Monday, November 23, 2009

Food Français…

…holds a great appeal to me for a variety of reasons. Say what you will of the French nation and its inhabitants, but one should first consider the debt which modern Western cooking most assuredly owes them - in matters of technique and codification, if nothing else.

Then again, it may be the composite flavors of the culinary tradition; the herbes fines, various ‘mother’ sauces or even the generous application of cheeses, shallots, charcuterie, wine and mushrooms that often characterizes the cuisine. Flavors subtle and bold (sometimes both), with almost any and all of them delightful in their own rights. But, to make no bones about it, any culinary tradition that flings offal, Cognac or duck fat around so willfully (and skillfully) certainly deserves a major vote of confidence!

And indeed, more often than not the very best examples of the French cuisine on which I wax so fondly are the oft-simple preparations; the “peasant fare” or regionally-diverse preparations which crop up all about the country. The oft-bewildering entirety of haute cuisine which one so rarely encounters these days (Escoffier anyone?) is, broadly-speaking, derived part & parcel from the “elevation” of such dishes.

While each section of France certainly has its own signature dishes, I think some of my favorite examples hail from disparate ends of the country. Normandy in the far north and Gascony to the south – both of these encompass culinary traditions which, particularly in the colder months, bring about immense gustatory pleasures.

Right about now you’re probably asking yourself where I’m going with this particular ramble – is it an altogether too-lengthy introduction to a discussion on some tidbit of cookery (admittedly something unseen here for quite a time). Sort of…

It just so happens that one of my favorite holidays has just gone by; an affair filled with delights both culinary and social in nature. Better than Thanksgiving, my longstanding tradition of hosting a dinner party for friends which eschews the classic ‘turkey with trimmings’ has finally come - and as of this posting, gone. Previous incarnations of this event (ironically-entitled “Turkey Day”) have seen every kind of fare from Turkish to English/Irish pub ‘grub.

But now - finally - we’ve made it round to French, which, from my musings above you may note I am rather fond of. To best honor the culinary traditions featured this year, the menu is composed of tasting portions, so that each might be conveyed in a few delightful bites to the guests. Hell, we even had a Green Hour...

So, without further ado, I should like to present the menu from this gloriously Armagnac-soaked event for your perusal good reader. If you should find yourself curious as to the exact composition of anything you see, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to pass along a recipe or three…once the gout dies down…

HORS D'OEUVRES
Canapés de Brie aux Damsons
Butter crackers mounted with Brie cheese & Damson Plum preserves
Fromages et Crutons
Gruyère & Brie cheeses; served with Garlic-toasted slices of homemade Baguette
Trois Oeufs a la Diable
Devilled Eggs served three ways - black Truffle-fried Leeks; Gruyère & Bacon; Paprika & Garlic-spiced
Rillettes de Canard
A coarse pâté of Duck confit, Armagnac and Prunes; served with toasted slices of homemade Baguette


DÎNER
- À TABLE -
Tranches de Pain avec Beurres Composé
Homemade Baguettes; served with Rosemary, confit Garlic-Marjoram & pink Sea Salt butters
Salade Verte de Mesclun
Romaine and Chicory Endive tossed with caramelized Pear, Bôucheron cheese & a Walnut-Cider vinaigrette

- I -
Saucisses de Lapin aux Pommes
Pan-seared sausages of Ginger-spiced Rabbit; flambéed at-table with caramelized Apples
“Raclettes”
Gold Potatoes poached in Duck stock; stuffed with melted Raclette cheese, black Truffle Butter, Garlic and Thyme

- II -
Brochettes de Pruneaux au Romarin
Bacon-wrapped Prunes; lightly-grilled on skewers of fresh Rosemary
Confit de Magret au Pommes de Terre à la Sarladaise
Confit of Duck breast with herbs; served over Yukon Gold Potatoes sautéed with Duck fat & fresh Sage

- ENTREMET -
“Vichyssoise” de Canard
A petite serving of creamy soup; Gold Potatoes and Leeks simmered in Duck stock; served chilled

- III -
Echalotes Caramélisées
Coarsely-chopped Shallots; caramelized with herbs and Côtes du Rhône then baked until crisp
Coq au Vin
A classic fricassee of free-range Chicken; simmered in Côtes du Rhône with Mushrooms & herbs until tender
Salade Tiède de Lègumes et Lapin Confit
Julienned Mushrooms, Celery, Apples and Almonds sautéed in dry Sherry & Dijon Mustard; tossed with pulled confit of Rabbit

