A lot happened to and in March - but I couldn't edit photos fast enough to keep up with it! Henceforth, I will not be backdating posts to coincide with when they happened - that was getting too crazy. I'm just going to have to acknowledge that with all of my "free" time here, I still don't have enough time to be a pretend Parisian, take photos, edit photos and get blog posts done as the events happen.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I acquired a copy of around my french table by Dorie Greenspan. Also, as I have mentioned before, I love this cookbook! I have perused most of the recipes and want to try nearly all of them.
Why not all of them?
I'll probably go light on the fish and shellfish since Ron isn't a big fan of fish. He'll eat it and he won't complain, but he'd rather have beef, pork or poultry or rabbit, and I think even cheval. Since I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him, I think making his favorites is only fair.
Any recipe involving innards is a no-go. I love that Dorie Greenspan has a whole page devoted to acquiring a taste for innards, and she says she can think of 4 ways to have acquired the taste:
- Mom served them to you when you were young
- you grew up on a farm
- one of the little body parts was slipped into a dish without your knowing it and - shazam! - you loved it
- you were born with the I-love-innards gene (in which case you're probably French)
I did not grow up on a farm, so that's out. I have experienced numbers 1 and 3 and have disliked the taste of innards every time. Even now. I absolutely, completely, utterly, wholly dislike innards. I can honestly say that through the years, I have tried. I have tried fabulous-looking liver pâtés - no go. I have tried liver and onions - no go. I have tried gizzards and gravy - no go. Liverwurst sausage - definitely a no go. When innards have been in something and I was unaware <shudder>, I knew instantly. Always a no go. Even just last night, Ron, in his best French, thought he was ordering agneau (lamb), but the server heard rognons (kidneys), and what he got was a small pot of kidney stew. He ate it, bless his heart. I stuck my fork in the gravy only, just to try it. To see if perhaps my tastes have changed; to see if I could, in fact, eat kidney stew. To see if perhaps that by living in Paris for a few short months, my taste buds had readjusted to local flavors. The tiniest bit of gravy on my fork was an absolute and unequivocal no go. So number 4 above doesn't apply to me either and my DNA has not mutated by being on French soil. I haven't counted how many recipes out of the over 300 that excludes. Je suis désolée, Mde. Greenspan, but innards recipes will NOT be featured.
Cooking in my French kitchen is quite a bit different than cooking in my American kitchen. And since I'm trying lots of new recipes, everything takes a little bit longer than if I were at home. My recipes are in English, of course. But my tools and my food are in French.
A few nights ago, I made duck and potato gratin (in the hopes that I have finally found the right recipe!) for dinner. I found a duck recipe (twenty-minute honey glazed duck beasts) in around my french table that sounded delicious and relatively simple. The recipe calls for about 2 pounds of duck breasts for 4 people. We are 2 people and I need to buy in kilograms. Okay, that one is pretty easy, but still, I have to think about it and do the conversion. Then the rpotato gratin recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups heavy cream. First I have to divide that in half, then convert to milliliters (or centiliters). And I have to know the terms before I go shopping (google is my friend!). And so on. You can see that just figuring out the recipe isn't trivial. It's not hard, but it takes more time than usual to figure out what I need, then go shop for it.
It seems as though I have mentioned a lot of stuff before, but if you're just now reading, you won't know that I've mentioned before that my fully equipped kitchen is a little less than so. So it bears repeating; my fully equipped kitchen is a little less than so. So once I've figured out the recipe and shopped for the right ingredients, then I have some improvising to do in the kitchen. Again, it's not hard, it is just time consuming. At home I would just reach for the right tool, dish, pan, etc. Here, I have to think about what is in the cabinets and drawers and then figure out what I can substitute or make work. I think it also bears repeating that I'm not complaining. It's the opposite, in fact, as I am often quite proud of myself for my innovations and unconventional uses of household items!
Okay, that's enough chatter. What you really want to know and see is my duck and potatoes, yeah?
Ta da! The duck:
|It really was only 20 minutes and the honey-balsamic glaze was delicious!|
|Yay! The perfect Gratin Potatoes recipe - perfectly crisp on top, tender potatoes and creamy!|
|Of course, a salad accompanied the duck and potatoes|
|The finished creation!|
I learned a few tricks making these two recipes; the pan of choice for cooking the duck breasts, how to slice the cooked duck, and letting things rest is a really good idea.
Je vous remercie, Mme Greenspan!