Orecchiette with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chard


I made this side dish to accompany calf’s liver with onions.  We did have the calf’s liver but I didn’t take any pictures.  It’s like that sometimes.  This was good though and you can just eat it like this.

Orecchiette with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chard

1/2 cup lardons

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cup orecchiette pasta

2 cups chard leaves, torn

Grated cheese

Cook the lardons until browned and crispy, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes to the pan, then cook and stir until the garlic starts to brown a little.  Stir in the salt, pepper, crushed red and the cooked bacon.  Remove from flame and set aside.

Boil the pasta until 4 minutes from being done, add the chard and continue to boil for 4 minutes.  Drain the chard and pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Mix the pasta together with the reserved liquid and sun dried tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Foie Gras with Latkes and Apple Compote


I’ve never been a big fan of apples.  I don’t hate them or anything, not like raisins, but I’ve just never been excited about them.  I did like those little, red, hard apples from Washington State but that’s pretty much it.  In consequence, I don’t know the difference between a cooking apple and an eating apple.  Tant pis!  The fruit people in the market will tell me.  That’s what they’re for.  Otherwise it would be a supermarket.


I told the lady at the fruit stand that I wanted to make an apple compote and that I wanted a very firm cooking apple.  She said that either Conference or Ariane apples should work but said that she preferred the Arianes.  Mainly because they are more expensive, said no fruit seller ever :)  A good sport and because they were pretty, I took the Arianes.  The night before, sleepless in Sens, I had two persistent ideas:  1) The mattress on the bed is primitive and I need to buy a featherbed.  2)  I should pan fry some foie gras and pair it with apple compote.  So that’s why.


Not knowing what to do with myself, instead of the usual toast I decided to make latkes and top them with the foie gras.  While I was grating the onion (nerve wracking), I felt an anxiety attack coming on, so I stopped that and minced the onion instead.  For anxiety attacks, chew 1/2 valium or eat a big ole latke with apple compote.  Your decision.


I like my compote with discernible bits of apple and I think it’s more attractive then dripping, gloopy apple sauce.  My husband disagrees.  His mother used to make red apple sauce.  Just stating a fact.


Foie Gras with Latkes and Apple Compote

4 large apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 tbsp sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp butter

6-8 tbsp water

6 medium potatoes, peeled and grated

1/2 onion, grated or minced

Salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 cup peanut oil

4 large lobes of foie gras or 8 small

Bring the apples, sugar, cinnamon stick, butter and water to a boil.  Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and keep warm.

Put the grated potatoes in a kitchen towel that you don’t like very much and brutally wring the water from the potatoes.  Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the onion, salt, pepper and egg.  Mix well.

Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, then add the potatoes in 1/3-1/2 cups, mashing down to form a cake.  Cook and brown on both sides, drain on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven.

Briefly sear the foie gras in a hot, dry skillet, about 40 seconds per side.

For each serving, place a latke on the plate, put one or two pieces of foie gras on the latke, then top with the apple compote.  Enjoy!

Wine suggestion:  Fleurie

Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, German, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Magret de Canard with Baby Turnips in Butter Sauce


Monday’s farmers’ market was pretty grim.  I think the French ate everything during the holidays; very few vendors and not a lot of choice.  I guess it could just be that it’s winter, but I still think they ate everything :D


Fellow blogger Greg inspired me to give the baby turnips a closer look.  They were cute and looked relatively undamaged by the cold weather.


I decided to go with some diced green bell pepper, shallots and a Jamie size knob of butter. I could have stopped there, but why?  There was that huge duck breast from Jean Louis in the refrigerator, yearning for my attention.


Having lost the market rhythm, I walked right past all the fresh herbs, thinking of nothing or too much.  Whatever, I used dried herbs on the breast but fresh would have been better.  Because it was pretty thick, in addition to scoring the fat side, I lightly slashed it 3 times on the meat side, then cooked it normally.

Duck Breast with Baby Turnips in Butter Sauce

1 large duck breast

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Mixed fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme), chopped

1 lb baby turnips, quartered

1 knob of butter

1 large shallot, chopped

1/4 large green bell pepper, diced

3-4 tbsp chicken or vegetable broth

Score the duck breast on the fat side in a diamond pattern.  Lightly slash the meat side 3 times.  Season with salt and pepper, rub on a little olive oil, then rub in the herbs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for an hour.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the shallot and bell pepper, then saute until the vegetables just begin to soften.  Add the turnips and brown a little.  Add the chicken broth, cover and steam for about 10 minutes.  Set aside and keep warm.

