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Wanderlust Cooking: Parisian Recipes

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Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

I’m excited to continue my new series Wanderlust Cooking! Brought to you by our sponsor: quarantine boredom. You guys loved last week’s recipes, outfits, and playlist that were all inspired by Mexico and it was so fun to see some of you making the recipes at home!

Today we’re heading to France! Paris is my favorite city and I was actually supposed to be there right now, so when my friend Charlae suggested it as my next Wanderlust Cooking destination, I knew the city of lights was it!

I’ll be honest, French cooking is hard! If you’re looking for easy French recipes…this isn’t really the post for you. Most of these are pretty time-consuming. But one thing I’ve got more of right now is time, so I thought I’d challenge myself and try some recipes that I would normally never consider because they’re not quick, 30-minute or less type of meals. If you want easy recipes, go to the Mexico Wanderlust Cooking blog post! Those dishes are delish and easy.

Omied and I both love Paris and French food, so this was a really special dinner and we had so much fun trying our hand at some classic French recipes, listening to my French playlist, and then watching Ratatouille.

Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

For my French outfit, I’m wearing some French lingerie that I bought during my first trip to Paris, which was also my first trip out of the country and what started my travel bug.

In case you’re not planning on cooking in lingerie and just want some Parisian-chic outfit inspo, I’ve put together a couple of outfits! I’m linking to a lot of stuff on Nordstrom because everything is like 60% off right now thanks to covid…

I’m adding a new section to these Wanderlust Cooking posts…movie recs! Here are a few of my favorite movies set in Paris:
Ratatouille
Midnight in Paris
Paris Je T’aime
Amelie
DaVinci Code
Moulin Rouge

And here’s my Parisian night Spotify playlist!


Ok, let’s get to the food! Here’s what we cooked up:

Pâtè
Ratatouille
Steak and Pomme Frites
French 77s
Tarte Fraise Mascarpone
Café Vienois (for the next morning!)

And in case you’re looking for more Parisian recipes, I’m linking a few top-rated French cookbooks here:

Wanderlust Cooking: Parisian Recipes

Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab
Yield: 1 quart loaf

Pâté Grandmère

Parisian recipes, by blogger What The Fab

Ok, the pâté was undoubtedly my favorite thing that we made for our Parisian night. I love pâté. Shout out to my Aunt Joyce for sending me the recipe, originally from The Washington Post. My aunt made this pâté as part of an appetizer spread for Christmas, and it was awesome. Omied insisted that for Parisian night we should make pâté, and while I was definitely intimidated, he did most of the work and it turned out pretty fabulous.

This recipe needs to be made four days ahead of eating so that the flavors really come together.

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the Meat

  • 2 pounds freshly ground pork shoulder (most ground pork is pork shoulder)
  • 8 ounces turkey or chicken livers, sinew removed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 8 ounces smoked bacon, cut into small dice
  • Caul fat (can also use bacon—you'll need enough to wrap the terrine, at least 14 slices)

For the binder

  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quatre epices (a spice blend; see NOTES)
  • 1/2 cup brandy (may substitute cognac, Armagnac or Calvados)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plain fresh bread crumbs
  • 3/8 cup chopped, crisped and drained thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 9 to 11 pitted prunes, rehydrated in hot water, then drained and coarsely chopped

Instructions

For the meat:

1. Stir together the pork, liver, salt, thyme, bay and diced bacon in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Dispose of the bay leaves (or reserve them to decorate the surface of
the pâté ).

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Fill a large, deep baking dish halfway with water (this is called a bainmarie), then slide it onto the middle oven rack.

For the binder:

1. Combine the shallot, garlic, parsley, thyme, pepper, coriander, quatre épices and brandy in a medium bowl. Beat the egg and cream together in a separate bowl, then stir in the bread crumbs to form a panade. Let this rest (to thicken) for 10 minutes.

2. Use a stand mixer or sturdy wooden spoon to slowly and thoroughly stir the shallot mixture, and then the panade, into the meat mixture until well combined. Continue to stir until the mixture is emulsified and sticky; listen for a thwap-thwap sound, when the meat mixture begins pulling away from the side of the bowl. Gently fold in the crisped bacon, pistachios and prunes, making sure they are well distributed throughout the meat mixture.

3. Line the glass or ceramic terrine or baking dish with foil then the caul fat, leaving plenty to fold back over the top of the pâté .

4. Add the meat mixture in layers, packing the baking dish completely and taking special care to avoid air pockets. Fold the bacon or caul fat over the top of the meat, then place a piece of parchment paper on top.

