Saturday, September 26, 2009

Parisian Pied-à-Terre and Amour


It started with an invitation, scripted and embellished with a gold fleur-de-lis. "We'd love you (and the crew) to join us on the 23rd for drinks, 6ish. We're at........"
My friend and fellow "stew" Nancy, is staying at a pied-à-terre with her husband, in Paris, and invited us for an appèritif. Of course, we accepted. The weather was sunny and temperate and seemed to be special ordered for an afternoon of walking and shopping before going to our friend's apartment.
Along the way, we picked out a bouquet to bring. At first we were drawn to the huge sunflowers....then the colorful dahlias....and then calla lilies that had such rich fall colors. In the end we decided on a bouquet in bold shades of orange with seasonal berries.
Next we wanted to get a bottle of wine, and stopped at a favorite wine shop.
There are always so many hand picked choices here! With arms full of flowers and wine, we quickened our pace and arrived at Nancy and Michael's pied-à-terre just a few minutes late. Good thing we didn't get the sunflowers, since she had a big vase full of them on the kitchen counter.
The orange bouquet had a nice view by the open window,
that looked out over a courtyard.

Another rooftop view had been painted by the owner, who is an artist, and hung on the wall.
Nancy had prepared some appetizers
and we knew there were more coming, by the toasted nut aroma from the oven. An oozy, warm baked Brie cheese topped with sweetened sliced almonds appeared before us.
Nancy showed us some of her latest reads....
(we may never be French, but it will always hold a special place in our hearts!) We all chatted and caught up with their stay in Paris.
Even the cat was happy!
I was shown a new way to tie my scarf before we bid au revoir.
Leaving for dinner, our walk in this area near Notrè Dame, was guided by angels painted on the sidewalk...

and of course, amour.

After all, this is Paris....!


Nancy described her Baked Brie appetizer and I tried it at home. I liked a touch of honey drizzled over it while it was fresh from the oven. The side and bottom rind acts as a container for the soft baked cheese and almonds. This couldn't be any easier or more delicious!

Baked Brie with Sweetened Almonds and Honey


4 ounce round of Brie cheese*
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon honey

*You may use a larger piece of Brie, just multiply the other ingredients accordingly. 

Slice the rind off of the top of the Brie. Place in a round ovenproof container that just fits the cheese, and bring to room temperature. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered sugar over the almonds. Add a few drops of water while stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Place this mixture on top of the cheese and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and runny, and the almonds are lightly toasted. Put on a serving dish and drizzle with honey. 
Serve immediately with crackers and fresh fruit.

Baked Brie with Sweetened Almonds and Honey recipe (pdf)