Paris Grocery News 1/29 Saturday, Jan 29 2011 

The milk of Tarine cows is used to make luscious Alpine cheeses, such as Beaufort, which is our choice when making French onion soup! Picture from Olive White Photography.

Food (& Cheese!) @ PG

“The onion is the truffle of the poor.”

French Onion Soup (Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells)

I find this version one of the lightest onion soups I’ve tried; perhaps it’s because the onions are roasted first. Be sure to use good white sweet onions (yellow onions can turn bitter). If this is likely to become a family favorite, it’s worthwhile to invest in traditional onion soup bowls. Makes 2 servings.

1 very large (1 pound) white onion (such as Bermuda), thinly sliced

10 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup dry sherry

32 oz unsalted chicken stock, preferably homemade

2-4 slices crusty baguette

2 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Beaufort cheese

1. Heat olive oil and butter in large sauté pan. When butter has melted, add onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook slowly over very low heat for at least 30 minutes until onion is very soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the sherry, turn the heat to high, and simmer for a few minutes until most of the sherry has been absorbed.

2. Turn on oven broiler. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large nonreactive saucepan.

3. Evenly distribute the cooked onions between 2 soup bowls. Pour in the simmering stock. Place a round or two of bread on top of each; evenly distribute the grated cheese. Place the soup bowls under the broiler and broil just until the cheese is melted (2 or 3 minutes). Serve immediately.

Wine @ PG

Yay, wine!

St. Cosme Little James’ Basket Press Rouge NV ($12.99)

Another example of a high-end producer (in this case, Louis Barroul, a 14th generation producer of Gigondas) making a delightful low-end wine that we can’t resist. This 100% Grenache is made using the solera system; it’s bright and juicy with moderate tannins. A great, easy-drinking wine!

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie “Cuvee Alouette” Bourgueil 2009 ($14.99)

Another example of a supremely drinkable 100% Cabernet Franc. This Bourgueil exhibits pure fruit flavors, with a delicious earthiness. Low tannins make it quaffable but it still offers great length and power.

2008 Philippe Raimbault “Apud Sariacum” Sancerre ($22.99)

There is no more beautiful expression of Sauvignon Blanc than the wines of Sancerre. The cool climate, chalky soil, and passion of the small producers bring this grape to the height of its aromatic, austere elegance. Philippe Raimbault, a ninth-generation producer, puts enormous care into his small family of wines. This Sancerre has flavors of limestone, crushed rocks, and a heady, enticing florality that is nevertheless retrained. An excellent, refreshing texture for a pure finish.

Craves @ PG

Gratin bowls

We love ceramics from Graupera; the Spanish Table offers many of their pots, tagines, and casserole dishes large and small. New to Paris Grocery are these stout soup bowls ($11.99), perfect for individual servings of French onion soup. The quality of the glazes and materials means they’ll stand up to heating, dishwashing, and even microwaving for many years to come; we also love how these ceramics tend to look better with a bit of use (we think food even TASTES better when cooked in well-used ceramics).

Gifted @ PG

Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells

This week’s recipe came from this classic, easy-to-follow book of bistro favorites by Patricia Wells. She’s an incredible authority on French cuisine, and this book offers up some choice bistro-culture knowledge as well. I want to try Oxtail Terrine (pg. 125), Leek Terrine with Truffles (pg. 82), and Zucchini Crepes (pg. 92). Her recipe for Riz au Lait (pg. 250) looks promising, as well; it calls for orange and lemon zest which always makes things taste better.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 1/21 Friday, Jan 21 2011 


Wine decanter.

Wine @ PG

New to the shop: Wine accoutrements (seems to be the right word) for those of you who want to get the most out of your Champagnes and Bordeaux.

Stoppers and openers.

From True:

  • Wine decanter: a classic Italian design made with hand-blown, lead-free glass. The broad base of the decanter allows particularly heady red wines to aerate and open up (that means it’ll taste better). ($29.99)
  • Champagne cork remover: helps ease the cork out of high-pressure sparklers so you get the best presentation of bubbles. ($11.99)
  • Champagne stoppers: the stainless steel and silicone stopper offers a super-snug fit and a nice design. ($9.99); the cheaper chrome and rubber stopper works well, too ($4.99). I love being able to keep a bottle of sparkling fresh for days.

Vinturi wine aerator.

From Vinturi:

  • Wine aerator: Nothing worse than waiting for a wine to optimize. Our wine buyer, Sharon, swears by this very cool gizmo. Simply hold the aerator over your glass and pour; its design attracts and mixes air to the wine, so you get more intensity from the aroma and flavors of the wine. ($38)

From Private Reserve:

  • Wine preserver: A environmentally safe bottle of inert gas that blankets the wine’s surface and displaces oxygen, maintaining its freshness and flavor. Works for not only wine but also things like scotch, cognac, and port. ($10.50)

Craves @ PG

Roland anchovies.

