Fish Mongery

The absolute first thing I wanted to do after my arrival was to go to Steve the fishmonger at L’Ambiance des Halles, and I did.  Although I’ve gotten off to a slow start; the weather was a horrendous 96 F for 4 days when we arrived, but I’ve got big plans that could well involve seafood on the “barbie”.  In the meantime, the petit pois called out to me in the market:  “Hey girl, where you been?”

I love to shell peas and beans.  I think it makes me feel, well, “country” but in a good way. I like to shell them outside at the picnic table so that the neighbors and passersby can comment on my technique 😀

These peas were a little older and starchier than I like, but in combination with lardons and shallots, who cared?

The cod fillets at the monger’s were ocean fresh and lovely as usual.  I cooked them simply, sprinkling with salt, pepper and a dusting of ginger.

Fresh Peas with Bacon and Shallots

2 lbs unshelled peas (makes about a pound when shelled)

1/3 cup of lardons or bacon, cut into batons

2 tbsp butter

3-4 small shallots thinly sliced, vertically

3 tbsp water or chicken broth

Shell the peas and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until brown and crisp.  Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Remove all but 1 tbsp of bacon grease from the skillet and add the butter to melt.

Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until just soft.  Add the peas, sauteing for a minute or two.  Add the water or broth, cover and steam until tender but still green.  Stir in the bacon and serve.



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Les Cerises de Pascal

Pascal is a maraîcher or truck gardener, mainly supplying lettuce and cabbage to the sellers in the farmers’ market and local supermarkets.  I think of him as the lettuce man and he is also the petit chouchou of my friend Veronique.  Choux is cabbage in French 🙂

He’s also got fabulous bing cherry trees.  So that’s why.  Ice cream had to made!  I bought ridiculously rich and thick cream from the market along with farm eggs.  Ben and Jerry can’t compete.

Recipes for ice cream can be found by a search of my blog.  All the recipes are the same, I just change the fruit.


Posted in Dessert, Food and Wine, French, Fruit | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Oh La La!

Well I’m finally back in France and have been here since June 7th, but then a bunch of annoying things happened, like my computer declaring itself old and dead.  I won’t bore you with the saga of how I ordered a computer without an operating system online but, in general, things like that just kept happening!  Still it didn’t stop me from eating and drinking and laughing to exhaustion 😀

The first thing I made was a big pot of mussels Roquefort.  However, those pictures went down with the ship and included a picture of M. Parret 😦   I don’t remember when I roasted these coquelets but I had fresh, green beans with lardons and fingerling potatoes!

I know I’m in  France when vegetables and meats taste like they did when I was a child. And I’ve got lots of fresh herbs still growing, although they were abandoned for almost a year and a half!

This is the good, simple food that I’ve missed along with my Kenyan serving fork and spoon.

No recipes.  I’ve got to catch up!




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Easy Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

An easy stir fry inspired by an attractive napa cabbage.  I added a hamburger steak with melted Swiss cheese for bulk and meat protein 😉

Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 multi-colored mini bell peppers, diced

1 tbsp butter

1/2 large Napa cabbage, sliced

Heat the oil in the skillet, add the onion, garlic and bell peppers, sauteing until crisp tender.  Add the butter and the cabbage and continue to saute for 2 minutes, cover and steam on low for about 5 minutes.

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Vide Congelateur USA

Along with the weather, things are heating up here in Honesdale!  It’s always the not-quite -so-apparent things that can fall through the cracks when you’re backing out of one house to go to the other and we’re making our lists and checking them twice!

I’ve always managed to enjoy the emptying of the freezer as an amusing, incredulous realization of my hoarder tendencies and as a challenge to my interest in/ability to cook things I already have 😀  There are wonders in the freezer and it seems, a lot of chicken 🙂

I got in the mood with a little Nina Simone and a refreshing glass of besop (hibiscus) iced tea.  I made the tea with dried besop tea bags but it would have been so much better with bulk dried petals.  It was okay.

The idea is to avoid buying anything, while also having a good go at emptying the refrigerator and some of the exotica from the pantry.  I try to avoid the angst of forgetting what I used in the recipes by photographing the bottles, jars and fresh ingredients.

The quantities are more or less accurate, maybe a little spacey in a Star Wars/Trek sort of way.

Speaking of exotica, I must have used quite a bit of rice flour for something in the forgotten past.  This time I thought I’d try it as a sauce thickener instead of corn starch. Good move!

I don’t know how these boneless, skinless chicken thighs made their way into my freezer.

