Monday, May 30, 2005

Wine Class -- Summer Wines

Today I cooked for the Summer Edition of our Wine and Food Pairing series.
The great thing is, I cook one dish for the class (enough for a tasting for each person) and then get to participate (taste!) for free. The wine expert is my neighbor, who I have mentioned before.
I prepared my Ratatouille Tart with Tapenade Crust. This tart is a always a big hit. I'll post the recipe later. The Tapenade crust isn't visually appealing, but is delicious. It is a very easy dough to work with, due to the olive oil in the Tapenade. A real silky feel when rolling out!
What you are looking at is the tart fresh from the oven, with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese that will start to melt and ooze gently, topped with some basil.

We had quite a selection of wines today. Plus, to spice matters up, and since this is the last wine class of our season, our hostess had a Blind Tasting for us! I did pretty good at my guessing.
My favorite today was a Chateau de Roquefort Corail 2003. She also served a Domaine du Vissoux Les Garants 2003 that I fell in love with.
Young, fresh wines!

To top it all off we had a tasting of Goat and Sheep cheeses. Both in season at the moment. The cheese platter was dressed with some fresh cherries and fresh almonds.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

'It' happens!

Sometimes my best dinner-time creations are created on the fly!
I had nothing planned for Sunday dinner, it was just Clay and me. Digging around in the freezer netted some Chorizo that I hand-carried back on the EuroStar. My old stomping ground of M&S is where I found those sausages, RIGHT in the train station in London, ready to bring back with me to Paris.
I had bought some Bonnotte potatoes a few days back and they needed to be cooked......A green pepper was lurking on the counter from pre-prep for a wine-class I'm cooking for tomorrow.....Dinner was happening!

A chorizo stew with fresh thyme and sage from the garden. Along with a hunk of cornbread, a southern recipe that was sweet! Yes, you are right, there is something missing in the finished dinner.....Some herbs to dress the finished product. Sorry, I just didn't think, we were hungry.
Anyway, it was delicious.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The 'Dish' Arrived yesterday!

Here is my recipe for a perfect afternoon!
  1. Sit outside on a sunny spring day
  2. A glass of joli Sancerre from your local 'Cave'.
  3. And the first edition of the 'Digital Dish'.
Can you feel the relaxing vibes? Ahhhhh!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

English Muffin Wednesday

I bought some fresh yeast this past Friday, remember when I went to buy some lard for the tortillas I've been meaning to make. Since Lard has a very long shelf life, I will get to those tortillas soon! I promise.

No fresh bread in the house, to lazy to walk to the Boulangerie and with a stash of fresh yeast means that I start to search through my favorite bread recipes. I stumbled on an old standby, English Muffins.
Pretty easy prep, one rise, a quick shape and a bench rise of about 30 minutes and I'm on my way to fresh baked heaven.

I use a crepe pan to cook my muffins, I don't have a griddle.
Hmmmmmm......Should I put that on my list?
After the muffins are firm to the touch (Not on the top of the muffin, but on the sides. It is slow process and the muffins will 'tell' you when they are cooking too fast) they will finish 'steaming' in a ziplock with a nice clean cotton dish towel. I'll freeze some and toast the rest during the week.

I'll post the recipe, but I'm using a "King Arthur" I swiped off the 'net. Substituting 20g's of fresh yeast instead of the yeast they use.

I love the taste of the muffins, toasted with unsalted butter and some Poire with Vanilla Confiture from the Ferme de Gally.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Another visit with The Star!

Back in the kitchen of that 'star'd' chef. This time for a Saturday demo. He went to the market on Avenue President Wilson and shopped for the dishes that he would demonstrate for us.

Fresh baby veg, cut razor thin on a Japanese mandolin, then, soaked in ice water before preparing each veg individually, just till tender. Finally bringing the veg together in a thyme butter. Lets not forget the little Langoustine that was perfectly perched on top of this spring-time dish!

Below is a gathering of simple teenie-tiny Amandine Potatoes with caramelized baby onions. The two never meet while cooking, always in a separate pan. They find each other only for a quick toss before 'plating'.
Fresh Coppa ham, again, thinly sliced, as if by a razor, tops the dish. As always, finished with a gorgeous nut oil.
He wanted to show us the delightful marriage of hot & cold, bringing out each others best tastes!

Little shots of Asian inspired Sorbet. The creamiest sorbet, with a background heat of some 'birds-eye' chili.

There is now a two month wait for dinner rez with this young Star. And to think, we hang out in the kitchen with him.

He has given us another date for a 'lesson' in September. Can't wait till then!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Mom's Day

What can I say, I'm darned proud! No...Not that my 17 year old is handling a 'cool-french-one', but he is making me a Mothers Day dinner! From scratch! We went to the Librarie Gourmande a few years back. They have a rack of little books, in French, that were 'francs' a piece! He picked up several. I can't say no, will improve his French. His favorite subject, BTW (hahahaha!). NOT!

One of the books he picked up was a Mexican, I call it French-Mex.
My young man is preparing Chimichanga, rice, salsa and Onion Rings. Below is the Beer Batter for the rings.

Paprika, cumin are just a few of the seasonings that will coat the 'rings'. (On the cooling rack is a ciabatta, it turned out pretty good, but I didn't let the starter ferment long enough, just between you and me)

Finished product! It was really great! I must admit the onion rings were divine! Salsa, rustic and chunky and the 'chimi's' were delish, chicken and mushroom plus the regular mexi-spices!
I just read Nic's latest blog-entry and am on my way NOW, for a hunk of Lard from my local Auchan to make a batch of tortillas.

Bonne Weekend, Mes Amis!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Spring-Time Grillin'

I really hope this photo speaks for itself!
A gentle massage of olive oil, liberal shakes of a seasoning blend and some Smoked Salt.
Indirect heat.......on my Weber Kettle.

A fresh baguette- pas trop cuit- a hunk of Gouda and a chilled Rose'.
Simple spring supper on a Saturday Night!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"Copper Town"

Anybody that loves to cook, anybody that loves to peruse the catalogues or culinary shops will recognize the name in the photo!
Just three short hours drive west of Paris is the Mecca of all things copper! The Mauvial Factory shop. They have it ALL and at great prices. Better than the cooking shops in Les Halles area, and certainly much cheaper than U.S. prices.
It is a long drive, but beautiful this time of year. Heading deep into Normandy all the apple and pear trees are in full bloom. The dairy cows are lounging in the fields. It is a pleasant outing. Whatever road-fatigue that you feel suddenly vanishes when you pull into the town of Villedieu-Les-Poeles. Or, as I call it, Copper Town!

The town is devoted to nothin' but Copper Pots and Bells! This little town produces church Bells that are sent all around the world.

The Atelier above has some nice 'arty' pieces of copper, plus some silver items.
Copper town is worth the drive!