Marché Bastille

I’ve been meaning to write about this market from the first day I moved into my apartment. The day I arrived in Paris, the realtor said I was so lucky to be living in this neighborhood as one of the best open air markets in all of Paris was held right around the corner from me. At first I was hesitant to believe this, and after the first few weeks of gloomy weather in Paris, the market didn’t seem all that great to me. Then, these past few weeks, as spring has started to come out from behind the clouds and I’ve visited more markets around the city, I’ve come to realize just how truly amazing my corner marché really is.

I think what really amazes me the most is how much produce you can get for so little money. I will walk away with bags of apples, pears, cucumbers, carrots, onions, some spices and perhaps a baguette having only spent 10 euro max! I like to walk over to the market with only a limited supply of change to see how far I can stretch it. I usually do an entire circle of the markets before deciding on my purchases so that I can see what looks best and get the better deal.

The best part about walking through the markets, besides the obvious visual pleasing foods, is the sounds and smells. On one side of the market towards, towards the Bastille roundabout, there are many Middle Eastern vendors, hawking their wears at dirt cheap prices. The sounds of “UN EURO UN EURO POUR UN KILO” is heard often and they are always offering my slices of clementines. Seriously, I’m only ever offered clementines – what about an apple slice?

As you walk further north, you see the more mom and pop type stands that clearly have their regular customers. Lines at these places can often be quite long as each customer is given as much time as they need to pick out their foods. I don’t often buy so much from these vendors as they tend to be a lot more expensive. 

In regards to smell, huge chicken roasters are found on every aisle and as the weather gets warmer, the flowers are becoming more and more beautiful every week. While the market happens twice a week, once on Sundays and once on Thursdays, Sunday is definitely the better day to go. There are more vendors our in general on Sundays and there is just a bit more of a livelier atmosphere as more people have time to shop on the weekends. 

I love walking past the fish stands. Huge trays of ice sit out holding countless types of fish and sea creatures. Oysters and mussels are quite popular and many merchants just have huge baskets of them sitting right on their tables, all that much easier for picking through. I don’t eat oysters or mussels myself, but they’re quite interesting to look at.

I always try to grab a box of eggs as half a dozen organic eggs is half the price as at the supermarket. I’ve yet to get any cheese as I’m always intimidated to order as I never quite know what I want and I don’t know how much one orders.

 I do hoard nuts and dried fruits from the spice vendor. One of the guys there knows me now and always makes fun of me for taking so long as I never know what I want at first. I bought a few spices last week and forgot to label them right away, so I’m sitting with either curry or turmeric in my cabinet, can’t remember which.

La Marché Bastille takes place every Sunday and Thursday. This is the most amazing place to go and do some excellent people watching. All sorts of fascinating characters come out to the markets. You can buy just about anything you would ever need – fruit, veggies, meats, fish, bread, cheese, and of course…some socks!

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Boursin Stuffed Chicken

After a whimsical day of traversing Paris today with my friend Audrey, which included more than a few wrong turns, more to come on that later, we returned to my apartment to make this delicious dish for dinner and watch Julie & Julia. It was pretty much a perfect Paris day. I’d been wanting to make this chicken for ages – doesn’t anything stuffed with cheese just have to be good – and it was a wonderful way to inaugurate my new kitchen with a full dinner.

I was super excited to use my oven for the first time, which turned out to be a great success. I did realize though that I have no cookie sheet. Oh dear! It’s a good thing I didn’t end up making cookies last night, otherwise I probably would have ended up eating the cookie dough all by myself after discovering I had nothing to cook them on 🙂

Now this recipe calls for a meat mallet, but in my sparsely supplied kitchen, a book seemed to do the trick just fine. 

A good helping of cheese never hurt anyone!

This is such a simple dish, but so yummy!! The original recipe called for copious amounts of bacon and pancetta, but given that I eat neither of those, I just left them out and added some cut up vegetables and dill instead. It turned out just as good, although I’m sure the flavors of the bacon would have been delicious too.

We had a little baked cauliflower and a some Israeli salad that I had made the other day, and voila, the perfect little meal. Of course, we had our fair share of wine and bread too 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pckg. Boursin cheese (I used the generic type they had in the super market)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cut up carrot
  • 1 cut up medium onion
  • dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly oil the bottom of a deep oven pan, in my case a pizza pan.

3. Place one piece of the chicken breast on top of a piece of Saran wrap. Cover with another piece and gently beat it with the rounded end of a metal ladle or  a meat tenderizer – I used a book. Repeat with second piece until both are fairly thin.

4. Generously spread cheese over both chicken pieces – you could add additional spices here too if you wanted.

5. Roll both pieces up like a burrotio, keeping the seam down. Place onto pan and season with lemon, salt and pepper.

6. Add chopped up carrot and onion to pan.

7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

Enjoy 🙂