I wanted to accuse my husband but who knows, maybe I had a senior moment and blacked out for the time it took me to get the package into the basket, out of the store and into the freezer.  This probably happens to some of my friends but they are too ashamed to admit it 🙂

My husband loved this!

Chicken Stir Fry

4 chicken thighs, boned and skinned, thinly sliced

1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp sake

1 – 2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce

2 tbsp peanut oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 cups sliced and halved yellow squash

1 1/2 cups snow peas

1/4 cup rice flour, minus 1 tablespoon

In a large bowl, mix the chicken strips, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and chilli sauce together.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade in a separate bowl.  Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet then add the chicken and saute until just done.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and saute until the onion just begins to wilt. Add the squash and saute for about 2 minutes.  Then add the snow peas and saute for about 1 minute.

Whisk the rice flour into the reserved marinade until smooth.

Add the chicken to the skillet to heat, then stir in the rice flour mixture until thickened.

Serve with rice or noodles.


















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Creole Chinese Baby Back Ribs

Baby Jesus knows where I got these ribs 😀  They were in the freezer and I try to avoid looking at the label which could affect my morale and enthusiasm.

I rubbed the ribs with either Emeril’s essence or my neighbor Caroline’s home made Creole Seasoning, confusing jars.  Whatever.  Thanks Caroline.

I make macaroni salad the same way I make potato salad except with the macaroni I like to add a little tuna.  However, if Bob Lynch was eating here, I would tell him it was chicken.  Hater 😀

If you don’t add the pasta, mix in some mayonnaise and mustard, spread it on toast with a tomato slice and lettuce, you could stop right there and say, “I have cooked.”  I thought about that.  Then again.

This pasta salad is so good and rich!  I laugh in the face of weight gain.  Ha, ha, ha.

For the ribs:  Rub with Creole seasoning, roast in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Turn the oven up to 425 F, then, turning frequently for about 15-20 minutes, brush with Lee Kum Kee Char Sui sauce.

Macaroni Salad with Tuna

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

6-8  gherkins, chopped

1-2 tbsp pimentos, chopped

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 can albacore solid tuna in water, drained

Mayonnaise to taste, maybe about 1/3- 1/2 cup

2 tbsp yellow mustard

1 cup of dried ditalini pasta, boiled

Mix everything together.



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Roasted Rack of Lamb with Squash

Like the ubiquitous Angus beef, Australian lamb seems to be the new heart throb in our neck of the woods.  It’s everywhere, real expensive and doesn’t compare to the flavor of New Zealand lamb.  However, at least our meat suppliers are starting to think globally, if not locally 🙂  This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s rack of lamb with potatoes.  Tired of roasting potatoes, I substituted some straight neck yellow squash and then just went rogue.  Jamie won’t mind.

I had some local sun dried tomatoes in the freezer, for God knows how long, and lots of fresh herbs from my garden that I thought could fit in somewhere.  Bummer about the rosemary that survived the whole winter then was laid low by our unseasonable blizzard. Oh well, I’ll plant some more before I leave.  The tomatoes need to be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes before you add them to your recipe.  Otherwise, you can buy a good quality jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil that don’t require soaking.  Whichever.  I had more than I needed, so I put the excess in a small Mason jar with olive oil and refrigerated.

I put everything I thought would be good into a big bowl with the yellow squash, pulled out my neglected tajine and turned on Standards/Vocal Jazz radio on Pandora.

I seasoned the rack with salt and pepper, then browned it in some olive oil.  This rack had about 9 chop bones in it and weighed about 1 1/2 lbs.  I think I would have liked fewer bones and more weight.

Still, not really complaining.  Whining is not the same as complaining 😀

Vegetarians, just eat it like this.

I did.  My favorite ingredient was the husk roasted, melting garlic clove.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Squash

1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes

Warm water

5 yellow straight neck squash, cut into generous chunks

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 onion, quartered

Mixed herb sprigs (oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary if you have it)

6 unpeeled garlic cloves

10-12 kalamata pitted olives

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

Glug of olive oil

1 1/2 lb rack of lamb, seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in the warm water for about 30 minutes,  drain, dice then put them in a large bowl with the squash, bell pepper, onion, herbs, olives, garlic, salt, pepper and the 3 tbsp of olive oil, mixing well.  Place the mixture in the bottom of an oven proof tajine or roasting pan.  Preheat the oven to 425 F, then roast inside for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir.

Pour the glug of olive oil into a skillet, about 2 tbsp, brown the rack on both sides, place on top of the pre-roasted vegetables and continue to roast for 30 minutes.











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