Monday, July 12, 2010


This is my first trip overseas. The trials and tribulations of going it alone for the first time have been minor at best. I have the knowledge of my better half's travel experiences to build upon. Stay in a hotel? Crazy talk. Apparently, eating out three meals per day for a week or more really wears on your nerves. Unfamiliar foods can induce culture shock. I've loved most of the meals we've had and merely liked the rest. More on that when I return.

Where to stay if not in a hotel? Rent an apartment, of course. It's brilliant. Where else can you get out of the tourist bubble and learn the ins and outs of shopping at the market? How else would I learn that you have to weigh your produce at the grocery store before going to the cashier? Actually, I think someone may have told me that tip in the past; however, it took me being in line and trying to pick up social cues before the memory was triggered.

Our first nights here, I made some pasta from the bottega with sauteed vegetables from the fruit stand and chicken from the boucherie. It wasn't too different from what we often make at home. Aside from the lack of spices and herbs, it was no different really. Homemade Italian food in France? Oui. Our French diet has been expectedly devoid of les l├ęgumes. This allowed us to indulge at lunchtime and not feel like our sang was turning into beurre.

Enough of the French-English mishmash. Time for tonight's recipe. I want to recreate this at home, but it may be a little more difficult. Tonight, I made what I'll call a Virginia cheese steak...minus the cheese, and pork instead of steak. Yeah, I need to work on the name. Suggestions welcome.

1/2 lb. center cut pork chop, cut into strips across grain
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into half circle slices
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, julienned
1/2 zucchini, julienned
olive oil
1 baguette
Salt & pepper to taste.

1. Heat oil in pan. Saute onions & garlic until they begin to brown.
2. Add zucchini. Cook until they begin to soften.
3. Lay apple slices between everything in pan. Flip when browned.
4. Add pork. Stir until done.
5. Layer individual ingredients into baguette so that each bite will have every flavor. Bon appetit!

Fresh ingredients are clutch. A good recipe is only as good as the ingredients that go into it. I made this for less than ten euros. It served two. The key to recreating this sandwich at home will be locating a proper bakery that makes a good baguette. I fear that may be the hardest part. I know that adding to this recipe will be the easy part. Cinnamon or a dash of cayenne might make this just perfect. A soft cheese such as brie or gouda might also be a nice accompaniment.

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