Dinner for One

21 Oct

While eating out in Paris is a true delight, it can get a tad expensive, fattening, and altogether exhausting if you’re not fluent in French and spend the first 30 minutes of your restaurant experience squinting at the chalk-board menu trying to figure out what the hell “cervelle de veau croustillante” is, until you bravely and somewhat dejectedly order it only realizing upon arrival that you have “crispy veal brains” sitting in front of you…yum!

So why not try and make yourself a meal while visiting Paris? You’ll no doubt be inspired as you wander through the glorious markets that seem to conveniently pop up in every arrondissement no matter where you’re staying.

Because I was cooking for about 7 hours a day at school, and my kitchen was about the size of a small closet, I kept my home-made dinners-for-one rather simple, while still utilizing the fresh seasonable produce that the markets had to offer.Dinner #1: Country lamb meatballs served with sautéed zucchini coins and chanterelle mushrooms. Accompanied by Salade Verte et Haricots Verts.

In part one of the post A Table for Two, where I shared with you my favorite lunch spots in Paris, I mentioned a market call Le Marché des Enfants Rouge. Not only did this market offer me an amazing lunch experience, but after I filled up on tasty tagine and that innovative little personal cake, I decided to do a grocery shop as well. Always thinking about my next meal, I grabbed some fresh fruits and veggies, countryside lamb meatballs, ancient grain bread, and cumin gouda.

To tide me over as I eagerly awaited an appropriate dinner time, I made up a small plate of cumin gouda, thinly sliced apple, honey, and a small nutty raisin loaf to snack on.

Once dinnertime finally rolled around, I thinly sliced up some zucchini, and sautéed some chanterelles in a butter sauce with a simple salt and pepper seasoning.

I blanched some young green beans and proceeded to make the Salade Verte et Haricots Verts first mentioned in the post Butter, Cream and Chocolate – The Holy Trinity. Although I somewhat cheated by buying the lamb balls already made, I couldn’t resist the merchants brilliant flavouring combination, not to mention they were extremely easy to prepare as all I had to do was sauté them with a small amount of olive oil.

A relatively healthy and simple meal to make, Le Marché des Enfants Rouge provided me with both a scrumptious lunch and a satisfying dinner. Merci Enfants Rouge!

Dinner #2: Beef filet served with a duo of vegetable sautées.

Extremely happy with my previous meal of chanterelles and green bean sides, I decided to once again grab these ingredients, this time at Marché Grenelle, located close to my apartment at La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle metro. This vast market not only offers an assortment of fresh fruits and veggies, but also spices, seafood, meats, cheeses, breads, foods stands, and clothing vendors.

Although the choices were overwhelmingly abundant, I had a tunnel vision for food and stuck to buying some thinly sliced beef cutlets, Kenyan peas, cilantro and some cèpe mushrooms to accompany my already purchased chanterelles and beans.

I had leftover shallots from my French vinaigrette and sautéed them with lightly blanched green beans, butter, salt and pepper.

I sautéed the mushroom mix with butter, the Kenyan peas, and some chopped cilantro, and then seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper.  I flavoured the beef with an assortment of savory herbs and spices and seared it on each side before serving it with my duo of veggie mixes.

I enjoyed my dinner with a glass of rosé, and proceeded to watch an episode of my North American favourite, Law and Order SVU. Merci Marishka Hargitay et Ice-T!

Dinner #3: Chicken breast cooked in a garlic cream sauce, served on a bed of sautéed green beans, white mushrooms, and walnuts.

Continuing with the green bean theme (they’re extremely cheap and delicious at this time of year), I made another bean and shallot sauté, this time adding white mushrooms along with olive oil, walnuts and seasoning. I pan fried a chicken breast in a simple cream and garlic sauce before thinly slicing the poultry and placing it on my green bean concoction.

Camembert and slices of whole-wheat baguette rounded out this speedy meal, all the while poor little me not knowing that the next day would be the infamous cheese tasting lesson as discussed in Quelle Fromage! Désolé gallbladder.

Dinner #4: Charcuterie Platters

But that wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last time I enjoyed bread and cheese as a homemade snack while in Paris. And how could it be?! I mean it really is the staple of a French diet, as well as insanely delicious and readily available.

I hadn’t even been living in my apartment for one whole day before my friend and I were already scouring the local bakeries, delis and markets to make up our much-anticipated Parisian platter. Brie cheese and a flax seed baguette accompanied avocados, tomatoes, figs, and Genoa salami, as we enjoyed this simple snack with a glass of Burgundy.

Symbolically symmetrical, I finished off the last night in my apartment with a somewhat similar spread of Camembert, Saint Paulin, walnuts, apples, seedy baguette, and dry prociutto. This time I shared my feast with two other friends and a couple flutes of champagne before saying farewell to my home for the past 6 weeks. Merci Paris! Tu me manques…

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One Response to “Dinner for One”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Digesting the Experience « Shortt and Sweet - 21/10/2011

    […] Dinner for One: While more often than not I was eating out at exquisite bistros and brasseries, there were those odd nights where I really felt like some healthy home-cooked food. In this post I will be sharing my experiences of eating-in while in Paris. […]

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