Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kitchen Talk

I seem to be blogging much more often and longer than usual! Can you tell my husband is out of town and I've been on my own for several days? 

First...more info about the Picard stuffed chicken from yesterday. Christelle tells me it was stuffed with foie gras, duck liver. It is considered a "must have on the table for Christmas," just like cornbread stuffing with your turkey! The foie gras is what made the chicken so expensive. And that was a strip of fat down the center of the chicken to make the breast moist. It worked great...we do the same thing in the U.S. only with bacon...because bacon makes everything taste better!

Since we are on  the subject of duck...here is what one of my husband's co-workers gave him for Christmas...

I'm going to let Christelle explain this to me and how we should ideally prepare it. From the back it looks like a jar of fat...


but when I tip it to the side I can see what looks like a duck breast.

We eat Confit de Canard all the time in restaurants. (Canard is duck...that's about all I know.)

Since I complain about my tiny Paris kitchen, my friend Bonnie wants to see some pictures...so here is the grand tour of our apartment kitchen. We are renting a completely furnished apartment...to include all the dishes, pots, linens, etc. I shipped a mini sewing room but other than a couple of pieces from IKEA we haven't done much more to the place.

As you walk from the main hallway and turn to enter the kitchen...

you see right away the first thing that irritates me...the only toilet in the apartment is practically in the kitchen. There were worse options when we were apartment hunting since we requested an older style apartment. These rooms were not in the original building plans over a hundred years ago.

I am very thankful to have a washer and dryer...with a boiler for the kitchen hot water mounted on the wall...but it is very noisy to have any laundry going on when you are in the kitchen. The piece on the left is the front loading washing machine with a top loading dryer on the right. Behind the dryer is a door that leads to the apartment building hallway...thank goodness we don't need to use that door.

Here's the heart of the kitchen; dishwasher, gas cooktop, one tiny sink, and on the wall to the right is the oven.

Here's a better view of what is outside my window...the back courtyard of the apartment building where I can see lots of other peoples' apartments. Notice the mesh covering on the wall on the left side. The limestone exteriors of these Paris buildings need regular maintenance and there is always a set of scaffolding set up somewhere on the block to accommodate this work. Some days the workers are noisier than others...today is rather quiet...or maybe the workers are still on their two-hour lunch break!

If I want to open the oven I have to make sure and move everything on the counter out of the way.

And the black shopping bag that is hanging on the wall is for our recycling...we regularly need to take that to the back courtyard and dump it in the recycling cans. We don't have curbside recycling where we live in Alaska...we take everything to the dump so this is a new chore for us.

There was an eat-in table in the kitchen when we moved in but it was so low it was inconvenient as a working surface so it got moved to the sewing room where it became the perfect table for my computer! I never once sat at this table when it was in the kitchen.

We replaced it with a butcher block table that is taller...got it at IKEA. LOVE THAT PLACE! This table is our primary work surface in the kitchen.

Here's the kitchen back wall. Tiny refrigerator and freezer with a very small microwave. Part of that counter top had a coffee maker on it until recently. I have converted Bryan to the cooktop espresso brewing method so I was able to free up some more space!

Here's my stash of American food we keep on hand.

I think the strangest item is the Kraft Parmesan cheese...it is the main ingredient of my Italian salad dressing...the real stuff just isn't the right fit.

And I thought I would add...we do have a lovely dining room with a table that can be expanded to double the length...just in case I want to cook for a lot more people...I really can't imagine that happening. The door on the left is what I would call a butler's pantry.  It holds all the glassware.


Christelle said...

Let's go for another food lesson ;)
You have duck legs not breath, the good thing about that is that you just have to open the jar and put the to legs in the oven for 20 min just to heat and roastl the skin a little (you want the fat to go)
Usually I will take a spoon fat of the jar and put it in a pan with potatoes to grill and add some herbes de provence (no salt because confit is already salty) and that's it, a quick meal with a salad......
Kraft Parmesan Really!!!!!

Bonnie Melielo said...

Thank you!!! Love seeing the pics. You know Michael and I are all about the food and cooking!!! It is a lovely kitchen, and yes, very European of course. Are you using a moka for stovetop espresso?? Tell us about the coffee next blog. :-)

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it certainly is a small kitchen! good thing you have the butcher block table as well - it would be hard to work in the kitchen I can see

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it certainly is a small kitchen! good thing you have the butcher block table as well - it would be hard to work in the kitchen I can see

Donna quilts said...

Loved the tour of your kitchen. That IKEA table could be a life saver as I don't see very much countertop for prepping. But I suppose if the kitchen is too small to cook in, you'll have to spend more time quilting!!

sophie said...

When I worked in France, for a French subsidiary of an American Computer company, our employee Christmas baskets always contained bottles of wine, prunes in cognac and small tins of foie gras. Because the US company, at the time, gave employees frozen turkeys (or the option to donate the turkey to a food bank), we also received turkeys, which, of course in France means a whole turkey complete with head, feet and everything inside. It was an adventure!
I wish I had opted for an older place to live. I had just renovated my house in the US before moving to France and didn't want a new project, so I moved into a brand new apartment. Less character for sure, but it was 2 blocks from the beach, 2 miles from the office, and it had all the cabinets and fixtures in place.

Michelle said...

I suppose people with tiny kitchens are so used to them they wouldn't know why we need big American kitchens. Still, you are in Paris and that is so cool!