Apartment cooking in Paris

Old Aug 13th, 2014, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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To locate a Picard near you, go to http://magasins.picard.fr/ and put your postal code in the search box. That will bring up a list of all the locations in that arrondissement and show them on a map.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 05:27 AM
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Suze, thanks for backup. I agree with Indyhiker, as clarified!! LOL
We don't eat 3 restaurant meals, even staying in hotels--croissant and coffee, sandwich at the traiteur for lunch sitting in a park perhaps, and dinner. Or big lunch and small dinner.
But for a week in Paris, I'd not be doing any 2 hour cooking!! Do love the idea of the magret however.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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To the OP: what do you usually cook at home that doesn't take two hours? I would just follow the same principle, assuming, as others have said, the kitchen is equipped for the type of cooking you're comfortable with - easy to find out beforehand.

I love cooking, in general, but it takes on another dimension for me when traveling. I love the shopping, the interacting with the merchants, using products I may not have at home. Not to mention using another kitchen - be it the challenge of a small one, different appliances, or the absolutely lovely copper pots one kitchen was outfitted with.

I've never spent two hours cooking in Paris. I keep it simple: pasta, as someone else mentioned, omelettes, and one dish that has become my Paris specialty, which sounds a lot like Nikki's prep in terms of ease. Veal chops from the boucherie, cut for you from the meat hanging in the window (not shrink-wrapped in the refrigerated section). Salt, pepper, dried herb of choice (we use rosemary). Sear in pan until done. Remove from pan. Pour in a couple glugs of white wine. Deglaze. Finish with a pat of butter, s&p to taste and pour over chops. Serve with steamed haricots verts and a hunk of crusty bread. Easy peasy and not even close to one hour, let alone two.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Are most items at Picard designed to be heated in the microwave? We're staying in an apartment for the first time, but I don't think we'll have an oven.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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The items at Picard are of all sorts. Some are frozen items which you must assemble with others to make a meal, some are raw items for a full dish, some are cooked items that only need reheating. You really have to see a Picard store to understand it all, but of course you can browse their website to get an idea of what they sell.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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You do have to be careful with the Picard products, not all can be microwaved; some require oven.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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When I'm in an apartment I don't try to cook like I would at home, even simple things.

Mostly I just 'assemble' meals as others have mentioned, using local bakeries, street markets, deli-style shops, places with prepared foods, grocery stores.

I have a couple go-to dishes like pasta salad or 'greek' salad that are easy to prepare and have on hand, adding additional ingredients different days.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 06:06 PM
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I agree w David Lebovitz, take a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil from USA. You can roast anything on a flat pan covered w foil for easy cleanup in the oven using a little olive oil and salt. We roasted filets of various fish with olive oil, olives, diced potatoes and red peppers ( or zucchini) for about 15 min and called it dinner. Same method for boneless chicken breasts but cooked a bit longer. We tried Picard but found the products dismal.

The rotisseried chickens and potatoes sold at the markets are wonderful. But the fromageries also sell pate, cheese and great olives. We particularily liked La Maison Guyard, 42 rue de Verneuil, 75007 across from Eric Kayser boulangerie.

Bon apetit!
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 06:10 PM
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They sell aluminum foil in Paris, n'est pas?
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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The aluminum foil available in Paris is nothing like the aluminum foil sold in the US. The French varied is very thin and does not hold its shape. Have you actually purchased and used aluminum foil purchased in Paris DebitNM?
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 08:21 PM
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I have and I can't say that it was all that different than what I have at home. Perhaps not as thick as heavy duty, but I managed ok. I sure wouldn't give up room but more importantly weight in my luggage for foil.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 01:20 AM
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I am speechless at the idea of people bringing aluminum foil from the US to Paris so they can reheat frozen food there if they can't microwave it.

It is true that frozen and microwaved food is now what you are most likely to get in Paris restaurants, so I guess why not, but I will just note that it this is fairly recent, and not very long ago people would have been appalled at this approach to eating in Paris.

It really doesn't take two hours to sauté or gratin fresh mushrooms from the market, to make a salad, to cook an omelet. It takes less than 20 minutes to steam mussels in wine.

What a pity, really, that people visiting Paris have convinced themselves frozen food is better than fresh.
sandralist is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2014, 01:30 AM
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I agree with sandralist - to a point.

Though it wouldn't take any time at all to cook fresh food bought at a market (or anywhere else), it would take time to shop around and find what you wanted, then wash and prepare it. That could definitely take much more time than many visitors are apparently willing to spend.

