12 Amazing Instagram Accounts for Paris Lovers

Cuillier Coffee Shop at 19 rue Yvonne Le Tac in Paris' 18th arrondissement.

Coffee shop Cuillier in Paris' 18th. Follow me on Instagram!

In idle moments, I love to graze through my Instagram feed and discover what everyone is seeing, cooking, and eating. This visually-oriented social network has become very popular among the Paris crowd, and it strikes me as the perfect way to experience the city vicariously, get ideas for your next meal out, or daydream about a future trip.

So if you’re looking to infuse your follow list with more beauty and flavors from the City of Light, here’s a selection of inspiring Instagrammers to get you started!

1. Paris Promenades

Audrey Felix is a Paris apartment hunter and the author of Et si on se promenait… à Paris!, an armchair traveler’s dream come true. Her Instagram is full of shots from the quaint courtyards and dashing apartment buildings she gets to visit daily.

Follow Paris Promenades on Instagram

Follow Paris Promenades on Instagram

2. Lindsey Tramuta

Lindsey Tramuta is an American expat and the author of the blog Lost in Cheeseland, and her Instagram shows she has a keen eye for what makes life delicious and beautiful in her adopted city.

Follow Lindsey Tramuta on Instagram

Follow Lindsey Tramuta on Instagram

3. Cédric Grolet

Cédric Grolet is the young and talented pastry chef at five-star hotel Le Meurice, and his Instagram gives you a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into his pastry lab.

Follow Cédric Grolet on Instagram

Follow Cédric Grolet on Instagram

4. Paris je t’aime

Run with brio by the Paris tourist board, this Instagram is full of gorgeous skies, breathtaking architecture, and charming daily life scenes. If you weren’t already in love with Paris, this would seal the deal.

Follow Paris je t'aime on Instagram

Follow Paris je t’aime on Instagram

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Sprouted Buckwheat Waffles

Sprouted Buckwheat Waffles

The story of these waffles begins with a photo that Sarah Britton, author of My New Roots, posted a few weeks ago, revealing that her revolutionary pancakes worked as waffles, too. Revolutionary pancakes? My ears perked up.

What’s revolutionary about Sarah’s pancakes is that she makes them from buckwheat and other whole, gluten-free grains that she soaks and blends with water to form a smooth batter. This is the best possible use of grains, foregoing pre-milled flours and essentially making your own. The soaked buckwheat becomes a little slimy — in the best of ways! — and this helps bind the batter.

These flour-free waffles are crisp and tender, high in nutty buckwheat flavor, and not very sweet, which leaves ample room for your favorite toppings.

Not five minutes after reading her post, I had a batch of grains soaking on my counter. Unfortunately, I did not have much success with the pancakes. I found them too difficult to cook properly on the stove top: despite several attempts using different heat settings, I mostly ended up with pancakes that darkened too much on the outside while remaining undercooked on the inside.

I did love Sarah’s idea, though, and I adore buckwheat, so I decided to try again in waffle form.

While I was at it, I took the extra step to sprout the soaked grains for a day, for even more waffle nutrition. My original pancakes were also woefully undersweetened, so two ripe bananas went into that fresh batch, and I added a bit of salt as well, to delineate the flavors.

And after a few tries, I nailed the process that works for me: this includes allowing the batter to rest overnight in the refrigerator — the waffles hold up much better in the waffle iron then — and adding a bit of baking soda just before cooking, for a lighter texture.

Sprouted Buckwheat Waffles

It’s a very easy formula, too, which for once I recommend you follow by volume: for each measure of raw buckwheat groats, you’ll add another measure of gluten-free grains (I’ve tried rice and quinoa; teff, millet, amaranth would work as well), and use two measures of water to process into a batter.

For all you buckwheat lovers, this is definitely a recipe to try: these flour-free waffles are crisp and tender, high in nutty buckwheat flavor, and not very sweet. We’ve had them plain and they’re excellent, but that moderate sweetness leaves ample room for your favorite toppings: I’ve tried a crêpe-style butter and sugar, I’ve tried raw honey, but my favorite combo is a drizzle of almond butter and a shower of grated chocolate (made using a Microplane).

