Sunday, March 30, 2008

Le Creuset (of America)

Satisfaction: Guaranteed! Lifetime Warranty!
Do you see that written and smirk? Think to your self, yeah RIGHT! Do you keep your receipt, just in case?

Well, my precious blue dutch oven, bought about 30 years ago and used, at least once a week, started to get chips in the bottom of the pan. I thought, lifetime warranty, well, I'll give it a try. In October, while still living in France, I wanted to buy my bearded baby his
first Le Creuset pot. I love going up to the (real) factory store, and my time in France was running out.

I threw my dutch oven in the trunk, thinking that they might be able to do a repair, or....better yet, exchange for a sparkling new one. The lady in the store told me that I should not use the pan anymore, the raw cast iron would leach out into our foods. And, she informed me, no, they don't honor the lifetime warranty if I bought my pot in the USA. So, I bought a new one. The Caribbean Blue took my eye, and I bought my son a blue one.

I decided to pack up my chipped pan in our move and bring her back to America to see if Le Creuset of America would honor the warranty. The lady on the phone told me that I needed a number to include on the packing. I sent it UPS.....didn't cost much, I included a letter and I certainly didn't have the receipt from 30 years ago. No big deal! They determine if the problem was theirs or if I caused the problem. If I caused the problem, I would be offered a discount on another pot, if I wanted. Well......time would tell what they thought!

Well, look what came in the mail. A GORGEOUS brand new dutch oven. Not only is the pan worth it's weight (yep, they are heavy) in enameled gold! The company stands up for the product!

Now, I'm not 'dissing' the French Factory Store, they are very helpful and informative. They try to have the pot in the color you are looking for if you call in advance......the prices are well worth the 2 1/2 hour drive north of Paris! I'm just happy that at the end of the day, satisfaction guarantee, and Lifetime Warranty do mean, just that. Now I can have two dutch ovens bubbling away on my hob!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A trip to the farm......

Trying to have a little fun in between unpacking, shopping and a daily trip to Lowes, the old man and I signed up for another cooking class! We stumbled on this little place in Midway called, The Honest Farm, one Sunday afternoon.
We walked inside to find a very charming, quaint, big open space. There were some farm veggies to buy, a cold display with homemade yummies like chicken salads, pot pies.....homemade cookies etc. Interesting decor, with a big pot of coffee and tea at the ready.
It seemed like a natural thing to sit down on the great little bistro tables and have a 'cuppa' and a bite of something sweet. The table cloths were wonderful antique cloths that I love and have bought myself on trips 'back home' when we lived in France.
When we got home, I did an internet search on the owner and found that she was a cookbook author, magazine editor, and farmer. What a FIND!! She said she gave cooking classes, and I figured that this was a must on my 'to do' list.

(click on the photo for a great view)

Susie prepared a fantastic brisket, kofta and a wonderful rhubarb upside-down cake. There was also an asperge and egg salad dressed with a simple Vinaigrette. I have to admit, I never liked rhubarb and have avoided it at all costs. Even pulling it out of my garden in France! But, after tasting this cake, I might start to experiment with it! Plus the cake itself was indeed a winner! The class is BYOB and we drink out of Ball just adds to the charm. We learned so much, as Susie is very passionate and has great stories to share, along with the cooking demo. There was a copious tasting, I'd call dinner, after the demo. I can't wait till Spring comes and she gets her farm planted and we can start eating fresh veggies!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Basic Food for Dinner

I found some ground lamb at the grocery......although, I'm having a hard time finding cuts of lamb other than chops (the search for a good butcher is on). The blizzard has passed and we shoveled the snow off the WeberQ. I wanted to cook up an old favorite, Goat Cheese Stuffed Lamb burgers. I had the Goat Cheese already in the fridge. I just needed a 'side' to go with the burgers and green salad.

Enter: Culinary in the Desert and Joe!

Sometimes you just need to take a look at the other blogs and see what 'those guys' are eating! Joe always has something wonderful to chose from, he updates daily! His Four Cheese Mac-n-Cauliflower Cheese looked great, and gave me another excuse to feed the 'Bearded Baby' some veggies!

Bubbling hot from the oven, I knew this was a winner. Check out the link to the recipe at Joe's Blog!

(there is another lamb patty that goes on top of the goat cheese!)

The lamb burgers were great, even with the Goat Cheese (I'm not complaining about American products, I swear!!). The Red Pepper Mayo is another great recipe from a BBQ class I used to teach. This will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

The lesson for today......check out the blogs for some great dinner ideas!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Urge to Bake

Since I'm just about unpacked and feeling as settled as can be right now......I have had the urge to get back into the kitchen and see if I still 'have it'!
I really haven't done any baking since leaving France, and if you remember I took a couple of classes at Le Notre right before we started packing.
I always think I'll remember each and every thing that the chef tells us (during the class), and I don't always write things down. Well, I got my notes out for the Macaron class and 'damn'.....I didn't remember each and every thing after all. I continued on with each step and 'it' came back. From the triple baking trays, to the twist and turn, and the 2 hour wait before you garnish with ganche!
Note to self: Write everything down, keep your camera next to your station during each class!
I was pleased and relieved that I can still bake in KY.

(click on the photo for a better view)

I found some fresh yeast at my local Kroger that produced a lovely pizza and a 'garlic flat bread'.
I still love Roberto Donna's recipe! My cannele's turned out delish! And my trusty Simac Ice Cream Maker churned out some great coconut ice cream for a 20 year old on spring break. If I can still fit into my yoga clothes, I've got to get started again.
Best wishes from Kentucky!