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bleudauvergne

eG Foodblog: bleudauvergne

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Ok, I *think* I know what this means but I wanted to ask anyway...

What does "aperetif" mean, and is this regularly practiced throughout France?

Soba

Soba, think of the aperetif as generally a less alcoholic version of what we know as a cocktail before dinner. It's common practice in France, and it pretty much always takes place when people receive guests for dinner. Everyone gathers in the living room and has nuts and chips or something to nibble and a little glass of something. People give their orders from whatever the host has in the cupboard. It's generally a glass of port, muscat, martini (just the vermouth - they like the sweet ones here), local specialties like Pineau de Charentes, home bottled wines like vin aux noix, vin d'orange, some people take a little whiskey, or a beer. The list goes on. Although I am sometimes offered a punch (simple rum & cane syrup) or a drink like an Americano, I rarely see mixed drinks served at aperetif.

People all sit and wait until the last guest arrives before touching the food or the drinks. Sometimes I insist we serve "American style" and give everyone something to drink the moment they arrive. That's usually well received especially if I have a couple of Americans in the crowd who can help me convince people.

What's served to eat with the drink is also generally much more simple than what Americans would serve if we were having people over for drinks, the French don't normally prepare dishes, special dips or fancy things to go with the aperetif unless it's a special occasion or there are very special guests. You'll just as likely see cheetos or bar nuts as much as anything else. I like to stay light with the aperetif although sometimes I'll make light and pretty things.

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Thanks, Lucy.

Could you please also go a little into French home dining habits, when you get a chance? I'm curious if the difference between home dining and restaurant dining varies widely (i.e., number and order of courses). I notice you shop frequently at the market. Do you do this day to day or every few days?

A pity that such a thing isn't widely practiced here in the U.S.

Soba

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Those of you who weren't here last year or missed Lucy's first blog (linked above in Post #1) really owe it to yourselves to read through it. The reason we're so excited that she's blogging again is that her first blog set a new standard for excellence in writing and photography in a foodblog.

Amen.

Word up, Lucy. Respeck.

Yo.

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Thanks Lucy for blogging again, I missed your first blog because back then, I wasn't born to the Egullet world yet. I'll be looking forward to your daily installments impatiently.

Which dishes or food items are considered real specialties of the Lyon region? Would you say that your style of cooking is very much influenced by the region you are living in?

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zeitoun, I would say that the region influences what I cook, mainly because I buy local in season, and what I cook is determined by that. Although I really can't say I have one style or another, I do some French dishes but I am also a product of having lived in various countries in Asia and Europe and having discovered things along the way. I have been cooking a lot of French in the last 5 years. As to having developed a style... I don't know.

I'll try and cover a few of the local specialties of Lyon in the upcoming week.

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You take the best pictures on anyone on eG, I'm pretty sure.

I'd swim a mile for a nice piece of rascasse for my lunch.

oh i so agree. i can smell the soil clinging to the salsify from your photos. i think i read the first blog and the montignac blog 3 times each, just to imagine france again.

thank you so much for doing this again. now, i'll be by in about 30 minutes - i can bring some fennel braised pork and wild salmon...anything else from seattle you'd like?

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Thanks, Lucy.

Could you please also go a little into French home dining habits, when you get a chance?  I'm curious if the difference between home dining and restaurant dining varies widely (i.e., number and order of courses).  I notice you shop frequently at the market.  Do you do this day to day or every few days?

A pity that such a thing isn't widely practiced here in the U.S.

Soba

Maybe I shouldn't answer this. I hope this isn't stepping on Lucy's toes. I'm certain she will have more thoughtful words on this, accompanied by her wonderful photographs.

Anyway we always do courses at home. Usually salad, sometimes soup, then the main course, cheese course, dessert, coffee. Bread and wine on the table almost at all times. I've noticed with the French that eating in courses is almost habitual, even when they eat other cuisines.

When we have friends over the same thing. But as Lucy mentioned there will be things to nibble on and aperitifs before sitting down at the table.

Shopping almost daily for a few things is very common. Frigos are very small in France and it is also very convenient to purchase certain items daily.

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Aperetif:

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This is just a wee thimble full of Poire William (which is an eau de vie which must be handled carefully) with apple juice.

The cheese is what we would all eat if we could wipe an abomination called "Apericubes" off the French radar. These are little farm chevres produced by P'tit Montmenot, in Ancy. They are delicious and are sold in little packets at the fromagere.

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Your pictures belong in a cookbook, Lucy. :wub: Your first food blog is one of my favourites, and I'm so glad you're doing another one!

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Soup: Stunted Root and Dandelion Soup with Bacon (this can serve 2 as a first course)

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1 scragally bunch of dandilions about 100 or 150 grams

50-60 grams of smoked left over end of bacon, less if necessary

A bunch of small roots: they need to be the garden variety and so small you think their growth is stunted.

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one small potato, large mouse size

one miniscule celery root

one turnip small mouse size

bulbs:

an itty bitty onion or shallot

a clove of garlic

some ickly thyme and a bay leaf

1 cup fond de vollaille

1 rounded tsp. of leftover duck fat from last weeks confit

No salt in the soup if your bacon is salty

Pepper as needed

a small grate of nutmeg for the greens

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Wash your greens thoroughly. Cut the roots and bulbs into pieces, and the bacon end. Melt 1/2 t. duck fat at the bottom of a 1.5 litre sauce pan. Add the roots and bulbs. No need to saute, just add the stock to cover immediately. If they aren't completely covered with fluid, add water to cover. Put your bay leaf and thyme on top. Bring to boil and immediately lower heat to a very slow simmer. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

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When you've got 5 minutes left, take your washed and dried dandelion. Melt the remaining 1/2 t. duck fat over high heat. Add the greens and toss until slightly wilted and they begin to give off fluid. Sprinkle and toss with the nutmeg and a light sprinkling of salt (really not much at all). Pull aside some greens for a garnish.

