There was a message from my friend, to my brother, to my sister in law, to my mother, to me:
"Tell Corey to come over, I have a recipe I want to try, how about Sunday around 10."
Staying at my Mother's home means good food, constant family, no TV, no answering machine, no internet... almost out of touch except for the word of mouth and if you hear the phone ring.
Judy was one of my seventh grade teachers, we became friends when I grew up. A few months ago she came to visit us in France. I love her home, her style and her honesty.
Judy found a recipe in the newspaper she said, "It has caramelized Onions, Cranberries, Roquefort..." my mouth watered, "Need not say more."
Gathering the ingredients we talked between snippents of thyme, spoons of sugar and pinches of cranberries only to tear up when we sliced onions thinly.
Roquefort Tartines with Shallot-Cranberry Confit
2 T unsalted butter
4 Shallots halved and thinly sliced
1 medium onions thinly sliced
A half of a cup of dried cranberries
1 t of fresh thyme leaves
2 t sugar
2 T Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
A fourth of a cup warm water
a half of a teaspoon of salt
a fourth of a teaspoon of pepper
One baguette cut in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices.
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 or five ounces of Roquefort cheese
Fresh thyme to garnish.
Preheat oven 350
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, onions, cranberries and thyme cover and let until the shallots and onions are soft and begin to carmelize (10 minutes +). Stir in the sugar; cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, warm water, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stir when need be, until liquid has evaporated and mixture is golden brown.
Brush the sliced baguette on one side with olive oil; arrange with oil side up, on a sheet pan and bake until golden around the edges, about ten minutes.
Spread some Roquefort (or soft goat cheese) over each crostini. Top with some shallot-cranberry confit, garnish and serve.
We made them.
My mom does during: Halloween and Christmas, and has as long as I can remember.
Hers are the best.
Not too sugary, not soggy, perfect crunch.
My mom spends time with the details: Only butter, warm the bowl, take out the unpopped kernels that she calls, "Dead Heads", and make them no larger than two handful.
Where is a photo of the finished product?
If you had a choice of taking a photo of a popcorn ball or eating one what would you do?
Pear, Roquefort, Walnut and Celery Tart
For the best ice cream in France
New twist to St. Moret, a classic French cheese.
When you open the package it looks like this. "Too pretty to eat!" Is what Ruth our friend said today at lunch.
I thought it looked like a dessert.
I get a kick out of going to the grocery store, finding a new product, or new to me that is, coming home, trying it, falling in love and then thinking to myself, "What else is hiding in the grocery store waiting for me to discover it?" It is like playing hide-n-seek.
What is one of yours?
A little wine tour is what we set out to do. Chateauneuf du Pape is not far from Carpentras where the brocante I love to go to is at. Though when I am at the brocante red wine, even in such a dream place as Chateauneuf du pape, is the last thing I think about.
Today might have caused a change of habit... well let's just say after a morning at the brocante I might start going wine tasting, er um discovering wine that is:
Our first stop was Chateau la Nerthe.
I could have stayed there.
and been happy ever after.
A little tour anywhere in Provence will show you olive trees, stone walls, ancient ruins, vineyards... beauty.
And I never grow tired of being shown such.
We were fortunate to taste a 1984 bottle at Chateau la Nerthe. I like to entertain the thought that they sensed I appreciated old things.
On the grounds of my Nerthe...
A stone tower.
One door leading in.
Via Chateau le Nerthe,
"The moment the harvest arrives in the cellar it is sorted on a conveyor belt - always by hand - in order to eliminate the grapes that are either not ripe enough or spoiled. The whole of the harvest is stemmed, then undergoes a second sorting to eliminate any leaves or debris.
Then the grape varieties that are particularly complimentary are mixed together in a vat where the fermentation will take place.
Several successive tastings will help determine the best moment for the devatting: the free run wine is then drawn off by gravity and poured into vats for the malolactic fermentation. It is in this way that the wine will begin to evolve either in 16th century stone tanks, or in some cases, in large wood barrels."
Was our second stop after lunch.
French Husband, Vlad and Denise carried a lively conversation with the owner.
