Spring has arrived! And not a moment too soon! After months and months and months of gray skies, rain, hail, snow and freezing temperatures, I wasn't sure if I was living in Paris or the Artic circle. Last week, the sun generously decided to end its hibernation and let its warming rays thaw this part of the world. The temperatures still hover near freezing, but there is something about a vibrant blue sky that shaves a bit of chill off the cold.
So in honor of spring and all the wonderful things that come with it, a quintessential springtime French stew celebrating the beautiful spring vegetables, Navarin Printanier. But first, we must shop for our spring vegetables and what better place than my little farmers market at Place Monge.... if for no other reason than it is across the street and I am terribly lazy. Click here to take a stroll through the market.
Qu'est-ce que c'est le "Bellybar"?! Got a hankering for dill pickles and peanut butter? Or does the mere scent of a saltine send you running for the door? Well hold on to your breast pump, help has arrived... Click here to find out how!
Welcome to the 3rd and final IMBB23 ~ Vive la France Haut Rond #3!Thank you all for letting your blog burn for the 23rd time. It was indeed a delicious inferno!
English Patis by Cecile in the UK Quiche Lorraine "According to Elizabeth David in her book, French Provincial Cooking, the Quiche Lorraine that the natives of that region regard as such is simply a savoury custard pie with eggs, cream, smoked bacon and *no* cheese. That was a revelation to me, since everywhere I went whether here in UK or in Paris, these tarts almost always have some cheese in them. But I have to agree with Ms. David because when we passed by the area of Nancy in Lorraine last year, all the Quiche Lorraines we ate had no smidgen of cheese. That settled it, I have to do this first without the cheese then with it (just to make the comparison)...."
Hungry In Hogtown by Rob and Rachel from Toronto, Canada The Crêpe Escape Rob and Rachel did double duty with savory and sweet crêpes. "We made a couple of Breton specialties, Galettes de Sarassin, and crepes with strawberry jam and Calvados creme fraiche." Having lived in Brittany when I first came to France I can attest to fabulous delights as they were my staple diet for the better part of a summer. That and a lot of fish. Rob and Rachel's beautiful prose transported me back to the rocky craggly shores of Britanny faster than if I'd clicked my heels 3 times. "...A February day with a chilling wind demands hearty food, so we turned to homey Breton classics to warm our insides. The crowning glory of Breton cuisine -- its gift to the stomachs of the world -- is the crêpe. A sunny yolk of a lightly fried egg sitting atop a savoury buckwheat crêpe, stuffed with cooked ham and gruyère cheese -- how very satisfying..." Editor's note: You had me at "calvados creme fraiche"!
Taste Everything Once by Jennifer in Spokane, WA Coquilles St. Jacques avec Beurre Blanc Jennifer more than attempted, I'd say mastered, a "classic beurre blanc sauce from the Loire region of France. An easy sauce to prepare, the creamy reduction was deliciously rich poured over seared coquilles. Remi completed our French dinner with a basic frisee salad and sliced baguette. Our French wine of choice? Also from the Loire region, a dry sauvignon blanc." Cheers!
Kuidaore by Joycelyn from Singapore Confit de Canard http://brandoesq.blogspot.com/2006/02/duck-stops-here.html "From my very first taste of confit de canard, I was hooked. Not deep in the heart of Southwest France, but next to the Smithfield meat market in London circa 1998. Confit, which means "preserved", is one of the great farmhouse traditions in the French Southwest, where preserving meat to last through the cold months was essential to survival. Chubby Hubby and Mrs Chubby Hubby generously shared a bottle of Reserve de la Comtesse 2000, Pauillac, the second wine of Chateau Pichon Longueville-Lalande, to go with dinner...." That's it, I'm going to Singapore for my next vacation.
Small Farms by Tana Butler from the San Francisco Bay Area Boeuf aux Carotteshttp://smallfarms.typepad.com/small_farms/2006/02/imbb_23_viva_la.html A huge thanks to Tana for this IMBB23 Vive la France banner! If you saw my attempt at graphic design, you understand why Tana created a new one for me within 5 minutes of my post going live! Tana, like so many of us, headed south to fabulous Provence for her inspiration. "I learned from Georgeanne Brennan, the author of Savoring France, that, in Provençale restaurants, Boeuf aux Carottes is served on its own. At home, one serves the dish with egg noodles... It's pretty hard to go wrong with beef, red wine, onions, garlic, and herbs to begin with. Adding carrots to the pot only guarantees "further delicious" (as the instructions on a pack of ramen that Bob once cooked read). Throw in some egg noodles, and you have a wonderful meal for a cold, rainy night." Tana's choice of wine - a Roc de Cambes, 2001, Cotes de Bourg. She was lured in by the sensual description: "a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet, seductive bouquet of melted chocolate, licorice, smoke, and jammy black cherry fruit. Fleshy, seductive, and medium-bodied, with loads of ripeness in addition to a plush texture." Cigarette anyone?
