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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Gratuitous picture of our son Brian.


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


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


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



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

Sausage and Peppers


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.


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 ;)


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


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

Plat d’Etain: Bruno Has the “Irish” In


The French always surprise me with their intense enthusiasm for vacations and hobbies.  I once saw a group of French country western dancers performing on the promenade, boots, hats and all. They were good!


Last night Bruno of the Plat d’Etain restaurant had live Irish music.


The “mec” on the accordion was incredible!  It was like being in a pub in Ireland, except the musicians were French.


Most incredible was that this was not a regular band but individuals who like Irish music and they just got together, played and sang the songs in French.  “Star of the County Down” was a favorite.


Sens is a very small town but from time to time, especially when the weather is nice, some of the brasseries, bars and restaurants have music, and where there is music, there will be dancing :)


In the southern part of Haiti, there are black people with blue and green eyes.  It was explained to us that this was because, back in the day, a Polish ship went aground with a large number of sailors surviving the wreck.  With no way to get back home, and with the help of the local Indians and runaway slaves, the sailors settled in and made Haiti their home.  You have to wonder how these “Irish French” got to Sens :)


This night strengthened my resolve to go back to Ireland for a visit soon, rent a cottage in County Clare and go to the pub every single night.


Thank you Bruno!  We had a wonderful time :D





Posted in Food and Wine, French, Irish | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Down Under


I’ve been seeing quite a few fabulous food blogs from Australia.  Seems to me they’re eating pretty good, maybe better than a lot of us! It’s not just sheep, sheep, sheep, grubs, crocodiles and kangaroos.  No, we’re talking about an appetizing, inventive, interesting cuisine.  Anyway, that’s what I always see on the blog Foodisthebestshitever.  I always want his food when he posts and today I decided to make some.  Of course, as usual, these are not his recipes verbatim; I can’t help fiddling with things.  Just go to the blog site for the real thing.


I decided to begin with one of his slaw recipes and had a harrowing experience with the vegetable mandolin until I wised up and pulled out the food processor.  Apparently, I need to take a course in making julienne strips with a mandolin.


This slaw is as delicious as it sounded.  Brian and I ate some while we were waiting for the stew to be ready.  We’re having Italian sausage and peppers with this tomorrow :)


Well no, I didn’t have any pork fillet for the stew but I had a roasted jamboneau or ham hock and I did add some odd pieces of bell pepper from the fridge and a chilli for babies, but I like to think I was still in the spirit of the thing.  On the other hand, I should have just gone to Australia and sat at his table.  Surprise!   :D


Still, when you consider the source of the inspiration, you just can not go wrong!


Apple, Fennel and Radish Slaw

Click on title for original recipe

1/4 large cabbage, shredded

8 radishes, julienned

1 granny smith apple, julienned

1 bulb fennel, shredded

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil

Salt and pepper

Mix everything together and there you go!


Lentil Stew

Click on title for original recipe

1 large roasted jamboneau or ham hock, cut into cubes

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 piece each of green and yellow bell pepper, diced

1 onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, slivered or chopped

4 anchovy fillets

1 carrot diced

1 long, green chilli for babies, seeded and diced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 handful cilantro leaves

2 rosemary sprigs

Glug of white wine

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 large can French lentils

Put 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large pot and saute the ham cubes for about 3 minutes, then remove and set aside.  Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil, bell pepper, onion, garlic, anchovies and carrot, then saute until the onion is soft.  Add the diced chilli and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cumin seeds, cilantro and rosemary, then saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

Finally, add the tomatoes and lentils, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Eat.

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

Sanglier with Apricots


M. Parret gave me the cutest little 2 1/2 lb wild boar (sanglier) roast, slaughtered and prepared for roasting by Maurice.


I had some more grelots onions and thought that they would be a good addition and they were :)


M. Parret likes the little French ratte potatoes and grows them in his garden.  When he harvests them, we eat them for every single meal, my house or his, until the last one is gone.  I’ve told him how boring it is to always have potatoes, no matter what we’re eating, but he just says, incredulously and way too frugally for me, “But it’s the season!”  Because he was coming for lunch, I bought these at the market to get a jump on his harvest so that I can say, “I already made those.”


I just washed and boiled them in salted water.  M. Parret didn’t like that the skins were on. Health is meaningless to this man.  “You  just couldn’t be bothered to peel the potatoes”, he accused.   Maybe :D


It’s the beginning of the strawberry season and the famous French gariguettes are on offer at 19.20 Euros per kilo.  I call that steep and possibly because of our American palates, we can’t appreciate their apparent excellence.


