Rue Montorgueil

All good things must come to an end and after three solid weeks of wonderful French vacation, I actually have to start thinking about school related matters again. I guess this isn’t really a bad thing given that I’m actually somewhat looking forward to starting school again here in France, but I think the end of any vacation is always a little bitter sweet, especially after this amazing one that I’ve been having.

Before I jumped back into the world of French classes, meeting new people and trying to write my resume in French in order to apply to some internships while I’m here, I took a walk down Rue Montorgueil, towards the center of town near Les Halles. (More on Les Halles later, but honestly, it’s just a big mall now – nothing of its former glory). Now Rue Montorgueil, in my opinion, is certainly one of the more exciting streets in Paris. While cars are allowed to drive down, I don’t know why they ever would want to, as pedestrians take over this small cobblestone street in pursuit of delicious pastries or some famous escargot!

This is the ideal place to go if you wanted to try a baguette, eat an eclair, buy some fish and cheese and grab a café while doing some serious people watching all at the same time. If you only had a quick layover in Paris, I think walking down this street would be a great way to get a little bit of all things French in one go-around. It gives a picture of how Paris manages to be resolutely modern while preserving a rich heritage. Some of the shops on this street have been around for over 200 years and there are countless signs outlining the significance of some of the historical sites. But of course, as I have come to find on many streets in Paris, a Starbucks sit right on the corner, for anyone who was thought they might be too far from home.

An escargot feast: 

Some old fashioned street art: One of many boulangeries on the street: MORA – a pastry chefs heaven: In addition to the great patisseries and food shops, there are some of the most amazing kitchen supply shops around the corner from Rue Montorgueil. I am already planning my kitchen for when I have my own house someday, decked out with all professional grade stuff 😉 If you’ve ever been to the Zabars kitchen store in New York, it pails in comparison to these stores. There are chocolate molds for everything occasion, industrial size ladles and spatulas and more knick knacks and gadgets then I could ever dream what to do with.

Imagine these all filled with chocolate: 

While walking through the kitchen supply stores, wishing I could own everything, I was reminded of the scene in Julie & Julia when Julia Childs walks through a kitchen store in Paris throwing everything she lays her hand onto into her basket. I cannot wait for the day when I can do the same!

Classic copper dish-wear: 

The label said that somehow this is used for deboning fish, but it looks like it would be the perfect tool for taking out someone’s heart: Because one always needs a cake mold of France: 

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January Daring Baker’s Challenge: Biscuit Jaconde

I feel like I keep tacking onto my New Year’s Resolutions, but since it’s still only January – at least for one more day – I think that it’s okay. To add on to more baking, more blog updating, and more bread, I know want to go the whole year and do every single Daring Baker’s Challenge. I can already foresee some problems that I will face as the year wears on, but at least I can say I will try.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. I’m not going to lie, this was one of the more difficult challanges that I have done. I’m not even going to go into what went wrong with my biscuit jaconde, because I myself don’t quite know what was wrong with it, but the truth is that the mousse inside was what made the dish amazing. I made some of Ms. Julia Childs’s classic chocolate mousse that was the perfect accompaniment to the spongy jaconde cake that I tried to make.

As we sat around the table eating the mousse, my roommates pointed out that it was like eating fluffy dough – the denseness of cookie dough with the fluffiness of mouse. I’m not quite sure what that means, but it sounds good! The cake didn’t make it in the fridge for more than a day or two before it was licked clean off the plate. I always have Mastering the Art of French Cooking at the back of my cookbook shelf and never quite take advantage of all the amazing recipes it has to offer.

At the end of the day, I realized that while the jaconde didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it, the whole process, which took more than a few hours, was well worth it as I discovered the most amazing mousse recipe in the entire world. I plan on making the mousse again very soon, sans jaconde, and am hoping that it works out just as well.