Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Creating Memories!

Back from a quick visit with my son in college. It was a marathon visit--- shopping (the sales), movies (5 in 7 days), hockey games---celebrating a birthday......and....Thanksgiving!

The college started to empty out on Tuesday afternoon. I watched moms in velour track suits assist their student carrying large hampers filled with dirty clothes. There were a handful of kids that were taking off for home late, so the dining hall was open. My son invited me to join him for dinner. I was looking forward to this experience.....I read an article in CNN about the trend for some colleges to cook from local suppliers and his college was mentioned. My expectations were high, needless to say. I ordered the nightly special which included a selection of veg. I choose broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables. I ate the meal, it was tasty, then tried the broccoli.....it was horrible! This did not taste of any vegetable I ever met. If you wanted kids to get turned-on by broccoli, this was not the way to do it!

After dinner he joined me in the hotel.....thoughts of Thanksgiving food and where to go filled my head. I really don't like restaurants for a Holiday meal.....I had some recommendations, but I remembered that there was a full kitchen on his floor and I thought voila! An empty kitchen on a holiday needed to be filled with love and food! This was also a great opportunity to teach my son how to roast a 'bird'. Not a Turkey, but a Cornish Hen and some much needed vegetables!

The Hall appeared to be empty, just like the college, it is strange to be in an institution usually buzzing with life, but that afternoon wonderful smells filled that kitchen. Even though it was silent, we gabbed and ate.....and it was one of the best holidays I have spent!
Despite the plastic and paper.....no wine.....we supped heartily and I enjoyed teaching my bearded baby another notch in his culinary repertoire.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ciabatta Bread

Yup, more bread! Biga in action.....look at those gluten strands as this wet, unruly dough gets dumped on the table! With some gentle handling it gets slipped onto the baking sheet.....
After baking, it looks just like 'grandma's' slippers'.

This bread makes fantastic garlic bread!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cold Weather Grilling

Normal fall weather here in France. Frosty-n- foggy mornings sometimes turn into a clear sunny day. Straight from back-to-back cooking class.....Gastropub Class......the 'old man' decided, late yesterday afternoon, to cook dinner for me!

Fall Table Setting for the Gastropub Class

He suggested Grilled Steak, big baked potatoes and a vegetable from the Ferme de Gally. I agreed to let him cook! Actually, his menu sounded great!
We stopped at the Ferme and found some beautiful bulbous Fennel (I was taking over this part of dinner). I thought they'd be great par-boiled till just tender and finished in a quick butter saute'......lookin' good, huh?

Then after stopping at the Ferme, we stopped at the butcher in the 'old' part of town. You will never leave your butcher or vegetable stand in France without a recipe or wise words of wisdom. I asked the young butcher for a suggestion for the BBQ Grill. Yes simple question, really! The butcher pointed outside and said 'you can't BBQ in the winter'!!!!
The 'old man' countered with 'We BBQ ALL winter long'....

Once this fact was settled, he picked out a nice steak, cut to our desired thickness and then he shared a quick grilling tip. The French like their steak on the bleu side.....
We smiled and left the shop holding the door open for a little old lady. I'm sure our butcher will be telling her all about the crazy Americans who just left the shop!

Grilling by the light of the moon.....and the small spotlight courtesy Target. It sheds just enough light to grill all winter long!