I twirled, breathed in, thought of flavors that spoke of fruits, swished the wine in my mouth and drank.
Falling in love with wine tasting.
"Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, is the family background, the heart, but also the flag bearer, the flagship Vineyards Brunier. Located since its origin in the plateau of La Crau, South East Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, the vineyard has grown, developed and matured on this huge gravel terrace giving it its character, generation after generation. Of the 70 acres that make up the area today, 65 are dedicated to Châteauneuf du Pape red and 5 white. Only 4 wines are produced: Old red and white Telegraph, from the oldest and most complex wines vineyards, and Red and White Telegram, representing the second Vineyards wines Brunier AOC Chateauneuf du Pape. The cellars are located on the highest point, but 2 km to the south, at the foot of the plateau, at a place called The Pigeoulet, where it was more natural to dig into the rock formation to create the cellars , and enjoy the soil cutting for gravity delivery of harvests. For over a century, the Brunier family product in these places Chateauneuf du Pape red and white strongly influenced by their terroir wall behind which it can protect its vintages assaults of modernity excessive." Via Lavinia
What do you prefer?
Coffee with a shot of Kahlua
I prefer red.
From the descriptive words used by the wine makers it seems I prefer wines that are:
Feminine and gourmandise.
Gourmandise sounds better in French then Gluttony in English.
So much goodness in one day.
"Le Clos du Caillou is ideally located in the municipality of Courthézon. It consists of 44 hectares in Côtes du Rhône, and 9 ha in Châteauneuf du Pape. Le Clos has the distinction of being located on the edge with the appellation Châteauneuf du Pape." via Le Clos du Caillou.
"The Clos du Caillou , run with passion by Sylvie Vacheron, is a winery located in the municipality of Courthézon, and spans 53 hectares appellations Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du pape . The vineyards of Clos du Caillou enjoys an exceptional soil composed mainly of pebbles and sand filters. Vineyards Clos du Caillou are worked in accordance with nature: organic fertilizers and composts, regular plowing without use of herbicides, handpicking. Rigor that allows the field of Clos du Caillou get impeccable quality of grapes and develop some of the best nectars of the Southern Rhône Valley." Via 1 day I wine
Chelsea came home for the weekend to celebrate a family wedding, we met her at the train station and then headed towards our friend's restaurant "Les Bars du Moment" for lunch.
Of course the photos I took have nothing to do with what we had, or the order. I wasn't thinking blog instead I was too busy talking and enjoying the moment. It was later when we were home that I kicked myself for not taking a photo of the lasagna.
Patrice's (that is a masculine name in France) restaurant was full of local color, talk and homemade cooking. If you like to go to places that are hidden way and not talked about in guide books, have French homecooking for a good price... this is it.
Les Bars du Moment is a casual place, note Chelsea's hair tied up with a white rubber band? Chelsea brought some magazine's for her "Papa" one was on Real Estate in Paris and the other on Flying. The two of them jumped right in, like the golden days before cell phones.
We ordered the same thing, goat cheese pumpkin lasagna and a green salad.
The lasagna was delicious Patrice asked me to guess how he made it. I was 99 percent right, but the 1 percent that I did not know made all the difference in the world. The unique flavor, the haunting yet married well taste was Patrice' secret touch:
Such an incredible embodiment of flavor. Tea cooked pasta: I wonder if Marco Polo with his travel to China ever cooked his pasta in tea?
I am o going to try this... better yet ask Patrice for his recipe, don't you agree? Have you ever cooked anything with tea?
Patrice photo bombed Chelsea's photo bomb of my wanted photo. And yet it is better than I had aimed for.
Patrice is a one man show in his restaurant, entertaining and genuine.
Une Noisette: an espresso with a tad of steamed milk.
We also had tarte tatin that was flawless.
Now I wonder if I will fit in the dress for tomorrow's wedding?
Nathalie and Patrice are our neighbors, though their business is in Marseille.
A cafe/restaurant: Les Bars du Moment
19 rue du Docteur Escat,
They are open Monday through Saturday,
Seven to Four.
Even if you don't speak a word of French you will feel like you are their new BFF in the first five minutes. They are salt of the earth kind of people.
