time (especially since I hadn't thought to thaw the fish the evening before). Sara and I had a great time cooking the food (gossiping, serenading the fish, laughing at my awkward cat Hemingway, etc) but we also had a blast eating! First, sometimes you need to light a candle and sit at the table. I NEVER eat at my table because, living alone, I'm eating with The Real Housewives of NYC as I sit on my couch.
Don't let the candle lit dinner, beautiful plate presentation, and delicious food fool you though - the cat lurked near the fish the entire time and I caught Sara eating her green beans like French fries (okays he caught me too...)
Anyway, the food - ohhhhhhhhhh the food! Before I get all into the nitty gritty of how to make these fine French foods (god I love alliteration), let me just remind you that the French like their butter! If you are planning on cooking a French-inspired meal, get. a. TON. of. butter!
Sole Meunière (or as I like to call it... Fish in a Butter Bath)
1. Thaw your fish (choose a white fish - tilapia or swai are good choices)
2. Put about 1 cup of flour on a plate. Salt and pepper the swai and coat each side with a layer of flour.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of clarified butter (or if you couldn't find/make clarified butter, just use some dang regular butter).
4. Cook 2 pieces of fish, cooking each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add 2 more tablespoons of butter and repeat for however many other pieces of fish you have (I had 4 so it worked out perfectly).
5. Put those fish in a warmed serving dish. Melt 4, yes FOUR more tablespoons of butter in your pan, pour that butter over the fish, add some lemon slices and parsley and you're done!
NOTE: There are several options for improving this dish.
- broil the fish with the lemon and parsley for a while until it crisps
- add some veggies in the serving dish BEFORE the butter bath and then crop it all up
- serenade your fish with your friend. Do a dance number, sing a love song. (I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles is a fabulous choice!)
Nutella and Strawberry Crepes:
Crepes are a staple in France. Not only are they served in cafes but also on the streets of Paris! One of my fondest memories of Paris is spending the last night eating a Nutella crepe while watching the Eiffel Tower light up. Sounds so cliche but I think that shows the power of food. I saw so many amazing sights and learned so many amazing things on that trip but the thing I remember most is that moment when three senses came together: sight, smell, and taste.
Don't be too scared to make crepes. People seem to think they are harder to make than they actually are! If you can make a pancake, with some patience and practice, you can make a crepe!
1. Melt 3 tablespoons of melted butter (see what I mean?)
2. In a blender, mix up 2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of water.
*For sweet crepes you can add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla or for savory crepes you can add a pinch of salt*
3. If you have the time, put some batter in the fridge to get some more bubbles
4. Heat up your pan and melt a little more butter in a bowl
5. Brush your pan with a little bit of butter
6. Use a small ladle to to pour enough batter to fill the bottom of the pan (you don't want it too thick!)
7. Cook for a minute then flip, cook for another minute
8. Fill with delicious, delicious fillings: Nutella, strawberries, bananas or ham, cheese, veggies! The possibilities are endless!
Hope you enjoy these dishes! Shout out to The NY Times and the blog Innocent Delights for the recipes and teaching me how to cook these fabulous dishes!