Ambrosia by Kirsten from Ireland Gâteau à l'Orange http://aoife.typepad.com/ambrosia/2006/02/gteau_lorange23.html For Kirstin, this was "a two birds, one stone kind of job. I wanted to bake something for a friend's last day...I'll just pull out my Julia Child and find a French dessert that is portable and regional and tasty and simple and... maybe not so easy." Kirstin learned two things. "Gâteau is French for cake, and Marie Antoinette reportedly suggested that some peasants eat it instead of bread (although I have also heard that she did no such thing and the famous story is but a propagandist rumor). I pass those jewels of wisdom on to you."
Spitoon Extra by Andrew Barrow AIWS from the UK Porc Aux Pruneaux de Tourshttp://www.spittoonextra.biz/porc_aux_pruneaux_de_tours.html "While not a fan of fruit in savoury dishes you have to try something new once in a while, do you not? This dish (from Sophie Grigson's Meat Course) calls for the prunes to be soaked overnight in a dry white wine. Hailing from the Loire this recipe requires a wine from the same region. A Vouvray was selected and tasted; passing muster a glug is poured over the Agen prunes. These plump up nicely overnight and get added to the cream along with a balancing squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking. Deliciously simple."
Dessert First by Anita from California Paris-Brest and Sauterneshttp://dessertfirst.typepad.com/dessert_first/2006/02/imbb_parisbrest.html I was so excited when I saw this recipe as it was my cooking school chef's favorite pastry, that and the fact that I lived in Brest when I first came to France. "The Paris-Brest was created by a baker in 1891 in honor of the Paris-Brest-Paris 600 km bicycle race, which was a precursor to the Tour de France. The pastry is made of a ring of pâte à choux filled with praline pastry cream and topped with whipped cream, almonds, and powdered sugar - really, a very elaborate version of the cream puff. The ring shape of course is meant to resemble a bicycle wheel - a delicious one, at that! The Paris-Brest-Paris (or "PBP") race was started by a Pierre Giffard as a way to promote the newfangled bicycle as an effective and reliable means of long-distance travel." I'd say he, and Anita, succeeded tremendously!
...................and last but never least................drumroll please...............how appropriate to finish off with the most quintessential French food...the quixotic quiche..........
The Cook's Cottage by Deccanheffalump Spinach and Spring Onion Quiche Deccanheffalump, a most interesting name, is a filmmaker, writer, cook and mother (whew, i'm tired just reading that!) and her recipe of choice is the fabulous Quiche Lorraine. "It is said that a baker first made this in Nancy in the 16th Century with a crust made with ordinary bread dough. Later this changed to a shortcrust pastry for the base. So its a long shot making this quiche without the most delicious bacon,the creme fraiche and french butter, all specialities of Lorraine. Sadly no wine....
C'est tout, malheureusement. Merci pour jouer! A la prochaine et Bon Appetit!
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Bonjour mes amis francais! Bienvenue a l'IMBB23 Vive la France Haut Rond #2! My apologies for the ridiculously long delay in getting this Haut Rond posted but this job-thing is seriously cutting into my blogging/cooking/social time and I'm still recovering from my 5-day-5-city-3-country PR roadshow d'enfer! The rest, and there a lot of them, will be posted tomorrow - promis!
Thank you all again for letting your blog burn for the 23rd time. I hope it was a delicious inferno! It certainly looks like one based on the pics below!
The Passionate Cook by Johanna Galette Super-Complète This cook's passion is tied to her strong Brittan links and with a tip of her toque to National Pancake Day, Johanna create the fabulous galette super-complète – my favorite this to have after coming out of the Odeon theatre on a cold evening. a far more interesting crêpe incarnation by the name of "galette" is an extremely thin pancake made with buckwheat flour (blé noir, sarrasin) which will always have a savoury filling sans exceptions! A glass of cidre is the perfect accompaniment.
1 x Umrühren Bitte by Zorra Flammenkuchen Zorra, a Swiss living in Andalucia, Spain, whipped up a fabulous Alsacian speciality, Flammenkuchen (sounds like flaming kitchen which is what mine was tonight but I digress….) also popular in the nearby German and Swiss region, appropriately. With it origins around 1900, it was in fact a by-product of bread baking: with a small part of the bread dough one tested if the oven has the correct temperature to bake the bread. As the oven was very hot and some flames were still blazing, the round flat dough-cake received his name: Flammenkuchen. So I wasn’t too far off!
