Five Ways to Put Some France into Your Week

Tray Bien! (Ha-Ha!) Cute tray available at European Market.

Bonjour and happy new week! Good grief, we’re getting hit with snow again here in Amerique profonde. I’m counting the days until I get my summer stay in Collioure (via Normandy and Brittany this year). But that’s a few months away. So here’s how I’m putting a little France into this week—and you can, too.

1. Shop France via European Market

Isn’t this the cutest little tray you’ve seen in a while? You might even say it’s “tray belle” (groan). Find it at European Market, a great little outfit that purveys unusual and hard-to-find housewares, accessories, antiques, and more from all over Europe. They just got a load of French things recently, so go do some browsing.

The balcony of my vacation rental in the Maison Frère in France.

2. Look for Vacation Apartment Rentals in France

I can’t say enough about the pleasures of renting an apartment in France (rather than staying in hotels). It really gets you to the “next level” of experiencing the country. You might be surprised at how affordable it is—see for yourself and browse this Website, HomeAway. Dream a little bit….and then do it. By the way, I have my rental in the Maison Frère all booked–I’ve been going here for years. I highly recommend this rental.

Our studio apartment has a balcony overlooking the charming Place 18 Juin and just around the corner from sea.

3. Cook Something Warming and French

If spring still feels a long ways off, cook something hearty—yet easy. This braise, Vermouth-Braised Chicken with Olives and Prosciutto, can be done inside of an hour, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy that apéritif and/or reconnect with your loved one(s) at the end of the day. It makes 4 servings, so if it’s just the two of you, save the rest for another day–as with many braises, leftovers are divine (in truth, even better than on day one). Belle Provence Travels posted my recipe on their site.

This recipe is from The Bonne Femme Cookbook, and it’s just one of many recipes that make great use of your braiser. (By the way, here’s info on what a braiser is and does.)

What? You’d rather use your slow-cooker than a braiser? Well, it just so happens I’ve adapted this particular recipe for the slow cooker, too. Here you go.

4. Laugh at French Kitties

If you haven’t seen this video of two cats playing “patty-cake” in French, you really need to click on this.  Be sure to close the annoying advertising banner at the bottom of the video so that you can see the subtitles (if you don’t speak French). The subtitles start in French for a moment, but then switch to English, so you’ll totally get the “attitude” that these French cats have. I guarantee you’ll laugh.

5. Learn one French phrase for today: “N’importe quoi.” 

The phrase n’importe quoi  literally means “anything.” But until I watched the above video, I didn’t realize that the French used n’importe quoi the same way we used the word “whatever” (that is, with a roll of the eyes). Take a look at the kittie video and watch when one says to the other, “as if I had fleas…whatever!”

Now I’m hearing it all over the place (in my work with the French chef). It’s a great word. Doesn’t it sound so….French?

That’s all for now. Come back Friday and I’ll show you how to put some French into your weekend. À bientôt!

Other posts on this site that might interest you:
All About The Braiser Cookbook
How to Braise without a Braiser
• Five Ways to Put Some France into Your Week, Volume 2 (March 4, 2013)
• Five Ways to Put Some France Into Your Week, Volume 1 (February 25, 2013)
Any-Night Baked Rice (a great recipe to go with any braised dish)

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