Posts filtered by tags: Food And Cooking[x]



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

Crêpe day

Tuesday was la Chandeleur, a holiday on which it is traditional to eat crêpes. I made two batters, one with sarrasin (buckwheat) flour for the savory crêpes and one with standard flour for the dessert crêpes. Both batters rested in the fridge for a couple of hours so the flours could absorb the liquid. Making the buckwheat crêpes. They're gluten free! Buckwheat crêpes are known as galettes bretonnes in France because Brittany is where the grain was (and still is) grown. We stuffed ours with ha...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, France, Brittany, WCS, Food And Cooking, Chandeleur

Leek and bacon pizza

This is probably my second favorite pizza, after what the French call pizza reine (tomato sauce, ham, mushrooms, and cheese). There's no tomato sauce on this one. First, I slice a leek and steam/sauté it until tender. Then I sauté some lardons fumés (smoked bacon). When that's done, I use the bacon grease (there's not a lot) to caramelize some canned corn. The first of two pizzas for Thursday's lunch. I use my home-made dough, enough for two personal-sized pizzas, made about four hours prior t...
Tags: Travel, France, WCS, Food And Cooking, Ossau Iraty

Tarte aux pommes

Last week, I had some leftover applesauce in the fridge and some leftover pie dough in the freezer, so I decided to make a tarte. When I make pie crust, I always have some left over, so I freeze it. When there's enough, I can thaw it, roll it out, and make another crust. I spread the applesauce onto the blind-baked crust then layer on some sliced fresh apples. Then it's into the oven until the apples are cooked. I glazed this one with Ken's home-made plum jelly. The last piece of apple tart. N...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Galette des rois

Wednesday was the Epiphany on the Catholic calendar (by the way, neither of us is Catholic). As usual, I made the traditional "kings cake," called une galette des rois, for our dessert. It's made with pâte feuilletée (flaky pastry), around a filling of frangipane (almond paste). The finished galette. The pastry is relatively easy to make. It takes a few hours only because it has to be rolled and folded and allowed to rest multiple times. When the dough is ready, I use a dessert plate to cut tw...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Food And Cooking

The sea food diet

I see food, I eat it. Badum-bum. Here are several photos of our New Year's Eve lunch. We tried to have mussels, but were disappointed not to find any in the markets. For some reason, the season ended earlier than usual. Our disappointment, however, was short lived. Shrimp, heads and shells intact, pre-cooked, ready to peel and eat. I found these nice shrimp at the supermarket and the price was right, so I got 500 grams (just over a pound) for our appetizer. We ate them with a sriracha mayonnai...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Salmon, Provence, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking, Badum

No mussels

A strange thing happened when I went to the market yesterday. There were no mussels. La saison est terminée the fish monger told me, the season is over. Well, that was news to me. The season for mussels usually runs through January (having started in July). So something seems to have shortened the season this year. Mussels. Summer 2006. I left the market and drove up to Super U to see if they had mussels, but they didn't either. So, no mussels for us this New Year's Eve. No worries. I got some...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Food And Cooking


In addition to bread cubes, I like to dip apple cubes into our cheese fondue on Christmas Eve. They taste fresh and sweet and add a crunch to the meal. We've been thinking about what else might be good. Ken thinks that steamed Brussels sprouts halves would work well and I agree, so I think we might try that next year. A few holiday apples and a clémentine. Today, Saturday, is leftovers day. More of Friday's Christmas dinner (or lunch, actually). There's some of everything left, as intended. Th...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Brussels, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking


Our traditional Christmas Eve cheese fondue was a great success. We ate it all, with bread cubes and apples. This one ranks among the best we've ever made. Yum. Ken dips a bread cube into the cheesy goodness. After, a green salad with vinaigrette, then a slice of home made pumpkin pie. Lordy Moses. Today, we will roast a chapon de pintade (guinea fowl capon) on the rotisserie and serve it with Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. I'll be making an applesauce cake for desse...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Brussels, WCS, Food And Cooking, Yum Ken

Friday was pizza day

We had some odds and ends in the fridge and decided to make pizzas on Friday. There was some leftover tomato sauce, half a chorizo sausage, and some mushrooms that needed using. We also had a wedge of gouda cheese and some frozen bell pepper strips on hand. I made a crust and let it rise for a few hours before making lunch. A few black olives add a salty punch to the pizza. Watch out for the pits. Ken had found some flour that was "special" for pizzas, so I used that to make the dough. Reading...
Tags: Travel, France, Italy, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

It's biscotti season

I often make biscotti during the holiday season, and this year is no exception. A week or so ago I made pumpkin (what else?) pecan biscotti. They were delicious -- we gobbled them up. Yesterday, I made a batch of maple pecan biscotti. I used my standard almond biscotti recipe and substituted maple syrup for the almond extract. Boy, are these good! Maple pecan biscotti, just out of the oven after toasting. This morning's errand is a trip to the post office. We're accepting the bid we got for th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Pork buns

