Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sweet Roasted Tomatoes

So plane travels used to be for watching crappy-yet-oh-so-distracting movies, stuffing your face with horrible-yet-oh-so-distracting food, while drinking your tomato juice. Bref, planes used to be your own little space, where one could do all the horrible stuff one is not supposed to do past the age of, say, 12.

But here I am, with my new MacBook Air, a flawless wi-fi connection, low-calorie vegetables dips and organic roasted almonds. Where is the fun all gone?  So I have no choice but respecting my newborn healthy resolution and catching up on my blog.

And what a better topic than tomatoes to combine all the issues at stake here:

  1. Like the vast majority of the population, I drink tomato juice only when flying;
  2. In case you hadn’t noticed, tomatoes are healthy. Because it is a vegetable (oh, sorry, a fruit), it is light and you can eat a lot of them. Also, it has a lot of vitamin C;
  3. And it is definitely one of my must-haves. Fits into my blog.

The only problem I have is that tomatoes are tasteless. I mean, not in general. Just lately. And this dates back to before I moved to this wonderful country. Yes, even in my douce France, good tomatoes are difficult to find. Usually rare and expensive. And the sad thing is, one tends to forget the taste of good tomatoes after a while.

Luckily for you, I found a nice solution. Nice nice nice. Very happy about it. Granted, it certainly does not replace a nice ripe juicy tasty tomato. But it certainly does the trick. I roast them: put them whole in the oven (250F), on a baking sheet, with a little drizzle of olive oil, thyme, salt & pepper.   For two hours. Or longer if you want. Let them cool a little, peel them, get rid of the seeds. And there you go. Nice tomatoes, to use in salads, sauces, gaspachos, whatever you like.

Granted, this does not make a tomato juicy tasty and fresh. It tastes different. And this does not prevent you from selecting organic tomatoes, and decent looking ones. But still. It works well in the following salads I tried:

  1. Tomatoes + roasted peppers* + mozzarella di buffala + scallions + basil + salt + pepper + olive oil + balsamic vinegar;
  2. Tomatoes + roasted peppers + potatoes (be careful, don’t cook them too much or it will turn out mushy) + salt + pepper + pitted black olives + scallions + parsley + olive oil + balsamic vinegar;

* One day I will have to spread my love of roasted peppers too. Red roasted pepper, that is.


Bonne Fete Maman


I am not a very good daughter. I rarely call my mum. I write a blog in English. I am not a good sister or aunty either actually. I regularly forget my sisters’, nephews’ and niece’s birthdays (except for Delphine, but that’s also because she was born exactly 6 years and 364 days before me – I am that selfish).

And I feel guilty, often. And all the fuss in this country around Mothers Day revived the guilt, big time. In France, mother’s day is not that big of a deal. You just call your mother, tell her “Happy Mother’s Day” and you’re done. Here it is an entirely different level. And although I know that this is more of a commercial attempt to make you buy stuff for your mother and make you spend money to make the economy better and Obama happier, still, I am under the influence.

So: Maman – Joyeuse Fete – Happy Mother’s day. I know, I am way past deadline in this country. As a matter of fact, I am way, way past deadline in France as well (Mother’s day was on June 7). Blame it on my free-lance job.

So, as a belated present, I thought I would share a recipe my mother sent me recently. Because not only is my mother my mother but she also happens to be a great cook. So here it is. In French. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks yummy and easy, my favorites. Very versatile too. As we discussed at length with my mother, you can use strawberries instead (and why not use basil instead of mint, that would be nice too. I will report back when I try it. Very summery. Very chocolaty. Comfort food with a healthy twist. Healthy food with a decadent twist.

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Sloppy Blogger on a Diet

Because I am almost as fat as my cat

Because I am almost as fat as my cat

Has it ever happened to you to get this phone call or email from a close friend of yours? And of course you want to reply right away but, for so many reasons (i.e. you are supposed to be revamping that resume and after the two hours you spent on facebook/twitter and the rest you cannot possibly spend yet another 5 minutes to answer your friend and have to delve right into that resume revamping of yours). And then time goes by and the more you wait and the less you dare to reply, imagining all the excuses you will have to come up with to explain why you did not answer earlier.

