Results tagged carrots from David Lebovitz

Le 6 Paul Bert

mulet, red currants, beets

It’s rare I find a restaurant where I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t consider myself picky or a tough customer (others might say otherwise); it’s just my idea of a perfect restaurant is a nice welcome, servers that are nearby when I need them – and I don’t need to be besties with them – and good, uncomplicated food made with well-sourced ingredients. I tend to think those things are fairly easy to accomplish, but I’m often dismayed when I order something and it arrives at the table underseasoned, or the presentation takes precedence over flavor.

While I appreciate chefs wanting to fuss over every teensy little thing on the plate, I kind of wish they would focus on the food and the flavor rather than making sure the singular poached scallion blossom is draped just-so over the artfully placed crescent of beet alongside the smear of white chocolate-cumin emulsion with a poof of salmon cheek foam balanced on top. Just put the food on a plate and send it out, folks! So after a few dud dinners at highly touted restaurants, I was happy to hit pay-dirt at Le 6 Paul Bert.

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Split Pea Soup

blue cheese toast

We had our second snowfall of the season this week in Paris, which once again, blanketed the entire city with a stunning layer of snow. It illuminated what was previously gray and drab, and brightened things up when everyone’s spirits were beginning to sag. Still, a number of people were miffed about it, wishing that winter was over for good. But for once, I didn’t join the chorus of râleurs and seemed to be the lone voice of dissent (“Pas de fraternité, Daveed!”) and basked in the icy crystals spreading light everywhere, covering up a multitude of sins, and gave me a rejuvenating view of Paris.

paris snow

snowy bicycles

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Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Tahini Dressing

wild rice salad

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to use up things I already have in the cupboard, plus eat seasonally, plus make things that are relatively easy to make – and this salad fit the bill on all counts. It combines tahini with wild rice and used up some of the marvelous root vegetables that I can’t help buying at the market, even though I should be using up what I’ve already got on hand. It’s not the prettiest salad in the world, but compared to what I didn’t show you of my refrigerator, that bowl should be hanging in the Louvre.

Speaking of which, I’m only going to give you a glimpse of my jam-packed refrigerator (and I mean literally, there are over a dozen jars of assorted jams in there) because I don’t want my refrigerator scrutinized. Not that I’m ashamed of having a bottle of bbq sauce and some store-bought feta, but, well, my refrigerator is sort of a disaster at the moment, and I’m hoping to take care of that shortly. (Although I’ve been saying that since November…of 2007.)

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Chopped Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing

chopped salad

Americans have a reputation for not eating very well which is disputed by the fact that whenever I have a group of guests come to Paris, everyone is always craving fresh vegetables. Another interesting paradox is that portions in America are huge, yet Americans who come to France (where the portions are more reasonable) find themselves quickly full when dining out. And after a couple of days, they start begging away from heartier fare in search of a big bowl or plate of vegetables or a large salad, one with lots of vegetables in it.

People and restaurants in Paris don’t eat or serve raw vegetables much, except in les crudités – usually a trio of simple salads of grated carrots, celery remoulade, wedges of tomatoes, cucumbers, or sometimes even some beets tossed in dressing. Which aren’t technically raw (unless they’re grated), but sticklers are welcome to raise a fuss with the locals if they so desire. But with everyone on le régime (a diet) around here, you’d think vegetables would be more popular.

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Roasted Root Vegetable & Wheat Berry Salad

wheat berry salad

Last summer, Romain went to stay at a place in the French countryside with a large, semi-wild potager, a vegetable garden, which the people who lived there fed themselves from. They let weeds grown, didn’t spray pesticides on anything, and they ate most of the food as close to raw as they could. During his stay, he called me and said that he never felt better in his life, and that he wanted to eat like that when he returned home to Paris.

parsnips

One doesn’t think of people in Paris munching on wheat berries and whole grains, but it is possible, especially because there are a few rather decent natural food chains here, as well as some smaller stores, too.

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Outlaw Carrots

carrots

The European Union just overturned regulations that will allow fruits and vegetables that aren’t technically picture-perfect, to be sold alongside their more attractive counterparts. But the laws are still place until next July. I had no idea there was such a directive in effect, and I’ve been innocently part of a conspiracy, participating in, and abetting, illegal behavior.

According to EU directives, things like carrots must be “..not forked, free from secondary roots.” Since I found that out, I’ve been much more careful about what I bring home. When I picked these out at the market, my carrots didn’t seems to have any of those kinds of hideous deformations (imagine that…forked roots!…ick!), but when I unpacked my haul, I noticed that the specimen above found its way into my market basket. Accidentally, of course.

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A Recipe for Easy Pickled Carrots

weck jar full of carrots

Before I went away for recent my trip to New York City, as a gesture of extraordinary kindness to the person who I swapped apartments with, I cleaned out some of the scary things in my fridge. Nevertheless, she managed to find the African peanut butter, but curiously missed the luscious jar of salted butter caramel from Henri Le Roux in Brittany. What’s up with that? I guess that means there’s another apartment swap in my future.

Coming back, the fridge was still spotless, but after a few days, I realized there was too much empty space in there, so now it’s back to being crammed full. Part of the reason is that I came across these gorgeous mixed carrots at the marche d’Aligre. It’s hard to find vegetables like this around here, and if you do, for the price you pay, you may as well stay at a fancy hotel in New York instead and not worry about how clean your refrigerator is for incoming guests.

carrots ginger sugar

At the market here in Paris that day, the vendor has baskets bursting with all sorts of organic produce, all for €2.8 per kilo, for whatever you chose. I filled up my basket and handed it over, and when I got the tab, I realized that perhaps I should’ve exercised a bit more restraint.

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Salade de carottes râpées

romano

If I had to compile a list of the top five National Dishes of France, right up there would be carottes râpées, or grated carrot salad. And it’s everywhere. You’ll find it on many café and bistro menus, charcuteries sell it by the kilo, and even mega-supermarkets add a few extra ingredients for ‘safekeeping’ and sell it packed up in rectangular plastic containers, ready to go.

Which, I probably don’t need to add, should be avoided at all costs.

grated carrot salad

If you order salade de carottes râpée in a restaurant, you’ll just get a pile of carrots with a wedge of lemon on the side. My frugal grandmother would’ve flipped; “Why order something you can make at home?” she’d say to me if I ordered something like, say…a nice-looking fruit salad in a restaurant.

I don’t know the answer to that.

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