End of Summer Salad (feat. Stanley Plums)

From the title of this post, you probably think this post is about Stanley Plums, a rapper who was heavily influenced by the board game Clue.  I regret to inform you that you are mistaken.

This is a post with a simple salad to encourage you to eat a fruit or vegetable every now and then, and to buy local, in season produce.

For those of you fortunate enough to have a weekly farmer's market near your home, or a place like The Local Market, I encourage you to take advantage of the local, in season produce offered.  Sometimes, it's hard to convince yourself to buy a product with which you are not familiar, or to incorporate said products into your established recipe file.  But, I would encourage you to eat what is in season near you.  I recently discovered Stanley plums.  This oblong member of the prunus family has a beautiful purple exterior and neon interior.  They are slightly tart and go really well with a simple salad dressed with something slightly sweet.

All you have to do is slice a few up and throw them on your regular weeknight salad.  If you need more guidance, just use the recipe below.


-romaine lettuce
-white or red onion
-orange tomatoes

for the dressing

-1 part apple cider vinegar
-2 parts olive oil
-touch of mustard
-pinch salt
-pinch black pepper
-1 part maple syrup

Chop up enough for a family, or just for one. Mix a little dressing -which will certainly keep in a jar on your counter for a few days- and enjoy something fresh!

What seasonal fruits and veggies do you love?


Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Do you ever open your refrigerator and find sour cream left over from your last taco dinner?  Do you then think to yourself, "what am I going to do with this leftover sour cream?  I can't just eat it by the spoonful."  If so, you are the perfect candidate to try out a chocolate sour cream cake.

The above scenario is pretty much exactly what happened to me last week.  If you're not so keen on sour cream, but have some plain yogurt, you could easily substitute that in equal parts.

Sorry for making a non-fruit related dessert in the summer...but, what can I say?  I'm a chocoholic.

Before I hand over the recipe, here are a few tips before we get baking.  

-Measure out all of your ingredients and have them handy
-Prepare anything you can in advance.  This means pre-heating the oven, cutting out parchment circles, softening butter, and buttering your cake pans.
-Use a scale for best results

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake adapted from Completely Delicious
2 or 4 layer 6" round cake
350 F oven


-5/8 c. (140ml) warm/hot coffee
-1/2 c. (55g) cocoa powder + more for dusting cake pans
-1.25 c. (165g) all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. sea salt
-1.25 tsp. baking soda
-1 c. sugar (200g)
-2 large eggs
-3/4 c. sour cream (170g)
-1/2 c. (113g) butter, melted


1. Brush two 6" cake pans with butter, coat with cocoa powder (you can use flour, but cocoa powder leaves no white residue on the cake).  Cut a piece of parchment to line the bottom of the pans.  Place on top of the coated surface.  

2. Place flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together.  

3. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs and sugar until slightly fluffy.  

4. Mix the cream and butter into the egg mixture until fully combined.  

5.  Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the dry mixture until almost combined.  Add hot coffee and stir until fully combined.  

6.  Pour half of the batter into each pan and tap firmly one time to release air bubbles.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until no longer wet in the center and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

8. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a wire rack.  

American Style Chocolate Buttercream


-2 sticks (227g) softened butter, unsalted
-227g confectioner's sugar
-20g cocoa powder (Whatever kind you have.  You'll notice my cake is two-toned because I used a fancy and non-fancy powder)
-pinch of salt
-milk, to loosen, as desired


1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the sugar, salt, and cocoa and carefully beat until fully incorporated.

2. If you want to loosen the icing for easier application, add 1 T of milk at a time until you've reached desired consistency.

To Assemble

Once your cakes have cooled, use a serrated/bread knife to slice each cake lengthwise into 2 layers.  This will leave you with four layers.  If this gives you too much anxiety, just do 2 thick layers.  In the future, I will try to make a video on how to do this so everyone can be a slicing pro with no fear!

Assemble the layers, adding frosting in between each.  Refrigerate in between stages to help set the buttercream.  Keeping everything cool with help everything go smoothly.  Apply a crumb coat.  Decorate as desired.  I used a star tip and a knife to create the texture on the sides of this cake and the tip of a butter knife to create the texture on top.

If you want a similar effect to mine, use the star tip instead of the round one, but follow the technique in this video.


L’éclair de Génie: A Treat Worth Trying

As avid Instagrammers and Parisian food aficionados may have noted, L’éclair de Génie is the reigning king of the éclair.  This cleverly named business - a play on words literally meaning "a flash of genius" - with Chef Christophe Adam at the helm, provides customers all over the world with beautiful éclairs, ice cream, confections and more.   

With shops all over Paris, its place of birth, it is hard to avoid the white and yellow facades and inviting pastry counters of L’éclair de Génie.  Even in my neighborhood in a suburb west of Paris, an éclair delivery truck is often parked around town.  The vans are adorned with photographs of immaculate éclairs of every color.   

The shops I passed most often were those in Le Marais and on Rue Montorgueil.  Usually, I would just pass by.  Sometimes, I would venture inside to take a peek.  Once or twice, I indulged in one of the scrumptious morsels. 

Over the summer, my sister visited from the US and we stopped into the storefront in Le Marais to see what they had to offer.  At the time, the shop was featuring a box of 4 mini eclairs for 10€.  Naturally, we took a box without hesitation and were delighted to try the lemon-coconut, salted butter caramel, raspberry, and strawberry varieties.  The four wonders were nestled into a beautifully designed box.  Careful attention had clearly been paid to each one of the 3-bite pastries and the decorations were perfect reflections of their flavors. 

The Raspberry éclair was glazed in pink and adorned with shimmery covered pop rocks.  The filling was tinted pink and had a bright fruity taste.

The Lemon Coconut was filled with a rich cream and topped with a tiny coconut marshmallow and thin strip of coconut. 

The Strawberry variety was set off by a smidgen of gold leaf and a tiny wild strawberry.  Don't forget the fresh berry filling which had a pleasant level of acidity.

And the classic Salted Butter Caramel was shining in gold and caramel glaze and studded with crunchy chocolate morsels.  The filling was perfectly thick and well-emulsified.  

If you head in for a treat, don’t skip the classic chocolate flavor, and make sure you try something seasonal on the menu.  Chef Christophe Adam has perfected his product and made it worthy of all éclair accolades.  Stay delicious L’éclair de Génie!

Find the most convenient location for you here.


English Speaking Spots in Paris, Part 3: Honor Cafe

Honor Cafe 

Tucked away in a courtyard across from President Macron's abode you will come upon Honor Cafe.  Their signs proclaim that they prepare "the coffee Paris should be known for" and I cannot disagree.  The location is convenient, if you're busy shopping in Madeleine or visiting Le Jardin des Tuileries.  Friendly, skilled baristas will greet you in English or French to take your order.  You have the option to take yours "to go," but I suggest taking a minute to sit in the architecturally interesting shop or out in the cobbled courtyard.

Alice Maggio of Seek and Pursue
I had the pleasure of accompanying friend and travel blogger, Alice Maggio for her first experience at Honor Cafe.  Alice was impressed by the architecture of the small nook, and remembers being warmed by her steamy cappuccino on a drizzly Paris afternoon. "The alley way status of this cafe is to its advantage because of the fact that it is surrounded by a major segment of Paris' fashion scene. The store signs in the neighborhood were almost blinding while the chalk sign displaying Honor's coffee was humbler and more down-to-earth.  It's far more comforting than the sleek and sanitized Chanel shop that shares its postal code. "

Honor Cafe is an easy place to find iced coffee in the summertime and enjoy a slice of banana bread if you have a hankering.  The shop even offers flasks of coffee stamped with their name for fanatics.  It's a comfort to the weary traveler or expat looking for a go-to coffee shop and a fun stop for residents to chat with the barista while sipping a freshly brewed cup.  


Eats range from 3-12

Drinks from 3-6

54 Rue du Faubourg St Honore, Paris 75008

Metro: Madeleine, Concorde

Monday-Friday: 9h-18h
Saturday: 10h-18h
Sunday: CLOSED