Please tell me I am not the only one. Please tell me you’ve done that before, too. Because this is the only excuse I can come up with for not posting earlier. I am a sloppy friend. Therefore I am a sloppy blogger. That’s my theory.

Don’t get me wrong. I did not just vanish. I did have a job for quite a while (and as a matter of fact, I still have a job). Free-lance. For real. And I was even very very busy. Working late at night and on week-ends even. Busy busy busy bee. And granted, for maybe a month or so I did NOT have time to write, nor would have I any subject to write about. Did not cook. Did not go to any restaurants whatsoever. The only dishes I could think of were:

  1. Mac & Cheese / pates au fromage
  2. Hamburgers
  3. Fromage fromage cheese queso

(Tells a lot about the essential element of MY comfort food favorite ingredient – FAT).

HOWEVER, this does not explain why I did not write in the past three weeks. No valid reason whatsoever. Except the dreaded idea that I will have to explain myself to my numerous, increasing, loyal readership base* why I did not write. I just couldn’t write as if nothing happen.

I am a sloppy friend, therefore I am a sloppy blogger. That’s my only explanation.

So now that I explained myself – albeit poorly – back to business. Mind you, I cannot guarantee that this is not going to happen again. Because I do hope that, at some point, I will find a job. I mean a full-time job. And when I do, no doubt I will find other excuses. So I am, and will continue to be, a sloppy blogger. Sadly. And for that, I apologize, again.

The good thing is that this little break gave me renewed ideas, and need, to blog and talk about food. Why? Given the aforementioned diet I followed for quite a while, it is getting increasingly difficult for me to deny the extra pounds I gained. To the same extent, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore Florent’s views on the latter.

But why – will you say –  would you want to think about food, write about food AND cook when on a diet? For several reasons:

  1. First and foremost, there is absolutely no way whatsoever that being on a diet for me will mean: no restaurants, Special Ks for breakfast, lunch and an apple for dinner – or the whole carrot/ginger juice diet for two weeks. I would die. No kidding.
  2. I want to be able to taste food, good food. And yes, yes vegetables and fruits can be darn good. But so does a jolly good foie gras, with apple & fennel tart tatin from Get Fresh (had one last night, a delish). So does a runny-smelly Saint-Nectaire from Auvergne (I would die for some right now).

So, I figured. I have to come up with a plan. And my plan is to think about food even more, to cook as much as I can. And to go to restaurants, too. My my my why she lost her mind – you will think. Well, I hope not. For the sake of my marriage.

Here’s the plan: have you ever noticed that when you go to a very good restaurant, usually a fancy one, portions are not that big. And you (well I) get this scary feeling that I won’t have enough to eat. And then you eat and it’s so good and no you’re not hungry anymore. So I have this theory: when you eat flavorful food, you don’t eat as much.

So my plan, is to eat as best as I can. In moderate proportions, of course. Because yet another thing that I have noticed (I know, this free-lance gig of mine got me super clever), is that when you ARE hungry. Like truly hungry. Food tastes better.

So, I am planning to write posts on the latter (and I will try to deliver on this one, unlike the comfort food – or asparagus ones**). The following topics will be tackled:

  1. How to find flavorful ingredients in this country (the United States of America), or, at least, how to make the most of these not-so-flavorful ingredients you bought?
  2. Restaurants on a diet. Planning on writing even better reviews of even better restaurants. Special Dedicace to Cafe Select. This is our new hangout and we love it for real.
  3. And hopefully some good recipes as well. To eat moderately. Because no, I won’t be using no-fat milk to make mashed potatoes. This is gross.

* sorry mother, sisters and Florent. I know I disappointed you. Once again.
**sorry mother, sisters and Florent. I know I disappointed you. Once again.