This weekend was a very special one. For my birthday, along with Valerie and her man who is in town, we headed to the in-laws fantastically adorable home for a weekend full of delicious grub and surprises. It was cold and foggy most of the weekend, which was the perfect context for making hearty gratins and staying cozy by the fire with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity and some whisky.
We picked vegetables from the garden and enjoyed the calm of the countryside, even having the chance to visit a neighbor’s farm to see his tractor collection. The fact that he makes his own moonshine and gave me some of his homemade eau-de-vie for my birthday was pretty much a cherry on top.
However, I am clearly the most spoiled person alive, as this birthday weekend didn’t end here…. little did I know that coming back to Paris on Sunday night, there were some snazzy people that I really care about waiting for me at Troll Café to drink a beer together.
It all ended with samosas galore, as the best birthday in the world should. I am still in shock about how fantastic and culturally mixed this day was: a delicious French lunch with the family and surprise local brews, homemade eau-de-vie and tractors with a true campagnard who seemed like he had never met foreigners before, surprise beer extravaganza at Troll Café where they have one of my favorite random beers (Mongozo Banana) and then a bag full of samosas on the house from my favorite Indian restaurant. Does this not sound like a dream? I am the most spoiled person alive.
A special thank you to my dearest honey for planning this, and to all of my dear friends who made this day so magical.
Going to the countryside to visit the in-laws is one of my favorite things in the world.
When the weather is nice, like in these pictures from a trip in late August, we eat outside and enjoy the nature, feasting on goodies from the perfection of a garden that is out back. Although we just got back from a cozy autumn weekend here- and the berries, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, etc. are no longer in season- I was daydreaming of the heated summer days and rays at this beautiful home before accepting the change of the seasons. Sidenote, this is also the garden where my father-in-law is growing yummy kale thanks to the seeds that I ordered from The Kale Project.
This particular weekend at the countryside we had some visitors, so it was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of kale with a delicious kale salad garnished with mint, lemon and spices. King of salads, as a set designer by trade and passion, Louis’s father’s salads are also a work of art with the most delicious mixture of flavors and colors.
When I say salad, I’d like to point out that I mean any kind of salad. Not even a joke. There truly is a perfected method to the mixtures that this family makes. My favorite have an impeccable homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing with a smidgen of mustard, heaps of spices and new flavors that I discover with every salad. The core ingredients often vary, from what’s in the house or in the garden (like possibly every shade of tomato from yellow to black). The add-ons can be just about anything from nuts to cheese to berries, even a few edible flowers- like nasturtiums- for a peppered flavor.
The art of the salads in the family was passed on to my partner, who wooed me and warned me from the very beginning that I’d fall in love with him when I tried one of his salads that he learned to make from his father. It wasn’t the only reason for which I fell, but boy are they delectable.
An ode to a summer meal of salads. Cheers, folks.
Spring has had a late start. Even this weekend a way was chilly as can be, and we had to light the fireplace. But the sunshine on this particular Sunday gave us some hope.
My in-laws pretty much have the best taste of anyone else I’ve ever met. I always find a new trinket in their home that I haven’t seen before. Little knick knacks with so many stories. There really is an appreciation for the notion of home here.
We always eat well at the in-laws. We indulged in delicious red wines and eaux de vies with meals like côte de boeuf and confit de canard. The main dishes are always sided with epic salads, veggies and delicious dips. We are lucky kids when at that dinner table!
This time I decided I was going to make a little something to hit home one night…. I made a broccoli & bacon mac ‘n cheese for my in laws. I was quite proud of. Since we didn’t have access to cheddar cheese, we used cantal, emmental, comté, and parmesan. It turned out just perfect, and it was just the meal I needed on such a chilly weekend. With a glass of red wine next to the fire place, it was pure magic. To top it off, Olivia joined us this weekend in Montargis, so we had the chance to taste her delicious carrot cake for dessert and breakfast the next day.
The hearty dishes warmed us up. It was the perfect weekend for relaxing and a stroll through a nearby town when the sun came out on the second day.
But now, Paris, we are ready for actual Spring. The joke is over. I’ve been missing the sun rays and squinty-eyed Parisians.
We’re almost there.