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Dave Hatfield

eGfoodblog: Dave Hatfield

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I was delighted to be asked to do this blog. It’s exciting, sort of like getting a new job or something. At my age I like some new excitement. Obviously, it’s my first blog so bear with me as I stumble through it.

So you have some background; I am an American, retired, and living in rural France with my wife Linda, who is British, and our dog, Rupert, who is a 2 1/2 year old standard poodle. We’ve been here full time for nearly 5 years now and absolutely love it in France.

I’ll answer the question that I expect will get asked right up front; namely: “How did a native Californian end up living in rural South West France?” As you might expect the answer ain’t that simple. Firstly, I lived and worked in Europe for over 20 years; Spain, Belgium, France, Germany & mostly England. During all of that time my work responsibilities covered all of Europe so I traveled widely. Thus, Europe is very much a second home. When Linda finally persuaded me to retire we were living in Rhode Island and planning upon retiring to our home in Carmel Valley, California. But then as the reality hit we realized that all of the family (kids from previous marriages for both of us & Linda’s extended family.) lived in the UK. Why were we going to locate 6,000 miles away? Stupid! So we sold the house & thought this retirement out. Closer to family & kids, Yes. Good weather, Yes! Good food & wine, Yes! South West France which we had visited many times qualified. Weather, good communications, food! Cheap (at the time) property was an added bonus. So, here we are. The kids & grandkids & family & friends from all over visit frequently. Between our French & expat friends we have an active social life; so life is very very good.

And, of course, we’re in one of the great food & wine regions of the world. So, now that I have the time I can indulge my passion for cooking; thus my interest in eGullet and thus this blog.

My focus will be upon food & cooking. The meals will be things we eat fairly regularly. In a couple of instances I am going to try to give you recipes that I’m going to do the next day. Using the time zone difference to our advantage you can, if you are so inclined, cook the same dish (s). As a result I’ve tried to pick things to cook that have ingredients that are readily available in the states. I’ve not always succeeded, but I’ve used nothing so French that you just can’t get it any where else.

Because the 4th of July holiday falls in the middle of my blog I’m going to cover that in a special way by describing a local yearly event. Think you’ll enjoy it. Also, we will be going to one of my favorite restaurants. Michelin starred & one of the top 5 female chef’s in France. Since I was asked, I’m going to do a little rant about drinking & buying wine in France.

I’ve been asked to comment upon wine, cheese and cooked meats (sausages) so I’ll do that in essay form to get a topic started and to impart some general information. After that its open to anybody to contribute, ask questions or whatever.

We’ll also do a bit of touring around our local countryside & I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about France. I understand that on blogs there is a certain amount of ‘off topic’ latitude so here’s your chance.

I only hope that you, my audience, enjoy this blog as much as I’m going to enjoy doing it.

Bon appète! (No cringing, friends on the French forum!)

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gallery_28661_4804_4433.jpg

The other picture of this object wasn't really supposed to be part of the teaser pics. No matter. The idea is to identify the use of this object.

As a hint I will say that it has two uses that I know of. One that was intended and another that is original. This is a food blog so think along those lines. If nobody guesses the answer will be posted at the end of the week.

The village picture as a teaser is of our village, Parisot. Its important to know that this is Parisot, Tarn et Garonne since there is another Parisot in the Tarn department.

Our house can be partially seen at the far left of the picture.

Today being Monday we'll be giving lunch to Jacques, our good friend and Jacques of all trades who is nearly finished building a new bathroom for us, so I'll be off to the market at Caussade shortly. I'll post pictures later.

Think we'll have a simple meal of Toulouse sausage & salad followed by some cheese. Or, maybe, I'll see something else at market which temps me.

gallery_28661_4804_28389.jpg

Here's a market picture to whet your appetite. This isn't Caussade market, but is Limogne's Sunday market.

A bientot!


Edited by Dave Hatfield (log)

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Ah, the cheese man himself! I'm sure this will be a lot of fun! Enjoy the experience, Dave. I'll be here watching and rooting for you.

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Dave just reading your intro has made me homesick for France! I look forward to this week with you.

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Everybody else's markets all look so organized.... :hmmm: All those colors in that photo! Just gorgeous.

Can't wait to hear all about your sausages!

Regards from another 'yank' living in Europe!

