Tag Archives: bread

First Signs of Spring & Marché Bastille

First signs of spring, Bastille, Paris 03/06/2011

Marché Bastille
11th Arrondisement
Metro: Bastille
Thursday 7am-2:30pm, Sunday 7am-3pm

Ahhh spring 🙂  Welcome.  Winter always seems exceedingly long, while summer feels far to short.  In Paris, winter is cold and rainy, the sun barely making its short appearances every few weeks – like I said, very long winters.  What was so great about this week, however, is that after weeks of cloudy, sunless days, on March 1st the sun made its debut and has stayed all week.  The temperature has been slowly rising into the 50s (and hopefully soon into the 60s) and the city streets have become even more lively.

One of my favorite things about Paris, and France in general, really, is the open markets.  France is very pro fresh, quality foods and even more pro locally grown products.  All year round (winter included) you can find an outdoor market in each neighborhood in a variety of sizes all containing countless vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, flowers, herbs , clothing, and the list goes on. ( http://equipement.paris.fr/?tid=289)

Last summer/fall I frequented the weekly market in my neighborhood, Bastille, for seasonal fruits and veggies, and eggs (gotta love local farm eggs!).  As the cold came in, I have only been a few times since October/November when my mom and my cousin came to visit.

Bastille Market Oct/Nov. 2010 - Photo credit my cousin, Michelle

However, today was the first market in March and the sun was out so Julien and I were excited to go this morning.

Parisian markets have two great things: quality and prices.  Today we bought a ton of stuff and only spent 30 euros.  On our list today:


Tonight for dinner I am making those amazing looking artichokes and using those plump mushrooms to make a sauce for our steak tournedos we bought yesterday.  If you’re lucky,  you might get a peek 🙂   …maybe  😛

Check near you for your own local markets!  Yes, they do exists in the States, you just have to search 🙂

As always,

Bon Ap!



Banana Bread

Mmmm…. memories of banana bread.  My mom used to make banana bread all the time when I was a kid.  My favorite was something my mom taught me: toasting it in the toaster oven just enough to warm a slice and then spreading a light layer of cream cheese over the top.  (It is delicious, trust me and try it!)  Even as I got older, I used to love coming home and there would be a fresh, out of the oven loaf cooling on the stove, filling the kitchen with its wonderful banana smells.  When I went away to college, my mom (and sometimes my roomate Vicki’s mom) would send us back to school with loaves from our visits home.

Once I got my own apartment, I started making my own banana breads, testing and altering a selection from the countless different recipes available.  This recipe is one I finally settled on, and is it a good one I must say. It is a combination of many recipes and a special ingredient my mom always used: applesauce.

Julien had bought a large amount of bananas and near the end of the week, the few remaining became too ripe to just eat on their own.  I told Julien not to throw them away because I was going to make banana bread.  It was then that I learned banana bread is not a household baked good in France.  He looked at me funny and said “You are going to make what? What is that?”  I was stunned!  It had never even crossed my mind that he didn’t know what it was.  I mean, it makes sense, just as Brioche isn’t something widely known in the States.  So of course I told him how he was in for a treat and made this recipe for him.  It is now his favorite thing I make for him, as he purposely buys too many bananas, hoping to come home to a freshly baked loaf.  🙂

Banana Bread


2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup of sugar

3 over-ripe bananas

1/4 cup of applesauce

2 tsp. of vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a second small bowl, smash bananas with a fork until creamy.  (Some chunks are okay, and even suggested!) Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until well blended.  Add beaten eggs, vanilla, applesauce and bananas.  Stir until well combined.

Slowly add flour mixture in batches until fully combined.

Pour batter into a buttered bread loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.  You can check to see if the bread is finished by inserting a toothpick into the center.  The toothpick should come out clean.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then cool fully on the rack.  Enjoy!

Bon Ap!