For years I never understood the adoration for creme brulee. It amazed me how friends and family alike often asked for creme brulee, instead of any of the other beautiful desserts on a restaurant's menu.
Burnt cream? What was the attraction?
Small glazed terra cotta pots with a couple of spoonfuls of chilled cooked cream, spoonfuls of sugar sprinkled on top, and then often blow torched to melt and harden the sugar.
I had heard that if you tapped your spoon on the harden sugar and it makes a hearty crack then it is a sign that it is a "good" creme brulee.
I rarely heard a crack.
Besides, creme brulee isn't the beauty queen of French desserts.
Food porn is visual n'est pas?
There is a small restaurant near where I live that is a fav of mine. Of course if you know me and have read my blog I have many fav restaurants here in France. I am faithful to good cooks who offer a lovely meal at a reasonable price. Brocante and food are a good enough reason to for me to go anywhere.
La Table en Provence in Saint Maximin does just that.
Family owned. Reservations a must. Undeniable clever cuisine.
And their creme brulee... has me dumbfounded. I dream about it, literally dream about it.
Amazingly one of the best things I have ever tasted.
Honey lavender ice cream frozen solid. Taken from the freezer, sugar added, grilled golden and served.
Love on a dish.
Like OHMYGOD this is worth every calorie.
The taste of yum.
Unreal happiness in a spoon.
Am I makig myself clear? Delicious.
When something taste good one tends to eat slowly, but when there isn't a taste or very little of it, people tend to eat more in search for it.
I asked the owners if I could one day I could come around four in the afternoon, a traditional hour for a tea or coffee break. They said of course. I think they saw how desperate I was.
If ever you come to my neck of the woods, Lavender Honey Ice Cream Brulee is in order.
The taste of yum.
A French affair started with lunch.
The table was set with care, and thought to detail.
A heart on top of a bowl of gazpacho.
Tossed green salad
flavored with dill and roasted walnuts,
well mixed conversation
spiced with humor and tease.
faded lavender with a vibrant fragrance.
Without thought of who, what or where...
Lunch is a French affair...
Caramelized onions layers with thinly sliced potatoes and cheese,
then baked in a cast iron skillet.
Another recipe to put in my pocket.
The dill and roasted walnut salad slide in next to it.
Mingled taste gave way to,
Silver forks, knives and spoons.
Lunch in Provence:
With French Husband, Cheryl, Vlad and Denise.
Home made panna cotta with roasted fresh apricots with honey rosemary glaze.
By far one of the best dessert I have ever had.
And I do not like panna cotta... until today.
A French affair means untold delights in the unexpected.
I begged Denise for her recipes!
The kitchen goddess,
the bearer of rich taste,
the recipe holder
my friend from blogging: Denise.
(Sorry no photo of Vlad ...)
What did you have for lunch today.
Merci Vlad and Denise for the lovely lunch today.
From the local producer down the road, zucchini blossoms with tiny zucchinis... maybe a few hours old, cause those of you who have ever grown a garden know that zucchini grow at rocket speed.
The producer Michel, grows eerything organically. He has fields for gardens, plus olive trees and orchards. If you buy one or two pounds of anything it is one price, but if you buy five pounds or more it is basically a giveaway.
Carrying it back home is the challenge.
I roasted cherry tomatoes with garlic and marjolaine (oregano in English) that I picked in the hillside nearby our home. The aroma was summer defined.
I mixed the roasted tomates with pasta.
The colors of Provence can be described by that which grows under the blue sky during summer:
and of course the sea.
I cannot get enough of this 1700s boutis in my friend's shop.
My dare to wear color.
Threw in my black.
I cut the sleeves and hem, and took in the sides.
I have learned from Annie that anything can be transformed.
comes in pale blue, pink and salmon.
I figured if I was going to wear color... go bold. I must admit I felt self conscious all day long.
Grilled Zucchini Blossoms
Coat a hot skillet with olive oil
Gently place the zucchini blossoms in the pan
lightly heat on each side (a minute or two)
add nutmeg and a splash of cognac.
Heat another minute.
Salt as needed.
Served on the side of the pasta dish.
What is your favorite summer dish? And summer color?