Off to Paris

April 3, 2010 • 6:26 am

I’ll be in the City of Light for a week starting tomorrow, enjoying a well-deserved break.  All the restaurant reservations were made weeks ago, which, in light of Adam Gopnik’s favorable comments on L’Ami Jean in this week’s New Yorker (see also his article on “Le Fooding”), was a judicious thing to do.

I’ll be back next Sunday, and in the meantime your reliable pinch-bloggers, Drs. Matthew Cobb and Greg Mayer, will be filling in.

Fig. 1. Riz au lait at L’Ami Jean: the world’s best rice pudding, served with either cherry confit or praline.

p.s. If you’re gonna comment that this food is unhealthy, don’t bother. As Julia Child once said, “Food is not medicine.”

11 thoughts on “Off to Paris

    1. Debatable. Parisians’ bootmakers are quite exceptional and the french are well acquainted with cowboy boots: Jhonny Halliday, Lucky Luke, the Dalton Brothers..and GW…

  1. With all respect to Julia Child, the nutrient density and abundance of phytonutrients found in vegetables, particularly the cruciferous greens, are shown to prevent disease and maintain health. I’d place them in the category of natural medicines.

  2. Some song lyrics which I think reflect the adventure and anticipation of a trip to Paris:

    Stranger beware, there’s love in the air
    Under Paris skies,
    Try to be smart and don’t let your heart
    Catch on fire;

    Love becomes king the moment it’s spring
    Under Paris skies,
    Lonely hearts meet somewhere on the street of desire.

    Parisian love can bloom
    High in a skylight room
    Or in a gay cafe
    Where hundreds of people can see,

    I wasn’t smart and I lost my heart
    Under Paris skies,
    Watch what you do,
    The same thing could happen to you!

    I love Paris in the springtime,
    I love Paris in the fall,
    I love Paris in the winter,when it drizzles
    I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles!

  3. Not medicine, but in this case poison for diabetics. Well, that would make breakfast cheap for me – I’d have half a teaspoon of my companion’s breakfast and a coffee. The “au lait” reminds me of a coffee I once had in a cafe in Australia – I wanted a Vienna but I got a “cafe au beurre” instead – not bad at all since it was freshly made unsalted butter (someone got a bit too aggressive with the cream shaker).

  4. Recipe for above, sounds lethal. And yummy, I will try it for a special occasion one day.

    Riz au Lait
    Crème anglaise adapted from Tim Wiechmann. Confiture de lait adapted from David Lebovitz. Riz au lait adapted from L’Ami Jean
    For the confiture de lait:

    * 1 14-ounce can Nestlé Carnation sweetened condensed milk
    * Sea salt

    For the crème anglaise:

    * 1/2 vanilla bean
    * 1 cup heavy cream
    * 1/3 cup whole milk
    * 6 tablespoons sugar
    * 3 large egg yolks

    For the brittle:

    * Butter for greasing pan
    * 2/3 cup hazelnuts or pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
    * 1 dried apricot, finely chopped
    * Salt
    * 2/3 cup sugar

    For the riz au lait:

    * 1/2 vanilla bean
    * 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
    * 1/3 cup carnaroli, arborio or short-grain rice
    * 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    * 1 2/3 cups heavy cream

    Make the confiture de lait:

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour the condensed milk into a glass pie pan or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few grains of sea salt and cover tightly with foil. Set in a roasting pan and add enough hot water to the pan so that the water rises halfway up the sides of the pie pan. Bake until the milk turns caramel-brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, checking the water level several times and adding water as needed. Cool in the roasting pan. If the caramel is lumpy, whisk or strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Keep refrigerated. To serve, warm gently in a hot-water bath.

    Make the crème anglaise:

    Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and place the seeds and pod in a small pot. Add the cream, milk and 3 tablespoons sugar and heat until just before it reaches a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until fluffy. Whisk just enough of the scalded cream mixture into the eggs to warm them, then pour into the cream mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion over low heat until it coats the back of the spoon and the bubbles along the edge disappear. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set over an ice bath. Cool completely, then refrigerate.

    Make the brittle:

    Butter a sheet pan. In a small bowl, mix the hazelnuts, apricot and a dash of salt. In a medium pot set over high heat, cook the sugar without stirring. As it starts to turn deep caramel, swirl the pan to distribute the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and fold in the hazelnuts and apricot. Pour onto the sheet pan and let cool. Chop into small pieces.

    Prepare the riz au lait:

    Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and place the seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the rice and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the consistency of oatmeal, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Cool to room temperature, then chill.
    Transfer the chilled rice to a large bowl. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the rice, little by little, to desired thickness. It should be light and creamy.
    Serve the confiture de lait, the crème anglaise and the brittle in separate bowls alongside the riz au lait, to be stirred in as desired.

    Serves 6 to 8

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