I could have wept!  Yesterday was Saturday and Tonio, Chantal and I planned to visit M. Parret at his rehabilitation center in Troyes, cruise the town and have lunch.  In anticipation of this, I set my camera on automatic and prepared to have a carefree day of snapping pictures of Le Parret, the market, restaurant and whatever.  Tragically, when I downloaded my pictures this morning, most of those of the restaurant, market and some of M. Parret were so dark the subjects were unrecognizable.  I was sad, angry and disgusted because this was a perfect day with fabulous weather, good friends, decadent shopping, marvelous Champagne (in Champagne region) and correct food, I was looking forward to sharing this on my blog.  But no!  Thanks Canon Rebel on automatic.  Thanks a lot.


Without hope, I decided to search the internet to see how I could photoshop these pictures in order to share this marvelous day with my readers.  Just as I thought!  Complicated, technical advice that no amateur could understand!  But just as I was about to give up, a reasonable person suggested using the auto smart fix.  Heck, I didn’t know I had one! Some people are “so knowing.”  :D


So today’s photos of M. Parret, the restaurant and the market are brought to you by Photoshop Element’s auto smart fix.  It was also suggested that I could further enhance these pictures by doing other things that I couldn’t be bothered to do once I realized that you could just click auto smart fix ;)  If I have to depend on Photoshop to produce a good picture, I don’t want to take pictures anymore, but I did want to share this day.


I love the Troyes market and resent the fact that we don’t have a market like this in Sens. The market is open everyday, all day except for Sundays.


If I wasn’t afraid of not being able to move around and heart failure, I could easily be enormously fat living in France.  On the other hand, I would rather die from greed in France than from chemicals, fake food and GMO in the U.S.  I just want a choice :)


Never go to the market before lunch.  You’ll just want to eat everything.  Never go to the market after lunch.  You’ll just want to eat again.


It really is too bad that we didn’t know about Troyes when we bought our townhouse in Sens; I think we would have chosen this town instead.  But then again, we wouldn’t have met the Parrets.  Oh well, things turn out for the best.


I’ve started using automatic occasionally because I know that a lot of people get tired of waiting for me to take manual pictures, but manual is best for me.  On automatic, I end up with gutless pictures that do not charm.


I’d like to blame the slant of these pictures on somebody or something but I’m afraid that I only have myself to blame for that and not changing the ISO :)


For lunch we decided on a restaurant across from the market, Brasserie des Halles.  Good choice.  I didn’t photoshop the picture below because I liked it.


I did photoshop the picture below because otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to see the menu.


Of course we ordered Champagne.  Photoshopped.


I absolutely adored the following pictures of Chantal and Tonio unphotoshopped.


“Talkin bout a Revolution.”


The good signs about this restaurant were that 1) It was across from the market and had access to fresh meats, fish and produce.  2)  It was jammed packed, inside and out.  3)  All their customers were French.   I had one of the specialties of Troyes, andouilette with chaource sauce.  Delicious!  Photoshopped.


Tonio and Chantal both had the onglet or hanger steak.  The salad and it’s dressing was fresh and traditional, while the “frites” were hand cut, real potatoes from the market. Photoshopped.


This restaurant was a great find!   Too bad we couldn’t break M. Parret out of jail to share it with us.  Oh well, next week he should be out on probation :)


After lunch we went to the center to see M. Parret and found a big gathering of his family there on a visit.  The magnum of Champagne that we brought was just right and they gave us glasses from the kitchen.  You can’t bring flowers but I guess wine is okay.  I love it!


Janine, Tonio-ette and Chantal.










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

Monkfish with Leeks


Our son has left and I’ve cleaned out the refrigerator to make more room for things I’m sure to buy.  I’ve got a couple of recipes I want to try from the French Saveurs magazine.  I wish M. Parret would hurry up and finish his knee re-education!  Champagne and Cremant guzzling has lost it’s savor without him :(


Anyway, the ‘monger advertised fresh, monk fish tails from Brittany that were gorgeous and I had some leeks, etc.  So I just did the “necessaire”.

Monkfish with Leeks

2 monkfish fillets, cut into 4-6 individual servings

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp butter

4 shallots, sliced vertically

3 leeks halved, rinsed and sliced

1/2 cup white wine

2 tbsp fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 pinch nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then brown in the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Remove the fish and set aside.  Wash and dry the skillet, then melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in the skillet, add the shallots and leeks, saute until the leeks are tender.

Add the wine and tarragon and boil for about 2 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the broth, tomato paste, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Return the fish to the skillet and simmer, partially covered for about 10 minutes.


