Stuttgart: With the Director

 

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In the 80s an Ivorian musician, Amadou Balake, sang a song about how his girl was stolen by “The Director” because of Balake’s poverty.  “Amadou don’t come to my house anymore, I’m with the director now.  He took me to my village and his Mercedes was so comfortable, I slept all the way there.  The last time I was in your car, I tore my dress.”

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On Saturday Babou, Vero and I had our last coffees together for 2 weeks until I return from Stuttgart.  There was a Marche Gourmande de Bourgogne in the farmers’ market, displaying the the best artisanal  products Burgundy has to offer; cheeses, sausages, escargots, wine, chocolate, etc.  So unfortunate that I didn’t have my camera.

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Nearly blinded by tears of regret for our  impending separation and suppressing sobs, we did shop, but not with our usual, over the top, enthusiasm.  Still, our shopping baskets were full and our arms did feel the strain; Comte, a cheddar like cheese and ham from the Basque region, andouille sausage from Val D’Ajol.   We live in France  :P

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My husband, concerned about me having no one to open jars for me in Sens, bought a handy dandy “jar opener!”  I tried it today.  It’s joining other useless items in the P.O.S. drawer.

Since I left, it seems the Stuttgart freezers and refrigerators have lost that overabundance look.  I’ll have to take care of that :)  I did find some German chicken thighs and had some shitake mushrooms that I brought with me from France.  Lunch sorted.

Shitake Mushrooms with Roasted Peppers

2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

1/4 small onion, chopped

1 knob of butter

3 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp water/broth

1 red roasted sweet pepper, diced

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Soften the onion and shallot in the oil, then add the butter and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper, then continue to saute the mushrooms until they are browned.  Add the water, cover and steam for a minute or two.  Stir in the pepper and thyme leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Portuguese Fish Stew

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I told my husband that I would take the train this Thursday to join him for a while in Stuttgart.  He said he would come and get me with the car this weekend.  I think he didn’t trust me :D

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Anyway, I had some fish in the freezer that I thought I should use before I’m dragged away; skate, cod and smoked haddock.  I also had some Portuguese chorizo.  So that’s why.

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This impromptu recipe made a large pot.  Invite the neighbors.  I did and they were glad :)

Portuguese Fish Stew

3 Portuguese chorizo sausages, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

3/4 cup white wine

3 cans diced tomatoes (about 14 ounces each)

2 cups water

1 large jar roasted red bell peppers, sliced

1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Approximately, 1 lb each smoked haddock, skate and cod, cut into chunks

Brown the chorizo slices in the olive oil.  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and saute until the onion is soft.  Add the paprika and crushed red, stirring for about 1 minute.  Add the wine and boil down for about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and the water, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the peppers and chickpeas, then simmer for another 15 minutes.

Gently stir in the fish and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Wine suggestion:  Spanish or Portuguese red

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Not Chiquetaille d’Hareng Fume

IMG_1978bI’ve told you about Edmond Pierre in Haiti and the chiquetaille we used to eat on his boat. In fact there were two different types of chiquetaille, one made with dry, salted cod and the other with dry, salted and smoked herring.

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I wanted to make the herring chiquetaille, so I went to the fish monger and we had a long conversation about the type of fish I needed.  He thought it was kippers and I wasn’t sure, but I thought I would try the kippers.  Wrong.  The flesh of the kippers is too soft, white mildly salted and smoked.  The flesh of the herring that they had in Haiti was hard and dry, heavily salted, heavily smoked and a mahogany color.

This salad/spread that I made was delicious, but not Haitian chiquetaille d’hareng fume. Mound it on top of salad greens or spread it on small toast pieces to accompany cocktails.

Does anybody out there know what kind of fish I should be asking for?  I have the recipe but I can’t find the fish.

Kipper Salad

6 kippers

1 onion, finely chopped

4 shallots, finely chopped

6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 branch celery, chopped

1 large scotch bonnet, seeded and finely chopped

6 whole cloves

1/2 cup vinegar

1 1/4 cup olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Blanch the kippers in boiling water, then remove the bones and skin.  Don’t worry too much about the thread like bones, they are harmless.

Shred the herring flesh with your fingers and then mix with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or store in jars in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Haitian, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Charolais Steak and Pan Fried Potatoes with Bell Pepper

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Sometimes it’s hard to find a good quality steak of the correct thickness, even when I go to the butcher.  They either want to cut it too thick, like for a barbecue, or too thin, like you’re going to quickly blow torch it.  And really, those eye-rolling, exasperated “this American doesn’t know what she wants” looks are just invitations to go “postal” a la Americaine :D  One of the good things about Charolais, even if it’s overcooked a bit, it doesn’t dry out and turn into leather. Still.

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These steaks were not thick but large and 2 were enough for 4.

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Good thing I made a double batch of these potatoes because Brian and Tonio ate the first batch before lunch.

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Brian is not a fan of spinach but he really liked this dish of wilted spinach with lardons, shallots and cherry tomatoes.

Pan Fried Potatoes with Red Bell Pepper

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1 lb potatoes, diced

Cook the onion and bell pepper in 1 tbsp of the oil until the bell pepper is crisp tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.  Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and fry the potatoes until brown and crispy.  Put the onion and bell pepper back into the skillet and cook for another minute, stirring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Sunday Chez Guy and the Salon du Chocolat

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Guy has opened his restaurant for Sunday lunches.  Yay!  He has also put tables outside for those who like to take advantage of the beautiful spring time weather we are having.

