Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Out The Door!

For the next six days, I will not be leaving any posts. I am departing for a brief trip to Seattle. It's a great time of the year to be going out to the Northwest....Fall is definately in the air. I used to live in the Seattle area and try to get back as much as my schedule allows. There are so many wonderful grocery stores to explore, new coffee shops popping up on every corner, P. Place Market, an occassional flying fish, fields of pumpkins and flowers to drive by, the smell of the ocean in the air, and my very dearest friends.......it is all at my fingertips for a very brief six days. I hope I can return to Florida.......could be difficult! Will be in touch with all of you soon. Until then , Happy Cooking!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Manoir d' Hautegente

Located in Coly, France, is the Manoir d'Hautegente. If your travels lead you into the Dordogne region, here you will find a great stopping point for the evening or even a few days. This is an area where centuries of history have left their mark. You will be traveling down peaceful roads, past villages hundreds of years old, walnut groves and beautiful oak woods in the heart of this ancient land.
The Manoir d'Hautegente is owned by Edith and Patrick Hamlin. As we drove along the shady oak tree lined driveway, Edith greeted us at our car with a most gracious welcome and lead us outside into the garden area to sip a glass of Champagne or in my case, a Kir Royal, while our table was being prepared for dinner. It was a dinner that you will talk about for years to come........all fit for a queen!
More information can be found on the internet about the Manoir. It ceratinly is worth the visit . If you have further comments, send me an email and I will try to answer your questions. Those of us who love France will love everything about this magical place!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pass The Salt

Salt has been a "bone of contention" at my dinner table for a long time mainly because "he" thinks we really don't need extra salt in our foods. Can you imagine a pretzel without the salt covering it......or peanuts? Not me...........What's not to love about salt? I know that some of us have health issues pertaining to salt intake and this is very important. I certaily understand if you would not want to read any further.
Do you think that salts have become rather trendy? We now have a mutitude of sea salts available to us from Europe and even red salt from Hawaii. And we have Kosher salts, fleur de sel, and regular common table salts. So difficult to choose !
I happen to have a passion for sea salt. Before I even have my suitcase unpacked, I am hitting the grocery stores to see what they have on their shelves. I am so interested in the entire process of getting the salt from the shallow beds after it has evaporated into large crystals. The location of the waters and the minerals make the difference in the taste.........there is nothing more satisfying after preparing a dish and gathering up a few flakey crytsals between your fingers and sprinkling it on top to finish off the dish. Voila ! Makes you feel like a real chef......please pass the salt!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Off To Find A Market!

Gosh, I hate to see the season come to a close , but "Mr. Winter " will be visiting us soon .......burrrr! Meanwhile, for a few more weeks we can enjoy all the pleasures of autumn. Every season brings new colors and tastes, but now we see the breathtaking displays of mums, choreographed between the rows of basket filled apples and vegetables. It is a great time of the year for a Saturday afternoon drive in search of one of the few remaining markets still opened.......If by chance, you find a great cooking pumpkin, here is a simple, but delicious soup for Sunday night supper.

Harvest Pumpkin Soup with Sage

2 tablespoons of salted butter

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

1/2 cup minced onions

1 teaspoon fresh-rubbed sage, 1/4 teasspoon dried thyme, tad of cayenne & nutmeg

1 15 ounce measured cup of pumpkin, well cooked and mashed

3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 to 1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large pot and add the onions, garlic and next 4 spices.Cook on medium temperature until translucent. Add pumpkin and stock. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cheese and taste for salt and pepper.. Get out the blender again, puree until smooth. Return to pot and add cream. Garnish with more cheese and fresh sage.

Enjoy your ride this weekend..............