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The idea is to identify the use of this object.

That's easy. It's used to control the cursor on a computer. I'm not sure you should talk about the unintended use, though. This is a family website.

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gallery_28661_4818_13189.jpg

gallery_28661_4818_16526.jpg

I'm afraid the two pictures don't do Caussade market justice. My fault as my camera was very low on battery power so I was lucky to get any shots at all. In addition it was overcast this morning so the light wasn't good. Ah well. The market was as crowded as usual. The pictures show only a small part of the whole as the food part of the market winds all along the old streets. In addition there is a large non-food market on the square.

Despite my goof on the pictures the visit was a success. I bought beautiful tomatoes, lettuce, two kinds of peppers, zucchini (courgettes) and bread for lunch. The highlights, however, were two unexpected items.

The first was a bottle of rosé wine. This from Sarah who is a local wine maker. She claims that it is her best ever rosé! Even though I don't personally like rosé my wife does and she has always claimed that Sarah's was good in the past. So now I've got a little present for Linda. Only 5 Euros. We'll try it this evening & let you know how it turns out.

The unusual find much to my delight was a stand with some old country boys selling cepes! I've never seen cepes in July; normally they don't appear until after the first rains in September. (global warming I guess. We've had an unusual combination of thunderstorms & heat lately) But there they were in all their glory, not huge ones but of a nice size. I bought a livre of them for 8 euros.

So, off to home & lunch. We were going to have homemade pate as a starter, but I decided that with the cepes we didn't need a starter.

So, I boiled the Toulouse sausage to get it cooked through & then put it on the BBQ.

gallery_28661_4818_10027.jpg

The cepes were cleaned and roughly cut then put into a hot frying pan with a bit of olive oil & chopped garlic. They were cooked until just soft, but had not given up their juices.

gallery_28661_4818_13225.jpg

What a treat! Jacques & I were in heaven.

The sausage, the cepes and a simple salad along with some good bread made up our meal.

gallery_28661_4818_11974.jpg

A glass of wine, of course. Followed by some cheese.

[igallery_28661_4818_2654.jpg

A simple meal, but good. The cepes were a real treat this time of year.

Later I'll post an ingredient list for tomorrow's dinner. It will be just Linda & I so fairly simple. I'll be busy during the day getting ready for 4th of July & cooking for that.

Breakfast will be good though.


Edited by Dave Hatfield (log)

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The idea is to identify the use of this object.

That's easy. It's used to control the cursor on a computer. I'm not sure you should talk about the unintended use, though. This is a family website.

Good try, but no no prize.

All I can say is that some people have evil minds.

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Hi, Dave,

Looking forward to reading your blog and learning more about your part of France.

The lunch looks delicious - what a beautiful coil of sausage. And of course, the cheese!

Yum!

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2 mammals : a mouse and some kinda seal.

That cheese looks good too. How big are the pieces? (or in another way - is that a standard sized dinner plate the cheese is resting on?)

Thanks for blogging!

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2 mammals : a mouse and some kinda seal.

That cheese looks good too. How big are the pieces? (or in another way - is that a standard sized dinner plate the cheese is resting on?)

Thanks for blogging!

Very good, but you don't win any prizes either. Keep trying.

Yes, that was a standard sized dinner plate the cheese was on. The cheeses were: Camembert, Laguiole, Chèvre (cabeques) and Roquefort.

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gallery_28661_4818_11974.jpg

A glass of wine, of course. Followed by some cheese.

gallery_28661_4818_2654.jpg

Quelle fromage!

I'm looking forward to seeing more in this vein (blue or otherwise) as the blog progresses.

Not to mention seeing if I can ape a recipe or two.

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Looks like a perfect lunch to me!

Glad to see you doing a FoodBlog, Dave!

Looking forward to the coming week!

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We tasted Sarah's wine tonight & it was good - for a rose that is. Linda liked it a lot and even I who normally do not care for rose found it drinkable.

Tomorrow we'll have a look at breakfast first then do some dinner cooking later.