Cook the duck breast in a hot skillet on the fat side for 8 minutes, pour out the accumulated fat, turn the breast over and continue to cook for 6 minutes.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve with the turnips.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Glazed Chicken Thighs To Go


My husband left for Stuttgart this morning, so yesterday I made some chicken thighs for him to eat during the week until he can get to the commissary and buy the usual garbage he eats when I’m not there.  When I remembered the scallions and sesame seeds, I added them in a way verging on brutality.


Quail eggs have missed me.  They actually called out to me in the market; “Psst girl, where you been?!”, they said in Korean, but I knew what they meant.  Korean quail eggs.  Cute and spicy!


The recipe for the oven roasted chicken thighs is easy.  Just mix together the usual suspects using chillies for babies or for really old French guys who are spicy food intolerant or just intolerant in general :)


Yesterday we wandered into a gun store around the corner to see how the French regulate the purchase of rifles and shotguns for hunting.  It seems that in France, getting a hunting license is as hard as getting a driving permit.  You have to go to school and learn, not only about gun safety but also about the animals you intend to slaughter.  It take months!  The cool thing about the shop owner is that in addition to selling guns, he restores them and sharpens knives for professional chefs, my fishmonger, other market people and regular people too.  My knives are going over when he can finish them in a day.  He has an amazing pair of French renaissance era scissors that I covet.  I’ll try to get a photo when I take the knives.


Anyway, you just mix the marinade/glaze with the chicken thighs in a large bowl, then put in a ziplock and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or whatever.  Overnight is okay.


Feeling slightly anemic, I stir fried some spinach with mushrooms to accompany the chicken and quail eggs.

Oven Glazed Chicken Thighs

5 tbsp Tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp mirin

3 tbsp sake

1 tbsp sugar

4 garlic cloves, sliced

4 thin slices of fresh ginger

1 long green chilli for babies (mild), sliced

10 chicken thighs

Scallions, sliced

Sesame seeds

Mix all marinade ingredients together and pour over the chicken thighs in a large bowl, Mix well, then put everything in a zip lock bag, squish around and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 F, place the thighs, skin side down, in a roasting pan.  Roast for 25 minutes, turn, then roast for another 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with the sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

My Husband’s Apple Pie


My husband decided to make an apple pie today because he loves apple pie.  I helped him to choose some apples and we decided on pink ladies because we liked the name.


I gave him an easy recipe, two pieces of pre-rolled butter pastry and things started shaping up.


Too bad he mistook my canister of curing salt for the sugar.  Otherwise, this would have been perfection.  Too old to travel :D

Posted in American, Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

Troyes, France


Feeling as under as the weather and hugely contrary, we decided to take a ride in the driving wind and rain to the lovely little town of Troyes, existent since the Roman era (GPS prononces this tee-raw).  We’d been here years ago when my husband was bitten by a monkey in Mali and needed several rabies shots.


Troyes has a fabulous 13th century cathedral St. Peter and St. Paul that is worth a visit. Pity about my trembling hands; I even had it on automatic and it still didn’t help.  Oh well.


If you are in this region, you really should visit Troyes.  It’s a medieval town with the same narrow streets and houses like back in the day.


We would love to have one of these ancient apartments in this town center, although my husband says the buildings are crooked.


So what did we decide to do for lunch in this old, old town with its vibrant covered market and its numerous, quality bistros and brasseries?  Crotchety, contrary, grouchy and just plain ridiculous, we decided to eat at the English pub, the James Joyce.  Really!  Sometimes we’re inexcusable!


Yes, we chose it but we were immediately prepared to criticize, a la M. Parret.  The butter; not near the best quality (less than President) and served in little one pat packages.  Bad. To be fair, the salmon was good but for some reason, the cherry tomatoes on the salad were roasted.  I asked.  We figured it was an English thing.  Roger would know.


In an restaurant, we absolutely hate it when our condiments are served in little packages! So why did we choose a restaurant that was almost certain to do this?  I don’t know.  Our minds are not right.


The food was edible but we don’t like big fries.  We ordered an outrageously priced bottle of wine to be sure that it was at least the quality of table wine and that was a good idea.


I totally believe that Roger Stowell  is right about taking automatic pictures; the camera doesn’t really know, you do.  All these pictures are taken on automatic and I don’t believe this is exactly what I saw but whatever, I couldn’t be bothered.


My husband ordered a Charolais beef hamburger that was correct.  I had the duck breast that was also correct.  When asked how I wanted it cooked, I answered “normal” in a grumpy old lady way and it was, more or less; I like it a little more rare.  See above.  Don’t have the Cafe Gourmand.


Would we eat here again?  Probably not.  It was perfectly edible, but it’s because this is not the food we want to eat in France.  Our fault totally.


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Thank you to everyone who is supporting us in this horrible horrible time.  Still no news.  I made this.

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