Five Ways to Put Some France Into Your Weekend

Here’s my third weekly posting on how to add a little France to your weekend.

1. Braise Something French: Poussins Bonne Femme

How could I not be intrigued by the very name of this beautiful recipe? (You’ll have to click on the link, as I don’t have rights to use the photo on my blog.) As you all know by now, bonne femme literally means “the good wife,” but in cooking, refers to simple, honest, everyday food served in French homes. So here’s a beautiful “bonne femme” recipe from Saveur magazine; it’s made with just a handful of ingredients and it’s basically poultry in a beautiful white-wine, beef stock, bacon, and mushroom sauce.  Although it calls on a Poussin—a very young chicken—Cornish hens can be used. I would imagine that chicken quarters would work just fine—just use the exact same sauce/flavoring ingredients and adjust the timing (chicken quarters should braise in about 35 minutes).

And you know about The Braiser Cookbook, right? Even more gorgeous recipes for that beautiful braiser you own. Cheers. (And if you don’t have a braiser, an oven-safe Dutch oven or a heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid will do, too).

2. Read Something Fascinating About Today’s French Restaurants

The first tablet edition of Honest Cooking. It’s free.

The first tablet edition of Honest Cooking Magazine is out, and I can’t believe it’s free! Great-quality writing, beautiful photos, lovely layout—I admire it so very much. Download it here. The magazine focuses on in-depth food articles (no recipes, that is). One article of interest to Francophiles: “Bistronomy: How French Cuisine was Saved.” It explores the concept of bistronomy: “an offering of experimental haute cuisine at affordable prices,” and discusses how this movement is breathing new life into the stagnated French restaurant scene. This description of the movement says it best: “The food is French, with the liberty of creating a new identity for French food, one that combines the layered artistry of a composer with the passionate tradition of a grandmother and a teenager’s contrarian flair.”

Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

Grand Marnier Cherry Sidecar

3. Drink Something French: Grand Marnier Cherry Sidecar

I received a complimentary review bottle of Grand Marnier Cerise, a limited-edition flavor that’s quite amazing. Being so it’s a fine Cognac infused with natural orange and cherry flavors, it tastes great neat or on the rocks. But it can also go wherever Cognac itself goes–if you want a little orange-cherry flavor to the final drink. Take the Grand Cherry Sidecar, for instance, a twist on the classic Sidecar cocktail, created by Jonatha Pogash, the Cocktail Guru:

Grand Cherry Sidecar
2 oz Grand Marnier Cherry
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

In a shaker filled with ice, vigorously shake Grand Marnier Cherry, lemon juice and simple syrup. Strain into a chilled sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry.

Man on the Train

4. Watch a moving French flick: Man on the Train

I remember when this movie came out, my husband and I were just so enchanted by the great writing and dialogue in the script itself. Its a “bro-mance,” French-style, that concerns two aging men–a gangster and a retired teacher–both in the twilight of their lives and living with some regret about “what might have been.” The end up having more in common than they thought. The gangster is touchingly played by aging French pop star Johnny Hallyday. A charming little French movie, a bit sad, yes, but life-affirming, too, and so human. Find it on Netflix.

5. Freeze Some Crêpes

This weekend, while you have a little time, why not make some crêpes for dessert. My recipe makes 12; if there are just two or four of you, freeze the rest for another weekend. Here’s how.

Have a great weekend—see you Monday for “Five Ways to Put Some France into Your Week.” A bientôt. 

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