Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone! 

I hope you're spending a warm and wonderful weekend with your friends and family, enjoying the festive spirit in the air, and eating as excessively as we have been, here in Paris...

We're beginning to prepare for our return to New York, and can't believe that our four-month-long adventure is coming to an end. We've seen so much, eaten SO much, learned so much (particularly about wine...) and have truly fallen in love with the city of Paris. We're excited to head back to New York and ready to tackle our next adventure, and somehow it seems perfectly fitting that we are returning to New York right as the New Year begins!

Out with the old, in with the new! 

Now... Enough of that sentimental gobbly-gook... Let's talk about food. 

Here's the play-by-play from our Christmas Eve menu. Prepare yourself. It was no joke. 


served with Homemade Onion Confit

*I'm not going to lie. This dish is not for the weak of heart. It's incredibly rich and pretty f-ing intense, but if you like paté or foie gras, this is next level delicious. Give it a try! 

John made the Foie Gras and followed the recipe exactly, though we ditched the fig-mostarda in favor of an onion confit, mainly because my mom and I both love onion confit somethin' crazy. 

This particular Homemade Onion Confit is spectacular, and I'm pretty sure I'd happily eat it on anything. Baguette with sausage and cornichon, ribs, steak, meatloaf, baguette & butter, eggs? I'm pretty sure you could innovate and put it on virtually anything and you wouldn't be sorry. 

The recipe came from this website, but things went a little tits-up during the cooking process, and I ended up "tweaking" the recipe to the version shown below. Let me emphasize this IS NOT because I thought the recipe was wrong. It's because I was trying to juggle too many things and mis-read the recipe and added the vinegar too soon. And once I'd biffed it, I figured, how bad could it possibly be, and went totally free-style from then on... 


    • 2 lbs red onions or regular onions
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 5 tbsp butter & 4 tbsp olive oil 
    • 2 tbsp white sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaf
    • pinch of cayenne pepper
    • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 3/4 cup red currant jelly

  1. Halve and thinly slice the onions, then thinly slice the garlic. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves, cayenne pepper, and a dash of salt and pepper. Give everything another really good stir and reduce the heat slightly. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop in approximately 3/4 cup of red currant jelly, coat the onions, and continue to cook over medium heat. 
  2. Pour in the vinegar and continue to simmer everything, still uncovered, over a medium-high heat for another 40 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep purple color and the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds. Your confit is ready when you can scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pan and it clears a path that fills rapidly with syrupy juice. Leave the onions to cool in the pan, then eat as fast as humanely possible. These actually last in the fridge for about a week, longer if you've put them into a clean jar, but don't wait too long or you'll discover someone else has eaten them all while you weren't looking!


It's come to my attention that Mark Bittman is trying to kill my family. In the spirit of Christmas in France, we decided to tackle his "Whole Duck Cassoulet" which was featured in the NYTimes magazine in 2012. We followed this recipe exactly (which in itself was a Christmas Miracle because usually John and I like to muddle around with recipes to make them as difficult for us to follow as possible), and we ended up making cassoulet for all of the future generations of both the Salway and Moskowitz bloodlines. Literally, there is so much leftover cassoulet -- after we all gorged ourselves well beyond a point of discomfort-- that we froze it and are planning to organize another dinner party to serve it again. We could serve another 10 people with what is still left. In hindsight, I now realize that Mark's recipe doesn't actually admit how many people this dish serves. I can only assume that's because he knew that if he said "Serves 40" people would be put-off and intimidated. Well. Now I know. SERVES 40. 

I highly recommend this recipe, however I would encourage you to halve all ingredients, and invite over everyone you know


I made this recipe as recommended as well, and it was a hit. In hindsight, I'd probably recommend chopping the hazelnuts that line the crust more finely that they suggest (they say coarsely chopped, I'd say finely chopped...) and then sprinkling the top with additional coarsely chopped hazelnuts once you've poured in the butter-maple-syrup-sugar mixture. But that's just me... Dealer's choice there. 
Other than that, a total success and one that keeps on giving because we were all so full after Mark's Cassoulet that we really couldn't put our hearts into eating dessert. 

I know. We're quitters. 

I hope everyone is enjoying a truly wonderful holiday weekend, and is wading through fewer leftovers than we've got in our house... Happy Happy New Years... and here's to a year of healthy eating, once we've finished all of this food! 

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