Kayak Soup by Linda Provencal beef Daube Linda is teasing us with her gorgeous picture of Provence as it is hailing, raining, snowing and just downright freezing across Europe! Given the weather, Linda was receiving very strong hints about stewed meat so… “lacking a few flavour elements plus the time called for in the recipe, so I created my own twist on it. Of course, I had to serve it with noodles and I rounded out the plate with grilled romaine and Caper-Anchovy aioli”…and toasted with a Beringer Zinfandel, “mostly because that was all we had on the rack and we are 3 days from payday here.” Cheers to that!
Dinner for One by Tschoerda from Austria Far Breton Tschoerda made a prune flan recipe from Brittany -- her first time ever making a flan and her first time deliberately trying out a french recipe! “I never deliberately chose a french recipe because i always found french cuisine way to hard to prepare. maybe i was wrong. the far breton is a delicious dish which is rather simple and yet very rich and opulent. i also decided to drink a wine with the flan and though we have a great tradition of winegrowing here in austria i opened myself a bottle of chateau camp de la val. all in all a divine combination!”
Je Mange la Ville by Michelle Poulet aux Noix “The Rhone-Alps region of France (near Grenoble) of France is walnut growing country, which is reflected in this meal. This leads me to the chicken. Oh my, the chicken. It was so amazingly good but really very simple to prepare. The walnuts soak up chicken juices and garlic and wine and lemon and almost caramelize with flavor. I suggest a baguette for sopping up all the garlicky-chickeny-lemony juices. I also suggest using more than 12 cloves of garlic — hell, use a whole bulb.” That’s my kind of woman!
I Was Just Really Very Hungry by Makiko Itoh Brandade de Morue “a Provençal staple called brandade de morue… hasn't become as trendy around the world as other delicious sauces from this much lauded region such as tapenade or pistou, but is, in my opinion, one of the most delicious tastes in the world. It's possible that brandade de morue is not as renowned because its star ingredient is salt cod. Any seafaring culture has a tradition of heavily salted fish, and since cod has always been a popular fish, there are variations of salted cod everywhere: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and of course France….” The wine? A Provencal rosé of course! “…light and refreshing, to cut through the sometimes intense flavors of the food of the region. Nothing is quite as evocative of summer as a chilled glass of rosé and a meal redolent of olive oil and garlic...”
Vintage Cook by Lucette Quiche Lorraine Thinking healthy, Lucette “made a relatively organic quiche--Organic Valley milk and half and half and Organic Valley butter in the crust. I decided to add cheese, even though a very traditional rendition wouldn't. I used my mother's pie crust recipe, except using all butter instead of half butter/ half Crisco and the New Joy of Cooking's quiche recipe. It tasted wonderful, served with steamed brussel sprouts and a Wolfberger Gewurtztramminer...”
Il Forno by Alberto Tartiflette Our culinary blog hero Alberto cooked up a most beautiful tartiflette. I fist tasted one in the French Alps – not too far from chez Alberto. “Our French neighbours, our "cugini d'oltralpe" –cousins across the Alps– as we call them. There's both love and hate, jealousy and admiration, likeness and envy... on both sides, I like to think. Leafing through Paul Bocuse's French Regional cuisine book, I stumbled on Tartiflette, or Savoy style potatoes, which seemed just perfect for a snowy day like today. The recipe below is a combination of Bocuse's Regional French Cooking and Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook recipe… So here it is, and as Tony B states "there's never too much cheese, bacon or starch”.” Amen to that!
Running with Tweezers by Tami Pissaladiere For Tami’s first Blog Burning, she created the mouth-watering Pissaladiere… “a street or snack food all along the Cote D'Azur, especially in Nice. It is available as a nosh the way pizza is in New York City. It gets its name from pissala, which is a mashed up paste of marinated sardines and anchovies. This paste traditionally makes the topping for pissaladiere.” Editor's note: I LOVE the name of this blog! I reminds me of the Frasier episode when Niles was running through the apartment yelling "I'm running with scissors!"
Too Many Chefs by Meg & Barrett Optionally Vegetarian Poutine Ever the prankster, Barrett decided to “subvert the theme just a little without ignoring it” he found inspiriation “on the Eastern Shore of Canada.. Whatever the origin, poutine is authentically French-Canadian in origin and is great for a bite while watching a Montreal Canadiens game. It's not as sophisticated as coq au vin or duck a l'orange, but when you drop your relatives off in the wilderness, you have to expect their descendents to be a little more roughneck than you.” So true. And to that end, serve “a fine Canadian um, wine. Like Labatt's Blue. We substituted a Goose Island 312 for the Labatt's, but you really do want beer with this dish, not wine. Think of the beer as a "yellow wine", and in the words of the OTHER great French settlement in North America - Laissez le bons temps rouler!" In Canada and New Orleans...!