French Pastries 101: Beignets / Donuts
Thursday August 31st 2006, 5:16 am
Filed under: cultural differences,daily life,food and drinks

beignets donuts doughnuts
We found another bakery about 12 miles from our house that sells these DONUTS. I wouldn’t really call them “beignets” though that’s what the bakery called them. These were like real, donuts filled with yummy donutty goodness; These sort of remind me of the ones in the U.S., but they are actually better in France. They are sooo goooooood. Why better in France? I think it’s because they are less sugary sweet. (so you can distinguish flavors better, and also because it’s not too sweet, you can eat more than one. ;-) Easily. And that is a good thing.)

Each time we returned to this bakery for donuts, the donuts were all sold out. BUT! You can order them in advance and have a guarantee that you’ll get some donuts. (Note: You can do this for nearly any item in any bakery.)

Ordering in advance at this particular place, imposes a minimum purchase of 10 and they have to be the same flavor, so we ordered 10. Normally the chocolate tops have chocolate filling, but they kindly obliged our request for chocolate tops with crème patissière (vanilla cream filling). 10 donuts for two people is a bit much (though do-able) so we shared them with our neighbors. Donuts really need to be eaten the same day they are made. Ok, I ate two, my SO ate four. (He’s the type of guy that can eat four huge donuts every day and not get fat. I know, that’s not fair.)

The only way to get a variety of donuts (All the flavors: Apple, Raspberry, Chocolate, Vanilla) is to order a minimum of 40 donuts. So, our next special order was 40 donuts.

Gruik! (Oink!)

Related: French Pastries 101

For the Bored at Work Generation – Park a Peugeot!
Wednesday August 30th 2006, 4:16 am
Filed under: cars/bikes/etc,games/software/tech

parking perfection game
This parking game, “Parking Perfection” from Peugeot is slightly easier than the other parking game I’d written about not long ago. Each level has different challenges and as you progress, you’ll have obstacles like dogs to park around. Don’t hit them! And try to avoid bumping the cars around you. Be sure to read your mission for every level. Sometimes you’ll be required to park front first; other times you’ll have to back up into a space. Use the cursor (arrow) keys to steer and the spacebar to stop. You have a minute to park in your spot.

Strangely, the French car maker, Peugeot, has offered this game from their UK site and not from their French website.

Park your Peugeot Now!

Tomates Coeur de Boeuf (Beef Heart Tomatoes)
Wednesday August 30th 2006, 2:31 am
Filed under: food and drinks,garden

coeur de boeuf beef heart tomatoes
My neighbor has a gorgeous potager (kitchen garden) and brought over lots of vegetables including these beautiiful Tomates Coeur de Boeuf / Beef Heart Tomatoes. They are about the size of large oranges. I love how they look like hearts and are so different in shape (ridges and a tapering bottom) from your run-o-the-mill tomatoes everywhere. There might be many varieties of these Beef Hearts but they don’t look anything like the so-called Beef Hearts I’ve seen in French markets, even at the farmer’s markets. The market varieties never usually look like cow hearts (or at least what I imagine actual cow hearts to look like) because they have flat bottoms. These from my neighbor do seem to merit their name. I am guessing that the market varieties are genetically modified or just a different kind of Coeur de Boeuf that have flat bottoms, which pack and transport easier. (They don’t roll around so much and get damaged with that flat bottom.) In any case, it is once again amazing to see all of the different kinds of vegetables and fruits around here, that I’ve never seen before. Btw, these are so amazing in flavor, it is best to eat them raw in salads or as thick slices inside a simple yummy tomato sandwich. (I made tomato sammiches with avocado, bleu auvergne cheese and lightly toasted walnut bread.)

It may be cold, rainy and icky outside in August of all months (I thought it was supposed to be summer?!), but that didn’t stop us from having a summery lunch next to the warmth of the fire inside!

Johnny Hearts Sarko
Tuesday August 29th 2006, 12:24 pm
Filed under: politics,weird

Say it ain’t so, Johnny! Apparently, 63 year-old French King of Plastic Surgery Rock ‘n’ Roll, Johnny Halliday has joined the political party the UMP and will be endorsing Nicolas Sarkozy.

That is bad news (at least to me) because so many millions of French people LOVE Johnny and will likely listen to him while he jumps on the Sarkowagon. Why do people love Johnny so much??! This is one of the mysteries of France I will never understand.

[via Tocqueville Connection]

Always Look Up
Tuesday August 29th 2006, 3:26 am
Filed under: daily life,signs

boulangerie iron sign
As a true pastry pig, I can either smell or spot a boulangerie/patisserie from miles away. Once spotted, I make a quick beeline to the place, and fix my eyes on the display window until I get closer and closer. In this case, I walked around a corner and saw this apricot pear tarte, which was beautiful, if not different than what we usually see. Then, I looked up and saw their adorable iron bakery sign. It is just so sweet, sincere and perfect – and, doesn’t need any translation.

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