le Safari

How Do You Save Recipes?

by Anne Maxfield on July 10, 2017

Accidental Locavore Recipe FilesRemember back in the day, when you wanted to save a recipe from a magazine or the NY Times, you either ripped it out or saved the magazine?

And you ended up with huge files that never saw the light of day again.

Never mind used.

One grey and blah Sunday when dinner plans had been cancelled, I ended up cruising through some huge folders of stuff I’d ripped out and saved.

The surprises?

  1. An article on our favorite pizza place in Nice, Le Safari, with a recipe for their Pizza Provençal (my favorite). Hmm, might be time to get a really hot grill going.Accidental Locavore Safari Pizza Recipe
  2. Other interesting finds from past NY Times Food sections, Frank Briuni reviewing 11 Madison Park—two stars in 2005 (and entrees from $26-38) and Le Bernadin getting another 4 stars in his 2005 return visit.
  3. Nigela Lawson doing avocado toast in 2003.
  4. Restaurants come and gone, mostly gone. Lever House, Savoy, Tabla, Veritas, San Domenico, Chanterelle, and still here: Jean Georges, Le Bernadin.
  5. Magazines that haven’t stood the test of time (or the Internet) More, Metropolitan Home, Gourmet.
  6. Wines, tasted and lusted after and one that will always be remembered—a 1992 La Tâche.
  7. Gordon Ramsey making his US television debut. Yes, someone had him first.
  8. Places to go in Croatia, Paris, Corsica, Morocco.
  9. Cheeses, eaten here or to look for in France.
  10. Recipes with almonds and walnuts, sadly not a part of my life anymore.
  11. How to make mayonnaise, yogurt, pork chops with cornichons, salad Niçoise, pasta puttanesca—things I can cook with my eyes closed.
  12. Cooking classes I’ve taken, lots of DeGustibus courtesy of my aunt (merci!)
  13. Big endeavors I need to revisit, like croissants and baguettes.
  14. What was I thinking? Projects were never going to happen, like Verjus-Marinated Black Walnuts.
  15. Post 9-11, what to pack in your “go” bag (haven’t we all learned to make copies of all important documents and store them in the cloud among other places?).

And me? I got a nostalgic reminder of what was important and a much skinnier file, ready to get cooking!

How do you save recipes?

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La Fin

by Anne Maxfield on February 29, 2016

Accidental Locavore Nice at NightIt’s always at the end of a trip that you discover stuff you wish you’d known before. On the next-to-last day in Nice, the Accidental Locavore discovered that if you hit the good bakery just at 12:30, the baguettes are blissfully warm! If I didn’t have a lunch reservation at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Victor Hugo (another last day discovery on a previous trip), the bread would have been covered with one of several cheeses I’d collected. And if Victor Hugo was open for dinner…

Accidental Locavore Green and White TulipsAnother idea that occurred to me on the way to the marché, was that I should have been looking for events etc. on Meetup. Duh. One of my goals there was to build a network, but it’s difficult when you really don’t have a starting point. I’m also used to the old France, before smart phones. People had conversations in restaurants with whoever was sitting next to them (or at least their dogs). Now everyone is so involved with their devices (also guilty) that they’re in their own little worlds (and the dogs look bored).

Accidental Locavore Sausage and PolentaChecking out a couple of AirBnB apartments for future trips would have been a good idea and it would have been fun to see some real estate. There were a couple that looked good in the pictures, but I’d want to know exactly where they were before committing for a month.

Accidental Locavore Fountains in the ParkMy last lunch was at a tiny wine store, not far from the Promenade du Paillon, a beautifully rebuilt series of parks, dividing the old city and the beach from the rest of the city. They’ve got a great selection of biodynamic (organic) wines and a small area in the back with marble tables and funny Formica chairs you may remember from kindergarten. There’s a plat du jour but only at lunch, otherwise, it’s just cheese and charcuterie (never a bad thing). That day it was Figatellu a Corsican sausage, slightly smoked, and served over polenta, with some poivron for color. So simple and just amazing—I’ll be back!

Accidental Locavore Along the MedLike tomatoes in August or wine at lunch in France, some things are just better sur place. I’ll take home with me the memories of walking along the beach by the Promenade des Anglais, hearing the tumbling of the rocks in the sea. I’ll wish I was one of the insiders at Safari, getting bisous from the waiters who have been there as long as I can remember. And if I was a resident, maybe even bisous from the women at Victor Hugo and the crew at the boulangerie.

Accidental Locavore Golden PotatoesI’ll come home and wish the potatoes had flavor, the bread had crunch and the cheese, ah well the cheese. But I’ll also know that I’ll be back, and soon!

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La Promenade des Anglais

by Anne Maxfield on February 20, 2012

Accidental Locavore Promenade ExteriorThe Accidental Locavore found that one advantage of having had a hand in a splint (and trust me, in NYC there are only a few and why don’t they make splints in safety orange?) is that from time to time people would comment on it and once a seat on the subway was offered to me. The splint turned out to be how I met the extremely handsome, charming and French chef de cuisine of La Promenade des Anglais  — Alain. Oh, and did I mention he can cook?

While the menu, at first glance, looked a little disappointing, it was only because I was somehow thinking it would be a replica of le Safari, our favorite place in Nice. The restaurant itself is lovely, with big marble bars and a warm staff that made me feel welcome just walking in off the street. I was there, meeting some people for a drink before the holidays and we had a great time, sitting in the back bar, drinking.

Suddenly, this extremely handsome man in chef whites, came over and was asking about my hand. We all got to talking and it turned out that he was the chef de cuisine there. Alain has also worked in some of the finest restaurants in France, so has an impressive CV. We asked him for some appetizer suggestions and decided on the burrata and some roasted baby artichokes. Both were delicious, the burrata being properly buttery and accompanied by grilled hunks of bread. The artichokes were small, cut in half and roasted, served with a smear of a lemony anchovy sauce, to run them through. Oh, and did I mention he was handsome?

Now that my husband is back from exile, we grabbed a couple of friends and made a reservation for dinner so we could really enjoy the whole menu. One of the advantages of going with a group of food lovers is that everyone is willing to share and there are a lot (maybe too many?) “dishes for the table,” which essentially means that we ordered too much food.

Accidental Locavore Promenade des AnglaisIn general, the appetizers were the high point of the meal. The Locavore had the veal tartare which was slick (in a good way) with olive oil and lots of grainy Dijon. A surprising hit were the croquettes, but then how could you go wrong with fried food? The fish soup was a quick trip back to the South of France, in a bowl.

The main courses weren’t as successful. For once, we really didn’t order any meat, sticking to pasta and fish. I had the swordfish with harissa. The fish was perfectly cooked to a just past quivering point, however the harissa lacked heat. The winning dish was the paccheri (a large tube pasta) with rabbit and hazelnuts—a great combination. Other fish and pasta dishes were tasty, but everything just seemed a little safe.

And Alain? Still looking good and a perfect host, stopping by our table to meet everyone and comparing notes with the other “Nicoise” chef in our midst. Added bonus, he’s going to fill us in on where to eat in Nice for our upcoming trip!

 

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What Does a Locavore Eat in the South of France?

by Anne Maxfield on May 16, 2011

Accidental Locavore Pizza and Salad

While the joke answer to what does a locavore eat in the South of France might be “whatever they want” (as long as it was grown 100 miles/161 km from where they are…), the Accidental Locavore ate a lot of great food and most of it was local and fresh. You know your locavore choices are much better in a mild climate where olive oil, lemons and other citrus, along with amazing vegetables and good wines, are all from just down the road.

One of the “old standbys,” to quote my mother, is Le Safari in the old town of Nice by the market. We often go there for lunch, usually split a pizza from the wood burning oven and a classic salad Nicoise. One of the big differences in their salad dressings? More olive oil. On our last day in Nice at Safari, asparagus with fois gras was the special and as crazy as it sounds, made a great pairing with the pizza and a glass of rosé. Accidental Locavore Asparagus Fois Gras

Another delicious thing to eat over there is steak tartare and if you’ve been reading the Accidental Locavore for a while, you know it’s always been a favorite. Frank was particularly fond of a version we discovered at a café in Antibes. It was essentially DIY steak tartare, with the chopped steak surrounded by ramekins containing: an egg yolk, minced shallot, chopped cornichons, Dijon mustard and chopped parsley. On table to mix in, Worchester sauce and Tabasco. I’m going to start adding chopped cornichons to my steak tartare and thanks to Charcutepalooza for this month’s meat grinding challenge, grinding my own steak.Accidental Locavore DIY Steak Tartare

Our last meal we went to a new (to us) place in Vence, a lovely hill town about 40 minutes drive northeast of Nice. As an amuse gueule we were served a pea puree bruleé. In a couple of weeks when the peas are local and fresh, I have to try to make this. It seemed to be peas pureed with heavy cream, topped with fresh breadcrumbs tossed with Parmesan. It looked good and tasted better. Accidental Locavore Pea Puree Brulee

For the Accidental Locavore the biggest surprise? An amazing daube de boeuf, the local version of a beef stew, served on the terrace in the old, walled town of Vence. What made it so good? The addition of orange zest (and a little orange juice?). Daube is traditionally served over tiny ravioli (don’t forget, back in the day this was all Roman territory), in this case it was over gnocchi which made it even better in my mind. As soon as we get a cool night, I’m looking for a recipe and giving this a shot.

What’s your favorite meal from the South of France? What would you like to see me try to duplicate here?

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