Back in October of 2016, Rourke and I took a trip of a lifetime to Paris to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was amazing, and we both fell in love with that city! We vow to return as soon as we can.
I decided to share a week of pictures, stories, and recipes more I think for me to reminisce about our trip than anything. I hope you enjoy!
So here above is our very first meal in Paris. But, I need to give you a little background to this story.
When we arrived in Paris, it was a bit of planes, trains, and metros, carrying luggage up and down stairs. (FYI no escalators or elevators.) By the time we got to the flat, carrying our rolling suitcases down the streets, we were exhausted. We finally opened the apartment building’s entrance and are met with the tiniest, oldest staircase we had ever seen. We were defeated, looking at it, knowing we had to carry these huge suitcases up 59 steps!
We finally made it up, and we put the key in but it GOT STUCK! And, it did not turn. I couldn’t get it out, Rourke couldn’t get it out, and we panicked! Finally, after several emotional minutes and a few emergency words later, it came free. So we decided we had the wrong door. Rourke went back and counted the steps again, and we needed to go up some more steps.
We came to the door, put the key in (it fit) and opened the door to a couple staying there, who spoke French only. We apologized for bothering them, and stepped back to regroup. I said, “Rourke that key fit! What are we going to do?” I looked back at the door and noticed some names beside it. They were the names of our friends who owned the apartment and were letting us borrow it for the week. I immediately knocked on the door and told the couple that this was our friends’ apartment and they told us they could stay. They said they were sorry and said they would get out. We were thinking how bizarre. How did they get a key?
They said they needed 30 minutes to clear out. We asked if we could leave our luggage in the apartment, because we were not about to lug that all the way back down those stairs until we left in a week. We headed down the street to this cute bakery with the most beautiful concoctions you have ever seen. I swore to myself that I was going to try all things French on this trip, and I ordered a quiche. Rourke ordered a baguette sandwich.
Our first meal in France was so simple yet so divine!
So, back to the story… Rourke and I went back to the apartment. It was empty, and the couple left the keys on the table. Suddenly, the phone rang and Rourke answered it. It was Jacques (I don’t remember his name so I’m making up a name), our friends’ caretaker of the apartment. He asked who we were, and Rourke told him that we were friends of the owner and were offered to stay there for the week. Jacques sounded shocked and said that he did not know. So, apparently, Jacques was making a little cash on the side, renting the apartment out without our friends knowing. Hmmmm!
After getting settled in, Rourke said, “Let’s go see this tower everybody’s been talking about!” It took us a few times, but using the Metro got so easy and inexpensive. You can get from one part of town to the next in minutes.
It was a cold and misty day in Paris. We actually had reservations to ride the tower at sunset, but you couldn’t see the sun that day. But, we got on anyway. My ultimate goal was to have a glass of champagne at the top. We finally arrived at the top, and I got giddy seeing all the people walking around with champagne. I walked around to the champagne concession stand, and, what do I see but the man shutting it down. What? I banged on the window, “Monsieur, Monsieur, do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this?” “Non!”, he replied and walked away. Oh well, maybe next time.
That’s one happy man!
Afterwards, we walked a few blocks over to a cute street called Rue Cler. It is closed off to traffic and has great shops and restaurants.
We ate at THREE, yes, three, cute cafes called La Cremerie, Central Cafe and La Petite Cler, where we met an American father and daughter. They highly recommended us to have the escargot at Cafe Central down the street. But, I had already ordered the croque monsieur at La Cremerie and endive salad at La Petite Cler. So, I decided I was having escargot for dessert.;). It was all delicious!
We had an eventful day and headed back, exhausted, to the apartment to rest up for day 2!
I came back from Paris craving more quiche, so I came up with this Leek and Spinach Quiche recipe that has been well tested by many and love it as much as I do.
Chop ten ounces of fresh spinach and put in pot along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cover for about 1 minute. It should be done. Drain and then put on paper towels or a cheese cloth to squeeze all of the moisture out. Take a stalk of leek and slice down the middle vertically. Slice both parts and wash in a strainer. Dirt gets in between the layers.Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet and sauté the leeks until they are soft. Add the spinach and well.Grate 1 cup of Swiss cheese.Crack 4 room-temperature eggs in a bowl. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup of milk,1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg. You can use the already ground nutmeg, but I like to grate whole nutmeg instead. It tastes better to me. Whisk well until combined well.Add the spinach and leek mixture to egg mixture and mix well.
Now for the crust. You can use pre-made refrigerated crust from your local grocer. But, I like homemade and use this pie crust recipe. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll your dough out onto a pie dish. I wanted a fall feel to my crust, so instead of crimping the sides, I trimmed the excess dough around the edge. I had these leaf cookie cutters and cut leaf shapes to go around the top of the crust. r
Prick the crust with a fork. Bake it for 5 minutes. Take it out, prick again and bake an additional 3 minutes.
Pour your quiche mixture into the pie crust. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes.
I do this trick below to keep my crust from burning.
Trace your pie plate upside down on a piece of foil. Turn right-side up and trace in the middle of larger circle. Bend the foil in the middle and snip it with scissors. Cut around the middle circle and around the outside of the larger circle. Place on pie crust to prevent from burning.
This would be great to serve for a special brunch or even for dinner with a light salad.
I hope you try it. I think you’ll agree it will make you feel like you are in France in your very own home!