I had forgotten about this meal and the pictures I took. My husband came up to Sens last Friday to load my affairs and animals into the car and drag me back to Stuttgart. Of course everyone wanted to say hello to him and good-bye to us both, so I suggested a 6:00 p.m. casse-croute or snack at our house. This gave me the opportunity to empty out as much as I could of the refrigerators. We just loaded the table with wine, food and eating paraphernalia and went from there. Top photo, shrimp deviled eggs.
Babou’s baba ganoush
Cherry tomatoes and mixed salad greens.
A first, M. Parret said he didn’t want any cheese! At first I thought he was extremely ill and that maybe this was the “big one”! Then I remembered all that bread and butter he ate with everything, contrary to the doctor’s orders and poured him a little red to settle his stomach :)
Stuttgart… s**t, I’m still only in Stuttgart… Everytime I think I’m going to wake up in Sens.
I knew pack out was coming and that I would have to come back to Germany rather sooner than later. Talking about denial! You’ve never seen so much procrastination, foot dragging and whining! I’m almost, but not quite, ashamed :D
Of course when I got here, the refrigerators, not the freezers (they were still stocked from my last visit from France), were bare. The only veg in the house was a box of frozen green beans from the commissary. And the way my husband “rolls” when I’m not at home is colorful, to say the least.
From the profusion of packaged noodles in the pantry, I determined that my darling must have been craving Asian cuisine. Problem was, I’m out of Asian noodles and don’t want to buy anything like that with pack out looming. In addition, I didn’t have carrots, or bell peppers or scallions that I usually use when making noodles. Long story short, I boiled some spaghetti and added Oriental flavorings. This was better than it sounds and I made a lot so that he can have some in his bento box this week.
I have an obscene amount of duck in the freezers and I decided to start working through some of that first. I seasoned four large duck legs with salt, pepper and 5 spice powder and let them sit around for about an hour.
Before taking these to the grill, I steamed them for 30 minutes in a dumpling steamer. I have twice cooked duck legs before and like the results.
The oven is clean and will remain so until we move from here. It’s grill time baby :D
I thinned some of my favorite jarred char sui sauce with water to make a light glaze.
Satisfied! Although I will be vegetable shopping tomorrow. Woman can not live by packaged noodles and frozen vegetables alone.
Asian Fried Spaghetti
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
4 -6 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 pkg of dried spaghetti, cooked with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid reserved
In a wok, soften the shallots and garlic in the vegetable oil. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sake and chilli sauce, then boil for 2 minutes.
Add the cooked spaghetti and fry, adding the water a little at a time.
Char Sui Glazed Duck Legs
4 duck legs
Salt and pepper
Chinese 5 spice powder
1/4 cup char sui sauce, thinned with a little water
Season the duck legs with salt, pepper and the 5 spice powder and set aside for at least an hour. Steam the duck legs for 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill to 450 F, turn off one side of the grill and put the legs on the cold side, skin side down for 20 minutes, turn and cook for another 20 minutes, top down.
Brush the legs with the sauce, then cook for an additional 20 minutes, brushing with the sauce and turning every 5 minutes.
This is Jessie, my 2 1/2 month old Irish Terrier. Why is her name Jessie? Ask the French. Their naming system for pedigree dogs dictates the first letter of the name of the dog depending on the year. 2014 was “J” and I couldn’t think of an Irish name that I admired that started with J. I should have asked Conor. Too late. Anyway, the name suits her; as in Jessie James : – O In this picture she has just finished uprooting a container of flowers and chasing the cat. “Why must I be like that? Why must I chase the cat? Nothing but the dog in me.”
Seems like I made a good choice with this breed. Jessie is pretty, intelligent and affectionate. Too bad the cats don’t think so :D
Anyway, we’re on our way back to Germany at the end of the week. Of course the refrigerators and their freezers are bulging. I’ll just empty everything out into a cooler and cook constantly as we pack out.
I’m having a hard time concentrating on cooking with so many things going on. Our Jade got her report card and her lowest grade was a B. That’s a really good thing! The school in Massachusetts seems to have worked a miracle! Really, we poured over the card to make sure there was no mistake and that her name was on it. I hope they’re not beating her :D
My goal today was to cook with as little effort as possible. Accomplished! I only used one pan for the courgettes and the pork steaks with mustard gravy. Mwuahahahaha!!
Pork Steak with Mustard Gravy
2 pork steaks
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 courgettes, chaotically cut into cubes
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp flour
1 cup water or chicken broth
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1 sprig fresh thyme
Season the pork with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Melt 1 tbsp of the butter into a skillet, add the courgettes and quickly brown. Remove the courgettes from the skillet and set aside keeping warm.
Add another tbsp of butter to the skillet and cook the pork steaks until just done. Remove and set aside.
Add the remaining tbsp of butter and cook the shallots until limp, then add the tbsp of flour and continue to cook until the flour and shallots are a golden brown. Slowly stir in the water or broth until smooth, then add the mustard, thyme sprig and pork steaks. Cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the courgettes.
Wine suggestion: Petit Chablis
You have to say that M. Parret has come a long way since I met him more than a dozen years ago. He hasn’t changed really, but he will occasionally acknowledge that, perhaps, some Americans cook some things well. In any case, that suspicious, what-bizarre-American-thing-has-she-made-now look is no longer present when I put food on the table. Yes, yes, French is best, blah, blah, blah says Le Parret, but that doesn’t spoil his appetite :)
On the other hand, I, have always admired the simple, fresh, goodness of traditional French cuisine. It reminds me of the meals my grandmother and mother made; food that not only is filling but also appealing to eye and tongue.
One of Tonio’s hunting friends gave him a lovely little “gigot” of roe deer and he gave it to me, hoping for lunch in the near future. M. Parret does this too; “Here’s a little wild boar roast. Should I bring salad from the garden?” :-D I like this because it broadens my knowledge in the preparation of gibier or game animals. In the beginning, I was like oh-my-God, what am I going to do with this, how long to cook, what to cook it with? However, the miracle of game meat in France is that it’s like domestic meat with a different taste. Not what I would call “gamey”, just different, tender and delicious. It tastes like deer. I cooked the haunch as I would lamb and rubbed it with some Bavarian essence in a sort of French-German detente.
It’s melon season, so I cut one into 8ths and draped them with some of the Limousin ham I bought at the medieval fair to serve as entrees. Very nice :)
And of course we had cheese that M. Parret always insists on bringing and arranging himself. He complained about the oval platter out of habit but, as always, the cheese was exceptional. It most be difficult being really old. I try to understand :D
Gigot de Chevreuil a la Tajine
1 deer haunch from a small breed deer or at least a young regular one, poked all over with a knife
6 large potatoes, quartered
6 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 onions, quartered
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (I used oregano and rosemary because that’s what I had)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Rub the poked deer with the essence and refrigerate overnight or at least for 2 hours. Mix the potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil together and place on the bottom of a tajine. Top with the deer, cover and roast in a 375 F oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continue to roast for 30 minutes.
This weekend, Sens hosted a medieval fair on the town square with fantastic costumes, music, theater, food and artisanal crafts.
I guess these were demons or living gargoyles. They were impressive.
Rat catcher. He looks like he should be in a movie featuring barbarians :)
A viking-ette. She was beautiful.
This sorcerer was a big draw with his fantastic eyes, enchantments and spells.
Everyone seemed to have so much fun playing their roles.
Not only were the actors wearing costumes but many of the attendees chose to go in costume. There was a costume maker installed in the basement of the farmers’ market. You could rent or buy.
We just bought the hats :) Hat photos by Veronique Gilleron and Babou Matta.
Yes, there was food. The first thing I did was buy a ham because the vendor was very informative, not too pushy and sold very, very, very good ham. Probably the best ham I’ve tasted since living in France!
The ham and salami comes from the commune of Uzerche in the Limousin region of France, where they also keep the good cows. I could have stayed for lunch but it wasn’t necessary because he gave us enough samples to tide us over ;)
These were French cookies. I didn’t have any. You know what they say about French, cookies :-0 Anyway, cookies are an American thing and America didn’t exist in medieval times. Pass :D
This stall was selling hand picked cherries and white asparagus. Everything a body needs.
Time for lunch. Le Patio advertised a medieval “bowl” for Sunday lunch. At 7 euros you couldn’t go wrong. All the employees were costumed. I don’t know who that guy is with the bag. He shouldn’t be there. Hey wait a minute, who is that guy over there wearing out the mayo? The French are so lax :D
The plate of creamy beans with lardons and sausage was wonderful! I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t served in a wooden or clay bowl with primitive spoons or something but it was delicious. We had old vine Chablis with this.
Heaving ourselves from the table, we continued our tour of the fair.
This young girl was so pretty and had a lovely costume. Too bad about the aggressive, open mouth gum chewing. I sound like an old lady. But I am an old lady, so it’s okay :)
Some random, xenophobic, old French guy :D
This was so much fun! I hope they do this again next year.
So many things going on in my life, I’m a little distracted. I attended the fantastic Sens Medieval Fair over the weekend and have so many pictures that it’s going to take me a while to get them into a post. I’m picking up my puppy Jessie tomorrow and am stressing a bit about getting her acclimated before we take off for Germany.
I bought some lovely salmon fillets from the fish market and couldn’t think about how I wanted to cook them. In the nick of time, Chica Andaluza posted a fantastic recipe for griddled scallops and smoked salmon with a dressing that I admired. I re-purposed the dressing as a marinade but didn’t have any lemon so I substituted with lime juice. Mah-velous. Thank you Chica :)
Salmon, Cabbage and Fennel
4 salmon fillets, skin on
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp nuoc mam
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup lardons/diced bacon
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1/2 small savoy cabbage, shredded
1/3 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp honey
Mix the 2 tbsp olive oil, sesame oil, nuoc man, rice vinegar, garlic clove, lime juice, 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper together. Put the salmon fillets in a zip lock bag and pour the marinade inside. Squish around and allow to marinate for about 1 hour.
In the meantime, make the stir fry. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a wok and add the bacon, then cook until the bacon begins to brown. Add the onion and fennel, then cook until the fennel is tender. Add the cabbage and cook just to wilt. Remove from the flame and stir in the fennel seeds and honey.
Remove the salmon from the marinade and sear in a hot skillet until cooked to taste, turning every 2 minutes. Serve with the cabbage.