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Posts from the ‘peaceful’ Category

For tonight’s Dinner: How ’bout a LEEK TART?

 

breaking eggs

breaking eggs

lovely creamy custard poured into the cooked leeks and bacon

lovely creamy custard poured into the cooked leeks and bacon

Emmenthal Cheese (swiss cheese) poured on top - or you can put it in the custard

Emmenthal Cheese (swiss cheese) poured on top – or you can put it in the custard

My beautiful Leek Tart

My beautiful Leek Tart

Dinner is served!!

Dinner is served!!

This is really really good.   It’s not the EASIEST, well, no, that’s not right – It IS easy, just takes a bit of time to do the crust by hand because I don’t have my food processor with me.  If I had the food processor, that flour and butter and ice water would spit out a crust in like 3 seconds.  I had to use the ‘ole fork and knife method since, that is all I had. That being said, It made a very good crust.

Here’s how it goes – you will not regret making this !!!

Creamy Leek Tart with Emmenthal Cheese

For Tart:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 oz  (1/2 stick) butter

3 Tablespoons  ice cold water or ice cold vodka

(vodka makes crust flaky) –     as you can see I had no rolling pin, but those liter water bottles work great!

makeshift rolling pin

makeshift rolling pin

Use a tart pan if at all possible.  Otherwise, you can use a shallow pie pan.

For filling:

1 tlb goose fat (or Olive Oil)

6 ounces slab bacon rind removed

Green part from 2 1/2 pound leeks, some white

is fine, but is more pungent then the green part.  I mixed mine.

Clean and dice the leeks

sea salt  – ground pepper

5-6 large eggs

2/3 cup whole milk and 1/3 crème fraîche  (if no crème fraîche   where you live, use sour cream)

or 1 cup crème fraîche (which is what I use, makes it very creamy, but solid.

Line tart pan with pastry, chill for 30 minutes

Melt fat with bacon in large skillet  (I use lardons here because they’re plentiful )

cook until bacon is golden but not crisp

add leeks, stir so they are coated with fat and cook, covered until tender – 15” stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pan.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

In medium bowl whisk together eggs well, then whisk in milk and cream or just crème fraîche.  Season with salt and pepper.    Add Emmenthal grated cheese (3/4 cup) or swiss grated cheese.  Stir well.  Sorry about no exact measurement on Salt and pepper.  We use less salt than most, and pepper – well, we like pepper.

Arrange cooked leeks and bacon evenly over pastry. Pour custard mixture over it.  Place the tart on baking sheet and bake in bottom third of oven until top is golden and puffed and custard is cooked through – 25-35 minutes – 400 degrees.

Remove from oven.   Serve immediately  with green salad.

Bon Appetit!

Marti in Cassis

Fresh Ravioli Night – Simple simple simple

 

Fresh Ravioli Night

 

This recipe is so very simple.  First –  go to your local Italian Market, (like in Saint Louis, that would be “The Hill”)     and                        2)  purchase the freshest pasta you can possibly find.
Every Wednesday and Friday in Cassis there is a huge market.  The Italian guy is standing happily  with his fresh pasta from Italy.  I don’t know how he does it, but he’s always there (one year now I’ve seen him every wed and friday, ) and his home-made pastas and ravioli’s are incredibly deletable – like I’ve never tasted.  After purchasing your ravioli,  you really  can’t do much wrong with it (except over boiling it).  We put it in the water for only 5 minutes, or less,  and it’s done.

 

Sometimes we put crème fraîche in it, or tiny cut veggies on the top.  Last night it was just sautéed matchstick carrots, shallots in bit of butter with herbs d’Provence.  Stirred some crème fraîche in the veggies and topped the steaming pasta.  It was absolutely PERFECT.

Fresh handmade ravioli from the "Italian Guy" at the Cassis market - topped with  matchstick carrots and shallots, & tiny bit of creme fraiche

Fresh handmade ravioli from the “Italian Guy” at the Cassis market – topped with matchstick carrots and shallots, & tiny bit of creme fraiche

 

Here’s my friend Sandrine with an “German actor friend” ooooh la la, and here is our pasta dish.  No, only Sandrine enjoyed the pasta with me and David.  The actor was not invited.  hmmmmmmm.

Sandrine and the German Actor, oh what's his name

Sandrine and the German Actor, oh what’s his name

 

Bon Appetit

 

“How to Peel an Acorn Squash” – I LOVE THIS NEW BLOG I FOUND!!!!

