Chez Guy

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Well yes, I’m in Sens and I have eaten and drunk wine a lot.  If you hang with Le Parret, wine drinking and cheese eating is inevitable.  I even cooked sometimes.  Look at this pan fried skate wing with cucumber and mango salsa.

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The owners of the really awful Indian restaurant closed up and escaped into the night, owing a full year’s rent for the premises.  M. Parret says nobody is looking for them.  Only in France.  The unfortunate thing about this restaurant is that this was the first experience for many people who have never tried Indian food before and now never will again.  The building is located a few doors down from M. Parret and before the Indians came, it used to be the Parrets’ cheese shop.

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Anyway Guy, a chef and all around nice guy, has now opened a small, traditional  French food restaurant on the premises.  We’ve been there twice and in the “eating with Le Parret” tradition, we came at 12 and left after the waitress at about 3:30-4:00 p.m.  When the rest of the customers have left, Guy, finally giving up all hope of us ever going home, like reasonable people who have other things to do, pulls up a chair and joins us at table for an after lunch wine or several.  If necessary, as it has been both times, M. Parret fetches a bottle of the good stuff from his house.

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The restaurant decor is simple, casual and comfortable.  There is a lot of light in the restaurant from both the windows and recessed lighting in the ceiling.  This is so much a neighborhood restaurant and at least one of M. Parrets’ cronies eats here everyday.

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The menu, with choice of entree, main course, cheese or dessert is reasonably priced at 14 euros.

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Concerned about where Guy gets his beef?  Worried about the My Little Pony substitutes? Have no fear!  The beef in the bourguignon was born in France, killed in France, cut up in France and we ate it in France!  Just saying.

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As an entree, we had a delicious salad of mozzerella with avocado puree.  Fresh, fresh everything.  Along with the beef bourguignon on offer was a seafood gratin with a buttery, creamy, rich, delectable sauce.  It was so rich that a couple of the usual trenchermen thought that the portion was too large!  A first.

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To end the meal we had raspberry cake or the cheese plate and, of course, a coffee afterward.

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When we finally left to go to my house for Champagne, Guy looked exhausted :D

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Posted in Food and Wine, French | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Our Daughter Jade Mullally Missing: How You Can Help

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DO NOT “LIKE” OR COMMENT ON THIS POST.  READ FURTHER TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP.

On November 24, 2013 Jade took the train from Stuttgart, Germany to Strasbourg, France. Normally, she would have taken the school bus from the train station to her boarding school in Walbourg, France but she didn’t get on the bus.

Her dream was to become a fashion model and we believe that that was her plan when she left home.

Jade has lead a very sheltered life and our concern is that some person(s) might be taking advantage of her naivete and possibly holding her against her will.

An investigation and search is being conducted worldwide and particularly concentrated in France, Germany and England.

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It has finally occurred to me that this blog has almost 4,000 followers worldwide, and while I wanted to keep “CookinginSens” as my refuge from the harrowing thoughts of having our lovely daughter out there, maybe friendless and…. You can fill in the blanks yourself.

Here’s how I would like you to help me:  With the advice of the FBI, I have created a page on facebook   https://www.facebook.com/JadeMullallyMissingChild.   If you have a facebook account, go to this page and “like” it.  This will share the news of her disappearance with all of your friends and increase the chances that Jade will be found.

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I know everyone who follows this blog is as horrified as we are but, again, please use the facebook account if you would like to comment and be sure to “like” the page.

Thank you.

 

    

Posted in Missing Child | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 86 Comments

Cullen Skink Chez Moi

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The last 3 weeks have been horrendous and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.   I won’t/can’t tell you about it but my lovely husband has brought me home to Sens and will be joining me in a week for very un-merry Christmas holidays.  I haven’t touched my camera for over 3 weeks and the food I cooked was neither interesting nor “correct”.  I am cooking and posting today in an effort to keep my sanity.  Enough said.

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And isn’t this cullen skink lovely?  I think it’s better than the one I made before; more flavorful and more attractive.  Probably because this time I just did what I thought was right and mentally challenged Jamie Oliver to criticize.  The fishmonger didn’t have a full pound of smoked haddock but threw in a piece of house smoked salmon to make up the weight that was brilliant!  From now on, I will always include a little salmon.  Cullen skink doesn’t usually contain mussels but so what!

