“I never realized how many friends I had until I moved to France, and suddenly, my phone was ringing off the hook, and my friend’s cousin’s roommate was asking if I had a couch.”
That’s part of my spiel in the five-minute intro I give about myself whenever I run a tour in Paris; after all, that’s how I first started taking people around the city and learning the history of Paris’ monuments. My first few years here – particularly my first year here – my couch was constantly home to a friend, friend of a friend, or random Canadian we met in a bar once (true story).
As time went on, though, two things happened to change this: firstly, people graduated from college and no longer had the time to spend backpacking throughout Europe and sleeping in youth hostels and on strangers’ couches. The second, which happened a bit later, is that people got jobs, and most of them decided that the price of a hotel room was worth having their own bathroom and bed instead of sleeping on a slightly cracked black leather couch (not my choice – furnished apartment), so while I still got visitors, I only saw them for a few hours a day, for a meal or a museum.
Of course, there are still some people who opt in favor of staying chez Emily. We’ve had two such guests recently – my godmother and my brother. And both times, that has meant a major change in the way we eat.
Instead of cooking at home, where we usually make paleo or vegetarian food, we’ve been eating pretty much all the cheese and pastry that Paris has to offer. We’ve gone to fantastic restaurants, tried the best croissants in the city, eaten more than our share of Brie, and generally done pretty much everything in our power to make nutritionists cringe.
And while that’s certainly enjoyable, I’d love to fit into my pants again.
This salad is just as much vegetable as it is potato, with a lighter vegan pesto that’s flavorful but not greasy. Sometimes I make it with boiled eggs, but other times I eat it plain, as a vegan lunch or dinner. It’s the perfect way to recover from eating with guests.
Spring Potato Salad with Peas, Radishes, and Pesto (serves 2-4)
1 1/2 cup arugula
10 leaves basil
1 tablespoon powdered almonds
1 clove garlic, sprout removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch salt
water as needed
500 grams potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen string beans
1 cup French breakfast radishes, sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, (optional)
Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes in boiling water.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place the almonds, garlic, and olive oil in a deep container, and purée with an immersion blender or mortar and pestle. Add the arugula and basil and process until smooth. Season with salt, and thin with water as needed. Place in the large bowl in which you will serve the salad.
When the potatoes are cooked, cool them under running water until they are cool enough to handle. Slice them into coins, and add them to the bowl.
Immerse the peas and beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain. Add the peas to the bowl. Cut the beans in thirds and add to the bowl as well, along with the radishes. Toss to combine.
Top with the hard-boiled eggs, if desired.