Pappardelle avec Petit Pois


Inspiration for the pasta with peas came from Saveurs magazine.  The recipe was a little crazy because the title was Pappardelle with peas and mint but there wasn’t any mint in the recipe however there was basil.  Peu import, as they say since I’m not a recipe Nazi and had already decided to change the method and ingredients😉  The original recipe is in the July-August French Saveurs magazine.


You see, I had this goodly amount of fairly expensive Bayonne ham leftover from sandwich making and the odd sundowner aperitif snack that begged to be paired with the fresh peas and volunteer onions that I decided to add, only because I was out of shallots.  There was no shallots in the recipe either but, again, peu import.  The method for this simple recipe was so convoluted that it smacked of Jamie when he’s playing super chef and employing too many steps and pans.  I was having none of that, boy howdy!


There was even a bit of silliness involved in making a regular basil pesto.  Just make it the normal way and you’ll be fine.

Pappardelle, Bayonne Ham, Fresh Peas and Zucchini Ribbons

2 lbs unshelled fresh peas

1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 cup Bayonne ham, chopped

1/4 cup water

1 zucchini, cut into ribbons

1 tbsp lemon juice

3/4-1 cup ricotta cheese

4 tbsp homemade pesto

1lb pappardelle pasta, cooked

Parmesan flakes

Shell the peas and set aside.  Cook the onion in the butter until soft.  Add the ham, peas and water to the pan, cover and steam for about 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini ribbons and lemon juice, then stir for about 1 -2  minutes until the zucchini is just wilted.  Set aside and keep warm.

Mix the cheese and pesto together, then add to the warm pasta with the pea and zucchini mixture, tossing until well coated.  Serve immediately,  sprinkled with the Parmesan flakes.







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Auberge de la Terrase, Moret Sur Loing, France


Yesterday was my birthday and Yves, a riverboat friend, had told me about a picturesque town about 35 kilometers from Sens called Moret Sur Loing.  I wanted to go there🙂



Gratuitous picture of flowers sent by our son from Aquarelle.  Before we left for Moret, I searched the internet for a medium-high quality restaurant and found, among others, L’Auberge de la Terrasse located on the river Loing.  The prices were quoted at 23-43 Euros per person.  Good, I thought, we’ll have drinkable wine.


When we walked up to the front of the Auberge we noticed the cook staff unloading vegetables and condiments, obviously purchased from a supermarket, from the back of a car.  Forewarned but oblivious, we entered the restaurant.


Even if it wasn’t my birthday, I would have ordered the coupe de Champagne as an apertif. I like coupe de Champagnes, but not this one.  It was delivered to the table, lukewarm, clutched in the hand of somebody’s grandmother in a track suit.  No bottle, no tray, no sophistication.  M. Parret was appalled and I laughed out loud at the expression of disgust on his face :D  Apparently Grandma was actually the female half of the owner couple.  I have to admit that I was a little shocked; no matter how modest an establishment in France,  the owners always seem to be well dressed and groomed.  We decided to enjoy ourselves come what may, which seemed nearly impossible after we saw the wine list😦


Even our wine expert was stumped!  The list was composed of the cheapest wines you could find in a Casino Express (think French 7/11).  Choosing by color alone, we flipped a coin, chose the Macon-Village and got what we expected; a dry, French Thunderbird.


The food was cooked cafeteria style; overcooked, frozen vegetables and the rest over sauced, oily and bland; the only thing missing was the plate with partitions.  There is no excuse for this!  It’s summer and the farmer’s market, loaded with the season’s best, is near by!


I can’t say that the service was rude, just brutal in the way the plates were violently served and removed.  What was that about?!


Anyway.  It’s taken me days to post this.  I just wanted to blank out the experience.  We’re going back because it’s a pretty medieval town, lots to see and other places to eat.





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Chili Con Carne


Whenever I hear “chili con carne” I immediately picture a can of probably Hormel chili or a bowl of ketchup sweetened kidney beans on offer at a country diner.  Chili con carne originally meant Mexican spiced beans with meat, not ground but chopped.  My mom made this all the time but we never called it chili con carne, just chili or chili beans with meat.  To us, chili con carne meant that can.  No one we knew ever admitted to eating that😀


The market is fresh bean and pea rich; fava, coco, petit pois, canneberge, wax, Italian flat. I bought some fresh coco beans yesterday to make chili.

Chili Beans with Meat

1/2 cup lardons/diced bacon

2 onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb ground steak

1/2 lb ground pork

2 heaping tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

3 cans diced tomatoes

3-4 cups shelled fresh coco beans

2 1/2 cups water

Lightly brown the lardons, then add the onions and garlic, then saute until the onions are just tender.  Add the steak and pork, then cook until the meats are no longer pink.  Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano, then cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, beans and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.



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Castelnaudary Cassoulet


The July-August issue of Saveurs magazine has an interesting article on the Midi and in particular the village of Castelnaudary, famous for it’s cassoulet recipe and the locally made Not terra cotta  “cassoule” it is cooked in.


Unfortunately, I didn’t have the cassoule when I made the cassoulet.  After reading the article, I reached out to and ordered the large one that serves 8.  It did not arrive instantaneously and I was in such a rush to make the recipe because I discovered fresh Coco de Paimpol beans in the market!  I thought they weren’t due until August-September!  Happy me🙂  In addition, the weather man predicted cooler weather for that day, so I pulled out my really large Emile Henry tajine and proceeded. The authentic recipe is made with dried local beans and doesn’t contain bay leaf, but who cares?  Not me😀


The recipe called for pork couenne or rind and pork bones.  I couldn’t find any the bones or rind in the market, nor did the supermarket butcher have any on hand.  Instead I purchased a piece of pork belly from the supermarket butcher and he cut away the bones from a pork rib roast to help me out.  Nice guy.


At first I was going to use the can of confit duck that the recipe listed but Jean Louis was in the market and he had bags of both confit duck legs with thighs or just the drumstick portion.  He suggested that the drumstick portions would be better for serving individual portions.  I agreed.


I can’t remember where I bought the very good Toulouse sausages!  This time I bought them at the market but they lacked the flavor that I expect from these sausages.  They were okay and looked good after I browned them in the duck fat, but still…..


The weather was cooler but this was a heavy, filling dish and I would never make it again in the summer.  M. Parret loved it and I gave him some to take home for another day, but I think it was overkill.


Pascal Kerleu gifted us with several heads of lettuce from his farm and they were beautiful, even though he has lost thousands of heads due to the extremely hot weather.


A mixed salad of Pascal’s greens was lovely and aided in the digestion of our farm laborer meal.


M. Parret was present, so we had cheese but dessert was out of the question.  This butterfat rich cheese comes from the Lincet store-factory in Saligny, a  few kilometers outside of Sens.  The family has a home in town, not far from our house.


In the authentic recipe this cassoulet, once assembled, cooks in the oven for 3-4 hours. Because the beans were fresh and I found the time in the oven ridiculous, I didn’t do that. Do what you want, but if you are going to cook it in the oven for 3-4 hours, use dried beans to avoid having bean paste instead of individual beans.


Castelnaudary Cassoulet

1 1/2 lb shelled Coco de Paimpol fresh beans

1/2 lb pork belly, skin on, sliced

1/2 -3/4 lb pork bones with a little meat attached

4 carrots, quartered

2 onions, quartered

5 garlic cloves, chopped

3-4 fresh bay leaves

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper


8-10 confit duck drumsticks

8 Toulouse sausages

Bread crumbs

Put the beans, pork belly, pork bones, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper in a large stock pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.  Drain, reserving the broth separately from the vegetables, beans and meat.  Discard the bones.

Degrease the duck by slowly browning it in a large skillet, remove and set aside to drain. Add the sausages to the skillet, brown then set aside to drain.

Assemble the cassoulet by placing half the bean mixture in the bottom of a large tajine. Add a layer of the duck and sausages, then the rest of the beans.  Sprinkle with a generous layer of bread crumbs, then place in a 350 F oven for 2 hours.














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Chez le ‘Monger


We’ve been craving tarbouriech oysters but alas my fishmonger says it’s not the season and if you buy them now, they’re white and poisonous looking inside.  Bleah!


In any case, although there’s no “r” in July, we booked an outdoor table for lunch at L’Ambiance des Halles to eat our third favorite, les huitres de Normandie.  Steve suggested we order the smaller #3 size instead of the larger #4 for the sweeter flavor.  Good thing we booked, the place was packed inside and out!


Those who weren’t eating were buying.  Turbot, redfish and sea bass are on sale🙂


I brought butter from home and purchased a baguette from Boulangerie Bezout to accompany the oysters and a very nice bottle of Fourchaume Chablis.


A refreshing, hot weather meal.  Now we just have to wait for the tarbouriech🙂





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It’s Too Darn Hot


This annoying and persistent French heat wave is adversely affecting both our appetites and attitudes!  Normally summer weather in Sens consists of moderately warm days and not more than 3-4 days of beastly weather.  I believe we’re now in the 3rd week of Phoenix, Arizona summer temperatures and according to the forecast, we can look forward to more of the same in the coming week.

For lunch on a particularly sweltering day I served crab rolls, beet, cucumber and celeriac salads from Le Village Gourmand.  To that I added cold, rare slices of leftover grilled lamb. That worked but I wish this heat wave would end😦


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Grilled Lamb with Fresh Beans


This is one of my favorite “I really can’t be bothered” ways to cook a leg of lamb and it’s perfection each time!  It makes me feel magical😀


You just take a leg of lamb (New Zealand or whatever you like), aggressively stab it all over with a sharp knife, chop together some herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley), a couple of garlic cloves, black pepper, then add olive oil and rub the mixture into the lamb.  The best thing is to refrigerate the leg overnight, but if you can’t, who cares?!  Even if you put it immediately on the grill (which I did), the herb flavor won’t be as intense but it’s still there, for crying out loud!


Anyway, sear the leg all over on the hot grill, turn off half the gas on one side or move the charcoals over to one side, place the leg on the cold side, put the top down and roast for 1 hour.  Done!  Have a glass of wine and if you haven’t already, make your beans.


Unwilling and unable to wait for the proper fresh bean season, I inelegantly scraped the remaining 600 grams of canneberge beans from the bin in Carrefour supermarket.  I knew that 600 grams of unshelled beans would not be nearly enough but at least it would be some.


I ate a plate while waiting for the lamb and really didn’t need anything else.  Still, the family also has to eat :)


Leg of lamb always makes marvelous leftovers for sandwiches/hash/chili/soup.  Bon appetit!

Fresh Beans with Lardons

1/4 cup lardons/bacon, diced

3 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp butter

1 large tomato, chopped

2-3 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried bay leaf

2 cups chicken broth

2-3 cups shelled fresh beans

Brown the lardons in a medium sized sauce pan.  Add the shallots, garlic and butter, continuing to saute until the shallots are soft.  Add the tomato, bay leaves, chicken broth and shelled beans, bring to a boil, then simmer for 40-50 minutes until the beans are creamy inside but still firm on the outside.







Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments