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  1. Sorry that you got no reply in more than a year, but here’s an attempt. From reading the recipe I think there may be something wrong with it. Evidently the preparation lacked body. Moisture is usually not an issue with mushrooms unless you soak them in water. The way with cèpes and shiitake (oyster mushrooms rarely need cleaning) is using a damp paintbrush and/or damp tissue paper. But if cèpes were picked in rainy weather they can contain plenty of water. However I doubt that’s the real problem there, I’d suspect the forcemeat (pork + breadcrumbs) wasn’t firm enough. N
  2. This description looks very much like Chez Frézet, 181 rue Ordener, near rue Vauvenargues and close to the Guy-Môquet métro station. A little less than a year ago, it was purchased by Julien Duboué (A.Noste) and converted into a bakery + buffet restaurant.
  3. You are very likely to find some at that time. They are late season peaches.
  4. Just say "je voudrais faire un coq au vin, qu'est-ce que vous me conseillez ?" The butcher or stall holder will then automatically direct you towards the most suitable fowl. Either a large, mature chicken with legs that prove that the bird has had some chance to run during its lifetime, or a rooster if he happens to have some handy. He will also offer to cut it up for you. I have noticed that large butcher shops or market stalls are more likely to have rooster available than regular neighborhood butchers. But you can perfectly order rooster from any butcher shop, counting a few days for the s
  5. Coq au vin was created as a stewed dish because rooster is tough. From there it is easy to figure out the main guideline. You need a stewing fowl that is both plump and fleshy like our farm roosters, but tough enough not to disintegrate after an hour of cooking — as I have seen American chickens do in most stewed dishes I used them in. So either you find a real rooster from a farm or you get the oldest farm chicken you can put your hands on, with well-developed legbones. No soft bones: bone hardness is a sure sign that you will get a good stewed chicken dish. It should be cut in rather small p
  6. If you want the original version of the pressed duck dish, go to Rouen or Duclair, 100 miles Northwest of Paris (1 hour and 10 minutes by train), where the recipe originated. Best places in Rouen for canard à la rouennaise (a.k.a. à la presse) are La Couronne and L'Hôtel de Dieppe (facing the train station). La Tour d'Argent has only been serving the dish continuously since the days when canard à la rouennaise was famous in Paris (other places served it, then it fell out of fashion), but it does not serve the ultimate version of it.
  7. If you ever want to sample real Norman butter (which will change your idea of butter forever), drop by the Fromagerie François Olivier, 40 rue de l'Hôpital (near the rue Beauvoisine/rue des Carmes corner).
  8. Though mild, they are tasty, somewhere between raw green peas and fresh almonds. I tried them for the first time in August, in Zhejiang, and they are peeled before eating. Very delicate and delicious.
  9. I'd start the guinea-hen in the oven with a few quartered onions and garlic, roast it as any normal fowl, then add the choucroute in the pan about 1/2 hour before the bird is ready, basting frequently, adding a little white wine or beer. Or braise everything (choucroute, bird) in a Dutch oven with some white wine, beer and onions. Aside from the Monet house and gardens, there is a good American art museum in Giverny. But the gardens will be very bare in December. I suspect there will be far more to see in Rouen in Winter than in Giverny. La Couronne and L'Hôtel de Dieppe are two landmark resta
  10. Guinea hens are awesome when you choose the farm-raised ones. They can be fatty enough, it all depends on the way they were raised, but they're never as fatty as a fat chicken can be. It is also better to choose rather large birds than small ones. Try roasting one over a bed of choucroute. Sauerkraut that you buy at the charcuterie stalls on markets is generally very good.
  11. Yes, I do think you chose your location well. Val-de-Grâce is an extremely pleasant area of Paris and nicely located, too. Technically you're touching the Montparnasse area and there's a few interesting restaurants around there. But you're also close to the Censier/Monge/Mouffetard area where I live, and you only need to walk along the boulevard Saint-Michel to the river to get to the actual center of the city. (Indeed I am the one who wrote about the chickens. I love roast chicken.) Now I feel a little guilty about telling you to dump your choices. These restaurants are not bad but it is my o
  12. Now for the restaurant recommendations: You can do far better than your current selection. You can dump all of them except La Régalade (not the Saint-Honoré, but rather the original location on avenue Jean-Moulin) and, perhaps, L'As du Falafel where I haven't been (I prefer Mi Va Mi, just across the street). Here's a selection in Paris right now, forgetting a few, and there's certainly a lot more interesting places that I can't recommend because I haven't been there: Left bank: Le Pré Verre (after morning shopping at the Maubert market), Dans les Landes (lunch preferably, and book your table),
  13. 1) Being on rue du Val-de-Grâce, the only market that's really close is Port-Royal. I mean within walking distance with bags and baskets to carry. A little more remote: marché place Monge (Wed., Fri., Sun.), place Maubert, Blanqui, Raspail. Mouffetard is not a market (it is a "market street" but it has lost much of its interest during the last 20 years). 2) Fresh truffles are not particularly found at markets, trust the specialized stores. Some butchers carry truffles in December for the holiday season. Make sure you buy Tuber melanosporum, not Tuber brumale which is also a Winter truffle. You
  14. Ventrèche just means "belly" in Southern French, with a nuance of fattiness. Hence pork belly and tuna belly both bear that name in the South. Ventrèche de porc (or de cochon) can be raw or cured, but the term is not used for smoked pork belly since pork is generally not smoked in the South and Southwest. A ventrèche de porc to be cut thin on a deli slicer should be very dry. Indeed a very dry cured pancetta would do the job.
  15. That can no longer be called "à la parisienne". It can be called otherwise. Could be great, but it will be something entirely different. The roux-based sauce of the original recipe is not "heavier than it has to be" since it has to be the way the recipe originally intended. If you still want to call it a parisienne, that is. Do whatever you wish to classic preparations, that's perfectly OK, but do not believe that they are "not the way they have to be" because they've been waiting all along for the lights of modernity, or rather modernistity, to shine on them at last. It's not a matter of what
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