Olive Salad for Muffuletta


I’ve been thinking about New Orleans muffuletta sandwiches a lot!  And really, I’ve been thinking about the muffuletta olive salad which is delicious.  You can just put it on a piece of bread or mound it on salad greens and it’s a meal.  There you go, vegetarians!  Don’t say I never think about you :)


Somebody, I think Arielle, gave me some French olive oil which was a good thing because my regular Italian olive oil is on low.  I must make a list and go shopping soon!  I think my morale must be low.  Anyway, it was good olive oil and I’m grateful for the gift.

The salad should sit in the refrigerator for a day or two before use.  I put some in jars so that I could share some with my friends :)

Coming soon:  New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwich

Olive Salad

2 cans pimento stuffed green olives, drained and coarsely chopped

1 can black olives, stoned, drained and coarsely chopped

16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped

12 ounce jar of Giardiniera , drained and coarsely chopped

3 tbsp capers, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and store in jars or whatever in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.







Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Les Boites de Surprises de Nico


I love both extravagant packaging and surprises!  Babou’s husband, Nico, “peeped my hole card” and provided me with both.  That’s why I gave him half of my ribs.  But we’ll discuss that later.  At first, he sent me his thanks for the Easter lunch in the form of, I thought, a really small hat.  Unfortunately, unlike Jade, I don’t have the face nor head for hats and certainly not a little hat :)  I prepared to fake intense pleasure.  :-O  After all, it’s the thought that counts.


Surprise!  French macarons from one of my favorite towns, Fontainebleau.  The reason why these are a little crumbly is because Le Parret had been pawing at them :D


During Easter lunch we discussed mustards, comparing the German sweet mustard with the types of mustards found in France.  Nico told us about a “white” mustard that I’d never seen nor heard of.  It was only later, during an internet search, that I understood what he meant.  There are apparently two types of mustard plants in France; one is called yellow mustard and the other white mustard.  This has little or nothing to do with the color of the mustard once it’s processed, but refers to the plant used.


Anyway, at the next coffee morning, Babou brought me what I assumed to be a small bucket of “white” mustard  from Nico.  I absolutely loved the bucket but, overwhelmed by Nico’s generosity and apparent enthusiasm for this mustard, wondered how many recipes of duck, chicken, rabbit, etc. I would have to make before I could finish it off.


Surprise!  Inside the bucket, covered by a stylish cardboard cover, was a normal sized jar of mustard.  I was dazzled :)  The French are soooo cool!  At times.


I guess we should discuss the ribs now.  Jacques ordered 2 slabs of American cut ribs for me from the abbatoir/slaughterhouse.  They were beautiful as usual.  Nico and Babou, who have visited the States many times, adore our ribs and so I gave them a slab with minute instructions for pre-cooking.  Nico had a honey mustard sauce he wanted to make for the glaze.  Sounded great!


Bemoaning the fact that I have forgotten everything my father ever taught me about barbecue sauce and unwilling to go to the store for anything, I cobbled together a not bad sauce with things I had on hand.  It is bitterly cold outside today, so this was a job for the “Piano Gastronome” Lacanche or, in other words, my oven :)


Now, my father would get up at the crack of dawn and, in constant attendance, with only a beer or several,  slowly smoke his ribs all day long.   Country Wood Smoke probably does that.  Not me.  It’s either off flame grilling or into the oven for 1 hour.  Not close to old school, but as far as I’m willing to go.


I found these cute little half cans of tomato paste at the back of the cupboard.  I wonder when and where I bought these.  My father also cooked his BBQ sauce all day, like good spaghetti sauce.  1 hour works too ;)


I know that some people from other parts of the U.S. (probably the Midwest or the North) cook their ribs and then just pour the sauce on top.  Well!  That’s all I can say.  Well!


Suggestion:  Slather the sauce all over the roasted ribs and then, on the grill or in a hot oven, caramelize the sauce, turning often and basting.

Oven Roasted Ribs with Kitchen BBQ Sauce

2 large shallots, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

3 tbsp butter

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 1/2 tsp sage

1 1/2 tsp basil

1 little, tall can tomato paste

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

4 tbsp molasses

2 slabs pork ribs

Salt and pepper

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

To make the sauce, saute the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft.  Add the salt, pepper, crushed red, sage, basil and tomato paste, stirring to blend.  Add the vinegar, water and molasses, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Mix together the garlic, rosemary and olive oil, then rub on both sides of the ribs.  Roast the ribs for 1 hour in a 350 F oven on a rack.

Remove the ribs, heat the oven to 425 F and generously paint both sides of the slabs with the prepared sauce.  Turn and baste the ribs every 5 minutes for 15-20 minutes.

Wine suggestion:  Morgon


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

Georgian Inspired Fresh Garlic Chicken Tajine


I adore fresh garlic and I was so fascinated by the look and flavors of the garlic chicken stir fry at Georgia About that I was determined to “hijack” the recipe, using chicken thighs from the freezer.  Waste not, isn’t that right Frugal?   :)


Because the original recipe was made with chicken breast chunks, I made my tajine a little confusedly but it turned out okay.  How could it not with all these good, fresh ingredients?




Georgian Inspired Fresh Garlic Chicken Tajine

6 large chicken thighs

2 capsules of saffron

2 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp butter

1 large fresh, green garlic with about 1 inch of leaves, chopped

2 medium leeks, white and green, sliced

2 onions, halved and sliced

3/4 lb mushrooms, sliced

2 long, green chillies for babies, sliced

1 tbsp red peppercorns

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp white vinegar

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the saffron, then, in an Emile Henry tajine or stove top to oven casserole, brown them in the olive oil and tablespoons of the butter.  Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter to the tajine and the garlic, leeks and onions.  Cook with cover on for 15 minutes on a low flame.  Cover off, add the mushrooms and chillies, stir frying until the mushrooms release their water.

Stir in the peppercorns, bay leaves and vinegar.  Stir in the chicken thighs, then turn the thighs skin side up and roast in an 400 F oven for 20 minutes with top on.  Take off the top and continue to roast an additional 10 minutes.




Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Georgian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

M. Parret Makes a Veal Roast


Back in the day when M. and Mme Parret had the cheese shop they would also sell fresh milk, measured out in half liters, liters, whatever the customer wanted.  Michel and Monique were eating lunch with us on Tuesday and Michel wanted a Ricard.  Le Parret gave me a half liter milk cup to fill with cold water so that Michel could create  “la louche” with his drink.


It wasn’t as if he didn’t have a nice water pitcher exactly for this purpose in his cabinet!  We wrangled back and forth until I threatened to tell the world that he served a Ricard with a milk cup.  I won, but I want this cup :D


M. Parret is going into the hospital on Monday to have an operation on his knees, so this was one of many  “last” lunches and dinners before he is himself again.  We began with radishes and butter.


Boy howdy!  He’s going to be very grumpy about the hospital/invalid food.  I don’t think there’ll be a wine list :D


Monique made a scrumptious Quiche Lorraine for our entree.  Too bad this picture reminds me of Betty Crocker Cookbook 1951.


These were frozen potatoes for frying that M. Parret bought at Picard, even though he was in the market this morning and they had all kinds of potatoes.  I told him I wouldn’t tell anybody, but I lied :)


Poor M. Parret.  He’s going to be in the hospital for 2 whole weeks!  I’ll miss him.  Here he is explaining to Michel the difference between the American and French palate after I laughed at his potatoes.


He was a little nervous about his veal roast but it was perfection!  The carrots just right.


Then we had salad.  I wanted mine with the cheese but I didn’t want to instigate another lack of palate lecture :D


Of course the cheese was, as always, exceptional; comte, camembert, epoisse and the creamiest, richest Roquefort I’ve ever tasted!


Not over yet, we had M. Parret’s “creme”.  This was probably his best one yet.  No raisins.




Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Easter Leg of Lamb


1 month before Easter I ordered a Mont St. Michel, pre-sale leg of lamb.  The man at Maison Trotoux assured me he could get one and that it was a good thing I was ordering early because he had lots of orders for the specialty.  He wrote it down in his book with my name for the Friday before Easter.  I was still in Stuttgart on Friday but I asked Chantal if she would pick it up for me.  At first he insisted on talking to me but when she said I was still in Germany, he said he couldn’t get the lamb.  Well, on Saturday, I swung by his shop for an explanation that was useless.  He had assured me that he could get the lamb.  He lied. Looks like a 6 month to 1 year grudge I’ll be carrying.  That’s okay, there’s always Au Village Gourmand :)


Anyway.  I went to the market and found a gorgeous, normal, French leg of lamb. Resentfully, I stabbed it all over with a sharp knife, then prepped it simply with garlic, herbs and olive oil.


As I wanted to make a typically French Easter lunch and it isn’t fresh bean season until the fall, I went to Picard for some frozen flageolet beans.  Yes, it’s true that Picard was one of those companies that had horse meat in their frozen lasagna but forgive and forget and don’t buy frozen prepared meals anywhere :/


And to make it easy on myself, “les patates” skin on, roasted with herbs.  Easy and delicious.


We began the meal with a beet tiramisu but, Champagne befuddled, I forgot to take the picture before we ate it.  For the picture and recipe go here.  It’s really good!


