Salmon and Udon Noodle Dashi Soup

Wandering around the Courtenay, France farmers’ market on Thursday, I stumbled upon two packages of fresh udon noodles!  Not available in Sens, this was quite the find.  I started cooking in my head and couldn’t wait to get home!  I knew I had kombu seaweed and katsuobushi flakes for a home made dashi broth and the fish monger for salmon is only a few steps away from my house.

I made the so easy dashi broth, steamed some chinese cabbage, boiled the udon, eggs and fried the salmon.  I placed the noodles, salmon and cabbage in two bowls, ladled hot broth over all and added boiled egg.

I gave my husband the big bowl because he looked very hungry 😀

Dashi Broth

1 large piece of kombu

8 cups water

2 cups bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

4 tbsp Usukuchi soy sauce

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp sake

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp mirin

1/4 tsp salt

Place the kombu in the 8 cups of water and set aside.  After at least 30 minutes, pour the kombu and water into a pot and bring almost to a boil (small bubbles appear on the edges of the water).  Remove the kombu and discard.   Add the bonito flakes, bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds.  Place a paper towel lined strainer over a bowl and pour the bonito flakes and water into the strainer.  When cool enough, gather the flakes in the paper towel and squeeze the liquid out into the bowl before discarding the flakes.  To season the broth, add the soy sauces, sake, sugar, mirin and salt.





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Fried Green Tomatoes with Salsa

For the first time I saw green tomatoes in the Sens farmers’ market!  When I started to look a them, the helpful stall owner told me how they should be prepared; as a kind of spiced and pickled relish in a jar.  I thanked her and told her that I intended to fry them as they do in the Southern part of the United States.  She was interested and we had a pleasant conversation, both vowing to try each others recipe.

I seasoned the slices with salt and pepper, then coated them with flour, egg and bread crumbs before deep frying.

Earlier, I had made an easy tomato salsa and refrigerated it.  I guess I didn’t take a picture of it but these things happen 🙂

Fresh Ripe Tomato Salsa

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 red spring onion bulbs, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 long, fresh, green chilli for babies (mild), seeded and chopped

1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tsp sugar

Juice from one lime

Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fried Green Tomatoes

4-5 large green tomatoes, sliced

Salt and pepper


2 eggs, beaten

Bread crumbs

Peanut oil for deep frying

Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Dip the floured slices in the beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs.  Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, then fry the slices until golden brown.  Serve with salsa.





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Les Moules

I don’t know how I forgot about this meal and the pictures for the blog.  That was the first time I’ve made mussels since I returned and our M. Parret was with us.  I only remembered when we were having a light evening meal of charcuterie and cheese, that I didn’t post the blog, nor his picture!  Looking good, young and still of a healthy appetite for Burgundy’s finest.

I decided to begin with the traditional method of preparing mussels; shallots, garlic and a drinkable wine, in this case, a Bourgogne Aligote.  It shouldn’t be too expensive but one should be able to drink it without acid backlash.

The wine sauce and the fresh mussels have been missing from our lives.  Whoa was us 🙂  But not anymore!  Next up Papillon Roquefort mussels.

Feeling emboldened by M. Parret’s tutoring on cheeses, I asked him not to bring cheese and that I would make the cheese board.  His look of polite skepticism was priceless!

I chose Brie de Meaux, Epoisse, a sharp cow cheese from the market, aged Cantal and creamy, Papillon Roquefort.  He was so relieved when he saw the board that I laughed at him for a long time 😀

Moules Marinieres

4 servings of fresh, live mussels

3-4 tbsp butter

3 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bottle of Bougogne Aligote

Parsley, chopped

Place the live mussels in cold water for about 30 minutes to allow them to evacuate the sand inside the shell.  Remove the “beards” from each mussel and place in another basin of cold water as the beards are removed and allow them to stay in this water until ready to cook.  Note:  At this stage, discard any broken or odd looking mussels.

Melt the butter in a large stock pot, add the shallots and garlic, then sweat the vegetables until they are soft and a little browned.  Add the wine, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the mussels, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes until the mussels are open.

Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large heat resistant bowl and sprinkle with parsley.






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Asian Oxtails with Vietnamese Noodles and Turnips

I’m never shocked at the price of oxtails in France.  The French have always considered them to be more than worthy as a meal.  I’m always shocked at the prices in the U.S. because when I was a child, my mother would buy them cheaply as a least desirable portion of the animal, like pig tails, ears and chitlins.  Well, I guess the American T.V. traveling chefs have ruined it for everyone, exposing the public to the least desirable cuts of meat, turning them into the stars they should have always been, while punishing the knowledgeable with enormous price hikes.  Thanks guys.

I’ve missed lardons.  I used them as the basis, along with sauteed shallots for my turnip-spinach side dish.

