A little over four months ago I decided to turn vegetarian. There were several reasons for this current decision having been eating meat all my life. It seems some people find it either very difficult or very easy. I found it to be extremely easy. I am truly a very good cook, but that was before I had to find my way around a new and very unfamiliar diet.
That was before I left the U.S., but now I’m here in France. In anticipation of this, I learned the words for vegetarian and other related terms, but I think this is going to be difficult. I recently joined a vegetarian group here in Paris and there is a meeting next week which I look forward to attending. It will be nice to meet others who are of same mind. I will get some helpful tips and I have already started receiving emails regarding French vegetarian/vegan restaurants here in Paris, so I plan to give them a try. It should be fun and I am sure I will learn quite a bit.
I have also gone almost completely organic. I look for the word BIO here which means organic. I am lucky to have an organic farm right near our home. We joined the local farm CSA, Community Supported Agriculture which is a relationship between the farmer and the local community. Several years ago we bought a share which helps the farmer plan in advance his garden for the next season. It helps him to buy equipment, seeds, pay for labor, etc. As a shareholder I am then provided fresh organic produce all year round. A bonus to this concept is it is also good for the environment. You can check out the local organic farms by searching for a CSA near you.
As I mentioned, I am new to this and find my thoughts searching for animal proteins in other foods on a daily basis. I have recently been quite successful in preparing lots of legumes either in the form of salads or soups. I have also learned to incorporate various seeds including flax, nuts and avocados which has been no problem at all. All vegetables are now my best and very dear friends. I recently saw a recipe for making cauliflower steaks. You just put a little olive oil in a hot pan, add some chopped garlic and heat a little, then slice the cauliflower about 1/2″ thick straight down from top to bottom. Do not remove the core. Brown on each side until tender. I haven’t tried it yet, but I did get the cauliflower yesterday along with a jar of roasted peppers to go along with it. If I were at home I would roast them myself with some toasted pignoli nuts and a little olive oil.
We had lunch out today on rue Cler. I ordered a cup of vert thé (green tea) and the grilled salmon with herticot vert and an arugula salad. The protein need was met with that meal easily.
The tea bag was made of a sheer cotton muslin fabric which caught my attention. I wanted to know what it was because it was so delicious. The little peach colored tag was labeled Fuji Hama, by Mariage Fréres. Last winter I went to one of the many locations of Mariage Fréres and bought about six different varieties of their tea. Actually I cut all the labels from the front of the bags as I finished them and brought them back with me this time to restock. I will definitely add the Fuji Hama to my list. The location of the one I am looking forward to revisiting was Rive Gauche, 13 rue des Grands Augustins, in the 6th. It is a Tea Salon, Restaurant, Tea Emporium and, would you believe also a Tea Museum. The aromas are amazing from all the many tea offerings. They are stored in huge black cannisters and they open the lids under your face for you to take it the tea scents. After you buy several 100 grams or larger bags they are handed to you. You then walk over to what looks like a teller window with a bars which is where you pay. You can see a small picture of the black cannisters on the shelves at their link here: http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/UK/vt+tea-counters.html
We stopped in a few shops on the walk back and I went into the boulangerie and bought two baguettes and a tartlette aux poire to enjoy later this afternoon back at the apartment. I just am so happy to see the lovely paper wrapped around the tartlette into a pyramid shape, no bag necessary. I stopped in the Famille Mary which is a bio miel, organic honey shop. They sells everything organic. I bought a beautiful jar of honey with orange and lemon for my tea. http://www.famillemary.fr/boutique/liste_rayons.cfm They had a large display in the middle of this tiny little shop called TONImel Express Concentre de vitalité. Propolis, which is a substance that honey bees collect from tree buds. In French, the woman asked if we would like to try one. It is for vim, vigor and vitality. Well, honestly did you ever use the word vim? Why not, she broke open two ampules and gave us two tiny little straws and we drank away. Honestly, about twenty minutes later we both felt great. We will be buying this by the truck loads, as it was like a little fountain of youth. Don’t believe me, read away little darlings here: http://www.famillemary.fr/boutique/fiche_produit.cfm?url=GeleeRoyaleBioTonimelExpress&type=2&ref=web_083710&code_lg=lg_us&pag=1&num=2&tri=0&marq=0
Ah, so much to say, so much to write, but I must go and bid you all adieu.