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

Souris d’Agneau


I’ve been looking at two, aged, drying out lamb shanks in my freezer, it seems like forever. I wonder when and where I bought them….


Thank God for Greg at Rufus Guide for his inspirational sauce with Italian sausages.  I didn’t use the anchovies because I didn’t have any, but I would have.  For the real recipe, visit the link.


I had some link Italian sausages, fresh basil and oregano.  Actually I should have added a little fennel seed but I will next time, along with the anchovies.  Thanks Greg!

Lamb Shanks with Tagliatelle

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lamb shanks, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3/4 lb Italian sausage links, casings removed

2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup red wine

2 cans diced tomatoes

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup water

Salt and pepper

1 lb tagliatelle, cooked

Brown the lamb shanks in the olive oil, remove and set aside.  Saute the onions and garlic in the same pan/pot until soft.  Add the sausage meat, oregano and basil, then saute until the sausage meat is cooked.  Add the bay leaf and red wine and boil for 2 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the shanks are very tender.  Serve with the tagliatelle.

Wine suggestion:  Moulin a Vent


Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

I Promise Not to Eat Her

rose1m3sprofil rose1m3savec indy rose1m3savac michel

My new puppy :)  I haven’t picked her up yet or named her.  I want to wait for 3 months when she has more confidence.  In these pictures she’s only 1 month 3 weeks.  She’s an Irish Terrier.

The cat is an asshole


Posted in Irish | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments

Okay, I Baked


I made this muffuletta sandwich the other day but we ate it too fast for pictures.  So yesterday I made the olive salad again because it was all gone, baked the bread and got some end of the day and light pictures.



Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Chantal’s Barbecue


Tonio, a retired master mechanic, has his personal dream garage 2 doors down from our house.  He works on cars for his friends and friends of his friends, but mostly just hangs out Monday through Friday, 8-5, talking, puttering around and sharing a glass of the good stuff with  friends :)


At the beginning of the week, Tonio was craving barbecue.  He mesmerized me with talk of barbecued meats in the style of his native country, Portugal, and his mastery of all things grilled.  He specifically mentioned cote de boeuf or rib steak.  Talk being cheap, I insisted we set a date for the weekend, volunteering to make sides and a Bavarian chicken. Saturday was good for everyone.


I steamed some cauliflower with sliced yams and covered all with a cheesy bechamel sauce, then made a Texan potato salad; potatoes, onion, sweet gherkins, pimentos, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and yellow, I’m talking to you Frugal, mustard.


I sent the marinated chicken over early so that Tonio could get that started with the travers de porc (French ribs) before he grilled the other meats that needed less time. There was so much food!


Hey, wait a minute!  That’s Chantal in front of the grill!  Where’s Tonio, the barbecue king? I obviously totally misunderstood Mr. Tonio!  He meant that it would be at his house using the barbecue pit that he constructed but that, naturally, his spouse Chantal would do the cooking while he looked at Portuguese TV or strolled around looking barbecue worthy :D  Okay.


Tonio has also constructed a wonderful Florida room in his courtyard with sofas, television and a casual, kitchen table.  Absolutely perfect for bright, sunny days or rainy, wet ones like yesterday.


I would like to attach a veranda to the back of our house for our dining room table.  Also I would like Chantal’s bread basket :)


We began this fiesta with spicy, barbecued shrimp and a nice assortment of French sausages.  Delicioso!


As I tucked into my sausages of boudin noir, boudin blanc and andouilette, I thought sadly of Le Parret, stuck in the hospital with his invalid’s fare of porridge or maybe gruel.  Really, I had to take a big sip of Champagne to control the tears :D


Chantal’s roasted peppers with chipolatas and merguez were incredible!  I wanted seconds but there was the steak, the chicken, the ribs, the potato salad and cauliflower casserole still to get through.  Cheese and dessert were mentioned but I knew that was going to be impossible for me!


Do you remember what I said about French amusing themselves by putting a finger/hand into a picture?  SMH


The food and wine was excellent and we did have a good time, but I think we all missed M. Parret.




Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Salad, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Crispy Red Mullet with Herbs


While cruising by the fish market I heard tiny little fish voices calling out to me; “Hello, hey you American, look at us”, but it was in French.  So I did.  I saw the prettiest little red mullets, so fresh that they were still gasping for air and able to talk.  What could I do?  I took them home for closer scrutiny.  And cooking.


The recipe is one I’ve used for fresh sardines.  Make sure the fish monger or somebody scales and guts the fish correctly, then look here.  Before that, make my homemade tartar sauce.


Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup cornichons, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

5 drops Sriracha sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the tartar sauce, mix together the cornichons, onions, Sriracha, lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, then refrigerate.


Posted in American, Appetizer, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments