Archive for November, 2008

Sunday Recipe: Mâche Salad

I’ll tell you one of the things I miss most since we moved here: kale. But on the plus side I am really getting into mâche.

Let me tell you about mâche, also known as “lamb’s lettuce”: It’s been cultivated since the 17th century here in France’s Loire valley. It is in season from Mid-August through December, making it ideal for holiday fare. It is nutritionally rich, particularly in terms of its Omega 3 oils and in having three times the iron of spinach. So when people ask you “Where do you get your iron from?” you can reply “From Emily’s mâche salad!”


Toss up …

  • Mâche
  • Grated raw beet
  • Clementine segments
  • Sliced red onions
  • Chopped walnuts
  • and your favorite vinaigrette.

Et voila! An explosion of festive colors.


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    Vegan Organic at FranPrix


    A lot of Vegans like to eat organic and I am one of them. There are lots of Naturalia shops around town but they are not everywhere and they are closed on Sundays and you don’t always have time to make it to the market.

    Fortunately, the FranPrix chain of convenience stores seems to be making a serious effort to get in the organic market. It started with the Bjorg soy milk, then came a section of Fair Trade  teas, coffee, chocolate and juice from Alter Eco. (The mint chocolate is the choice item here.) Now they have introduced a section from Jardin BioFranPrix Shelf. It’s quite a decent range of convenience items, including some vegan muesli, pasta sauces etc. Be careful when you pick out the Parsley Spaghetti au Quinoa because it is right next to the equally dark Squid Ink Pasta!

    Add to that the slowly growing ‘bio’ presence in the produce aisle and things are looking up all over at the local FranPrix.

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    Le Pick-Clops

    When a vegan hits a Paris café, they’re probably going to be getting a salad and frîtes. That’s why it’s always such a treat to find a café with a salad that’s a bit special, such as the mysteriously named Le Pick-Clops in the Marais.

     The killer salad at Pick-Clops is L’Inca, a satisfying mix of greens, layered with quinoa, lentils and avocado. And the frîtes are a bit special too, golden, crisp, mini disk-shaped potato slices.

    Pick-Clops is a year-round treat because not long after the season for sitting under the misting sprays on the patio has passed, they break out the vin chaud. Indeed, although the patio is on a great people-watching corner, you are missing out if you don’t get inside and sample the 50s-retro style.

     My kids love Pick-Clops because of their all-you-can-eat, dump-’em-on-your table peanuts policy. However, last time we were there we were told the peanuts are being phased out for a popcorn machine. Tense times… fingers crossed for a smooth transition.

     As for the name, I asked what it meant and they told me “It’s English.”

    Le Pick-Clops

    16, rue Vielle Du Temple, 75004

    Metro: Hôtel de Ville

    01 40 29 02 18

    Summer at le Pick-Clops


    Autumn at le Pick-Clops

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    I love the Marché Raspail

    There are many excellent markets in the city, and it is often possible to find a stand specializing in organic produce, but the Raspail Organic market [Métro Rennes, Sunday, 9h to 15h] offers much more.

    For starters it’s all organic, and even heavily biodynamic so there is a lot to choose from. But it is also a haven of vegan delights that are perfect for a day’s picnicking or for loading up the pantry at home. Here are a few of my favorite things at the market.

    English Muffins: A small stand run by a French woman and American man offers this breakfast delight whole grain and dairy-free.

    The vanilla and chocolate stand: lovely vanilla green tea, vanilla beans, other interesting vanilla derivatives and a variety of robust chocolates.

    Mediterranean food: This always-busy stand offers a wide range of hot food like a great paella and always satisfying “galettes de pois chiche” [chick-pea pancakes] that they offer with a selection of sauces. I usually go for the tofu pistou.
    Galette de Pois Chiche

    Orange Juice: It’s not the cheapest in town but it’s very good and my kids love watching the amazing Willy Wonka-esque machine that makes it.

    Seaweed guy: You can buy a wide range of sea vegetables and also he makes some nice spreads.

    South American Superfoods stand: Maca, yacón, açerola, cacao nibs and other foods to boost your diet. For sure my favorite stand.

    Herb stand: I track down hard-to-find herbs like loveage (livèche) and often enjoy a wheatgrass shot to get the energy to make my way through the hundreds of shoppers.

    Jam: From the basics to the fancier fruits the jam man never disappoints and is not at all stingy with his free samples.

    Nuts and dried fruit: A great stand which has a wide range of bulk goods.

    Vegan pastry stand: I am in shock with delight to be able to eat pastry in Paris each time I stop by here. If you are at the market and see a blonde woman in shock… it’s probably me. Please say bonjour!

    Biodynamic stand: My recommendation for the best stand to get your produce is the stand about half way down the market with the Demeter signs and the longest line! The line moves fast, the stall-holders are really nice and it’s worth the wait.

    PROS: Everything is organic and it’s not far from the Luxembourg Gardens for a Sunday in the park.

    CONS: My kids sometimes have to cover their faces to make it past the smell of the meat, fish and cheese stands. Don’t rule out encountering a pig head.

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    Rue des Rosiers

    I live in the Marais district in the 4th arrondissement, and one of the main reasons for that is the nearby presence of Rue des Rosiers

    Rue des Rosiers gets more and more full of pricy boutiques each month but it is still the heart of the Jewish community and the best place in town to eat falafel sandwiches.

    There are two main shops on the street that compete face-to-face to entice you in for one of their sandwiches. If you believe famed vegetarian Lenny Kravitz and judge by the length of the lines the best shop is L’As du Fallafel. However, a blind taste test I just did reveals that the rival Mi-Va-Mi just edges them out. It also has the best frîtes.

    PROS: Filling, fast, cheap and the street is great fun. Open Sundays
    CONS: Lines can be long, not organic, schwarma sandwiches also sold. Closed Friday Evenings, Saturdays and Jewish Holidays.

    UPDATE: My most recent taste test gave L’As the edge on sandwich quality over Mi-Va-Mi. But they are both great

    Rue des Rosiers

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