They make for a lovely breakfast item — one that won’t give you a sugar crash two hours later — and they are toddler-approved at my house. You can make them ahead, too, and crisp them back up in the toaster for a quick afternoon snack.

I want to know!

Do you love buckwheat as much as I do? What’s your favorite use for this wonderful pseudo-grain? Will you give these unconventional waffles a try?

Social Media Check!

Do you know you can follow me on Instagram to get the latest pics from my eating and cooking adventures? And would you like to follow me on Pinterest for even more recipe inspiration?

Sprouted Buckwheat Waffles

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies (Just 4 Ingredients!)

Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)

Gluten-free baking can be discouraging for those who only want to dabble at it: you often dive into a tempting recipe only to discover it calls for three different types of flour and various thickening gums. It sounds daunting, and you don’t necessarily want to invest in ingredients that will just go rancid in your kitchen cabinet.

“Naturally” gluten-free chocolate cookies

I am more attracted to naturally gluten-free baked goods that use “regular” ingredients — though I recognize the notion is highly personal. But in the case of these gluten-free chocolate cookies, they can be put together by hand in no time at all, from just four easy-to-find ingredients: almond flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter.

You’ll be wowed by these divine little sablés — crisp as you bite in, then meltingly tender on the tongue, not too sweet but strongly chocolate-y, with roasted notes and the touch of salt that changes everything.

These gluten-free chocolate cookies are a recipe idea I’ve had on the mind for a long time, and I recently came around to developing it, to great success. Knowing that they are based on such a simple formula, you may be just as wowed as I was tasting these divine little sablés — crisp as you bite in, then meltingly tender on the tongue, not too sweet but strongly chocolate-y, with roasted notes and the touch of salt that changes everything.

Though I generally use a silicone baking mat for cookies, I find it more convenient to use a good parchment paper here. I use it to roll up the dough into slice-and-bake logs, wrap them up for setting in the freezer, and slide the cookies onto a rack super gently at the end of baking — gluten-free cookies are typically fragile when still warm, so they need to cool completely undisturbed before they’re all crisped up and ready for action.

Tell me everything!

Do you also feel put off by recipes that call for two kinds of gums and various specialty flours? Did a particular recipe or circumstance convince you to give in and build a gluten-free pantry?

PS: Here’s an index of my gluten-free recipes. And if you decide to invest in a bag of almond flour (I buy it by the kilo at G. Detou in Paris), I can offer many more recipes to make good use of it.

Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)

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Roasted Green Beans with Shaved Bottarga

Roasted Green Beans with Shaved Bottarga

I have been eating green beans my entire life, mostly boiled or steamed, and it’s only recently that I was turned on to the sheer magic of roasting those guys.

I forget what prompted me to do so in the first place; it was probably because roasting is my method of choice for low-maintenance cooked vegetables. Whether it’s zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, or any sort of root vegetable, I fill my rimmed baking sheet even-sized chunks in a single, not too cramped layer, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and spices (shichimi togarashi — the Japanese seven-spice wonder — and garam masala are my two current favorites), massage everything in with my hands, and whoosh the sheet into the cold oven.

Besides the convenience, roasting green beans transforms them in a way no other cooking technique does. The flavor concentrates and becomes sweeter, the browned bits give off toasted notes, and the teeny tails become irresistibly crisp.

The beauty of this is I can prepare the vegetables this way a couple of hours in advance, and switch on the oven just half an hour before we’re due to have dinner. Other times I turn on the oven and program it to shut off after thirty minutes, before we all go out to run an errand. If we’re back a bit late, so much the better: the vegetables continue to soften in the residual heat and become even more delicious.

With green beans, the process is made even simpler by the fact that there’s only a bit of trimming to do — no peeling and no chopping. And because I usually deal in haricots verts, the slimmer, shorter kind of green bean that is the norm here in France, and because I get them young, freshly picked and not at all stringy, I trim them by the bunch, which saves a lot of time. You gather a little bundle of beans, aligning the stems together on the same side, and chop them all off at once with a chef’s knife. Gather, chop! Gather, chop! Aaaaand, you’re done.

Green beans, stem-end snipped.

