break time

For the past couple of days, Seth and I have been working feverishly on our portfolios, our trip itineraries, and our job/city searches. This afternoon, we decided to take a short break. We walked down the street, enjoyed a beer at a local bar, and discussed our upcoming plans.

My mom and stepdad are visiting April 27-May 4; Seth’s friend Duncan is traveling around Europe the entire month of May; I am flying to Nice May 5-8; and Seth and I are taking the Chunnel to London May 10-12! We have already booked our hostel, and soon we hope to make a reservation at a yummy Indian restaurant. I have scouted the New York Times Top 5, and I think Hot Stuff will be our best (read: cheapest) bet. As I type, a pot of lentil chili simmers on our stove. Mmm… I do believe we are getting into the traveling spirit a bit early!

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the wild brunch

To celebrate pencils down, Seth and I decided to host a brunch for all of our classmates. We prepared zucchini and green bean frittatas with goat cheese and parmesan, bacon home fries with paprika and cayenne, and strawberry crepes with mascarpone and jam. For drinks, we served orange, clementine, and grapefruit mimosas. We had such a great time! I absolutely love getting the opportunity to cook for people, as it allows me to practice my timing and technique. Plus, Seth gets to show off his rad pan-flipping skills.

The savory recipes from the wild brunch are posted below.

Zucchini and Green Bean Frittata
(Each only served six, so we made two!)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large oven-proof, nonstick saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and green beans, and saute until caramelized and tender, 12-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the whole milk until frothy. Whisk in the goat cheese, parmesan, and parsley, and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the vegetables in an even layer in the pan. Pour in the egg mixture, making sure to cover all of the vegetables. Let cook, uncovered and untouched for 4-6 minutes until the egg on the bottom has started to set.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5-8 more minutes until the top is set and cooked through.
  6. Transfer the pan to the broiler and broil for a minute until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into wedges.
Bacon Home Fries
(We prepared three batches of this delicious stuff!)
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup lardons (approximately 2 slices bacon)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, fully baked and diced into 1″ cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Directions
  1. Lightly fry bacon in cast iron pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Add the potatoes, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Spread the ingredients in an even layer in the pan, and leave alone for five minutes.
  4. Stir the mixture, spread again, and leave alone for five more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, add the parsley, and stir again. Let cool for five minutes.

[photos courtesy of MJ]

the end!

Six years later, I am finally done with architecture school! Rejoice! After our relatively painless deadline on Monday, our studio journeyed to the Bistrologue across the street for some beer and wine courtesy of our professor Pierre. Ah, sweet, sweet relief.

To see what my studio has been up to this semester (besides exploring the wonderful city of Paris), click here:

http://www.wix.com/spring2011rsap/studio

To see what I specifically have been up to this semester, click here:

http://www.wix.com/cgammell/spring2011rsap

[photo courtesy of MJ]

the final countdown

Twelve semesters. Ten studios. Nine charrettes. Three days until I am finished with architecture school. (Okay, okay. Seven days until I am finished with architecture school, but three until I am finished with my project.)

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN BEGINS!

[photo: me working on our studio site model, fall 2006]

dear iced coffee,

I miss you. I have missed you for quite some time, but now, as the streets of Paris begin to spring with newborn puppies, colorful short dresses, and high-contrast shadows, I miss you more than ever. It is too warm outside to sip a hot espresso. I need your strong, cold-brewed affection, preferably served inside a plastic cup with milk and a tall straw, oh, and a napkin wrapped around said cup (you know, just to catch the condensation). Whew.

Seattle’s Grand Central Bakery iced latte is my reigning favorite drink. Next is Philadelphia’s La Colombe iced coffee. They charge $2 for an iced coffee topped with a complimentary shot of espresso. Their baristas pull a shot so well that no milk is needed to temper it, ever. The first time I took a sip, I swear my veins jolted from the caffeine. Third, believe it or not, is Rice’s coffeehouse iced coffee. With its ever so slight hint of caramel flavor, that stuff is seriously amazing. It certainly does not hurt that they charge only $1.50 for a medium. Yes, I will have two, please ‘kay thank you.

My ideal mid-morning snack/meal consists of an iced latte from the aforementioned Seattle locale and a buttery, flaky French croissant. Alas, here in Paris I cannot acquire an iced coffee. The French simply do not believe in it (probably because they do not believe in ice). I was so desperate today that I broke down and visited a… Starbucks. Yes, I did it, and no, it was not worth it. (It was not the same.)

My dear iced coffee, I cannot wait to see you again. Until then, I will continue to sip my hot espresso, but I will only think of you.