This is the second time we've made Chinese-style steamed pork buns. Ken used his home-made pulled pork barbecue to make the filling by adding Chinese spices to the cooked meat. I followed a recipe for the dough that we found on the internet (I think) and it worked great. Steamed pork buns with eggrolls (above). After the dough rose for a couple of hours, I punched it down and divided it (and the filling) into eight equal portions. I shaped each portion of dough into a ball then flattened each ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Savory pumpkin cake

Here's one of the ways we used pumpkin this week. It's a savory pumpkin cake, the recipe for which Ken found on the internet. The cake is made with roasted pumpkin, of course, flour, eggs, smoked lardons (like American bacon), grated cheese, and pecans for crunch. Baking powder helps the cake to lighten and rise. It's a very moist cake, and delicious as an appetizer or a snack. A slice of savory pumpkin cake.The president spoke last night and, if I understood correctly, France is going back into...
Tags: Travel, France, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking

Thursday was pizza day

Another successful pair of pizzas, if I do say so myself. I topped these with fresh tomatoes (from the garden!), smoked chicken breast, bell peppers, corn, and grated comté cheese. We drank a red côtes-du-rhône along side. Another tasty lunch.  The dough worked well, although it didn't show any signs of rising for the first hour or so, which made me a little anxious. But by the end of about four hours, the yeast had done its thing and the dough was ready to go. I formed the discs by hand again...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Linguini with white clam sauce

This is one of my favorite dishes. I still remember one version that I had in Half Moon Bay, California, in early 2003. And another that we made while vacationing on the Ile d'Oléron in 2008. The fishermen were on strike, so there was no fish in the markets. But there was shellfish and we bought some clam-like critters called lavagnons locally, and they were really good in this dish. The fish monger in Saint-Aignan (who has since retired) often had lavagnons, but she also had coques (cockles) at...
Tags: Travel, Cher, Ken, WCS, Half Moon Bay California, Food And Cooking, Selles

Left behind

This is part of that abandoned vineyard parcel out toward the end of the dirt road through the vineyards out back. There are a lot of grapes out there this year, but because the vines aren't pruned and otherwise tended, the grapes themselves are tiny. The parcel has been abandoned since before we moved here over seventeen years ago. Shrubs and trees have grown up among the old vines. These grapes end up being food for the wildlife. I woke up to rain this morning. It's a pretty steady, but mode...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Food And Cooking

The apples don't fall far from the tree

I haven't had to cut the grass since the last time, which was August 24. More than a month ago. Since then, the apples continue to fall from our two trees. Now they carpet the ground. Picking them up will be a chore, when I get around to it. I could just let them rot on the ground, but I'm not sure I could stand to do that. I'm thinking that I will cut the grass at least one more time before winter. So, up they must come. The old saying is right: the apples don't fall far from the tree. Althou...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants, Food And Cooking

Tarte aux figues

I made a fig tart on Friday with some of the bounty from our friend's fig tree. The filling in the tart is an almond custard made with ground almonds, sugar, an egg, and butter. I sliced the figs and arranged them on top before baking. When the tart cooled, I painted it with an apple jelly glaze. I messed up the timer so the tart got a little over done, but it was not a problem. We had some rain early this morning, but the temperature did not drop. It's actually warmer and more humid this morn...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Food And Cooking


One of our local friends has a fig tree that is producing abundantly right now. She invited me over to pick my fill on Thursday. I got a nice flat full of deliciously ripe fruit. A tray load of figs. I see a fig tart coming soon. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our fig tree is also producing. We got four figs. We may get two or three more if they ripen. Our tree is not the same variety as our friend's tree. I bought it at our local outlet of a big chain garden center thinking, wrongly, that they...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Tarte aux pommes

I haven't made an apple tart in a long time, so here's the first one of the season. I've mentioned that we have a bumper crop of apples this year. There should be many more tarts like this as we move into fall. Tarte aux pommes, ready to serve! Under the apple slices is a layer of applesauce (made with sugar and a touch of cinnamon) to give the tart some body. I glazed the finished tart with plum jam that I pressed through a strainer before painting it on. This tart got cut into six pieces, de...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Inside the pumpkin

This is half of the rouge vif (bright red) pumpkin that I roasted the other day. I know it's a strange photo to post, but what the hey. To do this, I cut the pumpkin in half with a big chef's knife, then scooped out the seeds from the middle. I put the half face-down on a lined baking pan and roasted it at 180ºC (about 350ºF) for thirty minutes or so until a skewer went into the pumpkin with little to no resistance. Half a roasted pumpkin. Think pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, enchilada sauce, etc...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Food And Cooking

Courge musquée

This is the other variety of pumpkin that I planted this year. The proprietary name on the seed packet says "Muscade" which is the word for "nutmeg" in French. It's difficult (for me) to sort through all the meanings and origins of plant names across languages. The closest I can come is that une courge musquée has something to do with musk squash, or musk melons. Something musky. Butternut squash* is part of this family of pumpkins. The remainder of the red pumpkin has been preserved. Now I ha...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants, Food And Cooking

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