Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

Cheese is on my short list.  The short list of things I must consume as much as possible of while in France. Fortunately for me, what I was hoping for actually happened.  In the US, I can’t really eat dairy without taking a lactaid pill – and even then, it doesn’t always work.  So, for the most part, I stay away from dairy as best as I can – but as you can tell from my blog, it doesn’t always stop me.  Then I just suffer the consequences – if the handy pill decides not to work.

Here, it is a different story…whatever it is, dairy agrees with me just fine.  It definitely begs the question of what is done to our dairy in the US.  I can eat all the cheese I want here, and I am fine.  I can even drink a nice glass of milk – what a bonus.  My husband thinks it is the fact that I am under no stress here – I think it is the quality of the food.  Whatever it is, I am enjoying every minute of it.  One more reason why this is the place for me.

The other night we were out at one of the cutest places ever – Buvette – where I am absolutely in love with everything there, the boxes filled with fresh fruit just waiting to be made into a tart, the adorable bar with top quality liquors, and the food that is exceptionally fresh and delicious.  The girls each got a Croque Monsieur, and the cheese on the top was so crusty, it was amazing.  It reminded me of these parmesan crisps I made before I left – recipe from Cooking Light.  They were the perfect accompaniment to the tomato fennel soup we were enjoying.  Although they are just as good on their own.  Now if you could excuse me, I have some more cheese to eat…truffle cheese from the farmer’s market.  Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread 2 teaspoons cheese evenly into a 2-inch circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet; repeat 5 times, leaving 1 inch between circles. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from oven; carefully lift crisps from pan with a spatula, and place on a wire rack. Cool cheese crisps completely.

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Fennel and Carrot Soup

Fennel and Carrot Soup

We have had a very mild winter here – there is nothing to complain about – in fact, when I look at what has been going on back east, wow, we have really been in a different land.  Normally we get a little snow, maybe one storm a year (which shuts the city down), but fortunately this year, it was all sun and rain.  So normally about this time I am sick of making soup, and ready for the sun to come out – but that has not been our experience.

I haven’t had a lot of time to cook lately – in fact, there is so much going on right now, I can barely think about the blog.  I am almost to the point though where I can see the forest through the trees….just a few more months and I will get a really nice break.  Time to recharge and energize…more on that later.

The last couple of days have been damp and cold – ok, maybe not in east coast standards, but compared to what we have been dealing with.  Soup was just calling me – and so was this recipe that I found in Bon Appetit.  Of course with fennel as the first ingredient, you know it has to be yummy.  This was a super simple soup, and oh so delicious.  Just the perfect warm-me-up for a cold damp day.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled, halved
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Preparation

Heat 4 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium. Add fennel, onion, carrots, potato, thyme, and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until vegetables are soft but not browned and have released their moisture, 45–60 minutes (this will give them deep flavor).

Add broth, bring to a boil, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until potato is falling apart, 8–10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Remove herbs.

Working in batches, purée in a blender until smooth. Strain into a clean pot; season with salt and pepper.

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