The turnips and spinach were delicious!  I could eat this melange with just a piece of baguette and be satisfied.  I know this is true because I tried it out before I finished cooking the oxtails 🙂

This is certainly not the way my mother made oxtails, but with her love of Asian food, she would have tried it if she knew; garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and a peel of mandarin.  She just didn’t know, poor thing 😉

I fairly enjoyed wedging the oxtails into the pressure cooker so that they fit flat on the bottom, a challenge but beautifully over come.  The bonus in this recipe is that the oxtails do not have to be browned before cooking.  Think of that 😀

I purchased the noodles already made from the Vietnamese traiteur in the market but you can make your own if you like.  I suggest somen or soba.

Pressure Cooker Asian Oxtails

2 1/2-3 lbs oxtails

1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup sake

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

8 thin slices of fresh ginger, skin on

2 star anise

2 sticks cinnamon

Peel from one mandarin, cut into strips

Mix the soy sauce, sake, brown sugar and water together and set aside.  Place the oxtails in the bottom of a pressure cooker.  Sprinkle the scallions, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and mandarin peel over the oxtails.  Pour the soy sauce mixture over all.

Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal well.  Put the little bobble thing over the vent in the middle of the pressure cooker top.  Turn the gas up to high and when the bobble starts to swing back and forth, decrease the heat until the bobble continues a gentle swing. Cook for 35-40 minutes, remove from flame and set aside until the pressure button, located at the top of the handle, sinks completely to the bottom.

Open the pressure cooker and place the oxtails in a platter.  Boil the liquid down (no top) until it is reduced by half, then pour over the oxtails.






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Pont sur Yonne Market

Pont sur Yonne is a charming town about 6 miles from Sens.  The gothic Notre Dame church there was built between 1130-1140 and consecrated in 1169.  You can still see the remnants of the “old bridge” built 1684-1700 and mostly destroyed by bombs during World War II.

Sunday is market day in Pont sur Yonne and our favorite saucisson maker is usually there.  He makes a dry salami type sausage with different blends of mushrooms, cheese, boar, venison, garlic, plain smoked and numerous others I can’t remember.  He has received many awards for his sausages and they are well deserved.  Sliced, these are perfect for cocktails.  This year we had to go to the Sunday market 3 times before he showed up.  He told us that since his product has become so well known, he has been busy hosting salons and attending receptions.  Good for him and good for us 🙂

While in the market we picked up some hot rotisserie chicken and potatoes roasted under the turning chickens to take home for our Sunday meal.  Dee-licious!

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Chicken Elbows and Turnips

“Chicken elbows and turnips”, sounds so southern 🙂  There were nice turnips in the market, including golden or yellow turnips.  Looked great to me!

I sauteed some shallots in butter before browning the turnips and adding bay leaf and  chicken broth to simmer for 10 minutes.

Of course I made my chicken wings in the usually way; salt, pepper, garlic powder, flour and baked in butter.

Turnips with Shallots

1 glob of butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 tbsp olive oil

6 turnips (2 golden and 4 regular), peeled and cut into medium dice

Salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup chicken broth


Saute the shallots in the butter until very soft and slightly browned.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in the same skillet, add the turnips, salt and pepper, then saute until the turnips are soft and slightly brown.  Add the bay leaf, sauteed shallots and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley.







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Coco de Paimpol Bean Chili

It’s the season for fresh beans in France.   The most famous of these are Coco de Paimpol and also my favorite.  In order to take full advantage of the season, this is my 3rd dish I have made with these beans.  They never disappoint; firm on the outside with a perfect creaminess on the inside.

I had completely forgotten to bring chili powder from the States.  Sens does not “do” chili powder and the chili powder I had left behind was expired and completely dead.  With low expectations, I searched all open supermarkets on Sunday.  Expectations were proven right, so I waited until Monday to try the Leclerc supermarket which one’s my last and only hope.  Miracle!  After 15 years, Leclerc has finally stocked chili powder.  It’s not Mexican chili powder but it is chili powder and worked beautifully.

This wasn’t traditional Mexican chili but it was a good bean stew with a spicy taste.

Coco de Paimpol Bean Chili

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb of coarsely ground beef

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 tbsp oregano

1/2 cup red wine

2 medium sized cans diced tomatoes

1 tiny can, about 3 tbsp tomato paste

1 lb fresh coco beans or plump white beans soaked overnight

2 cups of water

Brown the beef in 2 tbsp olive oil, remove and set aside.  Wipe the pot out with a paper towel, then add 2 tbsp olive oil, the onions, garlic and bell pepper.  Sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent.

Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano, stirring in for 2 minutes.  Add the red wine and cook for about 3 -4 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and paste, then add the beans, beef and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hrs until beans are tender.






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