All posts filed under: Vive La France

Calvados Brie Fondue

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” (Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast) While my family is known to be crazy enough to have fondue dinners with as many as ten or twelve people, I’ve always felt that it’s more inclined to smaller settings. When you’re with one of the few people who bring about happiness like Spring, or if you’ve managed to set aside some peaceful quietude for yourself, a little pot of fondue can be just the thing you need to secure your contentment. This makes enough for a hearty dinner for one, or a nice appetizer for two. Ingredients Directions Cut or scrape the rind off the brie, and cut into cubes. Toss the cubes in the corn starch until coated and …

Bouillabaisse

“You can make as dramatic a production as you want out of a bouillabaisse, but remember it originated as a simple, Mediterranean fisherman’s soup, made from the day’s catch or its unsalable leftovers, and flavored with the typical condiments of the region—olive oil, garlic, leeks or onions, tomatoes, and herbs.” (Julia Child et al., Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Bouillabaisse is a summer soup, reminiscent of balmy breezes and the scent of seawater in the air. Unlike thick, cream-based soups, or chunky meat and vegetable soups, this bouillabaisse—with hints of citrus and saffron, and studded with fresh, briny seafood—energizes, and in fact finds itself rather at home on a hot, sunny day. Serves 2-3 Ingredients 1 cod fillet handful cooked mussel meat (or raw mussels in the shell) handful uncooked shrimp (OR fish and seafood of your choice) 900g (2 lbs) tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 large garlic cloves 2 shallots 1 fennel bulb 4-5 stalks celery 1 cup dry white wine 1 cube vegetable or fish bouillon 1 cup water 3/4 teaspoon …

Spring Quiche

Everywhere I look people sit in the sun, bundled in jackets and scarves, feeling the warmth on their closed eyelids, basking in Spring’s first rays. I realize there’s a reason Springtime in Paris is a cliché. Tourists flood the city, searching for romance and adventures; locals respond more softly towards said tourists, with the knowledge that winter is behind them and in a few months they’ll be able to escape the city before the worst of the heat sets in. Flowers poke through the soil, and cherry blossoms blow in the wind like nature’s confetti. The last few days in Gothenburg have been like this, and much like in the picture above from Paris nine years ago, I’m donning my Spring jacket despite the cold wind. But in the refuge of my balcony, sheltered from the wind but open to the sun, it’s like summer for a few hours in the afternoon. I’ve planted flowers and herbs and prepared it for afternoon lounging. And even though I might have to bring everything in during freezing …

Tarte Tatin de Poire

Something heavy beckoned to me from the toe of my Christmas stocking. We had exchanged them early, in hopes we could enjoy our gifts before our trip to the States. What could this solid, heavy object be? I drew it out, and a small jar of jam appeared. Pear, pomegranate, and calvados. Eureka! I use the same pastry here as for my Provençal Butternut Squash Rugelach. With equal parts cream cheese and butter, and richened with crème fraîche and an egg yolk, it gives a flavorful and slightly flaky, yet quickly assembled, alternative to store-bought puff pastry. Ingredients Directions Prepare your pastry by putting the flour in a mixing bowl and adding the butter and cream cheese in small chunks. Pinch the butter and cheese into the flour with your fingertips until it starts to come together. Whisk together the crème fraîche and egg yolk, then add to flour mixture. Toss with your fingertips, then press together until you can form a ball. Remove to a sheet of plastic wrap and form a disk. Stick …

Golden Beet Potato Quiche

As I’ve said before, I have a special relationship with autumn. And winter in Scandinavia can be quite spectacular when the snow arrives and it feels like you’re in a wonderland. But the weeks in between, when the brightness of autumn has faded, and it’s still not cold enough for snow, carry with them a pervading and damp cold that reaches the bones and leaves you longing for a bit of color and warmth. The sky during these days is often an eerie white, which brings about a sort of timeless quietude. Yes, I’m looking forward to the bitter cold of winter here in Sweden, because it brings with it an often clear sky, snow-laden trees, and Christmas lights brightening the city. In the meantime, I’ll add some color to my day and some warmth to my belly with this Golden Beet Potato Quiche. Ingredients Directions Roast beets ahead of time. Wash, wrap in foil, and bake at 205C/400F for 1-1.5 hours, depending on size, until tender when squeezed. Let cool. For crust, combine flour …