Baby Beef

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My husband loves the old fashioned American diners that you can still find on the East coast.  Nothing like the hamburger joint in Pulp Fiction, way too upscale, but he likes the ones with meat loaf, roast beef specials and enormous breakfasts that include pancakes with eggs, bacon, home fries, buttered (margarine) toast and jam.  He’s not obese and no more than middle age overweight, but it’s a good thing he got that new valve.

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Anyway.  Our house is a mess.  Our things from Germany haven’t arrived yet but we already had a house full of thousands of pounds of boxed household effects that have been stored for decades.  In those boxes, somewhere, is a ridiculous amount of cooking pots, pans, cooking utensils (mine and my mother-in-law’s), etc.  This, plus the stuff coming from Germany, is more than anyone would need in a lifetime, so I must unpack the boxes in order to cook anything worth while instead of going out and buying more things.  I’ve been unpacking unenthusiastically and slowly.

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We’ve had breakfast in a diner at least 5 times since I arrived on August 5th and on August 17th, my husband’s birthday, he wanted another early morning blow out.  There are several diner-like places in the small town of  Honesdale, Pennsylvania where you can get breakfast and my husband has tried them all.  On the outside of one of his favorites, and the one he chose for his birthday breakfast feast, is a sign that says “Baby beef liver.”  I was curious.

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We ordered our meals and I asked the very friendly, very efficient waitress if the sign was a cute way of saying veal.  No, she said and explained to us very carefully and patiently that, like the pork cuts of ham and bacon, beef also has a cut called veal and that it is located somewhere near the shank of the cow.  Baby beef, she said a bit sadly, comes from cow babies.

I nodded, kept my head down and refused to look at my husband because even though he looks like a really nice, sweet, leprechaun kind of a guy, he’s bad to the bone and would have made me laugh out loud, embarrassing the nice lady and probably getting me barred from the diner for life.

There are two things that are puzzling if not appalling about this:  1)  Honesdale is a farming community and livestock is common.  2)  What in the world does the Wayne County education system require for a child to graduate from high school?!  We discussed this for hours, giggling over several glasses of Prosecco in the privacy of our own home, while wondering if we should home school Jade.

I haven’t figured out the light in the kitchen yet and my tripod doesn’t arrive until Tuesday but I really wanted to start posting from Honesdale.  The light situation could be caused by the glare from the enormous stainless steel refrigerator.  I’ll try covering it with a sheet. The out of focus pictures are caused by the trembling hands of the aged.  Tripod.

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The Farmer’s Market here in Honesdale is somewhat of a disappointment.  It’s like they moved those roadside vegetable and fruit stands to a parking lot.  Not a big selection but I did find those beets and some lovely wax beans.  I made a salad with the beans.  The plate is hand painted from Austria and was the first set of dishes I owned before my marriage 38  years ago.

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The butcher didn’t have baby beef flanken ribs but did have some from mature adults.  I rubbed the ribs with my Bavarian Essence, refrigerated them for about 6 hours and then grilled.  The salad was a mixture of steamed wax beans, drained and rinsed canned pinto beans, sliced scallion, roasted red pepper, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

I’m Back! Sort of…

 

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Beets.  In Pennsylvania.  New computer arrived today.  Still awaiting tripod and the airfreight that it’s in.  Can’t wait to get some time to see your posts and to respond to your comments.  I’ve got this great post coming up called “Baby Beef”.  You definitely have to hear this story :D

Posted in American, Food and Wine | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

The Camera Battery Situation

IMG_6611bOkay, long story short, I packed my battery charger in the airfreight.  When I took these pictures I had one black, blinking block showing on the camera.  Lord have mercy!  It’s not fun to take pictures when you’re stressing over the possibility of camera blackout.  Anyway.

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Finding it impossible to stop shopping, even though I’m leaving on Tuesday, I bought four pretty red mullets from Steve at the fishmonger.  I told him I wanted to stuff them but wanted him to cut them up the belly, instead along the back, his preferred cut for stuffing. Really, the French can be so stubborn!  With people queuing in a long line behind, we had this snarling argument about the “correct” method of cutting fish for stuffing.  Of course he did it like I asked but couldn’t stop mumbling under his breath, probably making snide, anti-American comments the whole time he was preparing the fish.  It didn’t help that I made snide comments aloud at the same time :p

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In addition, I bought some enormous, yellow chicken legs for baking using the sel fou and pepper overnight marinade, then flour coating and baked in butter method.

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Just think about it.  You can have crispy, succulent chicken without the deep fat frying as long as you use butter in the baking pan.  It’s frugal, Frugal and the just plain good!

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I was supposed to make a cauliflower/yam gratin but ran out of steam between selling the car, controlling the dog and drinking wine.  Anyway, the fish entree was pretty filling, so I just steamed some yams and left it at that. No one complained.

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Okay, seriously this time, I’ll see you in Pennsylvania.

Red Mullet Stuffed with Aubergine (Inspiration French Saveurs Magazine: July-August 2014)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 aubergine, cut into small dice

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

4 largish red mullet, gutted and boned

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Cook the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute, add the aubergine and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the flame, stir in the basil and allow to cool.

