Tag: french

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Many people have traditional holiday dishes they prepare year after year with no thought of deviation.  I don’t fall into that group of people because;  A) I’m not traditional and B) every holiday throughout the year is an opportunity to try something new and Christmas […]

No Knead Fougasse

No Knead Fougasse

[shareprints gallery_id=”4992″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]In French cuisine, Fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with the Provençe region but also found in other areas of France.  Fougasse is the French word for focaccia, a […]

Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostata

Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostata

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPrint this page

[shareprints gallery_id=”4687″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]There’s nothing better in the spring time than an outdoor dinner party with the joyful chirping of birds providing the perfect background music along with the beauty of bright green grass, budding trees and NO mosquitoes!  It’s a short window of opportunity for us Minnesotans and before we know it, the mosquito squadron will be ruining the enjoyment of outdoor dining.

The weekend weather was beautiful so I jumped on the opportunity to have a friend over for dinner on my patio.  I paired this delightful little dinner with a crisp Sauvignon blanc.[shareprints gallery_id=”4687″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]There’s nothing better in the spring time than an outdoor dinner party with the joyful chirping of birds providing the perfect background music along with the beauty of bright green grass, budding trees and NO mosquitoes!  It’s a short window of opportunity for us Minnesotans and before we know it, the mosquito squadron will be ruining the enjoyment of outdoor dining.

The weekend weather was beautiful so I jumped on the opportunity to have a friend over for dinner on my patio.  I paired this delightful little dinner with a crisp Sauvignon blanc.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPrint this page
The Final Hours in Paris – 2014

The Final Hours in Paris – 2014

Bonjour!  I hope you enjoyed my posts this week as I took you on the journey of my trip to Paris last spring.  I often hear people refer to big trips as a “trip of a lifetime”.  It makes me cringe when I hear this […]

Paris – Day 7

Paris – Day 7

Day 7 in France proved to be quite the adventure as we navigated our way to Lyon, France.  Reposted from March 30th, 2014. Well, we started out the day with a bit of miscommunication.  I said I wanted to be at the Gare (train) station […]

Tasty Speck – A French Country Christmas

Tasty Speck – A French Country Christmas

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPrint this page

With the holidays upon us, it’s a magical time for family and friends to gather and enjoy good food, drink and festive conversation.  Ok, my friends and I don’t need an excuse like the holidays but it sounded like a good way to start the first sentence.

What is Tasty Speck you ask?  It all started out last spring when my friend, her hub and I were out on the town checking out a local restaurant, Café Levain, when we had a discussion about creating a cooking club since we shared a love for cooking.  Then weeks later we went to another great restaurant, Cavé Vin, and friend invited another couple to join us.  Along side the suggestion of Ken, the restaurant owner, we worked our way through small plates of items on the menu.  It was there while indulging our palates on a merry-go-round of savory flavors, we decided we needed to do this as a group on a regular basis.  Hence, Tasty Speck was created.

We meet every 6-8 weeks and the host creates a potluck theme of his or her choice.  The theme could be based around a favorite wine or beer, ethnicity, or some unique invented theme.  What we bring is entirely up to us as long as it falls into the theme.  None of us know what the other is bringing.  Generally the person hosting prepares the main entreé.  We love surprises and creativity!  We also bring along a wine or beer to share.  We’ve had a pool party, celebrated Oktoberfest and recently I hosted a French theme dinner.  We’ve eaten goat pierogi, foie gras and Ukrainian sausage.  Now doesn’t that sound tasty?  That’s what Tasty Speck is all about.

So with the celebration of the holiday season, the Tasty Speck foodie group planned a gathering at my home for a French country Christmas.

In an effort to sparkle up ma maison, Little Mister came of to help trim the tree and disperse gold and silver accoutrements about.  I just love him to pieces, we had such a grand time together decking the halls.[shareprints gallery_id=”4058″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]As the host of the party, I prepped the main course of Coq Au Vin and Beef Daube.  I’ll be launching a recipe menu tab on my blog beginning in January so please check back for recipes then.  For both entrees, I marinated each of them in rouge wine, onions, carrots and celery overnight before sauteing and braising the following day.  Oh my goodness, ma maison had the aroma of a French café, heavenly!!![shareprints gallery_id=”4061″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Once guests started to arrive we shared toasts of bubbly peach champagne and enjoyed appetizers that included foie gras, cheeses and this tasty fish, Minnesota’s own Lake Superior smoked lake trout from Northern Waters Smokehaus.  I love that place and load up on my favorites every time I’m in Duluth, MN.

[shareprints gallery_id=”4066″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]On to the first course of a Celery Soup with parmesan crisps along side a tossing of arugula, curly endive, red leaf and some peppery watercress tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and topped with pomegranate seeds.  It was a delightful combination of creamy, savory, sweet and tart.

[shareprints gallery_id=”4080″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Ok, now onto the good stuff.  Since our theme was French food, I have to tell you, we all had so much fun planning and creating.  I prepared the two main entrees; Coq Au Vin and Beef Daube.  And if you’re rusty on your French that means “cooked in wine” and “beef stew”.  Besides making you hungry I might as well educate you a bit, right?  One couple brought brussels sprouts with sautéed chestnuts and I guess those little nuts are one big pain in the rear to peel.  We had a beautiful pan of ratatouille.  Add to that potatoes mashed with roasted garlic and sautéed leeks…I winged that little piece and it was amazing.  Another food loving friend brought corn au gratin and she forgot to leave the leftovers for the host, imagine that!  Everything was absolutely delicious as you can see from a couple of smiling friends with happy tummies.[shareprints gallery_id=”4085″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]No holiday party is a party without a white elephant exchange, but in our case in honoring the French culture, we called it a White Poodle Exchange.  Very French, huh?  And in keeping with our foodie theme our gift item was to be a kitchen or food related item.  With 12 foodies in a room there was bound to be some gift envy and stealing going on.  We unwrapped a gift basket with martini glasses, vodka, cocktail napkins and olives, another gift was a wood cheese platter with a slide-out drawer underneath that held 3 cheese knives, we had salt and pepper shakers, a decorative glass plate,  a cookbook, a knife set as well as a beverage server.  What fun!  We were all pleased with our final gift![shareprints gallery_id=”4092″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]And since we obviously hadn’t had enough to eat it was time for dessert in true French fashion; Pots de Crème au Chocolat, an intensely rich, dense chocolate custard topped with a warm caramel sauce.  And if there was one thing I learned to appreciate in France, it was fromage for dessert.  And since we were waving the French flag we were following tradition with a creamy, buttery soft cheese and a complex blue cheese that I have to say, even if you weren’t a blue cheese lover, you would love the one we had.  I think the name started with a saint so you know it had to taste heavenly!  And of course, we paired the cheese with honey to make this a perfectly, perfect French dessert.  Pinch me….[shareprints gallery_id=”4098″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]All good things must come to an end as did our French Tasty Speck dinner.   Our bellies were filled with good food and our hearts were filled with the joy of friendship and the season that brought us together to celebrate it.

Bon appetit!

Lynn[shareprints gallery_id=”4107″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_80″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPrint this page