Pasta A La Gwendal

I have successfully lived in another country for 12 days!!! It feels so good to NOT have to wake up for work.  Or drive to work.  Or drive to and from work during rush hour.  Or just work!  Sighhhh… Don’t be jealous.  This is short-lived and I will eventually have to go back to the aforementioned monotony. 

As a result of my self-imposed unemployment, I have been reading a lot! The very first book I read was en route to St. Maarten, Lunch in Paris: a Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard.  I was browsing the food section at Books-A-Million and saw a single copy of this.  Picked it up and started reading.  I usually find nonfiction boring and never finish but I could not put this book down!  I even bought it on iTunes, which we all know is a rip-off, but I couldn’t wait to read it (I really couldn’t wait to order it on as I would be leaving the country in 2 days)! 

Lunch in Paris is perfectly written for the American idealist and all romantics.  And also, foodies.  I shall spare you a review – it would not do the book any justice.  

Speaking of food, I tried one of her recipes!  I did not follow the recipe exactly; I used the veggies I already had.  I finally made it back to the grocery store (there is a shuttle that takes me back and forth from the shopping center—awesome!) to buy some lardons so I could try Pasta à la Gwendal.




In addition to lardons, I bought some Terrine de Campagne.  I had no idea what this was.  I looked at the ingredients, saw the first one was gras, which is french for fat.  I literally thought, “meh, whatever” and threw it in my cart.  


A Google search later and I find that Terrine de Campagne loosely translates to “countrified meatloaf.”  I thought, “I LOVE MEATLOAF! AND SO DOES B! WE ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS!”  Google search results also recommend serving Terrine de Campagne (I imagine you must say this with an upturned nose) with crusty bread, mustard, and gherkins.  I did not do this (of course).  I heated it up on a skillet and threw it on some soft bread with mayo…Hellsman’s to be exact.  I know, you’re like, “how very American of you.”  I am just going along with the juxtaposition of American idealism and…just…the French.  If you had read the book, you would understand.  Having said and done all that, I totally get why this terrine should go on crusty bread.  Mushy on mushy is not a good combo.  Mustard and gherkins? Would totally offset the livery-ness of it.  Failure.  I failed. At least I tried it.  I also think it would be great on Banh Mi!  Hmm, ideas, ideas.  

Sorry for this disaster of a recipe, I don’t measure stuff. 

Pasta à la Gwendal
(adapted from here

3 tbsp olive oil
100 g lardons
half a medium onion, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
¼ cup carrots, sliced thin
handful of pasta, any noodle will do, I used spaghetti
chicken buillon
½ cup pasta liquid
salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to directions in chicken bouillon water!  Reserve about ½ cup of this liquid to put in your pasta if it is dry.  The chicken bouillon helps a lot!

In a medium pan add olive oil, lardons and onions.  Sauté until the fat from the lardon has rendered and the onions are translucent. 

Add garlic and Brussels sprouts.  Sauté for 5-10 minutes, depending on how high your heat is.  The Brussels sprouts should have some good coloring but do not burn the garlic and onion. 

Add carrots.  I don’t like cooked carrots, so I added them last. 

Add pasta.  Mine was dry, so I used ¼ cup of my reserved liquid.   Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for extra flavor! 

Taste and season accordingly!


Day One.

Pretty yellow flower

People seem to go through life with a set template and very few momentous experiences in between to speak of.

  • School
  • Work
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Retire

I have to say that I love templates.  I love structure.  I make a lot of lists.  Handwritten lists, list applications on every device I own.  I categorize and organize and I do not like things to differentiate from how I think they’re suppose to be.  Thus, I graduated from high school.  I graduated from a university.  I got a job.  Then I got a better job as an entry level quality lab technician at a huge liquor company (they had operations on every continent except Antarctica).  After two years, I got offered a management position at a major US dairy company.  I did this in 3 years.  Some people remain a lab tech for years before moving up.  I was on track to a career in quality management at food manufacturing plants.  My inner monologue went something like this:

Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?  I contemplated this for a very long time.
Not really, but I could do it.
Would you do it if I had a choice?
Hell no.  
What are you going to do instead, considering your compulsive, irrational need to shop and to um, live…?  Hmm… I don’t know. 
Normally, deviations piss me off.  They throw everything out of whack.  But I quit my job and moved to a different country.  Yes, I chose to deviate from the aforementioned template.  Why?  To escape monotony.  To have life experiences that don’t consist of the same thing for the 30 years until I retire.  How do people do that?  I’m not even consistent with my food choices.  I had a hard time trying to imagine me doing the same things for 30 years.  I guess I will have to figure it out as I go.


Fast forward to right now, I’ve had an exhausting day.  I woke up late, cooked spaghetti for lunch.  Ran to the beach.  Walked back home (IT’S ALL UPHILL, UGH!).  Did some laundry.  Walked back to the beach, swam, read the Clash of Kings, walked home.  B made me attend an anatomy review with him…… my eyes glazed over.  This was not the anatomy of my undergrad days.  This was like, intense roided-out anatomy of things you didn’t even know was really a significant anatomical structure.


 Tomorrow, I’m going to figure out how to get around with a car!  Because I really want a gelato.

Euphorbia milli or the crown-of-thorns plant. Lao ladies are obsessed with these succulents because it is said to bring good luck or a lot of money

the golf course on the way to the beach

view which I will never tire of

this is a 7 minute run