Like most (all?) French people I think that good food is the greatest gift you can give your loved ones... and that includes you!
French people are very big on self-care because they know that if you feel good you'll be able to give 100% to whatever it is you are doing.
I have often been asked how I find the time to cook every day but I don't think I find the time... I make the time. In my family, just as in most French families, it'd be unthinkable to go out to eat the way that Americans do. Not only is it prohibitively expensive but also, no matter what the quality of the food is, it'll be too rich, too salty, too big of a meal ... just too much. Eating out is considered a treat in France and eating homemade meals is the norm. We just really don't think about it that much, wondering if we'll have the time: if you know you are cooking dinner every night you'll figure out how to do it and make it work in your life.
I'd also like to dispel a myth: French people do not cook elaborate meals every day. French family food is very simple and does not take long to make. And when both parents work and that you had to stay longer at work that day, a slice of ham + a green salad + a yogurt is a perfectly acceptable dinner.
Now that my children are older they also participate in meal cooking which is a big relief.
And I always cook double what we need for one meal so that we have enough for lunch the next day.
This past week has been very busy and one of us got dental surgery so the food needed to be soft. Since I did not plan on making this blog post I did not note everything that I cooked last week but these 2 dishes were particularly delicious and quick to make:
this makes about 4 quarts
- 2 lbs. pumpkin in 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 7 cups broth
- 4 cups milk
- grated nutmeg
- 3 oz. spaghetti broken into small pieces
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Feta
optional: Aleppo pepper
Heat the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until it softens. Stir in the pumpkin and cook for 3 more minutes.
Add the stock and cook until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and blend until smooth. Stir in the milk and nutmeg. Bring the soup back to a boil ( be careful the foam from the milk will easily overflow... don't leave the pot unattended).
Once it boils lower the heat and stir in the broken spaghetti and cook until the pasta is done.
Top with the cheese of your choice and Aleppo pepper if you like it ( it has a fruity, citrusy earthy flavor with moderate heat that makes any dish taste more complex without overpowering the other ingredients, truly delicious!)
Here are the links to the hand blender that will make your life so much easier than a typical blender and to the Aleppo pepper:
The second dish is not really a recipe but something I do a lot:
I cook a lot of barley on a regular basis ( it takes 40 minutes, it's very healthy and its delicious, a bit chewy and nutty tasting).
And then I top it with anything I have on hand: chopped tomatoes, Aleppo pepper, chickpeas and feta ( like I did on the picture). Roasted vegetables. Smoked salmon. Sausage and mushrooms. Mixed in a salad. Great for breakfast with eggs.
Anything goes and I haven't found a bad combination yet. It feels you up without being heavy, gives you a lot of energy and makes you feel warm.
Bon Appetit !