Spiced Carrot Fries

Frites de Carottes aux Epices

[Spiced Carrot Fries]

Winter is the blessed season of root vegetables. Since it is noticeably drawing to a close here – longer days, sunny and mild weather, daffodils all around -, now’s the time to make the most of the kind of carb comfort our winter friends have to offer, before we turn the page and say hello to nature’s spring collection.

Having a bunch of carrots to use up, I decided to go for my favored cooking method for root vegetables, oven-baking. I considered cutting them in slices, but in the end decided faux fries were the way to go.

The faithful readers among you will certainly notice that this recipe is but a variation of the root vegetable fries I talked about recently, with the additon of honey and carrot-friendly spices (cumin and ginger). Baking carrots really concentrates their sweet taste and underlines their depth of flavor. Carrot fries are pretty and fun to eat, and are also very easy to make, although they do take a little while to cook.

On an unrelated side note (I love these), I went to the Belle & Sebastian concert at the Grand Rex yesterday, and had the most wonderful time. I do wish they had sung Like Dylan In The Movies, but I guess Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying more than made up for it…

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Is my Blog Burning? A Bouquet of Tartines

Is My Blog Burning? The Tartine Edition

Yesterday was the Tartine Edition of Is My Blog Burning? day, which I had the honor of hosting this time around. In this, I was following in the steps of Alberto, who originally fathered this fun event. Many thanks to all who participated with such enthusiasm!

In setting the theme, I had hoped it provided enough structure to give an air of commonality between the contributions, but that it was also open enough for each of the participants to express their own taste and personality and cooking style. I am very happy to say that it seems to have fit the bill perfectly!

It was a joy to receive each of your emails telling me about your tartine, to hurry and read your posts, and see all the wonderful creations you came up with. I find it ever so heartwarming to think of each of you in your kitchen, as the IMBB? date approached, contemplating the contents of your fridge or leafing through your favorite cookbooks, scratching your head, trying to come up with an idea, then getting to work, and finally sharing the fruits of your brain juices and labor with the rest of us.

I am delighted to get a sense of the community we are forming, and I am all for making this a regular event : “Jamais deux sans trois”, as we say in French! So if one of you out there has an idea for a theme and would like to host the next edition, do speak up!

And here is a list of the Tartines that our talented and creative bloggers thought up. If I have forgotten to include yours, profusely do I apologize, and please let me know so I can correct the omission!

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Goat Cheese and Sprouted Seeds Tartine

Tartine Chèvre et Pousses

[Goat Cheese and Sprouted Seeds Tartine]

And today is the day of the Tartine Edition of the world famous Is My Blog Burning? distributed blogging event! Please meet the tartine I made as my contribution : a tartine with goat cheese, ham and cherry tomato jam, decorated with sprouted seeds and served on a bed of watercress.

As with most tartines, it is easy (it’s mostly just assembling ready-made ingredients) and fun to make : I love the sort of artistic attention and care involved, when you line up the tartines and try to reproduce the same harmonious arrangement on each of them, and then when you plate them, correcting the shape of the watercress bed to ensure that it frames the tartine in a flattering way, tilting your head to the right to get a sense of the general picture. It also turned out really tasty : what more could one ask of a tartine, I ask?

This would make a really nice opener, if each guest gets one small tartine, or it could be served as a light main course, in which case two tartines each is good.

It happens to use several ingredients featured here in the past : the wonderluscious olive bread I buy at a nearby boulangerie, the cherry tomato jam I made at the height of last summer, and mixed sprouted seeds, proudly home-grown.

I am maintaining a rapidly growing record of all the participants’ contributions, check back tomorrow for the complete list!

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I feel so deprived

I feel so deprived

On this side of the Atlantic, I can find Oreo cookies and I can find smooth peanut butter. I can find Newman’s Own microwave popcorn and I can find Aunt Jemima pancake mix. I can find Philadelphia cream cheese and I can find Graham Crackers.

But I miss my honey-frosted mini-wheats, I miss Barbara’s Bakery Cinnamon Puffins, I miss decent tortillas and chunky salsa, I miss the Jiffy corn muffin mix, and most of all, I miss Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

Particularly the mini, bite-size ones, we used to have bucketloads of at my office.

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Chicken Nuggets and Root Vegetable Fries

A Take Chicken Nuggets and Fries

A Take on Chicken Nuggets and Fries.

My sister Céline came to have dinner with us the other night. She has recently started working for a major French car company, and part of the integration process for new hires is to go through four weeks at one of the factories, working the line just like the other workers. This is a trying experience to say the least (a loss of 6 pounds, a large bruise on the hip, a swollen and bandaged wrist – how’s that for good working conditions?), and the end of the day sees her thoroughly exhausted and achy, her head spinning from the infinite chain of cars she has worked her way through.

This sounded like the perfect time to provide a little comfort with a mock fast-food dinner, home-made and healthy.

The three of us ate these chicken nuggets and root vegetable fries with pleasure – and our fingers -, chatting away until Céline’s fight against her shutting eyelids and general sleepiness became a lost cause. At which point she dragged herself home, a couple of metro stations away, for a few hours of deep and blissful sleep.

A note on variations : I made the root vegetable fries with potatoes and celery root because that’s what I had on hand, but they would work equally well with any and all types of root vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beetroot, etc. Mix ‘n match to your heart’s content! You can also experiment with the spices you sprinkle on, as well as the spices that you add to the chicken breading : cumin, paprika, ginger, onion flakes, celery seeds…

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