THis is better than anything I can post about food today (Unless I make my great pasta, which is not mine, it’s the Italian guy’s at the market) but first read this cool way to peel squash and happy SQUASHING – as it’s FALL BABY!

The Lazy Homesteader

Each fall I can’t wait for winter squash.  It’s so yummy and delicious.  Butternut is my favorite, but only because it’s much easier to prepare than acorn squash.  Until last night.

Last night I made this delicious recipe.  I substituted acorn squash for the pumpkin, and was once again faced with the challenge of peeling the squash.  And I finally figured this out.

First halve the squash and remove the seeds.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of the squash so it can sit on your cutting board.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the ridges.

Cut a wedge off the squash, slicing through the, um… valley?  Crease?  Valley – we’ll go with valley.

Now you have a nice wedge that you can turn and finish peeling.

Before slicing off another wedge, peel the exposed edge that was left on the half-squash.  Then, slice through the…

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

My husband is a true romantic.   Me, on the other hand,  CAN be, but I smashed his efforts this morning.  No, this is not X-rated.  It’s about our breakfast.

He sweetly handed me a little bowl of fresh strawberries and bananas with a darling swirl of whipcreme on the top.

Heartfelt strawberries

Heartfelt strawberries

 

He barely got the words out – before I grabbed it from his loving hands and started stirring the contents together.    I’m pretty starving lately as I have been trying to diet before our big cruise.   He then says, “Well, I made a HEART for you, with the whip creme! “    I looked at it, and could not discern that because in my haste I swirled it………and smashed it.

 

Ahhhhhh, impetious spouse that I am………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Butler

I meant to write about this the other day, but I was so moved by it, and kept thinking about the entire film –   THE BUTLER  that I didn’t write anything.  I just thought and thought about those times.   We, meaning me and David (and a whole lot of other people our ages)  were alive during the time the movie takes place ,  but when you see part of your very young, then young then grown, then really mid-age adult – then even older adult, persona as these dramatically packed years flash before you  on a giant screen– their history – your history – intertwined into probably the person you have become and why you have become —–  it kind of does a job on your head.   This story was developed well.   It Gave me so many goosebumps, – was so moving, I can’t describe it.   It was incredibly & immaculately & rawly conveyed, filmed and actors were top of their game, even if you scratch your head to say, “Wonder who that is?”   Oh, what a cast!!!

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1429383449/

So, I’m here to recommend this fabulous film.   Let me know what you think if you are signed on to my word press blog – it would mean a lot to hear your views.

I see an OSCAR already going into the hands of ………………………………………………….

see it !

Ginger Chicken Curry

GINGER CHICKEN CURRY                

Ginger Chicken Curry

Ginger Chicken Curry

6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped  ,( mix with the ginger in bowl)

1 can coconut milk (400 ml) or plain Greek yogurt as substitute for coconut milk

1 large onion

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 small can of red curry paste  or 1/2 jar of Paste for Curry (210 g)

1 bouquet of fresh cilantro

1/2 cup + cashew nuts

Chicken Ginger Curry night in Marti & David's apartment

Chicken Ginger Curry night in Marti & David’s apartment

to make it

  1. Slice each chicken breast into bite size pieces
  2. Put in the bowl with the ginger, garlic, mix well
  3. cover chicken mixture and leave in the fridge to marinate until ready to cook
  4. For the best flavor do this in the morning or, better still, the night before.
  5. Peel and quarter onions & very finely chop them.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large pan , then add the onion; cook until  translucent.
  7. Add the chicken mixture with the marinade and cook over a high heat until the chicken changes color
  8. Add Curry Paste and stir in well
  9. Add tomatoes (do not drain)  and cook few minutes – — Pour in the coconut milk, (or the 1 – 1/2 cups yogurt)  add 1/2 cup  water or chicken stock if it gets too thick,  then cover and simmer gently for 20 mins until the chicken is tender
  10. Stir in chopped fresh cilantro from the bouquet,  then serve over rice.  Naan bread is a good accompaniment if you can find it.  I used a baguette.
  11. Garnish the top of the Chicken Curry with more Cilantro and the Cashew nuts

If the curry is too hot, you can add more yogurt.  Usually 1 cup is enough.