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bountiful French Squash

One of the conveniences of squash is that you can cook the pulp, mash it up and put it in the freezer for up to six months.This makes it handy for preparing and creating meals anytime of the year. I really do prefer using fresh pumpkins or squash whenever I can find them. They are now beginning to appear in the grocery stores. My family enjoys the Butternut Soup from a recipe given to me by my French sister.....that's what we call eachother.( When I have given cooking demos in the fall, this is a soup I prepare over and over. It is a hit every time!) This is her Creamy Butternut Soup. I was able to photograph these squash while visiting her.......so they really are French!

28 ounces of chicken broth, your choice
4 to5 cups of cooked and mashed squash.....try the butternut
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of sugar
dash of pepper
1 cup of whipping cream
dash of nutmeg to sprinkle on top

Process one half of the first five ingredients in a blender. (This works well, then you can pour it right into the saucepan.) Now process the rest.

Bring the squash ingredients to a mild boil, cooking over a medium heat.....Slowly pour in 3/4 of the whipping cream and cook until heated.
Do not boil.

Beat the rest of the whipping cream with mixer until stiff peaks and add dollops of the cream on the top of the soup..... now sprinkle with the nutmeg.

If you would like your soup a bit thinner, just add a little milk to your liking.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's Magic!

There are not many seasons that stir my emotions as much as the Fall. This season is full of colorful changes that create a spirit of magic in the air. There are so many sweet memories .....the beautiful crimson leaves floating down on that favorite country lane. There are the visions of the pumpkin fields and the anticipation of what fun we will have picking out just the right one to carve for, "you know what!" Gathering all the foods to create the soups that warm our souls......all of this captures the spirit of Fall for me. This is a time when I meet up with my friends in Seattle. We light the fires in the evening for the first time and sit for hours remembering the joys of friendship we all found together and still share today. A very special wish to all of my blogger friends that you enjoy this same magic.........in this Fall Season!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not Found In My Cookbooks!

Sometimes one finds himself in a difficult situation and may need to resort to eating things not particularly enticing, nor fit for a recipe book. Hence, we have grubs....haven't you heard the old saying, "let's go grab some grub?" Well, here they are!
This "cookout" takes place in the Amazon. The grubs you see here were actually purchased in a grocery store for our demonstration. For those who have difficulties eating snails, escargots, I do not think this would be something to order as your appetizer.

The grubs are placed on a skewer, properly lined up and placed over a hot fire. They will need to cook for ten minutes. Each was pierced so there would be no explosions...similar to what we do with potatoes when we bake them .
A few special seasonings enhanced the flavors and really added to that outdoor taste. The next question you are probably wondering....Did I taste the finished product? Well, I am the Traveling Food Lady. It tasted similar to chicken..........

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Company Coming?

My husband adores any kind of pate. How fortunate for him I purchased some liver from the grocery store that was fresh and not previously frozen. I get so upset always finding previously frozen foods......Fresh ingredients make all the difference in the world...... in
the taste. I quess it's just the way we do things here in the States.
If you can find some fresh chicken liver, voila!

1 pound of chicken livers
1 large garlic clove, minced very fine and one small shallot, chopped fine
3-4 tablespoons of cream, whipping cream will work
5 tablespoons of a red wine,
something you already have opened will do.
1 stick of unsalted butter.
salt and pepper to taste, use sea salt or kosher.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of butter and gently cook the livers. This will take anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes. They may still appear reddish after cooking , but that soon disappears. Process the livers in your food processor. Cook the garlic and shallots in a tad more butter until clear in color. Now, if you have any red wine left, I usually drink the measured portions , just to test, add this to the shallots and garlic. Simmer the liquid down some. Place all the simmering goodies into the food proceesor, with the cream, salt and pepper and watch the miracle unfold. Pate! You can do this! I found a small bowl , gently placed it in and smoothed the top. With the few remaining tablespoons of butter I had left, I melted it and poured it on the pate. It is essential that you put foil or plastic wrap to avoid contact with the air which will cause browning. Refrigerate until cold and serve with toasts or crackers.........it is so easy and delicious. I told my friend who gave me this recipe that I would never be able to make this......it works! Was able to keep it for five days before tossing it.......Happy cooking!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cauliflower ? Why Not!

