I had the privilege today of having two famous Paris bloggers over to my house for a little privé cooking session. I can’t tell you how honored I was to entertain Maitresse and Gill of Confessions of a Young Woman. Gill emailed me last week and asked if I’d be interested. Of course I said yes! Like there was even an option!!! Luckily for me I had a little assistance from my cooking partner Jamie at Le Cordon Bleu and my husband who is one of the best mixologists I know of.

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I have to admit I was a little nervous at first. Only because there is something voyeuristic about reading other peoples daily posts. Then meeting that person in person, is slightly bizarre at first. Serious deja vu, because you already know about their history. You can talk about people/problems in their lives (boyfriends, family, work etc) like you’ve known them for years. I have been fascinated with their journeys in Paris, so our cooking session was a great excuse to finally meet in person and swap stories.
So here’s what we made based on French cooking techniques:

Spring Menu:
Vegetable Soup Provencal with Pistou
Beef Tournedos with Béarnaise Sauce and turned Artichokes
Tarte au Citron & Tarte aux Poires Frangipane & Tarte aux Frambois et Frangipane

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We started with basic cutting technique (mirepoix, paysanne, brunoise, julienne) for our vegetable soup and moved onto multiple tart variations. We tried our hand at grilling meat, turning artichokes, and making the alltime French classic, bearnaise sauce. Quite an ambitious meal for one day.

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P1010940.JPGMy husband used the simple syrup I had poached the pears in from the Tarte aux Poire et Frangipane, and created a vodka cocktail with mint. It was so refreshing and I’m afraid, a little too drinkable. The essence of lemon, cinnamon, cointreau, and fresh pear in the syrup really created the most sublime spring time cocktail.

We chopped, we grilled, we baked, we laughed, we drank, we ate and ate and ate. Good time had by all…can’t wait to do it again…I think next time I’ll start the refreshments a little later in the lesson :-)

Vegetable Soup Provencal recipe to follow…

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Vegetable Soup Provencal

Ingredients:

Vegetable Soup
2 Carrots
2 Celery Branches
50g Salt slab bacon
1 Leek
1 Small yellow Onion
1 Shallot
2 Tomatoes peeled, seeded
1 zucchini diced
400g petit pois
1 8oz can of white beans in water, drained (any white bean will do, just make sure they are already presoaked)
Bouquet Garni (mixture of dried thyme, bay leaf rolled into a leek leaf or tied in gauze)
2 garlic cloves
pinch saffron

Pistou
1 Bunch basil
1/4 Cup parmesan
4 Taplespoons olive oil
2 Garlic cloves

1. Make vegetable stock by roughly chopping one carrot, celery branch, onion, shallot, garlic clove, and bacon. Heat bacon first in a large pot and then add the rest of the vegetables. Cook on medium low heat for 4 minutes stirring occasionally (don’t brown). Add bouquet garni and 6 cups water and cook on medium heat for one half hour. Let stock rest for another half hour off heat off heat. Strain and reserve broth.
2. Dice the rest of the vegetables the same size of the petit pois, about 1/4″ and add to broth (leek, tomatoes, zucchini, carrot, celery). Simmer on medium heat.
3. Add a pinch of saffron and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add peas and white beans
5. Cook until all vegetables and beans are done
6. To make the pisou blend basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic cloves, and salt to taste in a blender. Add more olive oil if too thick or more parmesan if too thin. Season to your taste.
7. Serve soup hot with a spoonful of pistou on top.