So for my strawberry mousse dessert, I bought normal strawberries at 3 Euros per kilo. They were from Spain but I didn’t tell Le Parret and he ate his dessert with enthusiasm.


You can make this mousse with any reasonable fruit.  I want to do one with peaches.  Easy, easy, easy.

Strawberry Mousse

3 gelatin leaves

1 lb strawberries, chopped

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup fromage blanc or Greek yogurt

7 ounces heavy cream

Put the gelatin leaves in cold water to soften.  Heat 1/4 of the strawberries in a sauce pan with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir the softened and drained gelatin leaves into the hot strawberry mixture until dissolved, then stir in the rest of the strawberries.  Stir in the fromage blanc and set aside.

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold into the cooled strawberry mixture.   Spoon into serving glasses, refrigerate for 3 hours, then serve.


Boar Roast with Apricots

2 1/2 -3 lb rolled boar roast

Salt, pepper, coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups little onions, peeled

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup veal/chicken broth

1 tsp fennel seeds

4-5 thin strips tangerine skin

1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced

Season the roast with the salt, pepper and coriander, then brown well in the olive oil (a Le Creuset with cover should work for this or an Emile Henry tajine.) Remove the roast and set aside.  Add the onions and brown.  Put the roast back in the pot, add the wine, broth, fennel seeds, tangerine skin and apricots.  Put the top on and cook in the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes until no pink shows but the roast is still juicy.





Posted in Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Brian Does Bacon, Blue Cheese and Veal Burgers


Our son Brian is one of the best bacon fryers in the world!  His bacon is crispy without being brittle so that it doesn’t explode into shards when you take a bite.  He inherited this talent from his father who is the other bacon frying master.  Brian’s advice to bacon frying neophytes is to take your time, keep the fire moderate, have an organized plan for the bacon when it is cooked and always remember that the bacon is the star, everything else is side issue :)


Bacon, Blue Cheese and Veal Burgers

8-12 pieces of fried bacon

1 lb ground veal

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil spray

4 slices of blue cheese

4 Buns, 8 bread slices, whatever you need.  Toasted or “au naturel”



Tomatoes, sliced

Form the veal into 4 patties, season with salt and pepper, coat a frying pan with the spray and fry the patties on one side, turn, add the cheese on the cooked side and continue to fry until the meat is done and the cheese has softened/melted.

Spread some mayonnaise on both inside pieces of your buns/bread, then layer them with the veal, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Guinea Fowl with Mushrooms and Chestnuts


I saw this recipe in the French Saveurs magazine and, loving guinea fowl supremes, I wanted to make it.  The recipe called for fresh girolles mushrooms and I wasted several days looking for them.  Finally, the mushroom and herb lady at the market told me that they were not in season but that I could use dehydrated mushrooms.  I didn’t want to do that so I substituted pleurotes for the girolles.  I think that the girolles would have made this dish a bit more elegant, but it was still delicious.


What is a supreme of guinea fowl?  It’s half of a boned breast section with the wing drumstick attached.


Buy the roasted and peeled chestnuts in a jar at some gourmet store and cut those big ole pleurotes into thick strips.  If you are lucky enough to find girolles, cut them in halves.  Try to find a better quality of jarred chestnuts than I did.


In the meantime, feeling grabby, I grabbed a couple of “bouquets” of young artichokes to roast in the oven.


I gave this plate to my son to keep his motor running while I prepared the guinea fowl.


Quick and easy.  I changed the sauce a bit.

Guinea Fowl with Mushrooms and Chestnuts

4 guinea fowl supremes, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little for oiling the roasting pan

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

4 branches of fresh rosemary

1 lb pleurotes mushrooms(cut into strips) or girolles(halved)

1 jar roasted and peeled chestnuts

2 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper


Brown the supremes in a skillet with the 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.  Oil a roasting pan with a little olive oil and roast the supremes, skin side up in a 400 F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Pour the white wine into the same skillet and reduce by half.  Add the stock and rosemary, boiling until reduced by a third, remove the rosemary, set aside and keep warm.

Brown the mushrooms and chestnuts in the butter, then add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Serve the guinea fowl with the mushrooms, chestnuts and sauce.

Wine suggestion:  Julienas


Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments