I mentioned that Noah and I went to Paris a few posts ago and then proceeded to tell you all about what it was like to be 15 in Paris. I was 15 quite a while ago. France was not yet on the Euro. I didn’t drink wine or coffee. It was, needless to say, a different experience. So, let me tell you a little about Paris this time.
First, things to know about this trip: It rained the first five days we were there. We broke three umbrellas. Also, Noah had the flu. We got to know the French pharmacy system VERY WELL. We have a favorite french pharmacy. It’s on the Rue de Martyrs. We are now the proud owners of a celsius thermometer. And, we now know that French cough syrup is caramel flavored. (This raises some questions for me about why American cough syrup is cherry flavored.)
The foggy-grayness of Paris in March, the rain, and Noah’s illness didn’t stop it from being a wonderful trip, if not quite the trip we had planned. It did, however, require us to drink quite a bit of vin chaud to stay warm. (If you are in Paris looking for Vin Chaud, may I suggest L’Eclair on Rue Cler. That’s where the photos below are from.)
We went to the art museums; we reflected on French history. We played keep or renovate with every room in Versailles. We learned that if you do great things for France you can still be buried next to Marie and Pierre Curie. We wandered around the Maghrebian quarter with advice from this Saveur article and found our way to a Tunisian Jewish bakery, Nani, where they summoned an English speaking baker to translate for us. We came away with delicious balls of pistachio paste.
When Noah got his taste back, we picked a favorite French pastry, the etoile noisette. We ate many picnics of cheese and French salads while huddling under umbrellas. Our friend Asheesh came to visit and introduced us to my new favorite coffee shop in the world: KB Coffee on the Rue de Martyrs. I’m sure this is sacrilegious, but it turns out I want to be drinking Australian coffee in Paris.
We came back with rose flavored sugar and a Bottle of Suze. I’m sure there will be more posts inspired by our trip. Among other things, I have big plans to take a stab at making buckwheat crepes.
Today, however, I have a salad inspired by Celeriac Remoulade, which we picked up from a fromagerie and ate on the steps of a church one day. I love celeriac, but even in Paris I could not get behind mayonnaise-based salads. So, this is my way of eating celeriac with egg and oil and mustard. It’s also, I would argue, a great easy meal for one. It takes a little prep, but the kind of prep you can do on a Sunday afternoon in order to have easy food for the rest of the week.
I like to roast a bunch of vegetables and hard boil a bunch of eggs once a week. If you do that, you have the base of a million combinations that you can throw together for lunch or dinner when things get busier. Celeriac is not in my usual roast vegetable rotation, which is a shame. It can be a pain to peel, but I think it’s worth the effort. Just chop off the gnarly ends and attack with a peeler. There will be some tough spots that you will have to cut around, but if you don’t worry about losing a little bit of the root it’s not that time consuming. Once you have the roots peeled, it’s good to start by slicing them in half because every so often there are hidden cracks filled with dirt inside. Cut any of those out too. Rinse the root and then chop it into small cubes. Throw the cubes on a tray and toss them with a drizzle of olive. Put that tray along with trays of anything else you are roasting (today I roasted some peppers) in the oven. Then you can go about doing whatever else you are doing while they roast for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Maybe look in on your vegetables once or twice and give them a shake or a stir. Store them in the fridge for use through out the week.
While you’re at it you can boil some eggs. For years, I couldn’t remember how to hard boil an egg and had to look it up every time. There is lots of advice on the internet. But, basically this is what you do:
1. Place eggs in pot.
2. Cover with cold water so there is at least an inch of water covering the eggs.
3. Bring water to a boil.
4. Turn water off.
5. Let stand 12 minutes.
6. Drain eggs and rinse in cold water.
Ok, here’s how to make the salad.
Roast Celeriac and Egg Salad (for one)
– 1 heaping cup roast celeriac
– 1 hardboiled egg
– 2 teaspoons capers
– 2 small cloves of garlic
– Juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 1 tsp mustard
– Ground pepper
* I usually roast about three celeriac bulbs. This will, however, give you more celeriac than you need. 1 cup roast celeriac is probably 1-2 bulbs depending on how big they are. To roast: peel, chop into cubes, toss with olive oil and salt until cubes are lightly coated. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.
* Smash 2 garlic cloves into the bottom of a bowl.
* Peel and roughly chop one hardboiled egg and add to bowl.
* Add 2 teaspoons capers and 1 cup roasted celeriac to bowl.
* Stir together mustard and juice of half a lemon.
* Drizzle mustard/lemon mixture over celeriac and egg and toss to coat.
* Add ground pepper to taste.
There is, I think, no way to get a good photograph of a salad made of beige things tossed with mustard, but I promise you this tastes delicious and somehow elegant. I’m including the photo so you know what it’s supposed to look like, not because I think it will win any beauty contests.