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Put the soup mixture including the meat and the dandelion in the blender or use an immersion blender if you're rich to puree until the greens and meat are floating like large specks in the slightly translucent soup.

Taste it, if it doesn't need anything, serve it up in a bowl and garnish with your reserved dandelion.

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Such beautiful produce!

I'm unfamiliar with salsify. Is there anything else its taste or texture compares to? Is it a starchy root? Is it crunchy and watery like jicama?


Edited by Pan (log)

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Usually salad, sometimes soup, then the main course, cheese course, dessert, coffee. Bread and wine on the table almost at all times. I've noticed with the French that eating in courses is almost habitual, even when they eat other cuisines.

This is very true. But at my house, we eat the salad after the main dish and before the cheese. And it's always a simple salad.

If I'm going to do a salad that's special with meat and other things in it American Style, I'll generally serve it as an entree, i.e. appetizer in English.

If the salad is just your everyday salad that comes with dinner, it's served at the end of the meal. :smile:

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Lucy, this is stunning, beautiful work -- and the first installment, which I saw today for the first time, is the same. Thanks so much for it. You are transporting those of us who pine for cool spring days in France (we were in Paris two Aprils ago for a week... sigh...).

As for a baby food blog, Soba, I could do one here with Bebe (five days old) and Andrea, but there's not too much variation on the breast milk theme -- yet!

Chris

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Next week:  How about a baby Foodblog!?! Cute pictures guaranteed.

As for a baby food blog

A clarification in the event that the above is unclear (to new readers in particular) -- this is a Foodblog tradition in which the identities of future bloggers in the sequence are teased to everyone but not revealed until the start of those blog installments.

Soba

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gallery_15176_977_66107.jpg

The cheeses on the plate are as follows:

In the center, a wonderful silver dollar sized chevre called the Rocamadour. It's excellent and you should get it nice and soft.

9h00: Brin d'Amour, a Corsican sheeps cheese encased in herbs.

10h00: Roves de Garrigues, Chevre made from the milk of goats fed only herbes of the Garrigues in Provence.

11h00: Last bit of a Beaufort, Alpine cooked hard cheese

12h00: Sliver of Brie de Meaux

13h00: Two types of Tomme de Savoie, Alpine farm cheese

14h00: Hiding behind the leaf there, Salers, from the Auvergne region, a raw milk pressed cheese (not cooked). It's one of my favorites.

18h00: A nice chevre from the Poitou called Le Villegois. Silky creamy, tangy goats cheese that's everything you want it to be, the leaf is a chestnut leaf.

Here's a shot of the plate during the day, before the addition of the Salers, but essentially the same cheeses to gice you a better look at them int he daylight. Cheese never really shows up very well at night.

gallery_15176_977_18890.jpg:smile:

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Drooool

This reminds me of when I was in france...and oh the cheese...the cheeese!!! :wub:

I still remember packing a big empty tupperwear container going, and coming back with a full tupperwear of (mostly) soft unpasturized goats and sheeps milk cheeses...i know, naughty me.

Ah, I must go back sooner or later!

Amazing pictures, merci beau'coup.

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Lucy,

I remember discovering your first food blog when I came to EGullet, and how I was drawn in by the simple elegance of your lifestyle as it was reflected in your writing and your photographs. Since then, whenever I see your name, those initial images and dishes float back to me with a warm rememberance, like memories of a trip I never got to take.

You have already started this week with a captivating eloquence. We must consider ourselves lucky to have such people in our lives, the ones that we keep special candles for to light when they come to dinner because they love the smell. They are not guests, for they melt into our daily lives with the ease of true friends, and we know that we can be as comfortable in their homes as they are in ours.

Thank you for blogging again, and for your generosity in sharing your experience with us.

I wanted to note a story I heard somewhere about aperitifs. A young American woman was meeting a friend at a cafe in Paris for dinner. Arriving early, she was seated and when the waiter asked if she would like a drink, she ordered a glass of wine. It was delievered rather haughtily and soon her friend arrived. Oh no, you didn't order wine did you, her friend exclaimed. She explained that it was customary to have aperitifs first, and wine was only drunk with the meal. The young woman, having learned her lesson, has been enjoying kirs and other such concoctions ever since.

I look forward to the cooking, the pictures, the words, and of course the cheese!

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Lucy,

Do you usually have such a wide variety of cheeses for your cheese course? I mean I can tell you like your cheeses.

We usually just have one type of cheese, sometimes up to 3 or 5.

I think I counted 8 or 9 on you plate. Now that's a cheese tasting. :smile:

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Oh yes, and just checking my French,

fond de volaille - fond blanc - chicken stock, right?

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This is very true. But at my house, we eat the salad after the main dish and before the cheese. And it's always a simple salad.

If the salad is just your everyday salad that comes with dinner, it's served at the end of the meal.

Are you folks Italian or something?

I'm just teasing. :smile:

At home I start with the salad, but sometimes I save a little to have just before the cheese course. The salads are always simple if they are served with other courses.

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Sorry, i had to cherish the sight of this one more time :rolleyes:. Just can't get enough...

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Yes it is a beautiful plate. Lucy takes photographs like an Italian painter.

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