My little story:   We had friends come the night I prepared this Ginger Chicken Curry.  It was only the second time I had made Curry Chicken.  I changed the recipe from the original one from the British Embassy Chef who prepared this one afternoon at the Paris Embassy for a bunch of bored housewives.  Is there such a thing anymore?  Housewives?  Well, anyway, hers was absolutely divine, but since I’m a GINGER fanatic, thought it should have more of this, not just a powder.  I love to grate ginger anyway.  The smell is so fantastic.   Sandrine who joined us that evening was allergic to coconut milk, thus, the other guest, Christopher, said – just use plain yogurt in place.  I did that, going to the market to find Greek PLAIN yogurt because it’s so thick .  It worked fine.

I prefer the coconut milk because of the taste, but it’s not for everyone.

My rice was BASMATI, and because I didn’t have a rice cooker, it came out gooey – But Christopher, the ever gentleman that he is reminded me that in Japan (where he used to teach) the rice was gooey there.  Okay, well, thanks for that – it sure made me feel better, and no one complained.  😉

Enjoy!

Bon Appetit

from
Marti

in Cassis

2013

How to Cook a Wolf

The Oven gets a workout

The Oven gets a workout

Okay, maybe not a whole wolf, like M.F.K. Fisher writes about in 1930’s France from
THE ART OF EATING  – but a FISH.   This was a real WHOLE MAQUEREAU (mackerel) head, eyes, and all.

It was not intimidating.   I kept thinking of Daddy.    When he wasn’t flying he was fishing.  He ‘d bring that smelly fish (as I use to call it, only it wasn’t the fish, it was HIM, ha) into the big kitchen on 94th Street in Miami Shores and start scaling it, then washing it, gutting it and frankly I was pretty impressed.   What I didn’t realize, was that this fresh fish we were enjoying  that evening and every week thereafter was the freshest and most tasty food I ever ate.   The rest of the time it was TV dinners, because that was the ERA.    Sometimes,   (a lot actually) we ate out at Watson’s where it was , um, not bad, but the vegetables were definitely canned.  The only thing that might have been fresh were the “chicken croquettes”.

When we left for North Carolina each and every summer, it was fresh fresh everything……collards, green beans, okra, black eye peas, all picked that same day from neighbor’s local farms.   That taste of fresh stayed in my memory forever.   

 

That’s what makes cooking a fresh mackerel very exciting.   Knowing that this is something that was – well, swimming this morning!

 

I was so busy with this fish, that I failed to take pictures of after it was done  – and it was a bit of a lesson in removing the head and separating the entire top from the filet in one fell swoop.   It was more like bits and pieces, but ahhhhh when it came time to taste, it was absolutely fine, tender, tasty.    The recipe is darn easy.  I, personally need more practice on the removing of head, tail and bones ……….

Little Mackerals have a potato in their mouths, isn't that so cute???

Little mackerel’s have a potato in their mouths, isn’t that so cute???

 

 

 

 

Easy Roasted Fresh Mackerel  (In French:  Maquereau )

 

For 2 people:

 

2 small   cleaned whole Spanish mackerel or bluefish (with head and tail).   Mine was “bluefish”

Can of tomatoes in herbs or fresh tomatoes chopped, with olive oil and S & P and herbs d’ Provence

Sliced potatoes and carrots

S & P

Saute the  carrots & potatoes in olive oil and a bit of butter till browned but not totally cooked.   Save on plate.  Place cleaned whole fish in casserole, sprinkle with S & P and a bit of olive oil. Pour tomatoes on top with herbs, add potatoes and carrots.  Put in 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes.  Watch it carefully.  When fork tender or eyes of fish turn white – it’s done.

There are YouTube videos of how to separate the fish from the filet, from head and pulling right off to leave one nice whole filet, but if it’s too soft may fall apart.  That’s okay, remove head, bones, tail and remove from skin.

Incredibly tasty.

Bon Appetit

from Marti in Cassis

 

 

 

Casablanca

Cassis, a city in southern France, seen from t...

Cassis, a city in southern France, seen from the cliffs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 SEPTEMBER 2013

I cannot believe it’s September!  It’s FALL soon.

All the cicadas will be quiet and the leaves will magically turn from green to incroyable  (incredible)  colors.  Even in the south of France.   Last Fall we arrived in Marseille looking for our first apartment in the South.  We hadn’t even heard of Cassis at that time, nor knew her charms.   As if it were yesterday I can still see the streets of Marseille laden with huge fat colorful leaves on their “Plain trees” which eventually fell to the ground in one great grand mess when the rains came.   I like how they were so thick it almost padded the streets reducing noise of the busy street.

Now it happens again, only now in Cassis. In my new apartment the curtains flow in and out, the cicadas are strong in their chorus and after a full morning of paperwork, and some apartment organizing it would be a good sound to be lulled to sleep for a short nap.   Alas, there is still a lot to do, mainly find my zucchini and fresh cheese and some spicy Jalapeno for my dinner tonight.  I’ll take a nap anyway.  I’m in the SOUTH.  That ‘s what we must do in the South of France!  The fan hums softly, the long grey curtains with the white voile flow in and out and it feels like a warm but breezy room in Casa Blanca.  It has that 30’s 40 ‘s feel to it.  Happiness overwhelms me.   (actually, we’re not that far away so far south………… )

Stretch out reg size couch

Stretch out reg size couch

06 Septembre 2013

Had the most incredible day at the marche!  After being briefly disappointed as the fisherman I rushed to had packed away, (obviously selling his catch of the day much earlier,)  we turned around and headed to the Poissionere to buy our dinner for tonight.

He was a cheerful guy and had a lovely display and it may have been what was leftover from the ‘Flopping-jumping fish” as we call them at the port.  Must get there early next time, atleast by 8:30am.  David took the fresh fish (Maquereau,) or Mackerel back to the apartment while I did some shopping at the outdoor marche.    Overflowing with full color of linens, towels, leather-goods, handmade jewelry, beads, baubles, wood, scarves, soaps, high top sneakers to die for, dresses, jupes, tunics, – it’s so alive.

And then comes the vegetable market.

FIGS.  That’s all you need to know.  FRESH FIGS.  DEEEEEE VINE.   IMG_1753    Pick up and buy fresh carrots, onions, tomatoes for tonight‘s dinner.   Ofcourse the fresh pasta with épinards (spinach), champignons (mushrooms), lobster, etc., well, too good to behold.  The mouth begins to drool, literally.   I walk away. Too late.  I’m now out of euros. Fini.  Gone.  Done.  But what a day.  It ended at 1:00PM

while sitting under a humongous umbrella at cafe de Fontaine where the best “jus de tomate” is served with (get this…) tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt….and for just a couple of euros AND they don’t mind if you stay there for an hour or two.  Ofcourse I got greedy with the tabasco and had a severe choking fit after 2 sips.  But, not to worry…..all under control.  Never go anywhere without my bottled water.  Saved the day.   David joined me and we drank our juice and espresso together and watched the vendors dismantle their gorgeous wares and neatly and very quickly put them in containers, tubs, or leftover produce boxes and slide them symmetrically into the carefully crafted slots in their compact vans.  (Big, by euro standards; actually the size of an American SUV, only more narrow).   Nothing bigger to place their items that did not sell.  But from the happiness on their faces, as they put away everything, it seems to be a good day.  However, they look like this EVERY day that I’ve watched them put away their goods.  None have I seen pout.  Never.   I love this. I love the items I picked up for “stocking stuffers” some made in Brazil, cool cool cool.

Time for peace and solitude and a nap back at the “Casa Blanca apartment” as we now refer to it – with fans a humming,  and curtains flowing, and cicadas chorusing.

A "Devotional Room" eh? I LOVE THIS room!!!!

A “Devotional Room” eh? I LOVE THIS room!!!!

Anyone for an easy CHEESE SOUFFLÉ ?

 

 

EASY CHEESE ZUCCHINI SOUFFLE

EASY CHEESE ZUCCHINI SOUFFLE

Cheese Zucchini Soufflé with Jalapeno Peppers

 

I have never made a soufflé before, until today.   I went out for the fresh cheese, zucchini, jalapeño pepper and eggs this afternoon.   This is done in 2 stages, with time to clean the house, take a nap, read your latest book, etc.  It’s very easy to make and I recommend you give it a go.     I found a cheese and veggie recipe at ALL RECIPES but changed it to fit our likes and what we could actually use as substitutes, because some things don’t exist.   It’s fun to change recipes and think out of the box (literally).

 

Recipe ingredients

 

3 – 4 cups of zucchini shredded or grated

(I had to use my muscle, as the Cuisinart is back in St Louis.  But that’s okay, my arms are flabby and needed the exercise.  Whew!)

 

Salt – (one recipe said 1 1/4 teas) but that sounded like a lot, so I reduced it to about a teaspoon – we don’t use a lot of salt

Pepper – 1/8, but I use more

 

Butter – 1 Tablespoon – should be very soft

 

4 eggs

 

fresh garlic minced – (used half a huge clove )

 

Jalapeno pepper  ( approximately 1 Tablespoon)

 

1 Cup of shredded Emmental Cheese – they use a lot of this cheese here in France

One recipe called for Monterey Jack, but Emmental worked just fine

 

1/4 cup all-purpose biscuit baking mix (non-existent here in France)  so I used a boxed Crepe mixture, which had similar ingredients.   I thought the crêpe mixture might not make it rise like it should and I couldn’t find baking powder, so actually, I was worried for nothing. It was fine.

 

Directions:

Stage 1:   Toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and place into a colander set in the sink.  Allow it to drain for 1 hour – then squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini.

 

Stage 2:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Prepare a 1 1/2 quart casserole w/ the soft butter

 

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl with pepper, garlic, jalapeño.  Stir in zucchini, cheese and baking mix until combined well.  Pour into casserole.

 

Bake in oven, uncovered until set and golden brown on top.  45 minutes – 1 hour. The souffle is done when knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Served it with grated carrot salad and white wine

 

DEEE-LISH!!!

Bon Appetit!!

 

Marti

in
Cassis

 

 

Would you happen to have a plastic baggie or some Centièmes?

My friend Martha in Tennessee, wanted to know if I had storage since I had such a small apartment.

I told her “I have no storage.  We are probably called “minamalists” since we have come to France with little.”    Then I took a pic of my “storage containers” which are here, and nothing but cardboard file containers from IKEA.  Yes, all two of them.

"storage" for our entire lives - in France

“storage” for our entire lives – in France

But there’s another problem, —-   my various bags.

Today I have started cleaning out just my handbags and my backpack that I usually take on all my walks with me, (not all at the same time, ) however, the variety of material that I have found inside and placed on my bed, is astounding.  It is a wonder that my shoulders aren’t lopsided.   I have never seen so many various and assorted “emergency”  sundries in my life.   I have found allergy pills that were missing for months and I daresay are any good,  Band-Aids that are so old, they probably wouldn’t stick if I needed them, a vast amount of lip softeners, chap-sticks, etc that I shant need another one for the rest of my living days………a receipt from PHILADELPHIA airport café where I promised the girl I’d sign in and give her a good writeup, (will) –  a  variety of paperclips, writing tablets, post-a-notes, pens,   And, strangely enough,  a tiny bottle of Bayer Aspirin, in case I have a heart attack, that was dated 2004;  4 sets of white stereo earphones, 181 centièmes,  26 small plastic bags so in case, God forbid, I have to carry an entire bottle of ADVIL with me instead of tucking a few pills here and there in teeny tiny baggies for the huge handbags,  AND an Irish Journey Blessing, an expired Starbucks card, AND a pair of scissors.  I am ready to nurse, heal, overdose, write an entire novel from the amount of paper inside, soften everyone’s lips that lives in Cassis, buy my way through at-least 3 trips to the “beach attendant toilet guy” that wants 60 centièmes to use the toilet there.   He loves it when I pour out the 60 centièmes from my little plastic baggies!!!!   Not.    OH!  Mon dieu – I just found 2 more items!   A St Louis Lottery ticket from LAST year and my mother’s hair pik from the 70’s!!   I’ve been looking for that thing!!!   (I dare not look up the numbers, it’s void after 180 days -what if I had the numbers?????!!!!!!!!!)    Better not to know.

And I tease my husband for being “OCD!!!”   Which, by the way is “TOC” in French.   (Trouble Obessionnel Compulsif );   Never say you haven’t learned a cool French Acronym from me.

the hand bag contents

the hand bag contents

Okay, time for me to get the heck out of here and walk walk walk,  and find ingredients  at the market for my SOUFFLE tonight.    My friend Sandrine is coming to enjoy that Souffle – and to give me yet another French lesson, of which we both laugh out loud from the “mistakes” and the “misunderstandings” .    I wonder if she needs a couple hundred plastic baggies.

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