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Sunday lunch is a good excuse, if one is needed, to enjoy a Champagne apertif.  A real mood enhancer, Champagne gets everyone ready to have a good time.  After the Champagne, sky’s the limit or there is none ;)

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Irresistable was Guy’s entree of scallops on buttery, puff pastry.  The sauce was light and allowed the fresh, ocean flavor of the scallops to dominate.

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As part of his main course menu Guy offers perfectly cooked steak with a flavorful wine/shallot sauce.  Concerned with your health?  His main course salad of foie gras, brie and tender chicken gizzards has everything a body needs and more :)

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I thought the duck breast could have spent a lot less time in the pan but the raspberry sauce was brilliant.

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I just turned my head for a few minutes and poof, Brian’s profiteroles were gone!  “Oh, did you want a picture?”, said he.

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Well yes, we also drank some Cremant, Julienas and, the hardcore among us, “une petite goutte” with their coffee.

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Having outlasted everyone else in the restaurant and worn Guy down to the bone, we decided to take a tour of the Chocolate Salon in the market.

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These must be French cartoon characters or something.  You really have to admire the imagination and skill of the artisans.

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I guess you have to be French and care.  This is a bust of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban who was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age.  Who ordered this?!

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Of course there were macarons.  This is France!

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The other “token” American of the region was there selling different flavors of hot chocolate.  It was great to see him again.  It’s been a while.

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Feeling a little fatigued, but not yet ready to throw in the towel, we strolled back to M. Parret’s for more Champagne, baguette, butter and salami.  If we don’t stop this, we’re really going to be big :D

 

 

 

 

Posted in Food and Wine, French | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Lurking

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I really had no intention of shopping today.  I just went out for the usual coffee and the next thing I knew, my hands were full of bags.  I didn’t even have my shopping basket!  It all began with an arresting jar of assorted pickled chillies.  So fresh, so colorful and I liked the jar too :)  The ogre who sold them to me was not very helpful when I asked about the spiciness of these chillies, nor did he give me a hint of the recipe’s provenance.  What a butt! It’s like his mother made him come to work or something.  I bought them anyway and decided to pray for him.  Not. I hope you see this post, you troll :D

To lift my spirits, since I was in the market anyway, I bought some duck breasts from Jean Louis, some calf’s liver, some lemons and cherry tomatoes and paid a quick visit to the fish market for some beautiful cabillaud (cod).

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I wanted to show Babou the new epicerie fine (I guess the translation would be high end grocer with a lot of spices) in town.  She and I both bought some pink salt or sel rose de l’Himalaya.  It has a slight floral taste and, like fleur de sel, is mostly used as a garnish.

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At the epicerie they had these lovely cans of sardines.  I bought them for the pictures but also intend to eat them.  The very nice owner says that the 2011s are better than the 2012s because they have been in the oil longer.  Whatever.

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For lunch we decided to go to Bruno’s Plat d’ Etain.  I am so upset with myself because it was a beautiful day, the sun was very bright and although I took these on automatic, I didn’t change my ISO.  I have these awful, glaring pictures of good food that you will not see because I am ashamed of my pictures.

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I love menus on a chalkboard :)  We didn’t have entrees because we thought it would be too much.  I chose beef tongue with a wonderful cornichon mustard sauce.  You won’t see that because of the glare.  Brian chose the confit of duck legs and I got an okay but not primo picture of that.

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We began with a Chablis made from old vines.  Very nice and reasonably priced.  We’ve been wearing it out a little when we come to Bruno’s.  You can get a glass or a bottle.

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Gratuitous picture of our son Brian.

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Okay, the glaring duck leg confit, photoshopped as much as possible :(   Nice, fresh market medley of vegetables.

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Brian had a pear, peach tart that he pronounced marvelous.

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We’re going to have to go back.  These pictures don’t do Bruno nor his restaurant justice.

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Posted in Food and Wine, French | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sausage and Peppers

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There is a fairly large Italian community in Stuttgart.  Before I left to come back to Sens, we discovered a great supermarket with Italian imports, butcher and traiteur.  The sausages, that I was smart enough to bring to Sens for the freezer, are made on site with a choice of sweet or hot.  We chose the hot.

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The thing about peppers, onions and garlic is, if you are vegetarian, you can just put them in a bun/baguette and eat them without the sausages and the sandwich will still be good. I tried it, just so I could tell you about it and also because I wanted to ;)

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I think New York State/New Jersey has the best traditional, unadulterated Italian food I’ve ever tasted outside of Italy and you can find it in both modest and upscale restaurants. There used to be a fantastic diner/cafe in Monticello, New York, everything cooked by the owner, that made the best sausage and pepper sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.  That’s closed now and Monticello is a real hell hole.  Roll up the windows as you pass through :D

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Sausage and Peppers

8 hot Italian sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

1 green and red bell pepper each, sliced into strips

1large onion, cut into half, then sliced

4-5 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine

1 can diced tomatoes

2 fresh baguettes

Grated cheese

Brown the sausages in the oil, remove and set aside, keeping warm.  Put the bell peppers, onions and garlic in the skillet and saute until the onions are just soft.

Shake in the oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, then continue to saute for 1 minute. Add the red wine and boil for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Cut the baguettes into 8 pieces, split and load in the sausages, peppers and onions.  Sprinkle with cheese

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments