Saturday, June 18, 2011

Going en vacances

School finishes next week and then it's off to France for me.  So, this may be my last post until I return in August. 

While I'm trying to decide whether or not to take my computer so I can blog, for sure I'll be taking my camera.  On this trip, I want to try to capture Annecy so I can share it with you (and I'll take some pics while in Paris to share on My French Corner).

I'm also thinking about some small items that I can bring back as giveaways; I already have a few things in mind, but I would love to hear your ideas.

So, what small gift would you like from France?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Week-end Simple: Indulge in café au lait

During the week, morning coffee is little more than passing affair.  Brew the espresso and sip it down for the reliable, unfailing morning wake-up.

I love my morning coffee, but I don't have take time to sit and drink several cups while reading the morning paper.  The more likely scenario is brew and blog before grabbing my bag and heading out the door.

But the weekend, well, that's different.  There's usually at least one leisurely breakfast, several cups of coffee, and this weekend, maybe a café au lait.  I just added two footed coffee bowls to my Pillyvuyt set and can't wait to try them out.  Filling the bowls with rich espresso, steaming milk, and a bit of sugar sounds perfect, doesn't it?

Bon week-end!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making Macarons on The Kitchn

I'm not a baker, but I know many of you are.  So when I saw this post on The Kitchn, I had to pass it along.

Actually, The Kitchn post is a link to the original post on BraveTart, and is worth visiting for the photos alone!

I've never made this popular French sweet, have you?

And the winner is . . .

The winner of the vintage French grain sack is Kate, of  Une Vie Chic.  Congratulations!  Kate, if you email your info, I'll post the package later this week.

 And thanks to all that entered; I enjoyed reading your comments and hope you continue to visit My French Corner.

Monday, June 13, 2011


At school, we talk about food.  A lot.  The three of us--my two teammates and I--love to cook, buy local and in season, and share recipes and ideas.  Last week the conversation centered around basil and what to do with our already abundant harvests.

Pesto, of course.

But Cindy's husband doesn't care for pine nuts, and Kate said she doesn't either; the nuts make the pesto mealy.  She suggested pistou--a simpler variation of pesto--basil and olive oil blended to the desired consistency.

Pistou is an olive oil based basil sauce from the south of France that closely resembles pesto. The way to make true pistou is by hand: tear the basil leaves into pieces first, then grind the leaves against the side of a mortar with a pestle to puree them into a silky, creamy sauce.

Kate also shared some of her favorite ways to enjoy pistou, and the one I tried for dinner this evening was poached eggs on a stale baguette drizzled with pistou.  I confess to using my tiny Cuisinart instead of a mortar and pestle, but the result was excellent.  Peasant fare, to be sure, but so, so delicious.

Do you have a favorite pistou recipe?  I'd love to hear it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Week-end Simple: Take care of what you have

One of the temptations when moving into a new house is to start over with everything new.  Start fresh, start over. But isn't it better to take care of what you already have?

When I moved in, the brass hardware on my front door was tarnished black, from years of neglect.  But rather than replace it, I decided to polish it, bring it back to life, and, take care of it.  I'm reminded of  all the Hausmann apartments I've visited in Paris; they are still beautiful because someone takes care of them. 

So this weekend, make time to take care of something--wash a sweater, polish a pair of your shoes, sew on a missing button.  Taking care of what you have has its own, intrinsic reward.

Bon week-end!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Giveaway: Vintage French grain sack

Back in January, I posted about a vintage grain sack I purchased on Etsy; I had plans to frame it and hang it in my kitchen. 

But I've decided that the color--which is burlap--will be too dark in my small kitchen.  Instead, I've decided to give away the vintage grain sack to one of my readers.

The sack is 48 inches long and 27 inches wide.  It dates from 1964, and has a few small mends which add to its charm and authenticity.  As I said, the color is a true burlap, with the oval emblem printed in black.  You can click on the photo to get a closer look.

If you want to enter the giveaway, leave a comment on how you would use the grain sack.  The winner will be randomly selected, and I'll announce it next Wednesday, a week from today.

It's a beautiful piece and I know it will make someone very happy.

Bonne chance!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My French Closet: The reveal

Well, it's not one hundred percent finished, but enough so I can put my clothes away.  The built-ins are painted; what remains to be painted are the interior walls and the baseboard trim, but that's going to have to wait until school finishes in a few weeks.

I'm very happy with the result: the shelves on the right hold my sweaters (at this point, one on each shelf), the shelves on the left hold my camis, tissue tees, and my accessories, and the bottom two shelves are perfect for my four pair of shoes!

The hanging space in the center is more than enough for tops that hang--black on the top, gray and navy on the bottom.  What you can't see are my trousers, which are hanging to the left if you're standing inside the closet.  There's also a shelf on the very top that runs all the way around the closet, but I couldn't seem to get that in the photo.  You can click on the photo for a larger view.

I have a few more things to put away--my boots, my purse, and my suitcase--but it's great having all my clothes in one closet again!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Week-end Simple: Make a salad

With so much to do on the inside of my house, the outside projects haven't really garnered much attention. Still, I managed to get some annuals planted in my small patio border garden, as well as some tomatoes, basil, and lettuce.

The lettuce must love its spot in the garden because I've been able to harvest five times since I planted. The crisp, tender leaves taste best sprinkled with a little fleur de sel and a whisper of vinaigrette. This evening I added a few tiny tomatoes, a perfect complement to the delicate leaves.

There is a special pleasure in eating food straight from the garden, something that you have planted and tended and harvested, n'est ce pas?

Bon week-end!