The other night I went out to dinner at Cascina Spinasse on Capitol Hill, and the kitchen sent out an amuse-bouche that was utterly perfect: a slice of toasty bread smeared liberally with butter and an anchovy fillet. Savory, crunchy, and creamy, all at the same time. I’m so glad to see anchovies making such inroads into the culinary scene; it seems like they’re on every menu these days! We have lots of options for anchovies, in cans and jars. But the customer favorite seems to be these Roland brand anchovies in the flip-top glass jar. Packed in olive oil, these are ready to be added to salads, pasta, flatbread pizzas, or crostini. I think there is some interest in reusing the cool jar, as well. And: They’re good for you!

Gifted @ PG

Tagine and cookbook.

This week’s idea would make an excellent gift anytime of the year, but as a Valentine’s Day gift, it’s a unique choice for someone who likes to cook. We have these colorful tagines ($40) from Le Souk Ceramique in a wide range of colors (green, yellow, red, white, and blue), as well as simple glazed terra cotta. They are a fantastic addition to a cookware arsenal, and they’re also really pretty as objects. I’d suggest getting this excellent cookbook as well; many people who first start cooking with tagines need good ideas. “Flavors of Morocco” by Ghillie Bașan ($24.95) is simply laid out and full of bright, tantalizing pictures. Along with the classic meat and seafood tagine dishes, there are recipes for simple things like making your own harissa or bissara (a garlicky fava bean dip). She also includes background and stories for the recipes and traditions of Moroccan cooking, including instructions for a mint tea service. Finally, it might also be fun to toss in a jar of preserved lemons or ras-el-hanout, the typical spice mix for tagines.


Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 1/15 Tuesday, Jan 18 2011 

The cassoulet the boss made for our holiday party. Yum!

Wine @ PG

New to the Shop Reds.

Domaine de Andézon Côtes-du-Rhône 2009 ($13.99)

From the importer: “One of the first custom cuvées created by Eric Solomon. Based around the idea that extremely old-vine Syrah in this zone could produce a spicy, full-bodied red wine of incredible value for the U.S. market, Eric worked with the winemaker to fashion a bottling that exceeded everyone’s expectations.” From Robert Parker:  “It offers explosive notes of smoky bacon fat, cassis, and blackberries, a deep, rich, chewy style, and an exuberant, flashy personality. 91 points.” From us: “Yum!”

La Pépie Cabernet Franc 2009 ($14.99)

Just a delightful bistro red. A transparent violet in the glass, this Cabernet Franc is light and flavorful, yet earthy and persistent, with a delightful minerality that makes it a stupendous everyday wine. We think it would go just as well with salmon or pizza as it would with red meat or roasted vegetables.

Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières “Les Moures” Gigondas 2007 ($17.99)

This wine absolutely flies off the shelf. We have very smart customers; nothing warms you up with such lovely Rhône intensity as a well-made Gigondas. “An outstanding effort. This deep ruby/purple-tinged Gigondas offers notes of spice box, incense, crushed rocks, red and black fruits, and no evidence of wood. It exhibits good sweetness on the attack, a medium to full-bodied mid-palate, an endearing texture, and a long, pure, convincing finish.” —Wine Advocate, 90 Points.

Meat @ PG

As evidenced by the recent blustery wind and somewhat-crystallized rain (and may I just say, as someone from Spokane: CHILL OUT, it’s not that bad), it’s clear that winter is nowhere near over. George, our resident cheese nerd, insisted that I insist that you make a cassoulet. One of lovely wine reps supplied her Robuchon-inspired recipe, and we’ve (of course), got all the fixings; I’ve bolded the items we carry in the shop.

Cassoulet – inspired by the recipe in The Complete Robuchon, by Joel Robuchon

2 lbs dry white beans, soaked overnight

1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

4 onions, peeled, 2 stuck with 1 whole clove each and 2 sliced into rounds 1/8 inch thick

10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

½ pound fresh pork rind

1 bouquet garni

1 garlic sausage, about ¾ pound

1 pound uncooked pork sausage (typically Toulouse-style)

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ to ¾  pound lean pork belly

3 to 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (you could use canned San Marzano tomatoes)

1 ½ pounds goose or duck confit

1 ¼ cup dry bread crumbs

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, minced

1. Cook the beans. Put them in a large pot with the carrot, the 2 onions stuck with cloves, 6 cloves garlic, the pork rind, and bouquet garni. Cover generously with cold water and put the pot over high heat. Lower the heat before the pot starts to bubble, add salt to taste and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour. Add the garlic sausage and uncooked pork sausage, and simmer 15 minutes more or until the beans feel almost tender. Remove the pot from the heat and taste for salt and pepper.

2. Prepare the meat. Put the pork belly in a large pot, cover it with cold water, bring to a boil and cook at a bubble for 5 minutes. Remove the pork and put it in a colander. Rinse under cold water and leave to drain.

3. In another pot, melt 4 tablespoons fat from the confit. When the fat is hot, brow the lamb chunks all over for about 3 minutes over high heat; if necessary, work in batches so the chunks are not crowded and so that all end up beautifully golden.  Remove them to a plate. Cook the sliced onions in the same pot for 3 minutes over low heat, stirring with a wooden spatula. Add the tomatoes, the remaining 4 cloves garlic, and 10 tablespoons bean cooking liquid.  Let the pot bubble for 10 minutes over low heat.