I despise Picard - and yes, I have tried many types of food sold there. I just think it's a shame to use this as a main food source in Paris.

I haven't used foil in years - parchment paper works just as well, and is sturdy enough for any job. It can also be used in the microwave, if you happen to believe in those things.

If you're going to bring aluminum foil from home, you might as well bring along some food, while you're at it...
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 04:47 AM
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Is it really a chore to go to markets in Paris? I had thought it was rather fun.

I really see absolutely nothing wrong with going to Paris and doing nothing but sightseeing great sights and shopping for clothes or what have you, and never set foot near anyplace that sells fresh food. But the OP is asking what to cook cheaply and quickly for dinner so surely they are already committed to some kind of shopping and meal preparation. If they are staying in an apartment surely they can ask the landlord what is the best nearest market as easily as where they can go to buy frozen food and aluminum foil.

It takes a few minutes to pan fry or poach a fish. The fishmonger will give it to you cleaned. It takes a few moments to wipe off mushrooms and chop them, and only minutes to sauté them in butter and wine and fresh herbs and put them over toast. You don't need to wash a French egg before you crack it. You can take sausage out of the paper the butcher wrapped it in and put in a hot pan or, for other types of French sausage, hot water, and -- voila -- 10 minutes later you have dinner (having sliced tomatoes to eat with them in in the meantime). Or rinse off a pound of green haricot beans if that's what's in the market, steam them for 10 minutes and serve them with tuna fish and a bit of chopped onion over dressed lettuce. Eat it with great French bread.

In recent years a proliferation of American cooking shows and absurd restaurant dishes have somehow persuaded Americans that every meal should be a different elaborate recipe that calls for 9 different hard to find ingredients. But you can have a great meal made of one or two ingredients, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked in less than 20 minutes, and served with ample bread and butter. You really don't need to be much of a cook to do this.

I asked the OP what time of year they are traveling because shopping local markets and cooking seasonally is a time saver.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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I don't see where anyone suggested Picard as a "main food source" for the OP - it was merely offered as one of many, many options.
YankyGal is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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I'd agree with what the above posters say.
I don't think I'd venture into a Picard, though nothing wrong with it. My preference is to go for the fresh stuff.


- If you don't normally cook at home, I wouldn't bother planning to do so with only a week in Paris. You'll find plenty of good food (cooked, uncooked or with little prep required) to bring home to the apartment for a ready-to-eat meal.

- If you can cook or feel that you must, go for the simple, fresh stuff. Stuff that's quick, easy, won't take more than 30 minutes to prepare or leave you with a sizeable mess to clean or dispose of. Don't want to waste time when you could be doing other things in Paris.

A few tips if you plan to use the kitchen :

- If you are buying fresh food, buy just enough (butter, milk, eggs, etc.) to last your stay, as well as fruit and veg to last one or two meals. There's the temptation to buy more than you need because we eat with our eyes, and because of the prepackaged quantities and sizes. Ask if smaller quantities are available to purchase (like 6 eggs if you don't need 12). You'll appreciate this on your last day. Bread for example, is often sold in small (and large) fresh-baked sticks twice a day (demi-ficelle, demi-baguette), so you can get smaller quantities as you need. You'll smell it and see the line-ups in the morning and early evening.

- Your apt may stock some staples (sugar, seasonings). If not, avoid buying anything that you'll end up leaving and cluttering in your host's fridge or cupboards. The cabinets are likely very small and you'll find previous tenants have already done the same. I carry a few small sachets of seasoning or spices in case I need them. They weigh nothing nor take up any room.

- Definitely visit the street markets, supermarkets, bakeries, patisseries, fish and cheese shops. You'll see them everywhere. You won't leave empty handed.

- There's a decent wine for every taste, and even more decent cheese in every grocery store you go to.
Mathieu is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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I would not miss a visit to a street market on any trip to Paris--often more than once--and we don't use an apartment. A street market is a window into living in Paris.
And I suggested getting the "take out" from one of them. The one in pl. MOnge had the most gorgeous platter of paella steaming on the burner I have ever seen--outside of the one I make!!
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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The aluminum foil suggestion is indeed ridiculous, invented someone who failed to see that there are different thicknesses available in the supermarkets. I myself usually use the thin version which is great for wrapping up leftovers or sandwiches. For cooking, you use the thick stuff.
kerouac is online now  
Old Aug 15th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Why do I picture the OP scanning this thread, shaking his head, and walking away from the computer?
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Everyone is just making suggestions that they think may be helpful to the question asked. Except for the bringing your own tinfoil idea, I think people are pretty much right on the money.
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