Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta

It’s not easy being green.

During the fall/ winter months that is. It’s kind of rude, actually. We’re spoiled by delicious, local summer fruits and vegetables and then niente. No more fresh basil, crisp zucchini, or crunchy asparagus.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 1 | Netflix and Nutella

I had a craving for green things last week, and I decided that I  couldn’t have yet another salad. So I threw together a quick (and few ingredient, of course) pasta dish that left me more than satisfied.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 2 | Netflix and Nutella

This dish was a staple when I was in Paris with my sister. It’s a quick, clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish. All I did make my pasta (always al dente), and add some pesto, goat cheese, and frozen peas. I topped it with some crushed red pepper flakes.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 3 | Netflix and Nutella

Note to self: back away from crushed red pepper if you feel a cold coming. I used it as a home remedy to clean out my sinuses. Might have been a mistake.

Though this satisfied my green craving and got my cold on its way out, I’ll be green with envy until local veggies come back.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta | Netflix and Nutella

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Bordeaux and St. Emilion: Tastes

As promised, here are some of my favorite things I tasted in the French wine country.

First off, we went to a huge indoor market in Bordeaux where my friends and I needed a little something to hold us over until lunch. Croquettes were our option which the lady in the photo below freshly dished out into a plastic to-go container.

We then wandered through the outdoor part of the market, which we learned is a privilege passed down through generations. World War I left many widows, so the city tried to help them earn money by allowing them to go into the indoor market, then only for distributors, buy some items, and resell them outside. Now, only their relatives have the right to sell on the street, but it is something the city will soon end since the need is low.

Croquettes    Market

In the same indoor market, I found this cheese vendor. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

30 years!

Our tour-leader bought us mini Cannelés Bordelais. They’re a bit crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle (the texture for which the unique mold was invented), and have a licorice-rum taste. There is a story behind these dense little cakes: winemakers in the region use egg whites to ferment their wine, therefore having an abundance of unused yolks. They gave them to  nuns, who came up with this very temperamental and difficult recipe.

Mini Canelé Bordelais

Though we didn’t get to eat there, we went into one of the best restaurants in Bordeaux to watch how they prepare some of their meet delicacies. PS The woman on our left was our adorable tour guide.

Meet

After that, we stopped for lunch and to have our first bottle of Bordeaux in the region. There were various foods like a pâté, another meat delicacy with parts of a pig not used for the pâté, and some intestine. Though I forced myself to try some of the dishes, I mostly stuck to the camembert and chèvre.

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Wine from lunch

Wine from lunch

Later that night, we went to a wine bar called Wine More Time. Though white Bordeaux is not my favorite, the atmosphere of this bar was very chill, drinking on top of stools in front of wine barrels.

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The next day in St. Emilion, we had a brief tour in the morning followed by time by ourselves for lunch. My friends and I sat outside, at salads, pizzas, and more, and had this delicious bottles of wine, one of our favorites from the trip.

Wine at lunch

Wine at lunch

St. Emilion is famous for a different style of macaroons. They are made with egg whites, sugar, and almonds, and are fluffy beyond belief. They come in a box on the parchment paper they were baked on because they are too fragile to take off and package. I bought a larger one and split it with my friend. Definitely worth it.

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DSCF1888Lastly but certainly not least, we did a wine tasting. We walked through various vineyards and reached Chateaux La Fleur Picon, a vineyard that makes Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.

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We learned a bit about how the wine was made, all by the same man whose family has been making the wine for 9 generations. They make one vintage a year, and we tasted both 2009 and 2010. The newer of the two was a bit more acidic but tasted just like the kind of wine my mom would love. The 2009 was smoother. Confession: I bought 3 bottles.

La Fleur Picon

All in all, it was a beautiful 2-day break in the wine countryside, and made me realize how much I want to move to Northern California some day and run a vineyard with horses à la Dennis Quaid in The Parent Trap. A girl can dream, and until then, I got a small dose during my trip to Bordeaux and St. Emilion!

Say Cheese

To say that I like fromage is an understatement.

When I did a foreign exchange in high school, my host father would buy me a different kind of cheese every week to sample. And though I still haven’t grown very fond of blue (something I inherited from my mother and that my father can’t understand) if I could live on a diet of cheese, bread, and wine, I would be happy forever.

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, there is an outdoor market my sister and I love to go to. She’s been really busy with new work endeavors, so on a Saturday morning typically reserved for sleeping in, we pulled ourselves out of bed, braved the freezing wind, and shopped. Here’s what we picked up!

My sister’s boyfriend requested morbier, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a line of ash through the middle. It wasn’t my favorite. But in moderation, I think I could grow to like it. On the label, it reads “lait cru,” or unpasteurized milk. The fact that that’s illegal in United States is a sin.

morbier

Our second cheese was langres, another cow’s milk cheese. It’s exterior texture is unique and its center creamy and crumbly. It’s mild enough to gain about 5 pounds in one sitting. Again, not pasteurized. How will I ever be able to go back to the States?

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I saved the best for last. Chèvre. Is there anything better than tangy, creamy goat cheese? Maybe when it’s on crusty, slightly sourdough but nonetheless perfect baguette. (Do I sound too much like Giada here? See: Commandment III.)

Hi, I’m Madeline, and I’m a chèvraholic.

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My Savory French Faves

French restaurants may be difficult to navigate; there are bistros, brasseries, cafés, etc. In Paris, you want to steer clear from anything that’s not French; don’t order pasta at a café unless you want soggy, mushy noodles. Don’t order a burger unless you’re at a pub. Instead, pick one of the suggestions below. They are French classics that almost every restaurant will offer. Embrace the cheese coated and egg-topped dishes while you can. Even in the most random of cafés, you could eat some of the best roasted chicken and frites of your life. Trust me, it’s happened.

My Savory French Faves