Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 15 from France: Quelle Horreur!
(What A Horror)

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

The day started with a pot of Earl Grey Tea, a yogurt, some fruit and a tartine with cheese. Then I went up and down the stairs a hundred million times as I did lots of laundry and cleaned the house from top to toe because we were having company over in the evening.

Obsessed! interrupted me about halfway through, right after I had changed the sheets, for a little indoor cardio - 30 minutes.

Obsessed! is thinking about buying a crêperie from Ophélie and Stephan so he invited them over for dinner. We started with paté tartines, bread, cheese, chips and BEER. OMG it's been a long time since I've had a beer.

Obsessed! makes the most DELICIOUS carbonara.

Here are the chouquettes and meringues that we added to our dessert.

Homemade pineapple sorbet! Homemade whipped cream! Homemade chocolate sauce!

Yes, I had seconds!

Stephan was an abominable dinner guest. We were horrified! For example, he didn't understand why Obsessed!'s carbonara had no cream sauce, the way most Frenchmen make it. We explained that we were serving it the way it's prepared in Italy but he said without cream sauce, it would be too dry and absolutely inedible. He didn't even try a bite before he went to the fridge and helped himself to cream which he then poured onto his dinner in front of the chef and the rest of us who were happily stuffing the non-creamy version into our pie holes. I couldn't believe Obsessed! didn't kick him out then and there! Needless to say, Obsessed! will not be buying anything from them. They can keep their stinking crêperie.


  1. Love that! So what's in the carbonara? Can't wait to make that!!!

  2. And how did you make the chouquettes?

    Keri, this just seems a little too good to be true, right?

  3. totally, I gained a pound reading about it.

  4. It's Obsessed!'s specialty, so I never make it anymore. But, as far as I know...

    Boil pasta in big pot of salted water until al dente, then drain. Reserve a cup of the broth to add into your sauce later.

    While you were boiling the pasta, you should have started (in a deep dish frying pan) to fry up some cubed or sliced panchetta (ham) in butter (or olive oil.) It only takes about 3 minutes to get the ham crispy and reduce the fat content. You can add fresh sliced garlic to the ham and cook for the last minute or two before you add the pasta if you want. Instead of panchetta, you can also use bacon. Don't tell Obsessed! that I'm bastardizing his recipe.

    Once you've drained your pasta, throw it in with the buttery panchetta and toss for a minute or two in order to coat the pasta in your pork fat/butter mixture.

    While you're preparing your pasta or your panchetta on the stove, in a bowl on the counter, crack some eggs. Obsessed! uses an egg yolk per person. (When I make it, I use the entire egg, so I take an egg per 2 people and then add an extra.) You beat the yolks together and add some salty pasta broth, parmesan and freshly ground black pepper until you get the right consistency. (Obsessed! adds the broth, cheese and pepper not to the eggs but directly to the pasta on the plate.)

    If you're Obsessed!, you take the pasta/ham/butter/garlic mixture out of the pan and put directly onto your plates/bowls from which you'll be eating. You IMMEDIATELY add the egg yolks and mix into the pasta ham mixture. The heat of the pasta ham mixture cooks the egg which is why it's so important to not let the pasta cool down EVER during the process. Carbonara has to be served and eaten right away which is why it is rarely served in restaurants. Once you've turned the eggs into the pasta, you add some of the pasta broth to the plate to smooth it out. Add freshly grated Parmesan and grind some black pepper over your plate and serve. Voila!

    When I used to make this dish, I found it easier to add the pepper, broth, parmesan, etc into the eggs before mixing it with the hot pasta. I would also add fresh parsley and/or corn and/or peas to the pasta ham mixture once it's on the plate. This makes Obsessed! cringe with embarrassment. If you find you are a fan of the French creamier version of carbonara, you can add cream to the egg mixture before adding it to the pasta.

    When I cook, I always make way too much food. I don't know how it always happens that way, but it does. I am not going to get into how much pasta is appropriate per person, but I'm sure you have your own method of gauging. As
    far as the other quantities are concerned, per person, I usually use a handful of panchetta cubes, a handful of corn and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan.

    Bon Apetit!

  5. I'm going to walk to the store and buy an ice cream maker for my diet....then have pasta later......okay, sure.


    Batter Ingredients:
    * 1/4 litre of water
    * 125 g flour
    * 60 g salted butter
    * 1 pinch of salt
    * 50 g sugar
    * 4 eggs
    Finishing touches:
    * 100 g sugar crystals
    * 1 egg yolk

    Put water, butter, sugar, salt in a pot on your stove over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and all ingredients have merged into one smooth liquid. Once bubbles start to appear in your buttery goodness, add flour (all at once) and remove from heat.

    Stir until completely mixed together and put back over heat on stove. Keep stirring with your wooden spoon over low-medium heat until the batter stops sticking to the sides of the pot and looks more like a ball. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes or so.

    Add eggs one by one with wooden spoon. Incorporate each egg well into batter before adding next egg. Mix well. Now the batter is ready!

    On a slightly buttered teflon cookie sheet, I put the batter down in nickel or quarter sized dollops with an inch of space between each yummy dough ball. Most people prefer to do this with the help of one of those triangle pastry bags with a tip on the end - you squeeze the batter out of the bag like toothpaste. It's a lot of fun and if you have kids, this is where they will want to help.

    Once your cookie sheet is covered, you take an egg and a tablespoon of cold water and mix together which you will then paint onto all your dough balls with a pastry brush. This will make the batter turn a nice golden color.

    Cover the balls in sugar crystals before baking for about 20 minutes in your oven that you preheated at 180º C. Once the chouquettes have swollen into a nice golden brown round ball of heaven, they're ready to leave the oven and cool down on the counter.

    Yay! Chouquettes!

    Bon Apetit!

  7. I am dying to know how you keep generating so much laundry, like it's the center of the universe, when it seems like you hardly ever even get dressed!

  8. Charrette - 'tis true. I hardly ever get dressed. The massive amounts of laundry come from Obsessed! and Vapors. I am OCD. Sadly, they are not. A mountain of laundry does not bother them so they usually let it go until you can't walk across the basement floor and they have no other clothes to wear before they tackle a load or two. I, however, cannot stomach the thought of that mountain of dirty skivvies calling to me from below. I lose sleep over it if the hamper isn't empty. The same goes for the other aspects of housekeeping I have somehow become a de facto live-in maid of sorts. (*world's smallest violin playing in the background)