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Everything posted by Abra

  1. Abra


    Since aligot weather is fast approaching, I made some yesterday. Here's my first attempt. All suggestions welcomed!
  2. Here in the south of France we eat them fresh out of hand. They're kind of addictive and it's easy to eat too many. They're said to be laxative, so I try to restrain myself.
  3. I'm interested in trying this method, but I have the same question as HKDave. Do you put the poached turkey straight from the fridge into the oven, or bring it to room temp first? The 30 minutes in the oven sounds like way too little if the turkey is still cold when you put it in.
  4. I made the Chicken in Garlic Wine this week. I actually didn't quite follow instructions, in that I left the garlic and herbs infusing in the wine for 5 days, as my husband was in the hospital and events sort of overtook me. Nonetheless, the sauce was delicious, and maybe even more so because of the extra garlic time. This is a sauce that I think would really shine on fish as well. It's a super-simple preparation that yields a really tasty result.
  5. Abra

    Confit Eating

    As long as it's a pale ivory color, no darker, and was well-strained, I reuse it. If it looks at all burnt, I toss it.
  6. If you've never tried Orangette's Mom's coffee walnut toffee let me say that it's a) the best toffee in the whole world, and b) one of the best-received gifts I've ever given. I'll try it on some French friends this year, and I'm sure it's going to cause a sensation in this part of the world.
  7. I haven't made the mussel salad, but the mâche salad with moutarde violette is delicious. I don't think you need the extra protein from the mussels, as the cassoulet is very rich. I have to say that I prefer the Catalan cassoulet to the Toulouse one, I find it more interesting to eat, and less heavy. But if you've already started your confits.... You have a super-rich menu there, and I'd go with something citrusy afterwards. Although I haven't tried it, the lemon bombe looks like it would be very good here. Or even the red wine sorbet with madeleines.
  8. A typical French version would be, by weight, two parts butter, one part flour, one part sugar. Just FWIW, but the French love crumbles and make them a lot.
  9. Abra

    Tomato Paste.

    Lovely! I've never gone so far as to make tomato paste. Can you taste a big difference in the finished product?
  10. Abra

    Curing olives

    Thanks, Chefcrash. I'm not sure that it's quite time to pick the olives, but when I do I'll try your recipe.
  11. Abra

    Curing olives

    Perfect timing, as I was just noticing that the olives on our tree are getting nice and plump. I think our olives are Picholines - will all types turn golden before they turn black? I missed that window last year and ended up not doing anything with them at all. Oh, and do you leave them in the brine at room temp, or in the fridge?
  12. I agree with John DePaula: baguette with butter and jam is the most French of breakfasts, with coffee. Yogurt is often on the menu as well, most often plain yogurt served with sugar to stir in, or sometimes fruited. As for cookies, as far as I can tell the French don't much eat them. There's a brownie craze here, but that's clearly about eating American food. If you're looking for a sweet snack to serve in the afternoon I'd suggest what we think of as a quick bread, which the French call "cake." And yes, it should be considerably less sweet than an American version would be. However, it's much more likely that a French person would have a savory snack with a drink in the late afternoon, as opposed to something sweet. There are tons of savory "cake" recipes online and you'd please a French person by having one available with a glass of wine. Look for "cake salé" recipes if you read French. For dessert, you could easily have creme brulée or creme caramel and make a French diner happy. Rice pudding is also common, as are floating island-type desserts. Those would all be easy to make with local ingredients. As far as I can tell, the French always eat dessert, but it's not usually something large or fancy. As a curiosity you might also offer a cheese course, of only local cheeses. A French guest would probably be delighted to try out the local stuff.
  13. My latest was to make jam of what's evidently called in English citron watermelon Has anybody ever seen or heard of it?
  14. Awesome. Maybe I oughtta get an iPhone just for that.
  15. Well, we talked about that. It's a cheap meal for two in France, even though it's expensive by American standards. A normal 3 course inexpensive lunch for two in a bistro or family restaurant wouldn't be less than 22 Euros, and probably more like 25-28. That's $36-40. Of course, you can get a huge sandwich, with a drink and a pastry, at the train station, let's say, for 8.50 Euros a person, which is cheaper than a real meal but still more expensive than McDonalds. Our local bakery has a lunch sandwich special for about the same price as McDonalds and it's less with regard to quantity and nothing special at all as to quality. Food is expensive here. For comparison, the meals shown here, with the exception of the crepe,were all in the 23-26 Euro per person range, including a couple glasses of wine. That's just a nice normal $70 dinner out, nothing fancy at all. Don't bring the kids!
  16. Great haul. I can't wait to hear what you do with the bones.
  17. I just want to add that I had the book sent to me here in France, because when I asked a local knife guy about sharpening my MACs and Ken Onion chef's knife he gave them a funny look. I used to sharpen the MACs with the roller thingy MAC recommends, but I really don't like what it does to the knives over time. The Ken Onion, I blush while admitting, has never been sharpened in the two years I've had it. It's still quite sharp, but not the way it used to be, and I want that edge back. I've been trying to be disciplined and read from front to back, but really, I wanna skip to the sharpening section!
  18. The saddest thing about living in France is: no corn. On the other hand, figs and mirabelle plums are plentiful right now, and the tomatoes are still good, although after a torrential downpour last night they'll probably go all soggy. And I've still got beautiful medium-hot red peppers flourishing in a pot in the garden.
  19. The candied angelica that I received from one of our UK members, who was very kind to send it to me and I don't blame him one bit, had NO taste at all. It was green, but that was it. Personally I wouldn't go to a huge effort to find it, unless the stuff I had was an aberration. Italian candied citron, now that's another story. As a confirmed citron-detester in the US I was totally blown away by how delicious the Italian stuff is.
  20. I have no clue about the mythic thing, I was hoping one of you guys would know!
  21. Have you ever found yourself on the road in France with no time to stop for a 2 hour French lunch? We have, several times, but we've always just shrugged and sat down for a couple of typical, and typically enjoyable, French midday hours. But last week the universe shifted as we pulled into a highway McDonalds in Bretagne. It was the first time in at least 7 years that I'd thought to open my mouth and put anything from McDonalds into it. This McDonalds was featuring an Anglo-Saxon series of burgers. The Canadian Wild looked surprisingly good. Although I kind of doubt that jambon cru, which is raw ham, features in the US version, if there even is a US version. If you want a beer with your burger you can have that. And if you want an Evian you can have that too. You'll get a nutrition blurb, whether you want one or not, like the message at the bottom of this sign for their "lemon crumble" dessert, which says that for the sake of your health you should avoid eating too much fat, sugar, and salt. I think that's required language in France, since you see it everywhere, but it looks especially funny chez McDonalds. I especially love this little message: "Why Resist?" Well, one reason could be the bill. Two burgers, two medium drinks and two medium fries set us back 12.70 Euros, which at today's exchange rate is $18.08. Now that's a Whopper!
  22. Abra


    If you're in Perros-Guirec, I can't recommend Le Levant highly enough. A 19 euro menu (nineteen!) at dinner brought me a house-made soupe de poisson, a plate of fresh cod with andouille in a red wine sauce, and a lovely dessert. More details and pictures are here. The restaurant is in a hotel on the port, and looks quite funky as you enter. Just ignore that, someone really talented is in the kitchen.
  23. I've used duck fat in pastry, but as it's very soft at room temperature it makes a really tender crust without a lot of structure. It's better to use part butter, part duck fat, if you want that added ducky flavor.
  24. I've been on a hunt for it myself and have never found it here. The closest I've come, and it's not too close, is the Reflets de France Sel Moulu. I quite like that now, but it's a lot denser than kosher.
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