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Once in West Africa, someone quoted a proverb, “You eat alone, you die alone.”  Don’t eat this alone!  Invite the neighbors, I did.  They’ll thank you.  By the way, this is easy.

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Smoked Haddock, Salmon and Mussel Soup

2 tbsp butter

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 lb potatoes, cubed

3/4 lb smoked haddock

1/4 lb smoked salmon

3 cups milk

Water

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 quart fresh mussels

Parsley, chopped

Cook the onion, garlic and leek in the butter until the onion and leek are tender.  Add the potatoes and place the whole pieces of haddock and salmon on top.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, water to cover, the pepper and bay leaves, bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the fish begins to flake.  Remove the fish and set aside.  Continue to cook the potatoes until they are tender.

Add the rest of the milk, then bring to a boil and add the mussels.  Cover and cook until the mussels open.  Gently stir in the reserved fish, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Posted in Cooking, English, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving Day

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My husband’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving Day.  From childhood he  has always loved the annual ritual of stuffing both turkeys and bellies.

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Quantity was of primary importance; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy by the bucket and pies, pies, pies.  In my family it was the same way but we added potato salad and mustard greens, sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin.

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At the beginning of our marriage, this day of gluttony was not a cause for contention.  We would have the meal at his or my family’s house filled with our relatives.  The women worked in the kitchen, the men drank in the living room and the children ran wild.  It was a family party!  I loved that.

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The problem began when we traveled overseas and had no relatives with which to celebrate this uniquely American family holiday.  The first year we attended a  turkey-less, potluck, buffet Thanksgiving with the rest of the American Embassy community, but we agreed that it just wasn’t the same because  1) my husband thought that there wasn’t enough food and  2) I thought that not everyone who cooks knows how.  Reluctant to participate again, the following year I just invited 10 friends over for a sit down, not quite traditional, Thanksgiving lunch that I cooked myself.  It was okay but it didn’t feel like a celebration to me and my husband thought that there wasn’t enough food.

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The next year I refused to cook Thanksgiving dinner altogether and suggested we go out to a restaurant for lunch and just be thankful that we weren’t going to the potluck.  The only reason my husband didn’t divorce me was that he would have felt ridiculous telling the lawyer that I wouldn’t make Thanksgiving dinner for 20 when there was only two of us.

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When we had our son Brian, my husband was so sure things would change!  In October of the year that Brian was eating solid food, he polished a miniature set of sterling silver (fork, knife, spoon) and showed them to me.

Me:  Those are nice!  Where did you get them?

Him:  I had them when I was a child

Me:   You should not have brought them to Africa, you could lose them!

Him:  I wanted Brian to use them for Thanksgiving.

Me:   I am NOT making enough food for 20, we are only three people!

Him:  :(

So that’s why.

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There are turkeys at the commissary but Jade is in school, Brian is in Burkina Faso and there are only two of us.  If we were in France, we would eat with M. Parret and I would make a small turkey with stuffing and gravy.  There would be at least 8 of us at the table, there would certainly be enough food, and every meal with the Parret is a celebration. Next year in Sens.

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This was time consuming but although the quantities would need to be increased, it wouldn’t take any longer to make this for a full sized family.  The superior stuffing and gravy always makes this combination worthwhile.  Those zweiback toasts were slightly sweet but the stuffing was fine, I just wouldn’t use them again.

Tomorrow is not a holiday in Germany so I’ll be going to the hairdresser and doing a little Christmas shopping with my husband later.  This meal should soften him up for major Euro spending :D

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Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

1 cornish game hen

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 small onion, quartered

4 sprigs of thyme

Broth and Stuffing

1 cup chicken gizzards

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 carrot, quartered vertically and sliced thin

1 celery branch, quartered vertically and sliced thin

1 small onion, quartered

1 carrot, sliced into four pieces

1 celery branch, sliced into 4 pieces

1 bay leaf

6 cups water

Salt and pepper

3 cups of super dry toast, broken into pieces in a large bowl

1 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning

1/4 cup melted butter

Gravy

3 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp flour

Season the hen all over with salt and pepper, then rub with olive oil.  stuff the onion quarters and thyme sprigs into the cavity.   Refrigerate.

Brown the gizzards in the olive oil, remove and set aside.  Add the chopped onion, sliced carrot and sliced celery branch to the skillet and sweat until the carrot is crisp tender. Remove and set aside, reserving the skillet for later use.

