I had planned a rant this week and I think it was about knowing where your food comes from, for example a shank of meat. But I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say and you’ll be sorry when all of us baby boomers are dead and you’ll never learn anything. You’re asking yourself now, “What’s a baby boomer?” Case closed :D
Anyway. I love shelling fresh beans. It makes me feel so old school. To be honest, I didn’t grow up shelling beans; we bought them dried at the supermarket in bags like everybody else. My mother probably grew up shelling beans but was ashamed to talk about it :) She came from the South and moved to the West where supermarkets were cool, sophisticated and, at that time, still sold real food. No way was she going to be labeled “country” by her peers who were all, in reality, country. Ubiquitous Texas potato salad was only one manifestation.
I love my kitchen in France! The kitchen in Pennsylvania, while larger and brighter, doesn’t have the same ambiance or maybe feng sui. It must be situated on the dragon’s eye or somewhere uncomfortable.
In preparation for a small Sunday lunch, I bought some lamb shanks from the butcher Deneaux. This is the first time I’ve visited his shop because it’s on the outskirts of town and I’ve been satisfied with the butchers in town. However, my friend Babou showed me a pamphlet that listed Deneaux as a source for Mont St Michel salt marsh lamb. Of course I had to go!
Deneaux has lovely meat! I did buy a leg and a rack of the Mont St. Michel lamb for later revels, but for Sunday I chose the lamb shanks of normal French lamb because, panicking, I wanted to be sure to make fresh beans again before the season ends.
I cooked the beans in a traditional French method with rustically smoked bacon and bay leaf, added some brown sugar and mustard and briefly heated them in the oven a l’American.
I tajine-ed the shanks with onion, shallots, tomatoes and random herbs. Melt in the mouth perfection!
We began with a Champagne apertif and a shrimp, avocado and mango cocktail. I must spend more time at the fishmonger’s! I’m sure I must be deficient in vitamin B, D or both ;) This cocktail or salad would be great with some spicy Mexican food.
Thierry and Arielle brought a 40 year old bottle of Pomerol and we all prayed as Thierry painstakingly pried out the cork. Not vinegar! In fact, enjoyably drinkable!
We took our time as usual, talking politics, children and of course food. Catherine Marceau, a good neighbor, is going to guide me through the mushroom and truffle season. So excited! Here in Bourgogne we are lucky to have a “gray” truffle, less expensive at 300-400 euros per kilo than the black truffle at 600-1200 euros per kilo. The Bourgogne truffle is known to be the only truffle present on French royal tables from before the Middle ages, up until the Renaissance.
I teasingly threatened not to serve the cheese course and wiped that happy look off Le Parret’s face :D
M. Parret’s vine peaches are so beautiful. I love that layer of cherry color just underneath the skin.
Rich, blushing peach ice cream for desert. I imagine I’ll continue to make ice cream, no matter the weather, until there’s no more fresh fruit to put inside ;)
Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Cocktail
1 lb shrimp, shelled, headed and deveined
1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes
1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp piment d’espelette
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
Place the shrimp, mango, avocado, scallions, cilantro and piment in a large bowl. Whisk the lime juice, sugar and olive oil together. Pour over the shrimp mixture and blend well. Refrigerate for an hour and serve.