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Thursday, September 26, 2013


Note the all black motif...
French women know how to put together an outfit.   I'm certain that they know lots of other things too -- like how to run major corporations and how to properly slice a melon -- but the fact remains that they always look smashing doing whatever it is they're doing.  Even if it's just walking down the street..

How do they do it?  

My friend Deborah is as close to a Parisian woman as I'll ever come.  She lived in Paris for a couple of years during college, and she's remained très chic ever since.  Not being a complete idiot, I decided to check in with her about what to pack for my trip.  I figured that even though there would be no mistaking me for anything but American, I could look like a  American with a certain amount of je ne sais quio.

Apparently, according to Deborah, the key is black.  Lots of black.  Okay.  I can handle black.  I live in a city where getting dressed up means wearing black pants.  Year round.  And I have a lot of black clothes because they're slimming.  So I'm good on the black.

Scarves are the main staple in the accessorizing area.  This was good news to me as well.  For years I have been acquiring the most beautiful scarves, most of which I never wear.  In fact, Charlie's favorite place to shop back when Ted was financing the presents, was Hermes.  As a result, I have a drawer full of spectacular Hermes scarves.  You can't get more French that that.
A French woman's best friends...  Foulards

So,  I had the black and the scarves covered.  The rest was easy.  White shirts and black shirts.  Oh, and a navy shirt.  Apparently it's very chic to wear black and navy.  I always think of black and navy as being a little bruise-like, but I went with it.  Black shoes, dress, jacket, and bag and I all was set to be French-ish.

I am not going to say that anyone mistook me for anything but an American, but at least I wasn't wearing running shoes or a fanny pack.  Or mom jeans.  (I actually did see that actual combination.) 
Not a Parisian
And you know what? I got it all into a carry on bag.  No checked luggage for me, which also is apparently very chic.

And the black and navy? It worked too.

Now for today's recipe.  Salads are a big deal in France.  They're on every menu in every cafe at lunchtime.  But they're not the big, hulking salads Cheesecake Factory serves.  They're deceptively simple and so delicious.

One day for lunch I had this French take on the Caesar salad.  I didn't take a pictures -- which is shocking because I took pictures of everything -- so you're going to have to visualize until I can make this at home and take a picture then.  Just be creative but remember, less is more.

Recipe:  Caesar Salad with Chicken


2 heads of baby romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise but left in tact
4 slices of boneless skinless roasted chicken breast
4 anchovies
About 1/8 cup of shaved parmesan
2 hardboiled eggs, sliced 
1 medium tomato, quartered
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Caesar dressing (see below)


Lay the 4 pieces of romaine across an oval or rectangular plate, leaving space in between each piece.  Attractively and at a slight angle, lay the roasted chicken slices over the lettuce.  Lay the anchovies over the chicken, and fan the hardboiled eggs and the tomato along the edges of the plate.  Sprinkle the parmesan and the croutons (not too many) around the salad, and then drizzle the dressing lightly.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe:  Caesar Dressing
Fine Cooking


1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 oil-packed anchovies
4 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup)


Note: This recipe contains a raw egg. If that’s a concern, use a pasteurized egg.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the canola and olive oils. Put the remaining dressing ingredients except the Parmigiano in a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. With the motor running on medium high, carefully pour in the oils in a slow, steady stream. The dressing will emulsify as soon as all of the oil is incorporated. Stop the motor, add the Parmigiano, and quickly blend to combine. (You can store the dressing, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

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