Stuff the mullet with the cooled aubergine mixture, tie with kitchen string, season with salt and pepper, then brown in the hot olive oil for about 4 minutes per side.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Fame

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Small towns are wonderful!  Move to one and you’re sure to get your “15 minutes of fame.” On Monday I was interviewed by Olivier Richard, a courteous and clever journalist for our regional newspaper L’Yonne Republicaine.  By Wednesday morning, my picture was on the front page of the newspaper and the buzz at all the cafes in town was about me, my name on everyone’s lips :-D   M. Parret’s picture was also featured in the main, almost full page article on page 8. He was standing in the kitchen while the journalist was taking pictures and just sort of eased in :)

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Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk me cooking :)

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Normally the fresh bean season is late August-early September.  I’m leaving in a few days and was just bemoaning the fact that I wouldn’t be here when the beans came out.

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Lo and behold, there were some early Coco beans at my favorite vegetable stand on Monday!  Yeah, baby!  Just in time for my birthday!  Plump and firm with creamy interiors, fresh beans can not be compared to canned or dry beans.  Fresh coco or mogette beans are in a league of their own.  I’m really, really going to miss them.

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I gathered up the usual suspects, including a handful of very sad looking cherry tomatoes that were happy to partner with a seeded, normal tomato and the beans.

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Really, you don’t need anything else but a bowl of these beans and perhaps a slice or two of baguette.  However, the American in me just won’t leave well enough alone.

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And if it’s lamb chops, the sin of gluttony is not considered deadly :D  Season with salt and pepper, quickly sear and add herbed butter.

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See you guys next in Pennsylvania where I’ll probably lose weight.  Unintentionally.

Coco de Paimpol Beans

1/2 cup lardons or diced bacon

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, slivered

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 normal tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2-3 cups of shelled fresh coco beans

3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Brown the lardons, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the onion and garlic to the fat in the skillet and cook until the onion is soft.  Add the tomatoes and herbs, then cook for a minute or two.  Add the beans, lardons, broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 50-55 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

United Airlines Disrespects Quincy

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Today my husband left Stuttgart for Frankfurt and after a layover of 5 hours, onward travel to Dulles Airport in Washingon, D.C. with our cats; Bandit(epileptic) in the cabin and Quincy in baggage.  We decided not to drug Quincy because, although he is a fraidy cat, he is 7 years old and we didn’t want to risk it.

This afternoon I was contacted by Lufthansa Airlines about Quincy who had not been picked up at the baggage claim.  The airline representative told me that United refused to accept Quincy unless the owner personally presented the cat at United check-in.  Of course I was incredulous after all the time we spent on the phone with the United “Pet Safe” people, who neglected to inform us that we must claim the cat and then check it in with United.  My husband, cellphoneless at the airport, had no way of knowing this.  Lufthansa tried repeatedly to page him with no results.

I attempted to call United Airlines at the Frankfurt airport but each time was transferred to the United Airlines Call Center in Houston, Texas.  I spent over 2 hours, closer to 3, on the phone with numerous “representatives” who transferred me around from person to person who were unable to contact a United employee in Frankfurt.  In the end, the last person broke the connection.  That had to be an accident I keep telling myself.

I called Lufthansa and explained to them that the people at United were not helpful and, in fact, were probably not the brightest bulbs in the box.  Long story short, Lufthansa found my husband and told him about Quincy.  Unfortunately, it was too late to check Quincy onto the United flight and my just out of the hospital husband has reclaimed Quincy and is spending the night in Frankfurt to catch a flight at noon tomorrow.  B*****ds!  I hope you see this you incompetents!  Poor, poor Quincy.

Posted in American | Tagged , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Veal and Beans

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Tomorrow a journalist from a local, regional newspaper, L’Yonne Republicaine, will come to interview me about my blog.  This is particularly gratifying because although I’ve known that I have quite a few French followers, my blog is in English and Google Translate is pretty frivolous with most of it’s translations.  I thought we would meet up at La Litteraire for coffee where I could flaunt my celebrity in front of my friends :D  However, he specifically said he wanted pictures of my kitchen.

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These are the unpacked boxes of kitchen equipment that came in from Germany.  As I am on my way to the States until probably next summer, I see no reason to unpack them. Instead, I thought I would take some test pictures to be ready with suggestions of carton-less pictures.

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Here’s a good one.  Herbs with just a hint of window, American refrigerator and red timer clock.  I like it myself :)

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Canisters with hanging tools, toaster, the left side of the stove and the microwave.

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And here you go!  A goodly portion of the stove, almost all of the hood and the stove- picture-blocking island with knives and cutting boards.  You can just see the coats hanging in the entry way. Mah-velous.

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Kitchen sink with giraffe paper towel holder.  Good.  I’m ready now ;)

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Anyway.  I like these canned French beans in the rectangular can.  I like the can and the beans are fairly good quality; a better pork and beans without the pork.

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As children we always liked pork and beans because my mother never just poured them from the can, heated and served them.  She always fixed them up with something; onions, mustard and brown sugar as a side dish or used them as the basis for a savory stew/casserole of some kind.  Today I made a stew-like dish with veal.  You could mound this over rice for bulk if you wanted.

Veal and Beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 slice fresh ginger, minced

1 mild chilli, seeded

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 lb ground veal

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp piment d’espelette

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups canned white beans

Grated cheese

Saute the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and bell pepper in the oil until the onion is wilted.  Add the veal and continue to saute until all pink has disappeared.  Add the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, piment, salt, pepper and tomatoes, then bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the beans and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.  Put in serving bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Charolais Steak and Salad

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Whenever I have a Charolais steak I always prepare it as simply as possible; salt, pepper, maybe with onions and or mushrooms.  Good beef doesn’t need much.  Today for lunch I quickly seared this rather thin steak in butter and added a salad for propriety’s sake.  The Tavel Rose was a perfect accompaniment for this simple plate.  Also summer time is Rose season in France :)

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments