Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dinner on the Fly!

Somewhere between Indian Summer and today we have slid into Autumn. No complaining, there is something very cozy.....Grey sky, cool mornings, I really love it! I ordered my firewood today, beating the rush. Soon to arrive and be stacked.
I had found some fresh Pave' of Salmon in the market today and thought they'd be lovely on the grill for dinner. I also have been eyeing the new crop of Courge (pumpkin-like squash) at the Ferme de Gally, so I bought a little one. There was a sad eggplant in my vegetable bin along with some onions and a courgette. Dinner was being planned!

Yep, the American in Paris has lit her grill on a soft rainy evening. I'm sure my neighbors chuckle at me, and in December, they downright howl with laughter and point at the crazy neighbor with her Weber Kettle!

I started out making a 'ratatouille' type vegetable stew, but that pumpkin got chopped up and thrown in the pan, I made a Cartouch (a paper circle out of parchment paper) to keep the flavors/steam inside the pan, then found some coconut cream in the pantry. Next, that leftover rice that was in the bottom of the fridge. I reduced the juices from the vegetables and added the coconut cream, checked the seasoning and blended the veg, rice and amazing sauce together. The salmon was grilling happily in the rain, the wine from the September Fete de Vins was poured, family was called to dinner.

It really was one of the dinners that I wished I had invited some company. Next time!

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Gourmet Outing

This past Saturday and Sunday was the Jour de Patrimoine in France. That's National Heritage Day to you and me.

Gary and I headed out towards Giverny to attend the Fete du Patrimoine Gourmand d'Ile-de-France at the Domaine de Villarceax. What a day! Puffy clouds and 65 degrees. We arrived early enough to beat the crowds. On the gorgeous grounds of this Domaine we found locally grown veg. Local beer, cheese and bread!
All things dear to my heart! Everything was Bio, or organic.

Beautiful pumpkins and squash, wonderful fall colors!

They had cooking demonstrations, little Bistros set-up around the grounds, Merguez Sausages cooking on Weber grills (I get a kick out of Weber grills being used in France)

Bread was being baked and consumed on the premises. Someone had
to sample the home-brewed beer and taste some of that lovely
bread and Brie de Meaux!

Since the day was young and everyone (husband) was in a good mood......we headed over to Giverny, just to see if Claude has moved the furniture around. Giverny is a tourist magnet on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and it seemed that landed in the middle of an American Tour bus. The gardens were beautiful as you can see!

We even stopped at a gallery up the street. I found a great painting that I'll be considering.

Yesterday was one of the reasons that I love living in France!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tag, I'm it! My Food Memories

I was tagged by Barbara, at Wino's And Foodies for a new 'meme', called, Childhood Food Memories!
I bet you think because I live in France that I grew up with foie gras and escargot on my morning toast! You are in for a surprise, I was a picky kid. I never wanted to eat at anybody else's house but my mom's and grandma's!
My mom made some great home-cooked meals! Whenever I need comfort food, I go back to beef stew, meat loaf, BBQ'd chicken, all those great meals from mom!

Get ready to go on trip down memory lane with me!

1) Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks
One of my favorite meals was served on a Friday! Remember those 'Fish on Friday' days? We would have Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks, french fries, lots of ketchup and Mott's apple sauce. That was always a treat for me! (I think this applesauce gene was passed to Clay. It was Compote de Pomme that he loved, but no meal was complete for Clay without 'SAUCE')

2) Velveeta Cheese Sandwiches on White Bread!
Another childhood favorite is Velveeta cheese sandwiches. Thick slices of Velveeta on white bread with lashings of Miracle Whip on top. Sometimes, when I was feeling creative, I would crunch up some potato chips on top, other days there might be some sweet-pickle slices on top of the cheese. (do you think I can demo this at my next cooking class?)

3) White Castle Hamburgers

Come on now folks, you have to recognize this fellow! This Belly Bomber, or Slider is from White Castle Hamburgers. We lived in Dayton and would drive to Cincy to see Grandma and Grandpa on Sundays......My dad would always time the arrival around lunch, so we could brings sacks of White Castles to eat for lunch. I could eat 4, and my sisters and I always knew how many we ordered and would have to have the correct amount of boxes of hamburgers in front of us before we would start to eat. (I had such fun introducing Clay, my Paris born son, to the joys of a Belly Bomber)

4) Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

No special evening was complete without what my mom would call a Party! Vanilla Ice Cream and Hershey's Syrup poured on top. I would let the ice cream melt down a little and then mix it together, this was my Party! Hey, life was easy back then! You can imagine how happy I was to find Hershey's Syrup in my local Auchon in Plaisir!

5) Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Country Gravy!

Ok......this is my favorite memory. Plus, it is one of the first things I learned how to cook when I moved to Dallas to fly for Braniff. Fried Chicken!! My mom always prepared this, but it seems as we got older, while in High School, my dad would make the chicken, and mom was in charge of the potatoes and gravy!! Dad did like to cook and had his favorites of things he liked to prepare.
We always had to have mashed potatoes and lots of Cream gravy with the chicken! Green beans on the side with a spoonful of bacon grease for flavor. This was real living.
To this day, when I want comfort food and on a chilly fall evening, I prepare this meal!

Now you know what shaped me! What great food memories I have.

Now....Who shall I tag?

Nic, from BakingSheet
Dr. Biggles, from Meathenge
Shuna, from Eggbeater
I'm interested in what food shaped these guys & gals. This trio makes for some very inspiring reading in the world of Bloggs!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Playing with Dough

Mediterranean Bread Class is looming next week. The ovens have been cleaned, the windows are washed.....the ladies are coming!
It is also time for me to play with dough! My favorite part, really!

I've used a simple Baguette Dough and shaped it into a Fougasse. The Fougasse is a French bread, shaped like a leaf and studded with olives, lardons or with what ever. The region speciality dictates what the Fougasse will have on it. Clay and I had a fantastic Fougasse in the Vosges Mountains near Strasbourg, this one was laden with Munster Cheese and lardons.....delicious! The one I made has green olives (no black olives in the pantry) and some of my Brushcetta spice mix.

I've also shaped some hamburger buns (turkey burgers for dinner) and made a Calzone-style bread. This guy is stuffed with some mozzarella and folded the dough over, and baked for lunch.
The breads above are on the final rise before the oven.

I have brushed them with olive oil and will pull out about 6 minutes into the baking, turn the baking sheets and brush again. The buns, when cooled will be put into a ziplock bag with a cotton tea towel to sweat and soften a bit.

Finished Fougasse and oozing cheese bread, yum!