It's the end of the garden season and we will soon be
enjoying lots of hearty soups to take the chill away. I seldom think about making cauliflower soup...... It is delicious and not too difficult to make. Even better yet, it is very tasty prepared with a creamy white sauce, or just plain with melted butter or even with a Hollandaise sauce. Whatever you decide to prepare, choose the most beautiful pure white cauliflower you can find and make sure that the florets are tight with short stems. For some reason I pass by this beautiful vegetable more than I should.....think I will make a white sauce tonight.....why not?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Spice of Life

Still walking around in Mumbai, the streets are crowded with a live medly of characters from market vendors to the individuals who will cook right on the corner for you! Talk about adding a burst of color to your lunch....I stood and watched for awhile as the local faithful crowd gathered around, popped his creation in their mouths and then headed back to work. Fast food the Indian way.....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering Sept.11th

Five years have passed by. We were glued to the television, as the rest of the world was. So many things have changed, so many families have had to alter their lives.
Families in the United States are still grieving five years later.....and will be forever. My thoughts and prayers go to those of you who may have lost family or friends on this remembered day.........

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Let's Travel!

For a brief period, I'm going to break away from my normal routine and post a few photos of markets and food pictures. After all, this is how I received my blog name, "Traveling Food Lady." This is not to say I will not come back to my wonderful French recipes and pictures...I most certainly will! Once a Francophile always....

On to Mumbai, once-upon-a-time, Bombay. Here, I am visiting a public market just about to open and having a brief conversation about the mangoes. Everyone is excited to show their produce and to be photographed. A refreshing group of people to visit with and most accommodating. The next few pictures will give you some idea of what a market looks like. ...hoping to inspire you to take a visit and see for yourself!

So you like chickens, well, here they are. Fresh and right from the farm. Which one do you want?

The last photo was taken in Jordan. I am trying to purchase one dollars worth of frankincense........I had never seen it or had any idea how it was produced. Actually, it is the sap from a tree. But once again, a friendly merchant trying his best to accommodate this stranger. I am constantly amazed at the vendors and their products, blending cultures, ideas, and tastes.....and sharing with the Traveling Food Lady.

Chickens at their best...

Frankincense purchase...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Vines of Life

Last March I posted this picture on another blog sight and had considerable comments. This is one of my favorite shots from one of my favorite towns . I really did not have too much to write about on this particular day. It was one of those days when I was so enthralled in the reading of all my blog sights, I just felt overwhelmed. What could I say or do that might top some of what I just read? ( I learned quickly that I needed to stop that.) I am not a writer nor a professional photographer. There are few things in life I don't care for. So, I find myself open to many subjects to write about.
But this picture, truly, these are the vines of life for many people. These vines are a part of many of my friends in France. So many memories shared over a glass of wine. A very simple seed, turned into a full blown fruit and then, a full blown memory. It's Friday, my day is over and here's to you and yours! Cheers to all my blogger friends!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Raspberry Cream Fraiche Tart

Walking down the veggie/fruit isle the other day, the raspberries were screaming, "take me home", so this is what I made for dessert. This tart has a cake-like texture, so don't be shocked. But, it is delicious!
1/2 cup unsalted butter , room temp

3/4 cup plus two tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour

3/4 cup creme fraiche
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Oven temp: 375. Using electric mixure, beat butter, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in large bowl until blended. Add 3 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Add the flour, beat just until blended. Spread batter over bottom of spring form pan, up the sides, about 1/2 in. Just make a circle movement with the back of a spoon and it will push the batter upwards. Beat 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and creme fraiche in a bowl until well blended. Spread the custard over the batter. Place the berries 1/4 inch or more apart on the top of custard filling. They will sink in some. Now, sprinkle the tart with 2 tablespoons of sugar, or more if you think you need it.

