Edible Chive Blossoms

“The kiss of the sun for pardon. The song of the birds for mirth. One is nearer to God’s Heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” — Dorothy Frances Gurney

This old-fashion poem reminds me of my mother’s love of nature and is a gift she gave me. Maintaining gardens is hard work, but in the beauty of nature, I experience an inner joy unlike anywhere else.

Chive Blossoms

Along the border of our vegetable garden, our herbs are already bearing gifts. The chives have lovely purple round blossoms. I managed to keep my rosemary cuttings alive throughout the winter and they are now planted in two different locations. The chamomile surprised us by reseeding itself and the sage, tarragon, lavender, mint, and thyme all are ready to pick and add to dishes.

Recently I made herb crackers with my discard sourdough starter. I topped them with Vermont Creamery Clover Honey goat cheese and cuttings from the chive blossoms. It was a lovely garnish that reminded me of spring weddings. The chive blossom added a wonderful subtle onion flavor. These crackers and some fresh sage/mint tea with chamomile blossoms helped me celebrate the arrival of spring.

Alas! Carole

La Cuisine Paris

Never make plans with a croissant, they are flaky. – from ReadBeach

This croissant quote made me laugh, but it’s partly true! Delicious croissants are quite flaky and light. We hardly realize that they are “empty calories” because they are delightfully and delicately sweet.

I had fun making authentic French croissants through La Cuisine Paris online video classes. I received these classes when I retired as a middle school librarian. The Edmunds Middle School teachers knew that I enjoy baking and cooking and purchased a gift certificate for three La Cuisine Paris classes of my choice! It was a simple enrollment process and voila! I was all set to begin! Of the three classes, making the croissant was the most fun!

The decadent idea of rolling butter between sweetened dough was foreign to me. Folding and rolling dough was relatively easy too. The freshly baked croissants turned out to be beautifully golden, crispy, sweet, and, yes, swirly flaky.

The La Cuisine Paris online classes are fantastic and the French instructors are very entertaining. For approximately $32., a video class provides historical information, equipment, and a full ingredient list to preview. It offers step-by-step video instruction, clear written directions, and downloadable pdfs. There is also a bonus video & instructions for elaborating on the existing baking or cooking instructions. Additionally, the classes are available for one year allowing the participant access multiple times!

Always make plans with a croissant is what I say! πŸ˜‰

And if you can not travel to Paris to attend a baking or cooking class (which would be sooo incredible), these La Cusine Paris online classes are the next best thing! Bon Apetit! — Carole

La Cuisine Cooking Classes Paris

The Paris Library

Did you know that during WWII, the librarians at The American Library in Paris delivered books to their forbidden Jewish patrons right under the noses of their German occupiers?

This captivating novel, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is filled with wartime suspense, the nuances of friendship, romance, betrayal, and fascinating historical information about The American Library in Paris.

Much to my delight, it also had plenty of French food mentions!

The Library of Paris begins in 1939 when Odile Souchet, a young Parisian, applies and is hired for her dream job as a librarian at The American Library in Paris. With the war underway, Odile, her family, community of colleagues, and friends increasingly face the turmoil of France’s Nazi occupation. Her brother, Remy, enlists in the war and Paris becomes increasingly repressive. The public library is under constant scrutiny. In spite of this authoritarian environment, the librarians commit to the continuation of promoting free ideas by remaining open and even secretly delivering books to Jewish patrons no longer allowed to come to the library.

Throughout The Paris Library, the plot also weaves the reader into another time and place. Lily is a teenager living in Montana in 1983. A French language and culture enthusiast, Lily is fascinated by her widowed French neighbor Mrs. Gustafason, the future Odile. Lily and Odile become fast friends as Lily begins language lessons and Odile’s secret past unravels. The two form an intimate bond that allows Odile to help Lily navigate changing family life and jealousy in friendship. Likewise, Lily encourages Odile to reconnect with her past.

I want to thank my cousin Amy Chapman Biegaj. She messaged me this spring and suggested that I read The Paris Library. I am so grateful to her for the recommendation!

As always, I am including a recipe to accompany this novel. It is a Leek and Potato Soup that I made while reading The Paris Library. Surprisingly, this soup was tasty especially topped with fresh chives from our spring garden.

Leek and Potato soup is known as a diet food for French women. This morning when I got up, I could have sworn I felt several pounds lighter! — πŸ˜‰ Carole

Once Upon a Chef – Potato Leek Soup

The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas

Janet Skeslien Charles: The Paris Library – Author Interview (a terrific interview)