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Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

New Hampshire
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Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

I would be eternally grateful for any assistance with the following.

Which vinegar for vinaigrette? It took me years to find a vinegar I love (most too sour). It's Trader Joe's "white balsamic" (which I'm sure is not really Balsamic...). Any recommendations? Comments on "aged red wine vinegar" (which I've never been able to find locally)?

After some years, I've figured out that 15% is similar (?) to half and half at home. But, what about heavy cream? Last time I chose (unwittingly) a carton than was nearly whipped (more suitable to pouring on strawberries - duh, strawberries were pictured on the carton...).

Please no snarky remarks...I prefer Canola oil for salad dressings. Is this available in Paris? What is it called? (I did do some research and so far as I can tell it's called "canola", but is it readily available and nearly flavorless?) Or, any other recommendations for an oil for dressings?

If I wish to prepare oyster stew (and I do), will they shuck the oysters for you?

Okay. This is going to seem ridiculous, I think. But, I use Maille mustard at home. Within the last year, local stores have this new variety labelled "Smooth and Creamy". It looked (in the jar) like a pale (literally) version of "Originale". One day, I bought a jar because I didn't feel like driving around. Turns out, I LOVE this! Is this available in Paris? What is it called in French? (I've tried all the Maille vinegars, buy the way, and they're "OK".)

I'm guessing there may not be a potato masher, food mill, ricer, included in our "equipped" kitchen. Does Picard have "pommes puree"?

Please humor me...I would so much like to prepare a few simple meals during our visit for the joy of shopping for fresh foods and dining "at home".

A millions thanks.

Bastille Market
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Rue Mouffetard Market
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Rue Cler
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Flea & Street Markets
Perpignan, France
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1. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

Canola oil is huile de colza.

They'll shuck the oysters if you ask them. The problem will be taking them home :-))

Heavy cream is "crème épaisse". Often used to make chantilly.

Light cream is "crème légère", used for cooking as well as "Crème liquide"

TThe Maille mustard you mention must be the "Velouté Moutarde" with a texture like mayonnaise.

Picard will most probablt have purée de pommes de terre. You can also buy dehydrated purée (Mousseline is one of the brands).

I am not an expert on commercial vinegars as I make my own.

Srrangely enough real balsamic vinegar is NOT vinegar (and costs a fortune). The balsamic vinegars you'll find in grocery stores and supermarket ARE vinegar with caramelized sugard added for color and flavor.

Perth, Western...
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2. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

<<The Maille mustard you mention must be the "Velouté Moutarde" with a texture like mayonnaise.>>

That sounds like what is labelled here "Dijonaisse"

Maybe it is the same product, but called Dijonaisse in Australia and "Smooth and Creamy" in the US.

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

I think dijonaisse is different here in North America than the Maille one djkbooks is referring to. Dijonaisse is just mayo mixed with dijon mustard.

The Maille one is new to Canada and called Creamy Dijon (Cremeuse) here. I love it too!

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

Djk, I use cider vinegar in my salads - it's not as harsh as white vinegar, and has more flavor. You can buy white balsamic in nearly any grocery here, by the way, as well as vinegars flavored with nearly anything you can imagine...herbs, lemon, walnuts....

I buy Creme Fleurette to make chantilly...it's heavy, heavy cream -- a full 30%!

For an amazing salad, look for walnut oil (huile de noix) or hazelnut oil (huile de noisette) -- the nuts are usually toasted before pressing, and the resulting oil is *delicious*.

You can buy frozen puree des pommes de terre in any supermarket -- they look odd in the bag, but you warm them with a little milk and butter, and they do make lovely mashed potatoes. I cannot *stand* Mousseline or any of the other instant mashed potatoes in France, and cannot recommend you try them, as they all more closely resemble wallpaper paste than actual potatoes. (I've made them with more milk/less milk/more butter/less butter/more salt/less salt...and they're just gross, IMO). But in a pinch, the frozen ones are pas tros mal.

(PVoyageuse, I've thought about making my own vinegar....but where do you find the mother?)

Edited: 22 May 2010, 14:50
Garden Grove...
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5. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

Please share your oyster stew recipe.

Perpignan, France
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6. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

"(PVoyageuse, I've thought about making my own vinegar....but where do you find the mother?)"

I have adopted one :-)

It was given to me and I've been nursing it for several years.

I have even taken some to the US together with a cute wooden cask (those were pre 9/11 days)

The trick is to have an appropriate container and to use decent wine. I have a friend who uses all her wine/alcoholic beverages leftovers and her vinegar tastes like sulfuric acid.

If you don't want your wine cellar to turn into a vinegar cellar, store it in a separate place.

New Hampshire
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7. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

I don't really use a recipe for Oyster Stew. And, I'm sort of a purist, so don't thicken with flour.

I melt some butter, add some shallots. (Sometimes I add a bit of dry white wine and reduce to a glaze.) Then I add half milk/half cream or half and half, sometimes some creme fraiche (or sour cream if I don't have creme fraiche). I just eyeball the amount, depending on the quantity of oysters I have. While heating gently, I add a bit of lemon zest and some chopped fresh tarragon. After it comes just to a simmer, I add the oysters (with their liquid) and remove from the heat just before the oysters are cooked through. I finish with freshly ground white pepper and, maybe, a bit of fleur de sel (depending on the salinity of the oysters). Sometimes, I add a handful of baby spinach and stir until wilted.

Good point about having oysters shucked. I'll have to remember to bring a container for them!

A million thanks for all the responses!

Perpignan, France
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8. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

I'll have to remember to bring a container for them!

They usually provide a tray filled with crushed ice.

Garden Grove...
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9. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

Thanks the oyster stew sounds yummy. I don't care for raw oysters so I'll try this.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Apartment - Shopping for Ingredients

djkbooks ~ Are you really serious? Mashed potatoes with a few lumps or bought commercial crap? I'm trying to keep a open mind here..........