4. Fish the bouquet garni, onions, pork rind, and sausages from the bean-cooking pot.  Discard the bouquet garni and leave everything else on a plate.  Drain the beans over a bowl so that you keep their cooking liquid. Add the drained beans to the pot of onions and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, with a rather gentle touch.

5. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Slice the garlic sausage into rounds ½ inch thick.  Line a large terrine with the pork rind. Fill the terrine with alternating layers of lamb, pork belly, small sausages, sliced garlic sausage, and the bean-onion-tomato mixture.  Finish with a layer of the beans and top them with 2 tablespoons confit fat spread evenly over their surface. The liquid in the terrine should reach the top layer of beans and just barely cover them; if it does not, add some bean-cooking liquid.

6. Bake for 3 hours. If necessary, add bean-cooking liquid to the cassoulet as it bakes to maintain a high level of liquid.

7. After the cassoulet has baked for 3 hours, push the duck or goose confit into the pot.  Mix the bread crumbs with the minced parsley and sprinkle the cassoulet with this mixture. Put the terrine back in the oven for 1 hour to brown.

Craves @ PG

Pave du Nord

Check out these adorable samples of one of our favorite cheeses, Pave du Nord. It’s a vividly orange cheese from the north of France with a deeply nutty flavor, making it eminently snackable and fantastic when melted in pasta or on a tartine. We’re always willing to offer a sample of any of our cheeses; we suggest that you resolve (hardy har) to come in and find a new favorite.

Gifted @ PG

More like FUNdue.

I’ve decided to keep the “Gifted” section of the newsletter going, seeing as there’s one more holiday on the horizon with which I feel we could be particularly helpful. Yup, the granddaddy of all the winter holidays, the most awful or most wonderful (depending on your perspective): Valentine’s Day. I’ll be featuring a great gift for your sweetheart from now until then, and then I promise, we’ll all go back to normal. This week: Fondue. I know, I know, but: FONDUE. You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 12/28 Tuesday, Jan 18 2011 

Break Out the Bubbly!

Wine @ PG

Champagne Henriot NV Brut “Souverin” ($40)

We loved this classic style, with its buttery brioche and yeast notes and dry, almost flinty finish. A lovely, insistent mousse and a hint of green apple flavors. A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. 94 points Wine Enthusiast

Champagne Lallier NV Brut “Grand Réserve” ($40)

This Champagne exhibits intense fruit flavors of apricot, with a persistent and creamy mouthfeel. Structured, yet buttery and delicious! 65% Pinot Noir 35% Chardonnay 92 points Wine Enthusiast

Champagne Bollinger NV Brut “Special Cuvée” ($64)

Bollinger is the one Champagne from a big house that we brought in this year; if it’s good enough for the British royal family, well, it’s good enough for us. “A rich, smoky Champagne, with hints of marzipan and fennel seed accenting honeyed malt, bread dough, baked apple, and gingersnap flavors. It’s all focused by intense acidity and refined texture, with a lingering finish.” 94 points Wine Spectator

White, Pink.

Champagne Moutard NV Brut “Grand Cuvée” ($35)

This flavorful 100% Pinot Noir Champagne offers toasty notes of dried pear. It’s crisp and elegant, without losing any of its intense “yum” factor. A fabulous value for a special New Year’s Eve bubbly. 90 points Wine Spectator

Champagne Moutard NV Brut “Rosé de Cuvaison” ($40)

The only pink Champagne we carry, and it’s a doozy. This 100% Pinot Noir sparkler presents an explosive start, with excellent bubbles, followed by a rich, lengthy finish. Mouth-watering notes of strawberry. 91 points Wine Advocate

Cheese @ PG

A crowd-pleasing brie.

We have lots of ideas for excellent cheeses to bring to a New Year’s Party, even if it’s just a party for one or two people. Herbed goat cheeses, intense blues, earthy sheep milk cheeses: We’ve got it all. One of our favorites is Brie D’Affinois and other double- and triple-cream cheeses. They’re creamy, buttery, and luscious, which is perfect for an indulgent, celebratory night.

Craves @ PG

Fois Gras.

You can start your resolution to eat better after the new year begins, for now: have a little fois gras. From Rougié brand (based out of Québec) comes this uber-scrumptious delicacy. We have three options: The two slices with armagnac ($30.99), the two slices with truffles ($49.99), and the mousse with port wine ($48). Choose your desired flavor of heaven!

Gifted @ PG

It's jazz, daddy-o.

Jefe, aka Steve Winston, our fearless leader, is a known jazz lover. And he’ll continue to stock our shop with often hard-to-find jazz cds until you all come around to his way of thinking. And actually, he’s not wrong: jazz found quite a home in Paris, and it continues to be popular there to this day. We think a jazz cd might be just the thing to buy for yourself as the holiday season comes to a close. Helpful hint: Jazz music pairs particularly well with a bottle of Champagne and an existential, figuring-your-life-out mood.


Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery