Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu 4- Dinnertime Divas: La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin... ahhh, the French!

"Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris."
~Thomas Gold Appleton


I love this picture.  And I love every single memory that Mom and I had celebrating Mother's Day in Paris a few years back. 

You see, Since I was very little, I've always been drawn to Paris... the Eiffel Tower, playing Frère Jacques on the piano, and especially dancing the cancan!!!


We started and ended our trip in this cafe, and became "famous" with the waiters (ok, one in particular). Despite the fact that I completely butchered their language with my first sandwich order, and 5 minutes in, with a heavy heart I said, "Oh, no, it's true... the French really do hate Americans."

But they don't. That week in Paris, that same waiter who at first I thought was pooh poohing us, ended up chasing us down the street to wave hello each day, as we passed the cafe from our hotel.



And the shop owners, restaurant patrons and even the people sitting next to us on a bench while we ate pastries... and I drank my Coke Zero ;-) accepted us with open arms and a shared excitement.


We were more similar than we thought.  Breaking the language, time zone and cultural barriers.

The love of simplicity.


The art of relaxation.
(My favorite park EVER that we visited each day)


And the best things in life involving smiles, family, food and passion!


For more passions on top of passions, here is a week of French Cuisine that is all about the Joie de vivre... and all about heart.

Bon Appétit, my sweets!

Monday: Scallops Provencal over a bed of Sauteed Spinach and Roasted Tomatoes
Notes: For the Spinach- toss fresh baby spinach leaves in a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and sprinkle on some Champagne Vinegar.  For the Roast Tomatoes, cut plum or roma tomatoes in quarters and toss with olive oil, dried rosemary, basil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15- 20 min. until browned and soft.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Tuesday: Filet of Beef au Poivre over Caramelized Mushrooms and Vegetable Tian
Notes: For the caramelized mushrooms, place 1 package of sliced mushrooms in a saute pan with 1 Tblsp. each butter and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over high heat for a few minutes, then lower heat and saute over low heat until browned and soft and caramelized.

Note: I use Cognac for the Beef and I leave out the potatoes in the Tian.  For a more cost-effective meal, use a less expensive cut of beef.

Wednesday: Chicken Sausage Cassoulet with Creamy Dijon Leeks
Notes: For the Cassoulet- 
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. chopped celery
3 chicken sausages, sliced in rounds
4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. white wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. chopped parsley
1 roast chicken from the deli shredded
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3 green onions, chopped
In a skillet, add oil, onions and celery and saute until golden brown over med. heat.  Add garlic and sausages (pierced with a fork) and cook until browned.  Add the chicken stock and wine, increase heat to med. high and cook about 10 min.  Add tomatoes and cook until broth reduces.  Add in thyme, parsley and cut up chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, cayenne and basil and cook over med. heat about 20 minutes. Top with green onions and serve next to leeks.

For the leeks-  I leave out the flour.

Thursday:  Pork Chops with Roquefort Butter and Asparagus with Hollandaise
Notes: For the chops I use pork instead of veal, and I just use 6 chops.

Notes: I leave off the almonds as I'm allergic, plus it's not in line with my food combining.

Oh... and my title's French phrase is a fun one- life is too short for bad wine ;-)



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