Thursday, January 16, 2014

France - 9/10/00


I figured it out.  It's when I go a long time without talking to Jamie that things start to look not-so-good.  Even with my hated class tomorrow and my presentation still to do, things are looking good because I talked to my Jamie tonight!  I was going to give myself a pedicure tonight, but I still have that presentation to do and it's already 12:34am, so I'll have to put off the pedicure.  Tomorrow, Sarah and I are going to pay rent and then go to Auchan.  She found out tonight that the "laundry detergent" we bought is actually fabric softener (!), so we need to buy more.  We might pick up a skillet, too - I'm not sure.  I would like to cook, though!  We're also going to go into the France Telecom place in the mini-mall to see if we can get on the Internet there or not.  I hope we can!!!  I haven't received any mail yet (maybe tomorrow?) and I know Jamie has emailed me, so I want to read it.  And see if anyone else has written.  Yesterday, Sarah, Aimee, and I went into town early so I could buy a backpack.  I ended up finding a plain black Jansport for 30-something dollars and I really like it.  Sarah and I got some really good pastries for lunch, and Aimee bought McDonald's.  (Yuck.)  We met up with everyone else and waited a while before loading the bus to Thiers.  The guide we had in Thiers was really interesting and I understood most of what he said.  The knife museum wasn't really interesting, but the last part was fun.  A guy that works there tried to get two different girls (Marta and the girl from Columbia) to volunteer for something and they wouldn't, so I did.  He had me lay on my tummy on this table thing and then he put a huge dog on top of me!  The guys who make knives by hand (my third set of batteries in my CD player just ran out) worked while laying over the water and their dogs laid on top of them for hours to keep them warm.  It was comfy.  Everyone was laughing and taking pictures.  I bought a tiny little knife (pocket-sized) for myself and another one I might give to Jamie.  Zack couldn't believe how much cheaper the knives were here than back in the States.  He'd bought a Thiers knife in the States for more than double what he could get it for here.  When we got back, Sarah, Zack, Andrew, Marta, Carolina, Aimee, Linda, & I ate at 1513 - the créperie built around the cavern that dates back to 1513.  It was fun!   Sarah and I want to see if a group of us can get together every Saturday night to go to dinner.  We ended up catching the very last bus back to Aubière - the schedule book said the second-to-last was ten minutes later than it actually was, so we missed that one.  Today, after sleeping in, the six of us in Cézeaux (Aimee, Joanna, Kristin, Christina, Sarah, & me) walked into Aubière. to find the market thing we thought was there every Sunday.  It wasn't there.  Then we decided to figure out the bus schedule to go into Clermont to the market there.   But we couldn't find it when we arrived.  Christina insisted it was in a park and she knew where (I thought it was in a square by a statue), but we never found it.  Hold on - I'm going to look at Rachel's postcard to see if it's there.  I found it in our packet.  It's called the Marché aux Puces and is on Sunday mornings behind the Gare Routière near Dolet & Lebon.  Maybe we'll make it next week!  When we couldn't find it, we waited about 45 minutes for a bus back.  We knew Crousti Pain was open, so we wanted to go there.  We ended up on the wrong bus, but the wonderful bus drivers all helped us to get there and we had a pretty good lunch.  We walked back to Cézeaux afterwards and it was HOT!  And I dripped chocolate ice cream onto my white cloth tennis shoes.  But we made it.  Now it's 1:10am.  I need to pick an article and get that done.  I'm going to play a couple games of cards first.  I love you, Jamie!



Knife-making demonstration in Thiers


Carolina, Marta, and ?

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France - 9/9/00


Today was a good day but my tummy & whole body feel funny and I need to sleep.  I'll write tomorrow.  I love you Jamie!

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Desautels Reunion, Part 8

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Best Tomato Soup

I don't have a picture, you'll just have to trust me when I say this is beautifully creamy and a perfect orangeish-red.

The Perfect Tomato Soup
adapted slightly from America's Test Kitchen

2 shallots, minced
2 carrots, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp vegetable oil
pinch of ground allspice
2 (28 oz each) cans whole tomatoes, drained and seeded.
4 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 heaping Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup half-and-half

-Combine the shallots, carrots, tomato paste, oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and allspice in a large saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and sugar; continue to cook, uncovered and stirring often, another 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute.
-Whisking constantly, gradually add the broths.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 10 minutes.
-Puree the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Wipe out the saucepan used earlier, and return the pureed soup to the saucepan.  Add the half-and-half and heat over low heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and cayenne to taste.

*For a grown-up version of grilled cheese to serve with the soup, combine 7 oz aged cheddar (at room temp) with 2-3 oz brie or camembert (at room temp) and 2 Tbsp white wine in a food processor.  Process until a paste is formed.  This is enough spread for 4 grilled cheese sandwiches.  For the outside of the sandwich, combine softened butter with a little bit of dijon mustard.  Perfection.

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