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Everything posted by Abra

  1. Abra


    Another good discovery in Lyon is Le Canut Sans Cervelle up on the Croix Rousse. Our server said that the chef, now retirement age, had cooked in some starred kitchens, and that shows in the food, which manages to be completely unpretentious, beautifully made, delicious, and very reasonably priced. It's a cosy place into the bargain, so be sure to reserve.
  2. I personally love cheese and coffee together, and second the moka java idea. Except, not really with blue cheese.
  3. And they're not one bit cheaper here in France. I was going to get some, but the price was too daunting. I asked the kitchen store guy about the silicon ones and he said something like "you can make something with them, but it won't be a cannelé." So I've never made any, alas.
  4. Two really nice places, very different from each other, are Le Petit Tahiti, for Tahitian food, and Pasta Cosy, for pasta-based dishes of no specific national origin. If you've never had Tahitian food, it's like a French-influenced Hawaiian, raw fish, chow mein, and tamarind glazed ribs were what we had, with a chocolate banana tarte. Pasta Cosy does a little tapas thing for starters, if you want, and then the mains and desserts are mostly pasta-based, but not specifically Italian. Great for those times when you are tired of French food! If you want to feel right at home in Aix and not surrounded by tourists, try these. Both are relatively inexpensive and very good value. More details and a couple of photos are here.
  5. Hazelnut oil is a delicious alternative to walnut oil, which is more common, but either would be good here. It's just a way to sneak a little extra nut flavor into the cake.
  6. This hazelnut clementine cake is the easiest thing imagineable and is really and truly wonderful. It would also be easy to dress up, if you really felt it needed lipstick.
  7. I get them at either Carrefour or Intermarche. Look by the puff pastry.
  8. Forest, that's just what I would do - add the syrup to the flutes and then pour in the Champagne, as for a kir royale. I don't get why they think you should do it in a pitcher, but I'd ignore that part. I know just what you mean, Lapin, they're endearingly retro.
  9. Abra

    Merguez Lamb Sausages

    Gosh, here in the south of France we eat them all the time, every butcher makes them, and they're on the menu in every little restaurant. Mainly they're just pan fried, set on a heap of couscous, or mashed potatoes, served with a dollop of harissa, maybe a little salad on the side. I like them with eggs, and they're good sliced on pizza or into pasta. People also put them on the grill in summer.
  10. I posted a bunch of holiday cocktail recipes from a current issue of a popular French cooking magazine here. You guys might be interested, and if you aren't, I don't know who would be!
  11. And, you know, you could always start a thread on greens and we'd all share some of our favorite recipes. Really, though, you should be getting some winter squashes, potatoes, onions, that kind of stuff as well as greens at this time of year.
  12. I think it's a bad CSA, and it's the wrong season to join. I've belonged to 5 different CSAs in different parts of the country, and none of them has been remotely like what you're describing. But really, a person new to a CSA should join at the beginning of the season. After a whole summer of beautiful produce, one is often more understanding about what's available during each week of the growing season and more willing to support the farmer through the leaner part of the year. Because that's a big part of it all. It's not just about the consumer, it's about the farmer being able to pay her bills all winter too. You don't just buy food when you join a CSA, you buy a stake in a farm and in the fate of the farmer.
  13. Abra

    Perfect Roast Potatoes

    Paul, that method look interesting, and since I had great success with your turkey poaching method (in case you haven't been back to the Thanksgiving thread) I think I'll try this one too. I'm another one who uses goose fat in the pan, olive oil in the oven, although I don't have anything like a scientific reason for making the distinction. Robert - I'm not sure about goose fat, but you can get duck fat, which is also very nice for potatoes, at Whole Foods in Seattle.
  14. We had a really nice lunch recently at Chez Serge in Carpentras. The menu, at 19 Euros as I recall, was high quality bistro non-fussy fare, just what we really enjoy. More details and some pictures are here.
  15. Well, I've got to say that if you're thinking of making the Buttery Pan Rolls that I linked to above, you definitely should. But if you're thinking of making them ahead, forget it. I made them the afternoon before, covered them tight, reheated them for dinner. Awful. They were 80% thrown away after dinner, whereas a batch fresh out of the oven is normally devoured instantly. That kind of fluffy white bread is made to be eaten fresh, in my opinion. If I ever again can't make the rolls fresh, I'll do without. That was a big disappointment, although the rest of the dinner was great. You can read about it here if you're interested.
  16. In my mind, being a chef is all about being trained and experienced enough to be in charge. Even though I had a "personal chef" business for 4 years and did many things a chef would do, I always considered myself to be somewhere between a cook and a caterer. This gig is the only one I ever did where I felt that I was acting as a real chef, and that was when I cracked the whip over a bunch of green 12-15 year olds to cook and serve a plated sit down wedding anniversary dinner for 50. Here in France it's complicated by the fact that when I refer to myself a cuisinière, which is a cook, in order to indicate to someone my seriousness about cooking, the universal question is "which restaurant do you work in?" Personally I don't find the word cook to be derogatory at all. I think the satisfaction lies in the quality of the food I put out, and the ease with which I create it, not in what they call me while I'm doing it.
  17. My poached and roasted turkey was a crashing success, and it's got to be my new forever method. The salt rub instead of brining works brilliantly. The poach was easy, even if the parts that stuck out of the pan had to wear an undignified little foil hat the whole 90 minutes. The only glitch was that I discovered that the oven here can't go past 450, which meant a longer roasting time, but hey, c'est la France. Pictures and a fuller report are here. Soup today. Thank you, Paul!
  18. Percy - that's a really pretty border on the pumpkin pie. How do you do that?
  19. Thanks so much, Paul, I'm on it! The bird arrived with hugely long legs, a total Rockette of a bird. The French farm turkeys aren't at all standardized for size, nor are they bred for breast meat. But I can get most of it in my stockpot, with part of the back and ankles out of the court bouillon. I don't think that will hurt anything, so poach it is. Sunday's the day, and after, I'll report back. Thanks again for your advice.
  20. Paul, can you stand one more poaching question? Our Thanksgiving will be on Sunday, so I still have time (in fact, we're picking up the turkey this morning, so that will be its moment of truth with the size of the stockpot). I want to poach it unstuffed, and it's supposed to be about 7 kilos. Do you have a sense of poaching time sans stuffing?
  21. I'd poach the pumpkin segments in a spiced sugar syrup until nearly tender, to avoid the dryness Rona mentions and be sure the pumpkin is cooked all the way through.
  22. Lapin, I'd love to see that recipe, if you don't mind. I'm used to doing breads at the last minute, and the reheating thing worries me. But lots of people say it's ok, so it must be. And I really need it to be ok! By the way, look here to see more of how your namesake bunny lives in France.
  23. HBK, the cake is making you sad? I think I've missed something. This thread just cheered me up, since we're looking at possibly having to leave France due to a recurrence of my husband's cancer, and this thread just reminded me that there would be at least one advantage to returning "home" and that's that I left a big jar of fruit soaking in the garage and might finally make black cake.
  24. Melissa, that did make me laugh. Up until last week we had mosquitos at night! It was about 60° today, and the nights are barely cool. That's one reason I'm a bit stymied. At home in the Pacific Northwest I use the outdoor fridge concept all winter. Here, it's tee shirt weather during the day.
  25. French fridges are pretty small, and mine is going to be stuffed already. If I could freeze ahead I could set the pan in the (very warm) laundry/boiler room to thaw and rise, and it would be out of the traffic pattern.
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