XOXO

[photos courtesy of ???]

trichotillomania

For the past nineteen years of my life, I have struggled with trichotillomania. Trichotillomania (“Trich” or “TTM” for short) is a a compulsion to pull out one’s hair, and it is currently classified as an impulse control disorder by the DSM-IV. (It was formerly classified as an obsessive compulsive disorder.) Although I have experienced all of the hair loss, distress, and functional impairment associated with trich, I find the condition itself nearly impossible to explain.

For my final short film, I decided to make a video which chronicles my actions and feelings during a TTM spell. I hope you like it.

[Note: All color footage was found, while all black and white footage was filmed by my own hand.]

belated photos

With the start of a new month comes 300 MB of fresh Flickr space. Unfortunately, my belated photographs from the end of March have already consumed 97% of said space. Additionally, my overall photostream currently consists of 185 photos. At the 200-photo mark, Flickr begins to hide old photos from public view.

So, to upgrade or not to upgrade? Is $24.95/year worth unlimited storage? (If you say no, you won’t see any photos of my April adventures. Think about that.)

While you debate, look at my pictures from the end of March!

the 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements (Eliot’s visit):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aclearglimmer/sets/72157626405330766/

Bordeaux:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aclearglimmer/sets/72157626280702761/

photo shoot

Today as I strutted through Montmartre in my finest secondhand Miu Miu, I had to restrain myself from doing this:

The only thing stopping me was my lack of photo shoot companion. To my wonderful fashion-focused girlfriends in Houston (and beyond): I miss you so much.

[photo: “Gossip Girl” episode 104]

bordeaux

Bright and early on Sunday morning, our class took the TGV (train à grande vitesse, or high-speed train) to Bordeaux. Even though we were visiting the city, I still pictured a wine country filled with luscious trees and rolling hills. Turns out, those green geographical features are very much in (yes, you guessed it) the country. The city of Bordeaux, first inhabited by the Neanderthal 30,000-20,000 years ago, is actually an historical port. Its inland streets are old and dense, while its riverfront is commercial and open. I had a wonderful time strolling among the locals in the warm sun. (I even got a slight burn on the back of my neck! Who would have thought?)

My absolute favorite part of the trip was our visit to the Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Museum of Contemporary Art). Formerly a warehouse, the cathedral-like space had been partially cleansed and modestly refitted in 1984 with removable white partitions. It was one of the most beautiful places I had seen in my entire life, and it only reaffirmed my aspirations to become a renovation architect.

My family is going through a difficult time right now, so I feel I should keep my frivolous vacation descriptions to a minimum. Perhaps I will publish the rest of my photographs at a later date.

hier et aujourd’hui

For Eliot’s last night in Paris, Seth and I met him at Hier & Aujourd’hui (Yesterday & Today), a small Michelin-listed restaurant in the seventeenth arrondissement. A lengthy walk from the metro, this cozy spot was tough to find but totally worth the trek.

We walked in a few minutes after eight to find a nearly empty restaurant. We gathered with a few other patrons around the large chalkboard menu, desperately trying to decide which mouthwatering dishes to order. For thirty euros, we each received three courses: an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Once we placed our orders, our waitress brought out a bottle of absolutely amazing Bordeaux, some fresh country bread, and a complimentary house pâté. (I still have yet to learn the subtle differences between pâté and terrine.) The pâté, which was served as a sort of loaf, was passed from table to table; as each group received their appetizers, on went the meaty spread to the next.

Eliot’s meal was basically an elderly person’s dream. He started with the foie gras ravioli, which was not so much a pasta as a dumpling soup. The thin, slippery broth and the thick, fatty duck liver were very delicately balanced. For his main course, he ordered a traditional southern French dish called Brandade de Morue, which consists of salted cod and mashed potatoes. (The cod filet is basically pureed and mixed with the potatoes to become one large, mushy plate. It sounds kind of gross, but it is actually quite heavenly.) He then finished his meal with a very hefty portion of bittersweet chocolate mouse. Had Eliot lacked all ability to chew, his dinner would have still been perfect.

Seth started his meal with a parmesan flan and a balsamic vinegar salad. For his main dish, he enjoyed tender pork cheeks on a bed of peas, asparagus, and bacon. Finally, he ended his meal with a traditional rum cake. I think it was the first instance I knew of a dessert making someone tipsy.

As for me, I ordered the foie gras ravioli, panfried scallops with white haricot beans, and panna cotta (Italian cooked cream). The scallops were so complex in flavor: meaty, earthy, citrusy, thyme-y… Mmm mmm mmm, so comforting, too. Also, the panna cotta, drizzled with fresh strawberry puree, was hands down the best I had ever eaten.

Sigh. If only I could afford to dine out more often. But alas, Seth and I definitely have to cut back on our spending next week. Cheap home cookin’, here we come!

[Hier & Aujourd’hui: 145 Rue de Saussure, 75017 Paris]

UPDATE: This restaurant closed on 26 May, 2011.