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My neighbor's sister made a huge cassoulet for my neighbor's birthday dinner last night, and invited me to watch her assemble it on Friday. Sister is married to a Frenchman and spends about half the year in France--this is the technique she learned most recently. It was amazingly non-fussy, quick to assemble, and heart-breakingly delicious served with a light fresh salad and lots of home-made bread & whipped butter.
For eight folks, four duck thighs, 4 duck legs [in retrospect she said she should've used more duck], 4 Italian sausages, 2 kielbasa, 2 bratwurst, the sausages cut into 2 inch pieces. First she browned 4 slices of salt pork, cut in half, in about 2 T of olive oil on top of the stove in a large roasting pan, then added the rest of the meats to brown. After 10 mins she removed the meat and added 1 minced oinion, a few cloves of garlic [careful, she said, if you have garlic-y sausages], and a couple shallots, all finely minced, and softened in the fat. Then one large carrot cut in chunks, and a couple celery stalks, de-threaded, cut in chunks. Then the meat went back in, along with 2# of small white beans, soaked for about 4 hours--Great Northern beans, because she wasn't able to get the French beans she prefers. Then, she added enough water to cover the beans, and a few sprigs of rosemary and parsley from the yard [she said sage is good, too], and about 1/2 cup strong tomato sauce--she said the best thing to use is the very concentrated tomato paste from a tube--and, she said, ONLY a small amount--this is more for color than anything else. Don't salt it, because the salt pork should be sufficient.
The roasting pan went covered into a medium low oven for, well, hours, and she checked it periodically to see that the beans were cooking and the water not getting too low--if so, she added more. When she was satisfied it was done, she skimmed off some of the excess liquid--and they like to eat that as a light soup for lunch. Her husband says it's best to reheat the cassoulet a couple times over the next couple days, before serving--to bring the flavors together.
The result was meats that melted on the tongue like communion wafers, in a flavorful stew of perfectly cooked beans.
We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food.
A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions.
A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.
By Christy Martino
I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
By Chef Margie
Happy to join eGullet in hopes to share my passion for culinary and kitchen with others. I have an Instagram account, but I don't think that is enough as I want to learn more, expand, and share my love for food with individuals who share the same passion.
Here is a brief bio about myself: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by my Filipino parents. Having no brothers and sisters, I am very independent and surprisingly social with others but also love spending time on my own and with my boyfriend Louis, who is my kitchen partner in crime (this is how we actually met, working BOH at a local Vietnamese restaurant in LA). Having attended college majoring in accounting as an undergrad and grad, I orignally wanted to become a licensed accountant for finance and real estate, but it was not fulfilling and the content honestly bored me to death! I also desired to leave the corporate business world and join the professional kitchen. So I took the leap, graduated culinary school, quit my desk job, and worked in the professional kitchen. Then my health and finances took over, and I had surgery and I needed more money to survive in a city of ridiculous rent prices. I had to leave the kitchen and go back into accounting. Fast forward to 2017, I am currently unemployed having been laid off two days before Christmas the prior year! Using this as a sign and as an opportunity for self growth and realization, I am once again on the culinary path. Not necessarily to work on the line, but to learn more, cook and bake more at home, and expose myself out there to all things food and kitchen. Not also forgetting to mention I am always surrounded by food: Louis is also still in the professional kitchen, and we WILL have that restaurant one day (dreams DO come true, I just know it!).
Anyhow, I am super excited to be posting here and exchanging ideas! See you out there!
I'm a little pastry chief in France, still learning and really passionate. It's been five months that I did'nt studiy or practise and I miss that so much. I never stop talking about this. I decided to travel in south america to learn everything I can. I'm actually in Central Colombia, and I will travel to Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, Bolivia and maybe a little bit more if I want to. I have time until march, more or less.
My project is to go in the farms and meet the people who grow up the raw material I use for make my pastries, Talk to them and see the plantation would be really helpfull for me to understand how does it works. If people need, I'm volunteer for work in exchange with accomodation and food for a few days. My spanish is not good yet, but I'm learning and sometimes it's more funny to not speak the same language. I'm interested about everything, exotic fruits, citrus, coffee, cacao, sesame, pepper, spices...
If some of you is, knows or works with farmers or pastry chiefs in those countries, I would be glad to meet you/them and learn everthing about the work. We can exchange good recipe too.
Thank you very much,
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