Place the gizzards, the small quartered onion, carrot pieces, celery pieces, bay leaf and water in a stock pot, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, then simmer for an hour. Drain and reserve the broth, remove the gizzards and chop fine.

Put half of the chopped gizzards in with the dry toast, all of the reserved sauteed vegetables, the melted butter, the poultry seasoning and 1 1/2 cup of broth.  Stir well, then turn into a baking pan.

Place the hen into a 375 F oven and roast for 50 minutes.  After 30 minutes, add the stuffing pan to the oven to cook for the last 20 minutes.

Place the flour and vegetable oil in the reserved skillet and cook stirring until the flour is a pleasant dark brown.  Gradually add, stirring all the time, 3 cups of the broth and stir until smooth.  Turn down the flame and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the gravy has reached your desired thickness.  Stir in the remaining half of chopped gizzards.

Wine suggestion:  Merlot

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

Lemon Pepper Chicken “Elbows”

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The poultry man in the Waiblingen market cuts the tips from the chicken wings before packaging them to sell.  I always think of little elbows when I see them :)

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One of the cousins posted a recipe on facebook for chicken wings seasoned with lemon, pepper and garlic that sounded easy and delicious.  I just increased the garlic and was good to go!  I served the elbows with a salad, pickled cucumber and fennel.

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Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

2lbs chicken wings

4 garlic cloves, finally chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Put the chicken in a zip lock bag, then whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Pour the marinade in the zip lock bag with the chicken and squish around.   Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the bag, reserving the marinade.  Place the wings in a roasting pan, skin side down and roast in a 425 F oven for 20 minutes, turn, baste and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Posted in American, Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Smooth Criminal

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Every Friday night at 9:05 p.m., Jade arrives at the Stuttgart train station from boarding school in Walbourg, France.  Depending on the traffic, it can take from 20 minutes to 90 minutes to get to the train station in downtown Stuttgart.  We usually leave at about 7:30 p.m. just to be sure, and if we get there early, we hang out in the coffee shop because the station’s boarding areas by the tracks are freezing.

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At about 7:15,  Jade gave us a call to tell us that the train would be delayed by about 30 minutes.  5 minutes later she said the train had stopped because of an electricity problem and that they were stranded on the tracks and that they might have to go back to Strasbourg, decision pending.   “Pas de panique”,  we were in touch with her by phone and decided to wait at home while things were resolved and to sooth our vaguely frazzled nerves with some Italian grappa that we found in a German store and wanted to try.

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Grappa is an Italian, grape based pomace brandy and, according to the books I’ve read, usually is drunk by really old Italian men at outdoor cafes, sometimes with a coffee.  My husband made the coffee and I poured the shots in cute little glasses that we got from God knows where.  I don’t really care for brandy but from the first sip, the grappa didn’t have a brandy-like taste; dry, fruity, smooth.  Scoffing at this “old men’s” drink we had two more per person, without the coffee, got in the car and started for the train station.

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I estimate, even though we make this trip every week, that we were lost for about 45 minutes.   While we were going in circles and blaming each other, Jade’s train, she called us every 10 minutes, was backing up towards Strasbourg in order to offload the passengers onto a German train in Offenburg.

Meantime, we did find the train station and when I asked the rather silly young man behind the information desk, he told me that the train would arrive around midnight, he thought.  My husband, rambling around the train station, disappeared for about 10 minutes, coming back with intelligence of an “upscale”, 8th floor bar in the station. There was an 8th floor in the train station?  An upscale bar?  I had to see this!  I should take my camera everywhere!  Sure enough, there was an 8th floor and an upscale bar jammed with well dressed Yuppies or, maybe in Germany, Guppies :D  We ordered 2 sekts (German cremant), 2 coffees (espresso, half of a demitasse, tasting of coffee grinds) and marveled. This must be a European thing.  We just couldn’t see ourselves saying, “Hey, let’s go to the train station for drinks!”  No snobbery intended.  Still.

Jade did arrive at about 12:30 a.m. and we got home safely.  But this morning, discussing grappa, we thought that frozen Stolichnaya was a lot more honest.  After the first sip, you feel the Russian coming on.  We would never have gone anywhere after drinking even 1 shot of Stoli, except to bed.  What were we thinking? Too old to travel.  SMH. The grappa, mild tasting, mellow and pleasant, crept upon us like, well, a smooth criminal :D

My husband is on his way to Djibouti this afternoon.  Djibouti is a very small, ex-French colony on the Red Sea, ex-treme-ly humid, with shark warnings for any foreigner who didn’t bother to read the book.  I did a TDY there once and because of the sea nothing grows in Djibouti; the earth is “salted” and fruits and vegetables must be imported.  But the ancient, French downtown area is charming!  I moved the usual Sunday lunch to Saturday so that we could have our weekly family lunch together before he left.

