Saturday, October 12, 2013

Une soirée française

Add to Google Reader or HomepageSaturday evening, we prepared and served a French dinner for six at our home. The dinner was the “prize” won by a couple at the Tri-County Office on Aging’s Meals on Wheels live auction last fall.

Ellen is very involved with Meals on Wheels (MOW). She delivers meals and she serves on the MOW fundraising board. For the past two years, we have offered a French dinner and a week at our apartment in Vaison la Romaine. Luckily for MOW, the items have been popular and we have been able to generate more funds for MOW. Since retiring, I have taken over most of the cooking and have learned a lot. The dinner was a chance to share what I have learned in the kitchen – both here and in France.

The couple that won the bid for the dinner knew what to expect. They had won the bid the previous year and had enjoyed the evening enough to make sure that they won the bid again.

We invited Steve and Re’Shane to come to an “apéro” to plan the menu. I had prepared a list of options for each course and had included several items directly from the menu at La Lyriste in Vaison la Romaine. (Chef Benoit had asked me to translate the menu into English.) They chose the menu including a dish for the main course that I had never prepared before. A quick “m’aidez” note to Benoit to get instructions on how to prepare the dish followed. Benoit wrote back and included detailed instructions and photos.

The menu*

Hors d’oeuvre: Gougère, Purée de pois chiches au cumin à tartiner, Clairette de Die
Gruyère cheese puffs, hummus on toasts, sparkling wine

Entrée: Soupe de tomate au basilique, croustillants de parmesan, chardonnay
Tomato-basil soup served with parmesan crisps, French unoaked chardonnay

The bowl that I served myself... (not attractive enough for the table)

Plat: Nage de gambas et cabillaud dans son jus de crustacé, ratatouille, riz brun, Vouvray
Jumbo shrimp and cod poached in shellfish stock, ratatouille and brown rice, Vouvray

Fromages: brie triple crème, morbier, chèvre (avec confiture de piment)Bordeaux rouge
Cheeses: triple cream brie, morbier and goat cheese (with hot jalapeno jelly) red Bordeaux

Dessert: Baravois aux fraises, vin doux
Strawberries served with Bavarian cream, fortified red sweet wine

Café et chocolat

*the vegetables for the soup and the ratatouille came from my garden!

After all of the dishes were served, Ellen and I joined the six diners and got to experience how much fun they were and how much fun they were having. They were six people who enjoyed good food, good wine and good camaraderie – and that menu of fun, food and camaraderie, served for a good cause, could be a winner every time!