I timed myself the other day (dork much?) and went through the full batch (600 grams or 1 1/3 pounds) in four minutes, which seems pretty good to me, though when my three-year-old is around, I’ll revert to the old-fashioned way in which he and I sit around the table to trim in concert and plop the beans into a communal colander. (Very Montessori, I know. We’re working on his technique so he doesn’t trim a full inch off the bean.)

Besides the convenience, roasting transforms green beans in a way no other cooking technique does. The flavor concentrates and becomes sweeter, the browned bits give off toasted notes, and the teeny tails become irresistibly crisp. I have occasionally over-roasted them to the point where the beans sitting in the nether regions of my oven are almost charred, and although I can’t recommend you do the same, I have to tell you charred green beans are tasty. They may become a thing.

Roasted Green Beans

I am content to eat roasted green beans on their own — and like all of my roasted vegetable concoctions I can take in quite a bit — but the other day I was inspired to garnish them with waxy shavings of bottarga, a Mediterranean delicacy of cured, salted fish roe, typically mullet. The pairing was extraordinary, the salty, faintly bitter notes of the roe rubbing against the sweetness of the green beans in all the right ways. This would serve as an elegant appetizer for a dinner party, especially during the holidays, or you could serve it over steamed rice or fresh pasta, and call it a main dish.

I got my bottarga (poutargue in French) from a lovely Italian shop in my neighborhood called RAP Epicerie. They had several kinds; I chose the bottarga di muggine, made from grey mullet roe, but I’ll try some of the others next time. Look for it at your local Italian foods shop, or order it online. It’s not cheap, but it’s powerfully flavorful so a little goes a long way.

I want to know!

What’s your favorite green bean recipe? Have you roasted them before? And have you ever tried bottarga? What do you like to do with it?

Italian grey mullet bottarga.

Italian grey mullet bottarga.

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12th Anniversary Book Giveaway!

12thAnniversaryGiveaway

Chocolate & Zucchini turns 12 today!

This means I have been blogging for, oh, just about 4 383 days, and this particular anniversary actually marks the point where I have been blogging for a full third of my life. No wonder C&Z feels as familiar to me as my own limbs, and writing here as natural as breathing.

Creating this blog on an idle September day in 2003 is one of the top 3 most life-shaping decisions I have ever made (the other two would be: living in California in my early twenties, and having a child in my early thirties — what about you?).

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful beyond words for everything it has brought me. An incredibly fulfilling career, a rich network of like-minded cooks and real-life friends, a wealth of knowledge I would never have acquired otherwise, and my interactions with you, dear readers, who warm my heart, make me laugh, inspire, and teach me daily.

To thank you, I have partnered with my publishers to give away Five sets of my three latest books:

PreservingThere’s PRESERVING, the newest Ginette Mathiot tome that I’ve helped revise for its English-language edition, and has just been released by the good people at Phaidon. This one is all about conserving, salting, smoking, and pickling — in other words, capturing flavors at the height of the season, to enjoy later.

The French Market CookbookThen there’s THE FRENCH MARKET COOKBOOK, a book that celebrates the love story between French cuisine and vegetables, and contains 75 of my heaviest-rotation recipes for seasonal produce, such as my shocking pink pasta with a no-cook beet sauce, my Corsican turnovers garnished with squash, or my pear and chestnut cake.

Edible FrenchAnd finally there’s EDIBLE FRENCH, a lovely book of French food-related idioms that tell you so much about French culture, and come illustrated with whimsical watercolors by my friend Melina Josserand.

Five lucky winners will win a copy of each of these books, so three books total, which will be sent in the mail by their respective publishers.

You have until Sunday, October 11, 10pm EST to enter, using the Rafflecopter widget below: you’ll see you have different options to enter the giveaway, and you can use as many as you like to increase your chances of winning. The winners will be picked randomly and their names will be announced here on Monday, October 12. Good luck and thank you for participating!

We’ve got winners! I have drawn five entries using the Rafflecopter random picker, and the names of the winners are listed in the widget below. They have each received an email explaining the next steps; if you’re one of the winners and you haven’t heard from me, please get in touch!

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