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Because I can be a little obsessive, and because I love broccoli and spinach, this soup has both.

Maybe I just forgot about all the rain and gray, but I don’t remember such a wet patch like the one we’ve been having and are still in the midst of. It’s been messy. And mostly cold, but lately, less so.  (Highs in the 40s! Hot damn!)

To celebrate our unexpected heat wave in Paris, today I swapped out my big ol’ coat for my far more stylish Western suede one to hop the bus to run to my favorite Monoprix, which happens to be too far to walk, but a short 10 minute ride away…then just a street to cross, and voilà. Even better, the bus stop going the other direction is right in front of the store, and really y’all, it just doesn’t get much nicer than that.

I like to think of the 123 bus as my own private ride to all things wonderful, like the Monop, and the metro stop on line 10 which takes me everywhere I want to go. The 10 is my new 2, and the 123 is my new 52. Oh how I love the 123! The bus driver (there are always different ones, but we’re getting to know each other) and I always wave goodbye once I get off of the bus.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with soup.

I think you’re gonna love it. Well, you will if you like broccoli and spinach and making soup in 30 minutes or so, because that’s all this takes. It’s a simple soup, but if you’ve got limes, and of course you do, and if you have the end of a baguette hanging around and some chèvre, fancy or non, consider dinner done.

Plus it’s such a gorgeous green, which goes so well with gray.

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Broccoli Spinach Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 head broccoli, florets removed and the stalk peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups/1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • a pinch nutmeg
  • a big pinch cayenne
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • lime wedges, for serving 
  1. Put the olive oil in your soup pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and you can smell it, about 5 minutes.
  1. Add all of the broccoli florets and stem pieces, along with the stock, spices, and lime zest. Let come to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 to 30 minutes or until all of the broccoli stem pieces are easily pierced with a fork.
  1. Turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pot, and stir it in — it’ll wilt immediately.
  1. Gently pour the soup into your blender, and purée until it has a very smooth, fine consistency. Serve right away with lime wedges or let cool and rewarm later.

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DSC_5156It has been gray and cold in Paris, with crazy days of rain and snow mixed together, and I have been thinking about what I could bake — toxic oven fumes be damned! — to warm up my insides.

Naturally, biscuits came to mind. (Biscuits, I love you more than ice cream. No, that’s not true. I love you both, and far too much, I’m afraid.)

Light and fluffy insides with crispy bottoms, there’s nothing that tastes more like home to me. When my mom made biscuits, she always doubled her batch and made one half regular and the other half rolled out with cinnamon and sugar – that way, you could have biscuits and gravy on one side of your plate and cinnamon and sugar ones on the other. Plus one or two with butter and honey. Biscuits are so versatile.

People think biscuits are hard to make and that they take a ton of time. Neither is true. They are easy to put together and take 15 minutes or so to bake. You really can’t ask for anything much simpler.

The trick to making great biscuits is this: you’ve got to put together the dough quickly, making sure you have very cold butter, then handle the dough very little after that. Baby the dough. It’s delicate. A rolling pin isn’t necessary. You don’t want to smash all of those bits of butter you tried so hard not to pulverize in the flour. They will act as little steam pockets, making your biscuits fluffy and light.

I made only six biscuits with this recipe, and they are huge, as in nearly the size of big ol’ Texas hamburger patties, because what’s the point of a whole bunch of little biscuits?

Here I’ve made buttermilk biscuits with a ton of cinnamon and sugar, which oozes out the sides when you bake them.

Be sure to use a fork to take off the tops for the cinnamon and sugar layer so you don’t smash the dough.

In my shrinky-dinky Paris kitchen, I don’t have the counter space for a cutting board, much less to roll out a batch of biscuits. So I use the top of my washing machine. Sometimes the dryer, too.

Making biscuits for one: Make the dough as you normally would. If you have people to feed, by all means, double the batch if you need to; but if it’s just you, just bake off one or two biscuits for breakfast, then put the rest (after you’ve cut them out into biscuit shapes) in the freezer in a Ziploc bag. To bake the frozen biscuits, pull them straight from the freezer – no thawing necessary – and bake at 400°F for 3 additional minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned.

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Washing Machine Cinnamon Biscuits

Makes 6 big ass biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and frozen or well-chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk (maybe a bit more)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar or just pulse a few times in your food processor. Add the cubes of butter and pulse quickly until the butter pieces are pebble-like throughout — or if you’re using a pastry cutter, you’re going for the same texture.
  1. Pour in the buttermilk and gently mix or pulse until the dough begins to come together — don’t overmix or your biscuits will be like hockey pucks.
  1. Dump out the dough onto a floured surface (such as a Silpat spread out on the top of your washing machine) and gently bring the dough together with your hands so it’s a fat rectangle, about 1-inch thick. You don’t need rolling pin, just pat the dough down with the palms of your hands. Be gentle. Go easy with the dough, and you’ll be rewarded with light and fluffy biscuits. Now, using a knife, cut the biscuits into 6 pieces. I like to gently shape them into rounds, but if you want square ones, go for it.
  1. Mix up 6 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a little bowl. Gently pull the top half of the dough off of your biscuits and shove a tablespoon-ish of the mixture inside. Put the tops on the biscuits, transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.

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French Toast

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I’ve been putting off writing a post until I felt better. About everything. It has not been an easy reentry to life in Paris. I still don’t know how to write about the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the other horrific acts of terrorism that followed. Am I okay? People still ask this a lot. No. I’m […]

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No Recipe: Sweet Potato Wedgies

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Lime Poppyseed Cake

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I’ve wanted to make this for a long time, since my coffee-filled, editing-the-book-manuscript afternoons at Kooka Boora (now KB Cafeshop) in Montmartre, when I nearly always had a thick piece of a lemony poppyseed cake with my triple lattes. I always wondered how it would taste if the lemon were lime. Swapping out the lime for […]

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Zucchini and Corn Galettes with Green Tahini Sauce

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You say fritters, I say galettes. I can’t bring myself to call these sweet summery pancakes “fritters.” Fritter sounds so, oh, unhealthy, right? And these are not fried, which I believe a fritter — an Americanized form of the French word, frire, (to fry) — normally would be. Instead, they cook quickly, and with very little oil in a […]

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