Here is the shopping list for anyone who wants to follow along with the dinner recipes:

1) Anaheim peppers

2) Brie cheese

3) Duck breasts ( last time I was in the states WholeFoods was selling them)

4) Walnuts

5) garlic

6) Zucchini

7) green beans

8) olive oil

9) walnut oil

10) fresh thyme

11) Apricots (for a tart)

12) flour

13) butter

14) sugar

15) ground walnuts

Be ready to crank up your Barbecue. The menu is:

BBQ roasted peppers with Brie

BBQ'd Duck breast with thyme & Ailiade

BBQ'd Zucchini

Sauted Green beans

Country Apricot tart.

Being me I'll probably slip in some cheese, but maybe not.

The recipes will be posted as early in the afternoon as I can manage.

Also tomorrow I'll take a little trip to Najac. This is a nearby village that is simply stunning.

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I'm so looking forward to this, especially as I'm hoping to see it all for myself in the near future. I'll guess that the weird item is part of some sort of vise-type thing, or maybe a lid remover?

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Look at the colors in the Limogne market photo! Are those dyes or spices in the foreground?

Please paint a verbal photo of the market ambience, if you can. How do people interact? Are they leisurely or hurried? Is there a lot of banter? Noise? Haggling? Fun? Music? You get the idea. Help us hear and feel what you're showing us.

The clamp looks like it's intended to seat a nozzle on a sausage grinder, or a hose on some sort of extruder. That looks like a huge diameter, though: big enough to seat a fire hose on a rain gutter, and I'm betting that isn't the unintended use.

The food already looks gorgeous.

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I love french country cooking!!! this will be quite a treat. Did the sausage come from one of your market venders?

I think that clamp thing hold the bone end of a leg of lamb for carving purposes............

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So, off to home & lunch. We were going to have homemade pate as a starter, but I decided that with the cepes we didn't need a starter.

So, I boiled the Toulouse sausage to get it cooked through & then put it on the BBQ.

gallery_28661_4818_10027.jpg

The cepes were cleaned and roughly cut then put into a hot frying pan with a bit of olive oil & chopped garlic. They were cooked until just soft, but had not given up their juices.

gallery_28661_4818_13225.jpg

What a treat! Jacques & I were in heaven.

The sausage, the cepes and a simple salad along with some good bread made up our meal.

gallery_28661_4818_11974.jpg

A glass of wine, of course. Followed by some cheese.

[igallery_28661_4818_2654.jpg

Boo hoo hoo! The photos are making me cry!!! Oh, for that glorious meal!!!

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Dave,

Looking forward to this!

Could you tell us a bit about what ingredients you recall seeing in the States but that you don't see there - at least not commonly? And vice- versa.

What is the availability of ingredients from other regions of France. Or Italy or Spain for that matter? Just trying to get a bit of a sense how "regional" rural, regional France (or at least where you are) is. And, in the short time you've been there, have you seen any real changes in this.

Thanks again,

Geoff Ruby

PS - Some day I'm going to resurrect your kitchen reno thread. I swear. I thought moving to a Mac was gonna make posting pictures here possible - but I haven't figured it out yet. Some day.

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Are cepes synonymous with porcinis?

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Yes. They're the French and Italian terms for Boletus edulis.

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Just a quick post to say that nobody has guessed the use intended or otherwise of the mystery item as of yet.

I will say that somebody came fairly close to getting the intended use right.

Remember what I said at the beginning. This is a culinary blog!

I'll try to answer some of your questions later today, but off to get ready for breakfast now.

Every Tuesday a group of my old fogy friends & I have breakfast and solve the problems of the world. I'm host this week.

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Just a quick post to say that nobody has guessed the use intended or otherwise of the mystery  item as of yet.

I will say that somebody came fairly close to getting the intended use right.

Remember what I said at the beginning. This is a culinary blog!

I'll try to answer some of your questions later today, but off to get ready for breakfast now.

Every Tuesday a group of my old fogy friends & I have breakfast and solve the problems of the world. I'm host this week.

intended use: drainpipe holder

unintended use hanger for sausages? sorry im one track minded on this. if anyone saw my post in the kitchen consumer forum im trying to create the right chamber for drying sausages... ill be seeing them in my sleep next.

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I'm so looking forward to this, especially as I'm hoping to see it all for myself in the near future.  I'll guess that the weird item is part of some sort of vise-type thing, or maybe a lid remover?

Another good try, but no prize.

As to your question on the French forum my only caution would be that you check out the mistral in Uzes. Could be an issue.

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