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I chose German goose legs that are back in season?  Shrug.  And some nice, easy roasted aubergine. I love the way they package the goose legs.  It looks like it should be a pork shank, but when you open it, there are two goose legs fitted perfectly together to make a neat little package. The Germans are so clever!

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I seasoned the legs with my Bavarian essence.  We’re in Germany now!  Here is the link for the aubergine.  You can decide to go with the vinaigrette or not; I skipped it this time and it was still lovely!

Roasted Goose Legs

2 whole goose legs

Bavarian essence

Olive oil

4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Season the legs with the bavarian essence, then brush with olive oil on both sides.  Place the legs in a roasting pan, preferably with a rack, skin side down, then scatter the thyme sprigs on top.  Place in a preheated 400 F oven for 30 minutes.  Turn the legs over, reduce the oven to 325 F and continue to cook for 45 minutes to an hour until the legs are tender, yet still juicy.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, German, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Tagliatelle

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It seems that here in Stuttgart I’m always rescuing sad vegetables from the refrigerator. In fact, while I was preparing the sauce for the tagliatelle, I felt sad myself, which is unusual.  Panicking, I wondered if sadness (the word depression is out of the question because it sounds like a medical condition that would frighten my husband, my children and ME into further sadness) was one of the early warning signs of a heart attack!  I quickly checked my pulse but it seemed okay to me.  No, I guess I was just sad.

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In Sens I’m always in freezer trouble but I rarely have aging, sad, feral vegetables in the refrigerator.  That’s because I am a 2 minute walk from the farmers’ market that is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  I tend to get just what I need until the next market day because I like going to the market, having a coffee on the way and chatting in a language I understand to the stall owners and friends.  This wasn’t always true.  In the beginning I was very uncomfortable at the farmers’ market.  I was shy.  I can’t recall a time when I was growing up that my mother shopped in other than supermarkets or as M. Parret says, “les grandes surfaces.”  Unless she wanted to ask the butcher about a certain cut, shopping was an activity accomplished in isolation, everything accessible on shelves or in bins, ready to go into her cart, much of the time with styrofoam on the bottom, plastic wrap on the top and a handy little ticket with weight and price.  No need to interact with anyone/thing except the shopping cart and the cashier.  That’s the way I grew up, that’s the way I shopped for decades.  Comfortably.  I’m glad that has changed!  I adore going to the farmers’ markets in France!  It’s an integral part of my social life.

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Here in Stuttgart I do not adore the farmers’ market.  I don’t speak German, I am unfamiliar with the meat cuts and cheeses, in addition the growing seasons and produce are a bit different and I don’t have any friends to greet.  No coffee on the way.  That’s the reason why I go seldom and when I do go, I overload on the produce so that I don’t have to go again soon, which doesn’t really work because I just end up with aging produce :)

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Intermission:  A new couscousiere not from Morocco like Roger’s but pretty and shiny in a sort of low class/nouveau riche kind of way :D  I have to go to Morocco!

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Anyway.  Ugg boot flat on the floor, I accelerated into a down hill spiral of sadness that was fueled by the thought that ugly vegetables make ugly sauces and ugly pictures,  AND that my sauce was not looking good. Ooh la!  On the rocky bottom now, I decided not to cook the lovely veal chops that I had planned to serve with the pasta and to take the damn picture, go to bed and read a book.

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But my pasta sauce was not ugly!  In fact, it looked pretty good and had a nice Mediterranean  flavor :)

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Encouraged, I decided to continue cooking but first, to celebrate, I made myself a salad with tuna, mini romaine, feta and cherry tomatoes.   Righty oh!

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My Christmas Canon lens 85mm 1.8 is on it’s way!

Tagliatelle with Red Wine and Mushrooms

1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

12 fresh mushroom caps, sliced

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup red wine

1/4 cup water

1 lb fresh tagliatelle, cooked

Sweat the onion, pepper and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is soft.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices.  Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, then continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and boil for 2 minutes.  Add the water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve immediately.

Wine suggestion:  Morgon

 

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