Update from the Roussillon

"Everything's the same, back in my little town."

“Everything’s the same, back in my little town.”

I have to admit—I admire bloggers who can blog while on vacation. When I’m immersed strangeness and sparkle of where I am, the spell gets broken when I turn to the impersonal feel of the iPad screen.

Alas, it’s time. We’re having a heatwave here in Collioure. The temperature is 89°F, but according to weather.com, it feels like 96°F. It’s humid. And because les vacances scholaires have begun, there are many, many more people here than just last week.

Not that I’m complaining! Fortunately, we have a fabulous studio climatisé (air conditioned–and believe me, climatisé is a word you’ll want to know if you you travel in the south in summer).

And so, chers amis, as the heat of the day intensifies, now’s a good time to stay inside, drink Badoit (a softly sparking mineral water I love) and tell you about a few random things I’m finding.

1. Typical lunch chez moi during the heat wave when I don’t want to cook.

Top plate: Pâté de compagne and mousse de canard. Bottom plate: Jambon de Paris, rosette de Lyon, oeufs-mayo, roasted beet salad, couscous salad, carottes râpées, and (in the center) celeris remoulades. All from the deli (or supermaket).

Top plate: Pâté de compagne and mousse de canard. Bottom plate: Jambon de Paris, rosette de Lyon, oeufs-mayo, roasted beet salad, couscous salad, carottes râpées, and (in the center) celeris remoulades. All from the deli (or supermaket).

 2. Every day, an afternoon coffee or an evening apéritif at Les Templiers, a bar filled with paintings from early 20th-century artists who loved Collioure for its light, and paid the hotel owner in paintings. Picasso stayed here (though these days, they don’t exhibit the Picassos, after one was stolen a while back). Still, the other paintings are engaging testaments to the enduring light and color of this great town.

Mr. Sportcoat (sans sportcoat) at my favorite bar in the world: Les Templiers.

Mr. Sportcoat (sans sportcoat) at my favorite bar in the world: Les Templiers.

 3. My little secret: J’adore French supermarket desserts.

Some are better than others, but the caramel pot-de-crème is divine!

Some are better than others, but the caramel pot-de-crème is divine!

 

4. Strangest thing I’ve seen at the market:

Seriously? Chery Love Show? Please, leave the U.S. out of it! And is it really for kids? I don't get it--at all!

Seriously? Chery Love Show? Please, leave the U.S. out of it! And is it really for kids? I don’t get it–at all!

 

5. And finally!

A bientôt, my friends. Tomorrow, it's off to the mountains (Prades) to cool off (hopefully!).

A bientôt, my friends. Tomorrow, it’s off to the mountains (Prades) to cool off (hopefully!).

 

 

 

 

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She's Back—the Third Printing of The Bonne Femme Cookbook Is Now Available!

 

The kind of simple, everyday French food you'll find in The Bonne Femme Cookbook.

The kind of simple, everyday French food you’ll find in The Bonne Femme Cookbook.

Good heavens. The Bonne Femme Cookbook has been out of stock for a few months now, pending the third printing. Finally, it’s available…and just in time for the season’s weddings and showers, I might add. Find it on Amazon.

What? You don’t know about my book? To give you a taste of what’s inside, here are a few highlights that show what makes this book a little different than many other French cookbooks. In short, it’s about modern simplicity—the French demand a great meal at the end of the day, but—these days—they don’t have any more time to cook than we do. This book shows how they dine well, without spending all day in the kitchen.

1. Les Salads

More than 30 ways to serve fresh vegetables—either before, with, or after your main course. Or as the main course itself.

Just one of the many appetite-rousing ways to kick off dinner, French-style: Endive Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese.

Just one of the many appetite-rousing ways to kick off dinner, French-style: Endive Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese in a light, lemony dressing.

2. Sauté, Deglaze, and Serve

This is, quite possibly, my favorite chapter in the book. Every recipe is a variation on a theme: You sauté the night’s meat in a skillet; then, you make a quick pan sauce by stirring wine into the tasty browned bits left into the skillet. Add a few defining touches–apples, grapes, or olives here, celery root or morels there, and fresh herbs almost everywhere–and there you have it: A 30-minute dinner at its true-to-France best. There are 36 recipes that follow this simple technique.

Use crème fraîche to finish a pan sauce. Unlike sour cream, crème fraîche will not curdle over high heat or when it’s melded into wine. Photo by D.E. Smith

Chicken Calvados: One of 36 recipes in the Sauté-Deglaze-Serve chapter: 30-minute cooking at its true-to-France best.