The meal ended with a fresh strawberry mousse, my go to dessert when I’m obliged to make one ;)

Coming soon:  M. Parret Does Veal Roast

Leg of lamb with Flageolet Beans

1 large lamb leg

5 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

Salt and pepper

3-4 tbsp olive oil

3 onions, quartered

1/2 cup grillaudes diced/lardons/chopped bacon

1 tbsp butter

2 shallots, chopped

1 large bag frozen flageolet beans, steamed for 10 minutes

3 tbsp chicken broth

2 tbsp flour

With a sharp knife, stab the lamb all over.  Mix the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil together, then massage into the lamb.  Place the onions on the bottom of a lightly oiled roasting pan and place the lamb on top.  In a preheated 425 F oven, roast the lamb for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 F and continue to roast for 1 hour.

In the meantime, brown the grillaudes pieces in a skillet, remove and set aside.  Melt the butter in the skillet and add the shallots, sauteing until soft.  Stir in the beans, reserved grillaudes and chicken broth.  Cover and simmer for a few minutes.

To make a sauce for the lamb:  Remove the lamb from the roasting pan and set aside to rest.  Put the roasting pan on a medium flame, slosh in some white wine, stir and scrape up the bits on the bottom for about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring.  Add  2 1/2 cups of water and continue to stir until thickened.

Wine suggestion:  Julienas



Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Irish Pork Pot Roast


I have lots of photos on my camera and can’t seem to catch up.  I guess I’ll begin at the beginning, before I left Stuttgart.

This pot roast is a pretty good recipe inspired by the new cookbook my husband bought for me, “Irish Pub Cooking.”


We’re all going to Sens for Easter but I wanted to leave something large behind for when my husband returns to Stuttgart.  I also made a mash of carrots and potatoes that wasn’t bad but not as good as the puree that Guy made.


They are really big on white asparagus here in Germany.  These were pretty.


Grilled with herbs.


Irish Pork Pot Roast

1 rolled pork roast about 3 lbs, seasoned with salt, pepper and some fresh thyme

1 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp butter

4 shallots, chopped

8 celery stalks, chopped

6 juniper berries

2 fresh thyme sprigs

2/3 cup hard cider

2/3 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp flour

2/3 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Brown the roast in the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter, then remove the roast and set aside.  Add the shallots and celery stalks to the pot and saute until soft.  Add the juniper berries, thyme sprigs, cider and chicken stalk, bring to a boil, add the roast, cover and simmer for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the pork roast and set aside, keeping warm.  Remove the juniper berries and the thyme.  Mix the remaining butter and flour together, then slowly whisk into the liquid in the pot, cooking for 2 minutes.  Stir in the cream and bring to a boil.

Slice the pork and serve with the sauce and a side dish of choice (fresh peas/carrot and potato mash).


Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Irish, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari


At some point when I was shopping in Stuttgart, I found a bag of enormous calamari tubes at the Italian grocery store.  My idea was to stuff them with some of the store’s fabulous looking sausage.  However, overtaken by life events, I forgot all about the calamari until yesterday when my husband said, pointedly, “There’s all that squid in the freezer.”  I pretended not to hear him because I wanted to make an Irish pork roast today.  He persisted, “You’re going back to France AGAIN and I don’t know how to cook squid.” Okay, okay.  He said the same darn thing about the shrimp, so that’s why this is stuffed with both sausage and shrimp.  Good idea.  Thanks for the inspiration,  Honey :)


These calamari tubes were really big, about the size of an obese quail when stuffed.  You could make this recipe with smaller tubes and just cook them for a shorter time in the oven.


I recommend that you use a homemade tomato sauce (olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, red wine) to cover the calamari as it bakes and some extra for the linguine.


This was very good.  Next time I’m going to double the garlic in my tomato sauce :)


Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari

2 tbsp olive oil

6 Italian sausages, casing removed

1 cup shrimp, finely chopped

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

5 enormous calamari tubes or 10-12 normal ones

4 cups homemade tomato sauce

1 lb linguine, cooked

Brown the sausage meat in the olive oil, then remove with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl.  Remove all but 2 tbsp of the oil from the skillet and set aside.

Add the shrimp, bread crumbs, cheese, chicken broth and parsley to the sausage meat in the bowl and mix well.  Stuff the calamari tubes with this mixture, closing off the large ends with wooden skewers.

Reheat the reserved oil in the skillet and brown the stuffed calamari on both sides, then place in a baking dish.

If there is any leftover stuffing, add it to the tomato sauce and heat.  Pour 2 cups of the sauce over the calamari, then place in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes (maybe 15-20 for smaller tubes).

Toss the remaining tomato sauce with the cooked linguine, slice the calamari and serve immediately.

Wine suggestion:  Masi Amarone



Posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments