Posts filtered by tags: Food And Cooking[x]


Chocolate snails

I'm not a big chocolate fan, but every once in a while something will grab my attention. Like these individually wrapped escargots (snails) made of chocolate. These are milk chocolate (they also come in dark chocolate) filled with praline and bits of hazelnut. So I picked up a small box the other day. Ken and I finished them yesterday. They were very good, and now I think my curiosity is satisfied. If you don't like real snails, you might like these. The grocery stores set up a whole aisle of ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Linguini with white clam sauce

This has become an annual between-the-holidays dish for us. Many of the local fishmongers sell coques (cockles) this time of year. Cockles are essentially clams, but much smaller. They are harvested off the shores of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Iceland in the north through Europe to as far south as Senegal in the west of Africa. A hurried photo (I was hungry!) We may have these again a time or two before the season is over. I got a kilogram of the bivalves for Saturday's lunch. Although t...
Tags: Travel, Europe, Africa, Senegal, Iceland, Atlantic Ocean, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking


One of the vineyard parcels that was torn up recently has now been plowed. Except for a strip leading to the pile of grape trunks in the middle. Interesting. Will the trunks be taken away? Burned between now and spring? Who can say? There's an even bigger parcel on the left that hasn't been plowed. But the trunks are gone. Lunch plans for today's hachis parmentier (shepherd's pie) have been modified. Ken's making a lamb and barley soup instead. He also put away enough lamb to make a curry and ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking


Corn stalked, that is. They still stand, in this parcel and in another larger one. I've seen a few cobs on the ground nearby, stripped of their kernels. I guess it's wildlife. Deer? Boar? Badgers? No idea. These are pretty spindly corn stalks. They don't get irrigated, except by nature. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Our leg-of-lamb meal was a success and there are plenty of leftovers. I think the plan for today is sliced cold lamb with Ken's home-made mayonnaise. An hachis parmentier...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking

By the way...

A week has gone by since the 2021 Beaujolais nouveau was released and I haven't mentioned it here. We've been drinking different bottles all week and have found about half of them, well, ordinary. They taste just like Beaujolais does when it's not nouveau. A few of them, however, have that characteristic "new wine" taste. Ken got a bunch more of those in his last supermarket run. One of the Beaujolais nouveau wines that we liked. Or, what's left of it. We don't expect Beaujolais nouveau to be ...
Tags: Travel, Jerusalem, Beaujolais, Ken, WCS, Wine And Spirits, Food And Cooking, Thésée

Come, mister tally man

With four quickly ripening bananas in the kitchen, what was I to do but make a loaf of banana bread? The recipe is a basic, standard recipe. The only modifications I made was to cut the sugar (I used cassonade instead of white sugar) down by half and to add walnuts. The recipe is quick to put together and the batter baked for one hour, exactly as the recipe said it would. A loaf of banana bread. It's actually more like a cake than a bread. We're down to just about freezing this morning, accord...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Dog biscuits

Friends of ours welcomed a new puppy into their home earlier this year. When we were invited over for lunch last weekend, I thought a gift of home-made dog biscuits would be nice. I looked on the internet and found a recipe (there are a lot) that used ingredients that I had, more or less, on hand. Dog biscuits baking in the oven. Yes, I have a bone-shaped cookie cutter. Tasha liked the biscuits so I hoped the new pup would as well. And it turns out that she did. They're made with whole wheat f...
Tags: Travel, WCS, BOL, Tasha, Food And Cooking

Lunch break

Let's take a break from the back yard photos for a look at lunch. Last week we got a new raclette machine, having retired the old one earlier this year. Raclette is a Swiss cheese made from cows' milk. It's also the name of the meal. Our raclette lunch, all ready to go! The French verb racler means "to scrape," which is how the cheese was originally eaten. It's positioned near a heat source, then, as the cheese melts, diners scrape the melted cheese off the main wheel and eat it on boiled pota...
Tags: Travel, Brussels, WCS, Food And Cooking

Me and Diana Ross

We both love mussels. What's that you say? That song wasn't about seafood? Oh well. Diana's loss. We enjoyed mussels for lunch on Saturday. Ken got two kilos (that's a lot for two people) because the vendor had a special. Two kilos cost less than one and a half. Freshly steamed mussels, open and ready for garnish. We rinsed the mussels in fresh water then began the process of removing the beards while looking for broken shells or mussels that wouldn't close. There were maybe ten like that and ...
Tags: Travel, Diana, Diana Ross, Ken, WCS, Macon, Food And Cooking

Chicken Pad Thai

This was Monday's lunch. Ken made a variation on Pad Thai using chicken breast and bell peppers. We had some Chinese wheat noodles in the pantry that we used instead of flat rice noodles. The sauce was easy with the ingredients we have on hand. Peanuts gave the dish some crunch, and we garnished with fresh chives from the garden and the other half of the bunch of cilantro I got on Saturday. Needless to say, we ate it all. A what-we-had-on-hand version of Pad Thai. Some kinda good! During my wa...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking

A pile of pretty peppers

And some onions. Saturday was Tex-Mex day at our house. Ken made beef fajitas and guacamole for lunch. I went to the market to find peppers and cilantro while Ken made the marinade for the beef. The supermarket didn't have any cilantro, but I found some at a nearby produce store (their last bag!). I also got some flour tortillas to wrap the meat and vegetables in. ¡Olé! Colorful bell peppers and onion ready for the sauté pan. Today Ken's making a more traditional French dish: gratin de chou-fl...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Steamed pork buns

This isn't the first time I've made Chinese steamed pork buns, but it has been a while since the last time. They're not difficult to make, but you do need two to three hours for the yeast dough to rise, with another thirty minutes of rising after the buns are stuffed. For the stuffing, we used some pulled pork that Ken made in the slow cooker and froze a few weeks ago. He thawed it out and added Asian flavors (like soy, sesame, hot chili sauce, ginger, etc.) while warming it up on the stove. E...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Spaghetti alla Nerano

After having seen this dish on a friend's Instagram feed (thanks, Mike!), we decided to give it try. It's not complicated at all, basically spaghetti with zucchini and cheese. We made some adjustments to use what we had on hand. I grilled the zucchini (instead of pan frying it) and an eggplant that we had in the fridge. We grated Parmesan, Romano, and a little bit of Basque sheep's cheese (the recipe calls for Italian provolone). The basil came from the greenhouse. Spaghetti with grilled zucch...
Tags: Travel, Mike, WCS, Food And Cooking, Parmesan Romano

Parts is parts

We had these chicken thighs and drumsticks (parts) in the freezer and decided to marinate (yuppies marinate everything) and grill them. Ken chopped some fresh rosemary for the marinade. They turned out very tasty. I've forgotten what we ate with the chicken. It was potatoes, I think, either French fried or mashed. We did both recently. Chicken parts marinating in rosemary, hot smoked paprika, white wine, and olive oil. This morning the outdoor thermometer reads 11.8ºC (about 53ºF). The sky was...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Good for your heart

I was surprised to see how many beans there were in this third harvest from the garden. Even with all the weeds, the beans produced a fantastic crop this year. With all the rain we had, though, I didn't put in a second and third crop, so this may be it for the season. But that's ok. A wok full of yellow and green beans from the garden. There were even more beans than you see in this photo. Ken steamed a batch that we ate two ways: the first was warm as a side dish and the second was a cold thr...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants, Food And Cooking

Don't get saucy with me

I decided that the best thing to do with those tomatoes from the garden was to make a batch of sauce. The tomatoes were small and not very pretty, so sauce it was. I got enough for two meals, be they pizza, meat sauce, or something else. Both containers went into the freezer. Garden tomatoes coming to the simmer. We're still expecting a few nice days, but it will be less hot. Mini heat waves are much easier to bear than long ones. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, Garden, Don, WCS, Food And Cooking

Pâte à pizza

I made pizza for lunch on Tuesday, as planned. The first step, of course, is to make the pâte (dough). I made a whole wheat dough using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. The all-purpose flour lightens the dough and helps with the rising. After about three hours of rising, I punched the dough down and kneaded it a little to redistribute the yeast. Next, I divided the dough into two pâtons (balls of dough) and let them rise for another hour. One of two pâtons, risen and ready to...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Radis multicolores

Yesterday's market run was successful. I found everything I went for. As usual this time of year, I got une botte d'asperges (a bundle of asparagus that weighs one kilo), deux barquettes de fraises (two containers of strawberries), and une botte de radis multicolores (a bunch of multi-colored radishes). Brightly colored locally-grown radishes. These are larger than the more common red radishes. We haven't tasted them yet. I also got twelve nems (Vietnamese fried spring rolls), four each of por...
Tags: Travel, France, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking, Radis

Cuisses de pintade farcies

I found these delicious-looking mini roasts at the poultry vendor's stand on Saturday. They're Guinea fowl legs, boned and stuffed with seasoned ground poultry, wrapped in a strip of pork fat and topped with a slice of bacon and a bay leaf. I was looking for something to grill and these fit the bill. Two servings of stuffed pintade (Guinea fowl) legs, ready for the grill. Ken made a gratin dauphinois (similar to what we used to call scalloped potatoes). He added some grated cheese to the top f...
Tags: Travel, France, Guinea, Charlotte, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking, Charlottes, Charlottes Ken

Cows lips

Actually, cowslips, or coucous in French. They seem a little late this year (maybe because of the cold weather), but they're out in abundance now. Cowslips grow wild along the side of the vineyard roads and the edges of woods out back. Cowslips out by the grape vines. We actually got two UFOs out of the freezer on Tuesday. One turned out to be a leftover sauce that we decided was no longer appetizing. I think it went into the freezer in 2018. It's gone now. The other was some frozen black bean...
Tags: Travel, Wildflowers, WCS, Food And Cooking

Ham and asparagus tart

Ken found some nice big green asparagus at the supermarket the other day. Yesterday, I used it in a recipe that we've usually used for white asparagus: ham and asparagus tart. First I trimmed the spears and steamed them until they were mostly done. Then I wrapped two spears in each of four slices of ham and set them aside while I made the custard. Trimmed green asparagus, ready for the steamer. The custard is simple, made with eggs, milk, cream, and grated cheese. I used gouda vieux (aged goud...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking


While researching recipes that use chick peas (garbanzo beans) last week, I came upon one for roasting them as a snack. We had some dried chick peas in the pantry for a while and decided it was time to use them. Ken cooked them, and there were quite a few; more than we needed for the North African chakchouka he made just over a week ago. Four flavors of toasted chick peas. A tasty snack! The recipe is simple: rinse and dry the chick peas (the recipe calls for canned garbanzos), coat them light...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Easter lunch: dessert

You might remember that, last summer, a nearby friend invited me to come pick figs from her very productive fig tree. Fresh, ripe figs are delicious and we ate a lot of them various ways. But we couldn't eat all  I picked before they went bad, so I trimmed the stems and froze them whole for later. Amandine de figues, baked and ready to serve. While a batch of figs thawed, I made and blind-baked a pâte brisée (short crust) and assembled the ingredients for an amandine filling, namely ground alm...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Food And Cooking

Easter lunch: the main course

Our plat principal (main course) on Sunday was rabbit. It's a dish called lapin en gibelotte, a kind of fricasee or stew made simply with smoky bacon, aromatic vegetables, mushrooms, and wine. And a whole rabbit, of course. The browned rabbit pieces, herbs, and vegetables, just before the marinade was added. Ken cut up the rabbit then marinated it in a dry rosé wine along with herbs (leek tops, celery tops, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme), garlic, and carrots. After a couple of hours, he strai...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Easter lunch: the appetizer

We started with a local specialty, pâté de Pâques, also known as pâté Berrichon, named for the Berry province where it's most commonly made. We didn't make this ourselves. This one comes from the poultry vendor at the local markets, but they're also available in local boulangeries (bakeries) and charcuteries (delis) this time of year. A serving of pâté de Pâques (Easter pâté). It's made with flavored pork sausage meat and hard-boiled eggs baked into a flaky pastry crust. It can be quite rich, ...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Ken, WCS, Bergerac, Food And Cooking

What's in a wall?

Here's what's in this one. One of our neighbors is having some work done, but I'm not sure what it is. So far, the enduit (render in British English, exterior stucco layer in American English) has been removed to expose the house's stone wall. That happened last winter and nothing has been done since. I don't recall any cracks or other obvious problems with that section of wall. So, we'll wait and see how the project evolves. All sizes and shapes of stone went into this wall. Today is paques (...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Our Neighborhood, Food And Cooking

One more moon shot

I can't stop. Mostly because I don't have other photos to post at the moment. And I'm saving one for Tasha Tuesday, so this isn't the last. When the moon hits your eye... yes, I'm making pizza for lunch today. Friday's errands went smoothly. At the Montrichard market, I waited in line to get the rabbit, but it wasn't unpleasant. Rabbits are typically sold by poultry vendors in France. The vendor I went to is the same local poultry vendor that works the Saturday market in Saint-Aignan. I went t...
Tags: Travel, France, US, WCS, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking

Just before sunrise

Monday morning was clear for the full moon, and I went out just before sunrise to take some photos. I must have been groggy, because most of the pictures didn't turn out very well. I haven't mastered low-light photography. I think I metered in the wrong spot. Oh well, I'm posting some of them anyway. A thin layer of morning fog (or is it wood smoke?) over our hamlet at sunrise on Monday. Tuesday was another nice day, as predicted. I grilled burgers and Ken dressed them with sauteed mushrooms a...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Our Neighborhood, Food And Cooking, Cher Valley

Saturday was pizza day

It took decades, but I finally learned to make pizza crust without using a rolling pin. I stopped using the pin about a year ago and my pizza crusts are much better than they used to be. I think using the pin squished a lot of the air out of the dough, so my crusts were a little more dense than they should have been. Now they seem light and airy (but still crispy on the outside) and they're much easier to shape. The first of two Saturday pizzas. I topped yesterday's pizzas with our home-made t...
Tags: Travel, France, Holland, WCS, Food And Cooking

Tarte amandine aux pêches

Yesterday, I made an old favorite with a twist. The original version of this tarte is made with pears. But since I had a can of peach halves in the pantry, I made it with peaches instead. It's a pretty simple recipe when using canned fruit. Tarte amandine aux pêches. The filling is a kind of almond paste (ground almonds, butter, flour, eggs, and sugar) that goes into a blind-baked shell. Then the peach halves get pressed into the filling and the tart is baked until the filling is done. Once th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

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