Friday, October 30, 2009

Paris, October 2009, At Home For The Day

Too Cold To Go Out? No Problem! We Enjoy Home Cooked Meal On A Friday

Can You Blame Me For Loving To Cook In France? What A Selection!

Bonjour! I hope you've had (or will have) a great day. Ours was quiet today.

We woke to find what we believe to be best described as a touch of winter in the air. If we were back in Iowa or Indiana we'd probably say that it looks like it might snow today. The sky is that solid gray that leaves you anticipating a snow storm later in the day.

After checking out the online weather sources for Paris and learning that by noon tomorrow we can expect a cold front with rain, we popped out for a short walk to Monoprix to buy a few supplies.

The Monoprix is a fun place to visit. Ours has an entry on the top floor where you can buy nearly anything you might need. They have toiletries, clothing, shoes, perfumes, household items, lingerie, toys, a book store and whatever fits your fancy. There is an escalator that leads down to the lower level, beneath the street (or you can take stairs or an elevator if you wish), and on the lower level is a full grocery store with lovely produce, a butcher, cheese monger, fish monger, a wine shop and all the groceries you might need. It's well-stocked and there are plenty of cashiers so one does not have to wait in line forever.

Our exchangers have a nice turquoise blue pull cart, that holds a lot of groceries, as well as some hand-held re-useable large grocery bags. We like to buy bottled water, since it makes the best coffee, and it is heavy so we generally take the pull cart and today was no exception. It's easier to cart home the delicious varieties of French wine that way, too!

Since Doug is still trying to get over a cold that started about 3-1/2 weeks ago, this seemed like a good day to stay in and get caught up on our blogging and get some chores done, but we also felt a bit closed in and saved the shopping for after lunch time.

Our host family recently purchased a new washer. Because space is very limited in French apartments, it's not exactly a huge washer but I can easily wash a few towels or a small load of clothing in it. The top of the machine pops up and in the interior of the machine there is a drum on it's side that opens sort of like a bingo cage. You put your load in, add a cap of detergent, select the type of fabric you're washing and hit the depart button. The least amount of time is 1 hour 20 minutes for synthetics and the most is over 2 hours for jeans. Needless to say, I've decided that all our laundry is synthetic whether true or not! With such a small load, it takes more time than I'm willing to invest otherwise.

The clothes dryer is very practical. It's economically efficient, at best, but I must say it really does take its time drying our clothing! Our building is heated by a boiler system that sends hot water through pipes, so it's never exceptionally warm in the apartment--but it is certainly comfortable for us--so it takes about a day and a half for clothes to dry. Also, our "dryer" only holds so many pieces of clothing, so it takes a bit of time to do laundry. We thought it might be best to take everything to the laverie, which is French for "laundry." However, it is about six euros per load to wash and about the same to dry--depending upon what it is. Much more expensive than doing it at home--unless time is of essence. We passed on the 24 euros laundry, and spent our day reading as the laundry did its thing.

So, on this cold wintery day our laundry is on the line drying and our cupboard is filled with delectable food that I'll cook in the French manner over the next few cold, rainy days.

We'll try to get out a bit tomorrow--perhaps before the storm hits--and get some more of Paris uploaded. However, the pictures below are definitely part of living here--for what it's worth!

Tonight I'll put my hand to biftek au poivre (steak with pepper) and some pomme frites and we'll enjoy it with some good Bordeaux we bought at Monoprix today. We also purchased two slices of Tart de Mère (it looks like a crumble of some sort, berry or pear) and we'll heat it up and put a dollop of ice cream on it. The French use ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. They don't import food from other places. Right now the berries have all but disappeared from stores and we are seeing tangerines, apples and pears. Also root vegetables and leeks have taken the place of spring and summer vegetables. I'm enjoying every minute of it, with my love of cuisine.

If you're at all interested, I prepared this small 3/4" filet mignon (which we shared) by first, in a separate skillet adding a generous pat of butter, thinly slicked half small yellow onion and four sliced mushrooms with a bit of salt and pepper, until soft and golden. In another small pan I melted a pat of butter and heated the pan (don't burn the butter) then put the olive oil rubbed filet which was generously covered in cracked fresh black pepper and salt, cooking it first on one side for a coupe of minutes, then flipping it and doing the same, removing it to a plate and covering it while I deglazed the pan with a splash of porto, added the onion and mushrooms and a splash of cream and let it cook off the alcohol for a few minutes while it thickened, stirring in another pat of butter and topped the steak with this lovely mixture. I'd sliced potatoes, salted them well, covered them with half and half and chives and some parmesan and baked them until bubbly and golden (350F for 55 min). With some Bordeaux, we dined with smiles! Easy, fast and delicious and cost was about eight euros for the two of us!

Where We Shop For Groceries

The Other Half Of Our Own French Laundry: Our Clothes Dryer

Our Own French Laundry (Washing Machine)

This Is What We Do, When Not Out And About: Blog!

Next Post: More Of Paris 2009


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