- IV -
Sauce des Pommes au Pruneaux
A coarse purée of spiced Apples and Plums, spiked with Armagnac brandy; served warm
Galettes de Potiron
Crisp pancakes of spiced Winter squash; served warm with a Chervil & Vanilla-spiced Crème Fraiche
Rouelle de Veau au Cidre
Veal shanks & Mushrooms slowly braised in dry Cider; served over Pasta finished with black Truffle Butter


† DESSERT †
Sables de Caen
Buttery Shortbread cookies
Glace Crème au Miel de Lavande
Homemade ice cream; made with Lavender Honey from Provence
Café du Monde (au Lait)
Orleans-style dark-roasted Chicory Coffee; served hot with raw Sugar & warm sweet Cream alongside


† L'HEURE VERTE †
Absinthe
Served with Sugar cubes and ice Water for the traditional ‘drip’ preparation:
Kübler - a Swiss-style Absinthe blanche (white); extremely well-balanced
Vieux Carré - an American Absinthe verte (green); light with Spearmint notes
Pastis
Served straight, iced, with Soda or ‘en Momisette’ (Soda with Almond syrup):
Herbsaint - a spicier, herbal-flavored American pastis
Pernod Liqueur d’Anis - a sweeter-flavored French pastis
Manguin Pastis au Víolette - a rare, drier-flavored French pastis; flavored with Violets


† LES BOISSONS †
Ponche de Gascogne
XO Armagnac brandy, homemade Fig, Date & Honey liqueur, black Tea, fresh Lemon and Bitters
Vins
Hugel "Gentil", Gewürztraminer, 2007
Paul Jaboulet Aîné “Parallèle 45”, Côtes du Rhône, 2006
Cidre et Bier
Woodchuck #802 Cider
J.W. Dundee Honey Brown Ale


In closing I should like to extend a tremendous thanks to those who assisted with much of the prep for this event - it would not have been possible without you my vatos locos! Equal thanks to those who attended this year's event - I hope you had as much fun eating as I did cooking!

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


PS - Yes, I am well-aware that Vichysoisse is not, in fact, a French invention. It's no less delightful for the fact. Deal with it friends...

16 comments:

Tiare said...

Impressive menu Chris, and really, the French cuisine is like the classic cocktails, its the base for so much more.I made a hot spicy chicken and sausage Gumbo today and i started with the roux..

Which was one of the first things we were thought to make during the chef course i went through many years ago that was called "Classic Cuisine" dealing basically with the French cookery.(That i ended up working in a Thai restaurant is another story;-)

But you can´t get away from it, the french cuisine is perfect balanced flavours and much local fresh stuff as you mentioned.

Btw, i`m going to make that pink sea salt butter..

Cheers!

T

許願 said...

0204全裸網,777露點聊天室,Hiav潮吹聊天館,utlive脫衣秀聊天室,口交俱樂部,18禁聊天館,影音俱樂部,無碼俱樂部,uthome脫衣秀做愛聊天室,Hiav下載裸照聊天館,777口交自慰俱樂部,0204正妹淫叫俱樂部,uthome脫衣秀做愛,av辣妹大奶,777口交影音,0204正妹淫叫,utlive網,av聊天館,777俱樂部,0204俱樂部,0204全裸網,Hiav潮吹聊天館,777露點聊天室,utlive脫衣秀聊天室,口交俱樂部,18禁聊天館,影音俱樂部,無碼俱樂部,0204正妹淫叫俱樂部,777口交自慰俱樂部,Hiav下載裸照聊天館,uthome脫衣秀做愛聊天室,0204正妹淫叫,777口交影音,av辣妹大奶,uthome脫衣秀做愛,0204俱樂部,777俱樂部,av聊天館,utlive網

goodgame77 said...

天生我材必有用,千金散盡還復來。 ..................................................

睡衣 said...

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.............................................

仲亨仲亨 said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

冠中ElmoAcker0831 said...

我又來看你囉~加油^^ 祝你天天順利開心..............................

柏辰 said...

精彩的部落格 要繼續加油 ..............................

--UtahMixologist said...

What a meal! I really wish I had been there. A great post, and I hope you'll start posting again...

The Utah Mixologist

羅惠玲 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債......................................................

BlancaMcleroy1230 said...

hello~welcome my world~<. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

思穎思穎 said...

Variety is the very spice of life.......................................................

哲云 said...

快下班囉~來幫你加油~~.........................

玄雨 said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄

Wendy Crispell said...

What a feast! I wish I could have been there! Great Blog!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arlene said...

I am full with envy. I love French cuisine! They reflect the beauty of France and the people in it, sometimes I imagine I am a gorgeous French enjoying me French meal in France.

Regards,
Fosamax Fracture Lawyer

john leaf said...

such awesome verity of food..

Hospitality