5. Wrap the dish in aluminum foil to seal it tightly. Carefully place the wrapped dish in the bain-marie in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then remove the parchment and foil. Put back in the oven (still in the bain-marie) for another 1 - 2 hours, until the pâté is slightly browned and pulling away from the sides of the pan and a thermometer plunged into the center of the pâté measures 155 degrees F.

6. Remove the terrine from the bain-marie and place it inside another dish (to catch any drips). Cool for 5 minutes, then cover the pâté with a piece of parchment and wrap in plastic wrap. This seals in the heat and ensures that the fats are reabsorbed into the meat; it's what makes a moist, perfect pâté and avoids a dry and crumbly loaf. Place a flat plate or cutting board on top of the terrine and add a 2-pound weight—cans of tomatoes or beans work perfectly—to compress the pâté into a cohesive loaf. Refrigerate overnight. *Do not skip this step! Weighting down the pâté ensures the fat doesn't seep up and out of your pâté—you want to keep all of the fat in so that the pâté is rich and flavorful.

7. Remove the pâté from the refrigerator. Fill the sink with about 2 inches of very hot water. Dip the
bottom of the terrine into the sink for about 10 minutes. Invert the terrine over a board to release the
pâté.

8. Wrap the pâté in plastic wrap and then in foil. Refrigerate for 3 days to let the flavors develop. Well wrapped pâté will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Slice it as you need it, or freeze.

Notes

To make quatre epices, whisk together 1 teaspoon each ground cloves, freshly grated nutmeg, ground ginger and ground white pepper.

While you can certainly start eating your pâté before the 4-day mark (we were impatient and started eating ours after 2 days), it really is ideal to let the flavors develop over the full four days!

When you're serving and enjoying your lovely pâté, peel off the bacon, but save it for later! We used this bacon for breakfast the next day and crisped it up with some hashbrowns and eggs and Oh. My God. Pâté bacon just hits different, you guys. I've decided it's my favorite kind of bacon. 😋

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Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab
Yield: 12 servings

Ratatouille

Parisian recipes, by blogger What The Fab

For our veggie dish, I wanted to do something more fun than a salad. This ratatouille recipe is not difficult to follow, but it does require a lot of chopping for all those vegetables! It's a good one to do with a partner so you can delegate some of the chop-chop. 😉

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow squashes
  • 2 zucchinis

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from ~10 leaves

Herb Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from ~10 leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven for 375 F.

2. Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately ¹⁄₁₆-inch rounds, then set aside.

3. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Remove from heat and add the basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.

4. Arrange the sliced veggies in alternating patterns, (for example, eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini) on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Make the herb seasoning: In a small bowl, mix together the basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spoon the herb seasoning over the vegetables.

5. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

Notes

I got this recipe from Tasty, and I felt like the number of vegetables it called for was a bit off and their recipe called for way too much, so I adjusted it in the above recipe.

Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

Steak and Pomme Frites

Steak and Pomme Frites

For our French entree, I was considering a chicken dish like Coq au vin, but we decided to go with steak and pomme frites since the other things we were cooking are so time-consuming.

Also, you're just going to have to imagine the pomme frites. The recipe we used from the NYT turned out horrible! The potatoes were mushy and fell apart—definitely not the crispy pomme frites we were hoping for. Here's an alternative pommes frites recipe from the Food Network that you can try!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Hanger Steak (for two people; 1.5 lbs if you want leftovers for steak and eggs in the morning ;))
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 garlic or 1 shallot bulb, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary or thyme, finely chopped

Instructions

1. Remove steak from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

2. Pat steak dry and then rub all over with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.

3. Place cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Test by sprinkling water on the skillet and if it sizzles, it's ready.

4. Sear steak for ~4 minutes on each side for a rare steak. Add another minute per side for medium-rare. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should read 135 F.

5. Remove from heat and add butter, garlic, and rosemary and baste the steak with this sauce.

6. Let steak rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes prior to cutting. Make sure to cut against the grain.

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Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab
Yield: 2 cocktails

French 77s

Paris recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

When we were dreaming up what cocktail to include in our Parisian recipe night, Omied suggested French 77s. I had never heard of them before, but they have my favorite liquor, St. Germain in them, so I was sold. These are light and delicious, and not to sweet. I've had them three nights in a row now. 🙈

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons gin (I'm a lightweight so I halved this and did 3 tbsp)
  • 3 tablespoons St. Germain
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons prosecco
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange bitters
  • 2 lemon peels
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Instructions

1. In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, and enough ice cubes to fill half the shaker (add the ice cubes last so you don't dilute your drink). Shake it until your hands are very cold, about 15 seconds.

