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Monday, February 15, 2010

Breakfast in Paris

One of my favorite breakfast items, I first had in Paris. While I was a student in Paris, I had to walk several blocks to the nearest metro station (porte d'Auteuil). Since I'm rarely hungry in the morning, a cup of hot cocoa could suffice for the walk and metro ride to classes. I can visualize now the back bakery door that was open on those cold mornings. The heat of the ovens and the aroma of the French breads would greet me on my walk. It was hard to resist stopping at the bakery, but most times I would continue on my way. Off to the metro, a few transfers, and several blocks later, I had reached my destination of the Sorbonne or the Alliance Francaise (depending on the day of the week). Invariably, I would pass a few bakeries on my way, until the aroma and chill of the morning would pull me into one of them. So many different things to try and try I did! My favorite breakfast treats were the croissant or the pain au raisin (raisin bread). It certainly is not the raisin bread that we know in the U.S., but more of a very flaky, croissant like dough sprinkled with golden or dark raisins. Rich, buttery goodness through every layer. Steaming hot from the oven, almost too hot to hold, but not too hot to eat, these were the perfect fuel.

That's how the French stay so thin. Walking from home to metro, then to work or class. It seems that all of my classes were always at the top floor of any building! Yes, I was using a stair master before there was a stair master! Walking up 5 or 6 flights of stairs does wonders for the legs. The home in which I lived was a 4 story townhouse in Paris. Guess where my room was? Yep, up at least 100 steps to the top. The view was terrific and the daily exercise did wonders for my figure. The bakeries sometimes have pain au raisin in the U.S., but none are as delicious as the ones found in Paris.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar