Friday, January 28, 2011

Escape with me to fabulous Paris part II

Ok, this is getting downright ridiculous. Woke up to another 15 inches of snow..its unbelievable. I had to enclose some pictures because seeing is believing. Feel like we are drowning in the white stuff! Still very much on my high from my wonderful trip...what an inspirational city! In keeping that French feeling alive, I decided to spend the day making something I have not made in many years, Beef Bourguignon. This is a fabulous recipe I have had for years and was passed onto me by a family member, then while in Paris I obtained another recipe, which was quite similar so I combined the two and the result was pure magic! I cannot tell you how this was literally devoured by my entire family, throw in a few loaves of crusty french bread and a nice bottle of wine...and you are in for a real treat!


So I have included the recipe below the pictures. Anyway as promised, more visual stimulation from the fabulous city of Paris. Today's pictures are various shots I took of the architectural wonders that seem to grace every city block as well as some of the incredible antiques we came across while drooling in the antique district! Let me know if you have a favorite. No matter how many times you go to Paris, I can't imagine that you ever tire of seeing all the splendor that makes this city truly the most beautiful in the world!



                                         The famous sign outside Bistro Lipp



                                        A gorgeous cathedral


              One of the corner buildings at the Louvre along the Seine

Love the black that is used in abundance in French decor

You can only imagine how wonderful this smelled!


Took lots of "cartouche" pictures since we are fine tuning the design for our own homes cartouche detailing over the front window

Stunning ceiling medallion...love the scalloping

Now this is what I call molding!

A quaint lovely little French bistro

At every turn, something delicious was calling my name......

All these are chocolates..even the purse!

This is what I would call a mouth watering window display

A typical Parisian street

Love the narrow alleys

A pretty corner at every turn

Love both the cartouche and the railing...got all kinds of inspiration

Different view same window

The limestone detailing on every building is so spectacular

One magnificent corner of the Louvre

A corner building at the Louvre

Having lunch at popular Angelines


A beautiful bakery/patisserie

Oooh, those look good!

The infamous Eiffel tower against a cloudy gray sky looks so majestic

In the Jardin des Tulleries in the winter...still beautiful

Walking along the Seine admiring the view

The beautiful apartment buildings along the Seine river

The magnificent Musee d' Orsay 




Love the symmetry in French architecture

Another gorgeous cartouche

One of the antique mantles we are considering.....love the marble

A 80 year old antique mantle that we are hoping will fit for our dining room

Another view of the same mantle

So many beautiful sconces everywhere I looked, this one plated in 22kt gold

Even the pedestrian bridges are spectacular!


Every entry to every building is breathtaking



The level of detail astounds me every time

Hey, I know now where my architect got his "divine inspiration" for the cupola

Building at the Lourve

The stunning Musee D' Orsay on a drizzly afternoon

The courtyard in front of the Lourve 



Typical cute little bistro



Another pretty corner....


Another bistro....




Fell in love with this spectacular window and the limestone that adorns it


Is this stunning or what? I am obsessed.....


Loooove the color of this door!

The macaroons oh the macaroons....

They look like little jewels...

Such pretty displays

Got some of these lovely toiletry products for my mom!

The famous Bistro Lipp

And then back to New York and the snow....makes my patio table look like a wedding cake!

Mother Nature's latest "gift" (at least I am trying to stay positive)

It is majestic looking- have to admit!

Stunning!

Teddy doesn't know what to make of it

Its a heavy snow so it hugs each and every branch

Should I stay or should I go (in case you are curious he opted to come back into the warmth of the house)


Hope you enjoyed this visual vacation to Paris..it was such a treat, coming home was a bit of a letdown, but as my husband likes to remind me "that's why they call it a vacation". So until next time, I have these wonderful pictures to reflect back on. Here is the recipe for the Beef Bourguignon which I promise you is worth the cooking time...you will absolutely love it, I promise!


BEEF BOURGUIGNON


  • About 3-4 tablespoons light virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped (1/2 a package)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic cloves, large chopped pieces (not too fine)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 bottle of good full bodied  red wine (ideally like Beaujolais, Cabernet or Burgundy)
  •  2 cups beef broth (I used Emerils box of beef stock which is a 32 oz box)
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-2 1/2 pounds  beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, cut to 1 inch (don't use baby carrots, they are too soft)
  • 2 med.onions- thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried) I used a bit more than the recipe called for
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature, melted
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms (cut off stems and discard)
If you have a nice heavy dutch oven, that is preferable otherwise a good stock pot is fine. I used my Le Cruset "weighs a ton" pot but it was perfect for this dish plus its French!  Heat the olive oil and add the bacon, cook on medium until fairly crispy. Remove and drain bacon. Add cubed beef (after they have been rinsed, patted dry and sprinkled with sea salt and pepper)  one layer at a time and sear the meat, this will take about 4-5 minutes, make sure its seared on all sides. Set aside with the bacon. 


Next, you will add carrots, onions, and either potatoes or turnips if you are using them along with salt and pepper to the fat in the pot and cook for about 15 minutes or until soft and onions are lightly browned. Then add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Next add Cognac...you then should take a match and light it right in the pot...STAND BACK while you do this and stare in awe at your budding creation! (This process burns off the alcohol) 


Next add the meat and bacon into the pot with the juices already in. Add the bottle of wine and beef broth, this mixture should pretty much cover the meat. Next add tomato paste and thyme. Simmer and then cover...at this point you can either cook it on the stove or transfer to a preheated oven (300 degrees) I cooked mine on the stove. 


After about an hour and a half, the meat will be fork tender. On the side, take 2 tbsp of butter and melt then mix with flour and add to stew. In a small sauté pan, melt additional 2 tbsp of butter and sauté mushrooms for about 5-10 minutes or until soft. Add to stew, bring to a brief boil and then simmer and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Season to taste. At the end, I add a few additional stalks of fresh thyme...get that baguette and wine ready and you are in for a divine treat!
  • .
  • And a few picture highlights from my little cooking adventure yesterday......







 BON APPETIT!







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