 3. Stew, Roast, Braise

So many great French recipes call for braising, stewing, or roasting meat, often as a way to turn less-expensive cuts into bold and succulent dishes—from Beef Bourguignon and Coq au Vin, to Beef Stew Provençal and Basque-Style Chicken.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Chervil Sauce. One of my favorites in the "Stew, Roast, Braise" chapter.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Chervil Sauce. One of my favorites in the “Stew, Roast, Braise” chapter.

4. Eggs and Cheese

Omelets, quiches, baked eggs, soufflés, crêpes—seriously, does anyone know how to turn a few eggs into a gratifying meal better than the French? Also learn the ins and outs of serving great French cheeses.

How to serve a great cheese course. Just one of the many topics in the Eggs and Cheese chapter.

How to serve a great cheese course. Just one of the many topics in the Eggs and Cheese chapter.

5. Desserts

While you’ll find a few pastry-shop favorites, most of the recipes reflect the kinds of desserts that the French home cook truly makes for the family and friends—simple upside-down cakes, crêpes, custard-based desserts, clever ice cream combos, and other chic, satisfying ways to end any night’s dinner simply and sweetly.

Chocolate Pound Cake....an update of the classic French "Quatre Quarts."

Chocolate Pound Cake….an update of the classic French “Quatre Quarts.” I love the fact that this rich, moist cake freezes beautifully.

There are many other chapters, of course, including appetizers, soups, casseroles and pasta, side dishes, and sandwiches and savory tarts….

Also note that while my book doesn’t have photographs, it has irresistible French drawings, like these:

One of the illustrations in my book by the wonderful Nishan Akgulian.

One of the illustrations in my book by the wonderful Nishan Akgulian.

Find more information about the book on the About the Book page.

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French Mother's Day Brunch Recipes + Great French Mother's Day Gifts

If your mom is a France lover, you’ve come to the right place for French brunch recipes and ideas. Here are a few faves:

You can never go wrong with quiche:

Bloggist Martha McKinnon shot this lovely photo of my Spinach Quiche for her Simple Nourished Living blog.

Bloggist Martha McKinnon shot this lovely photo of my Spinach Quiche for her Simple Nourished Living blog. She posted the recipe. Or, find it on page 169 of The Bonne Femme Cookbook.

Is asparagus popping up in your market? Go for my little asparagus quiche-ettes:

Serve these Asparagus Quiches with a little salad, and you're set.

Serve these Asparagus Quiches with a little salad, and you’re set. Page 314 of the Bonne Femme Cookbook.

The beginner cook in your family (or maybe the all-thumbs-in-the-kitchen Dad) will appreciate the ease of Baked Eggs (oeufs en cocotte). Truly–anyone can cook them! Easy to make for a crowd.

Baked Eggs. one of the simplest French lunch or quick dinners around.

Baked Eggs (oeufs en cocotte): An easy French brunch recipe. Especially with my step-by-step instructions and recipe.

Looking for brunch crêpes? Gotcha covered!

Asparagus crêpes. Serve with salad. If that's not hearty enough for your clan, add a slice of baked ham. (Ham + Asparagus = springtime brunch heaven).

Asparagus crêpes. Serve with salad. If that’s not hearty enough for your clan, add a slice of baked ham. (Ham + Asparagus = springtime brunch heaven). Here’s the recipe.

A French Rolled Omelet. This choice is better for a smaller group, since you have to make them one at a time.

A French rolled omelet.

A French rolled omelet. This one’s topped with Ratatouille, but you can top it with whatever you wish. My recipe (and lots of suggestions for serving) is in The Bonne Femme Cookbook, page 299.

 

What? You haven’t chosen a Mothers Day gift for Mom yet? I’m here to help. Here are a few great items I’ve spotted that will especially appeal to those who are fans of you-know-where.

1. For the Mom who loves to bake (and loves France): How cute is this Paris Icons Cupcake Kit?

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Even if Mom might not adore this kit as much as we do, it’s never too early to plan for your Bastille day party, n’est-ce-pas?

 

2. Does Mom still regret not buying that beautiful tablecloth she saw in the outdoor market in Provence? Surprise her with this Clos des Oliviers 71-Inc Round French Cotton Tablecloth.

Simple and elegant French cotton tablecloth. Beautiful for outdoor dining in spring and summer.

Simple and elegant French cotton tablecloth. Beautiful for outdoor dining in spring and summer.

 

3. For the French picnic-loving Mom, how about some pretty Le Cadeau Melamine Dinnerware?

Love Melamine, especially in happy colors like these.

Love Melamine, especially in happy colors like these.

 

That’s all for now, friends. Remember–any purchase you make through a link on my website helps support the work I do here. I appreciate your consideration!

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