2. Strain the liquid into a coupe glass and top with prosecco, orange bitters, a lemon peel, and a maraschino cherry.

Notes

Any kind of bubbly will work for this cocktail. We didn't have prosecco on-hand, so we used some sparkling wine from Sonoma, and they turned out great.

We also didn't have orange bitters at home but happened to have rhubarb bitters (random, I know), and used that instead.

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Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

Tarte Fraise Mascarpone

Parisian recipes, by blogger What The Fab

For our Parisian dessert, I cracked open the beautiful Ladurée recipe book my family got me for my bridal shower. French desserts definitely intimidate me so I wanted to find something relatively simple. It ended up being between this strawberry mascarpone tart and a chocolate tart, and since I had just made Mexican brownies last weekend I opted for this Tarte Fraise Mascarpone. And it was freaking killer. We loved it! Esp that mascarpone cream situation—UGH so good.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

Sweet almond pastry for tart shell

  • 1/2 cup butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour

Mascarpone Cream

  • 1/2 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups mascarpone
  • 2 3/4 cup strawberries

Instructions

Sweet almond pastry for tart shell

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and place into a mixing bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Work the butter to homogenize and then add the following ingredients one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each one into the mixture before the next addition: sifted confectioners' sugar, almond flour, salt, vanilla extract, egg, and flour. Combine ingredients just until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough.

3. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in a plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using it, but if possible, prepare the dough one day ahead as it will be easier to roll out.

4. Butter a 9.5 inch tart pan. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/10 inch thick and press into buttered pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 340 F. Remove tart shell from the refrigerator. Using a fork, prick the surface of the dough to keep from puffing up during baking. Fit a round piece of parchment paper over the dough, carefully pressing into the corner and working up the sides so it will stay in place in the oven. Place dried beans or pie weights on top, spreading them out in an even layer.

6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until lightly colored. Take out of the oven and remove dried beans/pie weights and parchment paper. If the pastry is still pale, return to oven uncovered, just long enough to finish baking and to color slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Note that you will have dough leftover. Ladurée's recipe says not to try to cut the dough recipe in half, because the recipe revolves around the proportions that go with 1 egg (I told you French recipes are particular). So instead, use what you need and then roll out the dough to 1/10 inch and cut out small biscuits. You can spread leftover mascarpone and jam on them for breakfast and thank me later.

Mascarpone cream

1. In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin. Allow to cool completely.

2. Using a spatula, or a KitchenAid with the paddle attachment on low, first mix the mascarpone by itself in a bowl until smooth. Continue to mix and little by little, pour in the cold cream and sugar mixture.

Assembly

1. Fill the cooled baked tart shell with the mascarpone cream. Freeze for 20 minutes until the cream is firm.

2. Rinse the strawberries and drain. Hull and slice in half lengthwise. (The strawberries we had were huge, so I sliced them more thinly then halving them). Finish the tart by arranging sliced strawberries in a decorative pattern on top of the cream.

Notes

One of the chef's tips for this recipe was to make the dough resistant to liquid and prevent it from soaking in the mascarpone cream by brushing the baked tart shell with melted white chocolate. I skipped this step because honestly, I was tired! I was worried that the pastry would get soggy because I skipped this step, but it didn't. So I guess what I'm saying is if you want to be extra fancy, you can add melted white chocolate (or even regular chocolate) by brushing it on the baked dough, but you don't have to.

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Parisian recipes, by travel blogger What The Fab

Café Viennois

Café Viennois

One of the (many) things I'm sad to be missing in Paris is stopping by a cafe for café viennois. Which is basically just coffee with reach, creamy, delicious homemade whipped cream on top. It's so easy to make at home and it's such a treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, very cold
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • Coffee

Instructions

1. Prepare the cremè chantilly (whipped cream) by pouring the cream into a mixing bowl. You can do this by hand if you have a strong arm like my husband and you're down to really energetically whip, or use a hand mixer or KitchenAid. Using a mixer only takes a couple minutes until the cream becomes whipped, so be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't turn into butter!

2. Add the sugar and continue to whip until cream is firm.

3. Prepare a cup of coffee and pour into a large cup. Spoon sweetened whipped cream on top.

Notes

You can add a little bit of vanilla to the whipped cream as well.

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