Bake the tart until set, will not jiggle, and brown around the edges. Cool. Can be made a day in advance. Cover loosely with foil. Can be chilled. Better served at room temp.

Remove pan side, slide sharp knife around the edge to loosen cake. Place on platter and sprinkle with powdersed sugar.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Take A Guess!

Check this out! Talk about a meatball.....but, guess what? This is not a meatball. This photo was taken outside of Cortina, Italy, at a small and very intimate restaurant. Notice the bone protruding from the meat....any ideas? Send me your thoughts about what you think this dish is called. My husband would like to have the recipe and I can't find it. (P.S. I know what it is called...take a guess!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Betterave....beats me?

On a recent trip to "the farm", my good friend Vi offered us some of her mega-beets to carry back home. There have been times when my husband just refuses to be seen with me because of all the "extra luggage" I tote along, including foods." I can't possibly leave something like this behind." What was he thinking? Where else could one get that home-grown fresh taste? Anyway, she washed off a huge bag of beets and I carefully placed them in my suitcase. Off we went to Florida! I noticed a little memo from the TSA indicating that my suitcase had been inspected. I wonder why? Clearly very strange looking objects.....
Anyway, prepared beets can be added to make a "light"salad numerous ways. I cook the beets,naturally, and then add the sugar, water and vinegar and let them sit in the refrigerator, rather that canning them. We eat them way too fast for all the efforts of canning.Try cutting in round shapes or julienne; then add some mustard and finely minced herbs to your regular seasoning/dressing. I mix up Good Seasonings and just use the appropriate amount. Keep the rest for another time. Top with a dab of sour cream. When the beets are placed on a few bibb lettuce leafs, this is so colorful and inviting.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sweet Tomatoes

I just had to pull this photo out to keep up with the neighbors! There have been so many recipes lately on tomatoes, so I'm just going to throw a short one in!

For several years,my dear friend Monique came to the U.S. to put on a cooking demonstration. This is her recipe of Candied Tomatoes.

Slice three pounds of tomatoes in half. On top of each half, sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar. Salt and pepper each half. Now drizzle a good quality olive oil on the top of each tomato. Bake at a low temperature of 225 degrees for about two hours. Check occassionally in the event that you need to add more oil.

This was the hit of the evening. Everyone raved about the tenderness and sweetness of these "jewels of the vines." Any selection of meat will work as a main. That's the amazing thing about tomatoes. They can be eaten with most foods!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Market Day Bolzano Way

If you are anything like me, I bet you could spend an entire day at the food markets in any country. This is one of the first items on my agenda to cross off....to find out what days and what time the markets are opened! (My husband finds a cafe and pulls out his reading material at this point.)
Food markets absolutely entice my senses! There are such varieties of smells, aromas and colors as well as noise from all the people and traffic in the backround. This is an atmosphere where all my senses seem to catch on fire and I am totally out of control. I love strolling through the stalls and talking to the vendors. I try to talk, difficult when you do not speak the language . I am tempted by every seasonal offering and long to taste and sample the goods being offered. There is a saying my dear French friends have taught me when this mood takes over: Joie de Vivre..total bliss...yes indeed!
The picture that you are looking at was taken in Bolzano, Italy. It was just a smaller stall, close to my hotel. Apart from the alimentari (general stores) there were a number of specialized food shops very close by. If you had your list with you, more than likely you need not forget anything....it's all there on the street.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Tried and Tested!

After reading so many delicious recipes, I felt it necessary to start baking and cooking rather than just reading all the time. My husband had invited his sister for a visit, so I started to think about what would be a"real show stopper"and this is what came to mind for a dessert. This recipe was taken from another blogger over in typepad land...Cream Puff in Venice. She has a wonderful sight . I do suggest when you have the time, to take a look at some of her wonderful mouth watering recipes. This is a mascarpone cheesecake. I thought for baking this one time, it turned out well. The recipes we pass back and forth to eachother are gifts......these are very special indeed. Thank you everyone for sharing.....